The Prestonian Lecture for 2014

1814 Consolidation and Change
- the first year of the United Grand Lodge of England

W.Bro Dr Mike Kearsley ProvGOrat (Middlesex)




Summary of the 2014 Prestonian Lecture

In December 1813 two rival Grand lodges merged to form the United Grand Lodge of England that exists to this day. However, it was not until 1814, and beyond, that the work of consolidation and change could really begin. The 2014 Prestonian Lecture celebrates the 200th anniversary of this event by presenting an in depth description of much of what occurred during this momentous period of change.

It sets the scene by describing the events which first led to a division within Freemasonry and the bitterness which marked the relationship between the two rival Grand Lodges. It continues by describing the impetus for union and the various moves which were made to support this. The bulk of the lecture, however, concerns itself with the changes which were actually made. These involved matters of leadership, of administration and of the facilities and premises needed to house the new, enlarged Craft. The story is told through the perspective of three notable individuals – Frederick Augustus, Duke of Sussex and the first Grand Master, William Henry White the first Grand Secretary and John Soane , the first Grand Superintendant of Works.  Together, and with the support of many others, these men cemented the union and overcame many of the divisions and problems which it created.


A great deal has been written by other Masonic historians about these events.  This Prestonian Lecture seeks to presents a fresh and expanded coverage of these many sources as well as including some material not previously published.  It seeks to tell the story in an interesting and lively manner so that it fulfils the aim of being relevant and entertaining for the ordinary Freemason whose knowledge of the events included may not be as extensive or clear as dedicated Masonic historians.

The Lecture is complemented by a 104 page booklet that covers the ground in considerably more detail. This contains details of such matters as: the Union day, The first Quarterly Communications, Improving Lodge rooms, the need for funds, the renumbering of lodges, agreeing the ritual, agreeing the rules, organising Provincial Grand Lodges, agreeing rank and regalia, organising charity and benevolence, organising membership certificates, organising a new coat of arms, the dechristianisation of the Craft and the relationship with other Grand Lodges, amongst other matters.


The booklet is on sale at deliveries of the Lecture and through this website.