St. Georges Lodge No. 42 - London, Ontario - Canada

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St. George’s Lodge No. 42
Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons, under the Grand Registry of Canada

For 170 years, the members and familes of St. George's Lodge No. 42 have played a role in the
growth and development of the city of London and the promotion of Masonry in Southwestern Ontario and beyond.

The beginning years of St. George’s Lodge No. 42 A.F. & A.M. G.R.C.

The period of history which saw the beginning of St. George’s Lodge No. 42 was a time of transition. Canada was going through the growing pains of becoming a nation. London had not yet been incorporated as a city and would soon welcome the first steam train from Hamilton. It was the centre for the British Garrison and the regiment billeted here included Masons who longed to enjoy the fellowship of a Masonic Lodge. This spirit along with a ”thirst” to become officers of a Lodge created the desire of having a lodge under the registry of the Grand Lodge of England.

The founder of St. George’s Lodge was Worshipful Brother Thompson Wilson, a Past Master of Lodge No. 406 of the Grand Lodge of England. In 1852, St. John’s Lodge No. 209 of the Irish Registry was active in London and from it emerged St. George’s Lodge. Six of the charter members, were members of Lodges located in Ireland. The initial warrant was granted on November 22nd, 1852, by the Grand Lodge of England through Sir Allan N. MacNab, the District Grand Master for England of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Canada West; and the lodge was officially designated St. George’s Lodge No. 895. On December 1st, 1852, the first meeting was held in Robinson Hall, at the southeast corner of Dundas and Ridout Streets with Thompson Wilson, Worshipful Master, Brother Ashbell Charles Stone, Senior Warden, and Brother David Sterling, Junior Warden. Almost immediately St. George’s Lodge began its work of assisting in the formation of other lodges in this section of Upper Canada. On December 21st, 1852, members of St. George’s Lodge No. 895 in conjunction with members of St. John’s Lodge No. 209, traveled to Woodstock and at 3 o’clock in the afternoon of December 22nd, 1852, conducted the installation of what is now King Solomon’s Lodge No. 43.

On January 19th , 1853, the first candidate of the Lodge to be initiated was Lieutenant Charles Carnegie, of the 23rd Regiment, at the age of 19 years (under special dispensation), who was a brother of the ninth Earl of Southesk, Kincaid Castle, Scotland. St. George’s Lodge received its warrant or charter from the Grand Lodge of England, dated the 9th day of April, 1853, as Lodge No. 895 E. R. (English Registry). On June 24th, 1853, members of St. George’s Lodge went to St. Thomas and conducted the installation of a new lodge there which is now St. Thomas Lodge No. 44. On September 14th,1853, a number of Royal Arch Masons belonging to the lodge applied to the Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter of England for a Royal Arch Chapter warrant to be attached to the St. George’s Lodge with the number 895.

The next year, 1854, saw the lodge again on a fraternal journey to Grimsby where members assisted at the opening of the revived Union Lodge No. 494 E.R. There were pleasant fraternal gatherings during this period of the lodge’s life in London as evidenced by a record of June 24th , 1854, when St. George’s Lodge No. 895 joined with St. John’s Lodge No. 209 at a banquet at J. McDowell’s Hotel. The members paid ten shillings each to attend this dinner. By this time, the lodge felt the need for a more adequate meeting place and on December 27th, 1854, the Worshipful Master appointed a committee to find a suitable room for the lodge. On August 22nd, 1855, a lodge room was procured on the fourth storey of the Whitehouse’s Building on the corner of King and Richmond streets at a rent of £30 a year. The first meeting in the new hall was held on November 7th, 1855.

Due to increasing difficulties working with the Grand Lodge of England, a number of the Lodges in Canada West, decided to form the Grand Lodge of Canada, which was constituted, and its officers installed at a meeting in the Masonic Hall in Hamilton on November 2nd, 1855. However, St. George’s Lodge did not join with this group of Lodges seeking independence and remained under the Provincial Grand Lodge of Canada West, under the Grand Lodge of England.

On June 30th, 1857, the Provincial Grand Lodge also sought independence from the Grand Lodge of England after many attempts to work with them to advance Masonry in Canada. So, there would now be two Grand Lodges in Canada, both seeking to be independent. On September 9th, 1857, the Master and Past Master attended the Provincial Grand Lodge of Canada West meeting in Toronto. The name of this new independent Grand Lodge would be known as the Ancient Grand Lodge of Canada. St. George’s Lodge was numbered 37 under the Ancient Grand Lodge of Canada and was requested to surrender their Grand Lodge of England warrant. The first meeting of the lodge under this new number was held October 7th, 1857.

St. George’s Lodge No. 895 did not cease to exist at this date for it was decided that the jewels and furniture still belonged to Lodge No. 895. A motion was carried on July 26th, 1858, to return the warrant of St. George’s No. 895 to the Grand Lodge of England. This motion also provided for the sale of the furniture and for the purchase of the Masonic Library of R. Morrison so it could be presented to the Masonic bodies of this city. The furniture was sold to W. Bro. J. Thompson, Master of the Mount Brydges Lodge, and so ended Lodge No. 895. Their English warrant was eventually returned to England on January 17th, 1859

Due to a deep desire of the Masons in Canada West to unite and have one Grand Lodge, the union of the Ancient Grand Lodge of Canada and the Grand Lodge of Canada took place in July 14th, 1858. The lodges were renumbered and St. George’s Lodge was notified that it would be known as St. George’s Lodge of A.F & A.M. (Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons) Number 42, G.R.C (under the Grand Register of Canada), London, Canada West . The current warrant for St. George’s Lodge No. 42 is dated July 14th, 1858, although it is a copy issued by the Grand Secretary R.W. Bro. J. J. Mason, as the original warrant (along with other Lodge documents) was destroyed by fire when the Masonic Temple at Richmond St. and King St. burned down on February 23rd, 1900. On December 1st, 1858, the Grand Lodge of England recognized the Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons in Canada, as an independent Grand Lodge.