A Brief story on the formation of The Russell Lodge

A brief story on the formation of The Russell Lodge Consecrated on

Friday, March 31st, 1922

by W. Bro Mike Fitz-Gerald PrDGDC.


Russell Lodge 1922 Consecration

[dropcap]M[/dropcap]uch of the Documentation of planning for this historical event are now lost in time considering it was nearly a century ago, in general the formation of any new masonic Lodge is a lengthy process and not for the faint hearted and would involve many hours of meetings by keen Bedfordshire Freemasons, mostly in Public houses, discussing a desire to improve Freemasonry in general and develop the Bedfordshire Province in which they are members.

Much would have been in their mind, particularly the supreme sacrifice of those Brethren that fought and fell during the First World War.

There were many official hurdles for these keen Brethren to jump when they started the planning journey for the new lodge, but they were probably very clear on the lodge name.

To keep this brief story easy reading I have simplified it, hopefully not losing the essence of its history. I intend to make available on our website a copy of the original Consecration summons which is a fascinating document and the very start of our lodge’s history.


Che Sara Sara – “What will be will be”

Firstly, a petition would have been transmitted to the Grand Lodge for approval, it is likely a provisional Warrant would have been produced pending the issue of an official Warrant. The Petition would have been signed by a minimum of seven known Master Masons of which should be the first Worshipful Master, Senior and Junior wardens duly nominated. The petition would be confirmed with a recommendation from the “Sponsor” lodge which in our case was Stuart lodge No.540, this basically had to state the good standing and character of the petitioner’s and principle officers and that they are well qualified to undertake the important task of conferring the first three degrees in Masonry. At this time, they would have committed to designing a lodge crest and moto Che Sara Sara –“What will be will be.”


The Russell Lodge was Constituted on December 10th, 1921 by members of the Stuart Lodge making them our Mother Lodge this endorsed and supported our application to Grand Lodge to form a new lodge. We have seven sister lodges such as Sir William Harpur Lodge No. 2343, Bedford Castle Lodge No.6124 and St Peter de Merton Lodge No. 7559 to name a few. You may decide to join other lodges in your masonic journey, but Russell will always be your personal Mother Lodge, good choice.

Grand Master

Grand Master, Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught

When our Charter was granted it was duly signed by the Grand Master, Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn a Son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

Any Charter or Warrant of a new lodge would be attested by the Grand Secretary with the seal of Grand Lodge. This allowed formation of the lodge therefore the founders could proceed with arrangements, this would have been when the real work and planning started.

At this time, around 1921 the consecration committee would have had many meetings and discussing planning the finer details of the meeting and just as important a venue where to dine after.


The consecration officers would be made up of Senior Provincial brethren presided over by a Ruler from Grand lodge and in our case this was Pro Grand Master who happened to also be the then Provincial Grand Master of Bedfordshire, The Most Worshipful The Lord Ampthill. The team would have thought carefully on the other consecration officers, generally made up of sponsoring and invite appropriate Brethren to become founding members.

Lord Ampthill

Lord Ampthill

The Consecration day was set for Friday, March 31st, 1922 at the Newnham Rooms which was the first Masonic Temple in Bedford from 1904 to 1982 when the Brethren moved to the Keep Kempston. According to an original Consecration summons the Brethren over 100, met in the Newnham Rooms at 4 pm for Tea and light refreshments, then assembled in the Lodge room 4.30 pm after which the Consecrating officers accompanied by the Grand Officers entered in procession. The lodge was opened in all 3 degrees.

View from the South

View from the South

There was then an address on the motive of the meeting and calls upon the Provincial Chaplin to give the prayer. The Director of Ceremonies reads the Petition and Warrant to which Brethren were asked to approve the officers named. In these early days of Pomp and circumstance, it was usual for the proceedings to be quite lengthy, so I wont go on but if you read the attached copy of an original summons you’ll see it’s a full agenda and there quite likely would have been some nodding off during the ceremony…

The formal bit came next to install the new Master, Elect the Treasurer and Tyler, then appoint and install the officers. There were lots of thanks to all those involved, they even received propositions for Initiates and joining members.

Founder Chaplin Jewel

Founder Chaplin Jewel

The lodge was closed, and Brethren and distinguished visitors retired from the lodge.

The Brethren then walking just a few hundred yards to the Crofton Rooms which some of you might recognise the building in St Cuthbert’s Street.

The menu was an amazing banquet selection from Oysters, fillet of sole, saddle of Mutton, Roast Chicken, Peach Melba, Sardines on toast followed by Coffee and I would guess Cigars and Brandy.

The Toasts commenced with the loyal toast to His Majesty the King George V, the Most Worshipful Grand Master HRH Duke of Connaught, the Pro GM Right Hon the Lord Ampthill, the RW Deputy GM Sir Halsey. For the province MW Provincial GM Lord Ampthill and his Deputy W. Bro Whyley. A full list can be seen in the concretion summons.

During dining there was a programme of music played and sung which can been seen in the Consecration Summons below.

There were 21 proud founders of Russell Lodge and during the first year of Masonic business, meetings, and ceremonies they conducted 12 Initiations, 8 passing’s and 6 raisings, a busy year for the Worshipful Master.

From this Masonic acorn the Russell lodge grew into a thriving, traditional Lodge with members from all backgrounds. In March 2022 we will reach a milestone in the lodge history by celebrating our 100th year.

Hope you found this short history of Russell lodge formation interesting.