Hunt goes on as Masonic family found

The hunt for families of a north Northumberland Masonic Lodge, launched in the Gazette two weeks ago, has had some success.

Auctioneer Jim Railton, the owner of The Old Masonic Hall in Wooler, bought an option to purchase the old school at the same time as he bought the hall.

This option was set up in 1963 by the Glendale Masonic Lodge, so that if necessary they could buy it back, and it was passed to Mr Railton with the Masonic Hall.

The option to purchase lasts 21 years from the death of the last Lodge elder.

Mr Railton was searching for the relatives of Masonic Lodge Heart of Glendale: John Purvis, Ballantyne Brodie Strother, Arthur Greathead and Robert Curle, who he presumes are all deceased.

He was appealing for any family of the four men to come forward so that the option could be formalised.

And in the last week, the daughter of Robert Curle, Ursula Murray, who now lives in Rothbury, got in touch with the Gazette.

Her father died in 1988, outside of the 21-year option period, and she was unaware of what had happened to the other three elders.

“A friend saw it and recognised my father’s name,” she said.

“She rang me up and said ‘your father’s in the paper!’”

“It was nice to see my father’s name in print after all these years.”

So now the hunt for relatives of the other three elders – John Purvis, Ballantyne Brodie Strother and Arthur Greathead – continues to see if Mr Railton’s option to purchase has indeed run out.

The county council’s legal department believe the option ran out in 2009.

If you have any information, contact Ben O’Connell at the Gazette on 01665 602234 or