St Swithuns Title

Lodge History

In 1925 there were two craft Lodges working in Gosport (Gosport Lodge 903 and Prince of Wales Lodge 1705) and several respected local brethren thought the time was right for the foundation of a third Lodge.

The Consecration of St. Swithun's Lodge No. 4795 took place on 26th February 1926 in the Thorngate Hall, Gosport, in the presence of the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master, the Right Honourable The Earl of Malmesbury.

The first regular meeting of the Lodge was held on 18th March 1926 in the Clarence Hall, Clarence Road, Gosport. A photograph and the names of the founders can be found in the gallery.

Phoenix Lodge of Instruction kindly gave permission for the Founders to attend their Lodge of Instruction and to take their ritual working as a model.

The Lodge flourished in its early years ending the 1920s with 81 members who were a representive cross-section of the local community. Their occupations included Flying Officers in the RAF, Police Superintendents, Managers of the local Gas and Coal Companies, Chief Engineer of the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company and members of the Officers Mess of the Welsh Regiment and the Duke of Wellington's Regiment. The Officers Mess of the nearby 'New Barracks', locally known as St. George's Barracks, must have been nearly empty on certain Thursdays!

Growth continued in the 1930s with many different professions including several noted as 'Clerks in Holy Orders' - vicars.

In 1932 a new Holy Royal Arch Chapter, Alverstoke Chapter No 1705, was formed. This Chapter has since been connected with St. Swithun's Lodge.

At the beginning of WWII, Grand Lodge suspended all meetings but shortly afterwards they were allowed to continue, but with all catering banned due to rationing. Attendances were not great although in 1941 there were 6 candidates for initiation and in 1943, 7. By the turn of the 1950s there were 164 members in the Lodge and by the mid 50s, 175 making St. Swithun's the second largest Lodge in Gosport.

The Lodge continued to flourish in the 1960s with 118 members and visitors present at the 1969 Installation meeting.

St. Swithun's Lodge celebrated it's Golden Jubilee on the 18th March 1976 and a new Lodge banner was consecrated. There were 142 members and visitors present at this meeting. The Lodge at this time, was known as a bread and cheese Lodge as Festive Boards only took place at Installation or after important meetings. A discussion was held and it was agreed to make a silver service Festive Board a regular feature following every meeting.

During the 80s and 90s St. Swithun's Lodge continued as the second largest Lodge in Gosport with membership averaging 116. Towards the end of the 90s membership of St. Swithuns, as with most other Lodges, started to fall back. Although it currently stands at half that of the 1960s, the Lodge has continued to find young initiates and appears to have a healthy future.

Lodge History taken from 'St. Swithun's Lodge - A Potted History', 2001 by W. Bro. Bryan Waterloo. P.P.J.G.D. (W.M. 1970)