Old York T.I. Lodge
The Tradition of
The Old York T. I. Lodge
of Mark Master Masons
An enquiry into early Freemasonry at Bradford and neghbourhood. 1713-1873.
A paper given before the Old York T.I. Lodge at Bradford on November 28th,
1911 by Bro. C J Scott, P.M.M. and Chaplain Old York T.I. Lodge.
In making an enquiry into the Tradition of early Freemasonry at Bradford
and neighbourhood, we must go back about two centuries, and must also dwell
for a short time on the connection of early Bradford Masonry with the Old
York Grand Lodge.
There appears to be no doubt that Bradford is one of the oldest strongholds
of Freemasonry in the West Riding of Yorkshire, and that a Lodge had been
in existence at Bradford long before the establishment of the Lodge of Hope,
but unfortunately no records of this early Lodge can be traced.
There is however one document of older date than the Lodge of Hope, which
has been preserved at Bradford, viz: "The Hope Manuscript Constitution" of
the seventeenth century, a transcript of which has been given by Bro. W.
J. Hughan in his "Old Masonic Manuscripts" and by Bro. W. Watson in "The
West Yorkshire Reprints."
There is evidence that a Lodge was held at Bradford in the year 1713, when
"The Ancient* and Honourable Society and Fraternity of Freemasons. meeting
since time immemorial in the City of York " met at Bradford. The exact date
and place of meeting are not at present known, and the manuscript book containing
the Minutes of proceedings at that meeting is not to he found.
This. minute book was in existence at York in 1778 and 1779, it is mentioned
in a Schedule of the Regalia, Records, &c., dated September 17th, 1779,
which is still preserved, and a copy of which will be found in Bro. W. J.
Hughan's " Masonic Sketches" page 20.
But before proceeding with the subject of our enquiry, it may be of help
and interest to enquire first into the circumstances which led to the
establishment of the first symbolic Grand Lodge, at London in 1717, the split,
which occurred in 1751, and the position which the Mark Degree held before
the Union in 1813, and the circumstances which led to the establishment of
the " Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons of England."
After the Great Fire at London, which occured on the 2nd of September, 1666,
and lasted four days, destroying a great part of the City from Blackfriars
to London Bridge, a great many Architects, Builders, and Masons were drawn
to London from all parts of the country to assist. in the work of rebuilding
the City and in the restoration of St. Paul's Cathedral, the natural consequence
was that some of the old Lodges in the country, amongst which also the Old
Lodge at York, declined,.whilst the London Lodges developed great activity.
The old Lodge of St. Paul's (afterwards the "Lodge of Antiquity") and the
Lodges meeting at Drury Lane, Covent Garden, and Westminster, met regularly
during that time. Elias AshmoIe, an Antiquary, D.Ph..(Oxford) and founder
of the Library at Oxford bearing his name, born at Lichfield in 1617. and
admitted into the Fellowship of Freemasonry at a Lodge at Warrington, in
1646, recorded in his Diary under date 1682, viz:
March 10th. Abt. 5 p.m. 1 received a summons to appear at a Lodge to be held
the next day at Mason's Hall, London."
March 11 th. Accordingly, I went, and abt. noon were admitted -into the
fellowship of F.M. Sir Wm. Wilson, Kt., Capt. Richard Borthwick, Mr. Will.
Woodman, Mr. Wm. Grey, Mr. Sam Taylor, and Mr. Wm. Wise."
"I was the senior fellow amongst them (it being 35 years since I was admitted).
There was present besides myself the fellows after named: Mr. Thos. Wise.
Mr. of the Mason's Company this present year (then follow eight names).
"We all dyned at the Halfe Moone Tavern in Cheapside. at a noble dinner prepayred
at the charge of the new accepted Masons."
My object in quoting these entries in Elias Ashmole's diary, is to show you,
that previous to 1717, the Masonic Lodges were not corifined to operative
Masons, but admitted non-operatives as accepted Masons into the Fellowship
of Masons. which shows that Masonry had already adopted an esoteric or symbolic
character, previous to the establishment of the first symbolic Grand Lodge
in 1717. A further proof is the Mark Book of the "Old Lodge at Aberdeen of
the year 1670," which gives the names and Marks of forty-nine members and
eleven apprentices. Out of the forty-nine members only eight were operative
Masons. the Master of the Lodge was a Tutor and Collector of the King's Customs;
amongst the members of the Lodge were: four Noblemen ( the Earls of Findlater.
Dunfermline and Erroll, and Lord Pitsligo), three Ministers of Religion,
one Advocate, one Professor of Mathematics, nine Merchants, two Surgeons,
several Gentlemen, and the rest were Tradespeople.
When the rebuilding of the City and the restoration of St. Paul's were completed,
the Architects and Builders congregated around St. Paul's, had no more work
to do, and dispersed throughout the country.
The few accepted Masons remained, with them rested the task of reorganising
the Fraternity in accordance with the spirit of the age.
The four surviving Lodges meeting
1. At the Goose and Gridiron in St. Paul's Churchyard,
2. At the Crown Ale House in Parker's Lane,
3. At the Appletree Tavern in Charles St., Covent Garden,
4. At the Rummer and Grape's Tavern. Channel Row,
met in February. 1717, at the Appletree Tavern. and after having voted the
oldest Master present in the Chair, constituted themselves a Grand Lodge,
pro tem., and in due form and forthwith revived the quarterly communication
of the officers of Lodges, resolved to hold the Annual Assembly and Feast.
and to choose a Grand Master amongst themselves till they should have the
honour of a noble brother at their head.
