WBro the Right Reverend Herbert Gresford Jones, DD, Bishop of Warrington
Our first Junior Warden became Grand Chaplain of England
THE first member of St Oswald Lodge to become a Grand Officer was WBro the Right Reverend Herbert Gresford Jones, DD, Bishop of Warrington and Rector of St Oswald Church, Winwick.
His rise in Freemasonry was extremely fast. As a founder he became the first Junior Warden of the lodge and after just one year was Installed as Worshipful Master. There were many guests to see his Installation in 1931 including the Grand Chaplain of England, WBro MW Myres. As soon as he had completed his year in the Chair, WBro Gresford Jones was appointed Provincial Grand Chaplain of West Lancashire and the following year had the honour of being Grand Chaplain of England.
Wbro Gresford Jones had only become a Freemason when he was 53. He was Vicar of Pershore when he was Initiated into Avon Lodge No 3569 in the Province of Worcestershire on 10 November 1924.
He moved to become Rector of Winwick in 1927 and served St Oswald Church until 1935. The year of the Consecration of St Oswald Lodge was an extremely busy one for him. In addition to being totally involved in plans for the Consecration on 24 April 1930 he was also President of the Deanery Jubilee Committee which was planning celebrations to run from September 13 to 26 to mark the Jubilee of the Liverpool Diocese.
One of St Oswald Church’s oldest parishioners has fond memories of the Rt Rev Gresford Jones and recalls that during his time at the church there were services for Freemasons. He also started a “Brotherhood” for men of the church who attended a special service on Sunday afternoons.
His rise in and service to Freemasonry would come as no surprise to anyone who knew his background. He attended Trinity College, Cambridge taking Classical Honours. The first 10 years of his ministry were spent in the Liverpool Diocese. After a short period in the Lake District he experienced a long and strenuous ministry in the West Riding of Yorkshire, first as Vicar of Bradford and then Vicar and Archdeacon of Sheffield where he helped prepare the way for a Cathedral church. Keenly alive to the growing demands of the church overseas he took the opportunity to become involved in Episcopal work in Africa. He was consecrated in St Paul’s Cathedral in 1920 as Bishop of Kampala and worked in Uganda, Kenya, the Sudan and the Belgian Congo. On his return to England he became Rector of Pershore before moving to Winwick.
Another love of WBro Gresford Jones was his sketch book and he delighted in making character studies of people and places. He had his work published while at Cambridge and while at Winwick exhibited drawings at the Person Painters’ and the Lake Artists’ Exhibitions.
His wife, Elisabeth, is also fondly remembered in Winwick. They had one son, Michael Gresford Jones, who followed his father’s footsteps in taking Holy Orders and became Bishop of a London Borough.
WBro Gresford Jones died in 1958.