Article in the Hereford Times,
Saturday 29th May 1899, Page 11 columns 1 & 2


Oddfellowship in and round about the quaint and picturesque village Bosbury, noted as being the former residence of the Bishops of Hereford, and for its historic landmarks, is exceptionally progressive. There are few lodges which can boast of such a balance sheet as that presented this year by the Loyal Bishop Swinfield Lodge of Oddfellows, Hereford District, M.U , which was established in the year 1869. The progress of the society during the year is summed up as follows:—Number of members January 1st., 1898, 254 ; admitted during the year, 8 ; left by non-payment, 8 : died, 4 ; on the books December 31st, 260 ; number of members sick during the year, 69 ; total number of days sickness, 2,344 ; the sum of £118 1s 8d was paid in sick benefits to members, and the average age per member s set forth at 36 years. As regarded the sick and funeral fund the year was started with a balance in of £3,858 13s 10d. The principal receipts were as follows :—Contributions, £271 9s 10d ; contributions of members of other lodges £11 12s 10d ; interest and rent, £148 13s 4d ; funeral money from district, £40. The following were the payments :—361 weeks 4 days’ sick full pay £180 16s : 29 weeks’ reduced sick pay £7 5s 8d ; sick pay advanced to members of other lodges, £1 16s 8d ; levies to the district general fund, £39 12s 0d ; contributions remitted to other lodges, £11 12s 10d ; deaths £40 ; which with a balance of £4,050 0s 2d brought up the total to £4,331 12s 4d. The management fund is not quite so satisfactory as the club officers would wish. The receipts amounted to £102 12s 6d made up of contributions £67 1s 8d ; levy, £1 12s ; balance due to sick fund, £13 15s 5d ; together with hon. subscriptions and other smaller items. The principal payments were-balance to sick fund, £14 7s 3d ; surgeon’s account, £18 11s 3d ; levies for the district, £7 15s 8d ; secretary’s salary, £18 10s ; delegate’s expenses, £2 12s ; sick visitors £2 12s ; and stationery, printing and goods from district, £5 13s. The following shows the cash value of the sick and funeral fund, and how the money is invested ;-Invested on mortgage, £3,790 ; in bank trustees, £6 3s 11d ; in bank treasurer, £215 9s ; in secretary’s hands £24 10s 10d ; invested in management fund, £13 15s 5d ; total £4,050 9s 2d. As regarded the cash value of the superannuation and incidental fund, on the receipts side were the items, balance, January 1st, 1898. £227 13s 7d ; interest, £8 12s 6d ; and the payments, contributions paid for aged members, £14 14s 8d ; balance £222 11s 5d ; total £236 6s 1d. The surplus capital fund showed receipts amounting to £305 15s ; interest. £6 7s 6d ; payments paid in extra sick pay £21 18s 4d ; balance £290 4s 2d ; total, £312 2s 6d.

The members assembled at the lodge room early last Monday morning, and after they had been formed in procession, attired in full regalia, the village was paraded in company with the Drybrook band. Various calls were made on the leading people in the neighbourhood. Afterwards service was held at the parish church, where an excellent discourse was delivered by the rector, the Rev R. Burges-Bayly, a brother of the celebrated authoress, Edna Lyall.

In the course his remarks he said they were met together to commemorate the anniversary of the Loyal Bishop Swinfield Lodge of the lndependent Order of Oddfellows, named after that good old Bishop of Hereford, who was born in Bosbury, died at Bosbury, and who loved to live in no place in his diocese as well as in the old palace which stood on the north side of the church. Brethren of the lodge, they to the House of God this morning to pour out their praises and thanksgivings to the King of kings for His goodness during the past year, and for the prosperity He had been pleased to grant their honourable Order. Now he wanted them specially to note this point—they came, it was true, that morning to church individually, but they came also as brethren of a great corporate body. They knew very well that unity meant strength, and the splendid traditions and history of the Independent Order of Oddfellows afforded a noble example of what honest work could be done, and great results achieved, by the exercise of what he had called their collective strength when all their exertions were directed by the master hand of the Great Architect of the Universe. They came there as members of a great order, but above all they came as brethren, as brothers-brother working together for the common good, brothers ready and willing to take a share in bearing each other’s burdens, brothers marching together with hand clasped in hand, with heart knit to heart, facing bravely the battle of life as true soldiers of the cross.

