It was back in August 2002 that the idea of a Lodge for narrow
boat owners and other enthusiasts was first formally put
forward, resulting in one of the newest Lodges, but one
representing an ancient tradition, in Grand Junction Lodge
No. 9775, consecrated at Northampton in 2004.
The name ‘Grand Junction’ was chosen as this was the
name of the waterway from Brentford in West London to
Braunston in Northamptonshire prior to the Grand Union
canal being formed.
We believed that the inland waterway network of England
was a unique possible source of new blood into Freemasonry,
presenting a broad base with which to attract new members.
Because many members would be boat owners, it was felt that
each meeting would be a weekend gathering rather than just
an evening out.
Being a canal-based Lodge, it was decided that one venue
each year would be held at a venue somewhere along the
canal system, and it would be a white table, with ladies and
other non-Masons invited. So, instead of an hour’s journey
by road, it can take up to a day and a half by canal!
The temple can be described as ‘compact’ or ‘bijou’ as
it is in the restaurant area of the Boat Inn at Stoke Bruerne,
Northamptonshire, where the landlord is Andrew
Woodward, the first Master. Andrew is co-owner of the
Inn, and it has been in his family for more than 125 years.
There is a picture of the temple on the Lodge web site.
However, holding Masonic meetings on licensed premises
threw up an interesting hurdle on the way to forming the
Lodge. Rule 117, Book of Constitutions, states:
No proprietor or manager of the tavern or house at which a Lodge
meets shall hold any office in the Lodge without a dispensation
from the Grand Master or in a Province or District from the
Provincial or District Grand Master.
However, we had no problem in obtaining the necessary
dispensation for Andrew Woodward to become the
There are brass boat hooks as insignia on all wands
irrespective of office and the shafts are in liquorice stick
design, reflecting the old working boat traditions of the canals,
which I made, while Trevor Boswell made the pedestals.
Graphic designer John Sermon – a good name for our
Chaplain? – designed the Lodge crest which adorn founders
jewels and the banner.
Like all Lodges, we raise money for various charities, and
among those that we have supported is the Northamptonshire
St John’s Ambulance Mountbatten Crusader Fund, this being
a canal boat for the disabled.
Such has been the success of the Lodge that we have had
to hold extra meetings and ask other Lodges to help us out
with ceremonies, and our meetings have proved very popular
Ladies Festival venues, too, have taken on a special
meaning, including trips to Lille and Bruges – yes, both have
canals! This, plus the July white table meeting, ensures we are
very much a ‘community’ Lodge, with an outward-looking
perspective of Freemasonry in the 21st century.
Mike King is a founder member and
Past Master of Grand Junction Lodge
Lodge website: www.grandjunctionlodge.com
Grand Junction Lodge founder
member Alex Franks on his
narrow boat at Three Locks on
the Grand Union canal at Stoke
Hammond in Buckinghamshire
Web site created by Mark Griffin