The Worshipful Master of Lodge 77 wears two jewels during his year of Office, one on the WM's collarette and the other as a neck pendant.
This superb antique jewel was presented by the members of Lodge 77 on 21st February 1872 to Brother John Anderson. Bro. Anderson joined Lodge 77 in 1861 and served as Worshipful Master in 1868.
The inscription on the reverse of the jewel reads:
Souvenir to Brother John Anderson Masonic Lodge 77 Newry. Feb 21/72.
John McMillan WM, James Burns SW, William McMurray JW, Joseph Bell Secy.
Report from the Newry Reporter, 24th February 1872:
“Masonic Tribute of Respect.
On Wednesday evening last, the Brethren of Masonic Lodge No. 77, met at their Hall, in Hill Street, for the purpose of taking a farewell to Mr. John Anderson, late manager of the Newry Saw Mills Company.
There was a very full attendance on the occasion, and the proceedings, throughout, were of a character highly complimentary to Mr. Anderson; as well as highly creditable to the fraternal spirit which permeates the members of the “Ancient Craft.”
The sister Lodges were represented by Dr. R. Johnston, 23, Newry; and Mr. Sutcliffe, the W.M. of 697, Warrenpoint; and Mr. Robert Best, Millvale Lodge, while Mr. Charles Du Val, the famous elocutionist, mimic, and vocalist, availed himself of his Masonic privilege to participate in the business which brought the Brethren together.
An excellent supper having been partaken of Mr. McMillan, W.M., took the chair, and, after the usual Masonic toasts had been duly honoured, Mr. James Burns, proprietor of the Newry Reporter, was called upon to propose the sentiment of the evening - “Mr. Anderson’s good health and future prosperity.” The toast was received with an enthusiasm that testified to the great respect and esteem in which Mr. Anderson is held, not only by his Masonic Brethren, but also by all to whom he is known.
Mr. McMillan, then, in the name of the Lodge, presented Mr. Anderson with a very beautiful Past Master’s Jewel, bearing a suitable inscription; and that gentleman, in suitable terms, and at considerable length, acknowledged the compliment paid him, assuring the Brethren that the uniform courtesy and goodwill he had always experienced in Newry would never be effaced from his memory; and, although he was about to leave the place of so many pleasant recollections and kind friends, yet, as Canadian agent to the extensive firms of Messrs Francis Caroill and Son, Liverpool, and Messrs. Caroill, Brothers, Newry, the responsibilities of his appointment would necessitate an occasional visit to the old country, and so he would again have opportunities, temporary, no doubt, of greeting his warm hearted friends in Newry.
After Mr. Anderson sat down, song and toast followed in rapid succession, Mr. Du Val adding immensely to the enjoyment of the evening by his exuberant wit and cultivated vocalisation.
We will only say that Mr. Anderson has been before the public for a number of years, in the responsible position of Manager to the Newry Saw Mills Company; and, while securing the confidence and respect of the principals of that influential firm, the Messrs Carwill, he has also made for himself troops of friends, whose good wishes will follow him to his new Canadian home, and who will always be delighted to hear of his continued success.
Newry Reporter 24 February, 1872.”
The jewel was returned to the Lodge in 2007 when a family member on a visit to Northern Ireland brought the jewel to Dungannon and showed it to another family member in the Order. It was decided that it should be returned to the possession of the Lodge who originally presented it. V. Wor. Bro. Henry Weir, Provincial Grand Master of Tyrone and Fermanagh, ensured that the jewel was safely delivered to Lodge 77.
The Lodge were delighted to receive this magnificent jewel and it was agreed that the Worshipful Master of the Lodge should wear the jewel at all Lodge meetings and festive boards.
We are eternally grateful to the descendants’ of Bro. John Anderson that the jewel has been so carefully preserved through all these years and they thought Lodge 77 its appropriate home.
This jewel was produced in 1987 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Victoria Jubilee Masonic Annuity Fund.
The Victoria Jubilee Masonic Benevolent Fund was Founded in 1887.
The Fund provides Annuities for distressed Freemasons who have been subscribing Members for at least five years of a Lodge, or Lodges under the Irish Constitution, or for the distressed spouse of a deceased Freemason. Every candidate for election must be at least 50 years of age or, if under that age, permanently disabled from earning a livelihood.
Applications are considered at meetings of the Board of the Fund which are held on the first Thursday in February, May, September and November.