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The Lodge at the Kings Head, Salford – 1727 - the first recorded Lodge in Lancashire Freemasonry, organised Grand

Lodge Freemasonry, is within ten years of its three hundredth anniversary; Professor Stevenson and every Scots Mason will tell you that organised, recorded Freemasonry has already passed that landmark, but as my subject is a Lodge of the Craft in England, I hope that you will humour me, and allow me to take you back to the other end of that time line, to just ten years after the foundation of the Grand Lodge of England in London. We think of Britain today as a place of major social and economic change, but the same can be said of that earlier time. The early 1700s were turbulent times. In 1688, James II had been defeated by William of Orange, who then ruled, first with his wife Mary, and after her death in 1704 as sole monarch. He was followed by Anne, the last of the Stuarts, who died in 1714. Throughout this period, James‟ supporters, the Jacobites, plotted a Stuart return. Because of the Act of Succession of 1701, no Catholic could take the throne, and Anne‟s fifty surviving relatives, all non-Protestants, were precluded from succeeding her. Instead, the Elector of Hanover was invited to become George I. A year later, the Jacobites led by James, the Old Pretender, son of the deposed King, rebelled but were unsuccessful. The Jacobite Cause continued under James‟ son, Charles Edward Stuart until the rebellion of 1745, which culminated in the defeat at Culloden, and the end of effective Jacobite militancy. In between the two rebellions, in 1727, a Masonic Lodge was formed in the tiny city of Salford, Lancashire. In that year, King George I of Great Britain died, and the Prince of Wales became King George II. For the Coronation, Handl wrote the anthem, Zadok the Priest. The Royal Bank of Scotland was founded; Thomas Gainsborough, the English artist was born, and Sir Isaac Newton and Empress Catherine I of Russia died. Manchester and Salford in 1727 were very different from today. Their combined population was about 10,000; the two communities straddled the River Irwell, which was navigable by small boats which travelled from Liverpool up the Mersey which met the Irwell about five miles South West of the borough. Salford was mentioned in the Domesday Book and became the property of Henry Bolinbroke, later Henry IV in the late 1300s, so that it became a Royal Manor. The Queen is still toasted as Lord of the Manor of Salford today. In 1727, it was more important than Manchester, because the main coach route to Carlisle and Edinburgh passed through it.1 Travel at that time was very different from today. A journey from Manchester to Liverpool, which now takes about 45 minutes, would 300 years ago have begun at six
1 Coulthurst, S.L. Freemasonry in Salford. Transactions of the Manchester Association for Masonic Research, volume 20 (1931), Manchester. p87.


N. Coulthurst. H. Wardens A letter from the Master and Wardens and Brethren of the Lodge. Manchester. The Cotton trade and industrial Lancashire 1600-1780.G. The journey from London to Salford took four and a half days2. Volume 9.B. Daily life in the 18th Century. 8 It says: “At a General Meeting and Quarterly Communication. the Beswicke-Royds5 which is now in the Museum at the Manchester Freemasons‟ Hall and the Dauntesey Manuscripts6. Rochdale was commercially connected with Yorkshire and dealt mainly in woollen textiles. 852 and how Hemsley House became the home of Salford Masonry. and earlier researchers have suggested that the Brethren of the King‟s Head Lodge were operative. In Quatuor Coronatorum Antigrapha volume 10. p182. 2003. was read and agreed. Manchester. 2006. cloth produced from the flax plant which was abundant in West Lancashire. S. There is no record of any Freemasons‟ Lodges in Lancashire before 1727. 1807. and from there to Edinburgh a further ten. volume 15 (1926). Greenwood Press. and that they may be under the care and patronage of Grand Lodge. but we do have a number of „Old Charges‟ which are known to have originated in Lancashire in the 1600s – the Colne Manuscripts Numbers 1 and 24. They were entered accordingly. Transactions of the Manchester Association for Masonic Research. Ellis. 1723-1739. A brief history and miscellany of Zetland Lodge No. Archives of Crescent Lodge of Good Intent No. London. de L. J. Referenced in Cryer. Transactions of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge no. K. J. W. so coaching inns were an important resource for business people. No. 1924. However. 