Thomas Dunckerley (23 October 1724 – 19 November 1795) was a prominent freemason, being appointed Provincial Grand Master of several provinces, promoting Royal Arch masonry, introducing Mark Masonry to England, and instituting a national body for Templar masonry. This was made possible by an annuity of £100, rising to £800, which he obtained from King George III by claiming to be his father's illegitimate half brother.
The Holy Royal Arch is a degree of Freemasonry. The Royal Arch is present in all main masonic systems, though in some it is worked as part of Craft ('mainstream') Freemasonry, and in others in an appendant ('additional') order. Royal Arch Masons meet as a Chapter; in the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch as practised in the British Isles, much of Europe and the Commonwealth, Chapters confer the single degree of Royal Arch Mason.
The Order of Mark Master Masons is an appendant order of Freemasonry that exists in some Masonic jurisdictions, and confers the degrees of Mark Mason and Mark Master.
The Knights Templar, full name The United Religious, Military and Masonic Orders of the Temple and of St John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta, is a fraternal order affiliated with Freemasonry. Unlike the initial degrees conferred in a regular Masonic Lodge, which only require a belief in a Supreme Being regardless of religious affiliation, the Knights Templar is one of several additional Masonic Orders in which membership is open only to Freemasons who profess a belief in Christianity. One of the obligations entrants to the order are required to declare is to protect and defend the Christian faith. The word "United" in its full title indicates that more than one historical tradition and more than one actual order are jointly controlled within this system. The individual orders 'united' within this system are principally the Knights of the Temple, the Knights of Malta, the Knights of St Paul, and only within the York Rite, the Knights of the Red Cross.
In 1735, Dunckerley was articled to William Simpson, a barber and peruke maker of St Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster, but ran away after just two years to join the navy.He is recorded from 14 April to 4 August 1742 as an able seaman on the muster book of HMS Namur. On 6 January 1745, the minutes of Trinity House at Deptford record that 'Mr Thomas Dunckerley being Examin'd & found Qualify'd to be a School Master in her Majesty's Navy & having produc'd a certificate (as usual) of his Sobriety & good Affection to his Majesty, he was certify'd accordingly'. He is first mentioned in Admiralty records on 19 February 1744, when not quite twenty years of age, he was appointed schoolmaster on a seventy gun ship called HMS Edinburgh. In 1746 he was appointed Gunner on a sloop, a term equivalent to Chief Gunnery Officer. He proceeded to posts as Gunner on larger ships, including the 90 gun HMS Prince (ex-Triumph). From 1757 to 1761 he served on HMS Vanguard as both Gunner and Schoolmaster. On this ship, he saw service at the Siege of Quebec. After service on HMS Prince, he was superannuated in 1764.
According to Dunckerley, it was in 1760, while attending his mother's funeral, her neighbour, Mrs Pinkney, told him of her death-bed confession. While her husband was away on the business of the Duke of Devonshire, she had been seduced by the Prince of Wales (later King George II), who was Thomas' natural father. Being immediately called away to sea, this information was of no immediate use to him. However, on his superannuation in 1764, monies owed to him were not paid due to incomplete paperwork, and he was obliged to pay medical expenses after an accident caused his daughter to require an amputation of the lower leg. This left him in debt, and arranging for his pension to be paid to his family, he took ship with the frigate HMS Guadeloupe to the Mediterranean. The next year, he was put ashore at Marseilles with scurvy. On his recovery, with the help of Captain Ruthven of the Guadeloupe and the financial assistance of freemasons in Gibraltar, Dunckerley managed to lay his case before several persons of rank on his way back to England. Finally, in 1767, his mother's statement was laid before King George III, who accepted Dunckerley's claim to be the half brother of his father, Frederick, Prince of Wales, the son of George II, and provided an annuity of £100, which quickly rose to £800.He also was granted apartments in Hampton Court Palace.
Prince of Wales was a title granted to native Welsh princes before the 12th century; the term replaced the use of the word king. One of the last Welsh princes, Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, was killed in battle in 1282 by Edward I, King of England, whose son Edward was invested as the first English Prince of Wales in 1301.
George II was King of Great Britain and Ireland, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Hanover) and a prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire from 11 June 1727 (O.S.) until his death in 1760.
Frederick, Prince of Wales, KG, was heir apparent to the British throne from 1727 until his death from a lung injury at the age of 44. He was the eldest but estranged son of King George II and Caroline of Ansbach, and the father of King George III.
