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What a find

This old handwritten Vellum Certificate measuring 18cm x 14cm dated 1775, was acquired by Stewart Bell in his usual search for Antiquities                        

The Lodge Number was 475, changed in 1780 to 380 and in 1781 to 381, it operated for 16yrs being erased by the Premier Grand Lodge on the 10th of February 1790. The new meeting place mentioned above burnt to the ground engulfed in a major fire on the Monkwearmouth Shore. A list of Lodge members on closing, recorded Cresswell Bell (Tradesmen) as the Lodge secretary who signed the above certificate.

In a quest to find out more, Stewart enhanced a digital copy of the certificate and sought the help of PGLD Library & Museum to research this further. We believe this certificate belongedto Wm Weilands, who was a member of the Lodge of Harmony meeting in Monkwearmouth in the County of Durham. The certificate is dated January 19th (AL5775) 1775 and bears the Lodge seal.

Prior to 1774 There was no mention of Freemasons in Monkwearmouth until the Lodge of Harmony was constituted, a Warrant obtained on the 22nd of November.

The Lodge of Harmony was a Moderns’ Lodge and consisted of a small band of members from King Georges’ Lodge (now Phoenix) and the Sea Captain’s Lodge {now Palatine), formed as they felt the journey of crossing the River Wear particularly hazardous in Wintertime. There was no bridge until 1796 and the only way of crossing the River Wear was by means of a rowing boat.

The Lodge first met in the Sun Inn, Thomas St. Monkwearmouth Shore, but then moved to a new purpose build private lodge rooms at Palmers Hill, described in a Newspaper at the time as “Last week an elegant room was finished at Monkwearmouth Shore for the use of the Free and Accepted Masons known by the name of the Lodge of Harmony. It is looked upon to be the most complete and best adapted for that purpose of any of the kind ever built in the North of England.”

The Provincial Archivist, Adam Lamb thanked Stewart for his kind donation to the Provincial Museum and bringing this certificate back to Sunderland after 248yrs.

Stronger Together

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