Empirical evidence supporting the history of Freemasonry prior to the 18th Century is hard to find. Theories vary wildly from the plausible to the sensational. Most masons believe that Freemasonry is derived from the early medieval stonemasons guilds and enquire no further. However, a well rounded study in Freemasonry should look more deeply at all possible roots, even if only to be able to dismiss most of them.
There is no commonly accepted Ancient History of Freemasonry – even UGLE does not publish a house view prior to its own initial conception in 1717. This is curious because a resemblance of modern Freemasonry (judging from a corpus of medieval manuscripts) was already in place beforehand, even if its pedigree was lost.