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Free Masons.

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Free Masons.

Although its origins can be traced to stonemasons of the Middle Ages, the Masonic movement as we know it today took root in 18th-century England, where the first Grand Lodge was established in 1717.

In 1751, a Grand Lodge was formed mostly by Irish freemasons, properly titled the "Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of England according to the Old Institutions, it is also called "Atholl freemasons", after the third and fourth Dukes of Atholl.

Skilled mediaeval builders worked with an even-grained limestone or sandstone called freestone, first mentioned in 1212 in Normandy. The term free-stone mason is recorded in 1375 and the term was easily condensed to free mason.

It is hypothesized that a Free Mason was free of his Guild; he had the freedom of its privileges and was entrusted with certain rights. The London Company of Freemasons changed its name to that of Masons in 1655-56, maybe recognizing that the term had undergone yet another change in meaning.

Members who were not stonemasons could be accepted in the Company and were termed speculative, free or accepted. In time the terms became synonymous and "free" then referred to an inner fraternity of speculative masons.
















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