Portcullis Lodge was founded by 20 masons in September 1948. It was the first 'daughter' lodge of St Hilda Lodge in Wallingford and most of the 20 founders were members of St Hilda. The Consecration Meeting was held at 3.30pm on Tuesday, 14th September 1948. It is clear that the occasion constituted 'a very bright light in an otherwise gloomy and dull, post-war world'.
The Consecrating Officer was RWBro C.R.I. Nicholl, the Provincial Grand Master of Berkshire and the first Master was WBro P.C.A. Slade, a Past Master of St Hilda Lodge. Included in the first minutes are references to gifts of pedestals and candlesticks from Jerusalem Lodge No. 197 and the formal proposal of the first initiate, Mr Douglas Hatt, a Solicitor.
Portcullis began its work on Tuesday 9th November 1948, beginning the pattern of meetings on the second Tuesday in September and November through to April which has continued unchanged to the present day. In the 60 odd years since, there has been only one occasion when the Lodge has needed to interrupt the pattern, when the Master Elect for 1950/51, Bro James Chambers, stood down for a year because of ill-health, necessitating a meeting in August to elect a replacement. There were two other items of note at that meeting: the Lodge received a gift of a Tyler’s sword from WBro Henry Alcock of St. Hilda Lodge and the decision was taken that the Master of St Hilda Lodge and his successors would be permanent guests of Portcullis Lodge during their year in office.
During the remainder of its first year, Portcullis clearly fulfilled its purpose of bringing into Masonry some of the many who wished to join. As well as passing and raising Bro Douglas Hatt, two other Masons completed their three degrees. At the March meeting, three Candidates for the following year were proposed, including Mr John Herbert Wyndham Wilder, known as Tim, an Engineer and the son of a mason well known in the town. In every year of our existence, with only two exceptions, we have had a new Master to preside over the Lodge and its proceedings.
Looking back over more than 60 years of Portcullis Lodge, certain key figures and influences are stand out. Lt Col R.H. Ingham Clark's importance in the early years of the Lodge cannot be overstated. He was one of the main movers in the formation of the Lodge and his relationship with Jerusalem Lodge No. 197, of which he was a Past Master, led to several further gifts including a gavel and maul from the Grand Lodge of Scotland, which he presented in 1949. He was the first Director of Ceremonies in Portcullis Lodge and went on to become Provincial Grand Master of Berkshire. He continued to be a major influence in Portcullis Lodge until his death in 1970.
The brethren who proposed and seconded Mr Douglas Hatt in 1948 could hardly have foreseen the part he would play in their new Lodge. Progressing quickly through the offices he became the first initiate to gain the Master’s chair in 1955. He subsequently succeeded one of the Founders, WBro C Atwell as Secretary in 1965, an office he held until 1983.
The Lodge can lay claim to two of the six Provincial Grand Masters of the period, since in addition to RWBro R.H. Ingham Clark, the fourth initiate, Bro Tim Wilder, went on to become Worshipful Master in 1957, Director of Ceremonies from 1960 until 1968 and became Provincial Grand Master in 1985 until 1994. The wise counsel and support of RWBro. Tim Wilder throughout his years in office influenced and helped shape Portcullis Lodge and Wallingford Masonry in general.
Dr. Charles Wilkinson was initiated in 1953 and became Master of the Lodge in 1963. He went on to become Provincial Grand Master of Berkshire and Oxfordshire in the Mark Degree, a position he held from 1980 to 1987. In addition to these Provincial Grand Masters we were fortunate in having Mr Peter Goldsworthy as an initiate in 1964. Bro Peter became Master in 1978. He was our Director of Ceremonies from 1983 to 1990 and was Provincial Director of Ceremonies from 1994 until his untimely death in 1995.
The Lodge has produced three Grand Officers and a fair complement of acting Provincial Officers. We have been fortunate in having a steady number of new members at a rate of about two a year since the Lodge was formed.
FOUNDERS OF PORTCULLIS LODGE 6672 P.C.A. Slade Past Master 01-Sep-48 Solicitor Wallingford F.A. Wilder Past Master 13-Sep-49 Agricultural Engineer Wallingford James Chambers Past Master 01-Sep-51 C.W. Tayler Past Master 01-Sep-54 Hotel Proprietor Folkstone H. Bucksey Past Master 01-Sep-59 Farmer Didcot G.R. Thomas Wallingford F.W. Bing Lee-on-Solent R.H. Ingham Clark Company Director C. Attwell Past Master 01-Sep-50 Schoolmaster Wallingford W.C. Wheeler Past Master 01-Sep-52 Electrical Engineer Wallingford R.J. Wilder Agricultural Engineer Wallingford E.F. Woolford Past Master 01-Sep-53 Wallingford T. Hedges Farmer A.F. Jenkins Wallingford L. Shepherd Wallingford A.W. Smith Wallingford A.G. Walter Doctor Wallingford J.R. Warburton Farmer Wallingford J.P. Child C. Felton
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