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History of the Lodge of Connaught & Truth No. 521

Chapter I
Formation and Early Years

Preliminary Discussion — Formation Meetings — Constitution — Founders — Collaboration with The Lodges of Harmony and Huddersfield — Union Lodge of Instruction — Meeting Places : White Hart Inn and George Hotel Some interesting Incidents.

THE LODGE OF TRUTH, now No. 521 on the Register of the United Grand Lodge of England, held its Opening or First Regular Meeting at THE WHITE HART INN, in Cloth Hall Street, HUDDERSFIELD, Yorkshire, on the first Friday in the month of December, 1845, namely 5TH DECEMBER, 1845; it was constituted by a Warrant of Constitution from The United Grand Lodge of England dated 3rd December, 1845, and Numbered No. 763. No. 763 remained the Number until the Change of Numbers in 1863, when it became No. 521.

The Minutes of that important and historic meeting are fully recorded in the first Minute Book of the Lodge; the then Secretary must have anticipated that, in 100 years from that time, someone would doubtless like information leading up to the formation of the Lodge; gratitude and thanks are due to him for his forethought. In the first Minute Book, preceding the record of the formal opening Meeting, are Minutes or Records of several preparatory Meetings, when the formation of the Lodge was planned and decided upon, commencing with a Meeting at the Rose and Crown Inn, Huddersfield, on Friday, the 11th November, 1815, followed by others on the 19th, 22nd, 26th and 29th November,
and on the 3rd and 4th December preceding the Lodge opening.

Excellent though those Records are of the preparatory Meetings, the Opening Meeting, and the subsequent Meetings, the Minutes are silent in regard to the CONSECRATION of the Lodge. A search at Provincial Grand Lodge has failed to reveal details of the Consecration: according to the MS. Prov. G. L. Minutes, P.G.L. did not hold any meeting between 21st May, 1845, and 3rd May, 1847. Subsequent Minutes of Prov. G. Lodge of a Meeting of Prov. G. Lodge, held "in the Lodge Room of the Lodge of Truth, No. 763 in the new
Freemasons' Hall, Huddersfield, on Wednesday, the 21st day of July, by adjournment from Wednesday, the 7th day of July, 1852" state (inter alia) that there were Brethren present from many Lodges (Lodge numbers quoted), including Brethren of No. 763. At the end of the proceedings, it is stated that,"The Lodge of Truth No. 763, was then consecrated and dedicated in the usual Ancient and imposing Form and Ceremony."

The Author interprets this as a reference to the DEDICATION of The Lodge premises of 1852 (and not the Consecration of The Lodge); an extension or New Room at The Rose and Crown Inn was dedicated on that day, the 21st July, 1852. (See Chapter II.)

A more specific reference to the Consecration is contained in an inscription in the front of The Volume of The Sacred Law still in use by the Lodge; the following is a copy of the inscription : "Presented to The Lodge of Truth No. 763, Huddersfield, on its Consecration, December 1845 by Bro. J. Brook, P.M., Prov.G.D.C."

Bro. Joseph Brook was a Past Master of The Lodge of Harmony, then No. 342: he was present at several of the preparatory meetings: he moved or seconded many of the resolutions: he was one of the Committee appointed to prepare a code of By-Laws: he was one of those chosen to apply for the Warrant: he was one of the Founders
whose names appear on the Warrant .

One of the many entries in the records of the preparatory Meeting on the 14th November, 1845, reads as follows :---

"The following Brethren kindly intimated their wish and intention to present to the Lodge the property opposite their respective names......
Bro. Brook The necessary Books, including Bible, Cash & Minute Books , Contribution Book &c. Also to print the Bye -Laws
Bro. Jacques An essential number of Aprons
Bros . Kilner & Thewlis The necessary Jewels
Bro. Turner ... The Mallets
and other Brethren, donations of money."
The first Minute Book has a label inside :-

From the foregoing it is assumed that the Bible, now in use, bearing the inscription quoted above, is the Bible promised by W. Bro. Joseph Brook on the 14th November, 1845. The Provincial Records show that W. Bro. Joseph Brook, of The Lodge of Harmony, No. 342, held the Office of Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies in 1845 and in 1846; as the inscription in the Presentation Bible quotes Bro. J. Brook as Prov.G.D.C., it certainly suggests that THE CONSECRATION of The Lodge was in 1815.

