About Bristol Lodge

At the Grand Lodge Quarterly meeting held on June 12, 1797 a petition from Bro. Joel Gilbert and others requesting a charter was granted.  On June 14, 1797 the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts issued a charter to Bristol Lodge signed by the Grand master, Most Worshipful Paul Revere, which specified that the Lodge be holden in Norton, Massachusetts.  It was the twentieth Lodge organized in Massachusetts.   Bristol Lodge's membership was drawn from Attleborough, Mansfield, Norton, Rehoboth, Taunton, Easton, Middleboro, Wrentham, Halifax, Raynham, Needham, Philidelphia {ennsylvania, Cumberland, Pawtucket, and Providence, Rhode Island.

One of the two cherished and priceless posessions of the Lodge is the original charter, which bears the signature of Most Worshipful Paul Revere.  The others are the original Officer Jewels that were crafted in silver by Most Worshipful Paul Revere and presented to Bro. Seth Smith, Jr. on September 5, 1797.

The records indicate that the Lodge was first opened at Norton, Massachusetts in the Norton Academy & Masonic Hall on June 26, 1797 under the authority of a warrant issued by Most Worshipful Paul Revere.  On June 20, 1798 the Lodge was constituted and installed at Norton by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.  Most Worshipful Josiah bartlett presided as Grand Master and the following officers were installed: 

R.W. Seth Smith, Jr. - Master
Bro. Daniel Gilbert - Sr. Warden
Bro. Joshua Pond - Jr. Warden
Bro. Laban Wheaton - Treasurer
Bro. Samuel Morey - Secretary
Bro. Samuel Day - Sr. Deacon
Bro. William Cocker - Jr. Deacon
Bro. Silas Cobb - First Steward
Bro. Elisha Hodges - Second Steward
Bro. John Balkom - Tyler

Due to the formation of Lodges in Stoughton, Rehoboth, and Taunton, Bristol Lodge moved to the East Parish of Attleborough on January 23, 1812 and met int he Franklin School Building for several years.
 
On April 8, 1830 a communication from Grand Lodge gave permission for the Lodge to remove its furnishings to such a place as will best serve the interest of Masonry.  This was caused by the start of the Anti-Masonic Crusade.  The Lodge then purchased twelve shares of stock of the Attleborough Academy situated in North Attleborough for the purpose of having the use of one room for their meetings.  Based on the Lodge records, the last regular meeting was held on April 5, 1838 at which the D.D.G.M. Jonathon Ames of West Bridgewater and twelve members of the Lodge were present.  The charter of Bristol Lodgewas turned back to Grand Lodge in 1846.  Upon the petition of R.W. Bro. taber the charter was once again restored to Bristol lodge on December 13, 1854 and then surrendered again.  On October 31, 1859 Bro. Willard Robinson and seven other original members met and voted to restore to membership eight former members from which point in time the Lodge flourished. 

In April of 1863 the Lodge rented space in howard Hall.  In late 1875, Howard Hall was purchased by the Lodge and enlarged to accomodate the growing membership.  On February 27, 1877 the Masonic Hall burned downand for the next ten meetings the Lodge met in the Odd Fellows building.  The building was rebuilt and then once again visited by fire on March 12, 1915, which statrted in the Academy Building next door.  Aurora Lodge of Odd Fellows opened their doors again for Bristol Lodge to meet until the repairs could be done.

In 1923, a committee was formed to determine the feasibility of the Lodge to build a new building.  Later in the year, a Building Fund Committee was formed to raise the funds and perfecting plans for the present Masonic Building.  The land for the building was donated by the family of the late Brother G.K. Webster.  The committee held sixty-two meetings.

On April 21, 1925 a Building Committee was formed and by March of 1927 plans were made for the corner stone laying.  On June 25, 1927 the Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, Most Worshipful Frank L. Simpson and a suite of Grand Lodge Officers laid the corner stone with much fanfare.  On January 9, 1928 Most Worshipful Frank L. Simpson and his suite performed the dedication ceremony.  There were 361 places for dinner, which had to be done in 2 settings.  Wor. Lee R. Higgins was the first Master to preside int he East at the first regular meeting on January 19, 1928.

On December 3, 1943 due to the fund raising efforts of Wor. Gerald E. Riley, the Mortage Burning Ceremony was held.
Subpages (1): Past Masters