THE LODGE FURNISHINGS AND REGALIA
The furniture, regalia and most of the furnishings were hand made. There were several good paintings and photographs, which were donated by various brethren. Each member had his own individual hand made chair, inscribed with his name.
A Nigerian Lodge presented a poignard, which is a French Naval Officers Dirk from the Napoleon era and five members of King Solomon's Lodge, Chester, presented a heavy maul, made of ivory which is still in use. A Masonic library was commenced, and several brethren donated masonic books.
A librarian was appointed each year.
The Tracing Boards of the Lodge were drawn and coloured by W. Bro. I. R. De. W. Lash O.B.E., a Founder of the Lodge. These Boards were in use during numerous rehearsals prior to the Consecration of the Lodge, and were in use up to the year 2000 when dilapidation overtook them. A new suite of Tracing Boards were kindly donated by a well known Brother of our sister Lodge Lydda. (see the page on associated Lodges).
THE SECOND DEGREE TRACING BOARD.
Many Freemasons have heard this lecture but how many think about it afterwards? It is encouraging when Brethren do so and begin to check up on the accounts of the building of Solomon's Temple in the V.S.L. This enthusiasm and interest was surely strong enough in our Lodge when in Jerusalem. A party of members visited one of the fords of the river Jordan, described as the "passages". Many will have crossed the ford at Tel el Damieh, regarded as the most likely one for the incident of 'pronunciation'. You will not find Ephramites and Gileadites as such and on the occasion of this visit to the ford, they spent sometime trying to persuade the assembled Arabs to pronounce a 'Certain Word'. The result did not produce any defects in aspiration, only much laughter and a suggestion that the enquirers were "Majnun", Arabic meaning mad. The party of brethren also went to visit the clay ground of Succoth and Zeredatha which was full of interest. Down at the junctions of the rivers Jabok and Jordan is an area of particularly pure clay. To this day the Jerusalem potters journey down to collect loads for use in their trade. There are huge mounds, the remains of ancient brickfields, and of Hiram's furnaces. Professor Sir George Adam Smith, a great authority on the Holy Land, in his "Historical Geography", says that Solomon placed his brass or bronze foundries in this area.
The smooth and rough Ashlars were hewn under the supervision of the members of the Lodge, from the stone in the vast underground quarries which lie below the walled City of Jerusalem, adjacent to the Temple area. These are called the Royal Quarries of Solomon.
The position of the Ashlars in the Temple.
Many years ago most Lodges met in small rooms, often the spare room of a Hostelry, or sometimes adjoining the local Church. Because the rooms used were often small, it was essential that the floor space be kept as clear as possible for Perambulations. This necessitated the Ashlars being placed on the Wardens Pedestals, a practice that continues in most Lodges today. Except that is for the Lodge of King Solomon's Temple. Our Ashlars are placed on the floor in front of the Wardens Pedestals and are moved when required for use during our Ceremonies.
PRESENTATION OF FURNITURE
Our heavy furniture of the Lodge was stored in the care of Bro. J. F. Docmac, in Jerusalem.
In 1956 a letter was received from the Secretary of the Golden Throne Lodge, 1346 (Sc. Const.), requesting the loan of the lodge furniture, to enable them to resume their meetings. Our Lodge readily agreed and the Golden Throne resumed meeting at the Petra Hotel in David Street, Jerusalem. In 1965 a resolution was carried, presenting the lodge furniture to the Golden Throne Lodge.
LOSS OF LODGE REGALIA
The Lodge regalia was damaged by flooding in 1952, at the Charing Cross Hotel. The Hotel granted £63.00 towards the cost of new regalia with the Lodge paying the remaining £25.00. New regalia was again purchased in 1987. Flooding again in 1991 at the Park Court Hotel, extensively damaged the Regalia. Full restitution was made by the Hotel.
The VSL is 231 years old, it was printed in 1787 and was the Wyley family bible that had been handed down from father to son for the previous 137 years.
It was donated to the lodge by The Right Worshipful Bro Colonel W.F.Wyley who was the Provincial Grand Master of Warwickshire. And travelled to Jerusalem to serve as the Senior Warden at the Consecration ceremony of this lodge.
So who was Colonel William Fitzherbet Wyley? He was from a fairly wealthy family who owned several chemists shops in Coventry and had bought the Charterhouse in Coventry as the family home in 1848. He took over the family business in 1889 and established the Wholesale pharmaceutical side of the business.
He was a leading light in Coventry, one of the founders of the chambers of commerce and its second president; He was the city mayor in 1911 and a director of Rover cars. His main interests, apart from freemasonry, was public health and the arts.
His only son William had been killed in the First World War and I will talk about him at the festive board. As RW Bro Wiley had no surviving heirs he thought it fitting to give the family bible to be used as a VSL to the first English Lodge to be founded in the Holy Land, and when he died in 1940 he left his family home Charter house and its grounds in the centre of Coventry as a centre for art and culture for the benefit of the people of Coventry, which it is still used for today.
All the time that the Lodge is opened, the V.S.L. is open upon the Masters pedestal. What they may not be aware of is that it is not opened at random, but at a particular place that is relevant to the degree being worked.
In our Lodge it is opened in the First Degree at 1st Kings, Ch. VI., in the Second Degree at Psalm CXXXIII, and in the Third Degree at Ecclesiastes Ch. XII, Vs IVu.
William Reginald Fitz Thomas Wyley.
Went to Rugby School 1906 to 1910
Balliol Collage 1910 to 1914
He joined Apollo University Lodge 357 in 1913 and on leaving University he joined Saint Michaels Lodge 1630 in Coventry which is in the province of Warwickshire
He had received his commission into the Royal Field
Artillery in November 1913 and was still in training when war brook out in August 1914.
When he finished his training in March 1915 he was sent to France
Sadly on the morning of 19th September 1916 during the battle of the Somme He was killed at the age of 24.