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Freemasonry in Bristol
Becoming a Freemason in Bristol
Becoming a Freemason
The earliest known American lodges were in Pennsylvania. The Collector for the port of Pennsylvania, John Moore, wrote of attending lodges there in 1715, two years before the putative formation of the first Grand Lodge in London. The Premier Grand Lodge of England appointed a Provincial Grand Master for North America in 1731, based in Pennsylvania, leading to the creation of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania.
In Canada, Erasmus James Philipps became a Freemason while working on a commission to resolve boundaries in New England and, in 1739, he became provincial Grand Master for Nova Scotia; Philipps founded the first Masonic lodge in Canada at Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia.
Other lodges in the colony of Pennsylvania obtained authorisations from the later Antient Grand Lodge of England, the Grand Lodge of Scotland, and the Grand Lodge of Ireland, which was particularly well represented in the travelling lodges of the British Army. Many lodges came into existence with no warrant from any Grand Lodge, applying and paying for their authorisation only after they were confident of their own survival.
After the American Revolution, independent U.S. Grand Lodges developed within each state. Some thought was briefly given to organising an overarching "Grand Lodge of the United States," with George Washington, who was a member of a Virginian lodge, as the first Grand Master, but the idea was short-lived. The various state Grand Lodges did not wish to diminish their own authority by agreeing to such a body.
Freemasonry was imported to Jamaica by British immigrants who colonized the island for over 300 years. In 1908, there were eleven recorded Masonic Lodges, which included three Grand Lodges, two Craft Lodges, and two Rose Croix Chapters. During slavery, the Lodges were open to all "freeborn" men. According to the Jamaican 1834 census, that potentially included 5,000 free black men and 40,000 free coloureds (mixed-race). After the full abolition of slavery in 1838, the Lodges were open to all Jamaican men of any race. Jamaica also kept close relationships with Masons from other countries. Jamaican Freemasonry historian Jackie Ranston, noted that:
Jamaica served as an arms depot for the revolutionary forces when two Kingston Freemasons, Wellwood and Maxwell Hyslop, financed the campaigns of Simón Bolívar, the Liberator, to whom six Latin American Republics owe their independence". Bolívar himself was a Mason, enjoying contacts with Brethren in Spain, England, France, and Venezuela until after gaining power in Venezuela, he prohibited all secret societies in 1828 and included the Freemasons.
On 25 May 2017, Masons around the world celebrated the 300th anniversary of the fraternity. Jamaica hosted one of the regional gatherings for this celebration.
An early continental history quotes a 16th-century source that by 1535, there were two Scottish masonic lodges recorded in France, one in Paris and the other in Lyon.
In Scotland, the lodges of masons were brought under the control of two crown appointed officials, the Warden General and the Principal Master of Work to the Crown, the latter being in existence from 1539 at the latest. Towards the end of the century, William Schaw held both these posts. In 1598, in conference with the masters of lodges in south east Scotland, he produced a set of regulations for the governance of masons and their lodges now known as the Schaw Statutes. These state "They shall be true to one another and live charitably together as becometh sworn brethren and companions of the Craft." They mention wardens, deacons, entered prentices and cowans. The second Schaw statutes, a year later, included in their negotiations a representative of the Lodge of Kilwinning (now Lodge Mother Kilwinning No 0) in Ayrshire, which was assigned jurisdiction over the west of Scotland. Edinburgh became the "first and principal" lodge and Kilwinning the "second and head" lodge of Scotland, attempting to appease all parties. Since neither the King nor the master of Kilwinning was present, the document was not regarded as final or binding. It was assumed that the King's warrant for the regulations would be obtained. In 1602, Schaw wrote a Charter granting to Sir William St Clair of Rosslyn the right to purchase patronage over the masons of Scotland. Kilwinning is noticeably absent from the list of lodges appending their endorsement. The charter seems to have lapsed when St Clair fled following a scandal, and a second charter was granted to his son, also William St Clair, in 1628. This patronage was surrendered by their descendant, another William St Clair, on the formation of the Grand Lodge of Scotland in 1736, in spite of the fact that it never won the royal approval that would have made it valid.
The lasting effect of the Schaw Statutes arose from the 1599 directive that the lodges should employ a reputable notary as secretary, and that he should record all important transactions. The Scottish lodges began to keep minutes, and therefore the appearance of "accepted" (non-operative) masons is better recorded than in England, where there are no known internal records of lodge proceedings.
The first recorded admission of non-masons was on 3 July 1634 at Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary's Chapel) No. 1, in the persons of Sir Anthony Alexander, his elder brother, Lord Alexander, and Sir Alexander Strachan of Thornton. Sir Anthony was the King's Principal Master of Work, and the man who had effectively blocked the second St Clair charter, the lodges of Scotland being his own responsibility. The reasons that his brother and their friend were also admitted are unclear.
The reasons and mechanisms for the transition of masonic lodges from operative communities to speculative fellowships remain elusive. As the responsibility for design shifted from the Master Mason to the architect in the sixteenth century, it is probable that architects started to join the lodges of the masons they worked with. It is also possible that, along with other professional bodies (including the East India Company), operative masonic lodges began to raise money by charging the gentry for admission to their "mysteries". Another opinion states that masonic lodges deliberately recruited the rich and powerful in an attempt to improve their pay and working conditions.
England vs Scotland Membership
On 20 May 1641 Sir Robert Moray was initiated into Freemasonry by several Freemasons who were members of the Lodge of Edinburgh. Although he was initiated into a Scottish lodge, the event took place south of the border: this is earliest extant record of a man being initiated into speculative Freemasonry on English soil.
