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MASONIC LODGES ASSOCIATED WITH RUDYARD KIPLING

by W/Bro. William T. Brown: Kipling
Newporton Lodge No. 315 and
Irish Lodge of Research No. CC.

Presented at:

THE MASONIC HALL,

BALLINAMALLARD, COUNTY FERMANAGH.

26TH APRIL 2003

RUDYARD KIPLING

 

"I keep six honest serving-men
They taught me all I knew;
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who."

Elephant's Child in "Just So Stories" - Joseph Rudyard Kipling 1865-1936

INTRODUCTION

This short article was produced as a result of the necessity to inform Masons generally that Rudyard Kipling was associated with a number of Masonic Lodges as Kipling would have liked, in an area over which the sun didn’t set- that is between Australia and Ireland, the latter where his forbearers sought refuge. This article covers the Masonic career of Rudyard Kipling, those Lodges, which sought to incorporate his name in their title, and the Lodges with which he was associated.

MOTIVATION

I have been motivated to pen this short article as a result of three influences. The first the fact that I am a member of Kipling Newporton, Masonic Lodge No. 315 Irish Constitution. The second that I was introduced to both my Mother Lodge and the Irish Lodge of Research 200 by one of my Lodge’s most prominent Masons and good friend D Harry Weir RW Provincial Grand Master Tyrone and Fermanagh and the third as a result of an article produced by V.W.Bro David B. McCutcheon the Editor of the Glenlough Masonic News. Entitled Rudyard Kipling, Writer, Poet and Exceedingly good Freemason (see Glenlough Masonic News Vol. 1 No. 6 Autumn 2000). I felt that if David who is not a member of the Lodge was motivated to research Rudyard Kipling in his excellent article then I as a member of Kipling Newporton should also be sufficiently interested in Rudyard Kipling to carry out some research.

Whilst this was my motivation, it was a pride in the great Empirist and Mason, which motivated Brethren to name their Lodges after Rudyard Kipling. It is now appropriate to look at Joseph Rudyard Kipling, his life, his lifetime Masonic interest and his short but most productive Masonic career.

RUDYARD KIPLING – HIS LIFE

RUDYARD AS A YOUNG MAN

Rudyard Kipling was born on 30.12.1865 in Bombay, India, the jewel of the British Crown where his Father John Lockwood Kipling had an appointment at a local School of Art. The name Rudyard may have stemmed from the fact that one of their favourite places was Rudyard in Staffordshire the name of a small hamlet 2 ½ miles west of Biddulph. Nearby, Rudyard Lake is a beauty spot, even though it is was originally a reservoir especially constructed to supply the Trent and Mersey Canal. Here a young Lockwood Kipling and his fiancée Alice Macdonald used to walk together and they decided to name their son after this romantic spot. Both Rudyard Kipling’s Grandfathers were Methodist Ministers. His mother’s family name was MacDonald the forbearers of which emigrated to Ballinamallard, Co. Fermanagh, Ireland after the Battle of Culloden.

In 1761 James MacDonald was born in the village of Ballinamallard. James had a Son George Brown MacDonald who was the Grandfather of Rudyard. George in due course came under the religious influence of John Wesley and as a result became a Methodist Minister. George had four Daughters who in due course were to marry men that would reach prominence in the great Empire. Georgina married an artist Ned Jones who as Phillip Burne Jones became a member of the Royal Academy and was knighted. Another Daughter Agnes married an Edward Poynter another Artist who also became a member of and in due course President of the Royal Academy in 1896 and also a Knight of the Realm. Louisa another Daughter married Alfred Baldwin the Son of an Iron and Steel Merchant. They were to make a major impact on British History, their Son Stanley and cousin of Rudyard Kipling becoming Prime Minister of Great Britain. These Aunts were to have a major influence on Rudyard and his Cousin Stanley was to be a great friend. The four MacDonald girls have recently been the subjects of a book " A Circle of Sisters" by Judith Flanders (2001).

After his early and very happy childhood in India where he had to be chastised to speak English at meals he was sent to England for his formal education, as was the custom at that time. He lived with Captain and Mrs Holloway at Southsea where he was most unhappy for two reasons. He was 6 years old and the 12-year-old Holloway boy constantly bullied him. Mrs Holloway herself regularly caned him. One could be forgiven for thinking that Holloway Prison was named after her. Due to reading in poor light Rudyard’s eyes suffered and when he went to school at Bridgeford Bay he was excused games. This proved fortuitous for he was asked to edit the school magazine a job believed specially resurrected for him. This proved to be his forte because he was a scholastic lad writing articles for the magazine and poetry copies of which he sent to India to his Mother Alice. Rudyard had discovered his literary calling upon which he was firmly on course and from which he was never to falter throughout his distinguished life.

