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Freemasonry in Bradford
Becoming a Freemason in Bradford
Becoming a Freemason
Freemasonry describes itself as a "beautiful system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols". The symbolism is mainly, but not exclusively, drawn from the tools of stonemasons – the square and compasses, the level and plumb rule, the trowel, the rough and smooth ashlars, among others. Moral lessons are attributed to each of these tools, although the assignment is by no means consistent. The meaning of the symbolism is taught and explored through ritual, and in lectures and articles by individual Masons who offer their personal insights and opinions.
All Freemasons begin their journey in the "craft" by being progressively "initiated", "passed" and "raised" into the three degrees of Craft, or Blue Lodge Masonry. During these three rituals, the candidate is progressively taught the Masonic symbols, and entrusted with grips or tokens, signs and words to signify to other Masons which degrees he has taken. The dramatic allegorical ceremonies include explanatory lectures, and revolve around the construction of the Temple of Solomon, and the artistry and death of the chief architect, Hiram Abiff. The degrees are those of "Entered apprentice", "Fellowcraft" and "Master Mason". While many different versions of these rituals exist, with various lodge layouts and versions of the Hiramic legend, each version is recognisable to any Freemason from any jurisdiction.
In some jurisdictions, the main themes of each degree are illustrated by tracing boards. These painted depictions of Masonic themes are exhibited in the lodge according to which degree is being worked, and are explained to the candidate to illustrate the legend and symbolism of each degree.
The idea of Masonic brotherhood probably descends from a 16th-century legal definition of a "brother" as one who has taken an oath of mutual support to another. Accordingly, Masons swear at each degree to keep the contents of that degree secret, and to support and protect their brethren unless they have broken the law. In most Lodges the oath or obligation is taken on a Volume of Sacred Law, whichever book of divine revelation is appropriate to the religious beliefs of the individual brother (usually the Bible in the Anglo-American tradition). In Progressive continental Freemasonry, books other than scripture are permissible, a cause of rupture between Grand Lodges.
The historical record shows two levels of organisation in medieval Masonry, the lodge and the "guild". The original use of the word lodge indicates a workshop erected on the site of a major work, the first mention being Vale Royal Abbey in 1278. Later, it gained the secondary meaning of the community of masons in a particular place. The earliest surviving records of these are the laws and ordinances of the lodge at York Minster in 1352. These regulations were imposed by the Dean and Chapter of the Minster.
Nineteenth-century historians imposed the term "guild" on the "fellowships" of medieval tradesmen as an analogy with the merchant guilds. The masons were late in forming such bodies. The major employer of masons in medieval England was the crown, and the crown frequently employed masons by impressment. In other words, they were forcibly recruited when the need arose.
The Halliwell Manuscript, also called Regius Poem, is the oldest known document of masonic origin. It was published in 1840 by Shakespearean scholar and collector James Halliwell who dated it to 1390. A. F. A. Woodford, the pioneering Masonic scholar and a founder of Quatuor Coronati Lodge, agreed with this dating. More recently, historian Andrew Prescott has dated the text to the second quarter of the fifteenth century.
The poem may be seen as a response to a stream of legislation dating back to the Black Death, and the Statute of Labourers of 1351, in which Edward III attempted to fix wages at pre-plague levels. The earlier date follows the 1389 ordinance of Richard II requiring the guilds and fellowships to lay before him their Charters and Letters Patent, and the second follows the more serious legislation of 1425 banning the annual assemblies of masons.
In 1356, the preamble to regulations governing the Trade of Masons specifically states that, unlike the other trades, no body existed for the regulation of Masonry by masons. Finally, in 1376, four representatives of the "mystery" or trade are elected to the Common Council in London. This also seems to be the first use of the word "freemason" in English. It was immediately struck out, and replaced with the word "mason".
The poem claims that these assemblies were ordained by King Athelstan and that he also linked the wages of a mason to the cost of living.
The Cooke Manuscript, dating from about 1450, set the pattern for what Anderson called the "Gothic Constitutions", the older histories and regulations of the craft. After a brief blessing, these documents describe the seven Liberal Arts, assigning predominance to Geometry, which is equated with Masonry. They then proceed to a history of Masonry/geometry, finishing with King Athelstan, or Edwin, his brother or son depending on source, assembling England's masons to give them their charges. The regulations or charges follow, usually with instructions as to the manner in which a new mason should swear to them.
