The Genesis of Concord
The Genesis of Concord.
The Founding and Early Years of the Lodge of Concord
No. 654, (now No. 343).
R.K. Erett, P.M.
The Lodge of Concord No. 654 was founded during troubled times and its members
saw little else for over eighty years. England was at war with France and, indeed, just a few months after the founding of the Lodge, the final, bloody and decisive battle of that war was fought at Waterloo. The aftermath of this brought great unemployment to this country, together with a deep depression. Thousands of former soldiers returned home to find that there were no jobs and no money.
During the course of the nineteenth century, the civilised world saw more fundamental change than it had for the whole of its previous existence. This change brought many problems to the town of Preston - industrial unrest, several financial depression, the so-called "Cotton Famine," brought about by the Civil War in America and the Potato Famine in Ireland, which resulted in the migration of many Irish weavers to Lancashire, in search of work, which was already in short supply.
During the same period, the population of the town rose quite dramatically. In 1811, 17,000 souls resided in Preston. By 1901, the population had increased to about 3,000. Freemasonry did not escape the effects of these problems, in fact the same period proved to be a torrid time for the Craft. The Lodge of Perseverance moved to Liverpool, following a difficult few years. The four remaining old lodges managed to weather the storm, but only just, at times. What is clear, is that the social and economic situation which existed for many years, could not have sustained any additional lodges in the town. Not until the founding of Stanley Lodge of Preston, No. 2600, in 1896, could it be said that "Proud Preston," was coming out of those long years of depression. The Lodge of Concord survived, to become a highly respected member of the Preston Group of Lodges.
The following is an account of how the Lodge of Concord was founded and what took place in the first few years of its existence. Early in 1994, the secretary of the Lodge handed me a sheet of paper. It was a request for historical information concerning the Lodge of Concord. One question seemed simple enough - "Which Lodge is Concord's Mother Lodge?" That simple question proved to be the awkward one. Enquiries among the brethren of the Lodge and other knowledgeable brethren in the Preston Group, incredibly, proved unsuccessful.I decided that this was a matter which required further investigation, so I wrote to the Librarian at Grand Lodge, W. Bro. John Hamill, P.S.G.D. Within a few days, I received a large packet, which contained some interesting documents, the study of which has resulted in the compilation of this paper.
It is now over 200 years since the Lodge of Concord was warranted. The happenings of many of those 200 years are well known and documented. But, what of those earliest times? - the months leading to the formation of the lodge and the months following? They seem to have been something of a mystery for many years - but no longer!
English speculative masonry had enjoyed (or endured) an interesting history for almost a hundred years. The Premier Grand Lodge had been formed in 1717, and did not have things all its own way. It had to compete with other Grand Lodges, the most significant being the "Grand Lodge of England According to the Old Institutions." This second Grand Lodge became known as the "Atholl" Grand Lodge, after its Grand Master, the Duke of Atholl. It was also referred to as the "Antients Grand Lodge." The earlier "Premier Grand Lodge" was dubbed the "Moderns." It may seem that these names should be the other way round, but they had nothing to do with the ages of the two Grand Lodges. The "Antients" had accused the "Moderns" of making certain changes to the ritual and consequently of working a "modem" form of ritual, while the "Antients" retained the "Antient" working.
There was, at times, considerable acrimony between the rival Grand Lodges, until the
great day on 27th December 1813, when good sense prevailed and the Union of the "Moderns" and the "Antients" was effected.
Both of those Grand Lodges warranted their own lodges and, naturally, used separate numbering systems. In 1777, a warrant, No. 204, was issued, by the "Antients" Grand Lodge, to a lodge in Florida. The warrant did not arrive there and consequently, that lodge did not meet. The warrant was re-issued, (a common "Antients" practice), to a group of brethren in Manchester, who were forming a new lodge, to meet at the Cock Inn, at Stretford.. This Lodge did not last long and the same number, 204, was issued to another group of brethren, this time in Preston.
This lodge subsequently became known as the Lodge of Perseverance.
