The Foundations of Modern Freemasonry


Collected notes and facts from Bill McElligotts files:-

 John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough,

was both a military commander and a politician. Churchill was commander-in-chief of the English forces that fought in the War of Spanish Succession. While his military fame is secure, his political role is less well known – but along with Robert Harley and Sidney Godolphin, he was part of the Triumvirate who served Queen Anne.


Marlborough was born on May 24th, 1650. He was the third son of Winston Churchill who was a Royalist during the English Civil War. The war had impoverished the Churchill’s. Marlborough was educated privately and at St. Paul’s School in London. He furthered his education at Court where he served as a page to the Duke of York (the future James II). Marlborough married in secret. His wife was Sarah, the daughter of Robert Jennings.


Marlborough gained a commission in the Foot Guards in 1667. His sister Arabella, who was the Duke of York’s mistress, may well have aided his initial military career. Marlborough, however, made a name for himself during campaigns in Tangiers (1668 to 1670) and in the third Anglo-Dutch War from 1672 to 1674. While Marlborough’s military career went from strength to strength, so did the social rise of his wife Sarah. She became Lady-in-Waiting to Princess Anne, the youngest daughter of the future James II and who also became Queen Anne.


When James II became king Marlborough became second-in-command of the English army. It was Marlborough’s army that defeated the Duke of Monmouth in the summer of 1685, which cemented the royal authority of James. However, Marlborough opposed the king’s pro-Catholic views and his attempts to catholicise England.


In the 1688 Revolution he joined William of Orange’s forces at Axminster on November 24th. The next day, Sarah and Princess Anne left London and joined the rebels at Nottingham. To some Marlborough’s move was an obvious one. Though Marlborough continued to prosper in the reign of William, the king had little time for him as a person (though not as a military leader). The one overriding issue William found hard to juggle was the fact that as second-in-command of the king’s army Marlborough had simply upped sticks and moved over to William’s side as he advanced from Torbay in Devon. It was something he was never comfortable with as he placed loyalty above all else. For William, if Marlborough could do this in 1688, what was to stop him doing something similar in William’s reign? This was one of the reasons why William failed to honour Marlborough with becoming a Knight of the Garter. The honour had an air of chivalry about it – something that William did not believe that Marlborough had. However, William put aside his personal views on Marlborough and recognised his military value to the nation.


Under William III, Marlborough became the Earl of Marlborough in 1689 and joined the Privy Council. However, his political and military careers were thrown off track when he was arrested for a supposed part in a Jacobite plot to assassinate William. He lost all his offices and was imprisoned in the Tower of London for six weeks in 1692. He was brought back into the fold in 1694 as European issues came to the fore. It became clear that Louis XIV had not ended his attempt to take over more parts of Europe and many feared his design on Spain. Few were surprised when the War of Spanish Succession broke out.


Few things could have suited Marlborough more. Accused of being part of a plot to murder the king left him tainted in the eyes of some – even though the accusation was false. The war was a perfect way for Marlborough to demonstrate his loyalty and service to the king. He became Captain-General of the English Army in the Netherlands. He was also appointed Ambassador-Extraordinary with a brief to form a Grand Alliance against Louis. In August/September 1701 this was signed with Holland and with Emperor Leopold I. When William III died in March 1702, Marlborough became the political and military leader of the war effort against France.


The War of Spanish Succession dominated politics in Britain. Anne effectively left government to Harley, Godolphin and Marlborough – the Triumvirate. Politically, Marlborough was third in line to Harley and Godolphin and he was described as being politically timid. Marlborough relied on his two partners to raise the necessary finance for the war. Within the field of politics, Marlborough’s military reputation stood him in good stead. Politicians were certainly not subservient to Marlborough but they respected what he stood for.


It was in the War of Spanish Succession that Marlborough extended his fame. He was not a military innovator but Marlborough used what he had at his disposal to great effect.

