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 the market town of Skipton in North Yorkshire
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 No. 810, 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 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.
Doncaster Freemasons have given a £5,000 boost to a charity providing a valuable counselling service to disadvantaged young people in Doncaster
The money, via the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), will fund Doncaster Housing’s service in supporting young people at risk of homelessness, for a further 12 months.
Stuart Shore, Chief Executive of Doncaster Housing for Young People, said: 'Virtually all of our clients come from disadvantaged backgrounds in Doncaster, and we provide support at a time of crisis in their lives. Our core purpose is supporting young people who are at risk of homelessness, but our clients often have a range of support needs and many experience mental ill health.
'Our counselling service is really important in helping young people address often deep-seated issues in their lives and this, in turn, helps provide the stability for them to sustain a tenancy and cope with independent living.'
Graham Bailey, the Master of Danecastre Lodge No. 4843 in the Province of Yorkshire, West Riding, said: 'We are delighted that our funding has ensured the continuation of this important service for another year.
'Charity is at the heart of Freemasonry and we are always keen to support organisations such as Doncaster Housing for Young People, whose work is making a huge, positive difference, to the lives of young, vulnerable people across Doncaster.'
A donation of £1,700 from Harrogate Freemasons has helped Harrogate District Hospital launch a 'comforting' initiative for relatives of patients at the end of their lives
Harrogate and Claro Lodge No. 1001 secured £1,700 from the Province of Yorkshire West Riding’s Provincial Grand Master’s Charity Fund, to kick start the 'Comfort Bags' scheme. Set up by Harrogate District Hospital & Community Charity and Harrogate District Palliative Care Team, the bags are helping enhance both dignity and practical support throughout end of life for patients and their relatives, in the acute hospital setting.
Each year, more than 600 patients spend their last days and hours in the Harrogate District Hospital and Ripon Hospital.
The bags, which contain a blanket, travel pillow, toothbrush and toothpaste, tissues, notebook and pen, hand lotions and essential toiletries, a free meal voucher and a free parking permit, provide very practical items to help improve the comfort of relatives staying for long periods, or overnight with patients who are in the last days of life. These are items they may well forget to bring with them when they’re in a hurry or didn’t expect to stay long.
Feedback from relatives has been very positive and grateful for the additional support this scheme has provided.
John Birkenshaw, Charity Steward of Harrogate and Claro Lodge, said: 'We are really proud to support this innovative scheme which will bring much needed comfort and support to both patients and relatives at a time when it is needed the most.'
Initial funding was used to launch the bags, however ongoing funding is vital to continue to provide this service. Current projections suggest this will require approximately £5,000 per year to fund 300 comfort bags.
The donation from Harrogate Freemasons will make a set the scheme on a firm road ahead and the donation will be used to continue to fund the contents of the comfort bags.
With the especial meeting at the Royal Albert Hall streamed online in the Grand Temple of Freemasons’ Hall, nearly 1,000 brethren and ladies – including the wives of official guests – were able to watch the ceremonies
After attending the screening, Ruth Wright from the Honourable Fraternity of Ancient Freemasons commented, ‘I could feel that I was part of something very special. I cannot say how privileged I felt to be part of your special day. You could have heard a pin drop as everyone watched with great interest and when, spontaneously, most of the men joined in singing the hymns. It made you realise just how wonderful an organisation Freemasonry is.’
‘A wonderful meal – how on Earth could such splendid fare have been served to the thousands present with such style?’ David Pratt
The Grand Temple guests then attended a special dinner in the Grand Connaught Rooms, chaired by Earl Cadogan, who was assisted by senior members of the Metropolitan Grand Lodge of London.
Meanwhile, nearly 2,000 of the attendees from the Royal Albert Hall meeting were being bussed through London’s rush-hour traffic to Battersea Evolution for a special reception and banquet. Yorkshire, West Riding Provincial Grand Master David Pratt commented, ‘A wonderful meal – how on Earth could such splendid fare have been served to the thousands present and with such style? We then floated back to our hotel with so many stories to share. What a day.’
It is engraved: ‘The Province of Yorkshire, West Riding and the Masonic Charitable Foundation supported restoration work in the Cathedral to mark 300 years of Freemasonry 1717-2017.’
