Odd Fellows

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Odd Fellows is a name broadly referring to any of a large number of friendly societies, fraternal and service organizations and/or Lodges.

Societies using the name "Odd Fellows" or variations[edit]

  • Oddfellows – A British friendly society with origins in the 18th century which has spawned:
    • 1730: The earliest surviving rules of an Oddfellows Lodge – the Loyal Aristarcus Lodge in London
    • mid-18th century: The Order of Patriotic Oddfellows
    • mid-18th century: The Ancient Order of Oddfellows
    • 1789: The Grand United Order of Oddfellows[1][2]
    • 1810: The Manchester Unity of Oddfellows[3]
    • 1810: Nottingham Ancient Imperial Order of Oddfellows[4]
    • 1820: Improved Independent Order of Oddfellows (South London)[4]
    • 1827: The Caledonian Lodge of Oddfellows,[5] based in Newburgh fife, is the only Lodge of Oddfellows left in Scotland
    • 1832: The Ancient & Noble (Bolton Unity) split from the Grand United Order in 1832. (It was subsequently dissolved in 1962.)
    • 1832: Ancient National Order of Oddfellows (Bolton)[4]
    • 1832: The Nottingham Odd Fellows split from the Manchester Unity, also in 1832.
    • 1834: Leeds United Order of Oddfellows[4]
    • 1840: Independent Order of Oddfellows (Kingston)[4]
    • 1845: National Independent Order of Oddfellows[4]
    • 1849: Independent Order of Oddfellows (Norfolk & Norwich Unity)[4]
    • 1850: Independent Order of Oddfellows Manchester Unity Friendly Society[3]
    • 1853: Improved Independent Order of Oddfellows (London)[4]
    • 1858: Free & Independent Order of Oddfellows[4]
    • 1861: Ancient Independent Order of Oddfellows (Kent)[4]
    • 1867: British United Order of Oddfellows[4]
    • 1883: The Scottish Order of Oddfellows[5][6]
    • 1900: The National Independent Order of Oddfellows[6][7]
    • 1910: The Caledonian Order of United Oddfellows[5][6]
  • Other British Orders of Oddfellows:
    • The Union of United Orders of Oddfellows
    • The Loyal Order of Oddfellows
    • The Ancient and Noble Order of United Oddfellows[5][6]
    • The Independent Order of Oddfellows Bolton Unity Friendly Society[5][6]
    • The Independent Order of Oddfellows Kingston Unity Friendly Society[5][6]
  • Oddfellowship has spread around the world. Two examples:
    • In Australia, Lodges formed for:
      • The Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF)
      • The Grand United Order of Odd Fellows (GUOOF)
      • The Manchester Unity Order of Odd Fellows (MUOOF)
    • The IOOF has lodges in at least 29 countries (Examples)


  1. ^ The Grand United Order of Oddfellows are now more commonly referred to as "The Grand United Order of Oddfellows Friendly Society" (GUOOFS) – http://www.guoofs.com
  2. ^ a b The Grand United Order of Oddfellows, established in England in 1789, should not be confused with the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows, established in the USA in 1843.
  3. ^ a b The Manchester Unity of Oddfellows is also known as The Independent Order of Oddfellows Manchester Unity Friendly Society – http://www.oddfellows.co.uk
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "The Friendly Society Movement" JF Wilkinson, Longmans, 1891. Extracts at: http://www.fraternalsecrets.org
  5. ^ a b c d e f The History of the Oddfellows in Scotland, rls.org.uk
  6. ^ a b c d e f Friendly Societies: Oddfellows Orders in Scotland historyshelf.org
  7. ^ Friendly Societies: The Oddfellows historyshelf.org
  8. ^ The (American) Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) – http://www.ioof.org


The origins and history of the Oddfellows are not easily verified; some of the possible facts are mixed with unverifiable myth, legend, folklore and opinion.
The following is a far-from-exhaustive list of "histories" of Oddfellows - unfortunately, few of them quote their sources.

  • "Historical Sketch of Oddfellowship," by P.P.G.M. Burn, of Glasgow, published by A. Heywood, of Manchester, about the year 1846.
  • J Spry’s "History of Oddfellowship" deals, as set forth on its title page, with "Its origin, tradition, and objects, with a general review of the results arising from its adoption by the branch known as the Manchester Unity from the year 1810 to the present time." The book was published by Fred Pitman, of Paternoster Row, London, and by the author at Plymouth in 1867.
  • "The Rise and Progress of the Manchester Unity of the Independent Order of Oddfellows, 1810-1904" by Past Grand Master Robert Moffrey, was published 1904 by the Grand Master & Board of Directors of the Order, Printers John Heywood of Manchester. Reproduced at http://www.isle-of-man.com/manxnotebook/history/socs/odf_mdly.htm
  • A "History of the Oddfellows" can be downloaded from the Manchester Unity web site at: http://www.oddfellows.co.uk/uploads/documents/feb_06/odd_1139392353_Oddfellows_History.doc
  • A "History of the Society" can be found on the GUOOFS website at: http://www.uk.guoofs.com/about.php?page=history
  • A "History of the IOOF in Marin County" at: http://mill-valley.freemasonry.biz/marin_odd_fellows.htm
  • "Odd Fellows Rest", the history of an IOOF cemetery in New Orleans, at: http://www.nolacemeteries.com/odd.html
  • "Odd Fellows", The Australian Centre for Secret Societies, Fraternalism and Mateship, at: http://www.fraternalsecrets.org. Contains numerous articles and, according to its author, "is constantly being updated".
  • "They Call Each Brother - Secret Societies and the Strange Death of Mateship in Australia, 1788-2010", by Dr Bob James. Self-published by the author in 2010.