Sir John Edward Kynaston Studd, Bt, OBE, LLD, etc. (1858 - 1944)
Provincial Grand Master 1934 - 1944
Extract from "Cambridgeshire Encompassed"
by kind permission of W.Bro. Jim Whitehead
The Province was taken aback by the sudden loss of F.M. Rushmore, their new but local Provincial Grand Master. His successor, a man already 75 years old and with a career full of honours behind him, was a stranger to most of the local Masonic hierarchy; so much so that Lord Ampthill thought it advisable at the Installation to elaborate considerably on Studd's qualifications for the post. To the cricket enthusiasts, however, Studd was not an unknown. By them J.E.K. was well remembered. Educated at Eton like Lord Eardley, Kynaston Studd was a Trinity man like Browne, Hall and Hardwicke. He came up as a 'Pensioner' in 1880, having already played cricket for Middlesex for two years and he won his Cricket Blue each year from '81 to '84, becoming captain of the Varsity side. He and his brothers, referred to as 'a set of Studds', were known in Cambridge circles as J.E.K., G.B. and C.T. When Cambridge University inflicted the only defeat the Australian tourists suffered on the tour of 1882, he scored 6 and 66. With GB (42 and 48) he put on 106 for the first wicket in the second innings. C.T. made 118 and 15 n.o. and took eight wickets in the match. Clearly the brothers made a major contribution to University cricket.
Kynaston Studd was also keenly religious. Although brought up by a rich sporting father, who had once owned a Derby winner and who had his sons, when they were but six years old, strapped into the saddle for their riding lessons, Kynaston had become a convinced Christian. In fact all three of the brothers were very deeply influenced by their own father's remarkable conversion by Dwight Moody, the American evangelist. As an undergraduate, Kynaston was the leader in persuading the great D.L. Moody and Ira Sankey to stage one of their soul-stirring Missions in Cambridge. After going down, his strong sense of mission led him to begin his public life, in 1885, as Hon. Secretary to the Regent Street Polytechnic under Quintin Hogg (Lord Hailsham's father). He succeeded to the office of Chairman and President in 1903. He founded the Polytechnic Volunteer Training Corps in 1914 and was closely involved with 'Terriers' and Cadets from thenceforward. Honours mounted. His OBE (Military division) was awarded in 1919. A member of the Fruiterers' Company and the Merchant Taylors, he became Sheriff of London in 1922 which duly brought him a Knighthood the following year. 'Even the grim precincts of the Old Bailey were lightened when he was there' wrote the Recorder of London. Elected Lord Mayor of
London for the year 1928, the Baronetcy came as a result, but his honours were not yet ended! 1930 saw a distinction which meant a great deal to him, perhaps more than any other, and he became the President of the MCC. He is our only Provincial Grand Master to hold that distinction. He is also, I believe, the only one to have married a real live Princess. This was in 1924 when he married Princess Alexandra Lieven, daughter of the Grand Master of Ceremonies at the Russian court. His first wife, daughter of Sir Thomas Beauchamp, had died three years earlier.
