HISTORY

Warranted 18th July 1870. Consecrated 16th September 1870.

A number of influential Brethren met together before 1870, to consider the forming of a Lodge in Market Harborough, but sadly no records of these meetings have been found. However, in 1889, a W. Bro. Robert Waite, a Past Master of St. Peter’s Lodge No: 442 in Peterborough and the first Treasurer of St. Peter’s Lodge No: 1330 wrote “it was through my own individual efforts more especially that your Lodge was opened at Market Harborough, as it happened that at that time I had been in communication with the Duke of Manchester, (Provincial Grand Master of Northants 8 Hunts from 1863 to 1887), to open a Lodge at the “Freemasons Inn”, Station Street, Little Bowden in the Province of Northants & Hunts and it was during the negotiations that I waited upon my Bro. William Kelly and the Rev Halford to open a Lodge of St. Peter’s in the Province of Leicestershire & Rutland, to which he agreed” It appears that W.Bro. Robert Waite and R.W. Bro. William Kelly were likely well known to each other through their respective banking business connections. Thus a Petition was made to the R.W. Provincial Grand Master for a Warrant of Constitution, with the recommendation that Bro. William Kelly be the first Master, Bro. Sir Henry St. John Halford, Bart. to be the first Senior Warden and Bro. The Reverend John Frederick Halford M.A. to be the first Junior Warden.

The Lodge to be held at the Three Swans Hotel, Market Harborough on the Friday nearest the full moon in every month. Appended to the Petition was a recommendation by the Master, Wardens & Officers of the John of Gaunt Lodge No: 523 and a further recommendation by R.W. Provincial Grand Master Bro. William Kelly. Among the illustrious list of signatories was that of W. Bro. Robert Waite of St. Peters Lodge No: 442, Peterborough. The Warrant was duly issued dated followed by the Consecration on 16th September 1870, the occasion being honoured by Provincial Grand Lodge Annual Communication being in attendance. Following the morning meeting approx 60 Brethren in full regalia, formed a procession to the Parish Church for Divine Service. The service was followed by a banquet at the Three Swans Hotel.

Of particular note is the priceless and beautiful white & gold furniture; the Master & Wardens chairs, thought to date from the late Regency Period (1830-1840), unique in the Province and possibly in the whole of the UK. Obtained by the Provincial Grand Master in 1870 from the Lodge of Antiquity for £45.

The screen currently behind the Senior Wardens chair was formerly a fire screen used to shield the open fire when the Lodge subsequently met in the Assembly Rooms in Abbey Street. The furniture was augmented with chairs made by Loughborough College, painted white, and purchased by the members with their names suitably affixed to the back of each chair.

A Centenary Warrant was presented in 1970 along with a beautiful Banner made by W.Bro. P.E. Outridge and his wife.

The Lodge has met in three venues, namely the Three Swans Hotel, The Assembly Rooms, and the St. John’s Ambulance Hall, the latter both in Abbey Street prior to the opening of a purpose built Masonic Hall, Kings Road, Market Harborough in 1968. A new metal pitched roof costing £26,500 was fitted in 2006 and a new bar installed in July 2009 at an approx cost of £8,000. Currently the hall is home to St. Peter’s Chapter No:1330 (1939), St. Wilfrid’s Lodge No: 8350 (1971), St. Peter’s Mark Lodge No: 1078 (1947), and the St. Peter’s Lodge of Instruction (1924). The Lodge has a small museum housing a collection of books, photos, jewels and other Masonic memorabilia. The Lodge Summons, of unique design by Bro. H.G Riley in 1933 is frequently commented upon by visiting Brethren of which the Lodge is often blessed. Currently the Lodge meets on a Thursday for eight months of the year from September to April. A more comprehensive history (1870 – 1995) was compiled in 1995 to coincide with the 125″‘ Anniversary of the Consecration and is still available.

Compiled by W.Bro. Michael C. Brown. P.P.G.Supt.Wks.

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