The Founders of the Lodge

The Warrant to found Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076 was issued on 28th November 1884 but the actual Consecration of the Lodge did not take place until 12th January 1886. This (unusually) long delay was because Sir Charles Warren, the WM Designate was sent on a diplomatic and military mission to Bechuanaland (now Botswana) and did not return to England until the end of 1885. The short biographies are those published in Volume 1 (1888 covering the period from 1886) of the Transactions, and those biographies and the objectives of the Founders can be read in a few pages of Volume I of the Transactions, but one can get a feeling for their desire to formalise the study of Freemasonry from a small part of the Oration given on that day by Bro.The Revd Adolphus Woodford, one of the Founders.

If the intellectual and cultured study of what Freemasonry is, has been, and may yet be, to ourselves and to the world is in any way promoted by our efforts, believing, as we do, that such a study, thoughtful and prudent, zealous yet discriminating, is essential to a proper understanding of masonic archaeology and masonic formulae, we shall indeed rejoice. For thus it may chance that we shall be enabled to rescue contemporary Freemasonry from the charge frequently brought against it, that it sacrifices an intellectual study of Freemasonry proper to the more pervading requirements of the social circle, and that it is too easily contented with a routine of ritual on the one hand, and the pleasing exercise of hospitality on the other. Whether these ideas and aims of ours are destined to be successful time alone can show.

More than 120 years on and the Transactions are still being published annually, and indeed one could still argue that the 'intellectual study' of Freemasonry continues to be 'sacrificed' and that the need for a thoughtful approach to the study of Freemasonry is just as much needed today. One of the first things the new Lodge did was to set up a Correspondence Circle which could be joined for the then sum of 10/6d per annum. There were nine founding members and, in the order their names appear, they are:


Sir Charles Warren (1840-1927)

Born 1840. Entered Her Majesty's Service as Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers in 1857; Captain, 1869. Conducted the Palestine Exploration 1867-70. In 1876 settled the boundary line of the Orange Free State and Griqualand West [now part of the South African Northern Cape Province]; Gazetted CMG in 1877, and appointed Special Commissioner in the latter district. Was engaged in the Griqua-Kaffir War, and made Lieut.-Colonel in 1877. In 1879, Administrator of Griqualand; 1881, Surveying Instructor at Chatham. Served in Egypt against Arabi, and recovered the bodies of Professor Palmer and his companions in 1882. Proceeded to South Africa in command of the Bechuanaland Expedition, in 1884, and was created GCMG 14th October 1885, for his services.

On his return he was placed in command at Suakim, but was recalled in 1886 to re-organise the London Police Force as Chief Commissioner. Author of Underground Jerusalem, The Temple or the Tomb and of many papers to various learned societies.

Installation Notes AQC vol. 1 (1888), 7.

Arthur Lionel Vibert, In Memoriam. Sir Charles Henry Warren, General, and 1st Master of Quatuor Coronati Lodge, AQC vol. 40 (1927) 43-4.

A. C. F. Jackson, Sir Charles Warren, Founding Master of Quatuor Coronati Lodge, AQC vol. 99 (1986), 167-88.


William Henry Rylands (1847-1922)

Born 1847. Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, Member of the Asiatic Societies of London and Paris etc. etc., Secretary of the Society of Biblical Archaeology.

Initiated in 1872 in the Faith and Unanimity Lodge, No. 417, Dorchester; joined Lodge of Antiquity No. 2, London, in 1881, and was exalted in Chapter of St. James, No. 2, London, in 1882. Grand Steward, 1887.

Author of Freemasonry in the xvii century in Warrington, Chester and of many other works and contributions to the Masonic press, as well as papers etc. on Antiquarian matters.

Installation Notes AQC vol. 4 (1891), 236-8

Arthur Lionel Vibert, In Memoriam, William Henry Rylands (1847-1922) AQC vol. 35 (1922), 258-9, 293-5


Robert Freke Gould (1836-1915)

Born in 1836. Entered Her Majesty's Service in 1855 as Ensign, 86th Foot; Lieut. 31st Foot in 1855; served in the North China Campaign of 1860 (medal and clasp); Barrister at Law, 1868.

Initiated 1855 in the Royal Navy Lodge, No. 429 (now No. 621), Ramsgate, and successively joined the following Lodges - 1837 Friendship, No. 345 (now No. 278), Gibraltar; 1858 Inhabitants' Lodge, No. 178 (now No. 153), Gibraltar, as first WM on its revival; 1858 Meridian Lodge, in H.M.'s 31st Foot, No. 1045 (now No. 743), of which Lodge he was elected W.M. in 1858 and again in 1859; 1859 St. Andrew's-in-the-East, No. 313, Poona, East Indies, under the Grand Lodge of Scotland; 1859 Orion-in-the-West Lodge No. 598 (now No. 415), Poona; 1863 Northern Lodge of China, No. 832 (now No. 570), Shanghai; elected WM in 1864; 1864 Royal Sussex Lodge, No. 735 (now No. 501), Shanghai; 1866 Moira Lodge, No. 92, London, serving as its WM in 1874 and again in 1875. 1837 exalted in Melita Chapter, No. 437 (now No. 349), Malta; 1859 joined the Scottish Chapter at Poona; 1863 the Zion Chapter, No. 570, Shanghai, of which he was Z. in 1863; 1875 Moira Chapter, No. 92, London, Z in 1878.

