When we look into the history of the Freemasons, one has to ask, how far back does there history go, and how they came into existence. Their history goes back some 3,000 years; their history comes from the writing’s of Chronicler’s and the Bible.
Solomon’s Temple was built by King Solomon, King Hiram and Hiram Abiff, between 960-953BC, using Phoenician craftsmen. The inner walls were lined with gold, and marble blocks and fine emeralds adorned the temple.
Freemason lodge rooms are based on the designs of Solomon’s Temple.
Shishak, the King of Egypt, attacked and ransacked Solomon’s Temple, in the early years of Reheboam’s reign, as King of Israel. In 586BC King Nebuchadnezzar led Babylonian forces, in the total destruction of the temple. The Hebrew people were taken to Babylon, to start a new chapter in their lives as slaves. In 536BC, Zerubbabel and his people built the second temple, which was completed by 515BC.
Emperor Diocletian executes the stonemasons Claudius, Castorius, Sempornians, Nicostratus and Simplicius their apprentice for refusal to carve their pagan God; Aescuplapius. Some years later, Severus, Severianus, Carpophorus and Victorius were executed for refusal to pay homage to the pagan God; Aescuplapius… and in 290Bs these four became known as the “Four Crowned Martyrs” patron Saints of the Operative Craft.
An interesting thought… “Freemasonry” is also referred to as the “Craft.”
At the time of Christ, there existed in Palestine three religious sects; Essenes, Pharisees and Sadducees.
The Essenes, observed strict rules with a high moral code, and a secret ceremony of initiation, with similarities to that of the craft. Historians have put forward, that Jesus Christ was a member of the Essenes.
Persian rule of the area, gave way to Greek rule, then Roman. Herod the Great, ruler of Israel, came under Roman rule from 47BC. In 20BC, the second temple was enlarged with courts and walls, taking eighty-three years to complete.
The Jews revolted against the Romans in 70AD, and the Roman General; Titus (Caesar) besieged the city of Jerusalem. That very same year, the second temple was destroyed by fire.
Upon the fall of the Roman Empire, many stonemasons migrated to the island of Como, to preserve their art. They later emerged as the Comocine Builders who constructed many Cathedrals of the middle ages.
In 691, a shrine was built on the site; “Dome of the Rock.” By 715AD the Al-Aqsa mosque was built alongside, and two earthquakes later destroyed, and rebuilt by 1035.
Prince Edwin son of King Athelstan of the House of Wessex, called and presided over a meeting of Masons at York in 926AD.
In the year 1118, the Knights Templar were formed at the site of the old Solomon’s Temple, by the first Grand Master of the Order; Hugues de Payens. Jacques de Molay, the last Grand Master was burnt at the stake on trumped up charges of heresy in 1314.
An Act, “The Statute of Labourers” is passed in 1350, regulating workmans wages. The words “Mason and Freestone” appear in its writings.
In 1360, the Crown calls for 568 Masons to attend Windsor Castle, to undertake building work.
In 1370, The York Minster Mason’s Ordinance is passed. It is written in Middle English and contains the words “Mason” and “Masoun.”
In 1375 the Masons Company of London is represented at the Court of Common Council. In 1376 the Freemason and Mason Company of London comes into existence, as a craft Guild. The first known use of the word “Freemason” is recorded in the City of London Book dated 9th August. The word is later stricken off and replaced with the word; Mason.
In 1429 “Masons of the Lodge” is mentioned in the records of Canterbury Cathedral.
In 1463 the Worshipful Company of Masons of the City of London builds its first meeting house.
In 1471 Robert Stowell is appointed Master of Masons at Westminster Abbey.
In 1487 the word “Freemason” appears for the first time in the Statues of England.
In 1491 a municipal law is passed at St.Giles in Edinburgh, establishing the conditions of employment of Master Masons and co-workers.
In 1584 William Schaw, became Master of the Works in Scotland, and went on to issue two sets of rules; regulating the Masons of Scotland in 1598, and giving the Lodge of Kilwinning supervisory powers over Lodges of West Scotland in 1599. It used the term “Fellow of the Craft.”
Sir Robert Moray, a Scot by birth, in the employ of the French, was born in 1609 and educated at St.Andrews University. He served with the Scots Guards of Louis XIII in 1633, and acted as a spy for Cardinal Richelieu.
In 1638 Richelieu promoted Robert Moray to Lieutenant-Colonel in Louis elite Scots Guards and dispatched him to Scotland. His orders were to recruit Scots, and he chose to assist fellow Scots in their dispute against Charles and England.
In 1640, Sir Robert Moray was made a Scottish Mason, and on the 20trh May 1641 initiated into Freemasonry whilst garrisoned in Newcastle.
Sir Robert Moray, he who was in the employ of the French, a military man at heart, had another side to him. He was one of the original founders of the Royal Society in 1660, and its first president.
In 1617 Ellis Ashmole was born at Litchfield in England. A famous historian, who was iniated as an English Mason on the 16th October 1646, and went on to create the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford.
In 1656 John Aubrey began writing “A Natural History of Wiltshire” in which he states that the fraternity of Free-Masons are known to one another by certain signs and watch words.
The Hiram Key by Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas
Secret History of Freemasonry
The Brotherhood by Stephen Knight
Born in Blood by John Robinson