The Consecration

The Consecration of the Richard Collyer Lodge took place on Friday 22nd April 1927 in the presence of the then Provincial Grand Master for Sussex (appointed in July 1926), R.W. Bro. Major R. Lawrence Thornton CBE, DL accompanied by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, W.Bro. Henry Gervis MA, MB. Pressure of numbers attending made it impossible to hold the event at the Masonic temple in The Black Horse Hotel (the lodge room here measured only approximately 36 feet by 24 feet and was far too small for such an important event), so the Town Hall was booked for the occasion being the most suitable venue in town. The following Sussex Provincial Officers assisted in the Ceremony as Consecrating Officers:

W. Bro. W. G. Edwards                            Provincial Senior Grand Warden

W. Bro. The Rev. C. W. Horsburgh          Provincial Junior Grand Warden

W. Bro. The Rev. E. Griffiths                   Provincial Grand Chaplain

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

W. Bro. Sir C. O'Brien Harding                Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies

W. Bro. J. Langridge                               Provincial Grand Organist

The names of the 18 Founders of the Lodge can be found on the Founders & Past Masters page.

In addition to the founders there were present visiting freemasons from nearly 60 different lodges from Sussex (circulars had been sent to 55 lodges within the Province advertising the event) and elsewhere. The Lodge Attendance Register records a total attendance of 173 freemasons of whom 147 were visitors (including the Provincial Officers). The event was reported in "The Freemason" (Vol. LXVI, April 1927).

The Provincial Grand Master addressed the assembled brethren and then directed the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies to read the Warrant of the Lodge. The Provincial Grand Chaplain delivered an oration on the nature and principles of Freemasonry. After the Invocation the Provincial Grand Master then proceeded to consecrate, dedicate and constitute the Lodge. The Consecration Ceremony was concluded with the Patriarchal Benediction. The Deputy Provincial Grand Master then occupied the Master's chair and proceeded to conduct the Installation Ceremony. W.Bro.H.C.Hunt was duly installed as the first Master and W.Bro.W.H.B.Lintott was appointed as the Lodge's first Immediate Past Master. The Working Tools of the Three Degrees were presented and explained by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master assisted in the Second Degree Tools by the Provincial Senior and Junior Grand Wardens (each explaining one tool). The new Worshipful Master then appointed and invested the first Officers of the Lodge: As Senior Warden, W.Bro.L.Boorer and as Junior Warden, Bro.J.R.D.Greenop. W.Bro.R.C.Agate was elected and invested as the first Treasurer and the following were elected to occupy the remaining Lodge Offices:

W. Bro. W Stanley Sutton           Secretary

W. Bro. H E Breach                     Director of Ceremonies

    Bro. P A Tharp                       Senior Deacon

    Bro. H E Blackiston               Junior Deacon

    Bro. A H Anderson                Organist

    Bro. G F Burstow                   Inner Guard

    Bro. R O Martin                     Steward

Bro. H C Teague, a member of March & Darnley Lodge and its Tyler, was elected and invested as the first Tyler. It was quite common for a Tyler not to be an actual member of the Lodge he served and so he would be paid an annual fee for the services he provided to the Lodge. In 1928 that fee was five guineas. Such duties would include the setting up of the lodge room for meetings, the purchase of regalia, and engraving thereof.

The Offices of Chaplain, Almoner and Charity Steward were not initially filled.The then Vicar of Horsham (and a Governor of Collyers), the Revd.Canon Morley L.C. Headlam wasto become the first Chaplain andJ.Ireland Eager the first Almoner in 1928 both after completion of their three degrees.

W.Bro.Hunt was a much respected figure in the local community as well as in Freemasonry and was thus considered a most suitable figurehead to lead the Lodge forward.

Following the completion of the appointment and investiture of the Lodge Officers, the meeting proceeded on to Lodge business. A resolution was passed appointing all of the Founders to form a committee to prepare By-Laws for the Lodge and submit them for approval at the next regular meeting. Propositions for membership were placed before the meeting for 8 candidates (one Joining member and 7 Initiates) thus ensuring a busy time ahead in conducting the necessary ceremonies and as a final item of business a proposition was carried electing the 8 Consecrating Officers from the Province of Sussex to Honorary membership of the Lodge.  

The Founders had each been required to pay the sum of five guineas (£5.5s.0d) as Founders' fees in addition to their Lodge subscriptions. After the meeting nearly 100 brethren retired to The Black Horse Hotel for a banquet (at a cost of £0.6s.6d per head including cigars!) catered by Trust House Hotels which included entertainment provided by J.Harris and P.G.Read (it seems to have been traditional with March & Darnley to have had some form of entertainment (almost certainly musical) at the Installation meeting festive boards and in the early days Richard Collyer adopted that practice). Sadly the menu for that evening has been lost but if the menus for subsequent meetings are any comparison, it was probably quite a lavish affair - at least by our modern standards.   

26 Jewels (8 Consecrating Officers' and 18 Founders') were purchased from the Masonic regalia suppliers, Spencer & Co, London (now Toye Kenning & Spencer) by the Lodge for later presentation to those brethren and of these one Consecrating Officer's Jewel survives in the museum collection at Grand Lodge while seven Founders' Jewels remain in the Lodge's own collection.    

Costs incurred in establishing the Lodge:

                             Item                                                    Cost

Hire of Town Hall

                    £2.19s.00d

Cost of Lodge Warrant

                  £10.10s.00d

Cost of Banquet

                  £30.09s.00d

Cost of Entertainment at Banquet

                    £4.13s.06d

Cost of Teas (Wakefields of West Street)

                    £4.05s.00d

Cost of Lodge Banner*

                  £10.08s.05d

Hire of furniture

                    £3.11s.06d

Stationery and Administrative costs

                  £14.19s.09d

Cost of 26 Founders' Jewels

                  £45.10s.00d

Cost of 13 Officers' Collars & Jewels

                  £17.13s.03d

Cost of Master's & Wardens' Gauntlets

                    £6.03s.09d

 * The Banner was never officially dedicated and apparently not purchased until 1928/9.

 The cost of many collars and collar jewels was borne by the first officers.