A Brief History of the Cranleigh Lodge
No 3445

Currently the Cranleigh Lodge has some 48 members and will celebrate it’s Centenary in November 2010. The Lodge can look back on a very successful past. It has been and remains a significant force for good in the community.

It has supported financially and in kind not only national charitable institutions, but many local organisations including Cranleigh Scouts, the Village Hospital, Citizens Advice, CHASE, GUTS, Motor Neurone Association and more recently The Surrey/Sussex Air Ambulance.

Cranleigh Masonic Lodge

The history begins in 1910 when it was consecrated in the old Village Hall which was its first home. The old Village Hall was situated on the Ewhurst Road and is not to be confused with the current Village Hall which was built in 1933.

A very distinguished Church of England clergyman helped to consecrate the Lodge. He was the Rev Canon Herbert William Turner M.A. Rector of Sutton and Canon of Southwark. The Provincial Grand Master led the Dedication team. He was The Hon Sir Thomas Bucknill M.P. and Judge of the Queen’s Bench of the High Court of Justice.

Cranleigh Lodge is a part of The Masonic Province of Surrey which came into existence in 1772 and controls the Masonic activity within the county’s boundaries. The ultimate tier of Masonic authority is the United Grand Lodge of England and this was established in 1717. It was responsible for registering the Cranleigh Lodge on its roles and designating it a unique number – 3445

The first Worshipful Master of the Cranleigh Lodge was W. Bro. Frank Gustavus Naumann, a wealthy local merchant. The occupation of the other founders were two bank managers, a surveyor, a builder, a photographer, a draper, a publican and a workhouse master. Fred Hallows, the first Secretary, was tenant landlord of the Railway Hotel Cranleigh.

All 10 founders subscribed 5 guineas to start the Lodge. 5 guineas equates to approximately £367 (RPI) in today’s money.

The Lodge arranged to meet 6 times a year on the second Wednesday in the months of February, March, April, May, October and November. It discontinued its May meeting in 1917 in favour of a meeting in January and these meeting times remains today.

Two early tragedies beset the Lodge. The Secretary, Fred Hallows died in 1912 and on the 7th May 1915 the British transatlantic passenger liner Lusitania was torpedoed by a German submarine off the Irish coast with the loss of 1195 lives. Among those was W. Bro. Frank Neumann the first Worshipful Master.

During 1915 the Lodge acquired the lease of the old Village Hall and control over it. The Lodge let the hall out to local organisations for dances, parish meetings, amateur theatre events etc. which provided the Lodge with a source of income.

In 1917 the Rev. A. E. Hollins, Rector of Dunsfold Parish Church became a member of the Lodge. He went on to become Provincial Grand Chaplain of Surrey.

The Lodge lost only one of its members during the 1914-18 war. Bro. C. H. Vince who was killed in action serving with H.M. Forces in Gallipoli.

Inside Cranleigh Masonic Lodge

In 1923 the opportunity occurred to buy the old Village Hall. The Lodge paid £675 for it, of which a member and local builder, Fred Warren, advanced £473 towards the cost. Fred Warren had been initiated into the Lodge on the 9th November 1910 aged 48 years. He was soon joined on the 8th March 1911 by his son Ernest Samuel Warren aged 24. Together they formed the nucleus of Messrs Warren and Son (Builders) many of their houses in Cranleigh are still a testament to the quality of their work.

In November1929 it was decided to improve the facilities of the old Village Hall with the addition of a lounge, kitchen, staircase, committee room and store room. While these alterations were carried out the Lodge met at Cranleigh School and the Lion Hotel in Guildford. Then on the 9th April 1930 the now renamed Masonic Hall was opened by W. Bro. G. A. Redwood who was the Deputy Provincial Grand Master.

