The Grand Stewards' Lodge, uniquely in the English Constitution, has no number. It has been in this position since 18th April 1792 when it
was 'placed at the Head of the List by order of the Grand Lodge' and given the name it now holds.
The predecessor of this Lodge was not noted in the earliest engraved lists of 1723-24 and 1725 but the 1729 list notes a Stewards' Lodge, No. 117, meeting at Shakespeare's Head Tavern, Covent Garden. It was this Stewards'
Lodge, allocated No. 47 in 1781 and meeting in the Freemasons' Tavern, Great Queen Street, which eleven years later became the Grand Stewards' Lodge.
From the earliest days Freemasons appear to have held an annual feast. After the formation of Grand Lodge this tradition continued and Stewards assisted the Grand Wardens in the organisation of these festivals. In 1724 Grand Lodge attempted
to form a regular Board of twelve Stewards but such regularity was not achieved until 1728 when these twelve led the masonic procession into the hall for the festivities. Each of these Stewards was granted the power to choose his successor to assist at the next Grand Feast.
Richard Tydeman wrote: -
“Initially born of necessity, the Stewards have been honoured to serve the Craft for more than a quarter of a millennium and long may they continue to do so. Their service is typical of that given to masonry in many ways by the Brethren generally. Freemasonry provides the opportunity- it is for us to embrace it”
Today the Grand Stewards are chosen from nineteen Red Apron Lodges and appointed by the Grand Master. They are usually the Masters of those Lodges. During their year of service they rank as Grand Officers; thereafter,
they are Past Grand Stewards but not past Grand Officers. The Grand Stewards' Lodge has no power to initiate, pass or raise Masons.
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