The company you keep

The story of Captain Horace Edward Griggs, fighting and dying in the World War I trenches, reveals a young Freemason who was keen to expand his religious horizons. Richard Burrell looks back

Horace Edward Griggs was born on 23 August 1890 at 208 Brick Lane, Bethnal Green, London. His father was a grocer and cheesemonger, and he had two elder brothers and an elder sister. At the time of Horace’s initiation into Tilbury Lodge, No. 2006, in June 1912, his family had moved to Cranbrook Park, Ilford. Expected to take holy orders, Horace gave his occupation as a theological student and he was active in the local church as a reader and server, as well as teaching Sunday school.

Horace was passed in Tilbury Lodge in October 1912 and raised in April 1913. He was only able to attend two more meetings before war broke out, but it seems that he must have thought highly of Freemasonry. His two older brothers, Albert and John, were initiated into Tilbury Lodge on the same day as each other in May 1914, passing to the 2nd Degree one month later. Albert and John were Masters of Tilbury Lodge in 1921 and 1923 respectively and they remained members of the lodge until their deaths in the 1950s.

In October 1915, John was serving in the Dardanelles and Albert was likely away from home. For that reason, the lodge minutes do not record the death of their brother Horace.

‘Expected to take holy orders, Horace gave his occupation as a theological student.’

In the trenches

While at university, Horace had been a member of the Officer Training Corps. He joined the 9th Battalion of the Essex Regiment as a Temporary Lieutenant, meaning he would not be able to use the rank when the war was over. Horace left for France from Folkestone on 31 May 1915.

From 14 June to 10 July, the battalion was instructed in trench warfare. On 10 July the men were considered ready to take over the trenches held by the 7th Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment at Ploegsteert in Belgium. Between 10 July and 26 September, the 9th Battalion alternated in the trenches roughly every six days with another battalion, usually from the Suffolk Regiment. During this time, nine reconnaissance patrols were made.

Horace had his 25th birthday on 23 August 1915 and the following week he is mentioned in dispatches for a reconnaissance raid made by him and two other men on a disused German trench; from the spent cartridge cases found during this raid, they deduced that the Germans probably had a sniper position there. On 27 August 1915, Horace was promoted to Captain.

Over the next month, the battalion had nine men killed, 70 wounded, 19 slightly wounded and one accidentally shot. On 26 September, the battalion left Ploegsteert and after an eight-and-a-half hour march arrived at their billets for the night. On 28 September they were moved south in buses, marching to La Bourse to take over the second line of defence from the Scots Guards.

It was on 5 October, with enemy shelling as usual, that Captain Horace Griggs was shot by a rifle bullet. The following is an extract of a letter sent to his brother Albert:

Dear Mr Griggs,

It is with the deepest regret that I write to inform you that your brother was killed in action on the 5th October. The loss to the company is enormous and felt by all the officers and men.

I joined the regiment two days after he did and miss his cheery presence in the mess and in the trench.

We had moved to an important part of the line. In the early morning he stood up in the place where he had been sleeping and was immediately shot through the head. He became unconscious and an hour later he died without regaining consciousness. The same night we buried him near the trench, erecting a mound over his grave, with a slip of wood marking
it. No cross was available at the time, but I am having one made and I will try and take it or send it to the spot as we have now moved on from there.

All his belongings I have collected and they will be forwarded in the usual manner. His ring I enclose with this letter, everything else being in his valise.

Please accept my deepest sympathy with you and his other relatives in this almost inconsolable bereavement.

Believe me to be yours sincerely,

P Brook
Lieutenant 9th Essex Regiment BEF

Horace’s body has never been recovered; it is believed that the grave markers were probably lost in artillery fire in subsequent fighting.

However, his church, St Andrew’s in Ilford, keeps his memory alive. The building wasn’t completed until 1924 after many years of fundraising, but before his death Horace had worked as a carpenter and completed all the oak furniture, including the altar and the lectern, later transferred into the finished church. Visit today and you will see stained-glass memorial windows to Horace, with square and compasses in the far right panel.

Thanks to Canon Marie Segal of St Andrew’s Church in Ilford for permission to photograph the stained-glass windows and to Worshipful Brother Eddie Gibbs and Mike Newbury for obtaining the photograph of Horace in uniform

Published in Features

Head above water

Instrumental in the construction of Tilbury Docks, Augustus Manning met Kaiser Wilhelm II eight years before the start of World War I, thanks to a shared interest in yachting. Richard Burrell navigates this Freemason’s intriguing life

Throughout his life, it would be fair to say that Augustus George Sackville Manning liked making waves. Born on 3 November 1837 in Chelsea, he was the son of a share broker and married in October 1868, fathering five children. Manning was the chief engineer for the East & West India Dock Company and principally responsible for designing the docks at Tilbury in Essex. In later life, he was to meet Kaiser Wilhelm II, King of Prussia and the last emperor of Germany, after joining the Yacht Racing Association.

