YORK LODGE No. 236
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Library / Museum

Library / Museum.  Back to top

Since it was established, the Lodge has been acquiring Masonic and related books, many as gifts from its own members, or from visiting guests.

One of the earlier gifts was of 9 books by Bro. John Browne in 1864. A subsequent Inventory in 1865 showed a total of 35 volumes.

In 1869 Bro. Lawton donated 19 volumes of the Freemasons Magazine, and expressed “a hope that it might lead other brethren to contribute works” and “so lead to the formation of a Masonic Library”.

Over the years the library and museum has continued to grow and now contains many books, manuscripts, items of pottery and artefacts and is considered one of the most comprehensive Masonic libraries outside London.

Of the many important volumes held in the library, some of the most important are a number of Manuscripts or “Rolls”, known as the
“York Rolls”. These are more fully described under a separate page.

The two photos above show a number of the bookcases in the library housing a variety of books and pottery. The two Mahogany bookcases in the left hand photo, at either side of the fireplace, were presented to the Lodge by the Zetland Chapter, and the Lodge subsequently acquired the large Breakfront bookcase in the right hand photo from the same source, Davies & Co in London.

Two further bookcases, one seen in the right hand photo, which stand either side of the Library doorway, were a gift to the Lodge by Bro. Gilbert Johnson, who was, as below, a long term Librarian to the Lodge.

The large Mahogany table in the Library was made by a member of the Lodge, Bro. John Raper, around 1823.

The first bookcase acquired by the Lodge was in 1879 in the sum of £14 17s 0d, this book case is still in use by the Lodge in the robing room.


A large collection of pottery, together with a presentation bookcase in the “museum room”, was acquired from the Exors of Bro. E. J. Hardcastle, a former Librarian of the Lodge.

Librarians:-  Back to top

Towards the end of the 19th century the Lodge’s Library had continued to grow, but with no-one responsible for the collection. Accordingly, the first of only eight Librarians to the Lodge was appointed in May 1897.


1)
Bro. Arthur H Furnish held the post from 1897 to 1907, and was succeeded by,

2)
Bro. Walter. R. Makins, 1907 to 1923, who brought the collection into excellent order. Indeed, having undertaken much Masonic research, often at Grand Lodge, he was invited to become Assistant to the Grand Librarian, which resulted in his having to move to London.

3)
Bro. Edwin. J Hardcastle, from 1924 until his death in 1937.

4)
Bro. Gilbert Y Johnson, from 1937 until his death in 1968. During his time as Librarian Bro. Johnson made gifts of over 250 books, and other items of Masonic interest, together with the bookcases mentioned above.
He was elected a full member of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076 in 1935, and was also appointed Prestonian Lecturer for 1947.

5)
Bro. Robert. L Wood, from 1968 until his death in 1989. On the occasion of the Bi-Centenary in 1977 he wrote a history of the Lodge - “York Lodge No. 236 - The Bi-Centennial History 1777 - 1977”.

6)
Bro. G F Halliwell from 1989 until 1993.

7)
Bro. David Hughes from 1993 until 1996 resigning in favour of V.W.Bro Revd Neville Barker-Cryer.

8)
V.W.Bro Revd Neville Barker-Cryer MA from 1996 to date.
Prestonian Lecturer.
Member of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076.
Author of a number of books on Masonic subjects including “York Mysteries Revealed”.