The town of Killyleagh has been the home to Freemasonry for many years. In the official list of Irish Masonic Lodges, published in 1804 we find Lodge 180 holding a warrant in Killyleagh. This Lodge was originally warranted in the year 1748, as it appears in the Register of The Grand Lodge of Ireland. In the year 1735 there was not a single warranted or chartered Lodge in Belfast, Antrim or Down. Lodge 182 “True Blues” was the first “regular” lodge in Belfast – warrant date 1748 – the same year in which Lodge 180 became a “chartered “Lodge in Killyleagh.
In those days Lodges would assemble and march to a village a few miles away to meet other Lodges coming from different directions and with them would proceed “to partake of a sermon” on the 24th June – the feast of St.John – to whom all Masonic Lodges were dedicated in the good old days. The Lodges marched to music and those with the lowest number would get nearest to the music as possible.
As a matter of fact the taking of “Early” numbers has proved a disadvantage to the Lodges, for the date of the Warrant placed opposite the number of such Lodges in our present Masonic Calendar is that of the year in which the “Early” number was granted.
In the calendar you will find opposite Lodge 113 the date of 1817 whereas if the Lodge had stuck to it’s old warrant 180, the date would have appeared 1748.
Unfortunately the old records and minute books of Lodge 180 are not forthcoming. In the Register of Grand Lodge of Ireland, a ledger in which the names of the members of the Lodges are kept is found to show that 25 Brethren of Lodge 180 had sent in their names for transfer on the 6th November 1817 to Lodge 113.
The present Masonic Hall at 50 Main Street, Killyleagh was purchased in 1927 and today is a very fine Hall. Over the years much refurbishing has taken place viz a new roof not to mention numerous exterior and interior work. The result of some very hard work carried by our Hall Committee but mostly by our Sister Lodge 30.
Let us hope and pray that Freemasonry will continue to flourish in Killyleagh for many years to come.