Freemasons celebrate their 250th birthday

Freemasons outside their original home, the Black Swan

Freemasons outside their original home, the Black Swan

First published in News

Kendal’s Freemasons donned their symbolic aprons and collars to celebrate their lodge’s 250th anniversary.

King George III was on the throne when Union Lodge No. 129 was founded on July 31, 1764 at the Black Swan pub, on Allhallows Lane. Its home today is the Masonic Hall, on Station Road, The lodge is one of the oldest in existence and the 250th birthday opened with a gathering of Freemasons at the Black Swan.

Around 200 lodge mem-bers and guests then moved to the Brewery Arts Centre for a meeting, followed by a banquet at the Castle Green Hotel.

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Peter Clark, communications officer for the province of Cumberland and Westmorland, told the Gazette: “The lodge holds records which show that in 1762 eight ‘worthy gentlemen’ met at the Black Swan, at the top of Allhallows Lane, in Kendal, and discussed the possibility of forming a Masonic lodge.”

He explained: “To be able to form a lodge they needed to communicate with the United Grand Lodge of Freemasons in London, which in those days was by either stagecoach or packhorse.”

They eventually received a reply from London, and ‘Swan Lodge’ was consecrated in 1764, with Thomas Swainson as its master. A joining fee of £1 and one shilling was set, with fines of sixpence for swearing and tuppence for lateness.

Kendal’s lodge is the oldest surviving gathering of Freemasons in the province of Cumberland and Westmorland, which has around 3,000 members in its 80 lodges. Provincial grand master is Norman James Thompson, of Millom.

Kendal’s lodge has met at 12 different public houses in the town, as well as at 12 Kent Street, Albert Buildings, and an 111-year stay at Blackhall Croft, next to St George’s Hall.

Mr Clark explained that Freemasonry was one of the world’s oldest and largest fraternal societies; a not-for-profit organisation of men who try to live by the principles of integrity and goodwill, and to gain ‘a better knowledge’ of themselves.

Freemasons support charities, and serve their local communities. Their regalia marks their progress through Free-masonry, beginning with a plain apron, and moving to symbolic adornments such as golden embroidered sprigs of acacia and ears of corn.

Mr Clark said: “There is so much to talk about in modern Freemasonry; we have moved so far to become a relevant 21st century organisation. Gone are the days when we did not talk about our Masonic activities.

“A new generation is bringing Freemasonry to a wider audience; there is a lot to discuss and we are keen to do so.”

Comments (12)

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2:21pm Fri 8 Aug 14

Keeping_it_real says...

"Gone are the days when we did not talk about our Masonic activities." Oh? I think you'de struggle to find anything about the activities on the internet, letalone the Kendal Branch.
"Gone are the days when we did not talk about our Masonic activities." Oh? I think you'de struggle to find anything about the activities on the internet, letalone the Kendal Branch. Keeping_it_real
  • Score: -18

3:34pm Fri 8 Aug 14

rab says...

250 years old & still going strong, sends a good message out. If you want to find out about freemasonry, there is a plethora of information available, both in hard paper form or by the internet. However, go along to an open day, & you might be surprised!
250 years old & still going strong, sends a good message out. If you want to find out about freemasonry, there is a plethora of information available, both in hard paper form or by the internet. However, go along to an open day, & you might be surprised! rab
  • Score: 25

3:54pm Fri 8 Aug 14

amerindo says...

Great news Happy Birthday Kendal Freemasons.
Great news Happy Birthday Kendal Freemasons. amerindo
  • Score: 24

3:47pm Sat 9 Aug 14

Milkbutnosugarplease says...

I don't see a new generation of freemasons in that photo - it looks like an Over 60s Club for blokes with dull suits and a dislike of women.
I don't see a new generation of freemasons in that photo - it looks like an Over 60s Club for blokes with dull suits and a dislike of women. Milkbutnosugarplease
  • Score: -18

3:52pm Sat 9 Aug 14

oceancloud says...

