A brief synopsis of Henry Keir as documented in the Brighouse Lodge 1301 history Booklet 1870-1970.
“On 21 April 1909, Henry Keir of 45, John Street, Rastrick, Brighouse, Secretary of the Brighouse Brick, Tile & Stone Co Ltd. was initiated into the Lodge and here began a period of great personal service to Brighouse Lodge and to Freemasonry in general in the district.
He joined when new leadership was necessary and supplied that leadership. He was very active in good work and in the First World War organised a treat from members of the Lodge to 170 wounded soldiers from the Voluntary War Hospital at Boothroyd, Rastrick. In the period 1919/1920, he led the movement for the purchase of the Assembly Rooms by the Lodge and personally visited shareholders and purchased on behalf of the Lodge shareholdings on very advantageous terms.
In later years he had the assistance of W Bro L J Haigh (later one of the founder members of Rastrick Lodge). They were largely responsible for the possession by the Lodge of all the available shares in the Company.
He served as Director until his death and was for many years Secretary of the Company.
Henry Keir was mainly responsible for the formation of Rastrick Lodge and was its first Master. At a Lodge meeting on 16 May 1934 it was resolved: - “That the Master, Past Masters and Brethren of Brighouse Lodge note with pleasure the completion of 25 years devoted service to the Lodge by W Bro. Henry Keir, PPGD and do herby place on record their high appreciation of his services to Freemasonry in Brighouse.” He died in March 1955 aged 88 years after more than 45 years membership of the Lodge and 25 years membership of Rastrick Lodge in addition to membership of Royal Arch Chapters in Halifax and Elland.“
As stated, Henry Keir was an experienced freemason in Brighouse Lodge 1301 and was Worshipful Master of that Lodge in 1919. He was one of the founders of Rastrick Lodge No 4885 and the first Worshipful Master of the Lodge.
The consecration of the Lodge took place at the Masonic Rooms, Briggate Brighouse on the 2 March 1927.
The Brethren (other than Officers of Grand Lodge and, Provincial Grand Lodge) assembled in the Lodge Rooms at 3.45pm, the founders, except for Bro’s J. A. Hall and A. C. Lane (absent) being arranged around the table in the centre of the Lodge.
The Provincial Grand Master, the Dep Provincial Grand Master and officers of Grand Lodge and Provincial Grand Lodge, entered the Lodge at 4pm, and the Brethren sang the opening hymn.
R W Bro. the Viscount Lascelles K.G, DSO Senior Grand Warden Provincial Grand Master took his place in the Lodge as Worshipful Master with W Bro Richard Gill PGD Dep PGM as IPM.
Supporting them on the dais were: - W Bro. Geo. F. C. Whittington PGD Asst PGM, W Bro. F. C. Watkinson, Chairman of the Charity, W Bro. Thompson PPAS of W,
W Bro. Worsnop, PPGD, W Bro. Barnett PPJD
The Principal and Assistant officers were as follows: -
SW - W Bro. Newton Brooke, Prov S Grand Warden
JW - W Bro Arthur S Lee, Prov J Grand Warden
Chaplin - W Bro Rev R S Stoney, Prov Grand Chaplin
Chaplin - W Bro Rev G G Swann, P. P. Grand Chaplin
Registrar - W Bro A Smith, Prov Deputy G Registrar
Secretary - W Bro C E Frobisher, Prov Grand Secretary
D of C - W Bro N Milner, Prov D of C
S D - W Bro D W Nicholson, Prov Senior G Deacon
J D - W Bro M Grainge, Prov Junior G Deacon
S of W - W Bro C B Flockton, Prov Supt Of Works
Organist - W Bro H Lunn, Prov G Organist
I G - W Bro R Gibbs, Prov G Pursuivant
Tyler - W Bro J Sladdin, P.P.A.G.D.C
The PGM as Consecrating Officer addressed the Brethren on the nature of the meeting. He pointed out that a Consecration of a new lodge was a most solemn occasion and yet a cause for great thankfulness for it emphasised that the founders were desirous of erecting a new edifice upon the principles taught in the mother Lodge.
