According to the records available on Ancestry, Edward Harper of Kidderminster joined the Lodge of Hope and Charity on 30 April 1836 aged 35 (so born approx 1801, which ties up with the 1841 census when he was shown as aged 45); he was a victualler (later publican).

According to this source (from the same recordset) he continued as a member until 1844.

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I'm having problems reading the word in the column for 1844 which (I assume) explains how/why he left. Other records on the page state clearly 'dead' or 'resigned' or 'excluded' or 'withdrew'. The best I can read the reason here is '6withdw' which might mean withdrawal?

If it was withdrawal, how did that differ from resignation, and can I infer anything from the act of withdrawal instead of resignation?

It may be relevant (or a total red herring) that there's a death of an Edward Harper in Kidderminster in 1844 (aged 13 according to the GRO indices). Edward the Freemason had a son born in 1830 so it could have been him. However, I haven't found Edward the elder in the 1851 census and if the age at death for the 1844 death is mistranscribed (13 and not 43) it may be he died in 1844. I may have to order the death certificate to be sure.

2 Answers 2


This is a stub of an answer and more information will be added as I find it.

The term I'm more familiar with for a member who has left the Masons is demitted. This seems to be a North American term (see below).

The Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon, in their article How a member can quit Freemasonry, explains the difference between being suspended or expelled and taking a demit:

Suspension deprives a member of all his masonic rights and privileges, either for a definite or indefinite time. A member can be suspended by his lodge for non-payment of dues.

They also say:

If a member in good standing finds himself, for whatever personal reason, unable or unwilling to maintain his association with Freemasonry, he may voluntarily withdraw from Freemasonry by requesting a demit, which he is entitled to receive.

The article concludes by saying:

Although different Grand Lodge jurisdictions will have their own definitions and requirement, all entitle their members to voluntarily withdraw if they so desire. There is no coersion or penalty; only, as in most things masonic, a proper form.

Very similar wording is found on the site The Masonic Trowel, in the article How Do I Quit.

The author of the article from Mackey's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry posted on the site The Masonic Dictionary under the word demit discusses the usage and possible etymologies for that term. The article says:

First, let us obtain a correct definition of the word. To demit, in Masonic language, means simply to resign. The Freemason who demits from his Lodge resigns from it. The word is used in the exact sense, for instance, in the Constitution of the Grand Lodge of Wisconsin, where it is said: "No brother shall be allowed to demit from any Lodge unless for the purpose of uniting with some other." That is to say: "No brother shall be allowed to resign from any Lodge."

A Google Search for the phrase masonic resignation letter returns many sample letters.

One online version of Mackey's ENCYCLOPEDIA OF FREEMASONRY AND ITS KINDRED SCIENCES uses the term withdrawal in regards to a candidate who has not yet been initiated:


It is a law of Freemasonry in the United States of America that a petition for initiation having been once presented to a Lodge, cannot be withdrawn. It must be subjected to a ballot. It must be submitted to the action of the Lodge. The rule is founded on prudential reasons.

The candidate having submitted his character for inspection, the inspection must be made. It is not for the interests of Freemasonry (the only thing to be considered) that, on the prospect of an unfavorable judgment, he should be permitted to decline the inspection, and have the opportunity of applying to another Lodge, where carelessness or ignorance might lead to his acceptance. Initiation is not like an article of merchandise sold by-rival dealers, and to be purchased, after repeated trials, from the most accommodating seller.

By contrast the entry in Mackey for resignation refers to someone who is already a member:


The spirit of the law of Freemasonry doers not recognize the right of any member of a Lodge to resign his membership, unless it be for the purpose of uniting with another Lodge. This mode of resignation is called a dimission (see Dimit).

However, these are all North American usages. To know more about this register, we'd need to research the codes of the lodge itself or of the Grand Lodges in England. The current Book of Constitutions is accessible on the website of The United Grand Lodge of England.

Some of the available historical constitutions include:

Ideally you would want to find a constitution published in England close to the time the register entry was made.

For more information on the Lodge of Hope and Charity, see the history page on their website. Any inquiries made to the Grand Lodge of England should include the lodge number, which is 377.


Edit: Lane's Masonic Records has lists of all the Worcestershire lodges :

no name is given 178 1772 Kidderminster, Worcestershire Faithful Lodge 442 1816 Kidderminster, Worcestershire Lodge of Hope & Charity 377 1824 Kidderminster, Worcestershire Royal Standard Lodge 498 1844 Kidderminster, Worcestershire


The Royal Standard opened about the time that Edward Harper left the H&C Lodge. Hope & Charity had also briefly met at his public house:

Bell Inn, Coventry Street, Kidderminster, Worcestershire 1840


A Sarah Harper was buried at Hartlebury in March 1844; in September there appeared the following notice:

Worcester Herald 07 September 1844

Page 3, of 4

Column 4, of 8


ALL Persons indebted to the Estate of the late Mrs. SARAH HARPER, of NORCHARD, in the Parish of Hartlebury, are requested to pay the same immediately to Mr. Edward Harper, of the Bell Inn, Kid- derminster; and all Persons having any claim upon the said Estate will send in their accounts to him that the same may be examined and discharged forthwith.

