Caerlleon lodge number 4394 was consecrated as a temperance Lodge on the 26th May 1922. This means there are no alcoholic drinks at the social board. Taking of wine and all the toasts are conducted with either water or soft drinks. I kept this bit quiet from Jim and Bryon when we agreed to pay a visit to the Lodge on the 18th March 2016.
The Lodge buildings in Christleton, just on the outskirts of Chester is a beautiful state of the art Masonic Hall complex with conference facilities, a caravan park, bowling green, bar and restaurant plus several Lodge meeting rooms, which are luxuriously equipped with modern masonic furniture and workings. The most impressive feature has to be the stained glass windows from the original Masonic Hall. These had been removed and refitted on the inside of two of the Lodge rooms with strip lighting behind them to high-lite the stained glass, which featured all manner of masonic symbols and images. The main Lodge Room also featured a frieze around the top of the walls depicting scenes from Masonic Ritual and Symbols associated with it, apparently at the Lodge meeting in February they had delivered a lecture explaining these images and pointing out all the symbols and their meaning. Pity we had missed that.
The business of the lodge on the evening was quite short and featured a lecture given by Bro. Peter Watkin W.M. and although we were in the Province of Cheshire the ritual and procedure was almost identical and we all felt very much at home and comfortable in our surroundings. The Masons of Caerlleon Lodge certainly made us feel very welcome.
It was at this point that the no alcohol at the festive board bombshell was dropped. Both Bryon and Jim were looking forward to a drink or two with their meal, but seeing as I was the designated driver for the evening it mattered not to me. To make up for this we feasted on a magnificent dinner of soup, followed by Salmon, a Fruit Salad, Cheese and biscuits and Coffee and mints to finish. Rather good fayre for the £16.50 we had paid as visitors.
There was a little confusion during the toast to the visitors as the J.W. misread Jim McNally’s name and requested Bro Ian McNally to respond to the toast, which he did with his usual passion and enthusiasm, taking time to comment on the splendid surroundings and the meal which we had just enjoyed and adding that we must be invited back to hear the lecture we had missed the month previous.
The evening finished in fine form at around 10:00 pm with promises to visit this splendid Lodge again in the near future.