History of the Lodge of Connaught & Truth No. 521
Preliminary Discussion Formation Meetings Constitution Founders Collaboration with The Lodges of Harmony and Huddersfield Union Lodge of Instruction Meeting Places : White Hart Inn and George Hotel Some interesting Incidents.
THE LODGE OF TRUTH, now No. 521 on the Register of the United Grand Lodge of England, held its Opening or First Regular Meeting at THE WHITE HART INN, in Cloth Hall Street, HUDDERSFIELD, Yorkshire, on the first Friday in the month of December, 1845, namely 5TH DECEMBER, 1845; it was constituted by a Warrant of Constitution from The United Grand Lodge of England dated 3rd December, 1845, and Numbered No. 763. No. 763 remained the Number until the Change of Numbers in 1863, when it became No. 521.
The Minutes of that
important and historic meeting are fully recorded in the
first Minute Book of the Lodge; the then Secretary must
have anticipated that, in 100 years from that time,
someone would doubtless like information leading up to
the formation of the Lodge; gratitude and thanks are due
to him for his forethought. In the first Minute Book,
preceding the record of the formal opening Meeting, are
Minutes or Records of several preparatory Meetings, when
the formation of the Lodge was planned and decided upon,
commencing with a Meeting at the Rose and Crown Inn,
Huddersfield, on Friday, the 11th November, 1815,
followed by others on the 19th, 22nd, 26th and 29th
those Records are of the preparatory Meetings, the
Opening Meeting, and the subsequent Meetings, the Minutes
are silent in regard to the CONSECRATION of the Lodge. A
search at Provincial Grand Lodge has failed to reveal
details of the Consecration: according to the MS. Prov.
G. L. Minutes, P.G.L. did not hold any meeting between
21st May, 1845, and 3rd May, 1847. Subsequent Minutes of
Prov. G. Lodge of a Meeting of Prov. G. Lodge, held
"in the Lodge Room of the Lodge of Truth, No. 763 in
The Author interprets this as a reference to the DEDICATION of The Lodge premises of 1852 (and not the Consecration of The Lodge); an extension or New Room at The Rose and Crown Inn was dedicated on that day, the 21st July, 1852. (See Chapter II.)
A more specific reference to the Consecration is contained in an inscription in the front of The Volume of The Sacred Law still in use by the Lodge; the following is a copy of the inscription : "Presented to The Lodge of Truth No. 763, Huddersfield, on its Consecration, December 1845 by Bro. J. Brook, P.M., Prov.G.D.C."
Bro. Joseph Brook
was a Past Master of The Lodge of Harmony, then No. 342:
he was present at several of the preparatory meetings: he
moved or seconded many of the resolutions: he was one of
the Committee appointed to prepare a code of By-Laws: he
was one of those chosen to apply for the Warrant: he was
one of the Founders
One of the many entries in the records of the preparatory Meeting on the 14th November, 1845, reads as follows :---
From the foregoing it is assumed that the Bible, now in use, bearing the inscription quoted above, is the Bible promised by W. Bro. Joseph Brook on the 14th November, 1845. The Provincial Records show that W. Bro. Joseph Brook, of The Lodge of Harmony, No. 342, held the Office of Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies in 1845 and in 1846; as the inscription in the Presentation Bible quotes Bro. J. Brook as Prov.G.D.C., it certainly suggests that THE CONSECRATION of The Lodge was in 1815.
It will he observed
that the preparatory Meetings were held at the Rose and
Crown Inn, and, when formed, The Lodge held its Meetings
at the White Hart Inn. The Rose and Crown Inn at that
time was situate at the lower end of Kirkgate, and was an
important posting and commercial house. It was eventually
pulled down as part of a scheme for street improvements:
incidentally, part of the site on which the Hotel stood
is now occupied by the Palace Theatre.
