What is Freemasonry?
Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest and largest non-religious, non-political, fraternal and charitable organisations. It focuses on self-development, self-realisation, friendship, fellowship and service to the mankind. Freemasonry is also a society of men concerned with moral values, spiritual advancement and ethical approach to life. All Masonic activities stress the values of personal integrity and personal responsibility, whilst each member is encouraged to make efforts to improve his community in the interest of human welfare, inspire others with charity and to translate Masonic principles into individual action.
Freemasonry means different things to each of those who join. For some, it’s about making new friends and acquaintances. For others it’s about being able to help deserving causes – making a contribution to family and society. But for most, it is an enjoyable hobby. – United Grand Lodge of England
Brief History of Freemasonry
The origins of Freemasonry are still the subject of speculation and intense research. We do know two important things, that can shed some light on the subject. First, is that one of the earliest records of Freemasonry in England is contained in the diary of Elias Ashmole, the Antiquarian (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford), wherein under date October 16th 1646, is written: “I was made a freemason at Warrington in Lancashire”. Secondly, in 1717 four London Lodges, which had existed for some time, came together at the Goose and Gridiron Tavern in St Paul’s Churchyard and formed the first Grand Lodge in the world. 6 years later, in 1723, the new Grand Lodge had published its first rule book – The Book of Constitutions of Masonry – and not only started recording its meetings, but also extended its authority outside London, effectively becoming the first governing body in history of Freemasonry. However, in 1751 a rival Grand Lodge (calling themselves “Ancients) consisted of Irish Masons, appeared in London and for 63 years existed side by side, neither recognising each other as regular. The two Grand Lodges eventually united in 1813 and formed the United Grand Lodge of England, which led to standardisation of ritual, procedures and regalia.
History of Freemasonry in Kidderminster
The first Freemasons Lodge which has been traced in Kidderminster was “Charted on the 10th November 1772” under the aegis of the Ancients. No name of the Lodge has been found, but it was numbered 178. It ceased to exist in the 1790’s. In October 1816, United Grand Lodge warranted Faithful Lodge, number 680, meeting at the Black Horse Inn, Kidderminster. Certainly it exhibited no fidelity to its place of meeting and maybe its Members had a commensurate degree of faith, since it was erased from Grand Lodge records in 1844.
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