Freemasonry, it's a society perceived as shrouded in secrecy and mystery...but it’s a perception that its members are keen to shake,
And this weekend freemason halls around the country will be opening their doors to welcome members of the public inside to find out more.
Whitby’s lodge, based on John Street, holds two craft lodges, Lion and Caedmon.
It is easy to walk past the building, adorned in various symbols from the outside, without even realising what lies within.
Alan Jarman, Worshipful Master of Lion Lodge, No.312, said: “The purpose is to celebrate 300 years of the lodge but also to demonstrate to the public that we are not a secret organisation, and we hope it might interest people to come and join us.”
The United Grand Lodge of England is this year celebrating 300 years since its foundation, with these open events aiming to raise awareness of the work the masons do.
It is a little known fact that the freemasons are actually the second biggest donor organisation after the National Lottery.
Last month, the Masonic Lodge in Manchester donated £30,000 to the victim support fund in the wake of the Manchester terror attack, with Whitby’s Caedmon Lodge also pledging money towards the cause.
And all of this funding comes from within, from membership fees and donations to aid others.
Mr Jarman added: “The United Grand Lodge of England has allocated £3 million to charities, and we are asking people to vote for the charity they want this money to go to. Each charity may receive anywhere between £4,000 and £40,000.”
You can vote for your chosen local charity at: mcf.org.uk/vote.
The Lion Lodge was founded in 1797. It had been preceeded by two other Lodges in the town.
The Golden Lion Lodge was warranted in June 1764 meeting in the pub of that name which still exists, and numbered 127 under the Ancients. There are no records of this Lodge but its die or seal is retained by the Lion Lodge. The second Lodge was the Britannia Lodge number 423 of the Moderns warranted on the 3rd of February 1772, but erased on the 10th of February 1790.
Lion was already over 150 years old when Caedmon was formed in May 1950 because there were too many post-war applicants to become Masons, resulting in long waiting lists. But how do you go about joining the Masons? It’s not as secretive or difficult as you might think. The idea that you have to wait to be invited is a myth, with prospective new members regularly approaching them. You can complete contact form on their website, expressing an interest.
The open day will take place this Saturday from 1pm to 4pm, where members of the public will be invited to go behind the scenes on a guided tour of the impressive hall, asking any questions.
The three great principles of Freemasonry are: brotherly love, relief and truth.
What Freemasons pay into the society is totally secret and personal to them. No member is expected to contribute an amount that would put a strain on their ability to provide for their family.
The Whitby Masons meet on Mondays, once a month.