Antient Union 13
North Munster Masonic Centre,
Castle Street, King's Island, Limerick
on the 2nd
Friday of every Month
except June, July & August.
number 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 so it may have been in existence for some time before
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.
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.
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
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.
Deacons with Wands.
Band of the County Limerick Militia.
Wardens with truncheons.
Junior Brethren two and two.
Senior Brethren two and two.
Brethren, carrying the Holy Bible, covered with black crepe.
Master of 271, and Past Master.
Tyler of Waterloo Lodge (of the 79th Regiment) No 233 on the
Registry of England.
Deacons, bearing staves, with doves covered with black crepe.
of the 79th Regt with Drums muffled.
Wardens with truncheons covered in black crepe.
Visiting Brethren from Royal Artillery, two and two.
Holy Bible, borne on a crimson cushion by two Brethren with
Master of the Lodge and Past Master.
Tyler of No 13.
Deacons with wands.
Band of the City of Limerick Regiment, with muffled drums, covered
with black crepe.
Visiting Brethren two and two in mourning.
Members of No 13 two and two in mourning.
rich scarlet cloaks, black crepe hatbands and with wands and crepe
Member of 13 bearing the Warrant covered with black crepe,
(in rich scarlet cloaks, black crepe
hatbands and white gloves.)
Royal Arch with Lodge within,
borne by two Brethren and covered with
rich scarlet cloak, and in deep mourning.
women, clad in white linen.
Medical Gentlemen, in scarves and cypresses.
Chaplain of Lodge 13 in full costume.
Hearse with black plumes
by six horses covered
Grand Prior No 13
covered with black cloth
Chief Mourners, relatives of the deceased
long mourning cloaks and weepers
Knight Templar, in black gown, and full
bearing the black Standard,
a gold cross and the motto of
Hoc Signo Vinces" (*)
Brethren, Knights Companions, two and two
Several of the Nobility and private gentlemen
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
this sign you will conquer
Another extensive Masonic funeral took place in Limerick on 19th
February 1867. This time it was the funeral of the late Michael
Furnell, D.L., who had been the first Provincial Grand Master of North
Munster, when it was formed in 1842. He was responsible for the
revival of Lodge 13 in 1840 after it had not met for a few years.
He retired as Provincial Grand Master in 1863 and went to live in
Dublin, but did not sever his connections with the Province, calling
his house in Sandymount, 'North Munster'. The following
report of his funeral appeared in the local Limerick Chronicle.
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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Provincial Grand Lodge of North Munster - All Rights