Francis Crossle Masonic Lodge 83


 R.W. Bro. Dr. F. C. Crossle,

B.A., M.B., M.Ch. 



 (b. 17th March 1847 - ob. 15th October 1910)


In 1847 on Saint Patrick’s Day, Francis Clements Crossle was born at Ballygawley, in the County of Tyrone. His Father was a Rector and his Grandfather was an army Captain and a Justice of the Peace.

Twenty six years later this talented young gentleman embarked on a Masonic career that has not been equalled on this island.

During the year of his birth, 1847, the Great Famine was in the second year, living conditions were bad for many and there was much social unrest.

The Society of Friends formed their Central Relief Committee. Daniel O’Connell, the Famous “Liberator” and Master Mason passed to the Grand Lodge above and the creator of Dracula, Bram Stoker, was born.

Meanwhile, Francis Clements Crossle pursued his education at Dungannon Royal School. When he was 17 years of age he set of to Dublin to graduate as a Master of Arts and take his M.B. and M,Ch. Degrees in Trinity College.

During his seven years in Dublin the present Grand Lodge building was opened, the National Gallery was opened, James Stephens proclaimed the Fenian Insurrection, William Butler Yeats was born, Issac Butt inaugurated the Home Rule Movement and Michael Davitt was sentenced to penal servitude. This then was the Ireland in which Francis Clements Crossle grew up.

It was 1871 when he qualified as a Doctor of Medicine and he tried a spell in Derbyshire as a medical officer. This must not have suited him as he moved to Tandragee, in County Armagh, within a year.

Why he chose Tandragee is unclear but at that time it is said it offered good golf and excellent trout fishing.


 What is it about Freemasonry that appealed to a young man of 26 ? At that time the number of Masons in Ireland was said to be 18,000 against 38,000 today.

In Tandragee, his home was near a Masonic Hall and he noted the regular attendance of three worthy members.

Their character, standing and distinction led him to the conclusion that something more than mere social pleasure brought them together thus and he decided to ascertain the secret.

He was Initiated into Union Lodge No. 105 in March 1873, and two years later he became their Worshipful Master. That day in 1873 was the beginning of two generations of great Masonic service.

In 1875 he moved to Newry, County Down where he affiliated to Nelson Lodge No. 18 and became Master in1883. He was also Worshipful Master of St. Patrick’s Lodge No. 77, Lodge No. 79 Newry and an Honorary Member of Union Lodge No. 23 Newry.

In 1893, Ballymacarrett Lodge No. 132 of Belfast was Constituted. The members paid him the compliment of calling it “Crossle” and made him an Honorary Member.

He was a Correspondence Member of Quatuor Coronati Lodge , London and also of the Lodge of Research, Leicester.

In 1892, he was the elected Representative in Ireland for the Grand Lodge of British Columbia.

At Provincial level his career was long and distinguished. He held many offices, culminating in his election in 1901 as Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Down.

At a Provincial Grand Lodge meeting he was presented with two beautiful executed portraits and a purse of sovereigns that was described as “generously filled.” The portraits were of himself in full Masonic Regalia; one would hang in the Newry Masonic Hall and the other was for his good lady wife.

In his reply he stated “There is, in the life of every man, a moment when the lips fail to find words for the thoughts and ideas which overcrowd the mind and I pray you accept the assurance that the present occasion has completely perplexed me.”

Such was the esteem entertained for him by his Newry Brethren that in 1907 the “Francis Crossle” Lodge was established and he was its first Master.

In addition to the many offices he held in Lodges, his talks and writings on Masonic Matters are unbelievable.

A visit to the library in Molesworth Street reveals the greatest collection of Masonic writings and drawings ever collected by one man.

There are twelve large volumes of his scrap-books, drawings of aprons, charts, demits, floorcloths, banners and seals, each beautifully executed by him. There are also newspaper cuttings on all sorts of subjects that contained references to all matters Masonic. In addition there are over 40 volumes of his writing and lectures.

Sadly on the 15th October 1910 aged 64, this much loved Brother passed to Grand Lodge above. He was interred at Jonesboro' Churchyard on the 18th October 1910.

"On Sunday afternoon, the 28th of July 1912, in St. Mary's Church, Newry wherein he had been a devout and constant worshipper for over thirty years, there was dedicated by his Grace the Lord Primate of Ireland a handsome brass tablet -

"To the glory of God and in loving memory of Dr. Francis Clements Crossle, of Newry," who died on the 10th October 1910."

This last paragraph is from the Address of the Lord Primate on the occasion of the dedication of "the Handsome brass tablet"


Masonic Career

Bro. Crossle's Mother Lodge was Union Lodge No. 105, Tandragee, Co. Armagh

He received both his Entered Apprentice Degree & Fellow Craft Degree on the 4th March 1873, followed by his Master Masons' Degree one week later, the 11th March 1873. He was elected Worshipful Master of Union Lodge No. 105 for the year 1875.

Bro. Crossle joined Nelson Lodge No. 18, Newry in 1875, was Worshipful Master in 1883 and 1909, also Lodge Secretary.

He joined St. Patrick's Lodge No. 77, Newry in 1886 and was Worshipful Master in 1888.

He joined St. Patrick's Lodge No. 79, Newry in 1893 and was Worshipful Master in 1896.

Bro. Crossle was made an Honorary Member of Union Lodge No. 23, Newry in 1895.

Francis Crossle Lodge No. 83, Newry was Constituted in Newry on Friday 25th October 1907 with 29 founder members. R.W.Bro. Francis C. Crossle, one of the founder members, was Provincial Deputy Grand Master of Down at that time and permitted the Lodge to take his honoured name as its title. He became it's first Worshipful Master in 1907 and 1908.

Crossle Lodge No. 132, Ballymacarrett, Belfast  was Constituted and named in honour of Bro. Crossle in 1893 and he was made an Hononary Member in 1898.

He was a Correspondence Member of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076, United Grand Lodge of England,The Premier Lodge of Research and of the Lodge of Research No.2429, Leicester, Province of Leicestershire and Rutland.

Bro. Crossle was the Representative of the Grand Lodge of British Columbia in Grand Lodge.

In 1894 he was appointed to a committee set up for the purpose of establishing a museum in connection with the Grand Lodge of Ireland.

Bro. Crossle was Provincial Grand Secretary of Down from 1888-1901 with various addresses: - 10 New Street, Newry; The Chestnuts, Newry and 11 Trevor-Hill, Newry.

From 1901 until his death in 1910 he was Provincial Deputy Grand Master of Down .

francis crossle masonic lodge 83 newry co.down