Early History Years 1834 - 1960
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History of Surrey Lodge 416



No. 416

A History of the Lodge
and its extinct predecessor


With illustrations and appendices

W- Bro. Lawrence Dulake,



Intentionally Left Blank




In presenting this history of the Surrey Lodge, I am aware of literary deficiencies and an amateur handling of a difficult subject.

But for the encouragement of fellow members of the Lodge, who so kindly accepted a small trial run in a paper read to them during the year in which I was Master of the Lodge, this work would never have been undertaken.

With all its defects, and even now incomplete, the time has come to publish it, in the hope that a second edition may appear in a few years when it can be improved.

It may be of interest to Brethren to learn how the work was actually done. Time has been one of the chief obstacles for the writer and the greatest material help was contributed by Brother L. F. Smith of the Royal Albert Edward Lodge. The whole of the minute books of the Surrey Lodge were read and dictated in precis on to a tape recorder, usually after eleven at night. The tapes were posted to Bro. Smith, who had them typed. By this means a task which seemed too big to contemplate was reduced to practical shape, requiring editing and emendation, but at least forming a consecutive readable account.

The minute books of the Flolmdale Lodge were transcribed in longhand by me, and were typed by the good offices of a member of the Lodge.

In this way I was able to achieve the major task of reducing a mass of material into a form which could be handled.

Numerous other Brethren have added their share of help and criticism. Indeed they are too numerous to mention in extenso.

Particular appreciation is expressed here to Provincial Grand Lodge for kindly allowing me access to the first Minute Book of Provincial Grand Lodge for Surrey; to the Grand Librarian, W.Bro. Ivor Grantham, for some invaluable help in providing certain extracts available to Grand Lodge; to W.Bro. T. H. Bingham, our Secretary, and to W.Bro. A. H. Hawkins, P.A.G.D.C., P.P.G.W., whose knowledge of local personalities over so many years has been invaluable.


The name of W.Bro. John Lees, who wrote the first history for the Jubilee of the Lodge should not be forgotten.

The book is not one which can be read through quickly. It is hoped that it is readable, but the writer has kept in mind that it may become a book of reference to his successors and that details as they have appeared in the Minutes may be of interest in the future though they may lack interest to-day.



W.Bro. Peter Martin, M.R.C.S 16

The Master’s Chair  20

A Warden’s Chair  29

One of the chairs presented at the Jubilee Meeting 48

W.Bro. Frank C. Morrison, P.G.D 72

The Secretary’s Table 82

Secretary’s Table with Silver Plate 89


In the following pages an effort has been made to render the history of the Surrey Lodge No. 416 in as complete a form as possible. For this reason it represents an extract of the complete set of Minute Books from the day of its inauguration to the date of the presentation of the Centenary Warrant, and an abbreviated extract of its predecessor, the Holmdale Lodge.

A brief survey of some of the history of Freemasonry in general would enable readers to appreciate our place in Freemasonry in the province of Surrey.

Many excellent books have been compiled on the History of Freemasonry, to which those interested should refer. A few dates, however, will bring a sense of perspective.

The early history of the operative Masons goes back to the 13th Century. The Regius Poem, or Halliwell Manuscript, No. 23,198 in the British Museum, is in verse, written in the Gothic script of a priest of 1388-1445.

It outlines the rules which governed operative masons and their apprentices. There is nothing esoteric about it, however.

The growth of speculative masonry has been the subject of many books; the earliest known speculative Freemason was Elias Ashmole, who was the founder of the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford in 1677. He was initiated into a Lodge at Warrington in 1646. Nothing is known about this Lodge or its members. It therefore follows that speculative Lodges existed at that time, but nothing more can be discovered until 1682, when Ashmole’s diary shows that he was summoned to a Lodge at Mason’s Hall, London.

Twenty years later the Plague and Fire of London occurred. In 1717 we know that four London Lodges joined in forming the first Grand Lodge.

In 1751, because of the apathy and neglect of the existing Grand Lodge, a rival Grand Lodge came into being. It gathered together the numerous private Lodges whose ritual was diverse and rich, and called itself the Most Antient and Honourable Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons, disdainfully dubbing the Premier Grand Lodge the “ Moderns ”.


