Freemasonry in Preston has a long and proud history. In 1767, Amity Lodge was founded in London but relocated to Preston in 1769 laying the foundations of Freemasonry in the City. Amity stayed in Preston for 41 years before relocating again in 1810. Their departure led to the founding of Royal Preston Lodge in 1811. Preston Lodges have grown in number since.
Following the Great War there was a significant increase in the number of me wishing to become Freemasons. A number of Preston Lodges decided to
accommodate this increase by sponsoring a daughter Lodge. The Lodge of Unanimity sponsored a new Lodge, Preston Guild Lodge. This name was chosen to coincide with the Preston Guild Merchant celebrations in 1922. On 20 th June 1922 the consecration of the Lodge took place at the Bull & Royal Hotel. The first Worshipful Master being William Ord, who at the time was an Assistant Provincial Grand Master and who had previously served as Mayor of Preston in 1906 and 1907.
We are proud of our Lodge Name – Preston Guild – as it represents the most important and historic event held in Preston.The right to hold a Guild Merchant was conferred by King Henry II upon the Burgesses of Preston in a charter of 1179; the associated Preston Guild is a civic celebration held every 20 years and 2012 was the latest Guild year. It is the only Guild still celebrated in the UK and is thus unique.
Preston Guild Lodge and its members have a long tradition as a supporter of Masonic and Non Masonic Charities. This tradition commenced when the Lodge responded to the United Grand Lodges’ Masonic Million Memorial Fund Appeal, that was established to finance the building of the present Freemason’ Hall in London as a Peace Memorial. Qualifying Lodges were presented with a Hall Stone Jewel that could be worn in perpetuity by the Worshipful Master. This jewel was presented to the Lodge in 1925 and has been worn since by successive Worshipful Masters of Preston Guild Lodge.
In 1927 the present Lodge Banner, was dedicated. This depicts the original Preston town hall that was destroyed by fire in 1947.
For many years the Lodge held its meetings at the Bull &Royal Hotel, Preston and in 1944 moved its meetings to the present Masonic Hall in Saul Street, Preston. Recognising the need for a Holy Royal Arch Chapter to be attached to the Lodge, Preston Guild Chapter was consecrated in the Guild Year of 1972 with John Lund being the First Principal.
Over the years many members of the Lodge have celebrated personal lengths ofmembership milestones, and a number have served Preston Masonic Hall Ltd, Preston Masonic Group and the Province of West Lancashire. Notable among these was George Hudson, who served as Secretary of Preston Masonic Hall Ltd for many years. Sidney Canning-Mathews served as Chairman of the Preston Masonic Group for 4 years from 1981 to 1985. Bill Seddon became Vice-Chairman of Preston Group in 1990 and later in 1993 was appointed as Assistant to the Grand Superintendent in the Holy Royal Arch and in 1997 became an Assistant Provincial Grand Master, a position he held for 11 years. In 2010, Ian Greenwood completed 6 years’ service as Chairman of the Preston Group having previously served as Secretary and Vice-Chairman of the Group for 5 years and 6 years respectively.
In 2003 following a reduction in membership due to deaths and resignations, it was decided to take advantage of the opportunity to amalgamate with other Lodges. A procedure that had recently been introduced by United Grand Lodge. Discussions took place with representatives of Commercial Travellers Lodge and Forest of Fulwood Lodge and a subsequent agreement was reached for the three Lodges to amalgamate, with Preston Guild Lodge becoming the prevailing Lodge. A new ritual was established at the time of amalgamation for use by the amalgamated Lodge.
On 10 th March 2004 the proposed amalgamation was approved by United Grand Lodge, and this was followed on 5 th April 2004 by a ceremony of amalgamation that was conducted by the Provincial Grand Master, Colin Penty Wright, who was assisted by the Provincial Grand Officers of the year. The first Worshipful Master of the amalgamated Lodge was William H.Davies.
In January 2008, following a dispensation granted by the Provincial Grand Master, the Initiation of David James Christian Parker, the Son of the Worshipful Master took place. At the time the candidate was 20 years old and was the youngest person to be Initiated in Preston Guild Lodge. On 5 th February 2011 the Lodge celebrated the Centenary of Commercial Travellers Lodge one of the amalgamated Lodges. At this ceremony the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Leon D Tax, conducted an extremely impressive and unique ceremony.
In 2012 the Lodge created a website with the objective of providing general information, but particularly for prospective new members as an encouragement for them to consider applying to join one of Prestons’ long established Lodges. Preston Guild Lodge plans to play a full role in the Tercentenary of the founding of the United Grand Lodge of England in 2017.At the same time, the Lodge is making preparations for it’s own landmark, that of the Centenary of the consecration of Preston Guild Lodge in 2022.