University of Exeter Press

Miners, Mariners & Masons

The Global Network of Victorian Freemasonry

    • 344 Pages

    Freemasonry played a major role in the economic and social life of the Victorian era but it has received very little sustained attention by academic historians. General histories of the period hardly notice the subject while detailed studies mainly confine themselves to its origins in the early eighteenth century and its later institutional development. This book is the first sustained and dispassionate study of the role of Freemasonry in everyday social and economic life: why men joined, what it did for them and their families, and how it affected the development of communities and local economies.

    This is the assured and accessible prose of an author who, over the course of a career, has mastered much about communication, Freemasonry, mariners and miners. His detailed and thorough assessment is supported by a scholarly bibliography, helpful references, 3 indexes and over 40 figures, illustrations and tables. Burt has produced an exemplar case study for family and community historians. More than that he challenges the widely presented view that between 1700 and 1900 reciprocity was killed by the impersonal negotiations associated with markets and urbanisation. Through his demonstration and explanation of the materiality of a persistant, overt discourse of brotherly love he has breathed new life into the corpse and indeed questioned if it was ever dead.

    Daniel Weinbren
    Family & Community History Journal

    This work is certainly the first of what this reviewer hopes will be many of its kind. A a valuable addition to the literature available.

    Mark Dennis
    Folk Life: Journal of Ethnological Studies

    Introduction: Freemasonry—a Global Institution
    Cornwall and Cornish Freemasonry in the Nineteenth Century
    The Economic and Social Structure of Cornish Craft Lodges and Side Orders
    Reason for Joining, Part 1. Life-Enhancing and Reassurance: Social, Intellectual, Spiritual, Charitable
    Reasons for Joining, Part  2. Occupational: Mutual Assurance, Access and Networking
    International Comparison: The Western United States
    Other International Comparisons: Victoria, Australia and Southern Africa
    The Influence of Freemasonry: Members and their Communities


    Roger Burt is Professor Emeritus of Economic History at the University of Exeter. He has been a consultant to mining companies and government departments and contributes to radio programmes on mining related issues.

      • 344 Pages
      • 14 Black & white photographs, 11 Figures, 16 Black & white tables