Senlac Lodge No. 5273 – Lodge

Senlac Lodge was consecrated at the Masonic Temple, St. Leonards on Sea, on Friday, 19th June 1931, at 4 p.m. by:

R.W.Bro. Major R. Lawrence Thornton – Provincial Grand Master

W.Bro. Henry Gervis – Deputy Provincial Grand Master

W.Bro. Rev. Evan. Griffiths – Provincial Senior Grand Warden

W.Bro. P.E. Lephard – Provincial Junior Grand Warden

W.Bro. Rev. Canon R.H. White – Provincial Grand Chaplain

W.Bro. F.W.A. Cushman – Provincial Grand Secretary

W.Bro. H.A. Edwards – Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies

W.Bro. A.J. Gardner – Provincial Senior Deacon

W.Bro. F.B. Lewis – Provincial Grand Organist

W.Bro. H. Couzens – Provincial Tyler

Double ceremonies and on occasions two double ceremonies were performed and brethren were initiated, passed and raised in three consecutive meetings. This practice continued from 1931 almost without change until 1957 since when other than in exceptional circumstances there have been single ceremony meetings. Those brethren who have progressed together were Bros. Watts and Ball, who took their first and second degree ceremonies together but not the third degree. This was the same for father and son, Bros. W & M Hunt.

The change from the initiate taking his three degrees in three consecutive meetings was introduced during 1955/56 and the principle was encouraged that no brother was advanced to the next degree until he had seen another brother take the degree he held, i.e. that an initiate should not be passed to the second degree until he had seen another brother initiated.

The meetings have not always been held at the Masonic Temple, St. Leonards on Sea. Due to bomb damage to the Temple, the October, November and December meetings of 1942 were by dispensation held at the Masonic Temple, Battle, and later, from October 1948 to April 1949, meetings were held at the Queens Hotel, Hastings, whilst the bomb damage to the Temple was repaired.

Dining up to 1935 was at the Royal Victoria Hotel and from then until April 1939 brethren dined at the Masonic Hall. During the war years and rationing, light snacks at 1/6 per head were served, with the exception of the Installations of October 1943 and 1944, when the brethren dined at Woolworths, being conveyed there by special bus, and for the October meeting of 1945 they dined at the Ritz Cinema.

From January 1946 dining was re-introduced and was held once again at the Masonic Hall with the exceptions of April 1949, held at the Queens Hotel, and October 1965, at the Royal Victoria Hotel, the latter being due to catering difficulties at the Masonic Hall.

On 4th September 1939 Grand Lodge issued a directive suspending all Masonic meetings. This was soon rescinded by a subsequent order issued on 27th September 1939, which gave the Lodge Worship Master special authority to conduct his lodge as best he could during the National Emergency, which included the canceling of lodge meetings or changing the date of any regular meeting without necessary dispensation from the Provincial Grand Master. Senlac Lodge only had to cancel four meetings during the time of World War II and these were the October and November of 1940 meetings the installation taking place in December 1940 and January and March meetings 1941. Dispensation was, however, necessary when the place of meeting was moved to Battle Temple in 1942. The Masonic Temple at St. Leonards on Sea was damaged on four occasions: 16th August 1940, destroying the west side of the hall including the small dining room and the kitchen; 21st September 1942, 23rd May 1943 and 29th July, 1944.

The Masonic Temple was built during 1820-1830 by Mr. James Burton, the famous architect and designer of much of St. Leonards on Sea. It was known as the Assembly Rooms or Public Rooms and a variety of entertainments, dances etc. were held in the main hall (now a large dining room). At the time of building there was swimming baths on the sea front somewhere near where the Royal Victoria Hotel now stands and when these were closed a swimming bath was installed in the hall where the Temple is now situated. The building became empty and sometime, about 1920’s, the brethren of the three lodges in the town – Derwent No. 40, St. Leonards No. 1842 and Hastings No. 2692 formed the Masonic Hall Company and purchased the building which, despite some alterations to both exterior and interior, is still an imposing monument to James Burton.