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Freemasonry in Wells
Becoming a Freemason in Wells
Becoming a Freemason: Candidates for Freemasonry will usually have met the most active members of the Lodge they are joining before being elected for initiation. The process varies among Grand Lodges, but in modern times interested people often look up a local Lodge through the Internet and will typically be introduced to a Lodge social function or open evening. The onus is upon candidates to ask to join; while they may be encouraged to ask, they may not be invited. Once the initial inquiry is made, a formal application may be proposed and seconded or announced in open Lodge and a more or less formal interview usually follows. If the candidate wishes to proceed, references are taken up during a period of notice so that members may enquire into the candidate's suitability and discuss it. Finally the Lodge takes an officially secret ballot on each application before a candidate is either initiated or rejected, In UGLE any single member's adverse vote, a "blackball" given secretly without stating a reason, or at most two, will suffice to reject a candidate (whereupon their proposer and seconder would be expected to resign from the Lodge).
A minimum requirement of every body of Freemasons is that each candidate must be "free and of good repute". The question of freedom, a standard feudal requirement of mediaeval guilds, is nowadays one of independence: the object is that every Mason should be a proper and responsible person. Thus, each Grand Lodge has a standard minimum age, varying greatly and often subject to dispensation in particular cases. (For example, the Apollo University Lodge at Oxford has always had dispensations to initiate undergraduates below 21, the former English legal age of majority and still the standard UGLE minimum: in the twenty-first century, all university lodges now share this privilege).
Additionally, most Grand Lodges require a candidate to declare a belief in a Supreme Being, (although every candidate must interpret this condition in his own way, as all religious discussion is commonly prohibited). In a few cases, the candidate may be required to be of a specific religion. The form of Freemasonry most common in Scandinavia (known as the Swedish Rite), for example, accepts only Christians. At the other end of the spectrum, "Liberal" or Continental Freemasonry, exemplified by the Grand Orient de France, does not require a declaration of belief in any deity and accepts atheists (the cause of the distinction from the rest of Freemasonry).
During the ceremony of initiation, the candidate is required to undertake an obligation, swearing on the religious volume sacred to his personal faith to do good as a Mason. In the course of three degrees, Masons will promise to keep the secrets of their degree from lower degrees and outsiders, as far as practicality and the law permit, and to support a fellow Mason in distress. There is formal instruction as to the duties of a Freemason, but on the whole, Freemasons are left to explore the craft in the manner they find most satisfying. Some will simply enjoy the dramatics, or the management and administration of the lodge, others will explore the history, ritual and symbolism of the craft, others will focus their involvement on their Lodge's social side, perhaps in association with other lodges, while still others will concentrate on the lodge's charitable functions.
Anderson's histories of 1723 and 1738, Ramsay's romanticisation, together with the internal allegory of masonic ritual, centred on King Solomon’s Temple and its architect, Hiram Abiff, have provided ample material for further speculation.
The earliest known ritual places the first masonic lodge in the porchway of King Solomon’s Temple. Following Anderson, it has also been possible to trace Freemasonry to Euclid, Pythagoras, Moses, the Essenes, and the Culdees. Preston started his history with the Druids, while Anderson's description of masons as "Noachides", extrapolated by Albert Mackey, put Noah into the equation.
Following Ramsay's introduction of Crusader masons, the Knights Templar became involved in the myth, starting with Karl Gotthelf von Hund's Rite of Strict Observance, which also linked in the exiled House of Stuart. The murder of Hiram Abiff was taken as an allegory for the death of Charles I of England. Oliver Cromwell emerges as the founder of Freemasonry in an anonymous anti-masonic work of 1745, commonly attributed to Abbé Larudan. Mackey states that "The propositions of Larudan are distinguished for their absolute independence of all historical authority and for the bold assumptions which are presented to the reader in the place of facts." The anti-masonic writings of Christoph Friedrich Nicolai implicated Francis Bacon and the Rosicrucians, while Christopher Wren's connection with the craft was omitted from Anderson's first book of constitutions, but appeared in the second when Wren was dead.
Similarly, attempts to root Freemasonry in the French Compagnonnage have produced no concrete links. Connections to the Roman Collegia and Comacine masters are similarly tenuous, although some Freemasons see them as exemplars rather than ancestors. Thomas Paine traced Freemasonry to Ancient Egypt, as did Cagliostro, who went so far as to supply the ritual.
More recently, several authors have attempted to link the Templars to the timeline of Freemasonry through the imagery of the carvings in Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland, where the Templars are rumoured to have sought refuge after the dissolution of the order. In The Hiram Key, Robert Lomas and Christopher Knight describe a timeline starting in ancient Egypt, and taking in Jesus, the Templars, and Rosslyn before arriving at modern Freemasonry. These claims are challenged by Robert Cooper, the curator of the Grand Lodge of Scotland's library and museum, in his book The Rosslyn Hoax.
Wells is a city and civil parish in the Mendip district of Somerset, located on the southern edge of the Mendip Hills, 21 miles (34 km) south-east of Weston-super-Mare, 22 miles (35 km) south-west of Bath and 23 miles (37 km) south of Bristol. Although the population recorded in the 2011 census was only 10,536, (increased to 12,000 by 2018) and with a built-up area of just 3.244 square kilometres, Wells has had city status since medieval times, because of the presence of Wells Cathedral. Often described as England's smallest city, it is actually second smallest to the City of London in area and population, but unlike London it is not part of a larger urban agglomeration. Wells takes its name from three wells dedicated to Saint Andrew, one in the market place and two within the grounds of the Bishop's Palace and cathedral. A small Roman settlement surrounded them, which grew in importance and size under the Anglo-Saxons when King Ine of Wessex founded a minster church there in 704. The community became a trading centre based on cloth making and Wells is notable for its 17th-century involvement in both the English Civil War and Monmouth Rebellion. In the 19th century, transport infrastructure improved with stations on three different railway lines. However, since 1964 the city has been without a railway link.
The cathedral and the associated religious and medieval architectural history provide much of the employment. The city has a variety of sporting and cultural activities and houses several schools including The Blue School, a state coeducational comprehensive school that was founded in 1641, and the independent Wells Cathedral School, that was founded possibly as early as 909 and is one of the five established musical schools for school-age children in the United Kingdom. Wells' historic architecture has led to the city being used as a shooting location for numerous films and television programmes. As the seat of an ancient cathedral and diocese, Wells is historically regarded as a city. City status was most recently confirmed by Queen Elizabeth II by letters patent dated 1 April 1974, which granted city status specifically to the civil parish. As the designation is typically awarded to a local council area, this administrative area is then considered to be the formal boundary of the city, including its urban and rural extents. Wells, due to its urban area and wider parish sizes, is near-smallest city on several measures based on 2011 statistics:
Its city council boundary area, surrounded wholly by countryside makes Wells the smallest free-standing city in the UK (2.11 sq mi) - the City of London is smaller (1.12) but is part of a much larger urban area (Greater London - 671 sq mi)
2nd smallest in England and UK by city council boundary area (2.11 sq mi) behind the City of London (1.12)
2nd smallest in England only by population and urban area (10,536 residents, 1.35 sq mi) behind the City of London (8,072, 1.12)
4th smallest in the UK by population and urban area behind St Davids (1,841 residents, 0.23 sq mi), St Asaph (3,355, 0.50) and the City of London (8,072, 1.12). Wells lies at the foot of the southern escarpment of the Mendip Hills where they meet the Somerset Levels. The hills are largely made of carboniferous limestone, which is quarried at several nearby sites. In the 1960s, the tallest mast in the region, the Mendip UHF television transmitter, was installed on Pen Hill above Wells, approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) from the centre the city.
Streams passing through caves on the Mendip Hills, including Thrupe Lane Swallet and Viaduct Sink (approximately 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) east of the city), emerge at Saint Andrew's Well in the garden of the Bishop's Palace, from where the water fills the moat around the Palace and then flows into Keward Brook, which carries it for approximately a mile west to the point where the brook joins the River Sheppey in the village of Coxley. Along with the rest of South West England, the Mendip Hills have a temperate climate which is generally wetter and milder than the rest of England. The annual mean temperature is about 10 °C (50 °F) with seasonal and diurnal variations, but due to the modifying effect of the sea, the range is less than in most other parts of the United Kingdom. January is the coldest month with mean minimum temperatures between 1 °C (34 °F) and 2 °C (36 °F). July and August are the warmest months in the region with mean daily maxima around 21 °C (70 °F). In general, December is the dullest month and June the sunniest. The south west of England enjoys a favoured location, particularly in summer, when the Azores High extends its influence north-eastwards towards the UK.
Cloud often forms inland, especially near hills, and reduces exposure to sunshine. The average annual sunshine totals around 1600 hours. Rainfall tends to be associated with Atlantic depressions or with convection. In summer, convection caused by solar surface heating sometimes forms shower clouds and a large proportion of the annual precipitation falls from showers and thunderstorms at this time of year. Average rainfall is around 800–900 mm (31–35 in). About 8–15 days of snowfall is typical. November to March have the highest mean wind speeds, with June to August having the lightest. The predominant wind direction is from the south west. The civil parish of Wells is entirely surrounded by the parish of St Cuthbert Out. Wells is situated at the junction of three numbered routes. The A39 goes north-east to Bath and south-west to Glastonbury and Bridgwater. The A371 goes north-west to Cheddar and Weston-super-Mare, and east to Shepton Mallet. The B3139 goes west to Highbridge, and north-east to Radstock and Trowbridge. The nearest junctions on the M5 motorway are 22 and 23, which are around 20 miles (32 km) away. A proposed extension of the Avon Ring Road (A4174) from Hicks Gate Roundabout between Keynsham and Bristol to the A37 south of Whitchurch would provide a direct link from Wells to the M32 and M4 north of Bristol. Wells is served by First West of England bus services to Bristol and Bristol Temple Meads station, Bath, Frome, Shepton Mallet, Yeovil, Street and Weston-super-Mare, as well as providing some local service. It is served by Berrys Coaches daily Superfast service to and from London. The bus station is in Princes Road. The Mendip Way and Monarch's Way long-distance footpaths pass through the city, as does National Cycle Route 3.
Population 12,000 (2018)
OS grid reference ST545455
Becoming a Freemason in England
Becoming a Freemason in United Kingdom
Post town WELLS
Postcode district BA5
Dialling code 01749
Police Avon and Somerset
Fire Devon and Somerset
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