czwartek, 26 kwietnia 2018

Four Freemasons in J.R.R. Tolkien's family

"Gandalf, Gandalf! Good gracious me! Not the wandering wizard that gave Old Took a pair of magic diamond studs that fastened themselves and never came undone till ordered? Not the fellow who used to tell such wonderful tales at parties, about dragons and goblins and giants and the rescue of princesses and the unexpected luck of widows' sons?"
– J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit*
"In Ancient Craft Masonry, the title [widow's son] applied to Hiram, the architect of the Temple, because he is said, in the first Book of Kings (vu, 14) to have been "a widow's son of the tribe of Naphtali. (...) The Freemasons call themselves the widow's sons, because, afte the death of our respectable Master, the Freemasons took care of his mother, whose children they called themselves, because Adonhiram had always considered them as his Brethren."
 

I have found four Freemasons among close relatives of J. R. R. Tolkien! They were members of the United Grand Lodge of England: Henry Tolkien, John Benjamin Tolkien, unknown Tolkien and Frank Neville Tolkien.
United Grand Lodge of England


Henry Tolkien (1814–1885), great-uncle of J. R. R. Tolkien, brother of his grandfather, John Benjamin Tolkien (1807–1896). He was a music dealer and he had his shop at 28 King William Street, London (more on him at "London Street Views"). He was initiated to the United Grand Lodge of England in the age of 41 on 1 August 1855. He was a member of the Lodge of Confidence (No. 193) in London till 1860. This Lodge was established in 1790 and named in 1820. In 1790 the lodge met at the Dolphin, Red Lion Street, Holborn, London. The lodge moved to many inns and taverns around London (in the times of Henry Tolkien it was Anderton's Hotel, Fleet Street, London, England) but it now meets at Freemasons' Hall, Great Queen Street, London.

Henry Tolkien, first known Freemason in the Tolkien family
Henry Tolkien, Freemason 1855–1860

Anderton's Hotel, Fleet Street (read here)


John Benjamin Tolkien (1845–1883), J. R. R. Tolkien's half-uncle, half-brother of Arthur Tolkien. He was a music dealer in Birmingham, a tuner, a newspaper reporter and a composer. From 21 March 1871 (when he was initiated) to 1881 he was a member (Senior Warden) of the Lodge of Perseverance (No. 573) in Halesowen, Worcester (in the times of John Benjamin Tolkien it was in the Shenstone Hotel in Halesowen). I have found an interesting information in The Freemason's Chronicle (17 April 1875, p. 247). It suggests that John Benjamin Tolkien, J.R.R. Tolkien's grandfather (Arthur Tolkien's father) from Music Warehouse at 87 New Street, Birmingham published his son's ("Brother John Tolkien S.W. 573") "United Ever – New Masonic Song" dedicated to M. W. Provincial Grand Masters of Warwickshire and Worcestershire. As we can see the family of J. R. R. Tolkien's father was Freemason-inclined (Professor's grandfather had a Freemason brother and son!).
John Benjamin Tolkien, Freemason 1771–1881

Unknown Tolkien – we know him from The Freemason's Chronicle, v. 43-44, 1896, p. 72 which records the presence of a Tolkien along with several other Brothers at the sports day of Hertford County College. It is quite possible that it was Arthur Reuel Tolkien's father, John Benjamin Tolkien because the sports day took place on Saturday 25th July.

Frank Neville Tolkien (1884–1966), an engineer from Castleton, son of Henry Alfred Tolkien, grandson of Septimus Tolkien who was J. R. R. Tolkien's grandfather's younger brother. So Frank Neville Tolkien was J. R. R. Tolkiens distant cousin. His date of initiation was 26 February 1908. He was a member of St Martin's Lodge in Castleton (No. 2320) which had its place at Church Inn, Castleton, near Manchester, Lancashire. He resigned in No. 2320 in November 1912 but joined another Lodge of Coronation (No. 3479) in Blackburn. Frank Neville Tolkien belonged to it until at least 1921 and he attended Masonic Hall in Blackburn, Lancashire.


Frank Neville Tolkien, Freemason 1908–1912

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* [Who knows if J. R. R. Tolkien knowing the inclinations of his paternal family didn't want to include a pun, a word play in his first published story to tell "I know..."]

2 komentarze:

  1. I find it unusual for such a underqualified applicant to be successful for such a senior position as was Tolkien without reason of connection albeit the possible Jesuit Masonic connection or his possible Reuel Jewish connection.

    Certainly I find his lack of depth of interpretation of the Pearl Poets mathematical content of the manuscript Sir Gawain and the Green Knight more than suspicious. Given that Henry Saville was a mathematician and possibly understood the illuminated architecture beneath the surface of the story in particular the lost Christian symbol of the Holy Pentagram. We must also balance all of this with a mother that was brilliant and adored her children to the point of conversion perhaps because the cost of education int he Anglican church was less than forth coming as it was from relatives and perhaps she was told something that gave her hope even though the organisation of the Jesuits and the Catholic Church were extreme. She found help and she kept faith to God regardless of branding. She knew she was dying and she knew she needed help for her sons in a world that turned its back on widowed sons. Perhaps the Masons and Jesuits were opportunistic but also just maybe they helped these boys to make them more for their cause in their gratitude. Either way I admire the love of Tolkien for his wife who was an illegitimate orphaned child herself helped by a windfall of the will of her father. Her mother was also very clever in survival skills. He admired that. The legacy of that love story and bond is an echo of what the Holy Pentagram is about and that is the bonds and boundaries of love and fidelity and unity in resurrection for eternity. It also symbolises the tree of sacrifice and equality as well as love real love not eros waxing and waning at Beltane. I find it interesting that she danced for him in the woods and let him become her Green Man and Knight. He understood the Green Knight but not the mathematics and if he did it would have flown in the face of his catholic beliefs because it mourns pre catholicism and Celtic paganism his special loves in folktale.

    Anne Hamilton has some great books that look at the original pre catholic meanings of the Holy Pentagram the lost and hijacked symbol of Christianity.

    Perhaps his fantasy realms were based on what he needed to deal with the aftermath of war fatigue as his elves really touch the hearts of anyone who has suffered or weathered lifes storms especially veterans who desperately seek truth and the green of being real with real people. He felt old before his time and his wife understood this and they kept that sweet fidelity between them faithfully. This legacy became their children's legacy also. Perhaps Tolkien felt a little bit of the Stockholm effect in his saviours as did his mother who was the brains behind his.

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