History of Coronation Lodge

It is not known with absolute certainty, why or how the adoption of the name Coronation by the Founders came about, but it is very likely attributed to the celebration of King Edward VII’s coronation in the same year. On 29th July 1902, The Grand Lodge of Scotland received a petition for the formation of Coronation Lodge in Tangier, Morocco.  This petition was signed by 39 founder members* and also had the support from the two lodges in Gibraltar, i.e. Lodge St. Thomas No 576 and Lodge Al Moghreb Al Aksa No 670.  Grand Lodge granted the Charter on the 7th August 1902. 

The Consecration of Coronation Lodge No 934 was carried out on Saturday 23rd August 1902 at the Cecil Hotel, Tangier by the Provincial Grand Master of Gibraltar, Bro. William F. Roberts P.M. under the banner of Lodge Al Moghreb Al Aksa.    Bro. Russell E. C. Edye a Master Mason of Lodge Southern Cross No 398 S.C. was Installed as Right Worshipful Master by Bro. J. de Soto Lyons P.M. of Lodge 670 and assisted by Bro. Peter Freeman Lyons R.W.M. of Lodge 670 and Bro. John D. Munro P.M. of 576. 

But it was not until 28th November 1902 that Coronation Lodge was accepted as a member of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Gibraltar. On the 16th May 1908, Bro. Peter Freeman Lyons consecrated a new hall for Coronation Lodge in Tangier, Morocco.  He was assisted by members from the Royal Navy’s “Atlantic Fleet Lodges”, especially by   Bro. The Reverend Rorison, who was serving on H.M.S. Cornwallis.  On 22nd November 1912, the Provincial Grand Master reported that he had the pleasure of being present at Coronation Lodge on the occasion of the initiation of the ‘Basha’ of Tangier.  All workings were carried out in Arabic, the ritual having been previously translated. 

By May 1913, the Lodge reported to the Provincial Grand Lodge that candidates of many nationalities were being initiated, and was doing splendidly, with Arabs taking great interest in Freemasonry. At the height of the Great War on 22nd May 1915, the Provincial Grand Master reported to Grand Lodge that sadly many members of Lodges in the Province had being called for war service.  Lives were lost on both sides with Coronation Lodge suffering the most as its members derived from many nationalities.  The Right Worshipful Master at the time was a German Brother.  Many Brethren left Tangier never to return.

On 24th July 1920, the Lodge commissioned the erection of a new Temple in Tangier at a cost of £700.  A year later the Lodge was experiencing difficulties in raising the funds to pay for its construction.  The Provincial Grand Master came to the Lodge’s aid and on 18th November 1921 he requested the other Lodges in the Province to assist Coronation with a financial loan to help pay for the plot of land.  By 19th May 1922, there was a good response to his appeal and the Lodges in Gibraltar raised the generous sum of £255.  St Andrews Lodge No 966 in Malta provided a further £30.  The new Temple was completed in early 1922 and on 27th May of that same year, the Temple was consecrated by the acting Provincial Grand Master, Bro. J. D. McClachan, who gave a very interesting address on the origins and nature of Freemasonry.

Shortly after, the Provincial Grand Master gave his authority for the Lodge to work certain degrees in Spanish.  The translation of the “Cowan” ritual was used, with the minutes and correspondence continuing in the English language. Authority was also granted for the Lodge to open and close in Spanish, if the presiding Brother thought it necessary.  It was the first time ever that a Scottish Lodge ritual had been translated into the Spanish language. On 13th August 1924, a special one off Past Master’s Jewel was struck and presented in Coronation Lodge to Bro. Major J. A. Legget R.A. on behalf of the Brethren of the three Constitutions and especially for the excellent work he had done for the Lodge. 

Fifteen years later, Bro. Major J. A. Legget became Provincial Grand Master of the Scottish Constitution in Gibraltar. During World War II, Coronation Lodge lost most of its members and was on longer active.  It was eventually declared dormant by Grand Lodge on the 25th May 1945.  But on 20th May 1948, after 7 years of inactivity, Coronation Lodge was reopened and started working once more. On the 30th May 1952, Lodge Al Moghreb Al Aksa travelled to Tangier and conferred the Mark Master Mason’s degree on all the members of Coronation, thus giving the Lodge sufficient members to work the degree in the future.  Notwithstanding that Coronation was based in Morocco and had many non-British members, the Lodge made a contribution for a gift to be presented to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh on their Royal visit to Gibraltar.  A total of £110 was raised between the       District Grand Lodge and Daughter Lodges for a beautifully engraved rose bowl. 

On 9th September 1954, a special meeting was held at the office of the Right Worshipful Master in the British Consulate to decide what action to take regarding the Lodge premises.  This had degraded to a state of disrepair and the structure was no longer safe.  As there were insufficient funds to undertake the works, it was agreed to rent the building to the Coca-Cola company, until sufficient funds were available to pay for the necessary repairs.  Future meetings were held at the Theatre club in the old British Centre. After attaining independence from the French and the corresponding decline of western influence, the political climate in Morocco became less tolerant to Freemasonry.  During the summer of 1957 at a ladies night held at the Tangier Country Club, a number of influential Moroccan dignitaries were invited to demonstrate to the Moroccan authorities that British Freemasonry was no threat to their country. 

