The History Of 17
Issued to brethren at "The White Hart" in ENNISKILLEN, Co. Fermanagh, 19 June 1733. (Smith, 1735). 
Volume 1 of the extant Grand Lodge Registers shows No. 17, Enniskillen issued 1738.
40 brethren registered between 1758 to 1804.
The first Warrant to be issued to hold a Lodge in the Province of Ulster.
From the Minutes of Grand Lodge
Lodges 17 and 475
2 June, 1791 – Read a Petition relative to the Warrant No. 17 which has been retained for some time by No. 475.  Ordered that the said Lodge No. 475 be directed without delay to return the said Warrant No. 17 with the apparatus thereof to this R.W.G. Lodge.
No registrations 1760-1793.
Crossle Vol. 4.p. 178. Vol. 6.p. 146, 196. Vol. 8.p. 12. Vol. 10.p. 123.(See Vol. 8.p. 12/13)
From the records of Lodge No. 386, Lettermoney.
William Graydon was W.M. of Lodge 17 in the year 1794 and Bro. Humphreys and Bro. Bell were the Wardens the same year.
Vol. 4.p. 178.
This Lodge, noted as working at Enniskillen, on the 1st January, 1803 subscribed the sum of £2. 3s. 4d. [£2.161/2] to the Fund for the School for Female Orphans of Free and Accepted Masons.
Vol. 8.p. 12.

Enniskillen:-
To the R.W. and Rt. Hon. Richard, Earl of Donaghmore, G.M. of the Free and Accepted Masons of Ireland =
May it please your Lordship,
The Memorial of the different Representatives of the following Lodges, held at Enniskillen, on the 21st of March, 1806 -  Nos. 17, 215, 303, 366, 385, 436, 439, 453, 457, 464, 468, 473, 481, 595, 648, 674, 778, 782, 797, 804, 810, 814, 819, 827, 830, 834, 853, 859, 870, 871, 889, 892, 893, 894, 896, 899, 913, 937, and 958 - the W. Bro. Christopher Hamilton, of No. 17, in the Chair, the following Resolutions were unanimously agreed to:-
Resolved - "That it appears to us that the measures lately proposed respecting certain Orders of Masonry are unwarrantable innovations, infringing on ancient and inviolable rights, and calculated in their nature to disturb the harmony which should subsist among the Brethren at large."
Resolved - "That we believe these innovations and the new, chimerical, complex, and oppressive systems of finance, originated in the love of exclusive power, and in a desire to create emolument to the now no longer necessary office of D.G. Treasurer, and that we consider them the cause of the dissections which have lately convulsed the G.L., which we cannot behold without the deepest sorrow."
Resolved - "That we sincerely regret the dismissal of Bro. G.D. Irvine Esq., from the office of G. Sec,; well acquainted with his private virtues, and his great and hereditary love of the Brethren and the genuine Masonry we regard his continuance in office a secure barrier against those dangerous novelties which, if established must separate the Country Lodges from the G.L., and greatly injure the Masonic Institution."
Resolved - "That we pledge ourselves to one another, and to all Blue Master Masons, R.A. Masons, and K.T's that we will employ our best exertions in forwarding such measures as may restore the regulations of the Craft to their former simple, pure, and admirable footing, and prevent factious, covetous, and ambitious men from disturbing the tranquillity of the G.L. in future.
Christopher Hamilton, Chairman.
Furnell's "Acta Latoromum", p. 29
Vol. 6.p. 146

Transactions of the Grand Lodge of Ireland, on Thursday, June 5, 1806. To which are added Certain Charges preferred by Bro. Cesar Gautier, P.M. of 620, against John Boardman Esq., G.T. and Alexander Jaffray Esq., D.G.M., with the Evidence given thereon before the Committee to which the same was referred. Now first published by Order of the Grand Lodge.
[There follows a transcript of the evidence together with various resolutions etc.] and continue:-
"...That the said majority have, therefore, a just and legal right, and they have accordingly caused the G.L. to be re-opened, and have duly appointed Bros. the Rev. Francis Burrowes, W.M. 662, and Wm. Bateman, Esq., W.M. 702, to take the Chair, Bro. John Quinton, S.W. 17,  to act as S.G.W., and Bro. Hugh Dnignan, W.M. 862, as J.G.W. for the night...."
Vol. 6.p. 196

