A Brief History of Moffat Lodge #399
In 1881 a number of brethren residing in and around Harrietsville,approximately 30 Km. southeast of London Ontario, felt the need for a masonic lodge within their community. Travel time to the nearest lodge, located in Belmont, was a significant factor in rural life and the formation of a local lodge was given high priority by the brethren.
With the support of Belmont Lodge #190 and district brethren a petition was presented to Grand Lodge and a charter granted in 1882 to be known as Mofatt Lodge #399.
The name “Moffat” was chosen to honour the Immediate Past Grand Master and the first Grand Master from the London area, M. W. Bro. James Moffat.
M.W. Bro. Moffat was a very active member of his community serving for many years in elected and other positions of public service to the London area.
Regular meetings of Moffat Lodge #399 were held in the Oddfellows Hall from 1882 to 1956.
In 1956 the lodge moved to new quarters,just North of the United Church in Harrietsville. The building was previously located at the Crumlin Air base, in London and used as the Officers Mess during World War II.
As with many Lodges Moffat #399 had its share of good times and not so good times, particularly with regards to membership. During the past 15 years the number of local members became fewer and the connections to the local community dwindled.
In June of 1996, in anticipation of a move to the William Mercer Wilson Centre in London, the Harrietsville property and buildings were sold.
Starting in September 1996, Moffat Lodge #399 will meet in the lodge rooms of Belmont Lodge #190, until such time as a move may be made to the lodge rooms in the William Mercer Wilson Centre.
The Worshipful Master, Officers and Brethren of Mofatt Lodge #399 eagerly await the opportunity to become part of a new community, to participate in masonic activities and in general make our contribution to the wellbeing of its residents.
A brief history of moffat lodge #399, by R.W. Bro. James Ford, August 1996
In 1882 seventeen Master Masons from the Harrietsville area came together under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario to form a Lodge named Moffat lodge No. 399. Their meetings were first held in the IOOF Hall, Harrietsville, from 1882 until February 1956, when a letter was received from Grand Lodge stating that the Lodge had to vacate their present premises by the end of June 1956, and relocate elsewhere until such time as they could find a Masonic Hall of their own. The Lodge accepted an invitation from Belmont Lodge No. 190 to meet in the Belmont Lodge Hall until they had a new home of their own. Meetings were held in Belmont from September 1956 to October 1957. A building committee was appointed to purchase a lot and building. After purchasing a lot a building was purchased from Wolseley Barracks, London, and moved to the new location. Renovations were completed by the brethren of the Lodge. The officer’s chairs were presented to Moffat Lodge by King Hiram Lodge No. 37 Ingersol, after fire destroyed their Lodge premises. He chairs were re-upholstered and installed in the Lodge room. A number of seats were purchased from a theatre in London. An Altar was presented to the Lodge by Oriental Lodge No. 181, Port Burwell, and two benches were presented from the Harrietsville CPR railway station. New pedestals, and a number of other items of furniture and jewels were presented by members and Masonic friends. The new Temple was dedicated on 16th May, 1958. Moffat Lodge and Belmont Lodges had many fraternal visits and held joint installations alternating in June from 1882 to 1956, when Grand Lodge passed a ruling that no Lodge shall hold a joint Installation and Investiture of Officers with another Lodge In 1981 the Lodge decided to Renovate the Lodge premises. New lighting and re-decorating were completed from the money raised. About 1993 it was clear that with a declining membership and rising costs, it would soon become impossible for the Lodge to continue in its present location. It was also noted that almost all of its members admitted to Lodge over the last ten to fifteen years had come from the City Of London, about 30 kilometres away, and attendance at meetings was gradually declining. Several options were discussed, including renting the Lodge room and facilities at a nearby existing Masonic building such as Belmont, Nilestown and London. An open vote to move was defeated at this time. A short time later, the William Mercer Wilson Center was nearing completion and were looking for a Lodge to move into the Proposed Lodge room on the lower floor. Several of the directors suggested that Moffat Lodge might consider moving in as means of satisfying the void there, and also to help ease the financial load of the property in Harrietsville. After a great deal of discussion, it was finally decided to move to the WMW Center. The fist meeting was held there in March 1997.