In 1882 when he was 17 years old he had to return to India to take up employment. He was made Sub-Editor of the Civil and Military Gazette in Lahore. This period in his life was also important because his creativity was blossoming, his work was increasing in quality and quantity and Lahore was to be the setting for the commencement of his Masonic career.

THE CIVIL AND MILITARY GAZETTE

As he became more proficient he was given more prestigious assignments to prepare him for a future in journalism. At this time he was accepted into the Order in the Lodge of Hope and Perseverance, No. 782, E.C. He was only 20 years of age but was given dispensation by the District Grand Master for initiation. He was entered into the Order on 5th. April1886. He was passed to the degree of Fellow Craft on 3rd.May 1886 and was raised to the Third Degree of Master Mason on 6th December1886. His literary talents were recognised much like the financial skills of a Bank official to day because he was made Secretary immediately and he recorded his own rising in the minutes for that night on 6th December.

The motivating influence of Freemasonry on Kipling must have been considerable because in the next year he delivered two papers to the Lodge entitled, "The Origins of The Craft First Degree" and "Popular Views on Freemasons". Whilst he had been progressing in his Masonic study and theory he was also advancing practically having become Secretary of his Lodge and advanced to the Degree of Mark Master Mason in Fidelity Mark Lodge No. 98 and also Mark Mariner in Mark Mariners Lodge also No. 98. The following year 1887 he was transferred in his employment to Allahabad, where in 1888 he joined the Lodge of Independence with Philanthropy No 391 in Allahabad. He had kept in touch with his Lodge back in Lahore and when he took his demit and joined No. 391 they were disappointed to lose his service, interest and commitment. With the exception of a visit to Lahore about which we shall read shortly, he left India in 1889 to return to England.

 

In England he met, lived amongst and socialised with many writers, journalists and poets one of whom was a Walter Besant who was also a founding member of Lodge QC 2076. Rudyard Kipling’s writings increased and grew in popularity as a result of which he was able to attain a reasonable standard of living by the standards of those days. He also attained some notice and fame as more people were reading his writings across the Empire.

A friend, publisher and journalist Charles Wolcott Balestier solved two problems for Rudyard at this time. He looked after his literary affairs in the United States and he also provided the circumstances where he could introduce Rudyard to his sister Caroline at a family gathering in the Isle of Wight. Rudyard in due course visited South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, and Ceylon and thence to Lahore to visit his family the visit I mentioned earlier. After only four days at Lahore he was informed of the death of his very good friend Wolcott Balestier from typhus in Dresden, Germany. He immediately returned to Britain where he married Wolcott’s sister Caroline on 18th January1892. They travelled on honeymoon to the United States where he met all the Balestier family and on to Yokahama where they were in time to take in a minor earthquake. They returned to the United States to the area of Brattleboro, Vermont.

 

BRATTLEBORO VERMONT USA

On 29.12.1892 their first daughter Josephine was born and on 2nd February1895 a second daughter Elsie was born. While it could be said that Rudyard and his family had a very happy life, problems with Caroline’s brother caused the family to move back to England. After living at a London Hotel, and with his aunt Lady Burne Jones at Rottingdean near Brighton, they had one further move of home before finally moving to a home near Burwash, Sussex. This home to which they were to move in 1902 was a Jacobean house the Kiplings called ‘Bateman’s’ where they were to remain for the rest of their lives.

On 17th August 1897 Carrie gave birth to a son whom they called John. In 1898 the Kiplings visited South Africa and their friend Cecil Rhodes after whom Rhodesia was named. Such was the friendship Kipling enjoyed with Cecil Rhodes that the latter built the family a house in the Rhodes estate called, ‘The Woolsack’.

Sadly South Africa was to become embroiled in the Boer War the following year. Kipling was a fortunate man to have so many influential friends one of whom we shall encounter shortly, a friend who was to prove a great assistance to the Kiplings. In January 1899 the Kiplings returned to the United States where Carrie wished to visit her family. Unfortunately the mid-winter weather was so severe that Josephine took an infection and died on the 6th March. Kipling was at this time also seriously ill with pneumonia and was not told of the death for some considerable time. The Kiplings left America never to return again. His friend Andrew Carnegie allowed the family the use of a manse at Sutherland where both Kipling and Carnegie fished in the tranquil Scottish highlands. Kipling made a good recovery for in the next year January 1900 the family left for South Africa where he was to be a War Correspondent.