In 1814, following the Union of the two Grand Lodges, something had to be done about the lodge numbering system. Lots were drawn to decide which lodge should become number One on the list, (bearing in mind that there were now two number Ones). The "Antients" won. Lodges were then taken alternately from the former lists and numbered accordingly. Thus, "Antients" No. 1 remained No. 1. "Moderns
No. 1 became No. 2. "Antients" No. 2 became No. 31, "Moderns" no. 2 became No. 4 and so on. The Lodge of Perseverance, No. 204 (Antients), became No. 255 on the register of the United Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of England.
On 8th August, 1814, a past master of the Lodge of Perseverance, No 255, wrote a letter (Appendix 1) to Edwards Harper, the Grand Secretary, as follows:
"We are a few Brethren, wishing, if thought worthy, to purchase within ourselves, a Master Mason's Warrant, wishing you, at the same time, to state to me by return of post, what will be the different expences (sic) attending the above, and also, what will be required from us to obtain the said warrant. If three Grand Lodge Certificates sent to you will answer your request, or we shall be under the necessity of getting a petition signed by three lodges. Be pleased to inform us which will be required, should we be so fortunate as to obtain the above, we shall always make it our study for the honour of the Craft, to promote harmony, friendship and brotherly love. Your earliest answer is most earnestly requested.
From your Most ob't.
Servant and Brother,'
late master of No. 204
Now No. 255.
This is the first document known to exist which is directly concerned with the forming of the Lodge of Concord.
W. Bro. Sydney Hunt wrote the history of the lodge to mark the sesqui-centenary in 1964. He observed that "It is safe to assume that our founders were Antients." That assumption is correct, in that our founders came from what we know was a former "Antients" lodge.
The purchase of a warrant was a practice which was not uncommon in respect of lodges formed under both Grand Lodges. However, the new United Grand Lodge did not appear to approve of it, in fact, it is specifically forbidden now. The production of three Grand Lodge Certificates is rather curious, though it would provide proof that three founders, presumably the Master and the wardens designate, were regular masons. A petition is getting somewhat closer to the correct method, although for it to be "signed by three lodges," I believe, demonstrates that Hewitt was probably not totally familiar with the regulations under the new United Grand Lodge.
In fact, this provides further confirmation that Concord's roots are well established in the "Antients ... Grand Lodge. Rule 8 of the Rules and Orders of the "Antients" stipulated that, "No admission or warrant shall be granted to any Brothers to hold a lodge, until they have first formed a Lodge of Antient Masons ... ... and then Apply by Petition and such Petition to be attested by the Masters of three Regular Lodges, who shall make a Proper Report of them."
I am not aware of a similar requirement in the Moderns' regulations. However, Harper, in his reply to Hewitt's letter, (Appendix 2) has this to say, "In reference to your letter received this day, I have in the first place to observe that there is a lodge already at Preston, on the register, of which I perceive you know, as one of the members. Unless some good reason be assigned for establishing another in the town, I cannot give you any hope of this being granted."
"The proper way of proceeding is upon petition of not less than seven registered Master Masons, recommended by the present existing lodge in the Town. At the same time, promising a strict conformity to all the laws and Orders of the Grand Lodge and nominating those whom you would wish to recommend as the Master and wardens."
W. Bro. Edward Dickson, P.S.G.D. P.A.Pr.G.M. informed me that in the very early days, a group of brethren would decide to form a lodge, apply for a warrant and then get on with it. It seems that Hewitt wanted to "get on with it" with the minimum of fuss. The Grand Secretary though, was not going to allow any short cuts. "The proper way," described by him, in his reply, will be familiar to any brother who has been involved in the founding of a new lodge in modern times.
Hewitt considered himself told! The next document in my possession, is the petition,
Appendix 3). It is written in James Hewitt's handwriting and bears the seal of the Lodge of Perseverance No. 255 as sponsoring lodge.
A point of interest in the petition concerns the name of the lodge. The founders, it seems, did not choose it! Hewitt wrote, "...therefore, we all being, registered Master Masons, have agreed unanimously, to form ourselves into a new Lodge, to be named .....whatever you may think proper."
He went on to say,"...and have therefore nominated Brother James Hewitt to be Master, Brother Edmund Holden to be Senior Warden and Brother John Critchley, to be Junior Warden."
