With roots stretching back to the medieval stonemasons, Freemasonry is an ancient fraternity shrouded in mystery. Now, as ‘the Craft’ prepares to celebrate its 300th anniversary, Inside The Freemasons is given unprecedented access to the world’s oldest social network for the very first time to meet Masons from across the country and discover what it really means to be ‘on the square’.
Before any man can become a fully-fledged Master Mason, he must pass through three stages, known as Degrees. In the first episode of this ground-breaking new series, we join 40-year-old Bedfordshire farmer, James Wootton, as he prepares to go through the secret initiation ceremony, complete with blindfolds, bared breasts and rolled-up trouser legs, which will see him become a 1st Degree Entered Apprentice. Despite being from a long line of Masons, James has no idea what to expect and the experience brings with it the unexpected bonus of a new and richer relationship with his dad and new brother, Edward.
At the other end of the spectrum, 34 years after his initiation, is Worshipful Brother Anthony Henderson, who’s soon to be elevated to the highest rank in the county – Provincial Grand Master. We follow as Anthony prepares for the biggest day of his Masonic career – a set piece ceremony in front of 500 of his Brethren, in which, wearing his elaborate new apron, he will be officially installed as Provincial Grand Master for Bedfordshire by one of English Freemasonry’s ‘Rulers’, the Deputy Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother Jonathan Spence. This is the first time an Installation ceremony has ever been filmed.
Ceremony and ritual are at the heart of Freemasonry. With the stated aim of ‘making good men better’, it uses the analogy of ‘building’ to teach moral lessons – investing the stonemason’s tools with symbolic meanings. In Oxfordshire, we meet 25-year-old Josh Spencer who is preparing to deliver a 900-word soliloquy known as ‘the Charge after Initiation’ and is typical of Masons who pride themselves on delivering a word perfect ritual.
For the first time ever, cameras are allowed to film Masons, their Lodges and their ceremonies, including one of the year’s biggest Masonic events in the Grand Temple at Freemasons’ Hall. Inside The Freemasons provides a unique glimpse inside this fascinating hidden world, to find out what makes a modern day Freemason tick.
Good Reasons To Become a Freemason
When you become a Freemason you: Join an international organisation of some 6 million worldwide, where members will greet and welcome you, and your family, wherever you go;
Procedures for Joining
One of the most common misconceptions about Freemasonry, and there are many such misconceptions, is that you have to be invited to join. Nothing could be further from the truth.