He was a soldier of genius who, without innovating, used the strategy, tactics and equipment of his day to perfection, and who performed miracles of organisation.” (E N Williams)


Marlborough’s military success was great. He captured Bonn (May 1703) and was victorious at Blenheim in Bavaria (August 1704), Ramillies in the Netherlands (May 1706), Oudenarde in the Netherlands (July/August 1708) and Malplaquet (August/September 1709). In recognition of these victories, Queen Anne granted him £5000 a year for the duration of her life – though it was eventually to be made for his life. Emperor Leopold I made Marlborough Prince of Mindelheim – though the Bavarian town was returned to the government of Bavaria in the Peace of Utrecht.


In February 1705, the Queen and a grateful Parliament gave him the royal manor at Woodstock with its 16,000 acres of land on which he built Blenheim Palace – with the help of more public money.


However, the country became weary of the war and the financial burdens it brought. His influence at court was reduced when his wife was replaced as Anne’s favourite by Mrs Masham – a cousin of Robert Harley who was becoming more and more sceptic about the war. Marlborough and Godolphin had to rely on the Whigs to get anything through Parliament and many assumed that the Whigs had a vested financial interest in keeping the war going. In private, Marlborough was not supportive of the Whig belief that Spain had to be part of the peace settlement. However, with his position at court weakened, he publicly supported their “No peace without Spain” demand.


Anne turned to the Tories in 1710. Marlborough was dismissed on December 31st 1711 and Sarah was effectively removed from the Royal Court at the same time. After this, Marlborough sent his time travelling around Europe. However, he had taken the time to court support amongst Hanoverians.


When George I was crowned king in 1714, Marlborough had all his offices restored. This was a symbolic gesture of thanks and recognition by the king as when he was Elector George of Hanover, he would have been more aware than most of the threat of Louis XIV – a threat not keenly felt in a nation protected by the English Channel and the Royal Navy


Samuel Pepys

was born on February 23rd 1633 near Fleet Street in London. Pepys is best known for his diaries written between 1660 and 1671 that include descriptions of major events such as the coronation of Charles II, the impact of the plague in London in 1665 and the Great Fire of 1666.


Pepys was educated at Huntington Grammar School before moving to St. Paul’s School in London between 1646 and about 1650. Samuel Pepys was present at the execution of Charles I in January 1649. In 1651, Pepys joined Magdalene College, Oxford University, graduating in 1651.


After university, Pepys joined the household of Sir Edward Montagu – his father’s cousin. He spent a great deal of his working life at the Admiralty. Pepys was a very effective worker and is credited with helping to modernise the Royal Navy as it stood then. In July 1660, Pepys took up his appointment as Clerk of the Acts for the Navy Board, which gave him an annual salary of £350. It is known that someone offered him £1000 for the post – a sign of how important the position was. The offer was refused.


Pepys married a fourteen years old French girl called Elizabeth Marchant de St. Michel. They frequently quarrelled as a result of Pepys’ infidelities and this aspect of their marriage is written about in detail in the diaries. However, he disguised his writing by using a variety of foreign languages or shorthand so as to confuse his wife if she attempted to read his diary entries. Elizabeth died on November 10th 1669. Though their marriage had its stormy moments, Pepys commissioned a monument for his late wife in the church of St. Olave’s in London.


Pepys began writing his diaries on January 1st 1660 when he was aged 26. Pepys was an expert observer of people and while his diaries are rightly famous for his description of major events such as the Plague and the Great Fire, they also give great detail on the normal people of London who lived there at the time. Just occasionally, the narrative moves out of describing London, but the bulk of the work is on the city itself.


He stopped writing them in 1671 when his eyesight had badly deteriorated.


In 1673, Pepys was elected MP for Castle Rising in Norfolk. In the same year he was appointed Secretary to the Admiralty Commission. In 1679, Pepys became MP for Harwich. However, his rise to power in the Admiralty and other areas (he became Master of Trinity House in 1676) had made him enemies. In May 1679, Pepys was arrested and placed in the Tower of London after being charged with treasonable activities – being engaged in correspondence with people in France. He was released in July 1679 but the charge was not dropped until June 1680.


In June 1684 Pepys was once again appointed to a senior post in the Royal Navy – King’s Secretary for the Affairs of the Admiralty – a position he held under two kings – Charles II and James II. Pepys became a loyal supporter of James and when the king fled in 1685, Pepys found himself out on a limb. He found no support from William III or Mary II and just one week after their coronation, Pepys tended his resignation from the Admiralty.