These brethren requested a warrant of Constitution to empower them to assemble and hold a regular lodge on the Monday nearest every full moon in every month at the house of Mr. John Warbrick sign of the Golden Ball, New Street, Preston, Lancashire and then and there to make, pass and raise Masons.
The petition was signed by, Robert Jamieson, Thomas Munday and James Smith, who were the Master and Senior and Junior wardens respectively of the Lodge of Perseverance.
The petition was then signed by the petitioners, James Hewitt, Edmund Holden, John
Critchley, William Elsworth, John Warbrick, Thomas Ernshaw and James Forrest.
It was dated Preston, Sept. 28th 1814 and signed by Daniel Lynch, Dep.Pr.G.M.,
County of Lancaster. You will notice that there are seven petitioners on this list - seven being the number necessary to make a lodge perfect. I will speak more on this point shortly. Let us first look at the petitioners.
James Hewitt, joined the Lodge of Perseverance No 204 (now 155) on 8 December 1810 and became master of that Lodge on 11 August 1812. On Concord's petition, he is described as a weaver. In 1815, his address was 4 High Street, Preston, which is just a few yards from where the Lodge now meets. His original lodge has not been traced. He was the first Master of The Lodge of Concord.
Edmund Holden. Was initiated in Lodge of Perseverance No 204 in December 1812.
The petition lists him as a hosier. He resided in Preston and was the first Senior Warden.
John Critchley. He was initiated in Lodge No. 238 of the Antients, (later Union Lodge, which was erased in 1838), at Chorley. He joined the Lodge of Perseverance No. 204 on 15 June 1812, by which time he was described as a Mechanic. Concord's petition lists him as a weaver. He was the first Junior Warden.
John Warbrick. Initiated on 12 January 1813 in the Lodge of Perseverance No 204.
He was an inn keeper, in fact, he was the landlord of the Golden Ball in New Street, Preston, which was where the lodge first met.
Thomas Earnshaw was a weaver, who resided at various times, in Preston and Blackburn. He was proposed in the Lodge of Benevolence No. 310 (Antients), Blackburn, on 1 July 1806, by the Worshipful Master of that Lodge, John Fullalove.
He was balloted and initiated on 29 July 1806. He was passed on 26 August and raised on 30 September of the same year. The Lodge of Benevolence is now number 226 and meets at Rochdale He joined the Lodge of Perseverance No. 204 on 18 May 1813. He last appeared on the return of the Lodge of Benevolence in 1812, when he was in arrears with his subscriptions.
James Forrest. Joined the Lodge of Perseverance No. 204 in 1810, being an Army Purveyor, residing in Preston. The Antients' Grand Lodge Register for No 204 states that he joined from Lodge 275 (later Fidelity, which was erased in 1832) at Manchester, but he does not appear on their returns. Concord's petition describes him as a baker.
It is interesting to note that these founding brethren were of fairly humble backgrounds, mostly connected with the textile trade. At the time of the founding of the Lodge in 1814, there were four other lodges meeting in Preston. The Lodge of Peace and Unity, now No. 314, was founded in 1797. Royal Preston Lodge, now No. 333, founded in 181 1, the Lodge of Unanimity, now No. 113, a former military lodge, founded in 1776 and the Lodge of Perseverance, now No. 155, founded in 1803. The Lodge of Peace and Unity and Royal Preston Lodge were both "Moderns," while Unanimity and Perseverance were of "Antients" origin.
A comparison has been attempted of the social standing of the founders of these lodges. No details are available of the occupations of the founders of the Lodge of Peace and Unity, but it is known that by 1818, the membership of that lodge consisted of 35 brethren, all of whom were described in the "History of the Lodge of Peace and Unity," by its author, A.J. Berry, as of "homely character." This description is applicable to the founders of the Lodge of Concord and to the contemporary members of the Lodge of Perseverance. Royal Preston's members at that time, however, consisted of men of a much higher social standing. Samuel Horrocks, a leading industrialist, who revolutionised the cotton industry in the town, was a member. Robert Townley Parker, one time member of Parliament for Preston was another. Richard Addison and John Bairstow, both prominent names in Preston's history were also members. The members of this lodge included barristers, doctors, leading business men and gentlemen. There was frequent intervisiting between all of these lodges in the post Union years, proving the point, that even in those days, the brethren could meet on the Level on equal terms and part on the Square, to resume their positions in society.
