Thirty four members of the Tavistock Branch of the Devonshire Association and Tavistock Local History Society attended a presentation entitled ‘Freemasonry and its historic connection with Tavistock’ at the Freemasons’ Hall in Pym Street, Tavistock on Saturday 16th Jan. The evening was hosted by Worshipful Brothers: Graham Snell, Keith Johnson and Joe Sevieri as part of a county-wide promotional initiative.
The guest of honour was Mrs Ann Cole, a member of the Tavistock History Society, who had been inspired to help organise the evening because she was interested in finding out more about her family’s’ links to Freemasonry. Research revealed that her grandfather, Bro. James Maddock Cole [1853-1949], a farmer from May Tavy, was initiated into Queen Victoria Lodge No. 2655 in 1901, before joining Dunheved Lodge No. 789 [Cornwall] in 1906; and then latterly Bedford Lodge during the 1920s.
In recognition of this fact, W Bro. Graham delivered a short presentation about Bro. James and his time as a member of Freemasonry. Of this Mrs Coles said, ‘I remember my grandfather well, he was a wonderful man and he would have been proud to know that we were talking about him.’
The talk also highlighted the names of a number of local Freemasons in times past – including some that were known by members of the audience - as evidenced by the gasps and excited whispers that accompanied the presentation. At the conclusion of the presentation a number of the audience made it known that they too had Masonic family connections and that they were similarly interested in discovering more about Freemasonry. Interestingly, one audience member turned out to be the granddaughter-in-law of W Bro. Dr. Frederick William Arbuthnot Watt 1st Assistant Provincial Grand Master of Devonshire 1961-1971; a fact that she only discovered that night. Until that point his granddaughter-in-law had only known that he was a member, stating that he didn’t talk much about it.