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Odd Fellows of Cleethorpes ~ Some History

The Independent Order of Odd Fellows in Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire
If you’ve ever wandered round the cemetery at Cleethorpes you may well have seen several interesting 1800s gravestones and perhaps wondered . . .
Who and what were the Odd Fellows and what did they do ?

I suspect most people have heard of the Freemason whilst few have probably heard of the fraternal organization called the Odd Fellows, yet at one time it’s suggested it was an even bigger organization than The Freemasons!
I’ve been unable to pin down a date when the society first came into being, dates of the 12th and 13th century are tentatively mentioned but it looks like the 18th and 19th century really saw them at strength.

William Coulbeck ~ Odd Fellow

I took two photographs today at the Cleethorpes cemetery to give people an idea of what the headstones look like but also as it strikes me how much the Odd Fellows membership meant to members, after all they chose it to be so prominent in the final marker of their lives.

For those who love something ’spooky’ . . . I took 2 photographs, I chose these 2 stones based purely on the direction of light, tonight I note the names, 2 names that have cropped up on the site before and both uncommon Appleyard and (young man in photograph) Coulbeck

Richard Appleyard ~ Odd Fellow

The stated purpose of the society was basically to promote a better society, greater love and harmony etc, these notions were international as societies were spread throughout the world but I’d like to concentrate on the Cleethorpes Odd Fellows

To that end I wonder whether we can find out what sort of things the society actually did in and around Cleethorpes.
I’ve found one reference dating back to the 1870s which states Cleethorpes had a lifeboat thanks to the generosity of the Unity Order of Odd Fellows, albeit the Manchester one ?!

The National Archives list the organization under the “Freemasons and friendly societies” under the title of . . .
Independent Order of Oddfellows, Cleethorpes Unity: Loyal Fishermans Rest Lodge.

I think we’ll head over to comments now and hopefully expand on the information above.
If you can add anything specifically connected to the Odd Fellows of Cleethorpes then please do leave a comment.
Many thanks in advance,

Related Later Article: The Odd Fellows Lifeboat


  1. v said,

    April 14, 2013 @ 7:57 pm

    It is interesting that lots of articles around 1860 - 1880 refer to the Manchester Unity when referring to Oddfellows.

    I wonder if the Oddfellows Society provided the tombstones as they are similar and if I have found the correct Richard Appleyard of Cleethorpes ( b 1803 Caistor, d 3/12/1882 ) , he only left £24.9s , which is such a small amount with which to buy a headstone.

  2. Rod said,

    April 14, 2013 @ 8:07 pm

    I wonder if the Oddfellows Society provided the tombstones
    That’s a really good point, it makes a lot of sense, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s correct - it would be nice to pin that one down if we can.
    Great suggestion V

  3. Amiguru said,

    April 14, 2013 @ 11:50 pm


    They were both born in Cleethorpes; both fishermen and both lived in Humber Street in 1881.

    In the 1841 census Richard is listed as living at ‘Far Thorpe‘ as opposed to ‘Fore Thorpe‘ - the other option.

    In 1851, 13-years-old William Coulbeck lived at ‘High Thorp‘.

    Incidentally, in the early years, Cleethorpes was awash with Appleyards and Coulbecks, not to mention the odd Wardle!

    Hope all this puts a bit of flesh on the bones - as it were. If you need any other elaborations, just say.


  4. History Hunter said,

    April 15, 2013 @ 12:39 am

    You have already touched on this subject on the Freemasons thread along with photos

    After that occurrence, I had a good look round the area in Cleethorpes Cemetery and found about 25 Odd Fellows headstones, many more than half being of the same shape as Mr Coulbeck’s headstone pictured above.

    I have also found in Scartho Cemetery, a gentleman who was a member of the ‘Colin Campbell Lodge of Oddfellows’ and another who’s footstone was erected by ‘the seafaring brethren of Pelham Pillar Lodge no 792 Grimsby in fraternal remembrance of Bro. **** ******’ although I think this is more likely to be Freemasons than Oddfellows.

  5. Rod said,

    April 15, 2013 @ 7:49 am

    that’s another stange coincidence!
    Great find and I think it’s important to to put some information around anybody that appears on the site.

    With your information Neville, I’m wondering whether these men were specific members of the society or were they more to do with the Loyal Fishermans Rest Lodge side of things ?
    Thanks and regards,

  6. Rod said,

    April 15, 2013 @ 7:52 am

    thanks for the rough idea as to how many stones, greatly appreciated and very useful.
    After Neville’s information I’m inclining more and more towards V’s idea that the Odd Fellows supplied the headstones.

