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Freemasonry in Newport
Becoming a Freemason in Newport
Becoming a Freemason
The Old Charges of the masons' lodges were documents describing the duties of the members, to part of which (the charges) every mason had to swear on admission. For this reason, every lodge had a copy of its charges, occasionally written into the beginning of the minute book, but usually as a separate manuscript roll of parchment. With the coming of Grand Lodges, these were largely superseded by printed constitutions, but the Grand Lodge of All England at York, and the few lodges that remained independent in Scotland and Ireland, retained the hand-written charges as their authority to meet as a lodge. Woodford, Hughan, Speth and Gould, all founders of Quatuor Coronati Lodge, and Dr Begemann, a German Freemason, produced much published work in the second half of the nineteenth century, collating, cataloguing, and classifying the available material. Since then, aside from the occasional rediscovery of another old document, little has been done to update the field.
The oldest, the Regius poem, is unique in being set in verse. The rest, of which over a hundred survive, usually have a three part construction. They start with a prayer, invocation of God, or a general declaration, followed by a description of the Seven Liberal Arts (logic, grammar, rhetoric, arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy), extolling Geometry above the others. There follows a history of the craft, and how it came to the British Isles, usually culminating in a general assembly of masons during the reign of King Athelstan. The last part consists of the charges or regulations of the lodge, and the craft of Masonry in general, which the members are bound to maintain.
The actual process of unification continued for some years, first with the Lodge of Reconciliation (1813–1816), made up of two lodges, one of each constitution, which ironed out some sort of ritual acceptable to the two parties. The work of this lodge was spread by the Stability Lodge of Instruction (1817) and fleshed out by the Emulation Lodge of Improvement (1823 onwards). The new Grand Lodge essentially ended up with the ritual of the Ancients and the infrastructure of the Moderns. While the "Emulation Ritual" became the standard, many variations still exist which, while mutually recognisable, present many flavours of Masonic ritual within the English Constitution.
Morgan affair and decline in American Freemasonry (1826–c.1850)
Main article: William Morgan (anti-Mason)
In 1826, William Morgan disappeared from Batavia, New York, after threatening to expose Freemasonry's secrets, causing some to claim that he had been murdered by Masons. What exactly occurred has never been conclusively proven. However, Morgan's disappearance – and the minimal punishment received by his kidnappers – sparked a series of protests against Freemasons throughout the United States, especially in New York and neighboring states. The protracted backlash led to many masons leaving the craft. The Grand Lodge of New York controlled 227 lodges in 1827, but only 41 in 1835.
Under the leadership of Thurlow Weed, an anti-Masonic and anti-Andrew Jackson (Jackson was a Mason) movement grew to become the Anti-Masonic Party and made the ballot for the presidency in 1828 while gaining the support of such notable politicians as William H. Seward. Its influence was such that other Jackson rivals, including John Quincy Adams, denounced the Masons. In 1847, Adams wrote a widely distributed book titled Letters on the Masonic Institution that was highly critical of the Masons. In 1832, the party fielded William Wirt as its presidential candidate. This was rather ironic because he was, in fact, a Freemason, and even gave a speech at the Anti-Masonic convention defending the organization. The party only received seven electoral votes. Three years later, the party had disbanded in every state save Pennsylvania, as other issues such as slavery had become the focus of national attention.
American Freemasons during the Civil War
The fortunes of American Freemasonry declined sharply following the Morgan Affair, only to rebound as the force of the Anti-Masonic movement sputtered out in the mid-1830s. By the late 1850s, Masonry in America was the subject of renewed popular interest and lodge membership, which had bottomed out during the anti-Masonic period began to rise. By the time of the American Civil War, U.S. Freemasonry tripled its membership from 66,000 to 200,000 members in over 5000 lodges nationwide. This surge in membership helps explain, at least in part, the many stories of Masonic fraternisation during the American Civil War, which include accounts of Masonic soldiers and sailors rescuing enemy combatants who identified themselves as members of the fraternity. Masonic incidents are also recorded involving Freemasons burying their own with Masonic formalities during battle, as well as aid and special treatment given to Masonic POWs.
After the Civil War, American Freemasonry flourished along with other fraternal organizations during the so-called "Golden Age of Fraternalism" from approximately 1870 to 1920.
