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]


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[a][b]
  • 1810: The Manchester Unity of Oddfellows[c]
  • 1810: Nottingham Ancient Imperial Order of Oddfellows[1]
  • 1820: Improved Independent Order of Oddfellows (South London)[1]
  • 1827: The Caledonian Lodge of Oddfellows,[2] 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 dissolved in 1962.)[citation needed]
  • 1832: Ancient National Order of Oddfellows (Bolton)[1]
  • 1832: The Nottingham Odd Fellows split from the Manchester Unity, also in 1832.[citation needed]
  • 1834: Leeds United Order of Oddfellows[1]
  • 1840: Independent Order of Oddfellows (Kingston)[1]
  • 1845: National Independent Order of Oddfellows[1]
  • 1849: Independent Order of Oddfellows (Norfolk & Norwich Unity)[1]
  • 1850: Independent Order of Oddfellows Manchester Unity Friendly Society[c]
  • 1853: Improved Independent Order of Oddfellows (London)[1]
  • 1858: Free & Independent Order of Oddfellows[1]
  • 1861: Ancient Independent Order of Oddfellows (Kent)[1]
  • 1867: British United Order of Oddfellows[1]
  • 1883: The Scottish Order of Oddfellows[2][3]
  • 1900: The National Independent Order of Oddfellows[3][4]
  • 1910: The Caledonian Order of United Oddfellows[2][3]

Other British Orders of Oddfellows[edit]

  • The Union of United Orders of Oddfellows[citation needed]
  • The Loyal Order of Oddfellows[citation needed]
  • The Ancient and Noble Order of United Oddfellows[2][3]
  • The Independent Order of Oddfellows Bolton Unity Friendly Society[2][3]
  • The Independent Order of Oddfellows Kingston Unity Friendly Society[2][3]

American Odd Fellows[edit]

American Odd Fellowship is regarded as being founded in Baltimore in 1819, by Thomas Wildey

Oddfellowship around the world[edit]

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) .
  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 .


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Wilkinson, JF (1891), The Friendly Society Movement (extracts), Longmans .
  2. ^ a b c d e f The History of the Oddfellows in Scotland, UK: RLS .
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Oddfellows Orders in Scotland", Friendly Societies, History shelf .
  4. ^ "The Oddfellows", Friendly Societies, History shelf .
  5. ^ The (American) Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) .


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.

  • Burn, PPGM, of Glasgow (c. 1846), Historical Sketch of Oddfellowship, Manchester: A. Heywood .
  • James, Dr Bob (2010), They Call Each Brother – Secret Societies and the Strange Death of Mateship in Australia, 1788–2010 . Self-published.
  • Moffrey, Past Grand Master Robert (1904), The Rise and Progress of the Manchester Unity of the Independent Order of Oddfellows, 1810–1904, Manchester: The Grand Master & Board of Directors of the Order, Printers John Heywood .
  • Spry, J (1867), History of Oddfellowship, Paternoster Row, London: Fred Pitman  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 London, and by the author at Plymouth.
  • History of the Oddfellows (Doc), The Manchester Unity, Feb 2006 .
  • History of the Society, GUOOFS .
  • History of the IOOF in Marin County .
  • Odd Fellows Rest , the history of an IOOF cemetery in New Orleans.
  • Odd Fellows, The Australian Centre for Secret Societies, Fraternalism and Mateship . Contains numerous articles and, according to its author, "is constantly being updated".