Accordingly. on St. John the Baptist's day, June 24th, 1717, the Brethren
again met, and by a majority of hands elected Mr. Anthony Sayer, Grand Master
of Masons, who was forthwith invested with the badges of office by the oldest
Master and duly installed, Capt. Elliott and Mr. Lamball Carpenter were elected
Grand Wardens ( Book of Constitutions 1738).
The first Book of Constitution was compiled from the Old Manuscript
Constitutions, and first published by consent of Grand Lodge by the Rev.
Bro. James Anderson, a Scotch Presbyterian minister, in 1723.
It appears that at first only two degrees were worked, those of F.C. and
E.A., the M.M. degree does not seem to have come into existence until many
years afterwards, and then it was only conferred in Grand Lodge. the first
mention of an M.M. Lodge appears in an engraved list for the year 1738.
In 1751 a split occurred amongst the London Masons, which resulted in those
who seceded. terming themselves "Ancient Masons," and designated those who
remained loyal to the Grand Lodge, as "Modern Masons." The Grand Master of
the "Ancients" was the Duke of Athol and hence they are also known as " Athol
Masons" and their Lodges as Athol Lodges," and many of the oldest Lodges,
now on the Register of the " United Grand Lodge of England" are descendants
of "Athol Lodges" and some of these have from time immemorial to the present
time, continued uninterruptedly to confer the Mark Degree, as was done in
fact by individual Lodges, before the establishment of the Grand Lodge in
There were at one time actually four Grand Lodges in England, viz:
1 . The Grand Lodge of All England, meeting since time immemorial in the
City of York.
2. The Grand Lodge at London (Modems) formed 1717.
3. The "Athol" Grand Lodge (Ancients) seceded from the former in 1751.
4. The Grand Lodge of "All England south of the river Trent," established
by the York Grand Lodge in 1778.
The latter after a short existence rejoined the Grand Lodge of the Modems.
In 1813, when Augustus, Duke of Sussex, sixth son of George Ill, was Grand
Master of the " Moderns," and Edward, Duke of Kent, fourth son of George
111, was Grand Master of the '* Ancients " or " Athol" Masons, a Union
was effected between the two Grand Lodges under the title of " The United
Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of England " under the Duke
of Sussex as Grand Master, the Duke of Kent becoming Patron of the Craft.
The Ceremonies of the Order were revised by a Lodge of Reconciliation, which
consisted of members of both parties.
One result of this change was, that the Mark Degree was discarded, although
portions of it were retained in the Master Masons Degree and partly in the
Holy Royal Arch, which, latter Degree, however, has since that time been
so remodelled as to contain in it now few traces of the Mark Degree.
Nevertheless, although it was ignored by the supreme authorities of the Craft
in this country. the Mark Degree has never ceased to be practiced in various
parts of England, and it has been always recognised as an integral portion
of ancient Freemasonry by the Grand Lodge of Scotland. and the Grand Royal
Arch Chapters of Scotland, Ireland. Canada, and the United States of America.
The ceremony of selecting the Mark must have been in practice by the
Brethren of the old Lodge in the City of York long before the formation of
the first Grand Lodge at London. in 1717. as in the early Minutes of that
Lodge, Masons' Marks are attached to the names of many Brethren.
The following letter of Jacob Bussey. G.S. of the Grand Lodge of All England,
addressed to Bro. B. Bradley, J.W, of the Lodge of Antiquity, London, and
dated, York, 29th August, 1778, is of special interest to all Bradford Masons,
as it proves the existence of a Lodge at Bradford in 1713. four years prior
to the formation of the Grand Lodge at London.
This letter reach as follows, viz.
" In compliance with your request to be satisfied of the existence of a Grand
Lodge at York, previous to the establishment of that at London. in 1717,
1 have inspected an original Minute Book of this Grand Lodge. beginning at
1705 and ending at 1735, from which I have extracted the names of the Grand
Masters of the period, as follows :-
1705-Sir George Tempest, Bart.
1707-The Rt. Hon. Robert Benson, Lord Mayor of York.
1708-Sir Wm. Robinson, Bart.
1711-Sir Walter Hawksworth, Bart.
1713-Sir George Tempest, Bart.
1714-Charles Fairfax. Esq.
1720-Sir Walter Hawksworth, Bart.
1725-Ed. Bell, Esq.
1726-Chas. Bathurst, Esq.
1729-Ed. Thompson, Esq., M.P.
1733-John Johnson, Esq.. M.D.
1734-John Maraden, Esq.
It is observable that during the above period the Grand Lodge was 'not holden
twice together at the same house, and there is an instance of it being holden
once, in 1713, out of York, viz. at Bradford in Yorkshire. when eighteen
gentlemen of the first families in that neighbourhood were made Masons. In
short, the superior antiquity of the Grand Lodge, to all other Lodges in
the Kingdom, will not admit of doubt, all the books which treat on the subject,
agree that it was founded so early as the year 926, and that in the reign
of Queen Elizabeth it was so numerous, that mistaking the purport of their
meeting, she was at the trouble of sending an armed force to dislodge the
This letter was sent in response to an enquiry from the Lodge of Antiquity,
No. 1, London, when that Lodge, in consequence of a disagreement with the
Grand Lodge (Moderns) seceded from that body and applied to the York Grand
Lodge for a warrant to form itself into a Grand Lodge, under the title of
"The Grand Lodge of All England. south of the river Trent."
