The History of our Lodge

A SHORT HISTORY OF THE WILLIAM DE WARENNE LODGE, No. 6139

To deal adequately with the History of any Lodge it would seem appropriate to begin at the beginning, and for this a Sunday in December 1944 must be remembered as the day when W. Bro. A. Lyne met Bro. George Duncan Roberts, L.G.R., P.P.A.G.D.C. (Kent), as a Brother with considerable experience in Masonry, to discuss the possibility of forming a new Lodge in the area. This was the fore-runner of many such Sunday meetings throughout the period from that day until the new Lodge, The William de Warenne, was established and Consecrated. It was natural to take advantage of the Masonic experience of W. Bro. G. D Roberts, and at the initial meeting of the interested Brethren he was appointed acting Secretary, and as the records show, was later installed as the First Master.

The proposal to form a new Lodge, to meet in Hassocks, immediately received considerable support, and among the prospective Founders no less than six were from the Stanford Lodge No. 1947.  The association formed between the two Lodges was maintained over the first 25 years by annual visits of the Masters and Wardens'.

Local associations prompted the suggestion that the Burgess Hill Lodge No.4995 should be asked to sponsor the new Lodge. Following a meeting at which W. Bro. Roberts, W. Bro. Lyne and Bro. Slater attended, the members of the Burgess Hill Lodge agreed. W. Bro. W. E. Hancock, P.P.A.G.D.C., a P.M. of Burgess Hill Lodge, indicated he would be very pleased himself to become one of the Founders, and subsequently was responsible for much of the help and support received from Burgess Hill Lodge, cementing another association still in great evidence today.

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At a meeting held at the Downs Hotel, Hassocks, which became the meeting place for the Lodge for many years, the following names for the new Lodge were considered, Wolstonbury, Adastra, Keymer, Keystone and Danny, but Bro. H. Gofton suggested that as Hassocks was in the area given to William de Warenne by William the Conqueror, his father-in-law, it would be most appropriate to adopt the name Wiiliam de Warenne for the new Lodge because of this local connection. The suggestion was adopted and the name for the Lodge established. The name of course prompted the design for the Lodge Crest- "A Knight in Armour within the square and compasses" which was designed by Bro. A. Slater. For more information on the Lodge name please click here.

 

         Original design for the Lodge Crest

On Monday, 20th August, 1945, in the Sussex Masonic Temple, Queens Road Brighton, with some 250 Brethren present, the William de Warenne Lodge No.6139 was Consecrated and given its Warrant by the Provincial Grand Master for Sussex, R. W. Bro. Major R. Laurence Thornton, C.B.E., D.L., assisted by his Provincial Grand Officers, in a manner which fully justified the many expressions of appreciation which were given on behalf of the Founders and all present at the Festive Board.

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Order of Proceedings for the Conscreation Meeting


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Original Draft By Laws showing the First Master, Senior and Junior Wardens

 

Establishing for all time a fitting tribute to the three brethren who had been primarily responsible for the formation of the Lodge, W. Bro. George Duncan Roberts was installed as the First Master, W. Bro. William Edward Hancock as the First Senior warden, and W. Bro. Arthur Lyne as the First Junior Warden and all three served the Lodge as its Worshipful Master faithfully and well, to cover the first three years and to provide the solid foundation on which the Lodge is built.

The catering difficulties of the period following the 1939/45 World War made it necessary to limit the attendance at the Festive Board to 125 and whilst the usual Toasts were duly-honoured, and the principles of Masonry, Brotherly Love, Relief, and truth given due prominence by the early speakers, the Toast to the visitors as given by Bro. E. R. Neve, K.C., and the reply by R. W. Bro. The Hon. Sir James D. Cassells. K.C., P.G.W., added lustre to a really great occasion by the accomplished and professional approach to the art of "After Dinner speaking".

At the consecration Meeting it was announced that the Lodge had no less than eight proposals for Initiates and of these Messrs. Price, Rees, Day, and Dinnage were proposed and Bros. Cottingham, Lambert, Field, W. Bro. Broadbridge and W Bro. Weeks proposed as joining members. In retrospect it is interesting to record that of these Initiates, three have served the Lodge as Master, W. Bro R. C. Price in 1952, W. Bro. S. J. Day in 1953 and W. Bro. L. W. Dinnage in 1955.

In the years since 1945 the progress of the Lodge has more than justified the ideas behind its formation, and as milestones along the way we commemorate the Honour of Grand Rank bestowed upon our First Master, W. Bro. G. D. Roberts, who was invested as P.G.Std.B. in April 1946. 

We recall with some satisfaction the formation of the William de Warenne Lodge of Instruction as at November 1946 with W. Bro. Arthur Lyne P.G.Stb.B., P.P.G.W., as its Preceptor, a post which he retained for over 40 years. The Lodge and its members are indebted to him for the loyal and devoted services he gave in that capacity, the practical results of which we have all seen over the years in the working of the degrees by the Masters and the Officers of the Lodge. This loyalty and the dedicated service rendered to the William de Warenne Lodge of Instruction by W. Bro. A. Lyne,  was recognised on the 1st November 1961 , when on behalf of the members of the Lodge, W. Bro. R. Lambert, P.A.G.D.C., the Provincial Secretary, presented to him in open Lodge a pair of " Broken Columns " both suitably inscribed as a mark of their appreciation. In acknowledging the presentation, W. Bro. Lyne was pleased to place them in the possession of the Master with the request that they be used by the William de Warenne Lodge and the William de Warenne Chapter for the collection of Alms at their respective meetings in the future.

