This first paragraph is an extract taken from the Monmouthshire Merlin newspaper, in which the text has been updated to present day language. Reported 23rd April 1852
The Masonic Festival: Monmouthshire Provincial Grand Lodge Meeting. Newport witnessed a very interesting spectacle on Wednesday, on the occasion of the provincial gathering of the brethren of this mystic bond.” Flags, emblazoned with Masonic emblems, with the banners of England and other nations, spanned High-street, from the Freemasons Hall, to the opposite house, and were also extended across the commencement of Stow-hill. Indeed, the principal parts of the town generally wore a gala appearance and the vessels in the port hoisted their colours, whilst the mellow-toned bells of St. Woollos rang out enlivening peals in honour of the occasion. The Freemasons Hall, High Street, where the Silurian Lodge met, was very tastefully decorated for the occasion, under the direction of Brother David Blackwood. Above the chair we observed an elegantly formed evergreen crown, into which were weaved, very tastefully, the early flowers of the season. The vice chair was surmounted by a chastely formed plume of feathers, with the Prince of Wales’s motto – “Ich Dien” or “I serve” and a scroll immediately underneath, with the words – “Audi, vide, tact,” or “Hear, see, and be silent.” Tasteful wreaths were also suspended over the various chairs, and around the room, the whole producing a beautiful and harmonious effect. The Brethren were indebted to Brother Thomas Powell, Esq., The Gaer, Brother Lyne, Brother Nicholas, and O. Morgan, Esq. M.P. for the lavish supply of flowers and evergreens, with which the lodge-room was decorated.
(The article continues, but this extract gives us a clear picture of 19th century Provincial activities).
This article submitted by Bro. Ralph Collins
As we step into 2017 , we prepare to celebrate our Tercentenary , ( the first 300 years of Leadership by a Grand Master ) and we also prepare to move into the next 300 years . We have much to look forward to this year and I sincerely trust that every Member of the Province will be able to take part in at least one of the celebratory events ; many of you hopefully several . In fact , I fully anticipate that the first 6 months of the year will be dominated by celebration and events supporting our historic and prestigious past .
Whilst we do this , the Grand Principles upon which our Order is founded – ” Brotherly love relief and truth ” – remain as relevant today as they did 300 years ago . In more modern language they may be stated to be ” integrity , honesty , fairness , kindness and tolerance ” , but whatever the wording , the message within it provides the perfect and continuing foundation for our future.
In due time , through the course of the year , we must begin to address more serious issues , most notably Membership and Buildings , but in the short term why don’t we just concentrate on enjoying ourselves – ” enjoying the moment ” – in the celebration of 300 years of Freemasonry as we know it today . We are fully entitled to do that for all that we and those who have gone before us have achieved : both for ourselves , our local communities and for the world at large .
Finally , let us all be proud to remember that we are ” Monmouthshire Masons ” and , as such , proud to be part of a very close knit family and community . I wish you all a very happy and healthy New Year.
Yours sincerely and fraternally
Richard G Davies
Provincial Grand Master .
Throughout the Province many Lodges enjoyed festive meetings. Below are two such Lodges, Isca and the Lodge of Friendship. The Isca Lodge were fortunate to have 85 attend the event and they raised the magnificent sum of almost £500 for local charities.
Perhaps next year we can have even more photos as I know of at least five other lodges who held such events.