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Title: The changing face of English freemasonry, 1640-1740
Author: Kebbell, Peter
ISNI:       0000 0004 2678 048X
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2009
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The record of Robert Moray's initiation into freemasonry in Newcastle in 1641 is the first record of freemasonry on English soil. A century later, freemasonry had spread throughout the whole of England, with several thousand initiates partaking in regular meetings in over one hundred lodges. The English form of freemasonry had also spread across the world, with lodges in America, Europe, and Asia, mostly governed by the English Grand Lodge which acted as a governing body for English freemasonry around the world. This thesis tracks the development of English freemasonry during the first century of its recorded existence, charting the changing elements of freemasonic organisation which led to the centralisation of freemasonry under the Grand Lodge system, along with the developments in ritual, and the mythology which underlined that ritual, throughout the period. In charting these developments, the thesis questions the assumptions which have informed the writing of freemasonic history for the past two centuries, and seeks to investigate both the origins and the accuracy of those assumptions. Previous freemasonic history has relied on the significance of the formation of the English Grand Lodge in 1717 and the influence of certain individuals (particularly John Theophilus Desaguliers) to demonstrate a dramatic change in freemasonry during the early 1720s. This thesis will argue that, far from a dramatic change, the developments which took place during the second decade of the eighteenth century were part of a longer trend of development, and can not be fully understood by focussing on the centralisation of freemasonry under the English Grand Lodge which is a symptom, rather than a cause, of the changing face of English freemasonry.
Supervisor: Hutton, Ronald Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available