Norfolk Masonic History
At a meeting held at the Angel Lodge, Norwich on 15th August 1758 and attended by the Masters and Wardens of the 12 Lodges then working in the City of Norwich, it was resolved ‘that a Provincial Grand Master for this City, the County of Norfolk, and Beccles in Suffolk, would conduce to the benefit of Masonry in general and to the satisfaction of each Lodge in particular, and that our worthy Brother, Edward Bacon, Esq., is a proper person for that office’.
This recommendation resulted in a Patent dated 13th January 1759 appointing Edward Bacon of Earlham the first Provincial Grand Master of Norfolk, the Patent being issued by the Grand Lodge of England. The first meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge took place on the 6th September 1759 at the Three Tuns, London Lane, Norwich.
Whilst Provincial Grand Masters for other Provinces had been appointed prior to Edward Bacon, Norfolk was among the earliest of the Provinces to call a Provincial Grand Lodge after Cheshire 1725-1727, Cornwall 1752, and Worcestershire 1847.
Initially, Norfolk Provincial Grand Lodge resolved to meet quarterly on the first Friday after the Quarter Day. However as the Minute Books of Provincial Grand Lodge do not exist prior to 1818, any details of their Meetings can only be gleaned from the Minutes Books of other Lodges, where they exist.
It is apparent that from 1818 the Provincial Grand Lodge met annually in Norwich until the appointment of Benjamin Bond Cabbell who inaugurated the system whereby Provincial Grand Lodge would meet at the different towns in the County where Lodges met. This practice continued until 1962 when meetings reverted to being held in Norwich.
There are two especial occasions in the history of the Province worthy of comment both occurring in the late 19th Century. A distinguished honour was conferred on the Province by the attendance of the Grand Master, HRH the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) at the meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge held on 26th January 1885 at the Guildhall, King’s Lynn. Two years later he attended the meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge at Great Yarmouth when the foundation stone of the new hospital was laid with full Masonic honours.
At the time of the formation of the Provincial Grand Lodge there were 16 Lodges working in Norfolk, today there are 76 Lodges.
To see a timeline you can click on the link to download the .pdf: