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Freemasonry in Wolverhampton
Becoming a Freemason in Wolverhampton
Becoming a Freemason: Freemasonry describes itself as a "beautiful system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols". The symbolism is mainly, but not exclusively, drawn from the tools of stonemasons – the square and compasses, the level and plumb rule, the trowel, the rough and smooth ashlars, among others. Moral lessons are attributed to each of these tools, although the assignment is by no means consistent. The meaning of the symbolism is taught and explored through ritual, and in lectures and articles by individual Masons who offer their personal insights and opinions.
All Freemasons begin their journey in the "craft" by being progressively "initiated", "passed" and "raised" into the three degrees of Craft, or Blue Lodge Masonry. During these three rituals, the candidate is progressively taught the Masonic symbols, and entrusted with grips or tokens, signs and words to signify to other Masons which degrees he has taken. The dramatic allegorical ceremonies include explanatory lectures, and revolve around the construction of the Temple of Solomon, and the artistry and death of the chief architect, Hiram Abiff. The degrees are those of "Entered apprentice", "Fellowcraft" and "Master Mason". While many different versions of these rituals exist, with various lodge layouts and versions of the Hiramic legend, each version is recognisable to any Freemason from any jurisdiction.
In some jurisdictions, the main themes of each degree are illustrated by tracing boards. These painted depictions of Masonic themes are exhibited in the lodge according to which degree is being worked, and are explained to the candidate to illustrate the legend and symbolism of each degree.
The idea of Masonic brotherhood probably descends from a 16th-century legal definition of a "brother" as one who has taken an oath of mutual support to another. Accordingly, Masons swear at each degree to keep the contents of that degree secret, and to support and protect their brethren unless they have broken the law. In most Lodges the oath or obligation is taken on a Volume of Sacred Law, whichever book of divine revelation is appropriate to the religious beliefs of the individual brother (usually the Bible in the Anglo-American tradition). In Progressive continental Freemasonry, books other than scripture are permissible, a cause of rupture between Grand Lodges.
The historical record shows two levels of organisation in medieval Masonry, the lodge and the "guild". The original use of the word lodge indicates a workshop erected on the site of a major work, the first mention being Vale Royal Abbey in 1278. Later, it gained the secondary meaning of the community of masons in a particular place. The earliest surviving records of these are the laws and ordinances of the lodge at York Minster in 1352. These regulations were imposed by the Dean and Chapter of the Minster.
Nineteenth-century historians imposed the term "guild" on the "fellowships" of medieval tradesmen as an analogy with the merchant guilds. The masons were late in forming such bodies. The major employer of masons in medieval England was the crown, and the crown frequently employed masons by impressment. In other words, they were forcibly recruited when the need arose.
The Halliwell Manuscript, also called Regius Poem, is the oldest known document of masonic origin. It was published in 1840 by Shakespearean scholar and collector James Halliwell who dated it to 1390. A. F. A. Woodford, the pioneering Masonic scholar and a founder of Quatuor Coronati Lodge, agreed with this dating. More recently, historian Andrew Prescott has dated the text to the second quarter of the fifteenth century.
The poem may be seen as a response to a stream of legislation dating back to the Black Death, and the Statute of Labourers of 1351, in which Edward III attempted to fix wages at pre-plague levels. The earlier date follows the 1389 ordinance of Richard II requiring the guilds and fellowships to lay before him their Charters and Letters Patent, and the second follows the more serious legislation of 1425 banning the annual assemblies of masons.
In 1356, the preamble to regulations governing the Trade of Masons specifically states that, unlike the other trades, no body existed for the regulation of Masonry by masons. Finally, in 1376, four representatives of the "mystery" or trade are elected to the Common Council in London. This also seems to be the first use of the word "freemason" in English. It was immediately struck out, and replaced with the word "mason".
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.
Wolverhampton is a city, metropolitan borough, and administrative centre in the West Midlands, England. At the 2011 census, it had a population of 249,470. Natives of the city are called "Wulfrunians". Historically part of Staffordshire, the city grew initially as a market town specialising in the wool trade. In the Industrial Revolution, it became a major centre for coal mining, steel production, lock making, and the manufacture of cars and motorcycles. The economy of the city is still based on engineering, including a large aerospace industry, as well as the service sector. The city is named after Wulfrun, who founded the town in 985, from the Anglo-Saxon Wulfrūnehēantūn ("Wulfrūn's high or principal enclosure or farm"). Before the Norman Conquest, the area's name appears only as variants of Heantune or Hamtun, the prefix Wulfrun or similar appearing in 1070 and thereafter. Alternatively, the city may have earned its original name from Wulfereēantūn ("Wulfhere's high or principal enclosure or farm") after the Mercian King, who according to tradition established an abbey in 659, though no evidence of an abbey has been found. The variation Wolveren Hampton is seen in medieval records, e.g. in 1381.
A local tradition states that King Wulfhere of Mercia founded an abbey of St Mary at Wolverhampton in 659. olverhampton is recorded as being the site of a decisive battle between the unified Mercian Angles and West Saxons against the raiding Danes in 910, although sources are unclear as to whether the battle itself took place in Wednesfield or Tettenhall. The Mercians and West Saxons claimed a decisive victory, and the field of Woden is recognised by numerous place names in Wednesfield. Statue of Lady Wulfrun on western side of St. Peter's Collegiate Church : In 985, King Ethelred the Unready granted lands at a place referred to as Heantun to Lady Wulfrun by royal charter, and hence founding the settlement. In 994, a monastery was consecrated in Wolverhampton for which Wulfrun granted land at Upper Arley in Worcestershire, Bilston, Willenhall, Wednesfield, Pelsall, Ogley Hay near Brownhills, Hilton near Wall, Hatherton, Kinvaston, Hilton near Wolverhampton, and Featherstone. This became the site for the current St. Peter's Church. A statue of Lady Wulfrun, sculpted by Sir Charles Wheeler, can be seen on the stairs outside the church. Wolverhampton is recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086 as being in the Hundred of Seisdon and the county of Staffordshire. The lords of the manor are listed as the canons of St Mary (the church's dedication was changed to St Peter after this date), with the tenant-in-chief being Samson, William the Conqueror's personal chaplain. Wolverhampton at this date is a large settlement of fifty households.
Becoming a Freemason in United Kingdom
Becoming a Freemason in England
Region West Midlands
Ceremonial county West Midlands
Historic County Staffordshire
Metropolitan borough 1 April 1974
Founded by Lady Wulfruna
Admin. HQ Wolverhampton Civic Centre
• Type Metropolitan borough
• Governing body City of Wolverhampton Council
• Mayor Claire Darke
• Total 69.44 km2 (26.81 sq mi)
Elevation 163 m (535 ft)
• Total 263,357
• Density 3,407/km2 (8,820/sq mi)
(2011 census) 77% White (64.5% White British)
17.5% South Asian
2.5% Chinese or other
5.1% Mixed Race
Time zone UTC+0 (Greenwich Mean Time)
• Summer (DST) UTC+1 (British Summer Time)
Area code(s) 01902
ISO 3166-2 GB-WLV
ONS code 00CW (ONS)
OS grid reference SO915985
NUTS 3 UKG39