About LMC

We commenced upon another exciting chapter in the history of Lincoln Masonry, when we moved to our new permanent home at the Lincoln Masonic Centre, 116 Nettleham Road. The building was purchased, renovated and extended in time for the start of our 2013/14 season.

In its past life the new Lincoln Masonic Centre was the Nightingale Inn which after significant works has become the prestigous centre that it is today.

Where it all began.  
The Dining Room.  
The stair case leading to the lodge room.  
The landing.  
temple1.JPG temple2.JPG
The Temple.  
Where we are today.

However, perhaps we should pause and reflect on our wonderful history which dates back to 1730. The following are extracts from a History of Masonic Premises in Lincoln prepared by W.Bro Brittan who has kindly allowed us to use them.

The table below illustrates the transitory nature of Lincoln Masonry and highlights the need to acquire a permanent home that will benefit the present members and generations to come.

From     Lodge Name  Location   To   Years    Remarks    
1730 The Old Lodge at Lincoln Saracen’s Head Hotel 1760 30 Erased
1737 Lodge No. 116 Angel Inn (Lincoln-above-hill) 1754 17 Erased
1794 Witham Reindeer Inn (Guildhall Street) 1814 20  
1814 Witham Green Dragon Inn 1817 3  
1817 Witham White Swan Yard (High Street) 1836 19  
1836 Witham Lion Hotel (High Street) 1838 2  
1838 Witham City Arms Inn 1845 7  
1845 Witham County Club Hotel (Castle Hill) 1845 0  
1845 Witham Hudson’s Tavern and Coffee Rooms 1852 7  
1852 Witham Great Northern Hotel 1854 2  
1854 Witham Masonic Hall, Grantham Street 1872 18  
1872 Witham Masonic Hall, Newland 1888 16  
1888 Witham & St. Hugh Masonic Hall, Mint Street 1890 2  
1890 Ermine County Assembly Rooms 1939 49  
1939 Ermine Joined others Masonic Hall, Mint Street 1963 24  
1963 All Lincoln Lodges County Assembly Rooms 2013 50  
2013 All Lincoln Lodges Lincoln Masonic Centre 2013    

The Early History

The earliest documentary records of a Masonic Lodge in Lincoln connected to Grand Lodge are those of the Old Lodge at Lincoln. It was constituted on 7th September, 1730, and met at the Saracen’s Head - a fine old coaching inn that stood near the Stonebow in Lincoln. The first Worshipful Master was Sir Cecil Wray, Baronet, Deputy Grand Master of England.



The Saracen's Head Hotel (images courtesy of www.closedpubs.co.uk)

The second Lincoln Lodge again seems to have lacked an official name but it was constituted seven years after the first on 23rd December 1737, at Lincoln-above-hill in the Baily Wyke at the Angel. The number on the Engraved List was 166. We do know a little more about its meetings places; records show that the Angel was then, and for many years to come, the chief Inn above hill it occupied ground north of the road enclosed between the two gateways formerly existing in Eastgate.

The next and more successful attempt to found a permanent Lodge in Lincoln was the constitution of the Witham Lodge with a Warrant dated 23rd September, 1793, the consecration of the Lodge did not take place until 22nd February, 1794. The original number of the Lodge was 530; changed in 1814 to 557; in 1832 to 374 and in 1863 to its final form of 297.

The new Lodge met at the Reindeer Inn, which occupied the whole south side of Guildhall Street. In 1741, the Corporation bought the inn and decided to remove the old timber building and rebuild in brick. The new premises when complete were renamed the City Arms and played a later part in local Masonic history. Ultimately they gave place to shops in 1847, the corner building becoming a bank - now the Midland Bank.

One of the early members of Witham Lodge was William Hilton, destined to become an eminent painter and a Royal Academician; a portion of a satin banner painted by him for the Lodge is still among its treasured possessions. Among other distinguished local worthies who were early members of the Lodge was Samuel Thorold, the Squire of Harmston, in June 1803, he was elected Master and occupied the Chair for five years in succession. He gave to the lodge a pair of silver compasses which are still in use.

