GENERAL REGULATIONS OF A FREE MASON
as contained in Anderson's Constitutions of the Freemasons, published 1723
Compiled first by Mr. George Payne, Anno 1720, when he was Grand Master, and approv’d by the Grand Lodge on St. John Baptist's Day, Anno 1721; at Stationer's Hall, London; when the most noble Prince John, Duke of Montagu, was unanimously chosen our Grand Master for the Year ensuing; who chose, John Beal, M.D., his Deputy Grand Master:
And were chosen by the Lodge [as] Grand Wardens:
Mr. Josiah Villeneau,
Mr. Thomas Morris, Jun.
And now, by the Command of our said Right Worshipful Grand Master Montagu, the Author of this Book has compar’d them with, and reduc’d them to the ancient Records and immemorial Usage of the Fraternity, and digested them into this new Method with several proper Explications for the use of the Lodges in and about Westminster.
I. The Grand Master or his Deputy hath Authority and Right not only to be present in any true Lodge, but also to preside wherever he is, with the Master of the Lodge on his Left Hand, an to order his Grand Wardens to attend him, who are not to act in particular Lodges as Wardens, but in his Presence, and at his Command: because there the Grand Master may command the Wardens of that Lodge, or any other Brethren he pleaseth, to attend and act as his Wardens pro tempore.
II. The Master of a particular Lodge, has the right and authority of congregating the Members of his Lodge into a Chapter at Pleasure, upon any Emergency or Occurrence as well as to appoint the Time and Place of their usual forming: And in Case of Sickness Death, or necessary Absence of the Master, the Senior Warden shall act as Master pro tempore, if no Brother is present who has been Master of that Lodge before; for in that Case the absent Master's Authority reverts to the last Master then present; though he cannot act until the Senior Warden has once congregated the Lodge or in his Absence the Junior Warden.
III. The Master of each particular Lodge, or one of the Wardens, or some other Brother by his Order, shall keep a Book containing their By-Laws, the Names of their Members, with a list of all the Lodges in Town, and the usual Times and places of their forming, and all their Transactions that are proper to be written
IV. No Lodge shall make more than Five new Brethren at one Time, nor any Man under the Age of Twenty-five, who must be also his own Master; unless by a Dispensation from the Grand Master or his Deputy.
V. No man can be made or admitted a Member of a particular Lodge, without previous Notice one Month before given to the said Lodge, in order to make due Inquiry into the Reputation and Capacity of the Candidate; unless by the Dispensation aforesaid.
VI. But no man can enter’d a Brother in any particular Lodge, or admitted to be a Member thereof, without the unanimous Consent of all the Members of that Lodge then present when the Candidate is propos'd, and their Consent is formally ask’d by the Master; and they are to signify their Consent or Dissent in their own Prudent Way, either virtually or in form, but with Unanimity: Nor is this inherent Privilege subject to a Dispensation; because the Members of a particular Lodge are the best Judges of it; and if a fractious Member should be impos'd on them, it might spoil their Harmony, or hinder their Freedom; or even break and disperse the Lodge, which ought to be avoided by all good and true Brethren.
VII. Every new Brother at his making is recently to cloath the Lodge, that is, all the Brethren present, and to deposit something for the Relief of indigent and decay'd Brethren, as the Candidate shall think fit to bestow, over and above the small allowance stated by the By-Laws of that particular Lodge, which Charity shall be lodg’d with the Master or Wardens, or the Cashier, if the Members see fit to chuse one.
And the Candidate shall also solemnly promise to submit to the Constitution, the Charges and Regulations, and to such other good Usages as shall be intimated to them in Time and Place convenient.
VIII. No set or Number of Brethren shall withdraw or separate themselves from the Lodge in which they were made Brethren, or were afterwards admitted Members, unless the Lodge becomes too numerous; nor even then, without a Dispensation from the Grand Master or his Deputy; and when they are thus separated, they must either immediately join themselves to such other Lodge as they shall like best, with the unanimous Consent of that other Lodge to which they go (as above regulated), or else they must obtain the Grand Master's Warrant to join in forming a new Lodge.
If any set or Number of Masons shall take upon themselves to form a Lodge without the Grand Master's Warrant, the regular Lodges are not to countenance them, or own them as fair brethren and duly form'd, nor approve of their Acts and Deeds; but must treat them as Rebels, until they humble themselves, as the Grand Master, shall, in his Prudence, direct, and until he approve of them by his Warrant, which must be signified to the other Lodges, as the Custom is when a new Lodge is to be registered in the List of Lodges.
