Richard Eve

In Brinton Park, Kidderminster, stands a remarkable memorial to Richard Eve, a man born in humble circumstances in the town, who went on to rub shoulders with the then Prince of Wales (later King Edward V11), the Duke of Connaught, and other great Freemasons at the turn of the 20th century.
His appetite for Freemasonry knew no bounds and he joined many lodges including, in 1884, the Grand Master’s Lodge No.1 in London.
For much if this time he was possibly a member of the Lodge of Hope and Charity No 377 but my researches have failed to find any evidence of this. However, when he died in 1900, his will named H&C as one of three lodges to be given preference in selecting candidates for education at the Masonic Schools.
The monument in the park is designed and decorated in the sort of overblown intricate detail much beloved by the Victorians.
It has four panels and one is dedicated to “Richard Eve, born December 6 1831, died July 7 1900.”
On another panel we learn that “Charity was ever his end and aim; devoted to the Masonic Craft, he was Grand Treasurer of England 1869 and for years Chairman of the Masonic Boys’ School.” third panel tells us he was “Chivalrous by nature and fired with the enthusiasm of humanity” and that he “Resisted oppression and did Battle for the Right.”
The 30ft memorial to Richard Eve has stood majestically in Brinton Park since it was officially dedicated on June 21 1902. It was raised, states yet a fourth inscription, by “Admiring friends to keep his memory green in his native town which he ardently loved.”
So who was Richard Eve and why was he so honoured by Masons and non-Masons alike?
He was born in a little house in Bromsgrove Street, Kidderminster, son of John Eve, who has come down from Yorkshire to be foreman of the spinning department at one of the town’s many carpet factories.
Richard, who was born lame, did his schooling locally and in 1846 was articled to firm of solicitors in Leamington Spa where, at the age of 23, he was initiated into Guy’s Lodge No.556 (now 395) of which he became Master in 1861.
Shortly afterwards, as a fully qualified solicitor, he set up a practice in a modest office in Aldershot where the British Army was busy establishing its massive military centre.
As the headquarters grew, so did Mr Eve’s stature and influence. Over the next 15 years he built up a large and wealthy business. He was also heavily involved in local politics and, as well as serving on various local authorities, became Lord of the Manor of Farnborough.
Eve also wanted to be a Member of Parliament but never got there. As a freethinking Liberal, he stood unsuccessfully for Parliament six times, twice in Kidderminster. He maintained a strong link with his native town and bought a house in the Greenhill area.
The affection generated by all who knew him proved that Richard Eve was a warm and friendly character, but he could be crusty and was insistent on correctness in conduct and procedure. A classic example is recorded in the minutes of Panmure Lodge No 723, Aldershot, in 1895. It is stated: “W Bro Eve moved that officers of Panmure Lodge be fined for non-attendance.”
On another occasion he moved that in minutes concerning a Third Degree ceremony, the words “having given proof of proficiency in the former degree” be removed – presumably because the poor candidate fluffed his lines.
He installed no fewer than 16 successive Masters into the chair of Panmure.
Paramount in his Masonic work was the welfare of the two schools and he became Chairman of the Masonic Boys’ School management board from 1891 until he died.
Indeed, in 1899 a lodge was formed linked directly to the Boys School – and it was named Richard Eve Lodge (No. 2772) in his honour.
A few days later Richard Eve had a seizure and died on July 7. He was buried with great pomp and ceremony at Aldershot. The funeral was reported in detail in The Freemason newspaper on July 21. It stated;-
“Bro Eve had found in life manifold points of sympathetic contact with his fellows and on this day his friends rose up from all parts of England to pay a last tribute of respect to his memory.
“It was a solemn and inspiring sight – this long procession of black-coated men.”
The report then described how the four funeral carriages each pulled by black horses, wound their way through the streets of Aldershot and stated: “Carriage No.4 was occupied by Colonel W H Talbot of Kidderminster who represented Bro Sir A Frederick Godson, MP, Prov Grand Master of Worcestershire…”
It went on: “The great body of Masons marched in twos in front of the carriage. There were about 100 of them, all wearing the customary white gloves and carrying their sprigs of acacia.”
Now Richard Eve’s memory is perpetuated with a pink marble headstone at Aldershot cemetery and the monument in Brinton Park, Kidderminster.
If you want to view it, take the Stourport Road out of Kidderminster, turn right at the traffic lights into Sutton Road and 150 yards on the right is a short driveway where you can leave your car and the edifice is just a little way into the park. [/one_third] In Brinton Park, Kidderminster, stands a remarkable memorial to Richard Eve, a man born in humble circumstances in the town, who went on to rub shoulders with the then Prince of Wales (later King Edward V11), the Duke of Connaught, and other great Freemasons at the turn of the 20th century.
