Union of 1813

At one time two conflicting Grand Lodge Bodies were in existence in England. One, known as the Grand Lodge of England, originally with four old Lodges assembling at London on June 24, 1717. This Lodge we will designate as the Grand Lodge of the Moderns, that being the name by which they were known during the famous controversy, in spite of the fact that they were in existence long before the other competitor. There as on for the designation Modern in this instance is that parts of their ritual and ceremony had been modified or changed, as time went on, from the ancient workings of the Freemasons. The other Lodge, while of more recent establishment, became known as the Grand Lodge of the Ancient because they claimed that their ceremonies had come down from the ancient or Operative Lodges without change.

This Grand Lodge of the Ancient was also known as of Atholl Masons, it having been headed by Lord Atholl. They elected their first Grand Master on December 5, 1753, their membership at that time consisting largely of Irish Freemasons then resident in London. This Ancient Grand Lodge became strong as time went on. The Grand Lodge of the Moderns was weakened by dissension within its own ranks between the Operative and Speculative Lodges, some of whom joined the opposing Grand Lodge of the Ancient. The famous Laurence Dermott was for many years the head of the Ancient. Dermott was selected Grand Secretary of the Ancient February 5, 1752. After much conflict between the Ancient and Moderns a Union was consummated, the Articles of Union being signed November 25, 1813, by the Dukes of Sussex and Kent, the Grand Masters of the two Lodges. Later, December 27, 1813, the Act of Union confirmed this agreement at a joint meeting of the two Lodges and the present United Grand Lodge of England came into existence.

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