Today we help the members of Cramlington Lodge No.4196, who meet at Cramlington Masonic Building, celebrate their centenary milestone.
Thirty one freemasons put their names to the petition, for the formation of a new Lodge, which was approved by the Provincial Grand Master, Colonel Charles Warren Napier-Clavering on 5 October 1920.
Most of the prospective founder members were already members of Astley Lodge No. 2997 and Croft Lodge No.3310, and determined that the first three Lodge Officers should be James Anderson as First Master, Joseph Dunn as First Senior Warden and John A. Ferry as First Junior Warden
The names of the Founders, in addition to the first three Officers of the Lodge, were
Henry O. Helliwell, James Bruce, William Hancock, Edward Stoker, George Clough, William Hedley, Thomas Burrell, Frederick H Patterson, Joseph Shotton, John Thompson, William Curtis, John T Pringle, William H Bird, William E Hood, James Young, Joseph T Smith Alexander Wilson, Thomas Swinburne Usher, William Rowell, Alfred S Mole, Thomas R Guthrie, Thomas Hall, Charles H S Bickle, George Carr, John Smith, Thomas Cundle, John W Stoker and Andrew Jacques.
The Lodge was consecrated on 22 January 1921, by the Provincial Grand Master and his team, at the Masonic Hall, Seaton Delaval. This must have been the new Masonic Hall on Station Road, Seaton Delaval, which was built in 1909. Prior to this, local Freemasons met at the Miners Hall (1915), and before that, in the Astley Arms Hotel.
The new Lodge had an auspicious beginning. Apart from the thirty-one founders, within the first 6 months of its existence, there were fourteen Joining Members, and during the first year, there were eighteen candidates for initiation, as a consequence, of which all the ceremonies had to be doubles ceremonies.
The first candidate, Robert Lawson, was initiated on 6 April 1921 and was a butcher from Cramlington.
Candidates were drawn from a variety of occupations, with a few having connections with the mining industry, and at least four coming from mining villages in Wales. One such member was described as a ‘Heapkeeper’ which, on investigation, proved to be someone who cleaned up the coal on the surface.
It appears that Cramlington Lodge was the prime instigator of a new Masonic Hall for the village, which it was in those days. The building and development of Cramlington New Town did not come along until much later.
On 26 September 1923, the Masonic Hall in School Lane was dedicated for use by Charles Hodgson, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master., and the Lodge took up abode in its new location. By 1957, three Lodges met in the building, with a total membership of 402.
In the one hundred years since its foundation, Cramlington Lodge has been a stalwart to Freemasonry in the south-eastern part of Northumberland, and it can look forward with a new confidence to the next hundred years.
Congratulations to the members of Cramlington Lodge and we hope that you can meet again soon to celebrate this momentous occasion in person.
Thanks go to W.Bros Ian Ashbridge and Warren Harrison of Cramlington Lodge, and Ian Brown, the Provincial Librarian and Archivist, for the submission of this article.
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