Constituted October 4 1841 under the Grand Lodge of Ireland.
Came under the Grand Lodge of Canada February 1 1856.
The Early Years
The warrant for the first Masonic Lodge for london district was granted to Mt. Moriah Lodge,Nilestown in 1822.
The City of London, being a garrison town, saw many British Regiments stationed here from time to time. Many regiments had what was called travelling Masonic Lodges, which usually bore the regimental number.
Lodge #83 was a lodge working under a field warrant in the 83rd Regiment of Foot, issued by the Grand Lodge of Ireland in 1808 and was exchanged for No. 83 as a stationary warrant in 1817 The last meeting was held in 1846.
A number of the brethern of these military lodges, choose to receive their military discharge in Canada and received land grants in the London area. Being desireous of starting a Masonic Lodge, they applied to the Grand Lodge of Ireland for a warrant early in 1841. A warrant was granted on October 4th 1841 under the name of St. John’s Lodge No. 209 I.R.,but owing to some delay, it did not arrive until October 2nd 1842.
W. Bro. Samuel Peters, for whom the village of Petersville was later named, and other officers were installed on October 3rd 1842. The lodge was closed in peace and harmony, to meet on the second Tuesday of October 1842. The second Tuesday of each month has been religously observed, from that date to the present, first by St. John’s Lodge #209 I.R., #14 G.R.C. and now St. John’s Lodge #20 G.R.C.
The original warrant #209 I.R. was annulled in 1855. It was somehow revived in 1860 and continued until 1872 when it joined the Grand Lodge of Canada as St. John’s Lodge #209a. Lodge #209 I.R.is today a working lodge in Cork Ireland, called St. Finn Barre’s Lodge #209.***
The membership in Mount Moriah Lodge #773 E.R., No. 20 P.R. was split during the McKenzie Rebellion and was never revived. Many of the members accepted the invitation and joined St. John’s #20 in 1843.
***St. Finn Barre’s Lodge #209 recently (1996) merged with St. Patrick’s Lodge #8 and is now known as St. Finn Barre’s Lodge #8 I.R.
Historical Sketch of St. John’s Lodge #20, G.R.C. Volume ll
Edited by W. Bro. S.H. Grant 1994
ST. JOHN’S LODGE NO. 20 St John’s Lodge No. 20 was originally warranted as No. 209 under a warrant issued by the Grand Lodge of Ireland on 4th October 1841. The original membership was largely made up of members of Lodge no. 83 which was working under a military warrant. St. John’s Lodge No. 20 continued working under the Irish warrant until 1855. The lodge was one of the founding lodges of the newly formed Grand Lodge of Canada, and ceased working under the Irish warrant. The lodge was renumbered 14, G.R.C., and was renumbered again to 20 in 1859 with the union of the two Canadian Grand Lodges into the Grand Lodge we know today. When the Grand Lodge of Canada decided to adopt a modified English Ritual, (Emulation), the lodge was granted dispensation to retain the original Irish ritual they had been using under the Grand Lodge of Ireland. The lodge laid the cornerstone of St. Paul’s Church on St. John’s Day on the 24th June, 1844. This was at the request of Reverend Benjamin Cronyn. Reverend Cronyn became the first Bishop of Huron and the church was elevated to a Cathedral. The lodge first met at Bro. Balkwill’s Tavern on King Street, across from the market. This would have been a very apt choice, since the Tavern was centrally located with easy access. Then too, should the members over indulge in the apres Lodge refreshments, the horse could usually find its way home. The meetings were quite “lively”, and it was customary to exact fines, and collect them. Minutes record a few of the misdemeanours, and the financial penalties exacted were: -a brother 2 minutes late 6d -a brother 11 minutes late 6d -four brothers- for reasons unknown 6d each -a brother for addressing the WM with disrespect 2d -the same brother for further disrespect 2d – the Tyler for absence 2d -two brothers – for leaving the lodge as DD and treasurer without leaving a substitute 2d each -two brothers for unnecessary talking 2d each the fines were deposited in the orphan’s box. The lodge has always taken their duties very seriously. In an early instance when a member had died, and left a large family, the lodge undertook the task of finding suitable homes for the children. History records that they kept close watch on the children, and when one was not being well treated, they found more suitable accommodation for her. In more recent years, the Lodge instituted the Master’s walk, in 1968. It was initially to raise funds to pay off the mortgage on the Lodge Hall. Once that goal had been reached, the funds were devoted to charities. They also started the annual garage sale to raise fund for Job’s Daughters, and the order of DeMolay.