Methuen Chapter 


Chapter No 1533


Meeting at The Masonic Hall, Oxford Street, Marlborough, SN8 1AP Wiltshire.


The Chapter meets at 6.30pm on the second Tuesday in February, April, October and December.


Installation meeting in December




History of the formation of Methuen Chapter

The Lodge of Loyalty No. 1533 was Consecrated at Marlborough Town Hall on Tuesday 23rd May, 1876. The brethren sojourned in this inconvenient building for seven years when the opportunity to move to a building at the rear of No. 131 High Street was gladly taken up. 

The WM then announced "that the next business before the Lodge was to consider a proposition that a Royal Arch Chapter to be called the Methuen Chapter be attached to the Lodge, and he had much pleasure in proposing the following resolution: that the Lodge of Loyalty No. 1533 hereby signifies its approval that a Royal Arch Chapter be attached to this Lodge, to be called the Methuen Chapter.

W.Bro. J.A. Lloyd rose to second this proposition and stated that "it was considered a great honour for a Lodge to have a Chapter attached to it, and that in calling it the Methuen Chapter they were perpetuating the name of one highly esteemed in the Province of Wiltshire, the Right Worshipful the Provincial Grand Master for Wiltshire, Lord Methuen." The letters of support which were read by W. Bro. J.A. Lloyd were from very eminent people indeed. The first came from Field Marshall Lord Methuen of Corsham Court, who was Provincial Grand Master of the Province of Wiltshire 1853 to 1891; others were received from: Lord Henry Thynne, M.P. of Longleat House, a very prominent Wiltshire Freemason, Grand Superintendent in and over the Province from 1875 to 1892, who acted as Consecrating Officer at the formation of the Lodge of Loyalty in 1876; Lord Henry Bruce, who became 5th Marquis of Ailesbury. He lived at the Mansion House in the heart of Savernake Forest, and was M.P. for Marlborough for many years; Col. Sir Francis Burdett, Bart., from Ramsbury Manor, a very exalted Freemason who was Senior Warden of the Grand Lodge of England and Provincial Grand Master of the Province of Middlesex, (a Royal Arch Chapter named after him meets at Cole Court, Twickenham, Middlesex). His Royal Highness The Duke of Albany, the youngest son of Queen Victoria, who was at that time Grand Superintendent in and over the Province of Oxfordshire. 

Worshipful Master Alfred Risdon, who put these discussions in motion, was the first Medical Officer of Health for Marlborough. He held that post from 1872 until 1887. The Senior Warden Bro. Horace Cooper, also a medical doctor, succeeded Dr. Risdon in the post of Medical Officer of Health in 1887. He was a prime mover in the founding of Savernake Hospital where a portrait of him still hangs. Bro. W.S. Bambridge the Junior Warden was a musician of great distinction. He arrived at Marlborough College in 1864 to take up the position of Director of Music. He filled this post until retirement in 1911. A New Zealander by birth, he came to England at an early age and eventually studied music at Oxford where he gained the Degree of Doctor of Music. 


The deliberations on whether it was wise to form this new Chapter continued with W. Bro. Plummer, a Swindon Freemason and Founder Member of the Lodge of Loyalty stating "There must have been lengthy discussion on what was a fair rental for the Chapter to pay because "W.Bro. J.A. Lloyd then proposed an amendment that the Chapter should be charged five guineas for the first year.    This sum to include all extras such as gas firing etc. seconded by Bro. Bambridge and carried unanimously. W.Bro. Lloyd stated that the Chapter could not possibly injure the Craft Lodge, and he sincerely hoped that the Chapter and Craft had a prosperous future before them.   He had already sufficient funds to hand to enable the chapter to be free of debt.


W.Bro. J.A. Lloyd, who had done so much in the preparations for the formation of a Chapter in Marlborough, was honoured by being invested as Grand Chaplain of the United Grand Lodge of England.  The Lodge of Loyalty Minutes of the meeting held on 18th December 1888 read, "W.Bro R.W. Merriman rose to congratulate W.Bro. J.A. Lloyd on having been selected to fill the honourable and distinguished post of Grand Chaplain of England".

On 20th November 1883 the Provincial Scribe E of WiItshire published a summons requesting Royal Arch Masons to attend the Consecration Meeting of the new Chapter at the Masonic Hall, Marlborough on Monday 10th December, 1883 at 12.30 o'clock in the afternoon precisely. This summons also announced the attendance of the Most Excellent The Grand Superintendent, The Right Honourable, Lord H. F. Thynne, M. P. The final announcement on the summ0ns stated that a banquet would be served at. 2.15 o'clock punctually at the Ailesbury Arms Hotel. Tickets including Dessert and Waiters 6/6d.


The Consecration of the Methuen Chapter took place in the new Masonic Hall at the rear of 131 High Street. Access to this building was by a long passage, still in existence, between Nos. 130 and 131 High Street. This hall had been dedicated to Masonic use only a month earlier, on 23rd October, 1883.