We are a Masonic Lodge, easy to say, not so easy to explain.
Freemasonry is probably the oldest fraternal organisation in
existence, the oldest lodges have minutes going back to before
the year 1600 and the oldest masonic document known dates
back to 1390.
A better explanation than any I can give is to be found on
the web-site of the United Grand Lodge of England.
While there is a great deal of information to be found on the
Internet about Freemasonry care must be taken using it
because Freemasonry is not a single,international,
organisation. Each country has its own, independent,
Grand Lodge with its own Constitutions, customs and usages
and which is the Supreme Body for that country.
It is not subservient to any other Grand Lodge and any information which is true for one Grand Lodge will not necessarily hold true for any other.
In England this body is the United Grand Lodge of England (U.G.L.E.). This body has laid down a set of guidelines as to what they consider is proper and, provided that they meet those guide lines, U.G.L.E. will recognise another Grand Lodge as being "Regular" and allow intervisiting between the members of both.
Through this system there is now cross recognition between many of the Grand Lodges of the different countries world wide.
One of these guide lines is that for recognition a Grand Lodge has to be exclusively male. However in England there are two Grand Lodges which are exclusively female, the Order of Women Freemasons and the Honourable Fraternity of Ancient Masons
Rather than "recognise" these bodies, which would mean the possibility of intervisiting which neither the Ladies or U.G.L.E. want, it has been acknowledged that while these bodies are "Regular" in their constitution and that we are in amity with them, they are not "recognised" for visiting, a compromise keeping everyone reasonably happy.
Unlike most other Grand Lodges, UGLE has a second "layer of command" in that there are across the country a number of subsidiary "Provincial Grand Lodges",the "Provinces" tallying with the old county boundaries
At the time of the foundation of Grand Lodge back in 1717 communications between London and the outlying provinces was slow and it made sense to have a local command area rather than trying to control everything from the centre.
Howdon Panns Lodge comes under the Provincial Grand Lodge of Northumberland.
As with many organisations UGLE publishes a "house magazine" which is circulated to all members.
You can read the latest issue by clicking HERE
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© 2010 Howdon Panns Lodge.