Hythe Lodge No.8546

Date of Warrant : 11th November 1973

Meets Third Tuesday October, November, February, March and April

at Lymington Masonic Hall

Hythe Lodge 8546                                               The Beginning

The idea to form a new Lodge for the Waterside area first occurred to Bro. Ron Longman who was a Master Mason of Shirley Lodge No. 1112. Bro. Ron, living at Hart Hill, Hythe and realising the possible demand for a Masonic Lodge in the area, talked to his wife Margaret and decided to make further enquiries.

He first met with W. Bro. Bill Elliot, the Provincial Grand Treasurer and a Past Master of Test Valley Lodge No. 6181 to find out the necessary procedure together with possible cost and his opinion as to how the Province would react to such a proposal. Having received a favourable response from W. Bro. Bill, he felt able to proceed.

His first call was to W. Bro. Jim Collier who was the Master of Shirley Lodge and lived in Dibden Purlieu. Their discussion continued at the Waterside public house with the landlord Bro. Don Hooper. At this meeting W. Bro. Jim agreed to approach Shirley Lodge to ask if they were prepared to Sponsor a new Lodge in which he would be the first Master. This met with the approval of Shirley Lodge and their Secretary W. Bro. Bob Wheeler offered every assistance.

As the word of a new Lodge spread to local Brethren, it was greeted with a great deal of enthusiasm, but realising the large amount of work this was generating, W. Bro. Jim realised he could not afford the necessary time to accept the position of first Master, but would continue to offer whatever assistance he could and Ron`s wife Margaret would continue to act as Secretary.

At the next Shirley Lodge meeting, Bro. Ron approached W. Bro. Leslie Cox PGStdB and after explaining the situation of the new proposed Lodge, invited him to be the first Master, which he readily accepted. W. Bro. Cox was very well known in Masonic circles; he was a Past Master of St. Clair Lodge No. 2074, a Member of Eling Manor Lodge No. 7337, Richard Taunton Lodge No. 7050 and a Visiting Grand Officer for the Totton Lodges and he encouraged further interest in the new Lodge. A meeting was called to all Brethren interested in the new Lodge to attend at the Westcliffe Hall Hotel, Hythe where Bro. Don Stewart of West Gate Lodge No. 7387 had offered suitable accommodation. At this meeting it was decided to call the new Lodge “ Hythe” and to ask the Province for their approval. Bro. Ron informed the Brethren that he had approached the Masonic Halls at Totton, Brockenhurst and Lymington and they would all be pleased to receive the new Lodge. A vote was taken by show of hands and it was narrowly decided to accept the offer made by Lymington. Another discussion took place on the day and frequency of the meetings and with this agreed, the Brethren were able to decide if they would become Founders.

Further meetings were called to decide who should become first Officers and the Ritual to be adopted. The first Master and Senior Warden were established as W. Bro. Cox and Bro. Longman. W. Bro. Collier as I.P.M.. W. Bro. Cox then declared Bro. Darnell of St. Clair Lodge to be his Junior Warden. W. Bro. Wills accepted the Office of Director of Ceremonies and W. Bro. Carpenter to be his Assistant.

It was decided that the Ritual was to be strict Emulation and this is when the fun began. Everyone had their own idea of what this should be and as a consequence of this we now have the “ The Hythe Way “ and the foundation stone was well and truly laid. A Class of Instruction would be held each month. Ladies Night would be held on the 1st Saturday in December, organised by the SW.

 W. Bro. Brian Hinton (Founder) Written for our 25th Anniversary booklet

The First 100 meetings

The Consecration of the Lodge took place at Lymington Masonic Hall on Friday 1st March 1974. The Consecrating Officer was R.W.Bro. Major-General Richard L. Bond, the Provincial Grand Master of the Province of Hampshire & Isle of Wight. It is worthy of note that in later years a portrait of the PGM was presented to the Lodge by W. Bro. Ray Davies and it still has pride of place at the Hall. It was not surprising that Hythe Lodge was a daughter Lodge of Shirley Lodge No 1112. The Primus Master was W. Bro. Leslie Cox.

1st Year 1974/75 WM Leslie Cox. (Chemist) 1st Meeting held 16th April 1974. Eight meetings took place with five Initiations. The first Joining Member was Des Harvey (Eling Manor) and first Initiate was Maurice Hosey. Class of Instruction started.

