Arcane School 2
ORIGIN AND ANTIQUITY OF FREEMASONRY
VII – RECAPITULATED PROOFS OF ANCIENT MASONRY
The information embodied in the foregoing pages might have been extended to a great length; and in giving so condensed an account the tastes of the general reader have been consulted. Some recapitulation of the salient points may be advisable as a short preparation for the chapters upon Masonry which follow; by way of laying the foundation for the introduction of the Association of Geometry, Craft and Art, or what is now called Freemasonry, into England.
Though Free Masonry, using this term to indicate a Brotherhood embracing religion, morality, symbols, and art, has passed under various names according to the language of the country in which it has existed, yet the most casual reader must have observed that the various Schools which we have described, as derived from a primitive system, had all the same essential Rites, and are in agreement with the Masonic System. The mere fact of the use of an organised system of esoteric Marks in architecture, in all time and in all countries, is itself proof of equal continuance of degrees, and ceremonial rites, in affinity with them; but we are not solely dependent upon this, and though the proofs of a continuation of a secret Society is naturally less prominent than in the case of a Church or a Sect, they are strong enough to remove all reasonable doubt on the subject.
The evidence which we have already adduced goes to shew that the first Great Mysteries were, at the very least, a union of the traditions of religion and art. The various phenomena of life, the revolutions of the heavenly bodies, their effect on vegetable and animal life were carefully studied; astronomy and all those arts which are so largely indebted to mathematics and geometry, were combined with Theosophia in the ancient Mysteries; and all the facts of physical science and art were embraced in their instruction.
A widespread Ugro-Finnic, or proto-Aryan, civilisation preceded the Aryan and Semitic developments, and it is even amongst the earliest of these people that we can trace a system which combined tuition in religion and science and which corresponds in its essential features with Freemasonry. The Mongolian races of Thibet and China afford us proof of this, equally with the “Masters of Secrets,” who left us above 8,000 years ago the ruins of Erech, Serpal, Eridu, and Babel on the plains of Shinar.
“China.” The primitive Indian Manu, whose era is so remote that no date can be assigned, speaks of a written character composed of geometrical Symbols. We find in China amongst a people who spread from Thibet at a remote period, and were contemporary with primitive Babylon, a system of operative and speculative Masonry of which the Kings, as was the case upon the plains of Shinar, were the Grand Masters. One of the oldest words in the Chinese language is literally “square and compasses;” and the “Skirret” is an hieroglyphic; the altar was a “cube.” “Aprons” with “emblems” of office were worn; and one of the most ancient books contains the “square” and “plumb” as jewels of office, which had to be returned on the death of a Monarch-ruler, whose emblem was the “hammer.” The Diety was designated “First Builder,”
and the Magistrates Level men. At a later period, but still 3,000 years ago, the then Emperor has the “circle” and “rule” as his attributes, as the Egyptian Osiris had the “Cubit.” Coupled with this we have the doctrine of Universal Brotherhood, and the use of North-east, and South-west to indicate the beginning and end of any object in view. Confucius, Mencius, and other philosophers, equally apply the use of Masonic tools in their writings. In every sense of the word this system is Freemasonry without its name, and traditional Jewish legend. Sir John Mandeville, in 1356, mentions a coincidence with the Societies of the Essenes, Pythagoreans, and Ancient Masons. He says that the Khan of all Tartary before the eruption into China, decreed that all men should be governed by Masters of tens, hundreds, and thousands. Moorcraft (Quoted by Dr. Kenealy.) says that when he entered Thibet he was met by an officer of the Government named the “Nerba” and “on the back of his habit, and on the right shoulder were sewn the saw, adze, chisel, rule, and all the insignia of Freemasonry in Iron, the Symbols of a fraternity of which he said he was a member.” Japan 2,500 years ago had the Chinese Guilds introduced by way of Korea.
“Egypt.” The most ancient Memphis of Egypt has traces of this system; in the use according to Diodorus of tools in the hieratic writing; in the use of the cubit-rule as an emblem of truth; in the building symbolism of the “Ritual of the Dead,” a book so old that 4,500 years ago, it could not be understood without a commentary added to an older commentary, that had become unintelligible. The architect at this period, and 6,000 years ago, was a “Royal Companion,” and some of them mated with Princesses. The Very Rev. C. W. Barnett, Dean of Capetown, says in a recent address, that he had himself seen, on buildings 3,000 years old, the square, triangle, circle, sun, moon, pentacle, and that the evidences of Masonry are found at Thebes Luxor, Philae, Abu Simbel, Osioot, Dendera, Carnac, and on other noted archaic ruins, as well as in the pitch dark recesses of the great pyramid; and that the Sphynx holds in its colossal paws an exquisite small temple, which has Masons marks indented into the solid walls, roof, and monolithic columns.
“Babylon.” Ancient Babylon was allied in blood and religion with the two races that we have just mentioned. What we have not yet to record in Symbols we find represented in their language. The earliest Monarchs were termed Pat- te-shi, which is interpreted literally to strike or anoint the foundation stone, and with the addition of tsi-ri is translated Sublime Master. Again the seven Cabiric gods, or eight with one slain by his brother-gods, are named Patecei, from Patasso, a hammer, and though we need not go to Asgard, which is believed to be near the Caspian, the God Thor has the hammer for his weapon and the Svastica (Symbol: Swastika) for his emblem. There is similar proof that the first Kings and Viceroys were Masters of the builders, and probably the designers, or at least superintended the erection; and such edifices were consecrated with the Rites of Modern Masonry. The Kings are represented with a Maltese Cross worn from the neck. We seem to lose the Akkadian Symbols of the Mason in the conquests of the Tent-dwelling Semites. The highest chamber of the tower of Borsippa or Babel was a perfect cube. Brother G. W. Speth, the late eminent Secretary of Lodge 2076, has pointed out some interesting bearings which Cabiric emblems have upon modern Freemasonry. We have shewn that the most ancient style of building was termed Cyclopean, of which the Cabiric Initiates were the Masters, and that it is a prehistoric style existing in all countries, running in later times into level work and often cruciform in its plan. The Cabiri recognised seven ancient gods, of which three were Chiefs, and an eighth was slain by the others. In Masonry whilst three rule a lodge, seven make it perfect, and the eighth, or Initiated Candidate, is represented by the slain god. There is also the common symbolism of a cube with 8 corners, which the Greek Cabiri termed Eshmon, and the Phoenicians applied to Ouranos, or heaven, and as Esh is eight it equally represents the Ashlar. (“Ars Quat. Cor.,” v, pt. 2.) These Cabiri laid claim to be the inventors of all the arts of life, including the smelting of metals, and were termed Technites or Artificers.
Aeschylus introduces Prometheus as a Cabiric god, inasmuch as amongst the arts that he taught mankind are the erection of houses of brick, the construction of ships, the invention of letters, and the art of digging gold and silver from the prolific earth, and of fabricating instruments for ornament and use; he is the Tubal-Cain of the Semites, and Greek Mythology condemns him to a cruel punishment on Caucasus, for stealing the fire of heaven to aid mankind.
“Greece.” Primitive Greece was allied in its culte with the races already mentioned; and its early gods were those of the Cabiri, and their buildings Cyclopean; early Greek culture is found in tombs and palaces 3,000 B.C. excavated by Dr. Schliemann, and the contents of these tombs appear to ally the occupants with the Scythians. A long period of barbarous wars succeeded, attendant upon the invasion of the country by the Hellenes, an Aryan or Celto- Iranian people, spreading general devastation. In Hellenic Mythology it is figured to us in wars with a race of giants, Titans whom Jupiter at length conquered and condemned to servile employment in the forges of Vulcan. Reduced to plain matter of fact, it is the war between the Aryan invaders, who invented the mythology, and the primitive inhabitants who worshipped the Cabiric gods, and were reduced to artistic labour for their conquerors. By this invasion the Cabiric Mythology became Hellenised; in one direction the conquerors Aryanised the old myths that had grown up in the country, and in another direction they appear to have Grecianised the legends of Egypt and Phoenicia. (Vide “Origin of the Aryans,” Isaac Taylor, M.A., LL.D.)
For some centuries Greece sank into semi-barbarous desolation; its true civilisation was that of Egypt, whence culture passed through the Romans to Europe. Egyptian colonists with their religious mysteries settled at Argolis, the ancient seat of those Cyclops or Cabiri who built the enormous walls of Tyrenes, and Mycenae, at a period too remote to be defined; their chief Inachas it is said lived 1976 B.C., and was succeeded by his son Phoroneus, whilst the deluge of Ogyges, in Boetia, occurred 1796 B.C., but it is probable that little reliance can be placed on these dates. To the new race is attributed the destruction of the older Cyclopean towns. At dates from three to four centuries later there entered Greece fresh colonies of Egyptians and Phoenicians: Cecrops arrived in Attica from Sais, in Egypt, 1687 B.C.; assembled the well-disposed inhabitants, laid the foundation of Athens, and of that peculiar tribunal termed the Areopagus. Cadmus settled with his colonies in Boetia 1594 B.C., and founded Thebes; he brought with him into Greece the Phoenician alphabet, which, originating in Egypt, forms the basis of our own alphabet. Danaus settled a new colony in Argolis 1586 B.C., which had previously been settled by Egyptians, and to this year is also credited the deluge of Deucalion.
