Lodge History


Preston’s Hall Stone Lodge

Consecrated 20th June 1922



This history has been written in honour of the lodge’s Centenary Celebration in 2022. It is drawn from the Lodge Minutes, other Lodge Documents and previous histories from the 25th, 50th and 70th Anniversary Celebrations.


Freemasonry has deep roots in Lancashire. The earliest record of a ceremony is that of Elias Ashmole (of Ashmolean Museum fame) who was initiated at Warrington in 1646. In 1779 the Lodge of Amity No 341 began to meet in Preston. It is believed this Lodge had relocated from London. It remained active until 1794. In 1797, the Lodge of Peace and Unity No 314 was founded in Preston and it remains active to this day.

The Lodge Banner, featuring the Town Hall at its heart, was dedicated in 1927

Our Mother Lodge, Lodge of Unanimity No 113, was founded within the 3rd Royal Lancashire Militia in 1812 and at its consecration was based in Dover. The Lodge arrived “home” in Preston in 1814 where it has stayed ever since.

The genesis of Preston Guild Lodge lies firmly in the Great War of 1914 to 1918. There were a significant number of men wishing to become Freemasons at the end of that war. Many lodges had met or been formed in the trenches during that terrible conflict. Before the war there were only seven Masonic Lodges in the Preston Group and one of those met in Leyland. Remarkably, only two Preston Group Masons made the supreme sacrifice during that war.

At the end of the First World War, and to celebrate the ensuing peace, Prince Albert, His Royal Highness the Duke of Connaught and Strathearn KG, PC, KT, KP, GCMG etc., the MW Grand Master at that time launched the Masonic Million Memorial Fund and all lodges achieving the qualifying contributions would be awarded a Hall Stone Jewel. More of this can be found about the Hall Stone Jewel page on the lodge website.

None of the existing Preston Group Lodges determined to become a Hall Stone Lodge. However, 17 members of the Lodge of Unanimity had a different idea. Those 17 Brothers had either served in the war or suffered losses of either family members and friends during the conflict. This was the motivation for Lodge of Unanimity to sponsor a daughter lodge and the seeds of Preston Guild Lodge were sown. As this new lodge was to be warranted and consecrated in 1922, Guild Year, it was decided to name it after Preston’s most famous and historic occasion – The Guild Merchant. The right to hold a Guild Merchant was conferred upon the Burgesses of Preston by King Henry II by Charter in 1179. In the modern era, the Guild Merchant is a civic celebration held every 20 years. Preston is the only city to still celebrate the Guild and is thus unique. We are very proud of our lodge name.

The Lodge Warrant

The Warrant for Preston Guild Lodge was issued by Grand Lodge on the 1st February 1922 and sealed by the Grand Master, the Duke of Connaught and Strathearn.  

Our Banner, Founder Members Jewel, Past Masters Jewel and Summonses feature an image of the old Preston Town and Guild Hall. The Foundation Stone for this remarkable building was laid, with great ceremony, by 800 Freemasons in full regalia under the direction of the Mayor Robert Townley Parker, who was a Freemason, to celebrate the Guild Merchant of 1862. Sadly, that building was destroyed by fire in 1947, but its memory lives on in this lodge. 

In fact, the Warrant we display is not actually the original one that was issued. One of the seven petitioners’ names was recorded incorrectly. This meant the Warrant had to be returned to Grand Lodge and a corrected replacement issued.

The Consecration Ceremony of the Lodge was delayed until the 20th June 1922 to be part of the Guild Celebration. That Consecration took place at the Bull Hotel Assembly Rooms in Preston, later to become the Bull and Royal Hotel. The hotel would remain the lodges home for over 20 years. 

Will Ord

The Consecration was presided over by the Provincial Grand Master Designate, Right Worshipful John Burell PGD and was witnessed by 136 visiting brethren.

The first Master for the consecration was William Edward Ord who at the time was a Junior Grand Deacon of the United Grand Lodge of England and a recently appointed Assistant Provincial Grand Master of the Province of Western Lancashire. 

At the same time Will Ord was Chairman of the Preston Group of Lodges and Chapters. Will served twice the Mayor of Preston in 1906 and 1907. 

James Edward Adkins was a Past Provincial Grand Organist and a Professor of Music. He played the organ at the Consecration Ceremony. We had captains of industry, bakers and clerks under our banner. Henry Alty, Chris Miller and Gilbert Starkie were local businessmen whose family-owned companies live on to this day. John Hunt was a respected Jeweller and Silversmith who became Mayor of Preston in 1926. John designed the Founders Members and Past Masters Jewels.

A Founder Member Jewel
A Past Masters Jewel

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