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History Resources by Ray Sheppard

The First Provincial Grand Lodge of Nova Scotia 1757-76

Due undoubtedly to the presence in Halifax of numerous military lodges owing allegiance to the Grand Lodges of Ireland, Scotland or the "Ancients," England, we find the Halifax brethren under the leadership of Governor Charles Lawrence breaking away from their allegiance to St. John's Grand Lodge at Boston, which owed allegiance to the premier Grand Lodge of England, and petitioning the rival Grand Lodge of England ("Ancients") for a Provincial Grand Lodge warrant for Nova Scotia and for two subordinate lodge warrants.

The petitioners for the Provincial Grand Lodge warrant as named in the English Grand Lodge register, were;

  • Erasmus James Philipps , named as Provincial Grand Master; (died in 1760)
  • Alexander Murray , Deputy Provincial Grand Master;
  • George Francheville , (Frenchville) Prov. S. G. Warden
  • ………..LeCompt, (probably Peter, Marquis de Conti and Gravina) Prov. J. G. Warden;
  • David Lloyd , Provo Grand Secretary;
  • Hon. Charles Lawrence , Master (of the First Lodge)
  • Hon. William Nesbitt, Deputy Master (of the First Lodge), also
  • Col. (Otho) Hamilton, Major (Joseph) Gorham, (Joshua) Mauger, (Jonathan) Hoar, (Archibald) Henchilwood, (Thos.) Saul, and ten others, all military leaders and prominent first settlers.


The warrant No. 65, endorsed "No.1, Nova Scotia," was dated Dec. 27, 1757, and was signed by the Earl of Blesinton, G.M., and his officers, and authorized the Provincial Grand officers named "to form and hold a Provincial Grand Lodge to the said Province Independent of any former Dispensation Warrant or- Constitution granted by us or our Predecessors to New England or elsewhere," and empowered the P.G.M. "to grant Dispensations, Warrants and Constitutions for the form- ing and holding of Regular Lodges within His Worships Jurisdiction," the Grand Lodge to meet at the Pontac Inn.

Lanes says that three Warrants from the Antient Grand Lodge was issued to Nova Scotia, they are:

  • No. 65 (No.1 of Nova Scotia) dated 27th December 1757, to “Provincial Grand Lodge of Nova Scotia” at Pontac’s Halifax. A Warrant of renewal issued 2 June 1784. Lapsed after the Union of 1813.
  • No. 66 (No.2 of Nova Scotia) dated 27th December 1757, meeting at Rowe Barge, George Street, Halifax. Lapsed before the Union of 1813.
  • No. 67 (No. 3 of Nova Scotia) dated 27th December 1757, meeting at the King’s Arms George Street, Halifax. Lapsed before the Union of 1813.


  • The 40th Regiment of Foot held No. 42 (b) Ant. 1759 and was at Quebec in 1759 and at Montreal in 1760.
  • Otho Hamilton was Major of the 40th Foot with army rake as Lt-Col 10 th Nov. 1761.
  • Capt. Archibald Henchilwood was of the 20th Foot.
  • John Lane Masonic Records 1717-1894 2nd Edition (1895) page 83.

(c) Ray Sheppard

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