On Monday 18th September as over 200 brethren gathered at Derby Masonic Hall to celebrate the Bicentenary of Royal Sussex Lodge No. 353. The truly spectacular sight that greeted the Brethren as they entered the Temple epitomised the celebrations, led by the Deputy Grand Master RW Bro Jonathan Spence.”
Consecrated in the village of Repton, Royal Sussex Lodge has a fascinating history. Dating back to the Napoleonic Wars, magnificent furniture was crafted by French Prisoners of war, and has been cherished by the Lodge since its inception in 1817. The Lodge, which usually meets at Burton on Trent, carefully transported this splendid, unique furniture to Derby Masonic Hall especially for this occasion. Amongst the items is a spectacular domed canopy behind the Master’s Chair, partly enclosed by curtains and supported by two pillars with depictions of the Sun, Moon and stars on the back.
The Lodge was opened by the Worshipful Master W Bro Niall Buntain, who then received the RW Provincial Grand Master Arthur Steven Varley escorted by a delegation of Officers of Provincial Grand Lodge of Derbyshire. The Lodge then received the RW Deputy Grand Master Jonathan Spence, accompanied by other distinguished Brethren from United Grand Lodge of England with rapturous applause.
W Bro Peter Elver of Royal Sussex Lodge read a fascinating extract from the minutes of the Centenary meeting of the Lodge, before the Deputy Grand Master presented the Bicentenary Warrant to the Worshipful Master of the Lodge. The content of the warrant was read to all present by the Assistant Grand Secretary, W Bro Anthony Rayner.
W Bro Paul Chaffe delivered an oration followed by a patriarchal blessing and hymn of thanksgiving.
A specially crafted Bicentenary Bar was presented by the Deputy Grand Master to the Worshipful Master of the Lodge, who invited the members of the Lodge to display their Bicentenary bar with pride.
The Festive board had a vibrant atmosphere, and the Deputy Grand Master congratulated all those involved in the superb organisation of the event. This was the second visit to Derbyshire by the Deputy Grand Master in just two months, following the hugely successful Community Awards Ceremony held at Pride Park Stadium in Derby in July.
Having enjoyed the evening to such an extent Brethren were reluctant to leave the warm happy atmosphere of this very special night for Derbyshire. Please click this link for more photos.