THE CHURCH COLLECTION

The Church Collection is an impressive library of books and publications on genealogy and heraldry which was acknowledged to be one of the finest in the county.

It is named after W.Bro. Dr Edward (Teddy) Church PJGD PProvSGW, who was a very distinguished and active Mason in Kent. He studied medicine at Cambridge University and joined Freemasonry at a young age. He qualified during WWII, went straight into the Army Medical Corps and was commissioned as Medical Officer and parachuted into Arnhem where he had the bad luck to be captured and became a prisoner of war. After the war was over, he became a GP and had a practice in Ashford, Kent where he had a reputation for battling with medical authorities to get the right treatment for his patients.

He joined Invicta Lodge, East Kent Masters Lodge and (after being made a Provincial Steward) Kent Provincial Grand Stewards’ Lodge and became, in time, Master of all three. He was also very active in other Masonic orders and achieved high rank in all, with a reputation for active recruitment into them.

Teddy’s hobby outside Freemasonry was genealogy so much so that he was made a Fellow of the Genealogical Society. He built up an impressive library of books and publications on this and heraldry which was acknowledged to be one of the finest in the county. On meeting someone with an unusual or local surname he would often volunteer to research their family history – and this was in the days when there were no computerised records! Teddy had four sons (all Masons) and when he died, he left his library to his third son, Tom, who had also attended Cambridge University and was a wonderful craftsman in wood and bookbinding as well as a “bookworm extraordinaire”. Tom in turn donated the genealogy library to us.

It has been our long-term intention to use both our Masonic Library and the Church Library to form the basis of a “Masonry in the Community” Family History Centre in partnership with the Kent Family History Society, (KFHS). This was put on hold whilst we catalogued both collections, now that this exercise is nearing completion it is the intention to resume talks with KFHS and plan the project in detail.

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