A Short History - Freemasonry in Nidderdale
The Vale of Nidd Masonic Lodge is situated in the sleepy market town of Pateley Bridge in Nidderdale, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and has been in existence since 1928. It has for many years attracted local men from all walks of life to enjoy the friendships of Freemasonry and the social aspects of meeting and dining together.
Freemasonry in Pateley Bridge started in 1796 when Ebenezer Lodge No. 556 was first warranted by the Premier Grand Lodge of England and met at the Crown Inn until 1810. It then moved to the George Inn near the top of the High Street, but due to lack of support the Lodge handed back its warrant and closed in 1822.
Just over a 100 years later in 1927, 21 like-minded Freemasons of the district decided they would like to form a new Lodge in the town. Eleven of these men were members of the De Grey & Ripon Lodge No. 837 who sponsored a daughter lodge which was named the Vale of Nidd Lodge No. 4984 at its Consecration on 14th February 1928.
Other founders were members or former members of lodges in Manchester, Southport, Harrogate, Knaresborough, Hong Kong, Richmond, Westhoughton, Agra in India, and Barrackpore in Bengal.
The Consecration was performed in St Cuthbert’s School Room but thereafter was based in Colbeck House, a property leased until 1957 and then subsequently purchased. With interest-free loans from its members, the Lodge bought the freehold together with 3 dilapidated houses in Pullan Square. These were demolished to make the Lodge car park. The orchard at the front of the house was sold in 1967 to Pateley Bridge Rural District Council (now Harrogate Borough Council) to form a public car park.
The young lodge had a flying start with 9 candidates being proposed at the Consecration meeting, and it continued to attract a steady flow of applicants in the ensuing years, often necessitating double ceremonies to further their progress. The souvenir menu card for the 50th anniversary in February 1978 lists the names of 69 members, over half of whom did not reside in Nidderdale but were so dedicated that they and many visitors regularly travelled in all weathers from Leeds, Otley, Harrogate, Knaresborough, Wetherby, and Leyburn.
Major improvements have been made to the building over the years and the Vale of Nidd Lodge continues today in a friendly, benevolent atmosphere. The members of the Lodge are very proud of their home at Colbeck House where they are able, for a few hours each month, to leave behind their cares and worries of the troubled world outside to embrace the happiness and companionship of their fellow mortals.
The Vale of Nidd Lodge, by its charitable activities, continues to play a useful part in the life of Pateley Bridge, as it has for the past 92 years, and it looks forward to introducing more local men of honour, loyalty, and integrity to carry it into the future and celebrate its Centenary in 8 years time.
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