He particularly mentioned that Ash Wednesday was a most appropriate day for such an occasion as it symbolised the beginning of a period of sacrifice which culminated in the greatest event for the uplifting of mankind in the history of the world and he sincerely hoped that the Lodge that was to be erected that day would be a power for good not only in the neighbourhood but throughout Freemasonry The Prov Grand Chaplin then gave a prayer and read from Second Book of Chronicles chapter 3 verses 18.104.22.168.16.17
The Prov Grand Secretary addressed the Consecrating Officer on behalf of the founders and asked him to consecrate the new Lodge. The founders of the new Lodge were then arranged on each side of the Lodge Board facing inwards, and the Master and Wardens designate facing East.
The Prov Grand Registrar read the Charter or Warrant of Constitution from the Grand Lodge of England. The founders were asked if they approved of the officers named in the Warrant to which they all signified their assent in Masonic form The Consecration ceremony was then conducted according to ancient custom and in front of the founders the Consecrating Officer constituted Rastrick Lodge No 4885 in ancient form and the Prov Grand Chaplin gave the Patriarchal Benediction.
The ceremony of Installation of W Bro Henry Keir as Worshipful Master then took place. The officers of the year were as follows; -
WM W Bro Henry Keir
SW Bro Lister Brook
JW Bro Louis Haigh
Chaplin W Bro Henry Taylor
Treasurer W Bro Samuel Bedford (elected as Treasurer)
Secretary W Bro Fred Moore
D of C W Bro Hopkinson, PPAGDC
Almoner in the hands of Brighouse Lodge
S D Bro Foster Brown
J D Bro Jim A. Hall (in his absence Bro J Armitage)
I G Bro A. C. Lane( in his absence W Bro Gibbs)
Tyler Bro A. C. Kear (elected)
The address to the WM was given by RW Bro The Viscount Lascelles.
The Wardens by W Bro Arthur Lee PJGW
The Brethren by W Bro Geo Whittington PGD Asst PGM
W Bro Henry Taylor the Chaplin was elected at Charity member.
It was resolved that a lodge of Instruction be held on the 2nd, 4th, 5th Wednesday of every month. It was resolved” That the Secretary make an immediate application for the recognition of Rastrick Lodge NO 4885 as a Hall Stone Lodge.”
The Consecrating team from Provincial Grand Lodge consisted of 18 members 85 freemasons signed the visitor’s book of which 22 were from Brighouse Lodge 1301(mother lodge). That figure did not include the 11 founders who were all from Brighouse Lodge.
A Busy Year for the new Worshipful Master W Bro Henry Keir
His first Regular Lodge meeting was on the 6 April 1927.
The business included an invitation from United Grand Lodge for brethren to attend the ceremony of laying the Foundation Stone of the Masonic Peace Memorial building on the 14 July 1927 in London.
Also, an invitation from the Dean and Chaplin of York Minister for 15 members of the Lodge to be present at noon on Saturday 24 July at the 1300th-anniversary service.
A list of brethren desirous of joining Rastrick Lodge and members of Brighouse Lodge was read; -
Herbert Ellis, Brighouse, Bank Manager, James Clarke Smith Harrogate, Dyer Peter Tetley Grove, Brighouse, Solicitor and Town Clerk, Roylance Townson, Brighouse, Building Contractor, Frank Eric Harrison, Brighouse, Director of Education. John Albert Jagger, Brighouse Dyer Manager
The following candidates for initiation into Rastrick Lodge were proposed and seconded at the meeting.
Norman Marmaduke Pilling Brighouse, 37 years, Taxi and Carriage Proprietor
Albert Leonard Hudson, Rawdon 49 years, Divisional Secretary Motor Trade Association
Frank Thornton, Birkenshaw, 35years, Commercial Traveller
Percy James Todd, Brighouse, 42 years, Marine and Electrical Engineer
George Arthur Cornwell, Rastrick 43years, Building Society Manager
A barnstorming start to get existing Freemasons and candidates to join Rastrick Lodge.
The next Regular Lodge meeting was on the 4 May 1927
The candidates who applied to join Rastrick Lodge in April were all elected, except for Bro Grove, who had since been appointed Town Clerk at Widnes and had been given permission by the WM to withdraw his obligation without prejudice. Brothers Ellis, Todd and Cornwell then took their place in the Lodge. A ballot was taken in respect of the candidates, Pilling, Hudson, Thornton, Todd and Cornwell and all were duly elected.
Norman Mamaduke Pilling was then admitted to the Lodge and underwent the 1st-degree ceremony and then took his place in the Lodge as an Entered Apprentice Freemason. The first initiate into Rastrick Lodge 4885.
