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Chapter 1: The First Fifty Years 1860 to 1910

Chapter 1: The First Fifty Years - 1860 to 1910

Freemasonry in Skipton can be traced back much further than the birth of Craven Lodge. Apparently it commenced with the formation of Albion Lodge No. 551 in August 1789. At the alteration of Lodge Numbers in 1792 it became Albion Lodge No. 460. This Lodge does not appear to have had much publicity and was erased in 1798. It is interesting to note that the VSL inscribed "Albion Lodge" in tooled leather on the cover is still in use in Craven Lodge to this day.

The closure of Albion Lodge may have been partly due to the fact that a second Lodge Philanthropic No 505 was formed on 11th July, 1792. This number was changed from 505 to 540 on 10th January, 1814 and to 359 in 1832. Philanthropic Lodge was found to have ceased working and apparently closed down on 3rd December 1851.

From this time Masons in the Craven area for the most part were members of Royal Yorkshire Lodge No 265 and it was with the sponsorship of this Lodge that towards the end of 1859 a Petition was forwarded to the Grand Lodge of England by seven Brethren residing in Skipton, praying for permission to form a Lodge of Freemasons. That Petition was signed by the following: Hodgson Lewis, George Robinson, Thomas Robinson, B. S. Nightingale, Benjamin Bradley, Timothy Curly and George Kendall. Their Petition was granted and the Petitioners were empowered to form a Lodge to be known as Craven Lodge No 1112. The Warrant of the Grand Lodge of England was dated 14th February, 1860 and was signed by the Earl of Zetland, Grand Master, Panmure, deputy Grand Master and W. Gray Clarke, Grand Secretary.

The first W.M of Craven Lodge was Bro. Hodgson Lewis and the Lodge was held in a building adjoining the Devonshire Hotel. Seven years after the receipt of the Warrant, Craven Lodge was consecrated on 3rd July, 1867 by Bro. Bentley Shaw, D.P.G.M, on which occasion the Provincial Grand Lodge was summoned to appear in Skipton. The Lodge was held in the Skipton Town Hall and about 80 Brethren attended the function which was followed by a banquet at the Devonshire Hotel. By this time the Lodge Number had been changed to 810.


The next appearance of the Provincial Grand Lodge was on October 7th 1885 when the Town Hall was again requisitioned for the purpose. Earlier in the year Craven Lodge had, in May, given birth to a Daughter Lodge i.e. Castleberg No. 2091 when R.W. Bro. Thomas William Tew J.P., the Provincial Grand Master performed his first Ceremony of Consecration. Now he was presiding for the first time over Provincial Grand Lodge. The following is an extract from the Prov. G.M's address: "The Craven Lodge is small in numbers but is animated with zeal for the prosperity of the Order in this lovely part of Yorkshire, and our acknowledgements are due to the W.M. and Brethren for the invitation to meet this afternoon in the Vale formed by Kildwick and Cross Hills. We are thus enabled to visit that ancient memorial of the past, the Castle of the Cliffords, and also the privilege, by permission of the Rector, to enter the Church of Robert de Romille, there to pray to the G.A.O.T.U. that all things may be ordered and settled upon the best and surest foundations, that peace and happiness, religion and piety may be established amongst us for all generations".
Provincial Grand Lodge held a further meeting in Skipton on 18th October 1899 which was also held at the Town Hall.

As mentioned earlier, the first meeting place of Craven Lodge was in a building adjoining the Devonshire Hotel. Later proceedings were held in the Hole in the wall Inn and the Devonshire Arms Inn, later known as the Brick Hall Inn. In 1889 Craven Lodge moved to Victoria Buildings, owned by the Conservative Building Co. Ltd., where the Skipton Conservative Club occupied the lower floors. These premises were reasonably central and commodious, and in all respects ideal to meet the requirements of an expanding Lodge. In point of fact, the Lodge enjoyed many happy years there until repeated calls for increased rental over the years caused a search for suitable alternative premises. The first rumblings were heard in February 1911 when a letter was received from the Conservative Building Company asking for an increased rental from £21 per annum to £25 per annum. A Committee of three was appointed to enquire the reasons. The Company replied that they were faced with increased Rates and improvements including ventilation. This must have proved satisfactory and apparently the Lodge flourished in these premises until 1926.

During the first 50 years of the History of Craven Lodge, the membership grew slowly but steadily despite the fact that there were 7 new members during 1893, a record for any one year, four of them on the same night! Nevertheless, the foundations of a great Lodge were well and truly laid, care taken that the Craft was guarded zelously and that the Brethren sought only to receive worthy and trusty men to join them.

