Astede Lodge No. 4693 – A Lodge History
The Astede Lodge celebrated its 50th Anniversary on the 5th March 1975 when W.Bro. Ron Winteridge installed Bro. Tony Pilkington into the chair of King Solomon. The Lodge celebrated its 75th Anniversary on the 4th March 2000 when W.Bro. John Stratford installed Bro. John Green into the chair.
The name of the Lodge is derived from the designation by which the village of Ashtead is spoken of in the Doomsday Book – Stede– an Anglo-Saxon word which with the indefinite article ‘A’ prefixed, denoted homestead, and inhabited place.
In the course of the centuries, the word Astede underwent numerous changes in its spelling. In the seventeenth century the original orthography was restored and commonly used for many years, as testified by the Parish Registers.
During the eighteenth century further departures from the original were permitted, some of which continued until the early part of the 20th century.
The jewel on the badge of the Lodge represents the Abbot St. Giles, to whom the parish church is dedicated, with the ‘Heaven Guided Hind’ which, according to the legend, afforded him daily nourishment by its milk during solitude.
The substance of the different versions of the legend concerning him is that he was an Athenian of royal blood who devoted himself to the spiritual and physical welfare of the sick and poor.
Their veneration became so exuberant, that he wandered from one solitude to another until he came to a retired wilderness, near the mouth of the Rhone, about twelve miles to the south of Nismes. Here he dwelt in a cave by the side of a clear spring, living upon the herbs and fruits of the forest and upon the milk of a hind which had taken up its abode with him.
Now it came to pass that the king of France (or, according to another legend, Wamba, king of the Goths) was hunting in the neighbourhood, and the hind, pursued by the dogs and wounded by an arrow, fled to the cavern of the saint, and took refuge in his arms; the hunters following on its track, were surprised to find a venerable old man, kneeling in prayer, and the wounded hind crouching at his side.
Thereupon the king and his followers, perceiving that it was a holy man, prostrated themselves before him, and entreated forgiveness.
The saint, resisting all attempts of the king to withdraw him from his solitude, died in his cave, about the year 541.
But the place becoming sanctified by the extreme veneration which the people bore to his memory, there arose on the spot a magnificent monastery, and around it a populous city bearing his name and giving the same title to the Counts of Lower Languedoe who were styled Comtes de Saint- Gilles.
The Abbey of Saint-Gilles (French: Abbaye de Saint-Gilles) is a Benedictine monastery in Saint-Gilles, southern France.
Founded by Saint Giles, it is included in the UNESCO Heritage List, as part of the World Heritage Sites of the Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France.
St Giles is represented in the numerous pictures to be met with in early French and German Art as an aged man in a dress of a Benedictine Monk, a long black tunic, with hood and loose sleeves, and with a hind, pierced by an arrow, either at his feet or in his arms.
The design adopted for the Lodge badge is a reproduction in miniature of the painting attributed to Lucas Van Leyden as given in Mrs Jameson’s ‘Sacred and Legendary Art’, published in 1883.
There was a later saint of the same name, a Franciscan, whose picture was painted by Murello, but in no way connected with the patron saint of Astede. Most masons during their Masonic life must, on occasion, wonder why their Mother Lodge was founded.
In our particular case, one must go back to the end of the 1914-1918 War, when residents of Ashtead were considering what a suitable memorial could be erected, and decided, happily for us, that a Hall or Meeting Place should be built and named ‘The Ashtead Peace Memorial Hall’.
Parish council records and local newspaper reports show that the Peace Memorial Hall, Ashtead, was opened on the 3rd November 1924 by Sir Rowland Blades, Bt., MP for Epsom, accompanied by Lady Blades, and that among the Parish Councillors present was a W. Oakley Welsford.
Sir Rowland Blades who later became Lord Ebisham, was at that time a Past Grand Deacon and W. Oakley Welsford who had been initiated in Newport, Monmouthshire in 1883 a Past Assistant Grand Standard Bearer, it needs no great amount of conjecture to assume that they had decided the Peace Memorial Hall, Ashtead could become a meeting place for a Masonic Lodge if one was founded, and in our Lodge Register appear the names of no less than seven members who were committee members at the official opening of the hall.
