Newtown Lodge No. 427

Lodge History

Freemasonry as we know it today originated in 1717 in York, England. Some prominent early colonists belonged to the fraternity and petitioned the Grand Lodge in York for a warrant to establish Masonic Lodges in the colonies. In 1764, the Grand Lodge of England granted a warrant, which established the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. This permitted the establishment of local Masonic Lodges throughout the province.

Freemasons in Bucks County, Pennsylvania were granted a warrant in August 1768, to establish Lodge No. 11 in Newtown. One of the members had ties to the Brick Hotel, and the Lodge may have met there, but this can not be confirmed. Following the revolutionary war, the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania severed its connection to the Grand Lodge of England in 1786, and in 1793, the Newtown Lodge received a new warrant No. 57 from the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. The Lodge is believed to have met at 114 So. State Street in Newtown at the time, until it surrendered its warrant in 1806 and ceased to meet (went dark). From that time, until a Newtown Lodge was reestablished some years later, Masons in the Newtown area met at Doylestown, Bristol, or other Philadelphia area Lodges.

In 1868, the present Newtown Lodge No. 427 was established, and met at the Worstall and Dalton building, 106 South State Street, (Burns Hardware building) on the 3rd floor. This building is also referred to as the Hillborn store. Rent was $300 per year, with members’ dues at $6 per year. The establishment of a local network of electric trolleys in the 1880-1900 period allowed Bretheren outside the immediate Newtown area easier transportation to and from meetings. On the night of March 1, 1899, the building, which housed the Lodge, and Worstall’s Hardware store burned to the ground, destroying most of the Lodge records, and most importantly, the charter. The building was soon rebuilt, and the Lodge continued to meet there until the 1950s. In 1955, the estate, which owned the building gave the Lodge notice to vacate, which started a search for new premises. By 1958 the Lodge had bought the present 5-acre property at Woodside for $10,600. The Penn Morris Lodge No. 778 was invited to join Newtown in constructing a new building. By this time (1964) the Newtown Lodge had 457 members. Newtown approached the Bristol and Fairless Hills Lodges and invited them to join the new venture, called the Lower Bucks Masonic Hall Association, but they declined. Levittown Lodge No. 788 did join the project, and construction began in October 1964. The architect, and many of the craftsmen involved were Bretheren of the fraternity. Four years later, in June 1968, the building was dedicated, and the three Lodges began meeting in Woodside.