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FREEMSONRY IN SHEERNESS 17 ??

 (  Acknowlegements  to  T.V. Scott and J C Attwood )

 

22nd August 1667  The King to the Lord Mayor

 

There being great want of masons and bricklayers to carry out the important work at Sheerness he is to summon the masters and wardens of those companies , and order as many able workmen to be sent as shall perfect the work before the season of the year prevents.

‘ Calendar of State Papers ‘

 

 

The first warrant was issued on 13th January 1765.

The second warrant was issued 25th September 1778  To form and hold a Lodge  at the sign of The Marquis of Gransby  in the Town of Sheerness

There are 6 lodges that meet in  The Masonic Temple in St.Georges Avenue

 

Adams Lodge consecrated in    1778/1797  originally mainly consisting of  Service/Dockyard men

De Shurland Lodge consecrated in  1866 originally mainly consisting of business men

          Now meets Wednesday Evening (after Wed. early closing.)

United  Service  Lodge consecrated in 1905 originally mainly consisting of servicemen

          Now meets on a Friday for servicemen to go home for the weekend after a meeting

Queenborough Lodge consecrated in  1914 originally mainly consisting of Queenborough men

Isle of Sheppey Lodge consecrated in 1949 originally  mainly consisting of  Sheppey men

Nore Command Lodge consecrated    in1986 formed from members of the other Lodges

Plus numerous other Chapters and higher degree lodges etc.

Queenborough Lodge and The Isle of Sheppey Lodge  originally  met in the  Masonic Temple  in  Queenborough  High Street .

Adams Lodge first  met in The  Sign of the Marquis of Granby a tavern situated within the barracks.

It was transferred to the ‘Mason Arms’  in 1792 then it moved to various other sites including;-‘Belle and Lion Bluetown ,’ White Horse ‘ in Bluetown, ‘Chequers Tavern ‘ in BlueTown, ‘Red Lion’ in Blue town.

‘Fountain Hotel ‘ in Bluetown, ‘Britannia Inn in  ‘Mile Town, Royal Hotel in Broadway,  ‘Swan Inn ‘ in Bluetown. ‘Royal Hotel ‘ Mile Town, ‘Wellington Inn ‘Mile Town,  ‘Local Board of Health Rooms. ‘

etc etc etc and finally in 1909 to the Masonic Hall St. Georges Avenue.

 

It is interesting to note that in 4th Sept 1798    Relief to a distressed Brother   5/-

Relieved a brother from Bagdad in Asia   8/6d    3rd Sept. 1799

To  a coffin for Bro. Dolinson £2-12-4d  5th Aug 1800

 

On the lighter side we have recorded 1807 1st Sept. Bro. Smith  fined 1/6d for attending Lodge with a long beard

1808 2nd May  Bro.Baker  fined 6d for not having shaved and Bro. Abbott fined 6d for swearing

 

A ceremony  probably unique in the history of Sheerness was witnessed in 1835 on the occasion of laying the foundation or first stone of  The Holy Trinity Church  by Adams Lodge and was attended by seventy Freemasons representing various lodges in the District of Kent

 “ It was the wish of the inhabitants  of the Isle of Sheppey in general  that  the First Stone of the new church about to be erected at that place should be laid with Masonic Honours and Ceremonies etc.etc….”

An extract showing the Loyal feelings of the Lodge members is to be found on 18th June 1840 when it was unanimously carried that  In consequence of the late treasonable attempt to assassinate Her Majesty and Prince Albert that an address be presented by Provincial Grand Lodge to her Majesty and Prince Albert on their providential  escape from such an attack.”

 Also from the minutes ,1846 6th January Paid for Beer at Xmas for Poor in Workhouse. 12/-

The sudden death of an unknown gentleman occurred at the “Wellington  Inn “ on 16th July 1862 and an examination of his effects revealed Masonic clothing but no money .When this information reached the members of Adams Lodge it was proposed and carried unanimously that the lodge should bear the cost of the coffin the church fees and the ground. The cost to the Lodge was £5-5s-6d

A memorial plaque to John .Staples .Keddell  ,a surgeon,, a well known and respected mason held in high esteem ,bearing many Masonic symbols can be seen on the wall at the entrance to the North West  corner of Holy Trinity Church  in the Broadway

.During November 1869 a serious accident occurred on board HMS Thistle and among those lost were Bros. Daer and Lawrence .At the next Lodge meeting it was agreed “ That a  vote of thanks be tendered to the Captain Superintendent of the Dockyard and  the Commandant of the Garrison for their courtesy in receiving and acceding to the wishes of the deputation from the Lodge with regard to the funeral of these Brethren”.

He had allowed a Masonic Funeral to be held instead  of a Military ceremony.. Shortly afterwards the Lodge undertook to pay for the erection of head and foot stones  to their memory and  for their maintenance.

In  January 1880  information reached the Lodge that the body of one of the members was lying at his residence and that owing to the reduced circumstances caused by his long illness ,his wife had not the means to bury him. It was immediately decided that the Lodge should bear all the expenses of internment and arrangements were at once made , even to the tolling of the bell at an additional cost of1s-6d.

 

20th May 1839.

