FORMATION OF LODGE
Another factor which adds to the confusion in tracing old Lodges is the devious means taken to avoid the edicts of the Secret Societies Act which was passed by Parliament in July 1799. It was assumed, probably wrongly, that no new lodges could be formed, but both the Antients Grand Lodge and the Moderns Grand Lodge hit on a novel way of avoiding this. Whenever it was desired to open a new lodge, the Grand Lodge concerned re-issued the warrant and number of a lodge which had lapsed.
This ploy was invoked when application was made to the Antients Grand Lodge for a Warrant which had been granted to Lodge 208 and dated 16th February 1779 meeting at “Square and Compasses” in Wokington, Cumberland. This Lodge made only one return and did not even pay the fees for their Warrant. The Grand Secretary being reimbursed for the expense of drawing up the document by the Grand Lodge in July 1782 when the Lodge was declared dormant. The warrant was allocated to Brunswick Lodge being accompanied by the number of 208. The new lodge was constituted on 12th January 1802. (Reference letter dated 29th January 1802 on page 8)
A note in the Atholls Grand Lodge register for the year 1802 reveals that the formation of the lodge was recommended by Lodge No 216. This was a military lodge attached to the 1st Regiment of the East Devon Militia and their recommendation was not unusual and many of our lodges owe their continuance on the roll during adverse circumstances to their well directed aid.
The founding members were John Smith, Edward Lawrey, Thomas Chapman, Joseph Easton & Thomas Yates. The first Worshipful Master of the Lodge was John Smith.
It is true to say that the services of the military brethren in the last half of the 1700s is almost beyond measure. But for this many of our former Atholl lodges would not be making their valued contributions to freemasonry today.
The East Devon Militia Lodge No 216 which played a part in the birth of Brunswick Lodge was warranted by the Antients Grand Lodge on October 24,1781 when the 1st Regiment was stationed at Roborough and for almost 55 years it travelled with the Regiment to such places as Dover, Bristol, Totnes, Plymouth, Winchester, Portsea, Lewes,Chelmsford, Ireland, Lichfield and Exeter from 1817 to 1835 when because of declining membership it was erased.
COPY OF WARRANT
No. 208 WM. DICKEY, D.G.M.
ATHOLL Grand Master R. DAVY, S.G.W.
J. STEWART, J.G.W.
To all whom it may concern:
We, the Grand Lodge of the most Ancient and Honourable Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons, according to the Old Constitutions granted by His Royal Highness Prince Edwin, at York, Anno Dornini Nine Hundred Twenty and Six, and in the year of Masonry Four Thousand Nine Hundred Twenty and Six, in ample form assembled, viz. : —The Right Worshipful and Most Noble Prince John, the third Duke, Marquis, and Earl of Strathtay and Strathhardle, Viscount of Balquider, Glenalmond, and Glenivon, Lord Murray, Belveny, and Gask, Heritable Captain and Constable of the Castle and Constabulary of Hincleaven, Hereditary Keeper of the Palace of Falkland, and in that part of Great Britain called England, and Masonical Jurisdiction thereto belonging, Grand Master of Masons; the Right Worshipful, William Dickey, Esquire, Deputy Grand Master ; the Right Worshipful Robert Davy, Esquire, Senior Grand \Warden ; and the Right Worshipful George Stewart, Esquire, Junior Grand \Warden (with the approbation and consent of the Warranted Lodges, held within the Cities and Suburbs of London and WestDo hereby authorize and empower our trusty and well-beloved brethren; viz. :—The Worshipful Henry Pearon, one of our Master Masons ; and the Worshipful William Grayson, his Senior Warden ; and the Worshipful Daniel Ritson, his Junior Warden, to form and hold a Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons aforesaid, at the Square and Compass (or any other convenient place) in Workington, in the County of Cumberland, on the first and fourth Monday in each Calendar Month, on all seasonable times and lawful occasions ; and in the said Lodge (when duly congregated) to admit and make Free Masons, according to the most Ancient and Honourable custom of the Royal Craft, in all ages and nations throughout the known world. and we do hereby further authorize and empower our said trusty and well-beloved Brethren, Henry Fearon, William Grayson, and Daniel Ritson (with the consent of the Members of their Lodge, to nominate, choose, and install their successors, to whom they shall deliver this Warrant, and invest them with their Powers and Dignities, as Freemasons, &c. and such successors shall in like manner nominate, choose, and install their successors, &c., &c., &c.; such installations to be upon (or near) every Sr. John’s Day, during the continuance of this Lodge, for ever. Providing the above-named Brethren, and all their successors, always pay due respect to this Right Worshipful Grand Lodge, otherwise this Warrrant to be of no Force or Virtue.
Given under our Hand, and the Seal of our
Grand Lodge in London, this Sixteenth day of February, in the Year of our Lord
One Thousand Seven Hundred Seventy and Nine,
and in the Year of Masonry Five Thousand Seven Hundred Seventy and Nine.
James Jones, Grand Secretary.
NOTE.—This Warrant is registered in the Grand
Lodge, Vol. 3, Letter C.
It is unfortunate that the original warrant was destroyed by enemy action in the Second World War during the numerous raids on Plymouth. Often there are pencilled remarks on ancient warrants which are of great interest. A Warrant of Confirmation was granted to the Lodge on 3,September 1941. A lodge taking possession of a dormant or lapsed warrant became entitled to the position on the Roll thus obtained, but not to the date on the original warrant. Thus, in the case of Brunswick there occurs a gap between the date of the warrant (16th February 1779) and the date of foundation (29th January 1802).
The number of the Lodge has been altered on 4 occasions. The first number was 208 which came with the warrant. Then followed 260 in 1814, 185 in 1832 and the present number of 159 with the final remuneration, or closing up of numbers in 1863.
Meeting places have been numerous and were held at:
Crown & Cushion in (29-1-1802).
London Inn (1802 to 24-10-1807.
The Half Moon at Mrs Fishers Inn (20-11-1807 to 1808).
Phoenix Inn, Fore Street (1808).
Prince Regent (1814 to 4-9-1815).
Military Arms Tavern, Fore Street (13-9-1815 to 5-2-1821).
White Lion, King Street (27-2-1821 to 4-3-1822).
Prince George Inn (6-5-1822).
Phoenix Inn, King Street (24-6-1822 to 3-9-1822).
Prince William, Henry, Cumberland Street (4-11-1822 to 5-3-1827).
Market House Inn,Market Street.(2-4-1827 to 17-12-1830).
Commercial Inn, Fore Street (3-10-1831 to 1-6-1835).
Masonic Rooms, 62 St Aubyn Street (6-7-1835 to 1854).
St George's Hall, Emma Place, Stonehouse, (1854)
Brunswick Masonic Hall, Union Street, (1855)
Metham Masonic Hall, Caroline Place, Stonehouse(1869).
Ebrington Masonic Hall, Hobart St Stonehouse (1880 to 2-12-1908)
Mount Edgcumbe Masonic Hall (9-12-1908 to 9-5-1941
Sincerity Masonic Hall (28-6-1941 to 1-12-1954)
Mount Edgcumbe Masonic Hall (5-1-1955 to 1981)
St Aubyn Masonic Hall, 1981.