Now, we come to the date of the warrant, that being the alleged date on which it was issued by Grand Lodge. The late Bro. J.F. Burnett, who compiled the history of the lodge in 1814 and W. Bro. Sydney Hunt, who did the same in 1964, commented on the poor condition of the wan-ant. It is now barely readable. There is a tear in the fabric of the warrant where the date is written. All that can be seen is "1814."
According to Grand Lodge, it was warranted on 30 December 1814. For many years, there has been some doubt expressed, concerning the date of our warrant. Questions were being asked as far back as February 1886. At the centenary celebrations on 17th December 1914, the Very Worshipful, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Bro. Louis Slade Winsloe referred to the uncertainty of the date of the warrant.
I suspect that the date, 30 December 1814, is used by Grand Lodge, having been taken from Lane's "Masonic Records." In 1886, John Lane wrote to the Lodge, as he did to many other old Lodges, requesting the "exact date of Lodge Concord, 343 Warrant ... ... as such date does not appear in Grand Lodge books." It seems clear that the date which Grand Lodge has recorded was supplied by the lodge itself, through John Lane, many years after its foundation.
On 7th February 1815, the Worshipful Master, James Hewitt, wrote to the Grand Secretary, (Appendix 4). He mentioned, "...the Grand Master's Dispensation, for three months, dated 7th November 1814, as having this day, finally closed its authority."
He asked that the Warrant should be forwarded, "as speedy as possible." He took the liberty of suggesting that the Grand Secretary examine the part of "our obligation" which refers to a "just and lawful warranted authority. "
W. Bro. Hamill informed me (Appendix 5), that following the Union in 1813, considerable thought was given to the form which warrants for new lodges should take. It was not until 1819 that this matter was finally decided and that was when our warrant was actually issued. W. Bro. Hamill also told me that in lieu of a warrant, prior to 1819, a dispensation would be issued. Such dispensation would be initially for three months duration, but would be extended indefinitely, until such time as a warrant could be issued. The warrant, when issued, would be dated from the date upon which the dispensation was issued. This now brings us back to Hewitt's letter of 7th February 1815, when, you will recall, he wrote, "The Grand Master's Dispensation for three months dated 7th November 1814 as having this day, finally closed its authority."
Hewitt states definitely 7th November 1814. The dispensation was initially effective for three months and his letter is dated 7th February 1815, exactly three months later.
Other Lodges, it seems, have doubts about the dates on their warrants. The Lodge of Faith, No. 344, has a warrant dated the same as Concord's, yet this lodge has record of a regular meeting having taken place before the date of the warrant. The Lodge of St. John and St. Paul, No. 349, in Malta, can be even more specific. Their petition is dated 18 February, 1815. Their first meeting took place, under a dispensation, on 15 April, 1815. The warrant arrived from England on 5 April 1819 and is dated 27 November 1815, seven months after the Lodge's first meeting!
A list of members dated 4th July 1815 and which appears to be the return to Grand Lodge, (Appendix 6), states clearly that James Hewitt, Edmund Holden, John Critchley, John Warbrick, James Forrest and Thomas Earnshaw, all joined the lodge on November 28th 1814. That would appear to have been the first meeting of the lodge. They had got their dispensation and on that day, they "got on with it!"
You may remember that in the petition, it was stated that the lodge would meet on the Monday nearest the full moon in every month. My enquiries reveal that 28th November 1814 was a Monday and that the full moon was on Sunday 27th November 1814. This has been confirmed by two sources. The date of the full moon has been ascertained by calculation and these findings agree with and are confirmed by the Royal Astronomical Society. 1
If W. Bro. John Hamill's explanation is used as an authoritative statement, then 1 believe that the date of the warrant should read, "7th November 1814." 1 also believe that the first meeting of the Lodge of Concord, No. 654 took place on Monday 28th November 1814. There is some evidence to suggest that one James Dawson was initiated, passed and raised on Monday 26th December 1814. That was the second regular meeting of the Lodge. Conferring three degrees at one meeting was not uncommon in the early days, but it cannot be done now. However there is no record of Dawson's having become a member of the lodge. That does not place any doubt on that evidence, as it is not unknown for a lodge to initiate, pass or raise masons on behalf of other lodges. It would seem that James Dawson, of whom we know nothing, could have been the first initiate of the lodge.
