Thanks to the hard work of the founder Secretary W.Bro. Leonard Saynor, along with W.Bro. Leslie Martin, The Chantry Lodge was duly consecrated on 29th July 1947 in the Old Town Hall in Gravesend, Kent, by the Provincial Grand Master, the late Lord Cornwallis. This involved moving all the lodge furniture from the Masonic Hall to the Old Town Hall. Prior to the meeting, the founders had entertained their guests and the Provincial Executives with lunch at the Masonic Hall.
In July 1972 the member of the lodge and their ladies dined together at the Masonic Hall, Gravesend, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the consecration of the lodge. At the dinner, the then Master, W.Bro. H G Stratford, presented the silver goblet to the lodge for the use of the Master at the festive board. Since then, the Wardens of the lodge have been presented with toasting goblets.
In November 1997 the members of the lodge and their ladies dined at the Masonic Hall to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the consecration of the lodge. At the dinner, the members and their guests were presented with a firing glass to mark the occasion. At the same meeting, the Provincial Grand Master, the Right Worshipful Bro. John Bonomy, presented 50 year certificates to W.Bros Tony Martin and Bert Steadman.
As The Chantry Lodge approaches its 75th anniversary in 2022, the Officers and members of the lodge continue to strive to maintain the objectives set out by the founders. And like the fraternity as a whole, The Chantry Lodge will compete for the time of the modern man by staying relevant, and continuing to be a happy lodge where men from all backgrounds can meet and enjoy each other’s company, whilst working to improve themselves and help others less fortunate.
The Chantry Lodge takes its name from the Milton Chantry, built in 1322 and the oldest building in Gravesend, Kent.
After the end of the Second World War, there were many freemasons coming home on demobilisation and who found their opportunities of advancing their masonic careers in their own lodges limited, due to the amount of men wishing to become freemasons in order to continue the camaraderie they’d experience in war. The only wat to relieve the situation was to form ne masonic lodges. In Gravesend, existing lodges each sponsored a new masonic lodge. One of these new lodges was The Chantry Lodge, the founders of which mainly came from Beamish Lodge No. 3869. Two of The Chantry Lodge’s founders were already Masters of other lodges, and many were members of more than one other masonic lodge.
Also at this meeting W.Bro. L C Martin presented the lodge with The Volume of The Sacred Law, which is still use at evert meeting. This gift was received on behalf of the lodge by the Provincial Grand Secretary, Another gift to the lodge were the working tools, which were made and presented to the lodge by founder W.Bro. G E Smith; they remain in use today. W.Bro Smith also made a kneeling stool, with the lodge named carved on the hand rest. Unfortunately this stool was found to be too heavy and has fallen into disuse.
The prime movers for the formation of The Chantry Lodge appear to have been Bro. John Curtis and Bro. Jim Hearnden who, along with W.Bro Bill Sage, sought advice from W.Bro. Leslie Martin, who held the masonic rank of Past Provincial Grand Registrar and had previously been involved in the formation of a lodge in another province before the war.During the discussion to work of the details for the new lodge and when it should meet, it was suggested that the brethren should not dine after the meeting (except on installation night), but instead have sandwiches. It was then agreed to dine when there was an initiation and that it should be a teetotaller lodge, but this decision was, fortunately, subsequently reversed
The Warrant of The Chantry Lodge is rather unique, in that it was not signed by the Grand Master, the Earl of Harwood, who had died in May 1947, but had been signed by Brig. General William H V Darell, the Assistant Grand Master.
The first regular meeting of The Chantry Lodge was held on the 22nd October 1947, when the first two candidates Bro. A Martin and Bro. A Steadman, were initiated. This is the only time the lodge held an ordinary meeting in October, as that meeting is now fixed as the installation meeting.
At the installation meeting on 26th October 1949, the lodge banner, which had been hand made by Mrs J Curtis, was presented to the lodge by her husband and founder Bro. Curtis, and dedicated by the Provincial Chaplain W.Bro. The Reverend H Harwood. The banner depicts the Chantry of Milton.