About Freemasonry

What is Freemasonry?

Freemasonry is one of the world’s largest and oldest non-religious and non-political fraternal and charitable organisations.  It is open to people from all walks of life, regardless of their race, religion, sexual orientation or socio-economic position in society.

It teaches self-knowledge through participation in a progression of ceremonies.

Members are expected to be of high moral standing and are encouraged to speak openly about Freemasonry. Organised Freemasonry, as we know it today, began with the founding of the first Grand Lodge on 24 June 1717 at the Goose and Gridiron Ale House in St Paul’s Churchyard.

It was formed by the agreement of four London Lodges, the oldest of which was thought to have existed in 1691. Evidence of the movement’s existence prior to 1691 is sparse, so the true origins remain a mystery.

However, there is general agreement amongst historians and researchers that Freemasonry developed, either directly or indirectly, from the medieval stonemasons – otherwise known as Operative Masons – who built the great cathedrals and castles.

Freemasonry means something different to everyone who joins.

For many, Freemasonry is about making new friends and acquaintances. For others, it’s about being able to help deserving causes and charities. It’s a unique institution with a truly global membership.

Worldwide, there are approximately six million Freemasons. There are over 200,000 Freemasons operating under United Grand Lodge of England. Masonic hospitality is legendary. Visit a Masonic lodge anywhere in the world and you are sure of a warm welcome.

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