FREEMASONRY AT WEARSIDE MASONIC TEMPLE
Wearside Masonic Temple is the home of a number of Craft Lodges, as well as other Progressive Orders. These Lodges and Orders meet on different days of the week and during different months.
All our Lodges are under the auspices of the United Grand Lodge of England, our Chapters under the Supreme Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of England and other Progressive Orders under their recognised authorities.
Palatine Lodge No.97
Palatine Lodge No.97 is the oldest Lodge meeting at Wearside Masonic Temple, having been consecrated in 1757 and was originally called the Sea Captain's Lodge No.218. Consequently, Palatine Lodge has a rich history; many important historic events and landmarks of Sunderland and County Durham have links to Palatine brethren. The name Palatine refers to the County Palatine of Durham and was suggested by the then-Provincial Grand Master the Earl of Durham to mark the importance and success of the Lodge. Whilst the Lodge originally drew its membership from naval officers and other men working in maritime trades, the lodge now welcomes men from a wide variety of backgrounds.
FENWICK LODGE no.1389
Fenwick Lodge has been warranted since 14th February 1872, founded by members of St. John's Lodge No.80 and the now-defunct Williamson Lodge No.949, although strangely it is a daughter Lodge of Palatine Lodge No.97. The name of the Lodge was taken from W Bro Henry Fenwick, who was Deputy Provincial Grand Master for the Province of Durham between 1850 and 1867. He was also Member of Parliament for Sunderland, and the emblem of the Lodge is based upon his coat of arms. W Bro Fenwick owned land around Crowtree Road and there was for some time a Fenwick Street running through this area. The Lodge has always had a diverse membership - not unusual in a busy port town. Indeed one of the founders, a Bro P Hvistendahl, was from Sweden. Local MPs Samuel Storey and Sir Edward Temperley Gourley, who were also founders of the Sunderland Echo, were members of the Lodge, as was Summers Hunter CBE, managing director of the North East Maritime Engineering Company, who was responsible for many innovations in naval engineering.
VEDRA LODGE no.3137
Vedra Lodge has been warranted since 1st December 1905 and takes its name from the Vedra, a river marked on Ancient Roman maps believed to be the Wear, the river on which Sunderland stands. The word Vedra, pronounced as 'Vee-dra', is in turn thought to have derived from the Brythonic word Wedra, meaning "a curve or bend"; possibly relating to the distinctive shape the river makes as it flows through Durham. Vedra Lodge has always drawn its membership with a particular bias from prominent local members of the medical and legal professions, interlaced with an eclectic mix of gentlemen from all walks of life. The Lodge was formed as a 'dining lodge' at a time when dining after Masonic meetings was generally regarded as somewhat of an afterthought, if at all. A group of Sunderland Freemasons from different lodges decided that for a perfect Masonic evening, that the ceremonial part was required to be followed by a festive board which should be equally enjoyable and both would be to a very high standard. These founding principles have remained intact to the present day.
SUNDERLAND LODGE No.4114
Sunderland Lodge was formed in the years after the Great War, when men who had served in that war were looking for something to replace the camaraderie of the trenches. The date of Sunderland Lodge's warrant is 11th May 1920 and the consecration took place on 21st July 1920. The founders of the Lodge were mostly from Londonderry Lodge No.2039 and Wearmouth Lodge No.2934, as well as St George's Lodge No.431 (Northumberland) and Boscombe Lodge No.2158 (Hampshire). In 1997, the Lodge was the first in the Province of Durham to have its own website.
MOWBRAY LODGE No.5373
Mowbray Lodge has been warranted since 22nd June 1932 and is named after the parkland adjacent to Wearside Masonic Temple, itself in turn named after the prominent Mowbray family of Sunderland who donated the land for the establishment of a municipal park for the enjoyment of all the borough's inhabitants. Mowbray Lodge is a member of the United Grand Lodge of England's Universities Scheme and welcomes applications from students and both academic and non-academic staff members of the University of Sunderland.
CIVIC LODGE No.5841
Civic Lodge has been warranted since 3rd September 1941. The name Civic Lodge takes its rise as the Lodge was initially consecrated for members of Sunderland Borough Council and all other men associated with the civic life of the then-town, now-city of Sunderland. This distinction has long since disappeared and Civic Lodge now has a membership from a wide variety of backgrounds. Civic Lodge is famous throughout the Province and beyond for its annual St George's Night celebrations.
WEAR LECTURE LODGE No.7248
Wear Lecture Lodge has been warranted since 4th February 1953. The Lodge does not initiate candidates as it is a Lodge of Research, however, all Master Masons are eligible to join. At each meeting, a lecture, talk or paper of interest is presented.
ERNEST DIXON LODGE No.7856
Comparatively, Ernest Dixon Lodge No.7856 is one of the younger Lodges in Wearside Masonic Temple, being consecrated in December 1962. The Lodge is named after Robert Wilkin Ernest Dixon, a prominent Sunderland Freemason who served as Provincial Grand Master of Durham from 1937 to 1959. The philosophy of the Lodge is one of enjoyment; members are encouraged to take their Masonic duties seriously and couple this with enjoyable festive boards and social activities. The members of Ernest Dixon Lodge are from a variety of backgrounds, including teachers, tradesmen, businessmen, publicans, engineers and civil servants. The youngest member of the Lodge is in his early-twenties and the oldest member is in his nineties! Despite the variety in vocation and age, the members form a tight-knit group with strong bonds of fraternity.
SAINT PETER'S LODGE No.8953
Saint Peter's Lodge has been warranted since 11th June 1980; in Masonic terms a relatively young Lodge. It is named after St. Peter's Church in Monkwearmouth, which was founded in AD 674 and was the home of the great English historian, Bede.
CHAPTER OF STRICT BENEVOLENCE No.97
Chapter of Strict Benevolence No.97 is a Royal Arch Chapter that has been warranted since 30th March 1797.
BEDE LODGE OF MARK MASTER MASONS No.605
Bede Lodge of Mark Master Masons No.605 is a Mark Lodge that has been warranted since 30th April 1909.