England’s Freemasons: Modern Times

Freemason Symbol

The two World Wars had taken their toll on English Freemasonry.  Between 1918-1921 some 350 new lodges were created, and between 1945-1948 a further 600 new lodges came into existence.  Many of the new lodges had been created by servicemen wishing to continue the camaraderie, which they had built up in service to their country.

Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill

In 1902, Sir Winston Spencer Churchill, was initiated into the Freemason order.  He would be remembered as England’s Prime Minister of the Second World War, seeing us through to victory.  In 1965 he died, the streets of London were crowded, as the people turned out to honour him, with a military funeral, befitting a great statesman of our time.

In 1926, the Salvation Army issued a communication to its officers, expressing opposition to secret societies.

King George VI and Freemason became King of England in 1936, crowned in 1937, and in 1938 invested as Past Grand Master of Freemasonry.

In the English Magazine of 1951, entitled “Theology” the Rev Walton Hannah published an article entitled; “Should a Christian be a Freemason?  The article created a storm within the Anglican Church.  In 1954, he went on to publish his anti-Masonic book; “Masons by Degrees.”

In 1957, the English Court ruled that Freemasonry was not a religion.

On the 14th June 1967, the Grand Lodge celebrated its 250th anniversary.

On the 18th March 1968, a meeting took place in London, to discuss the relationship between Freemasons and the Roman Catholic Church between Harry Carr and Cardinal Heenan.  The result of the meeting, anti-Masonic tracts sold in London’s Roman Catholic Churches, were removed from its shelves.

In January of 1970, the Scottish Rite released its first issue of the Northern Light Magazine.

King Edward VIII and Freemason died in 1972, he who abdicated England’s throne in 1936, to marry a divorced woman; Wallis Simpson.

On the 10th June 1992, some 12,500 Freemasons gathered to celebrate the 275th anniversary of the Grand Lodge.

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Freemasons: England’s Public Years

Masonic Symbols

On the 24th June 1717, a date in Masonic history, the start of the “Freemasons Public Years,” a date never to be forgotten.  On this day four Masonic London Lodges, which had existed secretly, came together at the Goose and Gridiron Tavern in St.Paul’s Churchyard.  They declared they be the First Grand Lodge, which became known as the Premier Grand Lodge of England, and elected Anthony Sayer as their Grand Master.

John, the Duke of Montague, became Grand Master in 1721.  After his term of office, most Grand Masters were Peers of the Realm.

On the 24th June 1721, the Grand Lodges adopted the regulation, which required all lodges to secure a charter.

In 1723 “The Constitutions of the Free Masons,” was written and published by James Anderson, under the direction of the Grand Lodge.  In 1738 he published “The History and Constitutions of the Most Ancient and Honourable Fraternity of Free and accepted Masons.”

Sir Christopher wren, Architect and Freemason remembered for building St.Paul’s Cathedral and many other churches across London, following the Great Fire of London died.

In 1725, the Grand Lodge of Ireland came into being, in a public diner, reminds one of how the English Grand Lodge was formed.  In 1736, the Grand Lodge of Scotland came into existence, with William St.Clair as its first Grand Master.

Chevalier Ramsay’s Oration of 1737, put forward links between Freemasons and Knights of the Crusades.  He was credited as the founder of Freemasonry’s higher degrees found in York and Scottish Rite’s.

The Antient Grand Lodge of England was formed in 1751, as rival to the Premier Grand Lodge of England.  In 1813 both groups merged, forming the United Grand Lodge of England.

In 1789, HRH The Prince of Wales was elected Grand Master of Freemasons in England, becoming King George IV in 1820, of the Royal House of Hanover.

In 1799, the English Parliament passes the Unlawful Societies act, and Freemasons were exempt from its provisions.

1802, saw the foundation of the Irish Masonic Female Orphan School.

In 1809, the Lodge of Promulgation is formed in England, its purpose to report on differences between the rituals of Moderns and Antients.  This led to one group; The United Grand Lodge of Antients in 1813, and the acceptance of England’s Masons.  This union led to standardisation of ritual procedures and regalia.

In 1816, The Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Scotland was formed.

On the 13th September 1821, Pope Pius VII issued his opposition to the Craft (Freemasonry) with his Papal Bull of Ecclesiam.

In 1823, the Irish Parliament passed its Unlawful Oaths Act, directed at many organisations.  Some ten months after it came in, it was announced Freemasons were exempt from the act.

On the 1st August 1824, King Ferdinand VII of Spain, passed a law that all Freemasons were sentenced to death, without trial.