The Whit e Hart Inn, where Th e Lodge of Truth held its Regular Meetings for the first 4-5 years of its existence, was in Cloth Hall Street, and the Meeting Room would be the same room as used by The Huddersfield Lodge, then No. 365--a large but rather low room, with a long table down the centre: the Brethren sat round the table, with the various symbols of the Lodge set out on the table.
At the time of the
formation in 1845 the two Masonic Lodges in the town were
The Huddersfield Lodge (then No. 365), formed in 1793,
and meeting at The White Hart Inn, and The Lodge of
Harmony (then No. 312), which had been formed in Halifax
in 1789, and moved to Huddersfield in 1837, and holding
its Meetings at that time in a room in South Parade. So
it is quite natural to find in the entries recorded of
those preparatory Meetings that the formation of The
Lodge of Truth was planned by enthusiastic Brethren of
those two Lodges. At the preparatory Meetings some 14
Brethren attended, all of whom were from either The Lodge
of Harmony or The Huddersfield Lodge. The Warrant was
applied forby 10 of them, 5 from each Lodge.
The following were
the Founders :-
A photograph of the
first page of the Minutes of the Opening Meeting on 5th
December, 1845, is included herein, which shows the names
of the Brethren who attended, including most, but not
all, of the Founders, and 21 visiting Brethren.
First Page of The Lodge Minutes, 5th December, 1845.
conducted, as extracted from the Minutes, was as
Brother who presided at the Opening, and who was elected
as an Honorary Member, W. Bro. Ben Taylor, was a Past
Master of Huddersfield Lodge, No. 365, and also a
prominent member of The Lodge of Harmony, No. 342. He
himself became Worshipful Master of The Lodge of Truth,
No. 763, three years later in 1849. He was not without a
certain amount of experience in that connection, having
been W.M. of Huddersfield Lodge, No, 365, on no less than
six occasions, 1820, 1821, 1823, 1825, 1829 and 1830.
It will be observed
Bro. William Shaw,
First S.W., did not succeed to the Chair: Bro. Thomas
Robert Tatham, First J.W., was Master in the second year
of the Lodge's
There are Portraits
adorning the walls of the Lodge Room of:-
It would appear that
another of the Founders from The Lodge of Harmony, No. 3
12, Bro. Thomas Kenworthy Rowbotham, took a very
prominent part in the preliminary proceedings. He
presided at the inaugural Meeting at The Rose and Crown:
he read the Dispensation at the opening Meeting at The
White Hart Inn: he apparently was satisfied to work for
the scheme without himself going through the Chair of the
new Lodge, as he was invested as the first Past Master;
the early records include a Resolution of thanks
The records reveal
that of the Founders only Bros. William Kilner and Thomas
Robert Tatham succeeded to the Chair, and Bro. Ben
Taylor, who presided at the opening meeting. The
Worshipful Master in the third year, 1848, was Bro.
Julius Schlesinger, who was one of the seven initiates of
the inaugural year, and Senior Warden in the year
The second regular Meeting in January, 1846, saw more interest and support from The Lodge of Harmony, when seven of their members were admitted as Joining Members. At that Meeting a Code of By-Laws which had been prepared by a Committee of 8, 4 from The Lodge of Harmony and 4 from Huddersfield Lodge, were read, approved and adopted, and the Lodge set forth on its illustrious career; happily did they meet, as the Minutes for 1st July, 1846, say that a Festival of St. John was held as an Emergency Lodge, and as there was no business to transact, the Lodge was closed in order and harmony, and the Brethren "then sat down to a sumptuous Banquet, which did ample justice to Bro. Sharp's hospitality; and the evening was spent in a joyous ebullition of masonic feeling."
The Bro. Sharp referred to in that abstract would be Bro. Moses Sharp, one of the Founders, who was also the Landlord of the White Hart Inn.
In 1846 the Brethren of the Lodge joined with the Brethren of the other Lodges in the Town to take part in the ceremony at the laying of the foundation stone of Huddersfield Station.
