Concord Chapter extra

The Other Chapter of Concord.

For some 20 years or so, I have dipped in and out of research into the history of both the Lodge and the Chapter of Concord No. 343. In 1994, I produced the History of the Chapter to mark the 50th anniversary of its consecration. In the same year, I presented my paper, “The Genesis of Concord,” which was the result of my research into the founding of the lodge in 1814. During the course of that research, I discovered that an earlier Chapter of Concord had been founded in 1818 and was numbered 654, the same as that of the Lodge of Concord at its founding in 1814. The Charter to form the Chapter of Concord was issued on 29th October 1818. At the closing up of the numbers in 1832, it became, with the Lodge of Concord, No. 429. It was erased from the Roll on 7th August 1861.

In 2014, I compiled and updated the historical record of the Lodge of Concord No. 343. The Deputy Grand Superintendent of the Province of Cumberland and Westmorland, E. Comp. Peter Mason, PGSwdB read this record and provided the following information to me.

“Brother William Brade Z from Chapter No 654 (Now No 343) presided as Z along with 5 other Companions from Preston at the 2nd meeting of The Chapter of Universality under its new Warrant attaching it to the Lodge of Fortitude (then No 527). It is obvious that the Companions of Universality did not know how to work the exaltation ceremony as the minute book shows William Brade acting as Z (from 654 – now 343 Concord), James Hindman acting as SN (from 636 – now Royal Preston 333), James Parke acting as PS (from 255 – formerly the Prestonian Chapter of Philanthropy which was attached to the Lodge of Perseverance 155), Thomas Brade acting as 1st Captain (from 722 – formerly attached to Keystone Lodge No 722 in Whitworth and is no longer in existence), James Cheetham acting as 2nd Captain (from 586 – now Holy Royal Architect No. 314) and Ralph Dewhurst acting as 3rd Captain (also from 255 – now 155).”

The minute book states: “We were this evening (August 23rd 1824) favoured with the company of six Companions from Preston who rendered us their assistance to open our Chapter and proceed in the regular routine of management in the Ceremony of Exaltation from which we have received considerable benefit and consider ourselves greatly obliged and highly honoured by their company.

Agreed that the Chapter pay all expenses incurred by the Companions in coming from Preston.”

The journey to Lancaster must have been by road as the Preston to Lancaster Railway did not open until 1840). It is also interesting to note that two brethren were exalted and paid the fee of 3 Guineas, which seemed to be the standard rate for exaltation at this time. With the minutes showing 3 Captains (of the veils) shows that the Chapter was working ‘the veils’ prior to the changes to the ritual in 1834/35. The Chapter inventory shows that they were in possession of the veils with frames and that the Principals and Captains once wore headgear.

James Hindman, listed above as being a member of the Royal Preston Chapter, No. 636, (now 333), was also the Master of the Lodge of Unanimity No. 394 (now 113), in 1824. He was exalted in the Chapter of Concord No. 654 on 9th June 1821. James Park (shown as Parke above), was a watchmaker by profession and was a member of the Lodge of Perseverance No. 255, (now 155). He became a member of the Lodge of Unanimity on 3rd November 1823. He too, was exalted in the Chapter of Concord on 9th June 1821. Further references to him in the history of the Lodge of Unanimity occur as on 22nd April 1828, he was elected and appointed treasurer of the lodge.

On page 5 of J.F. Burnett’s “History of the Concord Lodge,” of 1915, the following paragraph states: “On July 24th 1820, we have “To cash from Bro. Brade for the R. Arch Chapter £3.” Was there at this time a Chapter attached to Concord Lodge? Again on November 21st, 1820, appears a receipt “To Cash from the R. Arch, 1/6.” “June 18th 1821, To cash from the Arch Cash Book, £4/8/8.” A payment on August 15th 1821, “By cash, Arch account, 1/-,” and many more such. An entry referring to Arch Masonry occurs as late as April 29th, 1833.” This paragraph provides ample evidence of that early Chapter of Concord

William Brade was a member of the Lodge of Concord No. 654 and was its Master in 1824. The lodge’s earliest minute books are missing and it has, for over 100 years, not been possible to identify the Masters of the Lodge from 1816 up to 1842, with that one exception in 1824.

