Elizabeth St. Leger Aldworth is known as “The Lady Freemason.” She was born in Doneraile, County Cork, Ireland around 1695 and died around 1775. Legend has it in 1712 the young woman was caught spying on Freemasons in the middle of an initiation. The men, including her own father and brothers, debated whether to kill her until one man finally suggested another option: put her through the ritual and make her the first ever female Freemason. That man was Richard Aldworth. They married 5 months later.
Mrs. Aldworth did not stop her journey in Freemasonry after her emergency initiation. She went on to become a Master Mason. The story is well known in Doneraile and among Freemasons worldwide. It is one piece of proof that Freemasonry in Ireland existed before the creation of the Grand Lodge in 1725.