Manning was also one of the founders of Tilbury Lodge, No. 2006. He was not a great ritualist, only performing one ceremony during his time there, and he never held office after leaving the chair, but without him it is very unlikely we would have a Tilbury Lodge today.

In 1880 the two main dock companies on the Thames were the East & West India Dock Company and the London & St Katherine Dock Company. Great rivalry existed between the companies, of the sort that is mostly found today between fans of opposing football teams. 

For many years shipping had been moving from sail to steam, with ships becoming larger. It was a time of falling commodity prices, which also affected shipping rates. While the East & West India Dock Company had not made the investments it should have, its rival had bought the Victoria Dock at a discount after the financial crash of 1866. The company then used its profits wisely to build Albert Dock, which employed the latest technology, was able to take the largest ships afloat and was considered the best dock in the world when it opened in 1880. 

Not to be outdone, the new chairman of the East & West India Dock Company called a shareholders’ meeting on 30 September 1881 and proposed the dramatic idea of moving down the river to Tilbury. By moving, he said, they could save the twelve or even twenty-four hours that large ships had to spend opposite Gravesend waiting g to have enough water to get them into London. The chairman said that if the shareholders did not approve the move, they might as well vote for liquidation. 

Manning was one of the very public faces of the East & West India Dock Company. He gave evidence in a select committee meeting chaired by Prime Minister Gladstone’s son that examined the inadequacy of the current docks for London’s purposes. On 3 July 1882 the Act of Parliament received Royal Assent and construction was started with an elaborate ceremony to mark the cutting of the first turf on 8 July 1882. 

Something in common

The principal engineers on the project soon realised that they were fellow masons and the notion of starting a new lodge was formed. The initial idea is believed to have come from Frank Kirk and Donald Baynes, with Manning, Joseph Randall, John Morgan Ross, Alexander Dudgeon and John Hamilton completing the founding circle. A friend of Baynes, Hamilton was Provincial Senior Grand Warden of Kent and the only founder not associated with Tilbury Docks; included for his masonic connections, he took on the role of Director of Ceremonies. 

In June 1883 the Warrant of Constitution of Tilbury was signed, with the consecration taking place in the engineers’ office at the Tilbury site in January 1884. 

Out of the sixteen members proposed by the founders, ten were proposed by Manning. 

All was not plain sailing for Tilbury Lodge, however. On 10 July 1884, Manning and Baynes sacked the main dock contractors Kirk and Randall in a payment dispute. In effect, the Senior Warden and Master had sacked the Treasurer and Secretary of the lodge. Hamilton, in his Provincial role, likely knew Kirk and Randall – both Kent masons – and resigned from Tilbury Lodge after attending only three meetings. Ross, a friend of the contractors, did not attend meetings after June 1885. And the partnership of Manning & Baynes Engineers was dissolved in March 1887, with Baynes effectively leaving the lodge at this point. In just over three years, the lodge had lost five out of its seven founders.

Despite these fallings out, Tilbury Docks survived, the location providing an attractive loading point for steamships. In later life, Manning stayed on the water, becoming vice president of the Yacht Racing Association, where he chaired the committee that established the rules to standardise yacht measurement. His efforts were to capture the attention of Kaiser Wilhelm, and the Nottingham Evening Post of 30 October 1906 reports what happened when members of the committee were invited to meet him in Potsdam:

‘His Majesty, in the course of conversation, told his visitors that he owned a schooner yacht. It was suggested that it would be well for him to also have a first-class cutter. In reply the Kaiser in his usual excellent English said: “That’s all very well, but I have a large family growing up and the expenses are as much as I can meet. I am also a grandfather.”’

That there is a Tilbury Lodge today is due in large part to Dudgeon, who became the second master and was a member for thirty-two years. It is also due to some degree to Manning, who stayed with the lodge until his death in May 1910 at the age of seventy-two.

The author would like to thank Colin Tredwell and Andrew Woods of Granite Lodge, No. 1328, for information on the masonic careers of Frank Kirk and Joseph Randall; Bob Flynn of Pattison Lodge, No. 913, for information on the masonic career of Randall; Robert Riseley, great-grandson of Augustus Manning, and David Riseley for the portrait of Manning; Simone Hull for information on her great-grandfather Frank Kirk; Pauline Watson and staff at the Greenwich Heritage Centre; Jackie Reid of the Royal Yachting Association for extracts from the story of the RYA, Minute by Minute, and other information on Manning; Jonathon Catton of Thurrock Museum for his advice and contact work with the PLA.

