The year 2023 marks the Tercentenary of the publication of the Constitutions of the Freemasons in London in 1723, commonly known as Anderson’s Constitutions. This document, authored by James Anderson, played a pivotal role in shaping Modern Freemasonry into what we recognise today. To commemorate this historic milestone, the Lodge of Silent Temple No. 126 organised an enlightening evening on October 9th, 2023, at Manchester Hall on Bridge Street. Dr Ric Berman, who had been part of the celebrations during a special meeting in London earlier that year, delivered a captivating lecture.
Understanding the Historical Significance:
The evening lecture delved into the rich history, charges, and regulations underpinning the Fraternity, the foundation of Modern Freemasonry. The Premier Grand Lodge of England commissioned Anderson’s Constitutions to standardise the rituals and practices across the lodges in London and Westminster operating under the Grand Lodge.
The Lodge’s proceedings were gracefully conducted by the Worshipful Master Mark Davies, who, as Assistant Provincial Grand Master, extended the gavel to the Right Worshipful Brother Robert Frankl, the Provincial Grand Master. Also in attendance was Very Worshipful Brother John Richard Farrington, Deputy Provincial Grand Master. Assistant Provincial Grand Masters also graced the event: John Anthony Griffin, Mark William Davis, Dave McGurty, Peter Rhodes, The Reverend Canon Richard Whishaw Hawkins, and Peter Hegarty. Additionally, key Senior Officers included Worshipful Brother John Curry as the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, Worshipful Brother Chris Wildman as the Provincial Grand Secretary, Worshipful Brother Paul Bowen as the second Provincial Grand Principal, and Worshipful Brother Paul O’Carroll as the Provincial Junior Grand Warden.
A Journey into the Past:
Dr Ric Berman commenced his presentation by discussing James Anderson, his revolutionary ideas, and the significant milestone of having over 100 lodges by 1730. This rapid expansion transformed Freemasonry into one of Britain’s most prominent fraternal organisations, attracting men from all walks of life. Anderson’s Constitutions acted as a conduit, spreading Masonic light to every corner of the globe.
Dr Berman further enlightened the audience about the formation of the Grand Lodge, providing an overview of the key figures involved, including the three main authors of the constitutions, Desaguliers, Payne and Anderson and also the first noble Grand Master, the Duke of Montagu. He also detailed the contents of the Constitutions and how they diverged from previous practices, leaving a lasting impact that reverberated worldwide.
Evolving Through the Years:
One fascinating aspect explored during the lecture was the Constitution’s role in laying the foundation of the legend of Hiram Abiff, King Solomon’s chief architect, and the pyramid-style organisational model of Freemasonry. Dr Berman’s articulate and straightforward presentation enabled everyone in attendance to grasp the profound significance of Freemasonry’s evolution and its enduring relevance. The Brethren were then treated to a thirty-minute film explaining the constitutions’ development.
A Mystical Journey and Interaction:
Following Dr Berman’s enlightening presentation, the brethren in the Lodge room were encouraged to ask questions and engage in discussions, enhancing their understanding of the subject.
The Provincial Grand Master Robert Frankl thanked Dr Berman for his presentation and returned the gavel to Worshipful Brother Mark Davies; he then retired from the lodge with his deputation. A special thank you was extended to Worshipful Brother Tom Daniels and Brother Hiten Patel, without whose contributions this enlightening evening would not have been possible. The Manchester Level Club’s presence, always upholding Freemasonry’s spirit, was acknowledged and appreciated.
Learn more about the 1723 Constitutions by visiting. https://www.1723constitutions.com/
Written by Bro. Francesco Toto