Historical 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 travelling stonemasons
  • Evolved from the Knights Templar who escaped to Scotland after the order was persecuted in Europe.

There is general agreement among 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,  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 on Filey Brig.  Portus Felix is located on the sheltered side of the Spittals.  A representation of the Spittals can be seen in the centre of the lodge banner and can also be seen on the logo shown below.  An aerial view of the Spittals (below) clearly shows Portus Felix on the landward side.

Subsequently, on 15th Sept 1948, Portus Felix lodge No. 6712 was consecrated, with 265 masons present. To this date, these two lodges and other appendant orders meet at Rutland Street on a regular basis.


Portus Felix Lodge logo


Picture of The Spittals at Filey

© discoverfiley.org.uk