The Widows Sons Masonic Bikers Association: 20th Anniversary

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The Widows Sons Masonic Bikers Association (WSMBA) are a group of Freemasons from all over the country bringing together Freemasons who share a passion for motorcycling. Members of the Widows Sons uphold the values of Freemasonry: Integrity, Friendship, Respect and Service while fostering a spirit of freedom and adventure typical of motorcycle riders.

In a similar way to how Freemasonry is structured, The Widows Sons are organised into smaller groups, known as Chapters, usually based within the Provincial structure under UGLE.

This year, August 1st marks the 20th anniversary of The Widows Sons in the UK, but how did it all begin?

Where, when and how did it all begin?

The Widows Sons Masonic Bikers originated from the desire to emulate the long-standing American Masonic Riders Association. This group became an extension of their Freemasonry, focusing on charitable giving and fostering camaraderie within a brotherhood of bikers united by the principles of Freemasonry.

On August 1st, 2004, six Freemasons from Nottinghamshire convened at the Nottingham Freemasons Hall on Goldsmith Street to discuss establishing a similar association in the UK.

With the consent of the Nottinghamshire Freemasonry leader and approval from The United Grand Lodge of England, the NATIONAL CHAPTER of the Widows Sons Masonic Bikers Association (WSMBA) was established.

Word of the association spread rapidly, and within months, the initial six members grew to twenty. After two years, membership had reached fifty, with individuals from across England and Wales gathering a few times each year.

Within three years, four new groups or chapters were established.

  • North West Chapter
  • North East Chapter
  • South East Chapter
  • South West Chapter

Over the past 15 years, the association has experienced annual growth rates of 18-20%, now boasting a membership of over 1,100 individuals in 45 chapters. Our members are spread across England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Portugal, and Holland, all united under the WSMBA and UGLE umbrellas.

The Widows Sons in Derbyshire

Derbyshire boasts its own WSMBA chapter known as Merlin Chapter. Contrary to popular belief, the name “Merlin” is not inspired by the legend of King Arthur but is a nod to the “Merlin Engine” designed and built by Rolls Royce in Derby. This iconic engine was conceived in the very building that now serves as the Provincial Grand Lodge of Derbyshire, located at The Grange in Littleover, an example of the Merlin Engine can be seen in a Display Cabinet within The Grange.

Merlin Chapter members hail from various Freemasons’ Lodges across the Province of Derbyshire. Presently, Merlin boasts a membership of 30 individuals.

Egg Run
Easter Egg Run to Derby Childrens' Hospital

The Merlin Chapter actively supports local charities and communities, regularly assisting the Derby Children’s Hospital and Derby’s Stopgap. Merlin along with the Derbyshire Motorcycle Lodge provide “hospital boxes” for parents and children staying on the children’s wards at Derby Royal Hospital, providing food, toiletries etc.. Stopgap is a fully voluntary organisation that provides food and companionship to vulnerable and homeless individuals in Derby.

Ride to Royston Cave

The Merlin Chapter hosts regular “Natter Nights” on Tuesday evenings, where members gather for a chat. They also organise frequent “ride-outs” to fascinating locations across the UK, such as their recent trip to Royston Cave, rumoured to have ties to the Knights Templar.

Who Can Join the Widows Sons?

Membership of Freemasonry

To join the Widows Sons, the foremost requirement is to be a Freemason who has completed the third degree. This prerequisite ensures that all members uphold the foundational values and principles intrinsic to Freemasonry.

Passion for Motorcycling

Prospective members must not only be Freemasons but also possess a genuine passion for motorcycling. Whether you ride a cruiser, touring bike, or sportbike, the key is your love for the open road and the exhilarating sense of freedom it brings.

20th Anniversary Celebrations

Across the country, various chapters of The Widows Sons will be celebrating their 20th anniversary. In Derbyshire, the Merlin Chapter is hosting a BBQ and get-together at the aptly named Square and Compass Inn at Darley Dale near Matlock. This event takes place on Thursday, August 1st, starting at 7:30 pm. It is open to anyone interested in learning more about Freemasonry and The Widows Sons. Families and children are warmly welcomed.

Learn more about WSMBA

To learn more about Merlin Chapter and The Widows Sons, please reach out to the Merlin Chapter secretary at

Alternatively, you may visit the Merlin Chapter website –

Or the National website here –

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