The Wells Lodge No.5263

Wells Lodge the Early Years

The Lodge was consecrated on 22 nd April 1931, at King Charles Hall - then situated at the rear of King Charles Church adjacent to the Pantiles. The 26 Founders consisted of 11 members of Holmesdale Lodge 874, 10 of Pantiles Lodge 2200 and 5 from other lodges.

The Consecration team was headed by the Deputy Grand Master of England and Provincial Grand Master of Kent, Lord Cornwallis, assisted by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, W Bro W F Blay, the Assistant Provincial Grand Master W Bro A E Hobbs, the Provincial Senior Grand Warden the Honourable Wykeham Stanley Cornwallis and seven other senior Provincial officers.

Until 1963, the Lodge met at the Pump Room at the East End of the Pantiles. This building and King Charles Church are depicted on the Lodge Banner and Past Master’s Jewels. The Pump room was demolished in 1964 and meetings moved to the Royal Mount Ephraim Hotel, now the Royal Wells Hotel, until our present hall was built in 1968. Meetings continued at the Pump House throughout the war years although the festive board dinners, previously held in various hotels, tended to be replaced with lunches, teas or light refreshments in a room at the Pump House.

In 1956, due to increasing numbers, our daughter Lodge Edenbridge 7462 was founded and in 1973 the Province of Kent was divided into East and West, the Wells Lodge becoming part of the latter.

Finally, the last surviving founder was W Bro Claude Longhurst who died on    29 th July 1976. He held office in the Lodge for 44 years and was Secretary from 1938 to 1975. As a tribute to him a trust fund was founded which to this day provides Masonic Bibles which are presented to each Initiate after his Third Degree. Another notable member was Frank Woolley the Kent and England cricketer who was the Lodge’s second initiate on 23 rd September 1931.