The role of Freemasons in ruling British society for the last 200 years has been revealed.
An archive containing the records of two million Freemasons is to be made public. The secret archive contains a list of names associated with the military top brass, bishops, statesmen, judges, police, royalty, engineers, scientists, explorers and others.
Freemasonary is one of the few remaining men-only ventures, with around six million members worldwide; two million of whom reside in the U.S.
The Daily Record reports:
The names of royalty, statesmen, judges, military top brass, bishops and police have been found in a secret archive which lists two million Freemasons.
The masonic records – from 1733 to 1923 – are set to be made available to the public for the first time.
They show Kings Edward VII, Edward VIII and George VI were all Freemasons.
Military leaders the Duke of Wellington and Lord Kitchener were also members of the clandestine group founded by a group of men in a London coffee house in 1717.
Britain’s wartime Premier Sir Winston Churchill was also a Freemason along with literary greats Rudyard Kipling, Oscar Wilde and Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Others include music legends Gilbert and Sullivan, explorers Ernest Shackleton and Captain Robert Scott, England cricket captain Douglas Jardine and scientist Sir Alexander Fleming who discovered penicillin.
More than 5,500 police officers, thousands of military figures, 170 judges, 169 MPs, 16 bishops and an Indian prince are listed in the Freemasons archive to be made public by family history website Ancestry.
Businessman Harry Selfridge is named in the archive along with social reformer Thomas Barnardo, famous bridge builder Thomas Telford and thousands of engineers who made Britain a world industrial power.
The extent to which Freemasons wielded power over the British Empire may lead to a re-examination of two centuries of our history.
The all-male group was originally formed to enable “men of integrity” to get together while avoiding issues of religion and politics.
They adopted the compass, square and apron used in stonemasonry as symbols for the group.
Publication of the archive comes after initiatives by the Freemasons in recent decades to make the organisation more open.
There are believed to be six million Freemasons in the world today – including two million in the United States.
Ancestry’s senior UK content manager Miriam Silverman said: “We’re delighted to be able to offer people an online window into a relatively unknown organisation.”
Freemasons had a huge influence over a controversial inquiry into the Titanic disaster in which more than 1,500 passengers and crew died.
The secret archive shows the judge who presided over the British Wreck Commissioner’s inquiry was a Freemason along with leading investigators and some who escaped censure.
A US investigation blamed the British Board of Trade for lax rules which allowed the Titanic to set off on its maiden voyage in 1912 with just 20 lifeboats for 2,208 people on board.
But the Board of Trade was exonerated by the British inquiry led by Lord Mersey.
Records show the judge was initiated as a Freemason in 1881 at the Northern Bar Lodge in London.
President of the Board of Trade Sydney Buxton was also a long-standing Mason after being initiated in 1888 at Limehouse in East London, where he was local MP.
Two of the inquiry’s five expert assessors were also listed as Masons – naval architecture specialist John Harvard Biles and senior engineer assessor Edward Chaston.
Another key figure in the inquiry listed as a Freemason was Lord Pirrie.
He was chairman of the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast which built the Titanic and a directors of shipping line White Star’s parent company.
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