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Saint Andrew’s Lodge No.1 History

The first lodge at Halifax was formally established by Edward Cornwallis, the founder of Halifax, along with William Steele, Robert Campbell, William Nesbitt and David Haldane, after petitioning for a Warrant from Erasmus James Philipps, Provincial Grand Master, representing the St. John's Grand Lodge, Boston. 

A copy of the petition to Philips dated June 12th, 1750, signed by Cornwallis and the other Brethren, is in the archives of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, but this would seem to have been a second application, for the Halifax Lodge is referred to in the Grand Lodge minutes of April 13th, 1750, a circumstance probably explained by the fact that the petitioning Brethren had previously applied to the St. John's Grand Lodge, Boston, and had been referred by that Lodge to the Provincial Grand Master. 


Received on July 19, 1750, the Lodge held its first meeting under this Warrant on that very date with Edward Cornwallis as its first Master.   Lord Alex Colville and several Navy Gentlemen were entered apprentices of the Lodge on that date.

On the return of Cornwallis to England in August 1753, the Hon. Charles Lawrence, Governor, became Master with the Hon. William. Nesbitt, being his Deputy Master.

In 1757 the members of the First Lodge petitioned the Grand Lodge of England (Ancients) for a Provincial Grand Lodge Warrant (called No. 1, N. S.) and warrants for two additional subordinate lodges, organized from among their own members, and called Nos. 2 & 3, N. S..  These warrants were dated December 27th, 1757, and were numbered 65, 66, and 67 on the English Registry.

1750 petition for First Lodge in Halifax NovaScotia

On the organization of the Provincial Grand Lodge in 1758 and the two subordinate lodges, the remaining portion of the First Lodge became Lodge No. 4 on the Provincial Registry.  In 1768, Lodge No. 4 obtained an English Warrant No. 155, "Ancients" dated March 26th, 1768;  John Cody, Master.

About 1776, the Provincial Grand Lodge became dormant, following the death of Hon. Chief Justice Jonathan Belcher, the Grand Master.  From 1776 to 1784, Lodge 155 Acted as a Grand Lodge and established, or assisted in establishing, seven Lodges in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick andPrince Edward Island, including the present St. John's and Virgin Lodges.

In 1783, Lodge 155 and St. John's 211, took steps for the revival of the Provincial Grand Lodge.

About the same time the name Saint Andrew's was adopted by No. 155, probably due to the influence of Loyalists from Boston or New York, where St. Andrew's Lodge was most prominent.

In 1814, the United Grand Lodge of England was formed and the number of Saint Andrew's Lodge was changed to No. 188.

In 1832 the Lodges on the English roll were again renumbered, and Saint Andrew's became No. 137.

Between 1832 and 1838 matters Masonic in Nova Scotia were at very low ebb. St Andrew's had only eleven members which, however, was more than any other Lodge had in Halifax at the time.  The Lodge, however, never ceased to hold its regular meetings, and about 1840, a revival of interest took place.

Saint Andrew's Lodge No 1 Crest.png

In 1950 Grand Lodge authorized a further distinctive decoration upon the aprons of the members of the Lodge in recognition of the fact that the Lodge has attained its 200th anniversary.  This decoration consists of two strips of gold soutache overlaid upon the dark blue ribbon trimmings of the apron.

​​Old Saint Andrew's

Today, Saint Andrew's Lodge No. 1 is the oldest Masonic Lodge in Canada and in fact the oldest in the British Commonwealth overseas.

In 2000, Saint Andrew's celebrated its' 250th anniversary and commissioned a 250 Year Jewel to celebrate the Lodge having been in existence and meeting regularly since 1750. 

For a deeper account of the history of the Lodge see “History of St. Andrew's Lodge" by R.V. Harris.

Masonic Apron
250 Year Jewel.png

In 1863 Saint Andrew’s became No, 118 on the English Registry.

In 1866 the Scottish lodges in Nova Scotia organized an independent Grand Lodge of Nova Scotia which continued until 1869 when the English lodges in Nova Scotia united with it to form the present Grand Lodge.  Saint Andrew’s Lodge became No. 1, G.R.N.S.

In 1871 the United Grand Lodge of England ·granted to Saint Andrew's Lodge the privilege of wearing the Centenary Jewel of the Grand Lodge of England in recognition of the fact that the Lodge had been for over a hundred years on the Registry of that Grand Lodge.  Saint Andrew's enjoys the distinction of being the only Lodge on a Canadian Register to which the Centenary Jewel has been granted.  Any member of the Lodge who is in good standing,  is entitled to wear this Jewel.


In 1892 the Grand Lodge of Nova Scotia authorized the Lodge to adopt gold chain collars and gold trimmings on their aprons and regalia, in recognition of the fact that the Lodge was over one hundred and twenty-five years old.

In 1918 the Grand Lodge authorized a further distinctive decoration upon the aprons of the members of Saint Andrew’s Lodge, in recognition of the fact that the Lodge was upwards of 150 years of age.

In 1927 the Lodge adopted a distinctive coat of arms, indicative of its origin and history.

In 1949-50 the Lodge marked its Bicentenary by erecting in St. Paul's Church, a bronze tablet, unveiled by Baron Cornwallis, Provincial Grand Master for Kent, and a descendant of Edward Cornwallis, who in association with the Hon. William Nesbitt and Hon. Richard Bulkeley were, in 1749-50, the Founders of the City of Halifax, the Church of St. Paul, and Saint Andrew's Lodge.

The Lodge has numbered on its long roll ten Grand Masters of the Province, several Governors, Premiers, Members of the Legislature and Parliament of Canada, Bishops and leaders of the Church, Officers of the Army and Navy and others distinguished in the Church and State.

St. Andrew's Lodge No 118 1768 Centenary
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