The Brethren of Plessey Lodge No. 6242, which meets at Blyth Masonic Hall, recently had cause for a double celebration.
First on the list was the presentation of certificate to celebrate 50 years of uninterupted service in the Craft for Bro. David Sharples. David was initiated into Plessey Lodge in May 1971, when he was 25 years old. Although a regular attendee at the Lodge, and a Steward for a number of years in the late 1970’s, he never had the urge to go any further and take office on the ladder, and is quite happy to ‘watch’ the other members perambulations and work. In particular David has been a great supporter of W.Bro Ken Appleby, his step brother. and during the evening Ken addressed David in the Lodge, talking about his working life at Glaxo.
The second cause for celebration was the lodges 75th anniversary. Freemasonry arrived in Blyth with the consecration of Blagdon Lodge No.659 in 1856, but it did not further expand until 1908, when Croft Lodge No.3310 arrived, followed by Cowpen Lodge No.4824 in 1926.
By the end of the Second World War, it was felt that the numbers of Masons in the area had grown sufficiently to justify the formation of a new Lodge, especially with the numbers of servicemen returning home. Most of the early Founders of the new Lodge were taken from the membership of Croft Lodge, and it was decided to name the new Lodge ‘Plessey Lodge’. It is believed that the Lodge was named in connection with the important coal trade in the district. There was a Plessey Colliery when coal was checked for worthiness at a place called Plessey Checks, which in turn, took its name from an ancient family, perhaps of French origins called de Plessis. They may have had their origins with the name Plaissiet. This in turn was corrupted into Plashetts, a name common in Bavington and Tynedale, and is usually taken to mean a park or enclosed land with a plashed or plaited fence.
There were 22 founder members of Plessey Lodge, who signed the petition and paid a fee of 2 Guineas, plus an annual subscription of the same amount.
The Lodge was consecrated at Blyth Masonic Hall, a purpose-built Masonic Hall, having had the Foundation Stone laid in 1897. The Consecration Ceremony, conducted by the Provincial Grand Master, Sir Cecil A. Cochrane, took place on 21 March 1946. The first Master of the Lodge was W Bro. A. S. Mole, who also had the pleasure of initiating his son, and another candidate at the first regular meeting of the Lodge on 2 May 1946. The number of members grew rapidly, and it is recorded that 90 Initiations took place during the first sixteen years, with the highest ever number of members recorded as 147 in 1976.
Although numbers in terms of membership are comparatively small, there lies within the body of the members, an indomitable sprit that so characterises Freemasonry, to ensure the Lodge’s future strength and prosperity: exemplified by the Lodge Motto, chosen at the Foundation in 1946 – ‘Fide et Fiducia, which can be read as either ‘In Faith and Trust’ or as ‘In Faith and Confidence’.
During the evening W.Bro Malcolm Scott also gave a fascinating talk about the area known as “Plessey” on the outskirts of Blyth, the old waggon way from Plessey to the River Blyth which is now the longest road in Blyth and everyone present was presented with a commemorative booklet and an engraved glass.
Congratulations from everyone at Northumberland Masons to David on reaching the magnificent milestone of 50 years in Freemasonry, and to the members of Plessey Lodge on the Lodges 75th anniversary. We wish you well for many years to come.
Many thank to W.Bros Kevin Blenkinsop, the Secretary of the Lodge, and Ian Brown, the Provincial Librarian and Historian for the submission of this article.
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