2076. We can infer from them that operative masons organised themselves in the county before 1727. that turns out not to be the case. Industry in the area focussed on textile production and processing. Salford. John‟s Day. being St. held at the King‟s Head. W. 6 Ibid. Volume 1.L. 8 The Minutes of the Grand Lodge of Freemasons of England. Salford. 2076. and William Burden. and Reid. on Wednesday 27th December 1727. History of the Masonic Lodges of Salford. 7 Britton. praying that the list of their members may be entered in the Grand Lodge Book.P. in Cheapside. and which was also imported in large quantities from Ireland3. 1982. Manchester University Press (1931). London (1913). 5 Ibid.” 2 Olsen. The 18th Century worthies of Manchester are described from page 284 on. London. and Mann. Salford. p223. 852. The only Masonic reference to the Lodge is found in Grand Lodge minutes for 1727. The rest of the towns of Lancashire worked on the production of linen and fustians.Thomas Maiden. 1926. 1999. p6.Masonic Reprints of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge. held at Mercers‟ Hall. 4 Poole. 4524. A. The Beauties of England and Wales. 2 . and they did not include any of the prominent Manchester and Salford families of the time7. 3 Wadsworth. 1931. Lancashire Lodges and Masons. The Old Charges. because no information was forthcoming about them. p87. A. the morning and finish at eight in the evening. The Emergence of Freemasonry in Lancashire. Archives of Zetland Lodge No. William Cowper Deputy Grand Master Alex Chocke Esq.

sadler. part of the evolving class which Dr Johnson called the “middling sort”. S. Eight of the Brethren were textile merchants. Another group was composed of men who would have come into contact with the cloth men as suppliers of services to them: innkeepers.ancestry. places thirty or more miles away which would require one or two days travel. Presented to the House of Commons. such as Stockport. as the equivalent of police and trading standards officers. for the better regulation of attornies and solicitors. Early Freemasonry in Salford. Transactions of the Manchester Association for Masonic Research.11 9 Coulthurst. Salford was dominant in the Manchester and Salford partnership. why did these men travel to the Manchester area and meet at the Kings Head? As I mentioned. p67. but it was not strong or wide enough to carry coaches or large wagons into Manchester. the Government acted to deal with the proliferation of discreditable “hedge attorneys”. rather than local landowners. occupations and relationships of the members were found using the websites: www. where most commercial transactions took place at that time. a large coaching house which could accommodate travellers overnight. at which point. and a respected member of the local community. 11 House of Commons.10 Details of the members are shown in table 1 at the end of this paper. Henry and his brother Lawrence appear in the list of qualified attorneys who presented themselves before a Judge in Lancaster to be duly sworn in as bona fide practitioners. close to the bridge into Manchester and across the road from the Salford Cloth Hall. I have been able to identify almost all of the members – ten of them came from Manchester or Salford. and a barber. Leigh and Warrington which would have required journeys of a half to a full day. The legal profession was not regulated until 1729. and www. Henry Wilson. was delayed9. With the benefit of modern technology and genealogical and local history available on the Internet and from the major libraries in Manchester. volume 20 (1931). Court Leet Records. Visitors would travel by coach to the King‟s Head (Church of the lastter day Saints).This letter was signed by 24 members. The members. mainly merchants and shopkeepers. part time activities. 1731. So. a wine merchant. the forerunners of Council Minutes. pursuant to their order of the 22nd day of February 1730.familysearch.L. The Worshipful Master for the year. was a lawyer. 1931. were in fact. butcher. and so the growth of Manchester as a business centre. nine from towns ten to fifteen miles from Manchester. admitted in pursuance of the late act. Manchester. 3 . Additional lists of attornies and solicitors. or stonemasons. who had travelled from other parts of the North West and Yorkshire to do business at the Cloth Hall. It was well placed. show that half of the members served as civic officers. 10 Genealogical information concerning the ages. There was a narrow bridge across the River Irwell. with the consequent growth of housing for workers. in Salford. and four from Bradford in Yorkshire and Preston. one from Warrington who probably encountered the travellers moving between Salford and the port of Liverpool. a brewer.

