DURING the Civil War, Spaniards who were discovered to be Freemasons were executed and Freemasonry was officially illegal here from 1939 until 1979.
British visitors and settlers in Andalucia in particular who had been masons in the UK hankered after the fellowship and brotherhood and therefore started to set up their own lodges and welcomed new members.
Giles David Crawford, who owns a specialist equestrian centre for experienced and intermediate riders in Coin, arrived on the Costa del Sol in the late 1990s not for a moment expecting there to be an appropriate masonic lodge for him to join and returned to the UK every three months to attend his mother lodge in Wandsworth.
Having been given details of a small number of English speaking lodges on the Costa, he visited the Gemini Lodge in Calahonda and after both sides had made satisfactory enquires about each other, he was invited to join the lodge in the most junior position, although he eventually became its Worshipful Master.
Due to certain decisions made prior to and after the Second World War, Freemasonry had something of the air of a secret society in the UK and because it had been illegal for so long it Spain, membership was not openly admitted.
In fact, Freemasonry is a fraternal society of men which takes good men and tries to make them better members of society.
It is not a charity, although good works are a natural progression and members are committed to helping and looking after fellow members and their families.
When asked whether there was any truth in the suggestion that masons in the police turned a blind eye to crimes by fellow masons, Giles, who for the past three years has been Provincial Grand Master of Andalucia simply laughed and said that some people who didn’t act properly wished it were true.
There are now a growing number of Spanish lodges and the English speaking lodges are also quite strong and all act to raise money for brothers (or their widows) who have fallen on hard times as well general charities around the sites of the lodges.
For the last three years, the Debra Butterfly Charity has been the chosen charity of the combined lodges of Andalucia and in January of next year, Giles is looking forward to handing over a cheque in the sum of €60,000 to their founder Nieves Montero.
Much is being done to encourage the growth of masonry within the Spanish community and English speaking members are always welcome especially as you don’t have to be introduced by a serving mason.
What is important that both sides get to know each other and are satisfied that they are a natural fit.
To discover more information visit www.gle.org which is in Spanish but can be translated online.