    I wonder whether it was perhaps a charitable act in some cases, ex fishermen at a ‘Rest Lodge’ ?
    I don’t suggest this as a cover al theory but could it account for some ?

  7. minnie said,

    April 15, 2013 @ 8:01 am

    Didnt the old Nautical School that used to be near Lock Hill roundabout in Grimsby have something to do with the Odd Fellows?

  8. Rod said,

    April 15, 2013 @ 8:04 am

    I don’t know myself but if it is connected to the Odd Fellows then it would be great to pin it down for sure, I’d like to gather as many connections to them as possible

  9. Rod said,

    April 15, 2013 @ 8:09 am

    The lifeboat was dispalyed at Crystal Palace and Windsor before coming to ‘town’
    Wneh it did come, circa 1869, there was a public demonstartaion of the boat at Grimsby and Cleethorpes plus a ceremony which 50,000 people attended according to The Lifeboat

  10. Rod said,

    April 15, 2013 @ 8:15 am

    Kelly’s Directory says that there was an Odd Fellows Hall built in Victoria Street South in 1854, cost of building was £800, the Grimsby branch being separate ?
    Possibly so, as I think there may have been a hall at Cleethorpes as well - we can cover both Grimsby And Cleethorpes here if it is the case

  11. DavidE said,

    April 15, 2013 @ 2:03 pm

    the Grimsby Odd Fellows Hall was on the east side of Victoria Street South, just south of Central Market (1888 town plan) and the Cleethorpes Hall was located somewhere about the corner of Cambridge Street and Oole Road (1889 map).


  12. Rod said,

    April 15, 2013 @ 7:18 pm

    this is fantastic, many thanks indeed
    In appreciation,

  13. Nick said,

    April 18, 2013 @ 1:22 pm

    Those names live on: I was at primary school in Humberston and Clee Grammar school with Wardles, Coulbecks and Appleyards. None of them were ‘odd’ fellows though!

  14. History Hunter said,

    April 18, 2013 @ 5:27 pm

    In 1852 (or maybe 1872 - couldnt quite read the date) there were 3 Odd Fellow Lodges in Grimsby and Cleethorpes.


    Fisherman’s Rest Lodge, no. 1803, was based in Cleethorpes. Head Odd-Fellow was George Burgess, and they met at the Leeds Arms ‘every other Saturday’


    Royal Sovereign Lodge, no. 570, was based in Grimsby. Head Odd-Fellow was George Locking, and they met at the Dolphin Hotel ‘every other Monday’

    Yarborough Lodge, no. 2144, was based in Grimsby. Head Odd-Fellow was George Warburton, and they met at the White Hart, High Street ‘every other Friday’

  15. Rod said,

    April 18, 2013 @ 8:48 pm

    this is superb, many thanks indeed - all completely new to me.
    In appreciation,

  16. Paul Rowe said,

    May 5, 2013 @ 2:24 pm

    I was reading a book called,”Nelson’s Purse’ (only a few days after reading the above) when I came across the following,”The Gregorians were one of a number of quasi- masonic friendly societies such as the Oddfellows which flourished during the eighteenth century,sharing the masonic emphasis on loyalty and fraternalism..Like the freemasons the Gregorians in Norwich ritualised their ceremonies during their weekly meetings at the White Swan tavern in St Peter’s Street”. Admiral Lord Nelson was a Gregorian inaugerated in 1800.Some of the medals that commemorated his victories showed masonic symbolism. (it was a very interesting book about the finding of Nelson’s purse after 200 years on a house in France with all the documents.The purse was still stained with Nelson’s blood)

  17. Rod said,

    May 5, 2013 @ 6:49 pm

    that’s a great reference to find, really appreciate you taking the time to share it
    All the best

  18. chris Lawrence said,

    August 2, 2013 @ 8:27 pm

    I have found a coronation cup dated 1953 and a oddfellows medal, does anyone have any Ideas what these are or where they are from. The Mug mentions the Manchester oddfellows

  19. Rod said,

    August 3, 2013 @ 7:29 pm

    a great find, very interesting and thanks for sharing, if anybody knows anything then please do leave a comment

  20. Carol said,

    May 28, 2014 @ 6:49 pm

    Just wanted to say what an interesting site.

    I was really pleased to see the photographs of the Coulbeck and Appleyard tombstones, they are both distant relatives.

    Would I be able to use your web site as a source citation?


  21. Rod said,

    May 28, 2014 @ 6:50 pm

    please do, happy it was of interest to you

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