The Four Old London Lodges T. I.

In 1716 four old London lodges finding themselves neglected by Sir Christopher Wren, thought fit to cement under a new Grand Master and met together in the Apple Tree Tavern and put the oldest Master Mason in the chair and constituted themselves into a Grand Lodge and resolved to revive the Quarterly Communications of the Officers of the Lodges (called the Grand Lodge). The lodges were:

  1. The Lodge of the Goose and Gridiron Alehouse in St Pauls Churchyard.
  2. The Lodge of the Crown Alehouse in Parkers Lane, near Drury Lane.
  3. The Lodge of the Apple Tree Tavern in Charles Street, Covent Garden.
  4. The Lodge of the Rummer and Grapes Tavern in Channel Row, Westminster.

Accordingly, on St Johns Day 1717, the Assembly and Feast of the Free and Accepted Masons was held in the Goose and Gridiron Alehouse. Before the dinner, the oldest Master Mason in the Chair, proposed a list of proper Candidates and the Brethren by a majority of hands elected Mr Antony Sayer, Gentleman, Grand Master of the Masons.

These four old Lodges became:

  1. The Lodge of Antiquity, No 2. – Moved from the Goose and Gridiron to the Kings Arms Tavern, then its name was changed to the West Indian and American Lodge before being re-named again as the Lodge of Antiquity.
  2. The Crown Lodge – Was struck off in 1740 – Moved from the Crown Alehouse to the Queens Head Tavern in Turnstile, Holborn, then the Green Lettice, then the Rummer and Rose, Rose and Buffalo and then the Bull and Gate.
  3. The Fortitude and Old Cumberland Lodge, No 12. – Moved from the Apple Tree Tavern to the Queens Head in Knaves Acre and became known as the Lodge of Fortitude, before merging with the Old Cumberland Lodge.
  4. The Royal Somerset House and Inverness Lodge, No 4. – Moved from the Rummer and Grapes to the Horn Tavern and became known as the Old Horn Lodge, before merging with first the Somerset House Lodge No 219 in 1774, and afterwards the Royal Inverness Lodge No 648 in 1828.

New research into the foundation story of the Premier Grand Lodge

New research by Professor Andrew Prescott questions the above legendary 1717 foundation story of the Grand Lodge of England and suggests that it was invented by the Reverend James Anderson in his 1738 Book of Constitutions and that it was more likely founded in 1721. See the below videos:

Relevant Books:

The four old lodges, founders of modern freemasonry, and their descendants. A record of the progress of the craft in England and of the career of every regular lodge down to the union of 1813. By Bro. Robert Freke Gould.

A numerical and numismatical register of lodges which formed the United grand lodge of England, by Bro. William James Hughan.

The old charges of British Freemasons, by Bro. William James Hughan.

Memorials of the masonic union of A.D. 1813, consisting of an introduction on freemasonry in England; the articles of union; constitutions of the United Grand Lodge of England, A.D. 1815, and other official documents; a list of lodges under the grand lodges of England, with their numbers, immediately before, and after the union, by Bro. William James Hughan.


The Metropolitan Grand Lodge London:

The Four Old Grand Lodges in England

  1. The Grand Lodge of England, the “Premier” or “Moderns”, founded 1717 in London.
  2. The Grand Lodge of all England, founded in 1725 in York.
  3. The Grand Lodge of England, according to the Old Institutions, the “Ancients” or “Atholl”, founded in 1751 in London.
  4. The Grand Lodge of England, South of the River Trent, founded in 1779 in London.

The second was formed by the Old York Lodge T.I. and the fourth was warranted by it, in consequence of the unfortunate split in the Lodge of Antiquity and it soon collapsed. The York Grand Lodge died about 1792. The first and third joined together in 1813 and became the United Grand Lodge of England.