Hewitt continued to be troubled by the lack of a warrant and on 2nd June 1815, he again wrote to the Grand Secretary, (Appendix 7), stating that the lodge had "by diligent enquiry," obtained a dormant warrant. It had been the warrant of a former Ancients lodge, granted on 7th June, 1774, to the lodge, Virtue and Silence No. 188, and which had met in the town of Settle. He received short shrift from Harper, who told him that the dormant warrant was no longer of any "force or virtue," and that any addition or alteration to it would be "nugatory and unavailing." Hewitt had even suggested that Concord's name should be changed to "Virtue and Silence," so as to fit the dormant warrant. The Grand Secretary would have none of it.
You may remember that the list of those who "joined" the lodge on November 28th 1814 consisted of only six brethren Hewitt, Holden, Critchley, Warbrick, Forrest and Earnshaw. What of William Elsworth? He seems to have dropped out after he had signed the petition, as there is no further reference to be found in respect of him. It is not known whether he died,' left the district or just lost interest.
On May 22nd 1815, Thomas Clayton, a schoolmaster and James Morley, a hatter were "made." Their registration fees amounted to 10/6d each. On June 19th 1815, five brethren joined the lodge, from other lodges. They were,
William Bamber - joiner.
Thurston Winstanley - sailor.
Hugh Ashcroft - book keeper.
James Hatch - labourer.
Who were initiated in the Lodge of Perseverance;
and John De Lap. - Weaver. He was initiated in Lodge No 325, Mallow, Ireland.
(As the Antients Grand Lodge had been founded by a number of Irishmen and was particularly favoured by the Irish brethren, this could be further evidence of the "Antient" origins of the Lodge of Concord).
So far, we have 13 members, all of whom were assumed by J.F. Burnett to be founders. We now know that that was not the case.
Referring back to the six "founders," when Grand Lodge eventually issued the warrant, they requested from the lodge, the names of the founders whose names would be entered on the warrant. But! Six were not enough. So, William Bamber's name was added, although we know that he was a joining member on June 19th
Hewitt must have been making himself ill with worry over the lack of a warrant. He wrote again to the Grand Secretary on 20th December, 1815, (Appendix 9). He made two points.
1. The lodge wished to move from the Golden Ball, to the Turks Head in
Turks Head Court, Church Street, and
2. The lodge wished to change its officers, probably in just such a manner as we do nowadays on the day of installation.
But, the dispensation had stated that the lodge would meet at the Golden Ball and had nominated the principal officers.
Hewitt asked for permission for these changes to take place. Bearing in mind the date of this letter, it seems that Hewitt served as Master for longer than 12 months. It is now known that Edmund Holden was the second Master, but we do not know when he was installed and we do not know the identities of subsequent masters until 1824.
The answering of the original question, "Which lodge is Concord's other lodge?" has been achieved. It has raised many other questions, which means that the work must continue. There are still large gaps to explore, and research is necessary, for instance, to try to trace details of masters subsequent to Hewitt. I may find answers to some of the questions, some will be found by others and some may never be answered. What is certain, is that one awkward question caused us to know much more about the "Genesis of Concord" than has been known for many years. (Appendix 1)
W. Sir & Br.
At the request of a few Brethren 'm wishing me to remit to you for their information the following, which I am well acquainted the love and high esteem you hold for the Craft, will allow you to give your assistance on the following subject.
We are a few Brethren, wishing, if thought worthy, to purchase within ourselves, a Master Mason's Warrant, wishing you at the same time to state to me by return of post, what will be the different expences (sic) attending the above, and also, what will be required from us to obtain the said warrant. If three Grand Lodge Certificates sent to you will answer your request, or we shall be under the necessity of getting a petition signed by three Lodges. Be pleased to inform us which will be required.
