Consecreated 17th May 1876. Ancient charge: "From ancient times no Master or Fellow could be absent from his Lodge, especially when warned to appear thereat without incurrring a severe censure unless it appeared to the Master and wardens that pure neccessity hindered him"

What is Freemasonry?

It is a unique happy association of friends, made up of men from all walks of life, who share a concern for human values, moral standards and charitable giving. Membership offers a discipline for life, many social activities for them and their families and has a long history of charitable support for the less fortunate members of our society, including medical research, hospices, natural disasters worldwide, maintenance to historic buildings and many others.

Freemasonry is open to those who strive to live their lives by the principles of "brotherly love, relief and truth" and who believe in a Supreme Being. Members are offered an insight into history and philosophy which teaches moral lessons and self-knowledge through participation in ancient rituals and Masonic symbolism.

Members are offered the opportunity to meet socially without religious or political barriers, an approach to life which seeks to reinforce thoughtfulness for others, kindness in the community, honesty in business and fairness in all things. Members are urged to regard the interests of the family as paramount.

Your Questions Answered

Please click on the link below to view or download the United Grand Lodge of England's booklets and other available publications.


The Purpose of Freemasonry

The basic purpose is to make "better men out of good men." There is an emphasis placed on the individual man by strengthening his character, improving his moral and spiritual outlook, and broadening his mental horizons.

Masonry tries to educate its members about:

Origins of Freemasonry

Masonic scholars and historians are not sure at what point in time our Craft was born. Every Mason knows it goes far beyond written record, and we believe it was not always called Freemasonry.
Some of the ancient mysteries of Egypt, Greece and the Orient influenced the ceremonies Masons use today. These ceremonies were designed to test men, to allow only those who were worthy to be admitted. Our ceremonies are somewhat the same, less physical in nature, and more spiritual in form.
Operative masonry can be traced back to the Middle Ages and beyond. During this time Operative masons formed groups with structures similar to ours today. They had officers and stations just like ours. Other men were admitted only after they had served a number of years of apprenticeship. This is the source of the first degree, the Entered Apprentice.
Operative refers to the time in our history when masons actually did the physical labour of building. They were the best at their craft, and the building methods they used were kept secret. Speculative refers to the period in history when men were accepted into the Craft without being physical builders, but rather were spiritual builders.

What is the Grand Lodge?

Modern speculative Freemasonry, as we know it today, owes its structure to the Grand Lodge. The first Grand Lodge under our present system of speculative Masonry was organized in London on 24th June 1717 and is known as the United Grand Lodge of England. 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 of the British Isles.
Every Masonic lodge in England today was granted a charter or warrant from The United Grand Lodge of England and are referred to as Free and Accepted Freemasons.

What does the title of Free and Accepted mean?

How did the words "free" and "accepted" originate? The ancient craftsmen were very skilled, and their craft was considered to be indispensible to the welfare of both church and state. For this reason, they were not placed under the same restrictions of other workers - they were "free" to do their work, travel and live their lives in a manner which befitted their importance.
In Medieval England, this freedom of movement was exceptionally rare. Most workers were under bond to the owners of the land on which they worked. Some historians and Masonic scholars believe this freedom for the operative mason may date back as far as the year 946 in York.
The word "accepted" also goes back to the time of the operative mason. During the latter years of the Middle Ages, there were few educated men outside the monasteries of the church. Naturally, men wanted to become Freemasons in order to gain the advantages the Craft had to offer. These men did not necessarily want to become physical or operative masons and help construct the building projects of the day; they wanted to belong to the organisation.
These were "accepted" Masons rather than operative masons. This practice probably originated when some of the people for whom craftsmen were working asked to be admitted and the practice grew with time. This was a big boost to Masonry, because the secret techniques of building trades were becoming more widely known, the requirements of architecture were changing, and our operative membership was declining. By becoming "speculative," Masonic membership grew rapidly.
As time went on, there became more and more of the accepted members than there were operative members. Sometime in the late seventeenth century, it is believed that the accepted masons outnumbered the operative masons, and Freemasonry became a speculative organisation rather than operative one.

Is Freemasonry a Secret Society?

No. A secret society is one which conceals its membership, has secret meeting places, and of which the public has little or no knowledge of its organisation or its principles.
This bears no resemblance to Freemasonry at all. We are not a secret society, but we are a society with secrets. Our secrets, maintained through a sense of tradition, deal mostly with the obligations and modes of recognition. These requirements have been handed down by word of mouth for centuries.
Our purposes, ideals and principles may be learned by anyone who inquires. There are numerous books and websites on these subjects which are readily available to the public and our meeting places are clearly marked as such.

Is Freemasonry a Religion?

No. We do ask that you state that you believe in a Supreme Being. We do not require that you belong to a church or other religious creed, although many Masons in England are very active in their churches. Members have the right to belong to any church, synagogue or mosque they want, and Freemasonry does not infringe on that right. However, members should not attempt to substitute the teachings of Freemasonry or membership in a lodge for their church or similar. Masonry seeks only to unite men for the purpose of brotherhood - not religion.

Can an atheist become a Mason?

A candidate for Masonry must honestly profess a faith in a higher being such as God when applying as a prerequisite for admission. An avowed atheist would not profess this belief and thus would not be admitted.

Proper and Improper Subjects for Discussion in Lodge

Are there subjects that cannot be discussed in Lodge?

Generally, politics and religion should not be discussed in lodge, and there are very good reasons not to discuss these topics. When we meet in a lodge, we are all on a common level and are not subject to the classes and distinctions of the outside world. Each brother is entitled to his own beliefs and may follow his own convictions.
Our objective is to unite men and not to divide them. These subjects create honest differences of opinions which might well cause friction between brethren.

Can there be arguments in the Lodge?

There will also be subjects concerning the lodge's business that should be discussed. These discussions should be kept within the bounds of propriety, and everyone should be show a tolerance for the opinion of the other.
Every Master wants harmony in his lodge, and once a matter has been put to vote in his lodge and a decision made, the decision should be accepted by all members, regardless of how they voted.

How can a candidate prepare himself for initiation?

To receive the greatest benefit from the initiation ceremony, a candidate should first prepare his mind for its reception. He should not be apprehensive and should enter the lodge with the attitude which will enable him to appreciate the serious and solemn ceremonies through which he will pass. The candidate should pay strict attention to every part of the ceremony in order that he may gain as much understanding as possible of the teachings of Freemasonry. The candidate should have no apprehension about entering a lodge. He is entering a society of friends and brothers, where he will be treated with dignity and decorum at all times.
The methods used in teaching are allegory and symbolism and will be new and unusual to the candidate. These methods have been used for almost three centuries and have not changed very much since they were originated. Finally, he should understand that every Mason in the lodge room is his friend and soon to be his brother.
After the business of the Lodge meeting is concluded most members and visitors usually retire to the dining room and enjoy a meal together. This is an integral part of Freemasonry and enables everyone to gather in a pleasant, informal, social atmosphere, to meet friends and make new ones. St. Giles Lodge actively promotes members and their wives and families to meet socially and enjoy social events together. Many of the member's wives, partners and daughters (aka The Square Mealers) enjoy convivial dining out occasions at various venues frequently, throughout the year. This is an important part of Freemasonry. Every member is required to value his family above all else. Likewise, every member is asked at interview whether or not they have discussed their interest in Freemasonry with his family. This is also very important as his families understanding and support will be expected as he progresses through the various stages of Masonic development.