“India and Media.” Primitive India and Proto-Media shared the same fate as ancient Greece; Aryans equally invaded these countries and reduced the ancient inhabitants. Egypt also received Colonies of the same race, and the great pyramid is constructed upon the Mystic design of the temple of the realms of Osiris. The Aryan invaders of India established bounds beyond which the artizan, as a third caste, was not allowed to proceed. Accordingly this third class, which was largely the prehistoric inhabitants of the country, continued Rites of their own, in which as we have seen, they used art Symbols and measurements to typify the truths of a religion, which differed only from that of the Brahmins and Maharajahs in the use of art instead of nature Symbols. The priests of Benares say that this Fraternity constructed all the marvellous works that are spread over the land. As in China, it was a Society of the Level and Plumb.
“Persia.” The ancient Persians say that their ruler Jemschid erected the Artizans into a class, though the country never accepted strict caste laws. This ideal king gave them laws which he superintended, and allowed them to appoint a Chief or Grand Master to oversee them. Hence in strictly Aryan countries, governed by firm caste laws, we have a triple set of Mysteries, those of the Brahmins, or Priests, with an intangible Diety; in the warrior Caste such Mysteries as those of Mythras, Bacchus and Serapis; and amongst the Artizans the Art, or Cabiric gods.
When an apprentice has completed his time he applies to his Guild for his Freedom and makes the customary payment. A priest is called in and after prayers he receives the “acolade” from the Master of the Guild. The Rev. P. J. Oliver Minos says that he has traced 20 Masonic Landmarks to Hindu Rites; and that in Persian Mazan is a Sorcerer, a Scientist, and that “Free” may be the Sanscrit “Pri” to love as brethren, as distinct from slaves, the root “vri” or “var” to choose. Mazandun is land of sorcerers, scientists.
As the caste system extended itself in India to different trades, a Guild system arose, such as we had in old times in England. In India at this day, each caste forms such a Guild, embracing the whole of that class, exercising an influence for the general advantage. Some of these lay claim to the “twice born thread” of the Brahmins. The deserving members are rewarded by titles and offices, the undeserving are punished by fines, or condemned to furnish a feast; the refractory suffer by temporary or permanent caste deprivation.
“Aryan Greece.” The origin of Classical Greek is Aryan, and was first introduced into Thessaly by the followers of the Mythical Deucalion, in three great tribes designated Hellenes. The Dorians are said to take their name from Doris, son of Helen; the Aeolians from another son Aeolus; and Ionians from a grandson Ion. It is noteworthy that it is after the recivilisation of Greece and the introduction of the Egyptian Mysteries that the method of building edifices of squared and level blocks in contradistinction to the polygonal and irregular style of the Cyclops, arises in that country; hence it would appear that either the Dionysian artificers must have superseded the Cabiri or instructed them. There are traces in India, Greece, Palestine, and other countries, of a gradual improvement, as exemplified by the use of both styles in the same building, and there can scarcely be a doubt that the improvement came from the Aryan race. Ancient Greek writers identify the Pelasgi with the older style and attribute it to Assyrian introduction.
The Etrurians were of the Pelasgic race, and their buildings are of the Cyclopean style, and from them we derive the Tuscan style of column; Varro mentions a tradition that they conquered North Italy 1044 B.C. To the Aryan Greeks the solidity of Cyclopean Masonry, which went beyond their early Kings Inachides and the Oenostratus, could only be the work of giants, and similar views were held in other countries. It is from the tribes of Dorians and Ionians that we derive the Doric and Ionic styles, after follow the Corinthian and the Composite, as the developments of the three original Greek styles, with the Tuscan. But Isocrates justly says that the Greeks borrowed their ideas, and the forms of their temples, from the Egyptians. It is known that the Phoenicians often employed Egyptian architects; and it was from the former that Solomon obtained his chief workmen for the erection of the temple of Jerusalem, and the style had points in common with that of Etruria, from which Rome derived much of its art.
“The Dionysiacs.” There are three questions to be considered in reference to the application of the name Dionysius to the slain and resurrected sun-god of Greece. In the first place, Herodotus positively asserts that these Mysteries were derived from Egypt, it is certainly not the Cabiric version. But Assyria had its God Dionisu, and the Aryan Greeks in some cases Hellenised the older Mythology. It therefore seems to be pretty evident that the Hierophants, who first organised the system, found it politic and expedient to use the Assyrian name in place of the Egyptian. It is somewhat doubtful whether the Great Mysteries of Dionysos were practical Masons, as well as teachers of secret truths of a spiritual nature. The usually accepted statement is that the builders were Initiates into the Mysteries of Dionysos; but as these Mysteries, according to the savant Heeren, were allied with those of the warrior class of Persia and India, it is possible that there was a separate class of builders, as in India, under the designation of “Dionysian Artificers,” for though neither Egypt nor Greece were caste ridden, and the latter left the Aryan home before caste laws were promulgated, yet both in Egypt and Greece there was a custom of hereditary transmission of Art, as honourable in itself.
The probability of the evidence is that the Dionysiacs were an operative body who had their Initiated Masters or Chiefs appointed by the Hierophants of the Mysteries, and who taught them and superintended their labours; and that they developed in Greece the method of building with flat, squared blocks. As the priests of the Mysteries in early times had the superintendence of the erection of their temples, they may have reserved the right of Initiating Masters; and the echo of this may be found in the old MSS., which caused King Athelstan to grant a Master s Charter in Witenagemote, which new body then proceeded to add “points” for the governance of subordinate workmen.
We read that in the year 1263 B.C. the Council of Amphictyons built the temple of Apollo, a combination of Architects two centuries before the time of Solomon. These Dionysiacs existed in Greece above 3,000 years ago; hence Cabiric art fell into abeyance, and became a tradition. On the Ionic emigration they carried their art into Asia, and the erection of the Temple of Heracles at Tyre has been attributed to them, and which had two Pillars, one of gold, the other of emerald. They were divided into Lodges under Masters, had emblematical Jewels, degrees, ceremonies, and tokens of recognition; they also admitted amateurs as Honorary members. They became a powerful body which exercised much political influence, and were incorporated as a Society of Architects by the Kings of Pergamos. At one time they were termed Daedalidae, from Dedalus, the architect of Crete, and the Labyrinth, respectingwhom there is a myth which has some analogy to Masonic legend; he is often represented with the square and compasses in his hand, hence the Greeks fabled that he invented these working tools and that he was father of architecture in general; and was banished for murdering a Fellow out of jealousy. Lord Bacon, in his “Wisdom of the Ancients,” allegorises the legend as to Daedalus, coupled with the death of his son Icarus by falling from a flying machine which his father had invented; by the Labyrinth, he says, is typified Art in general.
It is admitted that the Dionysiacs were attached to the Osirian legend; and one of the walls of Thebes has a representation of the Ark of Osiris, with a sprig of five branches, and the legend “Osiris sprouts forth,” being an analogue of the Jewish Ark, and the Rod which budded. A symbolic ladder had its place in the Greek Temples, and Aelian says that Pittacus of Mitylene introduced a ladder into the temples of his country to imply “the rise and fall in the vicissitudes of fortune, according to which the prosperous might be said to climb upwards; the unfortunate to descend.” This is but the exoteric explanation of an esoteric spiritual Mystery. We mentioned in our third chapter a Mosaic table of a Masonic character found at Pompeii. There can be no doubt that we have in the “Book of Chronicles” the Hebrew equivalents of the divisions of labour in the great building operations of other nations, these cannot be a Hebrew invention, but equally represent the organisations of Chaldea, Egypt, and India. We read (1) of Ish Chotzeb, or men who hew at the quarries; (2) Ghiblim, stone cutters or artists; (3) Ish Sabbal, or men of burdens; (4) Bonai, the builders or setters; (5) Menatzchim, the comforters or foremen; (6) Harodim, rulers or princes, who superintended the whole levy. It may be noted that Gebal, where Solomon s Masons wrought, was a seat of the Adonisian Mysteries, and that he was said to have been slain in Lebanon.
Even the more ancient Job, according to our modern translators, though said to be incorrect, may have had a knowledge of Masons Marks, for he says: “In the hands of all men he (God) putteth a Mark, that every man may know His work.” Solomon s Temple was completed in the year 1004 B.C. and the old York lectures taught that its erection occupied 7 years, 7 months and 7 days. Josephus, in his treatise against Apion informs us on the testimony of Menander, that Hiram rebuilt the temple of Melcart the City King, which, if Herodotus is correct in his data, must then have existed for over seventeen centuries. Hiram then abandoned old Tyre and took up his residence on the adjacent island, and encompassed the City square with high walls of cut stone. Hence the temple which Herodotus saw was that of Hiram then near six centuries old. The Talmud has a legend that Hiram was granted 600 years of Paradise for reward, for the Cedars of Lebanon which he supplied to the builders of the temple of Jerusalem, and the book “Yalkutt” which is a compilation from the “Midrash,” a word which means “to gather together,” says that Hiram built himself, in the midst of the sea, a paradise of seven heavens (as was Babel), and that, for his great pride, Yod sent Nebuchadnezzer against him who destroyed his Paradise and cut him to pieces when he was about 600 years old.
