Of these only Ringwood No. 318 is still working today, as Lodge of Unity No. 132. The first new lodge consecrated by Thomas Dunckerley was New Inn Lodge No. 405 at Christchurch which is known today as Hengist Lodge No. 195.
Observant Hampshire masons may well be asking "But what of our other venerable lodges, Lodge of Economy No. 76 and Royal Gloucester No. 130? Surely they must have been in existence at that time?" The answer is that there were two Grand Lodges established in England in the eighteenth century, the Premier Grand Lodge (sometimes known as the "Moderns") and the Antients Grand Lodge. It was not until 1813 that unification took place to form the United Grand Lodge of England. Both Economy and Royal Gloucester had been warranted under the Antients and did not initially form part of Dunckerley's Province of Hampshire.
On the Isle of Wight, old lodges still working are Medina Lodge No. 35, which moved to Cowes from London in 1761, followed a little later by "Antient" lodges Albany No. 151 and East Medina No. 175.
In those days the Isle of Wight was a separate Masonic province in its own right. Thomas Dunckerley became its first Provincial Grand Master in 1772. It remained a separate, if small, Province for almost a hundred years until it was amalgamated with Hampshire on the appointment of W.W. Bramston Beach as Provincial Grand Master in 1869.
Thomas Dunckerley was a tireless promoter of Freemasonry and Grand Lodge, also becoming at one time or other Provincial Grand Master of Essex, Dorset, Wiltshire, Bristol, Gloucester, Somerset and Herefordshire. He was one of the prime architects of the Provincial Grand Lodge system we know today. He died at his home in Portsmouth in 1795.
Dunckerley was followed by a succession of distinguished brethren who have been appointed as Provincial Grand Master for this Province. The complete roll is given below:
|Lord Charles Montague||1776|
|Captain Michael Henry Pascal||1784|
|Colonel Sherborne Stewart||1795|
|Sir William Champion de Crespigny, Bart||1819|
|John Storey Penlease, M.P.||1832|
|The Admiral of the Fleet, Sir Lucius Curtis, Bart. K.C.B.||1840|
|ISLE OF WIGHT (1772)|
|Sir Leonard W. Holmes, Bart||1812|
|Charles, 1st Earl of Yarborough||1826|
|Thomas Willis Fleming||1852|
|HAMPSHIRE AND ISLE OF WIGHT (1869)|
|Rt. Hon. William Wither Bramston Beach, M.P.||1869|
|Sir Augustus F. Webster, Bart||1901|
|The Rt. Hon. The Earl of Malmesbury||1923|
|W. Attenborough, M.B., B.S.||1950|
|Maj. Gen. R.L. Bond, C.B., C.B.E., D.S.O., M.C., Hon. F.R.A.M.||1964|
|Rt. Rev. J. L. Phillips, M.A., D.D.||1974|
|T.B. Langton, M.C.||1978|
|James E. Bullen||1986|
|Alan D. Chun, M.B.E.||1991|
|Ernest F.R. Moss||1998|
|Brian C. Bellinger||2003|
|Michael J. Wilks||2010|
The Province has now been in existence for well over two hundred years and much has happened in that time. Brethren who are interested in learning more are recommended to read "Freemasonry in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight" by W. Bro. F.D. Laugharne P.P.S.G.W which was published in 1991. Copies may be purchased at a cost of £6.50, including p & p, from the Provincial Offices, 85 Winchester Road, Chandlers Ford, Hants, SO53 2GG. This web page is based on the information contained in that book.