Nagoya University. Henry Colburn. Vol. pp. Issue 8117. Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd. a prestigious address in Manchester. 1729-1735 Part One. younger sons usually took up military careers or became clergymen. or. Mistress of Udolpho – the life of Ann Radcliffe. three in their forties and five in the fifties. six in their thirties. R. A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry. ideally suited to drafting a letter to Grand Lodge. purchased the Lordship of the Manor of Bradford in 1795.In 1731. Robert Jebb represents an interesting phenomenon of the times. there were three Brethren under 25. 17 Lancaster.33 (Spring 1987): 1-96 13 London Gazette. Social Origins and Social Aspirations of Jacobean London Merchants. Another interesting member was Brook Rawson. In the King‟s Head Lodge. 28-47. This is a smooth spread. 27. His business thrived and his grandson. J. 1999. acting for the Commissioners in Bankrupt at St. In: The Economic History Review. In: Bulletin of the Faculty of Letters. 1 (Feb.13 years. No. He moved from his home in Bradford to Farnworth. Anne's Coffeehouse. he could expect to live to 64. published on the 8th May 1742. London. as an erudite man.12 Some years later in 1742. and making a living.16 He owned a textile business and branched into bleaching and dyeing. In the 18th century. II.14 Robert moved to Manchester with his brother Avery. seven in their late twenties. 1974. we begin to see these young men becoming merchants. who came from a wealthy family from the Bradford area of Yorkshire. rather than a new Lodge which might be formed by a group of men from a single generation.13 Wilson would have been an important member of the Lodge. and lobbying in London. Derbyshire. sometimes becoming more financially successful than their senior sibling by their commercial exploits. 1974). if an affluent member of English society survived childhood with its high mortality rate. Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland: Vol. Expectations of Life. we see them becoming members of the professions: doctors. This idea is reinforced by the fact that there was no mention of the issue of a warrant from Grand Lodge to 12 Kondo. Springer-Verlag New York Inc. and until recently.. H. now a suburb of Bolton.O. lawyers or accountants. 14 Norton. with offices above the establishment. G. 1838.15 This was the case with the Jebb Brothers and there is evidence that Avery returned to Derbyshire and acquired a substantial estate there. He was the second youngest son of a wealthy landowner in Chesterfield. 1990. From the 17th century.. In the middle ages. he was described as an attorney in Manchester. 15 Lang. The Workhouse Issue at Manchester: Selected Documents. The age profile of the members is a revelation. a man who spent considerable sums of money on the upkeep and decoration of the parish church in Chesterfield. suggestive of a mature group. was Henry Wilson. vol. Benjamin. R.. where he has a street named after him. K. 16 Burke. the conurbation was expanding rapidly. while their elder brothers inherited the family land. p14. Research on life expectancy in the early 18th Century17 suggests that. a public house. and worked as a draper. among the petitioners. New Series. the Rawson‟s Arms. and many of the leading townspeople of Manchester petitioned parliament to allow them to build a Workhouse to provide employment for the poor locally. 4 . 1987.

19 Coulthurst. In addition. James was also the Father-in-Law of John Shelmerdine. Jared Leigh. Joshua Leigh was the father of the Junior Warden. Jonathan Blinston. John Taylor and Thomas Wood from Bury. the social status of the membership of the Lodge was unclear to previous researchers. The rest came to Salford from towns between ten and thirty miles away: Brook Rawson. The cohesion of the Lodge was aided by a number of family ties.B. Thomas Ditchfield and Henry Wilson from the Preston area. D. Manchester University Press. York Mysteries Revealed – Understanding an Old English Masonic Tradition. Richard Lawrenson. There were therefore opportunities for the Craft to have been brought to Salford from the four Cardinal Points. Desaguliers in Edinburgh. Jared Leigh. N. 1720-1994. 18 Cryer. so just over one third of the membership could be regarded as local people. Robert Jebb. Joseph Gandy. the early 18th Century was regarded as a period of high trust interaction between people. p258. The Origins of Freemasonry: Scotland's Century. a couple of miles to the South. and affirming that dishonour was less acceptable than being maimed or dying. James Cheshire was the Brother-in-Law of Thomas Heywood. and to these men were perhaps more real than symbolic. referring to members as men of honour. Samuel Heathcott. Although we have no record of Lancashire Lodges before this one. but the actual mechanism is beyond our knowledge at present. James Cheshire lived in Ashton-on-Mersey. but he is not mentioned in any Mancunian history. pp12-14. 