Viatores Lodge No. 4252 - Worthing, West Sussex

Viatores Lodge History

 Viatores Lodge No.4252

During the reign of His Royal Highness King George V, an idea was conceived by a number of Brethren residing in Worthing, to form a new Masonic Lodge to meet on a Saturday, to cater for brethren who travelled outside the boundaries of the town to their places of business, restricting their ability to attend Lodge meetings on a weekday evening.  Therefore, W. Bro. S O Stephenson PPrAGS (Worc) being one of the prime instigators of such a Lodge, set about recruiting a sufficient number of founding members.

In late 1920 early 1921, in accordance to the United Grand Lodge of England’s Book of Constitutions, our Mother Lodge, Worthing Lodge of Friendship No. 851, in “open Lodge assembled”, recommended and agreed by the majority present, that a petition be raised, to be signed by the Worshipful Master, Senior and Junior Wardens. Duly created, that petition was submitted to the Grand Master, His Royal Highness the Duke of Connaught & Strathern, Earl of Sussex, K.G., which sought to form a new Lodge to be named, the Viatores Lodge “the Lodge of Travellers”.  A Warrant of Constitution was given dated 23rd February 1921, empowering the Lodge to meet as a regular Lodge at the Steyne Hotel, Worthing on the second Saturday in January, February, March, September, October, November and December.  The petition nominated W. Bro. S. O. Stephenson PPrAGS to be the first Master, W. Bro. W. A. Head to be the first Senior Warden and W. Bro. T. R. Dewell to be the first Junior Warden.

 

 

Consecration

 

The Rt. Hon. The Earl of March the 7th Duke of Richmond, K.G., C.B., &c., was the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master in and over the Province of Sussex between 1901 to 1925

 The Viatores Lodge was consecrated on Saturday May 7th 1921 at the Connaught Hall, Worthing by a team of Provincial Officers led by W. Bro. Major R. Lawrence Thornton C.B.E., D.L., PGD., the then Deputy Provincial Grand Master for the Provence of Sussex. The ceremony was attended by 7 Consecrating Officers, 12 of the 13 Founder Members and 96 Visiting Brethren who afterwards sat down to a 'sumptuous banquet' at a cost of 8 shillings and sixpence per head (forty two and a half pence)

 The thirteen (13) founder members including details of their Mother and or previous Lodge(s), were:

W. Bro. S.O. Stephenson PPrAGS (Worc)PM Godson Lodge No. 2385 Worcestershire

                                           PM     Murdoch Lodge No. 3480 Warwickshire    

W. Bro. W. A. Head                PM     Earl Spencer Lodge No.1420 London

W. Bro. T. R. Dewell               PM     Richard Clowes Lodge No. 2936 Essex

     Bro. I. Darby                             Gunnersbury Lodge No. 3268 London

W. Bro. W. A. Goring              PM     Islington Lodge No. 1471 London             

W. Bro. J. J. Dunn                  PM     West Kent Lodge No. 1297 London

     Bro. G. H. Champion                  Lodge of Sincerity No. 174 London  

     Bro. G. S. Warin                        Dagmar Lodge No. 2262 Bucks

     Bro. F. P. J. Alexander                Commercial Temperance Lodge No. 3144 Berks

     Bro. W. A. Packer                      Ingrebourne Lodge No. 3345 Essex

W. Bro. W. W. Sandell            PM    Worthing Lodge of Friendship No. 851 Sussex

     Bro. J. L. Ferguson                    St. Martin's-le-Grand Lodge No. 1538 London  

 

 Consecrating Officers

W. Bro Major R. Lawrence Thornton C.B.E., D.L., P.G.D      Deputy ProvGM

W. Bro. F. J. W. Grows   PAGDC                                        ProvSGW

W. Bro. W. J. Stainer                                                       ProvJGW

W. Bro. The Rev. E. W. P. Penfold                                      ProvGChap

W. Bro. A. J. Carpenter PAGDC                                         ProvGSec

W. Bro. Sir C. O. Brian Harding PGD                                 ProvGDC

W. Bro. Herbert Taylor                                                     ProvGOrg

All seven Consecrating Officers were subsequently made Honorary Members of the Lodge.

 

Founder Members who took Office

W. Bro. S. O. Stephenson PPrAGS (Worc) PM 2385 & 3480 First Worshipful Master

W. Bro. W. A. Head                          PM 1420            First Senior Warden

W. Bro. T. R. Dewell                         PM 2936            First Junior Warden

    Bro. I. Darby                                    3268           First Treasurer

W. Bro. W. A. Goring                        PM 1471            First Secretary

W. Bro. J. J. Dunn                            PM 1297            First Director of Ceremonies                                                                                   

     Bro. G. H. Champion                        174              First Senior Deacon

     Bro. G. S. Warin                               2262            First Junior Deacon

     Bro. P. J. Alexander                          3144            First Inner Guard

     Bro. W. A. Packer                             3345            First Steward

W. Bro. W. W. Sandell                       PM 851              First IPM

 

 

At the time of the consecration the subscription and fees were set at:

 

Lodge Annual Subscription:            5 guineas.   (£5.25) inclusive of dining

Members inviting guests were required to pay a dining fee of £0-10-6d (52.5 pence) at regular meetings 15/- (75 pence) at Installation Meetings.

