ISSUE 15, October 2005
Editorial
Historic: Nelson and Freemasonry
Grand Lodge: Pro Grand Master's Speech
Grand Lodge: Quarterly Communication
Hurricane Katrina: Grand Charity Relief Chest
Royal Arch: John Knight
Masonic Embroidery: A stitch in time...
Travel: Walzing along the Danube
Specialist Lodges: Martial arts
Library & Museum: The two Freemasons' Halls
    Anniversary: Jersey's Liberation
Anniversary: Dorset's 225 years
Obituaries: Lord Swansea OSM
Pro Grand Master: Whither directing our course?
Charmian Hussey: A Mason's wife on Masonry
International: The Grand Lodge of Israel
Education: Sheffield's big plans
Education: Forthcoming events
Education: The Second Degree
Masonic Charities
Letters, Book Reviews, Gardening

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Three more connections came to light in the late 20th century. The Castle Museum at Norwich was presented with a small, circular box, the lid of which was decorated with Masonic symbols. Papers with it claimed that it had been presented to a John Harcourt of Great Yarmouth by Lord Nelson. It had remained with the Harcourt family until presented to the Museum.
     Nelson was known to have been a member of a quasi-Masonic benefit and convivial society, the Gregorians. He had joined it in 1800 in Norwich and his membership came to light in 1973 at a Sotheby’s sale of autograph letters, which included one of 6 August 1800 from Lady Nelson to one Crisp Brown thanking him for the regalia of the Gregorians “for My Lord Nelson which he will esteem as an honour”.
     The final piece was a letter from Nelson himself to Mrs Frances Nesbit, who was to become his wife. In 1787 Nelson was in command of HMS Boreas and had with him HRH Prince William Henry, later Duke of Clarence and King William IV, who was a Freemason.
     They were stationed off Nevis and on 28 February 1787 Nelson wrote to Frances:
     It is possible that HRH may stop at Nevis on his way from Tortola. Today we dine with Merchants; I wish it were over: tomorrow a large party at Nicholas town; and on Friday in town here. Saturday, sail for Old Road; Sunday dine on Brimstone Hill; Monday, Mr George’s at Sandy Point and in the evening we attend the Freemasons’ Ball. Tuesday, Please God we sail. Farewell till tomorrow and be assured, ever affectionate, Nelson.
     There the matter might have rested – evidence seeming to link Nelson to Freemasonry – and much evidence that many of his friends and social circle were Freemasons, but nothing to link the man himself.
     The publication of Martyn Downer’s Nelson’s Purse, a fascinating story of the reappearance of some major Nelson relics produced more evidence for Nelson’s associations with Freemasons. The book gives a great deal of information about Alexander Davison, who became Nelson’s prize agent, financial adviser and friend.
     He had come to London from Northumberland to seek his fortune, becoming a merchant. Through his patron Hugh Percy, later Duke of Northumberland, he met many influential men and began to win contracts for supplying the colonies and the navy and army.
     He saw Canada, in particular Quebec, as an up an coming area and went there with his brother. Freemasonry was an important part of the social life of Quebec and Davison was soon initiated in Merchant’s Lodge No. 1.
   
© Library & Museum of Freemasonry

Above:
Above A silver medal with Nelson on the obverse and Masonic symbols on the reverse issued by the Nelson Crimson Oaks organisation



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