On the 21st June 1931, the Lodge celebrated the 21st Anniversary of its founding. This took the form of a meeting at the Masonic Hall, followed by a church service with a collection in aid of the Masonic Hospital and Cranleigh Hospital. One of its members W. Bro. A. B. Johnson, the proprietor of Snowdenham Hall, Bramley, put the Hall at the disposal of the Lodge and provided tea and supper for the day for 25 members and 8 guests. At the meeting it was confirmed that H.R.H. The R.W. Provincial Grand Master, The Prince of Wales KG, had graciously consented to become an Honorary Member of the Lodge.

The Cranleigh Lodge became a Founding Lodge of the Freemasons Hospital and Nursing Home after subscribing 100 guineas towards its costs. It also donated monies to the Cranleigh Hospital on a regular basis and contributed towards its Anaesthetic Chair in 1921.

On 12th July 1933, The Royal Masonic Hospital at Ravenscourt Park, London, was opened by King George V and at the time it was considered the jewel in the Masonic crown. Also in 1933 the Lodge recorded 62 members the highest number to date.

On the 3rd September 1939 Britain declared war on Germany, a black day for Europe and eventually the World. Naturally the war disrupted the activities of the Lodge with the conscription of men to the forces and essential war work. This together with the deprivation of food through rationing made life difficult for everyone, nevertheless the Lodge was able to continue meeting throughout this period.

The Lodge had no fatalities amongst its members who fought in the 1939-45 Second World War. Member and Prisoner of War, Bro Waugh was able to receive cigarettes and tobacco from the Lodge until his release. He went on to become Worshipful Master and then Secretary.

From 1932, the Cranleigh and District British Legion Club leased the Masonic Hall at a rental of £100 per annum while the Lodge had the use of the upper room at no charge.

In 1953, the Lodge sold the Masonic Hall to the British Legion for £5000 but continued to rent the Hall for £100 per annum. The Lodge and the Legion had reversed roles!

Local builder and devoted member Ernest Samuel Warren gave the Lodge the site the present Masonic Hall stands on today in Village Way and laid the foundation stone on 10th November 1954.

The new Masonic Hall was opened by the Provincial Grand Master, R.W. Bro. Lieut-Col. H. A. Mann O.B.E. M.C. on 12th October 1955. Sadly, the death of Earnest Warren was announced at that meeting which was attended by 125 members and their guests.

The Lodge celebrated its Jubilee (50 years of existence) on the occasion of its Installation meeting on 12th October 1960. (Installation meetings happen once a year where the Officers change roles in the Lodge).

In 1985 the Lodge decided to retire its existing Banner, gifted to it in 1911. It was in a delicate state and needed preserving in a glass case. It can now be seen at the western end of the Lodge Room. A new Banner was dedicated by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master W. Bro. P. A. Toler on 9th April 1986 at a ceremony attended by 94 members and guests. This new banner is placed at the eastern end of the Lodge Room behind the Worshipful Master’s chair.


In June 1992 the United Grand Lodge of England celebrated 275 years of its existence and in its own modest way, its very junior sibling - the Cranleigh Lodge marked its 500th meeting on 10th November 1993.

In 1997, the Surrey Festival (an occasion when the whole Province collectively concentrates its charitable effort on a particular cause) supported the Masonic Foundation for the Sick and Aged and it realized the sum of £7.5 million. The Cranleigh Lodge’s contribution was £41,000, the 11th highest in Surrey. With the money the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution purchased Shannon Court which is a retirement and nursing home for masons and their families. This home is situated on the A3 at Hindhead.

Latterly for the 2008 Surrey Festival the Cranleigh Lodge contributed £11,000 towards a total of £3.6 million raised for the Royal Masonic Institute for Girls and Boys. During this time the Lodge was still able to support local charitable causes.

Cranleigh Lodge now looks forward to its next and most significant landmark, that of 100 years of recorded existence in 2010 and the challenges that face it thereafter.

If you feel that you have the qualities that make a good Mason contact us for more information.

Having spent the first few years of my adult life in the Royal Navy I came to appreciate the benefits of mutual support and comradeship. Becoming a Freemason several years later has re-instilled and reinforced those qualities and made me realise how much I value, and had missed them.

- Member, Cranleigh Lodge

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