“Roman Collegia.” In Rome the Arts were erected into Colleges by charter of Numa Pompilius, 703 B.C. The early architecture of Italy was Pelasgic, but Greece contributed much to its advance, and their Colleges of Artizans have such a close resemblance to the Dionysic system that the rule of one must have been the rule of the other. In point of fact Latin historians assert distinctly that the founders of Numa s Colleges were Greeks, which would lead us to suppose that Dionysian artificers were brought to reconstitute older schools.
Zosimus informs us that Numa was created Pontifex Maximus, and all his successors, and he derives the origin of the title, which may be translated Bridge-Master-General, from Thessalian Greeks who, before statues and temples began to be built by them, had images placed on a Bridge over the Peneus from which the Sacrificers were termed Bridge-priests. It is curious that the civil government had a similar constitution to the Masonic Colleges. At the birth of the republic there were 3 tribes Sabines, Albines, and Strangers. Each was divided into ten Curies, these into Decuries, at the head of which were placed Curions, or Decurions, and above these 100 Centurie. Gradually, however, this gave way to an enlargement, the Umbrians were the most ancient population and the Dacians, Thracians, and Italian Celts were Aryans, but not closely related to the Hellenes of Greece. It is believed that Numa was an Initiate of the Etruscan priests, and Salverte holds that he was acquainted with electricity and used it in his rites. Herodian says that the Romans obtained from the Phrygians a statue of the “Mother goddess,” by representing that they were of the same blood through the colonies of Aeneas, 1270 B.C., when Troy was destroyed by the confederate Greeks.
The Roman formula was that “three form a College,” but when formed one might continue it. According to the Laws of the “Twelve Tables,” the Collegia had the right to make their own laws, and were also permitted to form alliances amongst themselves. They were divided into “Communities”; had a common Arca or chest; elected their officers annually; accepted Honorary members as “Patrons”; had priests, as there is mention of a “Priest of the builders or artificers.” They had emblems of office; signs of recognition; many of the symbols used by Freemasons, as, says Schauberg, the rough and perfect cube, and they could distinguish a brother by day as well as by night. Their Wardens ruled ten men, a custom which Sir C. Wren says was in use amongst the old Free-masons. The Communities or “Maceriae” were held secretly and in secluded rooms; generally met monthly; each member was bound by oath to assist another; some of the Registers of Members are yet extant. Their officers were, a Magister, who presided over a hundred men and was elected for five years; Decurions or Wardens, each of whom presided over 10; Seniores or Elders; Scribe or Secretaries; Sacerdotes or priests; Tabularii or archivists; Erratoris or Messengers; Viatores or Serving brethren; Signiferi or Flagbearers. One inscription informs us that the Collegium held a yearly feast in anniversary of its foundation. Throughout the whole Roman Empire the Collegia were in active operation, and the “Corpus Juris” mentions amongst the Arts legally existing, and free from taxation, the architects, masons, stone cutters, painters, sculptors, carpenters, and ship and machine builders. We know the Collegia were established in Britain, as last century an inscription was found in Chichester which says that the “Collegium Fabrorum” had erected a temple to Neptune and Minerva and the safety of the family of Claudius Caesar, “circa” 52 A.D. The great architect Vitruvius defined the art of Masonry, 2,000 years ago, as “a science arising out of many other sciences, and adorned with much and varied learning”; he also shews us that the Romans had a canon of proportion, which being a secret goes far to shew that he was an Initiated temple architect, and which canon is still represented in our Masonic Lodges by a tessellated pavement. (“Ars Quat Cor.,” viii, p. 99.) Aristophanes, in one of his Comedies, introduces Meton, the astronomer, with rule and compasses in his hands, preparing to lay out the plan of a new city. Upon the tombs of Roman members of these Colleges are found emblems identical with those of modern Freemasonry, and we find upon tessellated floors, and mural paintings, the triangle, double triangles, square and compasses, gavel, plumbrule, five-pointed star, the branch. There has recently been dug up at Rome, near the Triano, a glass bowl, upon which, on one side, is a square and above that the blazing star or sun, and the letters J. N. Underneath the square are two pillars, standing upon a Mosaic pavement. (“Liberal Freemnson,” 1888.)
Mr. Toulmain Smith points out that contemporary with the Roman Collegia were the Greek “Eranoi,” or “Thiasoi,” numerous at Rhodes and Piraeus, and other parts. Their organisations had even a closer resemblance to Freemasonry than the Collegia.
Although the Celtic races of Britain had in early times many fine cities, and though the York Lectures state that Ebrank, Bladud, and Croseus were eminent as Masons, yet it is considered that the Latin term “Marus” indicates that we had stone building from the Latins. This Ebrank is Ebroc, the great founder of York; Bladud founded Bath, and brought from Athens four philosophers whom he located at Stamford; he is said to have been a great Mathematician, and having invented a flying machine fell from the temple of Apollo on the site of St. Pauls, London, and was killed; Croseus will be Carausieus, once Emperor of Britain, and Patron of the Collegia.
We mentioned in our last chapter the Benedictine Monk Henry Bradshaw, of St. Werberg Monastery, Chester, before 1513. Speaking of that city he has the following lines:
“The founder of this citie, as saith Polychronicon, Was Leon Gaur, a myghte strong gyaunt, Which builded caves and dongeons many a one, No goodlie buildyng, ne proper, ne pleasant, But King Leir a Britain fine and valiaunt, Was founder of Chester by pleausant buildyng, And was named Guar Leir by the King.”
“Syria.” It is not improbable that a Masonic School continued to exist in Palestine during the centuries: the Macabees were considerable builders. Recent discoveries in Jerusalem shew that stones of a remote, but uncertain, antiquity bear Masonic Marks, some of which are cut in the stone and others painted thereon in red; some of these marks are assumed to be Phoenician characters.
In the Talmud, in “Sabbath,” 114, it is said that “the wise-men are called builders because they are always engaged in the upbuilding of the world.” The Essenes were called Bonaim or builders because it was their duty to edify or build up the spiritual temple in the body. Chief Rabbi Henry Adler says that the Jewish Sages followed all professions, including Masoning, and that Shammai is, on one occasion, represented with the cubit rule in his hand. The Sages were termed Chaberim, associates, friends, brethren. There is found represented the triangle, square, and circle, as constructive rules, as, for instance, in the erection of the Succuth, or Booths, at the feast of Tabernacles. (“Vide Ars Quat. Cor.,” 1898, Yarker.) In the Book of Maccabees (2nd ch. ii, 29-34.) there is a very interesting paragraph which says: “For as the Master Builder of a new house must care for the whole building; but he that undertaketh to set it out and paint it, must seek out fit things for the adorning of it, even so I think it is with us. To stand upon every point, and go over things at large, and to be curious in particulars, belongeth to the first authors of the story; but to use brevity, and avoid much labouring of the work, is to be granted to him who will make an abridgement.” Now although such passages as these, which are fairly common amongst Jewish and Christian writers, may not prove that the authors were Masons, as the term is now understood, it confirms the belief of those writers who assert that the Arcane Schools of Christians did make use of building symbolism; and indicates moreover that the art of building, or masoning, was one which the learned thought to be symbolically useful, and how much more then by the builders themselves, to whom it would recommend itself so aptly.
There exists to-day a Jewish Guild at Assuan in Egypt which claims great antiquity, and practises Jewish Rites connected with the building of the two first temples, and for that purpose meet annually at sunrise and labour till sunset. An Architect who is now out there, and received initiation in Derbyshire, 1866-75, says that they practise the very same ceremonies which he there received. Of course in a Jewish Guild circumcision is necessary for reception. The native Copts have similar Guilds, but their ground diagrams are designed for the square pyramid and not for a 3 to I temple like that at Jerusalem, but they assert that Solomon had his initiation from Pharaoh, to whom he paid a great price. The triplicity of a pyramid is one of their symbols, as it is equally in the ancient Guilds of this country and in the modern Royal Arch degree of Freemasonry. Of course in the building of the 1st temple Yah was the God of Jedediah; Baal of the King of Tyre; and On (which is both Egyptian and Greek, if not also Hindu) the god of Hiram the Abiv. Plato has a line which says “Tell me of the God On, which was, is, and shall be,” it is therefore the equivalent of the tetragrammaton. Oliver quotes in the like sense, Rev. i. 4: GR:Omicron Omicron Omega Ka-alpha-iota Omicron eta nu, Kappa- alpha-iota Omicron epsilon-rho-kappa-omicron-mu-xi-upsilon-omicron-sigma – – (“God (On) is, and was, and is to come.”)
We are told that Herod, King of Judea, employed 10,000 Masons besides Labourers, in rebuilding the temple of Zerrubabel; and it is quite certain that recollections of the temple of Solomon had not died out. It is even believed that, from the time of Alexander the Great, large numbers of Jews emigrated into Spain and were the founders and builders of Toledo, Seville, and Barcelona, besides other buildings in Bohemia; and the best time of their race was during the Moorish rule, when Oriental and Secret Societies were prevalent.
