Freemasonry in Burma
United Grand Lodge of England
Susan A. Snell BA DAA RMARA, Archivist and Records Manager
Library and Museum of Freemasonry, Freemasons' Hall
Great Queen Street, London, WC2B 5AZ
Telephone: 020 7395 9258
There were 26 Lodges warranted by the United Grand Lodge of England and Wales (UGLE) between 1847 and 1952.
There is no charge for researching the Masonic career details of a member if the Lodge name and number are known but if the name and number are not known there is a fee of £30 per name (£15 for members of UGLE). The membership records are organised according to number of Lodge rather than name of individual member and there are no comprehensive indexes covering this period. If one of your members considers that a relative may have been a freemason in a particular Burmese location, then our staff would conduct a search of the all relevant Lodges in that area for the specified time period. Previous research indicates that approximately 5-10% of the male population in a local community may have become freemasons, although this does vary and included members of the local as well as ex-pat communities. Where details are found for one family member, details for other possible family members are provided if uncovered as part of that search.
The Library and Museum also provides details of membership to individuals or their legal representatives who wish to obtain information about their own Masonic career.
Any one interested in researching individuals in Burma may find details of Lodge histories, many of which include details of names of Lodge officers, and by laws (rules of Lodges that provide information about membership criteria etc) and information about the history of freemasonry in Burma by searching the catalogue on our website at: https://www.freemasonry.london.museum/catalogue.php
In addition researchers are welcome to come in and look at the Annual Returns sent by the Lodge to Grand Lodge each year, which were used to compile the membership registers and they are available for access until 1940. Until c.1900 not all Lodges in Burma sent annual returns back to Grand Lodge as communication and local issues thwarted correspondence. Each Lodge often has a Lodge File available for research that may include ephemera and copies of previous enquiries and other helpful details.
There are other records such as Historical Correspondence available for Burma that may include information about local events as well as Masonic administration.
Anyone can register as a reader in order to use resources at the Library and Museum, which is open Monday to Friday 10 am - 5 pm and details are available on our website, see https://www.freemasonry.london.museum/library/
In addition there were 6 Lodges meeting under the Grand Lodge of Scotland, a separate Masonic jurisdiction – we can provide a list of names with dates formed. Some histories of these Lodges may be at the Library and Museum and we can check details for you but membership details and other specific records will be located with the Grand Lodge of Scotland in Edinburgh and not at the Library and Museum in London. No Lodges were established in Burma under the Grand Lodge of Ireland but it is possible that Lodges were established under other Masonic jurisdictions (? France) at an earlier period – it might be possible to find this out and provide details.
Please read our website at https://www.freemasonry.london.museum/family-history/ and the accompanying information sheet on Freemasonry, Family and Local History available as a PDF at:https://freemasonry.london.museum/os/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/AboutFreemasonry-and-Family-History.pdf
For information about visiting the Library and Museum, opening hours and how to register as a reader to access our collections see: www.freemasonry.london.museum
On joining a Lodge, members go through three ceremonies in Craft freemasonry of initiation, passing and raising (known as the three degrees), to become a Master Mason. Many members go on to join Royal Arch freemasonry and are exalted into a Chapter. In Burma, Lodges and Chapters met under the Grand Lodge of England (English Constitution or E.C.) as well as the Grand Lodge of Scotland (Scottish Constitution or S.C.). The Library and Museum does not hold any records relating to membership of Lodges meeting under the Scottish Constitution in Burma.
Lodges in Burma from the date when the first Lodge, Star of Burma, was formed in 1853, came under the jurisdiction of the District Grand Lodge of Bengal or Madras, before the District Grand Lodge of Burma was formed in 1868. The first District Grand Master (DGM) was Colonel Alexander John Greenlaw (1818 – 1870), the noted amateur photographer.
During World War II, many lodges were unable to meet in Burma and therefore records relating to this period may be incomplete. Political changes led to several lodges ceasing to meet in the 1950’s but they were not closed officially (or erased) until later. Freemasonry became proscribed by the authorities in Burma in 1984 and several Lodges have not met since that date and are in abeyance.
Some series of archives, for example Annual Returns, which may include information about living members, are subject to restricted access periods. Most records are accessible up to and including 1940, but the Library and Museum can respond to requests for information about individuals or assist with genealogical enquiries on a case by case basis after that date.
