Freemasons have been present in this area since 26 April 1809 when the Fortitude Lodge was opened at the Star Inn, Burnham on Crouch

No other Lodges have been traced in the Dengie 100 although Freemasonry also became established at the nearly town of Maldon.

One of the prominent members of the Fortitude Lodge was Rev Alexander John Scott, who was Vicar of Southminster and Curate of Burnham on Crouch.

Rev Scott's greatest claim to fame was a long naval career as a chaplain which concluded with service as Nelsons Chaplain

Scott appears to have become a mason during his naval service and encourages it's inception at Burnham on Crouch.

He was so highly regarded that in 1813 he was installed at Deputy Provincial Grand Master of the Freemasons in Essex.

In the 1820's Freemasonry started to lose some of its vigour and many Lodges closed.

By 1830 Fortitude closed leaving this area without a working lodge

In 1847 a new lodge, called the Royal Burnham, was formed at the Star Inn.

As was the case with Fortitude the Royal Burnham ran into difficulties and closed in 1861.

A considerable gap  of 60 years then ensued until 1927 when the Royal Burnham once again opened.

The Royal Burnham held its meetings in St Mary's Church Hall, Station Road, Burnham on Crouch and became a great success.

It's first secretary was Henry Billinghurst who held many offices including Essex Grand Registrar and National Assistant Director of Ceremonies.

The first Master was Mr J Wylie Patterson who was rear Commodore of Royal Burnham Yacht Club.

Over following years the membership grew to the extent that two further lodges, The Corinthian Centenary and the Royal Burnham Chapter, were started.

These lodges continued to meet from their consecration and are still operating now.


Further information

Essex Freemasons are at the forefront in the UK in publishing details of their history.

If anyone wishes to find out more about freemasons there are many sources available.

The three that are most recommended by this site are


The Masters Chair is a book prepared by members of the Masonic Province of Essex.

This book provides a great history of Freemasons in Essex.

It is available via Essex Freemasons web site.


The website of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Essex which provides a history as well as current information


The Essex Oaths Project which  has researched material held by Essex Lodges and the Essex Records Office and listed members of the Lodges from 1799 onwards. This project is ongoing so all Lodges are not yet listed but is a great source for family historians.

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