Cheltenham masonic freemasonry lodge, freemasons in Cheltenham, foundation lodge 82, oldest lodge in Cheltenham

Foundation Lodge History

Foundation Stone Lodge was established in 1753 by the Stonemasons who built the first Masonic Hall in London. Many Lodges may use a Masonic Hall and presently over 30 Lodges can meet in separate Lodge rooms in Grand Lodge in Great Queen Street in London.

Our history is illustrated by our emblem of masons laying the foundation stone of a building. Now known as Foundation Lodge it remained in London until 1807 and then moved to Abingdon near Oxford.

Ten years later it moved to Cheltenham where it was established in the town by about 15 of the town's worthy men who were central to starting many of the organisations which have been responsible for creating the ambiance of Cheltenham.

Our Lodge number is 82 in the register of the Grand Lodge of England making us one of the oldest lodges in the country; if not the world. In 1820 the 15 brethren of Foundation Lodge decided that they wanted to meet in their own building rather than in one of the town's hotels and set about building their own Masonic Hall.

As one would expect, from one of the worlds oldest Masonic Lodges, this exhaustive 345 page lodge history, written by WB PM DyKE PAGDC, in 1986 not only covers the history of Foundation Lodge from it constitution in 1753 but also provides a background to the development of Freemasonry in general. This took WB Paul many years research and much travelling as he did not have the benefit of computers in his research. In 2005 the lodge was concerned that the stock of copies was fast diminishing therefore WB Ray Pearson agreed to digitise the book making it available on disc and at the same time research and update it with further information and photographs. In doing this has enabled the book to be searchable and be updated as the years progress, becoming a living history.

Cheltenham Freemasonry Lodge, Foundation 82, Cheltenham Masonic Lodge

Over the years many of the towns leading 'personalities' have been Freemasons such as MPs, mayors, solicitors, doctors and a range of professional men. Dr Edward Jenner was a member of the Lodge.

Cheltenham Freemasonry Lodge, Foundation 82, Cheltenham Masonic Lodge

In the top of the suspended block of ashlar stone is a lifting device called a 'Lewis' which enables the stone to be lifted without damaging its surface.

The line under the emblem states CONSECRATED 1753. That is the date in which the lodge was constituted. The number 82 reflects the number in of the Lodge on the register of Lodges held at Grand Lodge in London. More details on Foundation Lodge on the page devoted to its history.

Not much more add really except; what is the significance of the seven pointed star? Masonically there are the seven liberal arts and sciences. While no reference to the number of points in the First Degree Tracing Board the ornaments of the lodge are the Mosaic Pavement, the Blazing Star and the Tessellated Border. In the Third Degree Charge reference is made to ‘that Bright Morning Star’.

More specifically there are the seven liberal arts and sciences namely Grammar, Rhetoric, Logic, Arithmetic, Geometry, Music, and Astronomy. Also King Solomon was seven years in building the temple.

Except for the seven pointed star interpretation of the emblem of Foundation Lodge is fairly straight forward. The Worshipful Master, on the left - indicated by the square -and his Junior and Senior Wardens laying the foundation stone of a building. With them are the ‘tools’ of their trade – a square, level and plumb rule.

In Freemasonry we often refer to three, five and seven. Our emblem has three Freemasons. Then there are five other Masonically related items – the square, level, plumb rule, the building cornerstone and the foundation stone. The seven is then represented by the seven point of the star or bright Star in the East.

Cheltenham Freemasonry Lodge, Foundation 82, Cheltenham Masonic Lodge

strologically, everything on Earth is under the governance of seven influences. There are seven planets, as they appeared to the Ancients; seven colours of the rainbow; seven stars in the plough (The Great Bear); seven days in 1 week; seven nights in each quarter of the moon; seven chief glands in the human body; seven ‘power’ centres of the body; seven notes of the musical scale. Then there are the seven continents, the seven ages of man; the seven seas and the belief that the seventh child of a seventh child has supernormal powers.

We have a seven-day week, each ruled by one of the planets, which goes back to ancient Chaldea and Babylon as in the diagram. The signs of the seven planets are in the order of their apparent motion, from Saturn the slowest moving to Luna, which has the swiftest apparent motion. By tracing along the lines of the star one sees the order in which the planets rule the days of the week, beginning with Sunday (the Sun) passing to Monday (the Moon), and so on ending with Saturday (Saturn).

Traditions also connect it with the seven qualities, Humility, Respect, Trust, Kindness, Truth, Honour and Dignity.