ISSUE 16, January 2006
Editorial
Historic: Sherlock Holmes incarnate
Travel: In the Footsteps of the Incas
Sport: Batting for England
Grand Lodge: Pro Grand Master's speech and Quarterly Communication
Supreme Grand Chapter: First Grand Principal's speech and Committee of General Purposes
Royal Masonic Girls' School: Stories in windows
Specialist Lodges: Brotherhood of the Angle
    Napoleonic Wars: A Mason's Word
International: Macedonia: New Grand Lodge consecrated and Enthusiasm unbound
Grand Lodge: Development of Freemasons' Hall
Masonic Rebels: Rise and fall
Bristol Museum: A Phoenix from the Ashes
Freemasonry and Religion: United in diversity
Library and Museum: Most glorious of them all
First Aid: Masons learn to shock
Education: The Third Degree and Forthcoming events
Masonic Charities, Letters, Book Reviews, Gardening

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Other meetings took place on the periphery of the Wigan area, such as the Angel Inn in Ashton. The use of these inns were vital as important meeting places for the Grand Lodge. Many of them, like the Angel Inn and the Rope & Anchor Inn in Scholes, were run by fellow brethren, enabling the Grand Lodge to establish regular meetings, ensuring its continuity.
    Miller also witnessed the end of the Grand Lodge of Wigan, its last surviving Lodge being isolated and alone, and as a relic of the ‘Antients’ of the 18th century, was not recognised by other local Masonic Lodges. Despite the ruling passed in the early days of the Grand Lodge that it was forbidden to discuss the UGLE, Miller mentions that debates on rejoining had been going on for two or three years leading up to 1913.
    The matter was brought to a head, as Miller puts it, in 1912, when a newly raised brother received an invitation to visit another Lodge. On presenting himself to the Lodge, and showing his certificate, he was refused admission, which led him to write a rather abusive letter, calling the Lodge a bogus institution, and stating he was the victim of a fraud. This incident seemed to confirm that the Sincerity Lodge, the last surviving Lodge under the Grand Lodge of Wigan, had a bleak future, and if it was to survive, it needed to adapt.
    A meeting between both Grand Lodges was sought, and the Sincerity Lodge was visited by J D Murrey from Provincial Grand Lodge, who was satisfied with what he witnessed of the working of the Lodge.
    Miller recites that developments moved quickly, and the Lodge could keep the name ‘Sincerity’ but would have to be renumbered. Ironically, the issue over the renumbering of Lodges after the Union was an issue which had moved Gage to rebel against the UGLE in the first place.
    The Lodge would lose its original number of 486, it would surrender its old warrant, and despite being founded in 1786, it would have a new number of 3677. In the official UGLE records, the Lodge of Sincerity would have 26 September, 1913 as the date of its consecration.
    All the brethren of the Wigan Grand Lodge then had to be initiated, passed and raised, in a ceremony which was reminiscent of the pre-Union ‘remaking’ ceremony, when an ‘Antient’ Mason joined a ‘Modern’ Lodge. Miller seemed to have mixed feelings of his Lodge rejoining the UGLE, and in his memoirs he discussed the “ghosts of those old brethren of an unrecognised Lodge that still linger around Sincerity”, Miller perhaps speaking of some regret of the surrender of the what was effectively the last surviving relic of the ‘Antients’.
    It had been 90 years since Michael Alexander Gage presided over the first meeting at the Shakespeare Tavern in Liverpool, and in the Masonic Rooms at Wigan, Gage’s dream finally ended, as the last surviving Lodge under the Grand Lodge of Wigan rejoined the United Grand Lodge.

References
Beesley, E.B., 1920. The History of the Wigan Grand Lodge, Manchester Association for Masonic Research, Leeds.
Spurr, M.J., 1972. The Liverpool Rebellion, pp.29-60, AQC Vol.
Reminiscences of an Unrecognised Lodge, namely Old Sincerity Lodge No. 486 by James Miller.
Many thanks to the Rev. Neville Cryer, who supplied the memoirs of James Miller.
An earlier article on Wigan Grand Lodge by David Harrison appeared in Issue No. 13 (April 2005) of MQ.


Below
The renovated Angel Inn at Ashton-in-Makerfield, where the Grand Lodge of Wigan often met along with the Lodge of Harmony and Perseverance




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