After the service was over, the members were again formed into procession, and marched to a tent situated in field kindly lent for the occasion by Mr Davies, of Temple Court. Her a capital lunch was provided by Mr Hunt, of Ye Old Crown Inn, who enhanced his reputation as a caterer considerably. Captain W. B. Mynors occupied the chair, with Mr C. W. Stephens in the vice-chair. There ware also present the Rev R. Burgess- Bayly, the Rev J. G. Curtis, P.P.G.M., Mr T. Gardiner (“father of the club”, Mr C. T. Ockey, Mr C. H. Bastow, Mr W. Caldwell, Mr W. Ockey. Mr Alcott, Mr Job, Mr Townsend. Mr E. T. Lane, Mr J. Davies, Mr Stinton, V.G.,. Mr William Hopcott, P.P.G.M., Mr W. Green (secretary), Mr T. C. Webb (Ledbury), Mr Barrett (Ledbury), Mr W. Barrett (Munsley), Mr A Maddox, Mr E. Dcm (Ashperton), Mr W. Minchin (Ledbury), Mr W. Smart, Mr A. Cotton, Mr T. Payne, and others.

The CHAIRMAN submitted the loyal toasts, which were received With enthusiasm.
Mr C.. H. BASTOW said he had been asked to propose the next toast, that of “The Bishop and Clergy of the Diocese, and Ministers of other denominations” It needed no words from him to enlarge on that toast, they all knew the worth of these gentlemen in their respective callings. He would couple with it, however, the names of the Rev Burgess-Bayly and the Rev J. Curtis, who were well-known and highly respected in their midst (hear, hear, and applause).
The Rev BURGESS-BAYLY responded and said on behalf of the Bishop and clergy of the diocese, and for the kind way in which they had coupled his name with the toast, he begged to thank them most heartily. There was something particularly suitable in Oddfellows meetings in that parish, which was formerly so intimately associated, as they knew, with the Bishops of Hereford. The Bishops of Hereford from the very earliest ages had had property in this parish, and to-day, although they did not live there, they were intimately connected with the place, and parts of the old palace were still standing. The present Bishop took a most kindly interest in the neighbourhood and the diocese generally, together with the society the anniversary of which they had met to celebrate. The clergy also recognised the immense benefit derived from friendly societies (applause).
The Rev J. G. CURTIS also responded.
The CHAIRMAN said it now fell to his lot to propose the toast of the day, “The Bishop Swinfield Lodge,” the anniversary of which they had met to celebrate that day. After a lapse of a year—last year the lodge held its celebration in another direction they had assembled here again, and it was his good fortune to congratulate them on the continued prosperity and success of the lodge (applause). It was quite unnecessary for him to dilate on the prospects or the benefits of the lodge for they had the balance sheet before them. He had now had the privilege of presiding at their annual gathering for a number of years, and in each instance he had always been able to congratulate the lodge on the very substantial amount they had added to their capital. It had always been about £200 a year, and the great difficulty was how to invest it order to get a reasonable amount of interest. The members had that morning paid a kindly visit to his humble abode, and he was very pleased to see such a number of men representing such a rich and prosperous lodge. A great question in connection with the Oddfellows, and also in connection with other friendly societies had arisen, and he must confess the more he read of it, the more he saw the account in the papers — he need hardly tell them he referred to old-age pensions — the more the question bristled with difficulty. Many people said that if these old-age pensions are granted, it would do away with thrift. and that such societies as their’s would cease to continue in that sphere of usefulness for which they had been so conspicuous in the past ; that if these old-age pensions were indiscriminately granted the undeserving would benefit to a very much greater extent than the deserving poor (hear, hear). Well, no doubt most of them had seen in the Hereford Times and the Ledbury papers an account of the Poor Law Conference at Malvern, where the question was fully discussed. He had read it very carefully, and had arrived at the conclusion as the principal speaker arrived at, namely, that this question of old-age pensions was a question which must with approached with great circumspection. He hoped, as the Houses of Parliament had got it down on their Parliamentary programme, that it would not be carried through without a great deal of thought and attention as the question deserved. They were adequately represented in Parliament, and it was right that that they should be, for friendly societies enlisted the sympathy and support of a great portion of the people. It was, therefore, hoped that the question would be thoroughly thrashed out, not merely for the sake of passing the Bill (hear, hear). He believed a committee had been appointed to deal with the matter, and they would report to the House of Commons. He had always heard it confessed by responsible members of the lodge that they were strongly adverse to any State interference, and no doubt they were very more able to judge than himself. Friendly Societies were a very important factor in the good government of the country, and their voice should be deservedly held in high esteem and receive the utmost consideration (hear, hear). It was not necessary for him to refer to the matter at any greater length, but to congratulate them on the fact that they continued to be in a very flourishing condition (applause). No doubt the neighbourhood was a very healthy one, and they led healthy lives, which accounts for the receipts being so very much in excess of the expenditure. He would couple with the toast the name of their worthy secretary, Mr Green (applause).
