History Page 1

1859 to 1959
As compiled by W. Bro. H.G. Loyns, P.Pr.D.G.Reg.
A brief survey of the earliest recorded Lodges that met in Deal forms a suitable introduction to a history of the Wellington Lodge.

The oldest regularly constituted Lodge in Deal was the Royal Navy, which met here in 1764. Amongst its members were prominent Navel Officers of the period, Pilots and Lifeboat men. In 1803 the Provincial Anniversary Meeting was held in Deal under the banner of this Lodge. The next Lodge of which we have any knowledge was the Fraternal Lodge, which originally met at Greenwich. It met in the Assembly Rooms in Lower Street (now High Street) from 1803 to 1822, when it was erased from the Roll of Lodges.

From 1812 to 1838, when it was erased, the Union Lodge met at the Sandown Castle Inn. This Lodge, which was under the authority of the Grand Lodge of the Ancients, was numbered 29. At the union of the two Grand Lodges in 1813, it became No 39. It seems probable that it was from this Lodge that the Wellington stemmed twenty-one years later.

Our Lodge was named after Arthur Wellesley, first Duke of Wellington, who spent the later years of his life in residence at Walmer Castle in his position as Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports. During this period he took an active interest in the affairs of Deal, Walmer, and the neighbouring district. The founders of the Lodge arranged for the Consecration Ceremony to take place on 18th June 1859, on the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, the Duke of Wellington’s greatest victory and an event no doubt remembered by some of our original members.

The sponsoring Lodge of the Wellington was the Union Lodge, Margate, then No 149 and now No 127. There were twenty-five Promoters of the Lodge, of whom nineteen were Pilots. Among the earliest members there were some of trades and professions, which were no doubt connected with the Dockyard, then situated at Deal, such as Ship Agents, Interpreter, and a Translator of Languages. Among the earliest Joining Members were a number of Army Officers, including a Colonel from the Regiment of Foot, now the Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment, which was at that time stationed in the Barracks at Walmer. The majority of the Founders came from the Union Lodge, Margate, of which Lodge the first Master was a member, the Peace and Harmony Lodge, Dover, then No 235, to which the Senior Warden belonged, and the Royal Navy Lodge, Ramsgate, then No 621, from which the Junior Warden came.

The earliest records that we have are of a number of meetings held in 1859 at the Walmer Castle Inn. This is not the hotel now known by this name, but was a Coaching Inn situated at the junction of South Street and High Street on the site now occupied by the premises of Lloyd’s Bank. There were thirteen Brethren present at these meetings. The first recorded meeting was held on 14th February 1859. Presumably an earlier meeting had been held, as there is reference to adopting the minutes, but we have no record of this. At this meeting it was agreed that the Lodge should meet at the Walmer Castle Inn and that W.Bro E.C. Hayward, P.M. 149, PPrSGD, who became the first Master, should endeavour to procure the transfer of the Warrant of the Lodge of Harmony, Faversham, to Deal, and to purchase the furniture, this Lodge being in abeyance at that period. Failing this, it was agreed that W.Bro Hayward ascertain the cost of procuring a Warrant and securing furniture for a new Lodge.

At a further meeting held on 28th February, W.Bro Hayward reported that he had been unsuccessful in his application to obtain the Warrant of the Lodge of Harmony, and it was agreed to petition the Most Worshipful the Grand Master, the Earl of Zetland, K.G., to grant a Warrant for a new Lodge. The question of the name of the proposed Lodge was debated, the suggestions being either “Wellington” or “United Services”. As we know, the former was adopted. It was also agreed that the Lodge should meet on the second and last Thursdays in every month throughout the year, and the proposed Officers of the Lodge were elected.

The next meeting recorded was held on 2nd May, when the grant of the Warrant had been approved and the Byelaws, as approved by the R.W.Bro the Provincial Grand Master, were read to the Brethren.

This meeting agreed that R.W.Bro Charles Purton Cooper, Q.C., Provincial Grand Master of Kent, and R.W.Bro Sir James Fergusson, Bart., Provincial Grand Master of Ayrshire, be elected Honorary Members of the Lodge.

The Minutes of several further meetings provide particulars of the arrangements made for the consecration ceremony. Among the documents preserved by the Lodge are the Provincial Grand Master’s dispensation permitting the consecration to be held in the Assembly Rooms in Lower Street, and for the Brethren to walk in procession clothed in Masonic Regalia, headed by a brass band, from the Walmer Castle Inn to the place of consecration. The records inform us that the band played “The Freemasons Festival March”.

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