On 15 July, 1788 at the Fox Inn, Kiln Lane (now Princess
Street) in Shrewsbury, just 12 days after the Lodge had been
formed, Thomas Telford became the third joining member
of Salopian Lodge, then number 525 on the roll of the
Premier Grand Lodge of England. Meetings came thick and
fast in the early days of Salopian Lodge, even throughout
the summer. The second meeting was the following day,
on 4 July, when there was a triple initiation. Telford was
present at this ceremony and he is recorded in the minute
book as a visitor.
At the third meeting, on 15 July 1788, with Bro. Neale
as Master, the business in the minute book stated:
Mr. James Trehearne was proposed to be made a Mason, and it being
unanimously agreed to, he was initiated. Bro. Telford and Bro. John
Gellion were proposed, and being balloted for and approved, were
admitted members of the Lodge.
In the treasurer’s cash receipt book of the same date it
Thomas Telford, Surveyor, Salop – Admitted – ten shillings
Telford was a very enthusiastic member of the Lodge in those
early days, only missing four of the 37 meetings which took
place in the following 12 months. He was a signatory to the
Lodge bylaws, which were adopted on 20 August, 1788
and was present when the Lodge was consecrated on 10
September by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Major
Before the year was out he had been appointed a steward
for the Feast of St. John the Evangelist, to be held on 27
December. In June 1789 Telford acted twice as Junior
Warden and on 7 July acted as Senior Warden, the highest
position he was to hold in the Lodge.
Telford attended, together with 23 other members of
Salopian Lodge, one of the first Provincial meetings ever held
in Shropshire, at Whitchurch, on 24 June, 1789 to celebrate the
Festival of St. John the Baptist. In those days, Provincial Grand
Lodges usually took place at the oldest Lodge in the Province.
After the Lodge was opened, representatives of other
Lodges were admitted. The Provincial Grand Master or his
Deputy was then received and opened a Provincial Grand
Lodge, transacted any business of general interest, closed
Provincial Grand Lodge and the private Lodge reverted to its
own affairs before closing. A reminder of this procedure still
holds good today, as each Provincial meeting is held under
the banner of a private Lodge.
When Telford attended this first Provincial meeting there
were only three Lodges in the county, the oldest being Holy
Lodge of St. John No. 1, meeting at the White Lion in
Whitchurch, Salopian Lodge at the Fox Inn, Shrewsbury and
Egerton Lodge at the Coach and Horses, also in Whitchurch.
As both the PGM and his deputy were members of Lodge
No. 1, this was the reason for Telford and his fellow brethren
of Salopian Lodge travelling north.
On 17 July, 1789 Telford was present when William
Hazeldine, the ironmaster from Shrewsbury, was initiated
into Salopian Lodge. Hazeldine was to work very closely
with Telford for the next 20 years. At the Feast of St. John the
Evangelist in 1789, Telford was ‘instituted’ as Lodge treasurer,
an office he held for 12 months. It was a privilege to look
through those meticulous entries in Telford’s own hand
in the treasurer’s Account Register for the period.
An engineering print of the Menai Bridge
Web site created by Mark Griffin