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Location: Boston

Chartered By: Henry Price

Charter Date: 01/07/1738 I-7

Precedence Date: 01/07/1738

Current Status: This lodge existed for the purpose of making Master Masons. Removed from the roll of lodges around 1796.


From New England Craftsman, Vol. IV, No. 4, January 1909, Page 116:

Record of the Masters' Lodge
Established in Boston, January 2, 1738 (O. S.)

It is probable that many Masons do not know that the lodges first established in New England did not confer the Master Mason's degree. That they did not confer this degree is not surprising when we consider that regularly organized Freemasonry at that time was a new institution, and its single degree had but recently been developed into a system of three degrees.

Mackey says of the origin of degrees: "It is now the opinion of the best scholars, that the division of the Masonic system into degrees was the work of the revivalists of the beginning of the eighteenth century; that before that period there was but one degree, or rather one common platform of ritualism; and that the division into masters, fellows and apprentices was simply a division of ranks, there being but one initiation for all. In 1717 the whole body of the Fraternity consisted only of Entered Apprentices, who were recognized by the thirty-nine Regulations, compiled in 1720, as among the law givers of the Craft, no change in those Regulations being allowed unless first submitted "even to the youngest Apprentice." In the old Charges, collected by Anderson and approved in 1722, the degree of Fellow Craft is introduced as being a necessary qualification for Grand Master, although the word "degree" is not used. "No brother can be a Grand Master unless he has been a Fellow Craft before his election." And in the "Manner of Constituting a New Lodge" of the same date, the Master and Wardens are taken from "among the Fellow Cnlfts," which Dermott explains by saying that "they were called Fellow Crafts because the Masons of old times never gave any man the title of Master Mason until he had first passed the chair." In the thirteenth of the Regulations of 1720, approved in 1721, the orders or degree of Master and Fellow Craft are recognized in the following words: "Apprentices must be admitted Masters and Fellow Crafts only in the Grand Lodge." Between that period and 1738, the system of degrees had been perfected; for Anderson, who, in that year, published the second edition of the Book of Constitutions, changed the phraseology of the old Charge to suit the altered condition of things, and said, "A Prentice, when of age and expert, may become an Enter'd Prentice or a Free-Mason of the lowest degree, and upon his due improvement a Fellow Craft and a Master-Mason." No such words are found in the Charges as printed in 1723, and if at that time the distinction of the three degrees had been as well defined as in 1738, Anderson would not have failed to insert the same language in his first edition. That he did not, leads to the fair presumption that the ranks of Fellow Craft and Master were not then absolutely recognized as distinctive degrees. The earliest ritual extant, which is contained in le "Grand Mystery," published in L725, makes no reference to any de-rees, but gives only what I suppose was the common initiation in fuse about that time. The division of the Masonic system into three legrees must have grown up between 1717 and 1730, but in so gradual and imperceptible a manner that te are unable to fix the precise date of the introduction of each degree. In 1717 there was evidently but one legrec, or rather one form of initiation and one catechism. Perhaps about 1721 the three degrees wore introduced, but the second and third were not perfected for many years. Even as late at 1735 the Entered Apprentice's degree contained :he most prominent form of initiation, and he who was an Apprentice was, for all practical purposes, a Freemason. It was not until repeated improvements, by the adoption of new ceremonies and new regulations, that the degree of Master Mason took the place which itnowoccu-pies; having been confined at first to those who had passed the chair." No doubt the Master's degree Was early looked upon as a desirable honor but as the two lodges of Boston did not have, or at least did not exercise the right of conferring the degree some other way had to be devised by which suitable brethren could be admitted to its secrets.

Accordingly a lodge was established for the express purpose of conferring the Master's degree. It was called the "Masters' Lodge" and its records are in the archives of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. From those records we give to our readers selections which cover the beginning of the body and a considerable portion of its subsequent history. We are not aware that any portion of these records have ever before been published.

Regulations for a Master's Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons.

To be held at the Sun Tavern, being at present the house of Brother Andrew Halliburton (durente placito) upon the first Tuesday in every month at six of the clock in the evening.

First, the proper officers to be elected: A master, a senior and junior warden, two stewards, a secretary and a tyler, and to enjoy their several offices during the space of six months.

Second. The senior steward to be treasurer and the junior steward to keep an account of expenses so that the master and wardens shall not be interrupted in their business.

Third. No Brother to be raised master unless he goes through the Fellow Craft work to the approbation of this lodge, and such examination to be performed the lodge night before such candidate is to be balloted and raised always reserving an unanimous vote of the lodge to the contrary, and such candidate to pay forty shillings into the hands of the senior warden.

Fourth. Each Brother who desires to become a member of this lodge shall pay down into the hands of the senior steward, twenty shillings towards defraying the expenses of the jewels and all other necessary ornaments for this lodge.

Fifth. Every member shall pay fifteen shilling a quarter, and every visitor seven shillings and six pence for the night, and such visitor not admitted to be clothed in this lodge.

Sixth. The senior steward shall make a demand of the visiting money, and receive the same before the lodge is closed.

Seventh. No Brother dwelling in this town to be admitted in this lodge unless he be a member of one or more regular lodge or lodges.

