FREEMASONS have thrown open the doors to their lodge hall in York, told why they have traditionally been so secretive - and explained why they roll their trouser legs up.

The Eboracum Lodge held an open day at the Masonic Hall in St Saviourgate at the weekend to give the public an insight into the organisation and its ornate headquarters, and The Press was able to video the ornate interior for the first time.

Lodge Mentor Steve Boden said the organisation was ‘really all about promoting morality,’ with people who joined presented with a whole series of lessons about how to act, deal with other people and present themselves to the world.

Asked about concerns that freemasonry has led to corruption within the police and judiciary, he said: “At points in the history, that probably has happened.” He said members felt very close to each other and there was almost a sense of brotherly love, which in the past could have corrupted people.

“But today, you wouldnt be allowed to join freemasonry if there was even a hint of that,” he said. “If it happened while you were a member of a lodge, you would be dismissed immediately. It’s not tolerated in the slightest.”

He said the secrecy which had traditionally surrounded freemasonry dated back to the Second World War. “If this country had been occupied by the Germans, then most of us who are Freemasons would have ended up in Auschwitz., so that terrified people, as you can imagine.” He said it was only in the past decade that the organisation had opened itself up to the public.

He said people had to roll up their trouser legs on joining the Freemasons to show they were ‘free men' by not having a ‘slave mark’ on the left leg.

“We don't all stand around with our trousers legs rolled up - some sort of comical situation - it’s not like that.”