In Capetown he met Lord Roberts who encouraged him to edit a newspaper for the British Forces. Kipling penned a poem ‘ The Absent Minded Beggar’ which Sir Arthur Sullivan a fellow Mason put to music. So successful was the project that it raised ¼ million pounds for bereaved military families.

Rudyard Kipling’s writings were to receive such international acclaim that in 1907 he received the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature. In 1910 both his parents died which was a great loss to him. As the new century proceeded the storm clouds of war were gathering over Europe in a conflict, which due to treaties between countries was to become the First World War. At the commencement of the First World War Kipling was 49 years of age and with his poor eyesight, was a recruit the Army could best do without. Not so his Son John who had similar eyesight to his Father. He was initially turned down on account of his eyesight but his Father pulled strings with Lord Roberts (Bobs) and with Kipling’s permission John was recruited into the Irish Guards and the First World War. Sadly after the Irish Guards went to France John at 17 years of age was killed at the battle of Loos. Such was Kipling’s affinity with the Irish Guards that he commenced in 1917 to write the classic and definitive ‘History of the Irish Guards During the 1914-1918 War’.

If Josephine and his parent’s deaths was a blow to Kipling, John’s death was a sledgehammer blow over which he did not really recover. He was invited to join the Imperial War Graves Commission after the War. This organisation is now known as the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Rudyard accompanied King George V to inspect the War Graves in France and it is to Kipling again that we owe the immortal words, " Their Name Liveth for Evermore". This epitaph appears on so many war memorials throughout the Empire.

 

THEIR NAME LIVETH FOR EVERMORE

Kipling and Caroline were staying at the Browns Hotel, in London in January 1936 when he took ill and was admitted to the nearby Middlesex Hospital. He died on January 18th 1936 the anniversary of his wedding to Caroline. He was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium on 20th January and his ashes interred in Poets Corner at Westminster Abbey on Thursday 23 rd January, the day his great friend King George V died. The British Empire lost a great King and the Order one of its most famous Masons. Rudyard Kipling’s name will be remembered long after many have been forgotten.

THE LODGES NAMED AFTER RUDYARD KIPLING

A number of Lodges have been named after Brother Rudyard Kipling my own Lodge Kipling Newporton being one about which I will discuss later.

RUDYARD KIPLING LODGE NO 8169, EC

The Rudyard Kipling Lodge No 8169, EC meets at the Masonic Hall, Church Street, Battle, Sussex. The Lodge was founded 19th May1967 and the preamble to the Lodge Byelaws state; 
"The Lodge has been founded to keep alive amongst Masons the memory of Bro. Rudyard Kipling, Master Mason". 

One of the Founders, still regularly attending the Lodge, Sir Henry Fielden, knew Rudyard Kipling personally as he lived very close to Bateman’s, Rudyard Kipling's home. The Lodge initially met at Uckfield but moved to Battle many years ago when the membership base shifted to people from the east side of East Sussex. Both Lodges are within ten miles of Bateman’s. 
 

The penultimate toast at Festive Board is, 

WM "Junior Warden, what is the next toast?" 
JW "To him whose name we bear" 
WM "Senior Warden, who is that?" 
SW "Brother Rudyard Kipling". 
WM "JW, why do we honour him?" 
JW "As he honoured the Craft in his writings so do we honour him" 
WM "Then let us be upstanding and drink a toast to Bro. Rudyard Kipling, Master Mason, author and Nobel Prize Winner"

Battle in Sussex and is situated approximately 6 miles from Burwash. The Rudyard Kipling Lodge No 8169 EC is one of seven Lodges meeting in that Sussex Town. The Lodge was warranted in 1967 and meets on the 2nd Monday of the months of January, March, April, May and November. The installation is held on the 2nd Monday in October. The town of Burwash where the Kiplings lived has 2 Lodges Tilsmore 4499 EC and Wadhurst 9080 EC.

