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The Old Cranbrookian Lodge

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The Old Cranbrookian Lodge

The Old Cranbrookian Lodge No. 6877 was consecrated on July 11th 1949 and continues to support Masonic and local charities.

Four meetings are held each year in Cranbrook or other venues nearby:

The United Grand Lodge of England has suspended all masonic meetings due to the Covid 19 pandemic so it is unlikely that we will meet in 2020. However virtual meetings are being held to keep the members in contact.


  • FIRST FRIDAY IN APRIL followed by Ladies Dinner

To receive an update regarding future meeting dates, please visit the Events section of this website, open the Lodge Meetings event and simply register your interest by clicking the link at the top of the page and we will contact you nearer the time with the confirmed details.


Membership is currently 19 (in 2020).

Membership is and has been wide and varied, ranging from School Masters to Shopkeepers and including Farmers, Solicitors, Sales Representatives, Builders, Police Officers, Vicars, Engineers and members of the Armed Forces to name but a few. In Freemasonry a man’s wealth, position, politics or religion do not count.

We are always looking for members and would welcome any inquiries from both potential initiates and joining members.

If you would like further details please contact the Secretary, James Fry (1968-1972 Cornwallis) direct using the Find a Friend section of this website.

What is Freemasonry?

The world’s largest fraternity, based on a belief that each man can make a difference in the world. Freemasonry strengthens the character of the individual man by providing opportunities for fellowship, Charity and education. “Making good men better men”.

Consecration and early years

There are eight Old School Lodges in the Masonic Province of East Kent, of which the Old Cranbrookian Lodge is the second oldest. New Lodges have to be sponsored by an established Lodge. The Old Epsomian Lodge signed a petition on behalf of the founders which was sent to the United Grand Lodge of England.

The Old Cranbrookian Lodge No. 6877 was consecrated on July 11th 1949 by R.W. Bro. Sydney A. White, M.V.O., P.G.W., Grand Secretary.

There were nineteen founder members including the Headmaster, Charles Russell-Scott and five other members of the School staff. Notable amongst the OC members were Richard Luff (1895-1906), President of the OCA and three members of the Robathan family.

Leslie Poynder (1914) was the first Secretary and Percival Robathan (1896-1897) the first Worshipful Master. The first Initiate was A.W.Rammell (1883-1885). Early meetings were held in London hotels.

In 1953 Hector Purver (1927-1932 Horsley) became Master when officers of other School Lodges (Epsom, King’s School Canterbury, Dover and St. Lawrence) attended the installation ceremony.

By the mid 1950s membership had increased to 33. Four meetings were held each year (usually at Wingfield House London SW 8) with one being arranged at the School, immediately preceding the OC Summer Festival. The Master and Secretary were honoured guests of the Lodge, Cranbrook Australia, and vice versa. Close connection was maintained with the Crane Lodge.

From the 1960s

In October 1962 the Grand Master conferred the honour of London Grand Rank upon Hector Purver “in consideration of Masonic zeal and services to the Craft”. Two years later Leslie Poynder also received the honour of Grand Rank. Although other members of the Lodge were similarly honoured in the ensuing years they are particularly noteworthy due to their length of service.

In January 1970, a meeting was held at the Willesley Hotel in Cranbrook to celebrate the Lodge “coming of age” Visitors included members of other Old School Lodges (including Tonbridge and King’s Rochester).

In 1971, perhaps in recognition of his appointment as Provincial Junior Grand Warden for Berkshire, Leslie Poynder inaugurated a Fund to provide a prize at the School, which was subsequently awarded each year to the Captain of the School. One year later the first July meeting was held at the Crane Lodge’s new Masonic hall at Hartley. The records show that the Head Master, J. Kendall-Carpenter, replied to Leslie Poynder’s 1970 letter suggesting the prize, mentioning that, as Head Master, he had never known that the Lodge existed.

