Freemasonry: The Naked Truth

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Freemasonry in Newcastle upon Tyne

Becoming a Freemason in Newcastle upon Tyne

Becoming a Freemason

The majority of this article deals with craft, or "blue lodge" Masonry, the three degrees that are common to all masonic lodges and jurisdictions. Further degrees are usually outside of the jurisdiction of Grand Lodges, involve separate ceremonies, and are regulated by different Masonic bodies. The number and names of the "chivalric" orders and degrees depend on the local tradition of Freemasonry, and have varied greatly over the years. The oldest of these, and the most universal, is the Royal Arch Chapter (the Holy Royal Arch in England).

Although some masonic writers have attempted to see Royal Arch symbolism in material from the 1720s, the earliest definite reference is to a Royal Arch in a procession in Dublin preceding the master and held aloft by two "Excellent Masons". In 1744 it is mentioned as a degree in Dr Dassigny's "Serious and Impartial Inquiry".

Laurence Dermott, the guiding force behind the Ancients Grand Lodge, claimed to have been made a Royal Arch Mason in Dublin in 1746. He referred to it as the fourth degree, and campaigned to have it recognised as such. This happened just after he died, and only twenty years before the union of the Ancients and Moderns. The Moderns, on the other hand, had created a separate Grand Chapter in 1765 to deal with the degree, and wished to keep it separate from pure craft Masonry. This would be a point of contention as the two jurisdictions moved towards union. The second of the articles of union stated that there were but three degrees in "pure Ancient Masonry", but included the Royal Arch in the third degree. The degree continues to be administered by a separate Grand Chapter, and until a revision in 2004, English Master Masons were simply told that the degree of the Holy Royal Arch completes their third degree.

The oldest Irish records of the ritual indicate that Royal Arch Chapters originally administered three degrees. The first was based on the refurbishment of the first temple by King Josiah. The second was a short bridge to the third, which was based on the rebuilding of the temple after the exile. Most jurisdictions base the modern Royal Arch ritual on the post-exilic legend. In 1864, the Grand Chapter of Ireland decided to base their ritual on the reign of Josiah, the main practical difference being the names of the officers.

19th century Freemasonry

Union of 1813

In 1809, the Grand Lodge of England (the Moderns) set up a "Lodge of Promulgation". Its purpose was to "revert to the Ancient Land Marks of the Society" and to promulgate those landmarks amongst the brethren. One of its members was the Duke of Sussex, the Master of the Lodge of Antiquity, No 2, and sixth son of George III. The result of their labours was a reply to the Ancients in 1811 that the Grand Lodge had resolved to "return to the Ancient Landmarks...when it should be ascertained what those ancient landmarks and obligations were." Both Grand Lodges moved visibly towards union, forming committees to negotiate the precise terms. The main sticking point was the inability of the Ancients' committee to decide anything without reporting back to a quarterly meeting of their own Grand Lodge. In October 1812, the Ancients allayed the frustration of the Moderns by granting their commissioners full powers. Shortly after this, the Earl of Moira resigned as acting Grand Master of the Moderns, due to his appointment as Governor General of India. His successor was the Duke of Sussex, who became Grand Master the next January on the resignation of his brother, the Prince of Wales. On 1 December 1813, the Duke of Atholl ceded the leadership of the Ancients to the Duke of Kent, the older brother of Sussex and the father of Queen Victoria. Kent had already presided over the union of the Ancients and Moderns in Canada, accomplished by the brutally simple expedient of merging the lodges of the Moderns with the nearest lodge of the Ancients. The Moderns in Canada had simply ceased to exist. These two men oversaw the union in 1813 to form the United Grand Lodge of England, with the Duke of Sussex appointed as Grand Master of the new body.

Newcastle upon Tyne, often simply Newcastle, is the most populous city and metropolitan borough in North East England. It forms the Tyneside conurbation's core, eighth most populous United Kingdom urban area. The city is situated on the River Tyne's northern bank, approximately 8.5 mi (13.7 km) from the North Sea. Geordie is a regional nickname and dialect for people from Newcastle and areas under the city and its dialectal influence. Newcastle was part of the county of Northumberland until 1400, when it became a county of itself, a status it retained until it became a part of the metropolitan county of Tyne and Wear in 1974. The Newcastle district's local authority is Newcastle City Council, a North of Tyne Combined Authority member. The city developed around a Roman settlement called Pons Aelius and the settlement later took the name of a castle built in 1080 by William the Conqueror's eldest son, Robert Curthose. In the 14th century, wool trade was the main contributor, this later became coal mining. A port developed in the 1500s, along with the shipyards lower down the River Tyne, was one of the world's largest ship building and repair centres.