At the Regular Lodge meeting on the 1 June, 1927 Leonard Hudson underwent the 1st-degree ceremony and then took his place in the Lodge as an Entered Apprentice Freemason.
An Emergency meeting of the Lodge was convened on the 16 June,1927 and Frank Thornton underwent the 1st-degree ceremony and then took his place in the Lodge as an Entered Apprentice Freemason.
At the Regular Lodge meeting on the 6 July, 1927 Percy James Todd underwent the 1st-degree ceremony and then took his place in the Lodge as an Entered Apprentice Freemason.
An Emergency meeting of the Lodge was convened on the 21 July 1927 and George Arthur Cornwell underwent the 1st-degree ceremony and then took his place in the Lodge as an Entered Apprentice Freemason.
At the Regular Lodge meeting on the 3 August 1927 Brothers Pilling and Hudson individually underwent the 2nd-degree ceremony and took their places in the Lodge as Fellow Craft Freemasons.
At that meeting, a letter was read from the Grand Lodge Secretary certifying that Rastrick Lodge is duly qualified as a “Hall Stone Lodge “and requested the WM to attend Grand Lodge on the w 7 September to receive the Hall Stone Collarette and Jewel.
The following names were read out in open Lodge as candidates wishing to join Rastrick Lodge.
Wilson Hartley Drake, Brighouse,38 years cabinet and shop fitter; Harry Mellor, Brighouse 41 years, Accountant: George William Thompson. Rastrick, 41 years, Schoolmaster
An emergency meeting of the Lodge was convened on the 31 August,1927. The WM reported that he had represented the Lodge at the funeral of the late Prov Grand Grand Master W Bro Sir William P Rayner and spoke about his work as a Freemason and of the great loss to the Craft.
Brothers Thornton and Todd individually underwent the 2nd-degree ceremony and took their places in the Lodge as Fellow Craft Freemasons.
At the Regular Lodge meeting on the 7 September 1927 the WM was absent as he had been summoned to attend Grand Lodge to be presented with the Hall Stone jewel and collarette.
Bro George Arthur Cornwell then underwent the 2nd-degree ceremony and took his place in the Lodge as a Fellow Craft Freemason. A ballot was taken in respect of the following Drake, Mellor and Thompson and all were elected.
An emergency meeting of the Lodge was convened on the 22 September 1927. William Hartley Drake underwent the 1st-degree ceremony and then took his place in the Lodge as an Entered Apprentice Freemason.
At the Regular Lodge meeting on the 5 October 1927. The Secretary reported that the WM as a result of an interview with Thomas Bryan Clarke Thornhill he had obtained permission to co-opt any of the sixteen family Coat of Arms in his custody into a Coat of Arms peculiar to this Lodge. Such Coat of Arms to be appropriately designed, coloured and registered by the Royal College of Heralds.
George William Thompson underwent the 1st-degree ceremony and then took his place in the Lodge as an Entered Apprentice Freemason.
An emergency meeting of the Lodge was convened on the 13 October 1927. Brothers Pilling and Hudson individually underwent the first part of the 3rd-degree ceremony and collectively the final part of the ceremony and took their places in the Lodge as Master Masons.
At the Regular Lodge meeting on the 2 November 1927. Brothers Pilling and Hudson individually underwent the first part of the 2nd-degree ceremony and collectively the final part of the ceremony and took their places in the Lodge as Fellow Craft Freemasons.
An emergency meeting of the Lodge was convened on the 17th,1927. Brothers Thornton and Todd individually underwent the first part of the 3rd-degree ceremony and collectively the final part of the ceremony and took their places in the Lodge as Master Masons.
An emergency meeting of the Lodge was convened on the 1 December,1927.
Brother Thompson underwent the 2nd-degree ceremony and took his place in the Lodge as a Fellow Craft Freemason.
At the Regular Lodge meeting on the 7 December 1927. A letter was read from the Provincial Grand Secretary disapproving a proposed Coat of Arms for the Lodge.
Brother Cornwell underwent the 3rd-degree ceremony and took his place in the Lodge as a Master Mason.
At the Regular meeting of the Lodge was convened on the 4thst January 1928
Brother Drake underwent the 3rd-degree ceremony and took his place in the Lodge as a Master Mason.
An emergency meeting of the Lodge was convened on the 17 January 1928
Brother Mellor underwent the 3rd-degree ceremony and took his place in the Lodge as a Master Mason.
