Who are the
The answer is simple, Freemasons are members of a society known as Freemasonry or simply Masonry. A Fraternity is a group of men who join together.
FREEMASONRY EXPLAINED - WHAT IS IT?
No one knows just how old Freemasonry is because the actual origins have been lost in time. Probably it arose from the Guilds of Stone Masons who built the castles and cathedrals of the Middle Ages. Possibly they were influenced by the Knights Templar, a group of Christian monks formed in 1118 to help protect pilgrims making trips to the Holy Land.
In 1717, Freemasonry members created a formal organisation in England when the first Grand Lodge was formed. A Grand Lodge is the administrative body in charge of Freemasonry in some geographical areas.
THE ANCIENT STONE MASON PERSPECTIVE
Freemasonry draws much imagery from the history and construction of King Solomon’s Temple (945 BC) by masons from the Phoenician city of Tyre, it seems fanciful to claim direct Stone Mason links from that era. Nevertheless, skills in the manipulation of stone had been well established by then and had been handed down through the ages and through the hands of many peoples including craftsmen from the Greek, Byzantine and Roman eras.
Certain present day Masonic words and meanings seem noted from the time of the ancient Egyptians of this era: The virtues of truth and justice were said by them to be “on the square”. Confucius in 500 BC referred to the squareness of actions; even Aristotle in 350 BC associates square actions with honest dealings. The square and its symbolism is very old and has maintained a remarkable consistency of meaning over centuries. However, it does not necessarily follow that Freemasonry began in those eras any more than trying to assert that Euclid was a Freemason because of his 47th Proposition (as shown in the Worshipful Masters Jewel) has relevance in modern Freemasonry.
Legend next informs us that Athelstan, having subjugated most of the minor Kingdoms of England, gathered together many skilled Masons and established York Rite Masonry in 926 AD by granting them a Royal Charter. The charter enabled the stonemasons to meet in general assembly once a year and seems to have been a catalyst for a host of construction projects including numerous Abbeys, Castles and Fortresses. Athelstan’s importance to stonemasons is mentioned in both the Regius and Cooke manuscripts.
BROTHERLY LOVE is the concern which each Freemason has for his Brother, which is readily shown by tolerance and respect for the beliefs, opinions and practices of his fellows and his willingness to care for his Brother and that Brother’s dependants.
RELIEF The Freemason is by nature a charitable man. He will cheerfully and kindly assist those less fortunate (whether a Freemason or not). He will care for and support his community - local, national and international.
TRUTH The Freemason believes in truth in all things in honesty and integrity in his personal, business and public life. In fair dealings and in firm standards of decency and morality.
EDUCATION As every man progresses in life by education so every Freemason is taught how he can be a better man. For a Mason this is done by a series of degrees - each degree educates him and answers some questions but leaves a door beyond. When a candidate has grasped the teaching of one degree that door is opened by his progress to the next degree. Freemasonry is believed to have begun its evolution 500 or more years ago among the bands of working, skilled builders known as “Masons”
FREEMASONRY & RELIGION Freemasonry is an ancient and honourable society. Its principles are just, steady standards of life and conduct in a changing world. The practice by the Freemason of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth and other principles of the Craft will go a long way to making a good man better.
A WAY OF LIFE There are about 4 million Freemasons under more than 100 “regular” Grand Lodges worldwide. Membership of the Craft is open to every respectable man who believes in his personal “Supreme Being” - usually know in Masonic terms as the Great Architect of the Universe, Grand Geometrician of the Universe or Most High. The descriptive names show the importance the Freemason places on his Supreme Being in the order of things in life.
If you are interested in becoming a Freemason, approach any Mason that you know, who will be glad to help. A personal contact such as this is ideal, but if you live in or near Wigan and do not know of anyone in the Craft, contact us by email, and we will do our best to assist you.
Pemberton Masonic Hall,