The long history of this rivalry is one which all freemasons should study. It culminated in 1813 in the Act of Union, when the two Grand Lodges came together.

The Duke of Sussex had become Grand Master of the “ Moderns ” and the Duke of Kent Grand Master of the “ Ancients ”. The Duke of Sussex was elected first Grand Master of United Grand Lodge on the proposal of his brother, the Duke of Kent.

From then on, English Freemasonry has progressed. It was only 21 years after the Act of Union that the Surrey Lodge came into existence. Though there had been a Provincial Grand Lodge in Surrey, it had been under the jurisdiction of the “ Moderns ”.

We know that in 1772 Thomas Parker was the First Provincial Grand Master, followed by James Meyrick in 1795.

However, after the Act of Union, no Provincial Grand Lodge existed in Surrey, and no minute books of any previous Provincial Grand Lodge are in the possession of the present Provincial Grand Lodge for Surrey.

The Holmdale Lodge had been erased in 1792, and no Masonic Lodge existed in Reigate. A quotation from the Freemason’s Quarterly Review of September 1835 is of interest. In the course of a speech. Lord Monson is reported as saying:—

“ When I first became resident amongst you, and necessarily connected with the town of Reigate, I regretted to observe that no bond of social union existed amongst you; and thinking it highly desirable that a kindly feeling should be promoted between different classes of the community, and knowing that Masonry was so well adapted for that end, I was induced to promote the establishment of the Lodge. In this undertaking, the success has exceeded my most sanguine expectations, and I cannot but feel that this success is not to be attributed to my individual exertions, but mainly to the manner in which they were seconded by the Officers and Brethren who so cordially co-operated with me.”

The Grand Librarian informs us that no trace can be found at Freemason’s Hall of any formal petition, from which the identity of a sponsoring Lodge (if any) might have been obtained. We therefore fall back on that authentic record, our first Minute Book, and find the words in full of a direct Petition, with the names of


the Petitioners, to the Most Worshipful the Grand Master, H.R.H. The Duke of Sussex.

Many of the apparent irregularities of those early days were due to the fact that United Grand Lodge was young. Provincial Grand Lodge for Surrey took its origin in our Lodge room in 1836, the first Provincial Grand Master under the new jurisdiction being Lord Monson.

But we must not anticipate our story as it unfolds itself.



The Holdale Lodge N0. 456

The Surrey Lodge is to-day the oldest lodge in the Reigate and Redhill area and the third in seniority in the Province of Surrey. Our seniors are the St. George’s Lodge No. 370 at Chertsey, and the Grove Lodge No. 410 which meets at Sutton.

We were not the first Masonic Lodge, however, in Reigate and the Surrey Lodge has in its possession the Minute Books of a Lodge which became extinct, the Holmdale Lodge. This Lodge was our predecessor.

A brief summary of the history of this Lodge is included in this account because it has never been recorded and the time is ripe.

Founded in 1784 in the reign of George III (1760-1820), this Lodge was founded on the petition of a group of masons, several of them from Croydon. They did not approach Grand Lodge, but applied to one Thomas Parker, Esq., Provincial Grand Master of Surrey, to form a Lodge.

Amongst those invited to this meeting, which was held at the Bell Inn in Bell Street, Reigate, “ an ancient hostelry situate between the Old Market Place and the Leabourne River ”, was one Thomas Dunckerley, a most important figure in the history of Freemasonry. He was a member of the Lodge of Harmony at Hampton Court, a Grand Warden, and Provincial Grand Master of four Provinces, Essex, Dorset, Gloucester and Somerset.

This meeting was held on June 29th, 1784; on July 13th, 1784, the Holmdale Lodge was instituted but the Provincial Grand Master for Surrey could not come. Dunckerley acted as Provincial Grand Master (one province more did not seem to matter) and opened a Provincial Grand Lodge for Surrey at The White Hart at Reigate. A warrant was read constituting the Lodge, and the Masters and Wardens of the Holmdale Lodge were then and there invested with their jewels and received their charges from the acting Provincial Grand Master of Surrey.