In 1974 the School celebrated the 400th year since receiving the Royal Charter and in this year also the Lodge celebrated its 25 years of existence. The Provincial Grand Master for East and West Kent, Rt. Hon. Lord Cornwallis and James W. Stubbs, Grand Secretary of the United Grand Lodge of England, attended the dinner at the Willesley Hotel. A commemorative booklet giving a short history of the Lodge was produced. The service of Charles Russell-Scott as Chaplain since the Lodge was consecrated was noted, as was the fact that Hector Purver had not missed one meeting in his 18 years as Secretary. Sadly, of the nine surviving founder members of the Lodge only one could be present. In this year also the first recipient of the Leslie Poynder prize was David Hall (1969-1974 Horsley).

Sadly, almost exactly two years later, Leslie passed away, at the age of 78. Freemasonry had formed a very important part of his life. He had been Worshipful Master of the Lodge in 1952 and in 1974 (the year of its Silver Jubilee) and never spared himself in promoting its interests or those of the School.

Hector Purver was honoured in April 1976 by Most Worshipful the Grand Master, His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent, with Grand Rank – Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies.

The 1980s

In 1980 the Grand Lodge approved the Lodge’s wish to hold all its meetings in Cranbrook – a move which was hoped would encourage membership. The previous year had been marked by the death of two more founder members, the two legendary schoolmasters, Charles Russell-Scott and Frank Evans.

At the September meeting of 1983 the Lodge was honoured by a visit from the Provincial Grand Master for the Province of East Kent, J.A.Porter.

By 1985 the membership of the Lodge consisted entirely of Old Cranbrookians and the following year Hector Purver announced that he would retire as Secretary after completing 30 years of service.

Ladies dined with members at the April meeting from about 1990. This has become a regular fixture of the April meeting when we also invite the Widows of past members of the Lodge.

The Lodge since 1990

When it was established in 1949 The Old Cranbrookian Lodge was open to Old Cranbrookians, Members of the Board of Governors, Past and Present Masters and Others who are officially connected with the School; however since July 1991 this requirement has been extended to include the fathers of pupils both past and present.

On 24th September 1999 the Golden Jubilee of the Lodge was marked by a special meeting held in Maidstone. This was attended by 60 members and visitors including W Bro R de Gray, The Assistant Provincial Grand Master for the Province of East Kent.

Notable awards and events since 2000

The United Grand Lodge of England awarded Grand Rank to:

W Bro C.J. Finn-Kelcey (2003) Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies
W Bro J.D.A. Shields (2005) Past Grand Standard Bearer
W Bro D.A. Rouse (2021) Assistant Provincial Grand Master (East Kent)
W Bro D.A. Rouse (2022) Past Senior Grand Deacon

The Lodge entered the year 2000 with 21 members. In July of that year the minutes record for the first time the foreign coins and notes found in the alms collection. This has become a habit and after the death of W Bro Charles Finn-Kelcey (1965-1969 Rammell) the members must have thought that he was responsible because at the next meeting the foreign coins and notes increased.

In 2005 it was decided to open up membership and allow our regular visitors to join. Some of them had been coming for meetings for 20 years.

On the 14th July 2006 at the Installation of W Bro J.A.Fry (1968-1972 Cornwallis) the Lodge dined in the school dining hall. 60 members and visitors were present.

In April 2007 Mrs Daly, Headmistress and her husband attended the annual Ladies Dinner. In the following July W Bro F.J. Jakob (1948-1953 Crowden) retired after 17 years as Secretary.

R W Bro M.R. Bailey, Provincial Grand Master of East Kent, visited the Lodge on 10th June 2011, his final meeting before his retirement from Office.

On 22nd September 2015 W Bro M.I.H. McMinnies (1948-1956 Horsley) became the first member, who had been initiated into the Lodge, to receive a certificate to mark his 50 years as a freemason.

During the shut down the Lodge due to the Covid 19 crisis 2020, the Lodge has nominated recipients of the PPE being donated by the freemasons of East Kent. It has also continued to support both masonic and non-masonic charities, including The Hospice in the Weald, Cancer Care and The Poppy Appeal, It has also, among other donations, contributed to the purchase of a specialised wheelchair for the Grandson of an Old Cranbrookian, who had been injured in an accident, and sponsored a pupil on a school trip to Tanzania.

There have been a total of 111 members during the 73 year history of the Old Cranbrookian Lodge.

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