Freemasonry we are taught, has been in existence since “time immemorial”; however, organized Masonry as we know it in the English Constitution, saw it’s light on the 24th of June 1717; St John’s Day, when a year after a group of Brethren met at the Apple Taverresulted in the first Grand Lodge being constituted in London, England known as the Grand Lodge of London and Westminster ( The Primer Grand Lodge ).
Since the inception of the Grand Lodge thousands of lodges have been granted warrants, allowing them the authority under which to use the Hiramic Legend to impart a peculiar system of morality veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols. Hence permitting men who are, free and for the most part, of the full age of twenty-one years, by way of introspection on the teachings of Freemasonry (that is if they so desire), to improve their own character by developing one’s morality and spirituality; striving to eliminate those negative traits that might exist in one’s personality.
Two hundred and four years after the formation of the Grand Lodge, on the 7th of September 1921 the St Thomas Lodge No 4338 EC was granted its warrant and on the 21st of December of the same year it was consecrated. It should be noted that the Lodge’s name was to be that of “Edward Prince of Wales” in commemoration of a Royal visit planned for that year. This however was not to be as the visit was cancelled due to an epidemic of Kaffir pox in Jamaica. Because of the cancellation the name of the lodge was changed to the St Thomas Lodge which caused a delay in receiving the Charter and also accounts for the first minute book being stamped Edward Prince of Wales Lodge.
The St Thomas Lodge owes its genesis to W. Bro. Canon A. N. Thompson who had come to St Thomas from Spanish Town to be the Rector of the Parish Church located in Morant Bay. He may be labelled as being the chief architect as he conceptualized the idea of the formation of the lodge to be found where the sun rises to open and enliven the day; in the East. W Bro Canon A. N. Thompson had a very illustrious and distinguished masonic career which spanned 64 years; he blessed his eyes on three great lights of masonry on the 7th December 1893 in the Hamilton Lodge No 1440 where he served as Secretary and Senior Warden. He was also the first Worshipful Master of the St Thomas Lodge No 4338 in 1921, he again served as Worshipful Master in 1927. W. Bro. Thompson served also or was granted the ranks of: District Grand Chaplin, District Senior Grand Warden, Past Asst. Grand Chaplin, Past Grand Standard Bearer Grand Chapter, Past Principal Z of the Phoenix H.R.A Chapter No 1940, Past Master Phoenix Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons, Past District Grand Senior Warden DGL of M.M.M, Past District Grand Chaplin DGL of M.M.M, Past Most Puissant Sovereign of the Masonic and Military Order of the Red Cross of Constantine and Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, Past Grand High Prelate of the Imperial Grand Conclave of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre , Past Most Wise Sovereign of the Rose Croix of Heredom.
Other esteemed and distinguish brethren who where founding members were:
· J. H. Phillips, Merchant and member of Friendly Lodge No 239 EC,
· H. Hearne, Surveyor and Planter of Royal Lodge 207 EC,
· J. H. Williams, Merchant of Kingston Lodge No 1933 EC,
· N. G. Silvera, Civil Servant of Friendly Lodge No 239 EC,
· Dr F. A. Norton MD of Hope Lodge No 3813 EC,
· J. G. Marshalleck, Planter of Kingston Lodge 1933 EC,
· Rev. A. H. Smythe of Harmony Lodge No 3603 EC,
· W. M. Robertson, Retired Civil Servant of Hamilton Lodge No 1440 EC,
· R. K. Dewar, Planter of Royal Lodge No 207 EC,
· R. C. S. McFarlane, Supt. Parochial Roads, Hamilton Lodge No 1440 EC.
The first officers and members of the lodge were:
· Canon A. N. Thompson, Worshipful Master;
· J. H. Phillips, Senior Warden;
· H. Hearne, Junior Warden;
· Rev. A. H. Smythe, Chaplin;
· J. H. Williams, Treasurer;
· N. G. Silvera, Secretary;
· J. D. Marshalleck, Senior Deacon;
· Dr. F. A. Norton, Junior Deacon;
· W. M. Robertson, Inner Guard;
· G Donaldson, Tyler;
· R. Kelly Dewar, Steward.
· Members were R.C McFarlane, J. H. Ramsay, A. C. McIntosh, M. McLean and R. A. Lightbourne.
In the early days of its conception the lodge met at 56 Queens Street in Morant Bay at an Oddfellows meeting place. In 1947 a new Temple was under construction that saw meetings being held at Foresters Hall in Morant Bay. The hurricane of 1951 destroyed the roof of the lodge building and meetings were again held at the Foresters’ Hall in Morant Bay. There were even times when the lodge traveled to the Masonic Temple at 80 Hanover Street in Kingston to have its meetings. 1966 saw the lodge in need of extensive repairs and a decision was taken to sell the property and acquire a new site. The lodge found it now home at Stanton Estate in 1970 by way of benevolence as Bro Isaac Matalon, who donated the land on which the temple now stands and assisted in overseeing its construction.
The 15th of December 1973 witnessed a land mark event as on that date R W Bro Dr. A S Jacobs, District Grand Master dedicated the new Temple of his Mother Lodge. Today the members of the Lodge and brethren who visit have one of the most picturesque views in Jamaica to be enjoyed.
The St Thomas Lodge this year will be celebrated the 100th anniversary since its first corner stone was laid in the north east corner of the building. During this period, it has produced masons who have served the Craft well and have distinguished themselves in the District Grand Lodge and also the Grand Lodge.
They are as follows:
· R W Bro Dr A. S. Jacobs District Grand Master
· W Bro L. B. Ellis Past Deputy District Grand Master (first initiate of the Lodge)
· W Bro Dr L. E. McLaren
· W Bro C. M. Robinson DJGW
· W Bro L. G. Motta DGStwd
· W Bro F. J Smythe PDGW
· W Bro H. C. Miller PDGW
· W Bro H. M. Peterkin PDGW
· W Bro D. L. Moyston PDG Stwd
· W Bro C Leo Standly PDG Pst.
· W Bro F. Gordon- Somers PDGW
· W Bro. I. J. Matalon PDGW
· W Bro L. A. Gale PDGW
· W Bro. H. O. Pengelley PDGDC
· W Bro J. H. Haughton PDGW
· W Bro V. E. Chamber PDGSt B
· W Bro A Lambert (fist initiate of the lodge)
Worshipful Master, Bro. Dr. Major Ryan Jarrett with the 100th administration of the lodge
R.W. Bro. Thomas Charles Smith, JP, District Grand Master with W Bro. Dr. Maj. Ryan Jarrett, DGSwdB, Worshipful Master, Bro Upton Fisher, JW and Bro. David Cuthbert, SW
Based on the legacy which has been laid down by the founding members of the lodge I am sure that the brethren now who are members will learn from the past, live in the present, and the future will offer hope. May the Great Architect of the Universe continue to assist in all undertakings and my the labours at the St Thomas Lodge No 4338 which commenced in 1921 thus begun in order be conducted in peace and always close in harmony. So mote it be.
~ W. Bro. Dr. Maj. Ryan Jarrett, DGSwdB