The idea of forming a Lodge was first raised by Dr Rosslyn Bruce soon after he was appointed as vicar of St Augustine’s Church, Edgbaston. At a choir supper, held at the vicarage, in early 1913 he suggested that a Masonic Lodge should be formed in Edgbaston and that the Choristers, some of whom were well versed in Masonic music, could form a nucleus of members who would, to quote from the petition, “inculcate the study of part singing, and it is that way hoped to gather together Brethren who cultivate that art”
The petition to form a Freemasons Lodge under the name St Augustine’s, signed by 33 Brethren, was submitted to Grand Lodge in December 1913 with an accompanying letter from the Master Designate, W Bro W S Tunbridge PPGSW (Warks), stating the reasons for the foundation of the Lodge. The first two of these reasons were;
“1. Edgbaston being the best residential suburb of Birmingham, in which, and in connection with which there is no Masonic Lodge.
2. Edgbaston Masons desire to have a Lodge of their own and meeting in their midst, and hope if the petition is granted, to meet in the Parish Room of St Augustine’s Parish, when the necessary arrangements can be made. As a temporary measure the meeting will be held in the Severn Street Masonic Hall”.
The petition was successful and a warrant granted on 16th December 1913 and the Lodge being duly consecrated on 17th February 1914 in the Grosvenor Room of the Grand Hotel, Birmingham. The Lodge was consecrated by the Right Worshipful Brother George Beech J.P. Past Grand Deacon, England, Provincial Grand Master, Warks, assisted by Worshipful Brother Colonel W.F. Wyley, D.L. the Deputy Prvincial Grand Master, Warks.
The first Master, Worshipful Brother W S Tunbridge, was installed by the Provincial Grand Master. The Lodge was sponsored by Athol Lodge No 74 which still meets today at the Warwickshire Masonic Temple, Stirling Road, Edgbaston.
The new lodge contained several notable names of the time. The Lodge Chaplain was Worshipful Brother Canon Charles W Barnard Past Grand Chaplain, England and the Junior Warden was the vicar of St. Augustine’s Church, Worshipful Brother Rev Francis Rosslyn Bruce, the brother-
The Lodge gradually grew over the following years and by February 1917 15 new members had joined of which 11 were new initiates. However several of the original members had either resigned or died so the total membership had only increased by 4. By February 1920 the membership had risen by a further 18 to a total of 51.
At the December meeting in 1926 W Bro O L Leaker, on behalf of W Bro F J Taylor, proposed that a petition be signed for the formation of a Holy Royal Arch Chapter to be named “The St Augustine’s Chapter” and to be composed of members of St Augustine’s Lodge 3713 and Fraternity Lodge 4032.
The proposition was seconded by W Bro Howell and supported by W Bro A Moore and W Bro W D Hirons , Charity Steward of Fraternity Lodge. The proposition was passed unanimously and the petition signed by the Worshipful Master, W Bro T E Lomas, and the Senior and Junior Wardens, Bro’s H M Keeley and F W Mitchel.
The Lodge moved from Severn Street to the new Masonic Temple in Broad Street, Birmingham in October 1927 and then moved to The Edgbaston Assembly Rooms, Hagley Road, Birmingham in November 1939.
During the first 50 years of its’ existence the Lodge gained a high reputation for its musical ability, with a lot of the credit being due to the late
W. Bro T W North PPGOrg(Worcs) who trained the Lodge Choir for 25 years and produced a special arrangement of the opening and closing odes.
St Augustine’s Lodge moved from Stirling Road in December 2005, when due to falling numbers and the distances traveled by a majority of the members it was decide to relocate to Redditch. At that time the Lodge membership was in decline and had fallen to 10 and the lodge was struggling to survive. The March meeting of that year seeing only 6 members in attendance with visiting brethren filling the remaining offices. The decision to relocate was a difficult one to take as it could have meant that the lodge would have to had surrendered its warrant if the membership did not increase. Since then, due to the hard work of the membership, the lodge has seen a steady increase in numbers through both initiates and joining members and continues to grow with new members joining regularly, current membership now stands at 30.
The Lodge celebrated its centenary on 17th February 2014 with a special meeting held on the anniversary date when The Provincial Grand Master, The Right Worshipful Brother David F Macey presented a Centenary Warrant to the current Worshipful Master, Worshipful Brother Paul Buck.
For a full list of Past Masters please click here.