At the same time four of the founder members were made Provincial Grand Officers: Provincial Senior Grand Warden, Provincial Junior Grand Warden, Provincial Grand Treasurer and Provincial Grand Secretary.


It is apparent from this that Provincial Grand Lodge itself was in existence more in name than in fact.

It must be borne in mind that 1784 was 29 years before the Union between the Antient and Modern Grand Lodges, which happy event took place in 1813. To appreciate the significance of the date 1784 in relationship to current events, the last execution in public took place at Tyburn in 1783.

It is obvious from a study of these old minute books that the ceremonies differed considerably from those to which we are accustomed and that the Holmdale Lodge worked under the first and oldest Grand Lodge, the so-called “ Moderns

The Master of the Lodge enjoyed the title of Right Worshipful Master, to-day restricted to Provincial Grand Masters. There were senior and junior Wardens, no Deacons, no Inner Guard, a Tyler, a Treasurer and a Secretary.

In the Holmdale Lodge three degrees were worked, but, reading between the lines, the introduction of a third degree was novel, because Thomas Dunckerley himself worked one of these ceremonies. The installation ceremony had no Inner Working and was probably a simple induction into the Chair.

Brethren were frequently proposed, initiated or “ made,” and passed, and raised in the same evening. It was even more common to complete the first two degrees on the same evening, leaving the third degree to another occasion.

The By-Laws state that the Master is to be chosen annually at the Lodge night nearest the day of St. John the Baptist by ballot with regard to his skill in Masonry, without reference of any kind to seniority or rank (By-Law No. 2); the Treasurer and Tyler to be elected at the same time by ballot. Another By-Law, No. 4, states that, in the absence of the Master, the senior or junior Warden, or any other Brother deputed by them, is to take the Chair.

A great deal of space in the Minutes is taken up with recording fines, which were 2/- for an Officer and 1/- for a Brother who might be absent or late.

Certain quaint entries are worthy of brief mention. Meetings were at first held every month; the Lodge was said to meet at the White Hart “ for The Bell,” but there is no record of it actually meeting at The Bell. The end of each minute records that the Lodge was adjourned till the Tuesday, Friday or Saturday nearest


the full moon, the selected day varying several times in a few years. The members altered the meeting by vote, because it was found that no one put in an appearance on Saturday. Moonlight was essential, in the absence of street lighting, so that members could find their way home safely and avoid footpads and robbers.

On October 26th, 1784, the Rev. Thomas Sisson was made a Mason, and on June 24th, 1785, was appointed Secretary. The December meeting in 1784 had a plaintive entry in the perfect writing of the secretary saying “ the members in general not being able to attend, no Lodge was held,” the only Masons present being the Senior Warden, Secretary and a guest, Bro. Beale, who was appointed Tyler. Interest flagged, and few members came. The Lodge met on a number of occasions, opened in the first degree and had dinner with only four people present.

In August, 1785, Thomas Dunckerley came in person and revived the Lodge, but on May 6th, 1786, it had relapsed again, and an even more plaintive minute records a memorandum, made by Bro. Prime, of “ his having provided a dinner and none of the Brethren attended.”

In 1787 there was a first class row over the Rev. Marmaduke Bannister who, having been “ made,” did not pay his dues and nearly suffered expulsion. It took several more Minutes before he finally paid up.

On November 12th, 1785, a very unmasonic and testy affair occurred. Brother Beale of the Lodge of Fortitude and Forbearance, Croydon, had by now been a regular visitor and two Brethren managed to win unanimous support for the proposition “ that Brother Beale if at dinner, and every other visiting member shall pay 2s. 6d., if not Is. 6d.” He paid Is. 6d. and his name does not again find mention in the list of visitors !

The Lodge finally sank itself in a masterly breach of all masonic regulations by a remarkable excursion into politics. The pompously worded Minute on the subject, referring to the Extraordinary Meeting held at The Swan Inn on October 27th, 1788, is recorded here.

Extraordinary Meeting at the Swan Inn, October 27th, 1788.

