Antients Grand Lodge

An Antients Grand Lodge leather apron hand painted with various Masonic emblems including the All Seeing Eye. The apron was worn by Augustine Harrison, who was initiated into the Antients’ Marquis of Granby Lodge No24 in Canterbury on 31 May 1806. The lodge was named after the tavern in which it met. In 1819 the lodged merged with Industrious Lodge No 416 to become the United Industrious Lodge re numbered as No 31 in 1894 and we continue to this day to meet in Canterbury.

Rupert E Everitt

As a tribute to one of our Brothers, who gave his life in the Great War, we have put together some fact about his life and death.  Follow this link to learn more about Rupert E Everitt 

Sister Lodges in our Colourful History

Our lodge has an interesting and colourful past.

Family Tree for Lodge 31 – click on image to enlarge


The United Industrious Lodge 31 was formed in Canterbury in 1819 by the union of two lodges that existed at that time in the city.

The two lodges were the Industrious Lodge whose number at that time was 416 and Lodge 37 formed under the Atholl constitution. (whose original number was 24.)

The Industrious Lodge was warranted on 28th November 1776, by the Regular Grand Lodge – known as the moderns, and held its meetings at the Fleece Inn. Its original number was 498, four years later it became 403, in 1781 it became 404, and in 1792 it became 326 – this number it retained until the union of the two grand lodges in 1813 when it became 416.

On March 24th 1806 another lodge was formed in Canterbury under the Atholl constitution, – warranted by The Grand Lodge of The Ancients, its number being 24. The lodge number 24 originally belonged to a Bristol Lodge, which was warranted in 1753 and held its meetings in The Edinburgh Castle Inn, Marsh Street, Bristol; but this lodge lapsed its meetings in about 1765 and its number was adopted by the Canterbury lodge. In 1813 with the union of the two grand lodges the number of this lodge in Canterbury was revised and became 37.

Both lodges continued to meet separately in the City of Canterbury, but by 1816 membership of both had fallen, and lodge 37 suggested to their sister lodge that they might profitably join forces. This proposition was initially not acceded to, however, 3 years later in 1819 they did decide to form a working union under the title of United Industrious Lodge – with the first joint meet held on 8th April 1819 in the Saracen’s Head Pub (now demolished).

In 1832 the lodge number became 34 and in 1863 intimation was secured from the Most Worshipful Grand Master, the Earl of Zetland, that the lodge would in future stand on the register of the United Grand Lodge of England as 31.

In the minutes of January 1877 it was proposed “that the lodge cordially recommends that a Royal Arch Chapter should be attached to it”. This was formed as Bertha Chapter No 31, which still meets today.

Two years later on 16th December 1878, permission for the members to wear a centenary jewel was granted by The Most Worshipful Grand Master, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, and a centenary warrant was issued.

Is was in the same year that the three lodges in Canterbury – United Industrious, St Augustine and Royal Military decided to construct a temple at 38 St Peters Street, Canterbury. Foundations were laid on March 8th 1880. The temple has been in continuous use since and we meet there regularly to this day.

In December 1978 the United Industrious Lodge 31 celebrated its 200th meeting of continuous freemasonry in Canterbury..

Compiled from Lodge records with some further details from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Freemasonry

As more information comes to light I will be posting them here.

W Bro Tony Eldridge writes: “another bit of Lodge 31 history discovered after going through old papers. I well-remember initiating our much respected Treasurer, Peter Frowde, who served as Treasurer just after his initiation from 1992 – for several years, standing down briefly and has now been in post again for 20 years, since year 2000 doing a splendid job.”
W Bro Tony Eldridge writes in February 2021: Because others could not ‘go on’, John Johnson and I both found ourselves ‘on the floor’ as soon as we had completed our 3rd Degree. Here is the East Kent Freemasons’ Manual page from 1987, where John and I are listed as Senior and Junior Deacons respectively, serving WM W Bro Peter Stevenson who sadly passed to the Grand Lodge Above in 2019.
W Bro Tony Eldridge writes in January 2021: Amazing what one finds when sorting out papers during ‘Covid Lockdown’. This is from the first year I sang the ‘Master’s Song’, after being initiated in 1984. Installation Menu Card for W Bro Chris Daniels 1985 (still living locally). Pleased to have now sung the Masters Song 35 times for incoming Lodge 31 Masters. Praying I will sing it again for our master in waiting, Bro Justin Blythe in October 2021.
Currently you can download a lecture given on 2nd December 1926 – to mark the 150th Anniversary or our lodge. Unfortunately the quality is poor but you can still just read it – remember it was hand typed on foolscap paper nearly 100 years ago! And then badly photocopied – before I scanned it … the file size is large so may take a while to upload.
There is also a similar hand written account of this lecture from 1926.
Here are two versions of the lecture given for the 200th anniversary in December 1976 – both hand written and very slightly different. V1
Here are two versions of the lecture given for the 200th anniversary in December 1976 – both hand written and very slightly different. V2
Historic Canterbury have some interesting facts about the opening of the ‘new’ temple at St Peters Street.
Interesting link to The Freemasonry National Archives held at Great Queen Street in London.
Further links at the National Archives.
Link to Lane’s Masonic Records – showing meeting places for Lodge 31 since 1806 in Canterbury District
Document giving a Brief History of the Kent Museum and Library in Canterbury
Details of Charles Purton Cooper QC a Lodge 31 member from 1852 and a Provincial Grand Master Mark Mason in the Province of Kent
Laying the corner-stone
Interior of the Lodge dating from 1900s