You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours!
You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours! oceancloud
  • Score: -15

5:06pm Sat 9 Aug 14

Whinfell says...

What's with those weird handshakes and strange aprons?
Just looking at the accompanying photograph I cannot see it will attract a rush of new members.
What's with those weird handshakes and strange aprons? Just looking at the accompanying photograph I cannot see it will attract a rush of new members. Whinfell
  • Score: -28

5:08pm Sat 9 Aug 14

Whinfell says...

Why is the man on the left dressed like a giant jar of lemon curd?
Why is the man on the left dressed like a giant jar of lemon curd? Whinfell
  • Score: -25

12:18pm Sun 10 Aug 14

jazzactivist says...

Interesting that there aren't any members under 60, and no women at all. Looks like after 250 years freemasonry has had its day.
Interesting that there aren't any members under 60, and no women at all. Looks like after 250 years freemasonry has had its day. jazzactivist
  • Score: -31

8:01pm Sun 10 Aug 14

thetanictonic says...

I believe that the Rotary Club movement also has problems attracting younger members and may fade away as a result. That's not to say that freemasons and Rotarians are not doing good work, it's just that younger people are suspicious of organised groups with badges, titles and odd procedures which new members have to comply with. I think it's the formality rather than the charitable work which puts people off and the same perhaps for organised religion.
I believe that the Rotary Club movement also has problems attracting younger members and may fade away as a result. That's not to say that freemasons and Rotarians are not doing good work, it's just that younger people are suspicious of organised groups with badges, titles and odd procedures which new members have to comply with. I think it's the formality rather than the charitable work which puts people off and the same perhaps for organised religion. thetanictonic
  • Score: 22

11:41am Thu 14 Aug 14

FreeAndAccepted says...

Milkbutnosugarplease wrote:
I don't see a new generation of freemasons in that photo - it looks like an Over 60s Club for blokes with dull suits and a dislike of women.
A somewhat misguided comment. Lodges in Kendal and the surrounding area has members from 18 to 80+ with younger members bringing modernity and vibrancy to the organisation. Lodges have enjoyed a renewed increase in younger members in recent years. The vast majority of members are married so a dislike of women isn't an accurate statement either, and there are women only branches of Freemasonry all over the country, again with a wide range of ages in their membership. And for the sake of clarity alone, there are at least half a dozen members in the photo that are well under 60 years of age.
[quote][p][bold]Milkbutnosugarplease[/bold] wrote: I don't see a new generation of freemasons in that photo - it looks like an Over 60s Club for blokes with dull suits and a dislike of women.[/p][/quote]A somewhat misguided comment. Lodges in Kendal and the surrounding area has members from 18 to 80+ with younger members bringing modernity and vibrancy to the organisation. Lodges have enjoyed a renewed increase in younger members in recent years. The vast majority of members are married so a dislike of women isn't an accurate statement either, and there are women only branches of Freemasonry all over the country, again with a wide range of ages in their membership. And for the sake of clarity alone, there are at least half a dozen members in the photo that are well under 60 years of age. FreeAndAccepted
  • Score: 10

3:53pm Thu 14 Aug 14

Guiy de Montfort L'amaur says...

Gentlemen

Well done I salute you.

Guiy de Montfort L'amaur
Gentlemen Well done I salute you. Guiy de Montfort L'amaur Guiy de Montfort L'amaur
  • Score: 9

4:55pm Thu 14 Aug 14

greenbell says...

Whether you like or dislike the idea of Freemasonry they do an amazing amount of good with charitable donations. Recently a Cyber Knife was presented to a leading London Hospital which is a pioneer technique in the area of cancer treatment and will help save many lives.
Whether you like or dislike the idea of Freemasonry they do an amazing amount of good with charitable donations. Recently a Cyber Knife was presented to a leading London Hospital which is a pioneer technique in the area of cancer treatment and will help save many lives. greenbell
  • Score: 7

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