In 1814 the lodge moved to the Green Dragon, an ancient timber and gable hostelry standing approximately on the site of the present Green Dragon. Three year slater in December 1817 the Lodge transferred to the White Swan Yard at 274 High Street.

There is a souvenir of special interest from this time, an old stone bearing Masonic emblems and the inscription ‘W.H.1827’ which adorned the wall of the supper room at Mint Street, the W.H. is believed to refer to William Hickson, prominent local citizen, Sheriff of the City in 1826, and Master of the Witham Lodge in 1819, 1820 and 1823. He died in 1843. It is now in the entrance to the Lincoln Masonic Centre

The Witham Lodge failed to prosper - and eventually the meetings (which had almost ceased) were transferred to the White Hart, described as the only tolerable inn in the upper city.

In 1836 the Lodge moved again, this time to the Lion Hotel in High Street. Two years later in 1838, the Lodge removed to the City Arms again.

Agreement having been reached on terms, the foundation stone of the new premises was laid with due ceremony and dedicated by Dr. Oliver himself on 9th June, 1842.

The Lodge was made homeless and in 1845 they met in the County Club Hotel, Castle Hill - probably in part of the premises later demolished to make part of the present car park. In December of that year they moved again - to Hudson’s Tavern and Coffee Rooms on the site of the former Antelope Inn at No. 8 The Bail.

In 1852 the Lodge moved downhill to the Great Northern Hotel.

A new hall in Grantham Street was solemnly dedicated on the 18th May, 1854 by the Provincial Grand Master, the Earl of Yarborough, and the fraternity had a home of its own again. Masonry flourished and the brethren became ambitious for more commodious premises and in 1871 a Masonic Hall Company was floated to erect a suite of rooms for Masonic purposes, together with others to be let for public purposes. A site was secured in Newland and the foundation stone of the new building was laid on the 17th August, 1871 and the Lodge room was dedicated by the Provincial Grand Master on 29th October 1872. In 1871 Masonry in Lincoln had been strengthened by the consecration of a second Lodge – St. Hugh – and in 1888 the Lodges were glad to move to premises on the south side of Mint Street, between Mint Lane and Guildhall Street,

A third Lodge, Ermine, was consecrated by warrant dated 21st January, 1890, it met independently at the County Assembly Rooms but with the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, the black-out problems of the Assembly Rooms precluded its continued use for Masonic purposes; the Ermine Lodge joined the other Lincoln Lodges

On the 23rd September, 1893, the Witham Lodge celebrated its centenary and what better form could this take then the proposal once more for the erection of independent Masonic premises. With the concurrence of St. Hugh Lodge, plans were drawn up by W. Mortimer and Sons, and a building erected at the corner of Mint Street and Newland by Messrs H.S. and W. Close at a cost of £1,400. The foundation stone was laid by Major W.H. Smyth of Elkington Hall, now Provincial Grand Master, in June 1894.

Witham and St Hugh were joined at the Mint Street premises by Excalibur in 1903, Paulinus in 1919, Ashlar in 1930, Lindum in 1939 and as stated above Ermine also moved there in 1939.

In 1963 all the Lincoln Lodges moved to the County Assembly Rooms on Bailgate where they were joined in 1976 by Minster.

The County Assembly Rooms.

In 1988 the Lincoln Masonic Building Fund led by V.W. Bro Walter Patton was started to find a permanent home for Lincoln Freemasonry, over the intervening years many buildings were viewed, however they were either not suitable or too costly. In 2003 W.Bro Eddie Drage put new life into the idea of a permanent home and the result was the New Lincoln Masonic Building Fund, again the search was on and again many buildings were either too expensive or not suitable however in 2009 the Nightingale Public House and the land behind it came on the market and the eventual purchasers offered the building itself and sufficient land for a car park to the Freemasons of Lincoln. A deposit was paid in August 2009 and completion of the purchase took place in December of that year. The rest, as they say, is history.

Much of the conversion work was undertaken by Lincoln Freemasons giving up their spare time ably assisted by students from Lincoln College. Freemasons in the future will be thankful to all those who helped.