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Freemasonry in Derby

Becoming a Freemason in Derby

Becoming a Freemason

The majority of this article deals with craft, or "blue lodge" Masonry, the three degrees that are common to all masonic lodges and jurisdictions. Further degrees are usually outside of the jurisdiction of Grand Lodges, involve separate ceremonies, and are regulated by different Masonic bodies. The number and names of the "chivalric" orders and degrees depend on the local tradition of Freemasonry, and have varied greatly over the years. The oldest of these, and the most universal, is the Royal Arch Chapter (the Holy Royal Arch in England).

Although some masonic writers have attempted to see Royal Arch symbolism in material from the 1720s, the earliest definite reference is to a Royal Arch in a procession in Dublin preceding the master and held aloft by two "Excellent Masons". In 1744 it is mentioned as a degree in Dr Dassigny's "Serious and Impartial Inquiry".

Laurence Dermott, the guiding force behind the Ancients Grand Lodge, claimed to have been made a Royal Arch Mason in Dublin in 1746. He referred to it as the fourth degree, and campaigned to have it recognised as such. This happened just after he died, and only twenty years before the union of the Ancients and Moderns. The Moderns, on the other hand, had created a separate Grand Chapter in 1765 to deal with the degree, and wished to keep it separate from pure craft Masonry. This would be a point of contention as the two jurisdictions moved towards union. The second of the articles of union stated that there were but three degrees in "pure Ancient Masonry", but included the Royal Arch in the third degree. The degree continues to be administered by a separate Grand Chapter, and until a revision in 2004, English Master Masons were simply told that the degree of the Holy Royal Arch completes their third degree.

The oldest Irish records of the ritual indicate that Royal Arch Chapters originally administered three degrees. The first was based on the refurbishment of the first temple by King Josiah. The second was a short bridge to the third, which was based on the rebuilding of the temple after the exile. Most jurisdictions base the modern Royal Arch ritual on the post-exilic legend. In 1864, the Grand Chapter of Ireland decided to base their ritual on the reign of Josiah, the main practical difference being the names of the officers.

19th century Freemasonry

Union of 1813

In 1809, the Grand Lodge of England (the Moderns) set up a "Lodge of Promulgation". Its purpose was to "revert to the Ancient Land Marks of the Society" and to promulgate those landmarks amongst the brethren. One of its members was the Duke of Sussex, the Master of the Lodge of Antiquity, No 2, and sixth son of George III. The result of their labours was a reply to the Ancients in 1811 that the Grand Lodge had resolved to "return to the Ancient Landmarks...when it should be ascertained what those ancient landmarks and obligations were." Both Grand Lodges moved visibly towards union, forming committees to negotiate the precise terms. The main sticking point was the inability of the Ancients' committee to decide anything without reporting back to a quarterly meeting of their own Grand Lodge. In October 1812, the Ancients allayed the frustration of the Moderns by granting their commissioners full powers. Shortly after this, the Earl of Moira resigned as acting Grand Master of the Moderns, due to his appointment as Governor General of India. His successor was the Duke of Sussex, who became Grand Master the next January on the resignation of his brother, the Prince of Wales. On 1 December 1813, the Duke of Atholl ceded the leadership of the Ancients to the Duke of Kent, the older brother of Sussex and the father of Queen Victoria. Kent had already presided over the union of the Ancients and Moderns in Canada, accomplished by the brutally simple expedient of merging the lodges of the Moderns with the nearest lodge of the Ancients. The Moderns in Canada had simply ceased to exist. These two men oversaw the union in 1813 to form the United Grand Lodge of England, with the Duke of Sussex appointed as Grand Master of the new body.

Derby is a city and unitary authority area in Derbyshire, England. It lies on the banks of the River Derwent in the south of Derbyshire, of which it was traditionally the county town. Derby gained city status in 1977, and by the 2011 census its population was 248,700.

Derby was settled by Romans, who established the town of Derventio, later captured by the Saxons, and later still by the Vikings, who made their town of Djúra-bý one of the Five Boroughs of the Danelaw. Initially a market town, Derby grew rapidly in the industrial era. Home to Lombe's Mill, an early British factory, Derby has a claim to be one of the birthplaces of the Industrial Revolution. It contains the southern part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. With the arrival of the railways in the 19th century, Derby became a centre of the British rail industry.

Derby is a centre for advanced transport manufacturing, being home to the world's second largest aero-engine manufacturer: Rolls-Royce. Bombardier Transportation has a production facility at the Derby Litchurch Lane Works while Toyota Manufacturing UK's automobile headquarters is located southwest of the city at Burnaston. Derby and Derbyshire were among the centres of Britain's Industrial Revolution. In 1717, Derby was the site of the first water-powered silk mill in Britain, built by John Lombe and George Sorocold, after Lombe had reputedly stolen the secrets of silk-throwing from Piedmont in Italy (he is alleged to have been poisoned by the Piedmontese as revenge in 1722).

