Southchurch Masonic Study Circle


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Essex Oaths Project
This Project was conceived in 2006 by Bro. Bernard Williamson and put to the Study Circle as a research project in which many of them, and others, could become involved.
It is a daunting project with well over 400 A3 pages, each containing some 40 lines of details. The details shown on these returns are the Name, Address and Occupation of lodge members for the year the return was submitted.

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Concerns about a potential Jacobin Rebellion, in 1799, Prime Minister Pitt's Government passed the Unlawful Societies Act. George III feared that a rebellion was being secretly promoted within these groups.
Because of their charitable activities, Freemasons were made an exception provided they made an annual return to the local Justice of the Peace listing the full names, Abode and Trade, Profession or Business of their members.
The surviving 'Returns' are held by the Essex Record Office and it is these documents which are being transcribed and presented for the use of any social or Masonic Researcher and the Genealogist, wherever they might reside.

The catalogue references of these bundles of documents are available on this page covering the years from 1799 until 1934.

Please see Lanes Masonic Records of Lodges held at Sheffield University.

Excellent article from the Grand Lodge Library and Museum

See article by Br. Bernard Williamson by clicking HERE

Please read the article on Unlawful Societies Act

The Lodge of Good Will in 1799, met at 3 O'clock in the afternoon.
Is this Lodge the first 'daylight' lodge in Essex?

List of Returns at the ERO and Assignment.

Please read this DISCLAIMER. It's important!.

It is our intention to make this data available on this and other Web Sites free for anyone who may be interested and able to use the data. We also intend to make the details available by booklet and by CD Rom, for which there will be a charge to cover production and postage.

Bro. Terry Maton (Acting Webmaster)

The data documents listed below are extracted from the Oaths Database which, so far includes data from but forty of the returns. There is much to do!

UPDATE, MARCH 2013: Please Note that the following links for the Essex Oaths Database are out of order. We are endeavouring to repair them, but in the meantime you can contact the Oaths Team via this e-mail address.

Also see the note on our HomePage concerning site updates. Thank you for your patience.

Indexed by Lodge Number and Members Sur-Name.

Indexed by Sur=Name and Lodge Number

Using the List of Lodges below, you can also access additional 'LINK' information and a list of Members for each individual Lodge.

List of Lodges indexed by Number and Return Date

List of Lodges indexed by Return Date and Number

List of Lodges indexed by Occupation and then Lodge Number

Enter one or two characters of the Sur-Name

Please note that the database will be updated regularly as more information is transcribed from the original documents.
Please contact the Site Webmaster with your comments.