IX. But if any Brother so far misbehave himself as to render his Lodge uneasy, he shall be twice duly admonished by the Master or Wardens in a form'd Lodge; and if he will not refrain his Imprudence, and obediently submit to the Advice of the Brethren, and reform what gives them Offense, he shall be dealt with according to the By-Laws of that particular Lodge, or else in such a manner as the Quarterly Communication shall in their great prudence think fit; for which a new Regulation may be afterward made.
X. The Majority of every particular Lodge, when congregated, shall have the Privilege of giving Instructions to their Masters and Wardens before the assembling of the Grand Chapter or Lodge, at the three Quarterly Communications hereafter mention'd and of the annual Grand Lodge, too; because their Master and Wardens are their Representatives, and are supposed to speak their mind.
XI. All particular Lodges are to observe the same usages as much as possible; in order to which, and for cultivating a good Understanding among Free-Masons, some members out of every Lodge shall be deputed to visit the other Lodges as often as shall be thought convenient.
XII. The Grand Lodge consists of, and is form'd by, the Masters and Wardens of all the regular particular Lodges upon Record, with the Grand Master at their Head, and his Deputy on his Left hand, and the Grand Wardens in their proper places; and must have a Quarterly Communication about Michaelmas, Christmas and Lady Day, in some convenient Place, as the Grand Master shall appoint, where no Brother shall be present, who is not at that time a Member thereof, without a Dispensation; and while he stays, he shall not be allow'd to vote, nor even given his Opinion without Leave of the Grand Lodge ask’d and given, or unless it be duly ask’d by the said Lodge.
All matters are to be determined in the Grand Lodge by a Majority of Votes, each member having one Vote, and the Grand Master having two Votes, unless the said Lodge leave any particular thing to the Determination of the Grand Master for the sake of Expedition.
XIII. At the said Quarterly Communication all Masters that concern the Fraternity in general, or particular Lodges, or single Brethren, are quietly, sedately and maturely to be discoursed and transacted; Apprentices must be admitted Masters and Fellow-Craft only here, unless by a Dispensation. Here also all differences, that cannot be made up and accommodated privately, nor by a particular Lodge, are to be seriously considered and decided: And if any Brother thinks himself aggrieved by the Decision of this Board, he may Appeal to the annual Grand Lodge next ensuing, and leave his Appeal in Writing with the Grand Master, or his Deputy, or the Grand Wardens.
Here also the Master or the Wardens of each particular Lodge shall bring and produce a List of such Members as have been made or even admitted in their particular Lodges since the last Communication of the Grand Lodge. And there shall be a book kept by the Grand Master, or his Deputy, or rather by some Brother whom the Grand Lodge shall appoint for Secretary, wherein shall be recorded all the Lodges, with their usual Times and Places of forming, and the Names of all the Members of each Lodge; and all the Affairs of the Grand Lodge that are proper to be written.
They shall also consider of the most prudent and effectual Methods of collecting and disposing of what Money shall be given to, or Lodged with them in Charity, towards the Relief only of any true Brother fallen into poverty or Decay, but of none else. But every particular Lodge shall dispose of their own Charity for poor Brethren, according to their own By-Laws, until it be agreed by all the Lodges (in a new Regulation) to carry in the Charity collection by them to the Grand Lodge, at the Quarterly or Annual Communication, in order to make a common Stock of it, for the more handsome Relief of poor Brethren.
They shall appoint a Treasurer, a Brother of good worldly Substance, who shall be a Member of the Grand Lodge by virtue of his Office, and shall be always present, and have Power to move to the Grand Lodge anything, especially what concerns his Office. To him shall be committed all Money rais'd for Charity, or for any other Use of the Grand Lodge, which he shall write down in a book, with the respective Ends and Uses for which the several Sums are intended; and shall expend or disburse the same by such a certain Order sign'd, as the Grand Lodge shall afterwards agree to in a new Regulation: But he shall not vote in chusing a Grand Master or Wardens, though in every other Transaction. As in like manner the Secretary shall be a Member of the Grand Lodge by virtue of his Office, and vote in everything except in chusing a Grand Master or Wardens.
The Treasurer and Secretary shall have each a Clerk, who must be a Brother and Fellow-Craft, but never must be a member of the Grand Lodge, nor speak without being allow'd or desir’d.
The Grand Master or his Deputy, shall always command the Treasurer and Secretary, with their Clerks and Books in order to see how Matters go on, and to know what is expedient to be done upon any emergent Occasion.
Another Brother (who must be a Fellow-Craft) should be appointed to look after the Door of the Grand Lodge; but shall be no member of it.
But these Officers may be farther explain'd by a new Regulation, when the Necessity and Expediency of them may more appear than at present to the Fraternity.