2nd Year 1975/76 WM Ron Longman. (Professional Photographer and film man for BBC). Three Initiations took place, including Ken Jackson plus one Passing and two Raisings. In later years Ron became our Lodge Organist.

3rd Year. 1976/77 WM Alf Darnell.  (Electrical Manager) Three Initiation ceremonies took place including that of Bob Waller, the first Initiate to take the chair of King Solomon (See later). Two Passing`s and three Raisings. On one evening an Initiation took place, Lodge called off and then when called back on, a Raising took place. A long night!!!

4th Year. 1977/78 WM Clem Wilkinson. (Company Director) Three Initiates, including Bernie Pask, ex Southampton FC Professional. Two were Passed and again two Ceremonies (1st & 2nd) took place. One Third Ceremony was worked. It would seem that due to the numbers wishing to become Freemasons Double Ceremonies were a bit of the norm!!! Clem would become the second Secretary of the Lodge.

5th Year. 1978/79 WM Chris Sale. (Garage Proprietor). Initiated his son. Bernie Pask delivered explanation of 1st Degree tracing board for first time in Hythe Lodge. Two Initiations, two Passings & Five raisings. Some Double Ceremonies. The Lodge became a Patron of Royal Masonic Hospital.

6th Year. 1979/80. WM Mike Rich. (Building Contractor) The year in which the PPGM, Major-General Bond died. John Trist (Founding Secretary) became WM of our Mother Lodge, Shirley Lodge No 1112. Past Masters Night was established as `the norm` for the March Ceremony. During the year there were two Initiations, two Passings and two Raisings.

7th Year. 1980/81. WM Frank Nixon. (Greengrocer) Sad passing of the Lodge Treasurer and a Founder, Glynn Jones. Provincial Honours awarded to Len Whitfield & Brad House. There were two Ceremonies of EA,FC & MM. Again a busy year.

8th Year. 1981/82. WM Alan Guster. (Hardware Retailer in Hythe). Installed on the 51st Meeting of the Lodge. A Certificate of Service was awarded to W. Bro. Leslie Cox and he was made an Honorary Member. Unfortunately, there were two Exclusions for non-payment of annual dues. As was now becoming the norm, two Initiations, two Passings and two Raisings took place. The Lodge became a Grand Patron of the Royal Masonic Hospital.

9th Year. 1982/83. WM Ray Davies. (Company Director). A bad start for the WM as a ballot for two men to be Initiated proved `cloudy` and on a re-ballot the Candidate waiting outside had to be told the ballot was not in his favour!!! Cliff Gatrell was Initiated. Ray made the gavels and blocks we use today.

10th Year. 1983/84. WM Des Harvey. (Building Contractor). Des would become the third Secretary of the Lodge. A busy year. Four Initiates, two passed to Fellowcraft and three Raisings. Brad House (Founder) passed away.

11th Year. 1984/85. WM Steve Stephenson. ( MD Electrical Installation Company). Two Initiations including his son Paul & David Coombes (who would become the fourth Secretary of the Lodge.) Three were Passed and Three Raised. Double ceremonies once again. Sad news was that Frank Nixon & Bernie Pask had passed away. A vote to change the Emulation Ritual used by the Lodge was defeated.

12th Year. 1985/86. WM Graham Bowen. (Teacher). Graham was a teacher in the Hythe area and ex RAF. Four Stewards presented the Second Degree Tracing Board. Steve Stephenson Raised his son. In all there were two ceremonies of all three degrees. Alf Darnell, one of our Founders passed away plus the well-known Thomas Bennett Langton. Visit in October by the Dep PGM V.W,Bro Surg-Captain G. Irvine CBE. Annual Fes rose to £31 per annum.

13th Year. 1986/87. WM Ron Nightingale (Post Office Executive) Another ex RAF man. It was Ron who presented to the Lodge a handmade set of Compass`s (made by his Father) which are used at our Initiation Ceremonies. Very, very old!!  After a letter from the Provincial Secretary, the Lodge did finally adopt the new Emulation workings. Quick progression was the order of the day due to Members moving away from the area. Fred Permain, our guest Organist was made an Honorary Member. A character by the name of Eugene Hantke became a Joining Member. There was one Initiation, one Passing and two Raisings.