The Journal “Israelite” of 1860 contained a paper in reference to the existence in Spain of certain old legends in proof that the Jews emigrated thither in the days of the tyrannical Rheoboam and of Adonirams journey thither to gather taxes and was slain. The writer says: “It is a fact that there are numerous tombstones with old Hebrew or Samaritan inscriptions in Seville or Toledo we cannot positively say which of these two places and among them is one which bears the name of Adoniram the Collector of Solomon and his son Rheoboam. The Jews were the founders and builders of most of the ancient cities of Spain Toledo, Seville, Barcelona, and others; and also that the Jews were the inhabitants of these places at the time when the Ostragoths invaded the peninsula. Al Tanai Synagogue is of great antiquity, neither Greek or Gothic. The most ancient chronicle of Bohemia says that this building was found there when the founder of the city of Prague laid the first corner stone of it.” There is an ancient Hebrew book, certainly 1,500 years old, entitled the “Testament of Solomon,” which gives a full account of the legions of daemons employed by Solomon in the construction of the Temple, and the positions assigned them, but it is more than probable that these Talmudic legends originally referred to the 72 Suliemen of pre-human times, and were engrafted in Babylon upon the personality of the Israelite King. Sir Charles Lemon informed his P.G. Lodge in 1846, that when visiting Poland he saw an ancient Jewish Synagogue which was built 600 years B.C., where he found Masonic emblems now used by the Fraternity. (See “Freemason,” 1814 page 176.)
The “Mishna,” or oldest portion of the Jewish “Talmud,” preserves the measurements, and details, of the first temple, with its utensils, and, very recently, a representation of it was found in the Roman Catacombs. According to Josephus, Clemens, and Eusebius, each and all its details, were symbolical of the Universe.
The third temple, or that of Herod, was destroyed in the year 70, and the Emperor Hadrian erected in 136 a fourth temple upon its site which he dedicated to Jupiter Capitolinus, and compelled the Jews to pay taxes for its maintenance. It is said in Hadrian s time that there was a temple erected to Astarte which was destroyed at the instigation of Helena, the mother of Constantine. In the 4th century many churches were erected in Palestine, and the Emperor Justinian built a great number in that country.
The Emperor Julian attempted to rebuild on the site of Solomon s temple, and there is a very curious account, which confirms in a remarkable manner the Rites of the Guild of Free Masons, namely that a Reed below the floor (about 10 feet) there was a vault which contained a pedestal, with the plans, and the centre diagrams, and which is drawn upon to form the Arch degree in modern Freemasonry, and that this centre had to be discovered on the erection of the 2nd temple. An old writer relates that when the Emperor s labourers were set to clear away the rubbish they came upon a vaulted chamber into which one of the workmen was let down with a rope; he returned and reported that in the centre was a square pedestal surrounded with water, and produced a scroll which Nicephorus relates was a verse of the Bible. The Guilds say that this was and is the first lines of Genesis, and that it was carved over the Eastern entrance of the 1st temple. Julian was obliged to desist from his intentions as Nicephorus says that fire broke out which destroyed his workmen. An older writer Philostorgius circa 853 A.D. has the same account.
It may be convenient to mention here the Holy-sepulchre at Jerusalem which led to the introduction of round churches into England; though the temples of the Greeks and Romans were often circular, as was that of Venus in Cyprus mentioned by Homer; that of Vesta and the Parthenon. The Christian Church of the Holy Sepulchre was consecrated in 335. Its round part represents the Sepulchre of Christ, and leading from it is a broad aisle, at the end of which is a rectangular church on the site of Golgotha. This was partially destroyed by Chosroes, King of Persia, in 614, and restored 14 years later by Bishop Heraclius, to fall in 636 into the hands of the Islamite Caliph Omar. On the death of Haroun al Raschid his three sons contended for the throne, and the churches were burnt, but shortly after restored by Bishop Thomas. In 1010 the Caliph Hakem destroyed them, but they were again rebuilt next year.
In 1048 the three churches were reconstructed by Constantine Monomachus; the original rectangular church would seem to have perished by the year 1102, and many changes were made in the remaining portions (“The Holy Sepulchre,” Northampton, 1897. Wm. Mark.) During all the period of their occupation the Saracens erected numerous buildings, and the building art was not extinguished down to the time of the Crusaders, who added largely to the structures existing.
“Greco-Egyptian.” Although we do not know much about the remote organisation of the building fraternities in Egypt, yet M. Maspero opened the tomb of an architect, builder, and carver of inscriptions at Thebes, and with the mummy was found a square, level, compasses, and other implements. At Tel- el-Amarna, 1500 B.C., Bek the hereditary successor of a line of Architects, terms himself the teacher of the King; and, as we have seen, the symbols and representations, however ancient, are more Masonic than in any other country. It is not, however, an unreasonable supposition to suppose that from 500 B.C. when the Persians had conquered the country, to be succeeded by the Greeks and Romans, gradual changes took place, under this foreign influence, in the more ancient Corporations of Masons.
The Roman Collegia may have modified Guild life of the more ancient native fraternity, and it is this explanation which must be placed upon the English tradition of the “Charges of Euclid.” Draper mentions the conquests of Alexander the Great as leading to the establishment of “the mathematical and practical Schools of Alexandria, the true origin of science.” When the “Needle” which Cleopatra had re-erected 22 B.C. came to be removed in 1880, there was found at the base a peculiar arrangement of stones, which was held to symbolise a Masonic Lodge as now known; thus a portion was laid so as to form a square, on which rested a rough Ashlar, and a perfect Cube, also an oblong of the purest limestone carefully polished and without spot or flaw.
We have expressed a decided opinion that the origin of Free Masonry is to be found in the primitive system of a secret School which developed a Mystery in which natural religion was taught in union with science and art, and that, before the divorce of the two, the great State Mysteries organised a better style of building with squared blocks, in other words the Osirian, Dionysian, or Bacchic Mysteries, which were a highly spiritualised faith, still more subtilised and spread by Greek philosophers as the Mysteries of Serapis, a Gnostic pre- Christian system, which used the cross, and had all the characteristics essential for the faith “before Christ came in the flesh.” It is idle to suppose that the Ceremonial Rites of Masons were then absolutely uniform; those of a Cabiric or Pelasgian civilisation could not be entirely uniform with those of the Aryanised Dionysiacs, yet such ceremonial rites existed beyond doubt, and each had their slain-god if the mode of his death was not quite uniform, and Initiates only had acted a part in the ceremony, nor need we have any doubt of the possibility of the transmission of such Rites, from the earliest period, though we cannot produce yearly minutes for it. What right have we to expect this? It means the violation of solemn oaths, perhaps death. Take the universality of laying a foundation stone, and we see that the modern ceremony
was exactly paralleled in ancient Babylon and Egypt. Even Job must have known something of it in his desert home, for he says: “Where was t thou when I laid the foundation of the earth? Who laid the corner stone thereof: when the morning stars sang together and all the Sons of God shouted for joy.” If a Rite which professed to date from Solomon s temple existed in early times, as it probably did, it would be amongst a small number of Jewish Masons, and a modification of the Phoenician Cabiric Mysteries, but we can leave this for the present.
The Legend of the Origin of English Masonry which has been handed down to us from the times of Edwin and Athelstan repeats a tradition which traces the Society to Egypt, and particularises its derivation and organisation. It is clearly a legend which existed at the time, and there is no probable basis which would justify us in expressing a doubt that, as a legend, it had actual existence in Athelstan s time, nor in going beyond it to invent a theory that the forerunners of the Society were at the building of Solomon s temple, an assertion which is not there, and never intended to be there; and the absence of which is a good proof of the antiquity of the account related.
The Legend to which we refer may be inaccurate in some of its details; the name of Euclid, the eminent Geometrician, may have been inserted for Thoth or Hermes as the Greeks termed the god of art; and we may be sure, that in the centuries through which the legend had passed, before it reached the form of our oldest MSS., it would be modified in minor particulars; but we may be well persuaded that it contains a basis of truth, as it would be a likely Legend to be handed down by Romans and Romanised Britons who worked by Euclids traditions, and onward through Culdee monks who taught the rules of handicraft to the people at York, and other places, practised the teaching of the Mysteries of Serapis in the Arcane Discipline of the Church, and even superintended, built, and laboured with their own hands at the erection of their churches and monasteries.
This tradition alleges that Egypt finding her people to be generating a too numerous population of well-born youths, for whom it was difficult to find suitable employment, sought anxiously for a remedy. A proclamation was made, and Euclid an Initiate of Serapis, of the Platonic Academy, and it may even be of the Colleges of Builders, undertook to provide a remedy. For this purpose he accepted these Lords sons, and taught them Geometry “as the most honest art of all,” and when they were capable proceeded to organise them into a Brotherhood, and give them a “Charge,” which examination will shew to agree in all essential points with the Roman Collegia. There may be something in the alleged Grand Mastership of Euclid, who is said in Anderson s “Constitutions” of Masonry to have acted as the architect of some noble edifices in Egypt, but it is more probable that he owes the rank assigned to him from his eminence as a Geometrician, about 276 B.C., and it is noteworthy that in the old Masonic MSS. it is not claimed for Masonry that it was exclusively a society of Sculptors and Stone-cutters but embraced all arts that work by the rules of Geometry. There is good reason to accept judiciously this alleged Alexandrian descent of Masonry into England. We are told that the original builders of St. Mark s at Venice were Alexandrian refugees, and, it may be, the style of the palace of the Doge, which is called Moorish but is not so. The Byzantine style was probably Alexandrian, and when the Saracens took Egypt the Artists were dispersed over Persia, Greece, and Europe.
In the light of what has preceded, the traditional legend resolves itself broadly into this: that besides the great State Mysteries, but derived from them, there were minor schools of Philosophers, and Colleges of the Arts and Sciences, all with special, but similar, ceremonies of their own, and that Euclid held a prominent position in all these. Further that the Masonic association was of Greco-Roman introduction into England, a genealogy which attaches itself to the divine Father, Mother, and Son of old Egypt.
