The De Shurland Lodge No 1089 Lodge in Sheerness marked its 150th anniversary with a special meeting on 12th March. The lodge was founded on 1st March 1866, and has been meeting in the town ever since.
Head of the Freemasons in East Kent Geoffrey Dearing, Provincial Grand Master, joined over 100 other Freemasons in marking this very special event at the United Masonic Club in the town centre. Among them were twelve Freemasons from Brielle in Holland. Their Lodge, called Arauna, has been twinned with De Shurland Lodge ever since the two towns were twinned in the 1980’s. In addition, there were many local members, as well as a number from further afield in Kent and other parts of the country.
The celebratory meeting welcomed a new member who was initiated in the first Saturday meeting the Lodge has held in over 25 years; normally the Lodge meets on a Wednesday, but to mark the 150th anniversary, permission had been granted to move it. The new member, Jagpal Randhawa, who lives on the Isle of Sheppey, was welcomed into the lodge with the hope that he would be present to witness the lodge’s bicentenary in 2066. As well as the initiation, a presentation on the lodge history was given, emphasising the connections with the town, the island and their rich shared heritage.
Commenting on the lodge’s proud history, Geoffrey Dearing said: “On 1st March 1866 the then Provincial Grand Master for Kent, Lord Holmesdale, was called away on parliamentary business and was unable to attend the lodge’s consecration meeting. However, to atone for his unavoidable absence, he sent 24 bottles of champagne to be enjoyed by the 66 brethren present at the inaugural banquet”. Geoffrey joked that he was pleased to be able to attend and thereby avoid repeating that penance.
To mark their 150th, De Shurland Lodge members donated a large sum of money to Canterbury Cathedral, supporting an appeal by the Freemasons in East Kent for a project to preserve part of the northwest transept. This is a part of the Cathedral where Thomas Beckett was martyred, and the conservation work is being supported to commemorate the tercentenary of Freemasonry in England, in 2017. Click here to read more about this appeal.
After the meeting, a celebration meal was enjoyed, with the hope that the bicentenary would be even better.