Details for printed and other resources relating to Burma can be found on the Library and Museum of Freemasonry’s on-line catalogue see https://www.freemasonry.london.museum/catalogue.php
List of general printed resources relating to freemasonry in Burma available for research at the Library and Museum:Quarterly Communications and Minutes of Proceedings of the District Grand Lodge of Burma, 1870 – 1876; 1872 – 1907 (incomplete), Library ref: NBE 362 BUR and NBE 362 BUR fol; 1876 – 1907, Library ref: NBE 160 BUR; 1918 – 1959 (incomplete), Library ref: NBE 160 BUR.
Masonic Diary for Burma, 1899 and January 1900, Library ref: NB 16 CLA .
Masonic calendar and diary for Burma, 1901, Library ref: NB 16 NAG.
Freemasons’ Calendar and Directory of Burma, 1914, Library ref: NB 16 MEY.
By-laws of the District Grand Lodge of Burma, 1871, 1886 and 1906, Library ref: NBE 161 BUR.
Burmah and the Burmese, Kenneth R H Mackenzie, Library ref: 1110 (NB) MAC.
Freemasons' Hall, Rangoon: laying the foundation stone, January 18, 1908, Library ref: NBE 63 BUR.
The Indian Freemason, a periodical issued jointly by the District Grand Lodges of India and Burma, 1894 – 1902, Library ref: NJ 910 IND .
The Indian Freemason and monthly miscellany of literature, commerce and science, a periodical issued jointly by the District Grand Lodges of India and Burma, 1903 – 1906, Library ref: NJ 910 IND.
Masonic courier, Masonic periodical, 1933 – 1935, Library ref: NB 910 MAS.
General Masonic periodicals, such as The Freemason and The Freemason’s Chronicle, may include reports of Lodge Consecrations, anniversaries with details of members.
Sermon preached in the Cathedral, Rangoon on S. John's Day, 27 December 1898, before the Right Worshipful District Grand Master, and brethren from various lodges in Burma, in aid of the funds of the Greenlaw Masonic Orphanage, by Rev. F.C.P.C. Clarke, Library ref: A 85 MAS .
In 1927 to 1928 a group from the United Grand Lodge of England visited freemasons in India and South East Asia. Details about this visit are available as, Reports of the deputation appointed by the M. W. Grand Master to visit the District Grand Lodges of India, Burma, Ceylon, Library ref: BE 140 UNI fol. Film of events included in this visit, including processions of freemasons in India and Burma, have been made available on-line by the Centre of South Asian Studies, Cambridge University as the Studd Collection at: https://karachi.sasian.cam.ac.uk/archive/films/filmlist.html
Each Lodge may have a ‘Lodge File’ including copies of previous enquiries, ephemera, historical notes etc.
Outline of archive resources relating to freemasonry in Burma available for research at the Library and Museum:
Correspondence relating to Burmese Lodges may be included in the Historical Correspondence series for the District Grand Lodge of Bengal, Archives ref: GBR 1991 HC 17/D/1-49 (not fully catalogued), 1814 – 1866 and the District Grand Lodge of Madras, Archives ref: GBR 1991 HC 19/B/1-18 (not fully catalogued), 1813 - 1852; Correspondence for Burma/Bengal, 1860 – 1906, 1900 – 1914 and 1922 - 1923 (uncatalogued). District Grand Lodge of Burma DGL file includes correspondence c.1864 – 1904.
Letter books – Letters to Lodge Astraea, No. 674 and three letters to Col. Alexander Greenlaw, DGM of Burma, 1862 – 1865; Letters to Star of Burmah Lodge, No. 614, Lodge Arakan, No. 646 and eight letters to Col. Alexander Greenlaw, DGM of Burma, 1865 – 1868.
Print Collection – may include images of individuals with associations concerning Lodges in Burma – search catalogue for GBR 1991 P 10 and surname or Burma.
Membership certificate returns – include details about members issued with Masonic certificates, forwarded by the District Grand Lodge in Burma to Grand Lodge in London for Lodges meeting in Burma, 1902 – 1907; 1903 – 1907.
Petitions – list members who formed the Lodge with details of Consecration, those relating to erased Lodges are available for research.
Annual returns – sent to Grand Lodge each year by the Lodge Secretary, listing details for new and existing members with additional correspondence. Subject to a restricted access period – see general notes above.
