The formation of a School Lodge was first considered in 1938/39, again in 1945/46 and finally the Lodge was eventually consecrated on 12 January 1965 in Gundulph Masonic Hall, Rochester, by the Right Worshipful the Provincial Grand Master of Kent, The Right Hon. The Lord Cornwallis, with sixteen Founder members drawn from old boys and masters of King’s School Rochester, representing a wide range of occupations. The first regular meeting was held on Monday 26 April 1965 when W. Bro. Francis Barrington-Baker was installed in the Master’s Chair.
The Lodge meets four times a year in October, December, March and the Installation meeting is in June.
To date, we have had eighty three members since the Lodge was formed in 1965 but numbers in the Lodge at any one time have always been small. The membership list at present stands at 25. In 1978 the Lodge moved from Gundulph Square to the St. George Hotel in Chatham in search of better catering arrangements. Then in 1996 the Lodge moved back to Gundulph to get a better standard of food and to avoid the leaking roof ..!
The Lodge had a banner dedicated on 13 December 1991 which is exhibited behind the Master’s chair. The bible – which bears the signature of every Master since 1965 - was presented by W. Bro. Francis Barrington-Baker in 1965. Being a School Lodge our members come from near and far to attend our four meetings each year and most are members of other Lodges. Regular attendees currently come from Broadstairs, Bury St Edmunds, Dover and Wisbech as well as from North Kent.
The Founders kindly presented a splendid silver Loving Cup in June 1969 The cup is used regularly at every meeting and passed to every member and guest in due form while the School song is sung. At the SilverJubilee Ladies Luncheon on Saturday 16 June 1990, three silver gilt goblets for the Master and the two Wardens were presented to the brethren for use at the festive board as a mark of appreciation of the Founder members. The luncheon was held in the Refectory at Cobham College. At this event the Headmaster of King’s School, Dr Ian Walker, proposed the toast to the School. In June 1991 & 1992 Ladies Luncheons were held in the Rochester Bridge Wardens Chapel with further annual gatherings in local hostelries.
A Golden Anniversary Luncheon was held in the historic Cobham Hall on Sunday 26th April 2015 with the guest of honour being Rt. W. Bro. Russell Race DL., JP, Metropolitan Grand Master.
Originally the by-laws specified that the Lodge was open only to Old Roffensians, Masters and Governors at the School. This was later expanded to include Lay Clerks of the Cathedral who had signed the Foundation list. As time went on the criteria were further expanded to include siblings and fathers of Old Roffensians and then sons of Old Roffensians. This latter clause recognised that girls had been admitted into the School Sixth Form in the 1980’s. Girls were admitted into the Preparatory School from 1993. However, to move into the future, the Lodge has further widened its membership criteria to embrace men who do not necessarily have a connection with the School but who live and work in North Kent and who can appreciate the ethos of a school founded in 604 AD and the charitable aims of Masonry.
A ‘white table’ is held once a year in October or December which is open to ladies and non-masons which in recent years has taken the form of a concert followed by a buffet. Old Roffensians and Masters at the School would be very welcome to attend and meet our members and see the Temple.
For the future we need new young members with perseverance and fortitude who will uphold the Masonic principles of care and charity and take the Lodge far into the foreseeable future.
If anyone is interested in joining us please contact our Secretary, Robert Edmond, 12 The Grange, Shepherdswell, Dover, Kent, CT15 5BQ.