Lodges & History

This section of the site deals exclusively with what is a Lodge and the Lodges functioning under the District Grand Lodge of Madras. Each Lodge has a page which describes the Lodge, it’s history, founders, first officers, events and anecdotes.

What is a Lodge?

Stonemasonry historically pertains to conceptualisation and creation of buildings, structures, and sculptures using stone. In early history, this group of men, stonemasons, were relied upon to build some of the most impressive and famous landmarks in history. From the Egyptian pyramids to Greek temples, and Parisian palaces, stonemasons are, quite literally, the foundation of modern civilization. Stonemasons played a pivotal role in the development of architecture, as well as economics, religion, politics, and society. During the medieval era, they were instrumental in building towns, cathedrals, and castles throughout Europe and the world. As the skill and labour of stonemasons continued to be called for in high demand, the craft grew. So much so that a member body, called a “Guild,” was formed to regulate the practice, skill, and members of stonemasonry and allied crafts, as well as protect the sacred secrets of the trade. These guilds were found primarily in Scotland, England, and France. From the Middle Ages, associations of stonemasons existed throughout Europe. But it wasn’t until the turn of the 16th Century that those medieval guilds gained an institutional structure – the point which many consider to be the birth of modern Freemasonry. 

In the beginning of the 18th century the term ‘Lodge’ emerged from among the craftsmen of the Guilds. There exist many theories behind the creation of The Lodges.  At one stage The Lodge was a physical place in a building site in mediaeval times mostly on the southern side of an edifice under construction. This Lodge was the nerve centre of the operation and used for meeting, eating, planning and perhaps where the fine carving for the edifice under construction was worked upon. The physical building with reference to a Lodge had a less obvious significance. When a Master Mason moved on, he took his lodge with him, meaning the organisation and culture of the Master Mason and those who worked with him moved to the next site. Another school of thought believes that due to the inherent danger of their work, lodges were created to take care of the sick and injured members, as well as the widows and children left behind from those killed on the job.

In the modern world The Lodge is no more operative but speculative in character and is the basic organisational unit in the structure. It is also commonly used as a term for a building in which such a unit meets. Every lodge is warranted or chartered by a Grand Lodge under whose jurisdiction The Lodge operates.

Organisational structure