The History of Pangbourne Lodge & Temple
In the early 1900’s, Bro. Allan A. Banyard came with his family to live in Pangbourne. Being a very keen Freemason, he soon realized that there were no Masonic Lodges in the immediate area between Reading, Newbury and Wallingford. He therefore conceived the idea of a Craft Lodge being formed in Pangbourne.
Bro. Banyard, a Commercial Traveller with social attributes, contacted various local brethren to form a nucleus of possible founder members; then went further afield and obtained the assistance of other interested brethren, including that of W.Bro. The Rev. A.E. Brisco Owen M.A. F.R.A.S., PAGChap, PPGChap (Berks), PPGChap (Staffs and Wilts), P.M. 2487 and 3129 – a very prominent Freemason.
With the support of 28 petitioners and the sponsorship of The Reading Lodge of Union No. 414, together with the recommendation of the then Provincial Grand Master of Berkshire, R.W. Bro. John Thornhill Morland, M.A., a Charter was granted by Grand Lodge on the 6th December 1921. The Lodge was Consecrated on the 4th February 1922 at the New Hall, Pangbourne; the Ceremony being performed by R.W.Bro. John Thornhill Morland, M.A., Provincial Grand Master for Berkshire, along with the Grand Officers also from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Berkshire.
With the membership increasing steadily and to such an extent that it was proving difficult to provide comfortable accommodation for the members, and further, the Ceremonies could not be performed efficiently, the Permanent Committee decided to start a fund to purchase a suitable building to meet their current needs and to provide for the future.
By great good fortune, Shooters Hill House came onto the market in early 1928; it was a large property, the original house having been built in the late 1800’s, and had been extended over the intervening years. It was situated on the Reading to Oxford Road, Pangbourne (A329) on high ground, close to and overlooking one of the loveliest reaches of the River Thames.
The property was formerly the home of Mr D.H. Evans, the founder of the famous department stores and was to be sold in three sections. The Lodge decided to purchase the eastern section for the sum of £1,100; the purchase was completed in September 1928.
One of the features which makes Pangbourne Temple different from the general run of Lodge Rooms is the established custom that every Worshipful Master of the Lodge shall have his photograph taken, in his regalia. These photographs are hung above the mahogany panelling, commencing at the south-east corner of the Lodge.
The Temple was dedicated on the 6th October 1928, by the Right Worshipful Bro. H.R.H. Prince Arthur of Connaught, K.G., at that time, Provincial Grand Master, assisted by the V.W.Bro. The Rev. Canon F.J.C. Gillmer, M.A., T.D., DepPGM and the Officers of Provincial Grand Lodge with great ceremony.