On Thursday 27th October, with over 20 visitors present, Fitzwilliam Lodge 3023, which meets at Rotherham Golf Club, performed the very poignant ceremony of The Vacant Chair. This is dedicated to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
As the country moved towards its national period of Remembrance a number of Lodges performed this ceremony. Thanks to the Brethren of Fitzwilliam Lodge for performing this. It has now become an annual event for the Lodge ever since Milton Lodge in Sheffield closed and one of the members joined Fitzwilliam and brought the tradition with him.
The ceremony is thought to date back to 1875, a decade after the close of the American Civil War, when it was used in Masonic Lodges throughout the United States to pay tribute to those who did not return from the war.
It then was adopted by certain Masonic Lodges in Australia and New Zealand following the First World War and this is the version used by Fitzwilliam.
It was adapted and used by the members of Milton Lodge for many years and is now not only used by Fitzwilliam Lodge in Rotherham but also by Gothic Lodge at Swinton in November meetings to remember all who have fallen during all conflict.