Bell Inn, Kidderminster, 5th September, 1844.

Worcester Journal 21 March 1844

Page 3, of 4

Column 7, of 7


Lately ... At Norchard, Hartlebury, aged 66, Miss Harper.

So it's possible that the 6 [what looks like a d for pence] is paid in March QTR 1844 and then he withdraws from membership, perhaps necessitated by a move to Hartlebury.

In October 1844, there was buried Edward Harper, junior, aged 13 (confirmed in Newspaper notices) at Hartlebury.

HARPER, SARAH 66 Order GRO Reference: 1844 M Quarter in DROITWICH UNION Volume 18 Page 227 HARPER, EDWARD 13 Order GRO Reference: 1844 D Quarter in KIDDERMINSTER Volume 18 Page 309

There's wills for two Thomas Harpers of Hartlebury proved at Worcester Consistory Court, one in 1836 and another in 1856. The latter is possibly listed on the 1851 census as born circa 1802 Ombersley, Worcestershire.

Reference: PROB 11/1885/183 Description: Will of Thomas Harper, Husbandman of Hartlebury , Worcestershire Date: 11 October 1837 Held by: The National Archives, Kew Legal status: Public Record(s) Closure status: Open Document, Open Description


Sarah & Thomas Harper, 1841 Census : https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MQ5B-45Y Sarah Harper, 15 March 1844 : https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J8FP-TM8 Edward Harper, 30 October 1844 : https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J8FP-T3L Thomas Harper, 04 September 1862 : https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J8FP-1Q7

There's also several under-age Harpers, lodging with their grandparents Thomas & Hannah Hatton in Hartlebury in 1841 and 1851.

It appears they may have left the area by 1848. They are living in Grouville, Jersey in 1851, together with a grand-daughter and elderly visitor.

Edward Harper, Senior, died at Jersey in 1858.

Images and Transcripts of his burial are available at Ancestry.

Free Transcripts are available at JerripediaBMD.net http://search.jerripediabmd.net/BMD_UserStuff/Deaths

His will is available here : https://catalogue.jerseyheritage.org/collection/Details/archive/110090231

"Nov. 16th, moat deservedly esteemed and regretted, in the 63d year of his age, Mr. Thomas Harper, of Norchard, in the Parish of Hartlebury." 19 November 1835 - Worcester Journal - Worcester, Worcestershire

Wednesday 26 May 1858 "On the 2; at instant, at bis residence, Tatenbill Cottage, Grouville, Jersey, Edward Harper, Esq., of Astlej, Worcester, aged 68 years."

Saturday 05 June 1858 "DEATH. On the 2!st ultimo, las residence, Cottage, Granville, Jersey, Edward Harper, Esq., late Astley. Worcestershire, and brother to 'Thomas Harper. Esq., of Hnrristown, this countv. The deceased was generally beloved r his manly virtues anil many amiable ..."

Saturday 12 June 1858 "... BT MB. BERNARD HASTINGS, Upon the above premise*, on MONDAY next, the 14th day of June, 1858, order of the Executor* of EDWARD HARPER, Esq., Deceased. COMPRISING —ln the Drawinar-room—A set of well seasoned mahogany framed chairs, with hair cloth seat a ..."

Saturday 07 September 1844 "... the late Mrs. SAKAH HARPEK. of NOKCHAUD, in the Parish of Hartlebury, are requested to pay the same immediately to Mr. Edward Harper, of ibe Bell Inn. Kidderminster; and all Persons having any claim upon the said Estate will send in their accounts him ..."

Thursday 27 July 1826 "WEDNESDAY’S POST

... will recollect, that at the lasi Lent Assizes, William Davis and William Bnbb, were convicted of u burglary, at the Bell Inn, Kidderminster, and sentence of death was recorded against them. Hobday was an accomplice with these men, but was not apprehended ..."

Saturday 16 September 1826 "MARRIAGES

... Griffin, of Dudley. Lately, Kidderminster, Mr. Thomas Wilson, of Dudley, to Ann, second daughter to Mr. Walters, Bell Inn, Kidderminster."

Thursday 15 April 1830 "Mrs. Theophania Walters, aged 79, lately residing with her son-in-law, Air. Harper, Bell Inn, Kidderminster."

Thursday 24 September 1835 "TO BE SOLD BY AUCTION, BY RICHARD ALLEN, This Day, Thursday, the 24th day September, 1835, at Air. Harper's, Bell Inn, Kidderminster, in the County of Worcester, in the following such other Lots as may be agreed upon at the time of sale; LOT 1. LL ..."

