Gihon Sancta Maria Lodge




Compiled by W.Bro. Paul Osborne, S.L.G.R., P.P.J.G. W.(Middx) late Secretary of Gihon Lodge using material from an earlier history published in 1952 by W.Bro. Warlingham and updated to the present day.

There is not much known regarding the first 50 years of Gihon Lodge due to lack of records but the name itself was that of one of the streams which flowed out of the Garden of Eden and was afterwards applied to one of the springs which runs just outside Jerusalem where King Solomon was anointed King of Israel.

Gihon Lodge is one of considerable antiquity and we have the authority of our Charter that it was founded under the Atholl Constitution in the year 1756. Because of legal restrictions due to the Napoleonic Wars in 1799 a law was enacted forbidding the formation of secret societies including Freemasons Lodges but lodges formed before that date were allowed to continue provided they made a return of all their members to the local Clerk of the Peace.

When the Lodge was formed in 1810 the founders with the cooperation of Grand Lodge adopted the number of defunct Lodge No. 46 a simple subterfuge which enabled them to circumvent an oppressive piece of legislation. Consequently the Lodge pretends to be a revival of Lodge No.46.

Our warrant has no name specified and the authority therefore devolves on the individuals who from time to time hold offices, a tradition which is jealously guarded. The name “Gihon” was adopted in 1819 which is the date of the earliest surviving Lodge record and by which time the two Grand Lodges had become one.

There are two seals on the warrant one in white of the Grand Lodge and one in red with a ducal coronet the personal arms of the Duke of Atholl.

The twenty original members were in the main concerned with the seafaring trades. There are among them six mariners including the captain of the “Amazon” and a Chinaman, a brewer, two victuallers, a cooper, a wharfinger, a landing waiter customs, a pilot, an architect, an organ builder and a gentleman. The first meeting was at the house by name or sign the George at George Stairs, Southwark.

The first Master was George Eyre a carpenter, the Senior Warden John Templeman and the Junior Warden Robert Robinson a taylor. On the 31st March 1818 there was a joining member, Thomas Satterly, who was Grand Standard Bearer in the Royal Arch. He was a member of the Lodge until his death in 1863. His portrait in oils is the property of the Lodge and used to hang in the ante-room of the Guild Hall Tavern. It is loaned by us to the Grand Lodge Museum. Bro. Satterly was one of the members of the Lodge of Reconciliation formed after the union in 1813 to teach and demonstrate a unified ritual to the Antients and the Moderns, he was Preceptor of the Stability Lodge of Instruction. Stability claims to be the senior Lodge of Instruction since the union having been founded in 1817.

The Lodge has many prized possessions including a handsome silver loving cup purchased by the Lodge in 1910 to commemorate the Centenary of the Lodge. It is engraved with the names of all the Masters of the Lodge since that date, also an ivory and silver masters gavel presented to the Lodge by the Master and Wardens in 1868, W.Bros. J. Mills, w.M., W.A. Tharp, S.W., and J. Miles, J.W., a large silver mounted oak charity box made from the timbers of old London Bridge was given by W.Bro. Alfred Williams in 1868 and a mahogany and silver snuff box presented in 1867 again by W.Bro. Alfred Williams. Another object of interest is a silver folding clock of French make engraved with Masonic symbols. The Lodge also possessed three chairs, one for the Master probably Elizabethan with a high back and two smaller chairs for the Wardens. They are unusual as having gilded plaster rams heads at the ends of the arm rests. They were in a deplorable condition but a member of the Lodge W.Bro. Stanley Matthews with the skill of two of his craftsmen restored them to their original condition.

Some years ago a chance conversation led W.Bro. Geoffrey Selwyn to discover that the principal collars in regular use were in fact made by the famous Thomas Harper, the greatest of all Masonic silversmiths and hall marked 1810.  They were presumably donated by the holders of the respective offices but their survival is a minor miracle. When their value was assessed and their significance realised they were    placed on long term loan in the Museum at Freemasons’ Hall where they are on display.

On 17th November 1910 the Centenary of the Lodge was honoured by a full gathering of members and guests. After the business of the Lodge which was the election of the Master, Treasurer and Tyler was done the Centenary Warrant granted by the M.W. the Grand Master was read and ten guineas voted to each of the three charities. Centenary jewels were worn, each brother buying his own with the exception of those of the Master, Treasurer and Secretary which were bought by the Lodge. At the banquet which followed fifty seven members and guests sat down. It is recorded that all the Past Masters were there except two who were prevented by illness. One of these was W.Bro. Bailey, the Treasurer, and it must have been extremely galling to that grand old Mason not to be there. A special gilt-edged invitation card was engraved for the occasion and a silver loving cup purchased by the Lodge in honour of the event was used for the first time.

For the benefit of posterity and as an indication of the graceful living of those days I give the menu in full:-

Huitre Natives

Tortue Claire
Puree a la Reine

Filet de Sole Otero

SelleA’ Agneau Boulangere
Celeri Braise

Ris de Veau aux Epinards

Neige au Pommery

Faison Roti au Cresson

Asperges sauce Vinaigrette

Bombe Gihon
Gaufrettes Vanillees
Laitances au Croute

Café et Liqueurs

Bro George Hinds the same who had been Mayor of Lambeth the year before, was in the chair.