Dunckerley's claim of royal paternity was not universally accepted in his lifetime. On his death at least one contemporary cast doubt on his illegitimacy. Recent studies also claim to refute his own version of his parentage, although Arthur Edward Waite certainly accepted it, perhaps based on his resemblance to George III in his portrait.
Dunckerley was initiated into freemasonry at Lodge No 31, at the Three Tuns in Portsmouth, in January 1754. In 1760, he obtained a warrant for a lodge aboard HMS Vanguard, which he took to form London Lodge (now No. 108) in 1768. After leaving Vanguard, he obtained a warrant for a lodge on HMS Prince, which he later transferred to HMS Guadeloupe. This later became the Somerset House Lodge, meeting at the Turk's Head in Soho. With the Vanguard warrant, he obtained a roving commission from the Premier Grand Lodge of England to inspect the state of the craft wherever he went, including "to regulate Masonic affairs in the newly acquired Canadian provinces." Under this authority, as Acting Grand Master of all Warranted Lodges in Quebec he installed the first Provincial Grand Master of Canada, Col. Simon Frasier, in Quebec in 1760.
Freemasonry or Masonry consists of fraternal organisations that trace their origins to the local fraternities of stonemasons that from the end of the fourteenth century regulated the qualifications of stonemasons and their interaction with authorities and clients. The degrees of Freemasonry retain the three grades of medieval craft guilds, those of Apprentice, Journeyman or fellow, and Master Mason. The candidate of these three degrees is progressively taught the meanings of the symbols of Freemasonry, and entrusted with grips, signs and words to signify to other members that he has been so initiated. The degrees are part allegorical morality play and part lecture. Three degrees are offered by Craft Freemasonry, and members of any of these degrees are known as Freemasons or Masons. There are additional degrees, which vary with locality and jurisdiction, and are usually administered by their own bodies.
Portsmouth is a port city in Hampshire, England, with a total population of 205,400 residents. The city of Portsmouth is nicknamed Pompey and is mainly built on Portsea Island, a flat, low-lying island measuring 24 square kilometres in area, just off the south-east coast of Hampshire. Portsmouth is the only island city in the United Kingdom, and is the only city whose population density exceeds that of London.
Soho is an area of the City of Westminster, part of the West End of London. Originally a fashionable district for the aristocracy, it has been one of the main entertainment districts in the capital since the 19th century.
In 1767, he was appointed Provincial Grand Master of Hampshire. At that time, the office of Provincial Grand Master had fallen into disuse, but Dunckerley would personally revive it in several counties. He is known to have been the Provincial Grand Master for Essex from 1776, Dorsetshire and Wiltshire from 1777, and Gloucestershire and Hampshire in 1784.A document of 1786 appoints him Provincial Grand Master for the Counties of Dorset, Essex, Gloucester, Somerset and Southampton, the City and County of Bristol and the Isle of Wight. In 1785, Dunkerley founded the Lodge of Harmony, Number 255, at the Toy Inn at Hampton Court, presumably as his own home lodge. It was at Dunckerley's request that the Province of Bristol was created, still unique in English Freemasonry as the only province confined to a single city, and having all of its lodges meeting in the same building. In 1790 he was also made Provincial Grand Master of Herefordshire.
In 1766, the Moderns who worked the Royal Arch degree formed a Grand Chapter with Lord Blayney at its head. He made Dunckerley his Grand Superintendent, in which capacity he authorised chapters, and toured his provinces creating new chapters and Royal Arch masons, frequently (according to some historians) exceeding his authority.Although Dunckerley belonged to the Moderns Grand Lodge, he leaned towards the Antients in ritual, making him a natural ambassador for Royal Arch Masonry in his own Grand Lodge. He was one of the signatories on the original charter of the Moderns Grand Chapter.
The first evidence of Mark Masonry is in 1769, when Dunckerley, at a Royal Arch Chapter, made several brethren Mark Masons and Mark Masters. It is possible that Dunckerley created the degree.
In 1790 and 1791, Dunckerley projected the centralization of the rather scattered Templar groups in England. On 24 July 1791 he informed the York Encampment of Redemption that he had been invited to assume the office of Grand Master by the Knights Templar of Bristol. York favored the proposal, and in due course Dunckerley accepted the office. The groups referred to his authority in 1791 included The Observance of London, the Redemption of York, the Eminent of Bristol, and the Antiquity of Bath. Dunckerley became the Grand Master of the first national Grand Conclave of "The Royal Exalted Religious and Military Order Heredom, Kadosh, Grand Elected Knights Templar of St. John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta".His energy and organisational zeal contributed to the growth of the order until his death in 1795. After this, the institution became moribund until revived by the Duke of Kent almost a decade later.
