Maritima Lodge No 6444

Lodge History

Maritima Logo (thumbnail)

Every Founder Member of the Maritima Lodge was a member of the Merchant Navy Lodge, which was also the Lodge Sponsoring the Petition for the Founding of the Maritima Lodge No.6444

Merchant Navy Lodge No.781 which was originally Numbered 1083 but altered to 781 on the 11th June 1863, owes its Founding to members of the Lodge of Sincerity No.203 (now No.174) and members of the Yarborough Lodge No.812 (now No.554).

Lodge History

In the year 1858 at the Installation Meeting of the Lodge of Sincerity it occurred to Bro. G. Manton of the Yarborough Lodge and Bro G. W. Thomas of Lodge of Sincerity that a Lodge of Freemasons in the immediate locality of the West India Docks in the East End of London would not only be desirable to the Brethren resident in the neighborhood but a great boon to their Seafaring Brethren whose ships were lying or discharging in those Docks.  With the co-operation of  W.Bro. S. D. Potts, Secretary of the Lodge of Sincerity, also Bro. J.F. Blickfield and Bro. W. Meggett of that Lodge together with Bro J. Tilley and Bro. T.B. Daniell of the Yarborough Lodge as well as Bro. Johnson of Lodge No.29 (now No.27), a meeting was held at the Jamaica Tavern, West India Docks on the 29th January 1859 to consider the proposal to form a new Lodge.  Bro. Blickfield was elected Chairman.  A week later a further meeting was held, to which other Brethren had been invited, when it was unanimously agreed that a Petition be submitted to the Grand Lodge praying that M.W. Grand Master, the Earl of Zetland, would be pleased to grant a Warrant for the constitution of a new Lodge, to be named The Merchant Navy Lodge, and that Bros. J.F. Blickfield, G. Manton, G. W. Thomas, J. Tilley, R. Fairbairn, T.B. Daniel and W. Meggett should sign the Petition.

The Lodge sponsoring the Petition was the Eastern Star Lodge No112 (Now No.95), - Records show that Eastern Star Lodge also sponsored the Yarborough Lodge.  At a meeting held on the 5th March 1859 Bro. Blickfield (the Primus Master Designate), announced to the Brethren that the Warrant for the constitution of the Merchant Navy Lodge had been granted.

The Merchant Navy Lodge No.1083 (now No.781) was duly Consecrated on the 14th April 1859 at the Jamaica Tavern West India Docks by  W.Bro. W. Watson P.G.S. (P.M. No.23 and No.25) assisted by W.Bro. S.D. Potts (P.M.Lodge of Sincerity), Bro Knibbs and Bro Guest.  It is interesting to note that the Grand Tyler was present (in charge of the Consecration Vessels) and was awarded one guinea for his troubles.

In the first year there were so many joining members and candidates for Initiation that fourteen meetings were held in addition to the monthly Regular Meetings.  It is also interesting to note that for a number of years a large number of Master Mariners were Initiated or joined the Lodge who were born in either Denmark, Finland, Holland, Italy, Prussia, Norway, Sweden, or the United States of America.  On the 11th June 1863 the Lodge Number was changed from 1083 to 781.

Throughout the years the Lodge flourished and it will no doubt, surprise Brethren more recent to the Craft that prior to March 1921 three or more Candidates were frequently Initiated at a Meeting.  Six were initiated on the 13th Feb 1912, and again on 16th Dec 1916 whilst at 14 other Meetings no less than 5 were Initiated at each meeting.

Also of interest to members of the Maritima Lodge was the linking up of the Merchant Navy Lodge with the West Kent Royal Arch Chapter 1297 which was the renamed the West Kent & Merchant Navy Chapter on the 22nd February 1918 when a large influx of Merchant Navy Lodge Members revised the fortunes of that Chapter, which is at this present day is largely composed of Members from the Maritima Lodge.

The Merchant Navy Lodge sponsored the formation of the Following Lodges:-

1869. Duke of Edinburgh Lodge No.1259.

1876 Tredegar Lodge No.1625

1935 Stebonheath Lodge No.5521

1947 Maritima Lodge No.6444.

1973 New London Bridge Lodge No.8495 (Now Erased)

 In conclusion it is obvious that it is the unwritten history which has influenced the lives of the brethren of that Lodge.  For instance, what an experience it was for those Brethren who found it possible to attend Lodge during the 1939-1945 War, to exchange fraternal greetings, to enjoy the light of brotherly love, and to participate in our ceremonies which on many occasions continued in spite of disturbances caused by air-raids.  There has always been a strong bond of Friendship between the Merchant Navy Lodge and the Maritima Lodge.  Inter visiting has been quite common over the years and there is a standing invitation for the W.M. and Secretary of each Lodge to visit the other Lodge (As a guest of the Lodge) at Installation Meetings.  There is also the strong link of both Lodges in the West Kent & Merchant Navy Chapter.