Mr GREEN suitably returned thanks. He said he did not like to brag too much of their position, because people would say “you have got plenty of money, and you must be put in the background a little.” They were very prosperous in one sense, but not in another. During the last ten years they paid away no less than £1,862 10s. 5d., and during the last year they had paid away the sum of £188 1s. 8d in sick pay. That must be a great saving to the ratepayers in the district. He was pleased to tell them that they had saved &pond;191 16s. on account of the sick and general fund, but on the other hand he would like to draw thier [sic] attention to the management fund. They were deficient in this respect, and the fact was that they did not take quite enough off the members towards management expenses. They were in debt to the extent of £13 15s. 5d. There should be some means raising this money. They had altogether waved the practice of inflicting fines. He would like all employers of labour to. take their subscription list into consideration and then they would have no difficulty on this score (hear, hear). Instead of paying 10s. he hoped they would soon able to pay 12s. per week all round (applause). They had a surplus fund which went a long way towards old age pension, and which they devoted towards paying aged members (hear, hear). There was another matter to which he would like to call attention. The officers had buried their talents in the soil, for their money had been well invested and was realising interest which was helping to build up their lodge (hear, hear).
The REV. BURGESS-BAYLY next submitted the heath of “The Chairman” and alluded in eulogistic terms to Captain Mynors's many good qualities. There was no good work he could, no institution which had sport for its objects, to which Captain Mynors would not lend a helping hand.
The toast was received with acclamation, and the CHAIRMAN then proposed the health of “The Vice-Chairman,” which was drunk with enthusiasm.
Mr. STEPHENS acknowledged the compliment and said he was pleased to see a very fair sprinkling of the .... taking an interest in the movement as was shown by their presence. He could recall the days when he first began to visit Bosbury, some thirty years ago, and he remembered some four vicars of Bosbury. There was the venerable Archdeacon Stanhope, his successor the Rev. John Edward Cheese, and the saintly soul who preceded the present vicar. He knew the Rev. Burgess-Bayly before his parishioners knew him, for by accident he met him in Ledbury just about the time he was appointed to Castle Froome. He had the honour of offering, which offer was accepted, of sending him over to Castle Froome, and he should never forget his kindness on that occasion. He showed how his heart was in the right place for he sent him a long copy of one of the works written by his celebrated sister and which he should never forget as a memento of his kindness (hear, hear). He need hardly say what pleasure it gave him to come to Bosbury. He included their Chairman amongst his friends, a friendship extending over a number of years. He was in sympathy with their cause desire to promote Oddfellowship in the district. They knew that the lodge at Ledbury—St. Catherine’s—was an off-shoot of this lodge, which he hoped would long continue to prosper (applause).
Mr GARDINER submitted the health of “Hon. Members,” and coupled with the toast the name of Mr C. Ockey.
Mr OCKEY responded, and said he was only sorry that there was not more farmers and employers of labour present. He himself was a member of three or four societies and contributed to about six. He thought that such societies as theirs should have every support (applause).
Mr GARDINER announced that the Rev. J. G. Curtis had just given him another half sovereign towards the management fund in addition to his ordinary subscription (applause).
Mr COTTON gave the toast of “The Surgeon,” Dr A. M. Wood, which was drunk with enthusiasm.
The CHAIRMAN said he had received a telegram from Mr Harrison, who greatly regretted that he was not able to be present.
Mr GARDINER proposed “The Treasurer,” Mr M. Lane, which was also well received.
Mr E. T. LANE gave “The Visitors,” and Mr T. C. WEBB responded, remarking that he was their oldest visiting member.
Other toasts included “The Press”, “The Ladies,” and “The Host and Hostess.”


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