Here are three articles by W Bro Terry Fisher, (currently the Humber Lodge Librarian) with early Masonic history briefly explained,  the beginnings of the Humber Lodge, the connection of the Lodge to the Duke of Atholl, and a newspaper article from the late 19th Century.

Our History

One of the earliest records of Freemasonry in England is contained in the diary of Elias Ashmole, the Antiquarian (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford), wherein under the date October 16th, A.D. 1646, is written: "I was made a Freemason at Warrington in Lancashire".


The First Grand Lodge of England was formed in A.D. 1717, but owing to differences of opinion a rival Grand Lodge was formed in A.D. 1751, thereafter calling themselves the "Ancients" and the original Grand Lodge the "Moderns".

1756 Warrant of Constitution

  Old Humber Lodge Room

A warrant of Constitution, Numbered 53 (picture above), was issued to a Lodge in Liverpool by the Duke of Atholl, Grand Master of the "Ancients", May 19th A.D. 1756.

This Lodge apparently lapsed, and the warrant was used in 1775 by another Lodge in Liverpool. However, this Lodge was eventually suspended, and in 1809 this warrant was transferred (by endorsement) to Hull, to a Lodge known as the "Ancient Knight Templars", whose meetings were held at the Fleece Inn in the Market Place.

On 2nd July 1810 the name of the Lodge was changed to that of the principle river in the area, the "Humber".


In 1813, the Two Grand Lodges, the "Ancients" and the "Moderns" became united under the title of the United Grand Lodge of England; the Humber Lodge became No. 73 on the Register therof, and was so recorded until 1832 when, upon a renumbering of the Lodges under the Constitution, it was reduced to No. 65. In and in 1863 this was again reduced to No. 57, which number it still retains. Humber Lodge bears the lowest number in the Province of Yorkshire North and East Ridings. In1938 it was one of the largest private lodges with a subscribing membership of 286.


William Crow Lieut. RN - Humber 57 WM 1825 and 1830 and 1831

Thomas Feetam - Humber 57 WM 1827 and 1850

The Installation meetings of the Humber Lodge were originally held on St. John the Baptist's Day, June 24th, but since 1843, the Installation has been held on the Festival of St. John the Evangelist, December 27th. The two festivals represent the summer and winter solstices. However in later years, the Humber Lodge has shared a Lodge building with other Lodges and the Installation meeting is now held on the 2nd Tuesday in December.

[The photographs on this page were extracted from the History of the Humber Lodge book

and the text above derives from the Humber Ritual book.]


The picture of the Lodge Room (above) is the Humber Lodge room in Osbourne Street\Anne Street, Hull, here photographed before it was destroyed by enemy action on the night of 7/8th May A.D.1941. The temple was destroyed but the most important of the few artefacts which survived, was the original ‘Warrant’ which hung on the only surviving wall of the destroyed building.

Jeremiah Stark - Humber 57 WM 1838

John P. Bell MD - Humber 57 WM 1842 and 1843

William Tenneyman - Worshipful Master in the year 1871

[Above notes by W Bro Terry Fisher]


The Humber Lodge is proud to be an 'Atholl' Lodge.

The Story of Atholl

On 17th July 1751, about 80 mainly Irish freemasons from 6 Lodges, disillusioned by the way freemasonry was becoming modernised, met in Committee at the tavern to consider setting up a rival Grand Lodge. The meeting was soon followed by the founding of the Grand Lodge of England according to the Old Institution.

The new body immediatley began accusing the old Grand Lodge (formed in 1717, and dubbed the Moderns) of introducing innovations and claiming that only themselves preserved the Craft's old customs.



The significant impact on British Freemasonry by the more progressive Grand Lodge of the Antients was enhanced by the arrival in London during 1748 of Laurence Dermott, a journeyman painter by trade. He had learned his freemasonry in Lodge No.26 of the Irish Constitution where, apart from other offices, he had been Secretary, and in 1746 became Right Worshipful Master.

