The Right Hon’ble. Cadwallader, Lord Blayney. Lord Lieut. and Custos Rotulorum of County Monaghan. Major General of His Majesty’s Forces. Grand Masterof the Free and Accepted Mason of England 1764 – 1767. Grand Master of Ireland 1768, he withdrew in the same year and was replaced in that post by the Earl of Cavan.
R W Bro. William Hamilton, Worshipful Master of 352 in 1831, in which year he laid the foundation stone of Castleblayney Masonic Hall. secretary 1885 – 1910. served a second time as Master some 25 years later and was presented with a Past Masters Jewel bearing an inscription recording his services to the lodge. Provincial Grand Secretary 1884 – 1930. Died 24th November 1932.R W Bro. William Hamilton, Worshipful Master of 352 in 1831, in which year he laid the foundation stone of Castleblayney Masonic Hall. secretary 1885 – 1910. served a second time as Master some 25 years later and was presented with a Past Masters Jewel bearing an inscription recording his services to the lodge. Provincial Grand Secretary 1884 – 1930. Died 24th November 1932.
On Saturday 27th July 1912 the foundation stone of the Church House and Primate Alexander Synod Hall was laid.(cover of order of service above). Prior to the ceremony a special service took place in St. Patricks Cathedral when Primate Crozier in his address welcomed people from all over the Diocese and further afield on his happy occasion, and went on to speak of the necessity of having a Synod Hall as a rallying place for those who come to Armagh for Church purposes, and also to preserve the memory the memory of his dear and honoured predecessor in the Primacy of Armagh. He also referred to the support of “The Great Masonic Institution,” a fraternity whose objects were benevolence and love.
Following the Service the congregation assembled on the site of the new building, where the Primate formally laid the foundation stone, and to mark the occasion a time capsule was deposited in the foundation containing current coins and newspapers together with the following documents: “The foundation stone of the Armagh Church House and Primate Alexander Synod Hall was laid with Masonic Honours by the Most Rev. John Baptist D.D., Lord Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of all Ireland and Metropolitan, and Senior Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Ireland assisted by Major Edward John Richardson, D.L., Provincial Deputy Grand Master, and other members of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Armagh, on Saturday, 27th day of July in the year of our Lord, one thousand nine hundred and twelve, and of Masonry 5912, the Architects being Mr W Sampson Jervois M.R.I.A.I., Armagh and Mr R Caulfield Orpen, F.R.I.A.I., Dublin, and the builders Messrs. McLaughlin and Harvey Ltd. Belfast (signed), John B Armagh; E J Richardson, P.D.M.G. Armagh; F G McClintock. Dean C K Irwin, D.D. Archdeacon; C K Irwin, Clerk, B.D. and A Nelson J.P. honorary secretaries of the Synod Hall Committee.
Beginnings of Freemasonry
The origins of the Masonic Order in Ireland remain obscure and it is not known when it was established at a basic Lodge level.
It has been suggested that it may have developed out of the Stonemasons’ guilds – organisations which served to regulate prices, wages and standards of work. The individual would learn his trade first as an apprentice, then as a fellow and finally would become a master craftsman. In order for him to prove his practical skills the craftsman would be taught secret signs of different levels of proficiency, which would identify him to a potential employer. These men would gain prestige within Society, as the skills of the craftsman were revered.
Freemasonry may have been setup with this as its template. Certainly the terminology and structures correlate. The Order, as it is today, has inherited many of its modes of working from the operative Stonemasons, and having the secret signs of recognition of each other is being faithful to the same tradition which gives the title of Entered Apprentice to the new member, or Master to the head of the Lodge.
Documentary evidence for the Freemasonry in Ireland dates from 1688, and is in the form of a manuscript written in Trinity College Dublin, displaying a knowledge of Freemasonry which can leave no doubt as to the existence, at the time, of working Lodges. The references to Freemasonry are quite accurate: secrecy, benevolence, the term Lodge and the prerequisite of being of good character for admittance, are all mentioned. The professions of members listed include gentlemen, mechanics, parsons, thatcher’s, poets, doctors, butchers and tailors.
The Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Ireland, the ruling body of the Order, can be traced back to 1725, at least. Evidence for this comes from the Dublin Weekly Journal of June that year, where an account is given of the installation of Richard Parsons, the Earl of Rosse as Grand Master on St. John’s Day. The Irish Grand Lodge is the second oldest in the world, after the English one, which dates from 1717.
The function of Grand Lodge – which has always been based in Dublin – was, as it remains today, the regulation of the Lodges, per the Laws and Constitutions.
A Lodge’s permission to meet, from a given date, in a specific location, stems from its Warrant – issued to it by The Grand Lodge. However, The Grand Lodge of Ireland was the first in the world to produce Travelling Warrants – issued to army regiments (from the 1730’s) and enabling the Brethren to meet Masonically wherever they happened to be stationed – unlike ordinary Warrants, which confined the Lodge members to a specific meeting place. Travelling Warrants helped to spread the craft globally and, therefore, although the vast majority of membership naturally has always been based in Ireland, there are also Irish Lodges established in other countries such as Australia, England, Nigeria and South Africa.
ARMAGH, Co. Armagh
From the Letter file of Lodge No. 623.
CIRCULAR LETTER TO FREEMASONS and FRIENDS
“ST. PATRICK’S SENIOR” LODGE, No. 623; Armagh, August, 1852.
The importance of the cause will, we trust, justify this A peal to the Brethren and also to the Friends of an Order which can boast, among its Members, past and present, the most illustrious names that reflect historic renown on all lands blessed with civilisation and enlightenment. We, the Brethren of the ARMAGH “ST. PATRICK’S SENIOR” LODGE, No. 623, are deeply impressed with the importance to the Order generally in: this County, of an edifice consecrated to their cause. Literary and Scientific Institutions have their chosen temples. Why not then an Institution such as ours have its chosen home – an Institution which not only appreciates intellectual progress, but also specially devotes itself to the training of the human heart – to the culture of those virtues which at once cement and adorn the social edifice? Such a Society as ours should have its own sacred asylum, and not be dependent on temporary accommodation, or subjected to those removals which militate against systematic progress. The “ST PATRICK’S SENIOR” Lodge could not calculate, through its own unsustained exertion, on realizing the project in question and, therefore, it presents itself merely as the originator and ally of this much-needed movement, and appeals to the fraternal Lodges on this distinct ground – namely, that the Hall, when once erected, will be a rallying centre for all true Masons in City and County.
Liberal promises of support have already been received from influential quarters; and, such being the case, we have but to commence operations, with full faith in the Greek sentiment which assures us that, in any good cause, “the beginning is half the work”.
To the Public generally we Appeal for support on the strength of our principles – of principles which exercise a benignant influence on society at large – firstly, “honour to God”; secondly, “charity”; thirdly, “peace on earth, and good will towards men”.
Our Society is ancient, and, moreover, destined to exist to the end of time, because it is based on the immutable and imperishable principles of truth, justice, and Christian charity. Empires have decayed, and dynasties have been overthrown, while Freemasonry proudly overlooks the ruins of what was corruptible, and what had no inherent principle of permanency. Freemasonry, though old, like the virtues which it impersonates, still wears the greenness of an immortal youth. Let us then have a Masonic temple worthy of the ancient Cathedral City – the Ecclesiastical Metropolis of Ireland.
(Signed by order)
MALCOLM M’NEALE JOHNSTON
N.B. – Donations will be received, and duly acknowledged by
ROBERT M’CULLA, Merchant, Market-street, Armagh, Treasurer,
JAMES A. VINT, Northern Bank, Armagh.
ROBERT G. WALLACE, Belfast Bank, Armagh
Subscribers to the Armagh Masonic Hall Building Fund:-
Colonel Blacker £5. 0. 0.
John Douglas, Mountain Lodge £5. 0. 0.
James Johnston, Middletown £5. 0. 0.
A Allen Murray £2. 2. 0.
“A Genuine Brother,” Caledon £1. 0. 0.
Alexander Frizell £1. 0. 0.
Jacob Orr Cardwell £1. 0. 0.
Joseph Matthews £1. 0. 0.
N.T. 3 November, 1852
John McKinstry £3. 3. 0.