20 Stevenson. So. John Parr from Leigh. We can infer from this that the Lodge had been in existence for a number of years before affiliating to London. British Business History. p6. Henry Coulborn.F. The Lodge of Randle Holme at Chester. Thomas Heywood from Stockport. Lancashire. 1990. N. and his father. Volume 45 (1934). Relief and Truth were prevalent then as now. Cryer/Ian Allen Printing. and Joseph Parker from Chester. while John Clough. Oliver Green. I have not traced William Ryder yet. we do know that Freemasonry was well established by this date in York to the East18. John Shellmerdine and Ralph Strettel came from Manchester.the King‟s Head Brethren.22 The Masonic oaths. 1721. the Masonic Virtues of Brotherly Love. J. As I mentioned earlier. 21 Stewart. in Ars Quatuor Coronatorum.B. 1590-1710. and there are records of leading Grand Lodge figures travelling North at this time: Desaguliers to Edinburgh in 1721 where it is claimed that he visited the Lodge at Mary‟s Chapel21. and little local historical information was available. why did they form a Masonic Lodge? Undoubtedly. originally from Bradford in Yorkshire. having married his sister. were developed at this time. Septentrione Books.L. they merely sought acceptance. then Bolton. Cambridge University Press. Chester to the West19 and to the North in Scotland20. 5 . 22 Wilson. 1995. The geographical origins of the Brethren shed some light on this issue. p25. S. Joshua Leigh from Warrington. William Royle and John Cragg came from the town of Salford itself. Mary. 2007. T. 2006.

in the County Palatine of Lancaster.A.The Lodge was also a vehicle for social mobility. Princeton University Press. more humble tradesmen were looking to convert their hard earned wealth into prestige and social position. On the 9th February 1735. Bourgeois Culture and Politics in Early Industrial England. B. Clawson. to the financial benefit of both. p197. and as today. bearing in mind that Capitalism. 1890. with a view to learning manners in return for teaching the gentry to diversify the use of their capital. Books IV-V. Helena. p4. mainly from the rural hinterland. Gender. Detractors dismissed the project as a dispensation to create slave labour. whose names are thereunto subscribed. 25 Lewis. Gowans. p15. 6 . Greenwood Press. p53. 1853.D. W. Bullbring. The Compleat English Gentleman. K. As mentioned in the case of Robert Jebb. 2000. M. in behalf of themselves.25 One commentator has suggested that in polite society. Skinner. Penguin Classics. p81. and so men with ambition but no pedigree in the early 18th century would obviously seek opportunities to mix with people of a higher social station. 24 Smith. This demographic and commercial expansion drove a number of initiatives which were intended to bring a mix of financial and social benefits to the community. in his own words. 26 Defoe. and other the Manufacturers of Fustians and 23 Olsen. it was possible for the sons of landed gentry to move into commerce and develop successful careers. or. Ed. it was an oasis of calm with underlying rules of etiquette and stability. Stanford University Press. and places adjacent. K. Henry Wilson was one of the petitioners for an Act of Parliament to permit the opening of a Workhouse in Manchester to provide employment for the growing population of the area. 1989. The Middlemost and the Milltowns. The opinions and reflections of Napoleon on the most important events of his life and government. had not been invented yet. as we now know it. Ed.27 The Workhouse was intended to support people who arrived in the area. and of the Principal Traders and Inhabitants in the town of Manchester. Ballantyne Press. D. and keep them occupied until they could find permanent employment. 27 See note 12. A. But the “middling sort” have been cited as the catalyst for social cohesion which was not present in the other countries of Europe which suffered strife and revolution over the next hundred years.23 Adam Smith. 2001. At the same time. and Fraternalism. A. the most important attribute of a gentleman was that he acted like a gentleman26. Parliament received a “petition of the manufacturers of Fustian. Constructing Brotherhood: Class. Napoleon in exile. O'Meara. at a time when society itself was in flux and where the towns of Salford and Manchester were expanding at an amazing rate. The Wealth of Nations. 1999. p256. A voice from St.E. New York. B. some 50 years later would refer to England as a “Nation of Shopkeepers” and Napoleon later and more disparagingly did the same24. A Masonic Lodge was one of the few locations in which men on different social levels and with different levels of wealth could meet equally. Daily Life in 18th-century England. though there were arguments about how altruistic the motives were.