Cancelled, 1 July 1815.
From the Minutes of Grand Lodge
Lodge 17
7 December, 1815 – Read a Memorial praying the restoration of Warrant No. 17 Enniskillen for reasons therein stated.  Ordered That a Duplicate of the Warrant be allowed on the old Warrant being sent in, the returns made and dues paid.
I.M.R. shows - Duplicate warrant issued 7 December 1815.
Cancelled, 9 November 1838.
(A) Reissued to `Vow' lodge in VOWFERRY, Ballymoney, Co. Antrim, 12 October 1839, in lieu of 207.
From the Minutes of Grand Lodge
Lodge 17 and 207
12 October, 1839 – Read the application of Lodge 207 for a change of their number for 17, they having complied with all the necessary conditions, and being the oldest applicant for same.  Granted [17]

From the Minutes of Grand Lodge
Lodges 110, 355 and 17
4 September, 1851 – Read a Communication from Bro. Alex. Grant, D.P.G. Master of Derry and Donegal stating that he had held an investigation in Garvagh relative to a procession reported to have taken place in that neighbourhood on St. John’s Day last, that from the information he received it appeared that about 30 Members of Lodges 110, and 355 Kilrea met for the purpose of attending the funeral of a very old member of the latter Lodge and interring him with Masonic honours and were joined on the way by the majority of Lodge No. 17 Vowferry, the funeral procession accompanied by Music.  That the parties on being interrogated declared they were ignorant of the Law, and did not suppose they were acting illegally and that the transaction did not at all approach that of a party nature.
The Board recommend that Lodges Nos. 110, 355 and 17 be forthwith suspended during the pleasure of the Grand Lodge.  Agreed to.

From the Minutes of the G.L. Board of G.P.
Lodge 17, 110 and 355
2 February, 1852 – Read a Memorial from Lodge 17 Vowferry and 110 and 355 Kilrea praying for restoration, having been suspended in August last for attending a Funeral in Masonic procession.  This Memorial strongly recommended by the Provincial Grand Master of Derry and Donegal.  The Board recommend that these 3 Lodges be restored.  G.L.M. 5 February, 1852 – Agreed to.

Series three Vol. 6 of the extant Grand Lodge Registers shows:-
Warrant No. 17 Vowferry, Ballymoney, Co. Antrim
Warrant issued for 207, Exchanged for 17 12 October, 1839.
Carried forward from previous volume.
Registrations commence with John Key registered 4 April, 1862
A total of 152 brethren registered up to 14 December, 1900.  In most cased the dates when the degrees were conferred and the issue of certificates is shown.

Series four Vol. 12 of the extant Grand Lodge Registers shows:-
Warrant No. 17 to Vowferry, Ballymoney, Co. Antrim.
Carried forward from previous volume.
A considerable number of brethren transcribed from the previous Volume commencing with John Mabin, Farmer, registered 1864
The first candidate shown as registered here was George Graham, Farmer registered 4 January 1901
A total of 190 brethren registered up to 2 November, 1923.  In most cases the dates when the issue of certificates is shown, together with the occupation of the brother.

Series five Vol. 17 shown as Vol. 1 of the extant Grand Lodge Registers shows:-
Warrant No. 17 to Vowferry
Register commences with the registration of two brethren on affiliation then William Hogg, Printer, registered 7 November, 1924.
A total of 88 brethren registered up to 2 May, 1952.  In most cases the dates when the issue of certificates is shown, together with the occupation of the brother.

Series six Vol. 21 of the extant Grand Lodge Registers shows:-
Warrant No. 17 to Vowferry
Register commences with the registration of John A.S. Reid, Flt. Sergt. RAF, registered 5 December, 1852
A total of 85 brethren registered up to 13 December, 1983.  In most cases the dates when the issue of certificates is shown, together with the occupation of the brother.

