Why I joined Freemasonry – Jonathan William Brown

Why I joined freemasonry and Russell Lodge.       

By Jonathan William Brown – Inner Guard – Russell Lodge No. 4413        

I was bought up in Cambridge where both my Grandfather and Father were both freemasons well before I was born. I grew up hearing tales or stories about most Masonic evenings and events, my father was always so full of excitement telling these stories. I have been always curious about everything in life and always got told off for being so nosey. I was also curious about family history and the past events.

My grandfather lived to be 97 years of age and was very much with it. He was born at Aspley Guise in 1899 with a wealth of knowledge, he was very proud of having two sons in Freemasonry. Sometimes I would be shipped off for weeks over the summer holidays to my Maternal Grandmothers, who would tell me her ancestors were all Freemasons too. My brother also joined Freemasonry in Cambridge in his 20s sadly I was always too busy to get involved.

So through unexpected life changes I moved to Bedford and in the quiet times of my daily routine I started to think about what I want to do or be or even join in with. For me Freemasonry was something my father and family very much enjoyed while helping others in life via charitable donations.

Over the years I always enjoyed the company of Freemasons and always felt comfortable in their presence. So, I turned to an old masonic friend of my father’s in Cambridge, who I had invited to my wedding a few years before. I asked him if I could join Freemasonry, he was so helpful and through his connection’s, Bedfordshire Province approached me and asked which Lodge I was interested in. I did not know, I simply answered somewhere local and that my family were freemasons. They simply recommended Russell Lodge and that was how it all started, and my Masonic journey began.

I could not have believed how my life has changed from the time I asked to join. It is one of the best decisions I have ever made. I was not nervous at the first evening at Russell Lodge, I was more excited as I knew I was doing the right thing. The lodges and events I have visited since has been incredible, it has been a great and fun experience in the cause of charity. The Masonic learning and understanding of life values by respecting others has increased my belief in people and life itself. My father was always telling me, set the right example and others will follow.

Russell Lodge is doing that in every way. Senior Brethren tell me the more you put in the more you will get out and that is particularly important as you progress in the lodge. I am finding that Freemasonry is developing my confidence and I am really enjoying the reading and learning it certainly enhances the experience. I have visited the Museum of Freemasonry in London where I discovered the History of Freemasonry and my ancestors Masonic Careers.

Though my researches into my Masonic Family History I found that my Grandfather was initiated into the Lodge of St Germain (566) in 1945 at Selby, North Yorkshire. And after the war the family returned to Abington, Cambridge where he joined Granta Lodge (6179) in 1950’s. Also, in the 1960’s my father joined the lodge too, where he progressed through craft and later in life he joined Chapter of Fidelity (441) in Cambridge. My father’s brother in 1962 joined Wiillowbrook Lodge (7439) in Kettering. So, you can image the events and dinner they attended. My brother’s masonic career started in Cambridge too at the Gild of St Mary’s (7288) and later he joined Granta Lodge (6179). He has previously told me he now enjoys the side orders and the Knights Templars.

When I visited the Museum of Freemasonry in London I discovered what my maternal grandmother was talking about was true, her Great Grandfather William John Hammond a well-known actor of the old school, and intimate friend of Charles Matthews, Charles Kean and Charles Dickens and for many years the lessee of Drury Lane and the Strand Theater, London, became a Freemason in 1836. When he joined the Bank of England Lodge (263) with his brother-in-law Douglas Jerrold the writer and one of the founders of ‘Punch”, who later became a joining member of the Lodge of Concord (49).

I also discovered that my maternal Grandmother’s Grandfather William John Hammond junior was a prominent Freemason of the Lodge of Sincerity (368) in Liverpool and was present at the Inaugural Dinner of the Masonic Hall in Hope Street Liverpool. He was the pioneer of the performances held in 1881 at the Old Theatre Royal in aid of a fund to erect the Masonic Hall. When the performances took place, he greatly distinguished himself by the able manner in which he acted one of the leading parts.

I have also joined Bedford Castle Lodge (6124) where I am Senior Deacon at present and a few years ago I joined Russell Chapter (4413). Freemasonry to me is fascinating and I have met so many very interesting people I would not have met in any other walks of life. There is a wealth of knowledge, friendships, and lifelong interests to find in Freemasonry, the best journey to undertake.

Stuart Potts

Stuart Potts

Past Worshipful Master of Russell Lodge 4413 (2020)

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