For many years W.Bro. A T Hughes cherished an ambition to found a Lodge in Warrington which would have as its aim the furtherance of the ideals and highest traditions of Freemasonry. He therefore sought the assistance of W.Bro. G C McElhinney and Bro. A Simkin, with the result that these three Brethren invited a further sixteen Brethren with similar views to join them as Founders.
The Petition to Grand Lodge in accordance with Regulation 94 of the Book of Constitutions was signed by the Master and Wardens of Travellers Lodge No. 4679 in Open Lodge on Friday 6th April 1945, was presented to Provincial Grand Lodge of Lancashire (Western Division) for submission to Grand Lodge on 9th April 1945.
Grand Lodge granted a Warrant to W.Bro. A T Hughes, First Worshipful Master, W.Bro. F Walker, First Senior Warden , R.W. Bro. The Rt. Hon. Lord Daresbury, S.G.W., W.Bro. Thos. W Ward, P.Pr.G.W., W.Bro. L Dale, P.Pr.G.D., W.Bro. G C McElhinney, P.M. The Lodge to be known as Winmarleigh Lodge No. 6101 to meet at the Masonic Hall, on the second Friday in the usual Months. Date of Warrant, 2nd May 1945.
The Lodge was consecrated with due solemnity by the R.W.Bro. Arthur Foster, Provincial Grand Master, Three Assistant Grand Masters and many other Grand and Provincial Grand Officers on Monday 26th November 1945 at 2:30 pm.
At the very first meeting on 14th December 1945, there were two joining members, one Initiate and two ballots for Initiation. The first Initiate into the Lodge was Mr. William Henry Baily, a haulage contractor from Forshaw Street Warrington. He was duly Passed and Raised but there is no record of him being Installed in the Chair of King Solomon. Sadly, he died in January 1963.
The Charities Collection raised £3.1s.6d and the Lodge subscriptions was set at five guineas, (£5.25) a princely sum in those days, considering that the wages of a farm labourer averaged £3.12s.2d, we would be looking at around £600—£700 in today’s terms.
During the first year, the Master, Bro. Arthur T Hughes, received three joining members and Initiated, Passed and Raised three members. In today’s climate, we can only envy such happy times. He was not alone in his endeavours however, as Masters for the next sixteen years would average the same amount of work. In all, 129 Members have been Initiated, 128 Passed and 127
Raised into the Lodge as well as receiving 12 joining members. Together with the 19 founders, the Lodge has enjoyed a membership of 162.
The Lodge has also seen its fair share of 50 years in Masonry celebrations:
W.Bro. D N Hughes, PSGD, PAPGM (E. Lancs)
W.Bro. J M Rose, PPrGSup.Wks.
W.Bro. A C McElhinney, PPrSGD
W.Bro. G Bell. PPrJDG
W.Bro. J Benion, PPrAGDC
W.Bro. T T Stringer, PPrAGDC
60 years for W.Bro. D N Hughes, PSGD, PAPGM (E. Lancs)
In April 2005 a meeting took place between the brethren of Lodges No. 6101, 6987 and 7531 to discuss falling membership and to consider amalgamation. The decision to investigate the possibility was made and over the summer recess, small teams of Officers worked to harmonise
all aspects of Lodge life from ceremony to social activities. Subsequent recommendations were made to all members of the three Lodges and ballots were taken over the next few months. In May 2006 a petition was made to Grand Lodge to Grant a Certificate of Amalgamation and on 13th September 2006, the petition was granted. The name of the amalgamated Lodge was to be OPTIMA LODGE No. 6101.
The first Regular meeting was held on Wednesday 4th October 2006. The membership being fifty-
Brothers in Office.
On the occasion to mark the final meeting of Winmarleigh Lodge a special vote of thanks went out to the Members who have worked tirelessly to ensure the smooth running of the Lodge.