In France, the number of Freemasons grew from 10,000 in 1802, when Napoleon gave it semi-official status, to 20,000 in 1889, 32,000 in 1908, 40,000 in 1926, and about 60,000 in 1936. At an early stage, nearly all the lodges were affiliated with the Radical party. Zeldin argues that in 19th century France:
Freemasonry appealed first of all to people who liked mystic ritual, esoteric symbolism and fancy uniforms, and to those who like to have somewhere to discuss ideas and meet like-minded friends. Increasingly however it became an organization which politicians used for electoral purposes in which civil servants joined in order to further their chances of promotion, which hotel-keepers found useful as a way of enlarging their clientele and where businessmen could make deals and find jobs for their sons.
Rumors were rife, especially in conservative circles, that the order secretly ran the government, and was the main source of materialistic and anti-clerical propaganda. Zeldin concludes that was a "vast exaggeration." The details are known because the Vichy regime in 1941 seized the archives, and failed to find significant evidence. While the order did support anti-clerical campaigns, it did not initiate them. Its primary role was to serve as a social club which the members could rise in the world, and get 10% discounts in shops owned by fellow Masons. The chapters provided some charity and life insurance. In 1904 a scandal erupted because the Grand Orient de France lodges were asked by the Radical government to secretly collect information about the religious and political affiliations of army officers, with a view to blocking the promotion of Catholics. When the news leaked out, the government was forced to resign. The concern with Radical politics gradually declined, and it disappeared after 1945.
According to Ernest Belfort Bax, Freemasons were responsible for the last serious attempt at conciliation between Versailles and the Paris Commune on 21 April 1871. They were received coldly by Adolphe Thiers, who assured them that, though Paris was given over to destruction and slaughter, the law should be enforced, and he kept his word. A few days after they decided, in a public meeting, to plant their banner on the ramparts and throw in their lot with the Commune. On the 29th, accordingly, 10,000 of the brethren met (55 lodges being represented), and marched to the Hôtel de Ville, headed by the Grand Masters in full insignia and the banners of the lodges. Amongst them the new banner of Vincennes was conspicuous, bearing the inscription in red letters on a white ground, "Love one another." A balloon was then sent up, which let fall at intervals, outside Paris, a manifesto of the Freemasons. The procession then wended its way through the boulevards and the Champs Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe, where the banners were planted at various points along the ramparts. On seeing the white flag on the Porte Maillot the Versaillese ceased firing, and the commander, himself a Freemason, received a deputation of brethren, and suggested a final appeal to Versailles, which was agreed to. The "chief of the executive" hardly listened to the envoys, and declined to further discuss the question of peace with anyone. This last formal challenge having been made and rejected, the Freemasons definitely took their stand as combatants for the Commune.
Newport (Welsh: Casnewydd; is both a city and a principal area in Wales, on the River Usk close to its confluence with the Severn Estuary, 12 miles (19 km) northeast of Cardiff. With a population of 145,700 at the 2011 census, Newport is the third-largest city in Wales. Newport became a unitary authority in 1996 and forms part of the Cardiff-Newport metropolitan area with a population of 1,09 million. Newport was the site of the last large-scale armed insurrection in Britain, the Newport Rising of 1839 led by the Chartists. This was led by the Chartist John Frost which led to the re-branding of the Duffryn High School into John Frost School.
Newport has been a port since medieval times when the first Newport Castle was built by the Normans. The town outgrew the earlier Roman town of Caerleon, immediately upstream, and gained its first charter in 1314. It grew significantly in the 19th century when its port became the focus of coal exports from the eastern South Wales Valleys. Newport was the largest coal exporting port in Wales up to the rise of Cardiff in the mid-1800s. In the 20th century, the docks declined in importance, but Newport remained an important manufacturing and engineering centre. It was granted city status in 2002. Newport hosted the Ryder Cup in 2010 and was the venue for the 2014 NATO summit. The original Welsh name for the city was Casnewydd-ar-Wysg. This is a contraction of the name Castell Newydd ar Wysg, which translates as "new castle on the Usk". The Welsh name is recorded in the Brut y Tywysogion when it was visited by Henry II of England sometime around 1172. "New castle" suggests a pre-existing fortification in the vicinity and is most likely either to reference the ancient fort on Stow Hill, or a fort that occupied the site of the present castle. Today, the city is commonly referred to as Casnewydd. The English name Newport is a later application. The settlement was first recorded by the Normans as novo burgus in 1126. This Latin name refers to the new borough (or town) established with the Norman castle. The origin of the name Newport and the reason for its wide adoption remains the subject of debate. Newport-on-Usk is found on some early maps, and the name was in popular usage well before the development of Newport Docks. One theory suggests that Newport gained favour with medieval maritime traders on the Usk, as it differentiated the "New port" from the "Old Roman port" at Caerleon.