The Lodge was opened in the first degree and the Minutes of the last Lodge being read were confirmed; the Minute goes on “ the Brethren having met to take into consideration the letters


received in answer to those sent by this Lodge to the respective Lodges in this county and also to that at Hampton Court inviting them to join with this Lodge in celebrating the Jubilee of the Glorious Revolution and also in what manner the same shall be commemorated and are of the opinion that they will meet their Brethren not as Masons but as friends, for so general a rejoicing equal to the Dedication of the Temple should be so open as to induce the Brethren to forgo all misteries and with glad hearts to receive every Englishman. And the Brethren find themselves so much obliged to their sister lodge at Hampton Court and particularly to Brother Dunckerley that they take this opportunity of recording their friendship and loyalty.

“And its concluded on that the Brethren do meet and dine together on Tuesday, November 4th, at the Swan Inn and that Dinner be on table by halfpast three o’clock and that the secretary do send circular letters to the gentlemen of Reigate and its neighbourhood inviting them to join in celebrating so laudable a festivity and that the letter be as follows:—

“ Dear Sir,

The Brethren of the Holmdale Lodge at first proposed to have commemorated the landing of King William as a Masonic feast but on more mature consideration they were of the opinion that a cause of such general joy, equal to the Dedication of the Temple of Jerusalem, ought to be celebrated in the most public manner. They therefore have taken the liberty of requesting the company of their neighbours presuming them to be approvers of the Glorious Revolution, to dine at the Swan Inn, Reigate on the 4th November when a dinner will be served up at halfpast three o’clock at five shilling per head and to spend the day as Britons ought, thankful for an opportunity of proving that when called upon to rejoice in a National Good, they can divest themselves of all partial feelings and unite in Social conviviality.

That the number to provide for may be ascertained. Dinner Tickets are left at the bar of the Swan Inn, Reigate, for which, if you approve of the plan, you will send by Monday morning your address and answer to Sir

Your most obedient servant,




The Lodge closed in due form and adjourned till the Monday nearest the next full moon.

Thereafter the Lodge met but once more, and was eventually erased in 1798.

For us in the Surrey Lodge it is interesting to know that the Minute books are ours, and to realise that, with short intervals only. Freemasonry has existed in Reigate to our certain knowledge from 1784, a total of 172 years to our Masonically regular Centenary.

The dignity and high importance of Freemasonry was only accepted, at times, by a few. Masonic conduct has not always been at a constant level of respectability and good order, and the harmony of Lodges has been disturbed. It is of value to consider that a strong and happy Lodge can only continue to live if all the Brethren meet gladly together, and the warning note lies in refraining from recommending anyone to a participation in our meetings unless we feel that his presence will be welcome to all the Brethren. Hence over-enthusiasm for a large Lodge can be as damaging as tedium in a small one.

Additional information with regard to this Lodge was obtained by W.Bro. A. H. Hawkins, P.A.G.D.C., in a communication from the Assistant Grand Librarian in 1954.

It was warranted by the Grand Lodge of the Moderns in 1784 with the Number 456. William Clapson was the first Master, with John Russell and Ambrose Gates as Wardens.

In 1788 it was meeting “with but few members.” At the renumeration in 1792 it was given the Number 368.

No returns were received by Grand Lodge for the period the Lodge was in existence, and it was finally erased from the Roll of Lodges on April 4th, 1798, “ having ceased to meet or neglected to conform to the Laws of the Society.”

The full title of the Lodge was the Holmdale Lodge of Freedom and Friendship.

Reference to this Lodge is made in Dr. Vincent Hooper’s History of Reigate, where he states that the letter inviting the gentlemen of Reigate to celebrate the Glorious Revolution offended many brethren and brought some sharp replies to the Secretary. We have no evidence of this and speculate as to the source of the late Dr. Vincent Hooper’s information on the point.



The Surrey Lodge was founded in the Reign of William IV on Wednesday, January 15th, 1834, in conformity to a petition made to his Royal Highness Augustus Frederick the Duke of Sussex, Most Worshipful Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England; the Petition was signed by the Right Honourable Lord Monson, Charles Henry Clay, Esquire, George Reid, Esquire, and others.

The first meeting was held at The White Hart Inn, Reigate. The following Brethren were present:—

Brother Thomas Moore, P.G.D., W.M.

