Ellindon Banqueting Suite

Richard Sandbach Research Lodge


The Richard Sandbach

Lodge of Research No. 9600

Lectures from 1996 - 2005

(including Jack the Ripper & many more)

Are now available in a book " The Lodge Papers"

at a very reasonable price

This is a First Limited Edition

Contact me


The Richard Sandbach Research Lodge No. 9600

The R.W.Bro. Richard Sandbach OSM PPrGM

Picture and sample lectures reproduced from the Lodge Papers,

by the very kind permission of R.W. Bro. Richard Sandbach OSM PPrGM

Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire

What use is a Lodge of Research? It is a fair question. For some the answer will be that it is always interesting to know the 'How?' and 'Why?' But what is the value of such a Lodge to the Craft - especially as there are other such Lodges whose members are well-known and respected throughout the Masonic world and who researches have covered so much ground?
I suggest that the answer to the second point is that in a local Lodge those attending are not all experts but ordinary Freemasons who are anxious to hear and perhaps be encouraged to do some work in the field themselves. From personal experience I can assure you that to talk to a Provincial Lodge is much less nerve-racking -and more rewarding -than the trial of speaking before an audience of experts, especially as experts are rarely tolerant of views with which they do not agree. There is the probability that in the local Lodge there will be more who are anxious to learn than to criticise. But why should they be encouraged to learn about the past? I suggest there are two reasons: first, the past can help us understand the present; and second, to ensure that the future continues on the firm basis of the past. Research makes us think about where we have come from and so whither we are going -and our interest is more likely to be kindled in the intimate atmosphere of a Lodge of fellow members of a Province, than one of intimidating experts -and members will be far more likely to seek knowledge than to criticise. I have never regretted that the late Sir James Stubbs enticed me into research. My one caution is that while detailed treatise may suit such Lodges as Quatuor Coronati, a local Lodge will do better to keep its lectures readily understandable -and free from the scholarly quarrels into which experts can all too easily drift. I am greatly honoured to have my name associated with a Lodge in the Province I have been privileged to serve for so many years, and wish the Lodge and its members well for the future.

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Samples of the Book

The Lodge Papers

Edited by Richard Cowley, MA, PPrGStwd



RWBro Richard Sandbach OSM PPrGM

A paper read on Monday 15 January 1996

Much has been written about the history of Peterborough Cathedral, and it may seem that little more of general interest can emerge. But both ecclesiastical and social historians, and indeed most other writers ignore one aspect which merits attention, the links between the Cathedral and the Freemasons. For this neglect, the Craft must take the blame because the excessive privacy in which it chose to wrap itself in the years between the two World Wars, particularly in the thirties, and for over a decade after the Second.

Prior to that, as we shall see, it had not shunned publicity, and on grand occasions a church parade in regalia was not unusual. Many of the clergy of all shades of the Christian faith were members. However, by the time the Craft was ready to return to its older, open attitude, theological studies had been influenced by new thinking and new methods. The Craft which had always received sympathy and support from most of the Christian churches, probably felt itself respectably free of any need to defend its tenets, particularly since these are based on high moral standards and the brotherhood of human beings of every creed or colour. But although regular Freemasonry is only open to men who believe in a Supreme creator, it does not, in any basic degrees, require that belief to be Christian.

This later led to a clash with certain elements, so that some Christians were led into tl:lking a hostile view of its activities. The shock to the Craft of this attitude has probably been underestimated, but one immediate, if temporary, result has been a diffidence among some of the clergy about Masonic involvement.

The reason for stating all this is not by way of defence of the Craft or attack on the theologians, but because the situation today as seen by the public, is thus very different from that of the Victorian and post-Victorian periods, and the links between Cathedral and Craft can therefore only be understood in the light of the historical context. I am glad to say that personal relations both at diocesan and cathedral level are in fact friendlyhere, as in many other dioceses; but my point is to stress that public antagonism between the Craft and the Church of England Synod (and I say Synod advisedly) is a relatively new phenomenon and the publicity attendant upon the recent past has been such that some may find any associapon of the Cathedral with the Craft surprising or even reprehensible. Obviously I believe such feelings to be misguided, but they exist and can militate against any stress on Masonic associations with the building.

