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Freemasonry in Portsmouth
Becoming a Freemason in Portsmouth
Becoming a Freemason
The Kirkwall scroll is a floor cloth which contains many masonic symbols, many more opaque images, and cryptic writing which may either be a code or badly painted Hebrew. It hangs on the west wall of the temple of Lodge Kirkwall Kilwinning No. 38(2) in Orkney, but is too long to be completely displayed. It is 18 ft 6in long and 5 ft 6in wide, and is composed of a full-width central strip stitched at each side to two half-width side strips. The left border appears to show the wanderings of the Israelites before they arrived in Egypt, and reads from top to bottom. The right shows their wanderings in the wilderness after the Exodus, with the route marked in years from 1 to 46, and branching many times at the end. The central cloth contains seven painted scenes and tableaux. The bottom scene shows an altar flanked by two pillars, all surrounded by more or less familiar masonic symbols. Working upwards, the second has an altar surrounded by a different set of symbols, the third has the altar and pillars together with the cherubim present on the arms of the Antient Grand Lodge of England, the Grand Lodge of Ireland and the United Grand Lodge of England. Above this is a schematic of the tabernacle of the Ark of the Covenant, followed by what may be the last judgement. The sixth shows a cross atop a pyramid, surmounted by a rainbow, surrounded by masonic and alchemical symbols, and at the top a naked woman, assumed by early authors to be Eve, sitting under a tree surrounded by animals. In the distance is a sea or lake full of fish, and beyond this are mountains. The whole is painted in oil, mainly in pale blue. In the top tableau the woman, fish and animals are pink, the sea green, and the tree and mountains brown.
Lodge minutes of 27 December 1785 state; - "Bro. William Graeme, visiting brother from Lodge no 128 Ancient Constitution of England was at his own desire admitted to become a member of this Lodge, and he accordingly signed the articles and Rules thereof". Seven months later he donated a floor cloth to the lodge, now generally assumed to be the Kirkwall Scroll. Archivist and Masonic historian Robert Cooper has presented evidence arguing that the scroll was made by William Graeme, or under his direction, and he dates it to the latter part of the 18th century on the basis of a detailed analysis of its symbolism.
Cooper's contribution was in response to claims of mediaeval origin for the scroll. Andrew Sinclair, a leading proponent of Freemasonry's descent from the Knights Templar, hailed it as a great mediaeval treasure, comparable with the Mappa Mundi in Hereford Cathedral. His claim arises from what opponents describe as an optimistic reading of radiocarbon dating, and creative interpretation of the panels. The Tabernacle is claimed to be King Solomon's Temple, with the tents removed in Sinclair's reproduction. Sinclair and his supporters also have trouble with lodge 128 of the Antients. It is variously claimed to be in Yorkshire, or Prince Edwin's Lodge in Bury (a Moderns Lodge constituted in 1803). In 1785, 128 was meeting in the Crown and Feathers, Holborn, London. Robert Lomas, a supporter of the early dating, now sees part of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite in one of the altar inscriptions and much of the symbolism. This would place the document to the second half of the Eighteenth century in a conventional history of the Rite, but Lomas believes it to be mid-fifteenth, again based on radiocarbon dates, which make the side panels younger than the central strip. Realistically, agreement on the scroll, its context and symbolism is a long way off.
Since the middle of the 19th century, Masonic historians have sought the origins of the movement in a series of similar documents known as the Old Charges, dating from the Regius Poem in about 1425 to the beginning of the 18th century. Alluding to the membership of a lodge of operative masons, they relate it to a mythologised history of the craft, the duties of its grades, and the manner in which oaths of fidelity are to be taken on joining. The 15th century also sees the first evidence of ceremonial regalia.
There is no clear mechanism by which these local trade organisations became today's Masonic Lodges. The earliest rituals and passwords known, from operative lodges around the turn of the 17th–18th centuries, show continuity with the rituals developed in the later 18th century by accepted or speculative Masons, as those members who did not practice the physical craft gradually came to be known. The minutes of the Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary's Chapel) No. 1 in Scotland show a continuity from an operative lodge in 1598 to a modern speculative Lodge. It is reputed to be the oldest Masonic Lodge in the world.