Brother Thomas Ritchings Smith, P.G.D., P.M.

Brother Thomas Field Savory, P.G.D., S.W.

Brother The Earl of Mexborough, Provincial Grand Master for West Riding of Yorkshire, J.W.

Brother Edward Harper, Grand Secretary.

Brother William Matthew Heselton, Treasurer, Prince of Wales Lodge Brother Rev. Thomas Moore, Chaplain And other Brethren.

Eight visiting Brethren from the Grove Lodge, Ewell, which to-day holds the number of 410 in the Register of the United Grand Lodge of England, were present; and we know that this Lodge, and its Chapter in particular, is to this day very close to us in Masonic association.

The Lodge was at once opened in due Form, and it is of interest that no Consecration ceremony took place, nor was there any representation of Provincial Grand Lodge, for the excellent reason that neither existed in those days.

The Lord Monson had been nominated in the Warrant to be the first Master, and was installed by a Board of Installed Masters.

With an energy and enthusiasm which to-day would appear almost unstable, an immense number of propositions for membership were made.

Brother The Reverend J. C. Wynter, Rector of Gatton, who had been initiated elsewhere, was elected and passed to the second


Picture to follow


W. Bro. Peter Martin, M.R.C.S.


degree. Ten gentlemen were elected and initiated, while two serving Brothers, waiters at the White Hart Inn, were also balloted for, elected and initiated.

Even at this early moment in our Masonic history, some deviation from the decisions of authority took place.

A Dispensation granted by the Most Worshipful The Grand Master was solemnly read out, sanctioning the initiation of the two serving Brethren, William Perkins and John Muddle, and it specifically stated that these were to be “ in addition to any five other Candidates on the same day.” We had ten other Candidates.

Among the names of these first ten Initiates are to be found four of particular interest to this day. George Baker was present at the Jubilee 50 years later, and remembered several members of the now defunct Holmdale Lodge, which was founded in 1784, as has been stated in a brief history of that Lodge. His name represents the only certain link in Freemasonry in this neighbourhood between that early date and our Lodge to-day. The other three names are:— Samuel Relf Thomas Hart Peter Martin

Samuel Relf was the first ancestor of our Brother Granville Fearon to be a member of this Lodge, and it is felt to be of Masonic interest, peculiar to this Lodge, to record later the large number of members of this family who had been members.

Thomas Hart was one of three worthy Brethren who preserved this Lodge during its anomalous long sleep, a Masonic peculiarity which has resulted in our Centenary Warrant being granted in 1956, while our Jubilee was held in 1884.

This long sleep is to-day a striking feature and, in recording it later in some detail, it would be pleasant and fitting if Brethren of this Lodge would forget any sense of unfairness which has dwelt in the corporate mind of the Lodge, and accept this for what it is, a Masonic oddity.

Peter Martin was a doctor, and he is of particular interest to the writer of these notes because he was the second partner in what is to-day one of the oldest medical practices in England. He came into the practice with his father Thomas Martin in 1834, the year of his initiation, he died in 1863, and he was one of the worthy members who also preserved the sleeping spirit of this


Lodge. Possibly his medical qualifications enabled him to administer a long anaesthetic even in those days! To-day, three partners in this same practice are members of the Lodge. The number of the Lodge was 603 in the Register of the United Grand Lodge of England.

Meetings were held once a month in the months of January to July inclusive, and a great deal of activity persisted for several years, activity which to-day would have little or no support. Not only were many ceremonies conducted in a year, but several degrees were worked at each meeting.


On July 16th, 1836, an address of congratulation was drafted, with a decision to transmit it to his Royal Highness Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex, Most Worshipful Grand Master. His Royal Highness had lost his sight and news of its restoration gave great pleasure to all Masons.

A direct reply from the Most Worshipful the Grand Master, addressed to the Master and Brethren of the Surrey Lodge, was received in reply to the address of congratulation.

In those days it was Masonically correct for such an address to be made directly to the Grand Master. To-day, Masonry having grown so extensively, there are many barriers to such approaches. In some ways this seems to be regrettable, as is the case in all institutions in which the periphery is widely removed from the governing body.