The City of Bradford (/ˈbrædfərd/ (About this soundlisten)) is a local government district of West Yorkshire, England, with the status of a city and metropolitan borough. It is named after its largest settlement, Bradford, but covers a far larger area which includes the towns and villages of Keighley, Shipley, Bingley, Ilkley, Haworth, Silsden, Queensbury, Thornton and Denholme. Bradford has a population of 528,155, making it the fourth-most populous metropolitan district and the sixth-most populous local authority district in England. It forms part of the West Yorkshire Urban Area conurbation which in 2011 had a population of 1,777,934, and the city is part of the Leeds-Bradford Larger Urban Zone (LUZ), which, with a population of 2,393,300, is the fourth largest in the United Kingdom after London, Birmingham and Manchester.
The city is situated on the edge of the Pennines, and is bounded to the east by the City of Leeds, the south east by the Metropolitan Borough of Kirklees and the south west by the Metropolitan Borough of Calderdale. The Pendle borough of Lancashire lies to the west, whilst the Craven and Harrogate boroughs of North Yorkshire lie to the north west and north east of the city. Bradford is the 4th largest metropolitan district in the country, and the contiguous urban area to the north which includes the towns of Shipley and Bingley is heavily populated. The spa town of Ilkley lies further north, whilst the town of Keighley lies to the west. Roughly two thirds of the district is rural, with an environment varying from moorlands in the north and west, to valleys and floodplains formed by the river systems that flow throughout the district. More than half of Bradford's land is green open space, stretching over part of the Airedale and Wharfedale Valleys, across the hills and the Pennine moorland between. The Yorkshire Dales and the Peak District are both in close proximity.
The City of Bradford has architecture designated as being of special or historic importance, most of which were constructed with local stone, with 5,800 listed buildings and 59 conservation areas. The model village of Saltaire has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Central Bradford rose to prominence during the 19th century as an international centre of textile manufacture, particularly wool. The area's access to a supply of coal, iron ore and soft water facilitated the growth of Bradford's manufacturing base, which, as textile manufacture grew, led to an explosion in population and was a stimulus to civic investment. However, Bradford has faced similar challenges to the rest of the post-industrial area of northern England, including deindustrialisation, housing problems, and economic deprivation. Wool and textiles still play an important part in the city's economy, but today's fastest-growing sectors include information technology, financial services, digital industries, environmental technologies, cultural industries, tourism and retail headquarters and distribution. Bradford's reputation as a base for high technology, scientific and computer-based industries is growing, building on a long tradition of innovation, high skill levels and quality products.
Bradford has experienced significant levels of immigration throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. In the 1840s Bradford's population was significantly increased by migrants from Ireland, particularly rural Mayo and Sligo, and by 1851 around 18,000 people of Irish origin resided in the town, representing around 10% of the population, the largest proportion in Yorkshire. Around the same time there was also an influx of German Jewish migrants to the town, and by 1910 around 1,500 people of German origin resided in the city. In the 1950s there was large scale immigration from South Asia and to a lesser extent from Poland. Bradford has the second highest proportion in England and Wales outside London, in terms of population (behind Birmingham) and in percentage (behind Slough, Leicester, Luton and Blackburn with Darwen). An estimated 140,149 people of South Asian origin reside in the city, representing around 26.83% of the city's population. An estimated 352,317 of all White ethnic groups reside in the city which includes people of Polish and Irish origin, representing around 67.44% of the city's population.
Becoming a Freemason in United Kingdom
Becoming a Freemason in England
Region Yorkshire and the Humber
Ceremonial county West Yorkshire
Historic county Yorkshire
Admin HQ Bradford
Borough charter 1847
City status 1897
City of Bradford Met. District created 1974
• Type Metropolitan borough, City
• Governing body City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council
• Council Leader Susan Hinchcliffe (Lab)
• Lord Mayor Cllr Doreen Lee (Lab)
• Deputy Lord Mayor Cllr Shabir Hussain (Lab)
• MPs: Philip Davies (Con)
Naz Shah (Lab)
Robbie Moore (Con) Judith Cummins (Lab)
Imran Hussain (Lab)
• Total 143 sq mi (370 km2)
Population (mid-2019 est.)
• Total 539,776 (Ranked 7th)
• Density 3,341/sq mi (1,290/km2)
(2011 census) 67.44% White
26.83% Asian or Asian British
1.77% Black or Black British
2.48% Mixed Race
1.48% Chinese and other
Time zone UTC+0 (Greenwich Mean Time)
Area code(s) 01274 (urban core/wider city)
ISO 3166-2 GB-BFD
ONS code 00CX (ONS)
NUTS 3 UKE41
OS grid reference SE164331