This 9ct gold jewel was presented W. Bro. Joseph Pressley Bell in 1912 by the Brethren of Lodge 77 to mark his 25 years in Freemasonry. W. Bro Bell joined Lodge 77 in 1886, serving as Master in 1906.
W. Bro. Bell's family had a long association with Lodge 77. The Lodge history published in 1936 specifically mentions the Bell family:
Among those who joined the Lodge after its lean period in the forties (1840's) is the name of Brother Joseph Bell. Brother Bell was initiated in Lodge 24 in Lurgan, in the year 1839, and affiliated to Lodge 77, 11 October 1852. He served as Master for the second half of 1853 and the first half of 1854.
The Brethren early appreciated his worth, and in September of the latter year the Lodge assembled in their rooms in Mill Street to present him with a Masonic Jewel, bearing the following inscription :- "Presented by the members of St. Patrick's Lodge No. 77, to Brother Joseph Bell, as a token of respect for the very efficient manner in which he has conducted the Lodge while Master."
He served as Master also in the years 1860, 1869 and 1882. Throughout his Masonic career he was a pillar of strength and of wisdom to the Lodge, until at length, on 5 March 1883 the weight of years and failing health led him to tender his resignation. He was immediately elected an honorary member, and a movement set on foot to present him with some tangible token of the affection and esteem of his Brethren.
Accordingly, at a Special Communication on 24 May 1883, he was presented with a "very handsome Drawing Room Clock, suitably inscribed."
Brother Bell died, full of years and of honours in March 1896. Two of his sons were also members of the Lodge: the late Joseph Pressley Bell, initiated 1886, Master 1906, and William R. Bell MBE JP, initiated 1895, Master 1902.
It is clear that the Bell family gave great service to Lodge 77 and were held in the highest regard by their fellow Brethren. This jewel presented to Joseph Pressley Bell in 1912 is suitably inscribed on the reverse:
Presented to Bro. J.P. Bell PM on the occasion of his Masonic Jubilee 1912
The jewel was returned to Lodge 77 in March 2012 thanks, in the main, to a medal collector in the Order. Lodge 77 are eternally grateful that he regarded the Lodge to be the rightful home of the jewel and saw it safely into the Lodge's possession.