Founders Jewel Found

The Secretary of Old Cedarians’ Lodge No 8078, Rob Venn, tells the tale of the recovery of a priceless piece of the lodge’s history.

‘A few weeks ago I received an e-mail from a tree surgeon, Mark Angear, who had been working at the base of a tree at Chertsey Library. He had found a few ‘bits and pieces’ among which was what he described in his e-mail as, ‘a medal of some kind’.

As it showed the name of the Old Cedarians Lodge, he had done some homework and contacted me, as Secretary of the Lodge, enclosing a couple of photographs.

My jaw dropped when I realised that I was looking at the Founders Jewel belonging to the First Master of the lodge, W Bro Jack Dennis.

I contacted Mark, expressing my amazement and asking if he needed payment for it, or if could we pay for postage or make a donation to a charity of his choice. He declined all of these and said that he would be pleased to put it in the post to me. He did just that and it arrived as seen in the photos.

I can hazard a guess at how it came to be in Chertsey, but am less able to work out how it came to be at the library. W Bro Ernie Wonnacott, a past Master, and past secretary of Old Cedarians moved there a few years ago. I am not sure why Ernie may have had the Jewel, but there is a story that could explain it.

When the lodge was founded in 1966 Ernie apparently was instrumental in its foundation, but having not been a Master Mason for the three years that I believe was a requirement, he was not able to be a founder, instead having to settle for being the first joining member. The pity was that the then Provincial Grand Master later said that, had he known the circumstances, he could have given a dispensation for Ernie to be a Founder member.

My guess is that Jack Dennis may have given it to Ernie at some point in recognition of his efforts.

Ernie passed away almost exactly one year ago, and his widow, Pat, has no recollection of the jewel.

Certainly, its value to anybody else is minimal, but to the lodge it is very nearly priceless; we are delighted to welcome it home!’