For centuries Freemasons have followed these three great Principles:
Brotherly Love means that every true Freemason will show tolerance and respect for the opinions of others and will behave with compassion and understanding to his fellows.
Relief. From earliest times Freemasons have been taught to help, to the best of their ability, those in distress. without detriment to any who are dependent upon them, and to give their support to outside Charities.
Truth. Freemasons strive for truth both in their view of themselves and in their dealings with others. Masonry requires high moral standards and its members endeavour to uphold these principles in their public and private lives.
The Origins of Freemasonry in England
The questions of when, how, why and where Freemasonry originated are still the subject of intense speculation.
The general consensus amongst Masonic scholars is that it descends directly or indirectly from the organisation of operative stone masons who built the great cathedrals and castles of the middle ages.
The first documented making of an English Freemason, Elias Ashmole, at Warrington in 1646.
From the 1660s more evidence exists of gentlemen being made Masons in non-operative Lodges.
On 24 June 1717 four London Lodges, which had existed for some time, came together at the Goose and Gridiron Tavern in St Paul’s Churchyard, declared themselves a Grand Lodge and elected Anthony Sayer as their Grand Master. This was the first Grand Lodge in the world.
By this time the new Grand Lodge had published its first rule book - The Book of Constitutions of Masonry - and was meeting quarterly and recording its meetings. It had extended its authority outside London.
The Grand Lodge of Ireland was established.
The Grand Lodge of Scotland was established.
The three Home Grand Lodges began to take Freemasonry overseas and the development of Freemasonry abroad mirrors the 18th and 19th century development of the British Empire.
A rival Grand Lodge appeared in London. Its original members were Irish Masons who claimed that the original Grand Lodge had made innovations.
They dubbed the first Grand Lodge the Moderns and called themselves the Antients.
The two existed side by side - both at home and abroad - for nearly 63 years, neither recognising each other as regular.
After four years of negotiation, the two Grand Lodges in England united on 27 December 1813 to form the United Grand Lodge of England.
This union led to a great deal of standardisation of ritual, procedures and regalia.
Some 647 Lodges were in existence. The 19th century saw a great expansion of Freemasonry - both at home and abroad.
2,800 Lodges had been established despite losses when independent Grand Lodges were formed in Canada and Australia in the later part of the century.
King George IV (1762 - 1830)
King William IV (1765 - 1837)
King Edward VII (1841 - 1910)
King Edward VIII (1894 - 1972)
King George VI (1895 - 1952)
Edmund Burke (1729 - 1797)
George Canning (1770 - 1827)
Lord Randolph Churchill (1849 - 1895)
Cecil Rhodes (1852 - 1903)
Sir Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965)
Leopold S. Amery (1873 - 1955)
Geoffrey Fisher, Archbishop of Canterbury (1887 - 1972)
Sir Israel Brodie (1895 - 1979)
Sir Joseph Banks (1744 - 1820)
Dr Edward Jenner (1749 - 1823)
Sir Alexander Fleming (1881 - 1955)
Sir Bernard Spilsbury (1877 - 1947)
Sir Richard Burton (1821 - 1890)
Capt Robert Falcon Scott, RN (1868 - 1912)
Sir Ernest Shackleton (1874 - 1922)
Dr T. J. Barnardo (1845 - 1905)
1st Viscount Leverhulme (1851 - 1925)
Sir William “Billy” Butlin (1899 - 1980)
David Garrick (1717 - 1779)
Edmund Kean (1787 - 1833)
Sir Henry Irving (1838 - 1905 )
Sir Donald Wolfitt (1902 - 1968)
Peter Sellers (1925 - 1980)
Alexander Pope (1688 - 1744)
Edward Gibbon (1734 - 1794)
Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751 - 1816)
Robbie Burns (1759 - 1796)
Sir Walter Scott (1771 - 1832)
Anthony Trollope (1815 - 1882)
Sir William S. Gilbert (1836 - 1911)
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859 - 1930)
Rudyard Kipling (1865 - 1936)
Sir James Thornhill (1676 - 1734)
William Hogarth (1697 - 1764)
John Zoffany (1733 - 1810)
Sir John Soane (1753 - 1837)
Thomas Arne (1710 - 1778) Rule Britannia
Samuel Wesley (1766 - 1837)
Sir Henry Bishop (1786 - 1855) Home Sweet Home
Sir Arthur Sullivan (1842 - 1900)
Sir Harry Lauder
Roger de Courcey
Sir Donald Campbell
Sir Leonard Hutton
Sir Alec Rose
Sir Clive Lloyd
Sir Arthur Gold
Sir Thomas Lipton
William ‘Jack’ Dempsey
“Smokin’ Joe” Frazier
General Sir John Moore (1761 - 1809)
Field Marshal The Duke of Wellington KG (1769 - 1852)
Field Marshal The Earl Roberts of Kandahar VC, KG, KP (1832 - 1914)
Field Marshal The Earl Kitchener of Khartoum KG, KP (1850 - 1916)
Field Marshal Sir John French, 1st Earl of Ypres KP (1852 - 1925)
Field Marshal The Earl Haig KT (1861 - 1928)
General Sir Reginald Wingate Bt, GCB (1861 - 1953)
Field Marshal The Viscount Wolseley KP (1883 - 1913)
Field Marshal Sir Claude Auchinleck GCB (1884 - 1981)
Field Marshal The Earl Alexander of Tunis KG (1891 - 1969)
Lieutenant-Colonel ‘Paddy’ Maine DSO*** (1915 - 1955)
Admiral Sir Sidney Smith KCB(1764 - 1840)
Admiral Lord Charles Beresford GCB, GCVO (1841 - 1919)
Admiral of the Fleet The Earl Jellicoe GCB, OM, GCVO (1859 - 1935)
Marshal of the Royal Air Force The Lord Newall GCB, OM, GCMG, CBE AM (1886 - 1963)
Squadron Leader Henry Melvin “Dinghy” Young DFC & Bar (1915 - 1943)
The values of Freemasonry are based on integrity, kindness, honesty and fairness. Freemasons are taught to practise charity and to care, not only for their own, but also for the community as a whole – both by charitable giving, and by voluntary efforts and works as individuals.
From its earliest days, Freemasonry has been concerned with the care of orphans, the sick and the aged. This work continues today. In addition, large sums are given to national and local charities.
Masonic charity is exercised at every level: individual Lodges make gifts and give aid to their own communities and every Province also gives large sums of money to regional causes. Nationally, our efforts are channelled through four main charity organisations:
The Future of Freemasonry report is published.
To view the report, please click on the link below: