Freemasonary & Borlase School

At the formation of the Lodge, both the Headmaster of the time and his predecessor were Freemasons. They were both members of Marlow Lodge. How many of the previous heads were Freemasons has never been fully researched, but it would not be very surprising to find that some of them were. Many 18th and19th century teachers of note became Freemasons.

There is also a Masonic clue in the buildings. The Library has the classic three, five, then seven steps up to it and there is a place on the landing for the Tyler to sit. For many generations of Borlasians, the Tyler's place was occupied by a half suit of armour. However, the long dimension of the library is actually North-South, which means that if this was used for Masonic meetings, the normal requirement for the Master to sit at the East End of the building must have been modified with him sitting in the South instead.

There is definite evidence of Freemasons being involved in the dedication of the Chapel, in 1906. There is a picture in the Cloisters of members of Marlow Lodge parading in full regalia at the event and it is described in some detail in the minutes of Marlow Lodge.

The founding of Borlase Lodge is however, fully documented.

Sir William BoothWilliam Sykes Booth was Head Master of Borlase School 1927 - 1956. He was initiated into West Salford Lodge No 3867 on September 7th 1921. After serving in World War 1, he found that he missed the comradeship, although not the squalor, of the trenches and found that the comradeship of the Lodge was very helpful in getting over the traumatic experiences of the war.

He became a member of Marlow Lodge in 1932 and was Master in 1938. As World War II drew to a close he was determined to do something for "his boys" who were returning from the War and became the leading light in the formation of the Lodge. His picture, together with his Founder's Jewel and Past Master's Jewel stand on the Secretary's Table at each meeting as a mark of our respect for him as a man, as a Mason and as our founding Master. It must be remembered that he was the last head to actually live in the Headmaster's house and he and Mrs Booth very much looked on "the boys" as part of their extended family. There were less than 200 pupils in the school then and it had a very different "feel" to today's much larger co-educational institution, excellent though the latter is.

At the Consecration of the Lodge, in the Old School Assembly Hall on 2nd March 1946, a letter was read from the Governors of the School wishing the Lodge well and in particular giving it authorisation to use the Borlase Coat of Arms, which is on our Home Page.