Belgrave Chapter No 121 Rose Croix visit to Njála Lodge at Ystadal Hornvik Iceland on 25th June 2022

Members of Belgrave Chapter No 121 were invited to attend the midsummer meeting of Njála Lodge, held every 10 years at Ystadal in Hornvik, to commemorate the midsummer meeting held in 1902 by several foreign brothers.

E & P Bro Stephen Murphy 18° Most Wise Sovereign, Ill Bro Derek Bell 31°, Ill Bro Austin Erwin 30°, E & P Bros Pall Paulsson, Haggerup Issakeson and Steven Pallett 18°, accompanied V Ill Bro Brigadier Peter Sharpe 33° who together with Petur Davidsson and Sigurður Júlíusson left Reykjavik on 24th June for the spectacular 500km drive, through the Western fjords, to Ísafjörður and the following day, embarked on a 60 nautical mile boat trip to the remote headland of Hornvik, which is 10km south of the Arctic Circle.

A total of 92 Icelandic Masons made the journey and the advance party set up a floating jetty to allow disembarkation by Gemini landing craft and establish a tented base camp which housed the kitchen facilities for the Festive Board which followed the Meeting

In total, 98 Masons including the five English brothers hiked nearly 2 hours covering 2km, ascending 1000m of mountain terrain where the open air Meeting was called to order and the Lodge opened in the 1st Degree of the Swedish Rite by the Worshipful Master Marinó Hákonarson who then related the history of the Meeting:-

In 1902, several foreign Brothers, four Norwegians and two Germans, gathered at Hornbjard. They had set up camp from Hesteyri, where one of them ran a whaling station and had also built a church which had been donated to the local congregation. Another ran a whaling station in Dýrafjörður and was one of the leaders in building a new church at Myrar in Dýrafjörður. All of these men worked in the whaling industry in the Westfjords, but with such different levels of education their occupations ranged from coxswain, chemist, physician and CEO. In this remote place, they held the Midsummer Festival in the manner of a Freemason. They were the Norwegians Marcus Christian Bull, Carl Fedrick Elligers Herlofsen, Hermann Andreas Krabbe and Louritz Jacob Berg together with Germans Carl Maria Johannes, Cornelius Paul and another unknown German who probably bore the name Warburg. This journey came to the attention of the Freemasons of Iceland when Cornelius Paul reported on the Midsummer Festival at a Meeting of Edda Lodge No 1 on 23rd May 1925, where he was a guest. Stories from this meeting have since gained the fairy-tale glow, that many Brothers are interested in, not least those from Njála Lodge who live in the footsteps of the venue.

The meeting was closed after an hour and the attendees made the perilous journey down the hill to the base camp where the chefs had been busy and a delicious Festive Board consisting of roast lamb and catfish was served.

Being a few days after midsummer’s day, the return journey commenced at 10:30pm but  took place in daylight and the party arrived back at Ísafjörður at 2:00am on 26th June and were invited back to the Masonic Centre where soup was served.

The following day, the WM invited the English Brothers to a tour around the Masonic Centre and showed the newly built, but as yet un-consecrated 6th Degree Temple.

E & P Bro Steven Murphy presented the WM with a Rose Croix 18th Degree collar and V Ill Bro Brig Peter Sharpe explained the symbolism.

The English Brothers were then taken by their hosts to a wonderful fish restaurant and the following day, the return journey to Reykjavik through the Western Fjords will long be remembered by those attending, particularly the waterfalls at Dynjandi.