What’s in a name? Our lodge has no geographical links with the county of Sussex, but rather is named after H.R.H. The Duke of Sussex, who in the year 1813 was elected the first Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England. All masons’ lodges are given a number. The general rule being that the lower the number the older the lodge. Our number of 353 shows that we are one of the oldest, having been formed and consecrated in 1817, with our first meeting held on 24th September at the Mitre Inn at Repton. This makes us the second longest lodge in existence within the masonic Province of Derbyshire after Tyrian lodge who many of our original founders were members of.
The lodge originally bore the number 690. This was changed to 446 in 1832 and again to 353 in 1870 and has remained the same ever since. We have had several homes over the decades, The Mite Inn, The Boot Inn, The Swan Inn, The Winshill Institute and lastly the purpose-built Freemasons Hall on Ashby Road in 1933, where we have remained ever since.
What sort of people are masons and make up the Royal Sussex Lodge? Our lodge reflects our community and is made up of people from every walk of life – just as it always has been. Some of our founder’s job descriptions in 1817 were Plumber and Glazier, Schoolmaster, Farmer, Surgeon, Excise Officer, and Clerk in Orders. That tradition has continued, and our current membership has very similar roles, albeit adding in some jobs that didn’t exist when we were founded, such as within IT. We currently have members that cover, Brewer, Caterer, Solicitor, Refuse Operator, Sign Writer, Business Owner, Accountant, various types of Engineers, Plumber, Graphic Designer, Scientist, Newsagent, Project Manager, College Lecturer, Commercial Director, Butcher, Electrician, Landscape Gardener, Farmer, Publican, Trainer, and Hairdresser. We don’t have any circus acrobats yet, but we live in hope.
We are very proud of our furniture that was acquired at the formation of the lodge. It had previously been the property of the Napoleonic French Prisoners of War Lodges which were situated at Ashby-de-la-Zouch, viz: “Des Vrais Amis de l’Ordre” 1808-1814, and “De la Justice et de l’Union.” 1814, who disposed of it when they left for France. This furniture, which is still in use, consists of pedestals for the Master and the Wardens and a dome-like canopy for the Master’s Chair, supported by two pillars, partly enclosed by curtains and with a representation of the Sun, Moon, and Stars painted on the back.
We occasionally undertake an original ceremony as it would have been performed by the French prisoners of war and it is always an interesting occasion.
What we do
We work hard at forming and maintaining character, being a part of and supporting our local community, charities, our brothers, and their families. Personal development, confidence building, bonding, friendship, and camaraderie are a key part of being a freemason. The Royal Sussex Lodge No 353 has those tenets as a foundation, with many of our members also enjoying the rich history and tradition of a lodge that has been in continuous existence for over 200 years.
Why join us?
The Royal Sussex Lodge No. 353 isn’t a specialist interest lodge with members that have a specific hobby such as fly fishing, rugby, motorbikes, classic cars etc. These all exist within the province and are very well supported. What our lodge does have, is a long history and tradition and members of all ages that are interested in both. We offer great friendship and comradeship, a shared sense of wanting to do good within our community and to engage with charity.
If you are interested in joining freemasonry, we would love to explore that with you. We meet nine times a year on the third Monday of the month. If that is an inconvenient night of the week for you, there are several other excellent lodges from both Derbyshire and Staffordshire provinces that meet in Burton upon Trent on other evenings of the week, and we would be happy to introduce you to one of those instead.
This website uses marketing and tracking technologies. Opting out of this will opt you out of all cookies, except for those needed to run the website. Note that some products may not work as well without tracking cookies.