His appetite for Freemasonry knew no bounds and he joined many lodges including, in 1884, the Grand Master’s Lodge No.1 in London.
For much if this time he was possibly a member of the Lodge of Hope and Charity No 377 but my researches have failed to find any evidence of this. However, when he died in 1900, his will named H&C as one of three lodges to be given preference in selecting candidates for education at the Masonic Schools.
The monument in the park is designed and decorated in the sort of overblown intricate detail much beloved by the Victorians.
It has four panels and one is dedicated to “Richard Eve, born December 6 1831, died July 7 1900.”
On another panel we learn that “Charity was ever his end and aim; devoted to the Masonic Craft, he was Grand Treasurer of England 1869 and for years Chairman of the Masonic Boys’ School.” third panel tells us he was “Chivalrous by nature and fired with the enthusiasm of humanity” and that he “Resisted oppression and did Battle for the Right.”
The 30ft memorial to Richard Eve has stood majestically in Brinton Park since it was officially dedicated on June 21 1902. It was raised, states yet a fourth inscription, by “Admiring friends to keep his memory green in his native town which he ardently loved.”
So who was Richard Eve and why was he so honoured by Masons and non-Masons alike?
He was born in a little house in Bromsgrove Street, Kidderminster, son of John Eve, who has come down from Yorkshire to be foreman of the spinning department at one of the town’s many carpet factories.
Richard, who was born lame, did his schooling locally and in 1846 was articled to firm of solicitors in Leamington Spa where, at the age of 23, he was initiated into Guy’s Lodge No.556 (now 395) of which he became Master in 1861.
Shortly afterwards, as a fully qualified solicitor, he set up a practice in a modest office in Aldershot where the British Army was busy establishing its massive military centre.
As the headquarters grew, so did Mr Eve’s stature and influence. Over the next 15 years he built up a large and wealthy business. He was also heavily involved in local politics and, as well as serving on various local authorities, became Lord of the Manor of Farnborough.
Eve also wanted to be a Member of Parliament but never got there. As a freethinking Liberal, he stood unsuccessfully for Parliament six times, twice in Kidderminster. He maintained a strong link with his native town and bought a house in the Greenhill area.
The affection generated by all who knew him proved that Richard Eve was a warm and friendly character, but he could be crusty and was insistent on correctness in conduct and procedure. A classic example is recorded in the minutes of Panmure Lodge No 723, Aldershot, in 1895. It is stated: “W Bro Eve moved that officers of Panmure Lodge be fined for non-attendance.”
On another occasion he moved that in minutes concerning a Third Degree ceremony, the words “having given proof of proficiency in the former degree” be removed – presumably because the poor candidate fluffed his lines.
He installed no fewer than 16 successive Masters into the chair of Panmure.
Paramount in his Masonic work was the welfare of the two schools and he became Chairman of the Masonic Boys’ School management board from 1891 until he died.
Indeed, in 1899 a lodge was formed linked directly to the Boys School – and it was named Richard Eve Lodge (No. 2772) in his honour.
A few days later Richard Eve had a seizure and died on July 7. He was buried with great pomp and ceremony at Aldershot. The funeral was reported in detail in The Freemason newspaper on July 21. It stated;-
“Bro Eve had found in life manifold points of sympathetic contact with his fellows and on this day his friends rose up from all parts of England to pay a last tribute of respect to his memory.
“It was a solemn and inspiring sight – this long procession of black-coated men.”
The report then described how the four funeral carriages each pulled by black horses, wound their way through the streets of Aldershot and stated: “Carriage No.4 was occupied by Colonel W H Talbot of Kidderminster who represented Bro Sir A Frederick Godson, MP, Prov Grand Master of Worcestershire…”
It went on: “The great body of Masons marched in twos in front of the carriage. There were about 100 of them, all wearing the customary white gloves and carrying their sprigs of acacia.”
Now Richard Eve’s memory is perpetuated with a pink marble headstone at Aldershot cemetery and the monument in Brinton Park, Kidderminster.
If you want to view it, take the Stourport Road out of Kidderminster, turn right at the traffic lights into Sutton Road and 150 yards on the right is a short driveway where you can leave your car and the edifice is just a little way into the park.

By Peter Ricketts

Brinton Park Kidderminster Brinton Park, Kidderminster

Kidderminster Freemasonry

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