This Grand Lodge was only of short existence. The dilferences were soon settled
and after a few years of separate existence, the Lodge Of Antiquity rejoined
the Grand Lodge of the "Moderns."
The letter previously quoted is of special interest, as it proves that there
was a Lodge formed in Bradford in the year 1713, in which were admitted eighteen
gentlemen of the first families in the neighbourhood.
Let us now examine the list of Grand Masters, so called by the G.S. Bro.
Bussey, who, however, up to 1725 were called Presidents,
1. Sir George Tempest. who was President 1705-6, and in 1713. The Tempest
family is well connected with Bradford, the family seat is at Tong Hall,.
within four miles from Bradford.
2. The Rt. Hon. Robert Benson, President in 1707, Chancellor of the Exchequer,
and afterwards Lord Bingley, who resided at Gawthorpe Hall, Bingley.
3. Sir Wm. Robinson, Bart., of Ripon, an ancestor of the Marquis of Ripon,
President in 1708.
4. Sir Walter Hawksworth, Bart., of Hawksworth Hall, near Bradford, President
in 1711-12 and 1720-24.
But besides the above, it appears from the proceedings of the York Grand
Lodge, contained in a parchment Roll (No. 7) commencing March 19th, 1712,
under date August 7th, 1713, that Admiral Robert Fairfax, of Steeton and
Newton Kyme, was admitted into the fraternity. He was M.P. for York in 1713,
and Lord Mayor in 1715, and Vice-President of the York Grand Lodge in 1721.
With the President for 1713 residing at Tong (4 miles), one Past President
at Bingley (51 miles), another at Hawksworth (6 miles), all within a radius
of six miles from Bradford (at that time only a small place of about 3,000
inhabitants) it is not surprising that there was much activity in the craft,
and that Freemasonry was a popular institution in and around Bradford at
With these Masons of high position in the craft, supported by the newly admitted
eighteen gentlemen of the first families in the neighbourhood, it may well
he argued that the Lodge formed at Bradford in 1713 was well supported and
likely to he carried on successfully for some time.
Under these circumstances, it is not too much to assume that, during the
eighty-one years which elapsed between the establishment of the 1713 Lodge,
and that of the Lodge of Hope in 1794, Freemasonry at Bradford had not completely
died out. but was carried on in some regular or irregular form during part
or the whole of the period, also that "The Old York T.I. Constitution" was
brought into the Lodge of Hope by some descendant or descendants of the Brethren
who formed the 1713 Lodge,
We have an instance of a similar kind in another Degree, formerly connected
with the Lodge of Hope, where a Warrant (Faith 13, K.T.) was held by a single
Brother, who refused to surrender it (Bro. R. M. Scholefield). and who, for
a period of nearly thirty years, kept it from lapsing by the payment of dues,
and by making a yearly return to the authorities, until such time that he
met with some Brethren who were ready to assist him in reviving the Encampment,
which object he has successfully accomplished in the course of time.
Gould says :
"It is much to be regretted, that the narrow folio manuscript, beginning
March 7th, 1705, from which Bro. Bussey extracted his letter, is still missing.
With that valuable document before us it would doubtless be easy to obtain
clues to several puzzles which now confront us. That it was in existence
at York in 1778 and 1779, we know from the Inventory of 17th September, 1779,
published in 'Hughan's Masonic Sketches."
Unfortunately all the efforts to trace a connection of the 1713 Lodge with
the Lodge of Hope have faded, although an extensive search was made by a
Research Committtee, appointed in 1892.
All the records and documents in possession of the Lodge and other old Lodges
in the neighbourhood were carefully examined, but without result.
There are no records preserved at Bradford throwing any light on. the subject,
the only evidences are the letter referred to, written by the G.S. of the
York Grand.Lodge, which was an extract from a Minute Book now missing. and
which is also quoted in Bro. Gould's History. Vol. II.. pages 408 and 409,
and an old Manuscript Constitution in the possession of the Lodge of Hope,
302, a Parchment Scroll some 5-6 feet long, with part of the Apprentice Charge
and date missing. entitled:
The Constitions and Articles which are to be observed and followed by all
Those who are made Free by the Rt Worshipful Masters, Fellows, and Brethren
of Free Masons at any Lodge or Assembly.
This old Manuscript Constitution is registered as No. 20 in the tabulated
list of " Manuscript Constitutions " and pronounced to be of the middle of
the seventeenth century. It has been transcribed by Bro. W. J. Hughan, in
his " Old Masonic Manuscripts," now out of print, and by Bro. Wm, Watson
in the " West Yorkshire Reprints."
How and when this document has come into the possession of the Lodge of Hope
cannot be ascertained from the Minute books, the tradition is that it has
been in the possession of the Lodge of Hope, since the estabhshment of the
Lodge, and that it was the Constitution under which Brethren were promoted
to the Mark Degree.
I cannot enter into the tradition of the Old York Lodge, without referring
to the early history of the Lodge of Hope, of which it was an integral part,
placed beween the II. and III. degree.
The Lodge of Hope, 539, now 302, was constituted under a Warrant, dated York,
23rd of March, 1794, granted by Richard Slater Milnes, Esq., Prov. Grand
Master for the county of York, under authority of His Royal Highness George
Augustus Frederic, Prince of Wales, etc., etc. (afterwards George IV.),
Supreme Grand Master of the Order, to Jeremiah Ambler, as Master, John Sherwin
Watson and Fox Taylor, as Wardens, to open a Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons
under the title of the Lodge of Hope, at the Talbot Inn, Bradford.
