Freemasonry was the most widespread form of secular association in eighteenth-century England, providing a model for other forms of urban sociability and a stimulus to music and the arts. Many members of the Royal Society and the Society of Antiquaries, for instance, were Freemasons, while historians such as Margaret Jacob have argued that Freemasonry was inspired by Whig Newtonianism and played an important role in European Enlightenment scientific education. This paper illustrates the importance of natural philosophy in Masonic rhetoric and utilizes material from Masonic histories, lodge records and secondary works to demonstrate that scientific lectures were indeed given in some lodges. It contends, however, that there were other sources of inspiration for Freemasonry besides Newtonianism, such as antiquarianism, and that many other factors as well as the prevalence of Masonic lodges determined the geography of English scientific culture. Although the subject of Freemasonry and natural philosophy has great potential, as Jacob has demonstrated so well, much further work, especially in the form of prosopographical studies of provincial lodges, is required before the nature of the relationship between the two can be fully appreciated.