History of this Order

The Masonic Order of Athelstan formed in 2005, growing out of the shared interests that a number of like-minded individuals had in the origins of Masonry. Their research culminated in a few members of that group focusing specifically on the Saxon Chronicles. In essence, their informal meetings became more and more regular and the rich and invigorating debates offered each member considerable encouragement and support to continue with their personal endeavours. They had become a dedicated Masonic and historical discussion group.

As the group progressed its subsequent interface with other like-minded Masons encouraged them to progress the idea of a new Order even to the writing of a ritual to support it. This ritual was based on the research of many old historic documents and the discovery of old Craft and other Masonic ritual. Eventually a draft of the ritual was produced based upon the life and symbolism of King Athelstan, the grandson of King Alfred, and the first King of England to be referred to as “The King of All the English”. The Grand Court of the Masonic Order of Athelstan was conceived if not yet born.

As the group explored the idea of setting up the Order it caught the imagination of more and more Freemasons both senior and junior. Eventually there was a following which quickly grew as “word of mouth” spread and has now become a vehicle for many well-read and like-minded Masons to come together and discuss their individual learning.

So what is the Order of Athelstan? The Order has become many different things to many different people. For many it is historic and educational, for others it is rich in symbolism and a vehicle to keep a great deal of old ritual alive, for others it is where good friends meet to share knowledge, thinking, friendship and good company.

On the practical side it is what we like to call a ‘functional’ degree, in other words it is aimed at accommodating people's modern lifestyles with low costs. Midweek meetings generally commence at around 6.30 pm and conclude after a 3 course (maximum) meal at around 9.30pm, in order to give brethren time to be together at the bar and to encourage discussion, or to proceed home if preferred. There are no ‘wine takings’ and the few formal toasts do not have any fire attached to them. Some Courts meet on a Saturday morning and meetings, followed by a lunch, are concluded by 2.30-3pm.

It is Masonic, and therefore candidates must be subscribing Craft Freemasons as well as subscribing Companions of a Royal Arch Chapter  in full amity with the United Grand Lodge of England (these are the requisite qualifications). If a potential candidate holds these requisite qualifications they can be invited to our Festive Board and will be warmly welcomed by all. The intention is to enable brethren to attend the dinner, after the meeting, as a way of introducing them to the Order without disclosing the ritual and workings of the Order.

Normally three meetings a year are encouraged, two working and a third the Installation. At this meeting the ceremonial is about 40 minutes in total and allows for a short talk or lecture.

Like other Masonic Orders, the ceremonial uses legend and allegory to tell a story and portray good ethical conduct and behaviour. In the Order we use the legend of Athelstan's York Assembly of 926 as the framework and conduit for ours. We aim to bring to life the 926 Court that was held in York to educate and raise the quality of masonry in 10th Century England and in so doing to prompt further study and research. As such our meetings are held in a Court and our candidates are ‘Instructed’ into the Order.