ISSUE 13, April 2005

Editorial
The Campbells are coming: At speed!
Travel: Warming to Iceland
Royal Masonic Family: The Six Masonic Sons of George III, Part II
Quarterly Communication: Address of the Pro Grand Master and: Report of the Board of General Purposes
The flying eye hospital
Beamish Museum: The million pound project
  Wigan Grand Lodge: The Liverpool rebels
Chelsea Lodge: That's entertainment
Re-enactment: The way we were and: The Russian connection
Community Service: Weathering the storm
Faith and Freemasonry: God and the Craft
Education: Researching Freemasonry on the Internet and: Masonic events
Freemasons Hall: Masons at War
Grand Charity: Report and grant list and: Support for Asian tsunami
Masonic Charities: Reports from the Masonic charities
Obituaries, Letters, Book reviews, Gardening

 Previous Page 
PLEASE USE THE LINKS ABOVE - OR ON THIS LINE - TO MOVE BETWEEN PAGES
 Next Page 






The Liverpool rebels

In December 1823, a group of Masonic rebels met at the Shakespeare Tavern in Williamson Square, Liverpool to recreate the Antient Grand Lodge. The group, led by local tailor Michael Alexander Gage, were rebelling against the central control of London, and what they saw as the ‘tyranny’ of the Duke of Sussex, Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE).
    The Liverpool rebellion was the culmination of discontent within the large Lancashire Province, which seemed to have been simmering since the Union of the Antients and the Moderns Grand Lodges in 1813.
    Lodge of Friendship No. 277 in Oldham had witnessed disruption in 1817. Bickering between the brethren split the Lodge in two, and the rift was only healed the following year after the direct intervention of the Provincial Grand Master.
    Many of the rebels, who were mainly a collective of Liverpool and Wigan-based tradesmen and merchants, eventually returned to the UGLE, renouncing their initial grievances and apologising. But a hard core remained, and under the leadership of Gage, the rebels created the groundbreaking Magna Charter of Freemasonry and formed the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of England According to the Old Constitutions, later to become the Grand Lodge held at Wigan.
    Ironically, many of the Liverpool-based Masonic rebels were originally from outside the city, such as Gage, who was born in Norfolk, John Robert Goepel, a jeweller who originated from London, and James Broadhurst, a watchmaker from Great Sankey near Warrington.
    James Broadhurst was baptised on 25th August 1771 at St. Mary’s Church, Great Sankey. He was the son of a watchmaker, and followed in his father’s footsteps, eventually moving to Liverpool, where he set himself up in business and married Christian Litherland at St. Nicholas’ Church in Liverpool in 1794.
    Christian was the sister of Liverpool watchmaker Peter Litherland, who had also originated from Warrington, and was famous for inventing the patent lever watch. Litherland had relocated to Liverpool in 1790, and James seemed to have been close to this fellow watchmaking family.
    With the outbreak of the French wars, Liverpool was rife with press gangs, and Broadhurst was ‘inrolled’ into the navy in 1795. He served as an able seaman on the Namur, taking part in the decisive Battle of Cape St. Vincent on 14th February 1797, an outstanding victory, revealing the brilliance of Nelson. In December 1800, Broadhurst was transferred to the San Josef, one of the two captured Spanish ships from the battle, which Nelson commanded at the time. It would be another two years before James was released from service, and he returned to Liverpool back to watchmaking, settling in Trowbridge Place.
    In 1847 he received the Naval General Service medal, the medal only being presented to the veterans still surviving at the time. In 1817, like many veterans of the Napoleonic Wars, he entered Freemasonry, joining Merchants’ Lodge No. 442, and in 1820 he joined Ancient Union Lodge No.348, where he became Master. Both of these Lodges became involved in the rebellion.
    Broadhurst took an active part in Provincial Grand Lodge meetings, and was quick to join his fellow Masonic tradesmen in the rebellion, sharing the same grievances, freely giving his signature to the document which outlined these issues.
    The discontent had started a year after Broadhurst had become a Freemason, and quickly gathered pace, Lancashire Province suffering in part due to the neglect of its Provincial Grand Master, Francis Dukinfield Astley, who never took action in Liverpool or Wigan to diffuse the situation.


 Previous Page 
PLEASE USE THE LINKS ABOVE - OR ON THIS LINE - TO MOVE BETWEEN PAGES
 Next Page