The first meeting of the Lodge was held at the said Inn, on the 7th of April,
Evidently at that time there was no Consecration Ceremony, the Lodge was
simply opened. The following is a copy of the Minutes of the first meeting,
Lodge of Hope, commenced at Bradford, April 7th, 1794.
Jeremiah Ambler ... Master
T. S. Watson ... S.W.
Fox Taylor ... J.W.
Jno. Smith ...S.D.
Wm Hargreaves ... J.D.
Christ. Wand ...Secretary
Robt. Anderson . ..Tyler
Visitors from the Harmony Lodge, No. 461: Bros. ino. Farrar,
ino. Holdsworth, Rich. Ashworth, Jno. Ramsden and Jno. Taylor. Wm. Waterhouse
initiated to act as Tyler. Jno. Varley, John Maud, Wm. Garnett, Jno. Oddy,
Jos. Hobson, Jno. Stansfield were proposed Candidates for Masonry by Chris.
Waud, Secretary :-Carried nem. con.
Closed at 11 p.m. with peace and harmony!'
The Minutes of the second meeting are as follows, viz
Lodge of Hope, April 21 at, 1794. Brethren present
Wm. Goodchild ... Master
Jerry Ainbler ... S.W.
Josh. Pollard ... J.W.
Geo. Luckland ... Tyler
Rich. Scholefield ... Secretary
Laurence Pain ... Treasurer
Joshua Greenwood ... Member
Sand. Glover ... S.D.
Thba. Berry . ... J.D.
Mr. John Varley initiated,£2 2s. Mr. Jno. Stansfield initiated, £2
Mr. Jno. Smith, past Fellowcraft.
Closed at 10 o'clock in good harmony."
In quoting the first two Minutes of the Lodge of Hope, I have a special object
in view as a means of our enquiries.
Bradford at that time was but a small place, limited in area of the township
of. Bradford, the population, according to the census of 1801, being 6.393.
The incorporation of the Borough, which included the townships of Bradford,
Horton and Manningham, did not take place until 1847.
1. The records do not show to what Lodge or Lodges the Brethren belonged,
who formed the Lodge of Hope, but we suppose that all, or the majority of
them, were members of the Harmony No. 461, Halifax, five visiting Brethren
from that Lodge being present at the first meeting.
There was an initiation of a serving Brother, without previous proposal in
open Lodge, and five candidates were proposed and carried nem. con.
2. At the second meeting, there was quite a different set of officers. Bro.
Jerry Ambler, who was appointed W.M. in the Warrant. acted as S.W., he and
Bro. Jno. Smith were the only Brethren who were present at the first meeting.
Bro. Wm. Goodchild was the Master. His name is not mentioned in the Minutes
of the first meeting. Was he a P.M. of another Lodge, probably Harmony ?
If he was not a founder of the Hope, he must have joined the Lodge afterwards,
for he was S.W. of the Hope in 1804 and 1805, and W.M. in 1806 and 1807.
Bro. Jno. Smith, who was recorded S.D. at the first meeting, must then only
have been an E.A., for he was passed at the second meeting; but where did
the other Brethren come from, were they also.members of the Harmony, or of
some other Lodge ?
3. The Brother of special interest to us is the Secretary. Bro. Richard
Scholefield, on whose statements we must rely for the transmitted history
of the working of the Mark Degree in the Lodge of Hope.
Unfortunately no early Minutes are extant of the Hope Mark Lodge, but Bro.
Scholefield, whom we have seen recorded as Secretary at the second Meeting,
and who was W.M. in 1810, 1830 and 1831, always asserted that the Mark was
conferred in the Lodge of Hope, since its formation under the Old York Manuscript
Constitution, and it appears from the Minutes of the Lodge of Hope, that
Bro. R. M. Scholefield was appointed by the Brethren to represent the Lodge
at the Union of the two Grand Lodges in 1813, and to attend the Lodges of
Reconciliation to ascertain the position of the Lodge with regard to the
Mark Degree, and he reported, that by authority of the Grand Master, and
arrangements then come to, the Lodge of Hope was entitled to continue to
confer the Mark under the authority of the Old York Manuscript Constitution,
which has uninteruptedly been done until the Mark Lodge enrolled under the
banner of the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons in 1873.
The oldest Mark Minutes extant in West Yorkshire are contained in the old
Minute Book of the " Prince George Lodge," which was first held at the White
Lion Inn, Haworth, on the 2nd of March, 1796 Warrant dated 18th of February,
1796 and granted by Wm. Spencer, Esq., P.D.P.G.M. of the County of York,
to Stephen Paslow, William Holmes, John Holmes, John Roper and J. Driver.
In the Minutes of Dec. 3rd, 1799, we find recorded "that the Lodge was closed
in perfect harmony, when James Scott and Jonathan Uttley received the Mark."
On Dec. 27th, 1799:
"Jos. Pollard, John Feather, Jas. Akroyd, John Heap, received the Mark."
On Oct. Sth, 1800.
"John Craven, John Greenwood, Timothy Hardaker, received the Mark. No other
business being done, only Mark, the Lodge was closed in Harmony:'
The first entry shows that the Mark was after the Craft Lodge was closed,
from the other entries, it that the Mark was given before the closing of
the Craft Lodge.
