Thomas Dixon, Acting Grand Master for the North District of England

1791 - 1792

The exact date of the arrival of the Templar Order in England is unknown, but it was firmly established in Antient Lodges in England by 1780 - the year that the Baldwyn Knights of Bristol made an attempt to establish themselves as a Sovereign Body controlling all Encampments in the country. They found little support and the attempt failed.

Ten years later they petitioned Thomas Dunckerley to consolidate the Order with himself as Grand Master. This was more successful due to support for the Baldwyn Encampment from other Encampments in London, Bath, the 1st Regiment of Dragoon Guards, York, Dorchester, Bideford and Colchester (though this latter, ultimately, did not take a Grand Conclave Warrant).

As a result, the first Grand Conclave was opened on 24th June 1791, the Feast Day of St. John the Baptist.

One of Dunckerley's first acts was to appoint Thomas Dixon, of the 1st Dragoon Guards, as his "Acting Grand Master for the North District of England, comprehending the Counties of York, Westmorland, Cumberland, Durham and Northumberland".

At this time, the only Encampment in the area with a Templar Warrant was the Antient York of Redemption, meeting in York, that had been formed by Dixon whilst his Regiment was stationed there.

Sadly, the "Province" had a short life because Dixon died in 1792. Dunckerley asked the Antient York knights to nominate a successor for their county but the other counties, having lost their "Provincial" status, became unattached.

This does not imply that Templar masonry was no longer practiced within their boundaries. The Order had been, and continued to be, worked in several Craft Lodges - notably the Athol Lodge, No. 24, in Newcastle upon Tyne (who's Warrant was dated 1805, though they received a Centenary Warrant in 1870, implying a far longer existence); the Lodge of Industry, No. 48, meeting in Swalwell; the Union Lodge in Gateshead (erased in 1827); and in St. John's Lodge, No. 80, in Sunderland.