Sir John Kynaston Studd was, therefore, a man of great distinction in public life when Rushmore died and the office of PGM for Cambridgeshire was suddenly vacant for the second time in just over twelve months. He was not exactly a 'masonic Unknown' in the Province when appointed, because he was already very senior indeed in Grand Lodge although he came relatively late to Masonry. His writings on the subject show that, to him, Freemasonry was religious but not a religion, being rather 'a rule of con-duct founded on principles accepted by all.' He was Initiated in The Polytechnic Lodge No. 2847 in January of 1902, giving his occupation as 'Gentleman', but was not WM until 1919 by which time he was already a Past Master of the Robert Mitchell Lodge No. 2956, of which he was a petitioner and founder. In fact he appears as petitioner for four Lodges, including Old Quintinions Lodge No. 3307; Old Etonian Lodge No. 4500 and Athlon Lodge No. 4674. He joined Lodge of Antiquity No. 2 in 1912 and was Installed in the Chair thereof in 1917. He served as its Secretary for twenty-six years, which would be much frowned upon today (but three months short of a Marathon?) He is thought to have had a lot to do with the Duke of Connaught agreeing (in 1917) to be permanent Master of No. 2, so that Kynaston and his successors proudly bore the title of Worshipful Deputy Master until the Duke's death in 1942. He was also a Joining Member of Farringdon Without Lodge No. 1745 (occupation given as Chairman of the Polytechnic); Guildhall Lodge No. 3116 and City of London National Guard Lodge No. 3757 (occupation given as 'Lord Mayor'!). Appointed as Senior Grand Deacon in 1910 he served on the Board of General Purposes from that time onwards. He was the Junior Grand Warden in 1929 and President of the Board of Benevolence from then until his death. He must therefore have been known to many of the local Masons but probably only as a name or a distant figure at Grand Lodge. Nevertheless, it took only a year or two before he was well known to the 'rank and file' and had won their respect and affection. He deserved it, for he worked hard at it. With Covey-Crump (whose Prestonian Lectureship in 1930 had brought considerable prestige) to introduce him he had visited INUL as early as February 1934. The following year (now PGM of course) being unable to attend either the March, April or May meeting of 88, he instructed the Provincial Secretary to write formally to ask if the members would consider changing the date of one meeting to enable him to attend? Who could resist that kind of compliment? In March the Scientific Lodge voted unanimously to change the scheduled 9th April meeting to the 10th, to enable the Provincial Grand Master to attend. It was subject to Dispensation, of course — but could there be any difficulty about that, under the circumstances?
Studd wrote them a nice little letter of appreciation for their courtesy, but I wonder if his eagle eye had spotted a misdemeanour during his visit? Shortly afterwards, one of Scientific's little oddities disappeared following a letter from the Provincial Grand Secretary. In 1889, when Oliver Papworth became WM of Scientific Lodge, the Lodge had just acquired a Banner. The silk had been donated by one, the painting and design by another Past Master and the embroidery and mounting was paid for by the Lodge. There was a very close vote over the ten guineas required, I might add! As the first WM to be Installed following the provision of a banner, Papworth chose to appoint a Standard Bearer amongst his Lodge Officers. That post reappears each Installation, although the title changed to 'Banner Bearer' at the start of the new Minute Book of 1902. A Banner Bearer was appointed annually until the year 1936. At that point the Provincial Grand Secretary firmly instructed 88 that they must not continue to appoint an Officer for which there was no regular authority. He quoted the Grand Lodge reply to what seems to have been an appeal by the Lodge against an earlier admonition. Even Scientific felt it had to comply with the uncompromising directive from Great Queen Street and the post disappears. The juxtaposition of Studd's first visit and the removal of the additional office seems to me unlikely to be coincidental. The Lodge of Three Grand Principles, which had copied the practice in 1892, was also forced to abandon the post in the same way, after Studd had attended but one Installation meeting there.
Such was the great man who, at an age when a PGM today would be forced to resign, undertook the control and management of the Province of Cambridgeshire with its eleven Lodges. The members thereof numbered only around 1,400 including, one must remember, the heavy 'absentee' membership of Isaac Newton's roll of 486. Nevertheless they produced for the PGM's first annual list in 1935 a sum of L3,250, (third in the list of Provinces that year) and, on his death nine years later, gave over k6,000 as a memorial to endow a ward in the Royal Masonic Hospital, of which Studd was an original Founder. No wonder he was proud of his new Province.
The Installation took place in May of 1934 at the Guildhall, Cambridge, with Hamblin-Smith as Deputy-in-charge and F.W. Miller as Acting-Deputy. The Pro Grand Master, Lord Ampthill, installed Studd, assisted by Lord Harewood from Yorkshire W. Riding; with the PGM of Norfolk and the Grand Secretary. Hamblin-Smith now retired and Henry Thirkill was appointed Studd's Deputy. The PGM, in making this appointment, paid tribute to the outgoing Deputy's work in running the Province and said his choice of Thirkill was not due to 'lack of esteem or admiration' for Hamblin-Smith, 'but solely by what seemed to me to be required by our situation.' Later in the meeting Studd proposed a vote of thanks to Mrs. Rushmore, for passing to him the collar and apron of the Provincial Grand Master 'which had been in use in the Province for some years by successive PGMs'. Who knows how old the regalia was or how many of our Provincial Grand Masters had used it?