Brethren who served King and Country were Bro. George Vizard who was killed in Natal in 1899, on 12th November 1914, Bro. Ernest Rigby, 15th Hussars was killed in action. The minutes record Bro. Rigby was “faithful” to our God, our country and our laws. In February 1944 Squadron Leader Bereford Marshall was killed.

There are recorded five Grand Officers in the Lodge namely Sir Horatio Davies K.C.M.G.P.G.D. Lord Mayor of London, Bro. Wilton P.A.G.D.C., Bro. Tharp P.G.St.B., Bro. Wallace Asst.G.D.C. and Bro. David Hubert. P.J.G.D.

In the late 1800s the Lodge enjoyed what was termed a Lodge of Recreation.  Members and guests seemed to like a day on the River Thames followed by an excellent dinner. Skindles Hotel was one of the venues.

In 1897 preparations were in full swing for the installation of H.R.H. the Prince of Wales. The Lodge was directed to provide one Past Master as a steward for the occasion. A ballot was taken and the lot fell to Bro. H. Venn. Bro. Venn then presented the Lodge with three dozen handsome firing glasses in an oak case which looks as though a little bird had whispered to Bro. Venn that he might be the lucky man. At the ceremony at the Albert Hall on the 28th May the W.M. Bro. Alfred Williams, nine brethren and Bro. Venn attended from the Lodge.

On 16th February 1888 a printed summons is attached to the minutes for the first time. At the next meeting in March the crest of the Lodge is embossed in gold on the summons. A footnote to the summons in December strikes quite a modern touch as follows “By returning the enclosed post card with answers the Brethren will render material assistance to the W.M.” probably some of our brethren did oblige and others following the not unusual pattern of today and brought their postcards with them to the meeting saying “Well you knew I  should be here anyway”

Bro. Horatio Davis was made an Alderman of the City of London and the Lodge sent him a formal letter of congratulation. Bro. Alderman Davis in a letter dated 14th April 1889 thanked the brethren for their kind wishes.

In April 1897 the brethren were invited to inspect a very handsome banner hanging in the Lodge. It had been purchased by some of the members at a cost of twenty-eight guineas. An emergency meeting was held in May 1897 to select five members to attend the Diamond Jubilee at the Albert Hall at which H.R.H. the Prince of Wales proposed a loyal and dutiful address to Her Majesty Queen Victoria.

With the beginning of the twentieth century Bro. H.W. Tharp was Master of the same family as the Master in 1869 and the South African War was being fought. An appeal was received from the M.W. Grand Master for funds in aid of the brethren in South Africa who were suffering from the effects of the war. The list was sent round after the Lodge Meeting with most satisfactory results.

At the February Meeting, 1901 the members of the Gihon Lodge desired to place on record their sense of loss that Freemasonry and the Country at large have sustained by the death of Her Majesty Queen Victoria.

On 17th November 1904 there was a notice of motion by Bro. H.S. Wilton “that the Lodge be removed from the Guildhall Tavern to some other place”. This was carried and the next meeting was held at Frascati’s Restaurant, 32 Oxford Street, WI. The Lodge had been at the Guildhall Tavern since 1867.

The bi-centenary of the Grand Lodge of England was celebrated at the Albert Hall on 23rd June 1917 presided over by H.R.H. the Duke of Connaught M.W. Grand Master. The Lodge was represented by the W.M. Bro. Thomas and three other brethren.

The Masonic Million Memorial Fund was first mentioned in Lodge in February 1920 and at the February Meeting a year later it was decided that the Lodge become a Hall Stone Jewel Lodge. On the 14th July 1927 the Foundation Stone of the Masonic Peace Memorial Building in Great Queen Street was laid by remote control at the Albert Hall by the M.W. Grand Master H.R.H. the Duke of Connaught. Shortly after this more money was wanted for this project and the Lodge voted £38.12s. which brought its contribution to four hundred guineas. There were then 22 full members and 12 country members.

At a meeting held three weeks after Munich and at a time when Masonry in Germany and Italy was being suppressed with the brutality inherent in dictatorships and which reached its apotheosis at Belsen. It caused Grand Lodge to issue its famous “Aims and Relationships of the Craft” stating in unequivocal terms the fundamental principles of the Order. This was ordered to be read in all Lodges. At this meeting Bro. Chapman asked to be placed on the Country List as his military duties would prevent him attending the Lodge in 1939. Later Bro. Chapman rose to the rank of Lieut.-Colonel and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order.

On the 1st March 1939 H.R.H. the Duke of Connaught resigned having been M.W. Grand Master since 1901 to be succeeded by H.R.H. the Duke of Kent who lost his life so tragically three years later.

The March meeting in 1939 was the last to be held before war broke out on 3rd September 1939. No meeting was held in October but in November the Lodge met in the morning and elected Bro. S.A. Spofforth Master for 1940.

