History of the Old Lancing Lodge No. 4660

The Lodge was consecrated in the Grand temple at Freemasons' Hall, London on Monday 15th December 1924.  The first Master was the Rt. Hon Lord Sankey G.B.E. Past Grand Warden of the United Grand Lodge of England, who at the time was a High Court Judge, and later became Lord Chancellor of England.  The Provost of Lancing, the Lord Bishop of Lewes, the Rt. Revd H.K.Southwell D.D.,C.M.G., Past Grand Chaplain, was invested as the first Immediate Past Master.  Other founding members of the Lodge were W.S.Livingstone, Lt.Col C.W.Whitaker, E.Chamberlain, H.R.Heap, H.S.Oliver, Lt.Col R.W.Randall, Lt.Col D.Abercrombie, Dr J.M.Brydone O.B.E., H.Hardy, J.D.B.Hannah, Major M.H.Seymour, H.S.Machin, J.S.Machin and J.H.Boustred.  Eighty-eight sat down to dinner at the Connaught Rooms after the meeting.  At the first regular meeting St.John Oliver was formally thanked for his efforts in organising the Consecration and a resolution was passed that the Lodge should become a Hall Stone Lodge.  This involved making a donation of at least ten guineas per member to the Masonic Million Memorial Fund, which was set up to finance the building of the Masonic Peace Memorial to commemorate the sacrifice made by so many Freemasons during the Great War.  This building is now known as Freemasons Hall and is in Great Queens Street, London.

The meeting also authorised the making of the first of many donations to Lancing College.  The foundation of the College dates from around 1847, the founder being the Revd Nathaniel Woodard.  The College chapel is a truly outstanding building; its foundation stone was laid in 1868 and the great rose window, containing the arms of the twenty-five Woodard Foundation schools, was completed in 1978.  The interior height of the chapel is 90 feet, making it the fourth loftiest Gothic interior in the country.  The Lodge provided the funds for the substantial oak South West doors.

In the early days of the Lodge many Old Boys who were already Masons joined and many that were not were initiated into Masonry in the Lodge.  These include Edward Woodard, the grandson of the Founder, and Cuthbert Blakiston, the then Head Master.  Several masters at the College have also been members.  Before the Great War, Old Boys of several well-known schools had formed Lodges and these formed a loose association that held an annual joint meeting at a school, hosted by one of the Lodges, the first being Westminster in 1910.  Lancing joined this association, which in 1936 formed the Public Schools Lodges' Council, with over thirty members, and was the host in 1938 and again in 1985.  The first meeting the Lodge held at the College was in 1931 and there have been a number since then.  Initially the Lodge Meetings were held at the Princess Hotel, Jermyn Street, but in 1930 they were moved to the Grosvenor House, Park Lane until 1937 when a few meetings took place at Oddenino's Hotel, Regent Street, before changing to Freemasons' Hall, were they have been held since.

A significant number of Lodge records were lost during the Second World War although some early Minutes, thought to have been lost, have now re-emerged.  Lodge membership has probably fluctuated between twenty and sixty.  The Lodge is closely associated with other Woodard School Craft Lodges and some of our members have joined the Woodard Chapter in the Royal Arch Degree, the Woodard Mark Lodge in the Mark Degree and the Woodard Chapter in the Rose Croix Degree.

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