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History of Freemasonry in Stockton on Tees

Written by W.Bro Bill Crutchley (Lodge of Benevolence No 6457)

Freemasonry in Stockton on Tees 1756 - 2006

From the records we know the old Lodge of Philanthropy (No 19) was formed in London at the Swann and Rummer Inn, Finch Lane on 31st January 1725, later removed to The Swann Exchange Alley and from there, removed, by procurement of Mr Thomas Burdon, the first Master of a Stockton Lodge, to the Queens Head Tavern Portrack, Stockton on Tees.

There follows a total of 113 years of recorded history. At that time Lodges were not named or numbered but were known by the names of the coffee houses or inns where they met. In 1725 there were 64 Lodges in London, but only 44 in 1729.

It was not considered an unusual practice for a new Lodge to acquire the Warrant of a Lodge that had ceased working and then commence its own operation under that acquired Warrant. In 1756 a sailing vessel tacked up the River Tees and delivered to the Queens Head Tavern the Master and Wardens Chairs, pedestals and all" paraphernalia" from the Swann and Rummer, shortly afterwards a detailed inventory of the Lodge furniture arrived from London. The total cost of these furnishings was 10.10s. 0d. (10 guineas)

The Lodge renewed its life on the 2nd of December 1756 at The Queens Head Tavern Stockton on Tees under the Mastership of Thomas Burdon. Prospering the Lodge removed to the Black Lion in 1773 and up to 1778 was known only by its number 19 or 20.

1794 saw the Lodge removed to, appropriately, 'Masons Court' in 1824 a move to the Vane Arms is recorded, before transferring its activities to the Black Lion. Leaving in 1864 to occupy the first purpose built hall at Wellington Street. This later became the Free Library after its sale to the Borough Council In 1875 the present site at Wellington Street was purchased for 1060.00, the building itself costing some 4,400 to erect. (See image on Home Page)

Stockton Masonic Hall 1864

This magnificent building stood on the North side of Wellington Street and was used by Stockton Freemasons until 1873, when it was sold to Stockton Borough. From 1877 until 1970 it was used to house the towns Free Library. Sadly the building was demolished in 1972.

The seal of the old Lodge of Philanthropy with the exception of the motto is the seal of the Grand Lodge prior to the union of 1813 (still in present day use, as seen on the current Lodge Summons).

Stockton Freemasons presented the ninth bell in the ring of ten, to Stockton Parish Church. The bell weighing 21cwt is 4' "in diameter whilst its inscription reads: "Charity Never Faileth"

Craft Lodges consecrated & operating in Stockton on Tees.

1845 Tees Lodge 509

1863 Lodge of Philanthropy 940

1873 Lodge of Fraternity No 1418

1885 Whitwell Lodge No 2104

1920 Lodge of Freedom No 4027

1945 Lodge of Unity No 6003

1947 Lodge of Benevolence No.6457

1952 Lodge of Fortitude No 7188

1971 The Lodge of Justice No 8361

1998 Stockton on Tees Lodge No.9667 (Daylight Lodge)

Royal Arch Chapters consecrated & operating in Stockton on Tees.

1857 Tees Chapter No. 509

1944 Philanthropy No. 940

1937 Whitwell Chapter No. 2104

1962 Freedom Chapter No. 4027

Mark Master Mason Lodges consecrated & operating in Stockton on Tees.

1870 Percy Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 122

1978 St Thomas Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 1511

Royal Ark Mariner Lodges consecrated & operating in Stockton on Tees.

1920 Stockton on Tees Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners No. 122

(Attached to the Percy Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 122)

Rose Croix Lodges consecrated & operating in Stockton on Tees.

1946 Tees Chapter, Rose Croix, No 374

Knights Templar Lodges consecrated & operating in Stockton on Tees.

1947 Tees Preceptories Knights Templar No 316

This web-site created by W.Bro Dave Hodgson (Philanthropy 940)

Based on the template supplied by the Provincial Grand Lodge of Durham