Courtesy of W. Bro. Prof. D. G. Whitehead
THE MASONS OF HOWDEN: A HISTORY
IN THE BEGINNING
The origins of Freemasonry are shrouded in the mists of time and continually the subject of discussion and postulation, its genesis being variously attributed to the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt, Solomon King of Israel, the medieval Knights Templar and the Craft Guilds of the stonemasons of the Middle Ages.
However this came about, it is known that in 1717 a Premier Grand Lodge of Speculative Masons existed in York, being distinguished from the later-formed Antient Grand Lodge by misleadingly being referred to as the Moderns.
It was within the Modern Grand Lodge that the present York Lodge, No.263, was consecrated in 1777, becoming the second-oldest in the present Province.
On December 17th, 1813, the rival Grand Lodges merged to become the United Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of England known to us as the United Grand Lodge of England. In 1817, what had been a single Province accommodating the whole of the County of Yorkshire was divided into the separate Provinces of Yorkshire West Riding and Yorkshire North and East Riding, indicating the spread of Freemasonry throughout the North of England.
This resulted in the formation in 1850 of a Lodge in Selby. Following the pattern of the Medieval Church in entitling newly-formed monasteries and religious communities daughters of the original mother church, the Lodge of St. Germain originally numbered 827, at Selby became the daughter Lodge of that at York. One of the reasons for the increased number of Lodges in the area was that at that time travel was still difficult and certain Brethren wished to attend a Lodge within a reasonable distance from their homes or workplaces, with the added capability of attracting prospective members. It was common practice for Brethren of existing Lodges living in a particular area to form the nucleus of the new Lodge. So it must have been with regard to the Lodge of St. Germain, and so successful did it prove that only four years later Brethren living in and around the Howden area petitioned Grand Lodge to be empowered to meet as a regular Lodge at Howden.