Lord Daresbury

Lord Daresbury’s distinguished service to Freemasonry

Lord Daresbury who was initiated into St Oswald Lodge and became the Provincial Grand Master of North Munster

Lord Daresbury who was initiated into St Oswald Lodge and became the Provincial Grand Master of North Munster

WITH THE immense service and devotion given to Freemasonry by members of the Greenall family it was no surprise when the name of the Right Honourable Edward Greenall was put forward as a candidate for Initiation.

The surprise was, however, that he was not about to join his father’s lodge, but instead decided to become a member of the newly consecrated St Oswald Lodge No 5170.

As only the second person to be Initiated in St Oswald Lodge on 6 November 1930 another remarkable chapter was about to start in the outstanding service to Masonry by the Greenall family.

The first member of the Greenall family to become a Freemason was Gilbert Greenall who joined the Lodge of Lights in 1850. After serving as a Justice of the Peace, a Member of Parliament, a Deputy Lieutenant for Lancashire and High Sheriff of Cheshire, he was created a Baronet after returning to Parliament in 1874. When the Lodge of Lights celebrated its centenary Bro Greenall became its Worshipful Master. To celebrate the centenary the Provincial Grand Master, Sir Thomas Hesketh, held a special meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge in the Public Hall, Rylands Street, Warrington. At this meeting WBro Greenall was invested as the Provincial Senior Grand Warden. In 1866 Gilbert Greenall was Appointed and Invested as Senior Grand Warden of the United Grand Lodge of England. It was in 1869 that Gilbert Greenall Lodge No 1250 was Consecrated.

It was not until 1908 that his son, Gilbert, was initiated into his father’s lodge and just two years later he was made the Provincial Senior Grand Warden of West Lancashire. He was a founder of the Lodge of Rectitude No 3597 in 1912 and a founder of St Austin Lodge No 4335 in 1927. He was raised to the Peerage in 1927 as Lord Daresbury.

His two sons, Gilbert and Edward, were born in 1901 and 1902. Unfortunately the Honourable Gilbert Greenall, the first son, was killed in a motoring accident and Edward became heir to the title.

It had been thought that Edward would be Initiated into his father’s lodge soon after his 21st birthday but he waited for another seven years before deciding to become a member of St Oswald Lodge.

He was proposed by WBro Sir William Peter Rylands, who was Provincial Senior Grand Warden, and seconded by the Right Reverend H Gresford Jones,  DD Bishop of Warrington and the first Junior Warden of the lodge. At his Initiation the Senior Warden’s Chair was taken by WBro GM Galloway, the Provincial Senior Grand Warden and the Junior Warden’s Chair of the lodge was taken by WBro JW Mailland, the Provincial Junior Grand Warden. The Charge of the Degree was delivered by the Provincial Grand Secretary, WBro JA Wilson.

After serving as Junior and Senior Warden, Bro Greenall was Installed as Worshipful Master in 1933. He was presented for his Installation by his father, Lord Daresbury.

It is obvious from our lodge records that WBro Greenall was not just going to be a figurehead in the lodge. He was active not only during his year as Worshipful Master but in the following years gave Charges, Addresses to Worshipful Masters at their Installations, to candidates, explained the Working Tools of all degrees and often took the chair on Past Masters’ Nights. In 1935 he undertook the duties of Assistant Director of Ceremonies of the lodge and held that post for 10 years.

He succeeded as the second Baron Daresbury of Walton.

His talent and love of Freemasonry were rewarded with his appointment as Provincial Senior Grand Warden. For the Installation of Bro Jack Oddy in 1949 he took the chair as he had proposed Jack into the lodge and then gave the Address.

There was a special presentation to Lord Daresbury at St Oswald Lodge’s meeting on 13 September 1945. WBro Sir Peter Rylands took the chair to present an Illuminated Address to Lord Daresbury, which had been subscribed to by all members of the lodge, to mark his Investiture the previous April as Senior Grand Warden of the United Grand Lodge of England. He also held the office in 1946 due to the contingencies of the Second World War.

Lord Daresbury, who had also joined his father’s lodge in 1937, became a founder of Warrington Temple Lodge No 6420 in 1947 and was its first Worshipful Master. He also became a Joining Member of the Lodge of Lights No 148 and was a founder in 1945 of Winmarleigh Lodge No 6101.

In 1947 Lord Daresbury went to live in Ireland but his association with St Oswald Lodge was not to end even though he actively pursued his Masonic calling in Eire. In 1950 he became a Joining Member of the Antient Union Lodge No 13 on the Register of the Grand Lodge of Ireland becoming its Worshipful Master in 1953. Antient Union Lodge celebrated its 200th anniversary just two years after St Oswald Lodge was Consecrated and was only the fourth lodge to be granted a Warrant under the Irish Constitution.

It did not take the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Ireland long to recognise the immense talents of Lord Daresbury and on 27 December 1957 he was Installed and Invested as the Provincial Grand Master of North Munster. He held this office for 27 years, only relinquishing the post in October 1984 at the age of 82. The Grand Lodge Annual Report for 1985 says: “RWBro the Rt Hon Lord Daresbury relinquished his office as Provincial Grand Master of North Munster after 27 years of distinguished service to the Order and to North Munster in general. We wish him well in his retirement.”


In Ireland, Lord Daresbury had also joined Galway’s Premier Connaught Lodge No 14 in 1958 and was made an honorary member in 1981. He also joined the Royal Arch in Ireland being a member of Chapter 73, Eden from October 1950 and being Excellent King in 1966. He was also a member of Royal Arch Chapter 60, Limerick from October 1963.

Lord Daresbury celebrated the 50th Anniversary of his Initiation into Freemasonry at a meeting of St Oswald Lodge in November 1980 when WBro Derrick Lodge was in the chair. Glowing tributes were paid concerning the contribution made by Lord Daresbury to Freemasonry in England, Ireland and particularly to St Oswald Lodge which he regularly visited on Past Masters’ Nights.

Lord Daresbury died on 15 February 1990 just a couple of months before we were due to celebrate the 60th anniversary of his Initiation. Many members of the lodge attended a Service of Thanksgiving for the life of ‘Toby’ Daresbury which took place at St John’s Church, Walton.