At one time Haworth had two Craft Lodges, "The Prince George" and " The Three
Graces," one Royal Arch Chapter, "The Brunswick;" and two Knight Templars
"encampments, "The Brunswick " and " The Plains of Mamre." " The Three Graces"
Lodge, "The Brunswick"` Chapter and "The Plains of Mamre" Preceptory, are
still held there, but the "Prince George" Lodge was removed from Haworth
to Eastwood (Bottoms), in 1812. But strange to say, Eastwood (Bottoms) had
a Arch Chapter and a Knight Templars Encampment before the removal of "The
Prince George"` from Haworth to Eastwood.
As Bottoms has in former times been such a very interesting Masonic place,
the very hotbed of the "High Degrees," visited regularly every Sunday
by Masons from all the neighbouring towns in Yorkshire and Lancashire, from
Leeds, Bradford, Halifax, Wakefield, Rochdale, even Manchester, it may be
interesting to dwell for a short tirne on this very interesting Masonic place,
and I am quoting here from Bro. E. Craven's `" Freeamsonry at Bottoms": "
Before the Lancathire and Yorkshire Railway was made, there was an Inn at
Bottoms called the Freemason's Arms." This Inn was built on the side of an
old turnpike road, which was the old Stage Coach route from Manchester
When the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway was built, the old Freemason's
Arms," being on the site of the line, was pulled down and the road diverted,
the railway company building the owner another inn in the place of it on
the side of the newly made road. The present inn is considerably larger than
the old one, and it would seem to be out of keeping with the ordinary
requirements of the place, for the neighbourhood is not a populous one. There
is a village there, which along with the hilly district to the north-east
is called Eastwood. But does not seem to have any defined boundary-it is
not a township or hamlet, not strictly a village name. but a general and
indefinite local name. It probably derived its name from some ancestor of
the present family of Eastwood, some members of which have resided and been
landowners at Eastwood for over 300 years."
"Thus the pulling down of the old Inn "TheFreemason's Arms" whilst destroying
many old and pleasing Masonic associations, led to the erection of a more
commodious budding, which proved most convenient for many Masonic assemblies
which were held there."
"The name of the Craft Lodge is the "Prince George." and as mentioned before
was transferred from Haworth in 1812."
" I cannot better show the zeal of the " Prince George," than by referring
to its old Calendars which gave the hours and date of meeting for
Craft Lodge - Craft' Lodge Lecture,
Holy Royal Arch - Holy Royal Arch Lecture,
Knight Templar - Knight Templar Lecture,
Mediterranean Pass - Knights of Malta,
Rose Croix - Ne plus Ultra.
Priestly Order - Red Cross of Babylon."
"The Minutes of the Red Cross Knights and Knight Templar Priests begin in
1819. So do the Minutes of the Ark, Mark and Link. The Mark was originally
worked with the Craft, but in 1838 we find separate Minutes."
I have shown that Bottoms was a place of great Masonic interest, if only
from the many degrees which were, and have been for a long time, worked there.
It has often been asserted, that Bottoms possessed an Old York Warrant. or
Warrants of some other other description."
"I have already previously mentioned that there was a Royal Arch Chapter
and a Knight Templar Encampment at Bottoms, before there was a Craft Lodge
"Previous to becoming a Royal Arch Mason or a Knight Templar, a person must
first be a Craftmason, and it is very singular if there was a Royal Arch
Chapter and a Knight Templar Encampment where no Craft Lodge existed!'
"'Prince. George' was noted for its working and Masonic zeal very soon after
its removal to Bottoms. It initiated twenty candidates in the first year,
fifteen in the second, and sixteen in the third. This is a very large number
(fifty-one in three years) for a young Lodge. If there were Masons at Bottoms,
not under the Grand Lodge of England. it would be necessary to re~initiate
"These facts are interesting and strange, and point to a strong probability
that Masonry at Bottoms is much older than its present records, and that
Masonry existed at Bottoms, in some regular or irregular manner, before the
removal of "The Prince George" in 1812."
And so probably it was at Bradford previous to the establishment of the Lodge
of Hope in 1794, as there also, we have many initiations in the first years
of its existence, and though there are no previous records of any meetings,
the fact remains, that there is an old Manuscript Constitution, recognised
as genuine by all Masonic authorities, and the statement made by Bro. R.
M. Scholefield, who was present at the Union on behalf of the Lodge, that
on the authority of the first Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge Of England,
and the arrangement then made, the Lodge of Hope was entitled to continue
to confer the Mark Degree under its old Manuscript Constitution.
I have considerably deviated Irom my path, by dwelling for such a long time
on the history of Freemasonry at Bottoms, but apart from being a very interesting
subject, dear to all Yorkshire Masons from the many happy associations, and
pleasant and instructive meetings. my object was to point out how similar
its connection with old York Masonry is to the object of our enquiries at
The early Minutes of the Harmony Lodge No. 461, were not available when-
these enquiries were made, but lately, when at Huddersfield, I was shown
a history of that Lodge in Manuscript, and I was struck by the great number
of Bradford Brethren, who were members of that Lodge in 1792 and 1793.
The Warrant of the "Harmony Lodge" is dated 1792, ( two years previous to
the "Hope" Warrant), and the question suggests itself, how came it to pass
that so many Bradford Brethren were members of a Halifax Lodge ?
One explanation is the following: The York Grand Lodge collapsed about that
time. The last record is dated August 23rd, 1792, when the following Brethren
were elected :
Bro. Edward Wolley ....Grand Master
Bro. Geo. Kitson ... Grand Treasurer
Bros. Richardson and Williams ... Wardens,
On the Grand Lodge collapsing, the old York Masons were without legal authority.
and many of them joined the "Union Lodge" at York, under the Grand Lodge
of England (Moderns) Warrant dated 1777. which afterwards (1870) changed
its name to " The York Lodge. No. 236," and which is generally considered
the lineal representative of the extinct " Grand Lodge of All England." In
consequence of which, many important and invaluable documents, Minute Books,
Jewels, Furniture, Paintings. and other property of the ancient Grand Lodge,
have been transferred thereto, and are now in its possession.
