Gostling Murray Lodge No. 1871


The Gostling Murray Lodge was consecrated in 1880 and is named after Lt. Col. Gostling Murray who at that time commanded the 8th Middlesex Rifle Volunteer Corps. It is recorded that the Colonel was keen to see the founding of a Masonic Lodge as a means of bringing the Officers of the Unit together in a social setting outside of their military duties.

On 23rd October 1880 the consecration meeting of the Lodge took place at the Town Hall in Hounslow, Middlesex. Despite his enthusiastic support it appears that Lt. Colonel Gostling Murray never joined the Lodge himself. However, Lodge records show he was a guest at the subsequent dinner held at the Star and Garter Hotel in Kew.

The Middlesex Regiment began its existence as two distinct units, the 57th (West Middlesex) Regiment, raised in 1755 and the 77th (East Middlesex) Regiment, raised in 1787. The great Battle Honour of the Regiment is that of Albuhera in the Peninsular War. In this campaign, on 16th May 1811 over 400 Officers and men of the 57th fell. During the most critical period the Regiment was rallied by their Colonel, Colonel Inglis who though even severely wounded exhorted his men to “Die hard men, die hard”.

The Regiment was justly proud of these events and in time they became known as “The Die Hards”. In remembrance and honour of this, the penultimate toast at every Gostling Murray Lodge festive board is made to “The Middlesex Regiment, The Die Hards”. In 1881 sweeping reforms taking place in the Army resulted in the amalgamation of the 57th and 77th to form the Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge’s Own). Within this Regiment the 8th Middlesex Rifle Volunteer Corps became the 8th South West Middlesex Volunteer Battalion.

The Brethren of the Gostling Murray Lodge proudly still use the badge of the Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge’s Own) on every Lodge summons as well as on our Loving Cups.

On 26th February 1912 a Sub-Committee of the Lodge recommended that the Lodge’s name should be changed. The then Worshipful Master is reported to have said, “it occurred that the present name gave no indication of the Lodge being a Service Lodge and that he thought a name that would rather more appeal on the face of it to members of the Naval and Military Services might be in the interest of the Craft”. It was decided that, “the name of the Gostling Murray Lodge No 1871 be altered provided a significant number of the Officers of the Middlesex Territorial Brigade signify their intention of joining”. We can safely assume that this never came to pass as no further mention regarding name change can be found in any subsequent Lodge Minutes. Nearly one hundred years on we are happily left with our unusual name which can often puzzle first time visitors.

The last regular meeting before the Great War was held on 23rd February 1914 and the Minutes for that conclude “There being no further business, the Lodge was closed in peace and harmony”. The next meeting did not take place until 27th January 1919. The Lodge found itself without a Worshipful Master and at the following meeting in November W. Bro. Col. Garner, C.M.G. was installed in the Master’s Chair. Difficulties over filling the Principal Officers roles were solved by the appointment of those who had served with the Regiment during the War and were qualified by previous Masonic work.

During the Second World War the business of the Lodge was carried out to the best of the permitting circumstances. It should be noted however that Lodge meetings were brought forward to 3 pm and at least two meetings were abandoned. In 1969 the Brethren of the Gostling Murray Lodge made a contribution to the Memorial fund for the Middlesex regiment.

At some point the Lodge became open to civilians but still maintains a strong Military influence. We maintain a great pride in our military history and have many articles associated with it for use in the Lodge or at the Festive Board. Of particular importance is a tapestry representation of the Middlesex Regimental Badge that is always displayed in front of our Worshipful Master at the Festive Board. This piece was presented to the Lodge by our late Tyler W. Bro Eric Varney. The tapestry had been made by Eric’s father who had served with the Regiment during the First World War and during combat had lost his right hand. The work was completed as a means of improving the dexterity of his left hand and is a fine example of a triumph over adversity.

Enquiries from qualified Brethren about visiting the Lodge, or those men who may wish to be considered for membership, may be made via email through gostling_murray@hotmail.co.uk.