Neither the W.M Bro. Master nor the A.D.C. Bro. C.H. Peppiatt were present both being on active service. It must be remembered that in the early days of the war the black out was to all intents and purposes total and rendered the return home after an evening meeting an extremely hazardous undertaking, except in the summer months. At the November meeting in 1944 a letter was read from the Grand Secretary saying that at a Masonic Meeting in North Africa our Brother Colonel C.H. Peppiatt had been present and sent fraternal greetings.

On 17th May 1945 the first meeting after the close of hostilities was held and for the first time for six years the brethren met without the latent apprehension that some calamity might have befallen their loved ones or homes during their absence. On 23rd February 1951 an Emergency Meeting was held to commemorate the diamond jubilee in Masonry of the Treasurer W.Bro. Major William Palmer Wilton P.A.G.D.C. After opening the Lodge, the minutes of the meeting held at the Guildhall Tavern on the 19th February 1891 when Bro.  Wilton was initiated by his father were read. Later at a dinner which was attended by 68 brethren and guests a silver salver bearing the signatures of every member was presented to Bro. Wilton to mark a period of service remarkable in Masonry and without precedent in the Lodge.

An old custom of the Lodge was to have a decanter or two of sherry in the ante-room before every meeting. This enabled the brethren to enter the Lodge properly prepared and duly fortified for the working of perhaps three ceremonies during the evening. The late Bro. J.S. Wilton remarked of two brethren blood brothers, who would never enter the Lodge until these decanters were empty. This admirable custom came to an end with the introduction of the Licensing Act of 1902 which was considered a personal affront by those brethren who liked a little refreshment before labour.

Another old custom is at the banquet after the November Meeting (prior to the Installation in January) when the toast of the Officers is replied to, it is by all of them. The underlying idea being that every brother should have had his due by then and that this is his last chance of letting the W.M. know if he is satisfied or not.

In November 1950 Bro. Captain J.B. Matthews was on active service in Korea.

The three chairs previously mentioned and at least two hundred years old were first used on the 25th February 1951 and were admired by all. On 20th March 1952 the Worshipful Master expressed the wish that in the future white gloves should be worn in the Lodge, it seems that prior to this date no gloves were worn.

On 15th October 1953 Captain Matthews was congratulated on his safe return from Korea.

The Lodge had been meeting at Restaurant Frascati in Oxford Street, W. 1. for nearly 50 years but in September 1953 gave notice of motion to meet at the Piccadilly Hotel.

On 1st February 1960 Bros. Green and Belton presented 12 firing glasses inscribed 1810 to 1960 to mark 150 years of the existence of the Lodge. The 150th anniversary was held in the Grand Temple and afterwards at the Piccadilly

Hotel when there were 123 guests present including a deputation from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Sussex.

In 1960 a new banner was presented by the Worshipful Master W.Bro. Alec Bartley to replace one presented by the brethren in 1897. The new banner was dedicated by V.W.Bro. Prebendary, F.W. Ferraro who commented that when the Lodge was formed in 1810 the war against Napoleon was still raging.

In the minutes of the Meeting held on 20th November 1961 it stated that Bro. Stanley Spofforth stayed at the Gihon Hotel in Addis Ababa and that the name had a direct reference to our Gihon brook in Jerusalem. Bro. Ian Spofforth was mentioned in the Guiness Book of Records as one of the two tallest Britons being 7 foot 2 inches.

By the end of 1970 total subscriptions had increased to £338 and lodge assets to £700. At the meeting in February 1972 it was proposed and approved that a glass of sherry be supplied to the bréthren in the Lodge ante-room prior to the opening of the Lodge. It seems that old habits die hard. At the October meeting in 1972 the following fees were approved annual subscriptions El 5, non-dining subscriptions E3 initiation fee £20 and joining fee £15.

The Lodge decided to change its venue for meetings and moved to the National Liberal Club on 10th September 1973. At the September meeting in 1974 charges for dinner at the National Liberal Club were raised from £2.20 per head to £3.35. This meant that the annual subscription was increased to £20 and non-dining members to £4. In February 1976 the Lodge moved again to the Constitutional Club and members annual subscriptions were then £30 and nondining £5. The loving cup was re-valued for insurance purposes at £l,750.

The move to the Constitutional Club was not a success and dispensations were granted from 11th October 1976 to 5th December 1977 to meet at the Lancaster Gate Hotel. From 15th February 1978 to 9th April 1979 dispensations were granted to meet at Mark Masons’ Hall, 40 Upper Brook Street and dining afterwards at the Naval Club. It was from 1st October 1979 that the Lodge met at Mark Masons’ Hall, St. James’s Street and has continued there ever since.

In late 1980 W.Bro. Michael G. Spofforth who was President of the Institute of Taxation was appointed Grand Treasurer. At the Regular Meeting held on 24th March 1990 a new bible cushion was first used being purchased from the bequest of W.Bro. Ted Belton to mark his year as Worshipful Master in 1996. W.Bro. Geoffrey Selwyn presented the gift of a boxed set of working tools. The brethren expressed their gratitude for the generous gesture.

