It is not known. The earliest recorded 'making' of a Freemason in England is that of Elias Ashmole in 1646. Organised Freemasonry began with the founding of the Grand Lodge on 24th June 1717, the first Grand lodge in the world. Ireland followed in 1725 and Scotland in 1736. All the regular Grand Lodges in the world trace themselves back to one or more of the Grand Lodges in the British Isles.
Can women join Freemasonry?
No. Although Freemasons' partners and their families play a vital role in the fraternity's social and charitable activities, under the constitutions of the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) by which we operate, women are not admitted as members.
However, there are two separate and unrelated organisations that welcome women:
Isn't Freemasonry just another political pressure group?
Emphatically not. Whilst individual Freemasons will have their own views on politics and state policy, Freemasonry as a body never express a view on either. The discussion of politics at Masonic meetings has always been prohibited.
Do Freemasons give preferential treatment to other Masons over others?
Absolutely not. That would be a misuse of membership and subject to Masonic discipline. On his entry to Freemasonry each candidate states unequivocally that he expects no material gain from his membership. At various stages during the three ceremonies of admission and when he is presented with a certificate from Grand Lodge that the admission ceremonies have been completed, he is forcefully reminded that attempts to gain preferment or material gain for himself or others is a misuse of membership which will not be tolerated.
Why do Freemasons take oaths?
New members make solemn promises concerning their conduct in the Lodge and in society. Each member also promises to keep confidential the traditional methods of proving that he is a Freemason, which he would use when visiting a lodge where he is not known. Freemasons do not swear allegiances to each other or to Freemasonry. Freemasons promise to support others in time of need, but only if that support does not conflict with their duties to God, the law, their family or with their responsibilities as a citizen.
What are Masonic ceremonies and rituals?
Masonic ceremonies and rituals provide a spoken and enacted framework for the journey of learning and discovery. Through them, Masons learn about the great human qualities and virtues that Freemasonry advocates, and their relevance to them as individuals and their importance in society.
What is a Lodge?
A Lodge is, in effect, the modern version of what used to be a group of working stonemasons. These days, rather than stonemasons, a Lodge can be viewed as a social team whose common objective is to promote and share in the experience of pursuing the precepts and values of Freemasonry.