 From this Honorable and Respected Lodge came the Founders of our Lodge the Maritima Lodge. No.6444.

The Maritima Lodge owes its origin to the enthusiasm for and dedication to the Craft by its Founders.  Although unofficial discussions had taken place with a view to forming an new Lodge it was at the November 1945 meeting of the Merchant Navy Lodge No 781, that the matter was officially raised by the Secretary W.Bro H.F. Rockwell, PAGStB who stated that there was very little opportunity for the members who regularly attended the Lodge of Instruction, and were interested in progressing, of ever becoming officers of the Lodge and eventually progressing to the position of Worshipful Master as only one Steward was appointed each year, and nobody, as far as he could remember, had ever dropped out having been appointed.  At that time it would seem that Merchant Navy Lodge had nearly 300 members.  W.Bro. Rockwell therefore suggested that they should get together with a view to founding a new Lodge.

It was at the meeting of the Merchant Navy Lodge of Instruction, held at the Prince Alfred Public House, Locksley Street, Limehouse, on Thursday 4th April 1946 that the interested members gathered themselves together and decided to proceed with the endeavour to found a new Lodge and asked W.Bro H.J. Chapman to be the Primus Master Designate, W.Bro H.F. Rockwell, PAGStB to be Treasurer and W.Bro J. Ellis to be Secretary. W.Bro A Clark would be first IPM.

The first meeting called to discuss the necessary procedures was held on Thursday 18th April 1946 it was then definitely decided to propose the founding of a new Lodge.

On Thursday 19th September 1946, at 11:00 the Grand Secretary granted an interview to W.Bro H.F. Rockwell and W.Bro J. Ellis to discuss the information supplied.  The Grand Secretary informed than that the only method by which the proposed new Lodge could receive sanction was that it also stated that it was an overflow to the Merchant Navy Lodge on account of its very large membership.  He also stated that it was required that no progressive office could be held by any officer or officers of the Merchant Navy Lodge.  This was confirmed in a letter dated 15th October 1946 when the Secretary received the M.W. Grand Master’s sanction that the proposed new Lodge could be formed. .It also stated that no Past Master could aspire to the office of Worshipful Master whilst there were young officers ready to take up the progressive offices of the proposed Lodge.

The name “Mercantile Marine Lodge” was later submitted together with a crest to Grand Lodge for consideration but the Grand Secretary informed W.Bro J. Ellis that he disapproved of that name and suggested that a Latin name be found which would show some connection with the Merchant Navy Lodge.

W.Bro J. Ellis visited the Principal of George Green School, Poplar. Mr Humphreys MA., a Latin scholar who, after several days careful consideration wrote to W.Bro Ellis suggesting the name “Maritima Lodge” and explained the full meaning of the name, (Although no meaning is given in the record a reference to a Latin Dictionary gives Maritima / Maritimus as “(Of People) Used to the Sea”.  This correspondence, together with a print of the crest were submitted to Grand Lodge.  The Grand Secretary informed W.Bro Ellis that he approved of the same and would submit them to the Grand Master.

On the 30th January 1947 the Grand Secretary wrote to inform the Secretary that he had received the letter dated 27th January 1947 together with the Forms of Petition and requisite Clearance Certificates which would be submitted to the advisers of the M.W. Grand Master in due course.

On the 14th February he acknowledged the receipt of the letter dated 13th February 1947 giving the seven names to appear on the Warrant of the Maritima Lodge and approved of the design of the Badge submitted.

On the 17th February 1947 wrote to say he would be free on Thursday 29th February 1947 at 2.15pm to discuss arrangements for the consecration of the Maritima Lodge.

On the 5th March 1947 the Grand Secretary wrote a letter enclosing the names of the Consecrating Officers for the Maritima Lodge No.6444 which would take place on the 29th May 1947 at 3pm at Freemasons Hall, Great Queen Street, WC2 and instructed W.Bro Ellis to send the necessary notices to the Consecrating Officers direct and to answer all correspondence relative to the Consecration.

On the 29th May 1947 the Consecration of the Maritima Lodge No.6444 took place in Lodge Room No.10 at Freemasons Hall Great Queen Street, at 3pm with over 148 members of the Craft being present.

The Maritima Lodge joined the Province of Essex when it moved it's place of regular meetings from Corvinos on Middlesex Street, London E1 to it's current venue at the County Hotel in Chelmsford during 2010.