Freemasonry Lodges

A Masonic Lodge, often termed a Private Lodge or Constituent Lodge, is the basic organisation of Freemasonry. Every new Lodge must be warranted or chartered by a Grand Lodge, but is subject to its direction only in enforcing the published Constitution of the jurisdiction. By exception the three surviving lodges that formed the world’s first known Grand Lodge in London have the unique privilege to operate as time immemorial i.e. without such warrant; only one other lodge operates without a warrant – this is the Grand Stewards’ Lodge in London, although it is not also entitled to the “time immemorial” title. A Freemason is generally entitled to visit any Lodge, in any jurisdiction in amity with his own. In some jurisdictions this privilege is restricted to Master Masons. He is first usually required to check, and certify, the regularity of the relationship of the Lodge – and be able to satisfy that Lodge of his regularity of membership. Freemasons gather together as a Lodge to work the three basic Degrees of named which are the Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master Mason.

Lodges are governed by national, state or provincial authorities, usually called Grand Lodges or Grand Orients, whose published constitutions define the structure of freemasonry under their authority, and which appoint Grand Officers from their senior masons. Provincial Grand Lodges (which in England generally correspond to historic counties) exercise an intermediate authority, and also appoint Provincial Grand Officers.

Different Grand Lodges and their regions show subtleties of tradition and variation in the degrees and practice; for example under the Grand Lodge of Scotland, the Mark Degree is integrated into “The Craft” as a completion of the second degree. In any case, Grand Lodges have limited jurisdiction over their member Lodges, and where there is no prescribed ritual Lodges may thus have considerable freedom of practice. Despite these minor differences, fraternal relations exist between Lodges of corresponding degrees under different Grand Lodges.