Structure of Freemasonry
United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) is the governing body of Freemasonry in England, Wales, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and some Districts overseas.
Our headquarters is Freemasons’ Hall, London.
Freemasons use four important guiding principles to help define their path through life: Integrity, Friendship, Respect and Charity.
How are we organised?
UGLE currently has around 200,000 members meeting in over 7,000 Lodges, with students over 18 able to join one of the 85 Universities Scheme Lodges.
Lodges are grouped into 48 Provinces by region, roughly in line with the old county boundaries, under the guidance of UGLE.
How do we operate?
UGLE holds four business meetings a year, known as Quarterly Communication.
UGLE, it's Lodges and members operates to a rule book The Book of Constitutions, which was first published in 1723. UGLE also publishes directories of office bearers, committees and Lodges.
Becoming a Freemason means you’ll be joining more than 200,000 members throughout England and Wales, as well as Districts overseas.
Membership is open to any man over the age of 21 irrespective of their race or religion. In total, we have more than 7,000 Lodges, with students over 18 able to join one of the 85 University Scheme Lodges. Women are invited to join one of two female-only Grand Lodges: The Order of Women Freemasons and Freemasonry for Women.
What happens at a Lodge meeting?
Lodge meetings are typically held in two parts. The first involves more administrative procedures, such as proposing and balloting for new members and receiving news about charitable fundraising.
The second part focuses on ceremonies, which might relate to areas such as the admittance of new members or the installation of the Master of the Lodge and his officers – a process made up of three degrees, or stages, each one marked by a special ceremony.
True to the sense of friendship and togetherness among Freemasons, meetings are also social events, providing an occasion for members to dine together.
Outside of the Lodge, activities include community fundraising and volunteering activities, as well as a varied programme of events where spouses, partners and families are welcome.
Tradition and continuity are two of the values which characterise the relationship between Freemasonry and universities.
It was nearly 200 years ago that the first university Lodge, Apollo University Lodge, was founded at Oxford, with Isaac Newton University Lodge following soon afterwards at Cambridge.
Since then many thousands of young men have been introduced to Freemasonry through these two Lodges, and they provided the inspiration for the Universities Scheme.
This was set up at the beginning of 2005 with the objective: ‘To establish and/or enhance arrangements and opportunities for undergraduates and other university members to enjoy Freemasonry’.
There are now 83 other Lodges pursuing a similar, yet distinct, course. Their membership consists of undergraduates, postgraduates, senior members of the university and alumni, ranging in age from 18 upwards.
All under-25s benefit from the recent decision by Grand Lodge to halve their dues in order to make Freemasonry as accessible to as wide an audience as possible.
The Scheme is headed by the Assistant Grand Master, Sir David Wootton, who explains: “We know from these long-established university lodges that students – whether undergraduates or postgraduates – enjoy Freemasonry to the full. Through the Universities Scheme, we hope that university members from all over the country will be able to gain the same inspiration, fulfilment and enjoyment.”