Home About Us What is Freemasonry? Meetings Join Us Find Us History Useful Links

What is Freemasonry?

What is Freemasonry?

Masonry is one of the world's oldest fraternities, and consists of a body of men concerned with moral and spiritual virtues. Its members are taught its precepts by a series of ritual dramas, which follow ancient forms, and use stonemasons' customs and tools as allegorical guides.

Freemasonry means different things to each of those who join. For some, it's about making new friends and acquaintances. For others it's about being able to help deserving causes – making a contribution to family and society. But for most, it is an enjoyable hobby. Freemasonry is founded on three great principles:

Why become a Freemason?

What Does It Stand For?

Freemasonry is not a religion, nor is it a substitute for religion. The one essential qualification means that Freemasonry is open to men of many religions and it expects and encourages them to follow their own faith. It is not permitted for Freemasons to discuss topics of Religious or Political subjects at any Masonic Meetings.

We are a three hundred year old social network with a serious purpose. We are a highly convivial organisation concerned with the promotion of friendship, our own moral development and the wellbeing of the communities in which we live and work. The principles of Freemasonry instil in us an ethical approach to life: we are encouraged to think about the welfare of others, to be honest in business, and to be courteous and fair in all our dealings with everyone. We are urged to regard the interests of our family as paramount but, importantly, Freemasonry also emphasises and practises concern for people, care for the less fortunate and help for those in need.

We believe in tolerance and equality and in the importance of integrity in all of our dealings with others. We are encouraged to speak openly about Freemasonry as long as we don't use our membership to create an advantage for ourselves. There are more than a quarter of a million Freemasons in England and Wales meeting in nearly 8,000 Lodges under the authority of The United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE). Worldwide, there are nearly 6 million Freemasons. Our Masonic Province of Oxfordshire consists of just under 2,000 members.

Just in case this all sounds too earnest, we must also emphasise the social nature of Lodge membership. We are extremely sociable and Lodge meetings are both convivial and rewarding. Many life-long friendships are made and sustained in our lodges. We enjoy helping others and enjoy our masonry! We are people just like you and people you'll like.

Our Charitable Work

Freemasonry is not primarily a charitable organisation. Our charitable activities are the result of individual members applying the principles of masonry in their everyday lives. Over the years members of Witta's Island Lodge have a proud record of supporting both masonic and non-masonic good causes. We do not make street collections nor do we solicit funds from non-masonic sources. Freemasonry is not limited to wealthy individuals however. We each give according to our means, in complete confidence. There is no pressure or compulsion to donate. We are more concerned with a man's character than his material assets.

The Freemasons' Grand Charity has made grants of over £1,000,000 since 2007 to support air ambulances throughout the country. Just one example of masonry acting for the benefit of all in our community.

Who Are We?

Membership is open to all men of good public record, strict morals and integrity, who believe in a Supreme Being. There are no other requirements apart from a willingness to learn and to contribute to the rich life of the lodge. Members come from all walks of life and all types of ethnic, social, economic and educational backgrounds, occupations and religions.

Under The United Grand Lodge of England, Lodges are organised into county areas called Provinces. In The Province of Oxfordshire there are 56 Lodges. Witta's Island Lodge is one of four Lodges meeting and working in Witney. Every Lodge has its own schedule of meetings at which the members and their guests advance their knowledge of Freemasonry and enjoy each other's company by sharing a meal together.

The United Grand Lodge of England publishes its rules, known as the 'Book of Constitutions'. It likewise publishes lists of lodges and their meeting places. These publications are in the public domain and can be downloaded or purchased from the United Grand Lodge in London.