Warranted March 10th, 1784.
Centenary Warrant, March 10th, 1884.
Bi-Centenary Warrant, March10th, 1984.
Meets at the Masonic Centre, St. Martins, Guernsey on the first Wednesday in each month, excepting June, July & August.
Installation meeting, first Wednesday in January.
Mariners’ Lodge was the fifth Lodge to be established in Guernsey, there having been 3 Lodges established under the Premier Grand Lodge of England, known as Moderns which was founded in 1717. These were Lilly Tavern Lodge (1753 – 1812). Three Crowns Tavern Lodge (1760-1768) and Lodge of Harmony (1774-1812.) AN2
The 4th Lodge, the Orange Lodge, had been established in 1763 under the Grand Lodge of England, or Antients, founded in 1752. This Lodge survived until 1828.
This was followed by our own Lodge, warranted as an Antient on March 9th 1784, and Constituted on March 10th 1784. Thus we are the oldest surviving Lodge in the Channel Islands. The oldest surviving Jersey Lodge is Yarborough Lodge No.244, which dates from 1812.
Originally recorded as the Ship and Castle Lodge the name was changed to that of Mariners’ in 1804. Apart from the change of name, there have been several changes in the Lodge number from the original number 222, it became 279 in 1814, 197 in 1832 and 168 in 1863.
For the greater part of the 19th century the Lodge had no permanent meeting place it was almost itinerant. W.Bro Stonelake’s history records 19 meeting places between 1784 and 1883, when this Lodge first met in this Masonic Temple, Le Marchant St Peter Port. However, in 1895, the Masonic Temple in Le Marchant Street, was in need of repair and refurbishing; permission was given by Doyles Lodge of Fellowship for Mariners’ Lodge to assemble in their Lodge Room then known as Freemasons Hall situated at the corner of Le Marchant Street and Court Row. That building was formerly known as the Le Marchant St. Chapel, and was the first Wesleyan Chapel to be erected in Guernsey in 1788. On completion of the refurbishment Mariners Lodge returned to the Temple in Le Marchant Street and continued meeting there along with the other Lodges and side Orders until the 3 May 1995.
The Temple was sold and converted into office accommodation, and whilst the interior was gutted the entrance facade was maintained under the Ancient Monuments Laws. The facade can be clearly seen at the top of the steps halfway down Smith Street, with the Masonic symbols, Square and Compass and the All Seeing Eye above the entrance.
Mariners Lodge has often been designated “The Father of Freemasonry in Guernsey” and the title is very appropriate, as it has been responsible for the creation of four Lodges in this Province, three of which are still flourishing, namely; Lodge of Fellowship (later to add the name of Doyle’s) in 1806. The Unity Lodge No: 337 (erased in 1828). Loyalty Lodge No: 349 in 1810 (now No: 243) and Lodge Fidelis No 1809 in 1879.
Mariners Lodge was also the first Lodge to re-form and hold a meeting after the Liberation of the Islands from German Occupation during 1940 – 1945. In 1949 Mariners Lodge sponsored the victor Carey Lodge No: 6892.
Although constituted as an Antient in 1784, it was not consecrated, as it was not the practice of the Antients to consecrate their Lodges, they were Warranted, Constituted and Confirmed. Consecration only followed the granting of a Warrant by the moderns Grand Lodge. This was done at a mass ceremony on June 18th 1810 held at the Assembly Rooms (now the Guille Alles Library) at which the “Antients” Lodges; Mariners’, Lodge of Harmon,, Orange Lodge, Doyles Lodge of Fellowship, and Loyalty Lodge all of which had been granted “Moderns” Warrants) were consecrated. During the proceedings a Masonic Service was held at the Town Church. Presiding over the ceremony was Sir John Doyle, the Lieut. Governor, who had been appointed Provincial Grand Master under the “Moderns” in 1807.
This leads us to an important event in the history of Mariners’ Lodge. In 1806, two handsome silver gilt vases were presented to Sir John Doyle, who had come to the Island as Lieutenant Governor in 1804. One vase was the gift of Mariners’ Lodge No 222; the other the gift of Orange Lodge No: 116 (1762-1828). They were presented to Sir John, and I quote ‘ as an expression of gratitude for the essential benefits we have received from your able and energetic administration”.
The late W.Bro Maurice Ousley recorded that the vases were bought at Sotheby’s by Grand Lodge in 1938, they having outbid Doyle’s Lodge at the auction. After some involved correspondence between Doyle’s Lodge and Grand Lodge, Doyles Lodge of Fellowship managed to acquire the vase, which had been originally presented by Mariners’ Lodge. The vase as we know is always given a prominent place at the top table of both Mariners’ and Doyle’s Festive Boards. The vase presented by Orange Lodge is now in the Grand Lodge Museum, Great Queen Street, London.
Another interesting piece of history is recorded, connected with Australia. Following the discovery of gold in that Continent, a number of Masons, many of them members of Mariners’ Lodge embarked on the brig ‘Lydia’ on. March 24th 1853 for Australia. They had hoped that, with the support of their certificates, they would be able to join Lodges in Australia of which 3 were in Adelaide and 2 in Melbourne. In 1858 a Mariners’ Lodge was established in Melbourne, but is no longer in existence.
In the minutes of the Lodge for 6th September 1883, there is preserved a Dispensation from Grand Lodge, authorising Mariners’ Lodge , in conjunction with Loyalty and Fidelis Lodges, to hold a meeting for the purpose of consecrating the Temple Building in Le Marchant Street of which the three Lodges were joint owners. The ceremony was presided over by W.Bro Terry P.Prov.S.G.W. (Northampton and Huntingdonshire) P.Prov.J.G.W. (Hertfordshire) as consecrating Officer.
In 1920, it was resolved that no meetings be held during the months of June, July and August, a practice which has continued to the present day.
In 1934, Mariners Lodge celebrated its Sesqui-Centenary, the 150th anniversary. A fifteen page History of the Lodge was compiled by the late W.Bro H E Marquand, a historian of local repute. During that year W.Bro.Paul A. Le Moal held the office of Senior Steward, he was the only surviving officer of that year and was our senior Past Master in 1984.
In 1984, with the Lodge still vigorous and full of life and with the recollections of what the Lodge has gone through and what it has accomplished, the Brethren were convinced that Mariners’ would long hold its proud position of being the oldest Lodge in the Channel Islands, which it still does to this day.
Following the decision to sell and close the Masonic Temple in Le Marchant Street, Peter Port Mariners Lodge held its last meeting in this Temple on Wednesday 3 May 1995, the WM was W.Bro D E Lane.
It was then for three years during the construction of the new Temple on the St Martins Lodge site, that Mariners Lodge along with all the other Lodges and Orders met at the La Villette Hotel.
On completion of the new Temple in August 1998, Mariners Lodge was given the honour of being the first Lodge to hold its meetings here in the new Temple. This took place on Wednesday 2 September 1998 under the charge of W.Bro T K March, WM.
Mariners Lodge continues to meet on the first Wednesday of each month with the exception of June, July and August with the Installation meeting being held in January.