Should we be so fortunate as to obtain the above, we shall always make it our study for the honour of the Craft, to promote harmony, friendship and brotherly love. Your earliest answer is most earnestly requested.
From your most obt.
Servant and Brother,
late master of No. 204
Now No. 255.
N.B. Please to address to me at the sign of the Golden Ball, in New street in Preston,
Preston. 8th August 1814(Appendix 2)
DRAFT REPLY FROM HARPER
Sir & Brother,
In reference to your ltr received this day, 1 have in the first place to observe that there is a Lodge already (sic) in Preston, on the register of which I perceive you know as one of the Members. Unless some good reason be assigned for establishing another in the town, 1 cannot give you any hope of its being granted.
The proper way of proceeding, is upon Petition of not less than seven registered M. Masons, recommended by the present existing Lodge in the Town - at the same time promising a strict conformity with the Laws & Orders of the G.L. & nominating those whom you would wish to recommend as the Master & Wardens.
Upon receipt of such application, being regular it will meet every attention from
Yr very obdt Svnt (Appendix 3)
THE PETITION FOR A WARRANT FOR THE LODGE OF CONCORD NO. 654.
The humble petition of the undersigned free and accepted Masons, belonging the Lodge
Perseverance No. 255, Sheweth)
That we the Petitioners are regular made Masons, and present members of the Lodge Perseverance under the Constitution of England. That we having the prosperity of the fraternity at heart, and are will to exert our best endeavours, to promote the principles of Genuine Masonry, founded upon the mutual basis of brotherly love, and moreover for the conveniency of ourselves and other good reasons such as the following, viz. Being so very numerous that it renders our meetings uncomfortable - Therefore, we all being registered Master Masons, have agreed unanimously to form ourselves into a new Lodge to be named whatever you may think proper, and have therefore, nominated Brother James
Hewitt to be Master, Bro. Edward Holden to be Senior Warden and Brother John Critchley to be
Junior wardens and that in consequence of this resolution, they pray for a Warrant of Constitution,
to empower them to assemble, and hold a regular Lodge on the Monday nearest every full moon in every month, at the House of Mr John Warbrick, sign of the Golden Ball New Street, Preston,
Lancashire, and then and there to make, pass and raise Masons, according to the regular forms of the fraternity, and also to execute all the other duties of the Craft, that, the prayer of this Petition being granted, they will faithfully obey all Edicts or commands of the Grand Master, and most strictly conform to all the Laws and regulations of the Grand Lodge of England.
This is also to certify, that we the undersigned Master and Wardens of the Lodge Perseverance, do highly approve and recommend the undersigned Petitioners as Brothers worthy of your most especial Approbation.
Robt. Jamieson W.M.
Thos. Munday 'S. W.
James Smith J.W.
Your humble petitioners will at all times make it their constant study (as a duty incumbent upon themselves) as being highly honoured to have it in their power to comply in every sence (sic) of the
word, with all the Laws and orders which the Grand Lodge may in their wisdom, from tune to time, be pleased to issue, for the Government and support of the Ancient Craft, and we shall also make use of every means, as far as lays in our power, to give every assistance in order to promote Unity,
Friendship and Brother Love.
So we remain
Your Most obt. Huml. Servs.
Signed James Hewitt
Edmund Holden John Warbrick
John Critchley Thomas Ernshaw
William Elsworth James Forrest
Preston Sept. 28th 1814
Danl. Lynch. D.P.G.Mr. County of Lancaster(Appendix 4)
Preston 7th Feby. 1815
Worshipful Sir & Br.
Our return dated the 1st Jany. 1815 we hope is duly come to hand, with its inclosure (say £2) - wherein was stated that the Grand Master's Dispensation, for three months, Dated 7th Novr. 1814 as having this day, finally closed its authority.
Should thank you, if possible, to forward the Warrant as speedy as you conveniently can - as we cannot consider ourselves justifyable (sic) in holding a Lodge until we receive fresh authority.
