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Four Old Lodges, One of The

Of the four old Lodges of London known to have met in 1716 to discuss the formation of a Grand Lodge and in 1717 met and elected a Grand Master, two are still active: Lodge of Antiquity (see history of it by Rylands and Firebrace) and the Lodge about which Rev. and Bro. Arnold Whitaker Oxford wrote: No. 4: An Introduction to the History of the Royal So7nerset House and Inverness Lodge (Bernard Quaritch; London; 1928). Other old Lodges still at work were, as Old Dundee Lodge very probably was, of Time Immemorial origin but did not participate (as far as any records show) in the formation of the Grand Lodge. Those which did participate must have agreed among themselves that each Time Immemorial Lodge would ever remain independent in some very real sense; Preston insisted upon this independence for Antiquity when he led a secession of a majority of its members; Bro. Oxford still insists upon it for No. 4. The fact, at least as it is generally believed to have been the fact, that many more old Lodges were at work in London and in England before 1717 than was once believed, makes the place of Antiquity and No. 4 the more distinguished among Lodges; they are the oldest existing Lodges of Speculative Free masonry not only in England but in the whole world where by "Speculative" is meant the Grand Lodge system.

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