THE FOUNDERS OF THE LODGE WERE:
W.Bro. Sir George Rowland Blades, Bart, PGD
W.Bro. W Oakley Welsford, PAGStB
W.Bro. S T Acklam, LGR
W.Bro. G Ireland Russell, PGStB
W.Bro. J E Smith
W.Bro. A E Knight, LGR
W.Bro. T M Lowry
Bro. J Swabey
Bro. Major C E Fox-Male, MC
W.Bro. L Denny PAGDC
W.Bro. S H Willcox
Bro. R C Brooker
Bro. A E Liedtke
W.Bro. R H Symonds
W.Bro. E T Hewlett PPGD LGR
Bro. G L Desmond Hall
Bro. W R Page
Bro. G Banks
W.Bro. E F Ievers LGR
W.Bro. T E Honniball
W.Bro. B Ewart White
W.Bro. F A Pratley
Bro. B T Tuckert
Bro. G King
Bro E A Hudson
The Consecration of the Lodge was performed at The Royal School for the Blind, Leatherhead on Saturday 24th January 1925 by W.Bro. G H Redwood PGD, Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Surrey assisted by W.Bro. G V A Scholfield PAGDC, Provincial Grand Secretary and W.Bro. Harry Bladon PGStB, Provincial Senior Grand Warden as Senior Warden, W.Bro. John Hooke, Provincial Junior Grand Warden as Junior Warden, W.Bro. The Rev J W St Clare Hill MA, Provincial Assistant Grand Chaplain as Chaplain, W.Bro. G R Saunders PAGDC as Director of Ceremonies and W.Bro. W A Latham PAGPurs, Provincial Assistant Grand Secretary as Inner Guard.
The Master Designate was W.Bro. W Oakley Welsford PAGStB who was installed in the chair of King Solomon in due form, and the following Brethren were invested as the first Officers of the Lodge.
W.Bro. G R Blades, Bart, PGD – IPM
W.Bro. A E Knight LGR – Senior Warden
W.Bro. S T Acklam LGR – Junior Warden
Bro. G L Desmond Hall – Treasurer
W.Bro. F A Pratley – Secretary
W.Bro. G Ireland Russell PGStB – DC
W.Bro. E F Ievers LGR – Senior Deacon
Bro. E A Hudson – Junior Deacon
Bro. Major C E Fox-Male MC – ADC
Bro. A E Liedtke – Almoner
Bro. R C Brooker – Organist
Bro. J Swabey – Asst Sec
W.Bro. E T Hewlitt PPGD LGR – Inner Guard
Bro. W R Page – Steward
W.Bro. S H Willcox – Steward
Bro. B T Tucker – Steward
The Consecrating Officers were elected Honorary Members of the Lodge.
The first regular meeting of the Lodge was held at the Peace Memorial Hall, Ashtead on Saturday 14th March 1925 and all the regular meetings of the Lodge were held there until Saturday 10th January 1942, when, owing to the Peace Memorial Hall being requisitioned by various authorities for war activities, the meetings were transferred to the New Bull Hotel in Leatherhead where the Lodge continued to meet until January 1996 when once again the Lodge was forced to move due to the Hotel being closed and subsequently demolished to make way for a new supermarket.
The Lodge then temporarily moved its activities to the Guildford Masonic centre, then on to the Chalk Lane Hotel in Epsom and finally settled at the Surbiton Masonic Centre where the Lodge now meets regularly four times a year in January, March, April and November.
In 1999, one of our long standing and still very active members, W.Bro. John Winteridge was honoured by the Province when he was promoted to the Provincial Grand Rank of Past Assistant Grand Superintendent of Works.
To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Astede Lodge on the 4th March 2000 a Lodge banner was commissioned and was dedicated and presented to the Lodge by W. Bro. Lt. Col. D A M Phipps, MBE, PSGD Assistant Provincial Grand Master.
The banner was funded from generous bequethments from two deceased Brethren W.Bro. C Basson and W.Bro. L Davies and the Astede Lodge of Instruction.
The banner is currently undergoing a refurbishment, the funding of which is from a bequethment donated to the Lodge from W.Bro. Paddy Croke PPGSuptWks.
The banner design is cantered around the Lodge Past Masters Jewel, clearly showing the Abbot of St Giles with the heavenly guided hind and will remain a lasting memory of our dearly departed brothers.
The Astede Lodge hold regular Lodge of Instruction meetings every Tuesday between the months of September and April at the Leatherhead Constitutional Club in Linden Road to assist new and existing members to learn and rehearse the ritual of the craft.
The Lodge of Instruction meetings are generally informal and allow new and existing lodge members to meet up on a regular basis to exchange views in a relaxing social environment.