We shall also thank you to examine the few following words, which is a part of our Obligation, (allow me the liberty to say), "not to be by as the making only in a just and lawful warranted Lodge," - these few words wholly confines us to a warranted Authority - but notwithstanding that, should thank you for the renewal of our dispensation. If you cannot at present transmit the warrant as required, as it gives us the Authority of meeting, but the few words above totally stops our progress of working.
1 am with fraternal regard,
Your most obt. servt. & Br.
Mr Edwd. Harper,
G. Sy.(Appendix 5)
LIBRARY AND MUSEUM
OF THE UNITED GRAND LODGE OF ENGLAND
GREAT QUEEN STREET LONDON WC2B 5AZ
TELEPHONE: 071-831 98II
20th May 1994
Dear Brother Erett,
Thank you for your letter of 12 May.
The original petition for the Lodge of Concord No.343 does indeed still exist and 1 enclose a photocopy, together with a letter which had preceded it and the draft of the Grand Secretary's reply to the letter. From the petition you will see that your guess was correct, the Lodge was sponsored by the Lodge of Perseverance No.255 (now 155) which met in Preston from its formation in 1803 until it removed to Liverpool in 1852.
As you will see from the petition, the petitioners were:
William Elsworth appears to have dropped out as he does not appear on any of the returns from the Lodge and is not entered in the Grand Lodge Register for your Lodge. Thomas Ramshaw on your list I would assume is a misreading for Thomas Earnshaw. According to returns from the Lodge Bamber, Winstanley,
Hatch, Delap and Ashcroft all became joining members of the Lodge on 19 June 1815 and Parker joined in December 1815 (photocopy enclosed). Harry Jones does not appear on any return from the Lodge.
Contd. 2/ ... Although the Union of the two Grand Lodges took place on 27 December 1813 it was not until 1819 that the form of the Warrant was finally settled. As a result, when petitions for new lodges were granted the resulting Lodge was sent a dispensation signed by the MW The Grand Master authorising them to meet and work as a lodge until the form of the Warrant was decided. Initially the dispensation was for a period of three months but when it became clear that it would be some time before the Warrant was settled the time limit on the dispensation was removed. Your Lodge had been worried about this lack of a Warrant when the three months of the dispensation was up (see copy of letter of 7 February) but the Grand Secretary replied that the powers of dispensation had been extended until the Warrant had been settled. The Lodge wrote again in June 1815 and asked if they could revive a dormant Warrant that had come into their possession, but were informed that this was not possible (see photocopy of letter and draft of Grand Secretary's reply).
When the form of the Warrant was finally settled in 1819 Warrants were issued and dated with the date of the dispensations which had been issued to allow the lodge to begin work. Lodges were asked for the names to go on the Warrant, which is presumably how Bamber is listed on the Warrant as a petitioner although he was actually a joining member.
With regard to the signatories of the petition for Your Lodge we have been able to trace the following:
Joined Lodge of Perseverance No.204 (now 155) on 11 August 1812, described as a Manufacturer residing in Preston. Original lodge not yet traced. Master of Perseverance in 1810.
Initiated in Lodge of Perseverance No.204 (now 155) in December 1812. A Draper residing in Preston.
Initiated Lodge No.238 of the Antients (later Union Lodge, erased l838), Chorley, described as a Sizer. Joined Lodge of Perseverance No.204 (now 155), Preston, on 15 June 1812, being described as a Mechanic.
Initiated 21st November 1803 in Lodge of Perseverance No.204 (now 155), Preston.
Described as a Marble Cutter.
Cont. d. " )/ ...John Warbrick
Initiated 12 January 1813 in Lodge of Perseverance No.204 (now 155), Preston.
Described as an Inn Keeper.
Initiated 23 September 1806 in Lodge No.3 10 of the Antients (now Lodge of Benevolence No.226), Blackburn. Described as a Weaver residing in Blackburn.
18 May 18 1' ) joined Lodge of Perseverance No.204 (now 155), Preston.
Joined Lodge of Perseverance No.204 (now 155), Preston in 18 1 0, being described as an Army Purveyor, residing in Preston. The Antients Grand Lodge Register for 204 states that he joined from Lodge 275 (later Fidelity, erased 1832) at Manchester but he does not appear on their returns.
