In 1716 four Lodges of Operative Masons met at the Apple Tree Tavern in London and decided to create a “Grand Lodge” to reorganize Freemasonry, which was slowly dying out. After the establishment of the Premier Grand Lodge the next year, 1717, one of the Lodges, the Rummer and Grapes, took a decidedly new direction that resulted in the creation of what would later become known as Speculative Freemasonry, the basis of modern Freemasonry. However, as there is very little documentation from this period, many questions are left unanswered:
- Why three educated and busy men decided to rewrite the ritual of a stonemasons’ guild, when they were neither stonemasons nor manual workers.
- Why the first three Grand Masters gave eight years of their life to this cause. Not only that, but why thought it necessary to add a third degree to the ritual.
- Why the literati and aristocracy of Europe were motivated to join these three men, an antiquarian, a Huguenot priest and a possible alchemist, in a room above a tavern to study the new degrees.
- Why there is a “key to the rituals” that Desaguliers referred to in the Constitutions of 1723.
- Why the first three Grand Masters were interested in “making good men better,” when they were not philanthropists.
- Why the first three Grand Masters used steganography to hide secrets in the rituals, making them a puzzle for Freemasons to discover.
- Lastly, and probably most importantly, why the English nobility (and later royalty) believed so strongly in what these three men had conceived that they lent their names to the enterprise by becoming its figurehead, Grand Masters.
This book answers these questions, and more!