Bridges spanning the city and Gateshead include the Tyne Bridge, the Swing Bridge and the Millennium Bridge; other architectural landmarks are the Castle, Grey's Monument and the Theatre Royal. Newcastle is know for nightlife, Greggs (bakery chain and FTSE 250 Index constituent), Ant & Dec (TV personalities), the Great North Run half-marathon and Newcastle United Football Club. It is one of the UK Core Cities as well as part of the Eurocities network. The first recorded settlement in what is now Newcastle was Pons Aelius ("Hadrian's bridge"), a Roman fort and bridge across the River Tyne. It was given the family name of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, who founded it in the 2nd century AD. This rare honour suggests Hadrian may have visited the site and instituted the bridge on his tour of Britain. The population of Pons Aelius then is estimated at 2,000. Fragments of Hadrian's Wall are visible in parts of Newcastle, particularly along the West Road. The course of the "Roman Wall" can be traced eastwards to the Segedunum Roman fort in Wallsend—the "wall's end"—and to the supply fort Arbeia in South Shields.

The extent of Hadrian's Wall was 73 miles (117 km), spanning the width of Britain; the Wall incorporated the Vallum, a large rearward ditch with parallel mounds, and was built primarily for defence, to prevent unwanted immigration and the incursion of Pictish tribes from the north, not as a fighting line for a major invasion. Since 1974, Newcastle has been a part of the metropolitan county of Tyne and Wear in North East England, but was historically within Northumberland. The city is located on the north-western bank of the River Tyne, approximately 46 miles (74 km) south of the border with Scotland. The ground beneath the city is formed from Carboniferous strata of the Middle Pennine Coal Measures Group — a suite of sandstones, mudstones and coal seams which generally dip moderately eastwards. To the west of the city are the Upper Pennine Coal Measures and further west again the sandstones and mudstones of the Stainmore Formation, the local equivalent of the Millstone Grit. In large parts, Newcastle still retains a medieval street layout. Narrow alleys or 'chares', most of which can only be traversed by foot, still exist in abundance, particularly around the riverside. Stairs from the riverside to higher parts of the city centre and the extant Castle Keep, originally recorded in the 14th century, remain intact in places. Close, Sandhill and Quayside contain modern buildings as well as structures dating from the 15th–18th centuries, including Bessie Surtees House, the Cooperage and Lloyds Quayside Bars, Derwentwater House and House of Tides, a restaurant situated at a Grade I-listed 16th century merchant's house at 28–30 Close.

Becoming a Freemason in United Kingdom

Becoming a Freemason in England

Region          North East

Metropolitan county            Tyne and Wear (1974-present)

Historic county         Northumberland (until 1400)

Founded       2nd century

Town charter            Henry II

County corporate    1400

City status     1882


 • Council Leader    Nick Forbes (L)

 • Lord Mayor            David Cook (L)

 • MPs            Chi Onwurah (L)

Nick Brown (L)

Catherine McKinnell (L)


 • City 44.4 sq mi (115.1 km2)

 • Land           43.8 sq mi (113.5 km2)

Area rank      ranked 200th district by land area

Population (mid-2019 est.)

 • City 302,820

 • Rank          ranked 43rd district

 • Density      6,850/sq mi (2,646/km2)

 • Density rank         ranked 69th district

 • Conurbation (Tyneside) 879,996 (ranked 7th)

 • Metropolitan Area (Tyneside–Wearside)        1,650,000 (ranked 6th)

Demonym(s) Geordie, Novocastrian


 • Per capita  US$ 29,978

Time zone     GMT (UTC)

 • Summer (DST)     UTC+1 (BST)



Dialling code            0191

ISO 3166 code         GB-NET

GSS code     E08000021

NUTS 3         UKC22

International airport            Newcastle International (NCL)

National rail stations          Newcastle (A)

Manors (F2)

Rapid transit system           Tyne and Wear Metro

Police Northumbria

Ambulance   North East

Fire and Rescue     Tyne and Wear