Looking to the future
At an historic gathering, research Lodges
and Associations under the English
Constitution met under the umbrella of
the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE)
and Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076,
the premier Lodge of Masonic research.
The meeting was jointly chaired by
former Grand Secretary Jim Daniel, Master
of Quatuor Coronati Lodge, and John
Hamill, UGLE Director of Communications.
Professor Andrew Prescott of the
Centre for Research into Freemasonry
at the University of Sheffield, and Diane
Clements, Director of the Library & Museum
of Freemasonry, presented updates and
Jim Daniel, referring to the research
papers published in the Transactions of
Quatuor Coronati Lodge, commented:
"It is difficult to find papers for publication.
There are fewer members of the Craft
interested in genuine original research or
are willing or able to undertake it. We
are concerned that our Transactions are not
recognised in the academic world, and we
want to explore ways of raising the standard
actual and perceived of our Transactions.
"We therefore thought it would be useful
to get a snapshot of the research situation,
warts and all, and then to consider whether
and how things should and can be improved."
Both Jim Daniel and John Hamill
underlined the importance of Masonic
research not just as an academic or quasi-academic activity, but to educate members
of the Craft, and provide factual information
about Freemasonry to the wider public.
Jim Daniel said: "We know that other
research Lodges and Associations exist within
the English Constitution, but suspect that the
current state of communication among them
and with such resources as the Library &
Museum of Freemasonry and the Centre
for Research into Freemasonry may not be
working to everyone's advantage."
He urged more people to undertake
research, producing valuable results
which could be published.
More than 30 research Lodges and
Associations were at the meeting, including
representatives from Jamaica and South
Africa, with Bob Cooper, Curator of the
Grand Lodge of Scotland Museum and
Library also in attendance.
John Hamill said: "Grand Lodge sees
Masonic research as an important aspect
of the ongoing policy on better informing
the outside world about Freemasonry.
"It is also seen as an important part of
Masonic education, particularly as new
members are keen to know what they have
joined, how it has evolved and how it fits into
society in general. Working with academics
is a key part of the policy of restoring the
public reputation of Freemasonry."
He added that the support of Grand
Lodge was not only in words but in hard
cash. Together with the Province of
Yorkshire West Riding and the Pro Grand
Master, Lord Northampton, Grand Lodge
had provided the first three years funding for
the Centre for Masonic Research at Sheffield
and Grand Lodge and Supreme Grand
Chapter would continue to provide the
main funding for Sheffield until at least 2009.
John Hamill said: "Grand Lodge has
introduced MQ magazine as a means of
direct communication with all members.
Each issue contains the results of research,
news on Masonic education as well as from
the Library and Museum and the other
He added that his last major project as
Librarian and Curator at Grand Lodge had
been to establish charitable status for
the Library and Museum, enabling it
to be properly funded in a tax-efficient
way to enable it to attract monies from
He paid tribute to his successor, Diane
Clements, and her staff for the significant
amount of work they had undertaken
in the last five years to make more
of the collections more readily available
Diane had also succeeded in gaining
two major National Lottery Heritage
grants to enable two major tranches of
archive material to be properly catalogued
He went on: "Masonic research has a
great champion in the Pro Grand Master,
Lord Northampton. He has founded and
funded the Canonbury Research Centre,
with its concentration on the more esoteric
aspects of Freemasonry and its relationship
to other initiatic rites. He has given great
support to the Cornerstone Society,
Sheffield and to Freemasonry Today."
Representatives of research Lodges
and Associations presented briefs on their
work, which was varied, but showed
Diane Clements pointed out that objects
were also important for research as well as
text, including Masonic music. The Library
& Museum collection was now more
accessible via the Internet, and there was a
digital version of the membership records
and Grand Lodge proceedings 1813-2001.
The Library & Museum had received
funding for 450 documents on the history
of the two Freemasons' Halls and it was
planned to extend Lane's Masonic Records
1717-1894 into the 20th century, adding
those of the Royal Arch.
Web site created by Mark Griffin