It will he observed that the preparatory Meetings were held at the Rose and Crown Inn, and, when formed, The Lodge held its Meetings at the White Hart Inn. The Rose and Crown Inn at that time was situate at the lower end of Kirkgate, and was an important posting and commercial house. It was eventually pulled down as part of a scheme for street improvements: incidentally, part of the site on which the Hotel stood is now occupied by the Palace Theatre.

The Whit e Hart Inn, where Th e Lodge of Truth held its Regular Meetings for the first 4-5 years of its existence, was in Cloth Hall Street, and the Meeting Room would be the same room as used by The Huddersfield Lodge, then No. 365--a large but rather low room, with a long table down the centre: the Brethren sat round the table, with the various symbols of the Lodge set out on the table.

At the time of the formation in 1845 the two Masonic Lodges in the town were The Huddersfield Lodge (then No. 365), formed in 1793, and meeting at The White Hart Inn, and The Lodge of Harmony (then No. 312), which had been formed in Halifax in 1789, and moved to Huddersfield in 1837, and holding its Meetings at that time in a room in South Parade. So it is quite natural to find in the entries recorded of those preparatory Meetings that the formation of The Lodge of Truth was planned by enthusiastic Brethren of those two Lodges. At the preparatory Meetings some 14 Brethren attended, all of whom were from either The Lodge of Harmony or The Huddersfield Lodge. The Warrant was applied forby 10 of them, 5 from each Lodge.

The following were the Founders :-
1 William Kilner (No. 342) First W.M. 5th December, 1845.
2 William Shaw (No. 365) (W.M. of No. 365 in 1813).
3 Thomas Robert Tatham (No. 342) Became W.M.4th December, 1846, and again in December, 1849.
4 Joseph Brook (No. 342)
5 Thomas Kenworthy Rowbotham (No. 342)
6 Titus Thewlis (No. 365) (W.M. of No. 365 in 1845.)
7 J. Booth (No. 365)
8 T. Firth (No. 365)
9 Samuel Shaw (No. 365) (W.M. of No. 365 in 1841.)
10 B. D. Eldridge (No. 342)
11 Abraham Turner (No. 365)
12 R. Jacques (No. 365) (W.M. of No. 365 in 1846.)
13 C. Smith (No. 365) (W.M. of No. 365 in 1849.) Suspended 3rd July, 1846. Afterwards made retribution and withdrew from the Lodge.
14 Moses Sharp (No. 365)

A photograph of the first page of the Minutes of the Opening Meeting on 5th December, 1845, is included herein, which shows the names of the Brethren who attended, including most, but not all, of the Founders, and 21 visiting Brethren.

First Page of The Lodge Minutes, 5th December, 1845.

The business conducted, as extracted from the Minutes, was as follows:—
(1) "Brother Rowbotham read the Dispensation for opening the Lodge."
(2) "The Lodge was then opened according to the Custom of the Craft in the first degree."
(3) "Brother William Kilner, a past Senior Warden of the Lodge of Harmony then duly installed, and suitably acknowledged as the Master of the Lodge."
(4) "The Worshipful Master was then pleased to appoint the following
Officers who were duly installed :-
Bro. William Shaw, Senior Warden.
Bro. T. R. Tatham, Junior Warden.
Bro. Jacques, Secretary.
Bro. T. Thewlis was invested as Treasurer and Brother Rowbotham as Past Master."
(5) "The whole of the Minutes of the proceedings of the promoters of the Lodge were then read, approved and adopted by the Lodge."
(6) "Brother Benj. Taylor and Brother Peace be admitted Honorary Members of the Lodge."
(7) Propositions followed of Names of seven Joining Members and two gentlemen as Candidates for admission.
(8) "The Lodge was then closed in Order and Harmony."

The Worshipful Brother who presided at the Opening, and who was elected as an Honorary Member, W. Bro. Ben Taylor, was a Past Master of Huddersfield Lodge, No. 365, and also a prominent member of The Lodge of Harmony, No. 342. He himself became Worshipful Master of The Lodge of Truth, No. 763, three years later in 1849. He was not without a certain amount of experience in that connection, having been W.M. of Huddersfield Lodge, No, 365, on no less than six occasions, 1820, 1821, 1823, 1825, 1829 and 1830.

