Excerpt from the booklet created for the sesquicentennial (150 years) celebration held on June 10 2016
Although there was no Mirfield Masonic Lodge in Mirfield 150 years ago, there is ample evidence to show that there were Freemasons in the town. Nelson of the Nile Lodge, now No. 264, met at the Black Bull Hotel, Mirfield, in what was then the West Riding of Yorkshire, as far back as 1816, and later for three or four years, from 1818 to 1822, at the Freemasons’ Arms, Hopton, when it was removed to the Three Nuns Inn, where it remained until 1830.
Early in 1865 a number of Brethren residing in Mirfield, mostly members of the Three Grand Principles Lodge No. 208, Dewsbury, and Amphibious Lodge No. 258, Heckmondwike, met together and discussed the advisability of forming a Masonic Lodge in Mirfield. Rooms were eventually found in the Assembly Rooms adjoining the Black Bull Inn, Mirfield. A petition was prepared for a warrant for a Lodge to be held in these rooms and called ‘Mirfield Lodge.’ This petition was signed by four Brethren from the three Grand Principles Lodge No. 208, four from Amphibious Lodge No. 258, one from Nelson of the Nile Lodge No. 264, and one from Samaritan Lodge No. 286, of Bacup.
The petition was forwarded to Grand Lodge and was favourably received, and the warrant was granted on 22nd March 1866, signed by the Deputy Grand Master, The Earl de Grey and Ripon on behalf of the Grand Master, M W Bro Thomas Dundas, Earl of Zetland.
A preliminary gathering of founders and local brethren was held on 4th May 1866 when Bro W Hemingway, of the Three Grand Principles Lodge was installed as Worshipful Master. At the close of the installation ceremony fifteen candidates were proposed.
The consecration of the Mirfield Lodge was carried out on Friday 1st June 1866 by W Bro Bentley Shaw, Deputy Provincial Grand Master. Returning to labour from refreshment, the brethren proceeded to ballot for fourteen candidates, all being approved, to propose six others, and to initiate three of the aforesaid approved candidates – a real day’s work. A very busy year followed, during which twenty-two Lodge meetings were held.
In 1870 it was decided to use Emulation Working of the Ritual, after W Bro Joseph Ibberson (WM 1868–69) and W Bro Joseph Wainwright (WM 1869–70) had both been to London where they were instructed in this working by an official of the Emulation Lodge of Instruction, and this form of ritual has continued to be used, with slight alterations, in the Lodge until the present time.
In 1869 the date of the Installation meeting was changed from May to December and the Installation has been held in December ever since.
In 1873 the Brethren were on the look-out for more commodious premises, but little progress was made for a number of years.
When, on 25th April 1875, HRH The Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII, was installed as MW The Grand Master, seven Brethren of Mirfield Lodge attended the ceremony.
After a few years of unsatisfactory conditions owing to change of ownership of the Lodge premises, it became essential to find new quarters, and in 1885 land was purchased on which to build new Lodge premises. The Mirfield Masonic Hall Company was formed, and the building of the new Masonic Hall was commenced. On 22 May 1887, W Bro Joseph Ibberson, PM, laid the foundation stone and six other Worshipful Brethren laid six memorial stones, and on 2nd December 1887, R W Bro T W Tew, Provincial Grand Master, dedicated the new building to Freemasonry. The trowel and three mauls, used on the occasion of laying the foundation stone, and a press account of the proceedings are still preserved in the Lodge room.
Up to this time the Lodge had been meeting on the Friday nearest the full moon, but it was decided at the meeting following the dedication of the new hall that the Lodge in future should meet on the second Friday of each calendar month, and this has been continued until now.
In 1889 we find recorded for the first time that ‘Be Thou Faithful’ was sung in the Lodge room at installation and is still sung on similar occasions.
Towards the close of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries, Masonry in Mirfield Lodge seems to have lost some of its appeal, as many Lodge meetings were held with very few Brethren present. No doubt this was due to the War in South Africa. After peace was declared an improvement in attendance was noticeable and the Lodge enjoyed years of normal working until the Great War of 1914–18 burst upon the world. As with all Masonic Lodges, Mirfield Lodge passed through difficult times during these years, but regular meetings continued to be held.
In 1915 the Lodge was able to purchase the outstanding shares of the Mirfield Masonic Hall Company, some had already been presented to the Lodge by their holders, and so the building and appointments became the property of the Lodge itself, except for a mortgage to a Building Society.
Royal Arch and a Daughter Lodge
On 22nd March 1916, the Jubilee of the Lodge was celebrated with enthusiasm. The proceedings were graced by the presence of W Bro Sir William Pick Raynor, Deputy Provincial Grand Master, PGD. During the ceremony W Bro John Barker, PPGW, read a short history of the Lodge which he had compiled, and W Bro Sir William Pick Raynor addressed the Brethren. On 30th September 1916, the West Yorkshire Charity Committee held its meeting in the Lodge.
On 24th April 1925, the Daughter Lodge, Kirklees No 4710 was consecrated by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, W Bro Richard Gill, the first Master being W Bro John Barker, PGD, PPGW, now in his 80th year, 54 years after he had been installed as Worshipful Master of the Mother Lodge, Mirfield No. 1102.
At the meeting of the Mirfield Lodge, held on 9th March 1928, honour was paid to W Bro John Barker, PGD, PPGW, who a few days later, 13th March, celebrated 60 years of Masonry. He was presented with a portable wireless set from the Brethren of the Lodge, in appreciation of the work he had done for Freemasonry during that period. The presentation was made by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, W Bro Richard Gill.
In 1931 Royal Arch Masonry was inaugurated in Mirfield Lodge.
Soon after the outbreak of the 1939–45 World War the Lodge meetings were held on Saturday afternoons, and fortunately Lodges were held regularly during the War without interruption. A few years after the end of the War, two of our Past Masters, W Bro C H Hinchliffe, PPAGDC, and W Bro H Pickering, PPAGDC were the recipients of the honours of MBE and OBE respectively.
In 1959, W Bro W Collomosse and H Senior were both promoted to PPGW, (Jun). These promotions being well earned as W Bro Collomosse had been Treasurer for 14 years and Secretary for four years, while W Bro Senior had been Secretary for 14 years.
During the last decade improvements have been made in and around the Lodge and these have added materially to the comfort and convenience of all, both visitors and Mirfield Brethren. These improvements include the bar lounge, the redecorating and re-carpeting of the hall, staircase and landing, and the purchase of land adjoining the Lodge now in use as additional car parking space.
From: The History of Mirfield Masonic Lodge No. 1102 1866 – 1966