Freemasonry in General

The origins of Freemasonry are still the subject of intense speculation, but the general contention is that it descends from the organization of operative stonemasons who built the great cathedrals and churches in the middle ages. They were thought to travel from one build to the next, working throughout the day and living in lodges during the night. Perhaps, eventually, some began to settle whilst others still travelled, and when they travelled in support of those that had settled, they were welcomed in the local lodges, beginning what is now a natural part of masonic life, i.e. visiting other lodges. In the course of time they welcomed none stonemasons into their lodges, perhaps known more as “Free and Accepted Masons,” the name we still use today. (Courtesy of Insight Magazine & the Provincial Orator, a link to this magazine page is on the "About" page.) Also see links for additional history and a timeline. There are other theories, one of which is expanded upon on the web site of the Loyal & True Lodge No 4050, whose web link is also opposite.

Library & Museum:

There is a library and museum at Freemasons Hall in Great Queens St, London that “contains a comprehensive collection of printed books and manuscripts on every facet of Freemasonry in England as well as material on Freemasonry elsewhere in the world and on subjects associated with Freemasonry or with mystical and esoteric traditions. The collections include Masonic music, poetry and literature. There are a number of notable examples of fine eighteenth and nineteenth century bindings.” Entry to the library & museum is free, see link opposite.

Neptune Lodge N0 5150 in Particular

The Founding:

Neptune Lodge 5150 was consecrated on February 17th 1930; a daughter lodge of Portsmouth Temperance Lodge N0 2068. A family tree links (opposite) Neptune back through Temperance Lodge and others, to the Royal Sussex Lodge No 342 (named after the Duke of Sussex, Grand Master at the time the lodge was formed in 1814). This was just 1 year after the union of the two Grand Lodges in 1813, further information can be found in the links opposite.

The consecration was a grand affair, presided over by the Provincial Grand Master and the ceremony was followed by a banquet, the front page and menu have been reproduced opposite (click there to enlarge). There were no less than 146 Masons in attendance (13 provincial Officers, 17 Neptune Officers (founders) and the rest visitors). The first meeting followed quickly on February 25th. On the agenda was a ballet for two candidates for initiation and 5 joining members, this trend continuing for the ensuing meetings. The founders and initial members were truly a mixed bunch, their professions and occupations included a draper, a Wesleyan Minister, a market gardener, an art master, a coal merchant, a plumber, a civil servant and many more. The average price for the meal (supper) was around 3/6 (17.5p), light refreshments often replaced supper for 1/6 (7.5p) and annual subscriptions for 1932 were £2 2s 0d (£2.10p). An annual guest night was held in the autumn. Recognition of the lodge status as a Hall Stone lodge appeared on the agenda in September 1932. A replica die of the Hall Stone Jewel was noted in April 1933 for use in printing the agenda. The Hall Stone Jewel was awarded to lodges who contributed to the building of a new Temple in memory of those Brethren who made the supreme sacrifice for their “King and Country” during WW1. Neptune was also on route to become a Patron Lodge of the Royal Masonic Hospital after the first donation of £26.5s in November 1935 (100 guineas (£105) was the target) and this target was achieved.

The war (WW2) years:

These sad years brought about the cancellation of all lodge meetings with an order from HM Government, via Grand Lodge, on September 4th 1939 (letters reproduced opposite, click to enlarge), which resulted in the cancellation of the September meeting. This order was quickly revised and rescinded during the same month and, with certain conditions, meetings were resumed. An amendment to the agenda was the location of the nearest air raid shelter (being the junction of Lake Rd. with Commercial Rd.). In June 1939 the lodge moved to Derby Rd, Portsmouth, the air raid shelter now being in Pitcroft Rd. Lodge meetings continued unabated throughout the war, even with a normal meeting (Initiation) on May 8th 1945 (V-E Day) and again with a progression on August 14th 1945 (V-J Day).

The Legacy of the Holocaust on Freemasonry — an article from Insight – Your window into Hampshire & Isle of Wight Freemasonry.

Other insights:

As with many Lodges, Neptune prides itself with its little variations. These were collated in a small booklet entitled “Variations to the Emulation Ritual” by a Past Master, W Bro SG Mortimore and revised in 1994 to incorporate the other anomalies that appear to have crept into our ceremonies.

From its humble beginnings in 1930 it was clearly apparent that Neptune had set its heart firmly in the most fundamental virtue, charity, and this concept is continuing to this very day.