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Mariners and the Masonic Empire - Congress of Maritime History, Greenwich UK


5th International Congress of Maritime History
23 June 2008 - 27 June 2008

The University of Greenwich, Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, UK

Mariners and the Masonic Empire

Date: 25 June 2008
Time: 09:00 - 11:00


2F-01 Maritime Masons in Cornwall in the Nineteenth Century

This paper is based on analysis of the maritime members of Masonic lodges in the ports of Hayle, Penzance, Falmouth, Penryn and Fowey during the period. It will take account of not just of sea-going groups ? such as mariners, master mariners and pilots ? but also of land based businesses and ancillary trades, such as shipbuilders, shipwrights and rope makers. Consideration will be given to the numbers involved: their origins (local, domestic and foreign): how common, or unusual, membership was within the various occupational groups: their motivations for joining and the possible benefits derived. The differing patterns of membership between ports will be explored. We shall also look at the structure of the trades undertaken by Masonic mariners operating to and from the south western ports and the degree to which they reflected patterns observed by studies of other districts.

Speaker: Dr Helen Doe
Organization: University Of Exeter
Biography: Helen gained her Masters Degree with distinction in Maritime History from the University of Exeter. She has recently completed her PhD, also at Exeter. Her research interests include shipbuilding, port communities, maritime businesswomen and investors in nineteenth century shipping. Her research has been published in the Mariner?s Mirror, Cornish Studies, Family and Community History and the Journal of South West Maritime History Society. She is a Council member of the Society for Nautical Research, a member of the British Commission for Maritime History and a Trustee of the National Museum Cornwall.
Speaker: Professor Roger Burt
Organization: University Of Exeter
Biography: Professor Roger Burt is Emeritus Professor of Mining at the University of Exeter and has published on the links between masons and mining.

2F-02 Masonic Networks in a Nineteenth Century Port

Situated on the mouth of a navigable river shipping was of considerable importance to Victorian Lynn. In order to facilitate decisions about insurance, cargoes, labour and security those involved in shipping benefited from networking and it is apparent that after 1729, when the first Masonic lodge opened in the town, Masons involved in shipping could use the lodge to build commercial and social connections and to reduce moral hazard, transaction costs and freeriding.

Six Masonic lodges were founded in Lynn before the Philanthropic Lodge was opened in 1810. Three had closed by 1786 and the other three by 1838. The two lodges which were formed after the Philanthropic was opened had closed by 1851. When the Philanthropic became the sole lodge in town a social change occurred within its membership. The captain, master mariners and naval officers (who had themselves replaced the boatbuilders and the mariners from Yorkshire, Sunderland and Lynn) left the lodge. Meanwhile, ship owners, ship brokers and shipping and dock managers joined. These men made connections with other new members, landowners and clerics who had links to local friendly societies. Drawing on the network categorisations of Putnam and also of Woolcock local economic and social stability will be conceptualised in terms of the role of Freemasonry within the shifting balance between bonding social capital (the norms and networks of trusting horizontal, relationships formed between people with a similar social identity), bridging social capital, which refers to the horizontal networks between participants who acknowledge their differences and linking social capital (vertical relationships which connected those with unequal resources and power).

Speaker: Dr Dan Weinbren
Organization: The Open University
Biography: Dan Weinbren is a historian of fraternity and chair of the Friendly Societies Research Group. His publications include work on the history of the armaments industries, the Labour Party, friendly societies, The Humanitarian League, family local and oral history and virtual heritage.

2F-03 Membership of Masonic Lodges in Some Northern Port Towns, 1780-1830

Freemasonry has hitherto generally been studied within national boundaries and treated as a relatively static phenomenon. However, the analysis of the membership records of Masonic lodges in such ports as Liverpool and Hull suggests that membership was more dynamic than Masonic historians have previously assumed. Liverpool lodges for example included mariners from such countries as America, Russia, Sweden and Germany. Likewise, those engaged in the domestic coastal trade frequently joined lodges in ports away from their home base. It appears that freemasonry was a major means of contact between the home port and the transient mariner population. This paper will illustrate this phenomenon and will consider how far it affects our understanding of the social and cultural impact of Freemasonry in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

Speaker: Professor Andrew Prescott
Organization: University Of Wales Lampeter
Biography: Professor Andrew Prescott was founding Director of the Centre for Research into Freemasonry, University of Sheffield. He is currently Librarian and Director of the Roderic Bowen Research Centre, University of Wales Lampeter.

2F-04 Swedish Freemasonry in the Caribbean: a Multinational Lodge in the Port Town of Gustavia on St. Barth鬥my around 1800

In 1784, the Kingdom of Sweden received a peculiar gift from the French king: the volcanic island of St. Barth鬥my in the Caribbean Sea. This little strip
of land squeezed in between other and far more prosperous Caribbean islands, was the scene for one of the few colonial endeavours of the Swedish crown and lasted only about one hundred years. The history of freemasonry on St. Barth鬥my is an important piece of a puzzle of freemasonry in the Caribbean in
general. It is a micro-history of cultural encounters and marine mobility, of ritual development and sociability. This paper deals with the establishment of freemasonry on St. Barth鬥my, its connections to the Swedish Grand Lodge, its membership structure and activities mainly between 1797-1807 where we have
plenty of documents that tell us about its ritual work, organisation and ideology. These connections have hitherto never been analysed and the paper
will for the first time present source material from the Archive of the Swedish Order of Freemasons on the lodge la Sudermanie in the capital of the island,
the port town of Gustavia.

Speaker: Dr Andreas ֮nerfors
Organization: University Of Sheffield
Biography: Dr. Andreas ֮nerfors is Director of the Centre for Research into Freemasonry, established in the year of 2001 at the University of Sheffield.
Andreas obtained his PhD at the university of Lund, Sweden in 2003. In his dissertation he analysed Sweden's relationship to its ultramarine German possession of Swedish-Pomerania at the Baltic shore. He has worked on press history and the history of associational life, mainly freemasonry. During a post-doctoral project he also worked on seaborne post and passenger traffic between the ports of Stralsund in Pomerania and Ystad in Sweden as a means of
cultural encounters.

Please direct all queries and requests for letters of invitation directly to Suzanne Bowles using the Congress email address

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