Two Lodges meet at the Masonic Hall, Court Barton, Ilminster TA19 0DY. The building is Grade 2 listed and originates from the early 19th Century
Nyanza Lodge No 1197
Meets at 18:30 except March, on the second Tuesday
Months – Jan, Feb, Mar (Installation 17:00), Apr, May, Sep, Oct, Nov and Dec
The first Lodge to be formed in Ilminster was the Lodge of Unanimity No 523 in 1788, but this Lodge moved to Taunton in 1797 where it still exists today as Lodge of Unanimity and Sincerity No 261. It was not until 1867 that another attempt was made to establish a Masonic Lodge in Ilminster, with the formation of the Nyanza Lodge No 1197, so named after Lake Victoria Nyanza in Africa, in honour of the local man, Captain J H Speke, who had discovered the source of the River Nile.
The Lodge also meets socially, the three main social events being a Summer Charity Lunch held in July each year, a Ladies Festival held in November, this being organised for all the Ladies of the Lodge and a Carol Evening held in the lodge room in December. Non-Masonic guests, friends and family are especially welcome at our social events. Also on the Installation and Christmas meetings the lodge organises a meal for the ladies of the Lodge.
Nyanza Lodge’s membership comprises individuals from all backgrounds and age ranges, and is acknowledged to be, by the many who visit us, a friendly Lodge. We ask our members to attend the regular meetings of the Lodge and we actively support every member in his progress through the Offices of the Lodge.
To this end the lodge also holds rehearsal meetings on the first Tuesday of the month and practice evenings on the third Tuesday of the month, with a strong nucleus of experienced members and some more recent and younger members who are using these opportunities to progress in their understanding of Freemasonry’s ritual.
The ideal candidate will be able and willing to commit to attending the regular meetings of the Lodge and can afford the costs of membership, including contributing to charitable donations. In addition, he will be asked to attend rehearsals once he starts to contribute to ceremonies at our meetings and he takes on lodge offices. We hope all members will want to contribute to the life and spirit of the Lodge and that and their families will enjoy participating in the Lodge’s social events.
We would therefore encourage any man over 21, with ‘strict morals and upright intentions who has a belief in a Supreme Being, to contact us. We will also welcome any existing Freemason looking to join a new Lodge. As with all Freemasonry, neither religion nor politics are discussed at meetings.
Contact the Lodge Secretary: Ian Pamplin
Somerset Tablers Lodge No 9075
Meets at 19:00 except March; on the third Thursday.
Months – Jan, Mar (Installation 17:00), Sep and Nov
Somerset Tablers Lodge, No. 9075, was founded in 1983, by a group of Masons who were, or had been members of the Round Table of Britain & Ireland (RTBI). The lodge ethos was based on the motto of Round Table, that comes from a speech made in 1927 by the then Prince Edward, Prince of Wales, and later by King Edward VIII, of ‘Adopt, Adapt and Improve’.
The lodge meets in Court Barton, Ilminster, in Somerset. Members of the lodge come from a wide geographic area, historically because Round Table Area 37 covered the whole of Somerset.
Somerset Tablers’ Lodge was founded as a ‘fine dining’ Lodge which only meets four evenings a year, on the third Thursday of September, November, January, and March. As such our dress code for members is Black Tie, although visitors wear either Black Tie, Provincial Dress, or dark suits. The lodge normally meets at 7pm, making it easier for those at work or who have to travel.
The lodge has its Festive Board in the Shrubbery Hotel, in Ilminster, a short walk from the lodge. Since we only meet four times a year some members who have moved out of the area find it reasonable to travel back, some staying in the Shrubbery Hotel or the local Travelodge to still enjoy the fellowship and relaxed atmosphere.
For many years all the members of the lodge were, or had been, Round Tablers. However nowadays the lodge is open to likeminded people who would have enjoyed the fellowship of Round Table, back in its heyday, and who would have supported its charitable work. So that we Adopt the principles of Round Table, Adapt them to Freemasonry, and Improve our lives by their combination.
The lodge membership has a broad range of ages, and we are now seeing the adult children of existing members join, bringing our youngest members into their 20’s.
Contact the Lodge Secretary: Bruce Poole
The Masonic Hall is situated in narrow Berrymans Lane, between the High Street and Court Barton.