Masonic History of Province of Northumberland


In 1734 Matthew Ridley became the first Provincial Grand Master (PGM) of Northumberland. He was Mayor of Newcastle on 4 occasions and sat in 5 successive Parliaments from 1747 to 1774.

In 1771 W Bro John Errington, Chief of Beaufront was appointed as the second PGM of Northumberland.

In 1806 R W Bro Errington resigned and in 1807 Sir John Edward Swinburne was appointed as PGM.

On 27 July 1818 Provincial Grand Lodge of Northumberland met in Durham for the purpose of assisting at the ceremony of the Installation of W Bro John George Lambton as the PGM for Durham. The Installing Master was W Bro William Loraine, the ProvSGW of Northumberland.

On 2 September 1822 the officers and brethren of Provincial Grand Lodges of Northumberland and Durham went in procession to the Mansion House in the Close, at the entrance to which HRH the Grand Master was stationed, together with the Mayor and other dignatories of the town, who had received HRH on Tyne Bridge. The procession then proceeded to the site of the new building in Westgate Road where the foundation stone was laid by the Grand Master according to ancient form and a Royal salute was fired from the Castle.

In 1824 R W Bro Sir John George Lambton, the PGM of Durham installed W Bro Sir Matthew White Ridley as the PGM of Northumberland.

On 11 September 1837 R W Bro the Right Hon John George Lambton, the first Earl of Durham was installed as the PGM of Northumberland and so became the holder of the same office in both Provinces.

In 1848 W Bro the Rev Edward Challoner Ogle was appointed as the PGM and was installed by R W Bro John Fawcett, the PGM of Durham.

On 30 September 1870 R W Bro the Right Hon Earl Percy was installed as PGM to succeed R W Bro Ogle who held the office for 21 years.

In 1872 the dedication of the first purpose built Masonic Temple in Newcastle at Maple Terrace was conducted by W Bro L M Cockcroft, the DepPGM and on 23 May the Building was principally financed by St. Peter’s and Northern Counties Lodges.

On 10 November 1886 R W Bro Earl Percy installed W Bro Sir Matthew White Ridley as the PGM of Northumberland. He became the first Viscount Ridley in 1900.

In 1905 a presentation of an address and service of plate to W Bro Alderman RH Holmes to mark 25 years service as DepPGM. In addition, several hundred pounds had been collected to form the nucleus of a Fund to be known as ‘The Richard Henry Holmes Masonic Benevolent Fund’ for the relief of distressed Freemasons and widows of Freemasons.

On 26 July 1906 W Bro Major Augustus Edward Burdon was installed as PGM for Northumberland by the R W Bro Lord Barnard, the PGM of Durham.

On 15 June 1909 W Bro Col Charles Warren Napier-Clavering was installed as PGM of Northumberland by R W Bro Lord Barnard.

In 1918 the Northumberland Masonic Charity Association was formed.

On 22 October 1931 R W Bro Col C W Napier-Clavering passed away after held the office of PGM for 22 years.

On 14 June 1932 W Bro Cecil Algemon Cochrane, PGD was installed as the PGM of Northumberland by the Right Hon Lord Ampthill, M W Pro Grand Master who had earlier in the day installed him as Grand Superintendent (Grand Supt).

On 5 September 1934 the United Grand Lodge of England held its Quarterly Communication in the City Hall, Newcastle upon Tyne, when an address to the M W the Grand Master expressed the loyalty and affection of the Freemasons of Northumberland was presented by the PGM.

Also in 1934 on 24 October the Bi-Centenary of the appointment of the first PGM for Northumberland was celebrated by 3 functions as follows:
1.    A service in St. Nicholas Cathedral at 3.30 p.m.
2.    The Annual Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge in the City Hall at 5.30 p.m.
3.    A dinner in the Grand Assembly Room at 7.30 p.m.

On 9 July 1947 W Bro W Cooper Bailey, PGD was installed as the PGM and Grand Supt by His Grace the Duke of Devonshire the Deputy Grand Master, Acting Grand Master.

On 4 April 1950 the Provincial Headquarters moved to Broomfield Hall, Jesmond Road, Newcastle upon Tyne after 20 years in St. Nicholas Building.

On 11 November 1952 V W Bro J M S Coates OBE FCA was installed as the PGM and Grand Supt.

In 1962 120th Festival of RMBI was held under the chairmanship of PGM. The M W Grand Master resolved that the Jewel of the Festival should be a permanent one.

In 1965 the PGM laid the foundation stone of Scarborough Court in the presence of the Assistant Grand Master, Maj Gen Sir Allan Adair and a large company of distinguished Masons.

On 30 November 1976 W Bro J S Stephenson, PProvSGW was installed as the PGM by the M W Bro. the Right Hon the Earl of Cadogan, Pro Grand Master. On the same day E Comp W Ferguson PAGSoj was installed as Grand Supt by M E Comp the Right Hon the Earl of Cadogan Pro First Grand Principal.

On 20 February 1977 Provincial Headquarters moved to Neville Hall, Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne after 4 years at 11 Pilgrim Street.

On 29 June 1978 E Comp J S Stephenson was installed as Grand Supt by M E Comp the Right Hon the Earl of Cadogan Pro First Grand Principal in Berwick upon Tweed Town Hall.

On 20 June 1987 the second Charity Festival was held in Alnwick Castle. It was the first Craft Charity Festival to be held outside London, presided over by R W Bro. J S Stephenson, the PGM.

On 24 November 1992 V W Bro M N Craigs RD was installed as the PGM and Grand Supt by M W Bro the Right Hon the Lord Farnham Pro Grand Master and Pro First Grand Principal.

On 18 November 1998 V W Bro George Usher was installed as the PGM and Grand Supt by R W Bro Marquess of Northampton DL the Assistant Grand Master and Past Third Grand Principal.

On 12 May 1999 the 14th Anniversary Festival of the Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys was held at the Civic Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, presided over by R W Bro G Usher, the PGM.

On 4 October 2000 the Samaritans of Tyneside was presented with a £100,000 cheque at a celebration banquet in the Newcastle Civic Centre. This was the result of a special Millennium effort by the brethren of Northumberland.

In 2002 R W Bro Ian Ross Bryce, Deputy Grand Master was present at the launch of ‘Freemasonry in Community’ for Northumberland.

On 11 July 2007 V W Bro Peter Magnay was installed as the PGM and Grand Supt by R W Bro David K Williamson the Assistant Grand Master and Past Third Grand Principal.

On 17 September 2008 the new Scarbrough Court Home in Cramlington was officially opened by Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra, the Hon Lady Ogilvy KG GCVO.

On 13th May 2009 the 24th Anniversary Festival of the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys was held at the Marriott Hotel, Gosforth Park, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE3 5HN presided over by R W Bro. Peter Magnay DL, the PGM.

On 8 January 2014 Provincial Headquarters moved to 17 Lansdowne Terrace, Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE3 1HP after 37 years at Neville Hall, Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1SY.

On 3 May 2014 R W Bro Peter Magnay retired as PGM and Grand Supt. of Northumberland.

On 3 September 2014 V W Bro John James Craigs was installed as PGM and Grand Supt. of Northumberland by M W Bro Peter Geoffrey Lowndes, the Pro Grand Master.