Pepys again spent short periods of time in the Tower but he was never charged and after his final release he moved out of London – to Clapham (then in the countryside) and he lived here until he died on May 26th 1703.


Though famous for his diary entries, Pepys is less well known as someone who corresponded with two of the great minds of the era – Sir Christopher Wren and Sir Isaac Newton. He is remembered in the world of mathematics in the ‘Newton-Pepys Problem’. This was a mathematical debate on whether you were more likely to throw a six with six dice or two sixes using twelve dice. Pepys’ name is on the front of ‘Principia Mathematica’ by Newton – which included Newton’s laws on gravity and motion.


Pepys also spent many years collecting books and manuscripts and meticulously referencing them. He had no children and bequeathed his estate to his nephew John Jackson. The unique collection eventually went to Magdalene College in 1723 (on the death of Jackson) where it remains to this day. It contains over 3,000 books and manuscripts and included early English Bibles by William Caxton and Drake’s nautical pocket almanac. 


Timeline of events respective to Freemasonry:


1665 = Plague kills 20% of London’s population

1666 = Great Fire of London

1678 = Second Test Act (barring all Catholics from parliament)

1681 = Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh founded

1682 = National Library of Scotland founded

1683 = Establishment of the Asmolean Museum in Oxford based on the collection of Elias Ashmole

1687 = Sir Isaac Newton publishes law of gravitation

1689 = Toleration Act re-introduced a level of toleration of Nonconformists(excl. Catholics & Unitarians)

1694 = Foundation of Bank of England

1701 = Act of Settlement barred Catholics from the throne

1707 = Act of Union

1714 = George I King of Great Britain (Crowned)

1717 = Freemasons Grand Lodge of England founded

1725 = Freemasons Grand Lodge of Ireland founded

1727 = George II King of Great Britain (Crowned)

1736 = Freemasons Grand Lodge of Scotland founded

1745 = Start of Jacobite rebellion (the ’45)

1752 = London Mansion House completed

1760 = George III King of Great Britain (Crowned)

1771 = Lloyd’s founded as Marine Insurance Company

1782 = The Home Office established

1782 = Foundation of the Foreign Office

1783 = Parliament proclaims an end to hostilities in America

1786 = Robert Burns publishes “Poems, chiefly in the Scottish dialect”

1796 = Robert Burns died

1800 = Royal College of Surgeons of London founded by charter

1807 = Slavery abolished in the British Empire

1820 = George IV King of Great Britain (Crowned)

1833 = Slavery abolished throughout British Empire









Coffee Houses

Lloyd’s of London is a British insurance market. It serves as a meeting place where multiple financial backers or “members”, whether individuals (traditionally known as “Names”) or corporations, come together to pool and spread risk. Unlike most of its competitors in the reinsurance market, it is not a company. The Society of Lloyd’s was incorporated by Lloyd’s Act 1871.

The market began in Edward Lloyd’s coffeehouse around 1688 in Tower Street, London. His establishment was a popular place for sailors, merchants, and shipowners and Lloyd catered to them with reliable shipping news. The shipping industry community frequented the place to discuss insurance deals among themselves. Just after Christmas 1691, the coffee shop relocated to Lombard Street, where a blue plaque commemorates its location. This arrangement carried on long after Lloyd’s death in 1713 until 1774 when the participating members of the insurance arrangement formed a committee and moved to the Royal Exchange as The Society of Lloyd’s.

Between 1688 and 1807, one of the primary sources of Lloyds business was the insurance of ships engaged in slave trading, as Britain established itself as the chief slave trading power in the Atlantic. Slave trading became one of the primary constituents of all British trade, and its dangers meant that insurance of the ships was a major concern. With slave-trading forming such a prominent part of Lloyds business, the organisation was one of the chief opponents to abolition of the trade.

History of Lloyds
In the 17th Century London’s importance as a trade centre led to an increasing demand for ship and cargo insurance.

Lloyd’s coffee house became recognised as the place for obtaining marine insurance.
From its first beginnings in Edward Lloyd’s Coffee House in 1688, Lloyd’s has been a pioneer in insurance. Starting with its roots in marine insurance, Lloyd’s has grown over 300 years to become the world’s leading market for specialist insurance.

