Joint Statement

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Joint Statement from United Grand Lodge of England, The Order of Women Freemasons’ and the Honourable Fraternity of Ancient Freemasons

Some 300 years ago the Grand Lodge of England published the Constitutions of the Free Masons which was adapted into the Constitutions of the new United Grand Lodge of England (“UGLE”) in 1815. 

These same Constitutions were adopted in 1908 by the Honourable Order of Ancient Masonry, which decided in 1920 to restrict admission to women only, and by 1935 was an exclusively female Grand Lodge. In 1958 the name was changed to The Order of Women Freemasons’ (“OWF”). In addition in 1913 the Honourable Fraternity of Ancient Freemasons (“HFAF”) was formed, also, exclusively for women and it remains so today one hundred and eleven years later. 

Both organisations still operate today and, together with UGLE, follow the same rules and regulations and promote integrity, friendship, respect, and service.  UGLE is the largest and the oldest of the orders of Freemasonry in England and Wales and fully collaborates and shares premises with both the female Grand Lodges. All three Grand Lodges have been involved in Open House London at Freemasons’ Hall in recent years to showcase both male and female Freemasonry as well as taking part in joint activities up and down the country, for example as part of the Universities Scheme or attending major meetings. There is much local cooperation throughout the country.   

Neither OWF nor HFAF has any desire or intention to change their exclusively female membership, and their members value the practising of Freemasonry in a safe and single sex environment. This is supported by UGLE. Both Women’s Orders are entirely supportive of the UGLE remaining an exclusively male organisation. Such an approach is not uncommon in other aspects of life, for example sports teams, and is entirely consistent with the principles of freedom of association so fundamental to the way of life in this country. 

All three Grand Lodges will continue to work together to remove misconceptions and myths, as well as tackling prejudice, about Freemasonry which is a secular, inclusive and law-abiding activity in the United Kingdom. Its members are strongly encouraged to play an active and positive role in the communities where they live, through service by giving their time, skills and expertise to local organisations, as well as supporting local charities with donations.