Noctorum Lodge 5913
Noctorum Lodge Number 5913 is a small, but perfectly formed, Freemasons Lodge. We meet at Neston Masonic Hall and visiting Brethren are always welcome.
We meet on the 4th Thursday in the months of January, March, April, September, October and November. Tyling is at 6pm sharp.
In 1943 the success of Great Britain and it’s Allies saw the Italians surrender in September, the Germans ejected from North Africa, and the Russians holding; then repulsing them from Stalingrad, the tide was turning.
In that same year 68 Lodges were formed worldwide, 5 of them in our own Province of Cheshire, namely:
Liberty Lodge No 5870 (Warrant surrendered)
Centenary Lodge No 5896
Noctorum Lodge No 5913
Peninsular Lodge No 5914
St George's Lodge No 5926 (Warrant surrendered)
The original idea to formulate a new Lodge came from Five members in Cholmondeley Lodge No 1908 and Cycling and Athletic Lodge No 2335. The first recorded committee meeting was held on 27th July 1943 at the Masonic Hall, Oliver Street Birkenhead. Five further committee meetings were held prior to the consecration when they were promptly joined by 10 more Brethren, whose names are shown on the full founders list. In addition four Brethren had made application as joining members, and acted as (working) Stewards at the Festive Board.
The Consecration of the Noctorum Lodge No 5913 was carried out by W.Bro. Joseph Wainwright, J.P. A.P.G.M., who was appointed V.W. Bro D.P.G.M. in 1949.
The Installation of the Master Designate, W.Bro William T. Owen, by W.Bro. Ernest Barlow P.G.D. who later became the R.W. Provincial Grand Master of our Province of Cheshire on the 9th of November 1949.
From the beginning Noctorum Lodge became a thriving, if never numerous lodge. The feelings of members then, as now, are dictated by Dr Oliver’s sentiments of being careful and cautious, when in the selection of prospective candidates. Happily over the years we have maintained a balance of ages within the Lodge. As an example in the last 25 years we have initiated two candidates per year of which 18 have progressed to The Masters Chair.
Whilst from it’s beginning Noctorum has been and remains a small Lodge numerically, it has always been a happy place to be at, with many amusing, and it must be said amazing characters over a wide range of ages.
The history of our Banner
It was created from a badge designed by one of the Lodge members, W Bro J Furness PPGD., and used on the cover of Summonses and other Lodge communications since 1944. There appeared to be no detailed descriptions in the Lodge archives to confirm the origins of the four quadrants, nor the translation of the Latin motto appended to it.
The banner was approved by United Grand Lodge in 1993 and formally presented to the Lodge and dedicated at the 50th anniversary, the delay being caused in part by a shortage of materials in 1943! Some early sketches exist of the banner and the correspondence with Provincial Office and UGLE, but there seemed to be no detailed information, and only hearsay evidence of the original design. Even the Minute books give no helpful details of what was planned originally, and the original tooling was destroyed or lost many years before. The earliest known formal copy of the design is a monochrome representation, although this is difficult to study in any detail. It appears that the original plan was for four quadrants, possibly representing four notable structures in the area referred to as Noctorum.
Recently, however, more information came to light during the preparations for our 75th anniversary. This includes confirmation of the content of the four quadrants, and a couple of surprises. The top left hand quadrant depicts Bidston Windmill, which stands at the beginning of a natural ridge which runs through Bidston, Noctorum, Prenton, and Storeton. The lower left hand quadrant depicts a stone bridge over a stream, and a great deal of searching resulted in the bridge at Saughall being selected as the most accurate candidate. Many such bridges existed in the area in the middle of the 20th century, although many have since been demolished. We have now discovered that the bridge is not relevant, but the stream running under it is the Birkett or Fender, which was one of the alternative names considered for the Lodge in 1943.
The lower right quadrant is the easiest to identify. It is a clear depiction of the gates and gatekeeper's lodge at Arrowe Park, and even shows the arrows set into the gates.
The last, and most curious quadrant, however, is the top right quadrant. The detail of this is very poor, even in the earliest available copies. A great deal of discussion has taken place over this image, and suggestions vary widely as to the original structure. Some believe it to be a view towards the Bidston Dock area, with tall buildings and ship's masts and pennants. Some believe it is a representation of the telegraph system which existed on Bidston Hill, and was used with other such stations to pass messages from Anglesey to the shipping owners in Liverpool, to advise them of the arrival of their ships. Pictures existing of this station show a representation of the building and signal masts, and a portion of this could be represented, although this is questionable as the station was removed long before the creation of the Lodge. Some believe it may be a depiction of a church, as yet unidentified, and the current banner shows a typical church building. It now appears, from the 50th anniversary papers, that this is St. Saviour's Church, again on the ridge.
The motto underneath the badge is another puzzle, as it appears not to translate easily into English, but the same source states that it translates as "Mindful of the past, Prudent in the future".
Note: Most of these details were "lifted" from the programme for the 50th Anniversary of the Lodge, which was produced by W Bro Neville Ward, to whom we owe a great deal of thanks for recording these important facts.