Secretaries1945—1958 W.Bro. G C McElhinney 1958—1963 W.Bro. W Stringer 1963—1972 W.Bro. G C McElhinney 1972—1975 W.Bro. F Fernyhough 1975—1988 W.Bro. F H King 1988—1993 W.Bro. J E Pargeter 1993—2000 W.Bro. J A Starkey 2000—2006 W.Bro. P Mitchell
FOUNDERS of the LodgeR.W.Bro. The Rt. Hon. Lord Daresbury
W.Bro. Thos. W. Ward
W.Bro. L. Dale
W.Bro. G. C. McElhinney
W.Bro. F. Walker
W.Bro. W. Stringer
W.Bro. A. T. Hughes W.Bro. G. W. Hughes Bro. D. Holt
Bro. A. Simkin
Bro. J. Lewis Fletcher
Bro. F. Davenport
Bro. W. Richardson Bro. J. A. Baldwin
Bro. W. Loney
Bro. R. A. Plant
Bro. T. W. Burton
Bro. L. Goulbourn
Bro. W. Morris
PAST MASTERS of the Lodge1945 A. T. Hughes, P.G.D.
1946 A. Simkin, P.Pr.G.W.
1947 J. L. Fletcher, P.Pr.G.W.
1948 W. Richardson, P.Pr.G.W.
1949 F. Davenport, P.Pr.G.W.
1950 W. Loney, P.Pr.G.D.
1951 R. A. Plant
1952 T. W. Burton
1953 L. Goulbourn, P.Pr.G.D.
1954 Canon L.R.Healey, .A.,P.A.G.Chap.
1955 Roughley, P.Pr.G.W.
1956 F. Fernyhough, P.Pr.G.D.
1957 Geoff. W Hughes
1958 D.N. Hughes, P..S.G..D., P.A.Pr.G.M. (E Lancs)
1959 J. M. Rose, P.Pr.G.Supt.Wks
1960 A. W. Hughes P.Pr.G.D.
1961 A. C. McElhinney, P.Pr.SG.D.
1962 G. Bell, E.R.D.,T.D., P.Pr.JG.D.
1963 F. Davenport
1964 C. Longshaw
1965 J. Benion, P.Pr.A.G.D.C.
1966 S. Pasquill
1967 J. B. Cunnington
1968 F. Berry
1969 F. H. King, P.Pr.G.D.
1970 T. T. Stringer, P.Pr.A.G.D.C.
1971 T. Lloyd, P.Pr.A.G.D.C.
1972 D. D. Timmins
1973 W. Warrall
1974 G. W. E. Roughley, P.Pr.G.Supt.Wks. 1975 J. A. Roberts, P.Pr.A.G.D.C.
1976 J. E. Pargeter, P.Pr.J.G.W.
1977 H. K. Capper
1978 R. Dimeloe, P.Pr.J.G.W.
1979 J. Fogg
1980 J. Williams
1981 F. Bebbington
1982 W. Fogg, P.Pr.A.G.D.C.
1983 K. E. Parsons, P.Pr.A.G.D.C.
1984 J. A. Starkey, P.Pr.S.G.D.
1985 L. G. Starkey
1986 W. Kilbride
1987 A. Pugh, P.Pr.S.G.D.
1988 R. D. Powell, P.Pr.S.G.D.
1989 A. R. White, P.Pr.J.G.D.
1990 A. Senior
1991 R. Dimeloe, P.Pr.J.G.W.
1992 G. W. E. Roughley, P.Pr.G.Supt.Wks.
1993 J. E. Pargeter, P.Pr.J.G.W.
1994 J. Barry, P.Pr.S.G.D.
1995 G. H. Wright, PPrSGD
1996 P. Mitchell, PPrSGD
1997 B. Ramsdale, P.Pr.S.G.D.
1998 R. Dimeloe, P.Pr.J.G.W.
1999 R. D Powell, P.Pr.S.G.D.
2000 A. C McElhinney, P.Pr.S.G.D.
2001 J. D. Riley
2002 J. Barry, P.Pr.SGD.
2003 J. R. Parker
2004 D. J. Brown
2005 D. J. Brown