Freemasonry: The Naked Truth

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- List of Masonic Obediences to contact.

- Sayings and Don'ts. MUST READ.

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Freemasonry in Salisbury

Becoming a Freemason in Salisbury

Becoming a Freemason: The second Schaw Statutes of December 1599 having made it compulsory for Scottish lodges to have a secretary, early documentation there is rich in comparison with England, where actual minutes start in 1712 in York, and 1723 in London. Records for the Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary's Chapel) No.1 extend back to the sixteenth century. Minutes from the Premier Grand Lodge of England, the Antient Grand Lodge of England, and the Grand Lodge of All England meeting at York trace the organisational development and rivalries within eighteenth century English Freemasonry.

Aitchison's Haven: The oldest minute book discovered is that of Aitchison's Haven, a location just outside Musselburgh, in East Lothian. The first entry records Robert Widderspone being made Fellow of Craft on 9 January 1598.

Mary's Chapel: The records of the Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary's Chapel) No.1 extend back to 1598, making them an important historical source as the longest continuous masonic record. David Murray Lyon's history of the lodge, published in 1873, mined the records of Edinburgh's oldest lodge, and produced a history of Scottish Freemasonry. The first entry, on 28 December 1598, is a copy of the first Schaw statutes. The next year, on the last day of July, the first proper minute records disciplinary proceedings against a member who employed a cowan, or unqualified mason. The first entries are terse and not always helpful, expanding as successive secretaries became more conscientious. The records trace the development of the lodge from an operative to a speculative society.

York: The minutes of the old lodge at York, which later called itself the Grand Lodge of All England, give a glimpse of Masonry outside the Grand Lodges of the period. The minutes are erratic, with spaces of some years between some entries. It is often impossible to tell if the minutes are lost, were never taken, or the lodge did not meet at all. They do, however, contain the full text of a speech by the antiquary Francis Drake in 1726, in which he discusses the contemplation of geometry, and the instructive lectures which ought to be occurring in lodges. He used the York legend to claim precedence of his own lodge over all others in England, and being a more careful historian than the compilers of the Old Charges, Edwin the son of Athelstan became Edwin of Northumbria, adding three centuries to his lodge's pedigree. Later minutes show the lodge adding ritual, and developing a five degree system from a single ceremony where a candidate was admitted and made a Fellow Craft in one evening. The York account of the split between the Premier Grand Lodge of England and the Lodge of Antiquity provides a balance to the charged prose of William Preston. The minutes cease for the final time in 1792.

London Grand Lodges: Minutes of both of the Grand Lodges which finally formed the United Grand Lodge of England are preserved in their archives. Plans by Quatuor Coronati Lodge to publish them all were interrupted by the First World War, and only one volume was published, covering the minutes of the Premier Grand Lodge of England from their first minutes in 1723 to 1739. The first of five volumes of Grand Lodge minutes contained three lists of subscribing lodges and their members, dating from 1723, 1725, and 1730. The lodges are first numbered in John Pine's engraved list of 1729. All three manuscript lists have had lodges added after their compilation, but in spite of this they still trace the development of the first Grand Lodge during a critical period in its development, as it moved from being an association of London lodges to a national institution. No further lists were included in the minutes. They start on 24 June 1723 with the approval of Anderson's constitutions, and the resolution that no alteration or innovation in the "Body of Masonry" could occur without the approval of Grand Lodge. The Earl of Dalkeith was then elected as the next Grand Master, but his chosen deputy, John Theophilus Desaguliers, was only approved by 43 votes to 42. After dinner the outgoing Grand Master, the Duke of Wharton, asked for a recount. This being refused, he walked out. Many such human touches are revealed in the minutes, together with the beginnings of masonic charities and discipline of masons and lodges. There are no minutes for the year 1813, and only rough notes from the Antients, leaving a gap in the run-up to union that must be spanned from other sources.

At the dawn of the Grand Lodge era, during the 1720s, James Anderson composed the first printed constitutions for Freemasons, the basis for most subsequent constitutions, which specifically excluded women from Freemasonry. As Freemasonry spread, women began to be added to the Lodges of Adoption by their husbands who were continental masons, which worked three degrees with the same names as the men's but different content. The French officially abandoned the experiment in the early 19th century. Later organisations with a similar aim emerged in the United States, but distinguished the names of the degrees from those of male Masonry.

Maria Deraismes was initiated into Freemasonry in 1882, then resigned to allow her lodge to rejoin their Grand Lodge. Having failed to achieve acceptance from any masonic governing body, she and Georges Martin started a mixed masonic lodge that worked masonic ritual. Annie Besant spread the phenomenon to the English-speaking world. Disagreements over ritual led to the formation of exclusively female bodies of Freemasons in England, which spread to other countries. Meanwhile, the French had re-invented Adoption as an all-female lodge in 1901, only to cast it aside again in 1935. The lodges, however, continued to meet, which gave rise, in 1959, to a body of women practising continental Freemasonry.

In general, Continental Freemasonry is sympathetic to Freemasonry amongst women, dating from the 1890s when French lodges assisted the emergent co-masonic movement by promoting enough of their members to the 33rd degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite to allow them, in 1899, to form their own grand council, recognised by the other Continental Grand Councils of that Rite. The United Grand Lodge of England issued a statement in 1999 recognising the two women's Grand Lodges there to be regular in all but the participants. While they were not, therefore, recognised as regular, they were part of Freemasonry "in general". The attitude of most regular Anglo-American Grand Lodges remains that women Freemasons are not legitimate Masons.

In 2018 guidance was released by the United Grand Lodge of England stating that, in regard to transgender women, "A Freemason who after initiation ceases to be a man does not cease to be a Freemason". The guidance also states that transgender men are allowed to apply to become Freemasons.


