On 24th June 1717, a meeting took place at the Goose and Gridiron ale-house in St. Paul's Churchyard in London to celebrate the birthday of St John the Baptist. Intended to be the Annual Assembly and Feast of four Masonic lodges of London, the meeting marked the creation of the Grand Lodge of London and Westminster, later to become the Grand Lodge of England and the Premier Grand Lodge of England.
|Anthony Sayer, First Grand Master of the Premier Grand Lodge of England by Joseph Highmore, 1749/50|
In addition to the regular members of the Goose and Grid-iron lodge, also present were members of the lodges based at the Crown Ale-house in Parker's Lane, the Apple-Tree Tavern in Charles Street and the Rummer and Grapes Tavern in Channel Row. As well as electing a Grand Master, the meeting discussed the matter of increasing the profile of the Masons outside of London and expending the organisation across the United Kingdom. The lodge members present elected as their Grand Master a gentleman named Anthony Sayer, who occupied the role for twelve months before handing over to a civil servant, George Payne, who worked hard to build the reputation and reach of the Grand Lodge.
In less than a decade there were new lodges across the country and they attracted high profile and influential men, the reputation and reach of the Masonic lodges growing exponentially as the years passed.