Provincial Grand Lodge of Dorset

The official website of Dorset Freemasonry


For Province P0060 - Province of Dorset.


Nov. 2021

A System of Morality' Part II 'Veiled in Allegory'

The Prestonian Lecture 2021 was hosted in Dorset by Bleckly Clarke Lodge 8290 who held an extraordinary meeting of the Lodge at the Blandford Corn Exchange.

The meeting was attended by RWBro Graham R Glazier, Provincial Grand Master for Dorset and Most Excellent Grand Superintendent in and over Dorset, WBro Stephen James Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Dorset, WBro Simon Delahunty, Assistant Provincial Grand Master of Dorset, accompanied by Grand Officers and Provincial Grand Officers.

The Ruling Master of Bleckly Clarke Lodge, WBro Peter Kingsbury, introduced WBro Professor George Boys-Stones to the Lodge and explained the significance of the Prestonian Lecture.

WBro Professor George Boys-Stones subsequently delivered the lecture with consummate ease to the captivation and enjoyment of the many Brethren who had attended the meeting.

Freemasonry is defined in English masonic ritual as 'a peculiar system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols'. WBro Professor George Boys-Stones explained what it all meant. In doing so he significantly accelerated the audiences' daily advancement in masonic knowledge.

The Prestonian Lecture 2021 traces the definition back to the work of William Preston (1742-1818). William Preston, using Aristotle as his starting-point, argued that Freemasonry teaches a philosophical approach to virtue, which it expresses allegorically through the story of the building of King Solomon's Temple.

Preston's view proved decisive in shaping the ritual approved for use in 1816 by the United Grand Lodge of England. Almost all English lodges, and many others throughout the world, still use a ritual derived from this one, and, perhaps without realising it, continue to pay silent testimony to Preston and to Aristotle in their work.

After the meeting Brethren retired to the nearby Crown Hotel, a beautiful Georgian Coaching Inn, where they enjoyed a sumptuous festive board.

WBro Professor George Boys-Stones is a Professor of Classics and Philosophy at the University of Toronto. A leading scholar of Ancient Philosophy with wide-ranging interests. He has a special interest in the philosophical movements of the post-Hellenistic period. Before moving to Toronto he was Professor of Ancient Philosophy in the Department of Classics and Ancient History at Durham University.

WBro William Preston (7 August 1742 – 1 April 1818) was a Scottish author, editor and lecturer, born in Edinburgh.

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