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The interests of Freemasonry in the area were further developed in just over two years by the sponsoring of a Royal Arch Chapter, for on the 4th December, 1947, again at Brighton, the William de Warenne Chapter No. 6139 was Conscreated, when two of the original principle officers of the Lodge were invested as the Chapter First and Second Principals, W. Bro. G. D. Roberts, P.G.St.B. and W.Bro. A. Lyne.

 

 

 

 

William de Warenne Lodge Banner

 

Another milestone in our history was the presentation by the members of a Lodge Banner, which was dedicated on the 2nd November 1955 by W. Bro. Arthur Jolly, P.G.D., Asst. Prov. G. Master. The original Banner was presented to the Lodge by W. Bro. L. J. Vugler. The one that can be seen today hanging in a beautiful wall cabinet was presented by W. Bro Percy Strudwick who was the last member of the Lodge to hold Grand Rank. In addition to the Banner the Cabinet displays a record of the Founders together with the office held at the consecration, on one side, and on the other, the names of the Masters with the year, in which they served the Lodge in that capacity. These record Boards show the Honours which these Past Masters have received both from Grand Lodge and from Provincial Grand Lodge.

Of the Founders who have served the Lodge as Master, apart from W. Bro. Roberts already mentioned, it will be noted that W Bro. A. Lyne was appointed Prov. Steward in 1949 and Prov. S.D. in 1950 with further promotion to P.P.J.Warden in 1963, and in 1968 was honoured by Grand Lodge as P.G.Std.B.

W. Bro. W. H. Gofton, Master in 1950, appointed P.P.J.Warden in 1954, was honoured by Grand Lodge in 1957 as P.G.Std.B., and promoted P.A.G.D.C. in 1967. W. Bro. C. V. Johnson, Master 1949 as P.P.S.D. in 1956, W. Bro. Vugler Master 1954, P.P.A.D.C. 1962 and in the same year W. Bro. W. March, Master 1964, became holder of L.G.R. A Founder, W. Bro. T. James was appointed by the Province in 1956 Prov. A.D.C., promoted in 1967 to P.P.Dep.R., and in 1968 honoured by Grand Lodge as P.G.Std.B. The first initiate to be honoured by Prov. Grand Lodge was W. Bro. S. J. Day appointed P.P.A.D.C. in 1961.

Over the years which have passed the Lodge and its members have in no small way remembered that distinguishing characteristic of Freemasonry which we are all expected to observe, and their contributions to Charity and the Masonic Institutions through the Province of Sussex have far exceeded the sum of £10,000 and this figure in itself can well be designated as a milestone in any Lodge. 

 

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On the 7th October 1970 we celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the Consecration of the William de Warenne Lodge and the occasion was marked by the attendance of R. W. Bro. Arthur Jolly, The Prov. Grand Master, and we register here in this History of our Lodge, our grateful thanks to him for his initial interest and guidance, when as Provincial Secretary, he was present at the Consecration Meeting on the 20th August 1945 as a Consecrating Officer, having previously been closely associated with the Founders in making the arrangements and for the Honour conveyed by his attendance as Prov. Grand Master at the Silver Jubilee celebration meeting. To express the appreciation we had for R. W. Bro. Jolly, and for the allocation to a Masonic Charity of his choice, the William de Warenne Lodge, in keeping with its traditions, contributed 100 guineas which was presented at the Festival meeting to mark the occasion as one in which both R. W. Bro. Jolly and the remaining Founders, have been associated to that date.

 

Over the years we have been a somewhat Nomadic Lodge, for when the Lodge was consecrated in 1945, it met at the Downs Hotel, opposite the Villa "Ad Astra" in Hassocks and continued to meet there until February 1964. For a short while after this, meetings were held by Dispensation at Stroods Hotel, Sayers Common. This was followed by a few years at Ockley Lodge, in Hassocks. Because those in charge, decided to sell Ockley Lodge for housing development, we were left without a home once again and temporarily returned to Stroods Hotel at Sayers Common. This was followed by a period at Wivelsfield Green Village Hall. The next move was to the Temple at Lewes for a short period of time, which we left because of construction problems. We were however offered accommodation at Uckfield Masonic Centre which we were pleased to accept, inspite of the additional travelling it entailed for many of the  members. We still continue to meet at Uckfield today.  In the years since 1945 progress of the Lodge has more than justified the ideas behind its formation and every Member is proud to admit that he is a Member of one of the Leading Lodges in the Province of Sussex.

 with thanks to the 22 Founders and the authors of the 25th and 50th Anniversary programmes

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                   1st Summons                                        50th Anniversary Summons

 

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