It was on the 18th March 1907 that The MW Grand Master, The Duke of Connaught who when visiting Ceylon, announced the appointment of Sir Henry Blake GCMG, Governor of Ceylon, Past District Grand Master of Jamaica (1897-1901), as the First District Grand Master of Ceylon.


The inaugural meeting of District Grand Lodge was held on 1st May 1907 and constituted of St. John’s Lodge (1838), St George Lodge (1886), Adam’s Peak Lodge (1897), The Grant Lodge (1902), The Duke of Connaught Lodge (1902) and The Nuwara Eliya Lodge (1903).


Sir Henry Blake having then attended the Installation of St John’s Lodge on 24th June returned to England in July 1907 and proved to be an absentee District Grand Master with there being no record of his ever again having presided over District Grand Lodge. He continued in the post until his death in 1918.


Whilst Masonic records included in the last edition of “The Sri Lanka Masonic Handbook duly records Sir Henry Blake as the First District Grand Master, there is an interesting footnote in a copy of The Ceylon Masonic Handbook” of the 1930’s that reads “In 1810, Sir Alexander Johnston was appointed Provincial Grand Master by Patent although there is no record of his ever having a Provincial Grand Lodge or Private Lodge under him.”


This historical anomaly is further cemented in an old copy of the “Masonic Year Book Historical Supplement”; which gives the succession of District Grand Masters of Sri Lanka (Ceylon) citing Sir Alexander Johnston as the First District Grand Master with the date of his Patent specifically stated to be 1st May 1810. The Second holder of the office is cited as Sir Henry Blake with the names of succeeding District Grand Masters correctly stated.


Even more interestingly, The United Grand Lodge of England came into being only on St John’s Day, 27th December 1813, three years after the date of the Patent. The details of who issued the Patent and why it was recognised by Grand Lodge remains a mystery to this day.


The Succession of District Grand Masters:

1907         Sir Henry Blake

1909         Geoffrey Philip Greene

1923         Walter Sutherland Rose

1927         Charles James Bayley

1930         Austin Woodeson

1935         Guy Stanley Wodesman

1940         Robert Coleridge Scott

1962         Charles Melville Jennings

1968         Vincent Henry Ludovici Anthonisz

1973         David Narasiah Rockwood

1976         Charles Melville Francis Jennings

1991         Srivaran Kumaranayagam

2007         Dr. Milroy S. Perera

2012         Henry Malin Goonetileke

2018         Ferhad Jamshed Nilgiria


The Succession of Deputy District Grand Masters: 


1907         John Norman Campbell

1911         Geoffery Philip Greene

1918         John Walker

1922         Charles James Bayley

1927         Austin Wodenson

1930         Edward Becket Creasy

1936         Robert Coleridge Scott

1943         John WilliamThompson

1949         Charles Melville Jennings

1963         Vincent Henry Ludovici Anthonisz

1969         Rasanayagam Kumaranayagam

1973         David Narasiah Rockwood.

1974         Sangarapillai Sittampalam

1977         Maitripala Abhaya Goonewardene

1991         Arnold Harrison Dhas

1999         John Malcom Gamani Perera

2003         Dr. Milroy S. Perera

2007         Henry Malin Goonetileke

2012         Ferhad Jamshed Nilgiria

2018         Mahendra Kantilal Perera