Freemasonry: The Naked Truth

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Freemasonry in Stoke-on-Trent

 Becoming a Freemason in Stoke-on-Trent

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.

Stoke-on-Trent (often abbreviated to Stoke) is a city and unitary authority area in Staffordshire, England, with an area of 36 square miles (93 km2). In 2019, the city had an estimated population of 256,375. It is the largest settlement in Staffordshire. Stoke is polycentric, having been formed by the federation of six towns in 1910. It took its name from Stoke-upon-Trent where the main centre of government and the principal railway station in the district were located. Hanley is the primary commercial centre. The other four towns are Burslem, Tunstall, Longton, and Fenton. Stoke-on-Trent is the home of the pottery industry in England and is commonly known as the Potteries, with the local residents known as Potters. Formerly a primarily industrial conurbation, it is now a centre for service industries and distribution centres. The name Stoke is taken from the town of Stoke-upon-Trent, the original ancient parish, with other settlements being chapelries. Stoke derives from the Old English stoc, a word that at first meant little more than place, but which subsequently gained more specific – but divergent – connotations. These variant meanings included dairy farm, secondary or dependent place or farm, summer pasture, crossing place, meeting place and place of worship. It is not known which of these was intended here, and all are plausible. The most frequently suggested interpretations derive from a crossing point on the Roman road that ran from present-day Derby to Chesterton or the early presence of a church, said to have been founded in 670 AD. Because Stoke was such a common name for a settlement, some kind of distinguishing affix was usually added later, in this case the name of the river. The motto of Stoke-on-Trent is Vis Unita Fortior which can be translated as: United Strength is Stronger, or Strength United is the More Powerful, or A United Force is Stronger.

Stoke-on-Trent is situated between Manchester and Birmingham and adjoins the town and borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme, which is administered separately and is situated to the west. The city lies on the upper valley of the River Trent at the south-west foothills of the Pennines, with the Peak District to the north-east, and ranges from 96 to 250 metres (315 to 820 ft) above sea level. The city is bounded by the lowlands of the Midlands to the south. For Eurostat purposes it is a NUTS 3 region (code UKG23) and is one of four counties or unitary districts that compose the "Shropshire and Staffordshire" NUTS 2 region. Stoke-on-Trent is often known as "the city of five towns", because of the name given to it by local novelist Arnold Bennett and is the only polycentric city in the UK. In his novels, Bennett used mostly recognisable aliases for five of the six towns (although he called Stoke "Knype"). However, Bennett said that he believed "Five Towns" was more euphonious than "Six Towns", so he omitted Fenton (now sometimes referred to as "the forgotten town"). As it is a city made up of multiple towns, the city forms a conurbation (although in this case the conurbation is bigger than Stoke itself, because the urban area of Stoke is contiguous with that of administratively-separate Newcastle). The six towns run in a rough line from north to south along the A50 road – Tunstall, Burslem, Hanley, Stoke, Fenton and Longton. Although the city is named after the original town of Stoke, and the City Council offices are located there, the city centre is usually regarded as being in Hanley, which had earlier developed into a major commercial centre. Outside Newcastle-under-Lyme other nearby towns/cities include Crewe, Nantwich, Congleton, Biddulph, Kidsgrove, Derby, Macclesfield, Stafford, Uttoxeter, Eccleshall, Cheadle, Stone, Market Drayton, Leek, Ashbourne, Rugeley and Burton-on-Trent.

As well as the Six Towns, there are numerous suburbs including Abbey Hulton, Adderley Green, Ball Green, Baddeley Green, Bentilee, Birches Head, Blurton, Bucknall, Bradeley, Chell, Cliffe Vale, Cobridge, Dresden, Etruria, Fegg Hayes, Florence, Goldenhill, Hartshill, Heron Cross, Meir, Meir Park, Meir Hay, Middleport, Milton, Normacot, Norton le Moors, Oakhill, Packmoor, Penkhull, Sandyford, Shelton, Smallthorne, Sneyd Green, Trentham, Trent Vale and Weston Coyney. Blythe Bridge, Werrington and Endon, although outside the city's boundaries, are part of the built up area.

Becoming a Freemason in United Kingdom

Becoming a Freemason in England

Region          West Midlands

Ceremonial county Staffordshire

County Borough established       31 March 1910

City status     5 June 1925

Unitary authority      1 April 1998

Administrative HQ   Stoke-upon-Trent (Civic Centre)


 • Type           Unitary authority

 • Body           Stoke-on-Trent City Council

 • Leadership            Leader and cabinet

 • Executive  Independent / Conservative

 • Leader of the Council     Cllr Abi Brown (Conservative)

 • MPs            Jo Gideon (C)

Jonathan Gullis (C)

Jack Brereton (C)


 • City 36.08 sq mi (93.45 km2)

 • Urban         40.1 sq mi (103.9 km2)

Area rank      223rd

Highest elevation (52°57′33″N 2°6′36″W)          820 ft (250 m)

Lowest elevation (52°58′37″N 2°12′15″W)         315 ft (96 m)

Population (mid-2019 est.)

 • City 256,375

 • Rank          68th

 • Density      7,090/sq mi (2,738/km2)

 • Urban         372,775 (19th)

 • Urban density       9,290/sq mi (3,588/km2)

 • Metro          678,000 (17th)

 • Ethnicity    88.7% White

7.4% Asian

1.4% Black

1.8% Mixed Race

0.7% Other

 • Religion     60.9% Christian

6.0% Muslim

1.5% Other

31.6% None/Not stated

Demonym(s) Stokie

Potter (colloq.)

Time zone     UTC±0 (Greenwich Mean Time)

 • Summer (DST)     UTC+1 (British Summer Time)

Postcode area         


Dialling code            01782

ISO 3166 code         GB-STE

Vehicle registration prefix D

GSS code     E06000021

NUTS 3 code           UKG23

Trunk primary routes          A50


Major railway stations         Stoke-on-Trent (C1)