George Kenning was Initiated into the Lion & Lamb Lodge No 227 (now No 192) meeting at the 'London Coffee House' Ludgate Hill on 4th April 1861. He was Installed into the Chair of King Solomon on 5th January 1871. He was elected Treasurer on 2nd December 1875 and held that office until his resignation on 3rd November 1881. In recognition of his services, the brethren unanimously agreed to the following resolutions and had them illuminated and presented to W. Bro. Kenning :-
'1. That the
Lodge, in deference to the expressed wish of our respected Bro.
George Kenning, P.M., receives with sincere regret his resignation
of the office of Treasurer, a post that he has held with so much
advantage to the Lodge, by the unanimous re-election of the Brethren,
for a period of six years; and in now acceding to his desire to
retire, the Brethren avail themselves of this opportunity of expressing
their sense of the lasting obligation the Lodge is under to Brother
Kenning for the many and varied services rendered by him during
the before mentioned period. It is hoped that his useful life
may long be spared to continue his labours in the great cause
of Freemasonry and the Charities connected therewith, all of which
he has so near at heart.
2. That a copy of this resolution, signed by the W.M. and officers of the Lodge, be illuminated and forwarded to Bro. Kenning, as a slight memento of his active association with his Mother Lodge, and in testimony of the high appreciation of the Brethren of his Masonic Work and Worth.' [Signed in open Lodge, December 1st 1881.]
He was a prolific mason.
He joined the 'Villiers Lodge. No 1194.' in 1869 and was a Founder Member of the 'Burdett Lodge. No 1293.' also in 1869 becoming its first Senior Warden.
He participated in the formation of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Middlesex in 1870 and was appointed Provincial Grand Steward and Provincial Grand Deacon in 1871.
He joined the 'Mariners Lodge. No 249.' in 1875 and the 'Anglo-American Lodge. No 2191.' in 1887.
He was founder of the 'Aldersgate Lodge. No 1657.' in 1877 and was their first Treasurer, becoming Master in 1880. He also founded the 'St Botolph Lodge. No 2020.' in 1884.
He was one of the earliest members to join the Correspondence Circle of the celebrated 'Quatuor Coronati Lodge. No 2076'.
He was also a life member of the 'St Johns Lodge.No 3.' Glasgow, and was affiliated into the 'St David's Lodge. No 36.' Edinburgh in 1877.
He also had the Honour bestowed of being elected a member of the 'Masonic Veterans Association of Pennsylvania.
was the originator of the 'Freemason' Newspaper published weekly
at a cost of 3d in 1869 and was proprietor of that publication.
He published many other books, notably the 'Freemasons Calendar
and Pocket Book' priced 2s, the 'Cosmopolitan Masonic Calendar'
published annually priced 1s, the 'Master Masons Handbook' priced
1s, and 'Kennings Cyclopeadia of Freemasonry' priced 7s 6d, to
mention only a few.
He also published, at his own expense, 'The Illustrated History of the Lion and Lamb Lodge & Chapter' to mark the centenary of the Lodge and it has :
'Fraternally dedicated to the Worshipful Master, Past Masters, Wardens and Members of the "Lion and Lamb" Lodge, No 192, London, by Bro. George Kenning, P.M, P.Z. No 192." February 1st 1884.as its foreword.
It is primarily from this publication that the above biography has been prepared as I am in possession of the Lodge's copy signed by the Author.
his prolific craft career he appears to have been just as involved
in Royal Arch affairs.
He was Founder of the 'Lion & Lamb' Chapter and became its first MEZ. On 10th January 1872 having been exalted into the 'Mount Sion Chapter. No 22' on 9th February 1865.
He was founder of the 'Aldersgate Chapter No 1675 in 1883, and also of the 'Royal Middlesex Chapter No 1194'.
He was Honorary Member of 'West Kent Chapter. No 1297, and took part in the formation of the Provincial Grand Chapter of Middlesex, and was appointed to the office of Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies on its inauguration at Twickenham in 1872 by Col. Sir Francis Burdett, Grand Superintendent.
In 1886 he was presented with a silver goblet by the Chapter as a testimonial which was inscribed:-
'To Companion George Kenning P.Z. &c. Presented by the members of the Lion & Lamb Chapter, No 192. In appreciation of his valuable services as Founder & First M.E.Z. and as Treasurer from its formation in 1872. 20th January. 1886.'
He was also in Mark, Knights Templar, Rose Croix and a Life Member of the 'Royal Order of Scotland'. In the 'Illustrated History of the Lion and Lamb Lodge' prepared for our Centenary, it is also noted that,' He was also an active member of all the other additional and regular Masonic Degrees worked in England and Scotland.
In 1899 he presented the Lodge with a handsome cigar box surmounted by carved figures in oak of a Lion and a Lamb 'lying down together'. This box is still in possession of the Lodge ..
Bro George Kenning sadly died in 1901.
It is recorded in the Lodge minutes of 7th November 1901 that,
" The WM announced to the Lodge the death of W.Bro.George Kenning. PM. W.Bro.Thomas Stokes.IPM., proposed and W.Bro.Robeson.PM. seconded - that a letter of condolence be sent by the Secretary to Mrs George Kenning and that the same be entered on the minutes, after W.Bro.Cohu.PM.&Treasurer and several other Brethren had spoken, it was carried unanimously."
A copy of the
letter to Mrs George Kenning dated 9th November 1901 reads as
"Dear Mrs Kenning,
I am directed by the Worshipful Master, Past Masters and Brethren of the Lion & Lamb Lodge to convey to you and your family their deepest sympathy in the sad bereavement that has fallen upon you in the loss of your husband & their father, our greatly esteemed Bro. George Kenning, one of the oldest of our members & Past Masters, he having been a member of our Lodge for over 40 years.
Although he was not able to be at our meetings of late so much as we could have wished, we shall ever remember his happy and genial manner & I personally shall never forget the kind advice he gave me upon my being installed Worshipful Master of the Lodge.
I am Dear Mrs Kenning,
your most obedient servant,
James Smith PM.
Secretary of the Lion & Lamb Lodge."
A list of Lodge
members dated 1894 shows George Kenning, initiated 1861, residing
at Upper Sydenham. S.E.
There is also on that date a Frank Reginald Kenning, initiated 1894, residing at the same address.
From a list of Masters of the Lodge, Frank Reginald Kenning was recorded as being Initiated in 1894 and Installed Master in the year 1901. He resigned from the Lodge in 1927.
A John Harcourt Kenning was Initiated in 1929 and Installed Master in 1949. He became very influential in Scottish Masonry and was invited in 1961 to give a lecture on the 2nd degree Tracing board to commemorate the 100 years that the Kenning family had been associated with the Lion & Lamb Lodge.
A Pennant was presented to the Lodge at this meeting by Bro Kenning on behalf of Lodge 657 S.C in recognition of his work for Scottish Freemasonry. This Pennant is on display in front of the W.M. at each Festive Board.
There is no mention in the Minute books of George Kenning's company nor of the subsequent merger with 'The House of Toye' but I hope to be able to shed some light on this in the future. Browsing in the Masonic Department of 'Toye Kenning and Spencer' opposite the main entrance to Freemasons Hall in Great Queen Street, you will see many items of memorabilia on display relating to Bro Kenning as well as, on the wall behind the counter, a framed collection of all his Masonic Jewels, including a Lion & Lamb Past Masters Jewel and a Lion & Lamb Past 1st Principles Jewel.
The Kenning Dynasty lasted over 100 years, half the lifetime of this Lodge, and with the two items of memorabilia we have, the name will not be forgotten.