Freemasonry in England is gearing up for the 2017 Tercentenary of Grand Lodge of England. For all Masons, under the UGLE it will certainly be a year to remember!
Origins of Freemasonry
The question of when and where Freemasonry originated are still the subject of intense speculation. Freemasonry is understood to descend from the operative stonemasons who built the great cathedrals and castles of the middle ages.
The first evidence of the initiation of an English speculative Mason was of Elias Ashmole in 1646. From the 1660’s more evidence exists of gentlemen being made Masons in non-operative Lodges.
On 24 June 1717, four London Lodges, came together at the Goose and Gridiron Tavern in St Paul’s Cathedral Churchyard. They declared themselves a Grand Lodge, and elected their first Grand Master. This was the first Grand Lodge in the world.
In 1751 a rival Grand Lodge appeared in London. 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 over 60 years, refusing to recognise each other.
After four years of negotiation, the two Grand Lodges united in 1813 to form the United Grand Lodge of England.
By the turn of the 20th Century, over 2,800 Lodges had been established.
The two World Wars both had a massive effect on English Freemasonry. In the years following the First World War, over 350 new Lodges were established. 600 Lodges were then founded in just three years after the Second World War. In many cases, they were former servicemen who wanted to continue the camaraderie they had built up during the war.
The 250th anniversary of Grand Lodge in 1967, culminated in the installation of The Duke of Kent as Grand Master. An office he has held ever since.
1992 saw over 12,500 Freemasons celebrate the 275th anniversary of Grand Lodge. For the first time, media were present at a meeting and the event was featured on television across the world.
Preparations are uderway the celebration of the Tercentenary of Grand Lodge in 2017, and like Masons across England and Wales. Members of Crescamus Lodge will join in with the celebratory events which are happening both locally and nationally. The highlight will be a meeting of Grand Lodge at the Royal Albert Hall.