Royal Arch Chapter in England, beginning of c20
View of room at the Masonic Hall, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England, early 20th century, set up for a Holy Royal Arch convocation
Alternatively, Thomas De Quincey in his work titled Rosicrucians and Freemasonry put forward the theory that suggested that Freemasonry may have been an outgrowth of Rosicrucianism. The theory had also been postulated in 1803 by German professor; J. G. Buhle.
The first Grand Lodge, the Grand Lodge of London and Westminster, later called the Grand Lodge of England (GLE), was founded on St John's Day, 24 June 1717, when four existing London Lodges met for a joint dinner. Many English Lodges joined the new regulatory body, which itself entered a period of self-publicity and expansion. However, many Lodges could not endorse changes that some Lodges of the GLE, which came to be known as Moderns, had made to the ritual, and a few of these formed a rival Grand Lodge on 17 July 1751, which they called the "Antient Grand Lodge of England." These two Grand Lodges vied for supremacy until the Moderns promised to return to the ancient ritual. They united on 27 December 1813 to form the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE).
The Grand Lodge of Ireland and the Grand Lodge of Scotland were formed in 1725 and 1736, respectively, although neither persuaded all of the existing lodges in their countries to join for many years.
The poem claims that these assemblies were ordained by King Athelstan and that he also linked the wages of a mason to the cost of living.
The Cooke Manuscript, dating from about 1450, set the pattern for what Anderson called the "Gothic Constitutions", the older histories and regulations of the craft. After a brief blessing, these documents describe the seven Liberal Arts, assigning predominance to Geometry, which is equated with Masonry. They then proceed to a history of Masonry/geometry, finishing with King Athelstan, or Edwin, his brother or son depending on source, assembling England's masons to give them their charges. The regulations or charges follow, usually with instructions as to the manner in which a new mason should swear to them.
Also around 1450 the will of a mason from Beverley gives a tantalising glimpse into the emergence of masonic regalia. An inventory of John Cadeby's possessions mentions several zonae (girdles). Two were silver mounted, and one of these had the letters B and I in the middle, indicating Boaz and Jachin, the twin pillars of Solomon's Temple. He also owned a writing table and six English books, making him comfortably well-off and literate.
The following century and a half produced few new manuscripts. The Dowland manuscript, whose original is now lost, and Grand Lodge No 1, for the first time locate Edwin's assembly of Masons at York. The Lansdowne, originally dated to this period, is now thought to date from the 17th century.
During this period the Reformation occurred. It was at one time assumed that the church was the major employer of masons, and with the Dissolution of the Monasteries the lodges disappeared. It was also believed that the craft "guilds" were abolished in England in 1547. On the death of Henry VIII, Archbishop Cranmer sought to advance the reformation by the abolition of guilds and fellowships. In 1548, "The bill of conspiracies of victuallers and craftsmen" was passed, revoking their monopolies. In 1549 it was repealed, presumably because they were too useful to the government. The government continued to be a major employer of masons, who in London had moved from a fellowship to a corporation. While this was not chartered until 1666, the state used it in the sixteenth century to procure and indent masons for building projects. In addition, masons were increasingly employed by private individuals. The Saints day parades by the various crafts, enacting plays about their various patron saints, were however suppressed. Robert Cooper, the archivist of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, believes that the lost mystery play of the masons may survive in the ritual of contemporary masonic lodges.
Portsmouth (/ˈpɔːrtsməθ/ (About this soundlisten)) is a port city primarily built on Portsea Island in the county of Hampshire, South East England. It is also known colloquially as Pompey, a nickname shared with HMNB Portsmouth and the Portsmouth Football Club. It is the United Kingdom's only island city. Portsmouth is situated 70 miles (110 km) south-west of London and 19 miles (31 km) south-east of Southampton. Portsmouth's population was recorded as 205,100 in the 2011 UK Census. The city forms part of the South Hampshire conurbation.