William Hardy £3. 3. 0.
Creighton Jamieson £1. 0. 0.
N.T. 21 May, 1853
John Stanley, No. 623 £3. 3. 0.
William Smith, No. 210 £1. 0. 0.
William Cardwell, No. 409 £1. 0. 0.
N.R. 2 June, 1853
Charles Stanley £1. 0. 0.
Wm. J. Johnston £1. 1. 0.
Thos. W. Wood, No. 20 £2. 2. 0.
Archibald McCorkell £1. 0. 0.
Dr, Pratt £1. 1. 0.
N.T. 4 June, 1853
Robert Martin, No. 59 £1. 10. 0.
John Vint, No. 28 £2. 2. 0.
Dr. Leslie, No. 623 £2. 2. 0.
N.T. 14 June, 1853
James Armstrong £5. 0. 0.
Wm. Armstrong £1. 0. 0.
George W. Boileau £1. 0. 0.
N.T. 3 September, 1853
Mr. Gallagher £3. 3. 0.
Wm. Phipps Boileau £1. 0. 0.
Archibald Johnston £1. 0. 0.
N.T. 15 September, 1853
On Wednesday evening last, the Members of “St. Patrick’s Senior” Masonic Lodge No. 623, held a meeting at their Lodge-rooms in ARMAGH.
There was a very full attendance of the brethren on the occasion, some of their proceedings having relation to the contemplated hall to be erected in that city. Several letters were read from influential members of the Craft at a distance, expressing their liveliest interest in the success of a project which is or will be calculated to consolidate and extend Freemasonry in this quarter of the province. Arrangements were also made for the brethren to have their usual half-yearly dinner on St. John’s Day, the 27th inst., in their present lodge-rooms. We understand that already the demand on the Treasurer, Mr. Robert W. McCulla, Market Street, for tickets is unprecedented.
NT 4 December, 1852.
Freemasonry in ARMAGH, Co. Armagh
The Freemasons of Armagh City and County, as you may have inferred from the report of their recent reunion at the Tontine, are resolved that the mystic Craft shall have a worthy home in that city. Arrangements are in active progress for the erection of a Hall for the Brethren, which, we believe, some of the Brethren are desirous to designate “The Eglinton Masonic Hall”, in compliment to our present excellent Viceroy, who is a distinguished member of the Craft. The Hon. Member for the Borough, Mr. Russ Moore, is himself a Mason I understand, most favourable to the project in question. Forms and other preliminaries have been arranged, and liberal subscriptions, from influential quarters, are already promised.
The sub-joined is a copy of the circular which has been issued.
“Circular Letter to Freemasons and Friends”.
“St. Patrick’s Senior” Lodge No. 623.
Armagh, November, 1852.
The importance of the cause will, we trust, justify this appeal to the Brethren, and also to the Friends of an Order which can boast among its members, past and present, the most illustrious names that reflect historic renown on all lands blessed with civilisation and enlightenment.
We, the Brethren of the Armagh “St. Patrick’s Senior” Lodge, No. 623, are deeply impressed with the importance to the Order generally in this County, of an edifice consecrated to their cause. Literary and Scientific Institutions have their chosen temples. Why not, then, an Institution such as ours, have its chosen home – an Institution which not only appreciates intellectual progress, but also specially devotes itself to the training of the human heart – to the culture of those virtues, which at once cement and adorn the social edifice Such a Society as ours should have its own sacred asylum, and not be dependent on temporary accommodation, is subjected to those removals which militate against systematic progress.
The “St. Patrick’s Senior” Lodge could not calculate, through its own unstained exertion, on realising the project in question, and, therefore, it presents itself merely as the originator and ally of this much-needed movement, and appeals to the fraternal Lodges on this distinct ground – namely, that the Hall, when once erected, will be a rallying centre for all true Masons in City and County.
Liberal promises of support have already been received from influential quarters; and, such being the case, we have but to commence operations, with full faith in the Greek sentiment which assure us that, in any good cause, `the beginning id half the work’,
To the public generally we appeal for support on the strength of our principles – of principles which exercise a benignant influence on society at large – firstly, “Honour to God”; secondly, “Charity”; thirdly “Peace on Earth and Good-will towards Men”.