From 17th century shipping and Lord Nelson’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar, through the devastation of the San Francisco earthquake in 1906, and on to the emergence of space satellite technology in the late 20th century, the story of Lloyd’s is both a long and an interesting one.

At 5.13am on 18 April 1906, San Francisco, the seventh largest city in the US, shook, crumbled and then burned to the ground. A massive earthquake, measuring 8.25 on the Richter Scale, brought the city to its knees, sparking uncontrollable fires that raged out of control for three days, taking several thousand lives and making half of the population homeless.

The disaster had a profound effect on the insurance industry of today. Prominent Lloyd’s underwriter, Cuthbert Heath famously instructed his San Franciscan agent to ‘pay all claims’. The quake also laid the foundations for many of today’s modern risk modelling and building practices.

The Coffee House

In 1652, Pasqua Rosee opened a coffee-house in St. Michael’s Alley, Cornhill, London. A native of Smyrna, a port in Western Turkey, where the young man had learned to prepare the beverage, Rosee had been brought to London by a merchant named Daniel Edwards, whose friends so liked the unique brew that he allowed his servant to open the city’s first coffee-house.

The coffee-house itself was not unique to London. As Francis Bacon noted in his Sylva Sylvarum in 1627, “They have in Turkey a drink called Coffee, and they take it, and sit at it in their Coffee Houses, which are like our Taverns.”

The London coffee-houses provided a gathering place where, for a penny admission charge, any man who was reasonably dressed could smoke his long, clay pipe, sip a dish of coffee, read the newsletters of the day, or enter into conversation with other patrons.

Naturally, this dissemination of news led to the dissemination of ideas, and the coffee-house served as a forum for their discussion. As the eminent social historian G. M. Trevelyan observed: “The ‘Universal liberty of speech of the English nation’…was the quintessence of Coffee House life.”

The patrons of the coffee-houses agreed to conform to the strict rules of the establishments. According to the posted “Rules and Orders of the Coffee House,” all men were equal in these establishments, and none need give his place to a “Finer” man. Anyone who swore was made to “forfeit twelve pence,” and the man who began a quarrel “shall give each man a dish t’atone the sin.” “Maudlin lovers” were forbidden “here in Corners to mourn,” for all were expected to “be brisk, and talk, but not too much,” “Sacred Things” must be excluded from conversation, and the patrons could neither “profane Scripture, nor saucily wrong Affairs of State with an irreverent tongue.” In many establishments, games of chance as well as cards were prohibited, and any wager was limited to five shillings, a sum which was to “be spent In such Good Liquor as the House doth vent.”

Even during the plague and the great fire that followed it, Londoners continued to visit their favourite coffee-houses. Neither Samuel Pepys nor Daniel Defoe, for example, could be persuaded to forgo his daily visit to the coffee-house during this dreadful time, but like every citizen, each was prudent. Patrons of coffee-houses were no longer prepared to talk freely with strangers, and would approach even close acquaintances only after inquiring after their health and that of the family at home. The plague and the fire did much to curtail the prosperity and popularity of the coffee-house, but only for a short time. Once these dangers were past, the coffee-house again assumed its place as the major social institution of its day.

The coffee-house established by William Urwin in Russell Street, Covent Garden, achieved a fame far beyond it founder’s hopes – Pepys and Pope, frequented the coffee-house.

Yet the literary coffee-houses were not the only seats of learning. In fact, according to the announcement in The Tatler, “learning” was to be reported “under the title of the Graecian,” for it was at this establishment in Devereaux Court, Strand, that the “Learned Club,” as the Fellows of the Royal Society were called, continued its regular meetings in a social way. The president of the Society, Sir Isaac Newton, Professor Halley, the great astronomer, and Sir Hans Sloane, a collector whose curiosities were to form the basis of the collections of the British Museum, as well as other learned men, frequented the Graecian Coffee-house where, as was reported in The Tatler,

It was in 1697, however, that the coffee-house exerted its greatest influence on the business community, for it was in that year that the merchants, bothered by their presence, had the stock-jobbers removed from the Royal Exchange. With their expulsion from the Exchange, the stock-jobbers moved their dealings to the neighbouring coffee-houses, taking over many of the customary haunts of the shippers, traders, underwriters, and merchants engaged in maritime trade. Thus, for seventy-six years, until 1773 when it was moved to quarters behind the Royal Exchange, the nation’s stock exchange operated from the coffee-houses, most notably Jonathan’s and Garraway’s.

