A letter written more than 250 years ago in Amsterdam, congratulating the new master of a Leeds Masonic Lodge, has been discovered amongst the pages of a book in Skipton.
In the two-page letter penned in 1762, Lewis Bastide, a member of Golden Lion Lodge, also speaks of his experience with foreign lodges in the Dutch capital, and his intention to form an English lodge in Amsterdam.
The correspondence was unearthed by Chris Hill, secretary of Craven Lodge, during an audit of historical books and documents, where it was found in an envelope tucked into an old copy of a Book of Constitutions.
From records held at The Library and Museum of Freemasonry in London, The Golden Lion Lodge was warranted by the premier Grand Lodge of England on January 8, 1761, and numbered 258 on the Roll of Lodges, and initially called “A Masters Lodge”.
The Warrant for Lodge No 258 was issued by Lord Aberdour, Grand Master, and appointed Sir Henry Ibbetson to be Master, Lewis Bastide to be Senior Warden and George Lawman to be Junior Warden.
During the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745, Sir Henry raised a corps of 100 men at his own expense and, in recompense for his loyalty, was created a Baronet.
Lewis Bastide was a prominent merchant in Leeds whilst George Lawman was a master Surgeon in the Army.
The lodge met at various taverns in Leeds including, from 1766, the Golden Lion, Briggate, from which the Lodge took its name in 1772.
However, it ceased to meet regularly from December 1780, and was erased on February 1, 1786.
The only information available about the Lodge’s members is a list of names which appears in a volume entitled List of Members 1770.
Chris Hill, Secretary of Craven Lodge, which meets at The Masonic Hall, Sackville Street in Skipton, said: “This wonderful letter was found totally by accident when I was conducting an audit of lodge possessions.
“It was in a plain envelope and fell out of the pages of an old Book of Constitutions. Despite it being there for goodness knows how long, the letter is in remarkably good condition, and is now carefully preserved.
“The contents of the letter are fascinating and give an insight into Freemasonry in Leeds and Amsterdam more than 250 years ago. It’s just a shame the name of the Master Lewis Bastide was writing to congratulate is not known.”
Below is the transcribed letter in full:
To Golden Lion Lodge, No. 285
Amsterdam – the 23rd March 1762
Dear Sir & Brother,
I should have troubled you before now with a few lines had my business allowed me the time to write them, which I hope you will excuse: the friendship and brotherly love reigns no less betwixt us for all that, at least on my side and I dare flatter myself of its being the same on yours.
It is with great deal of pleasure that I have heard by Brother Geo. Scott that the Brethren have elected you Master of our Lodge, of which I wish you joy. What pleases me the most and what I can say without flattery is to see that our worthy Brethren have recompensed your merits, and that they have done but what you justly deserv’d by the zeal you have always shew’d for the Craft, and the trouble you have taken in helping to make the Lodge upon a good footing and to maintain a good order in the same, which I doubt not but you’ll continue, especially now that you are at the head of it, and to which I take the liberty to exhort you and the rest of the Brethren , and to see our laws well observed by everyone in the Lodge. For what greater beauty and pleasure there can be than to see a good order kept in a Society? It is that only, that creates and maintains a good harmony and friendship amongst the members thereof.
You’ll have heard that I have had the pleasure of visiting some foreign Lodges, where there is Such a good order kept that you would be charmed with if you was to see it. I was admitted to one in Amsterdam where the Baron of Boetzelaer, Grand Master of Holland assisted, and as I had the honour of being placed by him, he asked me several questions about our Grand Lodge at London and how Masonry went on in England to which I answered in the best manner I was able. They did me the honour of drinking our Lodge’s prosperity which I return’d in a proper manner. I have met with some Brethren in Amsterdam, whom were made in England and being desirous to work in the English way I instruct them in the same and am going to form an English Lodge in the said place having accordingly wrote for a Constitution to Bro. Spencer.
I further observe that you are increased in number, and that you are removed to the old Kings Arms. I must beg to tell you upon the first article that you should be very discreet in taking people in; you know what we had resolved upon before I left Leeds, and I hope if we keep them rules our Lodge will flourish and will be composed of good sorts of people. In regard to the other article, that is about changing the Lodge, I did the necessary for the same and paid 2/6d to Bro. Spencer for it which please to note in conformity.
I cannot say to have anything further to write at present but to wish you health, happiness & prosperity in all your undertakings, and to Salute you as well as to the rest of the Brethren, by the number only known of the Enlighten’d mortals and believe me always Dear Sir and Brother
Your most obed’t and Humble Serv’t, and Affectionate Bro.
PS I am afraid I shall not be so happy as to be with you before May. If I can be of any service to you or to any other friend please to give your letters to young Tennant who will take care to forward them to me.
Guest speakers at Thoresby Lodge will be talking about the disease, Prostate Cancer UK and its work.
One in eight men in the UK will get prostate cancer at some time in their lives, so take the opportunity to find out more.
Download the poster here:
Prostate Poster 02
The 2nd Masonic Meeting Places Committee Seminar will be held at Greenhead Masonic Hall on Saturday 21st April 2018 commencing at 9.30 a.m. Full details ar shown in the Flyer/Booking Form. The Seminar will be of interest to all members of Masonic Hall Management Boards/Committees and Brethren.
The United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) has taken full page ads in The Times, Daily Telegraph and Guardian calling for an end to discrimination of its 200,000 plus members.
Headlined ‘Enough is Enough’, the ad is a personal letter from Dr David Staples, Chief Executive Officer, which reiterates the organisation’s values and highlights how throughout its 300-year history when people have suffered discrimination, Freemasonry has welcomed them into lodges as equals.
Such is the frustration amongst members about the level of prejudice, Dr Staples has also written to the Equality and Human Rights Commission to make its case.
Dr David Staples, Chief Executive of UGLE commenting says:
“This is a first for us, but necessary under the circumstances. For too long we have been unjustly singled out. We are an organisation whose whole tenet is about helping individuals become better people, with values of honesty, integrity and service to others. Membership of Freemasonry is not only positive for them as individuals, but also for society at large.
“Sadly, too many Freemasons have to exercise caution in response to prejudice and discrimination they fear they will face. We want the day when every Freemason can proudly declare themselves a member of our great and historical organisation without fear of retribution, suspicion or damage.
“We’re open and happy to talk about anything and today we are announcing a series of sessions up and down the country too and to answer any questions people may have. I am also welcoming any queries from individuals myself.”
Please refer to the latest “Tercentenary Events Confirmed v26 List” for details.
On the 25th of April at UGLE a memorial to First World War Freemasons awarded the Victoria Cross was unveiled. Watch a short video clip of the ceremony on the UGLE YouTube channel at this link:
The United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) announced last week the relaunch of the newly designed website.
Have a look and share the site far and wide!
>> Are you interested in Freemasonry?
>> Have you ever wondered what it is all about?
Why not come and find out at one of our open events in the Sheffield area:
Saturday 20th May – pop in anytime between 1pm and 5pm
Wednesday 24th May – 7pm to 9pm
For more information and contact details see the flyer at the link below:
INSIDE FREEMASONRY OPEN EVENTS FLYER
Please see the attachment for a great event, another celebration of the ‘Tercentenary’ of Freemasonry