Ashlar Chippings

A great commemorative masonic celebration took place at the Albert Hall 0n 31st October 2017, for the tercentenary of the traditional founding of Grand Lodge in 1717.

As with many aspects of Freemasonry all is not necessarily as it seems! What actually occurred in 1717 was not a Grand Lodge but an assembly and Grand Feast of four lodges in the City of London and Westminster and that is all.

Reference the research ‘Searching for the Apple Tree’ by Andrew Prescott and Susan Mitchell Sommers in Reflections on 300 Years of Freemasonry, Lewis Masonic, 2017, under the auspices of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076 (EC).

 

Book of Constitutions by James Anderson in 1723
IMAGE LINKED:  wikimedia Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

The first published compilation of Constitutions by James Anderson in 1723, based on George Payne’s labours in 1720, makes no mention whatsoever of any activity in 1717 – how strange! 

Nor was there any mention in the press at the time, normally a-buzz with society news, and particular attention being given to any new society being formed.  Silence! 

The first mention of 1717 is in Anderson’s second edition of the Constitutions in 1738; over twenty years after the events described are supposed to have taken place. 

As far as is known Anderson would not have been present at any such meeting in 1717, so what he describes in a rather mangled fashion would have been second-hand at best.

In 1721 however, much news was abroad when the first noble Grand Master, in the person of Prince John, Duke of Montagu, was elected Grand Master at Stationers’ Hall and two notable things happened. First, the Minutes in Book E of the Lodge of Antiquity (one of the above four) say:

This day the Free Masons of London in the name of themselves and the rest of their Brethren of England vested their separate and distinct rights and powers of congregating in Chapter &c. in the present old Lodges in London in trust and the same was this day Publickly Recognised and Notified to their Brethren in Grand Lodge assembled.

The Masters of the Old Lodges Accepted the Trust for their lodges and were sworn accordingly.

 

Thus, the previous inherent rights of lodges to meet, and to do so when and where they wished on their own cognisance, was transferred to and vested in a new Grand Lodge, not just of the City of London and Westminster, but of England as a whole.

Second, George Payne’s 1720 compilation of Constitutions was approved at that Grand Lodge; James Anderson later being tasked with its production.

So what? you may say.  Well, until the installation of the noble Duke of Montagu in 1721 there was no Grand Lodge, only an occasional ‘Grand’ assembly and feast of independent London and Westminster lodges headed by one of their number to be the ‘Grand’ Master in the chair. 

The word ‘Grand’ here carrying the meaning of a greater scale than a single lodge.  Also, that noble Grand Master put in place a single set of rules for lodges throughout the country.

So, in this year of 2021, but for the pandemic, we should be having another big party like in 2017 – or has the budget been blown?!

Article by: Hugh O'Neill

Hugh O'Neill

Past Master of Craft lodges under the constitution of the United Grand Lodge of England.

Member of Quatuor Coronati Lodge 2076, the world’s premier Masonic research lodge.

Masonic historian and orator on Masonic topics.

 

 

Further Reading

Series of presentations recorded at Freemasons Hall:  QC Symposium, 15 February 2018

 

Sankey Lectures 2016

Searching for the Apple Tree: What Happened in 1716?

more….

Recent Articles: Ashlar Chippings

Ashlar Chippings

Hugh O’Neill's regular chippings whilst smoothing the ashlar: -

1)The Stiff Upper Lip - Keep Calm and Carry On – Masonic Style and

2)Ladies’ Freemasonry

more....

Ashlar Chippings

Hugh O’Neill's regular chippings whilst smoothing the ashlar: -

1) Understanding Freemasonry,
2) Where was the Foundry? and
3) Answer this and answer true

more....

Ashlar Chippings

Hugh O’Neill's regular chippings whilst smoothing the ashlar: -

1) How to get your Knighthood,
2) The Cowan,
3) Keeping the Tankards topped up! and
4) Installation of a Lodge Master (1723)

more....

Ashlar Chippings

Hugh O’Neill's regular chippings whilst smoothing the ashlar: -

1) Whence Came the Rosettes,
2) The Freemasons' Motto and
3) On the carpet - Hundred of Elloe Lodge No. 469

more....

Ashlar chippings

Hugh O’Neill's regular chippings whilst smoothing the ashlar: -

1) New Master,
2) Veiled in Allegory and illustrated by Symbols and
3) Emasculation!

more....

Ashlar Chippings

Hugh O’Neill's regular chippings whilst smoothing the ashlar: -

Masonic Symbolism

more....

Ashlar chippings

Hugh O’Neill's regular chippings whilst smoothing the ashlar: -

1) The well qualified Master Elect,
2) An Irish Obligation,
3) A chair going spare?,
4) Hirsute Masons and
5) Nature’s Bounty

more....

Ashlar Chippings

Hugh O’Neill's regular chippings whilst smoothing the ashlar: -

1) A ‘Masonic’ Dodo!,
2) Public ‘Open Nights’ and
3) Fraternity or Corporation?

more....

Ashlar Chippings

Hugh O’Neill's regular chippings whilst smoothing the ashlar: -

Tercentenary of United Grand Lodge of England - 1721-2021 season 2

more....

Ashlar Chippings

Hugh O’Neill's regular chippings whilst smoothing the ashlar: -

1) Our charitable visitors,
2) Speculation?,
3) The Recovery of that which was Lost and
4) Showing the flag

more....

Ashlar Chippings

Hugh O’Neill's regular chippings whilst smoothing the ashlar: -

1) The Future of Masonry,
2) Why is the apron flap sometimes up and sometimes down? and
3) The scandalous William Preston

more....

Ashlar Chippings

Hugh O’Neill's regular chippings whilst smoothing the ashlar: -

1) That ‘H’ word,
2) Lesser Lights - what are they?,
3) The darkness comprehended it not!,
4) Interpretations of Symbols and
5) Tailpiece

more....

Ashlar Chippings

Hugh O’Neill's regular chippings whilst smoothing the ashlar: -

Neville Barker Cryer personal view of Freemasonry

more....

Ashlar Chippings

Hugh O’Neill's regular chippings whilst smoothing the ashlar: -

1) Equality,
2) The Faithful Few,
3) What’s the Attraction? and
4) Slap on the wrist for a Past Grand Master

more....

Fifty Shades of Blue

Hugh O’Neill's regular chippings whilst smoothing the ashlar: -

Fifty Shades of Blue! - The discussion of Provincial Honours amongst UGLE members appears to be ever contentious

more....

Masonic Sea Chest

Hugh O’Neill's regular chippings whilst smoothing the ashlar: -

Masonic Sea Chest from the Orlop Deck of HMS Victory

more....

Ashlar Chippings

Hugh O’Neill's regular chippings whilst smoothing the ashlar: -

1) Symbolic Masonic Penalties,
2) Eligibility? – It depends and
3) Provincial AGMs During COVID-19 Suspension

more....

Ashlar Chippings

Hugh O’Neill's regular chippings whilst smoothing the ashlar:

1) We are where we are, because… and
2) Ornaments to the Society

more....

masonic knowledge

making good men better

share the square with two brothers

click image to open email app on mobile device

Masonic Apparel

made to order

Share this article ....