The unveiling of a blue plaque in South Pallant celebrates 323 years of Freemasons meeting in Chichester.
Hugh O’Neill, who joined his first lodge at 22 in 1959, was in charge of organising the unveiling which took place on Sunday (October 6)
Sussex Freemasons @SussexMasons unveiling of the blue plaque at #Chichester #masonic hall today #sussex #Freemasons #blueplaque @chichestermason @UGLE_GrandLodge @Chiobserver pic.twitter.com/ADoihRFJee— Chichester Freemasons (@chichestermason) October 6, 2019
He said: “It was a very good day actually. First the weather was absolutely on-message and then we had about fifty people turn up which was nice.”
The attendees included members, spouses, and friends from other lodges and the plaque was unveiled by the deputy head of Sussex Freemasons.
Over the years, branches of Freemasons have met in numerous pubs throughout Chichester, including The Swan (formerly in East Street), The Dolphin (now the Dolphin and Anchor), The White Horse (now Prezzo), The White Hart (formerly in Orchard Terrace) and many more.
Pallant Suite, in South Pallant, is now the meeting place for Chichester masons.
Freemasonry in Chichester first received a mention in minutes from a Grand Lodge meeting in 1732 which read: “The petition of Brother Edward Hall, a member of the lodge at The Swan, in Chichester, being made a mason by the late Duke of Richmond, six and thirty years ago, and now recommended by the present Duke of Richmond, as a proper object of the charity of free and accepted masons, was read.”
‘Six and thirty years ago’ takes the earliest known date of masons in Chichester to 1696.
The ‘late Duke of Richmond’ refers to the first of his line, believed to be the master of a lodge in Chichester in the same year. The title is now held by Charles Henry Gordon-Lennox, 11th Duke of Richmond.
Visit Sussex Masons to find out more