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Freemasonry in Coventry
Becoming a Freemason in Coventry
Becoming a Freemason
Evolution of the York Legend
The earliest masonic documents are those of their early employers, the church and the state. The first claimed by modern Freemasons as the lineal ancestors of their own Charges relate to the self-organisation of masons as a fraternity with mutual responsibilities. From the reign of Henry VI to the Elizabethan period, that is from about 1425 to 1550, surviving documents show the evolution of a legend of Masonry, starting before the flood, and culminating in the re-establishment of the craft of Masonry in York during the reign of King Athelstan.
Halliwell Manuscript/Regius Poem
The Halliwell Manuscript, also known as the Regius Poem, is the earliest of the Old Charges. It consists of 64 vellum pages of Middle English written in rhyming couplets. In this, it differs from the prose of all the later charges. The poem begins by describing how Euclid "counterfeited geometry" and called it Masonry, for the employment of the children of the nobility in Ancient Egypt. It then recounts the spread of the art of geometry in "divers lands." The document relates how the craft of Masonry was brought to England during the reign of King Athelstan (924–939). It tells how all the masons of the land came to the King for direction as to their own good governance, and how Athelstan, together with the nobility and landed gentry, forged the fifteen articles and fifteen points for their rule. This is followed by fifteen articles for the master concerning both moral behaviour (do not harbour thieves, do not take bribes, attend church regularly, etc.) and the operation of work on a building site (do not make your masons labour at night, teach apprentices properly, do not take on jobs that you cannot do, etc.). There are then fifteen points for craftsmen which follow a similar pattern. Warnings of punishment for those breaking the ordinances are followed by provision for annual assemblies. There follows the legend of the Four Crowned Martyrs, a series of moral aphorisms, and finally a blessing.
Fifteen articles there they sought and fifteen points there they wrought. Part of Regius Manuscript
"Fyftene artyculus þey þer sowȝton, and fyftene poyntys þer þey wroȝton." (Fifteen articles they there sought and fifteen points there they wrought.) —Regius MS, ca. 1425–50.
The origins of the Regius are obscure. The manuscript was recorded in various personal inventories as it changed hands until it came into possession of the Royal Library, which was donated to the British Museum in 1757 by King George II to form the nucleus of the present British Library. It came to the attention of Freemasonry much later, this oversight being mainly due to the librarian David Casley, who described it as "a Poem of Moral Duties" when he catalogued it in 1734. It was in the 1838–39 session of the Royal Society that James Halliwell, who was not a Freemason, delivered a paper on "The early History of Freemasonry in England", based on the Regius, which was published in 1840. The manuscript was dated to 1390, and supported by such authorities as Woodford and Hughan; the dating of Edward Augustus Bond, the curator of manuscripts at the British Museum, to fifty years later was largely sidelined. Hughan also mentions that it was probably written by a priest.
Modern analysis has confirmed Bond's dating to the second quarter of the fifteenth century, and placed its composition in Shropshire. This dating leads to the hypothesis that the document's composition, and especially its narrative of a royal authority for annual assemblies, was intended as a counterblast to the statute of 1425 banning such meetings.
In the wake of the French Revolution, the British Government became uneasy about possible revolutionary conspiracies. Amongst other repressive measures, Pitt's government proposed to introduce the Unlawful Societies Act in 1799, which declared that any body which administered a secret oath was illegal. Acting quickly, a delegation representing the Ancients, Moderns and the Grand Lodge of Scotland arranged a meeting with the Prime Minister. The delegation included the Duke of Atholl, Grand Master of the Ancients, and Past Grand Master Mason of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, and the Earl of Moira, Acting Grand Master of the Moderns (the Grand Master being the Prince of Wales). As a result of this meeting, Freemasons were specifically excluded from the act, although lodges were obliged to return a list of members to the local Clerk of the Peace, a practice which continued until 1967. It also demonstrated that the two rival Grand Lodges could act together.
Establishment of Freemasonry in North America
Main articles: History of Masonic Grand Lodges in North America and Prince Hall Freemasonry
In 1682, John Skene, Born in Scotland came to New Jersey and is dedicated by the Grand Lodge of New Jersey As the first Freemason resident in america.
