History of Yarm Lodge


Yarm Lodge No. 9544

In medieval times and long before its industrial neighbours Stockton-on-Tees and Middlesbrough existed, Yarm was an important port and market town, being the first crossing point over the river Tees.
As a port, from the 12th to the 18th centuries, exports from Yarm far eclipsed its better known North Yorkshire rivals of Whitby and Scarborough.  It's decline as major trading port during the 1700's, in favour of its neighbour Stockton-on-Tees, coincided with the rise of Freemasonry and, perhaps, explains why the town had never hosted any Masonic Lodge.

It was, however, the home town of many freemasons living on Teesside and, eventually in 1994, under the sponsorship of Vulcan Lodge No.4510, Yarm Lodge was consecrated with founders from neighbouring lodges in Middlesbrough and Stockton-on-Tees.  Their objective was to enjoy a high standard of Emulation ritual with formal dress but uncluttered with unnecessary protocol.  In particular the festive board was to be an enjoyable informal gathering with no top table, speeches or firing and with toasts kept to a minimum.

The original venue, until 1999, was Yarm School which occupied a listed Georgian house known as the Friarage, built for the local Meynell family in 1770's, on the site of a 13th century Dominican Blackfriars monastery which had been surrendered in 1538 under the dissolution of Henry VIII.  The lodge also adopted the school emblem of a Phoenix for the Lodge banner.

The lodge was consecrated on 21st May 1994 in the newly built theatre at the school by the Provincial Grand Master, R.W. John Malcolm Raylor who set his seal of approval on the new lodge with his "F Plan" diet of "Family, Fellowship and Fun", objectives which the Lodge still follow.

The Lodge met in the library on the first floor of the Friarage but its listed status meant that numbers attending meetings had to be strictly restricted.  However, in its early years, the lodge grew so quickly in popularity, with both new masons, joining members and visitors, that the library became totally impractical and a new venue had to be found.  Fortunately, the Lodge was able to relocate to the local Tall Trees Hotel where a suitable lodge room was built, and this remained its happy and successful home from September 1999 until 2013, when the hotel closed.

A long and difficult search was mounted in the months before the hotel closed, to find a suitable venue which would satisfy the original aims of the founders to maintain a Masonic presence in the immediate area of the town.  Various venues were suggested and investigated without success, and, after much discussion, it was decided that the lodge would move (initially on a temporary basis) to the Masonic Hall in Stokesley.

Having moved in June 2013, the search for a venue local to Yarm continued without success, and eventually, in May 2015, the lodge agreed to adopt Stokesley as its permanent home.  Yarm Lodge has been warmly welcomed in Stokesley and is now happily established in its new surroundings.