HISTORY OF THE LODGE

The Lodge was consecrated on 2nd August 1864 by the D.P.G.M., WBro. William Kelly. It replaced the defunct Rancliffe Lodge, No. 608, which had surrendered its warrant in 1853. A daughter Lodge of John of Gaunt Lodge, No. 523, the Lodge took its name from the P.G.M., RWBro. the Earl Howe, adding the word Charnwood to differentiate it from the Lodge of Mark Master Masons by that name which was meeting in Leicester. (Eventually the Mark Lodge was to transfer to Loughborough in 1894.)

Although the Lodge flourished at first it hit a depression in the 1870s, there was a revival in the 1880s when several Masons joined, notably Bro. C. F. Oliver (Initiated 1889), who was to serve the Lodge and Province for 50 years, the last eleven as P.G.M.

In 1901 the Lodge moved from the Kings Head Hotel to the Town Hall, and in 1902 changed their meeting to September to April, instead of April to November, although the Installation Meeting is still held in November.

After the First World War Freemasonry was so popular that the Lodge held double ceremonies until 1956. During this period the Lodge helped found Beacon Lodge, No. 5208, in 1928 and Thomas Burton Lodge, No. 7007, in 1950. It was agreed that members wishing to be members of both the Howe and Charnwood and Thomas Burton Lodges had to remain members of both Lodges until 1955 or resign from both.

The Lodge continued to meet during the Second World War, with the Senior Steward in 1943 instructed to spend £20 on alcohol and other liquid refreshments, and to ensure the stocks were maintained. However at the Installation meeting of January 1947 the food crisis was such that only the W.M. was allowed personal guests.

In 1964 the Lodge moved to its present premises in Ashby Square, where the first ceremony was worked on 29th September.

In 1970 the Lodge sponsored the Loughborough Lodge of Installed Masters, No.8312. At this time the Lodge membership numbered over 100 members, but due to deaths and resignations by the end of the decade 54 of these members were gone; either they had died or they had resigned.

In 1974 it was decided to alter the night of the meetings to the 4th Tuesday of the month, but during the 1990s there was a serious decline in membership and it was agreed not to meet in January and April. However an upturn in interest saw this change in the present century so that the April meeting was re-instated. The present Lodge membership stands at 40 and is continuing to grow.

In 2006 the Lodge sponsored The Showmen’s Lodge, No. 9826, this being somewhat unique in that all the founder members were also all Showmen and are based throughout the UK and come together in Loughborough for their Lodge meetings.

The earl howe story by WBro. P.Blakemore

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