Our Society is ancient, and, moreover, destined to exist to the end of time, because it is based on the immutable and imperishable principles of Truth, Justice, and Christian Charity. Empires have decayed, and dynasties have been overthrown while Freemasonry proudly overlooks the ruins of what was corruptible, and what had no inherent principle of permanency. Freemasonry, though old, like the virtues which it impersonates, still wears the greenness of an immortal youth. Let us, then, have a Masonic Temple worthy of the ancient Cathedral City – the Ecclesiastical Metropolis of Ireland.
Signed by order
Malcolm McNeale Johnston, Worshipful Master
N.B. – Donations will be received, and Duly acknowledged by Robert McCulla, Merchant, Market Street, Armagh, Treasurer, James A. Vint, Northern Bank, Armagh; Robert G. Wallace, Belfast Bank, Armagh”.
NT 14 August, 1852.
Masonic Hall in ARMAGH, Co. Armagh
The Armagh folk are, by sonic scribe at the Press, charged with being averse to speculation and over enamoured to repose. The Freemasons of that ancient city are, however, resolved to give a practical rebuke to this censure in their zealous and energetic exertion’s, like true and devoted sons of their mystic Craft, to erect a splendid Hall, which will constitute a rallying centre for the Brethren of Armagh and the surrounding Counties.
We observe, by a paragraph in Saunders News Letter, that Lord Viscount Dungannon, a generous supporter of the time-honoured institution of Freemasonry, has subscribed £10 towards the realisation of the project in question, and we are authorised to state that the Brethren are duly grateful for his Lordship’s support. The Committee hope shortly to publish a list of patrons and subscribers, with the name of the Duke of Leinster, as Grand Master, at its head. We wish our Armagh friends the success to which their respectable status in the world of Masonry, their public spirit, and untiring zeal so eminently entitle them.
NT 28 September, 1852.
ARMAGH Masonic Hall:–
By the subjoined letter it will be seen that the Hon. Member for Armagh takes a zealous interest in the realisation of the project of erecting a Masonic Hall in that City, and attests the ardour of his devotion to the cause by a liberal subscription. The Hon. Gentleman is not one of those members who would merge local in compliment to imperial interests, but would uphold both. It is most creditable to him, and augurs favourably for his protracted Parliamentary connection with Armagh, that he is most anxious to identify himself, in every practicable way, with the interests of that city, and desirous, through honourable service, to cultivate the good opinion, and merit the approbation of his constitutes of all classes and creeds.
The Armagh Brethren are men of the true stamp, who only conceive a project to execute it. Already they have received very liberal promises of support from several of the most influential members of the aristocracy. While on this subject, we may state that the Brethren in connection with Masonic Lodges Nos. 23 and 77, in Newry, are most anxious to assist in raising subscriptions in support of the project in question. The members of the latter Lodge have resolved that a subscription list be opened for that purpose, and the Worshipful Master and several influential members of the former have also promised to use their best exertions to forward the views of their Brethren in Armagh.
The Armagh Brethren are in high spirits, and anticipate ere long having a temple, in which the solemn rites of the time-honoured Craft will have worthy celebration. The following is the letter from Mr. Ross S. Moore, P.M.:-
Dublin, No. 5 Mountjoy Square South. October 23, 1852.
My Dear Sir,
It affords me sincere pleasure to contribute to the erection of a Masonic Hall in Armagh. You will, therefore be pleased to put down my name for ten pounds.
Wishing every success and prosperity to an undertaking which is creditable alike to the spirit and energy of the Armagh Brethren.
I remain, Dear Sir and Brother,
Yours most truly
Ross S. Moore.
Malcolm McN. Johnston, Esq., Armagh.
NT 28 October, 1852.
From the Minutes of Lodge No. 77
11 October, 1852
“Lodge No. 77 met this evening, being their regular monthly night of meeting. The Minutes of the previous meeting were duly read and signed.
A circular emanating from “St. Patrick’s Senior” Lodge No. 623, and signed by the Worshipful Master, Bro. Malcolm McNeale Johnston, was duly read – In reference thereto it was unanimously resolved that a subscription list be opened, and each member of the Lodge called upon for a Subscription, in order to aid the erection of a Masonic Hall in Armagh.