The question suggests itself now : Did those Bradford Brethren who joined
the, Harmony Lodge at Halifax, belong to some regular or irregular Lodge,
meeting under York Constitution, were they descendants of the Lodge formed
in 1713. and on the York Grand Lodge collapsing, did they go to Halifax to
be re-initiated in order to form a regular Lodge at Bradford ? Thus following
the example of the York Brethren, who joined the Union Lodge.
If we turn back to the first two Minutes of the Lodge of Hope, we find the
names of fourteen members recorded and five visitors from Harmony, two of
these have joined the Hope afterwards, viz. Jno. Farrar and Jno. Ramsden,
the former was W.M. of the Hope in 1795, 1804 and 1805, the latter in 1812
and 1813, 1818 and 1824, also Wm: Goodchild, who was the Master at the second
Meeting, who was S.W. of the Lodge of Hope in 1804 and 1805, and W.M. in
1806 and 1807, these make seventeen Brethren who came from the Harmony.
Of those initiated at the second Meeting, Jno. Stansfield, was S.W. in 1795,
and W.M. in 1797. and John Varley, J.W. in 1795, 1796 and 1797, and W.M.
1798 - a strikingly quick advancement for newly initiated Brethren. This
again suggests the question, did they belong to some regular or irregular
Lodge before, and were they re-initated ? It was the custom at the time,
that Brethren belonging to one or the other of the Rival Grand Lodges, when
they joined a Lodge under another Constitution, but that under which they
were initiated, had to be re-initiated.
We left off at the time of the Union of the two London Grand Lodges in 1813,
when the Mark Degree was discarded from the Craft. Nevertheless Mark Masonry
was continued to be practised by many Lodges in many parts of this country,
and it has always been recognised as an integral part of ancient Masonry
by the Grand Lodge of Scotland, the Grand Royal Arch Chapters of Scotland,
Ireland, Canada and the United States of America.
Matters came to a climax in September 1851. when a Warrant was granted by
the Bon Accord Chapter No. 91, at Aberdeen under the Supreme Royal Arch Chapter
of Scotland. to six of its members in London, to establish a Mark Master
Masons Lodge under the title of " The Bon Accord Mark Master Masons Lodge."
The return of this Warrant was demanded in 1855, by the Supreme Royal Arch
Chapter of Scotland. which the Principals of the Bon Accord Chapter declined
to accede to. But in February, 1856, they returned their own Warrant, which
left the Bon Accord Mark Lodge without supreme authority.
In consequence of conflicts respecting the Mark Degree arising in Nova Scotia
and Canada, between Lodges under the Grand Lodge Of England and those under
Scotch and Irish Constitutions, it was agreed at a Quarterly Communication
of the Supreme Royal Arch Chapter of England, held on November 1st. 1855,
that it was desirable to enter on the subject of the Mark Degree. The committee
appointed to report on the subject decided that the Mark Degree did not form
part of the Royal Arch, and it was resolved to refer the matter to the Grand
Lodge of England.
The following report of the Board of General Purposes was accordingly made
in Grand Lodge on 5th of March, 1856:
" That the Committee for investigating the subject of the Mark Degree are
of opinion that it is a link between the 2nd and 3rd Degrees of Craftmasonry.
That the degree of Mark Mason or Mark Master Mason is not at variance with
the ancient landmarks of the Order, and that the Degree be an addition to
and form part of Craftmasonry, and consequently may be conferred by all regular
warranted Lodges, under such regulations as shall he prepared and sanctioned
by the Most Worshipful Grand Master."
However, at the next Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge, in June, 1856,
the above resolution was non-confirmed in the absence of many Brethren who
would have attended the meeting and voted in favour, had they been made aware
of the intended opposition, which was on the ground that it was agreed at
the union " that Freemasonry existed of three degrees and no more, and that
were the Mark acknowledged, other innovations might follow."
With regard to the discussion, it was stated that nearly all the speakers
admitted that the Mark Degree was an integral part of ancient Freemasonry,
although they voted against it. The motion against its recognition was carried
by a majority of one.
Still, as a deliberate expression of opinion by a body as the United Grand
Lodge of England, the above resolution has a most significant value and
Thus shut out from practising the Degree in Craft Lodges, the Mark Masters
of England were compelled to do as the four London Lodges did in 1717, associate
together and constitute a governing body of their own.
This course was adopted by a number of distinguished Brethren, and the Grand
Lodge of Mark Master Masons was accordingly formed in June, 1856, with Lord
Leigh, Provincial Grand Master of Warwickshire, at its head as first Grand
Master. Other members of the Degree continued working under the Grand Chapter
of Scotland, by whose authority a Warrant was granted to several Brethren
to form a Lodge of Mark Masters, to be called St Mark's No. 1, and for some
time this section of the Brethren met with remarkable success, no less than
twenty-one Warrants having been issued by the Scottish Grand Chapter to English
Some of the old Time Immemorial Lodges also witheld their support from the
new Grand Lodge for a time, but by degrees the advantage of unity and
consolidation became so apparent that Lodge after Lodge gave its adhesion
to the national body. and as an example the St. Mark's Lodge. No. 1 of Scotland.
is now No. 1 of England.
