Revd George Adam Browne

Revd George Adam Browne

1825 — 1843

The minutes of the Cambridge New Lodge records the initiation of the Revd Browne on 16th March 1796 with the following words;

“Geo: A. Browne Esq. was made a Mason in due form being first admitted as an Entered Apprentice and then Passed Fellow Craft”.

He remained a Fellow Craft until 25th February 1797, when he “… was admitted Master Mason in due form …” in a ‘Special Lodge of Masters’ at the Red Lyon in Petty Cury. – However, at his next visit, he was still a ‘visitor’, finally being elected a member on 2nd April 1806 – 10 years after his Initiation.

Many believe that Brown was instrumental in the revision and regularising of the Royal Arch ritual in 1834, largely because he was acting 1st Principal at the special Convocation in that year, after which the revised ceremonies were issued by Supreme Grand Chapter in 1835. Whatever the true facts, the introduction and promotion of the Royal Arch in the Province is his (local) claim to fame; the records indicate that he was instrumental in the formation of the School of Plato Chapter in 1807 and Chapter of Pythagoras in 1828 (now No. 88)

The Cambridgeshire Year Book claims that Browne was our PGM from 1832-1844, but Grand Lodge has no record that such a Patent was ever issued, although he did have a Patent as the Grand Superintendent dated 1810. He is however, listed in the Calendar of PGMs as Deputy from 1812 until his death. (In those days, ‘Deputy’  meant rather more in the way of ‘Acting’ than its present sense).

The Union brought honours to Browne as well as to his Province. Appointed as Grand Orator in 1813, although the office  is never mentioned again, his relationship with the Duke of Sussex resulted in the positions of Senior Grand Deacon in 1814 and Grand Chaplain in 1815.

The high point however, was a visit of the Duke of Sussex to the New Lodge in September 1818. The records indicate that the meeting was an Initiation – the candidate being an Italian, Count Frederic Confolonieri. It is reported that the Grand Master assumed the chair following the Initiation before being escorted to the ‘Banquitting Room’.

Browne’s era saw the consecration of the Lodge of Three Grand Principles No. 645 (now 441) and the decline of another – the School of Plato Lodge. The former came into existence as a result of discontent within the Scientific Lodge – reportedly Scientific was becoming clogged  with Varsity men to the detriment of the local Tradesmen seeking ‘social comfort’ in their Freemasonry.

For the last few years of his life, Browne had 3 Cambridge lodges and 2 chapters to look after – sadly, the lodges in the north of the Province at Wisbech and Whittlesey had been erased at the time of his appointment.

Extract from “Cambridgeshire Encompassed” by kind permission of W.Bro. Jim Whitehead