XIV. If at any Grand Lodge, stated or occasional, quarterly or annual, the Grand Master and his Deputy should be both absent, then the present Master of a Lodge, that has been the longest a Free Mason, shall take the Chair, and preside as Grand Master pro tempore; and shall be vested with all his Power and Honour for the time; provided there is no Brother present that has been Grand Master formerly, or Deputy Grand Master; for the last Grand Master present, or else the last Deputy present, should always of right take place in the Absence of the present Grand Master and his Deputy.
XV. In the Grand Lodge none can act as Wardens but the Grand Wardens themselves, if present; and if absent, the Grand Master, or the Person who presides in his place, shall order private Wardens to act as Grand Wardens pro tempore, whose Places are to be suppli’d by two Fellow-Craft of the same Lodge, call’d forth to act, or sent thither by the particular Master thereof; or if by him omitted, then they shall be call’d by the Grand Master, that so the Grand Lodge may be always complete.
XVI. The Grand Wardens, or any others, are first to advise with the Deputy about the Affairs of the Lodge or of the Brethren, and not to apply to the Grand Master without the knowledge of the Deputy, unless he refuse his Concurrence in any certain necessary affair; in which Case, or in case of any Difference between the Deputy and the Grand Wardens or other Brethren both parties are to go by Concert to the Grand Master, who can easily decide the Controversy and make up the Difference by virtue of his great Authority.
The Grand Master should receive no Intimation of Business concerning Masonry, but from his Deputy first, except in such certain Cases as his Worship can well judge of; for if the Application the Grand Master be irregular, he can easily order the Grand Wardens or any other Brethren thus applying, to wait upon his Deputy, who is to prepare the Business speedily, and to lay it orderly before his Worship.
XVII. No Grand Master, Deputy Grand Master, Grand Wardens, Treasurer, Secretary, or whoever acts for them, or in their stead pro tempore, can at the same time be the Master or Warden of a particular Lodge; but as soon as any of them has honorably discharg’d his Grand Office, he returns to that post or station in his particular Lodge, from which he was call’d to officiate above.
XVIII. If the Deputy Grand Master be sick, or necessarily absent, the Grand Master may chuse any Fellow-Craft he pleases to be his Deputy pro tempore: But he that is chosen Deputy at the Grand Lodge, and the Grand Wardens, too, cannot be discharged without the Cause fairly appear to the Majority of the Grand Lodge; and the Grand Master, if he is uneasy, may call a Grand Lodge on purpose to lay the Case before them, and to have their Advise and Concurrence. In which case the Majority of the Grand Lodge, if they cannot reconcile the Master and his Deputy or his Wardens, are to concur in allowing the Master to discharge his said Deputy or his said Wardens, and to chuse another Deputy immediately; and the said Grand Lodge shall chuse other Wardens in that Case, that Harmony and Peace may be preserved.
XIX. If the Grand Master should abuse his Power, and render himself unworthy of the Obedience and Subjection of the Lodges, he shall be treated in a way and manner to be agreed upon in a new Regulation; because hitherto the ancient Fraternity have had no occasion for it, their former Grand Masters having all behaved themselves worthy of that honorable Office.
XX. The Grand Master, with his Deputy and Wardens, shall (at least once) go around and visit all the Lodges about Town during his Mastership.
XXI. If the Grand Master die during his Mastership, or by Sickness, or by Being beyond Sea, or any other way should be render’d uncapable of discharging his Office, the Deputy, in his Absence, the Senior Grand Warden, or in his Absence, the Junior, or in his Absence any three present Masters of Lodges, shall join to congregate the Grand Lodge immediately, to advise together upon that Emergency, and to send two of their Number to invite the last Grand Master to resume his office, which now in course reverts to him; or if he refuse, then the next last, and so backward: But if no former Grand Master can be found, then the Deputy shall act as Principal until another is chosen; or if there be no Deputy, then the oldest Master.
XXII. The Brethren of all the Lodges in and about London and Westminster, shall meet at an Annual Communication and Feast, in some convenient place, on St. John Baptist's Day, or else on St. John Evangelist's Day, as the Grand Lodge shall think fit by a new Regulation, having of late Years met on St. John Baptist's Day. Provided, The Majority of the Masters and Wardens with the Grand Master, his Deputy and Wardens, agree at their Quarterly Communication, three months before, that there shall be a Feast, and a General Communication of all Brethren: For if either the Grand Master, or the Majority of the particular Masters, are against it, it must be dropt for that Time.
