Our Lodge History

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE LODGE

The Rector of Burstow and the Meridian Line

John Flamsteed

There have been various discussions as to the origins of the Lodge and its actual association with the small village of Burstow tucked between Horley and East Grinstead, under the Gatwick flight path. On further investigation, it would indeed appear that the two are inextricably linked.

It is recorded that John Flamsteed, the first Astronomer Royal and member of the Royal Society, became Rector of Burstow in 1685.

He had been appointed by Charles II in 1674 and put in charge of the newly built Greenwich Observatory. As is documented he is famed for his work in determining the position of almost 3,000 stars and lengthy rivalry with Issac Newton and Edmond Halley.

One of John Flamsteed’s other major achievements however, was to establish the first Meridian Line in Greenwich, defining ‘0’ degrees of longitude, where East meets West.

St Bartholomews

John Flamsteed is buried at St Bartholomew’s Church at Burstow in Surrey, where plaques commemorate his work. The Church, once an aisle-less Norman structure, is chiefly famous for its connection with Flamsteed and indeed the west window is a modern memorial to him. In 1946 a special service was held to commemorate the 300th Anniversary of his birth. Sir Harold Spencer Jones, the then Astronomer Royal, gave a special address on that occasion and sat in ‘Flamsteed’s Chair’.

It was Flamsteed who taught us the use of the telescope to study the heavens, discovered for sailors the longitude at sea, gave us the position of the sun, moon and stars and showed how to foretell the weather.

It is not surprising therefore that our lodge banner contains references to both the celestial and terrestrial globes, above the two great columns that support the ’Sun at its Meridian’. Indeed, a fitting confirmation of our origins.