Thursday 24 May 1838 " ' Monday'evenino-, inst., as William Gallier, was leaving the Bell Inn, Kidderminster, was accosted by two women of had character, who importuned him to treat them with something drink earnestly that "


... and nine o'clock on the eveuing of the above mentioned day. as he was going through the public entry leading the Bell inn, Kidderminster, he was stopped the prisoner Rice, who took hold of by the coat, immediately after which missed his pocket book, lie ."

Monday 03 February 1834 "On the ult. at the house her mother, the Bell Inn, Kidderminster, Mrs. M. A. Wright, aged 22, after a protracted illness, which she bore with christian fortitude and resignation"

Saturday 02 November 1844 "Oct. 26th, aged 13, deeply regretted. Edward, the only son Mr. Howard Harper, Bell Inn, Kidderminster."

Wednesday 06 November 1844 "‘Jflth. 13. deeply regratted. Edward, the only son of Mr. Edward llaiper. Bell Inn. Kidderminster."

Thursday 16 March 1843 "... any one at the window. Cross-examined.—My two brothers live in the same house with me. Mrs. Harper, landlady of the Bell Inn, Kidderminster—l remember the prisoner coming into my house in company with Lloyd, policeman, ai half-past five. They went into the ..."

Wednesday 25 October 1848 "Oct. 19th, at the residence of her son, the Bell Inn, Kidderminster, Mrs. Hannah, relict of the late Mr. John Humphreys, in the 100 th year of her age. "

Wednesday 29 November 1843 "Miss Selina Simpson, aged 42, for several years bar maid the Bell inn, Kidderminster."

Wednesday 22 November 1843 "Miss Selina Simson, aged 43. for several years the confidential and much respected bar maid, at the Bell Inn. Kidderminster."

Saturday 07 September 1844 "Mrs. SAKAH HARPEK. of NOKCHAUD, in the Parish of Hartlebury, are requested to pay the same immediately to Mr. Edward Harper, of ibe Bell Inn. Kidderminster; and all Persons having any claim upon the said Estate will send in their accounts him ..."

Wednesday 26 May 1858 "May 21st, at Jersey, aged 56, Mr. Edwd. Harper, formerly °f the Bell Inn, Kidderminster. ."

Saturday 03 July 1858 "May 21, at Jersey, aged 56, Mr. Edwd. Harper, formerly of the Bell Inn, Kidderminster."


Worcester Journal 19 November 1835

Page 3, of 4

Column 2, OF 6

Worcester Journal.


Nov. 16th, most deservedly esteemed and regretted, in the 63d year of his age, Mr. Thomas Harper, of Norchard, in the Parish of Hartlebury.

Worcestershire Chronicle 30 December 1846

Page 5, of 8

Columns 3-4, of 5


Notices of births, marriages, and deaths, will not be inserted unless they come from known correspondents or are transmitted through our agents.


Dec. 23rd, at Hartlebury, by the Rev. T. Baker, Mr. Her- bert Henry Griffin, of Charlton, Miss Mary Hayward, of Norchard, both in the above parish.


Worcester Herald 30 March 1844 Worcester Herald 06 April 1844

Page 3, of 4

Column 7, of 7




RESPECTFULLY announces to the Public that he is directed by the Executors of the late Mr. THOMAS HARPER, of Norchard, in the Parish of Hartlebury, in the county of Worcester, deceased, to sub- mit to PUBLIC COMPETITION, on the 15th of April, and following days;- All the valuable LIVE and DEAD STOCK, IMPLEMENTS of HUSBANDRY, Dairy and Brewing Utensils, HOUSEHOLD FURNITURE, Linen, Glass, Cider, large and small Casks, Potatoes, and all other the Effects upon the said Premises. Particulars of which will appear in a future Paper.

Park Lodge, Bewdley, 27th March, 1844.

Aris's Birmingham Gazette 28 June 1841

Page 3, of 4

Column 3, of 8



On the 16th inst. at Norchard, Worcestershire, after a long illness, borne with exemplary partience and resigna- tion, in the 72d year of his age, Mr. Zachariah Parker, late of Stourport.

Worcester Herald 13 April 1844

Page 3, of 4



... malt and bean mills, 3,000 gallons of cider and perry, 21 hogshead cask[ets] ..., two 300 and one 400-gal- lon store cider casks, ... barrells, quantity of potatoes rick of wheat, &c. &c.



Worcester Journal 28 April 1814

Page 2, of 4

Column 1, of


on Monday the 16th day of May next, on the Premises at Norchard, in the parish of Hartlebury;

Part of the LIVE and DEAD STOCK, Implements in Husbandry, and HOUSEHOLD FURNITURE, the pro- perty of the late Mrs. HEATH, deceased :



  • Ooh! There's a Wright in this lot -- and I'm trying to track the John Wright aged about 11 that was resident with Edward Harper in 1841! Thank you! Lots of food for thought here.
    – user6485
    Commented Aug 17, 2018 at 11:51
  • Nice work! It might be easier to read the answer if we could use the Markdown quote blocks to set off the material you've quoted from the citations.
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Aug 17, 2018 at 18:28

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