Bro. Bell of No. 24 having applied to be admitted a Member of this Lodge, it was proposed by Bro. Whitley, and seconded by Bro. McKenzie, that Bro. Bell be admitted, which, when put to the Members present, was unanimously carried”.
Freemasonry in ARMAGH, Co. Armagh
On Monday, the 27th ult., being St. John’s Day, the Brethren of the ancient City dined together in their Lodge-rooms, according to their usual custom. The Worshipful Master, Malcolm McNeale Johnston, performed the duties of the Chair with his usual tact and ability, and was ably supported by Brother Wallace, who occupied the vice-Chair. A numerous and respectable party partook of a sumptuous entertainment, provided by Mr. William Bright, an excellent purveyor. The wines, liqueurs, etc., were varied and choice. A number of new visitors from distant lodges were present, and were delighted with the hospitality and kindly feeling of the Armagh Brotherhood.
The usual loyal and Masonic toasts were given and duly responded to. Altogether the scene was a revival as well as a reunion, for the Masonic Hall in Armagh, whenever mentioned during the evening elicited that expression of enthusiasm which is, on most occasions, the surest presage of success. 1 January, 1853.
Masonic Hall, ARMAGH, Co. Armagh
John McCurdy, Esq., Architect, Denzill Street, Dublin, and a Member of Lodge No. 50 in that City, has subscribed £5 towards the erection of the Masonic Hall in Armagh.
Mr. McCurdy has also very liberally proposed gratuitously furnishing the Committee with an appropriate sketch for such edifice. This is a compliment worthy of high appreciation; as Mr. McCurdy, though a young man, has already attained to a foremost position in his profession. His sketch for the New Buildings, in the University of Dublin, obtained a preference over those of many very eminent English and Irish Architects – and this, too by the decision of gentlemen eminently qualified to decide on the classic effect and other artistic peculiarities of architecture. The Committee for the erection of the Masonic Hall in Armagh request us to express their best acknowledgements to Mr. McCurdy for the liberality of his proposal and for the kind interest which he takes in the realisation of their project.
NT 12 May, 1853
Extract from a Masonic Reunion in ARMAGH, Co. Armagh
“… and among the more prominent topics of conversation was that of the projected Masonic Hall – a topic which not only excited the enthusiasm of the Brethren, but also suggested many useful and practical observations as to the “modus operandi” in giving realisation to the project. There is the combination of head and heart in the undertaking, and sound intelligence guides feeling into the proper sphere of action – Judging from the sums already subscribed towards the erection of the Hall, the local enthusiasm, the external aid already liberally proffered, and, above all, the determination of purpose and character of perseverance which belong to the originators, we have no doubt that within a comparatively short period a Masonic Hall will be numbered among the Institutions which are at once ornamental to the City as creditable architectural edifices, and beneficial to the citizens, as being promotive of intellectual improvement and social progress …”
N.T. 2 July, 1853
Freemasonry in ARMAGH, Co. Armagh
On St. John’s Day last, a number of the Brethren of Armagh, and its vicinity, held their usual Anniversary for the installation of Officers and the transaction of other business connected with the Institution. They afterwards dined together at the ‘Beresford Arms’, where a sumptuous entertainment was provided for them by Mr. Wiltshire.
The Chair was efficiently filled by the Worshipful Master of “St. Patrick’s Senior” Masonic Lodge, No. 623, who was ably supported by the Senior Warden, as Vice-Chairman.
After dinner, the Secretary of the above-named Lodge submitted for their inspection beautiful designs for the Masonic Hall about to be erected, which had been prepared and forwarded by Mr. John McCurdy, of Dublin. The plans were got up in a most superior manner and elegantly bound, at a considerable cost to the distinguished artist; who, in addition to this valuable offering, transmitted £5 as a subscription towards the erection of the proposed building.
After an examination of the designs, the following resolution was unanimously adopted:-
“That the warmest thanks of the Brethren are due, and hereby given to John McCurdy, Esq., Architect, Dublin, for the very beautiful and elegant design, of the Masonic Hall proposed to be erected in Armagh, which has just been received from him”.