 

 

LODGE 8169 BANNER

RUDYARD KIPLING LODGE NO 9681 EC

This Lodge, the most recently warranted encapsulates both the good work in Freemasonry with the Scouting movement. Rudyard Kipling had been a great friend of Lord Baden Powell and the scouting movement and had directed a considerable amount of effort towards the scouting movement. The most natural reaction of those involved in both Scouting and Freemasonry is to form a Kindred Lodge of which Rudyard Kipling Lodge No 9681 is an excellent example. The recent history of this Lodge and its details are as David Gratrick described :-

In 1995 W/Bro Hugh Sargent moved to Lincoln. He visited Lodge Ashlar, and invited W/Bro. David Gratrick and some other brethren down to his Lodge in Radlet, Hertfordshire, called Kudu. At this meeting it was expressed that the Brethren form our own Scout Lodge in Lincoln and from this W/Bro.David Gratrick arranged a meeting where they formed a committee to set up the new Lodge. W/Bro Hugh thought the name Rudyard Kipling would be an appropriate name for a Scout Lodge from the connexion with Baden Powell and Scouting and also Rudyard Kipling had been a great writer and Freemason.

Because he wrote the Jungle Book and the Cubs use the names in that book for their Leaders it was felt that the Lodge banner would have the Wolfs head on it after the central character in the Jungle Book, Akela the she wolf.

LODGE 9681 BANNER

The Lodge was consecrated on November 7 1998 at Skegness, by the then Provincial Grand Master John R Allin. The sponsoring Lodge was the Olive Union Lodge No. 1304 EC at Horncastle in central Lincolnshire. The Provincial Grand Lodge had said we had to recruit members from the entire area of Lincolnshire, and as such Horncastle is geographically so placed. The lodge meets on the first Saturday in the Months of March, July, September and November, which is also our Lodge Installation meeting. In May we meet on the second Saturday because of the Bank Holiday weekend. The July Meeting is held away from Horncastle usually at some other temple in the Province so that as many brethren as possible can visit our Lodge. Those members still active in the Scouting movement also attend the Lodge in uniform.

RUDYARD KIPLING LODGE NO 352 GNLF

This Lodge meets under the National Grand Lodge of France in Frejus in the south of France, 18 miles south west of Cannes on the Mediterranean coast.

The GNLF or French National Grand Lodge has a jurisdiction, which presides over 1,087 Lodges and approx. 50,000 members. The Lodge meets under the local jurisdiction of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Provence. The idea of a Lodge named after a British Mason is not unusual there are many instances of such, an example being the Lodge Robert Burns No 259 GLNF, which meets at Cherbourg. The idea of a French Lodge named after such an Imperialist shows what Masonry is all about – Brotherly Love. Kipling was a Mason and as such was recognised by fellow Masons

who wanted to acknowledge his achievements just as those Hindu, Mohammedan and Jewish Brethren in India.

His appeal whilst an Imperialist was also in a way like Burns a socialist, something the French could identify with and recognise. The Rudyard Kipling Lodge No 352 was as the French Brethren say consecrated on 27th November 1983. The Lodge meets at the Frejus/St. Raphael Masonic Temple at 3, Impasse du Bellay. The Lodge meets on the First Monday at 7.00 for opening at 7.30pm.precisely. At meetings of the Lodge to the great credit of our French brethren there is considerable business. It is not unusual to have a number of lectures on Masonic matters at the Lodge, to have reports on brethren ill or in hospital, a degree, an election for membership, local and Grand Lodge communications and a festive board. There is no question of our French Brethren being on the way home after an hour of Masonic labour.

The Lodge has as its Masonic Crest a Volume of the Sacred Law on which the left page contains additionally the words Rudyard Kipling and on the right page the Lodge Number 352 and the Square and Compasses as we would have them placed at our opening of Labour, all surrounded by a laurel wreath.

The Lodge named by Kipling at Saint Omer The Builders of the Silent Cities is still on the roll of the GLNF Lodges. (See below.)

RUDYARD KIPLING WITH LANGLEA ASSEMBLY NO 470 NSW

The United Grand Lodge of New South Wales was constituted in 1888 at the time of Australia’s early development. The Grand Lodge is located in Sydney and has 488 Lodges under its Jurisdiction consisting of approximately 26,000 brethren. The Lodge meets in the town of Bexley, NSW, and 9 miles south west of Sydney on the 1st Tuesday of each month with the installation at the May meeting. The Lodge was instituted on 5th May 1949 at a garage in Kogaragh. As a Lodge historian states: -

"Three Hundred at an installation was hardly more than commonplace and no Lodge was worth its salt unless it could boast five raisings at emergent Meetings. It was early 1950 whilst Freemasonry New South Wales style, rushed towards 1000 Lodges mark and a possible membership of 200,000 that Lodge Rudyard Kipling was born."