The following Time Immemorial Lodges joined:-
The Northumberland and Berwick, Newcastle.
The Royal Cumberland, Bath.
The Kent, London.
In May, 1857, the newly constituted Lord Leigh's Grand Lodge convened a special
meeting to consider whether it would be better to unite under one Constitution,
or continue separately under English, Scotch, or American Warrants.
The result of this meeting was that a resolution in favour of unity and
uniformity was unanimously agreed, and on the 16th of June, 1857, we find
that several Lodges had joined it, and that seven Provincial Grand Masters
had been appointed.
Since that time Mark Masonry has happily continued to prosper, all the Mark
Lodges working under Warrants granted by foreign supreme bodies have returned
the same and taken out new ones from The Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons
The Provincial Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons of West Yorkshire was
inaugurated under the Banner of the Fearnley Mark Lodge, No. 58, at Halifax,
on Wednesday, August 2nd, 1871, by the Rt. Worshipful Bro. W. R. Callender,
Junr., R.W. Prov. Grand Master of Lancashire, who installed W. Bro. Thomas
Perkington as first Prov. Grand Master of West Yorkshire.
When Provincial Grand Lodge was constituted, the following six Lodges were
on the Roll, viz.
Prince Edward, No. 14. Hebden Bridge.
Britannia, No. 53, Sheflield.
Fearnley. No. 58, Halifax.
Iintegrity, No. 110, Morley (now at Wakefield).
Copley, No. 111, Leeds.
Portal, No. 127, Dewsbury (now Barnsley).
You will notice that the Old York was not on the Roll of Provincial Grand
Lodge at its inauguration in 1871. No, tho Old York Lodge kept its independence,
although negotiations for its joining the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons
had been going on for nine years.
From the old Minute Book it appears that the working was different from our
present working. the Mark was considered an integral part of the Craft at
that time. The Lodge was opened in the First and Second Degrees, and afterwards
proclaimed open in the Mark - the Ritual was also different from the present
one (a copy of the old Ritual is still preserved amongst the Lodge documents)-
the Candidates were promoted, and after the Mark business was done, the Mark
Lodge was proclaimed closed, and the Second Degree resumed, the Lodge lowered
to the First and closed.
The Charge and Lecture were regularly given to the Candidate, and the questions
were regularly asked from the chair and answered by the Brethren. Papers
were sometimes read by the Brethren, and there is a record where the Lodge
followed the precedent set by the York Grand Lodge and met out of Bradford,
viz., at the Philanthropic Rooms, at Leeds, when twenty-seven of the Leeds
Brethren were promoted to the Mark Degree; this took place on June 8th, 1860.
On this occasion a paper on " Masons Marks " was read by Bro. E. W. Shaw,
and upwards of 1,200 Masons' Marks were exhibited and explained. There are
two more lectures by the same Brother recorded in the minutes of later dates.
Bro. Nelson, the Grand Secretary, had repeatedly made proposals to the Lodge
to enrol under the Banner of Grand Mark Lodge.
As early as December, 1862, propositions were received and the Secretary
was deputed to enter into negotiations with the authorities at London, and
ask for particulars, but it was not until twelve years later that the lodge
gave up its independence and enrolled under the Banner of the Grand Lodge
of Mark Master Masons.
The following are extracts from the Minute Book, viz.
Dec- 9th, 1862
"Bro. Gaunt read a letter from Bro. Nelson, stating that a Grand Mark Lodge
had been formed, and wishing to know whether No. 379 (the number which the
Lodge of Hope then had) was desirous of being enrolled under the Banner of
Grand Mark Lodge, or of remaining independent."
A proposal to join was put, seconded, and supported, but an amendment was
proposed and seconded, that no hasty steps be taken and further information
be asked. The latter was carried by a large majority."
Nothing further is found in the Minutes indicating that further progress
had been made until March, 1873, when it is recorded:
" Bro. Gaunt rose and explained, that we consider to work under the same
Constitution as the Lodge of Hope, which was granted by the Grand Lodge of.
York, and when, in 1813, the Grand Lodges united, this Constitution was
confirmed, whereby we understand that we have a right to work the Mark Degree."
He also stated that our late Bro. Scholefield, PM, who was present in London
at the meeting when the Grand.Lodges united, worked ever afterwards the Mark
Degree in conformity with the arrangements then come to.
Bro. Gaunt hoped that in time the Grand Lodge of England will acknowledge
the Mark Degree. A movement in that direction commenced by the establishment
of the Grand Master Masons Lodge of England, in the year 1856; since then
the Mark Degree has spread more widely, and already 164 Mark Master Masons
Lodges were under the Banner of the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons.
Several of our Past Masters and Brethren desired to join, and Bro. Gaunt
made therefore the necesary enquiries, in consequence of which he received
very liberal offers through the Secretary of Grand Mark Lodge.
In conclusion, Bro. John Gaunt proposed, Bro. Dr. Taylor seconded, and Bro.
Thos. Hill supported : 'That, considering the liberal offers we have received,
we shall take means to organise ourselves under the Banner of the Grand Lodge
of Mark Master Masons of England.' After a lengthened discussion this proposition
was carried by a large majority."
A Committee was appointed, consisting of seven Past Masters, and Bro. Henry
Berlon as Secretary.
At a Committee Meeting held October 17th, 1873, the following resolutions
were passed, viz.
"That the name of the Mark Lodge be 'The Old York Time Immemorial Lodge of
Mark Master Masons."'
"The fees for joining. advancement, and annual subscription were fixed."
