The accepted holder of that august position has long been said to be Elias Ashmole, but this article points out that he "was not the first Speculative Mason. Nor was he the second, third, or even tenth!"
The belief that Ashmole was the first Speculative Freemason is based on the argument that Ashmole was not a stonemason and did not (apparently) join a stonemason's Lodge. However, this argument does not hold water simply because it presumes that a stonemason cannot also be a Speculative Freemason. Whilst a stonemason erected buildings during his working day when he went to his Lodge in the evening he did not 'build' anything, nothing physical at least. Why being a stonemason meant he could not be a Speculative Freemason is not explained by those using that argument.
The first Speculative Freemasons were William, Lord Alexander, his brother Anthony Alexander (the King’s Maister o’ Wark – Master of Works) and Sir Alexander Strachan of Thornton. They were Initiated on 3rd July 1634, in the Lodge of Edinburgh, (a stonemasons' Lodge) that is more 12 years before Elias Ashmole...
To read the whole article, CLICK HERE.