Dermott became the Secretary of the Antients and his career in London was extremely successful. The inevitable improvement in his social status was largely due to his untiring energy. He never pretended to be scholastic, but he cultivated his mind and acquired knowledge of languages and of literature and history. His notable achievement being the writing of the Constitutions of the Antients, "AHIMAN REZON" (faithful brother secretary) which became the foundation of many other Constitutions, some still in use today. In the Americas his Constitutions were adopted by Masons who formed the Grand Lodges of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New York and the Canadian Grand Lodge of Nova Scotia.



Dermott soon realised that to give his Grand Lodge the needed status, it was imperative to have a figurehead in much the same way as enjoyed by the older Grand Lodge, and he persuaded a number of Brethren who had the required social standing to help. Among these were the 3rd and 4th Dukes of Atholl who were to serve the Antients so long and so well.

John, the 3rd Duke of Atholl, was elected Grand Master Mason of Scotland on 30th November 1773 and, as he had already been installed as Grand Master of the Antients in 1771, was in the unique position of holding two Grand Masterships in the same year. It was his influence upon the Order that brought about the title of 'Atholl' Masons.

His death in 1774 caused much concern as it was not easy for the Antients to find somebody of eminence to give his name and time to a voluntary Order. Fortunately John left a son who inherited his title in 1775. Being only 19 years old and not a Freemason, he immediately applied to the Grand Master's Lodge No.1 and was initiated there on 25th February 1775. As a matter of urgency the three degrees were conferred upon him at the same time! At the same meeting he was also installed as Master of the Lodge! At the next meeting of Grand Lodge he was proposed as Grand Master of the Antients and was installed as such on 25th March 1775.

Over the years many Freemasons on both sides worked diligently to remove the misunderstandings and enmity between the rival Grand Lodges, but none more so that the 3rd and 4th Dukes of Atholl, in the desire for a Union, which happily took place in 1813.


For More Information visit the Association of Atholl Lodges website.

 [Above notes by W Bro Terry Fisher]


Local newspaper article from the 19th Century




 Hull Daily Mail dated Tuesday 10th May 1887

Last evening the brethren of the Humber Lodge No 57, assembled in strong force at their Masonic Hall, Osborne-street, for the purpose of commemorating the 60th anniversary of laying the foundation stone of the temple. There was also a large contingent of visiting brethren present from the sister lodges of the town.
During the proceedings in the lodge the Worshipful Master (Bro Edward Corris) presented to the Immediate Past Master a very fine P.M.'s jewel, together with a splendid cabinet of cutlery, and a handsome cathedral clock, decorated with Corinthian pillars bearing the following inscription: "Presented to Bro D.J.O'Donoghue by the members of the Humber Lodge, No 57 for valuable services rendered, and for the zeal and ability he has displayed in the discharge of his duties as Worshipful Master in the year 1886. Hull, 9th May 1887."
Subsequently the brethren assembled in the large banqueting hall. Covers were laid for about 120, and Bro Moody purveyed a magnificent banquet, to the evident satisfaction of all. The menu-card was very prettily designed. The stewards were indefatigable in their attentions.
The W.M. (Bro E. Corris) presided, the vice-chairs being occupied by the senior warden (Bro R.J. McLeavy) and the junior warden (Bro J.R. Forman). Amongst the other officers present were Bro Alderman Toozes, chaplain; Bro Andrew King, P.M., secretary; Bro J. Thyer, assistant secretary; Bro T Thompson, P.M., treasurer; Bro James Hargreave, S.D.; Bro Ed. Hall, J.D.; Bro John Clark, director of ceremonies; Bro J.R. Stringer, organist; Bro Geo. Latus, inner-guard; Bros Moody, C. Collinson, Riley, Hohenrein and Wickers, stewards; Bro R. Cuthbert, tyler; Bro J. Priest, assistant-tyler.
The Past Masters present were Bro J. Walton, Bro W. Tesseyman, Bro M.C. Peck, Bro Beevers, Bro Wilson and Bro Robert Rayner, No 1270.
Amongst the numerous other brethren present were Bro Councillor John Shaw, Bro Councillor S. Cohen, Bro W.C. Whiteside, W.M., Minerva Lodge No 250; Bro J. Mackail, W.M., Wilberforce Lodge No 2134; Bro Carlill Savil, secretary Kingston Lodge No1010; Bros F.Blackburn, J.T.Towler, R. Hawley, G.H. Medcalfe, W. England, T. Thompson, Hewitt, Capes, Cheeseman, Wright, Hill, Wood, Stoddart, F.C. Bishop, Dawson and others.
The W.M. proposed "The Queen and the Craft." He said there was no necessity on his part, to commend the toast to their notice, as it was always received with enthusiasm but especially by the Masonic Brethren (hear, hear). He was certain that if he was to speak for six months he should not be able to add one iota to their loyalty and admiration for Her Most Gracious Majesty. As they well knew, this was the Jubilee year, and they sincerely hoped and trusted that for many years to come, they might have Her Majesty to reign over this great and mighty empire with continued peace and prosperity (cheers).
"God save the Queen" was then sung.
The W.M. proposed toast No 2, viz., "H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, M.W., Grand-Master, the Right Hon. The Earl of Carnarvon, M.W. Pro. G.M., the Right Hon. the Earl of Lathom, R.W.D.G.M." Speaking of the Grand-Master, Bro Corris said they all knew the Prince of Wales to be the most popular prince that ever lived in Great Britain (cheers).

