Free and Accepted Mason | Symbols and Symbolism

In this episode, we explore the meaning of the Free and Accepted which first occurs in the Roberts Print of 1722, a term applied in the symbolic allegories to the builders of Solomon’s Temple.

Mackey, in his Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, say:

The title “Free and Accepted” first occurs in the Roberts Print of 1722, which is headed The Old Constitutions belonging to the Ancient and Honorable Society of Free and Accepted Masons, and was adopted by Dr. Anderson in the second edition of the Book of Constitutions, published in 1738, the title of which is The New Book of Constitutions of the Antient and Honorable Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons. In the first edition of 1723 the title was, The Constitutions of the Freemasons. The newer title continued to be used by the Grand Lodge of England, in which it was followed by those of Scotland and Ireland; and a majority of the Grand Lodges in this country have adopted the same style, and call themselves Grand Lodges of Free and Accepted Masons. The old lectures formerly used in England give the following account of the origin of the term:

“The Masons who were selected to build the Temple of Solomon were declared FREE and were exempted, together with their descendants, from imposts, duties, and taxes. They had also the privilege to bear arms. At the destruction of the Temple by Nebuchadnezzar, the posterity of these Masons were carried into captivity with the ancient Jews. But the good-will of Cyrus gave them permission to erect a second Temple, having set them at liberty for that purpose. It is from this epoch that we bear the name of Free and Accepted Masons.”

More Masonic Symbols, here.

Greg Stewart: A devoted student of the Western Mystery Traditions, Greg is a firm believer in the Masonic connections to the Hermetic traditions of antiquity, its evolution through the ages and into its present configuration as the antecedent to all contemporary esoteric and occult traditions. He is a self-called searcher for that which was lost, a Hermetic Hermit and a believer in “that which is above is so too below.” Read more about Greg Stewart.

View Comments (1)

  • Thanks for bringing Mackey's article to my attention. The "Robert's Print of 1722" refers to "The Old Constitutions Belonging to the Ancient and Honourable Society of Free and Accepted Masons," printed at London in 1722 by one "J. Roberts," of whom we know little to nothing. It has been suggested that he printed this in 1722 as a means of bringing these Old Constitutions to the attention of George Payne, who was in the process of compiling his own new Rules and Regulations for the new grand lodge. These Old Constitutions included several new articles which had been added in 1663 by an assembly of Masons in London. These new articles required all "Accepted Masons" to provide written proof of when and where they had been accepted, and by whom. The obvious question is: Why didn't J. Roberts simply provide a copy of the Old Constitutions, with the new articles of 1663, to George Payne? I believe it was because Roberts, and others, didn't believe Payne would include the new articles, and so, by publishing them, Roberts hoped to force Payne to include them. It seems to me that Roberts had doubts that some of the Masons who were forming the new grand lodge were legitimate, and wanted to remind everyone, especially George Payne, that the Old Constitutions, re-affirmed in 1663, along with the new articles, required all of them (Payne included) to prove they were legitimate Freemasons. There were, apparently, a number of old Masons in London who did not approve of Payne's new "grand lodge."

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