Grand Lodge Titles

Discussion in 'Masonic Education' started by Blake Bowden, Feb 7, 2010.

  1. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member


    How did the term "Free and Accepted" originate? Ancient craftsmen were very skilled, and their craft was considered to be indispensable to the welfare of both "Church" and "State". For this reason, they were not placed under the same restrictions as were other workers - they were "free" to do their work, travel and live their lives in a manner befitting their importance. In England during the Middle Ages this freedom was rare. Most workers were under bond to the owners of the land on which they worked. Our legendary history carries this freedom for the Operative Mason back to the year 946, in York, England.

    The word "Accepted" also goes back to the time of the operative mason. During the latter years of the Middle Ages, there were few educated men outside the monasteries of the world. Naturally, men wanted to become Freemasons to obtain the advantages the craft had to offer. These men did not necessarily want to build buildings; they wanted to belong to the organization. These were "Accepted" Masons, rather than operative masons. This practice probably originated when some of the people for whom the craftsmen were working asked to be admitted. This was an important transition for the Craft, because the secrets of the building trades were becoming more widely known, architecture was changing and membership was declining. By becoming "Speculative," the Craft grew rapidly. As time went on, there became many more "Accepted" members than there were operative members, and eventually we became a Speculative rather than an operative organization.

    Titles of Grand Lodges in the United States also vary. Some are called A.F. & A.M., which means Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. The other most commonly used title is F. & A.M., or Free and Accepted Masons. The reason for this difference is that in England, when Grand Lodges first started, there was a rivalry between two different factions. One faction adopted the title "Ancient" and the other was called "Modern". This carried over to the United States, where Grand Lodges were styled either A.F. & A.M. or F. & A.M.. However, because of the complex situation of charters in the U.S., there is currently no logical connection between either of the terms and the origins of American Grand Lodges. In Texas, we call ourselves A.F. & A.M.

    Last edited: Feb 7, 2010

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