After the influx of Joining Members in 1846, there was a falling-off in numbers during the next three or four years, the membership falling from thirty-three at the end of 1846 to twelve at the end of 1850: in fact, on two occasions in 1847-48 the Lodge was not opened because of "the paucity of members present."
During this rather
lean period the Lodge was often assisted by Visiting
Brethren from The Lodge of Harmony and The Huddersfield
Lodge. One such Brother was Bro. John Sykes, of
Huddersfield Lodge, who joined in April of the inaugural
year, 1846, and shortly afterwards took over the duties
of Secretary. He was installed as Master in December,
1851, and was the Worshipful Master for that remarkable
year 1852, to which a separate Chapter is devoted, the
year which saw a great revival of enthusiasm and a big in
flux of members.
Another frequent and helpful visitor was Bro. William Smith, of Huddersfield Lodge, who often acted as Secretary, or one of the Deacons or other Offices. He was a great stalwart and his usefulness was by no means restricted to these early years, but continued in later years, and references to him and the appreciation shown of his many services will be found in later pages of this history.
The close collaboration between the three Lodges, Harmony, Huddersfield and Truth, is shown particularly in these early years not only in the ordinary work and Meetings of the Lodge but also in special features.
As early as
February, 1847, it was proposed that the Lodge of Truth
should confer with the other two Lodges in the Town to
draw up a circular calling for the assistance of the
Lodges in the Province in forming a general committee to
determine what candidates for The Royal Masonic
Benevolent Annuity Fund were most worthy of their
There then occurred the first removal of Meeting Place, and from one or two items in the records inferences can he drawn which would possibly suppl y the reason for the removal. The Meeting Place previously was The White Hart Inn, and the Landlord was Bro. Moses Sharp, a Member of The Huddersfield Lodge, who was one of the original who met to plan the formation of The Lodge of Truth. The records reveal that he was "struck off" the list of Members in 1849 (just before the removal), and the Minutes in 1830 (just after the removal) contain notes of interviews and correspondence about a disagreement over the amount demanded by Bro. Sharp for the use of the rooms, and his threat to sue the Brethren of The Lodge of Truth. An Emergency Meeting was held on 15th March, 1850, to recommend removal to The George Hotel: this was sanctioned by the Province, and April, 1830, finds the Brethren of the three Huddersfield Lodges again uniting to mark a special occasion. On the 5th April, 1850, there were 4 Visitors from The Lodge of Harmony, No. 312, and 1 Visitors from Huddersfield Lodge, No. 365, who joined the 9 Members present of The Lodge of Truth, in a Meeting held at the Masonic Hall, South Parade. An account of this Meeting appeared in the Huddersfield Chronicle newspaper (on 13th April, 1850), which reported it as a gathering of the Craft embracing the three Lodges in this Town, to celebrate the removal of The Lodge of Truth from The White Hart Inn to The George Hotel. The Minutes which recorded 1 present, 9 Members and 8 Visitors, say that the Brethren retired to The George Hotel, where a substantial supper was provided in celebration of the removal of the Lodge, but the account in the Chronicle states that some FORTY Brethren partook of the supper. It also states that the Company enjoyed themselves until a moderate hour and separated in perfect harmony.
The Minutes also speak of thanks to The Lodge of Harmony for the use of their rooms. This is not an isolated occasion, but it is interesting to make special comment about it when the attention of the reader is drawn to the fact that, some 79 years later (in 1929), we find The Lodge of Harmony leaving their premises in South Parade and becoming tenants of the premises owned by the Trustees of The Lodge of Truth.
Thus in 1850 the Lodge Meetings were at The George Hotel, and although it was for but a brief spella matter of twelve months onlyit was not without its items worthy of special comment.