What is the Masonic connection of any.

The first record of the ‘making’ of an English Freemason is Elias Ashmole, the antiquarian and herald, whose collections formed the basis of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. He recorded in his diary that a lodge met at his father-in-law’s house in Warrington, Cheshire on 16 October 1646 to make him a Mason. None of those involved was a stonemason. In the later 1600s there is further evidence for the existence of Freemasonry as a separate organisation unrelated to groups controlling the stonemason’s craft.

Organised Freemasonry became established on 24 June 1717 when four London lodges came together at the Goose and Gridiron Ale House, St Paul’s Churchyard, formed themselves into a Grand Lodge and elected Anthony Sayer, Gentleman, as their Grand Master – the first Grand Lodge in the world. Initially the Grand Lodge was simply an annual feast for lodges in London but in 1721 John, Duke of Montagu, was elected Grand Master and the Grand Lodge met in ‘quarterly communication’ and began to establish itself as a regulatory body, attracting to it lodges meeting outside London.

The Royal Society
In the beginning of Speculative Fraternity under the Grand Lodge system the Freemasons avowed their devotion to the sciences more boldly, and even dramatically. The Royal Society was in the British public mind synonymous with science, and for more than a century it, and its offshoots, were the only exponents and practitioners of science in Britain. It began in 1660 and took its first organized form at a meeting of scholars in Gresham College who had assembled to hear a lecture by Bro. Sir Christopher Wren. Sir Robert Moray was elected its first president, March 6, 1661 A.D.; he was made a Freemason at Newcastle-on-Tyne on May 20, 1641. Dr. Desaguliers, who later became its secretary for a long period of years, was the “father of the Grand Lodge System.” and was one of Sir Isaac Newton’s closest friends. A lodge largely composed of Royal Society members met in a room belonging to the Royal Society Club in London. At a time when preachers thundered against these scientists, when newspapers thundered against them, street crowds hooted at them, and neither Oxford nor Cambridge would admit science courses, masonic lodges invited Royal Society members in for lectures, many of which were accompanied by scientific demonstrations.

So one of the gentlemen one might find in the Grecian Coffee House was Isaac Newton, where sometimes he met de Moivre.

Jonathan’s Coffee House, in Exchange Alley, had merchants as customers and is now considered as developing into the London Stock Exchange. Hooke and Wren were often in Jonathan’s taking part in scientific discussions.

Talking of Newton, de Moivre, Hooke and Wren brings us back to our main topic of mathematics in the coffee houses of London. … ouses.html




The Royal Society

The Royal Society of London for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge, known simply as The Royal Society, is a learned society for science that was founded in 1660 and claims to be the oldest such society still in existence. Although a voluntary body, it serves as the academy of sciences of the United Kingdom (in which role it receives £40 million annually from the UK Government). The Royal Society is a member organization of the Science Council.

The Royal Society of Edinburgh (founded 1783) is a separate Scottish body. The Royal Irish Academy (founded 1785) is a separate Irish body.

The Royal Society was founded in 1660, only a few months after the Restoration of King Charles II, by members of one or two either secretive or informal societies already in existence. The Royal Society enjoyed the confidence and official support of the restored monarchy. The “New” or “Experimental” form of philosophy was generally ill-regarded by the Aristotelian (and religious) academies, but had been promoted by Sir Francis Bacon in his book The New Atlantis.

Robert Boyle refers to the “Invisible College” as early as 1646. A founding meeting was held at the premises of Gresham College in Bishopsgate on 28 November 1660, immediately after a lecture by Sir Christopher Wren, who was at that time Gresham Professor of Astronomy. At a second meeting a week later, Sir Robert Moray, an influential Freemason who had helped organise the public emergence of the group, reported that the King approved of the meetings. The Royal Society continued to meet at the premises of Gresham College and at Arundel House, the London home of the Dukes of Norfolk, until it moved to its own premises in Crane Court in 1710.

