IT was a "proud" day for one of Cornwall's oldest Freemason lodges which opened its doors to the public on its 150th anniversary.
More than 50 people, including members' families, had a peek inside the temple of the Three Grand Principles Lodge, many for the first time.
Penryn Mayor Gill Grant unveiled the plaque outside the lodge on Commercial Road and Father Stuart Turner led a prayer, before the temple was opened to the public.
Our WM Tony Frankson (R) with Barry Curnow
Lodge secretary Chris Mallet, who has been a mason since 1989, said: "It was a unique day for the lodge, which has been in Penryn in the background for 150 years, paying money into the local community.
"It is rare that we open the lodge to members of the public.
"We were all delighted with the turnout. It was a proud day for Penryn and it was a proud day for the lodge. A good time was had by all."
Mr Mallet chose the occasion to dispel a few myths about freemasons, saying: "It's about having fun, being sociable, and getting together with other men once a month. It's no different to Rotary clubs or the Women's Institute.
"Yes, we have got a handshake which means we can recognise each other day or night. But it's not a secret, closed society. In the old days it was probably more exclusive, just for the gentry, but not these days. We are all normal, working people and the cost of becoming a mason has not altered. If you think you are going to 'get on' in business by joining the lodge then don't join. It's not about that. That is a myth."
During the first few months, new members pass through 'three degrees', each with a unique handshake, then through levels from junior to senior mason, among others, before reaching the 'chair of the worshipful master' after about eight years of service, which each member holds for a year. The uniform, the collar and apron, change as masons climb the ranks, after which they take on more administrative roles if they choose, such as secretary.
Everything spoken during the ceremonies is recalled from memory, so new members must learn texts by heart to show their commitment.
Members pay an annual fee of £100, and fund all donations to local causes.
The Three Grand Principles Lodge has 48 members.
The five lodges in Penryn and two in Falmouth have a total of 248 members.
Read more: http://www.westbriton.co.uk/Cornwall-s-oldest-freemason-lodge-opens-doors/story-21651155-detail/story.html#IFLLDu5ypYX4w0eJ.03#ixzz39G5E1VdR