In 1858 he was appointed Provincial Senior GW of Andalusia, and in 1880 Senior Grand Deacon of England. Appointed, 5th December 1877, a member of the Special Committee to enquire into and report to Grand Lodge on the action taken by the Grand Orient of France in removing from its constitution the paragraphs which assert a belief in the existence of TGAOTU. Served on the Board of General Purposes in 1876, 1878 and 1879, as an elected member, and from 1880-83 by nomination of the GM, and as an elected member of the Colonial Board from 1876-79.

Besides numerous contributions to the Masonic press, dating almost from his initiation, he was the author of The Four old Lodges, 1879, The Atholl Lodges, 1879, and The History of Freemasonry 1883-87.

Installation Notes, AQC vol. 1 (1888), 73.

William Brown Hextall, In Memoriam Robert Freke Gould (1836-1915), AQC vol. 28, (1915), 111-12.

Frederick John Cooper, Robert Freke Gould, Masonic Historian 1836-1915, AQC vol. 91 (1980), 98-117.


Adolphus F. A. Woodford (1821-1887)

Born in 1821, gazetted Christmas Day, 1838, Ensign and Lieutenant, Coldstream Guards, retired in 1841, matriculated at Durham University 1842, took BA degree and Licence of Theology in 1847, and MA degree some years after. Ordained Deacon in 1846, curate of Whitburn, near Sunderland, 1846-47, ordained priest July, 1847, and in the same year presented to the Rectory of Swillington, Leeds, which he resigned in 1872. In 1852 he was Chaplain to Sir John Lowther, Bart., as High Sheriff of Yorkshire.

Initiated in the Lodge of Friendship, No. 278, Gibraltar, in 1842, and subsequently joined the following Lodges - Marquis of Granby, No. 124, Durham, in 1842, WM in 1844 and 1845; Philanthropic Lodge, No. 304, Leeds, in 1854, WM in 1858 and 1859; and Lodge of Antiquity, No. 2, in 1863, London, WM in 1878, under H.R.H. the Duke of Albany. He was exalted in Concord Chapter, No. 124, Durham, in 1848; joined the Philanthropic Chapter, No. 304, Leeds, in 1863, and its first Z.; and Chapter of St. James, No. 2, London, in 1874, Z. thereof in 1862.

Appointed Provincial Grand Chaplain of Durham in 1847, Provincial Grand Chaplain, West Yorkshire, 1860, and Provincial Grand Senior Warden, 1857, and finally Grand Chaplain of England in 1863. Was first Chairman of the West Yorkshire Charity Committee from 1859-1870.

He has been a constant contributor to the Masonic press, few names being better known than Masonic Student, one of his many noms de plume, and was the editor of The London Freemason and of the Masonic Magazine, from 1873 to 1886 ; and the author of Kenning's Defence of Freemasonry, The Sloane Manuscript, and other works as well as of the learned introduction to Hughan's Old Charges of the British Freemasons.

Robert Freke Gould, In Memoriam Bro Revd. Adolphus F. A. Woodford (1821-1887), AQC vol. 1 (1888), 85.

Robert Freke Gould, Obituary, Bro Revd. Adolphus F. A. Woodford, AQC vol. 1 (1888), 133-5.

John A Seed, AFA Woodford, Progenitor of Quatuor Coronati Lodge 2076, AQC vol. 91 (1980), 118-28.

A Williamson, Parson Woodford's Diary, AQC vol. 95 (1983), 219-20.


Sir Walter Besant (1836-1901)

MA Cambridge, Secretary to the Palestine Exploration Fund.

He was initiated in Lodge of Harmony, No. 1143 (later, No. 841 and erased 1868), Port Louis, Mauritius, in 1862, and joined the Marquis of Dalhousie Lodge, No. 1159, London, in 1869, of which he became WM in 1873.

Author of The French Humourists, Early French Poetry, Life of Coligny, Life of Whittington, Rabelais, Readings in Rabelais, The History of Jerusalem from Jesus to Saladin, joint author, with James Rice, of the Golden Butterfly, and other novels, and sole author of Children of Gibeon, and other novels.

Edward Conder Jnr., In Memoriam, Sir Walter Besant (1836-1923), AQC vol. 14 (1901), 105-8.


John Paul Rylands (1846-1923)

Born 1846, Barrister at Law, Northern Circuit, Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.

