Freema­sons records

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names of mem­bers with the Clerk of the Peace. The sur­viv­ing Quar­ter Ses­sions records, now held mainly at county record of­fices, are a rich source for lo­cal lodges and in­di­vid­ual mem­bers.

An­nual re­turns, sur­viv­ing from the 1750s, were sent from lo­cal lodges to the Grand Lodge. Th­ese are now held at the Li­brary and Mu­seum of Freema­sonry of the Grand Lodge ( freema­sonry. lon­don.mu­seum). Th­ese re­turns were used to cre­ate reg­is­ters, or Con­tri­bu­tion Books, of mem­bers grouped by lodge. Those up to 1886 are avail­able in dig­i­tal for­mat at the li­brary. While the ma­jor­ity of the reg­is­ters in this col­lec­tion are from lodges in Eng­land, reg­is­ters are also avail­able for Wales, North­ern Ire­land and sev­eral coun­tries over­seas such as Canada, Aus­tralia, In­dia and South Africa.

There are three de­grees in Craft Freema­sonry: En­tered Ap­pren­tice, Fel­low Craft and Mas­ter Ma­son. A man will nor­mally pass through th­ese three de­grees – known as Ini­ti­a­tion, Pass­ing and Rais­ing – and the date that he passes each de­gree may be recorded in the reg­is­ter. The date he joined a new lodge was recorded along­side his name in the reg­is­ter. If a man joined more than one lodge or chap­ter, the num­bers of th­ese ad­di­tional lodges may be recorded in the far right-hand mar­gin of the page.

A Grand Ma­sonic gath­er­ing in 1887 at the Royal Al­bert Hall in hon­our of Queen Vic­to­ria’s Golden Ju­bilee

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