Tony Sharman has been presented with a Jubilee Certificate and a suitably engraved Tercentenary Jewel from Roger Newhouse, Assistant Provincial Grand Master for the Province of Yorkshire, West Riding, as he celebrates 50 years in Freemasonry
The presentation was made on behalf of Corinthian Lodge No. 3600 at Baildon Masonic Hall on 24th November 2017, with over 60 brethren present to witness the event. Roger said how pleased he was that Tony had asked him to present the certificate and had great pleasure in doing so to a Freemason who had given so much to the fraternity.
Tony, who was born in 1940, was initiated into the Lodge of Unity, Peace and Concord No. 316 on 20 November 1967. This was his mother lodge and where his father-in-law Alex Lynch initiated him on the same evening of the Installation by special dispensation. Tony became Worshipful Master of the lodge in 1974.
In 1988, he was honoured with London Grand Rank and after moving to Yorkshire, he joined Baildon Lodge No. 1545 in 1993 and became Worshipful Master in 1997. Meanwhile, Tony received promotion to Senior London Grand Rank in 1998, when he received notification by letter on the day in July 1998 when he initiated his son Harvey into Baildon Lodge.
In 2000, he became Worshipful Master of his mother lodge again and in 2004 joined Corinthian Lodge, where he became Worshipful Master in September 2011 at the start of the centenary year.
Tony was soon made Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works in the Province of Yorkshire, West Riding after promotion to Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden and in 2012, proudly represented Corinthian Lodge in taking part in the consecration of The Leeds Lodge No. 9867 at the Queens Hall, Leeds.
In Royal Arch, Tony is also a member of Baildon Chapter No. 1545 and is a Past Provincial Grand Registrar.
At the Festive Board, Tony reminded everyone of the journey of his masonic career, coupled with references to his family. The evening concluded in Peace and Harmony, where everyone had experienced the pleasure in sharing in Tony’s masonic career.
Yorkshire Freemasons’ participation in the Teddies for Loving Care (TLC) initiative, which provides teddies to soothe children in A&E departments, reached a milestone when a young patient at Harrogate District Hospital received the 100,000th teddy bear
Since 2008, 17 hospitals in Yorkshire have benefited from the Province’s TLC scheme – funded by West Riding Masonic Charities Limited.
The official opening of an accessible low ropes course in Little Deer Wood, Mirfield, West Yorkshire took place in August
This facility is the only rope course accessible to both able bodied and disabled young people in the whole of the North of England and is one of only two in the country. It was funded primarily from a major grant of £20,000 from the Provincial Grand Master’s Fund in the Province of Yorkshire, West Riding, together with donations from Huddersfield-based Cummins Turbo Technologies and the Yorkshire Regional Spinal Injury Centre’s Stepping Stones Appeal, based at Pinderfields Hospital, Wakefield, who will use it to treat patients whose spines were injured in accidents or warzones.
The opening ceremony was performed by Major Stan Hardy, the Deputy Lord Lieutenant for West Yorkshire, who was accompanied by Worshipful Brother Anthony Llewellyn, Assistant Provincial Grand Master from the Province of Yorkshire, West Riding, and Anya Philip, HR Director of Cummins Turbo Technologies.
The course is strung beneath trees with a series of linked challenges. It is designed to be environmentally friendly and should last for many years. The ropes, wires and other elements that make up the obstacles are no more than 50cm from the ground but team members must remain off the ground as they negotiate the course. There are also moving platforms which youngsters confined to wheelchairs must negotiate.
Courses like these are becoming more popular in the UK, but, there are only two which are totally accessible for able-bodied and disabled people. This type of course aims to encourage communication and co-operation as well as to help individuals build up confidence and develop balance and co-ordination.
Little Deer Wood is situated in woodland at Shepley Bridge in Mirfield and is one of the locations locally where young people train for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award which is the world’s leading achievement award for young people. Over 6,000 young people in Kirklees are currently taking part in the scheme.
Denise Bedford MBE, manager of the Kirklees Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, said: 'Around 40 young people with disabilities, who are currently staying at the centre for the Wild Activities Challenging Kirklees Young people (WACKY) programme, had the first go on the course. They absolutely loved it. Everybody had a smile on their face.
'It is often really difficult to ensure that people with disabilities can join in and benefit from a whole range of activities, most of which require specially-adapted equipment. We can only achieve this with donations such as the ones we have received and from the excellent support we get from volunteers.'
