THE FOUNDING OF A ROMNEY MARSH LODGE
The history of freemasonry in Romney Marsh began in 1854 as shown in an extract from the historical records of Prince Edwin’s Lodge No 125.
On the 17th June 1854 the brethren of Prince Edwin’s Lodge No 125 paid a visit to New Romney and held a Lodge of instruction at the Assembly Rooms, they were joined by brethren from Folkestone, Rye, Ashford and Lydd, this meeting it is stated did much to infuse a spirit of masonry in that part of Kent.
It is evident that nothing became of that meeting and there are no records to show that there was any effort to apply to Grand Lodge for a charter or carry on a lodge of instruction on Romney Marsh.
The only other early record we have is of a projected lodge at Lydd in 1917. The military situation at the time prevented the charter being granted.
Freemasonry came alive again on the 30th March 1922 when some local brethren unofficially met and held a lodge of instruction at the Ship Hotel at New Romney, This was again held under the banner of Prince Edwin’s Lodge No 125, therefore, establishing a direct link with the original lodge of instruction 68 years before.
The lodge of instruction at New Romney carried on with varying success until 16th January 1924 the following resolution was recorded . Proposed by Bro. Thomas 3649 and seconded by Bro. Lamacraft 125 “ That the time had come when a serious committee should be formed to take all possible information on the subject of forming a regular lodge in this (The Romney Marsh ) district, the members of such committee to be elected at a subsequent meeting “ The resolution was carried unanimously, the following being present
Bro. T Thomas 3649 – Acting W.M
WBro E Uden 125 – Acting I.P.M.
Bro. W C Bower 1331, 125 – Acting S.W.
Bro. T Neil 125 – Acting J.W.
Bro. W Lamacraft 125 – Acting Secretary and I.G.
Bro. G Palmer 700 – Acting S.D.
Bro. R Uden ( WBro Bert Udens Father ) – Acting J.D.
Also WBro Keeler, J.C. Cole, Bro. S Crunden, F Ellis, R Adams, H.J. Smith, ( a member of the Romney Marsh Lodge from 1925 until his death in 1975 ) all of 125 and Bro. H.E Bowyer 20.
On the 30th January a committee was formed from the brethren mentioned with three each representing New Romney, Dymchurch, and Hythe and two representing Lydd.
Meetings were held in May, June and July of that year, ceremonies were rehearsed and details of progress recorded.
At the September meeting information was received from the Assistant Provincial Grand Secretary stating that masons of less than three years standing could not be founders of a new lodge. This regretfully ruled out four of the most enthusiastic workers namely :- Bro. R Uden, Bro. F Ellis, Bro. W Lamacraft and Bro. H.J. Smith.
Between October and November 1924 the fees for initiation and the annual subscriptions of the new lodge were
fixed; the form of the petition was read and names listed for the same. A visit was received from Provincial Grand Lodge to view the Assembly Rooms New Romney and note requirements. Finally a list of Officers was provisionally elected there being 26 founders willing to stand at this time.
The petition was signed in open lodge at Prince Edwin’s 125 on the 17th November 1924.
On the 13th May, 1925 the founders were informed that the Most Worshipful The Grand Master had been please to grant a charter or warrant of constitution and that the title of the lodge was “ The Romney Marsh Lodge No 4743 “ The date of the consecration was fixed for the 9th October, 1925. The badge was suggested and approved as being part of the seal of the Romney Marsh Level.
The lodge room was provided with regalia, locking cupboards and lodge of instruction furniture. Finally the officers were elected.
The preparation was over and Romney Marsh Lodge No 4743 was ready for the start of its Masonic career
CONSECRATION 9th October 1925
The consecration ceremony and the first installation was held at the Town Hall, Folkestone on Friday 9th October 1925 at 3:45 p.m.
The Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master Col. F.S.W. Cornwallis C.B.E. D.L. JP , Past Grand Warden of England carried out the ceremony of consecration assisted by the officers of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Kent. There were present 260 brethren including 18 founders who were
WBro G. G. Timpson Bro. C. E . Spinks
WBro J. J. Dallimore Bro. H.S. Burrel
WBro S. G. Keeler Bro. T. Neil
WBro E. Uden Bro. H Thomas
WBro J. C. Cole Bro. M. C. Oates
WBro H. S. Ellis Bro. J Michell
WBro D. A. Jones Bro. W. C. Bower
WBro H. P. Baldock Bro. A. G. Cains
WBro A Adams Bro. J. J. Marshall
The other founders who were not present were :
WBro P. C. Culver Bro. J. A. Procter
WBro P. R. Boddy Bro. D. M. Smith
After the consecration ceremony the deputy Provincial Grand Master installed WBro Stephen George Keeler as the first Worshipful Master of the Romney Marsh Lodge, WBro J. C. Cole being appointed immediate past master.
The Worshipful Master appointed and invested the following officers
Bro. W. C. Bower S.W
Bro. T Neil J.W
WBro. H. S. Ellis Treasurer ( Elected )
Bro. J. Jones Secretary
Bro. J. J. Marshall S.D.
Bro. M. C. Oates J.D.
Bro. D. M. Smith I.G. ( was absent )
WBro. J. C. Cole I.P.M. Charity Representative
When the addresses had been given, the Worshipful Master proposed a hearty vote of thanks to the consecrating officers and apologised that the souvenirs of the meeting were not yet available.
The consecrating officers were elected as honorary members. A vote of thanks was recorded to all the brethren who had donated gifts to the lodge.
The lodge was closed accordingly and the brethren resumed to the Royal Pavilion, Folkestone for the after proceedings.
The Menu for this festive board was as follows :-
- Thick Windsor Soup
- Fried Soles and Tartar Sauce
- Mutton Cutlets Jardinaire, Rissole Potatoes
- Roast Surrey Chicken Salad
- Savarin Richelieu
- Cheese and Celery
All this for 10/6 per person.