Early History

The Early History of the Lodge of Peace

1717 - 1814

The Lodge Of Peace No. 149 on the Roll of the United Grand Lodge of England, and the third oldest surviving Lodge of Freemasons on the Province of Yorkshire (West Riding), holds firmly the tradition that it is the direct and legitimate descendant of an “Atholl” Lodge of “Ancient” Masons, founded at Barnsley, Yorkshire, in 1777 AD.

This “Atholl” Lodge was Lodge No. 199 on the Roll of the Atholl Grand Lodge: it was warranted by that Grand Lodge by a Warrant of Constitution, dated 1st April 1777: it was constituted at the Cock Inn, The Shambles, Barnsley, on 4th June, 1777, and held its Lodge Meetings in that Inn. 

It came into being as the result of the efforts of a group of West Riding business men, who in the course of their commercial activities regularly travelled to Bristol, where they were identified with the Atholl Lodge No.162. Thomas Peat was appointed Master, with John Flather S.W. and Richard Morris J.W. These are the names which appear on the original Warrant of Constitution.


1815 -1862

Honley

On 27th May, 1820, the Lodge, bought by a group of ten Masons, held its first meeting at its new location, the “ Wool Pack” Inn, Honley, near Huddersfield.

Meltham

On 13th September 1826 the Lodge was removed from the “Wool Pack” Inn, Honley to the “Golden Fleece” Inn, Meltham.

The first public event of the lodge during this period at the “Golden Fleece” Inn was to support the laying of the Foundation Stone of a new church at South Crosland on 15th October, 1827. However, the history of the Lodge of Peace at the “Golden Fleece” Inn, Meltham, is a depressing record. After a short initial period of zealous Lodge-building and pursuit of active Masonic interests (1826-1831), the Lodge began to decline in strength and influence until the years 1854 - 1857 saw it so weak that little hope of its survival could have been reasonably held. Not until the Lodge was removed to the “Rose & Crown” Inn, Meltham, in 1856 was a check put to this tragic decline in its vitality and fortune.

In 1832 the Lodge of Peace was warranted as No. “174” on the Roll of the United Grand Lodge of England. 

Dewsbury

The second period of the history of the Lodge, No. 199, is certainly from March, 1804, to August, 1815, and possibly to August, 1817. During these years the Lodge was held at the Inn known as the “Traveller’s Rest” (or “Arms”), Dawgreen, Dewsbury, Yorkshire. Lodge, No. 199, on the Roll of the Atholl Grand Lodge was re-numbered after the Grand Reunion of the “Ancient” and “Modern” Grand Lodges in December, 1813: in 1814 it was numbered “247” on the Roll of the United Grand Lodge of England.

From 26th August, 1815, when the Lodge at Dewsbury decided to find a purchaser of its rights and effects, until 27th May, 1820, the Lodge survived in the persons of its Members who had commissioned “Bro. John Bennett” to “dispose of the Lodge to the best advantage”, and in the person of Bro. Bennett as Trustee of the Lodge, who eventually did “dispose” of the Lodge.

The entrance to the Inn known as the “Traveller’s Rest” (or “Arms”), Dawgreen, Dewsbury, Yorkshire showing the original masonic lintel stone in situ. The date on the lintel is 1811.

The Lodge continued to meet at the “Rose & Crown” Inn, Meltham until 31st October 1863 when it was removed for the first time to private premises known as The Masonic Lodge Rooms, Meltham.

To mark this occasion, Bro. Dr. T. A. Haigh presented the Lodge with “a Holy Bible”.

As a consequence of this relocation, the Lodge of Peace was warranted as No. “149” on the Roll of the United Grand Lodge of England. The Lodge of Peace, No. 149, Meltham, has for more the one hundred and thirty years owned its Masonic Hall. This truly Masonic lodgement was built in the year 1881, and no better memorial to the strength and character of the Lodge during 1880-82 could be desired.

The Masonic Lodge Rooms, Meltham circa 1863

1863

Our Own Masonic Hall

The ambition to build its own Masonic Hall was laudable; the resolution to do so in the face of financial difficulties proved the courage of the Brethren; and achievement of their purpose within two years was eloquent of their tenacity in corporate enterprise. The lodge has many reasons to be proud of its “Former Brethren”, but, without doubt, the chief among the material reasons is their self-sacrifice and determination to carry through the bold expedient of erecting and owning their Freemasons Hall.

The Lodge continues to meet at Freemasons Hall, Meltham to this day.

Inside Freemasons Hall, Meltham (2018)

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