“The transformation of English Freemasonry after the foundation of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717 was especially marked by the (largely nominal) leadership of young pro-Hanoverian Whig aristocrats who transformed Freemasonry into an important component of the economic, scientific, social, and political changes of the 18th century. Freemasonry rapidly became an important facet of the upper reaches of English society, and Berman (Oxford) traces the role these aristocratic architects played in the formation of what quickly became the most prominent and socially elite fraternal order of the modern era. There were important connections between Freemasonry and the judiciary, the Royal Society, and other learned and professional societies. Berman provides a useful introduction to these key figures, as well as a series of valuable appendixes, giving readers the Grand Officers of the Grand Lodge of England, excerpts from the Masonic 1723 Constitutions, a list of the various military lodges, and an inventory of the Masonic membership of selected professional societies. Although its origins as a doctoral thesis are all too clear, this remains a valuable work for serious Masonic historians. Recommended.” —Choice
About the Author
Dr Ric Berman is the author of three of the most important recently published books on eighteenth-century freemasonry: The Foundations of Modern Freemasonry, (2011, second edn. 2014); Schism (2013); and Loyalists & Malcontents (2015). He holds a Masters in Economics from the University of Cambridge and a Doctorate in History from the University of Exeter. He continued his research into the social and political aspects of freemasonry as a Senior Visiting Researcher at the University of Oxford's Modern European History Research Centre and as a Visiting Research Fellow at Oxford Brookes University. Ric lives with his family in Oxfordshire, England, and is currently working on 'Prince Eugene's Coffee House', a study of eighteenth-century diplomacy, espionage & the lodge. He was appointed Prestonian lecturer for 2016.