'The course has been three years in the making,' said Steve Dunn, Chair of Kirklees Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Trust. 'Having raised the necessary funds it was difficult finding an organisation that would build it to fit in with its natural surroundings in the woodland. Eventually the course was designed and constructed by Gloucestershire-based Motiva Adventure Construction and is tailor-made to the site. It will be a superb addition to the other facilities at Little Deer Wood which include canoeing, archery, climbing, orienteering, bushcraft and many more which are already accessible to both able bodied and disabled young people.'
David Archer, secretary of Howley Lodge No. 5012 in Batley, who sponsored the bid to the PGM’s Fund, and Trustee of the Kirklees Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Trust, said: 'When you see how our charitable donations are used to provide facilities like these for young people, especially those with special needs, it makes you feel proud to be a Freemason. It is really emotional seeing able-bodied and disabled children working together to navigate the course, and the Trust is extremely grateful to the PGM’s Fund for making it all possible.'
Letters to the Editor - NO. 42 SUMMER 2018
Seal of approval
Your excellent report of West Yorkshire masons’ support of the Little Deer Wood ropes course in Mirfield in the spring edition of Freemasonry Today demonstrates the enormous work done by masons to assist both able-bodied and disabled young people. I had the privilege of formally opening the course and saw first-hand the sheer joy on the faces of disabled youngsters achieving activities they never thought possible.
Thanks to the encouragement of masons, the Little Deer Wood centre competed for, and has won, The Duke of York’s Community Initiative Award. The initiative is HRH The Duke of York’s personal charity, operating solely to recognise community work in Yorkshire.
The Little Deer Wood team, with some of the beneficiaries of the project, received the award from The Duke of York in April 2018.
Stanley M Hardy TD DL, Albert Victor Lodge, No. 2328, York, North Yorkshire
The Children's Trust have been presented with a grant for £80,000 to help support hundreds of children with brain injuries
The Children’s Trust’s brain injury specialists are experienced clinicians, who will work with the child, family and school, providing advice, brain injury education and classroom strategies to support each child.
The grant will be used to fund the role of a Brain Injury Specialist at Sheffield Children’s Hospital who will support around 500 children across South Yorkshire, North Lincolnshire and North Derbyshire over the next two years.
The grant from Yorkshire, West Riding Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded entirely through the generosity of Freemasons and their families from across England and Wales.
Stuart Grantham of Yorkshire, West Riding Freemasons commented: 'We are very pleased to be able to help The Children’s Trust who do hugely important work supporting hundreds of children across South Yorkshire and beyond.'
Harrogate and Ripon Freemasons have turned to “flower power” to help celebrate key milestones in the fraternity’s history
Three floral displays – located on Harrogate’s Montpellier Hill, within the Valley Gardens and in Ripon’s Spa Gardens – have been created by Harrogate Borough Council’s Parks & Environmental Services Department to mark the 300th anniversary of the founding of the Premier Grand Lodge and the bicentenary of the Province of Yorkshire West Riding.
The official unveiling of the beds, which feature the masonic symbols of the square and compasses and the white rose of Yorkshire, was performed by the Mayor of Harrogate, Coun Anne Jones, Ripon Mayor Coun Pauline McHardy and the Provincial Grand Master David S Pratt.
The flower beds, containing around 7,500 plants, were the brainchild of Doug Mills, Charity Steward of The Spa Lodge No. 7609, who came up with the idea that the Tercentenary of the United Grand Lodge of England and the Bi-centenary of The Province of Yorkshire West Riding, could be celebrated by a floral display in Harrogate.
He approached Harrogate Borough Council to see if they would support planting out beds to mark the two landmarks, which it readily agreed to and added Ripon to the mix.
Doug Mills commented: 'These three flower beds are simply stunning and they look absolutely fantastic. Six months ago it was merely an idea and now it is reality.'
Rt W Bro David S Pratt, who presented commemorative hand trowels to the mayors, said: '2017 is a very special year for Freemasonry in England and Wales, and in particular for our Province as we are also celebrating our 200th birthday.
'We very much welcome the support of Harrogate Borough Council, as without them Doug’s floral tercentenary and bicentenary tributes would never have seen the light of day. Thanks to the skills of the parks team, thousands of people walking in the three locations will be able to enjoy these stunning flower beds throughout the summer months.'
The Treasurer of The Spa Lodge, W Bro Peter Dodds, facilitated the manufacture and supply free of charge of four powder coated stainless steel display cases from In Stainless Engineering Ltd together with graphic boards provided by Signs Express that detail the history of the United Grand Lodge of England and the Province.