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North Munster Masonic Centre,
Castle Street,
King's Island,
Limerick.

Antient Union 13
Meets at the North Munster Masonic Centre, Castle Street, King's Island, Limerick
on the 2nd
Friday of every Month
except June, July & August.

Photgraph of Baal's Bridge SquareThe Warrant no.13 was issued to 'Antient Union Lodge' in Limerick, on the 22nd November 1732. However, this date only coincides with a time when records began.

Lodge 13 are the proud possessors of an old brass square that was found under the foundations of Baal's Bridge in 1830. This Square, dated 1507, is reputed to be one of the earliest Masonic items in the world. Click here for more information on the Baal's Bridge Square.

Lodge 13 suffered many ups and down in its Masonic history, but was fortunate enough that its Warrant was never surrendered, suspended or cancelled. Unfortunately the Lodge records from 1732 to 1793 have not survived. However, from 1793 onwards the records are preserved in the archives of The Grand Lodge of Ireland.

The Lodge went through a period of two years (1808-1810), when meetings were not held. It was revived in 1810 by a Bro Francis Wheeler, who was installed as Master that year.  W. Bro. Wheeler got things on an even keel for a few years, generally improving attendances at meetings. Sadly a second quiet period occurred between the 24th June 1816 and July 1819, when no transactions were recorded. However, a further revival took place and the Brethren met, elected new Officers, re-establishing the Lodge for future meetings.  

Sadly Bro Wheeler was called to The Grand Lodge Above in October 1820. His Brethren appear to have pulled out all the stops for his funeral as noted by the Limerick Chronicle in its report of the 27th October 1820. This account is not only interesting in itself but throws much light on the ceremonial Masonic dress, insignia and working tools found in Lodge in the early part of the 19th century. The report of the funeral procession reads as follows:

Order of Procession.

Tyler of 271 with Sword and Insignia.

Two Deacons with Wands.

The Band of the County Limerick Militia.

Two Wardens with truncheons.

Junior Brethren two and two.

Senior Brethren two and two.

Two Brethren, carrying the Holy Bible, covered with black crepe.

The Master of 271, and Past Master.

The Tyler of Waterloo Lodge (of the 79th Regiment) No 233 on the Registry of England.

Two Deacons, bearing staves, with doves covered with black crepe.

Band of the 79th Regt with Drums muffled.

Two Wardens with truncheons covered in black crepe.

Visiting Brethren from Royal Artillery, two and two.

The Holy Bible, borne on a crimson cushion by two Brethren with insignia.

The Master of the Lodge and Past Master.

Tyler of No 13.

Two Deacons with wands.

The Band of the City of Limerick Regiment, with muffled drums, covered with black crepe.

Visiting Brethren two and two in mourning.

The Members of No 13 two and two in mourning.

The Treasurer.

The Secretary.

(in rich scarlet cloaks, black crepe hatbands and with wands and crepe knots.)

 

A Member of 13 bearing the Warrant covered with black crepe,

Senior Warden

Junior Warden

(in rich scarlet cloaks, black crepe hatbands and white gloves.)

The Royal Arch with Lodge within,

borne by two Brethren and covered with crepe.

The Past Master.

The Worshipful Master

with rich scarlet cloak, and in deep mourning.

Four women, clad in white linen.

Two Medical Gentlemen, in scarves and cypresses.

The Chaplain of Lodge 13 in full costume.

 

The Hearse with black plumes

 drawn by six horses covered

with black velvet

 

THE BODY

Sir Francis Wheeler

Grand Prior No 13

 

In a splendid coffin

covered with black cloth

and gold mounting

 

Chief Mourners, relatives of the deceased

 in long mourning cloaks and weepers

A Knight Templar, in black gown, and full

 mourning, bearing the black Standard,

 with a gold cross and the motto of

"In Hoc Signo Vinces" (*)

The Brethren, Knights Companions, two and two

Several of the Nobility and private gentlemen

 friends of the deceased, in mourning.

Clearly this must have been a most solemn and impressive occasion. Grand Lodge Laws and Constitutions, right up to the year 1850 included the order of procession and the exact form of wording to be used at Masonic funerals, as an integral part of its content. It would be many years thereafter before the tradition of a Masonic burial would finally cease.

(*) In this sign you will conquer

On the 5th  December 1820, the Lodge Members of Antient Union No 13 passed a motion that the "Best thanks of this Lodge be presented, along with a gold medal to W. Bro Christopher Marratt, Mayor of this city, for the excellent manner in which he discharged his duties as W.M. of this Lodge". Interestingly enough it was the very next year that we find record of a solid silver snuff box amongst the possessions of the Lodge (donated by an un-named benefactor). This snuff box is still used today at special festive gatherings together with the Mariencourt Cup.  The snuff box was made by Richard Sawyer of Dublin and bears the hallmark for 1809.

 

 

 


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