What is Freemasonry?
We are a unique members’ organisation which has thrived for over 300 years. Having no political or religious affiliations, we comprise members of all ages, races, religions, cultures and backgrounds. We meet in our individual Lodges throughout the country where we have ceremonial traditions which encourage us both to be more tolerant and respectful and actively to fulfil our civic and charitable responsibilities; we also make time to eat, drink and meet together, and form lifelong friendships.
We aim to attract those from all backgrounds and walks of life, enabling them to develop into more thoughtful and confident people. We aim to inspire and challenge them to practise the core values we celebrate – Integrity, Friendship, Respect, Charity – in their private and public lives. We aim to cement our reputation as a force for good in our communities and society at large and as a thriving organisation that people aspire to join.
What happens in a Lodge meeting?
While every lodge is different, and has its own traditions, most lodges tend to follow a similar format in their regular meetings. There is an administrative aspect, which may include ballots for new or joining members, correspondance, and financial and charitable matters. Then there is a ceremonial aspect which may include admission (or initiation) or new members or other symbolic and homiletical ceremonies. These include the progressive ceremonies of the 3 “Craft” Freemasonry degrees, which are essentially one act plays that teach members how to be better people, and each play represents a different stage in life.
After the lodge meeting itself, the lodge engages in the “Festive Board” – a two or three course meal with all lodge members, generally accompanied by plenty of laughter and merriment!
Why do you wear regalia?
It is well known that Freemasons wear aprons, and these have historical and symbolic meanings. They derive from those worn by the original stonemasons of medieval times. Originally the leather aprons protected the workmen from sharp stones and tools. Today the Freemason’s apron is a mark of membership. On joining a new brother is presented with a plain white apron, and as he progresses he receives more elaborate aprons as a symbol of his development. In addition, brethren who hold an “office” in the lodge usually wear a sash around their neck which is indicative of their office. Longer term members of the lodge may also wear jewels, which are effectively medals displaying their masonic achievements over time.
Are there women Freemasons?
Women Freemasons have been meeting across the country for more than 100 years. There are two female-only grand lodges: The Order of Women Freemasons and the Honourable Fraternity of Ancient Freemasons, each of which has many member lodges. The United Grand Lodge of England has an excellent working relationship with both of these grand lodges.
In general, lodges are single-sex, and Royds 1204 is a male-only lodge.
How much does it cost?
As of April 2023, the annual subscriptions to Royds Lodge are £180 per year. There are discounts available for students and those under 25. The cost for dining at each lodge meeting is usually around £20. There is also always a charitable collection, which all members are expected to donate towards, no matter how small a contribution.