Nevertheless, such associations are part of the heritage and the social history of both church and city and so they may well be of interest to such a society as this. I have prepared my talk with that in mind, but I also understand that. the text, or a version of it, may reach a wider audience through the medium of Ars Quatuor Coronatorum which has a world wide circulation among Freemasons interested in masonic history -and it may even assist therefore in bringing visitors here.

The whole building is of course an example of the masons' craft and has its share of 'masons" marks'; but this paper is concerned with speculative Freemasonry rather than the operative craft.

With that introduction, let us start our tour, beginning of course at the West Front. As you enter there you will see a small door on your right. An inscription tells you that the former library to which it gives access was restored at the expense of W. T. Mellows, MBE, MA, ASA, and his wife, in memory of their son. Tony Mellows was serving with the S.A.S. during the Second World War when he was captured and brutally tortured before being murdered. Another memorial to him is in the window of Saint John's Parish Church commemorating the Ruddles family. W. T. Mellows was a solicitor, former Town Clerk, and a member of this Society of which he was greatly respected secretary for many years. He was also Past Master of Fitzwilliam Lodge, number 2553, the second senior Lodge in the city, and for a period, was its Secretary, being succeeded by J. W. Hall, whose pharmacy was just i to the right of the main. entry to the precincts.

W.T. Mellows was well known as a scholar and spent many hours in the Cathedral Library where a number of old manuscripts -including a copy of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle - were stored, until Dean Wingfield-Digby transferred them for custody to the Cambridge University Library. Mellows was also Cathedral Treasurer and Chapter Clerk 1936 to 1946, and archivist 1946 to 1950, and may well be considered its historian. Had he lived a few days longer he would have received a Lambeth Doctorate. He held Provincial Honours in the Craft, as did his blood-brother Arthur, a Deputy, Lieutenant.

Passing through the Porch into the special beauty of the Norman nave, you can see at once a brass plaque on the first column in the south. Inspection will reveal that it bears two Masonic devices, the square and compasses and the two interlaced triangles and sometimes known as the Seal, or Shield, of Solomon. The inscription commemorates Harry Plowman who was Dean's Verger for many years prior to his death in February 1900. He was well known and respected in Cathedral and Masonic circles and for many years was Tyler, or outer guard, for Saint Peter's Lodge, the oldest Masonic Lodge in the city and presented it with a kneeling stool on 12 May 1892, the woodwork of which he stated came from the '(sic) old-work' of the Cathedral, where the rebuilding of the Choir was in progress. After his death, Bishop Glynn presided at a meeting held to consider a memorial to him and expressed the wish that the Freemasons be invited to join with the Cat!hedral authorities 'instead of acting in the matter themsslves' awry acknowledgement of the stubborn independence of the Peterborians in those days.

Harry Plowman lived at 3 Minster Precincts, and on his death was succeeded by his son as Dean's verger and as Tyler of the Lodges by his son, of the same name; we meet him again later.

A Memorial to another Freemason is prominent towards the east of the South Aisle, John Connor Magee, Lord Bishop of Peterborough from 1868 to 1891. He was an Irishman by birth and well known for his resounding oratory and practical content of his sermons. He was consecrated Archbishop of York in 1891, but died before he could be instituted. A copy of the published text of a sermon he preached at a service in the Cathedral in connection with the meeting in the City of the Provincial Grand Lodge on 19 May 1870 is in the Peterborough Masonic Library. It is recorded that more than 5000 people attended the service. The Provincial Grand Master,
the Duke of Manchester, had been conducted from the Great Northern Hotel to the Cathedral by the Freemasons of the Province in procession. The Grand Secretary, Bro John Harvey, a Past Master of Saint Peter's Lodge, was present.

The Brethren, in full regalia and ranged under their respective banners' as the ritual describes it, were led to the Cathedral by the band of the 6th Volunteer Rifle Corps. The weather was fine and the route was well lined by spectators. The bells of Saint John's Church were rung as the procession passed. The London and North-Western Railway and Great Northern Railway ran special trains for the occasion. The mention of these railways reminds us that there was then a railway between Peterborough and Northampton, the Provincial Headquarters, and indeed until 1850, the direct line from Peterborough to London was via Northampton, a fact still commemorated by the inclusion of Peterborough on the list of places served from Euston on the columns at the entrance to that station.