Eighth. Neither of the stewards shall resign their office unless they first deliver up to the master and wardens of this lodge a fair and true account of what cash they have received and paid by the authority of their said office, to the satisfaction of this lodge, and in case one or both of the stewards who are elected to serve in said office for the six months, any special cause shall arise within that time which may induce the lodge to discharge one or both of them of that trust upon their timely representing the same and accompting to the acceptance of the lodge, shall be discharged, and the lodge to fill up said vacancy by unanimous vote.

Ninth. No motion, applications, memorial or petition to the chair, nor any matter regulating the proceedings of the lodge upon offering the same to be determined immediately, but a certain day to be then set and fixed for the discussion thereof at the discretion of the members then present that received the same.

Tenth. That every member shall pay his quarterages upon the first night of the quarter; and that the secretary give due notice thereof the lodge night before such payment is to be made.

We, the subscribers, being a committee appointed to make proper regulations for the M. R's. lodge, have accordingly met this day, the 22nd of December, 5738 and do offer the above regulations to the consideration of the lodge.

The first meeting of the Masters' Lodge was held January 2, 1738. The officers of the lodge were: Henry Price, master; H. McDaniel, senior warden; John Waghorne, junior warden and Francis Beteilhe, secretary.

Other Brethren recorded as present were: Thomas Oxnard, John Overing, Thomas Walker, John Hutchinson, Andrew Halliburton and James Stevenson. At this meeting the Regulations agreed upon December 22, 5738 were read and adopted.

The first volume of the records of the Masters' Lodge begins January 2, 1738 and closes with the record of the meeting held November 6, 1761, The second volume begins December 4, 1761 and ends with the record of January 15, 1783. There is a record of 223 meetings in the first book, an average of about ten each year. During the first period recorded in the second book, the meetings were not as frequent, numerous entries being made that no meetings were held. Henry Price appears to be most prominent in support of the Masters' Lodge and was its Master until January, 1744. The first work of the lodge was February 6, recorded as follows: "Brother George Moncerieff, desiring to be raised was accordingly duly examined and being found a good Mason to our satisfaction was unanimously voted in, and raised a master in due manner and form."

  • October 5, 1744. No meeting this night, our Rt. W. M. and several of the members being out of town on extraordinary business.
  • Aug. 2, 1745, following the record of this meeting is the note, "Adjourned till Oct. 4th, for substantial reasons from time to time."
  • Nov. 1, 1745, the lodge being opened, Brother Cross and our Brother, Secretary C. Pelham attended and were raised Masters in due form.
  • April 7, 1750. Voted to give £2 to the Grand Lodge for charity.
  • October 5, 1750. Three dollars more given to the Grand Lodge for [he same purpose.
  • Nov. 2, 1750. "Brother McDaniel proposed the Rt. Worshipful Lord Colvill, Dr. Allen and Mr. James Thompson." Voted that these above proposed gentlemen shall be raised masters without the previous examination in the Fellow Crafts part, but to be no precedent for future raising.
  • Oct. 5, 1753. Committees appoint to amend the by-laws, recorded in full following the meeting of Dec. 7, 1753.
  • Jan. 4, 1754. Brother James Otis, attending was introduced, examined, approved and raised a Master in due form.
  • April 5, 1751. Voted that as we have not any stocks, our Rt. Worshipful Master, to beg the Grand Lodge to excuse our not sending charity.
  • Nov. 1, 1754. The lodge reported to be about £60 in debt and a committee appointed to pursue some measures to retrieve the lodge's bad circumstances.
  • April 4, 1755. Voted that ye Masters and Wardens attend ye Grand Lodge according to ye Grand Master's Summons, but having no stock we cannot send any charity.
  • Oct. 1, 1756. Voted that Brother Williams, ye Treasurer, be allowed what was stole from him, being £5, 13.6 O. T. and that he charge ye lodge for above sum in his account.





  • 1750: 04/13, 07/13, 10/12
  • 1751: 01/11. 04/12, 07/12, 10/11
  • 1752: 01/10, 04/10, 07/10, 10/13
  • 1753: 01/12, 04/13, 07/13, 10/12
  • 1754: 01/11, 04/12, 07/12, 10/11
  • 1755: 01/11, 04/11, 07/12, 10/10
  • 1756: 01/09, 04/09, 08/13, 10/08
  • 1757: 01/14, 04/08, 07/08, 10/14
  • 1758: 01/13, 04/13, 07/14, 10/13
  • 1759: 01/12, 04/13, 07/13, 10/12
  • 1760: 01/12, 04/11, 07/11, 10/10
  • 1761: 01/07, 04/08, 07/10, 10/09
  • 1762: 01/08, 04/09, 07/10, 10/22
  • 1763: 01/28, 04/22, 07/28, 10/24
  • 1764: 10/26
  • 1765: 01/25, 04/25, 07/26, 10/25
  • 1766: 01/24, 04/25, 07/25, 10/24
  • 1767: 01/23, 04/24, 07/24, 10/23
  • 1768: 01/22, 04/22
  • 1769: 01/27, 04/28, 07/28, 10/27




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Massachusetts Lodges