But whether there shall be a Feast for all the Brethren, or not, yet the Grand Lodge must meet in some convenient Place annually on St. John's Day; or if it be Sunday, then on the next Day, in order to chuse every Year a new Grand Master, Deputy and Warden.
XXIII. If it be thought expedient, and the Grand Master, with the Majority of the Masters and Wardens, agree to hold a Grand Feast according to the ancient laudable Custom of Masons, then the Grand Wardens shall have the care of preparing the Tickets, seal’d with the Grand Master's Seal, of disposing of the Tickets, of receiving the money for the Tickets, of buying the Materials of the Feast, of finding out a proper and convenient Place to feast in; and of every other thing that concerns the Entertainment.
But that the Work may not be too burthensome to the two Grand Wardens, and that all Matters may be expeditiously and safely managed, the Grand Master or his Deputy shall have power to nominate and appoint a certain Number of Stewards, as his Worship shall think fit, to act in concert with the two Grand Wardens; all things relating to the Feast being decided among them by a Majority of Voices; except the Grand Master or his Deputy interpose by a particular Direction of Appointment.
XXIV. The Wardens and Stewards shall, in due time, wait upon the Grand Master or his Deputy for Directions and Orders about the Premises; but if his Worship and his Deputy are sick, or necessarily absent, they shall call together the Masters and Wardens of Lodges to meet on purpose for their Advice and Orders; or else they may take the Matter wholly upon themselves and do the best they can.
The Grand Wardens and the Stewards are to account for all the Money they receive, or expend, to the Grand Lodge, after dinner, or when the Grand Lodge shall think fit to receive their Accounts.
If the Grand Master pleases, he may in due time summons all the Masters and Wardens of Lodges to consult with them about ordering the Grand Feast, and about any Emergency or accidental thing relating thereunto, that may require Advice; or else to take it upon himself altogether.
XXV. The Masters of Lodges shall each appoint one experienced and discreet Fellow-Craft of his Lodge, to compose a Committee, consisting of one from every Lodge, who shall meet to receive, in a convenient Apartment, every Person that brings a Ticket, and shall have Power to discourse him, if they think fit, in order to admit him or debar him, as they shall see cause; Provided they send no Man away before they have acquainted all the Brethren within Doors with the Reasons thereof, to avoid Mistakes, that so no true Brother may be debarr'd, nor a false Brother, or more Pretender, admitted. This Committee must meet very early on St. John's Day at the Place, even before any Person come with Tickets.
XXVI. The Grand Master shall appoint two or more trusty Brethren to be Porters or Door-Keepers, who are also to be early at the Place, for some good Reasons; and who are to be at the Command of the Committee.
XXVII. The Grand Wardens, or the Stewards, shall appoint before hand such a Number of Brethren to serve at Table as they think fit and proper for that Work; and they may advise with the Masters and Wardens of Lodges about the most proper Persons, if they please, or may take in such by their Recommendation; for none are to serve that Day but free and accepted Masons, that the Communication may be free and harmonious.
XXVIII. All the Members of the Grand Lodge must be at the Place long before Dinner, with the Grand Master or his Deputy at their Head, who shall retire and form themselves. And this is done in order:
1. To receive any Appeals duly lodg’d, as above regulated, that the appellant may be heard, and the Affair may be amicably decided before Dinner, if possible; but if it cannot, it must be delay'd till after the new Grand Master is elected; and if it cannot be decided after Dinner, it may be delay'd and referr'd to a particular Committee, that shall quietly adjust it, and make Report to the next Quarterly Communication, that Brotherly Love may be preserved.
2. To prevent any Difference or Disgust which may be feared to arise that Day; that no Interruption maybe given to the Harmony and Pleasure of the Grand Feast.
3. To consult about whatever concerns the Decency and Decorum of the Grand Assembly, and to prevent all Indecency and ill Manners, the Assembly being promiscuous.
4. To receive and consider of any good Motion, or any momentous and important Affair, that shall be brought from the particular Lodges, by their Representatives, the several Masters and Wardens.
XXIX. After these things are discuss'd, the Grand Master and his Deputy, the Grand Wardens, or the Stewards, the Secretary, the Treasurer, the Clerks, and every other Person shall withdraw, and leave the Masters and Wardens of the Particular Lodges alone, in, order to consult amicably about electing a new Grand Master, or continuing the present, if they have not done it the Day before; and if they are unanimous for continuing the present Grand Master, his Worship shall be call’d in, and humbly desir’d to do the Fraternity the Honour of ruling them for the Year ensuing. And after Dinner it will be known whether he accept of it or not: For it should not be discovered but by the Election itself.