My latest research has therefore concerned both the Lodge and the Chapter and we are for the purposes of this paper concentrating on the first Chapter of Concord.

In May 2015, after a number of enquiries with the library at Grand Lodge, I received a copy of a membership list of members of the Chapter of Concord No. 654, later No. 429. As is usual in situations such as this, for every question answered, several more arise. A count of the members shows a total of 39 during the 42 years of the Chapter’s existence.

The first nine companions on the list do not show a date of commencement of their membership and it is safe to assume that they are the founders. They are:

John Delap, John Critchley, Hugh Pickering, Henry Lightbown, John Kemp, James Gill, William Henry, George Duckworth and William Clayton. The list does not state which of these companions held which office, but again, it is most likely that they are listed in order of seniority. Therefore, it could well be that John Delap was the first MEZ, John Critchley the first H and Hugh Pickering the first J.

The timing of the founding of the Chapter is quite interesting, as less than five years previously, the two Grand Lodges had joined together to form the United Grand Lodge of England. In 1819, the Supreme Grand Chapter as we now know it was formed as a compromise to satisfy the former Antients. It should be borne in mind that the Moderns Grand Lodge did not consider the Royal Arch as part of “pure antient masonry,” and the forming of the Supreme Grand Chapter was part of the grand plan to get Freemasonry on an even keel.

The minute from the Chapter of Universality says that “Brother William Brade Z from Chapter No 654 presided as Z.” The membership list received from the Grand Lodge library makes no mention of William Brade.

Those companions who are thought to be the founders, consist of members of two lodges. Delap, Critchley and Pickering are all listed as members of the Lodge of Concord No. 654. John Delap was initiated in Lodge No 325, Mallow, Ireland. He was a weaver by trade and he joined the Lodge of Concord No. 654 on May 22nd 1815. John Critchley was a founder and the first junior warden of the Lodge of Concord 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. The lodge of Concord's petition lists him as a weaver.

The remaining six of those perceived founders came from the Lodge of Benevolence No. 394, which, in those days, met at the Kings Arms, Northgate, Blackburn, Lancashire. That lodge is now numbered 226 and meets at the Masonic Temple, Richard Street, Rochdale. There is a Chapter of Benevolence No. 226, attached to that lodge and meeting in Rochdale.

William Bamber, who joined the Lodge of Concord on the same day as John Delap, was initiated in the Lodge of Perseverance No. 255 (formerly No. 204 of the Antients), and was a Joiner by profession. He was exalted into Royal Arch Masonry in the Chapter of Concord on 9th June 1821. On that date, eight brethren were exalted. Their lodges included Royal Preston Lodge, the Lodge of Perseverance and the Lodge of Concord. Their professions ranged from solicitor to watch maker and included a book keeper, a grocer, a draper and a joiner. James Park(e), the watchmaker, was 30 years old and went on to be the Master of the Lodge of Unanimity in 1834 and 1859. The minutes of the Lodge of Unanimity of October 1st 1859 record the death of Bro. Park. It is believed that his is the only instance of a Worshipful Master of the Lodge dying whilst holding that office. A silhouette of his likeness is reproduced here.

James Park. WM Lodge of Unanimity 1834 and 1859.

At that point, the future of the chapter was looking good. A further three exaltations later that year seems to confirm this. Then, something seems to have gone wrong.

There is no further activity recorded until April 1841. Here, the exaltation of Thomas Bamber, which took place on March 6th 1822 is recorded, 19 years after the event! A further eighteen brethren and companions became members of the Chapter, the last being exalted on May 7th 1849. The final entry on the list reads, “Erased by Grand Chapter – 7th August 1861.

