Frequently asked questions

On this page you will find some of the most frequently asked questions about Freemasonry

What is Freemasonry?

Freemasonry means different things to different people. For some it is about making new friends and acquaintances. For others it is about helping and supporting deserving causes. For most it is an enjoyable hobby. It is one of the world’s oldest and largest non-religious, non- political, fraternal and charitable organizations. It teaches self-knowledge through participation in a progression of ceremonies. Members are expected to be of high moral standing and are encouraged to speak openly about Freemasonry.

What happens at a lodge meeting?

The meetings, which like many other groups are only open to members, are usually in two parts. Firstly, there are the routine administration procedures such as the minutes of the previous meeting, proposing and balloting for new members, Masonic news and correspondence and news about charitable work. Secondly, there are the ceremonies for admitting new members, the annual installation of the Master of the lodge and his officers. There may be a talk or lecture on a Masonic topic.

Why do Freemasons take oaths?

New members make solemn promises concerning their behaviour both in the lodge and in society. Members also promise to keep confidential the way they recognize each other when visiting another lodge. Freemasons also promise to support others in time of need but only as far as it does not conflict with their family and public obligations.

Are Freemasons expected to give preference to fellow members?

No. This would be unacceptable and may lead to action being taken against those involved. On joining each new member states that he expects no material gain from membership.

Who do the Masonic Charities donate to?

There are Masonic Charities that cater specifically, but not exclusively, for Freemasons or their dependants, others make significant grants to non-Masonic organizations. Indeed, after the National Lottery Freemasons giving to non-Masonic Charities is one of the biggest contributors across the UK.

What is Freemasonry’s relationship with religion?

All Freemasons are expected to have a religious belief. However, Freemasonry does not seek to replace a Freemason’s own religion or provide a substitute for it. It deals in a man’s relationship with his fellow man and not in a man’s relationship with his God.

Why do some Churches not like Freemasonry?

There are elements within churches that misunderstand Freemasonry and its objectives. They confuse secular rituals with religious liturgy. There are many Freemasons in churches where their leaders have been openly critical of the organisation. Freemasonry has always encouraged its members to be active within their own religion.

Does Freemasonry accept Roman Catholics?

Yes. Four Grand Masters of English Freemasonry have been Roman Catholics. Today there are many Roman Catholic Freemasons.

What is Freemasonry’s relationship with politics?

Freemasonry, as a body, will never express a view on politics or state policy. The discussion of politics at Masonic meetings has always been prohibited.

Is Freemasonry an international order?

Freemasonry exists throughout the world. However, each Grand Lodge is sovereign and independent. There is no international governing body for Freemasonry.

Are there women Freemasons?

Yes. Whilst the United Grand Lodge of England, following the example of medieval stonemasons, is and always will be restricted to men, women Freemasons have two separate Grand Lodges, which are restricted to women.

Why do you wear regalia?

The wearing of regalia is historic and symbolic. Like a uniform, the regalia indicate the rank of the wearer in the organisation.

How many Freemasons are there?

Under the United Grand Lodge of England there are over a quarter million Freemasons. There are Grand Lodges in Ireland, which cover both Northern Ireland and Eire, and Scotland, which have a combined total of approximately 150,000 members. Worldwide there are about 6,000,000 Freemasons.

How many degrees are there in Freemasonry?

Basic Freemasonry consists of three degrees: An Entered Apprentice, a Fellow Craft and a Master Mason.

How much does it cost to be a Freemason?

The costs vary from lodge to lodge. Anyone wishing to join will find a lodge to suit his pocket. There is an initiation fee on entry and in due course regalia will have to be bought. The meetings are normally followed by a dinner and the costs of this vary depending on the venue. There is also an annual subscription.

Members are invited to give to charity but this should always be within their means and is entirely up to the individual how much they wish to give.

Universities Scheme

While there have been Masonic lodges attached to universities for many years: Apollo University Lodge in Oxford being founded nearly 200 years ago and the Isaac Newton University Lodge here in Cambridge being founded shortly thereafter, the Universities’ Scheme was established by the Assistant Grand Master in 2005 ‘to establish and/or enhance arrangements and opportunities for undergraduates and other university members to enjoy Freemasonry’. There are now more than 30 lodges in the scheme. Their membership consists of undergraduates, postgraduates, senior members of the university and alumni, ranging in age from 18 upwards. All under-25s benefit from the decision by Grand Lodge to halve their dues in order to make Freemasonry as accessible to as wide an audience as possible.

Click the link to watch a video of a new Mason talking about why he joined Freemasonry while he was at university.

There is more information on the scheme on the Universities Scheme website

In this Province, we have a number of Lodges that are established members of the scheme and have many graduate and undergraduate members not only from the University of Cambridge & Anglia Ruskin University but from other local universities and, indeed, other universities from around the world. Participating Lodges are listed below and those interested in joining might care to look at the various Lodge websites or contact the Lodge Secretary.

Please Note: Isaac Newton University Lodge will only accept matriculated members of Cambridge University.


Cambridgeshire Lodges participating in Universities Scheme

Isaac Newton University Lodge No. 859

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Alma Mater Lodge No. 1492

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Cantabrigia Lodge No. 3532

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Becoming a Mason

If you are interested in becoming a Freemason we advise that you first talk to a family member, friend or colleague whom you already know to be a member. They will be able to explain some of the workings of Freemasonry and help you find a suitable lodge to join.

If you don't know anyone who is already a member please get in touch with us through our Contact Form.

The only essential qualifications for admission to Freemasonry are:

  • That you have a belief in a "Supreme Being". This means that you profess a religious faith. Freemasonry is not restricted to certain faiths. Freemasons meet all over the world and embraces men of many differing religions.
  • It is usual for candidates to be "mature men of 21 years and over", but in some circumstances younger candidates between the ages of 18 and 21 can be admitted - this is especially true in Lodges belonging to the Universities Scheme.
  • That you profess allegiance to the Sovereign of your country and all that the Sovereign represents.
  • That you are willing to strictly observe the Laws, Regulations and Constitutions of Freemasonry.
  • That you are of good character and are prepared to uphold the Civil and Criminal Laws of any country in which you may reside, either temporarily or permanently.
  • That you have the full support of your partner and family.

You can download additional information about Freemasonry to read at your leisure:

Freemasonry - What's it all about?
Thinking of becoming a Freemason?

To watch a video from the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) on what Freemasonry is all about click here

Joining a Cambridgeshire Lodge

As mentioned above, the best way to join is via someone you already know. However if you are not in this position you can enquire via the Provincial Office on our Contact Form. For such applications we are usually only able to respond for persons who reside within the Masonic Province of Cambridgeshire. The Masonic Province of Cambridgeshire does not cover all of what would now be regarded as Cambridgeshire and excludes Huntingdonshire & Peterborough (which are part of the Masonic Province of Northamptonshire & Huntingdonshire - www.northants-huntsmasons.org.uk) but does include Newmarket.

You can write to us or phone us at the Provincial Office:

  • Freemasons Hall, Bateman Street, Cambridge CB2 1NA
  • Tel:  01223 471586 (answerphone)

or fill in the Contact Form.

Provincial Grand Lodge of Cambridgeshire - Contact Us

You can write to us or phone us at the Provincial Office:

  • Provincial Grand Lodge of Cambridgeshire
    Freemasons Hall
    Bateman Street
    Cambridge CB2 1NA
  • Tel:  01223 471586 (answerphone)

Contact Form


Your first & last names are required.