The original Welsh name for the city was Casnewydd-ar-Wysg. This is a contraction of the name Castell Newydd ar Wysg, which translates as "new castle on the Usk". The Welsh name is recorded in the Brut y Tywysogion when it was visited by Henry II of England sometime around 1172. "New castle" suggests a pre-existing fortification in the vicinity and is most likely either to reference the ancient fort on Stow Hill, or a fort that occupied the site of the present castle. Today, the city is commonly referred to as Casnewydd. The English name Newport is a later application. The settlement was first recorded by the Normans as novo burgus in 1126. This Latin name refers to the new borough (or town) established with the Norman castle. The origin of the name Newport and the reason for its wide adoption remains the subject of debate. Newport-on-Usk is found on some early maps, and the name was in popular usage well before the development of Newport Docks. One theory suggests that Newport gained favour with medieval maritime traders on the Usk, as it differentiated the "New port" from the "Old Roman port" at Caerleon.
Bronze Age fishermen settled around the fertile estuary of the River Usk and later the Celtic Silures built hillforts overlooking it. In AD 75, on the very edge of their empire, the Roman legions built a Roman fort at Caerleon to defend the river crossing. According to legend, in the late 5th century Saint Gwynllyw (Woolos), the patron saint of Newport and King of Gwynllwg founded the church which would become Newport Cathedral. The church was certainly in existence by the 9th century and today has become the seat of the Bishop of Monmouth. The Normans arrived from around 1088–1093 to build the first Newport Castle and river crossing downstream from Caerleon and the first Norman Lord of Newport was Robert Fitzhamon. The original Newport Castle was a small motte-and-bailey castle in the park opposite Newport Cathedral. It was buried in rubble excavated from the Hillfield railway tunnels that were dug under Stow Hill in the 1840s and no part of it is currently visible.
Becoming a Freemason in United Kingdom
Becoming a Freemason in Wales
Ceremonial county Gwent
Historic county Monmouthshire
Principal Area Newport
Admin HQ Newport Civic Centre
Borough status c. 1120
Town charter 1385
City status 2002
• Type Principal area, City
• Body Newport City Council
• Mayor of Newport William J. Routley
• Newport City Council Leader Jane Mudd
• MP (Newport West)
• MS (Newport West) Ruth Jones
• MP (Newport East)
• MS (Newport East) Jessica Morden
• City and County 84.05 sq mi (217.70 km2)
• Urban 32.52 sq mi (84.22 km2)
• Rural 51.54 sq mi (133.48 km2)
• Metro 987.80 sq mi (2,558.38 km2)
• Length 11.17 mi (17.98 km)
• Width 14.11 mi (22.70 km)
(Newport city centre) 52 ft (16 m)
Highest elevation (Twmbarlwm) 1,375 ft (419 m)
Population (2018) ONS
• City and County 154,676 (council region)
• Rank Conurbation
• 3rd (Wales)
• 26th (UK)
• Density 2,059.6/sq mi (795.21/km2)
• Density rank 2011 Census
• 2nd (Wales)
• 55th (UK)
• Urban 128,060
• Urban density 9,552.8/sq mi (3,688.36/km2)
• Metro 1,190,835
(Cardiff City Region)
• Metro density 1,205.6/sq mi (465.47/km2)
• Built-up area 306,844
• Built-up area density 3,643.363km2
• Ethnicity 89.9% White
1.1% Mixed White/Black
0.5% Mixed White/Asian
• Languages 20.9% Welsh
Time zone UTC+0 (Greenwich Mean Time)
Area code(s) 01633
ISO 3166-2 GB-NWP
ONS code 00PR (ONS)
OS grid reference ST312882
NUTS 3 UKD31