Provincial Grand Masters of County Durham (1734 to 1787)
1734 Joseph Laycock
1751 James Smithson
1775 George Thompson
Some interesting events which took place from: 1734 -1787
The members of the old “Lodge of Philanthropy” assisted in the laying of the Foundation stone of Stockton Bridge, a bridge of five arches, over the River Tees at Yarm.
1770 BARNARD CASTLE
William Hutchinson the great masonic writer and antiquary, author of the world-renowned masonic book ‘The Spirit of Freemasonry’, was initiated into the Lodge of Concord no 231. Within ten years of his initiation, he’d been Master of the Lodge three times, and first Master of the new Lodge No.461 at Raby. Hutchinson’s work was held in such high esteem by Grand Lodge that much of his phrasing is perpetuated in present day ritual.
A bridge over the River Wear (now called Prebends Bridge) belonging to the Dean and Chapter of Durham was rebuilt and the brethren of the Marquis of Granby Lodge moved in procession to lay the Foundation stone with full masonic honours. The inscription on Stone and Plate read as follows. “This Stone was laid on the 17th of August, Anno Domini 1772, and in the year of Masonry, 5772, by the Honourable and Reverend Spencer Cowper, Dean of Durham”.
On the 29th of May, Lodge No 263 (now 111) moved in procession to a new meeting room in Priestgate. It being “Oak Apple Day” it officially took the name “Restoration,” to commemorate the Restoration of the Monarchy (King Charles II). The Constitution was signed “Aberdour G.M.” and the Lodge has its continuous minute books from December 1769, when admission was ten shillings and six pence, and the Grand Lodge dues were two shillings and six pence.
The present Freemason’s Hall in Queen Street East, is believed to be the oldest building in England, especially dedicated to purely Masonic purposes and which has a continuous history from I785. The Hall is now designated as an “Ancient Building” and is protected by an Act of Parliament, ensuring its preservation for posterity.