BEXLEY NEAR SYDNEY

The Lodge was initially to be called Matthew Flinders Lodge but due to the application for the name not meeting with Grand Lodge approval Rt.W/Bro. Dr. George Mackaness a noted Masonic historian and literary academic from Sydney University together with an early Secretary of the Lodge W/Bro Reg. Castle researched the Kipling Name and also obtained the permission of his Daughter Mrs. Elsie Bambridge to have the Lodge named in his honour and to use a Lodge Logo which is included hereunder. The Logo was used in many of Rudyard Kipling’s early books. The elephant is a symbol of strength, the lotus flowers of beauty and the circle within which they are contained, represents eternity.

KIPLING NEWPORTON LODGE NO 315 IC

This Lodge, my Lodge was described in the Masonic Publication ‘The Northern Freemason’ in 1937 as ‘The First Kipling Masonic Lodge’ a point that is continually ignored either through lack of research or the inability to make the association between Rudyard Kipling and the Lodge Kipling Newporton. The point was not lost on Masonic researchers in 1937, particularly those who researched Rudyard Kipling at that time just after his death.

Probably the greatest tribute that could have been paid to the Lodge was the statement in the October 1937 edition of the Northern Freemason when it was stated: -

 

"Lodge 315 is not an old Lodge, having been consecrated only in the year 1903, but has been uniformly successful, being efficiently managed, careful in its working, and not unmindful of practising the great precepts of the Order of Brotherly Love and generous support to the Benevolent Funds and the Orphanages of the Grand Lodge of Ireland."

THE NORTHERN FREEMASON, OCT. 1937.

The first Lodge was warranted in Ballinamallard, Co. Fermanagh in December 1767 with the number 457 IC. The Lodge became dormant prior to 1796 but was revived in September 1796 and continued to labour until the warrant was cancelled in 1823. For the next eighty years there was no Masonic Lodge warranted in the village. In 1903 a warrant, which had previously been held by Tandragee Lodge between 1759 and 1831 when the Lodge surrendered the warrant for a more senior, warrant No 79 IC, came to Ballinamallard.

The foundation members of the Newporton Lodge No 315 IC in 1903 were W.M. W.Bro. W Campbell; IPM W.Bro.HA Burke, S.W. W.Bro. HA Burke DL, J.W. Bro. RA Crozier; S.D. Bro. G O Toole, J.D. Bro. WJ Brown, Treasurer and Secretary W.Bro. Arthur Knox, I.G. Bro. RHT Creighton. The name Newporton is the old name of the Manor or District in which Ballinamallard village is situated. The First Master of the Lodge was W.Bro. W Campbell the local Shop Keeper. The Burke family were a prominent legal family in the area until quite recently. The J.D. WJ Brown was the Grandfather of our late-distinguished brother RW Bro Ian G Brown Past Provincial Grand Master of Tyrone and Fermanagh.

Shortly after the death of Bro. Rudyard Kipling on 18th January 1936 the Brethren of the Newporton Lodge No 315 were unanimous in their desire to perpetuate the memory of the Nation’s great Author and Poet and for his patriotic and lifelong service to the Empire and Freemasonry. Their recognition also included the fact that both Rudyard Kipling and the Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin’s forbearers came from this little village 6 ½ miles from the famous island and county town of Enniskillen. Please be in no doubt Ulster was a place dear to Bro Kipling’s heart and with which he could identify. He held strong feelings during the 1912 Home Rule crisis and penned the poem Ulster 1912 a few lines which explain his loyalty to Ulster and the Crown as follows: -

Ulster - 1912

 

" Believe, we dare not boast, Believe, we do not fear -- We stand to pay the cost In all that men hold dear. What answer from the North? One Law, one Land, one Throne. If England drive us forth We shall not fall alone!"

Application was made to change the name of the Lodge and the Grand Lodge of Ireland granted permission on 28th November 1936, one month prior to the grant by UGL to Hope and Perseverance No 782 EC.

LODGE OF HOPE AND PESEVERANCE NO 782 EC

"THE KIPLING’S LODGE"

This Lodge was warranted on 27th December 1858 at Lahore in the Punjab. The Lodge was superbly inter-racial and was well supported by both the British and Indian communities. The Lodge met on the 1st Monday of the months of October, November, December, January, February, March, April and May. The installation was in December.

It was in this Lodge that Rudyard Kipling was entered on 5th April 1886. On 3rd May 1886 he was passed to the degree of Fellow Craft and raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason on 6th December 1886. He was to become immediately Secretary of the Lodge and one would find it difficult to get a more appropriate Secretary than the young Rudyard Kipling. So enthusiastic was this new Mason that in his first year he presented two papers to the Lodge. Kipling was enthused with Masonry and all that it represented all of his life.