He had identified himself with the aspirations of Englishmen and he was in every sense of the word, a typical English gentleman (hear, hear). Apart from his deep attachment to every good work, he had taken great interest in Masonic work, and Masonry was deeply indebted to him (applause). 

He had also associated his family with their ancient Order, his eldest son having been initiated into the mystic arts. So long as they had such honourable names connected with the craft as were honoured in their toast, so long would the dignity of the Order be maintained (hear, hear).

Masonry was so comprehensive, so universal, that the highest and the lowest of the land might meet on one common level (cheers).
The toast was received with enthusiasm, Bro J. Walton, P.M., P.G.D., taking the solo in "God bless the Prince of Wales."
The W.M. then proposed "Our Provincial Rulers: The Right Hon. the Earl of Zetland, R.W.P.G.M. of North and East Yorkshire, and Lieut.-Colonel the Hon. W.T. Orde-Powlett, W.D.P.G.M." He was quite certain that in both these brethren they had eminent masons, who had the greatest interest in the craft and were ever ready to stimulate the interests of Freemasonry (cheers).

He (the W.M.) had never had the pleasure of meeting with the Provincial Grand Master, but they had had the honour of receiving recently a visit from the Deputy Prov. G.M. Bro Orde-Powlett (applause) and he must admit they were delighted with his presence, and they looked forward with pleasant anticipations to his coming again (hear, hear).

He had started with much enthusiasm; had in fact, made up his mind to visit every lodge in the province, and if he accomplished that, he ventured to predict that the North and East Yorkshire would soon become a formidable rival to the North-West Yorkshire Province (cheers).
The next business was the presentation and unveiling of the life-sized portrait of the late W.Bro J. Pearson Bell, J.P., M.D., D.P.G.M. The W.M. called upon Bro D.J. O'Donoghue, I.P.M., to perform the ceremony, remarking that the good brother had initiated the movement during his term of office and had taken the greatest possible interest in successfully carrying on the negotiations. He therefore thought that Bro O'Donoghue was entitled to the honour of formally presenting the portrait on behalf of the subscribers (applause).
Bro D. John O'Donoghue, I.P.M. who was received with applause, stated that during the year of office as Worshipful Master he was much struck with the large number of their brethren who had been summoned away to the Grand Lodge above. Among the many eminent brothers who had thus departed one stood out prominently above all others in many respects, but especially in Masonic matters - he referred to their late respected brother, John Pearson Bell (applause).

