Freemasonry in Bridgend: Extracts from Dr. Randall.

The Masonic Hall, Adare Street, 1977. (Built in 1891)

An early but short lived institution of Freemasonary in the town is worthy of record. In the eighteenth century this ancient mystery was affected by an example of the perennial conflict between the traditionalists and he innovators. The traditionalists had their separate Grand Lodge known generally as the 'Ancient', but on account of the fact that the 3rd and 4th Dukes of Atholl were successively Grand Masters, also the called 'Atholl' Grand Lodge. As is so often the case family differences of this kind led to exhibitions of feeling, and the Glamorgan Lodge passed a resolution at one time that any 'modern' mason desiring to join the lodge must pay the full initiation fee just as if he had never before belonged to Freemasonry at all.

The Ancient Grant Lodge followed the custom of reissuing expired or lapsed warrants instead of granting new ones, and it is really to this economical habit that we owe our knowledge of the existence of this old Lodge in Bridgend. The warrant was in the first instance issued by the Ancient Grand Lodge on 13th March, 1753, under Number 33 to a Lodge meeting at the Star and Garter Inn in the Strand. Lodges at that time, like so many of the people, had a precarious hold on life, and after two years No. 33 expired. Ten years later, on 30th June, 1765, the same warrant was reissued to a lodge meeting at Bridgend. This again seems to have become dormant, but on 25th October, 1777, it was once more reissued, either to the same name or another lodge meeting at the Bear Inn, Bridgend.
The officers were Master: Richard Price|Senior Warden: David Jones|Junior Warden: Jenkin Williams.

There is not further record of the activities at the lodge at Bridgend, but it must have dwindled into inactivity once more, because the much used warrant was by an Endorsement dated 20th August, 1808, transferred to John Wood (the Elder) JohnWood (the Younger) and John Thackwell to be held by them and their successors at 'Cardiff or elsewhere in the County of Glamorgan'. The reconstitution proceedings took place on 4th November, 1808, and it was shortly afterwards named the Glamorgan Lodge. From that time on its records are continuous and it duly celebrated its centenary on 4th November, 1908.

It is agreeable to record that the rivalries of 'Ancients' and 'Moderns' were eventually composed, and the two societies were amalgamated 'with great splendour and much ceremonial' in 1813 under the title of the United Grand Lodge of England.

(Sources: Dr. Randall, Colonel Woodward and Mr. R.P.St.J Charles.)

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