This gratuitous and valuable offering to Freemasonry was fully appreciated by the assembled Brethren; and they trust that the generous example of Brother McCurdy will stimulate others to the exertions necessary to complete the tasteful and appropriate edifice, which he has designed for them in his well-known and superior style of excellence.
12 January, 1854
Provincial Grand Lodge of ARMAGH:-
Met 27 November, 1873. The chief business of the meeting was the proposal to erect a new Masonic Hall in Armagh, and the universal feeling of the Brethren was unanimously in favour of the scheme being carried out without delay.
Plans for the new building were submitted, and a Committee was appointed to report on the subject to the Grand Lodge at its meeting in Clones, in February next.
The oldest Mason present told us he did not remember such a splendid gathering of the Craft for forty years previous. About seventy Brethren dined in the ‘Fontine Rooms’, Bro. Maxwell C. Close, Provincial Grand Master presiding. A part song specially written for the occasion by Bro. G.H. Smith, of Lodge No. 39, and set to music, with quartet arrangement, by Bro. T.O. Marks, Mus. Bac., Provincial Grand Organist, Armagh, entitled “The Grand Old Lights of Masonry”, was beautifully rendered by Bros. Clements, Nelson and Marks, and enthusiastically applauded. The Rt. Wor. Provincial Grand Master requested that, as the harmony and music were so good, Bros. Smith and Marks should have the song published at the expense of the Provincial Grand Lodge, which they agreed to do.
“The Grand old Lights of Masonry
Still guide us on our way,
Though rugged be the path we tread
And gloomy be our day;
So still we hail with welcome shout
That good old charter cry,
And drink to Leinsters’ honoured name
With glass uplifted high.
For we are all true Masons
Good Masons every one,
Gathered here for pleasure
When our work is done.
Here’s to our good Grand Master – long may he live!
For many a year he still has been
Our own and trusty friend –
For many a year we wish him spared
Our ancient Craft to tend;
With him we’ll work in “Peace” and “Love”,
In “Harmony” be blended;
And sorrow deep shall fill our breasts
To him ee’r his days are ended.
For we are etc.
As Masons then we proudly claim
The Duke as “one of ours” –
Long may he lead a happy life
Mid Carton’s lovely flowers:
And when Acacia branch is reared,
Where cold his ashes lie,
May he have joined that Lodge above
Where Brethren never die.
For we are etc.
The Freemason 13 December 1873
Freemasonry in ARMAGH, Co. Armagh
Laying the Foundation Stone of a New Hall
On Wednesday afternoon, under the auspices of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Armagh, Bro. Sir James Creed Meredith, LL.D., the Right Worshipful Deputy Grand Master of Ireland, laid the foundation-stone of a new Freemasons’ Hall at Lurgan. A special communication of the Provincial Grand Lodge was held in the lodge-room of the Mechanics Institute at noon, all brethren appearing in full-dress aprons, the officers of the Provincial Grand Lodge, and the warrant officers of subordinate lodges wearing in addition the collars and jewel of their respective offices. After the usual instructions and caution from the chair, the lodge was “called off”, and the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, Bro. R.J. Forsythe, Armagh (who was assisted by Bro. Alexander Lutton, P.G.D.C., Down), formed a procession, which proceeded to and marched three times round the site of the building, and then formed a hollow square, inside which the Provincial Grand Officers and office bearers of the procession took up their station. The ode, “Genius of Masonry! Descend”, was announced by Bro. The Rev. James Wilson, Provincial Grand Chaplain, Armagh, and sung by the brethren to the air of the “Old Hundredth”. Prayer having been offered by Bro. The Rev. J. Holden, Provincial Grand Chaplain, Armagh, the brethren made the response – “Glory to God on high, on earth peace, goodwill towards men. So mote it be”. The architect then presented the Deputy Grand Master with the square, level, and plumb rule, which were applied in turn, with the customary allusion to their significance of virtue, equality, and rectitude of conduct. The Junior Grand Warden next presented to the Deputy Grand Master the vessel containing wheat, and the grain was sprinkled over the stone as an emblem of plenty. Wine, the emblem of joy and gladness, was similarly presented by the Senior Grand Warden, and oil, the emblem of peace, by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Bro. the Right Rev. Dr. Welland, then offered up the invocation. The architect at this stage presented to the Deputy Grand Master a handsome trowel of solid silver, with ivory handle, and bearing the inscription:-
“This trowel was used by the Right Worshipful Bro. Sir James Creed Meredith, LL.D., Deputy Grand Master of Ireland, on the occasion of his laying the foundation-stone of the Masonic Hall, Lurgan, County Armagh, on the 9th August, 1899; and was presented to him by Bro. G.W. Ferguson, P.M., P.G.R.C.”
