What is Freemasonry?

What you need to know and how you can join

About Freemasons

One of the oldest social and charitable organisations in the world, the roots of modern Freemasonry lie with the medieval stonemasons that built our castles and cathedrals, yet it is as relevant today as it was hundreds of years ago.

Freemasons use four important guiding principles to help define their path through life: Integrity, Friendship, Respect and Charity.

Membership is open to people from all backgrounds and the organisation’s aim is to empower members to be the best they can be – it’s about building character, supporting members as individuals and helping them make a positive contribution to society.

Freemasonry provides a structure for members to come together under these common goals, enabling people to make new friendships, develop themselves and make valuable contributions to charitable causes. We are one of the largest charitable givers in the country, contributing more than £48 million to deserving causes in 2018.

The oldest fraternity

Freemasonry is the world’s oldest fraternal organisation that teaches moral lessons and self-knowledge through allegory and symbolism. Although its origins are subject to much discussion Freemasonry is said to have first started in 1691. It offers its members an approach to life that embodies thoughtfulness for others, compassion and benevolence in the community, honesty in business, courtesy in society and fairness in all things. From its earliest days freemasonry has been concerned with the care of orphans, the sick and the aged. This work continues today. In addition Freemasonry gives large sums of money to local and national charities.

As Freemasons we develop team spirit and fellowship through all our activities and gain an understanding of the needs of others which in turn leads to increased tolerance and respect. We therefore consider Freemasonry to be a way of life which, when practised, makes us good citizens.

Our social activities and our enjoyment of Freemasonry cannot be over-emphasised. The objectives of Freemasonry are serious but our members are ordinary, fun-loving individuals who seek a good balance in life. Most of our meetings include a social dimension where the focus is on good fellowship and enjoyment in the company of like-minded friends.

It's unique

People from all walks of life become Freemasons. Some become Freemasons because they are attracted by the valuable work that the movement performs in raising money for charity. A proportion of these funds is used to assist Freemasons and their dependents in times of need, particularly the sick and the elderly, but the greater part goes to non Masonic charities – local, national and international. Freemasons also assist the community in more direct ways, such as carrying out voluntary work.

​Some become Freemasons because of the unique fellowship it provides. Visit a Masonic lodge anywhere in the country, or the world and you will be greeted as an old friend.