However, on 18th December 1959 an application was made to the Moroccan authorities for the registration of Coronation Lodge.  After many months of delay the Moroccan authorities refused to recognise the organisation and were ordered to cease all activities immediately. Efforts by the British Consulate in Rabat produced no results.  On instructions from the Grand Lodge of Scotland the Lodge agreed to declare itself dormant.  The premises were hired out to a Moroccan carpenter at the rent of 1,500 pesetas per month (approximately £6).

On 7th January 1964, the District Grand Lodge wrote to Bro. A. H. Selley in Tangier, enquiring whether the existing members would agree to the transfer of the Lodge Charter to Gibraltar.  A favourable reply was received from Bro. Selley and the other six remaining members in Tangier.  On 20th September 1964, the Grand Lodge of Scotland agreed to the request and authorised the transfer.  The Charter once obtained was sent to Grand Lodge for amendments.The Master of the Mons Calpe (the Gibraltar-Tangier ferry,) Bro. Don Delf (a member of Coronation Lodge) assisted by the first Officer, brought over to Gibraltar the Charter together with some Lodge records and Regalia.  These were handed over to the District Grand Master, Bro. W. A. Baker MBE and Bro. A. D. Hardy, District Grand Secretary.

In February 1965, Coronation Lodge held its first Installation Ceremony with Bro. Anthony J. Segui BEM becoming the first Master in Gibraltar.  By 1967, Coronation Lodge was now fully established in the Gibraltar Masonic Institute.  The District Grand Master urged members of Daughter Lodges to affiliate and support the Lodge.  A good response was received from both 576 and 670 with many members affiliating.  In order not to compete with the other Sister Lodges it was initially agreed not to Initiate any candidates.  On the 25th March 1977, twelve years after transferring to Gibraltar and under the Mastership of  Bro. Mario Chipolina, Coronation Lodge initiated its first candidate in Gibraltar.  It thus became a full working Lodge and an equal partner in the District.  Bro. S. G. Hermida became the first Initiate to be installed Master of the Lodge.

* The 39 Founder Members were from the following Lodges:

16 - Royal Lodge of Friendship278 E.C.
6 - Lodge St Thomas 576 S.C.
4 - Inhabitants Lodge 153 S.C.
3 - Lodge Al Moghreb Al Aksa670 S.C.
2 - St John Lodge 115 E.C.
2 - Granite Lodge2028 E.C.
1 - Euphrates Lodge212 E.C.
1 - Lodge of Probity and Freedom367 E.C.
1 - Lodge Southern Cross 398 S.C.
3 - Unknown lodges

Officers and Founders

Bro. William F. RobertsP.P.G.M.(670 SC)
Bro. Russell E.C. EdyeR.W.M(398 SC)
Bro. John de Soto P.M.I.P.M(670 SC)
Bro. John Munro P.M.W Dep Master(576 SC)
Bro. Peter FreemanRWM W. Sub Master(670 SC)
Bro. Roque de SotoW.S.W(153 EC)
Bro. Edwin C. HathawayW.J.W(153 EC)
Bro. David PriceRWM Secretary(278 EC)
Bro. John McLeanTreasurer(278 EC)
Bro. Cromwell VarleyS.D.(278 EC)
Bro. Albert SetfordJ.D. (576 EC)
Bro. John Kirby Green Inner Guard(278 EC)
Bro. Abda R. BougemanTyler  
Bro. James Dagnino P.M. (278 EC)
Bro. John Mackenzie Urquehart (278 SC)
Bro. Sebastian Luque P.M. (115 EC)
Bro. Henry A. Reed (2028 EC)
Bro. Richard F. Ranking P.M. (278 EC)
Bro. Arthur Kerr Peaty (278 EC)
Bro. Alexander Risso P.M. (115 EC)
Bro. William H. Ashmore  (278 EC)
Bro. Edward J. T. Pearce (576 EC)
Bro. Richard H. Taylor (278 EC)
Bro. Michael P. Fitzgerald (212 EC)
Bro. Charles Angus (576 SC)
Bro. Mohamed Ducall    
Bro. John Knox Ewart (278 EC)
Bro. Henry Bailey (278 EC)
Bro. William Goodenough (153 EC)
Bro. George Withers (278 EC)
Bro. Philip J. Baldock (367 EC)
Bro. Frederick Ridgen (278 EC)
Bro. David Coulter (576 SC)
Bro. Percy T. Goodbourne   (153 EC)
Bro. Richard Martin Livesey  (278 SC)
Bro. Frederick J. Gilbert  (278 EC)
Bro. Charles E. Duke  (576 SC)
Bro. Henry J. Wade (2028 EC)
Bro. Samuel J. Eccleston  

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