The History of Bretby Lodge

Bretby Lodge No 9063 was warranted on the 10th of December 1982. Our lodge was then consecrated on the Monday 14th January 1983 by R. W. Bro. Charles Connal Wilson who was at that time Provincial Grand Master for Derbyshire. The master designate was W. Bro. A. Cliffe, the instillation was carried out by W. Bro. S. M. C. Jones, his rank at that time was P.S.G.D. Deputy Provincial Grand Master and was assisted by W. Bro. D. C. Law, and his rank at that time was Asst. Prov. G.M.

Bretby Lodge First Regular Meeting Summons

There were in total 34 founder members, some of which are still active members of our lodge. An acknowledgement of gratitude was made by the founder members to Tutbury Castle Lodge No. 2630 who had sponsored the Bretby Lodge Petition to Grand Lodge. W. Bro. Arthur Danks, a founder member of our lodge kindly supplied documentation of his summons for his first regular meeting. The summons shows the date of the first meeting and the labour of lodge which was to initiate Simon Gaskin whose uncle W. Bro S. Swain was also a founder member.

W. Bro. A. Danks

Dedication of Bretby Lodge

The dedication of the lodge banner took place on the same evening W. Bro. Danks was installed has the lodge's third master. The dedication was carried out by the R. W. Provincial Grand Master who gave consent to the unveiling of the banner. Worshipful Brother Arthur Danks can be seen in the picture to the night of his installation.

Bretby Lodge Banner

The name "Bretby" is taken from a small village not far from Burton Masonic Temple here in South Derbyshire, a village which is full of history.

BannerThe design on the banner is of a cedar tree which stood in the grounds of Bretby Hall. The hall, the home of the Stanhope family, later bore the name Earldom of Chesterfield. The male line of the family held high office in the Grand Lodge of England and also in the Provincial Grand Lodge of Derbyshire.

Chains which fasten the tree branches to its trunk recall a legend that every time a branch fell, the head of the house of Chesterfield would die

The tree, brought to Bretby in 1676 from Lebanon, was condemned as unsafe and felled on the 19th January 1954.

Extract from the Derby Evening Telegraph 18/1/1954

Bretby's famous cedar of Lebanon, a gaunt 80ft high tree standing in the grounds of Bretby Orthopaedic Hospital is doomed. The tree, brought to Bretby in 1676, from Lebanon and probably the first cedar to be planted there has been condemned as unsafe. Under "Operation Topple" which began yesterday, the tree is scheduled to be crashed tomorrow.

Preserving Part of The Tree

Because of its historical interest, a portion will be preserved. A stump about 3ft high will be left to mark the spot where the cedar provided a landmark, and became a source of various legends. Derby No1 Hospital Management Committee also propose to retain a circular cross section of the trunk for display in the hospitals main hall. Another section will be offered to Derby Museum, and there are plans to plant a replacement tree of the same species near to where the original cedar grew.

The Legend

Rusty chains which fasten the tree branches to its trunk recall a legend that every time a branch fell, the head of the House of Chesterfield would die. Bretby Castle was purchased in 1585 by Sir Thomas Stanhope of Elvaston, an ancestor of the Earl of Harrington, and shortly afterwards his son was made the first Earl of Chesterfield by Charles 1. Legend has it that because the Lebanon Cedar, a remnant of the original estate was splashed with blood when Lady Margaret Chesterfiel jumped to her death from one of the keeps high towers, anybody who cut down the tree would be haunted or suffer ill luck. Mr E J Flood, a tree felling contractor of Allestree, who, with an employee is cutting down the tree, told a telegraph representative today; Lady Margaret has not bothered us so far, but we are crossing our fingers, just in case. The trunk of the tree is about 20ft in circumference, but its timber, according to Mr Flood is not much good commercially. Felled 19/1/1954.