Third Monday, September, November, January and March
Monday 17th September 2017
2018 – 2019 meetings
- Monday 17th September 2018
- Monday 19th November 2018
- Monday 21st January 2019
- Monday 18th March 2019
Third Monday, September, November, January and March
Monday 17th September 2017
2018 – 2019 meetings
Freemasons in England and Wales make enormous contributions to charitable causes. Some of these are “Masonic” in nature, i.e. offering help to Brethren that are in need or looking after the widows and children of deceased Brethren. However, many contributions are also made to general, non-Masonic charities with for example £2.5 million being donated to such causes in the year 2001-2002. Some of this money is in the form of large grants, for instance, £119,000 was recently donated to prostate cancer research. Many smaller sums are also dispersed to all sorts of deserving causes such as support for hospices. Our charitable institutions are also able to respond very rapidly in cases of disaster such as earthquakes or other emergencies. In 2001, £50,000 was sent to the Grand Lodge of New York State to help with emergency relief within 24 hours of the attack on the Twin Towers on 11th September.
How is money collected?
In many different ways: collections are made at all Lodge meetings and other functions; raffles are held; profits are made on social functions etc.
Most importantly, Brethren are expected to make individual donations on a regular basis. This can be done by making simple cash or cheque donations to the Lodge’s charity fund, by making similar one-off donations to what is known as “The Relief Chest” (see below), or by means of regular annual or monthly payments to the Relief Chest. The great advantage of payments to the Relief Chest is that they attract income-tax relief. If a donating Brother pays tax at standard rate or above the charity can reclaim money from the Inland Revenue. Thus every £100 donated miraculously turns into £127 at no extra cost to the donor!
Where do we keep our charitable funds?
Some money is kept by the Lodge Treasurer and is shown under a separate heading in the Lodge’s annual accounts. Most of it, however, is kept in a bank account which is operated centrally at London, and which is known as “The Relief Chest”. There are two advantages to keeping money here: (1) the administrative chore of reclaiming the tax from the Inland Revenue is carried out centrally and does not have to be done by each Charity Steward; and (2) by lumping the monies from all the Lodges together and investing it as one large sum a much better rate of interest can be obtained.
Although the account is run centrally it is important to realise that the money in the Relief Chest remains the property of the individual Lodges and is still under their direct control. However, because of the tax concession there is a restriction on how it is spent. It can only be used to contribute to properly registered charities or for the direct relief of the needy. If at any time a lodge wishes to contribute to a non-registered charity this must be done from the funds held locally by the Treasurer.
How is the money actually given to the charitable causes?
In Singleton Lodge No. 8399 the Worshipful Master is allowed to send the sum of £25 to a charity of his choosing every year. The Almoner has a small fund at his disposal for the relief of distress, for Christmas gifts to the Lodge’s widows, and for the provision of comforts (flowers etc) for sick Brethren and bereaved families. Such things tend to occur as a matter of urgency and so the Almoner has the authority to spend money for these purposes at his own discretion, when the need arises. His fund is topped up at regular intervals from the Lodge’s charity monies.
Apart from these two cases all charitable expenditure has to be approved by the Brethren. Normally, the Lodge Committee makes recommendations to the Lodge concerning which charities should be supported, but please note that it is open to any Brother to make suggestions, and such suggestions will be sympathetically considered by the Lodge Committee.
The Lodge can decide to make direct gifts to charitable organisations. In recent years we have sent donations to the Welsh Air Ambulance and to the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital fund. Our Province of South Wales has a Benevolent Fund which supports charitable causes within the Province. In past years we have made several donations to that fund. Most donations, however, are made centrally through several London-based institutions such as, the Grand Charity (which organises the payment of annuities to needy Masons, and also attends to the wider non-Masonic giving), the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution (which looks after homes for the elderly), the New Masonic Samaritan Fund (to provide medical assistance to sick and needy Freemasons and their dependents), and the Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys (which sees to the educational needs of the children of deceased Brethren and helps with the costs of higher education).
What are “Festivals”?
This term – which is not really self-explanatory – sometimes causes confusion in the minds of the younger Brethren.
From time to time a Masonic Province will decide to concentrate its charitable efforts upon one or other of the central institutions mentioned above for a period of seven years. Other charitable activity is, of course, not excluded, but the bulk of the money collected during this time will be donated to the chosen institution. The end of the period is marked by a major event and dinner, the actual “Festival”.
The last Festival in this Province came to its conclusion in 2010 and the sum of £4.1 million was donated on that occasion to The Grand Charity.
Singleton Lodge No. 8399
Singleton Lodge No. 8399, Swansea
Date of Warrant: 8th September 1971
Meeting at: Masonic Hall, St Helens Road, Swansea, SA1 4DF
As dispensation may not have been sought or given as yet, please note that meeting dates falling on Bank holidays or Sundays are subject to change. Contact the respective Lodge Secretary for further information.
Mother Lodge: 5378 Glantawe Lodge
The History of Singleton Lodge No. 8399
It was in 1971 that The Grand Lodge granted a warrant for the establishment of a new lodge in Swansea to serve the various academic establishments of the city. It had originally been suggested that it be called the “Colleges Lodge” . However, this was felt by those in authority to be rather similar to the name “Universities Lodge” which was already being used by a lodge in Cardiff. The university at Swansea is on a campus on the sea-shore built around Singleton Abbey, which at one time was the home of the Vivian family, the Lords Swansea, until they left the estate in 1919.
