About Coveham Lodge -
Coveham Lodge is one of Surrey's many Lodges of Freemasons. It was founded in 1920 to serve the needs of the tradesmen of Cobham - indeed, the list of early members reads rather like a list of the High Street shops at the time.
Today the members are drawn from all walks of life, but are still largely those who live in or near Cobham, which lies between Kingston on Thames and Guildford in Surrey. Thus the Lodge retains the same communal spirit it had eighty years ago, and local organisations still figure high on the Lodge's donations to charity. Charity is the central pivot of Freemasonry, and every Lodge contributes to Grand Charity. In 2016, for example, nearly five million pounds was given to non-Masonic causes by Grand Charity, all raised from donations by the members. Local recipients included the Marie Curie Centre, and the Queen Elizabeth Foundation (MERU). Grand Charity remains one of the largest grant-making charities in the United Kingdom.
Why Coveham? The Lodge is so called from the old name of the village. The original derivation of the name is subject to debate, but appears as Covenham in the Domesday Book. In time it became Coveham and finally Cobham. There have been water-mills in the bend of the Mole at Cobham since earliest times, and this is reflected in the appearance of Cobham Mill on the banner of Coveham Lodge.
When first formed, the Lodge met at the Parish Room in Spencer Road, Cobham. Until 1937 the Installation meetings, when a new Master was installed (an annual event), were held at Great Queen Street, London, then later moved to the New Bull Hotel, Leatherhead. These days, in common with many other Surrey Lodges, the venue for all meetings has moved to the Surbiton Masonic Centre, where the Lodge meets regularly four times a year, in March, May, October and December. In addition to these meetings, the Lodge has an active Lodge of Instruction, where members meet informally to rehearse ceremonies on a weekly basis, then afterwards refresh themselves at the local hostelry.
While Coveham Lodge is for the men of the family (the ladies have a similiar organisation should they so desire), the social aspect of the Lodge is very important. During the year several events are organised which include the whole family, the most important being the Ladies' Night, traditionally a formal dinner dance. Other events are less formal, such as the annual Garden Party.
During the Second World War, the Lodge continued to meet, "in a quiet manner" in the Parish Room, when light refreshments were served for one shilling per head. There is no record of a Lodge member being killed during the War, though the wife and children of one member were sadly killed in an air raid.
On 5th April 1950, the Rev. James Armitage, Vicar of St. Andrews Church, Cobham, was installed as Master of the Lodge, and on 16th July he conducted a service for Freemasons at St. Andrews. An annual service is currently held in Guildford Cathedral for all Surrey Freemasons.
Coveham is one of many Lodges that contributed to a fund designed to provide the Royal College of Surgeons with income to finance research into the science of surgery, on the occasion of the commemoration of Freemasonry in its present form through two and a half centuries. This fund is still very much in existence today, and a decoration based on the Arms of the Craft, granted in 1472, is attached to the ceremonial collar of the Master of the Lodge to denote the contribution.
Freemasonry today is as relevant as ever. Should you wish to know more about this great charitable brotherhood, take a look at the Web page of the Grand Lodge of England on http://www.ugle.org.uk/we-re-open. To find out more about Coveham Lodge itself, please contact the Secretary or send us an email.