Just over a month later Studd held his first regular Provincial meeting at the Palace rooms, in March. Unfortunately Percy Simpson, the Past Deputy PGM and only surviving member of the team that Consecrated Caldwell Lodge, was forced by illness to send his apologies and a special message of goodwill was sent to him. Thirkill, the new Deputy, found himself appointed to the committee of the Royal Masonic Institute for Boys and also to representing the Province on the Committee of Associated Masonic Provinces, with W.J. Armitage and F.J. Corbett. It was at this meeting that Corbett's suggestion for a Provincial Committee of Benevolence came before the assembly, notice having been given at the last meeting. However, after some discussion it was decided to refer the matter to a sub-committee under Henry Thirkill to report in 1935.
1935 was an important year for the Province, really beginning with the Consecration of the old Chapel in Woolpack Lane, Whittlesey, as the fourth Masonic property in the Province. The old chapel was redundant, was close to the Parish rooms where the Lodge met and equally close to The Falcon Hotel where the brethren dined. At £100 it must be considered a bargain by any standards and the money was raised quietly by unrecorded gifts. There was no 'Building fund' appeal. The purchase price included the chapel organ, which was used and sold almost fifty years later for 200! Furnishings were largely obtained second-hand and the work done to make the chapel habitable included bricking up the East windows. Carpet, pedestals and columns were provided by W.Bro. Smalley, who also found the pair of stained glass lights that were let into the East wall panelling and, artificially lit from behind, were made to look like windows in time for the Dedication. On 22nd February Sir Kynaston Studd, assisted by Henry Thirkill and his Provincial Officers, dedicated the new Temple and the Lodge also received a handsome gift of three Gavels, presented by the Master and Wardens of Whittlesea Lodge in Australia. Sadly, the Australian Lodge has ceased to function. The brethren were much impressed by the amount of work which had been done to turn the old chapel into such a pleasant and effective Masonic meeting place.
At the Provincial meeting in June Henry Thirkill presented the recommendations of his sub-committee, clearly laid out in a published report, and the meeting voted unanimously to accept the advice in full. The Provincial Committee of Benevolence — sometimes inaccurately referred to as the 'spending half' of the Provincial Benevolent Association — came into being. It has continued to perform the function of advising the PGM, reporting on appeals and requests and recommending grants and payments. The two organisations have served and still serve faithfully and well in their different spheres and the small individual grants and donations ceased to be a regular part of the proceedings of Provincial Grand Lodge as the Committee took over the role of directing local Benevolence. The Committee of Benevolence was slightly streamlined and its rules (clearly laid down in the Year Book) revised and updated in 1983, but it remains based on the deed of Trust of 1935.
The good and busy year ended sadly, with the deaths of Lords Ampthill and Cornwallis, so that the Lodges were in mourning for six months, due to extend through to the end of March 1936. The sympathy, though genuine enough, was nothing to the real distress caused by the illness and, early in the new year of 1936, the death of King George V. Every Lodge in the Province recorded the melancholy event and dry minutes do not always conceal the fact that members were genuinely moved. Most minute books enclose the sad letter and the notification of the Especial Grand Lodge to be held for the purpose of voting loyal and sympathetic addresses to the Grand Master, to Queen Mary and to the new King. All officers wore three black crepe rosettes on their aprons and a fourth at the point of the collar. The King was dead, 'Long Live the King!'. Edward was a Mason too. Apparently, he had already been in some dispute, masonically, when his wish to have Wallis Simpson's husband elected a member of his own London Lodge had been strongly resisted. The more serious problems were not, however, yet quite in sight for most people and the Abdication crisis, when it broke, was a major embarrassment. It is said that some embittered working men, suffering from the long recession which had dragged on from the General Strike to the Jarrow March a decade later, believed the crisis was a plot, engineered to deprive the Working Man of a Prince who was sympathetically inclined.
A nasty fall in Regent Street, in London, put the Provincial Grand Master out of action for a while early in 1936. He damaged his left arm and it was a very long time before he regained the full use of the hand. It was referred to at the Annual Convocation as still far from fully recovered, although it's owner was carrying out his duties in full and had been for some time. Apart from the Royal mourning, the spring of the year was also marked by the terrible earthquake in the North-West Frontier town of Quetta, which destroyed the Masonic Temple there and prompted Grand Lodge to ask for a guinea from every Lodge under our constitution to help rebuild it. Every Lodge in this Province, at least, complied gladly and with sympathy, including Provincial Grand Lodge itself. The Temple was rebuilt better than before.
