ISSUE 9, April 2004

The Duke of Wellington: A Brother in arms
Quarterly Communication: Address of the Grand Master and Report of the Board of General Purposes
Life with the Stars: Masons and famous people
Hall Stone Jewel: Cyril Spackman, designer
Travel: Jamaica
Grand Charity: Annual Report and Accounts
Masonic stamps: Masonry on stamps
Library & Museum of Freemasonry: Antients and Moderns go on-line
Masonic education: Events for Freemasons
Masonic charities: The continuing work
Bowel cancer: How the Grand Charity is helping
Royal Arch: Russia and Eastern Europe
Richard Eve: A former Grand Treasurer
Book reviews

 Previous Page 
 Next Page 

Featured Masons

The Duke of Wellington
Neal Arden
Elias Ashmole
Richard Eve
John Pine
Cyril Spackman

© National Gallery

Wellington, by Goya
     A Brother in arms

Freemasonry was a thread that ran through the life of Wellington, as Yasha Beresiner has discovered

The eventful life of Arthur, Duke of Wellington, was evenly apportioned between a triumphant military career and an equally successful political one.
       His early involvement in both fields kept him away from home, which may explain why, notwithstanding his five-year membership of the Lodge in Trim, he never progressed beyond the first degree of Freemasonry.
       Arthur Wesley, whose original 12th century name Wellesley was reverted to by the family in 1798, was almost certainly born in Dublin and not Trim, Co Meath, and almost certainly, on 1 May 1769 and not 29 March as has been claimed.
       Wellingtons was the third of the five sons born to Garret Wesley III and Anne Hill. Every single one of the Wesley children was to excel in his own field of endeavour, and Arthur, amongst them, scintillated through a dazzling lifelong career.
       His early education in Trim, later in London, and from 1781 to 1784 at Eton College culminated, after an additional two years of private tuition, in his joining the prestigious Royal Academy of Equitation at Angers in Anjou, France. Through the influence of his elder Brother Richard, he was launched on a military career from the start.
       He returned to Ireland in February 1788 and was appointed aide-de-camp to the Lord Lieutenant, and simultaneously followed in the political footsteps of the family. A Wesley had had a presence in the Irish Parliament since its inception as an independent Assembly in 1782. In April 1790 Arthur was elected MP for Trim, Ireland, aged 21.
       His was initiated into the family Lodge, Trim No. 494, on 7 December the same year. Both his father and his brother served as Masters, and they both became Grand Masters of the Grand Lodge of Ireland.
       Garrett Wellesley, first Earl of Mornington, was proposed as a member of the Lodge by one of its founders, John Boulger, and was raised a Master Mason in July 1775.
       A year later he served as Master of the Lodge and was elected Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ireland, serving for one year, as was customary at the time, being succeeded by the Duke of Leinster in 1776. His eldest son, Richard, third Baron and second Earl of Mornington, was raised on 31 July 1781, having paid his late father's arrears and his own admission fee a few weeks earlier. A year later he followed in the footsteps of the Rt. Hon. William Randall, Earl of Antrim (who also served as Grand Master of the Antients Grand Lodge of England) as the new Grand Master of Ireland.
       Wellington would no doubt have followed in their footsteps had time permitted him to pursue his Masonic career. There is no reason to suppose that the young Arthur was in anyway disenchanted with the Craft. The Lodge records show that on 7 December 1790 he paid his admittance fee of £2 5s 6d.
       He is here referred to as ‘the Honorable Capt. Wesley’. A second entry, on 26 June 1792, states: ‘Pd now in advance Br. Wesley 14s 1d’. The records continue to show several occasions on which his dues are paid, the last entry on 8 September 1795.