Daventry Masonic Centre will be opening its doors to the public as part of the annual Heritage Open Days event.
The centre, in High Street, opens its doors from 11am and 4pm today (Friday) and then on September 8, 9 and 10.
Apart from taking part in the Heritage event to give the local public a chance to have a guided tour of the lodge rooms and view an exhibition and video giving information on Freemasonry, worldwide, nationally and locally, this also is part of a celebration of the 300th Anniversary of the Grand Lodge of England.
Mike Sheppard said: “Although Freemasonry’s origins are not clear, possibly back to the medieval stonemasons who built many of our great cathedrals, 2017 is also the 300th anniversary of the Grand Lodge of England.
“Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest and largest non-religious, non-political, fraternal and charitable organisations - Worldwide there are over 6 million members, who come from all walks of life and meet as equals whatever their faith, ethnic group or position in society.
For many, this spirit of fellowship is what is valued most, whilst making new friends, helping others, following a family tradition and participating in the ceremonial are also important.
“Charity is at the heart of the organisation, but Freemasonry does not undertake any external fundraising, all money donated comes from voluntary donations and through our own efforts. Contributions of over £33 million a year means we are one of the UK`s largest charitable givers, supporting individual members, local communities and global emergencies.”
Within England & Wales there are over 6000 lodges, located within 47 Provinces, which are based on the old County lines. Daventry is in the Province of ‘Northamptonshire & Huntingdonshire’, which today contains 93 lodges, meeting at 24 Masonic Centres and consisting of over 3,500 Masons. The first record of a Lodge in Northamptonshire is in 1730 - the George and Dragon Lodge No 62 - but the Province of Northamptonshire was not formed officially until 1798, when George Fermor, 3rd Earl of Pomfret, became it’s first Provincial Grand Master, (the same year that the country celebrated Rear Admiral Nelson’s victory over the French Fleet at the Battle of the Nile).
“Freemasonry kept growing and demand forced Masonry to spread to Daventry in 1891 when Beneventa lodge was consecrated and which met at the Weatsheaf hotel at the top of Sheaf St (now a residential care home) - prior to this, Daventry Masons had to ride or walk to lodges in Towcester or Northampton,” added Mike.
“Freemasonry’s growth continued and when in 1973 the ‘Working Men’s Club’ moved to new premises where Homebase and Halfords now stand, the lodges took out a mortgage and purchased the building at their present masonic halls in the High Street.”
He added: “At Daventry Masonic Centre we have over 250 brethren, meeting in five lodges.
“We look forward to imparting a little knowledge to the people of Daventry about the aims of Freemasonry and some of its achievements - both locally and further afield - in recent years Daventry Masons have donated over £34,000 to many local charities and good causes (see attached page).
“Many Daventry public are unaware even that there is a Masonic centre in Daventry, or what good works they do - we welcome the opportunity to change this and to dispel some of the myths and wild accusations made of this ancient society.”
The hall is at 14 High St, Daventry NN11 4HT.