Portsmouth's history can be traced back to Roman Britain. A significant naval port for centuries, it has the world's oldest dry dock. Portsmouth was England's first line of defence during the 1545 French invasion. By the early nineteenth century, the world's first mass-production line was set up in Portsmouth Dockyard's Block Mills; this made it the world's most industrialised site, and the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. Portsmouth was the most heavily-fortified town in the world and was considered "the world's greatest naval port" at the height of the British Empire, during the Pax Britannica. The Palmerston Forts were built around Portsmouth in 1859 in anticipation of another invasion from continental Europe. King Richard I first granted Portsmouth market town status on 2 May 1194 with a royal charter and a coat of arms, "a crescent of gold on a shade of azure, with a blazing star of eight points". On 21 April 1926, Portsmouth was elevated from town to city status. Its motto, "Heaven's Light Our Guide" (referring to the city's eight-pointed star and crescent-moon emblem), was registered in 1929. The 800th anniversary of the royal charter was celebrated on 2 May 1994. Portsmouth became a unitary authority on 1 April 1997, with its city council gaining the powers of a non-metropolitan county and district council previously held by Hampshire County Council.
The city was extensively bombed in World War II's Portsmouth Blitz (which resulted in the deaths of 930 people), and was the pivotal embarkation point for the 6 June 1944 D-Day landings. In 1982, a large proportion of the task force dispatched to liberate the Falkland Islands deployed from the city's naval base. Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia left the city to oversee the 1997 transfer of Hong Kong which, for many, marked the end of the British Empire. HMNB Portsmouth, considered the home of the Royal Navy, is the base for two-thirds of the UK's surface fleet. The city has a number of famous ships, including HMS Warrior; the Tudor carrack Mary Rose, and Horatio Nelson's flagship HMS Victory (the world's oldest naval ship still in commission). The former HMS Vernon naval-shore establishment has been redeveloped as the Gunwharf Quays retail park. Portsmouth is among the few British cities with two cathedrals: the Anglican Cathedral of St Thomas and the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St John the Evangelist. The waterfront and Portsmouth Harbour are dominated by the Spinnaker Tower, one of the United Kingdom's tallest structures at 170 metres (560 ft). Southsea is a seaside resort with an amusement arcade on Clarence Pier. Portsmouth F.C., the city's professional football club, play their home games at Fratton Park in Milton. Portsmouth has good road and rail links to London and the south of England. Portsmouth International Port is a commercial cruise-ship and international ferry port. It is the UK's second-busiest port (after Dover), handling about three million passengers a year. The University of Portsmouth has a student population of 23,000. Portsmouth is the birthplace of author Charles Dickens, engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel and former Prime Minister James Callaghan.
The Romans built Portus Adurni, a fort, at nearby Portchester in the late third century. The city's Old English Anglo-Saxon name, "Portesmuða", is derived from port (a haven) and muða (the mouth of a large river or estuary). In the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, a warrior named Port and his two sons killed a noble Briton in Portsmouth in 501. Winston Churchill, in A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, wrote that Port was a pirate who founded Portsmouth in 501. England's southern coast was vulnerable to Danish Viking invasions during the eighth and ninth centuries, and was conquered by Danish pirates in 787. In 838, during the reign of Æthelwulf, King of Wessex, a Danish fleet landed between Portsmouth and Southampton and plundered the region. Æthelwulf sent Wulfherd and the governor of Dorsetshire to confront the Danes at Portsmouth, where most of their ships were docked. Although the Danes were driven off, Wulfherd was killed. The Danes returned in 1001 and pillaged Portsmouth and the surrounding area, threatening the English with extinction. They were massacred by the English survivors the following year; rebuilding began, although the town experienced further attacks until 1066.
Becoming a Freemason in United Kingdom
Becoming a Freemason in England
Region South East England
Ceremonial county Hampshire
Admin HQ Portsmouth city centre
• Type Unitary authority, city
• Governing body Portsmouth City Council
• Leadership Leader & Cabinet
• Executive Liberal Democrat
• MPs Stephen Morgan (Labour South)
Penny Mordaunt (Conservative, North)
• City and unitary authority 15.54 sq mi (40.25 km2)
• City and unitary authority 238,800 (ranked 76th)
• Urban 855,679
• Metro 1,547,000 (2,007 estimate)
(United Kingdom Census 2011 estimate) 84% White British
4.3% White Other
Time zone UTC0 (GMT)
• Summer (DST) UTC+1 (Wednesday 8:30 am)
Area code(s) 023
Vehicle registration area code HK, HL, HM, HN, HP, HR, HS, HT, HU, HV, HX, HY
Ambulance South Central
Website Portsmouth City Council