In 1759, Jedediah Strutt patented and built a machine called the Derby Rib Attachment that revolutionised the manufacture of hose. This attachment was used on the Rev. Lee's Framework Knitting Machine; it was placed in front of – and worked in unison with – Lee's Frame, to produce ribbed hose (stockings). The partners were Jedediah Strutt, William Woollatt (who had been joined in 1758 by John Bloodworth and Thomas Stafford, all leading hosiers in Derby). The patent was obtained in January 1759. After three years, Bloodworth and Stafford were paid off, and Samuel Need – a hosier of Nottingham – joined the partnership. The firm was known as Need, Strutt and Woollatt. The patent expired in 1773 though the partnership continued until 1781 when Need died.

Historical population

Year   Pop.    ±%

1801   14,695           —   

1851   48,506           +230.1%

1901   118,469         +144.2%

1921   142,824         +20.6%

1941   167,321         +17.2%

1951   181,423         +8.4%

1961   199,578         +10.0%

1971   219,558         +10.0%

1981   214,424         −2.3%

1991   225,296         +5.1%

2001   221,716         −1.6%

2011   248,700         +12.2%

Messrs Wright, the bankers of Nottingham, recommended that Richard Arkwright apply to Strutt and Need for finance for his cotton spinning mill. The first mill opened in Nottingham in 1770 and was driven by horses. In 1771 Richard Arkwright, Samuel Need and Jedediah Strutt built the world's first commercially successful water-powered cotton spinning mill at Cromford, Derbyshire, developing a form of power that was to be a catalyst for the Industrial Revolution.

This was followed in Derbyshire by Jedediah Strutt's cotton spinning mills at Belper. They were: South Mill, the first, 1775; North Mill, 1784, which was destroyed by fire on 12 January 1803 and then rebuilt, starting work again at the end of 1804; West Mill, 1792, commenced working 1796; Reeling Mill, 1897; Round Mill, which took 10 years to build, from 1803 to 1813, and commenced working in 1816; and Milford Mills, 1778. The Belper and Milford mills were not built in partnership with Arkwright; they were all owned and financed by Strutt.

Other notable 18th-century figures with connections to Derby include the painter Joseph Wright, known as Wright of Derby, who was known for his innovative use of light in his paintings and was an associate of the Royal Academy; and John Whitehurst, a clockmaker and philosopher. Erasmus Darwin, doctor, scientist, philosopher and grandfather of Charles Darwin, whose practice was based in Lichfield, Staffordshire, was a frequent visitor to Derby, having founded the Derby Philosophical Society.

Derby's place in the country's philosophical and political life continued with Henry Hutchinson, an active member of the Fabian Society. On his death in 1894, he left the society an amount in his will which was instrumental in founding the London School of Economics.

The beginning of 19th century saw Derby emerging as an engineering centre, with manufacturers such as James Fox, who exported machine tools to Russia.

In 1840, the North Midland Railway set up its works in Derby and when it merged with the Midland Counties Railway and the Birmingham and Derby Junction Railway to form the Midland Railway, Derby became its headquarters. The connection with the railway encouraged others, notably Andrew Handyside, Charles Fox and his son Francis Fox.

A permanent military presence was established in the city with the completion of Normanton Barracks in 1877. Derby was one of the boroughs reformed by the Municipal Corporations Act 1835, and it became a county borough with the Local Government Act 1888. The borough expanded in 1877 to include Little Chester and Litchurch, and then in 1890 to include New Normanton and Rowditch. The borough did not increase substantially again until 1968, when under a recommendation of the Local Government Boundary Commission it was expanded into large parts of the rural district of Belper, Repton and South East Derbyshire. This vastly increased Derby's population from 132,408 in the 1961 census to 219,578 in the 1971 census. Derby Silk Mill is part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. Despite being one of the areas of Britain furthest from the sea, Derby holds a special place in the history of marine safety – it was as MP for Derby that Samuel Plimsoll introduced his bills for a 'Plimsoll line' (and other marine safety measures). This failed on first introduction, but was successful in 1876 and contributed to Plimsoll's re-election as an MP.

Becoming a Freemason in United Kingdom

Becoming a Freemason in England

Region          East Midlands

Ceremonial county Derbyshire

Admin HQ     Derby

Settled           AD 600

City status     1977


 • Type           Unitary authority, city

 • Governing body   Derby City Council

 • Leadership            Leader and Cabinet

 • Executive  Conservative (council NOC)

 • MPs           

Margaret Beckett (L)

Amanda Solloway (C)

Pauline Latham (C)


 • City and unitary authority area 30.13 sq mi (78.03 km2)

Population (2011 Census)

 • City and unitary authority area 248,700

 • Density      7,840/sq mi (3,028/km2)

 • Urban         270,500

 • Metro          1,543,000 (Nottingham-Derby)

 • Ethnicity

(Office for National Statistics 2011 Census)    

80.2% White

12.6% Asian

3.0% Black British

1.3% Other

2.9% Mixed Race

Time zone     UTC+0 (Greenwich Mean Time)

Postcode span        

DE1, DE3, DE21-24, DE73

Area code(s) 01332

Grid Ref.        SK3533936187

ONS code    

00FK (ONS)

E06000015 (GSS)

ISO 3166-2   GB-DER

NUTS 3         UKF11

Demonym     Derbeian