Constitutional Lodge Nº 294
 

1993 saw the celebration of the Bi-Centenary of the CONSTITUTIONAL LODGE number 294, in the Province of Yorkshire North and East Riding.
An ancient lodge, in an ancient town. A complete history was written at the time and W Bro Gavin Collinson PPGReg our Lodge Librarian and Archivist (who was a prime mover in creating it in 1993) has now transcribed it for use on the website.

Click here to download a PDF of this newly transcribed Bi-Centenial history

On 2nd April, 1782, at Newcastle upon Tyne, where the East Yorkshire Militia was temporarily stationed, was constituted the “St. George’s East York Militia” Lodge, No. 442, under a Warrant granted by the Grand Lodge of England (“Moderns”).   During 1783 this Lodge appears to have been settled at the “Sign of the Golden Ball” in Beverley, and meetings seem to have been continued here until 1792, when the Lodge moved to the “Black Bull”, Lairgate, Beverley. Next year the regiment moved to  Beccles in Suffolk, taking the Lodge with them.  After several other movements (sometimes back to Beverley) the Lodge was finally erased, 3rd June , 1829. During its existence it bore the following numbers : (1782) 442, (1792) 356, (1814) 460.
   
This appears to have been the first Masonic Lodge in Beverley, and the “Mother” Lodge of Constitutional, No. 525, which held its first meeting at the “Golden Ball” in Toll Gavel on Friday, 8th March, 1793, and was eventually consecrated on Monday, 17th June, 1793. The “Golden Ball” continued to be the home of the Lodge only until 6th November, 1793, when the first meeting was held in new premises, namely, the “Tiger Inn” in North Bar Street. This proved to be the home of Constitutional Lodge for a little over 53 years, the final meeting being held on 23rd April, 1847, when the “Tiger Inn” was sold and closed as an inn. Without a home, the Lodge did not meet for nearly 18 months. On 30th October, 1848, a meeting was held at the home of Bro. J. Tuting in North Bar Street, and continued here until a new home was found at the Assembly Rooms in Norwood, the first meeting taking place on 10th January, 1849.  The Lodge remained here until 2nd December, 1886.
    
On 21st December, 1886, the building in Register Square, formerly serving as “The Beverley Dispensary,” was dedicated by The Hon. W. S. Orde-Powlett, Dep. Prov. G. M., as the new Masonic Hall.  Meetings continued to be held here until the expiration of the lease, the last meeting being held on 1st September, 1927.
    The School Clinic in Lord Robert’s Road served as temporary premises until the end of 1927.
    In the meantime premises purchased by the Lodge were being prepared, and the first meeting in the new Masonic Hall in Trinity Lane, the first permanent home of the Lodge, was held on 5th January, 1928.
Here the Lodge has continued until the present time. Constitutional Lodge has borne the following numbers : (1793) 525, (1814) 554, (1832) 371, and (1863) 294.

    An interesting feature in connection with the Lodge is the strong bond of union existing between themselves and two American Lodges, viz., Liberty Lodge, Beverly, Mass., U.S.A., and the Alexandria-Washington Lodge, Virginia, U.S.A. Many expressions of friendship have been exchanged, and the Brethren value most highly this fraternal link with the New World. It was in 1891 that Liberty Lodge first showed interest in Constitutional ; through Liberty Lodge similar interest was aroused in Alexandria-Washington Lodge in 1894.
    The Centenary of Constitutional Lodge was celebrated on Thursday, 14th September, 1893, when the Centenary Warrant was presented and The Right Hon. The Earl of Londesborough, P.M., P.G.W.(Eng.), was duly installed as Worshipful Master of the Lodge.
    The original Warrant is granted by the Provincial Grand Master for the County of York, acting under the authority of the Grand Lodge of England (“Moderns”).

