Who We Are

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King AthelstanIn the year AD 926, Athelstan, King of Wessex and All England, issued a Charter to the Masons of York, bestowing royal recognition and granting licence to assemble.

At York and elsewhere, the medieval Masons developed rituals of initiation within their Lodges, using their Working Tools to illustrate and expound upon moral precepts and virtues within a Christian context. Subsequently, in the intellectual ferment of the Renaissance, the concept of Symbolic or Speculative Freemasonry evolved outside the immediate environment of the operative Craft. This provided the opportunity for an educated and intellectually curious elite to expound further upon philosophical and esoteric questions within a borrowed but still ritual context, uncompromisingly Christian but unaligned to any particular denomination.

However, following the so-called ‘Age of Reason’ of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and especially in the early years of the nineteenth century in England, Freemasonry went through a period of fundamental upheaval contrary to all Tradition. This latterly was engineered by the so-called ‘Moderns’, working in the hegemonic political interests of the Hanoverian Whig ascendency and in a climate of Enlightenment empiricism and agnostic rationalism incompatible with the religious, esoteric and metaphysical principles of genuine Freemasonry. The Craft was  effectively de-Christianized in favour of the then currently fashionable Deism, ancient rituals were distorted and emasculated, the whole reduced to an incoherent and fissiparous system.

In the earlier part of the twentieth century this situation was only compounded by the inevitably deleterious effect of mass recruitment, many being attracted merely by the conviviality, others more lamentably by the allure of business and other mundane connections. Rather fewer, however, by the possibilities of spiritual or intellectual advancement.

Grand Lodge of All England Coat of ArmsHegemonic mainstream Masonry having effectively lost its soul and with it often the essential spiritual import of the ritual, more recently even further emasculated by misguided panderings to culturally corrosive ‘political correctness’, has inevitably suffered a spiritual, intellectual and moral decline. As a result, often unfairly but sometimes deservedly, the very concept has been labelled ‘the mafia of the mediocre’.

Nevetheless, from time to time thoughtful and concerned Masons, from the ‘Ancients’ of the eighteenth century onwards, have expressed serious anxieties over such a state of affairs. Unfortunately in any system fallible human nature soon produces vested interests in favour of the comforts of the status quo and resistance to the rigours of any re-evaluation or recognition of the validity of any alternative voice. Subsequently, after many years in occlusion, and in in order to protect and cherish the True Principles of genuine Traditional Anglo-Saxon Freemasonry free from pretentious and stifling hegemony, our Order was revived by constitutional restitution at a ceremony at York Minster in December, 2005.

The Grand Lodge of All England embraces the ethos of esoteric Christian Freemasonry and is informed by the wisdom teaching of the Western Mystery Tradition and Christian Chivalry.