Provincial Grand Lodge of Dorset

The official website of Dorset Freemasonry


For Province P0060 - Province of Dorset.

Doc Martin discovers ancient Masonic burial site - Part Two: The Dorset Connection

There are strong Dorset links to this story in the background to the Mother Lodge of George Hales, recorded in 'Ancient Freemasonry and Old Dundee Lodge No. 18 1722-1920' by Arthur Heiron written to celebrate 200 years of the Lodge.

In the 18th century Lodges customarily met in taverns and took their name from their home, when they moved they changed their name to the new hostelry. This Lodge must have existed before 1722 but in 1723 was known as 'The Ship in Bartholomew Lane' when it was 'constituted' as No 9 in the Premier Grand Lodge by the Duke of Wharton the Grand Master at that time.This ceremony had been introduced to bring under the Grand Lodge those Lodges that had existed prior to 1717 but had not participated in its formation so were 'constituted' rather than 'consecrated'.

By 1747 it was known as 'Dundee Arms Tavern Wapping' but dropped 'Arms' and became 'The Dundee Lodge'. Apparently it never informed Grand Lodge until 1835 and having taken the number 18 at the formation of United Grand Lodge had the name 'Old Dundee Lodge No. 18'. During this period the members were predominately seafarers.

Thomas Dunckerley, the first Provincial Grand Master of Dorset, was a member from 1761 to 1768 and up to 1763 brethren could eat, drink and smoke in Lodge. The Burt family, related to John Mowlem and originating from Swanage, became members in the second half of the 19th century and founded De Moulham Lodge No. 1146 in Swanage in 1867 which is thus a daughter Lodge of Old Dundee.

John Mowlem was first Master of De Moulham, his nephew George Burt Snr. (initiated in 1851 and WM of Old Dundee in 1859) was JW and Joseph Freeman (brother in law to George Burt WM of Old Dundee in 1860) was SW. George Burt's sons Sir John Mowlem Burt and George Burt Jnr. were installed in 1877 and 1882 and William Robert Freeman in 1883.

In 1912 George Burt's grandson George Mowlem Burt was WM and was the last family member on the board of John Mowlem, all the family were members of De Moulham.

Old Dundee has the adopted motto 'In the Lord is all our Trust' coming from the 'Old Operative Society', the arms being a circle enclosing the compasses and three castles (the arms of the operative or stone masons) and can also be seen on the banner of De Moulham Lodge.

I have two links with this Lodge; when I was initiated in 1964 Sir George Mowlem Burt was still a joining member of 1146 and on his death on 1st September 1964 as a generous legacy left De Moulham ownership of their premises free of debt.
He had represented Britain at the Olympics twice in the Epée fencing.

In 1973 Old Dundee Lodge whose members attended the De Moulham centenary in 1967 extended an invitation to De Moulham for their 250th. I was privileged to attend as WM, and respond to the toast to the visitors accompanied by Charles Burt (no relation to the Mowlem Burts); a great night out - I think I got home at 5:00am!

Author: David Bale


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