Between 1825-1884, many Papal Bulls were received from Pope, against the Craft (Freemasonry):

13th March 1825 – Pope Leo XII – Quiograviora

21st May 1829 – Pope Pius VIII – Traditi

15th August 1832 – Pope Gregory – Mirari

9th November 1846 – Pope Pius IX – Qui Fluribus

20th April 1849 – Pope Pius IX – Quibus Quantisque Malis

8th December 1864 – Pope Pius IX – Quanta Cura

25th December 1865 – Pope Pius IX – Multiplires

12th October 1869 – Pope Pius IX – Apostolicae Sedis

21st November 1873 – Pope Pius IX – Esti Multa

20th April 1884 – Pope Leo XIII – Humanum Genus

In 1894 Pope Leo XIII established the Anti-Masonic Bureau.

In 1899 Leader Scott (Lady Lucy Baxter) published her book entitled “The Cathedral Builders,” about the so called missing link between Masons of the past and Freemasons of her time.

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Sources:
The Hiram Key by Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas
Secret History of Freemasonry by Jeremy Harwood
The Brotherhood by Stephen Knight
Born in Blood by John Robinson

The Birth of Freemasonry

Solomons Temple2

Solomon’s Temple

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.

Wikipedia Image

Resources:
The Hiram Key by Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas
Secret History of Freemasonry
The Brotherhood by Stephen Knight
Born in Blood by John Robinson

Ancient Brotherhood: The Freemasons Oath

freemasonry

General Charges by which masters and fellows of the order are expected to adhere to.  The words may read oddly in places, but it be the original grammar, text and spelling as used at the time of being written.

  • The first charge is that you shall be true to God and the Holy Church, and that you use no heresy or error by your understanding or by teaching of indiscreet men.
  • Also you shall be true liegemen to the King without treason or falsehood and that you know no treason but that you amend it if you may or else warn the King or his Council thereof.
  • And also that every mason keep counsel of lodge and chamber and all other counsel that ought to be kept by the way of masonry.
  • Also that no member be thief in Company so far forth that you shall know.
  • And also that you shall be true unto the Lord and master that you serve and truly see for his profit and advantage.
  • Also you do no villainy in that house whereby The Craft may be slandered.

SPECIFIC CHARGES FOR MASTER’S & FELLOWS

  • First that no master take upon him any lord’s work nor other work but that he know himself unable to perform the same so that The Craft have no disworship but the lord may be served truly.
  • Also that no master take any work that he take it reasonably so that the lord may be truly served with his own goods and that the master live honestly and truly pay his fellows their pay as the manner of The Craft does require.
  • Also that no master or fellow supplant other of their work (that is to say) if they have taken a work or stand master of a lord’s work you shall not put him out unless he be unable to end the work.
  • Also that no master or fellow take any apprentice to be allowed his apprentice but for seven years and that the apprentice be able of birth and limbs as he ought to be.
  • Also that no master or fellow take allowance to be made mason without the assent of his fellows at the least five or six.
  • And also that is to be made freeborn of good kindred and no bondsman and that he have his right limbs, as a man ought to have.
  • Also that no master put a lord’s work to task that was used to go to journey.
  • Also that every mason give pay to his fellows but as he may deserve so that he be not deceived by false workmen.
  • Also that no fellows slander another falsely behind his back to make him lose his good name or his worldly goods.
  • Also that no fellow withhold his lodge or without answer another ungodly without reasonable cause.
  • Also that every mason prefers his elder and put him to worship.
  • Also that no mason shall play cards hazards of any other unlawful game whereby they may be slandered.
  • Also that no mason commit ribaldry or lechery to make The Craft slandered and that no fellow go into the town where there is a lodge of masons without a fellow to bear him witness that he was in honest company.
  • Also that every master and fellow come to the assembly if he be within fifty miles and he have warning and to stand to the award of masters and fellows.
  • Also that every master and fellow if he have trespassed shall stand to the award of masters and fellows to make them accord and if they cannot to go to the Common Law.
  • Also that no mason make moulds ‘sware’ or rule to any rough layers.
  • Also that no mason set layers within a lodge or without to have moulded stones with a mould of his marking.
  • Also that every mason shall receive and cherish strange masons when they came over the country and set them on work as the manner is (that is to say) if they have moulded stones in place he shall set him a fortnight on work at the least and give him his hire and there be no stones for him then to refresh him with some money to bring him to the next lodge, and also to every mason shall serve truly the works and truly make an end of the work be it task or journey if he has pay as he ought to have.

The spirit of the charges,
equals the heart of Freemasonry.