At Provincial Lodge that year the Secretary referred to Quetta. He also reported on the discussions which had just concluded about the holding of Provincial Grand Lodge. By agreement, from this time forward, the Annual Convocation would be held in Cambridge, except for years when 809 was to be the host, when it would be in Wisbech. It was not long before that meeting too was to shift and Cambridge became the regular and settled meeting place. It was reported that 441 was coming up for its Centenary and all brethren were invited to join the members of Three Grand Principles at a service of celebration and thanksgiving to be held in the Chapel of St. John's College, by kind permission of the Master and Fellows. In the Chair of 441, following behind F.J. Corbett, was A.V. Kidman, a man noted not only for his commitment and his generosity to his Lodge and to Freemasonry, but also for a dry and puckish sense of humour. He it was who, in April of his year, sent a polite formal letter to Scientific Lodge thanking them for hospitality and enclosing for them a set of printed copies of the Entered Apprentice's song because, he said, he 'noticed at a previous Lodge, they did not know the words'!
The celebrations of the Centenary were extensive. Beginning with a vote to spend 100 gns of Lodge funds, the occasion was marked by the Church service on the Sunday October 4th, the Centenary meeting on Monday the 5th, and a Ladies' Festival at the University Arms on Thursday the 8th. Before the service the members of the Lodge were photographed in the grounds of St. John's and all the 350 members of the congregation were invited to tea at The Red Lion afterwards. The service was conducted by W.Bro. Herbert Dunnico, PAGChap; the first lesson read by the WM, Bro. Kidman and the second by Henry Thirkill. Kynaston Studd was engaged in London and unable to be present, but he attended the meeting the following day. That meeting was a very crowded one at which A.V. Kidman, by Dispensation, initiated his son, Donald Victor (elder brother of our current Deputy PGM) and 272 sat down to dinner at the Guildhall. A photograph of that exists too, as does the table plan. W.Bro. Kidman presented mounted copies of both photographs, as well as a handsome Secretary/Treasurer's table to the Lodge to mark the occasion. Furthermore, a film had been made of the various festivities by Bro.W. King of (appropriately) Scientific Lodge. It was shown to the members of 441 in March 1937 and then presented to the Lodge by Bro. King.
For that year of 1937 the great event was, of course, the Coronation. Like everyone else who was at school at the time, I received my souvenir mug full of sweets, but was quite unaware of Freemasonry or that King George VI was to be Installed at an especial convocation as a Past Grand Master. Locally, immediately after the Abdication, INUL wrote with congratulations to the 'Provincial Grand Master of Middlesex' and to ask if His Majesty would now, under the circumstances, wish to relinquish his Honorary Membership, received as Duke of York. The King's reply was warm, conveying gratitude for the sentiments expressed and the many years of Masonic connection, but it did not refer to the Membership issue. However, a letter from the Privy Purse some time later tactfully requested the Lodge to remove His Majesty's name from the list of members. At the especial meeting of Grand Lodge in June one of our own, W.Bro. A.A. Spalding of 88, was honoured in the appointments of that year and was invested by the King himself as PAGDC.
At the Provincial meeting in Cambridge the two Standards, agreed in 1933, were at last ready and were solemnly dedicated by the Revd. P.G. Ward, Provincial Grand Chaplain. The Provincial Secretary reported that Sir Kynaston Studd had insisted on paying for them and offering them as his gift to the Province. The PGM was very generous in this way and most of his Lodges can boast of some much needed item being donated at one time or other by their Provincial Grand Master. It was not necessarily an elegant gift, or always suitable for display at the Festive Board, but it was always of great value to the Lodge. To INUL for example (some time after attending the 1936 Installation with Lord Harewood, who was accepting Honorary Membership of the Lodge) he wrote and offered, as a Coronation Gift, to defray all the cost of a full refurbishment of 'the sanitary and washing arrangements at the rear of the premises'! The hint was taken and the offer accepted with grateful alacrity. Sir Kynaston seemingly was pleased and no longer felt the facilities likely to be a let down, for he not only attended the next Installation in 1938 but graciously delivered the Address to the Brethren. One hopes the renovations were completed before the special meeting, shared by INUL and Alma Mater, to entertain the Mason delegates to the British Association for the Advancement of Science, which held its annual conference in the town that year.
