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Freemasonry in Bath
Becoming a Freemason in Bath
Becoming a Freemason
Candidates for Freemasonry will usually have met the most active members of the Lodge they are joining before being elected for initiation. The process varies among Grand Lodges, but in modern times interested people often look up a local Lodge through the Internet and will typically be introduced to a Lodge social function or open evening. The onus is upon candidates to ask to join; while they may be encouraged to ask, they may not be invited. Once the initial inquiry is made, a formal application may be proposed and seconded or announced in open Lodge and a more or less formal interview usually follows. If the candidate wishes to proceed, references are taken up during a period of notice so that members may enquire into the candidate's suitability and discuss it. Finally the Lodge takes an officially secret ballot on each application before a candidate is either initiated or rejected, In UGLE any single member's adverse vote, a "blackball" given secretly without stating a reason, or at most two, will suffice to reject a candidate (whereupon their proposer and seconder would be expected to resign from the Lodge).
A minimum requirement of every body of Freemasons is that each candidate must be "free and of good repute". The question of freedom, a standard feudal requirement of mediaeval guilds, is nowadays one of independence: the object is that every Mason should be a proper and responsible person. Thus, each Grand Lodge has a standard minimum age, varying greatly and often subject to dispensation in particular cases. (For example, the Apollo University Lodge at Oxford has always had dispensations to initiate undergraduates below 21, the former English legal age of majority and still the standard UGLE minimum: in the twenty-first century, all university lodges now share this privilege).
Additionally, most Grand Lodges require a candidate to declare a belief in a Supreme Being, (although every candidate must interpret this condition in his own way, as all religious discussion is commonly prohibited). In a few cases, the candidate may be required to be of a specific religion. The form of Freemasonry most common in Scandinavia (known as the Swedish Rite), for example, accepts only Christians. At the other end of the spectrum, "Liberal" or Continental Freemasonry, exemplified by the Grand Orient de France, does not require a declaration of belief in any deity and accepts atheists (the cause of the distinction from the rest of Freemasonry).
During the ceremony of initiation, the candidate is required to undertake an obligation, swearing on the religious volume sacred to his personal faith to do good as a Mason. In the course of three degrees, Masons will promise to keep the secrets of their degree from lower degrees and outsiders, as far as practicality and the law permit, and to support a fellow Mason in distress. There is formal instruction as to the duties of a Freemason, but on the whole, Freemasons are left to explore the craft in the manner they find most satisfying. Some will simply enjoy the dramatics, or the management and administration of the lodge, others will explore the history, ritual and symbolism of the craft, others will focus their involvement on their Lodge's social side, perhaps in association with other lodges, while still others will concentrate on the lodge's charitable functions.
Anderson's histories of 1723 and 1738, Ramsay's romanticisation, together with the internal allegory of masonic ritual, centred on King Solomon’s Temple and its architect, Hiram Abiff, have provided ample material for further speculation.
The earliest known ritual places the first masonic lodge in the porchway of King Solomon’s Temple. Following Anderson, it has also been possible to trace Freemasonry to Euclid, Pythagoras, Moses, the Essenes, and the Culdees. Preston started his history with the Druids, while Anderson's description of masons as "Noachides", extrapolated by Albert Mackey, put Noah into the equation.
Following Ramsay's introduction of Crusader masons, the Knights Templar became involved in the myth, starting with Karl Gotthelf von Hund's Rite of Strict Observance, which also linked in the exiled House of Stuart. The murder of Hiram Abiff was taken as an allegory for the death of Charles I of England. Oliver Cromwell emerges as the founder of Freemasonry in an anonymous anti-masonic work of 1745, commonly attributed to Abbé Larudan. Mackey states that "The propositions of Larudan are distinguished for their absolute independence of all historical authority and for the bold assumptions which are presented to the reader in the place of facts." The anti-masonic writings of Christoph Friedrich Nicolai implicated Francis Bacon and the Rosicrucians, while Christopher Wren's connection with the craft was omitted from Anderson's first book of constitutions, but appeared in the second when Wren was dead.
Similarly, attempts to root Freemasonry in the French Compagnonnage have produced no concrete links. Connections to the Roman Collegia and Comacine masters are similarly tenuous, although some Freemasons see them as exemplars rather than ancestors. Thomas Paine traced Freemasonry to Ancient Egypt, as did Cagliostro, who went so far as to supply the ritual.
More recently, several authors have attempted to link the Templars to the timeline of Freemasonry through the imagery of the carvings in Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland, where the Templars are rumoured to have sought refuge after the dissolution of the order. In The Hiram Key, Robert Lomas and Christopher Knight describe a timeline starting in ancient Egypt, and taking in Jesus, the Templars, and Rosslyn before arriving at modern Freemasonry. These claims are challenged by Robert Cooper, the curator of the Grand Lodge of Scotland's library and museum, in his book The Rosslyn Hoax.