Nor was Art itself in Egypt confined, in its practice to mere Artisans, for there were sacred images which could only be wrought by the priests of the Mysteries. Synesius, Bishop of Ptolemais, has a peculiar passage (“Calvit.”), in which he writes: “The prophets or hierophants, who had been Initiated into the Mysteries, did not permit the common workmen to form idols or images of the gods, but they descended themselves into the sacred caves, where they have concealed coffers, containing certain spheres, upon which they construct their image secretly, and without the knowledge of the people, who despise simple and natural things, and wish for prodigies and fables.” We see from-this that there was a Craft secret and symbolism known only to the priests, and that like the “Four crowned Martyrs,” of Christian Masonry, they were capable of practical sculpture. The “sacred caves” were the Crypts of their temples; and the word translated “sphere” is indefinite, for there are yet drawings to be found in Egypt which shew that the “Canon of proportion” was a chequered tracing even from the time of the very ancient 5th dynasty. The primitive canon divided the human figure into 19 squares, of which the head occupied 3 squares, the pubis began at 9 1/2, and the knee-joint at 6th square from the bottom one. A seated figure occupied 15 squares; but the proportions varied in the course of ages. (“Ars Quat. Cor.” (W. H. Rylands). vi.) The learned Dr. Stukeley was of opinion that the Isaic Tablet of Cardinal Bembo (Pub. by Dr. W. W. Westcott.) was a tracing-board of the Egyptian Mysteries, a temple spread out in plane, and that it could be divided into Porch, Sanctum, and Sanctorum.
In the time of Euclid one of the most beautiful buildings in all Egypt was in progress and dedicated to the divine Triad, namely, the re-erection, on its ancient site, of the temple of Philae, which was begun about 300 B.C. and continued for two centuries. Mr. James Ferguson thus eulogises it: “No Gothic architect, in his wildest moments, ever played so freely with his lines and dimensions, and none, it must be added, ever produced anything so beautifully picturesque as this. It combines all the variety of Gothic art, with the massiveness and grandeur of the Egyptian style.” In it are nine sculptured tablets on the wall which pourtray the death, resurrection, ascension, and deification of the god to whose honour it was erected. The most sacred oath a Copt could swear was, “By Him that sleeps at Philae, and by Him that sitteth upon the throne.” The Mysteries of the god continued to be celebrated in this temple until about 450 A.D., after which it was probably used for Christian worship. (“Egypt,” Wm. Oxley.)
Another building of great extent was erected by Ptolemy Philadelphus as a temple of Serapis, the Greco-Egyptian triad in an Eclectic form. It was the most magnificent temple then in existence, and had numerous subterraneous passages and caverns, artificially constructed for the Rites of the Mysteries. It contained a library said to consist of all known books in 700,000 volumes; a library destroyed by the Moslems in 638 A.D. It was partially destroyed previously by the Christians when emblems of a cruciform character were exposed. The steady advance of Christianity, developing into a ferocious intolerance, necessitated even greater secrecy in the celebration of the Mysteries, followed by persecutions of the Initiates by the later Emperors, made it essential to reorganise them under other names, with the assumption of a humble disguise. It is in this way that we renew our acquaintance with them in the Colleges of Art, and in the Gnostic and Occult fraternities.
So far as this country is concerned we know nothing from documents of a Masonry dating from Solomons temple until after the Crusades, when the Constitution believed to have been sanctioned by King Athelstan gradually underwent a change. To advance an opinion amongst well read people, that all Craft Masonry must necessarily date from Solomon s temple, can only raise a smile. The building was erected by Phoenicians and partly of wood, and its magnificence is no doubt greatly exaggerated in the Talmud; and the Jews, with a special God for their own race, were unpopular with all other nations; and far more extensive and magnificent buildings, of which the ruins exist to this day, are found in Egypt, India, and the Americas. It is, however, a curious thing, in regard to Solomonian legends, that there seems to have existed amongst the oldest proto-Aryan races, we have knowledge of, a dynasty of Solymi, or Sulieman, entitled Kings; and it has also been discovered amongst the ruins of Babylon as the name of a God of these ancient people, whilst the real name of King Solomon was Jedediah, or the beloved of Jah. It is therefore possible that the title may have been prehistorically known in some Cabiric Rites, and that Ouranos, Ur, Urim, has been corrupted to Hurim, or Hiram Abif, and perpetuated from the building of the 2nd Temple; for we may assume that the graphic form of the legend has been the gradual growth of centuries, though perpetuated as a drama in the Mediaeval Guilds, and when the Talmud and the Koran tells us that Solomon employed troops of daemons to erect the temple we may feel sure that the Talmud is drawing upon the pre-human Suliemen, or Kings of the Jins or Afreets.
There can be no doubt that the early Christian Monks found amongst their skilled Masons certain forms of reception, or Mysteries, similar to, if not identical, with those which had descended to themselves as heirs of the Epoptia of these Mysteries. It suited some of these Monks to transform the Serapian Sun-god into Jesus, in obedience to the prevailing policy of the church; whilst it pleased others, whether Jews, Christians, or Moslems, matters little, to substitute Hiram; these Rites would also vary in different countries, and at different eras; hence sects of Masons arose, and, as we shall see later, have come down to our own days.
When we first began to examine the ancient MSS. of the Masonic Craft, of which the result will be found in these pages, we scarcely expected to find more than chance coincidence between Masonry and the Arcane Colleges, but the resemblances which we have before us in Rites, Symbols, and Organisation, will admit of no such general explanation. It must be clear to the most superficial thinker that there is far more in the Masonic MSS. and the Rites than they have yet been credited with, for their whole tenor proves the intimate affinity which existed, even in the most ancient times, between all the Arcane Schools of knowledge. This is equally apparent whether we seek it in the Egyptian Constitution of Athelstan, which informs us it was originally a Craft for the study of Geometry, and which therefore implies a Society equally speculative and operative; or in the Semitic Constitution which came into England later; for such a distinction only shews the transmission of certain rites, with the same aim, through two different channels; the one a continuous type of that Speculative Masonry which erected the great Pyramid to represent the Egyptian s faith in the soul s future destiny; the other of that Chaldean faith symbolised in the tower of Borsippa; somewhat opposed as Rites, but one in general aim; two systems pointing respectively to Egypt and Babylon. In this chapter we have leant rather to the Greco-Egyptian than the Semitic view, but when we reach Anglo-Norman times of the Masonic Guilds we shall see much change in this respect and that a close connection with Palestine introduced new legends and their concomitant Rites.
VIII – MASONRY IN SAXON ENGLAND
During the period embraced in this heading, which includes British times, all the manual arts were Clerical professions in so far as this, that the Monks acted as teachers and directors of lay associations, more or less attached to the Monasteries. Architecture was exercised under the shadow of the church, and M. Blanqui in writing of the French Monasteries observes that “they were the true origin of industrial Corporations; their birth confounds itself with the Convents where the work was arranged; it is thence that serving with the Franks liberty and industry, long enslaved by the Romans, goes out free to establish itself in the bosom of the towns of the middle ages.” Nor is this all, from the earliest times of Christianity a community of interests, and of knowledge and art, was maintained by means of Couriers journeying to and fro throughout the world, amongst the whole Christian Fraternity, which may account for the sudden and widespread adoption, of particular styles, in countries distant from each other.
There is no doubt that, even in Druidical times, the Romans organised in the chief cities of this country Colleges of Artificers on the Latin model, although the Britons were themselves, at the time, noble architects. These Colleges were continued by Romanised Britons after the withdrawal of the Roman troops near the middle period of the fifth century, and though the wars with the Saxons must have greatly retarded the labours of the societies, the Saxons interfered but little with city life, contenting themselves with rural affairs. We may therefore conclude that the Art-fraternities were continued, even if influenced by the Clergy and by such Guild life as the Saxons may have brought over with them.
Arranmore has some ancient fortresses. One of these, built 2,000 years ago, had walls 220 feet long, 20 feet high, and 18 to 20 feet thick, and is built on a cliff hundreds of feet sheer to the sea; three sets of massive walls surround the largest fort.
As we have remarked the “Articles and Points” of the Masonic MSS. are in agreement with the “Corpus Juris” of the Collegia, which again are found in an Egypto-Greek source.
As the Clergy were the builders of their Churches, the chief Monks and Bishops figure in the Constitutions of the Grand Lodge, prepared in 1723, as Grand Masters of the Fraternity; and it must at least be admitted that Anderson was half correct, and there is little of any other mode by which the matter can be treated in this chapter; for Art was an Oath-bound Society the property of those who had learned Art by an Apprenticeship.
There are numerous Roman remains in this country of buildings which were erected during the occupation of the island by the Latin troops; and amongst these are to be found many interesting particulars in York, London, Chichester, St. Albans, but scattered over the whole island. Newcastle was in ancient times a place of great importance, and the Romans had a military station in the place by A.D. 78, and a bridge was built over the river to connect it and Gateshead and named the “Pons” Aelii. The Roman foundations were eventually occupied by Monks, for we learn that when Aldwin, with two Monks, travelled from Gloucester in 1194 to restore the religious foundations, the place was known as Monkchester; and the mother church of St. Nicholas is said to have been erected upon a Roman temple; and St. Mary s Church at Gateshead is said to be as old, if not older. Pandon, now a part of Newcastle, was peopled by Saxons, and was a Royal residence before 654 A.D.
