An Introduction to Hampshire & Isle of Wight Freemasonry
By the Provincial Grand Master
Visitors reading this may have made their own enquiries as to what Freemasonry is all about and wish to know more about Freemasonry in this area of Hampshire and Isle of Wight. There is a host of information on the United Grand Lodge of England website and I do not propose repeating in this Introduction information which is freely available elsewhere.
For my part, Freemasonry is effectively an organisation which “makes men” through participation in a series of plays or ritual dramas through which we learn a better understanding of ourselves leading to general improvement of character and moral fibre. I can do no better than quote from one of those rituals which effectively summarises the position which is that if you apply in your own life the teachings you encounter as you progress through Freemasonry then “you will become a more responsible citizen, a more compassionate father, a more loving husband, a more dutiful son and a more complete man”
That’s Freemasonry. It is of course a male organisation. Our brethren enjoy the fellowship and camaraderie which they experience working together in the Lodge room; and then afterwards at the dinner which usually follows our meetings. Families are involved through social and other events organised by Lodges, individual brethren, or by the Province. Families also benefit from the development of a brother’s character, which inevitably flows from his involvement in the Craft.
As to our Province, it was founded in 1869 when the independent Provinces of Hampshire (founded 1767) and Isle of Wight (founded 1772) combined. We therefore trace our history back almost 250 years. The Province consists of 11,500 Brethren each of whom will be a member of one or more of the 253 Lodges in the Province. It can be seen from the List of Towns where Lodges meet that our Lodges cover the entire County.
Each Lodge is an autonomous body run by its members headed by a Worshipful Master supported by various administrative and other officers. Lodge membership varies enormously from, say, 30 to 100 or more; the number of meetings which a Lodge holds each year likewise can vary enormously from two or three to ten or even twelve.
Some Lodges were founded because of a common interest amongst brethren in a particular area or field of activity. And so within the Province we have military Lodges (some for a particular service, others combined services), Old School Lodges, University Lodges, and professional Lodges. Usually these Lodges will accept members from all walks of life, provided they uphold the ideals for which the Lodge was founded originally.
Once a man has been initiated into a Lodge he becomes a member of a worldwide fraternity, he can join Lodges in other areas subject of course to being proposed and seconded and will know that wherever he travels in the world there will be a Masonic presence, Lodges for him to visit and therefore instant friendship and fellowship.
If as a member of the public you would like to know more about our organisation, or wish to consider joining a Lodge within Hampshire (which includes Bournemouth!) and Isle of Wight please contact the Provincial Grand Secretary.
Link to the United Grand Lodge of England website
The Provincial Grand Master’s Addresses at our Annual Meetings, together with his Investiture Address can all be found by utilizing the navigation on the right hand side of the PGM’s page.