 

Initiation fee:                                10 guineas. (£10.50)

Joining member fee:                      3 guineas.  (£3.15)

Rejoining member fee:                   1 guinea     (£1.05)

Country member fee:                     1 guinea     (£1.05) exclusive of dining

 

From the date of Consecration, the dress for all Lodge Meetings was “Evening Dress” and remained so until the outbreak of the Second World War on September 1939.  It is now customary to wear Dinner Suits at Installation and December Meetings only and a Dark Suit or Morning Dress at all other meetings.

Between May 1921 and April 1930, the Lodge held its meetings at the Steyne Hotel, Worthing.  Since that date the Lodge has met at the following locations in Worthing:

Mitchells Arcade Café, from 1930

Masonic Hall, Marine Place, from 1933

The Masonic Temple, Marine Place, from 1955   (Renamed)

The Masonic Hall, Forest Road, from 1970

Worthing Freemasons Hall, Forest Road, from 1978   (Renamed)

Charmandean Centre, Forest Road, from 1995   (Renamed)

 

 

On April 19th 1952 the Lodge presented its Banner for dedication.

 The dedication ceremony was conducted by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, W. Bro. F. W. A. Cushman PGD assisted by a team of Provincial Officers at which the Prov. Grand Chaplain, W. Bro. The Reverend F. C. Walden-Aspy, M.A., PGChap delivered the following Oration;      


 “The Worshipful Master, Wardens and Brethren of Viatores Lodge are to be congratulated on presenting this beautiful Lodge Banner for Dedication.  Dedication will set it aside from all secular and unworthy usages, and it should become not only a perpetual reminder of the high ideals of the Founders of this Lodge, but also a source of practical inspiration for those who try to follow in their steps.

Just a little under 31 years ago some Brothers of the Lodge of Friendship received Grand Lodge authority to be consecrated into a new Lodge to meet here in Worthing.  These Brothers were in the habit of travelling from Worthing every day to their places of business in London and elsewhere, and it must have been an almost natural consequence of their journeyings that their new Lodge should be called VIATORES, the “Lodge of Travellers”.

The Lodge was consecrated on 7th May 1921, and within a few months a Lodge Crest was created to perpetuate the daily avocations and ideals of the Brethren, and this Banner is a copy in fabric and colour of that Crest.  It shows first the Railway Engine, and the little Ship, two means men use for getting from place to place.

The Winged Staff of Mercury – who in ancient mythology was the son of Jupiter, monarch of the gods – should remind us that although he was the god of Eloquence – a very necessary requisite for all commercial travellers – he was also the president of all ways of travel, the conductor who aimed at safety rather than speed.  So the primary rule of the road is perpetuated in this Banner.

Next we see three bridges in stone.  Most of us who travel the road today lost the thrill we used to have when either going across a bridge or of going under a bridge, but we have learned in other ways that travelling is not always straight forward. We must surmount the hills of hindrance and obstacle, and we must pass through the valleys of trouble, pain and bereavement if we would reach our destination and just as there are bridges in the way of the engine and the ship, so there are bridges in the ways of life. Our Brothers who founded this lodge were not content with disclosing their means of travel, they disclosed also the spirit in which they went.  It was in speed safety and without care.  With speedy safety because the mechanical aids to their journeys saved much time and labour, and without care because they had confidence in those who conducted them.  

To the outside world, those Latin words, Curis Vagor Expeditis mean simply, I travel with speed safety and without care, but to members or our Order they bring back vividly that memory of when, in a state of darkness and in poverty, we had knelt for prayer and to make our most solemn declaration, that in all circumstances of difficulty and danger, we place our trust in God and we receive the assurance that with such firm trust and in reliance upon our unseen conductor, we could go forward, we could travel without fear or care.

 It was not only in the journey round the Lodge that such trust and reliance were needed, but in every journey in the chequered paths of everyday living.  We were taught with speed and without care as Masons because the principles of our Order are the foundations upon which God himself builds Brotherly LoveRelief and Truth.  No Brother taking these as his Highway Code will wander far from the paths of rectitude and piety, nor need he fear that when the journey of life is over, his destination will be any other than that chosen by his Guide and Conductor.

 We are apt in these days to think that to travel is a grim business, a necessary evil we must endure if we are to get from one place to another, yet it need not be like this, and the supporters to this Lodge Banner should remind us that while we travel with speed and without care, we can also travel in happiness. The golden happiness of knowing where we are going, and why we go this way, being happy and imparting happiness.

 We pray therefore, that He who said 'I AM THE WAY' may ever guide and lead us, blessing us and all who belong to this Lodge, that we may bless others who travel the pilgrim ways of faith, hope and charity, in Love, Harmony and Peace”.

                                                                        S.M.I.B

 

To commemorate the Lodges Centenary 1921 – 2021 a comprehensive overview and record of its activities during the first hundred years is published in a booklet.

 

 

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