Where it began
A part of the history of Fareham and Titchfield and dates from Saxon times when those two boroughs, as they then were, were known respectively as Fernham and Ticefelle.
Originally know as "Bishops Park" when it was acquired to the See of Winchester by the early Militant Bishops. Militant Bishops who took active part in various wars, and in the government of the country and contrived to "acquire" specially rich lands. Such was Bishops Park, very rich in game (Deer in particular) and timber (mostly Oak, which was sold in later year to the Admiralty for the building of ships).
Bishops Park was a large stretch of land situated between the great parks of Fernham and Ticefelle, extending from approximately the present day Titchfield Road to just south of Bishops Waltham where it joined with the Forest of Bere.
We come to 'Post Norman Conquest' Bishops of Winchester, to Peter Des Roches in particular, who founded and built Titchfield Abbey in 1232 and Roche Court, still there today on the Wickham Road, just outside Fareham.
We also come to Thomas Wriothesley who in 1544 was granted a lease of Bishops Park and in the same year created Baron Wriothesley of Titchfield. Thomas Wriothesley was also created Earl of Southampton in 1547, this title having become extinct in 1542 on the death of Sir William Fitzwilliam who was created Earl of Southamption in 1537. It was about this time (of Thomas Wriothesley) that Bishops Park became known as Bishops Wood. There were four (Wriothesley) Earls of Southampton, the fourth died in 1667 and the title became extinct.
Much else also became extinct, including the name of Bishops Wood and the rich timber trade of Titchfield and Fernham - as it was then still named. By a happy coincidence the name 'Bishopswood' survives, or is rather revived, in this day.
After the great war of 1914-1918 two new dioceses were carved out of the modern See of Winchester. They were Portsmouth and Guildford. Portsmouth diocese purchased as Bishops Residence "Blackbrook Grove", a three hundred year old house at Fareham. The first Bishop of Portsmouth, Dr. Neville Lovett, did not consider that 'Blackbrook Grove' was suitable for a name and was invited to give it another. Walking around the place one day before his Enthronement he causally thought "Ah! Bishopswood" and Bishopswood it became. Some seven years later he was shown an old Elizabethan map and across the section from the present 'Bishopswood' north towards Bishops Waltham, and westward of the Meon Valley railway line, was the inscription "Here is Bishopswood".
Formation of the Lodge
On Friday 22nd February 1963 an informal meeting was held at the Fareham Masonic Hall to discuss the formation of a new Freemasons lodge in Fareham. Present at the meeting were:
W.Bro.T.R Smart, PGStdBr
H.S. Goodwin, PM 407, PDGJW (Malta) Secrtary 1958, H.Member 2013 and 3705
F.B. Jarvis, PM 515, PDAGDC (Malta) 309
G.P. Russell, PM 5532
A.G. Coote, PM 5532
R.A. Adams, PM 2938, PPGStdB
C.W. Hammond, PM 309
W.P. Selby, PM 2938
A.G. Boniface, PM 309
Bro.J.H. Lait, 309
R.W. Spencer, 309
D.C. Beale, 309
A. Parker, 5532
W.E.A. Jacobs, 5532
C.A. Lea, 5532
W.B. Hobson, 5532
L.V. Bridle, 309
During the meeting a discussion took place as to the need for a new lodge in the area and it was unanimously decided that the need did in fact exist. Lodge of Harmony no. 309, agreed to be the sponsoring lodge for the formation of the new lodge.
The discussion then moved on to the lodge name. Several suggestions were recieved with historical connections to the town of Fareham and district, viz: "Bishopswood", "Delme" and "Trinity". After due consideration it was proposed by Bro W.E.A. Jacobs, MM 5532 and seconded by Bro A. Parker, MM 5532, that the name "Bishopswood" be submitted and this was agreed unanimously.
It was decided that the lodge should meet at the Masonic Hall in Fareham on the fourth Thursday of Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Sep, Oct and Nov. W.Bro H.S Goodwin PM 407 proposed that W.Bro T.R. Smart, PGStdB be nominated as the first master for the new lodge. This was seconded by W.Bro C.V Hammond and carried with acclaim.
There then followed a discussion around fees. This resulted in the following: Founders Fee Ten Guineas (£10.10.0d), Annual Subs Three pounds (£3), Initiation fees Twenty Five Guineas (£25.5.0d), joining fees Five Guineas (£5.5.0d). It was also decided that the first members of the lodge should provide their own collars and jewels and present these to the lodge.
The lodge was consectrated at the Masonic Hall, Queens Road, Fareham on Wednesday 28th August, 1963.