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“Why the flowers”?

Exmoor Lodge 2390 held their Installation Meeting at Minehead Masonic Hall on Thursday 19th January, whereupon W Bro. John Munson was Installed as Master by W Bro. Bob King in what was an extra-special and very poignant evening in the history of the Lodge……………..

You may be aware that Exmoor’s Daughter Lodge, St Bernard 5361, meeting in the same Hall, reluctantly surrendered their Warrant last month, after 90 years in the town.

Many of the Brethren of St Bernard Lodge made the decision to join Exmoor during the months leading up to their closure. Many discussions were held, and continue to be held, in order to strengthen the future of Freemasonry in Minehead.

The two Lodges have long enjoyed a mutually supportive relationship throughout their history and this is now set to continue, as another 14 of their Brethren were welcomed into Exmoor’s ranks as joining members at this meeting, 10 of whom were able to be present. This was a very positive note on which W Bro. Bob could end his tenure as Master before Installing his successor.

PGM Ray Guthrie and Exmoor’s Installing Master Bob King with nine of the joining members from former St Bernard Lodge. Spot the flowers?!?

W Bro. John Munson, a time-served carpenter-joiner, who later went on to train and assess others in the art of woodworking, until his retirement, was Initiated into St Bernard Lodge in 1988 and became Master in 1996. He was Senior Warden at St Bernard when the warrant was surrendered and was looking forward to his second term as Master.

John is also an active member of both Mark Masons and Royal Ark Mariners Lodges at Minehead.

The Brethren of Exmoor Lodge agreed that John should be able to realise his current ambition and therefore confirmed him as Master Elect when he joined their Lodge last year.

The longstanding relationship between the two Lodges was further demonstrated by Exmoor Brethren’s ready acquiescence to the appointment of other former St Bernard Brethren into other important Lodge offices at this meeting.

Another nod to a St Bernard Lodge tradition, for Installation Meetings, was in evidence at this meeting, in the form of 3, 5 and 7 stems of cut flowers in vases, placed at the foot of the three principal officers’ pedestals. This alludes to the nearby Washford and Roadwater Valley where St Bernard was influential in the founding of Cleeve Abbey, at Washford, in 1198. The Abbey was originally known as ‘Vallis Florida’ (Latin for ‘Flowering Valley). The Cistercian Monks at Cleeve were apparently known for their benevolence to travellers and pilgrims who visited themselves upon the area, and the name of the Lodge was adopted as a result of this rather fitting local folklore.    

PGM, Ray Guthrie with Exmoor’s new WM, John Munson.

RW Bro Ray Guthrie, PGM, accompanied by PrAGDC, W Bro Rob Hughes, was also in attendance to enjoy the atmosphere of the meeting and festive board amid the obvious historic harmony that will undoubtedly strengthen the possibilities and future of Exmoor Lodge.

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