“York being the established Place of Masonic Government, the whole fraternity successively paid Allegiance to its Authority, and whereas the Sacred Art flourished so much, that masonry in the South came to require some Nominal Patron to Superintend its Government. A person under the Title of Grand Master for the South was appointed, with the Approbation of the Grand Lodge at York, to which the whole fraternity at large were still bound, as they were before, to pay Tribute and acknowledge Subjection. And thus Masonry flourished for many years in the South, as well as in the North, but afterwards became again at so low a Ebb in the South that in the year 1717, only four Lodges remained extant in those parts, but those Lodges ever glorified in Originating from the Ancient York Masons, which they constantly testified. And whereas those very lodges cemented under a new Grand Master for the South, and hence arose what is now called the Nominal Grand Lodge in London, whose meetings have been by some considered as General Meetings, but without any Constitutional Authority to give such Meetings a Sanction to that Title.
Robert Freke Gould in his “History of Freemasonry Its Antiquities, Symbols, Constitutions, Customs, Part 2”, deals with the question of Elias Ashmole’s initiation into Freemasonry