FREEMASONS in the Middle Ages were a guild of masons specially employed in building churches. Called 'free' because they were exempted by several papal bulls from the laws which bore upon common craftsmen, and exempted from the burdens thrown on the working classes.
St. Paul's London, in 604, and St. Peter's Westminster, in 605, were built by Freemasons. Gundulph (Bishop of Rochester), who built the White Tower, was a 'Grand Master' so was Peter of Colechurch, architect of the Old London Bridge.
Henry Vll's chapel, Westminster, was the work of a Master Mason; so were Sir Thomas Gresham (who planned the Royal Exchange) Inigo Jones, and Sir Christopher Wren.
The Prince of Wales founded Covent Garden theatre in 1808 in his capacity of 'Grand Master'.
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