Left to right Clive Webb, Ryland James, James Ross, Stephen Roscoe, Lionel Hughes and Colin Jenkins
Brethren, we are here this evening to celebrate the next phase of Freemasonry in Fishguard. Freemasonry has continually changed and evolved over the last 300 years. Freemasonry in the 21st Century would be completely unrecognisable to our Brethren from the 18th Century. Change is something we need to embrace rather than fear and it is in that spirit that we need to approach our proceedings this evening.
Kemes Lodge was consecrated into the Western Division of the Province of South Wales on Friday 20th April 1906 at the County School in Fishguard where 48 Brethren gathered at 1pm. It had 20 founding members, most of whom were business or professional men. The Consecration was sponsored by the Cambrian Lodge No 464, and many of that Lodge became joining members of Kemes Lodge.
At the Consecration Meeting, 9 joining members were proposed, seconded and accepted into the Lodge. The joining members included Sir Marteine Owen Lloyd the 2nd Baronet of Bronwydd, the Lord Marcher of Kemes and JC Yorke of Langton Hall, Scleddau. Kemes Lodge is said to derive its name from the Lord Marcher as a joining member. JC Yorke gave the land on which the first Fishguard Masonic Hall stood in Brodog Terrace, where the Railwayman’s Club is currently situated.
The Consecration Banquet was held at the Commercial Hotel, which is now the Abergwaun. Initially, the Lodge dues were one Guinea (£1.05), which is equivalent to some £120 now. The Initiation fee was however seven Guineas (£7.35) which is £840 now. The Lodge quickly grew as Fishguard was expanding at this time due to the new port, and frequently two ceremonies were held on the same evening to progress candidates.
Kemes Lodge moved into this building on Wednesday 17th February 1926 and, by this time, it shared its home and possessions with the Strumble Lodge No 4351 which had been consecrated in Fishguard in 1922. The two Lodges therefore have a very close history of almost 100 years serving Fishguard and the surrounding area of North Pembrokeshire. Kemes Lodge has accepted some 600 members over the years and has of course been an integral part of the local community.
Brethren, may I take this opportunity to thank W Bro Steve Roscoe for preparing this brief history of Kemes Lodge.