The letter of congratulation reads as follows:—

“ Most Worshipful and Royal Sir,

It is with the most lively feelings of satisfaction that we, the Master, Officers and Brethren of the Surrey Lodge beg permission to approach your Royal Highness and eagerly to embrace the earliest opportunity afforded us of offering our most sincere congratulations on your restoration, through Divine Providence, to that great blessing light.

The numerous benefits which Freemasonry has derived from your watchful superintendence, the prosperous state to which it has arrived, and to which your constant exertions have so much contributed would alone have made it a matter of deep regret to us that you should be prevented by any cause from continuing those exertions.


But in addition to these motives, a knowledge of the serious calamity with which you have been afflicted, and the great respect and reverence which your Royal Highness has so justly acquired from every mason, contributed to excite in us feelings of the deepest interest for your Welfare, during the Trial which you have undergone, and of gratitude to the Almighty Disposer of all events, for its successful issue.

That it may please the Great Architect of the Universe to complete the work thus happily begun and to grant you health and length of years to continue to preside over our Order is the fervent prayer of Your Royal Highness’ attached and devoted Servants and Brethren.”

The reply received was as follows:—

“Augustus P. Grand Master.

Worshipful Master and Brethren of the Surrey Lodge No. 603.


I thank you for your Brotherly and affectionate Address. In the midst of my affliction and temporary privation of the inestimable blessing of light, the Sympathy and Interest in my behalf expressed by the Fraternity at large has been to me a source of the greatest consolation.

The confirmation of those sentiments while it calls from me a renewed tribute of gratitude will serve as an additional stimulus to exert my best endeavours for the integrity and advantages of the Craft in general as well as for the benefit of each particular Brother.

Kensington Palace the 9th of September A.D. 1836 A.L. 5836.”

At the same meeting, Brother Ambrose Hall took his first step in office, being appointed Inner Guard.

In the year 1884, at the Jubilee of the Lodge, Brother Ambrose Hall was elected Worshipful Master in order that one who had been initiated in 1834 should be honoured by the Lodge and give satisfaction to the Brethren.

It was also at this 1836 meeting that Brother Peter Martin was placed in the Master’s Chair.

1836-1956, a span of 120 years, is a long time. It leads us to consider the effect of our actions and plans to-day. Will the passage of a further 120 years find any of us remembered as of consequence


Picture to follow

The Master's Chair


in our neighbourhood as citizens, or in the Surrey Lodge as worthy members ?


In 1837 Provincial Grand Lodge for Surrey was inaugurated by Lord Monson, with the support of members of the Grove Lodge of Sutton, then No. 864 and founded in 1832, and the Surrey Lodge No. 603 founded in 1834. There is a Minute dated January, 1837, recording Lord Monson’s appointment as Provincial Grand Master for Surrey. The first meeting was held at the White Hart in the Lodge room of the Surrey Lodge, and among the Provincial Grand Lodge officers appointed was Peter Martin, Provincial Senior Grand Warden.

Shortly after the formation of our own Lodge in 1834, the furnishings of the Lodge were obtained; the total cost of these furnishings was £336 10s. The Worshipful Master, Lord Monson, presented the Master’s, Senior and Junior Wardens’ Chairs, carved from oak derived from the same source as that of Gatton Church. Lord Monson resided at Gatton Park and ornamented the church there. The cost of the chairs was £112 16s. 3d.

The year 1837, in which Provincial Grand Lodge came into existence, was that in which Queen Victoria came to the throne. In the same year. Lord Monson presented a handsome box of working tools to the Surrey Lodge.


On January 12th, 1838, Brother Hall resigned from the Lodge because of his removal to Cambridge. It is noteworthy that in 1838 regular monthly meetings were held, but the attendance became very small. For instance, only seven Brethren and one guest were present on June 8th, 1838, and nine Brethren and one guest present on July 13th.


In 1839 a number of initiations took place, while several members resigned, and two were elected Honorary members. As a consequence of resignations it is apparent that distance, and difficulty in attending, were causing members to withdraw. A third class of Honorary member was recommended to be confined to Masons living not less than 12 miles from Reigate, at an annual subscription of One Guinea and the usual visiting fee of fifteen shillings whenever they attended. Initiation and joining fees were


also to be raised by 2s. 6d. and 1/- respectively. The permanent committee was to consider these proposals.

