Stour Lodge Meets at the Masonic Hall in Ashford 8 times a year, from October until May inclusive; on the third Thursday of the month, commencing at 18.15hrs. There are currently just over 30 members of varying ages and backgrounds. The Lodge also meets most Tuesday evenings to practise and rehearse for the main meeting; occasionally swapping this, to meet for a social meal or drink instead. The Lodge prides itself on the quality of ritual; and ability to work on members strengths to ensure they are supported and encouraged to take part in the activities of the Lodge.
Stour Lodge also holds a few social events such as afternoon teas, curry nights, Ladies nights and drinks, in order to meet outside of the formal Lodge environment and to include wives and partners.
Stour lodge supports local charities, as well as sponsored charities, through the Province. Members are encouraged to identify local causes to sponsor or support that may have an association or attachment for them. A few of the members have also volunteered locally at a food bank and there is an intention of targeting one or two charities in the future, to focus the Lodges charitable efforts and improve potential recruitment of likeminded members.
The Lodge was founded from the growth in workers required for the now redundant railway works in Ashford at the end of the last century; with the original members being mainly manual workers such as blacksmiths, coachbuilders, plumbers and electricians. The Lodge now attracts a more diverse membership from all ages as seen by the Lodge age profile. Current interests / backgrounds of some of the members include: walking, motor cycling, emergency services, armed services, keep fit, sailing, farming and golf amongst many others.
Stour Lodge has been meeting in Ashford for over 100 years and is able to offer a friendly inclusive Lodge; with a varied membership profile. The traditions and values of the Lodge are respected, but equally now always open for change; to meet the needs of the Members in a modern and changing world. The lodge is proud of the quality of its ritual and ceremonies, together with making visitors and guests feel welcome and relaxed.
It is important not only for the potential member, but also for the Lodge itself, to ensure you are joining the right Lodge. Stour Lodge encourages the use of the Membership officer and Mentor to encourage and nurture potential / new members and ensure they are made to feel welcome. It is essential that every member enjoys their Freemasonry and hopefully they feel an allegiance to their first (or Mother) Lodge and an activity they wish to participate and enjoy for the rest of their Masonic journey.
In the first instance if you are interested in joining, please contact John West on 01233 628770.
If you are Interested in finding out more about Freemasonry then pop over to the Just Ask One website where you will find a wealth of information about East Kent Freemasonry and how to get involved.
Stour Lodge was actually founded on 21st February 1889 and the warrant of the Lodge bears that date. Prince Edwin Lodge Hythe No 125 were the original sponsors of the Stour Lodge; but the first Master W Bro C. S. Atkinson was a Past Master of the Invicta Lodge No 709. Much initial support must have been received from Invicta Lodge No 709 for the Consecration meeting held on 11th April, as the minutes state that “a vote of thanks was recorded for granting the use of their room”.
It was called the Stour Lodge with the name taken from the river that runs through the town; with much discussion as to the pronunciation. Is it ‘Stour’ as in ‘Pure’ or ‘Stour’ as in ‘Hour’? Some will never agree; but one thing we can be sure, it is derived from the Latin ‘Stauro’ meaning strong or powerful.
The early meetings took place in the Bank Street Hall, Ashford. This hall had already been used by Invicta Lodge No 709 for several years. The original By Laws stated that the Lodge shall assemble on the third Thursday in the months September to May, at such an hour as the W. Master may direct. The meetings continued on these dates until 1967, when the September meeting was discontinued. The original subscription was one pound, six shillings per annum.
From the early days at the end of the 19th Century, when the Lodge was founded with just 14 members, it prospered in numbers. Even during the Great war, numbers were bolstered slightly by several serving Canadian brothers became joining members. Despite bleak conditions following the war, the Lodge was still in good condition. There were 52 members present for the January 1921 meeting; a remarkable number for mid-winter at what must have been a difficult period for the country, still recovering from wartime conditions. In the following year there followed a period of expansion, and it was during this period that it was decided to move from the Bank Street Hall. Subsequently, it was in 1923 that saw the Lodge move to the present site in North Street, Ashford. The early festive boards being held at the County Hotel; and more recently at the North Street Hall.
In spite of post war adversities, the Lodge continued to flourish with many new members reputed to have been linked to the railway works in Newton Ashford. In more recent years, the Lodge has been remembered for memorable individuals, characters and stalwarts. The centenary or 876th meeting was held in 1989; with some 102 members and visitors present representing 46 Lodges.
Many changes have been seen over the years, but the Lodge now looks to move forward to meet the ever-changing needs of its members. The old railway works may reinvent itself in the form of the new Netflix studio, so the Stour Lodge hopes to move with the times, encourage diversity and promote interest from younger members; whilst still maintaining the traditions of its past.
Stour Lodge Secretary: Roy Entwistle
Telephone: 01233 622132
Meeting Dates: Third Thursday, October to May
No. of Members: 34
LOI: Tuesdays, October to May