" The Meetings were fixed once in three months."
It was proposed, seconded and carried. that
Bro. John Gaunt, P.M., be the first W.M.
Bro. John Craven Taylor, P.W the first I.P.M.
Bro. Thomas Hill, P. W the first S.W.
Bro. J. D. Sugden, P. W the first J.W.
"That a petition be at once forwarded to the M.W. Grand Master to appoint
these officers; that a circular be issued to all Brethren who took the Mark
Degree in this Lodge; and a second circular to call a Mark Masters Lodge
for Monday, October 27th, at 6~30 p.m."
The last meeting of the independent Mark Lodge attached to the Lodge of Hope
was held on the above-mentioned date, twenty Brethren being present.
"The Minutes of the last meeting, held March 31 st, 1873, were read and
confirmed. Seven Brethren were promoted to the Mark Degree."
Amongst them were Bro. Joseph Matthewman, our late Prov. Grand Secretary,
and the late Bro. Jeremiah Leech Atherton.
The Charge was given by Bro. John Craven Taylor, the oldest member of the
The Minutes of the Committee Meeting, held October 17th, were read, after
which the King. Bro. Gaunt, P.W asked the Brethren if any had to make any
suggestions on the propositions of the Committee."
After a lengthened discussion thereon, Bro. Thos. Andrews proposed, and Bro.
Hanson Farrar seconded, that the propositions of the Committee be passed,
this was carried by a great majority.
"The Mark was then proclaimed closed at 8-20 p.m., and after resuming the
Second Degree, lowered to the First, and closed in harmony at.8-30 p.m".
The independent Mark Lodge was a strong Lodge, during the period from January,
1852, to October, 1873, 194 Brethren have been promoted to the Mark Degree,
71 Brethren had expressed their approval of enrolling under the Banner of
Grand Mark Lodge, and the Old York Lodge joined Grand Mark Lodge with a muster
roll of 71 Brethren.
The original circulars, with the autograph signatures of these 71 Brethren,
bound in a book presented by Bro. Henry Berlon, the last Secretary of the
independent Mark Lodge and the first Secretary of the "Old York" under the
Banner of Grand Mark Lodge, are carefully preserved amongst the documents
of the Lodge.
Of these 71 Brethren six are now amongst the living, but only one of them
has kept up his connection with the Lodge as a subscribing member.
He was promoted on April 26th, 1864, but owing to advanced age and residing
a good distance from Bradford, we have not had the pleasure of seeing him
amongst us for many years, but his interest in the Lodge is still kept up,
he insists on all communications being sent to him, even circulars calling
Practice Meetings, and his apologies for non-attendance are regularly received
by first post after communication, the best proof that he is still with us
in spirit, and has not lost interest in the welfare of the Lodge of which
he has been a shining star during the best part of his life.
Having enrolled under the Banner of Grand Mark Lodge, a new era of history
commences for the Old York T. I. Lodge, which does not come within the compass
of this paper.
My object, was to enquire into the traditional history of early Freemasonry
at Bradford and neighbourhood, and to furnish evidence which proves that
Freemasonry was introduced into Bradford, in the year 1713, by "The Ancient
ancl 'Honourable Society and Fraternity of Freemasons, meeting since time
immemorial in the city of York," and to advance arguments which lead us to
suppose that Freemasonry, in some form or other, must have been in existence
at Bradford and neighbourhood previous to the establishment of the Lodge
of Hope in 1794.
Before I bring this paper to a close, I feel it my duty to pay tribute to
the memory of the three Brethren, who during their lifetime have worked so
hard for the benefit of the Lodge, and who have been the means of transmitting
its history from one generation to another, as we find it from time to time
recorded in the transactions of the Lodge. Our thanks are due to:
1..-Bro. Richard Mortimer Scholefield, whose name we have seen recorded as
Secretary at the second meeting of the Lodge of Hope in 1794.. He was Worshipful
Master in 1810 and again in 1830 and 1831. During the whole of his long life
he was a most enthusiastic worker in the Craft, Mark, Royal Arch, and the
Temple ; his name still headed the new Mark Register started in 1853, carried
forward from an older Register, and we found his name recorded as late as
2.-Bro. John Craven Taylor, who was initiated in the Three Graces Lodge,
at Haworth, on August 18th, 1834. He was the founder and first Worshipful
Master of the Scientific Lodge, founded at Cullingworth, on November 21 st,
1836 (removed to Bingley, 1839), when he was elected Worshipful Matter for
a second time. He was a member and P. M. M. of the Mark Lodge for over fifty
years. He died in 1891, and his remains are laid to rest at Cullingworth
3.- Bro. Henry Berlon, who was Secretary of the Mark Lodge for nearly twenty
years, who carried on the negotiations with Grand Mark Lodge for many years,
and who after the Old York Lodge had enrolled under its Banner. was Secretary
for another nine years. We lost him in 1885.
The first-named died before my time. but his name was still a landmark in
the Lodge of Hope when I was a young Mason; with the latter two I was well
acquainted. the one was my proposer as candidate for the Mark Degree, and
both were the instructors of my Masonic youth. The last named I succeeded
as Secretary of this Lodge. and after his death all his Masonic books and
documents were handed over to me by his widow; from his notes and records
that part of this paper touching the traditional history of the Lodge was
In conclusion, I remind you that the bi-centenary of the introduction of
Freemasonry into Bradford is now approaching, and it would bhe a fitting
occasion if some commemoration of the event was held during the year 1913,
which is also the centenary of the Union of the two rival Grand Lodges