A Brief History of our Lodge.


List of Worshipful Masters since 1817

Click on the warrant to see a full-sized picture. No. 43 was first issued to Waterford, 20th December 1735, and was cancelled by order of Grand Lodge on 1st July 1815. On 24th June 1817, it was re-issued to Carrickfergus, the names on the Warrant being:-Ezekiel Milliken, Robert McAlpine, William McKinstry.

A Masonic Warrant No. 270 was issued to Carrickfergus on 2nd June 1756. Original members:-Patrick McDowell, John Patterson, Patrick Allen and Whittney Bowman.

The following note re. No. 270 appears in the Grand Lodge Register:
"This Warrant and Jewels etc., was taken the time the French was in this place and the Lodge did not meet since." History records that Thourot, the French Admiral, when he visited Carrickfergus in 1760, carried off the Warrant and Jewels belonging to Lodge 270. They were afterwards restored by Captain Elliott, who captured the French Fleet off the Isle of Man, Thourot being killed in the engagement. From the earliest records available, this Warrant was eventually returned by the French. A new warrant was issued by Grand Lodge free of charge and was working in Carrickfergus from the year 1805 continuously until 1817.

The following is an extract from an old Minute Book of Lodge No. 270 from the 24th. May of that year (1817):
"Ezekiel Milliken in the chair, when the old officers were re-elected and the Lodge voted to have a new Warrant,"
Again on 22nd November 1817, "Lodge No. 270 met in due form, when it was resolved that the Installation shall take place on Saturday, 29th November, 1817, of No. 43 at the hour of 6 o'clock."
And on Saturday, 29th Nov. 1817, "Lodge 270 met to install No. 43."

Thus Lodge 43 is a continuation of Lodge 270; when Warrant No. 270 was sent in to Grand Lodge and exchanged for No. 43 on 24th June. 1817.

The first Masonic Warrant issued to Carrickfergus was No. 253. on 10th February, 1755-one year previous to No. 270. Lodge No. 253 ceased to exist as a regular Lodge in Carrickfergus on 2nd June, 1892, its Warrant being suspended. No record of the exact date of its cancellation can be found in the books of the Grand Lodge.

Unhappily all the Minute Books and other documents of this Lodge have disappeared and are not likely to reappear now. What a light they would throw on the period of the French invasion of 1760 and the disappearance of the Warrant.

Whether or not our ancient Brethren had access to an ancient triad which records "St Patrick blessed a tower or stronghold of the Dalaradians, in which was a well of miraculous efficacy, called the "Well of St Patrick" is not known, but the name adopted by our brethren in 1756 was St Patrick's Masonic Lodge.

It is of course interesting that Fergus, the reputed first Scottish King, lost his life in a storm off the town whilst attempting to land to partake of the miraculous waters and it is from this part of history that the town takes its name. Carrickfergus (The Rock of Fergus).

Coming now to the seven years war 1756 - 1763, the town was invaded and held for a week by the French Commander Admiral Thourot, and on his leaving, he took with him the Warrant and Jewels.

In a Commemorative Order of Service printed in 1917, it is noted that a Captain Elliott who encountered Thourot's ships off the Isle of Man, with Thourot being killed in the engagement afterwards, restored these possessions.

Grand Lodge of Ireland records show that a duplicate Warrant No 270 was issued "free of charge" in 1805 and it is only from this date that we have continuous records. Glancing at the earliest of these, it is not surprising that there is no earlier trace, as the minutes are scant. e.g. "Lodge opened in Form - no business done".

In 1817 the Warrant No 270 was exchanged for Warrant No 43 and the minute of November 29th 1817 records " 270 met to install No 43. Met in good order the Worshipful Ezekial Milliken in the chair." The reasons for this exchange of numbers was of course in order that the Lodge would be given a higher precedence in processions, especially church processions, which were very common in the early days.

Despite Grand Lodge having instructed Craft Lodges in the early part of the nineteenth century not to confer the higher degrees, we find recorded in the minutes of 1857 the Templar Degree still being conferred.

The hall in which we currently meet was erected in 1898 and has been through a major refurbishment and extension to make it a centre for our Brethren families and friends for the 21st century.

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Year unknown (Circa 1897?). Photograph taken beside the "New" Masonic Hall under construction. The tent is a mystery, maybe the "Tea Ladies" in the back give a clue?

The first meeting in the "New" Hall, in Victoria Street was on the 28th July 1898:

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				picture.   Click to enlarge.   

Click on the photo to see a full-sized
								picture.    Click on the photo to see a full-sized
								picture. Click to enlarge.

Year 1901. St. Patrick's Masonic Lodge No. 43 Picnic to Castlekennedy, August 14th 1901.

A Lodge Excursion to Garron Tower in 1909:

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Down through the years some interesting people come to light. Wor. Bro. Hugh McAteer (possibly pictured in the front row of the first of the above photographs, with bowler hat at his feet?), who was initiated on 28th September 1894, served as Worshipful Master in 1899 and was Secretary of St. Patrick’s when he was killed in a train accident in 1916. There follows extracts from a newspaper article brought to light after all these years by W. Bro. Peter McMurtry.

Reported in Saturday’s edition of the Weekly Telegraph: Click on the photo to see a full-sized picture.

A distressing accident occurred on the Midland Railway line on Thursday, resulting in the death of a much-loved servant of the company, Mr. Hugh McAteer, the stationmaster at Trooper’s Lane.

Mr. McAteer was a well know figure of the public travelling the Antrim Coast line. He had given a much appreciated service of 36 years to the Midland Company and had been for 25 years stationmaster at Trooper’s Lane. The Late Mr. McAteer was a prominent Freemason, having been Secretary of Lodge 43, Carrickfergus for a number of years. He was a devoted adherent of the Church of Ireland, being a select vestryman of the Parish Church of St. Nicholas, where he was very regular in his attendance.

From the evidence it appears that the deceased was going to close the roadway gates to allow the train to pass when the engine struck the gate, which was hurled in the direction of Mr. McAteer, who received injuries from which he died before medical aid could be obtained.

… (he) was highly esteemed by all who knew him. This was evidenced by a remarkable display of respect at the funeral, there being an attendance of not less than fifteen hundred, including probably 500 Freemasons.

The funeral Service was conducted by Rev. F. G. MacNeice B.D. Rector of St. Nicholas who was the father of the renown poet Louis MacNeice.

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Year 1948. Masonic Bazaar opening Ceremony by Rt. W. Bro. Major Sir Wm. Baird D.L. in the Independent Hall (now known as Congregational Hall) 5th June 1948. The Minister is Rev. George Bembridge.

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								picture.   Click to enlarge, then click on the enlarged picture to enlarge again.   

Year unknown (Circa 1955?). Photograph taken beside Joymount Presbyterian Chuch Hall, with the Town Mayor Ald. T. J. Patterson in the front row.
A young Jim Adamson 3rd row back and 3rd in from the left.

St. Patrick's Lodge No. 43 taken inside the Lodge Room in 1981.

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Currently the Lodge is thriving with membership close to 100 and a very high standard of ritual being maintained. The Lodge meets on the 4th Friday of each month, except July and August, at 7:30pm in the Masonic Hall, Victoria Street, Carrickfergus and visitors especially from our sister Constitutions are always welcome.

Inside the Lodge Room, Circa 1992.    Click to enlarge.