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A Brief History of The Lodge of Connaught & Truth

The history of the Lodge of Connaught & Truth can be traced back as 1845. It started life out in life as the Lodge of Truth, No. 521. The formation of the Lodge is such a long time ago that it pre-dates many of the current practices in Freemasonry. It has no "mother lodge" as such as this was became a 19th century concept. Rather, it was formed out of members from Harmony Lodge No. 275 and Huddersfield Lodge No. 290 as the following table demonstrates:

1 William Kilner 275 First W.M. 5th December, 1845
2 William Shaw 290 W.M. of No. 365 in 1843
3 Thomas Robert Tatham 275 Became W.M. 4th December, 1846, and again in December 1849.
4 Joseph Brook 275  
5 Thomas Kenworthy Rowbotham 275  
6 Titus Thewlis 275 W.M. of No. 275 in 1845
7 J. Booth 275  
8 T. Firth 275  
9 Samuel Shaw 290 W.M. of No. 275 in 1841
10 B.D. Eldridge 275  
11 Abraham Turner 290  
12 R. Jacques 290 W.M. of No. 275 in 1846
13 C. Smith 290 W.M. of No. 275 in 1849.
14 Moses Sharp 290  
In the following year of 1846 the Brethren of the Lodge of Truth took part in a significant civil event when they joined the brethren of the other Lodges in the town (there would have been only three at that point) to take part in the ceremony of laying the foundation stone of Huddersfield Station. Although extremely rare these days, processions of Freemasons were common during this period as they took on a ceremonial role similar to their operative duties in laying of the foundation stones of important buildings.

After an initial influx of joining members, membership fell 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". However help was at hand in the form of Bro. John Sykes, of Huddersfield Lodge, who had joined in April of the inaugural year, and shortly afterwards took over the duties of Secretary. He was installed as Master in December 1851, and was the Worshipful Master for the remarkable year of 1852.  During this year there were 33 initiation, 29 passings and 23 raisings, and 3 joining members!

  Click here to view the first ever minutes of the Lodge
A full account of our early history is given in the limited edition publication "History of 100 Years of the Lodge of Truth", written by H.L. Simpson in 1945. This was scanned into a digital document by Bro. Paul Moorhouse as part of a project to preserve our history and make it available to a wider audience. To view this PDF file please select this hyperlink. (It's a 6MByte file so it will take a while to download). In 1917 the a daughter Lodge was formed when The Connaught Lodge was consecrated. This makes it a "Bicentenary Lodge" as it was formed 200 years after the formation of Grand Lodge in 1717. It was named after the Grand Master at the time, the Duke of Connaught. In 2004 the two Lodges amalgamated to become the Lodge of Connaught & Truth No. 521.

Huddersfield is a small town in Yorkshire, situated below the Pennines between Leeds and Manchester, and is part of the Kirklees Metropolitan Council. It is the birthplace of Rugby League (at the George Hotel) as well as the home town for James Mason, Harold Wilson, Lord Hanson, Roy Castle and Gordon Kaye. During its time the Lodge has drawn in membership from the town and surrounding districts, and even further afield. Our most prominent member was the Marquess of Ripon who was M.P. for Huddersfield between 1853 and 1857. He went on to become the Grand Master between 1870 and 1874. This is a unique part of our heritage; the Lodge of Connaught & Truth is the only Yorkshire Lodge to have a member who went on to become a Grand Master.

  The Marquess of Ripon, one of our better known Past Masters
Other members who have made outstanding contributions to the community have included four Mayors: John Varley, J.P. (1884-5), William Jessop (1897-1917), John Holroyd (1908-9) and James Woolven (1919-20). William Jessop was also a founder of The Connaught Lodge.

Other past members have included Frank Shaw, member of the famous "Ben Shaw" family of pop manufacturers and (though this requires further verification), Thomas Broadbent who founded his eponomous engineering company. Both these businesses still exist in Huddersfield to this day. Although we have had a number of illustrious members of the local community, Freemasonry is an ethical system based on egailitarian principles. The Lodge of Connaught & Truth has, therefore, been priviledged to count amongst its ranks a greater number of lesser known men, who were no less thought of.

William Jessop, A Past Master of the Lodge of Truth and Founder Member of The Connaught Lodge in his Mayoral Gown  

The original Lodge banner, presented on 7th May, 1852 by Bro. Julius Schlesinger.

Early Membership


William Kilner, First Worshipful Master of the Lodge of Truth

James Kirk, Builder & Architect of Fitzwilliam Street

On 17th May, 1853 George Frederick Samuel Robinson, latterly known as the Marquess of Ripon and recently elected Member of Parliament, joined the burgeoning ranks of the Lodge at the age of 25 years. After an intial plunge in numbers the brethren seemed to have arrested the decline and members grew from an all-time low of twelve in 1850, to eighty-six in 1860.

Meeting Places

In 1845 the inaugural meeting of the Lodge took place in The Rose & Crown Inn, Kirkgate on the site of what is now the Mecca Bingo Hall. Exactly one year later the Lodge moved to the White Hart Inn and then from 1850 to the George Hotel. From 1851 to 1855 the Lodge returned to the Rose & Crown Inn in a specially built room.

The main room, looking towards the East. The main room, looking towards the West.

In 1855 the Lodge of Truth moved to its present location on Fitzwilliam Street where it has remained ever since. The Masonic Hall on Fitzwilliam Street is a part of the architectural heritage of Huddersfield. As well as being a Grade II listed building, it is also the oldest surviving masonic building in the region, being considered significant enough to be included in the Reverend Cryer's book Masonic Halls of the North of England.

The rooms are shared with our daughter Lodge, The Connaught Lodge No. 3800 which was consecrated in 1917 and our sister Lodge, The Concord Lodge No. 4126 which was consecrated in 1920. In addition there are two Royal Arch Chapters which meet there (Perserverance & Truth), along with Truth Mark, Truth Mariners, Prince of Wales Chapter (Rose Croix) and Hope Preceptory (Knight's Templar).

A Programme for the Centenary of the Building

In 1902 the main room was added on to the back of the building, whilst the room upstairs was converted into the Supper Room. In October of that year Joseph Spratt painted the distinctive muriels on the wall of the main room, followed by painting the panels in the ante-room on the left-hand room of th entrance. More up to date, in 2001 the main room was redecorated, along with the railings and door at the front of the building.

Lodge Centenary Jewel Past Master's Jewel

On Friday 29th March, 2001 the Lodge celebrated 150 years of continuous history.