The war to come was but a doubtful murmur from the pessimists as the Province moved into the last years of the Thirties. The Masonic Golf Association, with Hamblin-Smith as Chairman, had been formed only two days before Rushmore's death; The Masonic Bowls had evolved more gradually from the 'Gresham' Club in the corner of the Botanics, opposite Gresham Road. Both were now providing brethren with whole-some recreation and encouraging fraternal mingling throughout the Province. They also offered good contributions each year to the Benevolent Association, partly from those Lodge members who perhaps never participated, but always forked out their half-crowns when asked by the Lodge representative. They were still doing exactly the same in the 1960s and 70s. The Hamblin-Smith Cup reminded the golfers of their first President of 1933, then the Deputy PGM, while the bowlers had the Rushmore Cup to remind them of Rushmore's warm support and his short lived tenure of office in the days of their foundation. Corbett had taken over the Secretaryship of the Benevolent Association after the death of Oliver Papworth (who served for 49 years from the very foundation), and the whole Province was gearing up for the forthcoming 1941 Festival for the Royal Masonic Institute for Boys. Sir Kynaston Studd had first agreed to act as Chairman for a Festival as far back as 1936. There were, however, major changes before the Festival could take place. The old Duke of Connaught resigned his office as Grand Master and in June the King installed his brother Kent to replace him. The War loomed nearer. Hackneyed phrase or not, 1939 was the end of an era.
Kynaston Lodge did not quite qualify as a Pre-war Lodge. There had been talk for some time that the Borough of Cambridge needed a new Lodge. Population had risen considerably since Cantabrigia was Consecrated and the Registrar's figures suggested that town Freemasonry was becoming a little congested. The Recession was over and business was good. Corbett appears to have been the prime mover. He presided over the first meeting of interested brethren at the Lion Hotel in April 1939, twenty-eight years after his involvement with the launch of Gray Lodge. The early Founders worked hard at the detail, holding several meetings. Much of Kynaston Lodge's future solidity must be attributed to the careful planning and arrangements which were then entered into. Fortunately the records of these meetings have been preserved, including the detailed costs recorded by the Treasurer Elect. Cantabrigia sponsored the Lodge; Henry Thirkill, the Deputy PGM was designated as first Master. The Provincial GM gave his hearty approval to the move, selected the title 'Kynaston' from three versions submitted to him and asked the Founders to allow him to make a suitable gift to the new Lodge that was to bear his name. The Founders chose to have a Banner.
Although in September of '39 Grand Lodge announced a temporary suspension of Masonic meetings because of the National Emergency, the letter permitting Provincial Grand Masters to resume them was despatched in October. On the 26th of that month, less than two months after the Ultimatum to Germany, Kynaston Lodge was consecrated at the Lion Hotel by the PGM. The Very Revd the Dean of Ely, W.Bro. L.E. Blackburne, Prov.G.Chaplain, gave the Oration. It was an afternoon meeting at 2.30 and tea and light refreshments were served to 187 brethren after the ceremony. In the Registrar's report of 1940 Kynaston appears with a total membership of 66, having had three Initiates in its first part season. It was a good start.
The war made considerable difference to local Masonry. Though meetings continued, suppers ceased in many instances, or were very light in others. There were few Lodges that did not miss a meeting or two for one reason or another in the early part of the war, though the regularity of meetings after 1940 was quite remarkable. In some Lodges, like St. Audrey where the majority of the members had ARP or Home Guard duties, the sound of the siren emptied the Lodge room. In others, like Isaac Newton, on which according to the Provincial Secretary's report, 'the War has fallen with devastating force', the minutes of October '41 record the Air Raid sirens going but say they 'caused no interruption in the work, which was conducted in peace'. However, the war was not allowed to stop Kynaston Studd's Festival for the Royal Masonic Institution for Boys, scheduled for 1941. At the Provincial meeting for 1940 (which was the first to have totally printed minutes in the minute book, taken directly from the proofs of the Year Book) the Secretary, P.W. Hall, made a last appeal on behalf of the Institution. He pointed out that the war would undoubtedly bring vastly increased demand for places at the School and urged every member of the Province to give something. He was right. In 1941 the school admitted 47 without ballot, including 13 sons of brethren killed in action.