While lodge records show a gradual development of mixed lodges in Scotland, it is evident that the lodge which initiated Elias Ashmole at Warrington on 16 October 1646 was mainly or entirely composed of speculative or accepted masons. In 1686 Robert Plot's "Natural History of Staffordshire" contains a passage about persons of quality being admitted to the society of free-masons, whose history Plot finds invented and ridiculous. At the start of the Grand Lodge period, there appears to have been a predominance of purely speculative lodges in the south of England, with operative and mixed lodges still in the majority in the north and in Scotland.
In 1716, four lodges and "some old Brothers" met at the Apple Tree Tavern in Covent Garden and agreed to meet again the next year to form a "Grand Lodge". These were the Goose and Gridiron, the Crown, the Apple Tree, and the Rummer and Grapes. The "old Brothers" were probably from the Cheshire Cheese and at least one other lodge.
Bristol (/ˈbrɪstəl/ (About this soundlisten)) is a city and ceremonial county in England. With a population of 463,400, it is the most populous city in South West England. The wider Bristol Built-Up Area has the 10th-largest population in England. The urban area population of 670,000 is the 11th-largest in the United Kingdom. The city lies between Gloucestershire to the north and Somerset to the south. South Wales lies across the Severn estuary.
Iron Age hill forts and Roman villas were built near the confluence of the rivers Frome and Avon, and around the beginning of the 11th century, the settlement was known as Brycgstow (Old English "the place at the bridge"). Bristol received a royal charter in 1155 and was historically divided between Gloucestershire and Somerset until 1373 when it became a county of itself. From the 13th to the 18th century, Bristol was among the top three English cities, after London, in tax receipts; however, it was surpassed by the rapid rise of Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool in the Industrial Revolution.
Bristol was a starting place for early voyages of exploration to the New World. On a ship out of Bristol in 1497 John Cabot, a Venetian, became the first European to land on mainland North America. In 1499 William Weston, a Bristol merchant, was the first Englishman to lead an exploration to North America. At the height of the Bristol slave trade, from 1700 to 1807, more than 2,000 slave ships carried an estimated 500,000 people from Africa to slavery in the Americas. The Port of Bristol has since moved from Bristol Harbour in the city centre to the Severn Estuary at Avonmouth and Royal Portbury Dock.
Bristol's modern economy is built on the creative media, electronics and aerospace industries, and the city-centre docks have been redeveloped as centres of heritage and culture. The city has the largest circulating community currency in the UK; the Bristol pound, which is pegged to the Pound sterling. The city has two universities, the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England, and a variety of artistic and sporting organisations and venues including the Royal West of England Academy, the Arnolfini, Spike Island, Ashton Gate and the Memorial Stadium. It is connected to London and other major UK cities by road and rail, and to the world by sea and air: road, by the M5 and M4 (which connect to the city centre by the Portway and M32); rail, via Bristol Temple Meads and Bristol Parkway mainline rail stations; and Bristol Airport. One of the UK's most popular tourist destinations, Bristol was named the best city in Britain in which to live in 2014 and 2017, and won the European Green Capital Award in 2015. Early recorded place names in the Bristol area include the Roman-era British Celtic Abona (derived from the name of the Avon) and the archaic Welsh Caer Odor ("fort on the chasm"), which may have been calqued as the modern English Clifton.
The current name "Bristol" derives from the Old English form Brycgstow, which is typically etymologised as place at the bridge. It has also been suggested that Brycgstow means "the place called Bridge by the place called Stow", the Stow in question referring to an early religious meeting place at what is now College Green. However, other derivations have been proposed. It appears that the form Bricstow prevailed until 1204, and the Bristolian 'L' (the tendency for the local dialect to add the sound "L" to many words ending in a neutral vowel) is what eventually changed the name to Bristol. The original form of the name survives as the surname Bristow, which is derived from the city. Archaeological finds, including flint tools believed to be between 300,000 and 126,000 years old made with the Levallois technique, indicate the presence of Neanderthals in the Shirehampton and St Annes areas of Bristol during the Middle Palaeolithic. Iron Age hill forts near the city are at Leigh Woods and Clifton Down, on the side of the Avon Gorge, and on Kings Weston Hill near Henbury. A Roman settlement, Abona, existed at what is now Sea Mills (connected to Bath by a Roman road); another was at the present-day Inns Court. Isolated Roman villas and small forts and settlements were also scattered throughout the area.
Becoming a Freemason in United Kingdom
Becoming a Freemason in England
Region South West
Royal Charter 1155
County status 1373
Status City, county and unitary authority
• Type Unitary authority
• Governing body Bristol City Council
• Admin HQ City Hall, College Green
• Executive Labour
• Mayor Marvin Rees (Labour)
• MPs Kerry McCarthy (Labour, East)
Darren Jones (Labour, North West)
Thangam Debbonaire (Labour, West)
Karin Smyth (Labour, South)
• City and county 110 km2 (40 sq mi)
Elevation 11 m (36 ft)
• City and county 463,400 (Ranked 10th district and 43rd ceremonial county)
• Density 3,892/km2 (10,080/sq mi)
• Urban 670,000
• Metro 1,006,600 (LUZ 2,009)
84.0% white (77.9% white British)
Time zone GMT (UTC)
• Summer (DST) UTC+1 (BST)
Area codes 0117, 01275
ISO 3166 code GB-BST
• Total £21.2bn ($26.9bn) (4th)
• Growth Increase 1.6%
• Per capita £33,700 ($42,800) (4th)
• Growth Increase 3.1%