Henry Price, "Provincial Grand Master of New England and Dominions and Territories thereunto belonging"
In 1733, Henry Price, the Provincial Grand Master over all of North America for the Grand Lodge of England, granted a charter to a group of Boston Freemasons. This lodge was later named St. John's Lodge and was the first duly constituted lodge in America. Between 1733 and 1737 the Grand Lodge in England warranted Provincial Grand Lodges in Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania and South Carolina. Benjamin Franklin re-issued Anderson's 1723 constitutions as Provincial Grand Master of Pennsylvania. Franklin had written in the Pennsylvania Gazette of 8 December 1730 of the several lodges of freemasons already in the "province", joined St. John's Lodge in Philadelphia the following year, and in 1732 was Junior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of Philadelphia. All this before the "first" lodge in North America.
Correspondence from John Moore, the collector for the port of Philadelphia and himself a Mason, indicate that Masonic Lodges were meeting in Philadelphia in 1715. The present Grand Lodge has the Carmick manuscript, a handwritten copy of the ancient charges dating from 1727, and headed "The Constitutions of St. John's Lodge". Colonel Daniel Coxe was made Provincial Grand Master of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania by the Grand Lodge of England in 1730, with effect from 24 June (St. John the Baptist's day) for two years. It is unclear whether he was in America or England at the time, but he was present at Grand Lodge, at the Devil Tavern in London, on 29 January 1731, where he is minuted as Provincial Grand Master of North America. There is no record of his chartering any lodges, but he arranged for St. John's Lodge to double as a Provincial Grand Lodge, and appointed his successor in 1731, a year early. Notwithstanding the acceptance of Coxe as their first Provincial Grand Master, it has been suggested that the formation of the new Grand Lodge by consenting pre-existing lodges makes it a Grand Lodge by "Immemorial right", and a sister lodge to the Grand Lodges of England Scotland and Ireland.
North America would have many independent lodges in the 18th century. Authorisation, which later would become a Warrant, took time and expense, especially in the period when the nearest Grand Lodge was on the other side of the Atlantic. Many lodges became "self starters", and only applied for Grand Lodge authorisation when they were reasonably confident that the lodge would survive for more than a few years. George Washington was initiated into the Lodge of Fredericksburg in 1752. The same lodge was chartered by the Grand Lodge of Scotland in 1758. The first properly chartered "Scottish" lodge was only two years earlier, being the Lodge of St. Andrews in Boston. Members included Paul Revere and Joseph Warren, and (according to some) later lodge outings included the Boston Tea Party.
Many lodges were attached British Army regiments. The Moderns may have been wary of warranting lodges without a permanent address, so there was only one Grand Lodge of England warrant in the continental army from 1775 to 1777. The Antients and the Grand Lodge of Scotland were slightly better represented, but the overwhelming majority of regimental lodges held warrants from the Grand Lodge of Ireland. Thus it was that a group of African Americans, having been rejected by the lodges in Boston, were initiated into Lodge No 441 on the register of the Grand Lodge of Ireland, which was attached to the 38th Foot (later the 1st Staffordshire). These 15 men formed African Lodge No 1, as the British departed, leaving them a permit to do almost everything but admit new masons. Two of the members were seafarers, and obtained entrance to a lodge in London, being recognised as regularly initiated Masons. This enabled their master, Prince Hall, to apply to the Moderns for a charter, which was duly granted on 29 September 1784, now as African Lodge No. 459. Such was the success of the lodge that it became a Provincial Grand Lodge, and Prince Hall the Provincial Grand Master. After his death, the provincial lodges reconstituted themselves as a Grand Lodge (African Grand Lodge), becoming Prince Hall Grand Lodge in 1847. Around the same time, the history of Freemasonry in Mexico can be traced to at least 1806 when the first Masonic lodge was formally established in the nation.
Coventry KOV-ən-tree or /ˈkʌv-/ KUV-) is a city, administrative centre and metropolitan borough in England and the United Kingdom. It is built on the River Sherbourne, which remains largely hidden by infrastructure, although it can be seen by the canal. Coventry has been a large settlement for centuries, although it was not founded and given its city status until the Middle Ages; since then it has become one of the most important and largest cities in the country. The conurbation consists of the Coventry and Bedworth Urban Area, being the 20th largest in the country; the city is governed by Coventry City Council.
