by William R. Fischer

“Ancient Masons,” was the name assumed by a body of Masons who, in 1738 seceded from the regular or legal Grand Lodge of England. They did this because of changes the Institution made on the ritual work.

The Ancients called themselves “Ancient Free and Accepted Masons” and were the new Lodges. They practiced the old ritual work and condemned the Moderns, as they called them, for changes made in that work. The Moderns, were called “Free and accepted Masons” and were the old Lodges of England. They adopted the new style of ritual work formed by Anderson, Preston, and others.

These differences kept the two bodies apart to the extreme, that there would be both in the same community and sometimes, side by side. They would clam the same jurisdiction and argue over who was right and who was clandestine.

In 1813 the two bodies resolved their differences and joined hands, but the Lodges were spread throughout the world, and particularly in America. They turned out to be impossible to align. Both are recognized by the Grand Lodge of England and both have the same rights and benefits which are accorded a legal Lodge of Master Masons. Although you will find the different Lodges in United States their jurisdictions are limited to each state. This is why we have:

Ancient Free and Accepted Masons

Ancient Free Masons

Free and Accepted Masons

and on and on.

West Virginia Grand Lodge