Initiated in the Lodge of Faith and Unanimity, No. 417, Dorchester, in 1872, joined the Marquis of Lorne Lodge, No. 1354, Leigh, Lancashire, in 1879, and the Lodge of Lights, No. 148, Warrington, in 1880, where he served as JW, in the same year. Was exalted in the Chapter of Elias Ashmole, No. 148, Warrington, in 1880. The author of Account of the Holcroft Family, Arms in Warrington Church, Lancashire Inquisitions Post Mortem, Cheshire and Lancashire Funeral Certificates, Visitations of Cheshire, Visitation of Dorset 1623, Genealogies of the Families of Bate and Kirkland, Genealogies of the Families of Culcheth and Risley, and numerous pamphlets and articles on Heraldic and Genealogical subjects.

Roderick Hildegard Baxter, In Memoriam, John Paul Rylands (1846-1923), AQC vol. 36 (1923), 117-8.


Sisson Cooper Pratt (1844-1919)

Born 1844, Major Royal Artillery, PSC, Professor of Military History, RM Academy, Gold Medallist, RA Institution. He obtained his commission in June, 1863, served throughout the Bhootan Campaign of 1864-5, was present at the capture of Fort Dalimkote, the affairs at Chumurchi and Nagoo, and the recapture of the Bala Pass. Was appointed assistant Field Engineer to the Left Brigade, Dooar Field Force, three timcs mentioned in despatches, Medal and Clasp. Served as District Staff Officer to the South Western District during 1867-8, passed through the Staff College in 1873, and since held the appointment of Instructor in Tactics and Professor of Military History at the Royal Military College.

Initiated in the Bayard Lodge, No. 1615, London, in 1876, and subsequently joined the Kaisar-i-Hind and Moira Lodges.

Author of Field Artillery, its organization and Tactics, Military Law, its Procedure and Practice, Precis of the Franco-German War, Notes on Field Artillery, The Strategic Defence of Egypt, The Egyptian Campaign of 1801, Notes on Military History, etc., etc.

Graham P. G. Hills, In Memoriam, Sisson Cooper Pratt (1844-1919), AQC vol. 32 (1919), 79-5.


William James Hughan (1841-1911)

Born 1841, initiated in Lodge St. Aubyn, No. 954, Devonport, in 1863, joined the Phoenix Lodge, No. 331, Truro, in 1864, and Fortitude Lodge, No. 131, Truro, in 1866, serving as WM of the latter, in 1868, and again in 1878. He was exalted in Glasgow Chapter, No. 50 (SC), in 1865, and joined Kilwinning Chapter, No. 80 (SC), Ayr, in 1868, of which he became Z. in 1873. An Hon. Member of many Home and Foreign Lodges and Societies, such as the Penn'a Association of Masonic Veterans, etc., and was in 1880 made Hon. Senior GW of Grand Lodge of Quebec, an honour from which he withdrew in 1886. In 1876 he was granted the Rank of Past SGW of Grand Lodge of Egypt, and was Grand Representative of the Grand Chapter of Pennsylvania from 1872. Besides holding Past Rank as Grand Secretary etc. in his own Province of Cornwall, he was, in acknowledgment of his Masonic researches, granted the rank of Past Senior Grand Deacon of England in 1874, declining at the same time the offered Past Rank in Grand Chapter, which he however accepted in 1883, as Past Assistant Grand Sojourner.

He was the editor of the Devon and Cornwall Masonic Calendar. 1865-8; originator and editor of Cornwall Masonic Directory, 1870-1887, and in addition to innumerable communications to the Masonic journals of both hemispheres, the author of the following works (all now out of print): Constitutions of the Freemasons, 1869, History of Freemasonry in York, (Kingston Masonic Annual, 1871), and Unpublished Records of the Craft, in one volume, as Masonic Sketches, 1871, Old Charges of the British Freemasons, 1872. Memorials of the Masonic Union of December, 1813, 1874, Numerical and Medallic Masonic Register, 1878, Origin of the English Rite of Freemasonry, 1884, and numerous pamphlets. He was a frequent lecturer on Masonic History and Biblical Archaeology.

Henry Sadler, In Memoriam William James Hughan (1841-1911), AQC vol. 24 (1911), 148.

Keith Barry Jackson, William James Hughan - his contribution to Freemasonry & to Masonic History, AQCvol. 114 (2000) 83-111 and letters 115-122 and 267.


George William Speth (1847-1901)

Born 1847, initiated in 1872 in the Lodge of Unity, No. 183, London, WM in 1876. Exalted in Sir Francis Burdett Chapter, No. 1503, Twickenham, in 1883. Author of A History of the Lodge of Unity, No. 183, 1881, and of Royal Freemasons, 1885, besides having been a frequent contributor to the Masonic Press of London and Philadelphia, and the writer of several articles in the Masonic Monthly.

Obituary, George William Speth (1847-1901), AQC vol. 13 (1900), 127-8, 188.

Edward Conder Jnr., In Memoriam, George William Speth (1847-1901), AQC vol. 14 (1901) 97-104 and letters 144-9, 185-9.

David Peabody, G. W. Speth, The Gift of Historical Imagination, AQC vol. 120 (2007), 2-25.