Didron (“Ichnography,” i, p. 456.) gives a Latin sculpture, of the first ages, on which is represented a pair of callipers, compasses, square, skirret, level, maul, chisel, and pen or stylus; an ordinary set-square is often found as an amulet on Egyptian mummies. With the exception of the first and last these comprise the symbolic tools of a Free-mason, and though the plumb rule, 24 inch gauge, which is an old Egyptian emblem of Truth and of Thoth, the perfect Ashlar, a symbol everywhere as ancient as Man, are lacking, these are found on other Roman remains, with many other emblems, and Masons Marks of which mention has already been made.
In Masonic history special mention is made of Verulam, out of the Roman remains of which St. Albans was built, and, it is said that the town was walled round by Alban the Martyr. It is a legend which may have been taken from some Monastic history by a Masonic lodge of the 13th century in that place. Chichester had a College of Roman Artisans that erected a temple circa 46-52 A.D., and Masons Marks are found in the remains of the city. In the year 114 Marius the British Pendragon, so named as the military chief of the great golden Dragon-standard of Britain, executed a treaty with Tacitus by which Roman law was to be recognised in such towns as might become Municipia or colonies; and the garrisons of York, Chester, and Bangor were to be recruited from British Volunteers; as Rome strengthened herself Christianity was tolerated, but Druidism was prohibited. A quantity of Roman coins was found in the South-basin at Chichester in 1819, and three with the following emblems: Nerva 96 A,D., two joined hands, and “concordia execretus,” encircling. Hadrian, 117 A.D., moon and seven stars. Antonius Pius, 138 A.D., two joined hands, two ears of corn, “Cos III.” (“Freemasonry in Havant,” 892a, Thos. Francis.) We might assume that Chichester in Sussex was the centre of the Roman fraternity, and Verulam a branch. Upon St. Rook s hill is the remains of an ancient building with entrenchments which during the last and the previous century was used as a place of Masonic Assembly, and near this, at Lavant, are caves with a series of chambers where a very curious copper level, intended to be worn, was discovered. (“A.Q.C.,” 1898, W. H. Rylands.)
York has a multitude of Roman remains dating from the time of Adrian and Severus, 134-211 A.D., and later under Constantius. There was discovered at Toft Green in 1770 beneath the foundation of a Roman temple of brickwork a stone with this inscription, “Deo sancto Serapi Templvm asolo fecit Cl. Hieronymianus leg. vi. vic.” “This temple, sacred to the god Serapis, was erected, from the ground, by Claudius Hieronymianus, Lieutenant of the sixth conquering legion.” On each side of the inscription are two identical ornaments which it is difficult to describe, each is of three circles with a rod, or straight line drawn through them; the other is a peculiar trisula having in its centre a star of six points; at the bottom is a circle with an eight-pointed star in the centre, and in that a point. There was also found in Micklegate in 1747 a piece of sculpture said to represent Mythras sacrificing a bull; and in 1638 was found an altar erected to Jupiter by the Prefect Marcianus. A semi- subterranean temple of Mythras was discovered in 1822 at Housesteads in Northumberland, containing an Altar dedicated in 235 A.D., and there are other remains in Chesterholm and Rutchester in the same county; at the latter place is a recess hewn out of the solid rock, called the giant s grave, measuring 12 X 4 1/2 by 2 feet deep. At one end is a hole; this seems to resemble “St. Patrick s hole,” in Donegal. Several altars have been found in Cumberland and Westmorland dedicated to Baalcadris. “Acta Latamorum” and Rebold give a very probable explanation of the Masonic Legend of Verulam. Carausius caused himself to be elected and proclaimed Emperor of Britain by the Channel Fleet in 284 A.D., and braved all the efforts of Diocletian to dethrone him. He renewed the privileges of the Collegia in their entirety as these had been much curtailed in the course of centuries, and is therefore supposed to have appointed Albanus as his Inspector. An inscription to Carausius was found at Carlisle in 1894, and his coins are numerous. He was assassinated at York in 295 A.D., and Constantius Chlorus took up his residence there, and confirmed the privileges of the Guilds or Collegia. Brother Giles F. Yates states that an old MS. of the life of St. Alban, the proto-martyr, in British characters was found in the tenth century, and Matthew Paris refers to a book of great antiquity as existing in the Monastery of St. Albans. Britain had clearly attained architectural distinction in the time of Carausius and was able to send competent men to instruct the Gauls, for Eumenius, the panegyrist of Maximium, congratulates the Emperor on behalf of the city of Autin, which he informs us was renovated by architects from this country, in the following words: “It has been well stored with Artificers since your victories over the Britains, “whose provinces abound with them,” and now by their workmanship the city of Autin rises in splendour by rebuilding their ancient houses, the erection of public works, and the instauration of temples. The ancient name of a Roman brotherhood which they long since enjoyed is again restored by having your Imperial Majesty as their second founder.” (“Paneg. Maximian Aug. dict.” Olivers “Remains,” iii, and v; also “Masonic Mirror,” 1855, p. 32.)
Christian architecture, however, is not much in evidence until Saxon times, though the “new superstition,” as the Romans termed it, is said to have entered Glastonbury in the Apostleship of Joseph of Arimathea. Welsh historians assert that Christianity was accepted in a National Council held by King Lucius A.D. 155, when the Archdruids of Evroc, Lud, and Leon, became Archbishops and the Chief Druids of 28 cities became bishops. It is further asserted that of the British captives carried to Rome, Claudia and Pudens are addressed by name in the Gospel. King Lucius is said to have been educated at Rome by St. Timotheus, the son of Claudia, to have been proclaimed King in the year 125, and to have been baptised by Timotheus 155 A.D.; after which he proceeded to erect churches at Winchester; Llandaff; St. Peter s, London; and St. Martin s, Canterbury; the faith was then styled Regius Domus, or Royal house. British history says that at this time there were in existence 59 magnificent cities, and numberless handsome residences. Of Monasteries the Triads say:
There are three perpetual Choirs in the Isle of Britain Great Bangor, Caer-Salog (Salisbury), Avillon (Glastonbury); the first named was munificently endowed by King Lucius; it covered a square of five miles, had 10,000 teachers, and every graduate had to learn some profession, art, or business. Minucius Felix comments upon the absence of temples and altars amongst the Christians of the 3rd century, and of the uselessness of such works in honour of an all embracing Deity, and then says: “Is it not far better to consecrate to the Deity a temple in our heart and spirit?” It was not until about the year 270 that Christians were allowed to assemble in buildings of their own at Rome, and these appear to have been first erected in imitation of the “Scholae” or Lodge rooms, of the artizans, but in Britain there was but one year s persecution of the Christians, when Socrates, Archbishop of York, the Bishop of St. Albans, and others lost their lives. About the year 300 church was erected at Verulam over the martyred body of St. Alban, which Bede says was a handsome structure; and Tanner says that there was a church at Winchester, dedicated to Amphibalus who converted him. There was an Archbishop of York at this time, for Eborius in the year 3I4 attended the Council of Arles in Gaul and is described as “Episcopus de civitate Eboracum Provincia Brit.” The same Council was attended by Restitus of London, and Adifius of Caerleon on Usk, which is Lincoln.
These Christian Britains monks, priests, and bishops, were known as Culdees, servants of God; they established Monasteries and Churches in various parts of England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, and there is no doubt that many of them were converts from the Druidical faith; in these countries they opened Colleges, and Schools where handicrafts, arts, sciences, and religion were taught to the people. Their faith was heretical according to the standard which the Church of Rome had adopted after the succession of Constantine, and they were what Cardinal J. H. Newman terms Platonising Christians, or of the esoteric Arcane Discipline. They believed in the immortality of the soul, but not in the Jewish doctrine of a resurrection of the material body, which was the teaching of Judaising Christians. They are also accused of denying the existence of a personal devil, and the personality of Jesus, in which case they were Gnostics, but the reader may refer back to the subject in Chapter VI. St. Patrick is said to have been born a Druid and to have left Dumbarton for Ireland in the year 432.
Both ancients and moderns charge them with possessing a secret doctrine, and when in 589 Columban went to Burgundy with 12 companions from Ireland (as Columba had previously done in 561 to Icolmkili, the Arcane Mystery gave offence; the King demanded of him, why, as in his own country, “access to their secret enclosures was not granted to all Christians,” upon which the Culdee sternly replied, that if he sought to destroy the Cenobia of God his kingdom would assuredly perish. This mission founded the Abbey of Luxeville, and others in France and Italy. In England their principal seat was York, in Wales Bangor, in Ireland Donegal, in Scotland the Hebrides. Those Masons who possess intuition, and the faculty of reading between the lines of such writers as we have quoted, will perceive that Philosophy found it essential, and safe, to openly embrace Christianity, whilst secretly conforming to their old ideals, had it been necessary we could have given plain proof of this. Even Eusebius says: “In order to render Christianity more acceptable to the Gentiles, the priests adopted the exterior vestments and ornaments used in the Pagan culte.” Philosophy thus secured the survival of its secrets, hence we find the 12 sons of Jacob assimilated to the Zodiacal signs; and much Gnostic symbolism is found in church architecture lions, serpents, and things to be named in due course.
