The Myths, Origins, & History of Freemasonry
Freemasonry traces its origins back to its loose organizational form during the late medieval Stonemasonry period. Freemason history encompasses three phases, including the emergence of operative lodges during the Middle Ages, the acceptance of speculative Freemasons, and the gradual growth of speculative lodges under the Grand Lodges that govern them. In 1717, the formation of the first Grand Lodge occurred in London. Due to the scarcity of written material, historians face difficulties in uncovering information about this fraternal organization. In fact, scholars from all over the world struggle with waning through a plethora of misinformation generated by Freemasons and non-Freemasons alike. As a result, the summation of the history of freemasonry requires years of research and resources to create a comprehensive outline of notable events and developments surrounding Freemason history. The information below traces the development of freemasonry starting with its organized bodies of operative stonemasons to the speculative lodges and Grand Lodges of today.
The Origins, Myths, and Theories
The earliest masonic texts contain segments of information about the craft and mystery of freemasonry. According to The Halliwell Manuscript or Regius Poem created between 1390 and 1425, masonic craft began with Euclid in Egypt. The Cooke Manuscript foretells how masonry stems from Jabal, son of Lamech, in Genesis 4:20-22. It also explains how it came to Euclid and then to the Children of Israel in Egypt before eventually finding its way to England during the reign of King Athelstan. This myth gave birth to subsequent manuscript constitutions that all trace Freemason history back to biblical times.