He was taken with the brotherliness of Masonry and how it transcended all races and creeds. Masonry represented to Kipling that ideal World where everything had its place and order in society. He was as he said entered by a Hindu, raised by a Mohammedan and passed by an English Master. In 1935 Kipling was made an Honorary Member of the Lodge and at the end of the year 1936 after his death the Lodge was granted the subsidiary title ‘The Kiplings Lodge". Due to the geographical and racial division of the Sub-continent of India after independence ironically the Lodge, which did much to foster relations between the different ethnic groups, has been unable to meet in Pakistan. The warrant is still held by the United Grand Lodge of England.

LODGES ASSOCIATED WITH RUDYARD KIPLING

FIDELITY MARK LODGE NO 98 EC

On 14th April 1887 Rudyard Kipling was advanced into the Mark Mason Degree in Fidelity Mark Lodge No 98 EC at Lahore. Like his Mother Lodge, this Lodge would not have survived the separation of India. The warrant is now held by St. Martins Lodge Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England.

MOUNT ARARAT MARK MARINERS LODGE NO 98 EC

 

On the night that he joined the Mark Lodge Rudyard joined this Mark Mariners Lodge in Lahore also affiliated to Lodge No 98. It would not have survived the division of India.

LODGE OF INDEPENDENCE WITH PHILANTHROPY, NO 391

In the year 1887 Rudyard was transferred in his employment to Allahabad, where in 1888 he joined the Lodge of Independence with Philanthropy No 391. The following year Kipling left Allahabad to return to England. The fate of this Lodge is more pleasant to record than those previously mentioned. On 24th November 1961 the Grand Lodge of India was formed which today presides over 319 Lodges consisting of approximately 15,000 brethren. In Allahabad there are 4 Lodges warranted, one of which is the Lodge of Independence with Philanthropy now numbered 2 in the Indian Constitution.

THE BUILDERS OF THE SILENT CITIES NO 12 GLNF

This Lodge was warranted in France in 1922 and the name was selected by Kipling and agreed by all the members. The majority of the members consisted of staff of the Imperial War Graves Commission and the name commemorated the Commission and those who died in the First World War. Rudyard Kipling was a foundation member of this Lodge. The lodge was warranted to work at Place Victor Hugo, Saint Omer, working the three symbolic degrees under the English Rite authorised by the French Grand Lodge. In the mid- 1920’s the Headquarters of the Imperial War Graves Commission moved from St Omer to London. This move, which involved all the senior staff, required a pragmatic response. (See also below.)

THE BUILDERS OF THE SILENT CITIES NO 4948 EC

This Lodge was warranted in December 1927 in London and again Rudyard Kipling was a founder member. The Lodge is still on the roll meeting at The Thistle, Lancaster Gate Hotel, on 3rd Friday of the months of January, March, May and December. The installation is on the date of the January Meeting.

THE BUILDERS OF THE SILENT CITIES GLNF NO12

This Lodge named and numbered after the original Imperial War Graves Commission Lodge warranted in 1922 and named by Kipling is now located at Lille in France. This Lodge is still active under the French National Grand Lodge.

QUATUOR CORONATI LODGE NO 2076 EC

Quatuor Coronati Lodge No 2076 was established in 1884 against a background of increasing interest in Freemasonry. This interest increasing after the union of the Ancients and Moderns in 1813 saw its zenith in 1874 with the accession of the Prince of Wales as Grand Master. The leadership of the Prince of Wales was the catalyst for what Dyer describes as the ‘great surge of interest outside the Craft as well as within it’

In the 1880’s there were at least three nation-wide Masonic publications and the interest in Masonic authorship was increasing. Sir Charles Warren was a prime mover towards a Lodge of Research. He had attempted to establish a Lodge for military personnel where discussion on archaeological subjects would be promoted. He attempted to form a Masonic Discussion Society in 1869 and in 1871 was involved in the formation of a Masonic Archaeological Institute, which ceased activities a few years later. Sir. Charles also attempted to set up a Masonic Literary Society but he could not garner sufficient interest to make the project viable. The one enduring project was the now World-renowned Lodge of Research, Quatuor Coronati, in January 1886. Rudyard Kipling was elected a member of the Correspondence Circle in May 1918 and remained a member until his death in 1936.

