Apollo University Lodge No.357 - A Freemason's Lodge for Members of Oxford University
The Apollo University Lodge accepts proposals for membership from present and past members of Oxford University. The History of the Apollo University Lodge records that on 24th May, 1818, at Brasenose College, a meeting of freemasons was held with a view to founding a lodge for undergraduates of the University. It was resolved at that meeting that the permission of the Vice Chancellor having first been obtained, a suitable petition would be presented to the headquarters of freemasonry – Grand Lodge.
In due course, the first meeting of the Apollo University Lodge was held on 10th February, 1819. Since then, many thousands of Oxonians have become members of what is commonly regarded as the largest and probably the longest-running of the various University societies. Current membership is in the region of 300 and includes some fifty junior and senior members of the University and its Departments, the remainder choosing to continue their membership as an enjoyable way of keeping up the circle of their University acquaintances. It is well known that Elias Ashmole was one of the first recorded freemasons in England; John Radcliffe was a mason; Cecil Rhodes and even Oscar Wilde were members of the University Lodge! Both Prince Leopold, who was its Master in 1876 and Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, who was Master three years earlier, joined the Lodge during their studies at Oxford. During recent decades, Lodge membership has continued to be a microcosm of the University with a diverse and stimulating multi-cultural mix. It will come as no surprise to learn that a large lodge of such origins should still be of interest throughout the world.
What is Freemasonry?
Freemasonry is a society of men concerned with moral and spiritual values. The three "great principles", as they are called in masonry are Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth, that is: tolerance and respect for the opinions of others and an obligation to behave with kindness and understanding to our fellow creatures; the practice of charity - freemasonry is known, above all else, for its substantial outward giving (through the "Grand Charity") to many worthy causes (currently in the UK, in the region of £15m a year); masons strive for truth, aiming to achieve high standards in their public and private lives.
Freemasonry demands from its 320,000 members (under the United Grand Lodge of England) a respect of the law with which its principles do not in any way conflict. A freemason's duty as a citizen must always come first and it is a serious disqualification to attempt to use membership of the order to promote one's own, or anyone else's personal interests. A freemason's duties are first to his God, then, without detriment to his family and those dependent upon him, to his fellow men. Freemasonry is not a secret society: there are traditional secrets associated with the ceremonial of masonry that concern the age-old modes of recognition – nothing more.
Discussion of politics or religion are not permitted at masonic meetings.
Qualifications for membership.
Although freemasonry is secular and multi-denominational, all candidates for membership must declare a belief in a Supreme Being. Secondly, all candidates must be of demonstrable "good character". Membership of the Apollo University Lodge is additionally open to matriculated members of Oxford University; the qualifying age for freemasonry generally is 21 years, but the Lodges of Oxford and Cambridge have the unique distinction of exception from this rule and may initiate members under this age. It may be that a member of your family is already a mason: ask him about it! And sons of freemasons enjoy a queue-jumping privilege in the rush for membership!
There is an administration fee, upon joining, of £20, and an annual subscription of £80 (of which a substantial amount is devoted to the Grand Charity, the remainder being for the use of premises and annual administration costs). Dining is not included in the membership fee and is usually in the region of £20, including wine. Most freemasons contribute, according to conscience and within their means, to the masonic and other charities mentioned above.
Serious and eligible applicants should write for further particulars to the Membership Steward, Apollo University Lodge, 333 Banbury Road, Oxford, OX2 7TL or by email through this site. Further details about freemasonry may be obtained from Freemasons’ Hall, Great Queen Street, London. WC2B 5AZ or visiting the website at www.grandlodge-england.org Three or four years is not a long time in the life of a freemason, so undergraduates who are contemplating becoming members of the university lodge are strongly advised to consider an application to join this celebrated lodge earlier rather that later in their student careers.
To read a more comprehensive history of the Apollo University Lodge and to ascertain dates of meetings and details of ceremonies, please visit the Lodge website, www.apollo357.com
Women who are interested in further information about freemasonry should contact The Grand Secretary, The Order of Women Freemasons, 27 Pembridge Gardens, London, W2 4EF, telephone number 0207 229 2368.