What is Freemasonry
- One of the oldest social & charitable organisations in the world
- Started in 1717 (306 y.o.) under U.G.L.E. and spread across the globe
- Split into 45 Provinces in England and Wales with a membership of 175,000
- Province of Suffolk formed in 1771 (252 y.o.) 69 Lodges with a membership of 2,600
Freemasonry appeared in Bury St. Edmunds in 1731. The town being the political and social centre of within the County in the early 18th Century. By 1737 there were three Lodges, the Fountain, the Golden Fleece and the Seven Stars, each taking their names from the respective inns at which they met.
Following a hiatus between 1754 & 1772, a new Lodge was constituted, known as ‘Royal Edmund’ and survived until 1853 when it disappeared being replaced in 1864 by the Royal St Edmund’s Lodge which survives today under Lodge No.1008.
Abbey Lodge became the second such Lodge to establish itself in 1875 under Lodge No.1592.
From 1890, the home of freemasonry in Bury St. Edmunds was the Masonic Hall in Churchgate Street, and four more Lodges were subsequently formed; Magna Carta Lodge No.8017 in 1965; Culford Lodge No.8482 in 1972; Abbot Baldwin Lodge No.8656 in 1975 and Solea Lodge No.9498 in 1992. Three Royal Arch Chapters were also formed here; White Rose No.1008 in 1873; Magna Carta No.8017 in 1994 and Abbot Baldwin No.8656 in 1978. The Masonic Hall was also home to many other associated Masonic Orders.
The Lodge building and Temple in Churchgate Street are fondly remembered by those who made use of it over many years. However, increasing membership and restricted facilities prompted the Hall Company to seek new premises ultimately leading to our current home at Ashlar House, consecrated in 2016, a much larger premises with modern facilities enjoyed by a total membership of more than 250 freemasons and their families.
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