A society known for it secrecy and elaborate ceremonies is still alive and well in Calne.

The town now has the first new lodge to be built in Wiltshire for 30 years.

More than 80 members of the St Edmund Lodge of Freemasons gathered for the grand opening of their new meeting hall in Calne last week.

The new Masonic Hall in Stanier Road on the Porte Marsh Estate was officially opened by the provincial grand master for Wiltshire Francis Wakem QPM on January 27.

Mr Wakem said: "This is an exciting project, the first Masonic Hall for 30 years to be built in Wiltshire and certainly one of few built recently in the UK.

“The completion of the new building work is due to the dedication of the trustees and lodge members over the last 4 years."

The new building boasts a kitchen, bar and dining room for up to 100.

To the left of the entrance hall are the workings for the Freemasons including a storage area designated as the Tyler’s room and the temple where all ceremonies take place.

Public relations officer Barry Cooper said: “The opening ceremony took place in the temple because the building had to be dedicated to the Freemasons.

“We all wore our robes, which differ depending on rank.

“The higher up you are the more colourful your robes and the more collar-work you have.

“We had close on 90 in the lodge itself for the ceremony and the car park was packed.

“It was quite a lively ceremony and everybody really enjoyed themselves.”

The St Edmund Lodge was formed in 1925 and has had three previous meeting places in Calne, the last of which, in The Green, proved too difficult for parking arrangements, prompting the construction of a new meeting house.

The foundation stone for the new building was laid and dedicated by the PGM R W Bro Francis Wakem QPM on the 14th June 2008.

The single storey building has been designed specifically for Freemasonry but with ample parking and full disabled facilities making it suitable for hire by other organisations for outside events.

Mr Cooper said: “This really is a big thing for Calne. This is the first building that has been designed for freemasonry in a long time.”

The 4714 lodge meets on the fourth Tuesday of every month except June, July, August and December and host a ladies’ festival once a year.