Jasper Tudor on the road

For this our first Jasper Tudor on the road installment, we the brethren of Jasper Tudor, ventured ‘across the bridge’ for a two site visit.

Worshipful Brothers Haydn Bishop and Andrew Murphy, and two others left the principality prompt at 0830hrs and our first stop was the ruins of Keynsham Abbey, just to the east of Bristol. For those unaware, Keynsham Abbey was the last resting place of Jasper Tudor. Albeit, we assumed Keynsham Abbey was going to be a shell of its former glorious self, it was safe to say that it had been desecrated beyond all recognition. Over time, residential properties have been developed on and around the Abbey grounds, but worse still, a by-pass had literally been laid across the Abbey footprint with only a few boundary and internal walls in situ. We took a few moments to reflect upon what at one stage must have been a glorious site to behold, and a truly fitting location that would have been demanded by the Tudor Family for a burial of one of their own.

 With a truly limited area to survey, we headed off to our second and main destination of the day, the Downend Masonic Hall. Downend Masonic Hall, like many Masonic Halls, pays host to a number of Craft Lodges as well as other Orders within Freemasonry for the Province of Gloucestershire. On this occasion, we were visiting the Lodge of Seafarers No. 9589, where our great friend and former Jasper Tudor member Jonathan Bright, is a stalwart member and assists the steering of this masonic ship from the office of Junior Warden. We specifically attended this day, over any other in the calendar, as this was the Trafalgar themed meeting. Trafalgar themed evening is the afternoon where the Lodge of Seafarers acknowledges and pays tribute to the last battle of Lord Trafalgar on 21st October 1805.

What a day, the Lodge was tyled at 1200hrs prompt, and those members of the Lodge wore naval uniforms of differing areas of maritime work. The Royal Navy, Merchant Navy, Auxiliary Navy and Royal Marines were complemented by non-naval members who were in their usual dark suits, and looked as smart as smart as the military member to their sides. We were privileged to witness the Lodge conduct its usual proceedings with their individual tweak of maritime brilliance, from the rhythm of the opening ode, to the wearing of a Midshipman’s Dirk (sword) by the Inner Guard and the actual locking of the doorway every time there was a communication between the IG and Tyler. Midway through proceedings we were pleasantly surprised to hear a regular installment of a section named ‘Nautical History’. On this occasion, one of their brethren read a detailed description of, and historical recollections of ‘salted beef’. You may ask, how can stories of preserved meat be so interesting and amusing, but I will refrain from answering this so as not to ruin any future visits, but will inform you that this story, and others from their Nautical History range are worth the visit alone.

We were also privileged to witness two Brothers being passed to the Degree of Fellowcraft, and immediately afterward, our friend Brother Jonathan Bright gave a word perfect Explanation of the Working Tools.

We were also sad to hear of the loss of one of their number, we then heard a eulogy of the late Worshipful Brother Tony ‘Frank’ Howarth. Sorely missed by all who knew him.

 It was then time for the dining element, which was looked forward too as much as the preceding ceremony. It started with a ‘tot of rum’ upon entering the dining room in true naval tradition. Dining was very fulfilling an plenty of it, and as well as the usual donations and raffle ticket purchasing, was a blank envelope for an extra raffle of a bottle of whisky, another stalwart extra at the Seafarers as well as the passing round of a RNLI Lifeboat shaped donations box for your change ‘for all lost and distressed sailors’.

 After the toasts, and the National Anthem (not sung upstairs) we were treated to a loud rendition of The Visitors Song, and an equally loud Tyler’s Song to round of the wonderful visit.

 A successful first ‘Jasper Tudor on the road’ visit doesn’t quite portray the enjoyment had by us all, and we have already started discussions for our return for next years Trafalgar Theme Night, and if it wasn’t obvious, I thoroughly recommend to you all to visit this wonderful Craft Lodge with a twist of naval nostalgia thrown in.

 Finally, we would like to thank all the brethren of the Lodge of Seafarers for their welcome and hospitality, and especially their Worshipful Master who we have invited on behalf of our Worship Master to join us one night at our Lodge festivities.