The Rev. W. L. Alexander in writing upon “Iona” says that whilst the Roman armies were harrying the Druids at Anglesea there was a College of them in the Scottish islands situated 56 Degrees 59 N.L. designated “lnnis-nan-Druid- neach” the Isle of the Druids and that that priesthood prevailed over all the other islands until the year 563-4 when Colum or Columba arrived with 12 companions who were continued in that number till after ages. It is said that there existed there certain Druidical priests who professed to be Christians in the hope of inducing Columb to withdraw, and after the settlement of Columb and his friends, the island began to he known as “li-cholum-chille” the island of Columbus Cell, corrupted to Icolmkill, and we have also “li-shona” the holy island, corrupted to Iona.
We may now say something in reference to the construction of their churches. Prior to the 5th century, all Christian churches were after the model of the ancient temples of Egypt divided into three parts, and which corresponded with the secret or esoteric doctrine; and we need have no doubt that the emblematical significance of the architecture was a “close tyled” Mystery of the Initiated builders, and that as in the ancient temples, they were built to symbolise a spiritual doctrine, which ordinary Christians were unacquainted with. The first part, or “Ante-temple,” was for the Catechumens, disciples, and penitents; the second part or Nave was for the lay members and the faithful; the third part or “Sanctuary” was a semi-circular recess with an arched roof, raised above the floor by steps; it represents the Sanctuary of the ancient gods, open only to the priests; within it was the throne of the Bishop which was usually veiled, and placed besides it were smaller thrones for the Clergy; in the centre of this most holy place was the altar. In Gothic buildings, of a later date, this part is called the “Chancel” and was separated by a “Rood-screen” of carved wood or other material; and it is remarkable that the carvers, at times, took great liberties with the Monks and priests, in the representation of their vices. There is even much recondite symbolism to be found on the outer walls of such buildings. The Secret Discipline, at these early dates, regulated the symbology of the edifices, and the “Vesica-piscis,” so often found on ancient temples, and churches of all eras, is held to be the great secret of constructive measurements, and, as has been stated, the Sign of the Epopts both in Philosophy and Christianity.
In regard to early erections, a small church of rough stone was raised at Peranzabulae in Cornwall about the year 400 by the Culdee Pirau an Irish saint, over whose tomb was found an equilimbed cross of the Greek form, when the building was disinterred in 1835, after having been covered over for ten centuries. Thong Castle in Lincolnshire was erected for the Saxons about the year 450, it must have been a British labour. A church of stone was erected at Candida Casa, by the Culdee bishop Ninian 488 A.D.; and Matthew of Westminster tells us that the British King Aurelius Ambrosius, who slew the Saxon Hengist at Conisborough in 466, repaired the churches, travelling to and fro for that purpose, and sent for Cementarii or Masons, and Lignarii, or Carpenters. Legends state that he erected Stonehenge with blocks brought from Ireland by the engineering skill of Merlin, and that both himself and his brother Uther the Pendragon were buried within its circle (but Norman Lockyer examining it as a Planetarium, dates it, by the Sun, at 1680 B.C.); he defeated Hengists sons at York in 490. In 524 Arthur son of Uther, defeated the Saxons, and at Christmas of that year he held a Council at York to consider ecclesiastical affairs, and methods were taken to restore the churches and the ruined places at York, which had been occasioned by his wars to expel the Saxons. Though Arthur the Pendragon is alleged to have been buried at Glastonbury the legends of the Prince seem to belong chiefly to Cumberland and the adjacent parts, which formed the Kingdom of the Strathclyde Britains; the names used in the Romances of his Round Table and in the connected tales, are Cambrian, and Blase of Northumberland is said to have registered his doings. Denton says that near St. Cuthbert s Church, Carlisle, in Cumberland, “stood an ancient building called Arthurs chamber, taken to be part of the mansion house of Arthur, the son of Uter Pendragon, of memorable note for his worthiness in the time of antient Kings.” (Quoted in “Hist. Cumb.” by Wm. Hutchinson, 1794. ii, p. 606.)
The Prince was no doubt a Romanised Briton, though his name does not belong to the Celtic language, and that he was a real person who strove to unite the British Christians against the Saxons is beyond serious question. The allegorical history of the Round-table, and the Knights “Quest of the Sangrael,” or cup of the blood of Christ, is supposed to refer, in mystic terms, to Culdee rites; and in spite of the efforts of Rome the Culdee culte continued to exist in England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland down to the Norman conquest, and, in places, until long afterwards. At Caerleon on Usk were two churches, and an important Culdee “College of two hundred Philosophers learned in Astronomy, and in all the sciences and the arts.”
It is more than probable that the peculiarities of the Culdee system arose from the engraftation of Druidical beliefs upon the Christian faith. Many learned writers have sought to derive Free Masonry both from a Druidical and Culdee establishment. The latter is not at all improbable for one of the branches. The following may be pointed out at random: The custom of symbolising Craft officers by the sun and moon; for the Arch-Druid bore the sun and crescent moon on his head dress, whilst the Bard was designated by the crescent moon, equally the tonsure of a Culdee Monk went from ear to ear, in crescent, as opposed to the coronial tonsure of the Romans. A Culdee origin has also been claimed for the Templars, and the modern ceremonies of that body commemorate the 13 of Iona. St. Cibi s, as asserted by Sir John Stanley, was founded in 550 on a Roman temple at Holyhead. It was, however, rebuilt “temp.” Edward III., and again in the reign of Henry VII.
Toland says that the Druidical College of Derry was converted into a Culdee Monastery. About the year 561 Columba and twelve companions left Ireland to build the Monastery of Icolmkill, and Masonic legend assigns the lectures of the Mastership of Harodim to this Monastery; they founded Colleges at Govan and Kilwinning; and Aidan, one of the twelve, established the original Abbey of Melrose. The fraternity had other establishments in Scotland; at Abernethy; St. Serf in Lochleven; Dunkeld; St. Andrews; Moneymusk in Aberdeenshire; Dunblane; Dunfermline; and Aberdeen. Their establishment at Brechin has left a cylinder or Round Tower of unknown date. At each side of the western entrance, near an ancient gateway, is carved in relief an elephant having the feet of a lion and a horse. Brother R. Tytler, M.D., in a paper read before the Antiquarian Society of Scotland, (Vide “Freem. Quart.,” 1834.) makes a precise comparison between this and an astronomical allegory, in like situation, in various Hindu temples. Above this carving is an apparently later crucifixion scene with two Monks. It is said that during the life of Columba 100 monasteries were erected, and the Irish claim to have sent architects to Britain some centuries before this time.
The voyage of Bran, son of Febal (a MS. of 1100), to the Island of Joy, or the Land of the Living, is attributed to Adamnan, Abbot of Ionia, who died in 703; it mentions nine grades of heaven in three steps, and that a fiery circle surrounds the land of the blessed. The throne is a canopied chair with four columns of precious stones, and beneath it are seven glassen walls. The sect in England had seats at Lindisfarne, York, and Ripon.
Mr. Grant Allen in his Anglo-Saxon Britain (1884) says: “It is possible that the families of Craftsmen may at first have been Romanised Welsh inhabitants of the cities, for all the older towns London, Canterbury, York, Lincoln, and Rochester were almost certainly inhabited without interruption from the Roman period onward.”
The Roman law, and therefore the Guilds or Collegia, never became extinct in any place where the Romans had once had a footing. They entered Germany with the sack of Rome by the Goths, a country unconquered by arms. Alaric II. of the Wisegoths, 484-507, commissioned Roman Jurists to compile a code on the basis of the Lex Theodosii which was adopted by all Gaul. Theodrich the Ostragoth in the year 500 promulgated a similar code, which aimed at fusing Roman and Goth into one people. A third compilation of Roman law called the Burgundian “Lex Romano” was promulgated about the year 520 by Sigmund. (“Arminius,” Thos. Smith, F.S.A.. London, 1861.) It follows from this that, so far from the Roman Collegia being extinguished with the Empire, they spread throughout Germany. Smith further says: “These Colleges are evidently the Guilds of the Middle ages; in the Roman Disciple we may detect the modern Apprentice, and in the hereditary obligation to follow a particular trade, we may discern the origin of freedom by birth, or by servitude, in Corporate towns. The leading idea in Roman institutions was Municipal. Every franchise was the result of belonging to some College, and we thus infer that the franchise of Cities owe their origin to Rome. Thus to the Municipia of Rome, not to German institutions, are to be ascribed the origin and form of the Municipal Corporations of the middle ages.” (“Arminius,” Thos. Smith, F.S.A.. London, 1861.)
Apropos of this quotation is the existence of the Magistri Comacenes, settled near the lake of Como, who hired themselves out to build for the Lombards and are mentioned by the Rev. Charles Kingsley. (“Roman and Teuton,” 1891, Lec. x. p. 253.) They are supposed to have fled to a small island on Lake Como, on the sack of Rome by the Goths, where they kept alive the ancient rules of their art, whence was developed the various Italian Styles, the Norman, and the Saxon. Not only was their organisation that of the Collegia but the ornamentation of their architectural work. They venerated the Four crowned Martyrs, and were divided into Scolia or Apprentices; Laborerium, operii or those who did the actual work; the Opera or Fabbrica, or the Magistri who designed and taught the others. Leader Scott quotes an Edict of the Lombard King Rotharis, dated 22nd Nov., 643, conferring privileges on the Magistri Comacini, and the Colligantes, and this when they had been long established. She also quotes an inscribed stone of 712 to shew that they had then Magistri and Discipula under a Gastaldo or Grand Master and that the same terms were kept up in Lombardy, amongst Free Masons, until the 15th century, and it is known that St. William, Abbot of Benigne in Dijon, a Lombard by birth, brought in his countrymen to build his monastery, and that Richard II., Duke of Normandy, employed this architect for 20 years in like work. (The “Cathedral Builders,” Leader Scott, 1899, London.) It is not so difficult to connect Freemasonry with the Collegia, the difficulty lies in attributing Jewish traditions to the Collegia, and we say on the evidence of the oldest charges that such traditions had no existence in Saxon times.