14th Year. 1987/88. WM. Bob Waller (Police Officer) A cheerful, bluff individual. As stated, before he became the first Initiate of the Lodge to be Installed as WM.  After High Court intervention and many meetings in London, the Masonic Hospital was closed.  Two EA, FC & MM ceremonies worked. Annual Subs raised to £34/annum.

15th Year. 1988/89. WM Chris Sale Jnr. (Company Director). 19th April 1988 was the 100th meeting of the Lodge and an APGM, W. Bro. Robin McGarel Groves visited the Lodge. A cheque for £2500 was presented to the APGM for the 1994 Provincial Festival. The WM Passed three Brethren & Raised two. Annual fees increased to £40/Member. £200 was donated to St Thomas Church, Lymington to assist in repairing the storm damage in October 1987.

The above is a precis of a document in our Minutes written by W. Bro. Graham Bowen.

16th Year. 1989/90. WM Peter Hollis. An Esso employee (Electrical Technician) and ex RAF. There were three Initiations, one Passing & two Raisings. Expenditure was approved of £320 for an Oak display case (Eventually for our Lodge Banner designed by Ron Longman years before!)

17th Year. 1990/91. Ron Platt. A local (TV/Radio shop proprietor in Totton). On the 18th July 1990, W Bro Leslie Cox PGStdB and Primus Master, passed away. W Bro. Ron Longman was made an Honorary Member. During the year there was two of each of the three Ceremonies. Around this time, Bro. Mick Manuel was kind enough to start a Lodge BBQ/Fun day at his property known as Far End, Blackfield. This was shared with our fraternal Brothers from Forget-me-Not Lodge No 9035 from Wiltshire. This was done for quite a few years.

18th Year. 1991/92. WM David Coombes. (Cryogenics Engineering Maintenance Manager). W. Bro`s Des Harvey & Alan Guster were awarded Provincial Rank.  W. Bro`s Len Whitfield & Ray Davies were promoted in Provincial Grand Lodge. Bro Wally Osgood (Founder) passed away 9th May 1991. For the first time for many years, W. Bro. Peter Hollis presented the 1st Degree Tracing Board. A visit was made to the Lodge by W. Bro. David Williamson the Prov. JW. (He was later to be appointed Assistant Grand Master) W Bro Alec Wills (Founding DC) died 9th January 1992. Annual Fees were increased to £50. There were two Initiations, Passings and Raisings.

19th Year. 1992/93. WM Cliff Gatrell. (Electrician). Cliff had declined jumping office and insisted he perform every progressive office, allowing others to Progress!! Lodge By-Laws were revised so that an Initiates fee was to be £100 and a Joining Member £50. It was noted that at Installation meetings the Officers would wear dinner jackets and black bow-ties. There were two Initiates, two Passings and two Raising. Among the Initiates was a Lewis, Mr Tony Harvey, son of W Bro Des Harvey. A new WM Collar with `tags` for the names of WM`s was donated to the Lodge by W. Bro. David Coombes.

20th Year. 1993/94. WM Eugene Hantke. (Retired Welding Engineer) and an Austrian. The ceremony of Initiating Mr Martin Curran was eventful as the JD was a Bro. Robin Tubbs and the Candidate had difficulty in knowing his left from his right; in fact at his Passing the Tyler, Bro. Mick Manuel had a pair of wellies outside with L & R written on them!!! During the year (16/1/1993) the Lodge Banner which had been hand made by W. Bro. `Jock` Isaac Irwin was dedicated by the PGM R W Bro Alan Chun assisted by the Prov Chaplain, W Bro John Railton. Two of each of the three Ceremonies were carried out. Bro. Alan Jones died 26th October 1993.

21st Year. 1994/95. WM Tony Bates. (Civil Servant) Ex Royal Navy. Marine Engineer. W Bro David Coombes became the fourth Secretary.  W. Bro. John Northcott who had been a very active and supporting VGO was elected as an Honorary Member. Again there were two Ceremonies of each of the Three Degrees.

22nd Year. 1995/96. WM. Mike Palmer. (Club Manager) Brockenhurst Golf Club. Our second Secretary, W Bro Clem Wilkinson passed away 24th September 1995. A lecture of Masonic Music was given by W. Bro John Sims. The Lodge Contingency Fund was set up. There were two Initiations (Tony Mursell), one Passing and two Raisings. The annual fees were increased to £57/Member.