Pictured above are the Master and Wardens of the Lodge of Seafarers, SW (left) Bro. Steve Case, WM WB Ken Willes, JW Jonathan Bright, flanked by W. Bro. Andrew Murphy and W. Bro. Haydn Bishop.

This article courtesy of a perambulating Jasper Tudor Brother

Islwyn Lodge. What a night!! and all for the right reasons.


Jacob Eales, who lost his battle against a cancerous tumour was remembered last Saturday evening at the ladies festival of the Islwyn Lodge with a fantastic donation of £4000 towards helping those youngsters who’s future health-wise  looks very bleak and with the support of the charity and those who help fund it, will enjoy experiences they would not have been able to even consider as a possibility should the charity not be in existence. The funds were raised by the Islwyn Lodge and supporters. Pictured below is Jacob’s parents receiving the cheque for £4000 from the Worshipful Master of the Lodge Kevin Hurley. Congratulations to all involved in the raising of such a magnificent sum, from the anonymous brother who put £10 into the ‘pot’ as he couldn’t attend to the rather high profile Warren Gatland who gave his valuable time to enhance the last fundraising event where his donation of a considerable hospitality  prize added over £1000 to the total raised.IMG_1622

Well done to you all, you deserve high praise. It is well deserved, as the contributions of many whilst enjoying themselves for the benefit of the needy is to be commended.

The wounded otter bar at Risca a great improvement


Pictured above are three hard working Masons who have spent the Summer recess helping to improve the Masonic Hall at Risca. Pictured left to right is Henry Chivers, Allan Williams and Selwyn Gardiner, all of which donated a considerable amount of time to the project. The name of the bar was inspired by part of the design of the banner of the Homfray Lodge.


The new lounge area seats over 50 and its usefulness was evident at the Homfray Installation when many Masons retired with the company of their wives and partners to enjoy a convivial evening, including some singing which was very entertaining


As a token of their appreciation the intrepid trio were presented with engraved tankards by the trustees of the Lodge.




Lodge of Concord aid Risca food bank

After the restructuring of the Lodge of Concord it was decided to use some of their funds to help the local food bank in Risca which had been nominated by W Bro. Mel Buckley, once the final sum had been decided W Bro. Robert Tanswell and his good lady wife Jan set off to find where they could get the best ‘deal’. Tesco were offering to add to donations made to food banks so they set about spending £200 at a local store. Four trollies later they had spent the budget and worked out that as Tesco’s work on a formula of  weight/donation ratio as opposed to the value of the items, it was best to look for some of the cheapest heaviest items (apparently tinned potatoes are the best). 267 kilos later and two very worn out shoppers the intrepid Tanswells  had finished and will never look at shopping trips in quite the same way ever again!!

Pictured is part of the thank you card sent by the food bank. It is a shame that such organisations are needed, it is a reflection of where our society is at present. But, it is always best to look for the positives. How many volunteers and donors feel a sense of purpose and pride helping those in our communities who cannot manage or cope with their situations. Food poverty should never be a part of our society.

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Islwyn Lodge support Jacob’s Starz charity.

On Friday 3rd of October at Blackwood Masonic Hall a dinner was organised by the Islwyn Lodge in aid of the Jacobs Starz charity.

The guest speaker was Warren Gatland (the Welsh rugby coach) who entertained all those who attended with very frank responses to the questions that were put to him regarding the Welsh team, the Lions tour and the future of Welsh rugby.

The purpose of the evening was not only to enjoy ourselves in the company of like minded people but to make a difference to others by our donations.

The Provincial Grand Master for Monmouthshire, the RWPGM the Rev. Malcolm C. G. Lane was surprised at the level of support for the raffle and the following auction. A total of almost £4000 was raised for Jacobs Starz which was founded by the inspiration of Jacob Eales who died in 2009 from a cancerous tumour at the age of 15. It was Jacobs dream to set up a charity who could help others whose future appeared bleak healthwise.

Jacobs father attended the evening and was visibly touched by the generosity of people who had never even met his son but were willing to support his ideals.

Pictured left to right, WBro Les Evans, RWBro Malcolm C. G. Lane, Warren Gatland and WBro Kevin Hurley, the current WM of the Islwyn Lodge.