It will be observed that :
The First W.M., Bro. William Kilner, was from The Lodge of Harmony, No. 342.
The First S.W., Bro. William Shaw, was from Huddersfield Lodge, No. 365.
The First J.W., Bro. Thomas Robert Tatham, was from The Lodge of Harmony, No. 312.

Bro. William Shaw, First S.W., did not succeed to the Chair: Bro. Thomas Robert Tatham, First J.W., was Master in the second year of the Lodge's
existence, and occupied the Chair again later in 1850.

There are Portraits adorning the walls of the Lodge Room of:-
Bro. Ben Taylor, who presided at the Opening:
Bro. William Kilner, the First W.M.:
Bro. William Shaw, the First S.W.

It would appear that another of the Founders from The Lodge of Harmony, No. 3 12, Bro. Thomas Kenworthy Rowbotham, took a very prominent part in the preliminary proceedings. He presided at the inaugural Meeting at The Rose and Crown: he read the Dispensation at the opening Meeting at The White Hart Inn: he apparently was satisfied to work for the scheme without himself going through the Chair of the new Lodge, as he was invested as the first Past Master; the early records include a Resolution of thanks
to him for his exertions in promoting the establishment of The Lodge of Truth.

The records reveal that of the Founders only Bros. William Kilner and Thomas Robert Tatham succeeded to the Chair, and Bro. Ben Taylor, who presided at the opening meeting. The Worshipful Master in the third year, 1848, was Bro. Julius Schlesinger, who was one of the seven initiates of the inaugural year, and Senior Warden in the year following.

The second regular Meeting in January, 1846, saw more interest and support from The Lodge of Harmony, when seven of their members were admitted as Joining Members. At that Meeting a Code of By-Laws which had been prepared by a Committee of 8, 4 from The Lodge of Harmony and 4 from Huddersfield Lodge, were read, approved and adopted, and the Lodge set forth on its illustrious career; happily did they meet, as the Minutes for 1st July, 1846, say that a Festival of St. John was held as an Emergency Lodge, and as there was no business to transact, the Lodge was closed in order and harmony, and the Brethren "then sat down to a sumptuous Banquet, which did ample justice to Bro. Sharp's hospitality; and the evening was spent in a joyous ebullition of masonic feeling."

The Bro. Sharp referred to in that abstract would be Bro. Moses Sharp, one of the Founders, who was also the Landlord of the White Hart Inn.

In 1846 the Brethren of the Lodge joined with the Brethren of the other Lodges in the Town to take part in the ceremony at the laying of the foundation stone of Huddersfield Station.

After the influx of Joining Members in 1846, there was a falling-off in numbers during the next three or four years, the membership falling 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."

During this rather lean period the Lodge was often assisted by Visiting Brethren from The Lodge of Harmony and The Huddersfield Lodge. One such Brother was Bro. John Sykes, of Huddersfield Lodge, who joined in April of the inaugural year, 1846, and shortly afterwards took over the duties of Secretary. He was installed as Master in December, 1851, and was the Worshipful Master for that remarkable year 1852, to which a separate Chapter is devoted, the year which saw a great revival of enthusiasm and a big in flux of members.

Another frequent and helpful visitor was Bro. William Smith, of Huddersfield Lodge, who often acted as Secretary, or one of the Deacons or other Offices. He was a great stalwart and his usefulness was by no means restricted to these early years, but continued in later years, and references to him and the appreciation shown of his many services will be found in later pages of this history.

The close collaboration between the three Lodges, Harmony, Huddersfield and Truth, is shown particularly in these early years not only in the ordinary work and Meetings of the Lodge but also in special features.

As early as February, 1847, it was proposed that the Lodge of Truth should confer with the other two Lodges in the Town to draw up a circular calling for the assistance of the Lodges in the Province in forming a general committee to determine what candidates for The Royal Masonic Benevolent Annuity Fund were most worthy of their support.
And on the 4th May, 1849, there was a most interesting proposition touching on the combined or united work of these three Lodges. It was a proposition to the effect that The Lodge of Truth approved of the arrangements made by the Worshipful Masters of the three Lodges in Huddersfield respecting a proposed Lodge of Instruction and recomm ended the formati on of a Committee to prepare a code of By-Laws. This became known as "The Union Lodge of Instruction" and is more fully explained in Chapter VIII.

