27 Pembridge Gardens, 
London W2 4EF 
Freemasonry for women came to this country from France in 1902 in the form of mixed Lodges (Co-Masonry). In 1908 some Co-Masons decided to break away to start a new Order called 'The Honourable Fraternity of Antient Masonry' - now known as The Order of Women Freemasons.  
Women Freemasons over the years since 1693 include ..... 
Elizabeth Aldworth (1693-1773) 
Daughter of Arthur St Leger, 1st Viscount Doneraile, in County Cork, Ireland 
• The first recorded woman to be initiated into Regular Freemasonry 
• Initiated after unwittingly overhearing the proceedings of a lodge meeting in her home 
Empress Josephine (1763-1814) 
Wife of Napoleon Bonaparte 
• Ancestor of many of the royal houses of Europe and Scandinavia 
• At the beginning of the 19th century in France, she was prominent in the Lodges of Adoption = pseudo-Masonry, where women (and later the family) could take part 
• Collected over 200 types of rose in her garden at Malmaison 
Maria Deraismes (1828-1894) 
Distinguished author and lecturer, politician and pioneering force for women’s rights 
• First women to be initiated into a regular Masonic lodge in the 19th century in France 
• First Master of a new, mixed Order which later became Le Droit Humain (the Co-Masons) 
Charlotte Despard (1844-1939) 
Anglo-Irish suffragist, socialist and pacifist 
• Founder of the Women’s Freedom League, one of the main suffrage organisations 
• Co-Mason and Theosophist 
• Poor Law Guardian and social worker amongst the poor of Battersea 
• Fought two General Elections as a Labour candidate; later joined the Communist party 
Annie Besant (1847-1933) 
Women’s rights activist and Suffrage leader 
• Initiated into Freemasonry in Paris in 1902 with five other Theosophists from England 
• Brought Co-Masonic movement (and therefore Freemasonry for women) to England 
• Leader of Co-Masons and President, Theosophical Society 
• Supporter of Irish and Indian self-rule 
Annie Cobden-Sanderson (1853-1926) 
Militant suffragette who was sent to prison; member of Women’s Freedom League 
• Member of Lodge Maria Desraimes No. 1 in Paris and Human Duty No. 6 in London of the Co-Masons, and then Lodge Golden Rule No. 1 of HFAF 
• Friend, hostess and social equal of Winston Churchill, who nevertheless refused to acknowledge her at suffrage demonstration 
Marion Halsey (1861-1927) 
Daughter of the (later) Chairman of Coutts Bank in London, and herself very wealthy 
• Her second husband was Reginald Halsey, son of Sir Thomas Halsey, DGM of UGLE 
• Member of Lodge Golden Rule No. 1, into which lodge she recruited many of her aristocratic friends 
• Second Grand Master of HFAM from 1912 to 1927 – her fifteen-year reign was instrumental in moulding the Order 
• Financed the building of the Grand Temple at HFAM headquarters 
• She was the driving force behind setting up one of the first training colleges for women teachers and social workers 
Mabel St Clair Stobart (1862-1954) 
Ardent feminist and believer in service 
• Created and commanded all-women medical units to serve in France and the Balkan Wars 
• Founder of the Women’s Sick and Wounded Convoy Corps to serve between field and base hospitals in the first Balkan War; and in 1914 the Women’s National Service League to provide assistance at home and abroad, including France, Belgium and Serbia 
• Leading Spiritualist 
• Member of Lodge Golden Rule No. 1 of HFAM 
Lady Agnes Grove (1863-1926) 
Member of the great Liberal Stanley family 
• Member of Lodge Golden Rule No.1 of the HFAM 
• Outspoken suffrage supporter, using her skills as a writer and public speaker 
• Friend of Thomas Hardy, who advised her on writing 
Evelina Haverfield (1867-1920) 
Prominent suffragette, having taken part in demonstrations, been arrested and imprisoned 
• Member of Lodge Golden Rule No. 21 of the Co-Masons 
• In WW1 she founded support units - the Woman’s Emergency Corps, the Woman’s Volunteer Reserve and the Green Cross Corps (the women’s ambulance reserve) 
• Went on to work in Serbia with the Scottish Women’s Hospital; founded the Serbian Soldiers Comforts Fund, the Fund for Disabled Serbian Soldiers and set up an orphanage 
Muriel, Countess De La Warr (1872-1930) 
Granddaughter of the railway magnate Thomas Brassey 
• Wealthy philanthropist, who financed the Daily Herald which was a major supporter of Suffrage 
• President of the Federated Council of Suffrage Societies, which tried to unify the many disparate suffrage groups and determine a united policy 
• Member of Lodge Golden Rule No. 1 of HFAM 
• Her son Herbrand (9th Earl De La Warr) married Marion Halsey’s daughter Diana 
• Theosophist and Director of the Theosophical school at Letchworth 
Lucy O’Hea (Lady Markham)(1873-1960) 
Her first husband was Sir Arthur Markham, a colliery owner and Liberal MP for Mansfield, Notts. 
