1909 – Consecration
In 1909 forty-nine Old Wellingtonians who were also Freemasons forwarded a petition to the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) that they be granted a warrant for a new lodge, to be called the “Heroum Filii Lodge”. The petition was sponsored by the Household Brigade Lodge No 2614. UGLE having granted the petition the Lodge, numbered 3404 in the Register of the Grand Lodge of England, was consecrated at Freemasons’ Hall in London on Friday 26 November 1909 in the presence of a very distinguished company.
The Consecrating Officer was the Pro Grand Master, the Most Worshipful Brother the Right Honourable the Lord Ampthill. The Pro Grand Master was assisted by Right Worshipful Brothers the Right Honourable Lord Athlumney PGW as Senior Warden and Sir G Wyatt Truscott Bt JGW as Junior Warden. The Reverend H W Turner PGC acted as Chaplain, Frank Richardson GDC as DC, J S Granville Grenfell DGDC as ADC, and F W Pixley PGD as Inner Guard. Viscount Doneraile and Sir Edward Letchworth were also in attendance. These distiguished brethren graciously accepted honorary membership of the Lodge.
At the Consecration, in addition to the traditional appointment of the Founding Officers, Col R W Dalgety was installed as Worshipful Deputy Master, normal practice when either the Grand Master or a Prince of the Royal Blood was the ruling Master of a private lodge. Both these applied as the Grand Master, the Grand Master HRH The Duke of Connaught & Strathearn KG had graciously accepted the office of Worshipful Master.
1910 – Public School Committee
At the next meeting of the lodge in January 1910, Field Marshal Lord Roberts KG VC was elected as an honorary member, as were the Worshipful Masters, Wardens & Secretaries of the Old Westminsters, Charterhouse Deo Dante Dedi and the old Cheltonian Lodges. A month later the Lodge was invited to send a representative to the Public School Committee (now Public Schools Lodges’ Council or PSLC) and the Lodge has remained a member to this day.
1912 – “Heroum Filii” to “Old Wellingtonian Lodge”
HH Prince Maurice of Battenburg, aged just 20, was initiated by special dispensation in 1912 but sadly he was to die of wounds received in action on 27 October 1914, early in the First World War.
In June 1913 members decided to drop the original Latin name for the Lodge – ‘Heroum Filii’ or the Sons of Heroes – in favour of its current name, the ‘Old Wellingtonian Lodge’. Frustratingly the minutes of that meeting do not record a reason for this important decision. However this name change is recorded in the Old Wellingtonian magazine of that year, which suggested that the reason was that people did not make the connection between the Heroum Filii and Wellington.
1914-1918 – The war to end all wars
The Lodge had been due to host the PSLC Festival in 1915, on the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, but the Great War intervened. In 1917, the Worshipful Master of the Lodge, the Grand Master, honoured the Lodge with his presence, the first time he had visited a Public Schools Lodge.
At the meeting (on the 102nd anniversary of the battle), and well supported by representatives of ten other Public Schools Lodges, The Grand Master was presented with a Past Master’s jewel in gold. Responding in a powerful speech he referred to the patriotism of the Brethren of all Public Schools Lodges many of whom had fallen in battle.
Thirteen brethren of the Lodge gave their lives on active service during the Great War.
1922 – PSLC Festival
The annual Public School Lodges’ Festival was hosted by the Lodge for the fist time in 1922 at Wellington College when 165 notable brethren met and dined together under the Presidency of the Rt W Bro The Earl of Derby KG, the Provincial Grand Master for Lancashire, and Founding IPM of the Old Wellingtonian Lodge.
1931 – Two Royal Members
In February 1931 two Royal Princes gracefully accepted honorary membership of the Lodge: The Prince of Wales, later Edward VIII and Prince Arthur of Connaught, son of the Worshipful Master of the Lodge the Grand Master the Duke of Connaught & Strathearn.
1939-1945 – 2nd World War
UGLE suspended Masonic activity at the start of the second war. Many of the Lodge’s brethren were already serving and many more volunteered. Sadly, three brethren would give their lives during the course of the conflict. Meetings resumed not least to provide brethren with welcome respite from the ongoing conflict.
The Lodge and the Craft would suffer a further loss when in 1942 the Worshipful Master, HRH the Duke of Connaught & Strathearn, the Grand Master, having proved that the practice of freemasonry aids longevity, passed to the Grand Lodge above at the age of 92.
1959 – 50th Jubilee
1959 saw the jubilee year celebrated at Wellington College. Rt Hon Lord Rathcreedan PGM for Oxfordshire was installed as Worshipful Master by the Grand Secretary Sir James Stubbs in the presence of representatives of 26 public schools lodges and many other guests.
1973 – Founding Father of the Lodge
1973 saw the sad passing of the last of the founders of the Lodge, Brig S V P Weston DSO** MC , after 64 years of service. He had become the last surving founder and therefore the Founding Father of the Lodge in 1953.
1992 – PSLC Festival
In 1992 the Lodge was honoured to be asked to host the 59th Public Schools Festival. The Grand Master and President of Wellington College, HRH the Duke of Kent attended. He was presented with a copy of the First of May 1851 by Winterhalter, showing the Duke of Wellington with Queen Victoria and the newly born Duke nof Connaught & Strathearn, who had been born on the Iron Duke’s birthday, that has hung in Old Hall at Wellington College for something approaching 100 years (in fact a copy by Soulter of the original which hangs in Windsor Castle).
2006 – HRH Duke of Kent KG, Grand Master Accepts Honorary Membership
The President of Wellington College, His Royal Highness, The Duke of Kent KG GCMG GCVO ADC and Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England graciously accepted honorary membership of the Old Wellingtonian Lodge No 3404.
2009 – HRH Duke of Kent KG, Grand Master – Honorary Worshipful Master
The President of Wellington College, His Royal Highness, The Duke of Kent KG, Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England graciously accepted the position of Permanent Worshipful Master of the Old Wellingtonian Lodge No.3404. As Grand Lodge required him to be physically installed he was proclaimed as Honorary Worshipful Master in the meantime
In doing so the present Grand Master reunited the three offices held by his great, great uncle, HRH the Duke of Connaught & Strathearn: Worshipful Master of the Lodge, Grand Master and President of Wellington College.
This honour was particularly well received in the Lodge’s centenary year.
2009/10 – Centenary Celebrations
The Lodge celebrated it’s centenary during the year. Each meeting remembered different aspects of our history. The celebrations culminated in a large meeting for members and guests on 8th May 2010 at Wellington College. 56 people attended the masonic meeting and 99 members and guests dined.The guest of honour was Metropolitan Grand Master, the RW Bro. Russell J. Race. A more detailed report from the day can be read here. Also, an interesting article on the health of the lodge in this year can be read here.
2015 – 82nd Festival of the Public School Lodges’ Council – Wellington College
The Old Wellingtonian Lodge hosted the 82nd Public Schools Lodges’ Council (PSLC) Festival on Saturday 30th May 2015 at Wellington College. 250 people attended; both masons and non-masonic guests. The guest of honour was MW Pro Grand Master Peter Geoffrey Lowndes. A detailed report from the day can be read here.