[NOTE: The brief history of our District reproduced below, was written by RW Bro. B. D.
Parsons, Baron of Ormiston and Robertland, Past District Grand Master and appeared in the
commemorative booklet produced by Victoria Lodge 2196 on the occasion of their hosting the
District’s By-annual Communication in 1999.]
DISTRICT GRAND LODGE OF BARBADOS
& THE EASTERN CARIBBEAN
The oldest reference to Freemasonry in the Eastern Caribbean is connected with Antigua, when
in 1738, Henry Price, from New England called there, and finding several freemasons proceeded
to form them into a regular Lodge under the Premier Grand Lodge of England. In 1739, "Mother
Lodge" No 56 was formed in St Kitts, with Alexander Irvine introducing Freemasonry into
Barbados in 1740, by founding St Michael's Lodge under the Moderns.
In the same year, Thomas Baxter was appointed Provincial Grand Master for Barbados. He was
succeeded by William Maynard in 1755, who also had jurisdiction over 'all other islands to
Windward of Guadeloupe'. In 1764, John Stone held office, until 1770 when Hon. Samuel Rouse
was appointed. He died in 1780 and a committee was in charge until 1783 when Hon. Benjamin
Gittens was appointed by his Grace the Duke of Manchester, Grand Master of the Premier Grand
Lodge at that time.
From 1791, Hon. William Bishop carried on – his successor, James Cummins being appointed in
1796. Col John Straker was appointed in 1801. After a reign of 16 years he was succeeded by
Hon. John Alleyne Beckles, who held the office for 24 years. Sir Robert Boucher Clarke, CB,
then followed for over 10 years, dying in office in l852.
There was then an interregnum with no appointments being made from 1852 to 1889. The
Minute books of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Barbados have been lost. The Masonic Temple
on Masonhall Street was destroyed by the severe hurricane of 1831. In any event by 1866
Provinces overseas became known as 'Districts'. As a consequence of a petition to Grand Lodge
from Albion 196, Victoria 2196 and St. Michael 2253, the old arrangement was resuscitated as
the District Grand Lodge of Barbados, and in July 1890 Col John Elliot, CB, CMG was
appointed the first District Grand Master.
Col. Elliot was succeeded by John Locke in l895, who resigned in 1904. Robert Haynes was
appointed in 1904, but died the following November in 1905. John Pedro D'Albuquerque was
installed in 1906. His tenure of office continued for 23 years. He resigned in 1929, due to ill
health, and was succeeded in 1930 by Lt. Col. William Bowring, MBE.
Four Lodges were founded, under the District's jurisdiction during the intervening years – St.
George 2616 in 1896 in St Vincent; Abercrombie 2788 in 1900 in St Lucia; Lodge St. George
3072 in Grenada in 1904; and St. Andrews 4211, also in Grenada, in 1920. The warrant for St.
Andrews was returned in 1932.
Rev. Arthur Evelyn Armstrong was appointed District Grand Master in 1941. He was also the
first Grand Inspector for the Leeward Islands, from 1947. He resigned as Grand Inspector in
1953, but continued as District Grand Master, before resigning this office in 1957. Lindsay Ercil
Ryeburn Gill was appointed in 1957, and it was during his time, that Union 7551 was constituted
in Barbados in l958, and Conception 8346 in 1970 in Grenada. On his death, Major Arthur
Selwyn Warren, ED was appointed, in 1974. He was succeeded by Dr William Edward Cooper,
who was appointed District Grand Master for Barbados, on the 1st of April 1980 and Installed on
the 23rd of August of that year.
Considerable changes look place thereafter. The Research Lodge of Amity 9073 was consecrated
in Barbados in April 1983. Failing the further appointment of a Grand Inspector, in 1984 the
Leeward Island Lodges, St John's 492, Caribbee 2829 and St Anthony 4684 were brought into
the District, to thereafter be known as the District Grand Lodge of Barbados and the Eastern
Caribbean. A Communication was held for the first time outside of Barbados in Antigua in
September of that year. Unity 9166 was consecrated in Anguilla in November 1985, and
Anguilla Masters was consecrated in November 1989. Grand Lodge decided to further expand
the District's jurisdiction by including Harmonic 356, in St Thomas, and St Ursula's 8952, in
Tortola as from April 1989.
Brian Douglas Parsons was appointed District Grand Master for Barbados and the Eastern
Caribbean with effect from the 1st January, 1996 and subsequently Installed by the Deputy
Grand Master, RW Bro Iain Ross Bryce on the 9th March of that year.
St. Thomas Lodge 9679 was consecrated in the US Virgin Islands in November 1997. The
District’s 17 lodges have a total membership of approximately 1200. There are presently
petitions circulating for two new lodges, one in Barbados and the other in the Leeward Islands.
[UPDATE: Since the Resume above, three (3) further lodges have been consecrated –
Preceptors Memorial Lodge 9714 in Barbados in 2000, the itinerant District Grand Stewards
Lodge 9881 in 2013, and Waladli 9887 in Antigua in 2014. After more than one hundred years of
direct rule from UGLE, St. George 3421 in Dominica has also joined the District in 2018
bringing the total number of lodges to 21.
Upon the retirement of RW Bro Parsons in June 2018, RW Bro Clement Edward Milburn Bird
has been appointed to succeed as our District Grand Master with effect from 28 June 2018, and
Installed by Deputy Grand Master RW Bro Jonathan Spence in Antigua on 19th January 2019.