Freemasonry In Chichester Has An Illustrious History Dating Back Over 200 Years
The first recorded Lodge in Chichester was the lodge meeting at The Swan in East Street (where the NatWest bank is now). It was warranted in 1724 when the 2nd Duke of Richmond became Grand Master but had existed for some considerable time previously, at least into the 1690s and continued working in Chichester until 1799, although officially erased in 1769.
The Lodge of Union which was formed in the 1812 by the fusion of two separate Lodges having somewhat disjointed roots in Chichester that stretch right back into the 1600s. They were named ‘Lodge of Friendship’ and ‘Lodge of Harmony’. Those two Lodges each adhered respectively to the two different Grand Lodges then operating in London – the ‘Premier Grand Lodge’ or ‘Moderns’, said to have commenced in 1717 and the ‘Antients’ Grand Lodge that was founded about 1751 by Irish immigrants.
The Lodge of Friendship (Moderns) commenced in 1811 and Lodge of Harmony (Antients) in 1812. Eventually, after much wrangling, they joined together in 1828 to form the present Lodge of Union. Meanwhile in London, the two Grand Lodges had already united in 1813 into the present United Grand Lodge of England.
From this start other lodges were formed as “daughter” lodges both in Chichester and in the surrounding area. In 1922 St Richards lodge was formed which subsequently became the mother lodge of Manor of Bosham in 1946 which later formed Bishop Edward Story lodge in 1969. In this way the lodges of Chichester grew to what we now have today.
Meetings were held in various hotels and halls such as the Vicars Hall shown here in Cathedral Close until a permanent home was found in South Pallant.
Chichester Masonic Centre:
The purpose built Masonic Centre in South Pallant dates back to 1970 although the building is very much older and parts date back over 300 years.
Originally the building was a school but later became rather neglected as a furniture store until acquired by Chichester Masons who wanted a permanent home for their lodge meetings which had been held in varying locations around the city. By selling the adjoining stables money was raised to convert the building to their specific needs; this naturally included a large meeting room or temple as it is called together with bars and dining facilities.