Lodge 5174 Masonic Province of Yorkshire West Riding

BAWTRY FREEMASONS

Since 1930 Bawtry has been home to our small and friendly Lodge. Meeting on the first Tuesday from September to April and the second Tuesday in May. Pre arranged visitors are always welcome, as are expressions of interest from prospective members.
OUR HISTORY
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In 1930 Bawtry Freemasons gained ownership of the former Hospital of St Mary Magdaline located on Tickhill Road, Bawtry, South Yorkshire. Ironically the former aims of the hospital were very much charitable, providing accomodation and financial support for poor widows. Bawtry Freemasons continue in the charitable spirit that has long been associated with our historic lodge. 


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CHAPEL OF THE HOSPITAL OF ST. MARY'S MAGDALENE

The building we occupy as our temple was formerly the Chapel of the Hospital of St.Mary’s Magdalene. The existence of this Chapel can be traced back at least seven hundred years. In fact in the records of the see of York there is a continuous list of the Masters going back to Thomas de Langtoft who was appointed in 1289. Even he may not have been the first Master but it does show that the building existed at that time.

It is probable however it was founded even earlier by the de Busli’s who were Lords of the manor of Bawtry and who lived in Tickhill Castle and also helped found the Parish Church of Bawtry.

The Hospital of course included more than the Chapel building and over the years included a Mansion of the Incumbent, a farm and buildings with much land forming the endowment.

In 1389 the Hospital was further endowed by Robert de Morton, Knight of Nottinghamshire, who gave £240 to the Prior and Convent of Nostell on condition they paid an annual pension of eight marks to the Chaplain of this St. Mary’s Magdalene Hospital.

Even in those days Priors were as fallible as other men and one Adam de Bilton was unpopular “because he cut down wood without the common consent and he also enriched his kindred out of the goods of the monastery”. The £240 disappeared within two years but the stipend was paid continuously to the Master of the Hospital right down to the suppression of the monasteries by King Henry VIII.

Even then the Hospital was allowed to continue and the Crown took over the liability for the payment of the stipend to the Master.

It was consolidated by an investment of Consols.​​

The Hospital survived these difficult periods and still retained a Mansion, some land and revenues for the benefit of the Master. However, one Master James Brewster put an end to the Services, allowed considerable dilapidation to occur, sold the furniture, and tried to have the land sold to a friend for his own aggrandisement by passing it off as concealed lands.

Long litigation in the High Court eventually produced a decree vesting the lands in the Master depriving the previous Master James Brewster of his office and confirming a new appointment, whilst later an injunction was made against anyone molesting the Master and the Paymaster of Yorkshire was ordered to pay the arrears of pensions.

Shortly after this litigation in the year circa 1600 the Church was restored with the help of the Archbishop and new seating provided. At this time the Church had a steeple.

In 1783 a real calamity occurred. The Churchyard, Parsonage (or Mansion House) with the farm, stead and buildings totalling two acres were exchanged for fifteen acres of land at Scrooby. The Incumbent thereby lost his Parsonage and ceased to be resident. Consequently the Church became neglected and fell into ruin and this lasted for fifty years.

In 1834 the building was being used as a joiners shop but shortly afterwards Henry H. Graves of Hesley Hall again restored the Church with seating accommodation for one hundred and eighty.
The last religious services were conducted in 1928. ​






They were then disused until purchased by our Founders from the last Master of the Hospital, at that time the Provost of Southwell. In the following restoration the roof trusses and structure were maintained. Underneath the plaster however they discovered the Piscina which now can be seen in the South East Wall and as this is 13th Century work it helps to confirm the age of the building. The font in use is also preserved in the North East Corner, a particularly suitable place when we remember the words of the charge in the North East Corner.

At that time one of the two almshouses attached to the Hospital was still in existence at the North Eastern end of the building, but when the last occupant left, it was pulled down and the site put down to grass. These almshouses had been for the use of aged widows as part of the Hospital charity.

The funds forming the Endowment of the Hospital of course did not pass to our lodge but were vested in the Charity Commissioners at the time of the purchase of the Church itself and are still in their hands.

A print dated 1813 shows the Church in good condition and must therefore show it at least prior to 1780, but it does not then show a steeple. It shows a roof with a much greater pitch than at present, the East window almost as it appears today, whilst the niche in the outer Eastern wall now empty is complete with a female figure. Although this is not ver clear it could be the Virgin Mary and child or Mary Magdalene bending over the recumbent Christ. The latter could possibly be correct as it would be in line with the name of the Hospital St. Mary’s Magdalene.

RESTORATION AND CREATION OF BAWTRY LODGE

  1. Bawtry Lodge prior to restoration 1930
    Bawtry Lodge prior to restoration 1930
  2. Interior of Bawtry Lodge prior to restoration
    Interior of Bawtry Lodge prior to restoration
  1. Bawtry Lodge interior plan
    Bawtry Lodge interior plan
  2. North interior plan and balcony cross section
    North interior plan and balcony cross section

CONSECRATION OF BAWTRY LODGE (5174) 17TH MARCH 1930

Henry Lascelles 6th Earl of Harwood
R.W.Bro. Henry Lascelles 6th Earl of Harwood, K.G. P.G.W, Provincial Grand Master (1930)
Leading the Consecration team, a Freemason of significance, not only in the Province of Yorkshire West Riding, but on a national stage too. He was the son-in-law of King George V and Queen Mary.

Having married Princess Mary, King George V's only daughter, at Westminster Abbey, on 28 February 1922.  

A noteable bridesmaid at the wedding was non other than Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, effectionately known and remembered as 'The Queen Mother'.

Lord Harwood went on to serve as the Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England between 1942–1947.
Consecrating Officers and some of our Founder Brethren
W.Bro. Richard Gill, J.P., P.G.D., Deputy Provincial Grand Master
W.Bro. George Whittington, J.P., P.G.D., Assistant Provincial Grand Master
W.Bro. John Stokes, P.G.D., Assistant Provincial Grand Master
W.Bro. Richard Gill, J.P., P.G.D., Deputy Provincial Grand Master
W.Bro. George Whittington, J.P., P.G.D., Assistant Provincial Grand Master
W.Bro. John Stokes, P.G.D., Assistant Provincial Grand Master
ARCHIVE DOCUMENTS
HISTORY OF THE LODGE OF BAWTRY BY F.W.TAYLOR 1933
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​ARCHAEOLOGICAL  EXCAVATIONS AT BAWTRY MASONIC HALL 2010
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