23rd Year. 1996/97. WM. Mike Butler. (Industrial Gas Production Manager). In January 1997, `The Hythe Way` was introduced. This was a formal ritual book written by W. Bro. David Coombes collating the Founders `Emulation` workings. The cost to dine at the Provincial AGM was £15. A busy year with two Initiates, two Fellowcraft and two Raisings.

24th Year. 1997/98. WM Robin Tubbs. (Investigation Officer) A retired police Officer and local council Officer. There were five ceremonies, including the Initiation of Mr Barry Wilson, who would eventually become the fifth Secretary of the Lodge. There were two Passings and two Raisings. A bungee jump by W. Bro. David Coombes and Adam his son raised £600 for the NMSF (H&IOW 2005 Festival)

25th Year. 1998/99. WM Bill Byne. (Area Sales Representative) Coal Salesman. R. W. Bro. Ernest Moss became the PGM. During the year our 25th Anniversary was celebrated and the APGM, W. Bro. Dudley Thick PSGD attended. The recently compiled photo album with all the Founders and WM`s was displayed.  The annual fee became £65. W. Bro. Alan Guster (Founder) died 15th September 1988. All remaining Founders: W. Bro`s Brian Hinton, Len Whitfield, John Trist, Chris Sale Snr., Mike Rich and Ray Davies, were elected as Honorary Members. There was one Initiate (Kevin Wheeler), one Passing and two Members made MM`s.

26th Year. 1999/2000. WM Mick Manuel. (self-employed Fabrication Engineer). The Millennium!! Fears abounded all over the world that as it struck midnight into 2000, there would be a Computer Systems breakdown. All companies had IT experts ready to salvage all data. Meltdown did not happen!!! £350 was agreed to restore a painting of Maj-Gen Bond donated by W. Bro. Ray Davies which now hangs in the Masonic Hall, Lymington. £1000 was donated to the New Masonic Samaritan Fund. W. Bro. David Coombes appointed to Prov.SwdB. The ceremonies carried out were two Initiations, two Passings and two Raisings.

27th Year. 2000/01. WM Ian Weeks. (Mechanic). The year of `The Trek`; whereby Members of the Lodge and other volunteers (Ladies included) who walked, ran, cycled from Lands’ End to John O` Groats to raise Funds for the 2005 Festival. £6500 was raised plus £3000 for Wessex Heartbeat. Fraternal exchange visits became the norm between Hythe Lodge and Forget-me-Not Lodge No 9035 in Wiltshire.  Due to personal circumstances the WM did not attend any meetings so a busy year for the DC, W. Bro. Mick Butler. An APGM by the name of W. Bro. Mike Wilks attended a meeting and gave a talk on `The future of Freemasonry`. There were two Initiations (David Fisher), two Passings and one Raising.

28th Year. 2001/02. WM. Martin Curran. (Sainsbury`s Bakery Manager). Martin was Installed as WM by W. Bro. Mick Manuel. Another of our Founders, W. Bro. Len Whitfield died on the 15th August 2001. The annual subs were raised to £75. A `donation` of £1000 was given for the refurbishment of Lymington Hall kitchen. Two of each of the Ceremonies was carried out.

29th Year. 2002/03. WM Tony Harvey. (Esso refinery process supervisor). Sad start to the year as W. Bro. Ray Davies (Founder) died on the 12th April 2002 and  W. Bro. Chris Sale Snr (Founder) died on the 20th December 2002. Annual subs were raised to £85. A thought provoking rendition of poetry was given by W. Bro. Jim Bennett (Author) and his team from the NFLIM Lodge No 9591.  W. Bro. Mike Thompson became a Joining Member. The 200th Meeting took place on the 15th October 2002. The WM presided over one Initiation, one Passing and two Raisings. A wing walk by W. Bro. David Coombes raised £1118 for the 2005 Festival.

