Foundation of Lodge 80
Last Updated on 21 December 2011 Written by Administrator
The Inauguration of Lodge 80
The Warrant lay dormant until 1863 when it was granted to Brethren who had applied for permission to form a new Lodge in Rathfriland.
On the 27th March 1863 it was agreed by a number of Brethren to take Warrant No. 80 and the princely sum of £7 was paid. An application to Grand Lodge in Dublin for a Warrant in Rathfriland was made nominating Bro. Benjamin Brown Meeke (Lodge 151) to be the first Worshipful Master, William Kean, Senior Warden (Lodge 77) and John Brontie, Junior Warden (Lodge 77). The application was recommended by the Worshipful Masters of Lodges No. 23 and 77 who sat in Newry.
The new Lodge was to be called Antiquity and Integrity and was formally constituted on the 14th May 1863 when a number of Brethren from Lodges 23 and 77 in Newry, and other members from the district met at Rathfriland to constitute the new Lodge. The ceremony was carried out in true and ancient form in a private dwelling as there was no Masonic Hall in the town and three new candidates were proposed on the night. When the business was concluded the Brethren retired to Mr Magill’s Hotel for a sumptuous supper where the new Master of Lodge 80 Benjamin Brown Meek occupied the chair and proposed the usual loyal and Masonic toasts.
Unfortunately there was no Masonic Hall in Rathfriland and meetings had to be held in private dwelling houses in Downpatrick Street and John Street until 1891 when the current building was constructed.
The founder members were:
Benjamin Brown Meek: Worshipful Master (Lodge 151)
William Kean: Senior Warden (Lodge 77)
John Bronte: Junior Warden (Lodge 77)
Andrew Rowan: Treasurer
From the Lodge's formation there have been approximately 500 on the roll of members.
At its inception the Lodge was part of the Provincial Grand Lodge of South Down and following a re-arrangement of Masonic Provinces by the Grand Lodge of Ireland, it was decided 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."
During the First World War ten of our brethren served with the armed forces. One member, Brother David J Wilson while serving with the Canadians making the supreme sacrifice. He joined the Lodge on 14th June 1907 and was killed in action in May 1916.
Another Brother, Lewis Wilson who joined the Lodge on 26th June 1899 was killed in the Great Earthquake in Japan in1923.