Frequently asked questions

Why join freemasonry?

Freemasonry means different things to all 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 and making a contribution to family and society, but for most it is an enjoyable hobby. Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest and largest non-religious, non-political, fraternal and charitable organisations.

What are qualifications for membership?

The essential qualifications for admission to Freemasonry are that you have a belief in a Supreme Being. This means that you profess a religious faith. Freemasonry is not restricted to certain faiths and is a world wide organisation embracing many different religions. It is usual for candidates to be over 21, but in some circumstances younger candidates between the ages of 18 and 21 can be admitted. This is especially true in Lodges belonging to the Universities Scheme. That you have the full support of your partner and family.

What happens in Lodges?

The meetings, which like many other groups are only open to members and are usually in three parts. Firstly, there are the routine administration procedures such as the minutes of the previous meeting, proposing and balloting for new members, Masonic news and correspondence and news about charitable work. Secondly, there are the ceremonies for admitting new members, the annual installation of the Master of the Lodge and his officers or there may be a talk or lecture on a Masonic topic. Thirdly there will usually be a sit down, semi formal dinner with toasts and speeches although some lodges have a more informal approach to this.

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 as far as it does not conflict with their family and public obligations.

Are Freemasons expected to give preference to fellow members?

No. This would not be acceptable 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 Masonic charities donate to?

There are Masonic Charities that cater (but not exclusively), for Freemasons or their dependents. Most Masonic Charities make significant grants to non-Masonic organisations in the UK and overseas. More detail on Masonic donations can be found by following the links under Charity on the United Grand Lodge of England websites. Freemasons donate locally by individual lodges, Provincially usually by county boundaries, nationally and internationally through United Grand Lodge of England.

What is a Freemasons relationship with politics and religion?

Freemasonry, as a body, will never express a view on religion or politics. The discussion of subjects at Masonic meetings has always been prohibited.

Who are Freemasons?

Freemasons are ordinary men in the community, of all religions and backgrounds, who share a concern for human values, moral standards and the rights of individuals. It offers members with an insight and knowledge of history and philosophy, an appreciation for ancient ritual and symbolism, personal development, public service and hands-on involvement in charitable activities and community issues. Freemasonry also provides opportunities to socialise with men from all walks of life, without religious and political barriers. Freemasonry is an organisation of men who strive to live by the fundamental principles of integrity, goodwill and charity. It is a non-profit organisation that is heavily involved in supporting charity and community service.

Why do we call ourselves a fraternity?

One of the greatest things about Freemasonry is that men from all walks of life regardless of their race, creed, colour and social status can come together as equals and share a common bond of friendship and fraternity as Freemasons. After the meeting of the Lodge is completed, members come together and share a meal. Freemasons often refer to the term, ‘Meeting on the level and parting on the square’, which means they meet as equals and part as friends. Freemasonry can provide an active social life with like-minded people from all walks of life. Family and family values are an important part of a Freemason's life and families are invited to take part in Masonic activities such as charity evenings, family lunches and other social get-togethers. It must be noted that as a Freemason, a member's family is to be valued above all else and should at all times take precedence over his Masonic membership. However, it is important that a member's family understands his Masonic association and supports him in his development.

Why and how are ritual and symbolism used?

Ask any member about Masonic ritual and he is likely to explain it as a unique and inspiring experience. Ritual is core in Freemasonry, this ritual is unique in that it uses a range of objects, symbols and scenarios to disseminate the values, traditions and philosophical precepts of Freemasonry. These rituals are centuries old and have been used in Freemasonry for hundreds of years. An example of such symbolism is the use of medieval stonemason working tools as a vehicle of instruction. Symbols in the Lodge room are used to define the rank of a Freemason. The most widely recognised symbol of Freemasonry is the Square and Compasses. The square teaches us to keep our passions and prejudices within due bounds. Masons wear the symbol to remind themselves of their obligation to the lessons learned in their lodges and to identify their membership to other Freemasons and all people. Masonic symbols have wide meanings - some directly relate to the tools used by operative Masons and some represent the need for order and direction in life.

Is Freemasonry a secret society?

No. There is nothing 'secret' about Freemasonry. The policy until recently was for members to be rather discreet about the organisation, their community work and even their membership. But times have changed. In the Middle Ages, people were predominantly illiterate. Therefore, symbols such as the square and compasses, modes of dress, handshakes and signs were used to distinguish a Mason from a non-mason, and thus protect the highly prized technical know-how of their trade. Developed long before our modern day modes of communication, these secret signs and passwords were later used by Freemasons to identify one another and to establish their degree of level of attainment in Freemasonry. These days, these modes of recognition are used solely as a ceremonial means of demonstrating that one is a Freemason when in lodge meetings. That a Freemason does not reveal these so-called 'secrets' is basically a dramatic way of testing the good character of those who join. To become a Freemason, requires a person to continually observe, with total sincerity, the high ideals of integrity and confidentiality.

What are the costs involved in joining Freemasonry?

As with all organisations, annual membership fees are expected of members but are reasonably priced. Fees may vary from lodge to lodge, depending on the style of the lodge and location. When first becoming a Freemason, you will pay a one off joining fee and may also purchase Masonic attire.

Who should I contact for further information?

You are most welcome to contact us at Carnarvon Lodge for further information about the organisation.

Carnarvon Lodge is a Freemasons lodge which was formed in 1878 and has been meeting continuously, nine times a year, ever since on the third Tuesday of the month at 18:30. We are located at the Freemasons Hall, Ashfield House, Burton on Trent.

Our Masonic Lodge is part of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Derbyshire which has more than 70 Lodge’s meeting in 17 Masonic halls throughout the County.

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As Masons, we meet in a spirit of fellowship and are always ready to talk to people who would like to know more about masonry, what we do, why we do it, and our place in the community. Freemasonry is a journey of personal discovery, if you think you might find it  rewarding, start your journey here.

At our meetings we welcome guests from other lodges and provinces from around the country. After the completion of our formal meeting we continue to socialise with a festive board (sit down semi formal meal) where toasts and short speeches take place.