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W. Bro Richard Cowley PPrGStwd

A paper read on Monday 17 January 2005

I'm not a Butcher
I'm not a Yid
Nor yet a foreign skipper
But I'm your old light-hearted friend

Yours truly; Jack the RipperThat poem, reproduced verbatim, and which we would now call racially offensive, was contained in a letter, hichwas one of the thousands received by Scotland Yard during the series of murders of prostitutes in London's EastEnd in the Autumn of 1888. This was actually shown to be a hoax letter, and the poem it contained is given accepted into folk lore to describe this series of extremely horrible murders.

The name Jack the Ripper was first used in a letter sent to the Central News Agency on 27 September 1888, almost a month after what appeared to be the first murder on 31 August, and just two weeks after the second murder on 8 September. This letter is now believed to be an invention of a reporter at the Central News Agency who sent the letter to himself to revive interest, which he thought was flagging. But be that as it may, the name Jack the Ripper even after all these years still has the power to provoke a tremendous flesh-creeping fascination in us all.

Even today, nearly one hundred and twenty years later, books, articles and theories are still being written. But in 1977, the world of the 'Ripperologists' was taken aback by the publication of one book.

In the eighty nine year gap from the murders up to 1977, literally hundreds of books and theories had been published. Not one of those had ever made any mention of Freemasonry.

But in 1977, the bombshell was dropped. The book Jack the Ripper: TheFinal Solution by Stephen King was published, which gave a totally new theory for the murders -it was a conspiracy theory -because the book alleged that Jack the Ripper was not one man but several, all Freemasons, and that there were five murders, and that these murders were a Masonic conspiracy. The author, Stephen King, had been told the Masonic conspiracy theory by a man called Joseph Sickert, who said that he was the son of Walter Sickert, the painter, who claimed that had been privy to the whole conspiracy, and who had passed on the story to him.

Briefly the theory was this. Prince Albert Victor, known as Eddy, was the Duke of Clarence, the oldest son of the Prince of Wales (later to become Edward VII). Because his mother wanted to further his education, she introduced him to Walter Sickert, the artist, who in turn invited him to his studio in Cleveland Street. It was there that Eddy met Annie Crook one of Sickert's models; and who at 18 years of age, was exactly the same age as he

A love affair began between the two, and a daughter was born to Annie in April 1885. The couple then indulged in a secret, Catholic, wedding ceremony.

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W. Bro Neil Mitchell PrGSwdB

A paper read on Monday 15 March 2004

The story I am about to unfold is mainly about the formation of Craft Lodges and their activities. I will be throwing lots of dates at you, not that I am expecting to remember them, but only as a guide to the chronological progress that was developing in Freemasonry at Peterborough.

As much as I would like to include details of the many distinguished Masons who have passed through our Fraternity, unfortunately I will not have time, as I have less than one hour in which to compress over two hundred years of Peterborough Masonic history.

Starting with the premier Lodge, Saint Peter's Lodge. Saint Peter is always depicted as carrying the keys of heaven, which is why the Peterborough Coat of Arms is 'The Crossed Keys'.

If you inspect the Past Masters' Panels in the Temple, you will see that the present lodge was formed in 1837. However, there are records showing an earlier Saint Peter's Lodge, formed in 1802. But as Doctor Oliver was
Initiated into Saint Peter's Lodge in 1801, this indicates that the formation of Freemasonry in Peterborough went even further back.

As no Minute Books exist, local historians are convinced that this earliest Saint Peter's Lodge was set up in the Angel Hotel, by soldiers billeted there, who were in charge of the French prisoners of war, captured during the Napoleonic Wars, who were held at the hotel from time to time, or at Norman Cross. The lodge operated under a temporary warrant, number 160B in the register of the 'Ancients', which was possibly issued during the 1790s. It is likely that some French army officers would have attended the Lodge, wearing jewels carved from animal bone, which had been made by the French prisoners. Our own Masonic Museum once had Norman Cross
Bone-work with Masonic emblems carved upon them, but these were stolen some time ago.

