This page details the history of the lodges that meet in Leigh
Marquis of Lorne Lodge No 1354 – Consecrated on 31 May 1871
The oldest lodge regularly meeting in Leigh, but certainly not the first, as records show that Freemasonry in Leigh began in 1732. Unfortunately all the lodges formed prior to 1871 have either moved out of the area or have been erased, thus leaving the Marquis of Lorne Lodge as the oldest lodge meeting regularly in Leigh.
The lodge was named to mark the marriage in 1871 of the Marquis of Lorne to Princess Louise, fourth daughter of Queen Victoria. The Marquis (John Douglas Sutherland Campbell 1845 – 1914) later succeeded his father to become the 9th Duke of Argyll.
Since 1871 the lodge has met in a number of locations around the town, but most notably from 1897 until 1964, when it moved to its current home, it met in purpose-built rooms within the old Co-operative Building on Bradshawgate. At the time the building was erected, the secretary/manager of the Leigh Co-operative Society, Thomas Boydell, the architect, J C Prestwich and the builder, J W Cowburn were all members of the lodge. Since 1964 the lodge has met, along with the six other lodges in the Leigh Group, at the hall in Ellesmere Street, just off Spinning Jenny Way in the centre of Leigh. Between 1871 and the early 1920’s, when Masonry was in its heyday, the lodge was responsible for the creation of four daughter lodges.
Since its consecration the lodge has always enjoyed a healthy membership, which at its peak stood at well over 100 members.
Makerfield Lodge No 2155 – Consecrated: on 17 July 1886
In 1886, owing to an increase in its members, 14 brethren of the Lodge of Faith No 484, along with two other Freemasons founded Makerfield Lodge. The warrant was issued 8 April 1886 and the lodge was consecrated on 17 July of that same year.
Makerfield Lodge held its meetings at the Pied Bull Hotel until 1932 when it moved to the Town Hall, Newton-le-Willows, where it continued to meet until September 1939 when the hall was requisitioned for civil defence purposes.
Arrangements were then made to meet at the Newton Cricket and Bowling Club, until November 1942 when the lodge returned to the town hall and meetings were held there until the end of 1957. The regular meetings were then held at the Fleece Hotel, Ashton-in-Makerfield and continued there until May 1975. In September 1975, the lodge moved to its present home, in Leigh.
Lilford Lodge No 3022 – Consecrated on 9 June 1904
Lilford Lodge is a daughter lodge of the Marquis of Lorne Lodge and the mother lodge of Leigh Lodge No 4744.
Lodge meetings are held on the second Thursday, and the members meet socially every Thursday evening at the hall, bank holidays excepted.
Lodge of Valour No 4322 – Consecrated on 9 January 1922
Following the First World War there were many men wishing to become Freemasons. Tthe Marquis of Lorne Lodge No 1354, was extremely busy with multiple ceremonies and its membership constantly on the increase. On 5 January 1921 a formal petition was made to Grand Lodge for a warrant to hold a new lodge to be named Kemp Hall Lodge. The name proposed was in memory of two brethren, officers who died gallantly fighting for their country and whose fathers were honoured members of the Craft.
Unfortunately at that time, Grand Lodge did not look favourably on lodges being named after individuals and so, following considerable correspondence with Grand Lodge, it was eventually decided that the new lodge should be styled The Lodge of Valour.
The warrant was dated 3 August 1921 and the consecration ceremony was held on 9 January 1922 in the rooms in Gas Street, Leigh.
Lodge of Valour increased in strength and numbers and on 10 December 1945 it was decided to approve a petition to the Grand Master for a warrant for a new lodge to be called Lodge of Truth No 6235. A warrant was granted dated 6 February 1946 and the Lodge of Truth was consecrated on 3 October 1946.
In 1963 the Lodge of Valour, working in equal partnership with the Marquis of Lorne Lodge, founded Leigh Masonic Hall Ltd to effect the purchase of the Leigh Friendly Co-operative Society Building in Ellesmere Street, which, completely renovated and refurbished, is the present home of the Leigh Group of Lodges and Chapters.
Atherton Lodge No 4488 – Consecrated on 1 November 1922
The lodge was consecrated in 1922 and until 1968 met in rooms above T S Seymour Mead Grocers on Market Street Atherton, when it moved to its present home, in Ellesmere Street, Leigh. The lodge is the daughter lodge of Tyldesley Lodge No 2572 and granddaughter lodge of Marquis of Lorne Lodge No 1354.
Leigh Lodge No 4744 – Consecrated on 7 October, 1925
The 7 October 1925 saw 20 prominent local and forward thinking men consecrate Leigh Lodge No 4744. Many of these being involved in local business that adhered to local customs and work ethics which was one of the things that meant the lodge was to meet on the third Wednesday. This being half day closing in the area to many and allowed them that little bit of precious free time. Many local traditions and work related common practices are still evident today and it is due to the forward thinking of those men and the strength and commitment of the members throughout the lodges history, that the lodge is still going strong and is always looking to attract men of all ages who want to enjoy their Masonry with an eye for ritual and tradition but always with fun and light hearted banter at the social board.
The lodge meets at 7:00pm which allows flexibility to most members in that they can travel home from work or business appointments, see the family, sit down and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee and then travel to the lodge to enjoy the lodge meeting and afterwards enjoy the friendly social board.
With the many stresses and pressures in different guises brought on by modern living, Leigh Lodge understands that it is not always practicable to attend and or take part in the lodge proceedings but that there will always be a way to assist any brother in their Masonry. That several of the members are shift workers, some have young families’ underlines this flexibility and forward thinking.
Many facts and figures, dates and statistics are given by many lodges but we in Leigh Lodge pride ourselves in our history and our ritual within the lodge and the friendliness, fun and laughter at the social board. If you enjoy it you will come again and again and again and that is important. We all know that you only get out of Freemasonry what you put in.
Lodge of Truth No 6235 – consecrated on 3 October, 1946
Following the Second World War there were many men wishing to become Freemasons. This meant that many lodges were extremely active and their membership was growing at an increasing rate. In Leigh, the Lodge of Valour No 4322, founded in similar circumstances after the First World War, was one such lodge.
They petitioned Grand Lodge to issue a warrant for a new lodge to be called the Lodge of Truth No 6235. This petition was approved. The Lodge of Truth would meet at premises in Henrietta Street, Leigh sharing the facilities of Lilford Lodge. 21 brethren became founder members of the lodge. Their occupations covered a wide spectrum of the local community ranging from directors of local companies to butchers and plumbers.
The current membership reflects a similar diversity of interests. At the first regular meeting, the WM had the privilege of initiating his son, on his return from war service, as the first new member of the lodge.
Subsequently, eight other sons of founders became members of the lodge and in later years another seven sons of members have joined the lodge.
In 1961 the work was begun to investigate the possibility of the provision of a Freemasons temple to accommodate all the lodges in the Leigh. This came to fruition and in September 1965 the Lodge of Truth became the first lodge to meet in the new premises following the dedication of the new temple. The lodge has been fortunate over the years in the dedication shown by some of its members who have served with great distinction as officers of the lodge for periods of 12 years or more. The lodge continues to thrive although numbers are now lower than the peak membership of over 70.