History of Freemasonry
A short history of Freemasonry in Britain
Those who support the indirect link believe that the originators of Freemasonry were men who wished to promote tolerance and build a better world in which men of differing opinions could peacefully co-exist and work together for the betterment of mankind.
As stonemasons were accustomed to travelling all over the country and as there were no trade union cards or even any certificates of apprenticeship, they began to adopt a private word which they could use when arriving at a new site to prove they were properly skilled and had been a member of a hut or Lodge.
It was, after all, easier to communicate a secret word to prove who you were and that you were entitled to your wages, than it was to spend hours carving a block of stone to demonstrate your skills.
It is known that in the early 1600s these operative Lodges began to admit non stonemasons.
They were Accepted or Gentlemen Masons. Why and what form the ceremony took is unknown. As the 1600s drew to a close, more gentlemen joined the Lodges, gradually taking them over and turning them into Lodges of free and accepted, or speculative Masons.
The Lodges no longer had any connection with the stonemasons' craft.
Becoming a Mason
Are you thinking of becoming a Freemason?
There are over 330,000 Freemasons in England and Wales with nearly six million Freemasons worldwide. There are nearly 8,000 Lodges spread throughout England and Wales.
Masonry consists of a body of men brought together for the sake of mutual intellectual, social and moral improvement.
Masonry recognises no distinction of religion and emphasises the duties of citizenship.
Religious or political discussion is not permitted in Lodge meetings and Masonry offers no monetary advantages.
Masonry supports a wide range of charities, both Masonic and non-Masonic.
Interested in joining?
Why should you become a Freemason?
People have their own reasons why they enjoy Freemasonry.
The following is a sample of some of the reasons given:
Achievement progressing through the various offices in the Lodge to become Worshipful Master.
Brotherhood making new friends and acquaintances from all walks of life, every background and age group.
Charity being able to contribute to deserving causes, both Masonic and non-Masonic.
Education learning from peers and mentors by practising ritual and making short speeches.
Knowledge finding out about the history and mysteries of Freemasonry.
Self improvement making a contribution to your family and society.
Newsletter No. 3 May 2010
Welcome to our Newsletter written particularly for those of you who have volunteered to be Mentors.
Telephone 01492 860223
Provincial Mentor (Hint)
Since my last News Letter a number of activities have taken place. Early in February I attended the second of the Mentoring Seminars at Great Queens Street, London. A delegation of over eighty was present with some coming as far afield as Barbados and other parts of the Commonwealth. An instructive day was had by all.
V.W.Bro Nigel Brown the Grand Secretary opened the meeting and introduced W.Bro Jon Leech who gave a talk on the Metropolitan Mentoring Guide as well as Mentoring Initiates Guide and also A guide for Royal Arch Masons. We were also encouraged to visit www.3rlibrary.org.uk for information and this website can be used by the Mentoring team to post comments and to read useful literature from around the Provinces.
During the break for lunch those Provinces that had brought sample copies of their Mentoring books and pamphlets were able to share best practice and exchange thoughts and ideas which were most interesting and educational. On conclusion of the day´s proceedings it was decided to have another Seminar again in London next February and also continue to have half yearly Regional meetings.
These will take place in Birmingham; Manchester; Cambridge; Bristol; Leicester; London and South Wales. The dates vary from early June to late July. I anticipate being present at the one being arranged in Manchester.
The first North Wales Province Mentoring Seminar which had been arranged for the 9th January 2010 was cancelled due to the bad weather at the start of the year. However it was rearranged for the 6th March and 75% of Lodges in the Province was represented at the meeting that took place in Llanrwst.
This being the first “get together” I was encouraged by the turn out and the feedback at the end of the session was very encouraging and the delegates requested a repeat seminar next year. Now is the time for forward planning and think about next year´s Seminar.
Please contact me if you have any ideas or wish to participate in 2011´s meeting.
The Mentoring Role.
Many of the Lodge Mentors are doing excellent work in their Lodges. It is encouraging to see that the system is picking up pace. One or two Mentors are already producing a communications letter for Lodge members. Others are giving regular reports at Lodge meetings on current progress. Other Lodge members are encouraged to ask questions to the Lodge Mentor on Lodge evenings. This can only be good practice and should be encouraged.
I am indeed encouraged by what I observe during the time I visit Lodges. To date I have visited eighteen Lodges and one visit has already been arranged for the start of next season in the Autumn. Remember the 3R´s. Recruitment; Retention and Retrieval.
Since the start of 2009 there have been a number of Initiations. Unfortunately there have been losses too. Make sure that the right calibre is accepted to our Fraternity. Recruitment must not be regarded as a means of increasing Lodge numbers. Considerable care must be taken to ensure that a Candidate´s background is well known.
A. W. Evans.
Provincial Grand Mentor.
History of Freemasonry
Origins of Freemasonry are subject to debate.
This theory is based on information from Scotland where there is ample evidence of Scottish operative Lodges, geographically defined units with the backing of statute law to control what was termed The Mason Trade.
There is also plenty of evidence that these Lodges began to admit gentlemen as accepted Masons. There is no evidence, so far, that these accepted members were other than honorary masons, or that they in any way altered the nature of the operative Lodges.
Furthermore, no evidence has come to light, after a hundred years, for a similar development in England.
Medieval building records have references to stonemason's Lodges, but after 1400, apart from Masons' guilds in some towns, there is no evidence for operative Lodges.
History of Freemasonry
Building a better society theory
It is in England that the first evidence of a Lodge completely made up of non-operative Masons is found.
Elias Ashmole, the antiquary and founder of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, records in his diary for 1646 that he was made a Free Mason in a Lodge held for that purpose at his father-in-law's house in Warrington.
He records who was present at the meeting: all have been researched and found to have no connection with operative Masonry. English evidence through the 1600s points to Freemasonry existing separately from any actual or supposed organisation of operative stonemasons.
This lack of evidence for the existence of operative Lodges but evidence for Lodges of accepted masons has led to the theory of an indirect link between operative stonemasonry and Freemasonry.
Those who support the indirect link theorise that Freemasonry was brought into existence by a group of men in the late 1500s or early 1600s.
History of Freemasonry
Great religious and political turmoil.
This was a period of great religious and political turmoil and intolerance.
Families were split by opposing views and the English Civil War of 1642 to 1646 was the ultimate outcome.
Those who support the indirect link believe the originators of Freemasonry were men who wished to promote tolerance and build a better world in which men of differing opinions could peacefully co-exist and work together for the betterment of mankind.
In the custom of their times, they used allegory and symbolism to pass on their ideas and principles. As their central idea was the building of a better society, they borrowed their forms and symbols from the operative builders' craft and took their central allegory from The Bible.
Stonemasons' tools provided them with the multiplicity of emblems to illustrate the principles they were putting forward.