LODGE CANONGATE KILWINNING, NO 2 (SC)

This Lodge was warranted by Mother Kilwinning on 20th December 1677 and meets at the Chapel of St. John, Canongate, Edinburgh on 4th Wednesday in the months October to June except December at 7.00 p.m. In 1899 Rudyard Kipling was elected a member of this Lodge and six years later ‘The Poet Laureate’ of the Lodge a distinction conferred only once previously on another poet, Robert Burns in 1787. This honour conveyed on Kipling shows the standing in which he was also held by the brethren in Scotland at this time.

AUTHORS LODGE NO 3456 EC

This Lodge was warranted in 1910 in London and meets on the 3rd Wednesdays in January, March, May and October in The Freemasons Hall, Great Queen Street, London. It is quite understandable that the Lodge would have been a great sanctuary for writers to meet, enjoy some social activity and their Masonry.

Membership of this Lodge was restricted to Authors who had published. The members of the Authors’ Club in London were the first members of the Lodge, which was given the No 3456, which has immense significance according to Pythagoras. The triple root of the numbers 3 +4+5 equalling the triple root of 6. The Pythagorean Theory has been of immense value to builders and those who are required to make an angle of 90° . Rudyard Kipling was said to have been involved with this Lodge and the evidence was confirmed when I was able to peruse the transactions of this most distinguished Lodge. Rudyard Kipling was an Honorary Member of the Lodge. The transactions of the Lodge indicate that the Lodge probably had the last communication with Bro. Rudyard Kipling. The Lodge received a letter dated January 2nd 1936 from Bateman’s, the Kipling home.

Dear Brother Spalding,

Thank you very much indeed for the Lodge invitation for the 15th, but I am sorry to say that each year I pass from the labour of fighting the English climate to the refreshment, more or less, of the South of France, and by the 15th I ought to be there in whatever sunshine this mad world has to offer.

 

Please convey my regrets to the Brethren, and, Believe me,

Fraternally yours,

(Signed) RUDYARD KIPLING

The Brethren resolved at their meeting that a telegram be sent to Bro. Kipling, who was ill in the Middlesex Hospital, and the following telegram was at once despatched:

"To Bro. Rudyard Kipling- The Worshipful Master and Brethren Authors’ Lodge of Freemasons remember you to-night in the Toast of ‘Absent Brethren’ and wish you a speedy recovery."

At the next communication of the Lodge on 20th May 1936 the Master W/Bro. Spalding paid a moving tribute to the memory of the late Bro. Rudyard Kipling and informed his Brethren that it had been his sad duty to represent the Lodge at Westminster Abbey on January 23rd to pay a last sad tribute to the departed genius.

It was said that Kipling believed passionately and sincerely in the destiny of the British race, and in the dignity of doing a job of work-any job of work-to the best of one’s ability. W/Bro. Spalding said that their late Bro. had inspired men to think that their task in life was worthwhile, and that the truest reward was not the applause of one’s fellows, but the satisfaction of one’s own conscience.

The Lodge Symbol consists of the head of Hermes, the wings of whose helmet upheld an open volume bearing the words Authors Lodge No 3456. This tome is supported by on either side the ancient Egyptian Goddess of Truth and Literature, Ma’ath and Sesheta, above them being an inkstand with crossed quill-pens mounted by a reading lamp.

MOTHERLAND LODGE NO 3861 EC

 

When he returned to England, Rudyard Kipling further affiliated with "Motherland Lodge No.3861"in London. This Lodge was warranted in 1918 and meets at The Freemasons hall, Great Queen Street London on the 3rd Monday in April the 1st Monday in June and September and the last Tuesday in November.

FRIENDSHIP AND UNITY LODGE NO 1271 EC

 

This senior EC Lodge meets in Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire. The only other Lodge meeting in the Town is Broade Forde, No 8547 EC. The Lodge under the Wiltshire Province was warranted in 1869 and meets on 2nd Wednesday of the months September to May. The installation is held at the November communication of the Lodge. The Lodge invited Rudyard Kipling to visit them in 1931 who in response on 10th January 1931 replied from The Grand Pump Room Hotel, Bath: -

Dear Sir and Worshipful Brother

I am much honoured by your invitation to visit Friendship and Unity at Bradford on Avon next week, and greatly wish that it were in my power to accept it. Mrs. Kipling however is down here for a cure and I am afraid that I do not see my way for the present to undertake any engagements of social nature.

With Hearty and fraternal greetings to the Brethren believe me

Faithfully and fraternally yours

Signed Rudyard Kipling

PS I have not passed the chair, and being of an Indian Mixed Lodge, have never gone beyond the Blue Degrees.