On 2nd November 2002 an application for joining was received from W.Bro.  Alexey P. Yurenev and this was approved. W.Bro. Yurenev on behalf of the Lodge of Brotherly Love No. 10 of the Grand Lodge of Russia where he was Grand Director of Ceremonies presented a framed plaque to the Lodge.

Due to the diminishing number of members senior brethren decided to investigate amalgamation with another Lodge in a similar situation to Gihon.  W.Bro. Geoffrey Selwyn made enquiries and we were put in touch with Sancta Maria Lodge No. 2682. A sub-committee was formed comprising W.Bro. Paul Osborne Secretary, W.Bro. Geoffrey Selwyn Treasurer and W.Bro. Neil Stephen Almoner to pursue any possibilities. A similar sub-committee was formed by Sancta Maria Lodge consisting of W.Bro. Richard Smith, W.Bro. Grevile Newson-Smith and W.Bro. Max Cronin. Gihon representatives visited Sancta Maria and were warmly welcomed and return visits were made by members of Sancta Maria and both parties agreed that an amalgamation was in the interests of both parties.

Accordingly, steps were taken to achieve this objective at a Regular Meeting held on 16th April 2007.

At the Regular meeting held on 11th February 2008 the members of Sancta Maria wishing to become members of Gihon Lodge were approved as joining members. On 20th April 2009 the amalgamation ceremony took place just two years after the first step was taken.

Thanks to the efforts of W.Bro. Geoffrey Selwyn a new banner for the new combined Lodges was obtained and admired by all the brethren.

The amalgamation has been a great success and Gihon Sancta Maria Lodge looks forward to the next 100 years of brotherly love.

W.Bro. Paul Osborne SLGR
Late Secretary of Gihon Lodge No 49





Compiled by W.Bro. Grevile Newson-Smith, PAGDC, late Secretary of Sancta Maria Lodge using material from an earlier history published in 1997 by W.Bro. John Wright, RD, PGPSwdB and updated to the present day.

‘Last, but by no means least in importance we have the Sancta Maria Lodge No. 2682 which had the honour of being consecrated by the Pro Grand Master Right Honourable Earl of Latham, GCB, and has the still greater honour of  being presided over by His Royal Highness the Most Worshipful Grand Master as its first Master, the Deputy Master being Brother Edmund Owen who was installed in office by Brother the Earl of Euston, Provincial Grand Master, Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire. The founders numbered about 50, and members. those only will be accepted as members who are in any way connected with St. Mary’s Hospital. The consecration ceremony was performed in the Great Hall at Freemasons’ Hall on Monday 15th November, and may be said to have been the most brilliant among the ceremonies of this kind during the present year’.

The Freemason, Christmas Number, vol xxxvl, 3, 1987.

The Founders were mostly medical staff and former students of the hospital who were active in Freemasonry in other Lodges. The Founders Committee agreed to ask the Most Worshipful The Grand Master, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales if he would kindly consent to be the first Master of the Lodge, as he had always taken a great interest in the hospital. The Committee was subsequently delighted to receive a reply that while giving them his health as Most Worshipful Grand Master, His Royal Highness was also proud to give it as the first Worshipful Master of Sancta Maria Lodge, and that he had appointed W.Bro. Edmund Owen to be his Deputy Master.

The Consecration Ceremony was a splendid affair and took place on 15th November 1897 in the Great Hall at Freemasons’ Hall. The Deputy Master read a telegram from His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales which read “Hearty good wishes and a successful career to the Sancta Maria Lodge signed Albert Edward” The festive board was described in contemporary accounts as a banquet and was held in the large hall of Freemasons’ Tavern with 124 diners.

The first Regular Meeting was held at 3.30p.m. on 13th December 1897 at Mark Masons Hall then in Great Queen Street adjacent to the Freemasons’ Tavern when 5 candidates were initiated and this was followed by the initiation of a similar number at an emergency meeting at 5.30p.m. on the same day. The By-Laws fixed the fee for candidates at 8 guineas, joiners 6 guineas and the annual subscription 1 guinea which remained unchanged until 1965.

On October 14th 1898 the Deputy Master and Secretary wrote to His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales advising that his year of office was about to expire and asking if he would be graciously pleased to continue in office. His Royal Highness replied that while it afforded him great pleasure to identify himself with a Lodge connected with a hospital in which he takes a great interest, he had accepted the position of Master on the understanding that at the expiration of a year the office would be filled by another brother. He wished the Lodge a career of continued prosperity.

At the end of the first year 25 candidates had been initiated and of these 15 had been passed and 14 raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason. In late 1900 the Secretary James Ernest Lane enquired of the Grand Secretary whether the Lodge could send condolences to H.M. King Edward VIl on the death of his mother Queen Victoria. The Grand Secretary replied on the 21st February 1901: Dear Brother Lane, I know His Majesty does not expect Private Lodges to send him addresses of condolence, but in as much as the King was for a time, Worshipful Master of the Sancta Maria Lodge I think an exception might be made in favour of that Lodge. E. Letchworth.

