The Origins of Freemasonry

How It Started

Some believe that Freemasonry started in medieval times when stonemasons organised themselves into groups, and as a result masons and builders guilds came into being.

But whilst we cannot be certain, the common belief is that Freemasonry started long before, with the building of King Solomon’s temple circa 953 BC.

It is certainly from the building of this first temple in Jerusalem that the ritual of Freemasonry evolves, and the temple provides the backdrop for modern Freemasonry. Today, Freemasonry is speculative and intellectual in its teaching of the precepts.

Once, you would have had to have been an operative Freemason to be admitted to a Lodge, and records show that the first nonoperative Masons were admitted as late as 1672. In ancient times religion played an important part in everyday life and being a Mason was no exception, so Freemasonry held a religious significance. However, although it does still play some part in Freemasonry, it is certainly not overt, and everyone is welcome, regardless of faith.

Even today, the tools and workwear of a Freemason are symbolically utilised to illustrate how a Freemason can become a better person, mindful of others in the community, charitable and ready to offer practical help to those in need.

Charitable work plays an important part in Freemasonry and millions of pounds are raised for donation to a wide range of organisations across the country. It is a surprising and little known fact that Freemasonry in the UK is the second biggest giver to charity, after only the National Lottery. This goes largely unreported and so is unnoticed by the general public, who often mistakenly assume that Freemasonry is inwardly focused.