The History of the Paulinus Lodge, 3957, meeting in Lincoln


by W.Bro N M Brown, PPJGD, delivered at the Centenary meeting in May 2019

The first lodge under the authority of the Grand Lodge of England known to have met in Lincoln was number 73, and it met on the 7th September 1730 at the Saracen’s Head Hotel in the centre of the city. Freemasonry expanded over the years and the Province of Lincolnshire was formed in 1792 with the number of Lodges continuing to increase within the county and beyond.

As the Great war of 1914-1918 came to an end, there were 4 Lodges meeting in Lincoln and records that that in 1918, on the 26th of March, a meeting took place after a Lodge meeting to discuss the formation of a new Lodge. That Lodge was St Hugh, number 1386. Our mother Lodge. At that time, they had a membership of 101, similar to the figure of the St Hugh Lodge membership in 2019, and it was this Lodge that provided the vision, energy, as well as the majority of founders and funds, for the birth of Paulinus Lodge. Records tell us that objections were raised as members were concerned that St Hugh could be weakened by fewer members. It was pointed out that there was a need to reduce the amount of time it took for a mason to go through the chair and it provide an opportunity for more suitable men to join our fraternity and build on the Lodges already active in Lincoln at that time.

Th driving force of Paulinus Lodge’s creation was our first Worshipful Master- Alfred Brunning- a friendly and capable mason. In later year he was elevated to Grand Rank and his warmth towards his fellows and enthusiasm for the Craft were so recognised by the brethren that the members of the Lodge voted to pay for his regalia using Lodge funds. He was instrumental in ensuring that the petition for the creation of the Lodge was put forward with thirty-one founder members. The warrant for Paulinus was signed by the Grand secretary of the 7th of April 1919. On that day 9 warrants were granted, for Lodges as far afield as Berkshire, South America and Nottingham and 7 are still in existence. The Lodge 3956, so with an earlier number is the Sherwood Lodge in Nottingham- the same name as the Police HQ in that city- but it wasn’t consecrated until September 1919. However, the preparations for Paulinus Lodge must have been at an advanced stage because the consecration took place on the 29th of May. The ceremony took place in the local Baptist Lecture Hall with 92 masons in attendance and clearly religion was not to be discussed.

The evening banquet was held at the Saracen’s Head Hotel the birthplace of Freemasonry in the city. At the time it was also the Conservative Party HQ and that must have made the ban on discussing Politics interesting. In fact, another Lodge of the time met over the road in the Liberal club. The Hotel closed in 1959 and was situated in what is now Anne Summers and a Bookshop opposite the Stonebow. On the 29th of May the longest total eclipse of the sun since the 27th of May 1416 took place and lasted over 6 minutes. During this, the theory of relativity was tested and Einstein become an overnight celebrity as the teachings of classical Newtonian physics, the creation of a Lincolnshire man, were quite literally eclipsed.

The joining fee at the time was set at 10 guineas which is around £365 in today’s monetary worth. Furthermore, the Worshipful Master paid a £1 for going into the chair and had the pleasure of paying for installation costs, including all the meals for every member and visitor. What an honour! The Wardens paid 10 shillings each, but you’ll be pleased to know that the Deacons, Treasurer, Secretary and Tyler were free of charge!

In 1921 the meeting place moved to the Lodge rooms in Mint Street, moving to the Country Assembly Rooms in 1963 and ultimately to a home of our own, the Nightingale Rooms in 2013. In which, the Paulinus Lodge had the privilege of holding the first Craft meeting here on the 4th of September with 85 brethren present.

So why the name Paulinus? We don’t know with absolute certainty why the name was chosen though I will present to you a theory. Paulinus was the first Bishop of York, sent to England by Papal Bull in 601 and arriving on our shores in 604. Lincoln, at the time in the area of the Isle of Lindsay, was in the middle of an area in constant conflict since the retreat of the Romans; after they had significant grown the city. The Romans no doubt recognised its strategic and beautiful setting. The area was absorbed into the Kingdom of Northumbria following the battle of Idle in 616.