Bath is the largest city in the county of Somerset, England, known for and named after its Roman-built baths. In 2011, the population was 88,859. Bath is in the valley of the River Avon, 97 miles (156 km) west of London and 11 miles (18 km) southeast of Bristol. The city became a World Heritage site in 1987.
The city became a spa with the Latin name Aquae Sulis ("the waters of Sulis") c. 60 AD when the Romans built baths and a temple in the valley of the River Avon, although hot springs were known even before then.
Bath Abbey was founded in the 7th century and became a religious centre; the building was rebuilt in the 12th and 16th centuries. In the 17th century, claims were made for the curative properties of water from the springs, and Bath became popular as a spa town in the Georgian era. Georgian architecture, crafted from Bath stone, includes the Royal Crescent, Circus, Pump Room and Assembly Rooms where Beau Nash presided over the city's social life from 1705 until his death in 1761.
Many of the streets and squares were laid out by John Wood, the Elder, and in the 18th century the city became fashionable and the population grew. Jane Austen lived in Bath in the early 19th century. Further building was undertaken in the 19th century and following the Bath Blitz in World War II. Bath became part of the county of Avon in 1974, and, following Avon's abolition in 1996, has been the principal centre of Bath and North East Somerset.
Bath has up to 1.3 million yearly visitors, making it one of ten English cities visited most by overseas tourists. Attractions include the spas, canal boat tours, Royal Crescent, Bath Skyline, Parade Gardens and Royal Victoria Park which hosts carnivals and seasonal events. Shopping areas include SouthGate shopping centre, The Corridor arcade and artisan shops at Walcot, Milsom, Stall and York Streets. There are theatres, including the Theatre Royal, as well as several museums including the Museum of Bath Architecture, the Victoria Art Gallery, the Museum of East Asian Art, the Herschel Museum of Astronomy, Fashion Museum, and the Holburne Museum. The city has two universities – the University of Bath and Bath Spa University – with Bath College providing further education. Sporting clubs include Bath Rugby and Bath City F.C. The city is also home to software, publishing and service-oriented industries such as Future plc and Rotork. During the 18th century Thomas Gainsborough and Sir Thomas Lawrence lived and worked in Bath. John Maggs, a painter best known for coaching scenes, was born and lived in Bath with his artistic family.
Jane Austen lived there from 1801 with her father, mother and sister Cassandra, and the family resided at four different addresses until 1806. Jane Austen never liked the city, and wrote to Cassandra, "It will be two years tomorrow since we left Bath for Clifton, with what happy feelings of escape." Bath has honoured her name with the Jane Austen Centre and a city walk. Austen's Northanger Abbey and Persuasion are set in the city and describe taking the waters, social life, and music recitals.
William Friese-Greene experimented with celluloid and motion pictures in his studio in the 1870s, developing some of the earliest movie camera technology. He is credited as being one of the inventors of cinematography.
Satirist and Political journalist William Hone was born in Bath in 1780.
Taking the waters is described in Charles Dickens' novel The Pickwick Papers in which Pickwick's servant, Sam Weller, comments that the water has "a very strong flavour o' warm flat irons". The Royal Crescent is the venue for a chase between two characters, Dowler and Winkle. Moyra Caldecott's novel The Waters of Sul is set in Roman Bath in AD 72, and The Regency Detective, by David Lassman and Terence James, revolves around the exploits of Jack Swann investigating deaths in the city during the early 1800s. Richard Brinsley Sheridan's play The Rivals takes place in the city, as does Roald Dahl's chilling short story, "The Landlady".
Many films and television programmes have been filmed using its architecture as the backdrop, including the 2004 film of Thackeray's Vanity Fair, The Duchess (2008), The Elusive Pimpernel (1950) and The Titfield Thunderbolt (1953). In 2012, Pulteney Weir was used as a replacement location during post production of the film adaptation of Les Misérables. Stunt shots were filmed in October 2012 after footage acquired during the main filming period was found to have errors.
In August 2003 The Three Tenors sang at a concert to mark the opening of the Thermae Bath Spa, a new hot water spa in the city centre, but delays to the project meant the spa actually opened three years later on 7 August 2006. In 2008, 104 decorated pigs were displayed around the city in a public art event called "King Bladud's Pigs in Bath". It celebrated the city, its origins and artists. Decorated pig sculptures were displayed throughout the summer and were auctioned to raise funds for Two Tunnels Greenway.
OS grid reference ST750645
• London 97 miles (156 km) E
Bath and North East Somerset
Becoming a Freemason in England
Becoming a Freemason in United Kingdom
Post town BATH
Postcode district BA1, BA2
Dialling code 01225
Police Avon and Somerset
Ambulance South Western
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Official name City of Bath
Criteria Cultural: i, ii, iv
Inscription 1987 (11th session)
Area 2,900 ha