His loss was most deeply felt by every member of his mother Lodge and the brethren naturally felt very desirous that the memory of one so highly respected and esteemed should not be forgotten - (hear, hear) - and the result was that after that memorable Lodge of Sorrow there was a unanimous wish and desire expressed that something in the shape of a memorial of their lamented brother should adorn the walls of the banquet hall.

It was then decided to give Bro Hudson the commission to paint a portrait of Bro J. P. Bell in his Masonic clothing as Deputy Provincial Grand Master rather than as Grand Superintendent of the Chapter. It was also resolved that the subscription list should be entirely confined to the members of the Humber Lodge and he was pleased to say that without any undue pressure they had received from their brethren almost sufficient to pay for the portrait (cheers).

In justice to the Freemasons of the town generally he felt bound to confess he had had to refuse many subscriptions kindly offered which would have more than have paid for the picture (hear, hear).

He would not detain them longer by dilating on Bro Bell's Masonic career; suffice it to say that he had resigned his exalted position as Deputy Provincial Grand Master in the hope that he might have attended their gatherings a little more frequently than he had been able to do. He had had a long life of Provincial honours and he did not believe any man worked harder or toiled so much for the welfare of the Craft as had Bro J.P. Bell (applause).

Very few of those present would ever have the opportunity, even if they had the inclination, to do so much for Freemasonry generally. The painting of the portrait which he would now unveil, had been entrusted to Bro Benjamin Hudson and he was pleased to say he had been successful in executing a faithful representation of their respected brother, the artist had as it were, realised the very spirit and expression of Bro. Bell.

On behalf of the subscribers he asked the Worshipful Master to accept the portrait as a gift to the Humber Lodge, to perpetrate the memory of their most highly esteemed and dearly loved brother, of whom he might say:-
"To add greater honours to his age
Than man could give him,
He died fearing God."
The portrait was then unveiled and a magnificent life-sized picture of Bro. Dr. Bell was presented to view. The well-known features and the details of the Masonic jewels and clothing have been executed with marvellous exactitude and correctness and the artist (who was present) was heartily applauded and congratulated on the great success of what might truly be termed, a work of art.
The W.M. then formally accepted the portrait on behalf of the Lodge in brief but appropriate terms.
Bro. M.C. Peck, P.M., Provincial Grand Secretary proposed "The Founders." In an exceedingly interesting manner the speaker reviewed the origin and development of the Humber Lodge. The Founders of that material building, the stone of which was laid sixty years ago, had by their foresight and judgement given them a position which placed the Humber Lodge second to no other private lodge in the world for its wealth, benevolence, privileges and conveniences (loud cheers).

They had had a splendid succession of masters and never had the Lodge been in so prosperous and flourishing condition as at the present time, which was a matter of great rejoicing to them all (applause).
He asked them to drink in silence to "The immortal memory of those great and glorious men, the founders of the Humber Lodge."
The toast was then drank in respectful silence.
Other Masonic toasts were duly honoured, which were interspersed with some capital recitations and songs, under the direction of Bro. J.R. Stringer, the talented organist. The entire proceedings were of an enthusiastic character and will long be remembered by those who had the pleasure of being present.
This article has been copied from the Hull Daily Mail dated Tuesday 10th May, 1887, the original was presented to the Humber Lodge No 57 by Bro. Alan Brown.
[Above notes by W Bro Terry Fisher]

It is likely that Bro Benjamin Hudson's portrait of J P Bell was lost when Osbourne Street was bombed. However, he is here depicted in his Grand Superintendent's (Chapter) regalia, painted by the same artist. This portrait hangs in the bar area of the Lodge at Dagger Lane.

[Addendum and photograph by W Bro J R Wheeldon]


This page and its content has not been approved by the United Grand Lodge of England