At the Regular Lodge meeting on the 1 February 1928.
Bro Lister Brook S W was duly elected WM Elect for the ensuing year. Bro S Bedford elected as Treasurer for the ensuing year and Bro H Ellis as Tyler for the ensuing year.
Brother Thompson underwent the 3rd-degree ceremony and took his place in the Lodge as a Master Mason.
Grand Lodge Certificates were presented to Brothers Pilling, Hudson, Thornton Todd, Cornwell.
Regular Lodge Meeting 7 March 1828 - Installation of Second Rastrick Master Bro Lister Brook
W Bro Keir proposed, and Bro Lister seconded the proposition that in appreciation of the valuable services rendered to Rastrick Lodge W Bro Frederick Hopkinson PPAGDC PM of Brighouse Lodge and a founder of Rastrick Lodge and W Bro James Sunderland Sladdin PPAGDC PM of Brighouse Lodge 1301 be elected as Honorary members of the Lodge.
The ceremony of Installation was then conducted by W Bro Keir. He heartily thanked the retiring officers of the Lodge for their loyalty and help during the past 12 months.
That on reflection was an understatement of the hard work, numbers of meetings and ceremonies conducted in his year. 20 meetings of the Lodge in total not including the March 1928 Installation meeting)
W Bro Lister was appointed and invested, and his officers were as follows: -
S W Bro L J Haigh
JW Bro F Moore
Chaplin Bro R Townson
Secretary Bro J F Brown
Treasurer Bro s Bedford
D of C
S D Bro J. A. Hall
J D Bro A. C. Kear
Organist Bro. H Mellor
I G Bro. J. Farrar
Stewards Brothers Pilling, Hudson, Todd, Cornwell, Drake, Thompson
W Bro Keir was elected as the Lodge representative on the Charity Committee of the Province of West Yorkshire.
He was also presented as the IPM with the first Past Masters Jewel in Rastrick Lodge by W BRO John Barker PGD who had almost 60 years in Freemasonry.
A joining member was proposed Bro Thomas Fraser Owen of the Antient Union Lodge of Liverpool.
Regular Lodge Meeting 4 April 1928
W Bro Keir Charity representative presented Hall Stone Badges to W Bro F Hopkinson PPAGDC AND Bro J A Hall S D.
Regular Lodge Meeting 2 May 1928
W Bro Keir reported that he had been in touch with Bro Charles Clay who is a librarian in the House of Lords in connection with arranging a Coat of Arms and had received from him helpful advice on the subject.
W Bro Keir had also received from Mr Walker representing the Hanson family of Boothroyd permission to use the Hanson Coat of Arms. W Bro Keir proposed that the Coat of Arms be made in four quarters consisting of the Toothills of Toothill, The Rastricks of Rastrick House, the Hansons of Boothroyd and the Woodhouses of Woodhouse.
The next recorded minute is one from the Regular Lodge Meeting of the 5 September 1928 when W Bro Keir suggested a committee consisting of the WM and Secretary be appointed to consider the question of the Lodge Badge now that preliminary negotiations had been carried as far as possible. This was approved but to include W Bro Keir on the committee.
The pace of getting new members into Rastrick Lodge continued unabated, and in 6 months 2 candidates went through their 3 degrees to become master masons.
A lecture entitled “The Symbolism of the Square” was delivered by the WM of Pentalpha Lodge of Bradford W Bro Dr McEwan. That first lecture conducted in Rastrick Lodge.
At the same meeting, the name of Robert Stanley Fitton was read out as a candidate for the Lodge. He had his 1st-degree ceremony in 3 December 1928 his second 2 January 1929 and became a Master Mason on the 6 February 1929 In February.
This is a remarkable achievement by the Lodge considering the intensity of ceremonies from March 1927 until this time.
At the third Installation meeting on the 6th Match 1929 founders’ jewels were presented to recipients by W Bro R B Gill PGD Dep PGM he, “Expressed a sincere wish that the Lodge would continue in the same spirit as it had begun since the consecration.”
The new WM W Bro B J Haigh presented W Bro Gill with a Founders jewel. W Bro Gill was part of the consecration team in 1927.
From taking the chair of Rastrick Lodge the development, expansion spirit and ethos of Rastrick Lodge owes a debt of gratitude to W Bro Keir the founding father of Rastrick Lodge and clearly a giant amongst.