Chapter 1: The First Fifty Years - 1860 to 1910

J H Hartley page 6

Freemasonry in Skipton can be traced back much further than the birth of Craven Lodge. Apparently it commenced with the formation of Albion Lodge No. 551 in August 1789. At the alteration of Lodge Numbers in 1792 it became Albion Lodge No. 460. This Lodge does not appear to have had much publicity and was erased in 1798. It is interesting to note that the VSL inscribed "Albion Lodge" in tooled leather on the cover is still in use in Craven Lodge to this day.

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The closure of Albion Lodge may have been partly due to the fact that a second Lodge Philanthropic No 505 was formed on 11th July, 1792. This number was changed from 505 to 540 on 10th January, 1814 and to 359 in 1832. Philanthropic Lodge was found to have ceased working and apparently closed down on 3rd December 1851.

From this time Masons in the Craven area for the most part were members of Royal Yorkshire Lodge No 265 and it was with the sponsorship of this Lodge that towards the end of 1859 a Petition was forwarded to the Grand Lodge of England by seven Brethren residing in Skipton, praying for permission to form a Lodge of Freemasons. That Petition was signed by the following: Hodgson Lewis, George Robinson, Thomas Robinson, B. S. Nightingale, Benjamin Bradley, Timothy Curly and George Kendall. Their Petition was granted and the Petitioners were empowered to form a Lodge to be known as Craven Lodge No 1112. The Warrant of the Grand Lodge of England was dated 14th February, 1860 and was signed by the Earl of Zetland, Grand Master, Panmure, deputy Grand Master and W. Gray Clarke, Grand Secretary.

The first W.M of Craven Lodge was Bro. Hodgson Lewis and the Lodge was held in a building adjoining the Devonshire Hotel. Seven years after the receipt of the Warrant, Craven Lodge was consecrated on 3rd July, 1867 by Bro. Bentley Shaw, D.P.G.M, on which occasion the Provincial Grand Lodge was summoned to appear in Skipton. The Lodge was held in the Skipton Town Hall and about 80 Brethren attended the function which was followed by a banquet at the Devonshire Hotel. By this time the Lodge Number had been changed to 810.


The next appearance of the Provincial Grand Lodge was on October 7th 1885 when the Town Hall was again requisitioned for the purpose. Earlier in the year Craven Lodge had, in May, given birth to a Daughter Lodge i.e. Castleberg No. 2091 when R.W. Bro. Thomas William Tew J.P., the Provincial Grand Master performed his first Ceremony of Consecration. Now he was presiding for the first time over Provincial Grand Lodge. The following is an extract from the Prov. G.M's address: "The Craven Lodge is small in numbers but is animated with zeal for the prosperity of the Order in this lovely part of Yorkshire, and our acknowledgements are due to the W.M. and Brethren for the invitation to meet this afternoon in the Vale formed by Kildwick and Cross Hills. We are thus enabled to visit that ancient memorial of the past, the Castle of the Cliffords, and also the privilege, by permission of the Rector, to enter the Church of Robert de Romille, there to pray to the G.A.O.T.U. that all things may be ordered and settled upon the best and surest foundations, that peace and happiness, religion and piety may be established amongst us for all generations".
Provincial Grand Lodge held a further meeting in Skipton on 18th October 1899 which was also held at the Town Hall.

As mentioned earlier, the first meeting place of Craven Lodge was in a building adjoining the Devonshire Hotel. Later proceedings were held in the Hole in the wall Inn and the Devonshire Arms Inn, later known as the Brick Hall Inn. In 1889 Craven Lodge moved to Victoria Buildings, owned by the Conservative Building Co. Ltd., where the Skipton Conservative Club occupied the lower floors. These premises were reasonably central and commodious, and in all respects ideal to meet the requirements of an expanding Lodge. In point of fact, the Lodge enjoyed many happy years there until repeated calls for increased rental over the years caused a search for suitable alternative premises. The first rumblings were heard in February 1911 when a letter was received from the Conservative Building Company asking for an increased rental from £21 per annum to £25 per annum. A Committee of three was appointed to enquire the reasons. The Company replied that they were faced with increased Rates and improvements including ventilation. This must have proved satisfactory and apparently the Lodge flourished in these premises until 1926.

During the first 50 years of the History of Craven Lodge, the membership grew slowly but steadily despite the fact that there were 7 new members during 1893, a record for any one year, four of them on the same night! Nevertheless, the foundations of a great Lodge were well and truly laid, care taken that the Craft was guarded zelously and that the Brethren sought only to receive worthy and trusty men to join them.