Oscar Wilde

Masonic Biographies

Oscar Wilde

Born: Monday, 16 October 1854
Died: Friday, 30 November 1900

Oscar Wilde was a writer and Freemason who bequeathed his immortal words to Humanity, providing a guiding light for generations to come.

"I have heard that St John the Baptist was the founder of this Order. I hope we shall emulate his life but not his death. I mean we ought to keep our heads!’ – Brother Oscar Wilde

On October the 16, 1854, Brother Oscar Wilde was born in Dublin, Ireland. Precocious from birth, Oscar demonstrated a high aptitude and ability in school, foretelling his future academic success. In 1871, Wilde was admitted to Trinity College in Dublin, and from there, he won a scholarship which sent him to Magdalen College, Oxford in October of 1874. Charismatic and witty, Brother Oscar Wilde, was incredibly popular at Oxford. It was here that Oscar was introduced and became friends with Prince Leopold, sixth son of Queen Victoria. In fact, it was Brother Leopold, already a Mason at the time, who provided the key encouragement convincing Oscar to join Freemasonry. In addition to his acquaintance with Prince Leopold, Oscar’s father, Sir William Robert Wills Wilde (1815-1876) had been an active Mason in Ireland.

Brother Oscar Wilde’s active participation in Freemasonry spanned only the four-year period when he studied at Magdalen College in Oxford. Even so, the imprint of the ancient Craft was permanently marked upon his heart; the tenets, virtues, and lessons of Freemasonry became as second nature to him. A keen and active participant, Brother Oscar took his freemasonic studies, duties, and obligations seriously. He received two higher degrees beyond the Blue Lodge: the Mark Master Mason degree and the 18th degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish rite. On November 27, 1876. Brother Wilde was perfected into the 18th degree of the Rose Croix at the Oxford University Chapter, No 40.

By September 1880, Oscar Wilde had separated himself from Roman Catholicism and active participation in Freemasonry. According to the official lodge records, Bro. Oscar's membership with Apollo University Lodge ceased because of his "non-payment of dues" and his expulsion from the Churchill Lodge was explained as being due to his "failure to acknowledge the three communications forwarded to him." Having left Oxford for London in 1878, with the self-proclaimed title of Professor of Aesthetics, Brother Wilde set off on a grand adventure. He toured North American and then spent time in Paris, before marrying Constance Lloyd in 1884.

During the next decade, Oscar walked a razors edge – trying to be both a man accepted by his peers and a man true to his own heart. Today, Brother Wilde is celebrated as a literary genius but during his lifetime he was humiliated, scorned, and abandoned by those who disagreed with his homosexuality. Oscar disturbed the Puritan ethos of the England's Victorian society – a crime many of his peers refused to forgive. In February of 1895, an open card of accusation was left at the Albemarle Club, resulting in his imprisonment for approximately 2 years. In May of 1897, Wilde was released from prison and spent the final three of his life in exile.

On November 30, 1900, Brother Wilde received his Summons to the Eternal Grand Lodge at only forty-six years of age. Thus, Oscar's short life was filled with love and laughter, tragedy and triumph. Although his mortal frame is gone, his immortal words will continue on – demonstrating his zeal for Freemasonry and provides a guiding light for generations to come.

Initiated: February 23, 1875

Passed: April 24, 1875

Raised: May 25, 1875

Mark Degree: March 22, 1878, University Mark Lodge, No. 55

18th Degree (Knight of the Rose Croix of Heredom): November 27, 1876, Oxford University Chapter, No. 40

Membership: Churchill Lodge, No. 478; Apollo University Lodge, No. 711; University Mark Lodge

No. 55; Oxford University Chapter, No. 40

Officer Positions Held: Inner Guard (1876), Junior Deacon (1877)

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