United Grand Lodge of England
An abbreviation is a shortened form of a word or phrase. Usually, but not always, it consists of a letter or group of letters taken from the word or phrase...
: UGLE) is the main governing body of freemasonry
Freemasonry is a fraternal organisation that arose from obscure origins in the late 16th to early 17th century. Freemasonry now exists in various forms all over the world, with a membership estimated at around six million, including approximately 150,000 under the jurisdictions of the Grand Lodge...
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...
and in other, predominantly ex-British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...
countries outside the United Kingdom. It is the oldest Grand Lodge
A Grand Lodge, or "Grand Orient", is the usual governing body of "Craft", or "Blue Lodge", Freemasonry in a particular jurisdiction. The first Masonic Grand Lodge was established in England in 1717 as the Premier Grand Lodge of England....
in the world, deriving its origin from 1717. Together with the Grand Lodge of Ireland
Grand Lodge of Ireland
The Grand Lodge of Ireland is the second most senior Grand Lodge of Freemasons in the world, and the oldest in continuous existence. Since no specific record of its foundation exists, 1725 is the year celebrated in Grand Lodge anniversaries, as the oldest reference to Grand Lodge of Ireland comes...
and the Grand Lodge of Scotland
Grand Lodge of Scotland
The Grand Lodge of Antient, Free and Accepted Masons of Scotland was founded in 1736 – although only a third of all lodges were represented at the foundation meeting of the Grand Lodge....
they are often referred to, by their members, as "the home Grand Lodges" or "the Home Constitutions".
On 24 June 1717, four London lodges came together at the Goose and Gridiron Ale House, St Paul's Churchyard and formed themselves into a Grand Lodge
Premier Grand Lodge of England
The Premier Grand Lodge of England was founded on 24 June 1717 as the Grand Lodge of London and Westminster and it existed until 1813 when it united with the Ancient Grand Lodge of England to create the United Grand Lodge of England. It was the first Masonic Grand Lodge to be created...
for the purposes of an annual dinner.