Friendship & support spanning four centuries
Marquis of Granby Lodge has been a lodge of freemasons since at least 1738 and almost certainly longer.
During that time our lodge has developed associations with other lodges within the province of Durham and beyond.
One example has been with Palatine Lodge No.97 (originally the 'Sea Captain's Lodge'). Our two lodges have been visiting each other since Palatine Lodge was consecrated in 1757. At that time there were only 12 lodges within the old boundaries of County Durham. Those boundaries still exist in the form of Masonic Provinces. In the case of Durham, the northern boundary is the Tyne, the southern boundary being the River Tees.
Our visits of friendship and mutual support have spanned four centuries, true friendship indeed.
These days, it takes only a twenty five minute car journey to visit one another, but for almost 150 years that journey involved horses! Whether on horse back or by carriage this was a tiring journey over rough tracks that required planning and much more effort than today.
But, that's what our predecessors did, carrying news, masonic information such as developments in our ritual and occasionally bearing gifts!
In 1871, two years after our present meeting hall was built, Palatine Lodge's Charles Dowson, a painter, brought a beautiful trio of gifts to the Marquis of Granby Lodge to be used in what was then a new Durham Masonic Hall.
He presented our lodge with a gift of three beautifully painted tracing boards that he'd created himself. To the non freemason, they're best described as symbolic paintings that are individually displayed in each of the three degrees that a lodge meeting may be open.
When a Marquis of Granby Lodge meeting is underway, the boards are usually placed on the floor in the centre of the room and that's where Brother Dowson's boards were used for every meeting until around the end of the 20th century when it became apparent that they were showing signs of age.
New boards were put into use on the floor and Brother Dowson's works of art were mounted on the north wall as seen in the photo.
They are usually protected from Daylight by the velvet curtains. However, Marquis of Granby Lodge draw back the curtains once a year during our January meeting when our new Master of the Lodge is installed.
Pictured are our Lodge's Master, Brian Radcliffe (left) with Wayne Rumley, the Director of Ceremonies and a Past Master of Palatine Lodge. Wayne has visited our lodge several times and so... the friendship and tradition continues...