Lodge, John (1692–1774), archivist and genealogist, was born in Bolton-le-Sands, Lancashire, England, son of Edward Lodge, farmer, and was baptised there 22 January 1693. Nothing is known of his mother. After attending the Clapham School in Yorkshire he entered St John's College, Cambridge (1716), graduating BA (1720) and MA (1730). Ordained deacon at Lincoln (12 June 1720) and priest at Ely (23 September 1721), he taught at a school in March, Cambridgeshire, from 1725.
Though he may have been in Ireland from 1732, he is first recorded in Ireland by his attendance at the celebrated Annesley trial (1743), where he took shorthand notes of proceedings which he used in publishing Trial in ejectment ... (1744). In August 1742 he issued notice of his intention to publish a ‘Peerage of Ireland’, for which he is best known to posterity. Having served as a government official in the rolls office from 1746, he was appointed deputy keeper of the Bermingham Tower in 1751, one of the main depositories of government records in Dublin. His Peerage of Ireland (4 vols, London, 1754) was published sometime before his appointment in May 1754 as deputy clerk and keeper of the rolls in the high court of chancery. He became master of the rolls (9 November 1759) on the death of his predecessor, Henry Singleton (qv).
Lodge developed an intimate friendship with Richard Robinson (qv), archbishop of Armagh 1765–94, who employed Lodge's son William, one of nine children, who eventually became chancellor of Armagh cathedral as well as the first keeper of the Armagh Public Library (1785). John Lodge presented Robinson with a manuscript ‘Evidences of the see of Armagh’ in 1767.
The detailed scope of Lodge's Peerage was unprecedented; its reissue (1789) by Mervyn Archdall (qv) was principally an expansion to seven volumes based on Lodge's notes, which were in a cipher unlocked for the first time by Archdall's wife Abigail. Lodge anonymously published The usage of holding parliaments in Ireland ... (Dublin, 1770), his only recorded foray into public affairs. He added Desiderata curiosa Hibernica (2 vols, Dublin, 1772), a collection of state papers outlining the development of the Irish political system from the reign of Elizabeth I.
Lodge died 22 February 1774 at Bath, aged 82. He married first a Miss Hamilton, and secondly Edwarda Galland; no further details are known. His books and papers were deposited in the Armagh Public Library by his son; others are in the BL, the NLI, and the UK College of Arms.
Until the early nineteenth century Lodge's manuscript calendar index of public papers in Ireland was the only one available to historians; with the originals lost in the destruction of the Irish PRO in 1922, Lodge's indices and abstracts are invaluable and are listed in the 55th Report of the Deputy Keeper of Public Records in Ireland (1928; 116–22).