The Deputy Grand Master accepted the tool with great pleasure, and said he was very glad to have that opportunity of taking part with his brethren in the province of Armagh in a solemn rite and one which he believed would tend greatly to the Promotion of the Principles of Masonry”.
Unknown paper c. 9 August, 1899
New Hall in ARMAGH, Co. Armagh
17 April, 1946 – Considerable correspondence referring to Lodge Nos. 39, 299, 409 and 623 and the acquiring of a new Hall in the City. – Refers to No. 4 Charlemont Place and its use as a Masonic Club.
Extract from the Grand Lodge Annual Report, 1946
The Lodges in Armagh City have acquired a house in Charlemont Place for their Masonic Hall, and have sold the old Hall. Painters are busy at present in the new premises, but it will be some time yet before it is ready for occupation.
Extract from the Grand Lodge Annual Report, 1947
ARMAGH, Co. Armagh
Through the generosity of the late Bro. Dr. Hampton A. Gray his fine Georgian House in Charlemont Place on the Mall, Armagh, became the property of the Armagh Brethren to be used for Masonic Purposes. Considerable alterations and renovation were required to turn it into a Masonic Hall, but a local Committee, of which Wor. Bro. H.W. Ross was Hon. Secretary, succeeded in getting the work completed, and on 30th January, 1947, the New Hall was dedicated at an Occasional Communication of Provincial Grand Lodge, Rt. Wor. Bro. T.E. Reid, M.B.E., Acting Provincial Grand Master, presiding. The impressive ceremony was carried out under the capable direction of V. Wor. Bro. Robert Ebbitt, Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, and opportunity was taken to pay a warm tribute to Wor. Bro. Ross for his very useful work as Hon. Secretary. The Brethren were then entertained by the Armagh Lodges.
ARMAGH 7 Charlemont Gardens, The Mall. Armagh
The minutes of Lodge 409 for the 7th December 1799 read, “Unanimously resolved that the members of this Lodge shall in future sit and meet at the house of Sister Elizabeth Campbell,Thomas Street, a local tavern in Armagh. This resolution to commence and continue from Thursday 2nd January 1800. It being the first sitting night of the new year”. The sum of 2 guineas shall be paid to her for every St. John’s Day, so long as the Lodge shall continue to meet and sit in her rooms. One guinea for every sitting night and one guinea for an emergency night. Elizabeth Campbell to provide the candles and fire. On the 26th November 1833, Lodge 409, was meeting in the premises of William Boyd Sen., in Armagh. 26th November 1833, Lodge 39. met in James Hillock’s Lodge 623. met in William Gray’s In a minute dated 1866, Lodge 39 and 623 arranged to take over premises in College Street, both Lodges stayed here 20 years, until the new Masonic hall was built on the Mall, and dedicated in 1886. 1st Masonic Hall (1884 – 1946) 2nd Masonic Hall 4 Charlemount Place (1946 – 1990) The brethren of Armagh had bequeathed to them the home of Dr. Gray, at 4 Charlemount Place. The Brethren agreed to move into the building at the end of the war (1945), when it was vacated by the American soldiers.
A massive bomb destroyed the premises in 1987, In 1989 plans were drawn up to build a completely new Masonic Hall at the back of the existing building and the existing Masonic property would be sold to the Education department. The Dedication and opening ceremony of the new hall took place on 23rd March 1991 and was preformed by the Provincial Grand Master Rt. Wor. Bro. Charles Mc Collum