Lord Harewood, Pro Grand Master, attended our Provincial Grand Lodge on June 17th. There was a meeting of Stewards and Subscribers to the 143rd Anniversary Festival of the RM Institution for Boys held at 6.00pm at the Lion Hotel after the Provincial meeting, chaired by Kynaston Studd and supported by the Earl of Harewood and the Chairman and Secretary of the Institution. The results, published at that meeting, were every bit as good as the PGM or the Provincial Secretary could have hoped. The Chairman's Province had contributed £24,852. That figure is perhaps meaningless in itself. Consider that the average for the Chairman's Province, on this occasion, was £19 per head. The previous highest such average, one produced by Leicestershire and Rutland in 1933, was £12-6s-6d per head. In that year of 1941 the other Festivals were run by Berkshire and Middlesex. Berkshire, with 37 Lodges, produced £21,104 for the Benevolent Institution, Middlesex, with 97 Lodges, produced for the Girls' Festival under their aegis the sum of £39,308. Kynaston Studd governed twelve Lodges only. One of those was brand new and still mainly 'Founders'. Another had a widespread and largely absentee membership. Yet the twelve produced almost £25,000! No wonder he was justifiably proud. It is the only time our Provincial Grand Master has chaired a Festival for one of the great Masonic Institutions and it made a fitting climax to his Mastership.
As the war proceeded, Masonry in the Province adapted to the circumstances. On the whole Lodges of Instruction ceased. United Good Fellowship voted that any visiting brethren who were serving members of the armed forces should be guests of the Lodge. Gray Lodge took to tea and biscuits after Lodge — although someone managed to find them Roast Duck and Sherry Trifle for their twenty-first anniversary, a special occasion. They also gave up the practice of permitting every member of the Lodge to hold a key to the premises and to the Bar, though that may not be directly because of the War! Scientific resolved that suppers should cost no more than 5/-, including beer or soft drinks only. St. Audrey changed its meeting days to be nearer the full moon, and met on Tuesdays at 3.00pm., that being Early Closing in Ely. A number of Lodges found themselves having to ask Past Masters to take the Chair as Officers left and progression was disrupted. The Senior Deacon of St. Audrey, a Special Constable, was badly injured by an explosion as he fought to rescue the crew of a crashed bomber. Foreign visitors, particularly American, appeared more and more frequently and, at times, were assisted by being put through one or more degrees at the request of Grand Lodge.
The question of foreign nationals became so pressing in fact that Grand Lodge rescinded, for the duration, the rule by which an Initiate must be automatically a member of the Lodge in which he is Initiated and permitted it to be done for men who had been previously and legitimately proposed and elected, perhaps in America or Canada. Lodge 88 did exactly that, at the request of the Grand Lodge of Oklahoma (forwarded by our own Grand Secretary) for Sergeant Billy Dwight Evans 'unanimously elected a member of the Ryan Lodge No. 67, Oklahoma, U.S.A., whose fees have been paid in full.' In November 1943 Cantabrigia Initiated Sgt. John M. Gosna, who was later Passed and Raised in Isaac Newton University Lodge. Cpl. Gelinski of Idaho; Staff Sgt. Johnson, of Oregon and Tech.Sgt. Criswell of Illinois, already members of Lodges in the U.S., were Passed and Raised in INUL by request of their respective Grand Lodges. 441 Initiated Capt. Brocklebank of the United States and passed him on to INUL for his Second and Third in 1945. It was by now a fairly widespread phenomenon. The brethren of Chatteris prefer to forget (or perhaps cannot remember) details of the night one of their USAAF guests brought to Gray Lodge a half gallon of Bourbon whisky as a gift for his hosts! The Americans became rapidly more numerous and organised, inviting the masons of this Province to attend a demonstration of an American Third degree Ceremony in November 1943. Visiting in general was difficult however, as the Provincial Grand Secretary reported, because of the Blackout and the transport problems. Gray Lodge tried to encourage visitors by publishing the Train times on the Summons for each meeting.
In early 1944 Sir John Edward Kynaston Studd left his duties here, dying quietly during a January night. He was working up to the end. At 9.45am he was dictating letters; he presided at the Bench at the Guildhall and attended a meeting of the Supreme Council before lunch. In the afternoon he was involved in a series of interviews and, tired, he went early to bed. He did not wake.