Later, Paulinus was instrumental in supporting the marriage of Æthelburg of Kent to Edwin, King of Northumbria. This effectively united two large Christian Kingdoms- perhaps helping to support the unity of the United Kingdom as we know it today. Bede informs us that Paulinus was very active in Lincoln, building, or more likely refurbishing a stone church which we belief near the County Assembly Rooms. It was in this building that Honorius, the 5th bishop of Canterbury was consecrated and given the Pallium by Paulinus in 627 and Honorius later ensured that York was raised to the archbishopric as stands today. Further afield Paulinus also paved the way for the foundation of Whitby abbey. I suggest that Paulinus put a declining post-roman Lincoln back on the map as a significant town/city.

My theory of choosing the name is this- 3 related Lodges in Lincoln are named after people/peoples who have contributed considerably to the development of Lincoln in reverse-chronological order. Paulinus’ mother Lodge is called St Hugh, named after a man who firmly established Lincoln as a cathedral city in the twelfth century. Paulinus established Lincoln as significant English town in the seventh century and Paulinus’ daughter Lodge is called Lindum, which was the Roman name of the town. The Romans were the people who, in the first to fourth century made Lincoln a significant town. It is possible, though not proven, that Lindum Colonia became the provincial capital of northern Britain province of Britannia Secunda in the fourth century, as evidence suggests a bishop of Lincoln attended the Council of Arles in 314.

So in order of the founding of the Lodges’ family tree and looking back as we reflect on our heritage:-

St Hugh – who prompted and developed Lincoln in the 12th century – Mother Lodge

Paulinus– who prompted and developed Lincoln in the 12th century – Our Lodge

Lindum – Roman name and the people who prompted and developed Lincoln in the 12th century – Our daughter Lodge

Paulinus’ feast day is in October. It is remembered inasmuch as our Installation is in that month. He is also clearly a man who prompted Lincoln and demonstrated dedication, learning, resilience and commitment. Perhaps that’s why the name was chosen?

Paulinus’ turn to support the creation of a new lodge in Lincoln came in 1939 with the founding of the Lindum Lodge 5777 and Paulinus provided 12 founding members. In the ravages of World War 2 Paulinus helped Daedalus Lodge 3843 in the Province in providing Officers and ritualists when its own members were on active duty.

Many members have contributed to wider Lincoln society and many were closely involved with the purchase and refurbishment of the Nightingale Rooms. Our home. Perhaps is was hoped that by choosing the name Paulinus, members would extoll the virtues portrayed by our noble namesake?

Paulinus the fifth Lincoln Lodge. In numbers we have had: -

444 members

9 Grand Lodge Officers as members

2 mayors of Lincoln on our roll

9 Sheriffs of the city in our number

holders of awards such as OBE, BEM and MBE.

In the Lodge at the time of our centenary we have the Provincial Grand Master, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Mark Master Masons and a former Grand Master of the American Canadian Lodge under the United Grand Lodges of Germany as active members. Over the last hundred years there have been only 2 years in which we have had no initiates and many ceremonies have had 2 candidates. The Lodge has a family tradition with 13 fathers and sons being members of the Lodge. The current Junior warden’s Great-grandfather was a founding member and our first treasurer.

In our 100th year we have 55 members and 8 Lodges in Lincoln and the Master’s collar dates from 1928. The roll of honour, listing the first 100 masters has been recently completed and at this time we can reflect that this document was gifted to the Lodge by W. Bro Alfred Brunning, our first Worshipful Master. In 1940, at our 21st anniversary, as the father of the Lodge, Alfred took the chair. A tradition that is replicated today by the brethren occupying the chair of King Solomon and the Wardens’ positions.

A fuller history in booklet form, completed and compiled by our secretary will be presented at our festive board. We are Paulinus Lodge. 3957

3- We have 3 distinguished brethren in the persons of a PGM, DPGM (Mark) and a past GM.

9- We have had or have 9 Grand Lodge Officers as members.

5- We were the fifth Lodge founded in Lincoln

7- 7 makes us perfect

As we celebrate this milestone, we look forward to the next 900 meetings. Thank you.