Roger de Fery Lodge No. 5879 in Ferryhill was the destination on a glorious early summer evening on 7th June, for David Sanders Hay, the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, to present a 50-year certificate to Stanley Wren.
No one can say for sure how the town of Ferryhill in County Durham got its name, however, there are three theories. The first speculates that the ford across the now extinct river to the east (where the railway line now runs), combined with the lofty position of the settlement gave the place its name. The second proposes that it is named after Sir Roger De Ferry (or Ferie), “Which, incidentally the Roger de Ferry Lodge is named after,” who famously killed the last boar of Brancepeth at Cleves Cross – now a part of the town – hence ‘Ferry’s Hill’. The third theory simply suggests that the name is derived from the Old English fiergen, or firgen, meaning ‘wood’, or ‘wooded hill’ – with the ‘hill’ suffix added later.
The name first appears in the records as ‘Ferie’ in 1125, ‘Feregenne’ in 1256 and ‘Ferye on the Hill’ in 1316 – and it appears as an unnamed settlement in an Anglo-Saxon charter of 900. It would therefore seem likely that the latter place-name theory is correct. It has also been suggested that the ‘hill’ element was added to differentiate the village/parish from Ferrybridge in West Yorkshire – once also known as ‘Ferie’ and also on the Great North Road.
It was a busy evening in the lodge room with a First Degree Ceremony Demonstration, with the candidate for the evening, Gordon Rooney who just so happened to be a rejoining member on his first night back in the Lodge. He had the benefit of taking his first step in masonry for the second time.
Then David Sanders Hay presented a 50-year in Freemasonry Certificate to the lodge on behalf of Stanley Wren. Stanley hasn’t been a regular attendee at the Lodge over the last few years as he isn’t in the best of health, however, that said, he is an intrinsic member of the lodge who is part of the history, culture and DNA of the Roger de Fery Lodge and, that itself, deserves celebration.
Stan was born on 27th November 1926. At the age of thirty nine, he was initiated into Roger de Fery on 7th June 1966. He was passed to the second degree on 1st November of that year and raised to the degree of a master mason on 6th February 1967.
Interestingly, there were only four visitors to the Lodge on the evening of Stan’s initiation, along with forty one members. The collection, on that evening raised five pounds, six shillings and nine pence. The annual subscription collected from the entire membership during 1965 was £378 and 16 shillings.
Stan worked at Fishburn Colliery where he was the Baths Superintendent, before moving to Kelloe and finally Seaham (Vane Tempest) Colliery from where he retired in 1992.
He now lives quietly at home with his wife Olive and, next year they will have been married sixty years. Old age and ill health mean that they rarely venture out, other than for hospital appointments and are visited daily by nurses.
The brethren of the Lodge wish him well and hope he remains comfortable and, perhaps with some happy memories of his Masonic life.
David presented the certificate to Christopher Maddison who, in his capacity as the lodge’s Master, will ensure it is handed over to the much respected Roger de Fery Mason, Stanley Wren.
At the festive board David congratulated everyone who took part in the evening’s ceremony and made special reference to Gordon Rooney who enjoyed his first step in masonry so much, he did it twice.