Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest and largest non-religious, non-political, fraternal and charitable organisations. Its roots lie in the traditions and ceremonies of the medieval stonemasons who built our cathedrals and castles.
Stonemasons were one of the earliest Trades to form themselves into groups (Lodges) to develop, manage and protect their skills.
Over time, others admired this Lodge structure so much that they wanted to share it. So they did – and called themselves FREE Masons, perhaps because they didn’t need the practical skills of stonemasons?
They developed a code of conduct – and used the tools of the stonemasons as symbols to illustrate the principles of this philosophy. Today, these principles can be described as Integrity, Friendship and Kindness.
Some think that this development could have been a reaction to the high levels of intolerance that developed in the 17th Century towards Religion and Politics and was an attempt to move feelings back towards tolerance, but we don’t really know.
We do know that Freemasonry became something that a lot of men enjoyed – and still do. They continue to adhere to the principles and standards which were so important to those early stonemasons and which are now continued in their Lodges to this day.