On June 14th, 1839, the By-Laws were altered so that a Third Class of Honorary Member was created, to reside not less than 15 miles from Reigate at the fees suggested; while the initiation fee was increased by five shillings, and a fee of two shillings was added to the annual subscription for the purposes of Provincial Grand Lodge.

Honorary members were to be deprived of the right to vote.

An emergency meeting was held on August 10th, 1839, and is an example of the activity which sometimes overwhelmed the Lodge after periods of relative inactivity.

At that meeting a joining member who had attained the degree of Fellow Craft was raised to the third degree, simultaneously with another brother who had passed through the first and second degrees in this Lodge. Immediately following this another brother was passed to the second degree.

Many successive meetings record two initiations, a raising or a passing, a joining member, and one or two resignations.


In July, 1840, Brother Hart, who was secretary, and whose perfect copper-plate handwriting is the source of this part of our record, was elected Worshipful Master for the ensuing year.


The Installation Meeting was at this time held in February, and at the meeting on February 19th, 1841, Brother Hart was installed Worshipful Master, the Secretary being Brother Peter Martin, and Brother Baker Treasurer.

On April 2nd, 1841, Viscount Eastnor was initiated on the proposal of Lord Monson. On June 9th, 1841, the meeting was very brief, the Lodge being opened, the Minutes read and confirmed, and closed. It is noteworthy that Lord Monson, who was almost invariably present, was on this occasion absent.


On April 1st, 1842, a Brother Webb was elected Worshipful Master for the ensuing year. A brother was passed to the second degree. Brother Martin gave notice of motion that an alteration in


the By-Laws should be made, to the effect that the Lodge shall meet on the second Friday in the months of January and July in every year. A resignation was accepted.

And then comes the fateful record: a resolution of regret on this first occasion of the Surrey Lodge assembling since the decease of its lamented Founder, Brother the late Lord Monson, with an expression of their deep sense of loss. The Lodge was closed in solemn form and perfect harmony and adjourned to the third Friday in July.


From that point there is no further entry, until, on the next page, now once again in the handwriting of Thomas Hart, the Lodge of Emergency was called for December 6th, 1856.

For the information of the Brethren of the Lodge, it is to be noted that this first Minute Book is of stout leather, with the full strong foolscap paper of the time; there is no possibility of pages having been torn out or removed. The binding is perfect. There is no word of the Lodge going into mourning for a period of one year, as is stated in the History of Reigate written by Dr. Vincent Hooper, who was not a Mason. There can only be some vague truth in this possibility transmitted by word of mouth over the years.

It is also noteworthy that the Lodge did not meet every month from January to July. Often intervals of two months arose. Lord Monson’s last presence on April 2nd, 1841, was followed by a very brief meeting on June 9th, 1841, the first occasion on which he was absent. The Lodge did not meet again for an interval of nine months, on April 1st, 1842. This suggests strongly that Lord Monson himself held the Lodge together. It is possible that a truly Masonic spirit was failing, and that enthusiasm was limited to a few members only. It is inconceivable that the Lodge would have failed to meet had there been any real interest. A lesson is to be learned from this for us to-day.

It is possible for many worthy Masons to become bored by too much Masonry, for too many ceremonies and long meetings to destroy interest, so that a Lodge continues to exist because each member is afraid of starting the disappearance of a Lodge, and yet, given an excuse, will drop the whole matter. Such may well have been the case when Lord Monson died. The Lodge started with


enthusiasm, to-day one might well say over-enthusiasm, and, as a hot-house plant, it could not stand a cold night.

The Lodge owes the three worthies. Brothers Hart, Peter Martin, and Baker, a debt which cannot be repaid save in recording the fact, and in continuing this narrative the members to-day should not forget them. The photograph of Peter Martin is included in this Centenary record because of this; his bust, together with that of his father, is in the possession of Reigate Grammar School, where they founded the Martin Prizes for grammar and handwriting.


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