Date of Warrant - 11th June 1877 Date of Consecration - 19th October 1877
The Prince of Wales Lodge was created as a 'Daughter Lodge' of the Gosport Lodge No. 903 - see link to family tree below.
Our Name - H.R.H. Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, K.G., had been installed as Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England on 28th April 1875, an office he served with great distinction until the death of his mother, Queen Victoria in 1901. In granting our Warrant, the Most Worshipful Grand Master consented that the new Lodge No. 1705 be named after him. The Prince of Wales Lodge is indeed proud to be named after such a distinguished Mason, and to be enjoy the privilege of meeting under Banner displaying such a famous Royal Emblem. In 1877, we were actually one of nine Lodges named Prince of Wales. The 18 founder members of the Lodge contributed 18 guineas each, quite a sum for the time.
The Lodge was Constituted and Consecrated on the afternoon of 19th October 1877 at the Star Assembly Rooms, High Street, Gosport by the Provincial Grand Master, R. W. Bro. W.W.B. Beach M.P., assisted by his Deputy, Bro. W. Hickman. The R.W. Provincial Grand Master installed Bro. Charles Benjamin Whitcomb into the Chair as our first Worshipful Master. It appears that the Brethren dined well at the after proceedings, as the banquet (including a pint of wine for each Brother) cost 8 Shillings and Sixpence, again quite a considerable sum in 1877.
The first Annual Subscription was £1.00, payable in four monthly installments of five shillings 'in the Lodge room'. The Initiation Fee was five guineas, Candidates paying a deposit of one guinea, returnable if rejected. Officers absent from meetings without due notice were fined five shillings!
The original meeting place was the India Arms Hotel in the High Street, Gosport - although the hotel is no longer there the site is identified by a plaque. This venue continued until the Past Masters of Gosport and Prince of Wales lodges agreed in 1918 to purchase the Clarence Hall, which had been the meeting place of the Plymouth Brethren. The first Prince of Wales Lodge meeting in the new 'Masonic Hall' was held on 27th March 1919 and we still meet there to the present day.
In these early years it was not unusual for the Lodge to work two degrees in one evening indeed, at one meeting all three degrees were conducted by the Worshipful master - at his first meeting! At that time the Lodge tyled at either 8 pm or 8.30 pm.
At the outbreak of the War, the Lodge minute books were sent by the Provincial Grand Secretary to the vaults of Winchester Cathedral for safe keeping. By mischance during the five years they were there the records of some Lodges, unfortunately including the Prince of Wales, suffered damage through dampness and on their return proved to be almost indecipherable. Professional advice was sought and it was reported that they were beyond restoration. However, after painstaking work by two Lodge Secretaries, the first Minute Book of the Lodge has been almost completely transcribed and most of the records preserved.
The effect of the War on Lodge attendances reduced numbers from an average of 70 to an all time low of 15 in March 1941. However, only two Lodge meetings were actually cancelled, the first at the outbreak of the War in September 1939 by command of Grand Lodge, and the other in January 1941 as a result of heavy air raids on the night of 10th/11th January when both Portsmouth and Gosport suffered considerable damage. The Clarence Hall suffering damage from incendiaries and water.
It was not until May 1945 that the following notice was deleted from the Lodge Summons - "Nearest public Air Raid Shelters are at St. Matthews Square, Mumby Road near the Railway Station, and Clarence Square."
So, eventually the end of the War came and, as can be well imagined, there was a very large attendance at the Installation Meeting in October 1945.
At the Regular Lodge meeting of 22nd June 1961 the Brethren approved the forwarding of a Petition for a new Lodge to be formed, called 'Alwarestoch Lodge.' Of the 24 founder members, 9 were members of the Prince of Wales Lodge, and 6 were installed as Officers.
The Warrant was issued on 8th November 1961 and Alwarestoch Lodge No. 7805 E.C. was Consecrated on 21st February 1962 and so became our daughter Lodge.
On Thursday 25th November 1977 at the regular Lodge meeting, many Masons gathered to mark this most memorable occasion. The then Provincial Grand Master R.W. Bro. Rt. Rev. John Phillips, Bishop of Portsmouth, presented the Centenary Warrant and the Provincial Grand Chaplain conducted a service of rededication. The Worshipful Master was W. Bro. Sidney Benner. It is pertinent to note that the Lodge Anthem, the words of which were written by W. Bro. Bill Adey and Bro. Rev. Dai Price was sung for the first time and has been sung at every Installation ceremony since.
So ended the first 100 years of the Lodge's existence and many letters of congratulation were received afterwards from the many guests on that evening commenting on its excellence.
A superb commemorative booklet was produced and a special centenary jewel struck.
During its first 100 years many gifts were presented to the Lodge by various Brethren. Possibly the most significant being that by the Founding Director of Ceremonies, W. Bro. Count Rudolf des Geneys, who in 1879, donated the Volume of the Sacred Law (bearing his family crest) which is still used in our Ceremonies to this day.
There is no record of a Banner until April 1929 when W. Bro. P.G. Conway, on behalf of several Brethren who wished to remain anonymous, presented a beautiful Banner, which graced our ceremonies until 1958. It was then displaying signs of age and decay and was replaced in 1958 by the present one which was designed, made and presented to the Lodge by Bro. M. Mason (Organist) and his wife.
The LodgeWarrant received a splendid new frame by the arrangement of W. Bro. Peter Fagg and the Centenary Warrant was also suitably framed.
The Lodge Committee provided a new set of working tools with case, and these are now always used at the Installation ceremony.
W. Bro. David Sale in his year of office as Worshipful Master provided three gavels and blocks to be used by the Master and Wardens at the Festive Board.
Bro. Dave Pickering donated a set of goblets for similar use.
The Lodge was pleased to accept from W. Bro. Ken Paine an exquisitely worked cable tow now used in the Initiation Ceremony. Following W. Bro. Ken's passing to the Grand Lodge above, his widow Frances presented two dedicated aprons for use by the Wardens.
In 1995, W. Bro. Ernie Stockdale presented a magnificent Worshipful Master's apron embroidered with the Lodge name for each Master to wear during his year of office. This presentation was made to mark the occasion of W. Bro. Ernie's 60th year in Freemasonry.
A large etching of the Prince of Wales (circa 1891) was offered to the Lodge by the Lodge of Harmony No. 309. The etching was completely refurbished and now hangs in the Masonic Hall.
At the Installation meeting in October 2007, we were joined by members of Prince of Wales Lodge No. 951 (full details of their visit can be found on the 'Like Named Lodges' page). During the visit we were presented with this wonderful hand turned maul and have resolved to use it at each Festive Board.