Between 1800 and 1801, because of contaminated water, typhoid broke out, killing a total of one thousand two hundred prisoners, which must have had a profound affect on the attendance of the lodge.

We also know that it was about this period, that four Peterborough tradesmen were Initiated at Norwich. Why travel all that way when there was a Lodge in Peterborough? The most logical answer is that the country was at war with the French, and these particular tradesmen did not in any way wish to be associated with the enemy. There could possibly have been a language problem as well, not only with the French, but it was also reputed that many of the army officers in charge of the prisoners, spoke with a German tongue. Or was it simply that they wished to start their own Lodge?

In fact, it was because of a local tradesman by the name of Samuel Stevens who ran a carriers business dating back to the 1770s, who regularly visited Norwich with his deliveries, where he was attracted to join a Freemasons' Lodge called the Lodge of Perseverence, number 294 in the Antients, which met at the Queen of Hungary's Head Inn.

This lodge had in its possession an old warrant number 160, issued to another lodge in Norwich on 22 March 1769, but had been given up on 22 September 1791, as this lodge had transferred to the Moderns in the following year.

After going through the Chair, Samuel Stevens was keen to start a lodge in Peterborough so he persuaded his son and a few friends to go with him to Norwich to be Initiated and become Master Masons in the Lodge of Perseverence, which they did. They bought the old warrant, number 160, then on 11 June 1802 at the Angel Hotel Peterborough, the Lodge of Perseverence carried out an Installation Ceremony placing Samuel Stevens' own son in the Chair, with his friends as Wardens and other Officers. Samuel Stevens himself was appointed Secretary.

The Consecration of the Lodge took place on 26 July 1802, which coincided with the Festival of Saint john the Baptist, when the Reverend Samuel Oliver (father of Doctor George Oliver) and Chaplain of the new lodge, gave a Masonic sermon in the parish church. From Doctor Oliver's own family records, it appears that George Oliver was Initiated a couple of months after the Consecration by Special Dispensation, because he was only nineteen years old at the time.

As Samuel Oliver held membership in three lodges in the Moderns, it is thought he persuaded the members at Peterborough to apply for a warrant in the Moderns, which they did, it was granted on 23 December 1803, ; number 596.

It is not yet clear whether Lodge number 160 continued in 1803. However, it is known that the warrant was re-sold for five guineas in June 1812, to the Hiram Lodge, Pontypool, Monmouthshire, although it appears to have been erased in 1830.

The newly formed Lodge continued to meet at the Angel Hotel. The first Senior Warden being John Whitwell, a glazier; and Sprignall Brown, a Merchant, was Junior Warden. One Member of this Lodge was Samuel Buckle, a well known brewer in the city, and who supplied ale to the Norman Cross prisoner of War Camp. The Brethren purchased new jewels for their collars, at least two of which are still being worn today -those of the Immediate Past Master and the 'Mercury' jewel of the Senior Deacon. Both these jewels are hallmarked for the year 1801.

Little is known of the activities of this Lodge during its first five years, until a letter arrived, addressed to the Worshipful Master, appointing Saint Peter's Lodge as the Provincial Grand Lodge of Northamptonshire. It was interesting to read the Provincial Lodge of Saint Peter's Minute Book of 1808. It was obvious that they drank ale in the Lodge, as their drinks bill for that year averaged out to 4s 6d per meeting; and on one occasion they ate, which cost the Brethren a total of 5s. By 1809, there were at least eighteen members, one of whom was the manager of the Angel Hotel, Brother Daniels.

An entry in February 1810, records that Candidates reaching their Third Degree were presented with hand written certificates on parchment with suitable ornaments drawn on, even though Grand Lodge Certificates were
by then available.

The 9 October 1811 was the first record of Masons parading outside the Lodge premises dressed in regalia. The occasion was the burial of W. Brother William Todd at the Cowgate Cemetery. The band of the Yeoman Cavalry played the Death March at the grave side, then led the Brethren as they paraded back to the Angel Hotel.

During 1812, Saint Peter's Lodge moved from the Angel Hotel to the Swan Public House in Swanspool (Midgate). It was there, that local diarist William Mitchell was Initiated. Their stay in the Swan was short-lived.

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