The John Ross Robertson Chair


After a Special Communication of Grand Lodge, on the 17th of November, 1917, at the corner of Yonge St. and Davenport Rd. in Toronto, in which the Cornerstone of the new Temple was laid by M.W. Bro. William H. Wardrope, M.W. Bro. John Ross Robertson, a Past Grand Master, addressed the audience and said, "The chair in which the Grand Master now sits is made from the oak beam that supported the floor of the room in which the first Grand Lodge of England was organized in 1717 A.D., in the Goose and Gridiron Tavern in London Yard."


Historical documents tell us that the Goose and Gridiron Tavern was demolished in 1895 and that the contractor on the job saved two of the oak floor joists and presented them to M.W. Bro. John Ross Robertson, who had a substantial chair made from that wood. It is also said that all Grand Masters of our Grand Lodge are seated thereon whenever Grand Lodge meets in Toronto for the installation of the new Grand Master every two years.


On the 19th of April, 1938, the chair became the property of John Ross Robertson Lodge No. 545, when the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the John Ross Robertson Estate, Mr. A.T. Chadwick, before the Lodge assembled, the D.D.G.M. of Toronto District A, R.W. Bro. B.E. Elblad and the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. W.J. Dunlop, read a letter from the trustees conveying the historic chair into the possession of the Lodge, where it has since occupied a place in the East in the Large Lodge Room in the Chisholm Ave. Temple. John Ross Robertson, then the Grand Historian of the Grand Lodge of Canada, sat on this chair when he wrote the fifth chapter of the History Freemasonry, in which the story of the Masonic Grand Lodge of England is told.


The inscription on the underside of the seat reads:

This Chair is made from the Rafters which supported the first floor room of the Goose and Gridiron Tavern, London Yard St. Paul's Churchyard, London England, built 1670 in which Election of Anthony Sayer, First Grand Master, Grand Lodge of England, took place June 24th 1717. Secured by J. Ross Robertson of Toronto on its demolition in 1897.


A conservation report produced in May 2013 states: