HOVA ECCLESIA Lodge No. 1466 was consecrated on 8th April 1874, and now stands as 17th on the roll of Lodges in the Province of Sussex. The name was selected as it was the title of one of the Manors of Hove. There is in Chichester Cathedral a Canon's Stall of the same name which has from time to time been occupied by prominent Freemasons.
The original hope of the Founders that the Lodge should meet in Hove at Clifton House was frustrated as it was subsequently found that the accommodation was not suitable and that there were no other rooms available in the town that could be adapted. It was then decided as a temporary measure to meet at the Old Ship Hotel, Brighton and apart from three or four occasions, for which there was good reason it has continued to meet there, and to mark the many years of uninterrupted existence the Lodge held its 125th anniversary meeting in April 1999 at the Hotel wherein it was consecrated.
The Consecration in 1874 was carried out by W.Bro. E.J. Fumer the Deputy Provincial Grand Master assisted by W.Bro. W. R. Wood, Provincial Grand Senior Warden, W.Bro. J.G. Molineux, Provincial Grand Junior Warden W.Bro. J.H. Scott, Provincial Grand Secretary and W.Bro. J.O. McCrogher Provincial Grand Chaplain, who is reported as having delivered "an admirable and impressive Address".
At one time there were a number of Schoolmasters and Clergymen in the Lodge, and there was a close association with Brighton College that resulted in the forming of a Daughter Lodge named the Old Brightonians No. 4104, consecrated in 1920, followed by the St. Wilfrith of Sussex Lodge No. 5274, consecrated in 1931 which was founded principally for Clergymen. The third Daughter Lodge was consecrated in 1971 and titled Hoove Lodge No. 8369, and although no Hova Ecclesia members were amongst its Founders, we were pleased to sponsor it as it had the territorial attachment of Hove, Hoove being the original spelling of the town.
The Lodge furniture is unique. Two great Pillars surmounted by the Celestial and Terrestial Globes and their canopies dominate the West end of the Lodge. The Secretary's table is embellished with a large ornate silver inkstand, and an alms bowl in the shape of a Grecian Urn, made from ebony with silver mountings.
Possibly our proudest possessions are personal Banners of Past Masters, as it was, in the early days of the Lodge, a tradition for each Master at the end of his term in the Chair to present a banner. Unfortunately many of these have suffered from "Anno Domini" but we have managed to preserve and renovate several which are displayed in the East on installation and other special occasions.
In 1881 a Brother presented a set of ivory gavels for the use of the Master and his Wardens, they have the Lodge coat of arms carved thereon, and they are still in use.