John Hussey Hamilton Vivian, the 4th Lord Swansea, had recently become the Provincial Grand Master (1966) in South Wales, and it seems that he expressed a wish that the new lodge should be named the “Singleton” Lodge, thereby combining references to the university and to his own family’s connection with the area. The Singleton Lodge No. 8399 was consecrated by Lord Swansea on Monday, 15th November 1971. After the ceremony, the Brethren attended a six-course banquet, complete with sherry, wines and coffee – at a cost of £3.50 per head! It seems that up to that time His Lordship had never set foot in his family’s ancestral home at Singleton, but our Worshipful Master was able to arrange for him to pay a visit there and to be shown around the old house. Lord Swansea found it a very interesting and nostalgic experience, but he expressed his great delight and relief that he was no longer responsible for the upkeep of that great roof!
After much discussion in the early days, the Lodge Committee decided upon a badge for the lodge, which was duly submitted to, and approved by, the Provincial authorities. It consisted of an oval shape, divided horizontally into two. The upper half has a light blue background on which is placed the usual square-and-compasses motif in gold. The lower half is taken from the arms of University College Swansea. It has a green background on which are shown a pick-axe and an anchor in saltire, together with a vertical sledge-hammer. These represent, coal-mining, the sea and the metal industries which historically are characteristic of the area. Over them is laid an open book. This is a charge often found on the arms of universities and, of course, symbolises learning. The motto which was adopted was “AD UNAM OMNES” which translates as “ONE FOR ALL”, a sentiment very appropriate for an organisation which promotes the idea of fraternity and unity.
At first, various items of the lodge furniture required for the ceremonies were borrowed from our Mother Lodge, the Glantawe Lodge No. 5378 – (that is to say, the lodge under whose sponsorship the petition for the formation of the new lodge had been prepared and presented). Officers’ collars were donated by the Brethren who served in the various offices of the new lodge during the first year. A beautiful set of gavels (which are used during the course of the ceremonies) made out of brass and mahogany, with inset masonic symbols had been made and presented to the lodge by one of our founder members.
In November 1973 the decision was taken to purchase a full set of the required items – this decision being spurred on by the imminent arrival of a new form of taxation, VAT, and the fear that a considerable price rise would ensue if matters were delayed! The lodge was thus now fully equipped, save for the fact that as yet we had no board on which to display the names of Past Masters and no lodge banner – both rather expensive items for a new small lodge to acquire. Fortunately, we were provided with a Masters’ Board in the late 1970s through the much appreciated generosity of two of our Brethren who were partners in a local firm of builders. They undertook the construction of the board at their own premises, and presented it to us.
The banner took rather longer. During the late 1970s earnest discussions took place as to the prospect of acquiring one, but nothing happened, banners being very expensive items. However in 1989 the lodge was extremely fortunate in being presented with a banner by the wife of one of our members – and moreover, a banner made and embroidered by her own fair hand. This was dedicated by the then Assistant Provincial Grand Master at a special meeting held on 30th October of that year. The banner now hangs above our Worshipful Master’s chair at every meeting, and we record once again our gratitude to the lady concerned for her generosity.
Over the years, in addition to our normal regular meetings, many social functions, such as Sunday lunches and Ladies’ Evenings, have been held at various venues. Popular features of lodge activities in the early days were the weekend hotel breaks taken at locations in west Wales, including Saundersfoot, St. David’s and Aberystwyth – although for various reasons no such trips have been organised in recent years. Perhaps the time has come for them to be revived? Christmas Parties have also been arranged for the children and grand-children of the Brethren – functions at which Father Christmas has never failed to put in an appearance! Other memorable events have been the Church Services held from time to time during the summer recesses.
Singleton Lodge is, as stated previously, a daughter Lodge of Glantawe No. 5379. They also have an elder daughter, The Old Goreans Lodge No. 7193, founded in 1952. The three Lodges have kept in close contact over the years, and a notable feature has been our annual ‘official’ visits to one another. As mentioned earlier, the original intention was that Singleton Lodge should be associated with the educational establishments of the city – although it should be stressed that it was never a “closed” or restricted Lodge in any formal way. Our early initiates reflected this academic connection but as time went by, experience showed that this early intention could no longer be fulfilled. Nowadays our members and initiates are drawn from all walks of life. However we have recently joined the ‘Universities Scheme’ launched by Grand Lodge and we hope once more to increase our recruitment from the academic community.
During the period of our existence three of our Brethren have achieved the distinction of having been Freemasons for fifty years and four of our founders are still subscribing members of the lodge. The lodge celebrated its first 25 years in 1996. We are hopeful for the future as we carry on into our second 25 years, and we trust that the golden jubilee celebration, when it comes, will find Singleton Lodge in good heart.
Are you thinking of becoming a Freemason?
Our fraternity has a wonderful history, which dates back more than three centuries. It is one of the world’s oldest secular fraternities, a society of men concerned with moral and spiritual values. Founded on the three great principles of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth, it aims to bring together men of goodwill, regardless of background and differences.
People might think that to become a Freemason is quite difficult. It’s actually straightforward.
The essential qualifications for admission is that you have a belief in a Supreme Being. It is usual for candidates to be “mature men of 21 years and over”, but through the Universities Scheme candidates from the age of 18 can be admitted.
If you live in Swansea or the South Wales area and are interested in finding out more about becoming a Freemason, or joining Singleton Lodge No. 8399 please contact us for further information.
Freemasonry is the UK’s largest secular, fraternal and charitable organisation. It teaches moral lessons and self-knowledge through participation in a progression of allegorical two-part plays, which are learnt by heart and performed within each lodge.
Freemasonry offers its members an approach to life, which seeks to reinforce thoughtfulness for others, kindness in the community, honesty in business, court in society and fairness in all things. Members are urged to regard the interests of the family as paramount but importantly Freemasonry also teaches and practises concern for people, care for the less fortunate and help for those in need.