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You may find it useful to view the interview with Rick Wakeman

  • What is Freemasonry
    Freemasonry promotes Friendship of good men Charity Benevolence for fellow masons and families Self-development in part through moral lessons Self-knowledge through participation in a progression As such Freemasonry promotes A different and improving approach to life, Thoughtfulness for others, Kindness in the community, Honesty and truthfulness, As well courtesy and fairness in all things.
  • How did Freemasonry  begin
    For many years the practice of freemasonry was passed by word of mouth. The earliest written record was that for Elias Ashmole in 1646 although some evidence xists that it was practiced earlier in Scotland. To coordinate the principles and practices, a meeting of several lodges agreed and set up UGLE in 1717 with the current practices that are the same for centuries wherever a lodge meets. One theory of the origin of the practices is that the operative stonemasons (who built the great cathedrals and castles) had “Lodges” in which they discussed trade affairs. They had simple initiation ceremonies and, as no certificates, or trade unions existed, they adopted secret signs and words to demonstrate that they were trained Masons when they moved from site to site. In the 1600's, Lodges began to accept non-operatives such as architects as "gentlemen Masons". Gradually this progressed from operative to "free and accepted" masons A second theory is that in the 1500's - 1600's, groups were formed as they were interested in religious and political tolerance in an age of great intolerance. Differences of opinion on religion or politics had lead to bloody civil war. In forming Freemasonry, they were trying to make better men and build a better world. They took the idea of building as the central idea on which to form their system as everyone could relate to it. It is for men only because in 1717 men only would be considered. However two societies exist for women controlled by themselves and one is over 100 years old.
  • Why join?
    For a wide variety of reasons, some become interested through encouragement by a friend. A few join because of family connections. Others want to improve themselves. For nearly all it adds a lot to their social life as they will make a great number of new friends. Active members "grow" in Freemasonry and continue because they enjoy it. Also they know that freemasonry will support them and their families when needed. An interesting note is that no-one is invited to join as such. You need to find out a bit more about Freemasonry before applying. Contact with our lodge will help in this. This approach is to ensure that members know what it entails and that it is suitable for them and their families.
  • Is it a secret society?
    No but it has an element of confidentiality For example - who is a member (unless they have given their permission) It is reasonable for the names of members are kept confidential because of Hitler threatened to kill all freemasons including Winston Churchill, King George V and and what happens when candidates join and progresses, as this spoils it for them. However, the media like it to be secret as it can be used to sell newspapers. Nearly everything is open and be discussed with a mason. The rules and aims of Freemasonry are freely available. Pease make your own mind up.
  • Where and what happens at a meeting?
    Meetings take place mainly at masonic halls: at Castle Grove, some 18 lodges meet. Others may meet in other buildings such as hotels. These are advertised. Many masonic buildings are used by the local community for other activities. Members are encouraged to speak openly about Freemasonry. However Lodge meetings are private (members only) The meeting covers administrative procedures e.g. financial matters, election of officers, news and correspondence. Then usually ceremonies for admitting new Masons or progressing them as well the annual installation of the Master and his officers. The three ceremonies for progressing Masons include a small dramatic instruction in the principles of what is expected. These are in ceremonies totally in line with a 300+ year tradition. The same ceremonies were performed for all masons including Mozart, Churchill and others. As it is a shared experience that binds the members together. Its uses drama, allegory and symbolism to impress the principles and teachings more firmly in the mind of each candidate. Because of this, It becomes far more memorable. Members wear regalia (which can be seen through the internet). This is historical and symbolical and, like a uniform, serves to indicate to members their progress on their masonic journey. Each meeting is presided over by the Worshipful Master assisted by his two Wardens. The Master is appointed each year. Not all candidates want to progress to Master of the lodge. This is their choice. Help is offered where needed.
  • Who can become a mason?
    It is open to any male over 21 who is an upright citizen with strict morals and good judgement. The occupation of an applicant is not important however his character most certainly is. This is checked before being accepted by lodge. No-one is invited to join. Like other lodges, we try to make sure that a potential applicant is fully aware of what is involved so that he can decide whether it is suitable for him and his family. This is done by meeting with him by members of the lodge beforehand. If deemed apropriate, a candidate may be adviiised that an appication when made may be favourable. Each candidate has to have a proposer and seconder from the lodge. This can be sorted out in the meetings with him. All candidates are required to be interviewed. The cost varies but anyone wishing to join can find a Lodge to suit his pocket. A member pays an annual subscription to his Lodge to cover his membership and the administrative cost of running the Lodge. It is expected to have a meal after a monthly Regular meetings and often this is paid for separately.
  • Is it a religious organisation?
    Definitly not. All applicants are expected to believe in a single supreme being whether it is Christ or another. Freemasons come from many religions including Christian, Judaism, Islam Sikh and many others. However we do make serious promises that concern our conduct both in freemasonry and in the wider society. No mason is required to break the law and he is bound to speak the truth. The much publicised 'traditional penalties' for failure to observe these promises (fully removed in 1986) were always symbolic not literal. Members promise not to make use of their membership for personal gain or advancement; failure can lead to expulsion.
  • Is Freemasonry involved in the community?
    Yes, from its earliest days, Freemasonry has provided support for the local community. All monies raised for charity are drawn from amongst Freemasons, their families and friends, whilst grants and donations are given to Masonic and non Masonic charities alike. Over the past five years alone, more than £75m has been given for a wide range of charitable purposes including those involved in medical research, community care, education and work with young people.
  • Have you another question?
    If so, please use the contact form and we will answer it. We are nopt as old fashioned as --
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