2017 will be a major milestone for Modern Freemasonry, marking the traditional formation date of the first Masonic Grand Lodge on St. John Baptist’s day, June 24, 1717 near St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, England.
According to the traditional history included in James Anderson’s Constitutions of the Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons,
“King George I. arrived at London on September 20, 1714; and the few lodges at London wanting an active patron, by reason of Sir Christopher Wren’s disability, (for the new king was not a free mason, and was moreover unacquainted with the language of the country), thought fit to cement under a new grand master, the center of union and harmony. For this purpose the lodges,
1. At the Goose and Gridiron, in St. Paul’s church-yard,
2. At the Crown, in Parker’s-lane, near Drury-lane,
3. At the Apple-tree tavern, in Charles-street, Covent-Garden,
4. At the Rummer and Grapes tavern, in Channel-row, Westminster,
with some other old brothers met at the said Apple-tree; and having put into the chair the oldest master mason, being the master of a lodge, they constituted themselves a grand lodge, pro tempore, in due form. They resolved to revive the quarterly communications of the officers of lodges, to hold the annual assembly and feast, and then to chuse [sic] a grand master from among themselves, until they should have the honour [sic] of a noble brother at their head.
Accordingly, on St. John Baptist’s day, the Assembly and Feast of the free and accepted masons were held at the aforesaid Goose and Gridiron in St. Paul’s church-yard. Before dinner, the oldest master mason, being the master of a lodge, in the chair, proposed a list of proper candidates; and the brethren, by majority of hands, elected Anthony Sayer, gentleman, grand master of masons; who being forthwith invested with the badges of his office by the said oldest mater, and installed, was duly congratulated by the assembly, who paid him the homage.”