Homestreu Lodge was founded in 1908 at a time when Freemasonry was steadily expanding in the county of Sussex. Although there are a number of lodges in England which had their origins dating back to the early 18th century, Freemasonry only became established in the county towards the end of that century. One of its earliest lodges, South Saxon Lodge no 311, was founded in 1796 in Lewes.

Homestreu Lodge became one of its ‘daughter’ lodges at a time that Newhaven’s population had been expanding rapidly, and no less than 15 of South Saxon’s members resided in the town. Its name was derived from the name given in the Domesday Book to the Hundred in which the town of Newhaven now stands. It was founded by Harold Haig Brown, along with 16 other Freemasons. Haig Brown was the Inspector of Schools for East Sussex and was the son of the Revd Canon William Haig Brown, who was the Headmaster of Charterhouse School. The other Founders were mostly local worthies, including Albion Russell, described as a Boot Manufacturer, but which was something of an understatement when it is realised that his shoemaking business became the well-known firm of Russell and Bromley. There were also two Medical Practitioners, two Sea Captains, and two hotel Proprietors.

The Consecration and first Installation meeting was held at The Institute, Newhaven on 23rd January 1908 and, as the Sussex Express reported, ‘Freemasons from all parts of Sussex were present, the gathering numbering quite two hundred, and was preceded by luncheon at the Sheffield Hotel.

Only six years after the lodge was formed, the country found itself at war with Germany. As a result it was not always possible to hold meetings on a regular basis and, lacking a permanent meeting place at that time, they were held at various venues in the area. Prior to and during the First World War a number of men from the Military joined Homestreu Lodge, a number of which were stationed at the Newhaven Fort. One of those was Sgt William John Lawrance, an Instructor with the Royal Engineers. He joined the lodge in December 1913 and subsequently attended every meeting until April 1914, after which he was sent to the Western Front, with the acting rank of Sergeant Major, in the 76th Field Company. This Company saw active service in a number of theatres, including the Battle of the Somme. Tragically he was killed in action on 27th September 1918, towards the very end of hostilities. As a result his name is commemorated on the Masonic Roll of Honour of those Freemasons who fell in the Great War and which is situated within the shrine of Grand Lodge in London.

The post 1st World War era saw a massive growth in Freemasonry due, no doubt to a great extent, to the desire of men returning from the battle-front to emulate the camaraderie that they had experienced during those horrendous years, and by 1922 the membership of the lodge had risen to over 100. Fortunately, in the previous year, it had been able to purchase the freehold of The Institute for £600. The building had previously been a Working Men’s Institute, which had been established by the Earl of Sheffield, who was Lord of the Manor and the principal land-owner in the area, but had been sold to his Agent, Thomas Colgate in 1903. A number of those joining the Lodge at this time worked at Newhaven Harbour, either as officers and crew of the cross-Channel Steamers, as staff at the Marine Workshops, or in one of the many auxiliary trades such as Boatbuilding.

In April 1923 the Lodge held its meeting in the sumptuous surroundings of the Royal Pavilion in Brighton. The Worshipful Master that year was W Bro Herbert Hone, who was acting as Secretary for the National Union of Teachers conference that was taking place in the town, and as a result around 140 visitors attended the meeting, many of them delegates from the conference. Herbert Hone was the father of Major General Sir Ralph Hone KCMG KBE MC TD QC who had an extremely distinguished career both in the Military and as a Lawyer, and also became Governor General of North Borneo. He also held senior positions in Freemasonry, as did his son, W Bro Richard Hone KC, who was President of the Masonic Charitable Foundation, the Freemasons national charity, which is the second largest donor of charitable funds in the country after the National Lottery.

In 1925 Homestreu Lodge sponsored a ‘daughter’ lodge, Peacehaven, which was founded in order to address the need for one in the rapidly expanding town, newly created after the War by Charles Neville, originally as ‘New Anzac on Sea’.

During the 1930s the number of Lodge members suffered a decline, no doubt due to the effects of the economic depression during that time. In 1939 Britain was again at war with Germany and the Lodge was obliged to find a new temporary home, as the Masonic Hall in Newhaven was requisitioned by the Military Authorities. It therefore moved its meetings to Sankeys Hall in Peacehaven and continued to meet there, albeit intermittently, throughout the War.

After the end of hostilities in 1945, Freemasonry again saw a big increase in membership similar to that at the end of the First World War, and by 1950 Homestreu Lodge had 105 members. It was therefore proposed that a new lodge, to be called Meeching, be formed, and on 30th September 1950 it was consecrated at the Sussex Masonic Temple in Brighton.

Homestreu Lodge continued to thrive throughout the ‘50s and ‘60s, and in 1966 it agreed to become one of the four founding lodges of a new masonic centre to be built in Peacehaven. It was to be funded by selling the Masonic Hall in Newhaven to the Newhaven Urban district Council. Thus, on 3rd January 1968 the first meeting of the Lodge to be held at the new building took place. Since then the East Brighton Masonic Centre has been enlarged and greatly improved and is now one of the best centres in the Province of Sussex. In 1976, Homestreu Lodge sponsored another ‘daughter’ lodge, to be called Harbour Lights, many of its founders being members of the Newhaven Deep Sea Anglers Club.

The 21st century has seen a reduction in membership of Freemasonry and a number of lodges have had to close. However, Homestreu Lodge was able to celebrate its centenary in 2008 and is looking forward to welcoming new members to its ranks.


If you would like to read the full history of Homestreu Lodge, you can find it by clicking here.


If you would like to see the ‘family tree’ of Homestreu Lodge No. 3277, you can do so by clicking here.

If you feel you might be interested in joining Homestreu Lodge and would like to talk to someone in person, or if you are a Freemason and would like to attend one of our Lodge meetings as a visitor, please get in touch using the contact details below.

Tel:07866 332244