Yours sincerely and fraternally,
J.M. Hamill, PSGD
Librarian and Curator
Bro. R.K. Erett
SW, Lodge No.343
LIBRARY AND MUSEUM
OF THE UNITED GRAND LODGE OF ENGLAND
GREAT QUEEN STREET LONDON WC2B 5AZ
TELEPHONE: 07I -831 98I1
10th August 1994
Dear Brother Erett,
Thank you for your kind letter of 16 June. My sincere apologies for the delay in replying - your letter got caught up with other papers.
I must have been wearing the wrong glasses! James Hewitt joined Lodge of Perseverance No.204 (now 155) on 8 December 1810 and became Master of the Lodge in 1812.
Yours sincerely and fraternally,
J.M. Hamill, PSGD
Librarian and Curator
Lodge of Concord, Golden Ball,
New Street, Preston, Lancashire.
Worsh'l Sir & Bro,
Our last Application made to you in Feby. last, to which I refer to you. upon the remark of our obn. upon a Warranted Authority. In answer, you was pleased to state that the Board of General Purposes had not then taken it into consideration what form of a warrant was to be adopted.
Since that, we having by diligent inquiry, found out and purchased a Dormant Warrant, "Virtue and Silence," No. 188 from under the former Ancient (sic) Grand Lodge, granted 7th day of June 1774, to the following Bro.s, viz,
Jones Bleckey, W. Master.
William Moore, S. Warden,
and James Barlow, J. Warden.
To be holden in the town of Settle in Yorkshire. This warrant is re'stered
91 m Volume 7, letter G. As the present circumstance of the Craft is such as renders you unable to furnish us with a warrant, we should be extremely (with your approbation) to have our No. 654 fixed to this warrant, so as to be in future our Warranted Authority. We are well aware that the number it now carries is lost in the list of the United Grand Lodge, owing to its lying Dormant. Its name, "Virtue and Silence," is in a round small tin box and sealed with the Grand Lodge's seal, so that it cannot be altered. We should wish to know if the name it bears on this seal is to remain and be so called, or we must continue with the name we at present have.
At the same time be pleased to state the demand you have against us for the Grand Master's Dispensation, so that we may be able in our return of this Month, to remit the same according to your instructions. Your early and favourable Acknowledgement will much oblige.
Your most ob.t
Humble Serv.t & Bro.r
Preston, 2nd June 1815.
Gd SecretaryDRAFT REPLY FROM GRAND SECRETARY. (Appendix 8)
London, June 9th 1815.
Sir & Brother,
In reply to your letter of the 2nd inst. I beg leave to observe that the warrant to which you allude as having lately come into your possession, having long ceased to meet, or to contribute to the Grand Lodge, has been erased from the list of lodges and is therefore no longer of any force or virtue.
The dispensation you have, bearing the signature of the M.W.G.M. is all sufficient for every purpose, until you may receive further documents. Any addition or alteration to be made to the Old Wan-ant will be nugatory and unavailing.
1 am Sir,
Your Obed' Servt & Bro.
Edw. Harper (Appendix 9)
NOT HEWITT’S HANDWRITING. PROBABLY ASHCROFTS
PRESTON 20TH DECR. 1815
Worshl. Sir & Bro.
Our present situation being found extremely unpleasant, we are wishing by your permission to remove, but our Dispensation being granted for the Golden Ball, without reference to any other place. Appears we are not justifiable in removing without your approbation. The House appointed is the Turk's Head, Turks Head Court, Church Street, Preston.
We likewise further solicit the favour of your Permission, the aforesaid Dispensation, nominating the present Officers to remain in office until such time as a Dormant warrant can be transferred. We therefore humbly request you shall have the goodness to approve of a change of officers (if constitutional) as the society may from time to time in their wisdom see proper for the good Government and Harmony of the Craft. We earnestly appeal that you will be pleased to grant and forward these our requests as early as possible you can, and we will remain Dr. Sir and Bror.
Your most assuredly,
Jas. Hewitt. Master.
Hugh Ashcroft. Secy.
Lodge of Concord No 654.
N.B. Please to address to Mr James Hewitt,
No. 4 High Street,