The provincial Grand Lodge of Kent met in Sheerness attended by brethren from Lodges throughout the County.The business of the Province was then proceeded with at the “ Fountain Inn “ where breakfast was served. On its completion soon after noon a procession was formed and the brethren proceeded  to  the Trinity Church through streets lined with  people for a church service…

 

The order of the procession was

 

Band of Music

Banners of the Twelve Tribes of Israel borne by twelve young gentlemen

Tyler of Adams Lodge

 

Brethren of Royal Navy Lodge,  Ramsgate

Two by two preceded by their banner

 

Brethren of Lodge Peace and Unity, Dover

Two by two preceded by their banner

 

Brethren of United Chatham Lodge

Two by two preceded by their banner

 

Senior Warden of Lodge of Harmony , Faversham

Two by two preceded by their banner

 

Brethren of Prince Edwins Lodge, Hythe

Two by two preceded by their banner

 

Brethren of Lodge of Friendship , Gravesend

Two by two preceded by their banner

 

Brethren of Adams Lodge , Sheerness

Two by two preceded by their banner

 

The Provincial Grand Lodge with Three Candlesticks

 

The Sacred Volume, Square and Compasses borne on a cushion

 

Then Right Worshipful Deputy Provincial Grand Master

 

On arrival at the church the procession halted and the Officers passed through the lines and were then followed by the brethren into the church,  the body of which was filled ,while in the sides and galleries were seated their relatives and friends.

 

In Mr. A T Sears  Book “James Prankard” ,   among the records of the Bethel Independent Church  1813 is  ;-

To the United Brethren of the Lodge of Freemasons Mile Town Sheerness

 

Gentlemen,

We, the undersigned ,  feeling  compassion for the moral degradation of those children who without restraint are permitted to range the streets on a Sabbath day, and growing up into life without that Institution ,which will form them useful and important members of society; have earnestly wished to contribute our humble endeavours to remove this growing evil ,by our gratuitous labours of a Sabbath day in instructing such children as shall be put under our tuition

The nature of the education which we intend to give , is to teach them to read, and to catechise them in the common principles of Christianity ; without any reference to sect or society. The doctrines we intend to inculcate are those of the Established Church of England or those of the Shorter  Catechism of the Assembly of Divines which  is precisely one with the former.

Knowing, Gentlemen  your philanthrophy to all classes of the community whose religious objects are unison with your own ; otherwise we would not have presumed. We ask the liberty of your lodge as a place of Instruction ; and we pledge ourselves not to  permit the children to be without some of the teachers ;and we will take every precaution that nothing shall be injured ,leaving it as clean as we find it.

                             We are Gentlemen.

                                      Your humble servants.

 

This application was favourably entertained and the gratuitous use of the room was granted.

Woolworths store now stands on the site of the freemasons lodge hall

This poster advertising the Sunday School  was  dated only two days before the opening.

 

SUNDAY SCHOOL

FREEMASONS LODGE

MILE TOWN

SHEERNESS

 

On Sunday next , the 12th instant,  a school will be opened at the above place, for the Instruction of children of both sexes, in the Rudiments of Christianity .Those parents whose desire it is ,to keep their children from  the Paths of the Destroyer ,and to train them up in the Nurture and Admonition of the Lord , are requested to bring them to the school on Sunday Morning next at  Nine o’clock.
Sheerness
Sept 10th 1813.

 

In 1817 it was in this year that the church members began to extend the work of preaching in the new area of Mile Town ;the  opening of the Sunday School there has already been recorded , and once again the Deacons hired the freemasons lodge.

 

 

 

 

Historical notes

1874 September 5th   The Grand Master of Greece took part in laying the Foundation Stone of  The Erasmus   

Wilson Lodge at Greenhithe/Gravesend        The mallet used was then one  used by Charles 2nd to lay the foundation stone of St.Pauls  Cathedral in 1675.It was presented to the Lodge of Antiquity by Bro.Sir Christopher Wren the Master of the Lodge.

 

 

One of the Queenborough Church Bells was taken down  by the Island Freemasons and recast , it has wording cast around  the bell to signify that.  It was also  consecrated by the Bishop.

 

 

 

 

The Lodge meetings  and Masonic information was often reported in the Sheerness and national newspapers for example ;-

In the Sheerness Times and Guardian , a copy of which is in the Sheerness Library

1865 April 1st           The Installation of Adams Lodge.

1866 March 3rd          Consecration of De Shurland Lodge at the  Co-op Hall

1870 February 19th   Advert for Grand Masonic Ball

1870 June 25th          Installation of De Shurland Lodge

1871 February 25th   Adams Lodge Ladies Night

1874 July 18th          Grand  Annual Masonic Festival at Ashford.

1874 September 26th The Royal Family and Freemasons

1879 April 19th       When  Adam Pucket the Master of Adams Lodge died he  had a funeral  procession one

                             mile long .

1882 December 2nd   The Freemasons Hall in 1813 is where Dr.Strothers house now is.

1918 December 7th    Consecration of Queenborough Lodge

 

Etc.Etc.Etc.          

 

 

For Masonic, local  and other Charities in 2004 The Island Lodges gave approximately   £156, 000  which  had been collected over the last ten years with Adams Lodge collecting  over £31,000. East Kent as a whole  has collected a total of over £5,000,000