Following this reply The Lodge approved an address to be sent to the King which read: To His Gracious Majesty Edward VIl, King of Great Britain and Ireland , Emperor of India, etc, etc. The Worshipful Master Wardens and Brethren of the Sancta Maria Lodge No. 2682 of which Lodge Your Majesty was the first Worshipful Master desire to be permitted humbly to express their heartfelt sympathy with Your Majesty in the heavy affliction which has befallen you and the Royal Family, through the lamented death of her late Most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria. They also desire to offer their loyal and respectfully fraternal congratulations upon Your Majesty’s accession to the Throne, and their earnest hope that the Great Architect of the Universe may endue Your Majesty with health and long life to enter upon and maintain a beneficent reign over your devoted subjects throughout the Empire. Signed J.E. Lane.

At the June 11th meeting a reply from the Grand Secretary dated 21st of March 1901 was read out as follows; Dear Sir and Brother, I have received the command of the King to ask you to be so good as to convey to the Worshipful Master, Wardens and Brethren of the Sancta Maria Lodge No.2682 His Majesty’s grateful thanks for their kind and fraternal expressions of sympathy with him in his great sorrow, and for their loyal congratulations on his accession to the Throne. Signed E. Letchworth. At the March 1903 meeting a letter from Vincent Cotterell was read which asked whether the Worshipful Master, Wardens and Brethren of Sancta Maria would be willing to sign the founders petition for a William Harvey Chapter, and allow the proposed Chapter to be attached to the Lodge. This was readily acceded to and the Chapter was subsequently consecrated on 4th June 1903. A letter of thanks was received from the first Scribe E. who hoped that the Chapter would be a credit to the Sancta Maria Lodge.

The June 1910 summons was printed in black and mourning rosettes were worn on the death of His late lamented Majesty King Edward VIl, Protector of the Craft, Past Grand Master and first Worshipful Master of Sancta Maria.

The war years saw a continued éxpansion in membership and there were 32 initiates and 5 joining members in the period 1914-1918 and in November 1918 the Lodge had 155 subscribing members. At one point the Lodge standing committee reported that the fees paid to Grand Lodge during the past year has exceeded those of any other Lodge under the rule of the Grand Lodge of England.

During the war years many of the Lodge members were on active service and the meetings were smaller than usual. Dress and dining became informal and there were no speeches or music.

In 1922 Sir Bernard Spilsbury who was well known as a forensic pathologist following his involvement in the Crippen murder case became a joining member.

In 1926 the Lodge moved from the Imperial Restaurant to the Royal Adelaide Restaurant in the Strand which was known as Gattis. The William Harvey Chapter and St. Lukes Medical Lodge of Instruction also moved to Gattis. In 1932 the Lodge moved again, this time to the Hotel Splendide, Piccadilly.

At the November 1934 meeting the newly installed Master A.W. Matthew appointed Alexander Fleming as Secretary and A.E. Porritt as Assistant Secretary.

Fleming had entered St. Mary’s as a medical student in 1902 and qualified in 1906. He was initiated in 1909 and served as Master in 1924-25. On appointment as Secretary he was Professor of Bacteriology in the University of London at the Medical School. His research activity was focussed on septic wounds, lysozymes and the morphology of the Staphylococcus which paved the way for the discovery of the antibacterial properties of an extract of mould which he called penicillin. Aside from hospital interests he was a member of the Chelsea Arts Club and a keen swimmer and rifle shooter.

Sir Alexander Fleming, FRS, PGW, examining a culture plate

The summons for the January 1935 meeting was issued from the Inoculation Department of the Medical School which was connected by a bridge over Norfolk Place to his laboratory in the hospital now the Fleming Museum. In March A.G. Cross was initiated, a future Dean of the School. Cross later recalled being taken to Fleming’s department with a large carbuncle on his neck when one of his colleagues said ” if only Flem would make some more of that penicillin stuff we’d soon cure that neck”.

In November of that year the Lodge met at Freemason’s Hall, Great Queen Street by dispensation and one year later approved a motion given under Rule 167 to remove from the Hotel Splendide to Freemason’s Hall and dine at the Connaught Rooms.

Later that year it was announced that the Duke and Duchess of York had been pleased to appoint Arthur Espie Porritt as Surgeon in Ordinary to their Royal Highnesses Household.

In November 1939 there was a discussion by the standing committee on what the Lodge policy should be in wartime and it was decided to hold meetings as far as possible on the usual dates followed by as simple a banquet as possible in the Connaught Rooms.

At the meeting on 21st July 1941 the attention of the Lodge was drawn to the distinguished honour, a George Medal, which had been won by Bro. M. Kamill for exceptional courage in dealing with an unexploded bomb in St. Mary’s Hospital.

