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The Royal Arch RA Home Page

The History of the Province - 1826 to 2011

In the beginning

On 24 th April 1826 the R W Bro John Crossley of Scaitcliffe, Todmorden was installed as the first Provincial Grand Master of the then newly created Eastern Division of Lancashire. He presided until his death in December 1830.

This date was hugely significant because it marked the first mention of our Province in such a formal capacity. However, it was not until 1960 - only 46 years ago - and 134 years after its first mention that the Province of East Lancashire with the area that it covers and as we know it today was formally established.

But how did we reach there?

The events as recorded are interesting in their own right, and the UK's economic history in the form of the Industrial Revolution with its new found wealth and previously unseen population influx and unparalleled growth into the towns and cities of the North West also played a key role in the examples shown below: -

Town Population Year
Ashton under Lyne 9,200 1824
     "         "       "
49,000 1971
Blackburn 22,000 1824
       " 101,000 1971
Rochdale 27,000 1824
       " 91,000 1971

An Interregnum

Following the death of R W Bro John Crossley in December 1830 Provincial Grand Lodge remained dormant for five years. The Minute Book states very explicitly, 'No business from 1830 to 1835'.

However, two interesting propositions received the attention of Provincial Grand Lodge during the interregnum. In 1835 the institution of a 'Local Fund of Benevolence' was proposed, but the scheme was rejected in 1837. In 1840 the provision of a school for the daughters of deceased brethren was approved, but the plan did not materialise.

On 9 th December 1835 at 9am a meeting was convened in the name of Bro Thomas Preston Esq, Merchant of Manchester at Hayward 's Hotel, Bridge Street , Manchester , and who had been appointed Deputy Provincial Grand Master in September 1835.

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