The new warrant was issued in the names of Hugh McCurdy, Worshipful Master; James Hart, Senior Warden and William Gillespie, Junior Warden. At the same time a further thirteen members of the old number 207 transferred to No. 17. On the 7th May, 1840 five new members were entered and a further sixteen old members registered. There is passing mention of a quarrel with the local Orangemen in a letter dated 5th July, 1843 when the master seeks Grand Lodge indulgence in the matter of outstanding dues. Apparently there were legal costs to meet as the result of a fracas which took place in and around Kilrea on the 24th June, 1843. Indeed the event caused some notoriety at the time, being labelled as the "Battle of Kilrea." The lodge members were not censured by Grand Lodge at this time but their luck was running out.
On the death of one Bro. John McCurdy, an old and respected member of the Order who joined Vow 571 in 1803, worked hard for the lodge and was finally `called to rest' in 1851. It was doubly unfortunate that his funeral took place on St. John's Day, the 24th June and that a large contingent of local brethren from lodges 17, 110 and 355 Kilrea were present. The procession was duly reported to both the civil authorities and Grand Lodge who had no alternative but to suspend the warrants of the respective lodges. The lodge members were extremely fortunate that they were not taken to court under the Party Processions Act of 1843 although the matter was reported to the authorities in Dublin Castle. In 1852 the brethren of 17, 110 and 335 memorialised Grand Lodge for the return of their warrants and Grand Lodge granted same due to the specific circumstances of their case. All three lodges were reinstated at the Grand Lodge meeting on the 1st February, 1852.
The Vow hall was badly damaged by a gale in 1861 when the roof was blown off. The thatch subsequently caught fire and in the ensuing blaze all the lodge records were destroyed.
It is interesting to note in the annual return of the lodge for July 1862 that there were only twelve active members in the lodge. The same letter includes details of the demise of Cross Lodge No. 64. It transpires that for a few years previous, one old faithful brother had been struggling to keep the warrant alive. All the other members had either died, emigrated or lost interest in freemasonry. He was now unable to carry the financial burden any longer and wished to send up the warrant in trust and affiliate to Vowferry. This was duly approved by Grand Lodge.
The Annual Return of 1868 makes reference to rebuilding the lodge room at Vow and seeks Grand Lodge indulgence in the matter of dues. Attached with this letter is a printed circular sent by the Vow brethren to Grand Lodge and other lodges seeking monetary aid in the completion of the rebuilding scheme.
The brethren of Vow would appear to have worked at least Royal Arch and Knight Templar Degrees under no other authority than the Craft warrant and despite Grand Lodge ruling of 1839 they quietly continued in their old ways up to 1872. It is only in 1873 that the first correspondence is noted in the files regarding an application for a Royal Arch Warrant.
Ref. 83

From the Minutes of the G. L. Board of G.P.
Lodges 110, 355, 17
4 September, 1851 – Read a communication from Bro. Alex. Grant, Dept. P.G. Master of Derry and Donegal stating that he had held an investigation in Garvagh relative to a procession reported to have taken place in that neighbourhood on St. John’s Day last, that from the information he received it appeared that about 30 Members of Lodges 110 and 355 Kilrea met for the purpose of attending the funeral of a very old member of the latter Lodge and interring him with Masonic honors and were joined on the way by the majority of Lodge No. 17 Vowferry – the funeral procession accompanied by Music.  That the parties on being interrogated declared they were ignorant of the Law, and did not suppose they were acting illegally, and that the transaction did not at all approach that of a party nature.  The Board recommend that Lodges Nos. 110, 355 and 17 be forthwith suspended during the pleasure of the G. Lodge.  Agreed to.

I.M.R. shows - Suspended, 4 September 1851.

From the Minutes of the G.L. Board of G.P
Lodges 17, 110 and 355
2 February, 1852 – Read a Memorial from Lodges 17 Vowferry and 110 and 355 Kilrea praying for restoration having been suspended in August last for attending a Funeral in Masonic procession.  This Memorial strongly recommended by the Prov. G.M. of Derry and Donegal.  The Board recommend that those three Lodges be restored.

I.M.R. shows - Restored, 1 February 1852.

Masonic Concert at Ballymoney.
On Friday evening, 6th inst., a Masonic concert and dramatic performance were given at Moore Lodge, the residence of Mr. Wm. Moore, K.C., M.P. for North Antrim, in aid of the building fund of Masonic Lodge 17, Vow Ferry. There was a large turn-out of the brethren from the Ballymena, Ballymoney, Coleraine, and Kilrea districts, and the proceedings were most enjoyable.
The following artists contributed:- Mrs. Moore, Miss Leech, Miss Jameson, and Messrs. Hart, Sinclair. M'Ilrath, and M'Ilroy. The second part of the programme consisted of a play entitled "The Area Belle." The scene was laid in Mrs. Croker's kitchen, and the dramatise persons included - Walter Chalks, a milkman, Mr. Leech; Constable Pilcher, Royal Irish Constabulary, Mr. W.G. Boyd; Private Tosser, Northshire Regiment, Mr. G. Frazer; Roger Knox, telegraph messenger, Mr. R. Moore; travelling musician, Mr. Hart; Penelope, Miss Etta Leech; Mrs. Crokar, Mrs. Moore.
BNL 9 January, 1905.
NP. Vol. A.p. 272.
Three members served in the 1914-18 War and all returned.
Warrant No. 17 to Vowferry
From 1984 the registration of members is held, in alphabetical order, in a computerised register by Grand Lodge, Freemasons’ Hall, 17 Molesworth Street, Dublin 2.  The Registration of the Worshipful Master, Wardens and Secretary of Lodges are held in separate Registers, the first Volume covering the period 1983 to 1994 inclusive and the second Volume covering from 1995 to date.


NOTE: If any Brother has any details on the history of the Vow, please email the to webmaster@vowferry.co.uk