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Stuart540 building

A ‘Royle’ Tale.

During the summer of 2016, contact was made by a lady in Cairns, Australia, who had in her possession what was verified to be a Silver Hall Stone Jewel (pictured). She had no idea how the jewel came into her family’s possession, as she is Czechoslovak, and therefore sent it to me for the Lodge to have. It is clearly inscribed on the back ‘Bro. G. W. Royle, No. 540’.

The Hall Stone Jewels were issued from 1920 onward, in recognition of certain sums of money being donated in a specific time frame, either by individuals or Lodges. George Wesley Royle was one such individual who achieved that honour.

Born on 9th January 1888 in Kingston-upon-Thames, was a certain George Wesley (Gordon) Royle (second child of Sir George Royle, and younger brother of Ernest Rupert Royle), who at the age of 32 in 1920,  was initiated into Stuart Lodge No. 540, on 20th April 1920. His profession at the time was listed as a Dental Surgeon, living at 3 Goldington Road, Bedford. Records show that George. W. Royle donated the sum of 10 Guineas to the MMM (Masonic Million Memorial) Fund, and therefore received an engraved Silver Hall Stone Jewel, the one now in possession of the Lodge.

The Stuart records show however that he never went through the Chair, or ever held any office in the lodge, but maybe he did in another Lodge.

It does seem though that ‘G. W.’ was much travelled, because he marries in 1916, but in a church in Port Stanley on the Falkland Islands! Then at some point after that returns home to the UK and Bedford.

It is interesting to note that other ‘Royle’ members, also donated money in Stuart Lodge, No. 540, Bedfordshire- Sir George Royle (pictured) donated a total of £325 10s.

(Sir) George Royle.

Our Master in 1918/19 was George Royle (pictured), and was noted as a barrister at the time.

At the March meeting in 1920 a ‘Rupert Royle’ is shown to have been at the meeting. However, in the Standing Committee minutes for 20th October 1917 the following appears: ‘Ernest Rupert Royle, Captain T.F.R. 34, Area Head, Recruiting Office, 16 Regimental District Recruiting Area, and O. C. Hertfordshire Recruiting Area. Proposed by Bro. George Royle, seconded by Kilpin’. From census information recorded in 1939, this Ernest Rupert Royle appears to have been a retired local government solicitor and an Assistant Director of National Savings, who was born on 20th May 1883 in Leicester, the first child of George Royle.

In the June 1920 Birthday Honours List, a George Royle, Mayor of Bedford 1903, Member of Town Council, was knighted ‘For public and municipal services’. So this is now Sir George Royle, father of G. W. Royle, who had only been initiated into Stuart Lodge a mere six weeks beforehand!

At the September 1920 meeting, Sir George Royle proposed that during the next five years every member of the Stuart Lodge should raise 5 Guineas for the MMM Fund. So it must be the case that over that period of time ‘G. W.’ donated twice that, and as a result received his Silver Hall Stone Jewel.

It seems our ‘Master’ George Royle made his contribution to the MMM building fund after he became Master, and probably after or around the time he was knighted. Additionally, from the amount he donated (in excess of £300) then he would have been entitled to a Gold Hall Stone Jewel.

Moving on, in the King’s 1926 Birthday Honours List he was awarded the CBE, so quite a distinguished person by now. Sir George Royle OBE, JP, FRGS – For voluntary services in connection with the National Savings Committee.

Finally, on 28 April 1944: Sir George Royle Kt, CBE, JP Mayor of Bedford in 1903, was given the ‘Freedom of the City’ of Bedford (although Bedford is actually a town). So it would seem Sir George Royle was a highly distinguished individual, and with a well-respected family too.