 

THE ORIGINS OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL LODGE LIE WITH ANOTHER LODGE, THE ST GEORGES EAST MILITIA LODGE NUMBER 442 (LATER 356 THEN 460) WHICH WAS CONSTITUTED ON 2 ND. APRIL 1782 AT NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE BY A WARRANT FROM THE GRAND LODGE OF ENGLAND (MODERNS) AND WAS MADE UP OF MEMBERS OF THE EAST YORKSHIRE MILITIA (BEVERLEY BUFFS)   TOWARDS THE END OF FEBRUARY 1783 THE MILITIA MARCHED TO KINGSTON UPON HULL WHERE IT WAS DISEMBODIED, WITH THE REGIMENTAL HEADQUARTERS MOVING TO BEVERLEY.

THE LODGE ALSO MOVED AND BEGAN TO MEET AT AN INN, THE GOLDEN BALL, IN TOLL GAVEL BEVERLEY, DOING SO UNTIL 1792 WHEN IT MOVED TO THE BLACK BULL IN LAIRGATE   

IN 1793 THE MILITIA AND THE LODGE MOVED TO BECCLES IN SUFFOLK,

THE LODGE FINALLY CEASED TO EXIST ON THE RD. JUNE 1829

AS A RESULT OF THE INTEREST THAT HAD BEEN STIMULATED IN BEVERLEY, ANOTHER LODGE WAS FORMED, ON FRIDAY 8TH MARCH 1793 THE CONSTITUTIONAL LODGE 525 WAS HELD AT THE GOLDEN BALL BY SPECIAL DISPENSATION, MEETING THEN AT IRREGULAR INTERVALS UNTIL THE CONSECRATION MEETING ON MONDAY 17TH JUNE 1793 WHEN WILLIAM ACKLAM TOOK THE CHAIR

AS TIME WENT BY CHANGES OCCURED IN BOTH THE NUMBERING OF THE LODGE AND ITS MEETING PLACE.   ON 1ST. NOVEMBER 1793 THE LODGE MOVED TO THE TIGER INN, NORTH BAR WITHIN, ON 8 TH. NOVEMBER 1814 THE LODGE WAS NUMBERED   554 (AS A CONSEQUENCE OF THE UNION OF THE ANTIENTS AND MODERNS), ON 6TH. JANUARY 1832 IT WAS RENUMBERED 371. ON THE 30TH OF OCTOBER 1848 DURING A PERIOD OF FALLING MEMBERSHIP THE LODGE MET AT BROTHER TUTINGS HOUSE ON NORTH BAR STREET MOVING IN 1849 TO THE ASSEMBLEY ROOMS NORWOOD. ON 6TH. AUGUST 1863 THE LODGE WAS NUMBERED TO 294, MOVING ONCE AGAIN ON 21 ST. DECEMBER 1886 TO THE BEVERLEY DISPENSARY IN REGISTER SQUARE, ON 6TH. OCTOBER 1927 THE SCHOOL CLINIC IN LORD ROBERTS ROAD AND THEN ON THE 5TH. JANUARY 1928 TO THE MASONIC HALL, TRINITY LANE , THE CURRENT HOME OF THE LODGE.

IT IS INTERESTING TO NOTE THAT SOME OF THE ITEMS TO BE SEEN IN THE LODGE DATE FROM THE EARLIEST ORIGINS OF THE LODGE MOST SIGNIFICANTLY THE MASTERS AND WARDENS JEWELS ALONG WITH THOSE OF THE TREASURER, SECRETARY, TYLER AND DEACONS.

THE DIRECTOR OF CEREMONIES BATON WERE GIVEN IN 1928, THE TWO ASHLAR (TAKEN FROM THE QUARRIES OF KING SOLOMONS TEMPLE AT JERUSALEM) WERE PRESENTED IN 1941. THE WORSHIPFUL MASTERS ENGRAVED GAVELMADE FROM WOOD FROM MOUNT VERNON ESTATE USA WAS GIVEN IN 1947 AND THE INNER GUARDS SWORD IN 1948. THE DEACONS JEWELS MAY BE REGARDED AS AN UNUSUAL FEATURE IN THEMSELVES; IN MOST LODGES THE JEWEL CONSISTS OF A DOVE BUT IN THE CONSTITUTIONAL LODGE (ALONG WITH MINERVA 250 IN HULL AND FIVE LODGES IN THE PROVINCE OF DURHAM) THEY CONSIST OF A SUN AND MOON.