The encyclopedist Albert Mackey blamed Dunckerley for inventing Royal Arch Masonry, and splitting the third degree in the process, removing the true word of a mason to the new degree, and losing the original "pure" form of the ritual forever.This is unlikely, as the Royal Arch degree was worked for at least a decade before Dunckerley's initiation.
He published a number of charges, lectures and songs related to different branches of freemasonry. Together with Grand Secretary Heseltine and William Preston, he campaigned and raised funds for the first dedicated headquarters of English freemasonry, the first Freemasons' Hall. During his lifetime he held various high masonic offices: Past Senior Grand Warden of England, Provincial Grand Master for the Counties above mentioned, and Past Grand Master and Grand Superintendent of Royal Arch Masons over eighteen counties.His major contribution was to the emerging "higher degrees", the Templar, Royal Arch, Ark Mariner, and Mark degrees. Not only did he successfully promote them, he organised them, standardised their ritual, and forced them to keep proper records.
A Masonic lodge, often termed a private lodge or constituent lodge, is the basic organisational unit of Freemasonry. It is also commonly used as a term for a building in which such a unit meets. Every new lodge must be warranted or chartered by a Grand Lodge, but is subject to its direction only in enforcing the published constitution of the jurisdiction. By exception the three surviving lodges that formed the world's first known grand lodge in London have the unique privilege to operate as time immemorial, i.e., without such warrant; only one other lodge operates without a warrant – the Grand Stewards' Lodge in London, although it is not also entitled to the "time immemorial" title. A Freemason is generally entitled to visit any lodge in any jurisdiction in amity with his own. In some jurisdictions this privilege is restricted to Master Masons. He is first usually required to check, and certify, the regularity of the relationship of the Lodge – and be able to satisfy that Lodge of his regularity of membership. Freemasons gather together as a Lodge to work the three basic Degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master Mason.
The York Rite is one of several Rites of Freemasonry. A Rite is a series of progressive degrees that are conferred by various Masonic organizations or bodies, each of which operates under the control of its own central authority. The York Rite specifically is a collection of separate Masonic Bodies and associated Degrees that would otherwise operate independently. The three primary bodies in the York Rite are the Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, Council of Royal & Select Masters or Council of Cryptic Masons, and the Commandery of Knights Templar, each of which are governed independently but are all considered to be a part of the York Rite. There are also other organizations that are considered to be directly associated with the York Rite, or require York Rite membership to join such as the York Rite Sovereign College but in general the York Rite is considered to be made up of the aforementioned three. The Rite's name is derived from the city of York, where, according to one Masonic legend, the first meetings of Masons in England took place.
The history of Freemasonry encompasses the origins, evolution and defining events of the fraternal organisation known as Freemasonry. It covers three phases. Firstly, the emergence of organised lodges of operative masons during the Middle Ages, then the admission of lay members as "accepted" masons or speculative masons, and finally the evolution of purely speculative lodges, and the emergence of Grand Lodges to govern them. The watershed in this process is generally taken to be the formation of the first Grand Lodge in London in 1717. The two difficulties facing historians are the paucity of written material, even down to the 19th century, and the misinformation generated by masons and non-masons alike from the earliest years.
William Preston was a Scottish author, editor and lecturer, born in Edinburgh. After attending school and college he became secretary to the linguist Thomas Ruddiman, who became his guardian on the death of his father. On the death of Thomas, Preston became a printer for Walter Ruddiman, Thomas' brother. In 1760 he moved to London and started a distinguished career with the printer William Strahan. He became a Freemason, instituting a system of lectures of instruction, and publishing Illustrations of Masonry, which ran to several editions. It was under Preston that the Lodge of Antiquity seceded from the Moderns Grand Lodge to become "The Grand Lodge of All England South of the River Trent" for ten years. He died on 1 April 1818, after a long illness, and was buried in St Paul's Cathedral.
The United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) is the governing Masonic lodge for the majority of freemasons in England, Wales and the Commonwealth of Nations. Claiming descent from the Masonic grand lodge formed 24 June 1717 at the Goose & Gridiron Tavern in London, it is considered to be the oldest Masonic Grand Lodge in the world. Together with the Grand Lodge of Scotland, and the Grand Lodge of Ireland, they are often referred to by their members as "the home Grand Lodges" or "the Home Constitutions".