J. Available at URL: http://www. pp.dealers therein. We do not know who joined the Lodge after 1727. a member of the Mosley family.britishhistory. painted. so I can only say that many of the manufacturers and dealer and worthies of Manchester and the other locations mentioned were to be found in the Lodge at that time and I suspect would have been involved. 31 O'Brien. but their proposals. manufactur'd in Great Britain. Lady Anne Bland. but records were not collected. & Hunt. a lifespan which was not unusual at that time.”30 Of course. or exactly what happened to it. The History and Proceedings of the House of Commons : volume 9: 1734-1737. Between 1708 and 1714. or dy'd Callicoes in Apparel. leaving. probably intentionally. Lists of Lodges were produced about every five years. by prohibiting the Use and Wear of all printed. particularly Indian cotton imports. and was removed from the records in 1754.first ed.) History of Worsted Manufacture in England. Those “Principal Traders and Inhabitants in the town of Manchester” effectively hijacked the Bill by adding the phrase “except as is therein excepted so far as relates to Goods made of Linen Yarn and Cotton-Wool. 30 James. Furniture.From: 'The second Parliament of George II: Second session (1736) . joining. The urban landscape changed dramatically in the 1730s. Today. (9 George II c. 29 Daniels. it requires annual returns with details of all members entering. 396. the ideal place in terms of climate. in the several counties of and for more effectual employing the Poor.Minutes & illustrative material'. dealers and other connected interests in Yorkshire and Norfolk. T. stained.” This led to an Act popularly known as the “Manchester Act”. 1991. The Lodge lasted only 30 years. p223. Chester. 1968 (1857. human resources and commercial preparedness to produce cotton goods turned out to be Lancashire. would also have been detrimental to the Lancashire textile trade. Griffiths. P23. Routledge. The passage of the Act in its final form is regarded as one of the landmark events which triggered the Industrial revolution. the major landowners in Manchester. I-LIV. rejoining or dying. but it was probably a victim of the enormous expansion which Manchester went through in the years immediately following the Lodge‟s formation. and this happened with the King‟s Head. Ann‟s Church. 1660-1741. after the 25th Day of December. Grand Lodge was notoriously bad at keeping records for the first fifty years of its existence. and Derby.31 I have not yet traced the names on the petition. manufactur'd in Great Britain. 1732. Grand Lodge simply removed Lodges which had not voluntarily communicated.. G.W.aspx?compid=37780. Houshold-Stuff.4 ). built St. Economic history review. P. except as is therein excepted so far as relates to Goods made of Linen Yarn and Cotton-Wool. 7 . Manchester University Press. The main motivation for this was the prevalence of Jacobite sympathy among the congregation of the Collegiate Church (the future 28 An Act to amend an Act passed in the seventh Year of the Reign of his late Majesty King George I entitled An Act to preserve and encourage the Woollen and Silk Manufactures of this Kingdom. p. 44 (3). Political components of the industrial revolution: parliament and the English cotton textile industry.29 They wished to protect the English Wool Industry from foreign competition. or otherwise. The Early English Cotton Industry. Such was not the case in the early 1700s.28 The Parliamentary Bill which introduced it developed from a series of petitions to the House of Commons by Wool merchants. 1920.