There then occurred the first removal of Meeting Place, and from one or two items in the records inferences can he drawn which would possibly suppl y the reason for the removal. The Meeting Place previously was The White Hart Inn, and the Landlord was Bro. Moses Sharp, a Member of The Huddersfield Lodge, who was one of the original who met to plan the formation of The Lodge of Truth. The records reveal that he was "struck off" the list of Members in 1849 (just before the removal), and the Minutes in 1830 (just after the removal) contain notes of interviews and correspondence about a disagreement over the amount demanded by Bro. Sharp for the use of the rooms, and his threat to sue the Brethren of The Lodge of Truth. An Emergency Meeting was held on 15th March, 1850, to recommend removal to The George Hotel: this was sanctioned by the Province, and April, 1830, finds the Brethren of the three Huddersfield Lodges again uniting to mark a special occasion. On the 5th April, 1850, there were 4 Visitors from The Lodge of Harmony, No. 312, and 1 Visitors from Huddersfield Lodge, No. 365, who joined the 9 Members present of The Lodge of Truth, in a Meeting held at the Masonic Hall, South Parade. An account of this Meeting appeared in the Huddersfield Chronicle newspaper (on 13th April, 1850), which reported it as a gathering of the Craft embracing the three Lodges in this Town, to celebrate the removal of The Lodge of Truth from The White Hart Inn to The George Hotel. The Minutes which recorded 1 present, 9 Members and 8 Visitors, say that the Brethren retired to The George Hotel, where a substantial supper was provided in celebration of the removal of the Lodge, but the account in the Chronicle states that some FORTY Brethren partook of the supper. It also states that the Company enjoyed themselves until a moderate hour and separated in perfect harmony.

The Minutes also speak of thanks to The Lodge of Harmony for the use of their rooms. This is not an isolated occasion, but it is interesting to make special comment about it when the attention of the reader is drawn to the fact that, some 79 years later (in 1929), we find The Lodge of Harmony leaving their premises in South Parade and becoming tenants of the premises owned by the Trustees of The Lodge of Truth.

Thus in 1850 the Lodge Meetings were at The George Hotel, and although it was for but a brief spell—a matter of twelve months only—it was not without its items worthy of special comment.

There was a little incident, which caused quite a lot of correspondence and consideration by the Province and by Grand Lodge, which happened at the August Lodge Meeting in 1850. When the Lodge opened there were 9 Brethren present, 3 from The Lodge of Truth, 4 from Huddersfield Lodge (including the dependable Brother William Smith) and 2 Fellowcrafts. The Lodge was opened in the 1st degree, and the 2 Fellowcrafts, after receiving the password, etc., etc., retired to be prepared, together with the Deacon, leaving 6 in the room. Another Brother retired leaving 5, and the Worshipful Master opened to the 3rd degree with 5 present. Another Visitor from Huddersfield Lodge arriving late entered, but on discovering only 5 present said it was illegal, and refused to stay.

He re-entered with the 2 who had retired previously, making 8 in all (apart from the candidates) and, to avoid any chance of illegality, the Master re-opened in the 3rd degree with 8 present. The matter was submitted to the Province for an opinion, on the hypothesis, which was quoted in the submission, that "3 Rule a Lodge, 5 Hold a Lodge, and 7 or
more make it perfect." The following is an extract from the reply of the Deputy Provincial Grand Master :-

"I have taken the opportunity to consult Masonic Savants concerning the subject of your inquiry, and find the old Masons maintain that in case of emergency three would be right in the third, but no doubt five. However to assure myself on the point, I transmitted your communication to Bro. Farnfield."

Bro. Farnfield in his reply, from the Free Masons Hall, London, stated

"I have no hesitation in saying that if I had been placed in the situation of Bro. Tatham, I certainl y s hould have opened the Lodge in the 3rd Degree and proceeded with the work."

Bro. Farnfield added that he was "much pleased to hear of Brethren desirous of adhering to the Laws and Customs of the Craft."

