History of Freemasonry
Questions as to when, how, why and where Freemasonry was created are still subjected to numerous speculations. The general consensus among the masonic historians is that it derives directly or indirectly from the stonemasons who built the cathedrals and castles of the medieval times
Elias Ashmole registered his initiation with the following words:
‘“1646, Oct. 16, 4.30 P.M. – I was made a Free Mason at Warrington in Lancashire with Coll: Henry Mainwaring of Karincham in Cheshire; the names of those that were then of the Lodge, Mr Rich. Penket Worden, Mr James Collier, Mr Rich. Sankey, Henry Littler, John Ellam, Rich. Ellam & Hugh Brewer.” This is the first account of the beginning of the speculative Freemasonry in England, regardless of the fact that those present and listed, surely would have been initiated at an earlier date.
In the 1660s there are more proofs and accounts of initiations into Masonic Lodges.
On June 24th, 1717 four London lodges, which had existed for a while, got together at the Goose and Gridiron Tavern in the St. Paul’s garden and established the Grand Lodge and chose Mr. Anthony Sayer a Grand Master. This was the first Grand Lodge in the world.
At this time the New Grand Lodge had published its first book: “The Book of Constitution of Masonry” and was convening every three months, and was recording its meetings. It had already expanded its authority outside of London.
The Grand Lodge of Ireland is established.
The Grand Lodge of Scotland is established. The three Grand Lodges begin to spread Freemasonry abroad, the development of which, mirrors that of the British Empire during the 18th and 19th centuries.
Another rival Grand Lodge appeared in London. It’s members were Irish masons, claiming that the Grand Lodge was not developed as it should. The two Grand Lodges went on existing side by side – both within the country and abroad for almost 63 years, while not recognising each other as regular.
After fours years of talks, the two Grand Lodges in England united on December 27th 1813 to form the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE). This unification enabled the standardisation of procedures, rituals and signs.
The number of existing lodges reached 647. The 19th century was a century of great expansion for Freemasonry
The number of English lodges reached 2,800 regardless of “losses” when the Grand Lodges of Canada and Australia were created and went independent.
Both World Wars had great impact on Freemasonry. While in many countries of the world Freemasonry continued to grow, even by means of military Lodges, in nazi Germany, occupied Austria and occupied parts of Eastern Europe that fell into the communist rule, they were prohibited or extinguished entirely.
On June 17th 1967, the 250th anniversary of the United Grand Lodge of England, was celebrated, when and where, HRH the Duke of Kent was installed as its Grand Master, the title which he upholds to date.
On June 10th 1992, 12,500 masons and guests convened in Earls Court, in West London to celebrate the 275 anniversary of UGLE. For the first time ever, there was a presence of the press and TV in an UGLE event, as it was transmitted in the news throughout the world.
On October 10th 2011, the Grand Lodge of Albania is established
In December 2013, the Grand Lodge of Albania is recognised by the United Grand Lodge of England.
Dardania Lodge nr. 4 is established, which represents the first regular Masonic Lodge in Kosovo.
The Lodges Ex Oriente Lux Nr. 5 and Ulpiana Nr.6 are established in Prishtina.