There are some great Freemasons and then there are some great men who were Freemasons; Winston Churchill belong to the latter. It could be perhaps argued that Winston Churchill was the greatest British statesman in recent history.
When he joined Studholme Lodge No 1591, he was surrounded by political and military colleagues to whom Freemasonry which ,along with other similar friendly and fellowship societies, was a fashionable social pursuit.
Lodge record of the date of Churchill’s initiation as a 24th of May 1901, with his address as 105 Mount Street. His age was listed incorrectly as being 26 and his occupation as a member of parliament, within two months on the 19th of July Winston was passed to the second degree and on the 5th of March 1902 he became a Master Mason. All three ceremonies being conducted in Studholme Lodge.
As a Freemason Winston Churchill was following a long-standing family tradition; both his father and uncle having been initiated into the craft together in 1871. But Churchill’s overall activity within the craft was limited due to career and other time-consuming matters. By 1912 he was well on his way to political success and in July of that year, he was charged as the First Lord of the Admiralty to put the fleet into a state of instant and constant readiness for war in case we were attacked by Germany.
In the knowledge that he would no longer be able to take any part whatsoever, he resigned from the Studholme lodge but continued his membership of the craft. On a number of separate occasions in the coming years, his involvement in Masonic affairs was sought and he willingly
participated. Clearly Winston in becoming a Freemason complied with the fashion of the time and his friends and colleagues sociable activities in wishes. It followed in a long-standing and distinguished Churchill family tradition of Freemasons.
His respect, affection and influence exerted on him by his father, Lord Randolph, will have played a part in his joining the craft. No doubt it also fulfilled Winston’s own curious interest in the fraternity.
In November 1904 he accepted honorary membership in the Hawthorn Lodge of the British order of Ancient Free-Gardeners. He is recorded as a member of the loyal Waterloo Lodge of the National Independent and Order of Oddfellows, in Manchester in April 1987 and of the Albion Lodge Oxford of the Ancient Order of Druids in September 1908.
Winston Churchill’s association with Freemasonry must be placed within the context of his membership and almost certain equal in activity in these various organizations, if not the slightest indication to suggest that Freemasonry had any meaning for Churchill beyond a pleasant limited social activity. He joined when it was appropriate, and he resigned when it was equally appropriate and he was pleased to lend his name to Masonic efforts within his own fields of responsibility.
Had Freemasonry had any significance of consequence to Churchill, we would have known about it. He was a prolific author and has written extensively and in detail about his life and his youth; nowhere is there to be found a mention of Freemasonry in any context at all.
These facts however detract little from the pride, we as freemasons, derive in the knowledge that Winston Churchill was a Freemason and descended from a long line of active and distinguished Brethren.
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