A portrait of Dr Barnardo taken in
his native Ireland
The Lodge records show that at a Lodge of Emergency
held on 6 September 1889 at the Masonic Hall, Red Lion
Square, London, Thomas John Barnardo, Esq, MRCS, aged
forty [sic] was proposed by the Lodge Secretary, W Bro C.F.
Matier and seconded by the Senior Warden, Bro W.C.
Gilles. Bro Matier later became Grand Secretary of the Grand
Lodge of Mark Master Masons (1889–1914) as well as Great
Vice-Chancellor in the Great Priory of Knights Templar
(1896–1914). Barnardo was balloted for and elected.
At the same meeting, Douglas Heron Marrable was also
elected. Rather unusually, the Initiation, which took place at
the next meeting on 25 November 1889, was an Installation
meeting. RW Bro Major-General Lord John Henry Taylour
PJGW (1831–1890), was in the Chair as Master and
immediately following the Initiation ceremony, Barnardo’s
seconder, Bro William Charles Gilles, was installed as Master.
The visitors included VW Bro Colonel Shadwell H.
Clerke himself, RW Bro The Rt Hon the Earl of Euston,
Provincial Grand Master of Northamptonshire and
Huntingdonshire, RW Bro General I.W. Laurie, District
Grand Master of Nova Scotia, Canada, VW Bro Frederick
Adolphus Philbrick QC, Grand Registrar and Great
Chancellor of Knights Templar and 32° in the Ancient &
Accepted Rite and a well-known philatelist, among others.
There is no record of Douglas Marrable, who had been
elected with Barnardo.
At this meeting it was decided that the Lodge would move
from the Masonic Hall, Red Lion Square to Mark Masons’
Hall at Great Queen Street, where the next regular meeting
was held on 23 June 1890. It was W Bro William Charles
Gilles’s first meeting in the Chair and a busy one – with five
candidates for the Fellowcraft Degree. Bro Barnardo was
passed to the Second Degree together with the following
additional Brethren: Bros H.F. Matthews, J.L. Grossmith
and Bros Newton, South and Savory, who were Passed
at the request of the Master of the Grafton Lodge No. 2347.
Barnardo’s Raising coincided with a tragic event, the death
of the newly elected Master of the Lodge, W Bro James
MacDonald, who was killed on a railway line on 15 August
1891. A Lodge of Emergency was held on 8 October 1891
at Mark Masons’ Hall and Bro Barnardo was raised to the
sublime degree of a Master Mason by the Immediate Past
Master, W Bro W.C. Gilles, together with Bros Pirie,
Cummins and Fullilove.
The only other mention of Bro Thomas Barnardo in the
Lodge records is a resolution recorded for 25 September 1905
The W.M. proposed and W Bro H.F. Matthews seconded that
a letter of condolence and sympathy be sent to Mrs Barnardo on
the loss of her husband, our Brother Dr. Barnardo. This was
Tom Barnardo was born in Dublin, the son of a furrier. Little
detail of his unhappy childhood has emerged. His reports
from St. Patrick’s Cathedral Grammar School in Dublin
show him to have been rebellious and an agitator, easily bored
by lessons, and whilst talented with eloquence, he appears
to have been confrontational and argumentative.
He was unsuccessful with his public school exams and,
at 16, chose to cease his studies in favour of a short-lived
apprenticeship to a wine merchant. A year later, in May 1862,
Barnardo converted to become an Evangelical Christian and
took to his newly acquired persuasion with zest and passion. He
became impatient to convert others, teaching Bible classes in
a Dublin ragged school and getting involved in home visiting.
His membership, with his whole immediate family, of the
Plymouth Brethren, a Christian Evangelical religious
movement, was to change his life. The movement, begun
in Dublin in the 1820s by a group of prominent Christians,
included Dr Edward Cronin, a pioneer of homoeopathy,
Dr Edward Wilson, George Müller, founder of the Bristol
Orphanage, and Anthony Norris, missionary to Baghdad
and India, among others.
They felt that the Established Church had become too
involved with the secular state and had abandoned many of
the basic truths of Christianity. The movement spread rapidly
and in 1831, by which time the membership had swelled to
some 1,500, they met in Plymouth, England soon to be
nicknamed the ‘Plymouth Brethren’.