From 1390 to 1716





1390. The Regius Poem, sometimes called the Halliwell Manuscript, was written or copied from an older, unknown manuscript. This is the oldest extant copy of any ancient manuscript of Masonry.

1400. Inventory of the masons' lodge at York Minster contained two tracing boards.

1425. The Cooke Manuscript was written. This is the second oldest of the extant ancient manuscripts of Masonry.

1429. "Masons of the Lodge" mentioned at Canterbury Cathedral.

1460. Reference made to a tracing house at Westminster Abbey.

1463. The Worshipful Company of Masons of the City of London erected its first hall.

1479. The term "Master Mason" appeared after the name of William Orchard at Magdalen College.

1487. The word "Freemason" appeared for the first time in the Statutes of England.

1491. Municipal law passed at St. Giles, Edinburgh, establishing the condition of employment of Master Masons and co-workers.

1531. Reference made to a tracing house at Westminster Palace.

1581. The Mason's Company ws incorporated at Newcastle and given certain powers and duties.

1583. St. Mary's Lodge of Dundee is mentioned in an Indenture bearing this date.

1598-1599. William Schaw, who had become Master of the Works in Scotland in 1584, promulgated two sets of rules. The first regulated the Masons of Scotland; the second gave the Lodge of Kilwinning supervisory powers over the lodges of West Scotland. It used the term "fellow of the craft."

1599. The oldest known written records of a Masonic Lodge; January 9, Aitchison's Havenhas Lodge in Musselburgh, Scotland. It ceased to exist in 1856.

Oldest known existing lodge, Edinburgh Lodge No. 1, Edinburgh, Scotland, July 3.

1600. First record of the admission of a non-operative mason in a Lodge of Scotland.

John Boswell, laird of Auchinlech, become a member of the lodge of Edinburgh.

The word "Freemason" appeared in the York Roll.

1617. Birth of Elias Ashmore at Litchfield, England. A famous antiquarian, he is remembered by the Craft because entries in his diary regarding his initiation prove that there were speculative lodges long before 1717.

1619-1620. Account Book of the London Mason's Company used the term "Accepted" as a description of some members.

1621. Records of the Worshipful Company of Freemasons of London indicate that there were "accepted" and "operative" members.

1633. John Stow's Survey of London was published mentioning the "Company of Masons being otherwise termed Free Masons."

1634. The following members of the nobility were made Masons at the Lodge of Edinburgh: Lord Alexander, Sir Anthony Alexander, and Sir Alenander Strachan.

1641. Sir Robert Moray initiated by a group of Masons in a Scotch regiment at Newcastle-on-Tyne, May 20. This is the earliest recorded initiation.

1642. Minutes of Mother Kilwinning Lodge go back to this year.

1646. Elias Ashmole wrote in his diary that he made a "Free Mason," October 16.

1650. The Harleian Manuscript was written about this time.

1655. The Company of Freemasons of the City of London change its name to "The Company of Masons."

1656. John Aubrey began A Natural History of Wiltshire, in which he stated that the Fraternity of Free Masons "are known to one another by certain signes and Watch words," and other significant words.

1659. First known use of the word "club" as a group meeting.

1666. The Great Fire in which much of the City of London was destroyed. Many fine medieval buildings: churches and guild halls went up in smoke. This presented a city planning opportunity. Freemason Sir Christopher Wren rose to the task, designing many churches, and his masterpiece, the new St Paul's Cathedral, where he is buried. Wren has no monument: merely an inscription - Si monumentum quaeris, circumspice (If you seek a monument, look around you).

1668. Hall of the Worshipful Company of Masons of London rebuilt. It is believed that a speculative lodge met in the building.

1670. The records of the Lodge of Aberdeen began. They showed that some members were operative and others were speculative.

1677. Stanley Manuscript written about this time.

1680. Dr. James Anderson was born at Aberdeen, Scotland.

1681. Jonathan Belcher, the first native born American to be made a Mason, was born in Boston.

1682. Elias Ashmole wrote in his diary that he had attended a lodge meeting at Masons' Hall, London.

John Skene, first known Mason to become a permanent resident in United States, was a member of Aberdeen Lodge No. 1 (No. 27 on their roll), Scotland. He became a member prior to 1670.

June 23, Chief Tamanend of the Lenni-Lenape tribe and William Penn signed a friendship treaty at Shackamaxon, near what is now the Kensington district of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The French philosopher and Mason, Brother Francoise Marie Arouet de Voltaire, an admirer of Penn, hailed this as "the only treaty between Indians and Christians that was never broken." (Brother Voltaire became a Mason April 7, 1778, in the Lodge Les Neuf Soeurs less than two moths before his death on May 30, 1778. His last words: "I die adoring God, loving my friends, not hating my enemies, and detesting superstition.") (The Learning Kingdom)

1686. Dr. Robert Plot published his "National History of Staffordshire" in which he ridiculed the society of Freemasons. This is proof that a symbolical lodge was in existence at that time.

John Aubrey, an antiquary, wrote his "National History of Wiltshire" (published in 1847) and spoke of "Fraternity of Free-Masons" and also described them as "adopted masons" and "accepted masons."

1688. A lodge of accepted Masons met at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.

Randle Holm III, a Chester genealogists and antiquary, described an association with members of the "Society called Free-Masons."

The Society of Freemasons is mentioned in a satirical speech at the commencement exercises of the University of Dublin in July.

1690. The defeat of James 11, at the battle of the Boyne, 12th July lead to the growth of French Masonry.

Records of the Lodge of Melrose(between this year and 1695) used the term "fellowcraft."

1696. The Edinburgh Register House Manuscript suggests that Masons had words, a grip, signs and "five points."

James E. Oglethorpe born in London, England.

1697. Mention on a letter from Scotland of the "mason's word," used for purpose of recognition.

Henry Price born in London.

1698. An Anti-Masonic leaflet was published warning people against the "Free Masons."

There are two things of interest about the document. First: it shows that Freemasons were active in 1698. Second: the nature of Anti-Masonry is the same today as it ever was: fear and hatred based on ignorance and intolerance.

Hogarth born.

1701. Jeremy Gridley, "Father of the Boston Bar," born. He was Grand Master of Massachusetts, 1755-1767.

1702. The Hughfoot Lodge Minute Book starts with December 2.

1703. At the Lodge meeting in "The Goose and Gridiron" it was adopted" that the privilege of Masonry shall no longer be confined to operative
masons, but be free to men of all professions, provided they are regularly approved and initiated into the Fraternity."

1704. Jonathan Belcher, a native born American, became a Mason in London.

1709-1710. Steele, in "The Tatler," famous paper of the day, in discussing certain people said: "They ‘Free-Masons' and the have some secret Intimations of each other like the Free Masons."

1710. Hon. Elizabeth St. Leger, the most famous "Lady Mason'" was supposed to have been an eavesdropper at a Masonic initiation and was given two degrees. She later married Richard Aldsworth and is sometimes known under this name.

David Wooster, famous patriot, born in Connecticut. He became forst Master of Hiram Lodge No. 1, Cinnecticut.

1716. Meeting held at the Apple Tree Tavern in Charles Street, Covent Gardens, to discuss a revival of the Quarterly Communications and the Annual Assembly.

The resolution of 1703 was put into active operation.




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