These facts have been confirmed by the W.Bro. Secretary JE Todd to whom I am indebted.

>CONCLUSION

 

In this short article the object is to look at the life and the most interesting times of Brother Rudyard Kipling and those Masonic Lodges associated with the great Writer and Poet. Freemasonry had a most profound effect on Kipling which despite his irregular Masonic attendance strongly influenced his poetry and writings, some examples being ‘If’, ‘The Mother Lodge’, ‘My new-cut Ashlar’,’ The Palace and A Pilgrim's Way’.

Some might say that Kipling’s interest in Freemasonry waned as he grew older and this assessment could only be based on his attendance and participation in active Masonry. Initially he was a most enthusiastic Mason and his early career in the Craft could be described in terms little short of meteoric. Had Kipling remained in any one area as many very senior Masons do he would have risen to the highest levels in the Order. As his life and profession dictated he was very seldom in the one place for very long and regularly had appointments in many different locations around the World. When he was located at any place whilst there his time was interspersed with visits to his many friends.

It could be said that Brother Rudyard Kipling was a very modest man and also a very modest Mason. In John Webb’s book Rudyard Kipling – Man, Poet, Mason he gets to the kernel of the matter when he describes Kipling’s response to a letter from a gentleman from the University of Sydney, Australia. He states: -

" I was entered by a Hindu, raised by a Mohammedan, and passed by an English Master, but never rose beyond the office of Secretary."

WEBB J, 1996, P43

From reading these words and Rudyard Kipling’s response to the Friendship And Unity Lodge No 1271 EC where he again re-iterates his humble membership of the Order, one can quite rightly assume that Rudyard Kipling was very modest about his Masonry. It is not easy for a Brother to attend a meeting as a visitor after not having been at Lodge for a considerable period as he was. He was a man of the most capacious intellect. Rudyard Kipling’s thoughts on Freemasonry transcended mere ritual. Being as well known as Kipling was, he may have been embarrassed to have been tested and perhaps not have been as proficient as he would undoubtedly have liked to have been. This same situation arises when the Grand Master or the Provincial Grand Master makes an error in his ritual. Some very wise sages seem able only to remember that event, rather than the important points arising at that Grand meeting which should be disseminated to the Brethren at local level.

Finally I hope this paper goes some way towards redressing the balance of recognition denied to Lodge Kipling Newporton No 315 IC by many writers on Rudyard Kipling and Freemasonry. The only recognition we seem to get is by our own efforts, which is indeed something we need to address. So researchers also, please be fair and accurate and give Kipling Newporton, the oldest Lodge bearing the Kipling name, a mention when you research Brother Rudyard Kipling and Freemasonry in the future.

RUDYARD KIPLING’S GRAVE POETS’ CORNER

WESTMINSTER ABBEY

 

THE KIPLING SOCIETY

The Society promotes the works and all matters relating to Rudyard Kipling and has a most interesting website at www.kipling.org.uk. The address of the Society and Honorary Secretary are as follows: -

Mrs Jane Keskar, Honorary Secretary, The Kipling Society, 6 Clifton Road, 
London W9 1SS,Tel +. 44 20 7286

REFERENCES

Flanders, Judith. A Circle of Sisters: Alice Kipling, Georgiana Burne-Jones,

Agnes Poynter and Louisa Baldwin. Viking, London, 2001.

McCutcheon, VW Bro. David, Glenlough Masonic News, Vol 1 No 6, Autumn 2000

Kipling, JR, The Irish Guards In The Great War: The First Battalion, Spellmount Publishers, 1997

Weir RW Bro DH, History of Lodges in Ballinamallard, Lodge 200, Transactions, Vol 21

The Northern Freemason, October 1937

Minutes of Authors Lodge No 3456,

Webb J, Rudyard Kipling- Man, Poet, Mason, Ian Allan Publishing, 1996

Letters from WBros. Ken A Feltham, David A Gratrick, Ron JR Hart, Barry E Reynolds, V Spiessens and JE Todd.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I wish to place on record the assistance I received from W/Bro. W Douglas Sloan, a member of Kipling Newporton Lodge who laboured with and knew the founder members of the Lodge. W/Bro Sloan recorded the history of Masonic Lodges in the Ballinamallard area in the 18th Century, a good start for any Masonic Historian.

W. Bro. William T. Brown,

Kipling Newporton Lodge No. 315 and Irish Lodge of Research No. CC.




 

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