30th Year. 2003/04. WM Tony Mursell. (Retired Materials Manager) for Esso. The following deaths occurred during the year as follows: W. Bro. Bob Waller 28th March 2003, W. Bro. Eugene Hantke 15th July 2003 and our very popular VGO, W. Bro. Peter House 23rd October 2003. Our 30th Anniversary meeting was celebrated and for the first time a rendition of the third Degree Walking Charge given by W. Bro. Peter Wood of Forget-me-Not Lodge No 9035. A `white table` event for the first time was held when Ladies/Guest were invited to the Festive Board; a talk was given by W. Bro. Yasha Berisner. W. Bro. David Coombes became the first Initiate of the Lodge to be honoured with Grand Rank. There was one Passing and two Raisings carried out. A busy year of Fund Raising for the 2005 Festival; An Auction of Promises at Lymington Masonic Hall raised £3209. The auctioneer was W. Bro. Ron Mabey PGStdB, the New Forest Group Rep.

31st Year. 2004/05. WM Barry Wilson. (Company Director). H&IOW Stewards Lodge team gave a presentation of the 1st Degree Tracing Board. A very humorous talk was given by W. Bro. Bill Atkinson, with the ladies present in the Lodge room. Bill became a sheep farmer after a career in fashion with Christian Dior. Subs were raised to £97.50/Member/annum. The WM presided over three Initiations and one Passing.

32nd Year. 2005/06. WM Kevin Wheeler. (MD Asbestos Removals Company). W. Bro. Des Harvey was elected an Honorary Member. W. Bro. Ken Dew who lived in Sussex passed away 3rd August 2005. Annual subs were raised to £107. Great debates during the year about what had constituted a `kitchen loan` (Lymington Hall). W. Bro. Barry Wilson was appointed the fifth Secretary of the Lodge. During the year, there was one Initiation, two Passings and two Raisings. Kevin later became Lodge Treasurer for many years; he took over from W. Bro. John Coombes who had `safeguarded` our finances for a long time.

33rd Year. 2006/07. WM Mike Thompson. (Sales Manager). The first Joining W. Bro. to take the chair of Hythe Lodge. We had to get used to some `Manchester` workings during the year as only demonstrations were carried out of the three Ceremonies. W. Bro. Tony Bates was awarded the MBE. W. Bro. Peter Hill died 14th May 2006. W. Bro. Trevor Offord PSGD APGM made an official visit on the 5th February 2007. W. Bro. John Smith became a Joining Member. £109/Member/Annum became the new fee. This was the year when “The Future” of the Lodge was under debate as Candidates were in short supply. A positive meeting, led by our WM, with our VGO, W. Bro. John Oliver & Group Representative, W. Bro. Andrew Weldycz and all the Lodge Brethren kept the Lodge going for the immediate future.

34th Year. 2007/08. WM Adam Stone. (Esso Inspector Technician). Again, no Candidates so demonstrations were the order of the day. W. Bro. Graham Bowen died after a long illness on 11th April 2007. W.  Bro. Graham Williams PSGD APGM attended the Installation meeting. The Lodge By-Laws were amended to reduce the meetings from 7/annum to 5/annum. A lecture was given by W. Bro. Peter Wyles entitled `The Swedish Conspiracy`. Subs were raised to £117.

35th Year. 2008/09. WM John Smith. (Retired Aviation Maintenance Engineer). Bro. Roger Symes died 10th July 2008. One of the characters of the Lodge, Bro. John Saunders passed away 5th December 2008.  An entertainments team of Brothers from The Chelsea Lodge attended and Ladies were invited to the Festive Board for this unique gathering. There were two Initiations, (Tim Clarke). One Passing.

36th Year. 2009/10. WM David Symons. (Retired Technical Manager). A quiet year for our Joining Member who was already a PM. He presided over one Passing and one Raising. W. Bro. Ralph Coney entertained Members and their Ladies at a `White Table` event.

37th Year. 2010/11. WM David Fisher. (Sales Engineer). R. W. Bro. James E. Bullen PPGM died March 2010. R. W. Bro. Ernest Moss PGM announced he was standing down in July and his successor would be Brian Bellinger. We had two visits by APGM`s; W. Bro. Alan Hamilton for a Lodge meeting and W. Bro. Eric Moody who gave a very interesting talk on his experiences as a BA pilot when his plane lost all power because of a sand storm and managed to land it safely. W. Bro. Martin Curran was promoted to PPJGD and Tony Mursell appointed to PPAGDC. There was one Initiation and one Raising.