The Royal Order of Scotland is an appendant order within the structures of British Freemasonry. Membership is an honour extended to Freemasons by invitation. The Grand Lodge of the Royal Order of Scotland is headquartered in Edinburgh, with a total of 88 Provincial Grand Lodges in several locations around Britain, and in a number of countries around the world.
There are many organisations and Orders which form part of the widespread fraternity of Freemasonry, each having its own structure and terminology. Collectively these may be referred to as Masonic bodies, Masonic orders or appendant bodies of Freemasonry.
Freemasonry in Denmark was first established in 1743 and is today represented by a number of Grand Lodges. The oldest and biggest Masonic Grand Lodge in Denmark is the Danish Order of Freemasons, in English also known as the Grand Lodge of Denmark.
The organisation known as the Premier Grand Lodge of England was founded on 24 June 1717 as the 'Grand Lodge of London and Westminster'. Originally concerned with the practice of Freemasonry in London and Westminster, it soon became known as the Grand Lodge of England. Because it was the first Masonic Grand Lodge to be created, convention calls it the Premier Grand Lodge of England in order to distinguish it from the Most Ancient and Honourable Society of Free and Accepted Masons according to the Old Constitutions, more usually referred to as the Ancient Grand Lodge of England, and the Grand Lodge of All England Meeting at York. It existed until 1813, when it united with the Ancient Grand Lodge of England to create the United Grand Lodge of England.
Robert Macoy was born in Armagh, Ulster County, Ireland, but moved to the United States at the age of 4 months. He was a prominent Freemason, and was instrumental in the founding of the Order of the Eastern Star and the Order of the Amaranth. He also founded what may be the largest Masonic publishing, regalia, and supply house currently active, Macoy Publishing & Masonic Supply Company.
The Rectified Scottish Rite, also known as Order of Knights Beneficent of the Holy City or Knights Benefactor of the Holy City is a Christian Masonic rite founded in Lyon (France) in 1778.
Royal Arch Masonry is the first part of the York Rite system of the Masonic degrees. Royal Arch Masons meet as a Chapter, and the Royal Arch Chapter confers four degrees: Mark Master Mason, Past Master, Most Excellent Master, and Royal Arch Mason.
Thomas Smith Webb was the author of Freemason’s Monitor or Illustrations of Masonry, a book which had a significant impact on the development of Masonic Ritual in America, and especially that of the York Rite. Webb has been called the "Founding Father of the York or American Rite" for his efforts to promote those Masonic bodies.
Freemasonry in Germany started in several places during the second quarter of the Eighteenth century. After the extinction of the Rite of Strict Observance, which had a wide following and claimed Templar origins for its higher degrees, the several Grand Lodges in Germany defied all attempts at unification, although a largely ineffectual central organisation came into being with the unification of Germany. During the 1920s Freemasons were harassed alongside Jews by those taken in by the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and blamed for the German surrender of 1918. This culminated with the suppression of Freemasonry by the Nazis in 1935, with many Masons in Germany and occupied countries being executed or sent to concentration camps. Freemasonry returned to Germany after World War Two. A single central body now represents five "regular" Grand Lodges. Liberal, women's, and mixed lodges also exist.
Freemasonry in Scotland in Lodges chartered by the Grand Lodge of Scotland comprises the Scottish Masonic Constitution as regular Masonic jurisdiction for the majority of freemasons in Scotland. There are also Lodges operating under the Scottish Masonic Constitution in countries outside of Scotland. Many of these are countries linked to Scotland and the United Kingdom through the Commonwealth of Nations and prior colonies and other settlements of the British Empire although there are several lodges in countries such as Lebanon, Belgium, Chile and Peru, which do not have such connections.
The Rite of Baldwyn or Rite of Seven Degrees is one of several Rites of Freemasonry. It exists and is only practiced in the Masonic Province of Bristol, England. A Rite is a series of progressive degrees that are conferred by various Masonic organizations or bodies, each of which operates under the control of its own central authority. The Rite of Baldwyn specifically is a collection of separate Masonic Bodies and associated Degrees that would otherwise operate independently. The three primary bodies in the York Rite are the degrees of Craft Freemasonry, the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch, and the Camp of Baldwyn.