Alfred Lodge is one of the oldest lodges in the UK!

Its number, 546 ("Moderns") was warranted on April 27th, 1795, the number changed at the Union to 571, in 1832 to 384, and in 1863 acquired its present number 306.

In 1995, Alfred celebrated its Bicentenary. Being one of the oldest Masonic lodges, Alfred Lodge is still striving to promote the Masonic values and is always interested in welcoming likeminded men from diverse backgrounds who share the same moral values.

Alfred Lodge is located in Otley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, which is administered by the Provincial Grand Lodge of Yorkshire West Riding one of the 47 provinces of the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) which is the governing body of Freemasonry in England, Wales and the Channel Islands.

Alfred Lodge is one of many Masonic Lodges in Leeds

Founding History

Alfred Lodge was authorised to assemble as a regular Lodge of Free and accepted Masons (FreeMasons) under the Title or Denomination of Alfred Lodge in the Borough of Leeds in 1795.

Its seven founding members were:

  • William Hodgson

    a schoolmaster, or as he would have called himself, Principal of an Academy, who was the moving influence in the founding of Alfred Lodge and was the first to chair the Lodge.

  • John Simpson

    then aged forty eight, who was the first Senior Warden of the Lodge, and the second person to chair it.

  • George Ireland

    aged twenty nine, who was the Lodge's first Junior Warden.

  • Mathew Vickers

    a Gentleman, aged twenty, who was the youngest founding member.

  • John Kemplay

    also a schoolmaster.

  • William Cowling

    a bookkeeper to William Cookson (who was twice a mayor of Leeds in 1793 and 1801).

  • William Drake

    a Cloth Dresser.

From 1837 - 1895 the Lodge membership increased considerably, and included some outstanding Masons. This enabled the Lodge to reach out beyond the confines of its own Lodge rooms. It supplied officers to Provincial Grand Lodge, including two of the most outstanding of this period, Charles Lee and James Hargreaves.

On 27th May 1895 Alfred Lodge celebrated its Centenary.

One of the most outstanding characteristics of Alfred Lodge during the period which included two world wars was its very generous support for all Masonic and selected non-Masonic Charities.

In 1995, Alfred Lodge celebrated its Bicentenary. Being one of the oldest Masonic lodges, Alfred Lodge is still striving to promote the Masonic values and is always interested in welcoming likeminded men from diverse backgrounds who share the same moral values.

Dates and Locations of the Lodge

Listed below are the dates and meeting places of the Lodge in Leeds.

  • 17th April 1795 - 8th January 1798

    Brother William Hodgson's Academy.

  • 2nd February 1798 - 6th July 1798

    6 Park Row.

  • 3rd August 1798 - 7th March 1800

    Richmond Hill.

  • 4th April 1800 - 18th April 1807

    Buck Inn, Call Lane End.

  • 5th June 1807 - 23rd June 1826

    Old Crown Inn, Kirkgate.

  • 14th July 1826 - 2nd March 1838

    White Hart Inn, Briggate.

  • 6th April 1838 - 6th August 1847

    Scarborough Hotel, Bishopsgate Street.

  • 3rd September 1847 - 5th November 1847

    Commercial Hotel, Upper Albion Street.

  • 3rd December 1847 - 5th September 1862

    Griffin Inn, West Bar.

  • 3rd October 1862 - 6th August 1875

    Private Rooms, 23 Albion Street.

  • 3rd September 1875 - 5th October 1888

    Masonic Hall, Kelsall Street.

  • 2nd November 1888 - 14th November 1895

    Masonic Hall, Great George Street.

  • 6th December 1895 - 5th July 1901

    Masonic Hall, Carlton Hill.

  • 2nd August 1901 - 30th July 1976

    New Masonic Hall, Great George Street.

  • 7th September 1976 - Present Day

    Westbourne House, Otley.

What is Freemasonry?

Freemasonry is one of the worlds oldest fraternal societies.

The following information is intended to explain Freemasonry as it is practised under the United Grand Lodge of England, which administers Lodges of Freemasons in England and Wales and in many places overseas.

Freemasonry is a society of men concerned with moral values. Its members are taught its precepts (moral lessons and self-knowledge) by a series of ritual dramas - a progression of allegorical two-part plays which are learnt by heart and performed within each Lodge - which follow ancient forms, and use stonemasons' customs and tools as allegorical guides.

Freemasonry instils in its members a moral and ethical approach to life: it seeks to reinforce thoughtfulness for others, kindness in the community, honesty in business, courtesy in society and fairness in all things. Members are urged to regard the interests of the family as paramount but, importantly, Freemasonry also teaches and practices concern for people, care for the less fortunate and help for those in need.

  • There are over 330,000 Freemasons in England and Wales.
  • There are nearly six million Freemasons worldwide.
  • There are nearly 8,000 Lodges spread throughout England and Wales.

Why Join?

People have their own reasons why they enjoy Freemasonry.

