Our Beginnings

Carnarvon Lodge was founded in 1878 and owes its origin to 16 enthusiastic and prominent Masons. 10 were members of Ferrers & Ivanhoe Lodge 779 in the Province of Leicestershire, 5 were members of Royal Sussex Lodge 353 meeting in Winshill in the Province of  Derbyshire and 1 was a member of Abbey Lodge 624 meeting in Burton on Trent in the Province of Staffordshire.

There seems to be little doubt that the prime movers to create a new Lodge were the members of Ferrers & Ivanhoe and the chief amongst them was William B Carrick-Crofts, an Irishman who had studied medicine at Belfast University and was the first doctor to practice in the district. He was initiated into Ferrers & Ivanhoe in 1867, and sometime before Carnarvon Lodge had been consecrated he became Junior Grand Warden of Leicestershire. 

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In 1878 there were no roads as we know them today and no street lighting. Freemasons in that time either travelled to Lodge on foot, by horseback or in a horse driven carriage. All the routes through Church Gresley at that time were very primitive and were really no more than cart tracks and though Church Gresley was the major village in South Derbyshire, it was still extremely small and remote but still much larger than either Newhall or Swadlincote.

The founders finding it difficult or at least inconvenient to travel at night to their lodges in Burton & Ashby conceived the idea of a Lodge at Church Gresley which is equidistant from both Burton & Ashby. Although it was in the minds of the 10 worthy brethren of Ferrers & Ivanhoe Lodge 779 that the Lodge would sponsor the formation of Carnarvon and become its Mother lodge.

But  Church Gresley lay within the County & Province of Derbyshire and Ferrers & Ivanhoe being in Leicestershire turned to the 5 members of Royal Sussex Lodge 353 another Derbyshire Lodge to sponsor and  become the founders of the new Lodge.

Warrant of Constitution was granted on 15th February 1878

Right Honourable The Earl of Carnarvon

Carnarvon became a Freemason in 1856, joining the Westminster and Keystone Lodge, No. 10. In 1860 he was made the second Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons (created in 1856) and in 1870 he was appointed Deputy Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) by Lord Ripon, and was Pro Grand Master from 1874 to 1890. Furthermore, he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1875, confirming, in addition to his work as a Statesman, his interest in innovation, geometry, the Enlightenment, science, the Scientific Revolution and the world.

This then is the Carnarvon after whom our Lodge is named. He went on to become the PGM for Somerset, Deputy and then the Pro Grand Master, and the second longest Sovereign Grand Commander of the Supreme Council.

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Famous Freemasons:  "To ease another’s heartache is to forget one’s own."    Abraham Lincoln