There was a little incident, which caused quite a lot of correspondence and consideration by the Province and by Grand Lodge, which happened at the August Lodge Meeting in 1850. When the Lodge opened there were 9 Brethren present, 3 from The Lodge of Truth, 4 from Huddersfield Lodge (including the dependable Brother William Smith) and 2 Fellowcrafts. The Lodge was opened in the 1st degree, and the 2 Fellowcrafts, after receiving the password, etc., etc., retired to be prepared, together with the Deacon, leaving 6 in the room. Another Brother retired leaving 5, and the Worshipful Master opened to the 3rd degree with 5 present. Another Visitor from Huddersfield Lodge arriving late entered, but on discovering only 5 present said it was illegal, and refused to stay.
He re-entered with
the 2 who had retired previously, making 8 in all (apart
from the candidates) and, to avoid any chance of
illegality, the Master re-opened in the 3rd degree with 8
present. The matter was submitted to the Province for an
opinion, on the hypothesis, which was quoted in the
submission, that "3 Rule a Lodge, 5 Hold a Lodge,
and 7 or
Bro. Farnfield in his reply, from the Free Masons Hall, London, stated
"I have no hesitation in saying that if I had been placed in the situation of Bro. Tatham, I certainl y s hould have opened the Lodge in the 3rd Degree and proceeded with the work."
Bro. Farnfield added that he was "much pleased to hear of Brethren desirous of adhering to the Laws and Customs of the Craft."
desire to act and abide by the ancient and established
usages and customs, and to observe the regulations,
caused another "little scene" within three
months. At the November, 1850, Meeting an Entered
Apprentice attended to be Passed, but the ever-reliable
William Smith and William Kilner pointed out that notice
of that intention had not appeared in the summons, and so
it would be contrary to the Laws laid down in the Book of
Constitutions. They went further and said it might
subject the Lodge to erasure, and they would not be
parties to it, and if the Worshipful Master persisted in
the work, they would "take up their hats and
go." (There is no mention of overcoats, so it must
have been better November weather in 1850 than we have
for the November Lodge these days.) The Worshipful Master
took the wise course, and the Entered Apprentice waited
another month, and was duly Passed on the Installation
Night, but the Minutes say that the retiring Worshipful
Master delivered an address to the Brethren, in which he
gave a retrospect of the proceedings of the Lodge for the
year, and also "animadverted" on the conduct of
some of its members in impeding him in the discharge of
his duties . At t he following M eeting t here were onl y
6 present (including 1 Visitor), and although this was
more than 5, no risks were taken, as the Minutes say
Then arose a difficulty once more about happy and suitable accommodation.
In September, 1850, it was not possible to hold the monthly Meeting because the room was occupied, and again in March, 1851, the Lodge room was engaged and the Meeting could not be held, so a private Meeting was convened and took place at The Rose & Crown to consider the provision of another meeting place. First, the Brethren asked Bro. Wigney, the Landlord of The George Hotel, if he would accommodate the Lodge at the new George Hotel to which he was about to remove, which Bro. Wigney regretted he was not able to do; then it was decided to move to the Rose & Crown Hotel, where the first regular Meeting took place on 4th April, 1851. It so happened that the Secretary of the Lodge was Bro. Geo. Reid, who was also the Landlord of The Rose & Crown Hotel, and the following copy Dispensation is reproduced here to show the happy solution of that little problem :-
This was the
penultimate period before moving to the present premises.
Although the Lodge only met at The Rose & Crown for
some 4 years, it was a period of outstanding interest in
the annals of the Lodge, a period of wonderful enthusias
m, of growth and development; unique and interesting
events are crowded into this comparatively short chapter
of the life of the Lodge. When the Lodge moved to the
Rose & Crown there were only 19 Members, but in less
than 5 years the numbers had grown to 89. There
At the Installation in 1851 there was quite a large attendance (for those days)-15 Members and 20 Visitors, including W. Bro. Bentley Shaw of The Lodge of Harmony, who became Deputy Provincial Grand Master. Bro. John Sykes became the Worshipful Master for what proved to be an historic year, and after the Installation the Brethren retired to the room under the Lodge room to supper and spent the evening in a convivial and masonic manner.