A History of Freemasonry

Freemasonry was established many centuries ago and now has more than 200,000 freemasons in England & Wales with large numbers in Scotland & Southern Ireland. 

Worldwide there are approximately six million Freemasons. 

Freemasons are organised into ’Lodges’; in London these Lodges (including The Old Chigwellian Lodge) are part of the Metropolitan Grand Lodge of London. 

It evolved from the need for ancient stonemasons to prove their skills and abilities in the days before printed certificates. They did this by means of so-called secret handshakes. On being accepted into the craft of masonry, an apprentice stonemason was given unique type of handshake to prove that he was genuinely qualified to offer his services, albeit as a lowly apprentice. When he completed his apprenticeship, having proved his skills, he was promoted and entrusted with yet another handshake and so on and so on, until he reached the pinnacle of his profession. 

Organised Freemasonry became established in 1717 when four London Lodges came together at the Goose and Gridiron Ale House, near St. Paul’s Churchyard. In 1737 the first Royal Freemason was made – Frederick Lewis, Prince of Wales son of King George II. He was the first of many, although Freemasons ‘come from all walks of life.’ 

If you would like to know more about us or have an informal chat about joining us either as a member or to arrange a visit, please contact the Lodge Secretary for more information.

So why not see the famous Freemasons – from Peter Sellers to King Edward VII, Houdini to Donald Cambell pilot of the Bluebird. Arnold Palmer to Winston Churchill. Royals, Presidents to Entertainers and Artists: Find out more.

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