The founders of Tilbury Lodge

Name First office DOB Mother lodge Initiated Occupation
Frank Kirk Treasurer 1843 Pattison Lodge, No. 913 1867 Partner in Kirk & Randall, the main construction
contractor for the Tilbury Docks project
Donald Baynes Worshipful Master 1848 White Horse of Kent Lodge, No. 1506 1879 Partner in Manning & Baynes Engineers,
who were the engineers to the owner for the
Tilbury Docks project
Augustus Manning Senior Warden 1837 Lodge of Fidelity, No. 3 1865 Partner in Manning & Baynes Engineers, who
were the engineers to the owner for the
Tilbury Docks project
Joseph Randall Secretary 1839 Pattison Lodge, No. 913 1871 Partner in Kirk & Randall, the main construction
contractor for the Tilbury Docks project
Alexander Dudgeon Junior Warden 1848 Britannic Lodge, No. 33 1871 Consulting engineer for the Tilbury Docks project
John Morgan Ross Senior Deacon 1844 Merchant Navy Lodge, No. 781 Timber merchant and supplier to Kirk & Randall
John Hamilton Director of Ceremonies 1846 White Horse of Kent Lodge, No. 1506 Partner in the firm of Hamilton Sinclair & Company,
who were the Hamilton Companies London agents
Published in Features
Thursday, 06 March 2014 00:00

The rich history behind masonic lodge names

What’s in a name?

From rocks in Devonshire and Shrewsbury nymphs to lords who upheld the law on the Scottish border, Caitlin Davies explores the rich history behind masonic lodge names

Names, as Romeo and Juliet knew all too well when considering their family ties, are crucial to identity. When it comes to masonic lodges, they provide an intriguing link to the past. Chosen by its founders, a lodge’s name could be the town in which it is based or the pub where members met, a shared interest or a notable figure, or even a masonic virtue.

‘Lodge names can stem from an element of local history or quirk of the times, but will seldom be arbitrary,’ says Susan Henderson, the United Grand Lodge of England’s Communications Adviser. ‘It can be a fascinating insight into the lodge’s formation. What has struck me is that people have a real emotional attachment to a lodge name.’

Some are inspired by the landscape in which the lodge was born. Queeselet Lodge, No. 6887, in Birmingham owes its name to two Anglo-Saxon words, ‘queest’ (a wood pigeon) and ‘slaed’ (a wooded valley). Torquay’s Tormohun Lodge, No. 6449, gets its name from the history of the area: Tor(re), meaning ‘top of’, refers to an area inhabited since Saxon times. ‘There was a rock, or tor, standing over the village and that’s how it got its name,’ explains Peter Keaty, Assistant Provincial Grand Master for Devonshire. 

Then there are lodges linked to a place or occupation. Tilbury Lodge, No. 2006, in Essex gets its name from the Tilbury Docks. When work first started in 1882, constructional officers who were Craft members decided to form a lodge for fellow employees. Another example, Clavis Lodge, No. 8585, in Oxfordshire is a lodge for church bellringers and takes its name from a 1788 manuscript on the subject, Clavis Campanalogia. Not forgetting Scientific Lodge, No. 840, in Wolverton, Buckinghamshire; its founding Master back in 1860 was locomotive designer James McConnell.

Some masonic lodges are linked to an individual, such as an Earl, Duke or local historical figure. Belted Will Lodge, No. 3189, meets in Cumbria, not far from Hadrian’s Wall in an area steeped in the history of Lord William Howard. Born in 1563, he was an English nobleman and antiquary, sometimes known as ‘Belted Will’. ‘Howard was a romantic figure,’ says lodge Secretary Ron Cameron. ‘He was made a Commissioner for the Border and helped to bring order out of chaos at a time of great bloodshed.’ 

Other lodge names have been inspired by figures in literature. Philammon Lodge, No. 3226, was founded in 1907 in Devonport. ‘When they were thinking of a name one of the founding members, brother Crang, said, “How about Philammon?” ’ says Peter. Crang was reading Charles Kingsley’s 1853 novel Hypatia, which features a young monk named Philammon (Lover of God), and as a keen churchman, Crang decided he’d found a suitably esoteric name. 

Our tour of masonic lodges would be incomplete without mention of figures from myth. Sabrina Lodge, No. 4158, in Shrewsbury is named after the nymph of the River Severn, known as Hafren in Welsh mythology. She was the daughter of Locrin, king of the Britons, and Estrildis, his secret lover and second wife. 

Perhaps one of the most unusual names is Light from the East Lodge, No. 4186, in Surrey, founded by brethren who had served in India during World War I. When the lodge was consecrated in 1920, AE Shewring, the Consecrating Chaplain, noted: ‘Lodge Light from the East/What a name to be proud of/What a memory of the past/An inspiration for the present/And a hope for the Future.’

After this whirlwind journey through England’s lodges, it seems that names can point to geography, a love of literature or just where someone once lived. 

But they all reveal histories of which masons are proud. ‘There are hundreds more examples just as interesting,’ says Henderson. ‘I hope readers will be inspired to find out about their own local masonic history, and I expect a rash of letters to Freemasonry Today!’

Published in Features

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