Historically part of Warwickshire, Coventry had a population of 316,915 at the 2011 census, making it the 9th largest city in England and the 11th largest in the United Kingdom. It is the second largest city in the West Midlands region, after Birmingham, and is separated from the West Midlands conurbation (Greater Birmingham & The Black Country) by the Meriden Gap. Despite its size and significance, Coventry is not amongst the UK's Core Cities Group due to its proximity to Birmingham.
Coventry is 19 miles (31 km) east-southeast of Birmingham, 24 miles (39 km) southwest of Leicester, 11 miles (18 km) north of Warwick and 94 miles (151 km) northwest of London. Coventry is also the most central city in England, being only 12 miles (18 km) south-southwest of the country's geographical centre in Leicestershire; it is located in the West Midlands.
The current Coventry Cathedral was built after most of the 14th century cathedral church of Saint Michael was destroyed by the Luftwaffe in the Coventry Blitz of 14 November 1940. Coventry motor companies have contributed significantly to the British motor industry. The city has three universities, Coventry University in the city centre, the University of Warwick on the southern outskirts and the smaller private Arden University, with its headquarters close to Coventry Airport.
On 7 December 2017, the city won the title of UK City of Culture 2021, after beating Paisley, Stoke-on-Trent, Swansea and Sunderland to the title. It will be the third title holder of the quadrennial award which began in 2013. Following this, Coventry City of Culture Trust released a manifesto film, celebrating the city of Coventry and announcing the brand for Coventry UK City of Culture 2021, 'Coventry Moves'.
The Romans founded a settlement in Baginton, next to the River Sowe, and another formed around a Saxon nunnery, founded c. AD 700 by St Osburga, that was later left in ruins by King Canute's invading Danish army in 1016. Earl Leofric of Mercia and his wife Lady Godiva built on the remains of the nunnery and founded a Benedictine monastery in 1043 dedicated to St Mary. In time, a market was established at the abbey gates and the settlement expanded.
Coventry Castle was a motte and bailey castle in the city. It was built in the early 12th century by Ranulf de Gernon, 4th Earl of Chester. Its first known use was during The Anarchy when Robert Marmion, a supporter of King Stephen, expelled the monks from the adjacent priory of Saint Mary in 1144, and converted it into a fortress from which he waged a battle against the Earl. Marmion perished in the battle. It was demolished in the late 12th century and St Mary's Guildhall was built on part of the site. It is assumed the name "Broadgate" comes from the area around the castle gates.
By the 14th century, Coventry was an important centre of the cloth trade, and throughout the Middle Ages was one of the largest and most important cities in England. The bishops of Lichfield were often referred to as bishops of Coventry and Lichfield, or Lichfield and Coventry (from 1102 to 1541). Coventry claimed the status of a city by ancient prescriptive usage, was granted a charter of incorporation in 1345, and in 1451 became a county in its own right. The plays that William Shakespeare witnessed in Coventry during his boyhood or 'teens' may have influenced how his plays, such as Hamlet, came about.
Becoming a Freemason in United Kingdom
Becoming a Freemason in England
Region West Midlands
Ceremonial county West Midlands
Historic county Warwickshire
Administrative HQ Council House
Founded by Leofric, Earl of Mercia
• Type Metropolitan borough
• Body Coventry City Council
• Leadership Leader and cabinet
• Lord Mayor Linda Bigham
• Council Leader George Duggins (Lab)
• Chief Executive Martin Reeves
• MPs Colleen Fletcher (L)
Taiwo Owatemi (L)
Zarah Sultana (L)
• City and metropolitan borough 38.09 sq mi (98.64 km2)
Population (ONS mid-year estimates)
• City and metropolitan borough 371,521 (Ranked 18th)
• Density 8,050/sq mi (3,108/km2)
• Metro 651,600
Time zone UTC+0 (Greenwich Mean Time)
• Summer (DST) UTC+1 (British Summer Time)
Area code(s) 024
ISO 3166-2 GB-COV
ONS code 00CQ (ONS)
OS grid reference SP335785
NUTS 3 UKG33
2018 mid-year estimate 366,785
(2011 Census) 73.8% White (66.6% White British)
2.7% Mixed Race