This commendable desire to act and abide by the ancient and established usages and customs, and to observe the regulations, caused another "little scene" within three months. At the November, 1850, Meeting an Entered Apprentice attended to be Passed, but the ever-reliable William Smith and William Kilner pointed out that notice of that intention had not appeared in the summons, and so it would be contrary to the Laws laid down in the Book of Constitutions. They went further and said it might subject the Lodge to erasure, and they would not be parties to it, and if the Worshipful Master persisted in the work, they would "take up their hats and go." (There is no mention of overcoats, so it must have been better November weather in 1850 than we have for the November Lodge these days.) The Worshipful Master took the wise course, and the Entered Apprentice waited another month, and was duly Passed on the Installation Night, but the Minutes say that the retiring Worshipful Master delivered an address to the Brethren, in which he gave a retrospect of the proceedings of the Lodge for the year, and also "animadverted" on the conduct of some of its members in impeding him in the discharge of his duties . At t he following M eeting t here were onl y 6 present (including 1 Visitor), and although this was more than 5, no risks were taken, as the Minutes say

"In consequence of the paucity of members the Lodge was not opened."

Then arose a difficulty once more about happy and suitable accommodation.

In September, 1850, it was not possible to hold the monthly Meeting because the room was occupied, and again in March, 1851, the Lodge room was engaged and the Meeting could not be held, so a private Meeting was convened and took place at The Rose & Crown to consider the provision of another meeting place. First, the Brethren asked Bro. Wigney, the Landlord of The George Hotel, if he would accommodate the Lodge at the new George Hotel to which he was about to remove, which Bro. Wigney regretted he was not able to do; then it was decided to move to the Rose & Crown Hotel, where the first regular Meeting took place on 4th April, 1851. It so happened that the Secretary of the Lodge was Bro. Geo. Reid, who was also the Landlord of The Rose & Crown Hotel, and the following copy Dispensation is reproduced here to show the happy solution of that little problem :-

"Copy of Dispensation."
To The Worshipful Master, Officers & Bretheren of the Lodge of Truth No. 763. I Charles Lee, Deputy Provincial Grand Master, acting under the Patent and Authority of the Right
Honorable The Earl of Mexborough, Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master of West Yorkshire, Send Greeting. And whereas by Memorial presented to me bearing the signature of John Johnson, W.M. "dated April 16th 1851" it is notified unto me that the Bretheren of the aforesaid Lodge, being anxious to retain the services of their excellent Secretary, who is the Master of the Tavern to which the said Lodge has been recently removed have solicited me in accordance with the Constitutions to grant them dispensation.
Now Know ye by virtue of the power delegated unto me, I do hereby grant Licence and dispensation authorizing George Reid Junior, the worthy Brother of the said Lodge to continue in the office of Secretary of the said Lodge as heretofore, and may he gain the good will of the Bretheren of the said Lodge and become a shining Light in Masonry. Given at Leeds, under my hand & seal this nineteenth day of April A.D. 1851. A.L. 5851,
Charles Lee
D.P.G.M. of West Yorkshire.

This was the penultimate period before moving to the present premises. Although the Lodge only met at The Rose & Crown for some 4 years, it was a period of outstanding interest in the annals of the Lodge, a period of wonderful enthusias m, of growth and development; unique and interesting events are crowded into this comparatively short chapter of the life of the Lodge. When the Lodge moved to the Rose & Crown there were only 19 Members, but in less than 5 years the numbers had grown to 89. There
were as many as 33 Initiations in one 'ear. Special Dispensations were frequent to sanction unusual happenings. A new hall (or extension) at The Rose & Crown was built and dedicated, a Lodge Banner was presented, a brother was initiated who ultimately became Provincial Grand Master, and later The Grand Master, and the initiation of another Brother, although under 21 years of age, was sanctioned and carried through; and during the period of tenancy there the planning and building of the new premises was decided upon; so we cannot help but conclude that this was almost an exciting era.

At the Installation in 1851 there was quite a large attendance (for those days)-15 Members and 20 Visitors, including W. Bro. Bentley Shaw of The Lodge of Harmony, who became Deputy Provincial Grand Master. Bro. John Sykes became the Worshipful Master for what proved to be an historic year, and after the Installation the Brethren retired to the room under the Lodge room to supper and spent the evening in a convivial and masonic manner.