The following is a sample of some of the reasons given:

  • Brotherhood - making new friends and acquaintances from all walks of life, every background and age group.
  • Achievement - progressing through the various offices in the Lodge to become Worshipful Master.
  • Charity - being able to contribute to deserving causes, both Masonic and non-Masonic.
  • Education - learning from peers and mentors by practising ritual and making short speeches.
  • Knowledge - finding out about the history and mysteries of Freemasonry.
  • Self improvement - making a contribution to your family and society.

How do I become a Freemason?

Our fraternity has a wonderful history, which dates back more than three centuries.

It is one of the world's oldest secular fraternities, a society of men concerned with moral and spiritual values. Founded on the three great principles of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth, it aims to bring together men of goodwill, regardless of background and differences. People might think that to become a Freemason is quite difficult. It's actually straightforward. It is usual for candidates to be "mature men of 21 years and over", but in some circumstances candidates between the ages of 18 and 21 can be admitted.

I'm interested in joining, what's next?

We recommend you read the information on this site as well as information located in other relevant sites (see useful links), If you are still interested in becoming a Freemason, we advise that you first talk to a family member, friend or colleague whom you already know to be a member. They will be able to explain to you what they can about the fraternity and help you find a suitable Lodge. If you don't know anyone at all who is a member, then contact us through the "Contact Us - form", and we can advise you.

Why Join Alfred Lodge?

People join masonry for a variety of reasons, but mainly to increase there circle of friends and for the diversity of its social activities for both the member and his wife and family. At Alfred Lodge we hold many social occasions both formal and informal to which all are welcome and encouraged to attend. As the lodge number indicates (Alfred Lodge was the 306 lodge to be warranted in England in 1795) we are an old lodge and by becoming a member you will be perpetuating a long tradition.

Famous Freemasons

A selection of Freemasons in Society.

United Grand Lodge

Click below to visit the United Grand Lodge of England website

Provincial Grand Lodge

Click below to visit the Provincial Grand Lodge of Yorkshire West Riding website

The Royal Arch

Discover more about the Supreme Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons


January 2022

The Third Degree Explained

June 2016

A Possible First in over 200 years?

Members of Alfred Lodge released a Copper Printing plate from their Lodge Archives from Circa 1800.

With the help of West Yorkshire Print Workshop, a potential first impression from the printing plate was revealed for the first time in over 200 years.

The resulting print reveals the front page of the Lodge Summons, which was distributed to members of the Lodge prior to a regular Lodge meeting.

The print also reveals the day of the week that the Lodge met in the 1800's, Friday rather than Monday, the day that Alfred meet now.

The intricacy, detail and craftsmanship of the design, which would have been engraved by hand into the surface of the copper sheet, is clearly visible and is a testament to the skill of the Craftsmen in those days.

The print also reveals the Platemakers mark, Butterworths of Leeds.

In several Leeds directories, published in the years 1800-1830, Butterworths are described either as 'engravers', or as 'copper-plate printers'. The Christian name John occurs in entries for the years 1800-1817. Entries for the Butterworth family in the directories continue until 1830.

December 2014

Otley Masons Scout out a good cause

In the summer of 2014 Horsford Lodge received a letter from Megan Barker and Tom Paxton both members of the Otley Scout Group requesting our assistance in helping them raise £3,500-00 each to go towards the cost of them attending the Scout Jamboree in 2015 held in Japan.

The reason for such a high figure was they were not only raising the money for their own attendance at the Jamboree but also additional funding to assist and enable Scouts from other countries around the world who were not as advantaged as those in our own country.

W Bro Richard Bleasdale the Master of Horsford Lodge, a former Group Scout Leader of Otley Parish and the current Chairman of the Appointments Committee of Wharfedale Scouts, took it upon himself to mobilise the Otley Lodges.

W Bro Bleasdale wrote to the other Otley Lodges suggesting they may like to join with Horsford Lodge in making a donation to this most worthwhile of causes and so it was that on the evening of 10th. December 2014 The Masters of Horsford, Chevin and Leodiensis Lodges along with the Charity Stewards from Alfred and Leodiensis Lodges made a presentation of £700 to three of the Otley Scout Group.

All three Scouts have agreed they will come along to Westbourne House later in the year after the Jamboree to give the brethren a report on what the experience meant to them.

The photograph shows from left to right at the front Megan Barger, Tom Paxton and Maya Lao and at the back W Bro Richard Hirst Master of Leodiensis Lodge No 4029, W Bro Howard Handley Master of Chevin Lodge No 6848, W Bro Richard Bleasdale Master of Horsford Lodge No 5339, W Bro Andrew Gilliland Charity Steward of Alfred Lodge No 306 and W Bro John Driscoll Charity Steward of Leodiensis Lodge No 4029. Unfortunately the Master of Alfred Lodge W Bro Mark Cook & the Master of Harewood Lodge No 5667, W Bro Clive Whitaker were unable to attend the presentation.

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