A period of just over 12 years, during which the Chapter was clearly not active, or at least not making returns, demonstrates that someone was not doing his job! Had the companions lost their enthusiasm? The failure to make returns for so long was clearly deemed unacceptable by Supreme Grand Chapter, and the Chapter had to go.

It seems that the Chapter either changed its meeting days quite frequently, or that it met on days to suit its members. During the life of the Chapter, I have identified only nine convocations following its founding. Some took place in the 1820s and the remainder between April 19th 1841 and May 7th 1849. The first of those dates fell on a Tuesday, while May 7th 1849 was a Monday. During that period, the lodge met on all of the days of the week, except Saturdays and Sundays. I suspect that convocations were held on a monthly basis, however, my information appears only to reveal those when exaltations or joinings took place.

The returns mainly appear to be concerned with those companions who were exalted in the Chapter of Concord, as, with the exception of the supposed founders, nearly every entry concerns exaltations. However, James Jeremiah Greaves and D.D. Neave, appear to have joined from other chapters. Greaves is shown as “from 44,” while Neave is “from 130.” Lodge No. 44 is the Anchor and Hope Lodge, now numbered 37 and which meets at Bolton. The chapter attached to that lodge is called “Concord Deane,” and bears the number 37. Lodge No. 130, is now the Lodge of Unanimity No. 113. Companion Neave seems to have also been a member of the original Chapter of Unanimity. A photograph of James Jeremiah Greaves is reproduced here from the written history of the Lodge of Unanimity, where it describes him as a music teacher. He was a past master of the Anchor and Hope Lodge and of the Lodge of Unanimity. He held the rank of Provincial Grand Organist of both East and West Lancashire Provinces and he celebrated 50 years membership of the Craft in 1885. Outwith Masonry, Comp. Greaves was the organist at both St George’s and at the Parish Church of St. John here in Preston. In his later years, he was affectionately referred to as “Daddy” Greaves.

In March, 1836, the Worshipful Master of Royal Preston Lodge, Bro. Green, called a lodge at his own home, and music was provided by Bro. Greaves, on a strange instrument called “The Royal Seraphim.” The instrument had apparently been made by Bro. Greaves. Otherwise known as a “Glass Harp,” this instrument is made of a series of wine glasses, each containing water and is played with wet fingers stroking the rims of the glasses.

Another interesting entry is one brother John Attree, who was exalted on October 21st 1844. His lodge was attached to the 6th Regiment of Foot. I am not sure that I have been able to trace this lodge. The Regiment was later named the First Warwickshire Fusiliers and there were several lodges attached to the regiment over the years. The last lodge traced to the regiment was warranted on 27th December 1807 in Gibraltar. There is no date suggesting that the lodge ceased to work, but clearly it did at some time. I can only assume that it may have been brought to the UK when the regiment left Gibraltar and continued to work for some years.

Some of the exaltees of the Chapter were put through a ceremony known as “Passing the Chair.” This term appears frequently in the early written history of the Lodge of Concord and, indeed, in those of the other old lodges here in Preston. Much ink has been expended in speculating upon the purpose of the ceremony. It was thought by some previous historians, that it was designed to bestow Past Master status upon brethren who did not wish to perform the duties of master.

It should be understood that prior to the forming of the United/Supreme Grand Chapter in 1819, the qualification for exaltation in a Royal Arch Chapter, was to be an Installed Master in a Craft Lodge. The real reason for that ceremony, was to “qualify” brethren for exaltation. Interestingly, although that qualification was changed, initially, to that of being a master mason for twelve months and upwards, old habits sometimes die hard. The old Preston lodges continued to use that ceremony for many years subsequent to the founding of the Grand Chapter. In the Lodge of Peace and Unity; “Novr. 15th 1830, opened in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd degrees, removed to the 4th or Past Master’s degree. Bros. Scott, Westhead, Gibson and Patterson past (sic) the chair in due form…” On 11th May 1846, Peace and Unity examined Bro. Henry Armstrong who was then passed the chair. At an emergency meeting of the Lodge of Concord on 15th February, 1848, three brethren “Passed the Chair” while on 15th December, 1846, Bro. Garbutt “was raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason, after which the Lodge was opened in the Past Masters’ degree, when Bro. Garbutt passed the chair.” Brother Henry Garbutt was the last brother to present himself for exaltation in the Chapter of Concord No. 429 on May 7th 1849.

