The Free Masons

The Free Masons is an English Country Dance. It was published by John & William Neal in 1726 in A Choice Collection of Country Dances. It was interpreted by Rich Jackson & George Fogg in 1990. It is a proper Duple Minor dance. The minor set lasts 32 bars.

This is different from Thompson's The Free Mason and from Playford's Free Mason's Health (though the tune seems to share the same A part as the latter.

The Neals spell the title "The free Mason's".

The Neals write:

1st cu: cast off, cross over to their own places end improper:
Turn both hands, ending proper:
1st & 2d cu: take hands with their sex and fall back, & all 4 dance:
All 4 right hands across & turn until all are improper, & 1st cu: in 2d cu: place:
All 4 lead up forwards, backwards abreast, 1st cu: being in ye middle:
& 1st cu: cast up being full improper:
All 4 sett & each turn single to ye right:
Then right & left:

The animation plays at 120 counts per minute normally, but the first time through the set the dance will often be slowed down so people can learn the moves more readily. Men are drawn as rectangles, women as ellipses. Each couple is drawn in its own color, however the border of each dancer indicates what role they currently play so the border color may change each time through the minor set.

The dance contains the following figures: hand turn (allemande), set, turn single, cast, figure eight, double figure eight, hands across, rights and lefts (and probably others).

If you find what you believe to be a mistake in this animation, please leave a comment on youtube explaining what you believe to be wrong. If I agree with you I shall do my best to fix it.

If you wish to link to this animation please see my comments on the perils of youtube. You may freely link to this page, of course, and that should have no problems, but use one of my redirects when linking to the youtube video itself:

< Prev Top Next >

The dance itself is out of copyright, and is in the public domain. The interpretation is copyright © 1990 by Rich Jackson & George Fogg. My visualization of this dance is copyright © 2023 by George W. Williams V and is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

This website is copyright © 2021,2022,2023,2024 by George W. Williams V
Creative Commons License My work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Most of the dances have more restrictive licensing, see my notes on copyright, the individual dance pages should mention when some rights are waived.