XXX. Then the Master and Wardens and all the Brethren, may converse promiscuously, or as they please to sort together, until the Dinner is coming in, when every Brother takes his Seat at the Table.
XXXI. Some time after Dinner the Grand Lodge is form'd, not in Retirement, but in the Presence of all the Brethren, who yet are not Members of it, and must not therefore speak until they are desir’d and allowed.
XXXII. If the Grand Master of last Year has consented with the Masters and Wardens in private, before Dinner, to continue for the Year ensuing; then one of the Grand Lodge, deputed for that Purpose, shall represent to all the Brethren his Worship's good Government, &c. And turning to him, shall, in the name of the Grand Lodge, humbly request him to do the Fraternity the great Honour (if nobly born, if not) the great Kindness, of continuing to be their Grand Master for the Year ensuing. And his Worship declaring his consent by a Bow or a Speech, as he pleases, the said deputed Member of the Grand Lodge shall proclaim him Grand Master, and all the Members of the Lodge shall salute him in due Form. And all the Brethren shall for a few minutes have leave to declare their Satisfaction, Pleasure and Congratulation.
XXXIII. But if either the Masters and Wardens have not in private, this Day before Dinner, nor the Day before, desir’d the last Grand Master to continue in the Mastership another Year, or if he, when desir’d, has not consented: Then,
The last Grand Master shall nominate his Successor for the year ensuing, who, if unanimously approv’d by the Grand Lodge and if there present, shall be proclaim‘d, saluted, and congratulated, the new Grand Master as above hinted, and immediately installed by the last Grand Master, according to Usage.
XXXIV. But if that Nomination is not unanimously approv'd, the new Grand Master shall be chosen immediately by Ballot, every Master and Warden writing his Man's name, and the last Grand Master writing his Man's Name too; and the Man whose name the last Grand Master shall first take out, casually or by chance, shall be Grand Master for the Year ensuing; and if present, he shall be proclaim'd, saluted, and congratulated, as above hinted, and forthwith installed by the last Grand Master, according to Usage.
XXXV. The last Grand Master thus continued, or the New Grand Master thus installed, shall next nominate and appoint his Deputy Grand Master, either the last or a new one, who shall be also declar’d, saluted, and congratulated as above hinted.
The Grand Master shall also nominate the new Grand Wardens, and if unanimously approv’d by the Grand Lodge, shall be declar’d, saluted, and congratulated, as above hinted; but if not, they shall be chosen by Ballot, in the same way as the Grand Master: And the Wardens of private Lodges are also to be chosen by Ballot in each Lodge, if the Members thereof do not agree to their Master's Nomination.
XXXVI. But If the Brother, whom the present Grand Master shall nominate for his Successor, or whom the Majority of the Grand Lodge shall happen to chuse by Ballot is, by sickness, or other necessary Occasion, absent from the Grand Feast, he cannot be proclaimed the New Grand Master, unless the old Grand Master, or some of the Masters and Wardens of the Grand Lodge can vouch, upon the Honour of a Brother, that the said Person, so nominated or chosen, will readily accept of the said Office; in which case the old Grand Master shall act as Proxy, and shall nominate the Deputy and Wardens in his Name, and in his name also receive the usual Honours. Homage, and Congratulation.
XXXVII. Then the Grand Master shall allow any Brother, Fellow-Craft, or Apprentice to speak, Directing his Discourse to his Worship; or to make any motion for the good of the Fraternity, which shall be either immediately consider’d and finish’d, or also referr'd to the Consideration of the Grand Lodge at their next communication, stated or occasional. When that is over.
XXXVIII. The Grand Master or his Deputy, or some Brother appointed by him, shall harangue all the Brethren, and give them good Advice: And lastly, after some other Transactions, that cannot be written in any language, the Brethren may go away or stay longer, as they please.
XXXIX. Every Annual Grand Lodge has an inherent Power and Authority to make new Regulations, or to alter these, for the real Benefits of this ancient Fraternity: Provided always that the old Land Marks be carefully preserv’d, and that such Alterations and new Regulations be proposed and agreed to at the third Quarterly Communication preceding the Annual Grand Feast, and that they be offered also to the Perusal of all the Brethren before Dinner, in writing, even of the youngest Apprentice, the Approbation and Consent of the Majority of all the Brethren present being absolutely necessary to make the same binding and obligatory; which must, after Dinner and after the new Grand Master is install’d, be solemnly desir’d; as it was desir’d and obtained for these Regulations, when propos'd by the Grand Lodge, to about 150 Brethren on St. John Baptist's Day, 1721.
If you have any questions or comments, we would be pleased to hear from you.
© The Regular Grand Lodge of England 2005