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Man and Scythe – Bolton
Years before a number of these clubs were established another association had been formed in Bolton one stronger at this day than at any previous time. From a work on local Freemasonry we find that the Anchor and Hope Lodge of Freemasons was “warranted” at Bolton, 23rd October, 1732, on petition, the dispensation being granted to “our right worshipful and well-beloved brother Mr. Edward Entwisle,” a mercer in the town. The only lodges meeting in Lancashire at that period were No. 48, meeting at Salford, and No. 87, which assembled at Leigh.
The early records of the lodge include “paid to Mr. Brown for ale, before we must take the old box away which contained some old utensils, as for instance candlesticks, 10s.; a mallet and a square cost 6d., ten yards of ‘ferriting’ at 1s. 8d., a level square and plumb rule 2s., and two brothers in distress, 2s.” Down to the year  “the minutes, though very brief, carefully record the initiations, passings, and raisings in the lodge, as also the makings of royal arch masons, and the half-yearly elections and installations of master and officers.”
From [1776 ] to  seventy-six gentlemen were admitted members, and the lodge has been well sustained in numbers to the present day. Originally fostered in a private room opposite to the Man and Scythe Inn, Churchgate, the lodge was held for thirty-five years at the Hope Inn; from  to , the meeting place was the Legs of Man Inn and the Four Horse Shoes. From  to , the brethren of the craft met at the Swan Hotel; from  to  at the Church Institute, and the members were back again at the Swan Hotel from the last-named year until the well-fitted rooms in Institute Street, and known as the Masonic Hall, were occupied. It should be stated that from the years  to  there were upwards of 456 initiates.
While the old minutes of the Anchor and Hope Lodge are few in number, those relating to the “Lodge of Antiquity,” the warrant for which is dated 24th June, , are more profuse. In a printed sketch of the lodge’s history, Mr. James Newton tells us that it was agreed the lodge meet at the Crown Inn. The first seven names appearing in the old register are, James Taylor, portrait painter; Thomas Clarke, fustian maker; Peter Bentley, innkeeper; Hugh Woods, weaver; Bold Halliwell, weaver; Richard Worthington, aleseller; and Wm. Wild, also an aleseller.” On one occasion, for instance, the lodge was “opened at six o’clock on the first step. Brother James Hodgkinson, Master Mason, of No. 393, Manchester, initiated in this, and then closed on the first step in good harmony.
Excerpt from History of Bolton by James Christopher Scholes published in 1892
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