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Become a mason

A Brief History of our Provincial Grand Lodge

In a Report of the Grand Lodge for the half year, 27th December 1828 to the 24th June 1829, will be found the following significant notice, which was in all probability framed with a view to reform the local Masonic County Committees:-

 "The Grand Lodge of Ireland gives notice to the lodges under its jurisdiction, that His Grace, the Grand Master, will appoint, on the recommendation of the Grand Lodge, Provincial Grand Masters, and Provincial Grand Lodges for such Counties or Districts as may, in the opinion of Grand Lodge, require such establishments for the better government of the Craft."

 It was to take a further eighteen years before the Belfast Masonic Committee, gave place in 1836 to the newly constituted Provincial Grand Lodge of "Belfast and Massereene."

In 1848 this Provincial Grand Lodge was superseded by "The Grand Masonic Lodge of Belfast and North Down" which at the time comprised in all seventy seven subordinate lodges. Seventeen of these Lodges were located within the boundary of Belfast, twenty six, outside Belfast in County Antrim, and the remaining thirty four lodges located outside the municipal boundary, within the northern portion of County Down.

In 1852, about three years after the constitution of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Belfast and North Down, the Provincial Grand Lodge of South Down was formed. The ceremony of constitution was conducted by the Venerable Archdeacon of Down, R.W. Bro. Walter B. Mant who after the ceremony of constitution proceeded with the Installation of the new Provincial Grand Master, V.W. Bro. Colonel William Brownlow Forde, D.L., of Seaforde, County Down.

 At its inception the Provincial Grand Lodge of South Down consisted of twenty eight lodges, and during a period of sixteen years, held its communications twice annually, in May and November, alternately in Newry and in Downpatrick.  In the latter end of 1868, the Grand Lodge of Ireland, having decided upon yet another re-arrangement of Masonic Provinces, ruled that the entire County of Down should be formed into a new Province, which would in future become known as the "Masonic Province of Down." R.W. Bro. Colonel Forde was, by Patent of Appointment, duly confirmed as Grand Master of this new enlarged Province.

The first meeting of the new "Provincial Grand Lodge of Down" was called for the 10th November, 1868 and duly met in the Lodge Room of Lodge No. 86, Downpatrick. Representatives from twelve lodges were present, with apologies from a further six being noted. There were at this date some twenty three Lodges in the area known as South Down with a further twenty transferred from the previous old Province of Belfast and North Down, making forty three in total.

Downpatrick Masonic Hall

Downpatrick Masonic Hall shown above hosted the first meeting of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Down.