In a recent sale in Dublin there was a rare example of, what I initially assumed to be, a centenary jewel dated 1892 and carrying the number 117. The jewel comprised of a silver disc, bearing the word Centenary, and the date 1892. In the centre are the roman numerals CXVII standing for Lodge No 117 with shamrock sprays either side of roman numerals. Suspended underneath is a representation of an Irish Harp.
All in all, an unusual Centenary jewel, that attracted my interest, and I took the opportunity to investigate further, once I had returned home. And what a surprise I got. On checking in Right Wor Bro Keith Cochrane’s excellent reworking of Crossle’s List of Lodges, I discovered that on the 29th September 1892, a printed application was submitted to The Grand Lodge Board of General Purposes requesting the issue of a new Warrant to meet at the Masonic Hall, Dublin to be called “Centenary” Lodge – Memorial signed by ten brethren from various Lodges and nominating Hugh Alex. Auchinleck (P.M. 125) as first W. Master; Fred. R. Parr (250) as S.W. and Thomas Stuart (P.M. 125) as J.W. – Memorial recommended by Lodges 171, 2 and 620.
This application came in front of the Board at their October meeting, who approved the re-issue of Warrant No 117 I.C. to the Brethren named, to form a new Lodge to be known as Centenary, that would hold its meetings in Dublin. Warrant was issued bearing the date 6th October 1892.
The name Centenary intrigued me, and then I found a copy of the first set of By-Laws for Centenary Lodge No 117 I.C. And there it was, at the top of the by-laws, the statement – Formed in commemoration of the pre-eminently successful centenary celebrations on behalf of the Masonic Female Orphans Schools of Ireland 1892.
So,our Centenary jewel, is in fact a foundation jewel to mark the formation of this Lodge with several members of the Board of Management of The Masonic Female Orphans School Board, playing their part in the formation of this new Lodge. And we know from the back of the jewel that it was J.R. Ryan a well known firm of Dublin Goldsmiths who made these jewels, which carries their stamp on the reverse.
You may be interested to learn a little about the centenary of The Masonic Girls Orphan’s School, held in 1892 The occasion was marked with a Bazaar held in the grounds of The Royal Dublin Society, where some 96,000 visitors attended their celebration and some twenty one thousand six hundred and ninety pounds were collected towards school funds. The Bazaar was a very grand affaire, containing landscaped gardens, the re-construction of a typical old Dublin streetscape from the 1792 period and a human chess game. Indeed if you want to learn more about our centenary celebrations, I would advise you to seek out a copy of “The Book of the Centenary” compiled and edited by none other than Wor Bro Thomas Stuart, foundation Junior Warden of Centenary Lodge No 117 Dublin. For those interested in late Victorian trade advertisements, this is indeed a fascinating book.
Sadly, Warrant number 117 was returned to Grand Lodge 4 March, 1976.The normal procedure was following in that it was the Board of General Purposes who learned of the intention of the Lodge Members to return their Warrant and their minutes of the 12th February record the following :-
From the Minutes of the G.L. Board of G.P. : Lodge 117
12 Feb., 1976 – The Board noted and reported to Grand Lodge the decision of the Brethren of Lodge No. 117, Dublin, to hand in the Warrant of the Lodge and that 24 Members of the Lodge had joined Lodge No. 505, Dublin.
G.M.L. 4 March, 1976 – Confirmed
Returned, 4 March 1976,
I hope that you found these brief references to our extensive Irish records of some interest, as they indicate the wealth of information preserved in our archives and available for researches to call and look into. Just because a particular Warrant is no longer working does not mean that you still cannot find out about it. So, if you have an unusual jewel, medal or medallion in your collection, then please get in touch, and let us know a little about it.