A formal Royal Charter of incorporation passed the Great Seal on 15 July 1662, creating “The Royal Society of London”, with Lord Brouncker as the first President, and Robert Hooke was appointed as Curator of Experiments in November 1662. A second Royal Charter was sealed on 23 April 1663, naming the King as Founder and changing the name to “The Royal Society of London for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge”.

The motto of the Royal Society, “Nullius in Verba” (Latin: “On the words of no one”), signifies the Society’s commitment to establishing the truth of scientific matters through experiment rather than through citation of authority. Although this seems obvious today, the philosophical basis of the Royal Society differed from previous philosophies such as Scholasticism, which established scientific truth based on deductive logic, concordance with divine providence and the citation of such ancient authorities as Aristotle.

A selected list of Presidents

  • Sir Christopher Wren (1680-1682)

  • Samuel Pepys (1684-1686)

  • Charles Montagu (1695-1698)

  • The Lord Somers (1698-1703)

  • Sir Isaac Newton (1703-1727)

  • Joseph Banks (1778-1820)

  • Sir Humphry Davy (1820-1827)

  • Prince Augustus, Duke of Sussex (1830-1838)

  • William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse (1848-1854)

  • Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker (1873-1878)

  • Thomas Henry Huxley (1883-1885)

  • George Gabriel Stokes (1885-1890)

  • William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin (1890-1895)

  • Joseph Lister, 1st Baron Lister (1895-1900)

  • Sir William Huggins (1900-1905)

  • John William Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh (1905-1908)

  • Sir Joseph John Thomson (1915-1920)

  • Sir Ernest Rutherford (1925-1930)

  • Sir William Henry Bragg (1935-1940)

  • Sir Henry Hallett Dale (1940-1945)

  • Robert May, Baron May of Oxford (2000-2005)

  • Martin Rees, Baron Rees of Ludlow (2005-)


The Grand Lodge was founded after George I, the first Hanoverian king of the Kingdom of Great Britain, ascended to the throne on 1 August 1714 and the end of the first Jacobite rising of 1715.

Officially, the Grand Lodge of England was founded on St. John the Baptist’s day, 24 June 1717, in London, when four Craft Lodges gathered at the Goose and Gridiron Ale-house in St. Paul’s Church-yard in London and constituted themselves a Grand Lodge. The four lodges had previously met together in 1716 at the Apple-Tree Tavern, “and having put into the Chair the oldest Master Mason (now the Master of a Lodge), they constituted themselves a Grand Lodge pro Tempore in due form.” It was at that meeting in 1716 that they resolved to hold the Annual Assembly and Feast and then choose a Grand Master from among themselves, which they did the following year. The four participating lodges were accustomed to meeting at the Goose and Gridiron Ale-house in St. Paul’s Church-yard (Lodge now called Lodge of Antiquity No. 2); the Crown Ale-house in Parker’s Lane near Drury Lane; the Apple-Tree Tavern in Charles Street, Covent Garden (Lodge now called Lodge of Fortitude and Old Cumberland No. 12); and at the Rummer and Grapes Tavern in Channel Row, Westminster (Lodge now called Royal Somerset House and Inverness Lodge No. IV). The Rummer and Grapes appears to have been a lodge of accepted and speculative masons, while the other three lodges were still mainly operative lodges.

During the early decades of the Grand Lodge it was not the “Grand Lodge of England,” either in name on in the minds of its members. Rather, it limited its jurisdiction to lodges in London and Westminster. This was a restriction that had applied to the old London Masons’ Company

George Payne, in his second term as Grand Master in 1720 wrote the General Regulations of a Free Mason, which were printed in 1722/3. In 1723 the Grand Lodge of England set up a constitution for Free and Accepted Masons The Constitutions of the Free-Masons containing the History, Charges, Regulations, & of that most Ancient and Right Worshipful Fraternity: For use of the Lodges, written by the Revd. Dr. James Anderson (1680-1739). A reworked version of the Constitutions was published in 1738 (by Anderson) and again in 1818 after the union of Ancients’ Grand Lodge and the Moderns Grand Lodge.

Had to remove article on copyright grounds but full article of – sorry readers. But ……….

“England Around 1717 – The Foundation of the First Grand Lodge in Context” can be found at:

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