Entrance to the Fleming museum, St Mary’s Hospital

Fleming was congratulated by the W.M. in April 1943 on his election as a Fellow of the Royal Society. The minutes which were written by Fleming do not record that he had also been awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine jointly with Professor H.W. Florey and Dr. E.B. Chain. In December 1943 an emergency meeting was held jointly at Freemason’s Hall with Misericordia Lodge No. 3286 and Old Epsomian Lodge No. 3561. This was to hear the second half of his lecture on “The History of English Freemasonry” by R.M. Handfield-Jones. There is an annotation to the minutes of the meeting held on 11th November 1947 which reads ‘there is a serious omission in these minutes, as I should know, because it was I who informed the Lodge of  Fleming’s elevation to the rank of Past Grand Warden an honour which has never befallen Sancta Maria before. It is typical of Flemings’ modesty that he did not record the fact on the minutes. But I feel I am justified at this late date in adding this, signed R.M. Handfield-Jones’. Arthur Espie Porritt was appointed Secretary in 1949. He had joined the Lodge in 1927 from Apollo Lodge No. 357 on leaving Oxford and commencing his clinical studies at St. Mary’s. He had been a considerable athlete while at Oxford and had captained the New Zealand Olympic Team in 1924. On appointment as Secretary he was a surgeon at St. Mary’s and Surgeon to the Royal Household.

At his first meeting as Secretary in January 1950 congratulations were extended to him on his knighthood recently bestowed and in September 1951 on his promotion to Senior Grand Deacon. At the end of 1953 there was a total of 173 regular and honorary members. In November 1954 the W.M. announced the sad death of Sir Alexander Fleming. In January 1957 the Secretary was congratulated on his recent K.C.V.O. and then in November 1960 he was congratulated on his election as President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. The congratulations continued when in January 1963 they were given on the recent award to him of a Baronetcy in the New Year Honours. In June 1964 it was announced that Bro. Secretary had been invested as Junior Grand Warden which was a considerable honour both for him and the Lodge.

At the January 1967 meeting the W.M. personally and on behalf of the Lodge congratulated R.W. Bro. Secretary Sir Arthur Porritt Bt. on his appointment by Her Majesty The Queen as Governor General Designate of New Zealand. The June meeting was the last which R.W. Bro. Sir Arthur Porritt, Secretary, could attend before taking up his post in New Zealand. W.Bro. Alex Cross Treasurer referred to his 40 years service given to Sancta Maria by Sir Arthur who was Master in the Jubilee year immediately after which he succeeded R.W.Bro. Sir Alexander Fleming as Secretary. No one could be more fitted to represent H.M. The Queen in New Zealand and Sir Atthur’s unique gift in the grand design of being happy and communicating happiness would be most helpful in his new appointment. He spoke for every member in wishing R.W.Bro. Sir Arthur every possible happiness and success in this appointment and said that every member would welcome him back to the Lodge on its termination.

In November 1968 Bro. Royston Gray Fender Medical Practitioner Marlow Lodge 2792 became a joining member. He later became Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Buckinghamshire.

Sir Arthur Porritt GCMG, GCVO, CBE,PGW,
Governor General of New Zealand. Grand
Master,Grand Lodge of New Zealand

An emergency meeting was held by dispensation on 12th December 1969 in the Wright-Fleming Library of the Medical School and was judged to be most successful. This subsequently became the permanent venue in 1971.

Among the initiates in 1976 was John Lawson Wright who wrote the Lodge History up to the centenary, and from which the first 100 years in this shortened version was taken. 1979 saw the initiation of Ian Slessor. At the meeting on 29th January 1982 John Garrett Pasco Williams was installed as W.M. He subsequently congratulated Lord Porritt on his receipt of Masonry’s greatest honour the Order of Service to Masonry,who replied saying that it was being worn for the first time in Sancta Maria Lodge his step mother Lodge of 55 years duration. The Lodge saluted Lord Porritt with 7 and other Grand Officers with 3.

On 10th January 1986 Dr. Grevile Newson-Smith was initiated at the last meeting to be held at St. Mary’s Hospital. The Lodge then moved to the Café Royal. In January 1987 Alan Jarvis became a joining member from Mozart Lodge No. 6997. He was proposed by his father Harold Jarvis and seconded by the then Secretary Eric Snell. Howard Gibson was elected Tyler on recommendation from the Grand Tyler’s Office and continued in that post until amalgamation when he was made an Honorary Member of the new Lodge.

In March 1988 Bro. John Wright was installed as Master by W.Bro. George Shedden and it was announced that the Prestonian Lecture on Music and Masonry would be given at the meeting on the 3rd of June. This was held in the large temple in the Café Royal and there were 22 Officers and members and 58 visitors in attendance. There ensued a most interesting and enjoyable account of the place of music in Freemasonry and of some associations with famous composers who were masons and of their works which have enriched masonry.

