My Mother is My Brother

W Bro Daphne Stephens PAGSwdB (Order of Women Freemasons) (c), W Bro Andrew Stephens PPrGReg (l) and W Bro Bill Stephens PPrJGW (r)

Many sons follow in the footsteps of their Freemason fathers.

How many can say they also have a Freemason Mother ?

W Bro Andrew Stephens PPrGReg of Middlesex Home Services Lodge, No. 5836 can make that claim.

Makings Of A Masonic Dynasty –

W Bro Andrew is blessed with a masonic heritage extending back to his Great Grandfather, Tom Willie, a naval man, who was Initiated into Lodge Al Mogreb Al Aksa No.670 (Scottish Constitution) Gibraltar on 17th October 1916.

On return to England in 1919 he joined The Royal Naval Lodge, No. 3337 (English Constitution) based at Plymouth in the Province of Devon.

Later he also joined the Lodge of Friendship, No. 202 in September 1926.

Later he also became a Royal Arch Mason in Friendship Chapter, No. 202 in 1928 and was by this time well and truly ensconced in his Freemasonry.

W Bro Tom Willie the great grandfather of W Bro Andrew Stephens – Ladies Festival in the 1940’s

Having married in 1906 Brother Tom had two children: Jack his son and a daughter Lillian.

Jack also joined the Royal Navy and was badly injured at Dunkirk.

He too became a Freemason in his father’s Lodge, Lodge of Friendship, No 202, as well as the associated Chapter.

Lillian meanwhile, had met and married a matelot, William Stephens, a Welshman who had runaway to sea when only 16.

It will come as no surprise that he too was a Freemason of a Devonshire Lodge, Huyshe Lodge, No. 1099 (sadly erased).

They had a son also called William.

This is our W Bro William Stephens (Bill) PPrJGW, who was Initiated into Middlesex Home Service Lodge, No. 5836 on the 10th May 1967.

W Bro Brother Jack Willie – also a member of his father’s Lodge in Plymouth

Before we get to this point W Bro William (Bill) had met Daphne Stephens and they were married in 1955.

Neither at that time were Freemasons despite the heritage that existed.

Their union produced another budding Mason in the name of W Bro Andrew Stephens PPrGReg, who was born in Hillingdon in 1969.

He recalls that his very first Ladies Festival outing was when he was 10 years old.

How could he not become a Lodge member after such an early introduction to things Masonic ?

The Lady Freemason –

Back L-R: Bros Jack Willie, William Stephens, Bill Stephens (William’s son who later married Daphne and joined Middlesex Home Service Lodge No 5836). Front L-R Lillian Stephens. W Bro Tom Willie and his wife Bessie.

Daphne was not to be left out in the cold, as it were, and once she found out that there were lady Masons, she played the boys at their own game and became a Freemason within the Order of Women Freemasons being initiated in Lodge Parvis, No. 266 in 1978.

This was to be an illustrious career with seven Masterships in that Lodge as well as another six in Lodge Pentagram, No, 206 where she is currently reigning Master.

Not only that she is an active member in Kent where she is Senior Warden in Lodge Tolerance, No. 139, which meets at Margate and would hope to take the Chair in 2021 to coincide with her 90th Birthday.

Put That Book Away !!! –

W Bro Bill Stephens PPrJGW obviously took to his freemasonry seriously and progressed accordingly through the years and ended up as Director of Ceremonies from 1978 to 2008 and Preceptor of the Class of Instruction from 1985 to 2006.

Bill ran the lodge with a ‘rod of iron’; he would threaten to cut the hands off any member he saw looking at his ritual book: “You learn the ritual at home”, he would often be heard shouting.

W Bro Jim Mitchell, The Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies became a Joining Member of Home Service Lodge and can testify to the nature of the “beast” and although he had just come out of the Chair in another Lodge, he said that Bill Stephens was passionate about getting the ritual right and “could make a grown man cry”.

However, Jim said that he owed W Bro Bill Stephens so much and he believes that the stimulus of this vigorous ritual learning is the reason why he is where he is today.

W Bro Bill received 5 Provincial Honours during his masonic career and became an honorary member of the Lodge in 2013.

The Dynasty Continues –

W Bro Bill’s son Andrew joined the Lodge in 1991 and has continued the amazing family tradition of active Freemasonry.

Andrew has been through the Chair three times and he recalls that it was his father who first Installed him in the Chair of King Solomon in 2000 and who gave the Address to the Master, which was a very special moment for him.

He recalls that all were expected to learn the work for the three degrees and Installation and that how hard they worked, even though everybody had busy jobs and family.

The Lodge was an amalgam of shop keepers, lorry drivers, publicans, second-hand car dealers and railway workers and included characters like W Bro Fred Heron, who was 90 years old and never missed an LOI, always shouted out to the Deacons “I have never seen a dove flying backwards, turn your bloody wand around“.

As a mere 22 year old at the time, W Bro Andrew said he tried not to sound like Larry the Lamb when reciting the 1st Degree Working Tools in front of his peers.

The Future –

The Stephens family potential candidates

For the dynasty to continue there has to be a succession.

W Bro Andrew has four children which he refers to as potential candidates.

No doubt they may take up the proposition in the fullness of time as they will have been steeped in the masonic goings on in their household where W Bro Andrew lives with his partner, the children and his Mum and Dad for whom he is Carer.

Looks like there may always be someone to help you through learning the ritual.

Meanwhile W Bro Daphne still visits her Lodge in Buckinghamshire and although the family are now based in Sandwich, Kent, Andrew sees to it that she is taken to every Lodge Meeting and LOI.

Now there’s Brotherly Love.
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