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The first 4 lodges of the GL of London (1717)

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MessagePosté le: Mar 14 Oct - 05:09 (2008)    Sujet du message: The first 4 lodges of the GL of London (1717) Répondre en citant

Extract from: Chapters of Masonic History
The Builder Magazine, March 1924 - Volume X - Number 3
reprpduced onPietre-Stones Review of Freemasonry,


There were doubtless several Time Immemorial lodges in or about London, but either only four of these were invited to participate in the formation of Grand Lodge or else for some reason the names of other participating lodges were omitted from the records. According to the Engraved List of 1729 the lodge which met at the Goose and Gridiron was constituted in 1691. This old lodge made several removals after 1717, and once or twice changed its name; it moved to Mitre Tavern in 1768 and commenced to call itself Lodge of Antiquity, No. 1. This lodge was neither large nor influential until in 1774 it had the singular good fortune to elect as its Master the famous William Preston, who gave it prestige and power. When all lodges were re-numbered after the Union of the "Antients" and "Moderns" Antiquity was unjustly given rank No. 2, the precedence having been granted to a lodge formed under an "Antient" charter in 1735.

The second of the "four old lodges", which was meeting at the Crown Tavern in 1717, lacked vitality from the beginning; after moving about from place to place it died out entirely in about 1736, and was struck off the engraved list in 1740. In 1752 a number of brethren, none of them having been members of the lodge originally, petitioned that it be resuscitated, but inasmuch as Grand Lodge did not deem them able to carry on their application was rejected.

The third lodge among the old four met in Apple-Tree Tavern, in which place the first Grand Lodge was planned. Mr. Anthony Sayer, first Grand Master, was a member of this body. It also moved about, and in 1723, so we are told by Anderson, received a new charter, why, it is impossible to say. For some reason, perhaps because of this, it was in 1729 shifted down the list to eleventh place. In 1740 it was moved up to tenth place, and in 1756 was given sixth place. In 1768 it changed its name to Lodge of Fortitude, and in 1818, after uniting with Cumberland Lodge (organized in 1753), it adopted the title Fortitude and Old Cumberland Lodge, No. 12.

Of the original No. 4, Bro. A.F. Calvert, to whose The Grand Lodge of England I am especially indebted in this particular connection, gives this interesting and condensed account:

"From 1717 to 1736, original No. 4, which became No. 3 in 1729 and No. 2 in 1740, was the premier Lodge of the period of the Revival. It is considered probable that the members of Nos. 1, 2 and 3 were composed for the most part of working masons and brethren of the artisan class, and those lodges were operative lodges, while No. 4 may be considered the speculative or gentleman's lodge par excellence, and all the leading men in the Craft in the early days sprang from it. While the brethren belonging to the other three old Lodges were unimposing both as to number and social position, No. 4 had a roll of seventy members, and among the persons of rank and Masonic eminence belonging to the society were the Duke of Richmond, who established the Committee of Charity, Lord Paisley, the Duke of Queensberry, Lord Waldegrave, Sir Richard Manningham, Count La Lippe, Baron des Kaw, Sir Adolphus Ongleton, Earl de Loraine, Sir Thomas Prendergast, Lord Carmichael, Count Walzdorf, Marguis des Marches, Mr. William Cowper, Grand Secretary, and Bros. George Payne, Desaguliers and James Anderson.

"The other three Lodges, with their membership of about fifteen each, were of small account in comparison with the Old Horn Lodge, which during the first twenty years of the existence, of Grand Lodge may be said to have been responsible for its policy and development. Then the decline which has been experienced by so many old Lodges, after a period of exceptional prominence and prosperity, set in, and after about 1735 a falling off was discernible in its membership, its attendance at Grand Lodge, and its contribution to the Charity which it had been largely instrumental in founding. In 1746, the members of 'Lodge No. 2 at the Horn, at Westmr.' were required to give their reasons for absenting themselves from the general meetings of the Society 'for a considerable time past', and on 3rd April, 1747, it was decreed that the Lodge 'be erased out of the Book of Lodges.' For four years the order was in force, but on 4th April, 1751, we read in Grand Lodge minutes:

"'Bro. Lediard informed the brethren that the Right Worshipful Bro. Payne, L.G.M., and several other members of Lodge lately held at the Horn, Palace Yard, Westminster, had been very successful in their endeavours to revive the said Lodge, and that they were ready to pay 2 gs. to the use of the Grand Charity, and therefore moved that out of respect to Bro. Payne and the several other L.G.M's who were members thereof, the said Lodge might be restored, and have its former rank and place in the List of Lodges, which was ordered accordingly.'

"But the restored Old Horn Lodge as an independent body failed to recover its former prestige and prosperity, and after a further twenty-three years of abortive endeavour, it appeared to be on the verge of extinction. But in 1774 the Somerset House Lodge, which had been formed by Bro. Dunckerley on H.M.S. Prince in 1762, removed to H.M.S. Guadeloupe in 1764, revived at a 'Private Room, Somerset House,' in 1766 and numbered 279 in the List for 1767, was in a flourishing condition. Its list of members included the names of such notable Masons as James Heseltine, William White, James Galloway, Rowland Berkeley, Rowland Holt, Hon. Charles Dillon, the Duke of Beaufort and the Duke of Buccleuch. It was a liberal and regular subscriber to Grand Lodge Charities, its influence was powerful in the Grand Stewards' Lodge, and its founder, Dunckerley, exercised a positive genius in Masonic generalship and organisation. The Lodge in 1774 possessed every enviable attribute with the exception of antiquity, and that advantage it acquired by absorbing the original number and immemorial constitution of the Old Horn Lodge which, with its roll reduced to fifteen members, was then creeping to collapse."
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