In October the death of Dr. W.W. Sargant was announced. He was arguably the best known and most controversial British psychiatrist of modern times. He was initiated in 1930 qualified that same year and after a term as house physician and house surgeon was appointed medical superintendant of St. Mary’s. He became a leading exponent of physical treatment methods in psychiatry and was successively Consultant at the Maudesley and St. Thomas’s. Also in 1988 Solomon Abramavich, Consultant Ear Nose and Throat Surgeon at St. Mary’s was initiated. John Lawson Wright Consultant Ear Nose and Throat Surgeon at St. Mary’s became Secretary in 1989. In that year also Ralph Neville Sapsford Consultant Cardiac Surgeon at St. Mary’s was initiated. In January 1990 the Charity Steward W.Bro. Ian Lowe reported that the fund for the Lodge Scholarship was nearing its target and anticipated that the award could start in October 1990.

In January 1991 the Lodge voted to donate £1000 to the New Masonic Samaritan Fund. In March 1992 the Dean wrote to the Secretary expressing the gratitude of the Medical School for setting up the Sancta Maria Scholarship and stating that it would be awarded to a mature student in financial need. In October W.Bro. Philip West presented the Lodge with a new Charity purse embroidered with the Lodge name and number. At the March 1993 meeting the W.M. invited W.Bro. Philip West to conduct the installation of W.Bro. Grevile Newson-Smith in view of their long standing close relationship as partners in general practice. 1993 saw the initiations of Wayne Sapsford and Richard Smith.

The resignation of Lord Porritt was received due to age and infirmity and the W.M. gave notice of motion to elect him an Honorary Member of the Lodge. The Treasurer drew attention to the London Festival Appeal for the New Masonic Samaritan Fund and hoped that the Lodge would respond generously especially as the centenary was approaching. The Charity Steward W.Bro. Lowe said that as the Scholarship was now assured in perpetuity brethren could concentrate on the London Festival.

In January 1994 the sad deaths were announced of Lord Porritt and Dr. Mostapha Kamill. W.Bro. Felix Eastcott gave a full and most interesting eulogy on the life of Lord Porritt and a shorter but interesting eulogy on Dr. Kamill including the circumstances surrounding the wartime award of the George Medal for bravery.

In October, W.Bro. John Wright, the Secretary read a letter from the Grand Secretary advising the continuity of Lodge working had been established since 15th November 1897 and there would be no problem in issuing a Centenary Warrant in due course.

It was reported that the Scholarship now stood at over £7000 and with covenants in hand was fully established. At the Installation meeting in 1995 it was announced that the retiring Secretary had been appointed to the Board of Management of the New Masonic Samaritan Fund. The W.M. appointed W.Bro. Grevile Newson-Smith as Secretary and W.Bro. Robert Bethel as Charity Steward. The new Secretary was also involved with the N.M.S.F. as a member of the Petitions Committee and was later to be appointed to the Board of management. He reported that a Centenary Committee had been formed to oversee the arrangements leading up to the Centenary Installation Meeting which would be in March 1998 although the Lodge would actually be 100 years old on 15th November 1997.

In October 1995 W.Bro. John Wright presented a bronze jewel to the W.M. on behalf of the New Masonic Samaritan Fund in recognition of the contributions raised so far by the Lodge. In June 1996 the Lodge qualified for the Silver Jewel and by October 1997 meeting for the Gold. The Charity Steward felt that some of the response had been in memory of Dr .J.G.P. Williams a former Treasurer who was much loved and sadly missed and who had worked so hard in the early days of the fund to ensure it was a success. In 1997 the Lodge moved from the Café Royal to the Park Court Hotel, Lancaster Gate

W.Bro. Alan Jarvis was installed as W.M. in March 1997 and the address to the Master was given by his father W.Bro. Harold Jarvis S.L.G.R. The Secretary reported that he had heard from W.Bro. John Wright that he had accepted the offer of the M.W. The Grand Master of appointment to P.A.G.D.C. He thanked the Lodge for its support and in turn pledged his continued support for the Lodge in the coming years. At the October meeting the brethren saluted W.Bro. John Wright with 3 as it was his first attendance after investiture as PAGDC.

At the meeting on 6th February 1998 W.Bro. Ralph Sapsford was elected as Master for the ensuing (Centenary) year.

The Centenary meeting was held at Mark Masons’ Hall, St James’s Street, London on Monday 20th April 1998. There were present 24 Officers and members and 57 guests.

The WM Alan Jarvis asked V.W. Bro. Roy Fender to occupy the Master’s chair and V.W. Bro. Roy Fender then installed W.Bro. Ralph Sapsford into the chair of King Solomon.

The R.W. Assistant Grand Master The Most Honourable the Marquess of Northampton DL together with several Grand Officers were admitted. He was saluted with 9.

W.Bro. John Wright then gave a précis of the Lodge’s history which he had written and from which the preceding part of this short history is a précis.

The Centenary Warrant was read by W.Bro. Graham Redman AGSecr. It was then presented to the WM by the AGM who also presented him with a Centenary Jewel.

An oration was given by V.W. Bro. Rev Canon J. Robinson, PGChaplain. Alms were collected amounting to £291.

An escort was formed with due ceremony and the WM, the RW Asst GM the Most Honourable the Marquess of Northampton DL together with other distinguished visitors and Grand Officers were escorted from the Lodge. The Brethren then enjoyed an excellent Festive Board and good company, including the AGM, continued in the bar for a considerable time.