Sadly, the library at Grand Lodge has no further information concerning Concord’s original Royal Arch Chapter, as no other documentation has survived. It was founded at a very interesting time in English Royal Arch history, just as the Supreme Grand Chapter of England was about to be created, the Chapter was poised to take up the opportunity of being part of an exciting new organisation.

It is interesting to note that at the same time that the Chapter of Concord No. 429 was erased, so was the Chapter of Unanimity No. 130 and the Chapter of Philanthropy No. 181. It is known that the 1850s and 1860s were particular difficult times for the town of Preston. The Irish potato famine (1845-52) and the cotton famine (1861-1865) caused untold hardship. They both occurred during the time when the Chapter of Concord appears to have been descending towards extinction and it is not surprising that some brethren and companions found it impossible to continue their membership of lodges and chapters.

It is pleasing to note that a new Chapter of Unanimity was subsequently founded here in Preston and continues to thrive to this day. The current Chapter of Concord, founded in 1944, also continues to work as we well know. Now that we know so much more about what has gone before, I hope that this new found knowledge will spur us all on to do more and to ensure that this Chapter of Concord continues for many years to come.


Members of the Chapter of Concord No. 654/429.


John Delap Founder 654

John Critchley “ “

Hugh Pickering “ “

Henry Lightbown “ 394

John Kemp “ “

James Gill “ “

William Henry “ “

George Duckworth “ “

Willam Clayton “ “

Richard Pilkington Exalted June 9th 1821 636

Ormerod Pilkington “ “ “

James Park “ “ 255

William Bamber “ “ 654

Edward Rishton “ “ 636

Howard Douglass “ “ 255

John Williams “ “ “

Peter Hamilton “ “ “

Thomas Douglas “ August 2nd 1821 “

Robert Preston “ Sept 6th 1821 “

James Hindman “ “ 636

Thomas Bamber “ March 6th 1822 654

Abm. Joseph Carlisle “ April 19th 1841 429

Lawrence Jno. Hodgson “ “ “

Thos Joseph Carlisle “ “ “

John Birley “ “ “

John Roe “ “ “

William Bailey “ Oct 21st 1844 “

Robert Raby “ “ “

George Benson “ “ “

William Cottriall “ “ “

Thomas Buck “ “ 393

John Attree “ “ 6th Regt Ft

Jas. Atkinson Ewan “ April 28 1845 429

Daniel Graham “ “

James Jeremiah Greaves Joined From 44

D. D. Neave “ From 130

Isaac Lee Exalted June 3rd 1843

John Hall “ “ 130?

Henry Garbutt “ May 7th 1849 429

Erased by Grand Chapter 7th August 1861

There were 9 founders, 28 exaltees and two joining members in the life of the Chapter, according to the records which survive and which are held in the Library at Grand Lodge. However, this list is probably not complete as there is evidence that William Brade was MEZ in August 1824. In that year, William Brade is known to have been Master of the Lodge of Concord No. 654.

Old Number Current Number

586 – 393 Peace and Unity 314

204 – 255 – 181 Perseverance 155

179 – 130 Unanimity 113

636 – 418 Royal Preston 333

654 - 429 Concord 343


The Library and Museum, Freemasons Hall, London.

E. Comp. Peter Mason, PGSwdB, DepGSupt (C. & W.)

The Lodge of Peace and Unity

The Lodge of Unanimity

The Royal Preston Lodge

The Chapter of Concord