THE WARDENS COLUMNS ARE ANOTHER UNUSUAL FEATURE IN THAT THEY ARE VERY PLAIN, THEY WERE ALSO PART OF THE FURNITURE OF OUR MOTHER LODGE

THE FLAMING SWORD WHICH IS PLACED TO THE RIGHT OF THE WORSHIPFUL MASTERS CHAIR IS THE ORIGINAL SHAPE OF THE TYLERS SWORD (AS DESCRIBED IN GENESIS III 24 GUARDING THE ENTRANCE TO PARADISE).  IT WAS PURCHASED FOR THE LODGE ON THE 1 ST MAY 1796 AT   A COST OF 4 SHILLINGS (20P !)

THROUGHOUT THE HISTORY OF THE LODGE VARIOUS ITEMS WERE COLLECTED, THE WARDENS COLUMNS WERE PRESENTED TO THE LODGE IN 1865, THE TERRESTRIAL AND CELESTRIAL GLOBES DISPLAYED ON THE DAIS IN 1887.

IN 1891 A SEA CAPTAIN WHO WAS A MEMBER OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL LODGE WAS DETAINED WITH FREIGHT IN BOSTON MASS USA. HE VISITED THE LIBERTY LODGE AT BEVERLY MASS. AND FROM THEN SPRANG A FRIENDSHIP THAT HAS BEEN MARKED BY THE EXCHANGE OF MANY GIFTS. ONE SUCH GIFT WAS THE THREE HANDED “LOVING CUP' PRESENTED BY LIBERTY LODGE IN 1893 ON THE OCCASION OF THE CENTENARY CELEBRATIONS. THE 'LOVING CUP' IS STILL USED TO TOAST THE WORSHIPFUL MASTER AT THE INSTALLATION MEETING

A SET OF 'FIRING GLASSES' (SOME OF WHICH STILL REMAIN IN THE DISPLAY CABINET) WERE PRESENTED IN 1898.

THE PORTRAITS, SOME PAINTED BY MEMBERS OF THE RENOWNED 'ELWELL' FAMILY, ARE DISPLAYED ON THE WALLS, THE MASONIC BANNER (DESIGNED BY THOMAS FOLEY) AND THE BUST OF THOMAS FOLEY ALL DATE FROM THE TURN OF THE CENTURY, AS DOES THE REGALIA IN THE DISPLAY CASE   

YOU MAY ALSO SEE A STUFFED BEAVER, A PRESENT FROM THE LIBERTY LODGE, AND A BUST OF EDWARD VII FROM THE RENOWNED ARTIST, BROTHER PERCY BRYANT BAKER.

WITHIN THE TEMPLE ITSELF THE THREE TRACING BOARDS WERE GIFTS FROM THE WILBERFORCE LODGE 1915, ALSO AT THAT TIME THE ANCIENT MASONIC APRON DISPLAYED IN THE CANDIDATES ROOM WAS GIVEN AT THAT TIME THE OTHER GIFTS ARE TOO NUMEROUS TO NAME IN THE SPACE AVAILABLE BUT THIS BRIEF OUTLINE WOULD NOT BE COMPLETE WITHOUT MENTIONING A FEW ITEMS IN 'EVERYDAY' USE

THE COPIES OF THE OPENING AND CLOSING HYMNS AND THE DIRECTOR OF CEREMONIES BATON WERE GIVEN IN 1928    THE TWO ASHLARS (TAKEN FROM THE QUARRIES OF KING SOLOMONS TEMPLE AT JERUSALEM) WERE PRESENTED IN 1941.    THE WORSHIPFUL MASTERS ENGRAVED GAVEL MADE FROM WOOD FROM MOUNT VERNON ESTATE USA WAS GIVEN IN 1947 AND THE INNER GUARDS SWORD IN 1948


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Consitutional lodge Nº 294 currently has xx members and meets on the first Thursday of each month (with the exception of August) at 6.30 pm.

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