38th Year. 2011/12. WM Julian Clarke. (Retired Chemist) Our Organist. Joining Members during the year were W. Bro. Peter Yong (who would become our sixth Secretary) and W. Bro. Goff Beck. W. Bro. David Coombes promoted in Grand Lodge to PAGDC.  Leslie Matthews was Initiated plus one Passing and one Raising.

39th Year. 2012/13. WM Peter Hollis. The policy in Hythe Lodge was to never Install a PM into the chair if he had already been a WM of the Lodge. This policy had to be `broken` this year to ensure the future of the Lodge. Bro Fred Holland died 7th April 2012. R. W. Bro. Alun Chun PPGM died 23rd July 2012. W. Bro. Mike Rich (Founder) died 1st March 2013. A Talk was given by W. Bro. Mike McCarthy (Knighthood Lodge) `Freemasons in the Great War`. Peter Initiated one man and Passed two.

40th Year. 2013/14. WM Robin Tubbs. Robin was again installed into the chair of King Solomon. During his year in office, W. Bro. Ron Platt died on the 23rd May 2013, W. Bro. Ron Longman PPSGD***(Founder) died 4th September 2013. Two Fellowcraft were raised during the year.

*** Ron Longman, even though he was the Second WM of the Lodge had never been awarded Provincial Rank. Letters had been exchanged with the Provincial Office to `right this wrong`, but it was a chance meeting that Ron had with the PGM (Mike Wilks) in 2010, that this led to Ron being awarded the highest Past Rank (PPSGD) that can be awarded as a first appointment and led R. W. Bro. Mike Wilks PGM to set up a special EGM (2011) in February each year to reward Brethren in similar circumstances. It has become an annual event.

41st Year. 2014/15. WM Tim Clarke. (Aviation Maintenance Engineer (Heathrow). Tim is the son-in-law of Trevor Barnfield (A deceased Member of Hythe Lodge who was butler to Lord Montague). Our regular Tyler who had become a Joining Member, W. Bro. Colin Reeves passed away 6th August 2014. W. Bro. Andrew Weldycz was elected as an Honorary Member for his work as New Forest Group Representative.

42nd Year. 2015/16. WM Peter Young. (National Sales Manager) One of our Founders, W. Bro. Brian Hinton who had done so much for the Lodge passed away on the 20th October 2016. One Initiation (Ian Hill) & one Passing. W. Bro`s John Coombes & John Trist celebrated 50 years as a Freemason and were awarded appropriate Provincial Certificates. Annual subs were raised to £125. Ladies night was celebrated at the Hermitage Hotel, Bournemouth.

43rd Year. 2016/17. WM Mike Thompson. Yet again in the chair. He Initiated one and Passed two. W. Bro. Mick Butler passed away 16th June 2016. Two of our Hon Members died; W. Bro. John Northcott and W. Bro. Des Harvey on the 11th November 2016. Mike was a Member of the local Coda Ukulele Band and they entertained Members and Ladies at a White Table event. R. W. Bro. Ernest Moss PPGM passed away 25th January 2017.

44th Year. 2017/18. WM Tony Mursell. W. Bro`s. Mike Wickham (Founder) and Bill Byne (Past Treasurer-who had moved away) were made Honorary Members. The PGM, R.W. Bro. Mike Wilks made an official visit. The annual subs were raised to £135. An Initiation & Passing took place during the year. W. Bro. George Mars (Prov Orator) gave a talk on `Symbolism-A view from the door`.

45th Year. 2018/19. WM Les Matthews. (Retired Security Officer) Unfortunately during his year, W. Bro. Les suffered injury & illness and could not preside over many meetings so the IPM, W. Bro. Tony Mursell stepped into the breach.  W. Bro. Peter Hollis passed away on the 4th July 2018 and one of our newer, younger Brothers, Bro. David Pass passed away suddenly on 12th July 2018. A new Management System for Lymington Masonic Hall was set up and eventually agreed by Hythe Lodge who voted to stay at Lymington. There was one Initiation and one passing.

46th Year. 2019/20. WM John Smith. Once again John `stepped up to the plate`. W. Bro. Bob Cook, a legend of New Forest Masonry, Organist and Ritualist, passed away. Two Initiations, a double Passing plus a Raising meant a busy year.

47th Year. 2020/21 WM David Symes (Resuscitation Officer) This Installation will be our 300th Meeting.