The town of Cheadle is rich in Masonic symbolism. The lofty stonework of the two churches exemplifies the skills of the operative mason. Taken together the tower and spire suggest two pillars through which the Masonic hall is approached. Tape Street has structural elements dating from 1790 the year whose ideals of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, in their purest forms, embody the essence of masonry. The smooth Ashlar portals of the police station suggest perfection whilst the Doric pillars of The Wheatsheaf Hotel bespeak strength. Cumberland House is a reminder of the passage through the area of the Duke of Cumberland who had been installed as Grand Master in 1742. He was pursuing the perpetrators of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s rebellion , a revolt, which, it popularly alleged, had been inspired by freemasons!
It is tempting to believe that the freemasons who meet regularly in the Masonic Hall have absorbed the Masonic ambience of the town and by doing so bring to freemasonry in Cheadle its unique and special flavour.
One of the earliest references to freemasonry in Staffordshire occurs in Robert Plot’s ‘Natural History of Staffordshire’, published in 1686. In it he observed that;
‘To these add the customs relating to the County whereof they have one, of admitting men into the society of freemasons, that in the morelands of this County seems to be of greater request that anywhere else, tho’ I find the custom spread more or less over all the country for here I found persons of the most eminent quality that did not disdain to belong to this fellowship’ (Plot, Chapter 8, Para 85)