Little Bits of History

June 24

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 24, 2017

1717: The Premier Grand Lodge of England is founded. Initially it was called the Grand Lodge of London and Westminster. Guiding principles were and remain the ideal of tolerance and understanding brought about by the Enlightenment and the Scientific Revolution of the 1600s. George I, the first Hanoverian King of England had recently come to power and the first Jacobite insurrection had been quashed. The men of London were inspired to create a space where knowledge and craftsmanship were appreciated. Four lodges had previously held meetings and each was known for the location in which they met. On this day, the four separate lodges came together at the Goose and Gridiron Ale-house in St. Paul’s Churchyard in London and created the Grand Lodge.

Their first order of business was to arrange when to meet again and to choose a Grand Master from among those present. In the early days of the Lodge, there was probably little grandeur to be had. Anthony Sayer was the first Grand Master and little is known of him. He was replaced by George Payne who held a high government position in the Exchequer. He was both the second and fourth Grand Master with John Theophilus Desaguliers holding the position in between, he was a scientist, clergyman, and one of Isaac Newton’s students. After this, all Grand Masters held a position in the nobility.

George Payne wrote the General Regulations of a Free Mason as his own project for himself. Within a few years, The Constitutions of the Free-Masons was penned and held the history, rules and regulations, and an updated constitution about the “most Ancient and Right Worshipful Fraternity”. Not even all of London let alone the rest of the world was impressed with the London Lodge and conflict built up over time. Two major factions were on the rise within the movement and it wasn’t until nearly the end of the century some measure of cohesiveness could be maintained.

The Freemasons were established as fraternal organizations of stonemasons beginning in the 14th century. They helped regulated the qualifications of the craftsmen and their interactions with authorities and with clients. Even now, the degrees maintain the three grades of medieval craft guilds with Apprentice, Journeyman, and Master Mason. The basic organizational unit of Freemasonry is the Lodge and these are governed at the regional level (state, province, or nation) by a Grand Lodge. There is no international or worldwide Grand Lodge. Regular Freemasonry today demands members believe in a Deity and no women are admitted while there is no discussion or politics or religion included. Continental Freemasonry is more “liberal” and some or all of these restrictions have been abandoned.

Man’s action are the picture book of his creeds. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Growing old is no more than a bad habit which a busy man has no time to form. – Ande Maurois

The poor man is not he who is without a cent, but he who is without a dream. – Harry Kemp

The Society or Fraternity of Freemasons is more in the nature of a system of Philosophy or of moral and social virtues taught by symbols, allegories, and lectures based upon fundamental truths, the observance of which tends to promote stability of character, conservatism, morality and good citizenship. – H. W. Coil