Searching for the apple tree: revisiting the earliest years of organised English freemasonry

Prescott, A. and Sommers, S. M. (2017) Searching for the apple tree: revisiting the earliest years of organised English freemasonry. In: Wade, J. (ed.) Reflections on Three Hundred Years of Freemasonry: Papers from the QC Tercentenary Conference. Lewis Masonic.

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This article reviews the evidence for the traditional claim that a Grand Lodge was established in London in 1717. This Grand Lodge is today incorporated in the United Grand Lodge of England which traces its origins to 1717 and claims to be the oldest Grand Lodge in the world. According to the traditional story published by James Anderson in 1738, preliminary meetings between four lodges in London were held at the Apple Tree in 1716 and the Grand Lodge was established at the Goose and Gridiron in 1717. This article reviews the evidence used by Anderson and suggests that little credence can be placed on it. It is argued that diary entries b y William Stukeley and a rough minute book in the possession of the Lodge of Antiquity indicate that the Grand Lodge was not in fact established until the appointment of the Duke of Montagu as Grand Master in 1721.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Prescott, Professor Andrew
Authors: Prescott, A., and Sommers, S. M.
Subjects:D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
College/School:College of Arts & Humanities > School of Critical Studies > English Language and Linguistics
Publisher:Lewis Masonic
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