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Freemasonry in Ely
Becoming a Freemason in Ely
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.
Ely is a cathedral city in Cambridgeshire, England, about 14 miles (23 km) north-northeast of Cambridge and about 80 miles (129 km) by road from London. Æthelthryth (also known as Etheldreda) founded an abbey at Ely in 673; the abbey was destroyed in 870 by Danish invaders and was rebuilt by Æthelwold, Bishop of Winchester, in 970. Construction of the cathedral was started in 1083 by a Norman abbot, Simeon. Alan of Walsingham's octagon, built over Ely's nave crossing between 1322 and 1328, is the "greatest individual achievement of architectural genius at Ely Cathedral", according to architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner. Building continued until the dissolution of the abbey in 1539 during the Reformation. The cathedral was sympathetically restored between 1845 and 1870 by the architect George Gilbert Scott. As the seat of a diocese, Ely has long been considered a city; in 1974, city status was granted by royal charter.
Ely is built on a 23-square-mile (60 km2) Kimmeridge Clay island which, at 85 feet (26 m), is the highest land in the Fens. Major rivers including the Witham, Welland, Nene and Great Ouse feed into the Fens and, until draining commenced in the 17th century, formed freshwater marshes and meres within which peat was laid down. There are two Sites of Special Scientific Interest in the city: a former Kimmeridge Clay quarry, and one of the United Kingdom's best remaining examples of medieval ridge and furrow agriculture.
The economy of the region is mainly agricultural. Before the Fens were drained, the harvesting of osier (willow) and sedge (rush) and the extraction of peat were important activities, as were eel fishing—from which the settlement's name may have been derived—and wildfowling. The city had been the centre of local pottery production for more than 700 years, including pottery known as Babylon ware. A Roman road, Akeman Street, passes through the city; the southern end is at Ermine Street near Wimpole and its northern end is at Brancaster. Little direct evidence of Roman occupation in Ely exists, although there are nearby Roman settlements such as those at Little Thetford and Stretham. A coach route, known to have existed in 1753 between Ely and Cambridge, was improved in 1769 as a turnpike (toll road). The present-day A10 closely follows this route; a southwestern bypass of the city was built in 1986. Ely railway station, built in 1845, is on the Fen Line and is now a railway hub, with lines north to King's Lynn, northwest to Peterborough, east to Norwich, southeast to Ipswich and south to Cambridge and London.
The King's School is a coeducational boarding school which was granted a royal charter in 1541 by Henry VIII; the school claims to have existed since 970. Henry I granted the first annual Fair, Saint Audrey's (or Etheldreda's) seven-day event, to the abbot and convent on 10 October 1189; the word "tawdry" originates from cheap lace sold at this fair. A weekly market has taken place since at least the 13th century. Current markets take place on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday and a twice-monthly Farmers' Market on the 2nd & 4th Saturday. Present-day annual events include the Eel Festival in May, established in 2004, and a fireworks display in Ely Park, first staged in 1974. The city of Ely has been twinned with Denmark's oldest town, Ribe, since 1956. Ely City Football Club was formed in 1885.
The west of Cambridgeshire is made up of limestones from the Jurassic period, whilst the east Cambridgeshire area consists of Cretaceous (upper Mesozoic) chalks known locally as clunch. In between these two major formations, the high ground forming the Isle of Ely is from a lower division Cretaceous system known as Lower Greensand which is capped by Boulder Clay; all local settlements, such as Stretham and Littleport, are on similar islands. These islands rise above the surrounding flat land which forms the largest plain of Britain[ix] from the Jurassic system of partly consolidated clays or muds. Kimmeridge Clay beds dipping gently west underlie the Lower Greensand of the area exposed, for example, about one mile (2 km) south of Ely in the Roswell Pits. The Lower Greensand is partly capped by glacial deposits forming the highest point in East Cambridgeshire, rising to 85 feet (26 m) above sea level in Ely. The low-lying fens surrounding the island of Ely were formed, prior to the 17th century, by alternate fresh-water and sea-water incursions. Major rivers in the region, including the Witham, Welland, Nene and Great Ouse, drain an area of some 6,000 square miles (16,000 km2)—five times larger than the fens—into the basin that forms the fens. Defoe in 1774 described the fens as "the sink of no less than thirteen Counties". On 23 November of that year, Church of England cleric and Christian theologician John Wesley, wrote of his approach to Ely after visiting Norwich: "about eight, Wednesday, 23, Mr. Dancer met me with a chaise [carriage] and carried me to Ely. Oh, what want of common sense! Water covered the high road for a mile and a half. I asked, 'How must foot-people come to the town?' 'Why, they must wade through!'" Peat formed in the fresh-water swamps and meres whilst silts were deposited by the slow-moving sea-water. Francis Russell, Earl of Bedford, supported by Parliament, financed the draining of the fens during the 17th century, led by the Dutch engineer Cornelius Vermuyden; the fens continue to be drained to this day.
Area 69 sq mi (180 km2)
• Density 291/sq mi (112/km2)
Becoming a Freemason in England
Becoming a Freemason in United Kingdom
Post town ELY
Postcode district CB6, CB7
Dialling code 01353
Ambulance East of England
South East Cambridgeshire