Lodges meeting in Burma under the Grand Lodge of EnglandAdditional information about Lodges in Burma, including details about changes to Lodge numbers, is available from Lane’s Masonic Records on-line – see https://www.hrionline.ac.uk/lane/
|Lodge name||Number||Meeting locations in Burma||Dates meeting||Histories and other resources|
|Acacia Lodge||2567||Masonic Rooms, Meiktila||1895 - 1908||Petition, 1895|
|Fairclough Lodge||2575||Masonic Temple, New Civil Lines, Mandalay||1895 - 1952||Petition, 1895 • Past Master’s jewel, presented to W T Hubbard, 1935, Museum ref: M1965/280|
|Irrawaddy Lodge||2526||Masonic Room, Myingyan||1894 - 1904||Petition, 1894 • Founder’s jewel, Museum ref: M2002/600|
|Light of Burma Lodge||5081||Freemasons' Hall, Simpson Road, Rangoon; Methodist English School, Lancaster Road, Rangoon; Freemasons' Hall, 65 Goodliffe Road, Rangoon||1928 – not meeting||-|
|Lodge Arakan||646||Akyab (Arakan); Masonic Hall, Akyab (Arakan||1855 - 1901||Petition, 1855|
|Lodge Astrea||674||Thayetmyo (Pegu)||1856 - 1872||Petition, 1856|
|Lodge name||Number||Meeting locations in Burma||Dates meeting||Histories and other resources|
|Lodge Astræa||1376||Lodge Room and Masonic Hall, Thayetmyo (Pegu)||1871 - 1952||Petition, 1871 • By-laws, 1873 and 1904, Library ref: NBE 167 (1376) AST|
|Lodge Greenlaw||1095||Lodge Rooms and Masonic Hall, Tonghoo (Pegu)||1866 – not meeting||-|
|Lodge Mandalay||2219||Masonic Hall, Mandalay||1887 - 1952||Petition, 1887 • By-laws, 1888, Library ref: NBE 167 (2219) MAN|
|Lodge of the Sawbwas||5013||Hsipaw, Northern Shan States; Methodist English School, Lancaster Road, Rangoon; Freemasons' Hall, 65 Goodliffe Road, Rangoon||1928 – 1980||Petition, 1928|
|Lodge Philanthropy||542||Maulmain; Lodge Room, Tavoyzoo, Maulmain; The Castle, Maulmain; Masonic Temple, Dalhousie Road, Maulmain (Tenasserim)||1847 - 1981||Petition, 1847 • Short History of the Lodge Philanthropy, No. 542 (E.C.), 1847 – 1947, Library ref: NBE 166 (542) GRE • By-laws, 1873 and 1885, Library ref: NBE 167 (542) PHI • Fragment of Lodge warrant, dated 7 August 1847, found in The Book of Tephi, 1897 by J A Goodchild, Library ref: SRIA 461 • Past Master’s jewel presented to S G Colutman, 1941, Museum ref: M2006/265|
|Lodge Victoria in Burma||832||Cantonment Lodge Room, Rangoon; Masonic Temple, Budd's Road, Rangoon (Pegu)||1860 – not meeting||By-laws, 1862 and 1885, Library ref: NBE 167 (832) VIC • Lecture by W Wagstaff, n.d., Library ref: NBE 70 WAG • Letter from Colonel A J Greenlaw of Southsea, to the Supreme Grand Chapter, concerning a Chapter in Rangoon to be attached to this Lodge, Archives ref: GBR 1991 HC 14/B/30 • Sermon preached at Christ’s Church, Rangoon, 28 December 1865 for Star of Burma Lodge and Lodge Victoria in Burma, by John Clough, 1864, Library ref: NBE 86 CLO • Anniversary jewel, Museum ref: M2004/1322 • By-laws, Royal Burmah Chapter, 1868, Library ref: NBE 367 RO|
|Lombardian Lodge||4887||"Masonic Temple, Maymyo; HSO Building, Lashio; Freemasons' Hall, 65 Goodliffe Road, Rangoon; Masonic Hall, Ormskirk, West Lancashire||1926 -||-|
|Meiktila Lake Lodge||3426||Masonic Rooms, Meiktila; Methodist English School, Lancaster Road, Rangoon; Freemasons Hall, 65 Goodcliffe Road, Rangoon||1909 – not meeting||Past Master’s jewel, presented to R S Grewal, 1925, Museum ref: M1975/70|
|Lodge Moyle||2904||Masonic Temple, Maymo/Maynoyo||1902 – not meeting||Past Master’s jewel presented to J L Baker, 1922, Museum ref: M1973/87|
|Ormond-Iles Lodge||3433||Shwebo; Masonic Temple, Shwebo, Sagaing Division||1910 - 1921||Petition, 1910|
