Pentalpha Lodge No. 3164 was consecrated on the 23rd of May 1906. The Charter Master was W. Bro Thomas Comyns Woodman, with nineteen Founders. He and five of the other Pentalpha Founders were amongst the eleven Founders of the Sinai Chapter.
One can only speculate on the circumstances that led to the foundations of Masonry in Pulborough, but it would be fair to say that Thomas Woodman was the prime mover. In 1908 there were only eight Royal Arch Chapters in Sussex, and these were situated in the main towns of Chichester, Hove, Brighton, Lewis and St. Leonards on Sea. Rural members at that time had some distance to travel, either by waggonette or train. Pulborough, with its railway station, became an ideal place to expand Freemasonry.
At a Regular Meeting of Pentalpha Lodge No. 3164, held on the 8th April 1908, it was resolved that the consent of the Lodge be given to the Petitioners to seek a Chapter of Constitution from the Supreme Grand Chapter. This Consent was co-signed by Thomas Cameron, WM, Newland Tompkins, SW, and Ernest Foot, JW.
The Grand Superintendent for Sussex, the Very Revd. E.R. Currie, Dean of Battle, gave his recommendation on the 30th April 1908. The petition was carried and approved by the Supreme Grand Chapter on the 5th August 1908, where it was directed that the Sinai Chapter be opened on Wednesday, 30th September 1908, just six months after being approved in the Lodge.
On consequence of this petition a Meeting of the Provincial Grand Chapter was held in the upper room of the (now demolished) Railway Hotel on the 30th September for the purpose of consecrating the Chapter, and inducting and installing the Principals-designate, together with the electing and investing of the Officers.
The Provincial Grand Chapter of Sussex was opened by the M.E. Grand Superintendent, assisted by twelve Provincial Officers. There were also present the eleven Founders, and thirty Visitors. The Sinai Chapter No 3164 was Consecrated, Constituted and Dedicated in ancient and solemn form. E. Comp. Thomas Woodman and E. Comp E. Staffurth were inducted as First and Second Principals; E. Comp. Monteque Williams, "Provincial Grand H" (Second Provincial Grand Principal) installed Comp. Alfred Harris as Third Principal of the Chapter.
At this convocation eight brethren of Pentalpha Lodge, and two Joining Companions were proposed. It was resolved that a dispensation should be sought to exalt Bro. Ernest Cook, Tyler of the Pentalpha Lodge, as a Serving Companion to be Janitor of the Chapter.
Dispensation from the Provincial Grand Chapter was forth coming and an Emergency Convocation was held on 15th October 1908. Bro. Ernest Cook, and five other brethren, were exalted; together with two Joining Companions, bringing the membership up to nineteen in one go.
The War Years
Throughout the Great War of 1914-1918 the Chapter was kept busy with Exaltations of Companions. On only four occasions did the Chapter fail to meet because of lack of members.
The 1939-1945 War was much the same, although Masonry was suspended on the 4th September 1939, as letters from the Grand Scribe E read at the Convocation in November of that year show. The suspension was very brief as the succinct letter from the Provincial Grand Master/Provincial Grand Superintendent dated 27th September 1939 shown confirms. Interestingly, the Minutes were not put into a book during the war but kept on separate sheets of paper, now enclosed in the Minute Book of the day.
In 2008, the Chapter celebrated its Centenary, and we were honoured by visitors from across the Province of Sussex (and beyond), including the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent, E. Comp. Kenneth Eastwood Thomas who wrote: -
This day, we join together to celebrate the Centenary of Sinai Chapter No. 3164 - a most significant event in the life of any Royal Arch Chapter.
To help us, E. Comp. Brian Hunter has produced a most interesting history of the Chapter*. I congratulate the author, and any who helped him research the history of the Chapter and its past members. As the author states, in undertaking such research there are so many questions one would like to ask which the Minutes of past convocations do not reveal.
This Chapter maintains a strength and resilience, and today remains very much respected throughout the Province. Thus, it is with great pride that I bring a team of Provincial Officers with me to celebrate this significant event. May the principles and tenets of our Royal Arch masonry long be preserved and serve to the continued benefit of the Sinai Chapter No. 3164, and its role within the Province of Sussex. Indeed, our successors will have much to remind them of this important day through the Centenary Charter, Centenary Jewel, the refurbished Bible and the Banner.
I wish the Chapter every success.
* From which this section of the website is taken
The Officers of Sinai Chapter 2008
|T.D. Kelly||Principal Soj.||J. Lucas|
1st Asst. Soj.
2nd Asst Soj.
|D.A. Harrington||Organist||B. Freeman|
|J.F. Carlo||Assistant Scribe E||K. Bennett|
|G.S. Cutler||Steward||R.A. Dallyn|
|D.C. Jee||Steward||R. Mazek|
Professor Thomas Comys Woodman, a private tutor, who was exalted into the Lennox Chapter No 271 (Hove), was the Founding ‘Z’ and the first recipient of a PZ jewel. He was Second Provincial Grand Principal in 1909.
Bro. Edward Tumour of the Pentalpha Lodge, 6th Earl Winterton (Irish Peer) and Baron Tumour of Shillinglea, was proposed and exalted into the Chapter in March 1909. Elected Member of Parliament at the age of twenty-one, the Baby of the House, he continuously represented Horsham and its varying constituencies for forty-seven years, being Father of the House for the last nine.
E. Comp. Harry Edwards joined the Chapter in 1933, and was inducted into the Chair of Z the same evening! He was at the time Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, an office he held for ten years, relinquishing it in 1939 when he became Third Provincial Grand Principal. In 1959 he was appointed Assistant Provincial Grand Master, an office he held for 13 years.
E. Comp. Ernest H Staffurth took over the Scribe E office to enable Comp. Newland Tompkins to go through the Principals' Chairs, he remained in that office until January 1934.
Over the years many of our members have been honoured with Active and Past Provincial rank:
E.T. Davies was Provincial Grand Charity Steward, Provincial Grand Almoner, and Assistant to the Principals
R.D.W. Laker was Provincial Grand Charity Steward and Provincial Grand Registrar.
M. Sale was 3rd Provincial Grand Principal (Gloucester)
D.A. Harrington was Provincial Deputy Grand Scribe E and Assistant to the Principals (Surrey)
B. Freeman was Provincial Grand Organist (Surrey)
We have been blessed over the years with many companions willing to undertake the onerous task of Janitor:
E. Cook was Janitor for 34 years (a serving Brother of Pentalpha Lodge where he was Tyler)
R.W. Graham (during the WWII he was Home Guard QM Sergeant in the Corn Exchange)
F. Cousins (a brother of Pentalpha Lodge before gaining full membership)