Main articles: Anti-Masonry and Suppression of Freemasonry

Masonic Temple of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, one of the few Masonic temples that survived the Franco dictatorship in Spain.

Anti-Masonry (alternatively called Anti-Freemasonry) has been defined as "opposition to Freemasonry",but there is no homogeneous anti-Masonic movement. Anti-Masonry consists of widely differing criticisms from diverse (and often incompatible) groups who are hostile to Freemasonry in some form. Critics have included religious groups, political groups, and conspiracy theorists, in particular, those espousing Masonic conspiracy theories or the Judeo-Masonic conspiracy theory. Certain prominent Anti-Masons, such as Nesta Helen Webster (1876 – 1960), have exclusively criticized "Continental Masonry" while considering "Regular Masonry" an honorable association.

There have been many disclosures and exposés dating as far back as the 18th century. These often lack context, may be outdated for various reasons, or could be outright hoaxes on the part of the author, as in the case of the Taxil hoax.

These hoaxes and exposés have often become the basis for criticism of Masonry, often religious or political in nature or are based on suspicion of corrupt conspiracy of some form. The political opposition that arose after the American "Morgan Affair" in 1826 gave rise to the term Anti-Masonry, which is still in use in America today, both by Masons in referring to their critics and as a self-descriptor by the critics themselves.

Religious opposition

Freemasonry has attracted criticism from theocratic states and organised religions for supposed competition with religion, or supposed heterodoxy within the fraternity itself and has long been the target of conspiracy theories, which assert Freemasonry to be an occult and evil power.

Christianity and Freemasonry

Main article: Opposition to Freemasonry within Christianity

Although members of various faiths cite objections, certain Christian denominations have had high-profile negative attitudes to Masonry, banning or discouraging their members from being Freemasons.

Salisbury is a cathedral city in Wiltshire, England, with a population of 40,302, at the confluence of the rivers Avon, Nadder and Bourne. The city is approximately 20 miles (32 km) from Southampton and 30 miles (48 km) from Bath. Salisbury is in the southeast of Wiltshire, near the edge of Salisbury Plain. Salisbury Cathedral was formerly north of the city at Old Sarum. Following the cathedral's relocation, a settlement grew up around it which received a city charter in 1227 as New Sarum, which continued to be its official name until 2009, when Salisbury City Council was established. Salisbury railway station is an interchange between the West of England Main Line and the Wessex Main Line. Stonehenge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is 8 miles (13 km) northwest of Salisbury.

The name Salisbury, which is first recorded around the year 900 as Searoburg (dative Searobyrig), is a partial translation of the Roman Celtic name Sorbiodūnum. The Brittonic suffix -dūnon, meaning "fortress" (in reference to the fort that stood at Old Sarum), was replaced by its Old English equivalent -burg. The first part of the name is of obscure origin. The form "Sarum" is a Latinization of Sar, a medieval abbreviation for Middle English Sarisberie.

The two names for the city, Salisbury and Sarum, are humorously alluded to in a 1928 limerick from Punch:

There was an old Sultan of Salisbury

Who wanted some wives for his halisbury,

So he had them sent down

By a fast train from town,

For he thought that his motor would scalisbury.

The ambiguous pronunciation was also used in the following limerick, which also alludes to 'Hants', the shortened form of Hampshire:

There was a young curate of Salisbury,

Whose manners were quite Halisbury-Scalisbury.

He wandered round Hampshire,

Without any pampshire,

Till the Vicar compelled him to Walisbury.

Salisbury appeared in the Welsh Chronicle of the Britons as Caer-Caradog, Caer-Gradawc and Caer-Wallawg. Cair-Caratauc, one of the 28 British cities listed in the History of the Britons, has also been identified with Salisbury.

The hilltop at Old Sarum lies near the Neolithic sites of Stonehenge and Avebury and shows some signs of early settlement. It commanded a salient between the River Bourne and the Hampshire Avon, near a crossroads of several early trade routes. During the Iron Age, sometime between 600 and 300 BC, a hillfort (oppidum) was constructed around it. The Romans may have occupied the site or left it in the hands of an allied tribe. At the time of the Saxon invasions, Old Sarum fell to King Cynric of Wessex in 552. Preferring settlements in bottomland, such as nearby Wilton, the Saxons largely ignored Old Sarum until the Viking invasions led King Alfred (King of Wessex from 871 to 899) to restore its fortifications. Along with Wilton, however, it was abandoned by its residents to be sacked and burned by the Dano-Norwegian king Sweyn Forkbeard in 1003. It subsequently became the site of Wilton's mint. Following the Norman invasion of 1066, a motte-and-bailey castle was constructed by 1070. The castle was held directly by the Norman kings; its castellan was generally also the sheriff of Wiltshire. The 1972 Local Government Act eliminated the administration of the City of New Sarum under its former charters, but its successor, Wiltshire County's Salisbury District, continued to be accorded its former city status. The name was finally formally amended from "New Sarum" to "Salisbury" during the 2009 changes occasioned by the 1992 Local Government Act, which established the Salisbury City Council. On 4 March 2018, former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal were poisoned in Salisbury with a Novichok nerve agent.

Population    40,302 (civil parish, 2011 Census)

OS grid reference    SU145305

• London       78 miles (126 km)

Civil parish  


Unitary authority     

Wiltshire Council

Ceremonial county



South West

Becoming a Freemason in England

Becoming a Freemason in United Kingdom

Post town      SALISBURY

Postcode district      SP1, SP2

Dialling code            01722

Police Wiltshire

Fire     Dorset and Wiltshire

Ambulance   South Western

UK Parliament        


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