Evidence of the existence of Freemasonry prior to 1691 is sparse, so the true origins of Freemasonry remain a mystery…however The Halliwell Manuscript dated 1394 and the Matthew Cooke Manuscript suggest the origins may be much earlier.

Theories that suggest the origin of Freemasonry has:

  • Evolved from bands of travelling stonemasons
  • Evolved from a band of Knights Templar who escaped to Scotland after the order was persecuted in Europe.

There is general agreement amongst historians and researchers that Freemasonry developed, either directly or indirectly, from the medieval stonemasons – otherwise known as Operative Masons – who built the great cathedrals and castles

Organised Freemasonry in England, began with the founding of the first Grand Lodge on 24 June 1717 at the Goose and Gridiron Ale House in St Paul’s Churchyard, London.

Freemasons have been present in Filey since 1855 in the form of Royal Lodge No. 643.   Mainly meeting in local hotels, it was not until 1910 our own building was built on a former brickyard in Rutland Street…which is still in use to this today.

In April 1948, a new lodge was proposed to relieve the congestion that was occurring in Masonic circles. During founder meetings throughout 1948, the name of the new lodge, the first officers, meeting dates and constitution were decided.

The name Portus Felix was chosen in preference to St Oswald, being derived from the natural harbour named as a landing place used by the Romans.  Portus Felix is located on the sheltered side of the Spittals.  A picture of the Spittals can be seen in the centre of the lodge banner.

Subsequently, on 15th Sept 1948, Portus Felix lodge No. 6712 was consecrated, with 265 masons present.  Adopting the name Portus Felix effectively joins the old and the new, the old Roman name is restored and is greatly honoured by its association with Freemasonry.

To this date, these two lodges and many other “side degrees” meet at Rutland Street on a regular basis.

Aerial shot of the Spittals at Filey