• Member of Lodge Harmony No. 4 of HFAM 
• Active in looking after the interests of women in the services 
• Friend of David Lloyd George and Liberal Party hostess 
• Awarded CBE for work with the Government Hospitality Fund (entertaining overseas visitors) 
Dame Florence Leach (1874-1956) 
Senior female British army officer during World War I 
• One of the founders of the Women’s Legion in WW1; Controller–in-Chief of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, which put women into men’s jobs here and so freed men for active service in France 
• Member of Lodge Golden Rule No. 1 of the HFAM 
• She proposed six of her senior officers into the Order in an effort to provide Masonic support for servicewomen – Lodge Harmony No. 4 became their special Lodge 
• Appointed a Dame in 1919 – the first one in the Military Division 
Lilian Barker (1874-1955) 
Dedicated her life to the training and rehabilitation of the underprivileged 
• Lady Superintendent of Woolwich Arsenal, responsible for the recruitment and welfare of over 20,000 girls and women in Munitions 
• Member of HFAM 
• Governor of girls’ Borstal, where she introduced reform making its regime curative not punitive 
• Lifelong friend of Queen Mary, who supported her work 
• She was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1944 
Lady Emily Lutyens (1874-1964) 
Wife of architect Sir Edwin Lutyens 
• A Co-Mason – took part as an Entered Apprentice in the Coronation March of women in 1911 
• Friend of Annie Besant 
• Member of the Theosophical Society and follower of Krishnamurti, the ‘new Messiah’ 
Dorothea Irving (1875-1933) 
Famous actress, best known for the role of Trilby in the play of the same name (based on a novel by George du Maurier) where she falls under the influence of the hypnotist Svengali 
• Daughter-in-law of the actor-manager Sir Henry Irving 
• On her retirement from the stage she devoted herself to charitable causes, especially infant welfare 
• Member of Lodge Golden Rule No. 1 of HFAM; organised the Order’s contribution to Queen Mary’s Needlework Guild 
Lady Dorothy Haig (1879-1939) 
Maid of honour to Queen Alexandra 
• Married Earl Haig at Buckingham Palace 
• Worked with the Red Cross in WW1 
• Prominent in British Legion’s Poppy Appeal campaign to remember the war dead 
• Organised a ‘Poppy Factory’ to supply Scotland with poppies 
• Member of Lodge Mercury No. 11 of HFAM 
Lady Eva de Clifford (1880-1979) 
Ex-chorus girl and teenage nude model for the painter Whistler 
• Married Jack, 25th Baron de Clifford 
• Member of Lodge Golden Rule No. 1 of HFAM 
• Close friend of Marion Halsey 
• Later married George Tate of Tate & Lyle sugar, who also joined HFAM 
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