Page 16 - Montana Freemason Magazine November 2013
P. 16

Establishment of the United Grand Lodge of England

                                    Kevin N. Olson, (22)

    In 1813, on December 27th, also known as Saint         There is a deep and rich history to all of this which
John the Evangelist day in the Roman Catholic and          I encourage brethren to seek out in further thought
Anglican churches, an extraordinary event occurred.        and study as they decide worthwhile. My intention in
After decades of operating autonomously from each          bringing only a light overview forward is to remind
other, two Grand Lodges in England joined together         the brethren of Montana that this Bicentennial of the
to form the United Grand Lodge of England, or              United Grand Lodge of England, to whom we owe
U.G.L.E. as it is often referred to. It may be important   our charters, is quickly coming up.
to note that there is no record of either of the Grand
Lodges closing down before they merged. This may               If I may offer a suggestion, the 1813 Articles of
technically mean both Grand Lodges are in operation        Union making the agreement between the two bodies
in a merged form inside the U.G.L.E., and we owe our       are just six short pages, and I believe it may serve some
heritage to both Grand Lodges established in 1717 and      educational purpose to read and discuss all six pages
circa 1751. This history may relate to the reason some     at one of your respective lodge meetings. It is quite an
Grand Lodges are identified as A.F.&A.M.=“Ancient          important moment in our history and quite a lesson
Free and Accepted” and some are F.&A.M.=“Free              in meeting, acting, and parting as we ever should.
and Accepted”. According to Brother Henry Sadler’s
Masonic Facts & Fictions, the two groups, while
having their differences, had never been a single body.
Rather, the Antients evolved from Irish Masonry.
There is a deeper history to the two Grand Lodges,
and I encourage the brethren to seek out as much as
they are wont to do.

    The grouping of Grand Lodges to which belong
those in the United States are in mutual recognition
with the United Grand Lodge of England, and get
their charters ultimately from either the Grand Lodge
of England, the Grand Lodge of the Antients or one of
the preceding Grand Lodges across the Atlantic.

    The Grand Lodge of England was established on
June 24th, 1717, on Saint John the Baptist day, when
four lodges came together to form the Grand Lodge
inLondon. Members of this Grand Lodge became
known as the ‘Moderns’ by their self-identified
‘Antient’ rivals. A group of Irish Masons formed the
Antient Grand Lodge by Irishmen using the term
Antient because they claimed (possibly accurately)
their work was older than the ‘Modern’ Grand Lodge.
The latter term of ‘Modern’ was being used as early
as 1726, perhaps pointing to dissatisfaction with
the Grand Lodge in London at a date preceding the
establishment of the Antient Grand Lodge, circa 1751.

    The rivalry between the two groups is often (yet
possibly incorrectly) called a schism, as they existed as
two separate bodies during the establishment of each
Grand Lodge and grew independently. The histories
of these two 18th century Masonic Grand Lodges
and their autonomous development are lined out in
Henry Sadler’s book, Masonic Facts and Fictions.
This excellent book attempts to display why the word
schism is inaccurate when applied to the matter.

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