The Old Oakhamian Masonic Lodge is probably one of the most regular and widely supported organised sections running under the Old Oakhamian banner.
The Lodge was originally the brainchild of Alwynne and Kenneth Westmoreland, who were at the time members of the Vale of Catmos Lodge No 1265 which still meets regularly in Oakham. Towards the end of 1963 they decided to call a meeting of those members of the Vale of Catmos Lodge, who had been educated at Oakham School, to discuss the possibility of forming an Old School Lodge. Some of those who attended were their brother Geoffrey, Russ Thornton, Rupert Baines, Frank Gilman, Charles Dennison, William Steele, John R Clarke and Eric Chambers. As there was such enthusiastic support they agreed to go ahead and action the formation of the Old Oakhamian Lodge.
Following on from the meeting fantastic efforts were made to contact as many other Old Boys who might be interested in becoming founder members and from thereon JCB (Sandy) Thompson, Gilbert Chatterton, Stuart Humphrety, Eric Guillaume, Reginald Banks, Kenneth Righton, L Robert Wright, G Anthony Wharton, Bruce Donald, D Brian (Joe) Holyoake and Philip Mockford all became founder members. What was most interesting was that many of the founders were living miles away from Oakham even as far as the Isle of Wight.
Obviously, the whole idea had to be discussed with the Headmaster at the time, so John Buchanan was contacted and he readily agreed to the Lodge being formed and made the generous offer of providing suitable accommodation for the Lodge at the School. Fortunately and with many thanks subsequent Heads have continued this assistance.
In due course a Warrant for the formation of the Old Oakhamian Lodge No 8033 was granted by the United Grand Lodge of England on 29th April 1965 and the Lodge was consecrated on Saturday 22nd May 1965 in the Barraclough Hall, Oakham School by the then Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire and Rutland Right Worshipful Brother Brigadier CBS Morley assisted by many of his other Provincial Officers. After the Consecration a very enjoyable Festive Board was held at the Oakham Crown Hotel. The Crown of course, well known to many Old Oakhamians and their visiting parents over many years.
At this point the Lodge had accommodation but that was only a start as it became necessary to borrow at lot of the furniture used in the Lodge from the Vale of Catmos Lodge. Before and after very meeting the working parties were in action, hauling the heavy carpet and all the other equipment backwards and forwards to and from the Victoria Hall where they held their meetings.
In due course the Lodge acquired its own furniture as Rupert Baines made the Officer’s pedestals and the kneeling stool using solid oak acquired from surplus pews from one of the Rutland churches. Rupert was a very skilled carpenter and the beauty of his craftmanship is today still clear to see. Russ Thornton painted the Tracing Boards. The original carpet was purchased second hand from the Rutland Lodge No 1130, which met in Melton Mowbray.
One of the symbolic tools, a poniard, was originally a dagger acquired from a German SS Officer during the Italian Campaign in the Second World War. A skirret used in one of the ceremonies was made by students at Stamford College Engineering Department. The candlesticks and their support bases together with the rough and smooth ashlars and a tripod were purchased from a Newark Lodge which was surrendering their Warrant. On closer examination it was found that the candlesticks and bases had been heavily painted in a very dark brown paint and when this was removed it was discovered that they were made from solid oak and more than a perfect match for the pedestals.
The Lodge was initially located in the Barraclough Hall but then the School planned to convert the hall into a theatre. They did, however, provide some alternative accommodation in the Old Hall, School House, where the Lodge still meets today.
In recent years the Old Oakhamian Lodge has made donations to a number of local charities including:- Wish Upon a Star, Royal Leicester Regiment Museum, RNLI Rutland, Rutland Sailability, Oakham School Charity Association (OSCA), Oakham All Saints Scouts Group, Rainbows, LOROS and Warning Zone.
The Lodge always meets on Saturday evenings, four times a year, to enable those who from afar to organise their travel. This was very useful as far as the Master in 2005/2006 was concerned as he travelled regularly from New Jersey, USA.
One very notable action which occurs whilst dining, is that the Lodge always toasts the School. How wonderful it is to be able to stand for that toast with Old Boys whose ages can range from 21 to over 90. It is a true reflection of the respect for the School, appreciated by so many, who all have their own personal memories.
The Lodge appreciates everything that all the Headmasters and the School staff have done over so many years to enable the Lodge to hold its meetings.