What is Freemasonry?

Freemasonry means different things to each of those who join. For some, it’s about making new friends and acquaintances. For others, it’s about being able to help deserving causes – making a contribution to family and for society. But for many, it is an enjoyable hobby.

Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest and largest non-religious, non-political, fraternal and charitable organisation. It teaches self-knowledge through participation in a progression of ceremonies. Members are expected to be of high moral standing and are encouraged to speak openly about Freemasonry.

What happens at a Lodge meeting?
The meeting, which like those of other groups, are open only to members, is normally in two parts. First, there are normal administrative procedures such as:

  • Minutes of the previous meeting
  • Proposing and balloting for new members
  • Discussing and voting on the annual accounts
  • Masonic news and correspondence
  • News about charitable work

Second, there are the ceremonies for:

  • Admitting new members
  • The annual installation of the Master of the Lodge and his officers

Are you interested in becoming a Freemason?

To become a Freemason, a man must be at least 18 years old, be decent, law-abiding and believe in a Supreme Being. When you become a Freemason you will join a Lodge of which there are over 300 in Essex. Most Lodges meet four to six times a year and usually on the same day of the week. Lodges also run a regular Lodge of Instruction evening, usually once a week, where members can learn more about Freemasonry and forge new friendships.

If you are considering joining Freemasonry then it is also right that you should want to know what we do.

How to Join?

The first step to becoming a member is to fill out our enquiry form, simply click on the “Make an Enquiry” button below, you will then be contacted by a Membership Officer.

They will discuss your interests and identify a lodge that will best meet your needs.
This is the best course of action rather than contacting a lodge directly.

If you would like more information, please download our Service Level Agreement & Additional Information document by clicking the image on the left or if you have a question click on the "Ask Ray” button below, he will be happy to help you.

Want to know more, or ready to join?

Ask the Provincial Membership Officer a question or Make an Enquiry


Why do Freemasons take oaths?
New members make solemn promises concerning their behaviour both in the Lodge and in society. Members also promise to keep confidential the way they recognise each other when visiting another Lodge. Freemasons also promise to support others in time of need but only so far as it does not conflict with their family and public obligations.

Are Freemasons expected to give preference to fellow members?
Certainly not. This would be unacceptable and may lead to action being taken against those involved. On joining, each new member states that he expects no material gain from membership.

Who do the Masonic charities donate to?
Whilst there are Masonic charities that cater specifically, but not exclusively, for Masons or their dependants, others make significant grants to non-Masonic organisations.

What is Freemasonry’s relationship with religion?
All Freemasons are expected to have a religious belief, but Freemasonry does not seek to replace a Mason’s religion or provide a substitute for it. It deals in a man’s relationship with his fellow man not in a man’s relationship with his God.

Why do some churches not like Freemasonry?
There are elements within churches who misunderstand Freemasonry and its objectives. They confuse secular rituals with religious liturgy. There are many Masons in churches where their leaders have been openly critical of the organisation. Masonry has always actively encouraged its members to be active in their own religion.

Does Freemasonry accept Roman Catholics?
Yes. Four Grand Masters of English Freemasonry have been Roman Catholics. Today there are many Roman Catholic Freemasons.

What is Freemasonry’s relationship with politics?
Freemasonry, as a body, will never express a view on politics or state policy. The discussion of politics at Masonic meetings has always been prohibited.

Is Freemasonry an international order?
Freemasonry exists throughout the world. However, each Grand Lodge is sovereign and independent. There is no international governing body for Freemasonry.

Are there women Freemasons?
Yes. Whilst UGLE, following the example of medieval stonemasons, is and has always been restricted to men, women Freemasons have two separate Grand Lodges, which are restricted to women.
They are the Honourable Fraternity of Ancient Freemasons (HFAF) which is now known as Freemasonry for Women and the Order of Women Freemasons.

Why do you wear regalia?
Wearing regalia is historic and symbolic. Like a uniform, the regalia indicates the rank of the wearer in the organisation.

How many Freemasons are there?
Under the United Grand Lodge of England, there are over 200,000 Freemasons.

There are Grand Lodges in Ireland, which covers both Northern Ireland and Eire, and Scotland which have a combined total of approximately 150,000 members.

Worldwide, there are approximately six million Freemasons.

Is the Order open to students and other young people?
Yes. Subject to the minimum age of 18 years, young men can join any lodge. In particular, there is the Universities Scheme (for people at a university) and the Cornerstone Club, for Freemasons under the age of 40 years. There is also the Cornerstone Lodge for former Club members who have reached the maximum age limit.

How many degrees are there in Freemasonry?
Basic Freemasonry consists of three degrees:

  • Entered Apprentice
  • Fellow Craft
  • Master Mason
  • Royal Arch

How much does it cost to be a Freemason?
It varies from Lodge to Lodge. Anyone wishing to join will find a Lodge to suit his pocket. There is an initiation fee on entry and in due course regalia will have to be bought. The meeting is normally followed by a dinner, the cost depending on the venue. There is, in addition, an annual subscription.

Members are invited to give to charity but this should always be within their means and it is entirely up to the individual how much they wish to contribute.