Ann‟s became the religious and cultural centre for the Hanoverian supporters. 1964. p87. Bury. This was a much more robust structure. On the North side. and the reference to 1759 probably refers to that new Lodge and not the original 1727 one. the Lodge of Unanimity officially met there later that year. then called just „The Square‟ became the fashionable quarter for business and recreation. That was not the case with Entwistle who was a working leader. In London. Provincial Grand Masters of Lancashire in the Transactions of the Manchester Association for Masonic Research. and Reid.J. Transactions of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge no. there were considerable efforts to encourage members of the nobility to become figurehead Grand Masters. but the only Public House of that name recorded in Salford was at Barton. That being the case. 2076. The Emergence of Freemasonry in Lancashire. Two Centuries of Freemasonry in Salford in the Transactions of the Manchester Association for Masonic Research. where Kendal‟s department store now stands. and I would suggest that Grand Lodge would have wanted to appoint somebody who had connections with a regular Lodge as opposed to a complete outsider.32 St. D. Publishers. some five miles away at the opposite end of the Borough. This probably led to the removal of the King‟s Head Brethren to Manchester. it would appear that the Lodge evolved into what we now know as the Lodge of Fortitude Number 64. Leigh and Liverpool. Sam‟s Chop House . S. 1943. On the South side were a number of Coffee Houses including the St. It could also carry a long distance coach. Ann‟s Coffee House. 32 Frangopulo. N.34 Among the likely joiners was a textile merchant from Bolton called Edward Entwistle. which now houses a theatre. later a famous Mancunian hostelry. Mosley built the New Bridge over the River Irwell (where the Victoria Bridge now stands). bringing prominent visitors to the centre of Manchester instead of Salford. He was to become the first Provincial Grand Master of Lancashire about five years later35.B. p32 33 Cryer.Cathedral). capable of accommodating large wagons and stimulating warehouse building in the town. 1969 Rich Inheritance.R. Earlier researchers placed the Golden Lion in Salford. 34 McElroy. deputed to open Lodges in Lancashire which he did in Bolton. Volume 54 (1964) p10. Although a meeting was publicised at the King‟s Head in 175933. this later became the Royal Exchange. W. F. N. 8 . The area in front of the church. 1982. 35 Davies.O. In order to make sure that visitors had good access to this new business district. having been rebuilt three times. The Lodge was shown on the Grand Lodge Rolls until 1755 when it was removed because no correspondence had been received in London. at the expense of the Salford Cloth Hall which quickly fell into disuse. A guide to the history of Manchester. It is more likely that the Lodge moved in 1739 to the Golden Lion which was on Deansgate. The attractive and spacious Exchange became the centre of commerce in the expanding town. Manchester. Sir Oswald Mosley built the first Cotton Exchange in 1729. Volume 33 (1943) p90.

T. p67. and built the foundations of the strong Province that it became in the following hundred years. Thomas Wood from Bury introduced his son to the Lodge there. Lintel Press. May 2009. 2009 Membership of the Anchor and Hope Lodge. 2009.36 Edward Entwistle expanded Lancashire Masonry from its roots at Salford. through his base at Bolton37. 37 Hawkins. The Royal Arch.E. B. Edinburgh. International Conference on the History of Freemasonry.There were members from those areas in the King‟s Head Lodge who may have returned to their respective towns to practice Freemasonry.38 Name Age in 1727 Jonathan Blinston Warrington Brewer 23 James Cheshire Ashton-on-Mersey Gentleman 54 John Clough Manchester Chapman 29 Henry Coulborn Hambleton Chapman 22 John Cragg Salford 40 Thomas Ditchfield Preston Chapman 31 Joseph Gandy Warrington butcher 34 Oliver Green Manchester 29 Samuel Heathcott Manchester Innkeeper 29 Thomas Heywood Stockport Gentleman 52 Robert Jebb Manchester Tradesman! 26 Richard Lawrenson Manchester Barber 33 Jared Leigh Warrington Innkeeper 26 Joshua Leigh Warrington Innkeeper 52 Joseph Parker Chester Upholsterer 40 John Parr Leigh Chapman 37 Brook Rawson Bradford Textile merchant 21 William Royle Salford Sadler 39 William Ryder John Shellmerdine Manchester Dyer 34 Ralph Strettel Manchester Rope Maker 27 John Taylor Bury Textile merchant 55 Henry Wilson Preston area Attorney 57 Thomas Wood Bury Gentleman 42 Location Occupation Born Died 30 Mar 1704 1761 1673 7 Dec 1698 11 Apr 1705 12 June 1687 6 Apr 1696 21 Apr 1693 19 Jan 1743 1698 1698 1675 1701 1692 3 May 1701 1746 1675 10 Sep 1687 28 Aug 1690 1706 1688 1750 13 Dec 1693 1700 1764 4 May 1672 1670 1 July 1685 36 Jones. Edinburgh. Bolton. D. The Composition of Masonic Membership in Manchester and Salford during the period of early industrialisation before 1813. 1957. International Conference on the History of Freemasonry. May 2009. E. 9 . to become initially a group of five or six Lodges.J. 38 Acaster.