History of Beacon Lodge

Beacon Lodge is named after the Wilton Beacon situated near Bishop Wilton, within the Wapentake of Harthill in the historic East Riding of Yorkshire. The beacon was established in 1588 at the time of the Spanish Armada, as part of the early warning system to warn the militia of the arrival of the Spanish. Beacons would be lit across the country warning of impending invasion.

The logo of the lodge shows a burning beacon on top of a hill representing the beacon, which was built on a pre-historic barrow, as the highest point – 780 feet (237 metres) above sea level located above the town of Pocklington near to the village of Bishop Wilton at the southern base of the Yorkshire Wolds.

The beacon warning system was such that Wilton Beacon ‘took light’ from the beacons of Bainton, Hunsley and Rudston and ‘gave light’ to the beacon of Holme-on-Spalding-Moor and the Vale of York. It is likely that the Romans also had a beacon situated at this site too and it was revived in the early 1800’s due to fear of a French invasion.

Excavations reveal that the Wilton Beacon consisted of a sturdy upright post with pegs projecting from the sides to climb up, with an iron cage on the top in which the tar-barrel would be placed to be lit. This is inconsistent with the Beacon Lodge logo, which shows a typical beacon arrangement of a roughly hewn stone plinth with fire on top. Some artistic licence has been used.

Beacon Lodge is currently situated at The Masonic Hall, 8 The Mile, Pocklington. However it has not always been located at this site. Regular meetings were first held at the Congregational Schoolroom in Chapmangate, Pocklington.

The creation of the Lodge began in 1921, when some members of Eboracum Lodge No. 1611, of St. Saviourgate, York decided to open a Masonic Lodge in Pocklington. A Masonic Petition was successfully submitted in that same year to the United Grand Lodge of England. Eboracum Lodge remains to this day, Beacon Lodge’s mother lodge. This official and fraternal relationship is mutually celebrated each year by mutual visits.

Following the successful petition, Beacon Lodge received its warrant of constitution on 2nd November 1921 and was consecrated on 30th March 1922 at the Congregational Schoolroom in Pocklington. The consecrating ceremony was led by Right Worshipful Brother, Lieutenant Colonel Miles J. Stapylton, of Myton on Swale, North Yorkshire. The Deputy Provincial Grand Master.

The first Master of the Lodge was Worshipful Brother John Augustus Charles Boyden a local Druggist and Chemist. He was married to Martha Jane Boyden nee Robson of Pocklington and they lived at St Norberts, Percy Road, Pocklington. He had two daughters, Thirza Wardle Boyden and Martha Lilian Boyden. He resigned from Beacon Lodge on 28/03/1930.

The Lodge subscriptions for that year were £1/10 0d shillings. The Banquet following the ceremony was held at the Feathers Hotel, Pocklington.

Having received its warrant of constitution, plans were made for a Masonic Lodge to be built. Money had to be raised, resulting in the formation the Pocklington Masonic Hall Limited Liability Company, its purpose ‘To prepare a Scheme for the acquisition of permanent Lodge premises.’ Members of Beacon Lodge were encouraged to take up shares in the new company. As a result of the fundraising a suitable site at the Mile was purchased.

In the meantime, Lodge meetings continued to be held at the Congregational Schoolroom until 1928 when the building of the current Beacon Lodge was completed.

The Dedication of the Temple was carried out in 1929 by Lawrence Dundas, the 1st Marquess of Zetland, Provincial Grand Master.

The lodge has been situated at this location since 1928. Ceremonies have taken place without a break since then, excluding a two month break at the outbreak of WW2 when the situation in the country was uncertain. It continues to thrive.

The ceiling of the temple has been painted to represent the position of the constellation on the night the lodge was consecrated. The 10 foot long, upholstered oak benches in the temple cost £10/5 per running foot each.

The facilities of the Lodge are now used by a number of other lodges and local organisations on a regular guest basis and provide a valuable community resource.

In 1959 unanimous approval was given for an application to be made to form a Royal Arch Chapter to be attached to the Lodge. The Mark Masons Lodge was formed at Beacon in 1981.

Beacon Lodge was one of the first Lodges in the country to reform the Lodge Committee so that Brethren below the rank of an Installed Master could become members. Apart from the Principle Officers, the Master and Wardens, the Secretary, Treasurer and Director of Ceremonies, there are five others elected annually. These often include Brethren who have not yet been Masters or principle officers of the Lodge.