W.Bro. Solomon Abramovich was installed as WM in April 1999.

Dr Shankar Sridharan, now a Consultant Paediatric Cardiologist, was initiated in June 1999.

W.Bro. Wayne Sapsford, now a consultant surgeon serving with the Royal Air Force, was installed as WM in April 2000. This was the last meeting held at the Thistle Hotel, Lancaster Gate. The Lodge then moved to Mark Masons Hall where it remained until amalgamation. The number of meetings was reduced to 3 per year. Due to declining membership and numbers attending meetings early discussions re possible amalgamation were beginning. The Secretary was instructed to contact the secretaries of Westminster and Chere Raine Lodges re possible amalgamation. He reported at the January 2001 meeting that he had done so and that although they realised that this might become inevitable in the future they did not wish to pursue the matter at that point in time.

W.Bro. Richard Smith was Installed as Master in September 2001.

W.Bro. John Wright was installed as Master in September 2002. This was the first time that a Past Master of this Lodge had been installed as Master for the second time.

January 2003 saw the initiation of Jason Hanford, a Medical Recruitment Consultant.

In September 2003 W Bro John Wright was Proclaimed as Master for a further year.

There had been a continued slide in the numbers attending meetings and at the meeting in May 2004 serious consideration was given to amalgamating with Rahere Lodge No 2546

W.Bro. Grevile Newson-Smith was installed as Master in September 2004 for the second time. At the Lodge Committee Meeting of the same date it was decided to shelve the possibility of amalgamation pro-tem and go for a concerted drive for joining members and candidates for initiation. It was further decided to abandon the January meeting and thus reduce to only 2 meetings per year.

In 2004 The Lodge was delighted to be informed that W.Bro. John Wright had received promotion to PGSupWks.

In September 2005 W.Bro. Grevile Newson-Smith was proclaimed as Master for a further year and W.Bro. Max Cronin became a joining member.

At the March 2006 meeting Mr Ian Pengilley, an Optometrist at the Western Ophthalmic Hospital was initiated by the WM.

W.Bro. Max Cronin was installed as Master in September 2006. He had said at the previous meeting that he was somewhat surprised at his rapid promotion having only just joined the Lodge but had thanked the members for their confidence in him and promised to do his best.

By this time discussions were underway with Gihon Lodge No 49 with a view to amalgamation. An amalgamation committee had been formed consisting of W Bros. Geoffrey Selwyn, Paul Osbourne and Neil Stephen from Gihon Lodge and W.Bros. Grevile Newson-Smith, Richard Smith and Max Cronin from Sancta Maria Lodge.

Inter lodge visiting was taking place and at the March 2007 meeting when Bro. Ian Pengilley was raised the working tools were presented by W.Bro. Geoffrey Selwyn from Gihon Lodge.

At the same meeting the prescribed Notices of Motion were given for the amalgamation with Gihon Lodge No 49.

The Lodge was again delighted to learn of a further promotion for V.W.Bro. John Wright to PGSwdB.

At the meeting in September 2007 W.Bro. Max Cronin was proclaimed by V.W.Bro. John Wright as WM continuing in office for a further year. V.W.Bro. John Wright then delivered the addresses to the WM, the Wardens and the brethren in impeccable style.

The Lodge then considered the two propositions relating to amalgamation with Gihon Lodge No 49. Both propositions were carried unanimously with no abstentions.

At the March 2008 meeting the WM congratulated the secretary, W.Bro. Grevile Newson-Smith on his appointment to AGDC. The secretary outlined the progress being made towards amalgamation with Gihon Lodge No 49 and said it was hoped that the Inaugural Meeting would take place towards the end of the year or early in the next year.

At the meeting in September 2008 W.Bro. Max Cronin was proclaimed as WM continuing in office for the ensuing year by the Secretary. A talk was given jointly by the WM and the Secretary entitled “Three Degrees and No More” by Richard Sandbach.

The Secretary announced that the Petition for a Certificate of Amalgamation had been sent to the Grand Master in August and written confirmation was awaited. The Lodge was closed in the expectation that it would have been the final meeting of Sancta Maria Lodge prior to amalgamation. Confirmation was received soon after in a letter dated 30th September 2008. The new amalgamated Lodge was to be known as Gihon Sancta Maria No 49.

The Amalgamation Meeting took place on Monday 25th April 2009 – at Mark Masons’ Hall. The Amalgamation Ceremony was conducted in fine form with warmth and meaning by W.Bro. Robert Hancock PDepGSuptWks and Metropolitan Grand Inspector to the Lodge.

Gihon Sancta Maria Lodge No 49 now meets 4 times a year at Mark Masons’ Hall and and has been busy amongst its other work preparing to hold the Bi-Centenary Meeting in December 2010.

The amalgamation has resulted in a strong, happy and harmonious Lodge and we look forward with confidence to enjoying our masonry and contributing to the greater good of the Craft.

W.Bro. Dr Grevile Newson-Smith PAGDC
Late Secretary of Sancta Maria Lodge No 2682


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