Newbury Masonic Centre,
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The geneses for the formation of a Lodge associated with the village of Theale was mooted in 1974 by a number of senior masons (and some not so senior) who were members of The Aldermaston Lodge, which, being a summer Lodge, met at the Berkshire Masonic Centre at Sindlesham from April to September. It was felt that a new Lodge meeting from October to March would fill a gap for members living in Theale, or with some connection to it. It would enable such brethren to practice their Masonry throughout the year. Accordingly, the then Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro Brigadier E W C Flavell supported the petition to the Grand Master and Theale on Holybrook Lodge was consecrated on 30th September 1975 with 22 subscribing members.
At its beginning, the Lodge met at The Memorial Hall in Aldermaston Village and from 1976 supper after the meeting was at The Old Mill, Aldermaston, which has served the inner Mason with victuals ever since. In 1982 the Lodge moved its meeting place to The Newbury Masonic Hall, mainly for logistical reasons associated with the venue in Aldermaston.
The Lodge crest depicts Theale Parish Church which is dedicated to the Holy Trinity. The architect was Edward Garbet and was consecrated by the then Bishop of Salisbury in 1832. The church, especially the western façade and the buttresses, bear resemblance to Salisbury Cathedral and Pevsner wrote that the church is modelled on the Cathedral. The steeple is positioned to the south-east of the nave which suggests that it was an afterthought.
The Lodge Banner, which was donated by Mrs Dorothy Stone, widow of a Founder member of the Lodge and mother of W Bro Roy Stone, a very senior member of the Lodge. It shows the junction of the Holy Brook from the main channel of the River Kennet at what has always been known in Theale as ‘Arrowhead’. The Holy Brook rejoins the main channel in the centre of Reading, adjacent to the site of Reading Abbey and is some 9.7 km long. Along its course it served two water mills, Calcot Mill and Abbey Mill, both of which originally belonged to the Abbey.
Theale on Holybrook Lodge celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2015. It is a thriving and friendly Lodge with some 52 members, many of whom still live or work locally in the west Berkshire area. The Lodge meets six times a year on the first Thursday in October to March. The Worshipful Master is installed at the December meeting. The Master also hosts a very popular annual Sunday lunch at The Old Mill in June and there is an equally successful Ladies’ Evening or weekend, usually in November. Since its formation the Lodge has generously supported various Masonic Charities, as well as non-Masonic Charities.