St Mary’s was constituted under warrant dated 14 April 1757 and celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2007. In the early years, Lodges were referred to by the names of the hostelry where they held their meetings and the name St Mary’s is first mentioned in ancient minute books on 29 June 1816. St Mary’s was originally authorised to hold its meetings at the sign of the White Hart in Bow but soon transferred to the Three Crowns in Old Jewry. Subsequently it met in Cheapside, then Shoreditch before settling in Wapping, Port of London. This was at a time when Britannia ruled the waves and many mariners were initiated into Freemasonry in those days prior to going to sea. In 1834, the Lodge moved to Freemasons’ Hall in Great Queen Street, WC2 where it has been ever since except for a short spell in the West End from 1919 to 1935.
The Lodge has always been small and in the 1800s size varied from 12 to 20. The number has never exceeded 35 and today stands at that number although that includes several overseas and country members. Old records show that 200 years ago meetings were frequent, often fortnightly. Today, just four meetings are held annually and members dine together afterwards.
St Mary’s is one of the ‘Atholl’ Lodges named after the Dukes of Atoll who were Grand Masters of the “Ancients” in the 18th Century. There are 124 Atholl Lodges and St Mary’s is the ninth oldest. St Mary’s is also an ‘Hall Stone Jewel’ Lodge. This relates to those members who made the supreme sacrifice in the cause of their King and Country, 1914-1918. It is a Founding Lodge of the Royal Masonic Hospital and a Grand Patron of the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution.