Sergeant Major Frederick Abbott was Secretary of the Victoria Rifles Corps, an active Regimental Warrant Officer, and long term supporter of the Lodge. He was also a fine artist and calligrapher. The picture below is an example of his work.
He is shown in the Illustrated London News engraving of the Regiment in 1863, from which the following detail is taken:
He was initiated aged 36 in 1861. Having been passed and raised he almost immediately became Secretary, an unusual position for a Master Mason of relatively little experience, but one that speaks volumes about the regard he was held in by the Brethren and Regimental Members.
He was Lodge Secretary from 1863 to 1881 and again from 1884 to 1896, some 30 years’ service. The gap from 1881-1884 allowed him sufficient time to fill the Wardens’ chairs and be installed as Worshipful Master in February 1882 and serve his year as IPM.
Abbott wrote up the minutes is a clear, elegant and legible hand, far more so that the normal associated with the Victorian period. Penmanship was clearly a forte as he had the habit of adorning the minute book by writing the name of the Lodge in many styles, using fancy capitals and elaborate scroll work. There are some 150 examples of this work. He had the habit of referring to the Lodge as The Victoria Rifles Lodge, contrary to the Warranted name, which excludes the prefix ‘The’.
His penchant for design can also be seen in the 1853 Enlistment Certificate which he designed for the Regiment
His preparatory sketch also survives, highlighting his skill:
Sadly he died in 1897, less than a year after stepping down as Secretary, and before the testimonial raised for him by the Lodge could be enjoyed.
His Past Masters’ Jewel was presented to the Museum at Grand Lodge and is shown below.