|Ormond-Iles Lodge, amalgamated with Rangoon Lodge to form Rangoon and Ormond-Iles Lodge, No. 1268||4270||Freemasons' Hall, Simpson Road; Methodist English School, Lancaster Road; Freemasons' Hall, 65 Goodliffe Road, Rangoon||1921 – 1964||Petition, 1921 • A revised history of Lodge Ormond-Iles, No. 4270, 1963, by J A Martin, Library ref: NBE 166 (4270) MAR fol|
|Palm Lodge||1751||Masonic Rooms, Bassein (Pegu)||1878 - 1883||Petition, 1878|
|Palm Lodge||2645||Masonic Temple, Bassein||1896 - 1964||Petition, 1896 • Past Master’s jewel, presented to J MacKenna, 1903, Museum ref: M1965/231|
|Pegu Lodge||3330||Masonic Hall, Cantonment, Rangoon; Freemasons Hall, Simpson Road; Methodist English School, Lancaster Road; Freemasons Hall, 65 Goodcliffe Road, Rangoon||1908 - 1983||Petition, 1908 • The History of Pegu Chapter Royal Arch, No. 1268, 1886 – 2002, by Peter Kipps, Library ref: BE 366 (1268) KIP • Founders’ jewels, Museum refs: M2002/1349 and M2002/1348|
|Power Palmer Lodge||2924||Freemasons Hall, Methodist English School, Lancaster Road, Rangoon||1902 - 1952||Petition, 1902 • Past Master’s jewel, presented to R F Hamilton, 1940, Museum ref: M2002/947|
|Rangoon Lodge, known as Rangoon and Ormond-Iles Lodge from 1964||1268||Freemasons' Hall, Rangoon (Pegu); Freemasons’ Hall, London||1869 -||By-laws, 1885, Library ref: NBE 167 (1268) RAN • Past Master’s jewel, presented to W S Goldsmith, 1942, Museum ref: M2004/1525|
|Rangoon University Lodge||4603||Freemasons' Hall, Simpson Road; Methodist English School, Lancaster Road; Freemasons' Hall, 65 Goodliffe Road, Rangoon||1923 – not meeting||-|
|Star of Burma Lodge||614||Jordah and Co.'s Offices; Lodge Rooms, Barr Street; Halliday, Bullock and Co.'s Offices; Phoongee House, at back of Soolay Pagoda; the house of Bro. McPhail; Freemasons' Hall, Boundary Road; Freemasons' Hall, Montgomery Street, Rangoon (Pegu)||1853 – not meeting||• (History of) Star of Burma Lodge, No. 614, 1853 – 1932, Library ref: NBE 166 (614) BAT • History of Cyrus Chapter, attached to this Lodge, c.1928, Library ref: NBE 367 (614) CYR • Lodge mentioned in Historical Correspondence about its Chapter, Archives ref: GBR 1991 HC 14/D/4-8, c. 1868|
|Taunggyi Lodge||4973||Masonic Hall, Taunggyi, Federated Shan States||1927 – not meeting after 1984||-|
|Temperance Lodge||7191||Freemasons’ Hall , Simpson Road; Methodist English School, Lancaster Road; Freemasons' Hall, 65 Goodliffe Road, Rangoon||1952 - not meeting after 2006||-|
|Yenangyaung Lodge||4374||Yenangyaung; Freemasons' Hall, Chauk||1921 - 1975||• Petition, 1921 • By-laws, 1922 and 1955 Library ref: NBE 167 (4374) YEN|
Lodges meeting in Burma under the Grand Lodge of ScotlandDetails about Lodges meeting in Burma under the Scottish Constitution are included in Grand Lodge of Scotland year books, Library ref: BE 142 SCO
For making Genealogy Enquiries, please see their website at : https://www.grandlodgescotland.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=512&Itemid=245
Or contact the Grand Lodge of Scotland:
Genealogy Enquiries, Grand Lodge of Scotland Library
Freemasons' Hall, 96 George Street, Edinburgh, Scotland, EH2 3DH
Telephone: 0131 225 5577 e-mail: email@example.com
|Lodge Name||Number||Meeting Places in Burma||Dates meeting||Histories and other resources|
|Ady||1377||Insein||1931 - 1985||-|
|Hanthawaddy||1053 I||Insein||1908 - 1985||-|
|Peace and Harmony||834||Rangoon||1896 - 1985||-|
|The Scots Lodge||1392 R||Rangoon||1938 - 1985||-|
|Singu||1365||Chauk||1929 - 1985||-|
Page updated 5th Sept. 2021