The "Antients Grand Lodge" has been active since 1751, although it was still known as "The Grand Committee of the Most Antients and Honourable Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons" in 1752. The term "Grand Lodge" appeared in 1753.
Until a few years ago, most Masons accepted the direct descend theory from Medieval Masonry to the modern Craft through three stages: operative, transitional and speculative. The first lodges regulated the trade of stonemasons working on the construction of castles, abbeys, and cathedrals. From the beginning of the seventeenth century ...
By the year 1717 there were only four lodges in the London area and the Craft was in danger of losing its traditional identity. There was little reason for it to exist at all. It was a victim of its own success after overcoming the threat from the Church and being a promoter of democracy and open science.
The exact origin of Freemasonry is unknown and only theories try to explain its genesis and original purpose. The only certainty is that on 24 June 1717, the feast day of St John the Baptist, four London lodges met to create the Grand Lodge of England, the first of its kind in the world. Before that there was only limited written references to Freemasonry as well as some records of small lodges of operative stonemasons.