“In this darkness which extended over all Italy, only one small lamp remained alight, making a bright spark in the vast Italian Necropolis. It was from the “Magistri Comacini.” Their respective names are unknown, their individual works unspecialised, but the breath of their spirit might be felt all through those centuries, and their name collectively is legion. We may safely say that of all the works of art between 800 and 1000, the greater and better part are due to that brotherhood always faithful and often secret of the Magistri Comacini. ” (J. A. Llorente, “Hist. of the Inquisition;” London 1826. “I. Maestri Comacini;” Milano 1893.)
The conquest of Rome, by the Teutonic nations, led to a great extension of the Christian Monasteries, during the 5th and 6th centuries, and these were usually placed in quiet or inaccessible situations, the better to escape from the tumults of the times. Here libraries were established and the ancient learning found a resting place. This led to the cultivation of the Mystical and the spiritual in man, and it may be observed that the term Mystic is derived from the rank of Mystae in the Mysteries, even as the term “Mystery” was adopted by trade Guilds to mean their art, and “closed lips.”
Stowe says that in the 7th or 8th century the walls of London were rebuilt by Benedictine Monks brought from Birkenhead. The founder of this brotherhood was St. Benedict, born at Nursia in Umbria about A.D. 480; he went to Monte Cassino, 530, afterwards the centre of his order, and there composed his rule, which entered England between the 6th and 7th century. Archdeacon Prescott says: “The finest Abbeys, and nearly all the Cathedrals, belonged to the order.”
About the year 597 Augustine came over to England from the Church of the Quatuor Coronati at Rome. His instruction from Pope Gregory was: “Destroy the idols, never the temples; sprinkle them with holy water, place in them relics, and let the nations worship in the places accustomed.” He is said to have brought over Roman Masons, and a further number in the year 601; he died in 605. It has been supposed that he built the Church of the Four crowned Martyrs at Canterbury, which is mentioned casually by Bede in 619. This introduction of Masons from Rome is usually taken to prove that the building fraternities had become extinct in this country, but it does no such thing. There was no doubt a scarcity of capable men amongst the Saxons for the work which the Romish Saint had in view, but we cannot altogether rely upon the good faith of their historians, nor are we at all justified in assuming that the native British Masons, Carpenters, and the building fraternities derived from the Romano-heathen population were extinct, and we have proofs to the contrary in the Culdee erections of St. Peter at York in 626, and in the Culdee establishment at Lindisfarne in the year 634 by Aidan, a Monk of Icolmkill in Iona; and in the “Holy Island” St. Cuthbert was interred before the City of Durham existed. There lies, behind, the fact that Rome considered all British Christianity as heretical, and all the successors of Augustine followed his role, with the unsuccessful object of wholly destroying Culdee influence. Bede informs us that the British Christians refused either to live, or eat, with the Augustinians, and they replied to a demand for obedience: “We owe obedience only to God, and after God to our venerable head, the Bishop of Caerleon-on-Uske.” Bede complains also that Monasteries had been established by laymen with themselves as Abbots, whilst still continuing married relations with their wives, a Culdee custom, sanctioned by example of Bishop Synesius. He says also that a Martyrium of the “four blessed Coronati” existed at Canterbury 619-24.
The British Pendragons seem to have kept the Saxons in check, but they were able to destroy Bangor in the year 607. Deira was strongly reinforced by Angles from the Saxon coast, and King Edwin solicited from his friend Caswallon, the British Pendragon, that he might assume the regal crown as Bretwalda, but Caswallon refused his sanction, on the ground that there was “one sole crown of Britain.” Kemble says that, “The Saxons neither took possession of the towns, nor gave themselves the trouble of destroying them.” The Heptarchial princelings and their villagers were Pagans, and exercised but small influence. Pope Boniface IV. is credited with the grant of privileges in 614 to those architects who had the erection of sacred buildings.
In 616 Ethelbert King of Kent built the Church of St. Peter, and St. Paul, at Canterbury, upon the site of a small church erected by the early Britains; also the church of St. Andrew in Rochester; and he is thought to have restored St. Paul s in London, erected on the site of a temple to Diana, though other writers suppose it to have been built within the area of what was the Roman Pretorian Camp in the time of Constantine. Siebert King of the West Saxons, in 630, built the Monastery of Westminster, on the site of a Temple to Apollo, and it was repaired in the next century by Offa King of Mercia. About the middle of this century, say 650, an Irish saint of the name of Bega established a small Nunnery at the place now called St. Bees in Cumberland, then a British port, and a church was erected afterwards in her honour.
The Romans had a temple at Teignmouth, and here an important Priory was erected. In the reign of Edwin over Yorkshire, Durham, and Northumbria, circa 626, a wooden edifice was erected here, similar to Aidans Church at Lindisfarne, and was followed by a church of stone erected by his successor St. Oswald, circa 663. After it had been destroyed by the Danes, it was restored by Ecgfrid, in the 15th year of whose reign the neighbouring church at Jarrow was dedicated, and which, with that of Wearmouth, is in the diocese of Hexham.
In the year 675, Benedict Biscop is said to have brought over from France skilled Masons to erect the Monastery at Jarrow. At the same date Wilfrid founded Ripon, Hexham, and Ely, bringing Masons from Rome or Italy and France. King Ina also rebuilt Glastonbury; and William of Malmesbury informs us that it possessed a sapphire of inestimable value, perhaps the origin of the legend of the Graal cup. The same writer says: “In the pavement are stones designedly laid in triangles and squares, and fixed with lead, under which if I believe some sacred enigma to be enshrined I do no injustice to religion”; he also alludes to two pyramidical structures in the churchyard.
Anglo-Saxon building, sometimes of wood, and then of stone, continued upon their gradual conversion to Christianity. In 643 Kenweath of Wessex “bade timber the old Minster of Winchester.” In 654 “Botulf began to build a Monastery at Icambo” (Boston). In 657, Penda of Mercia and Oswin of Northumbria built a Monastery at Medeshamstede (Peterborough). Oswin built six in Deira. In 669 Echbert of Kent gave “Reculver to Bass, the Mass-priest, to build a Monastery.” In 669 St. Ethelreda “began the Monastery at Ely.” Before 735, religious houses existed at Lastringham, Melrose, Lindisfarne, Whithern, Bardney, Gilling, Bury, Ripon, Chertsey, Barking, Abercorn, Selsey, Redbridge, Aldingham, Towcester, Hackness, and several other places. The Irish Monks were active abroad; in 582 St. Peters Convent at Salzburg was erected by Rudbert. About 610, convents at Costnitz and Augsburg erected by Edumban. About 606, convents at Regenburg under Rudbert. About 740, convents at Eichstadt under the Irish monk Wildwald. As to military architecture we read that Edward, the father of Athelstan, had twenty fortresses between Colchester, Manchester, and Chester. Why then should we dispute the existence of such Guilds as are shadowed in our ancient Masonic MSS.? Professor Freeman says that St. Mary le Wigford Church was built by Coleswegan.
Aelfred, brother of Ecfrid King of Northumberland, sojourned in Ireland to acquire from the Monks the learning of the period, and on the death of Ecfrid, in 685, he was recalled to succeed him, but it is very doubtful whether the Britons recognised these Saxons as Kings, until Egbert became Bretwalda in the year 824. In 690 Theodore, Bishop of Canterbury, erected King s School in that city. In 716 Ethelbald built Croyland in Lincolnshire. Of this period a series of drawings exist amongst the Cottonian MSS. in the British Museum, and have been engraved for the “Freemasons Magazine,” scenes in the life of St. Guthlac; one of these represents him in the act of building his chapel. The Saint is hoisting up material to a Mason who is laying a stone at the top of the building; near the Saint is a stone-cutter who is hewing the stone into shape with an axe. We shall see later that a chisel was used in Norman times, and soon after a claw-adze. Although the Arch had its origin in high antiquity, and is said to have been found in Babylonian remains near 10,000 years old, preference was given in early English church architecture to the straight lintel of the Pagan temples, then Arches followed, but it was not until the 10th century that vaulted roofs came into use, and soon spread over the whole of Europe. As early as the 8th century the English Monk, St. Boniface or Winifrid, established in Germany a special class of Monks for the practice of building, with the grades of Operarii or Craftsmen, and Magistri operum or Masters of Work. Some of these acted as designers, others as painters or sculptors, others wrought in gold and silver embroidery, and others were Cementarii or Stone Masons: occasionally it was necessary to employ laymen under their superintendence. (“Ludwig Steiglitz,” quoted by Mackey.)
The church of York, erected in 626, was damaged by fire in 741, and Archbishop Egbert began a new church. About the year 793 Offa King of Mercia erected the Monastery of St. Albans near the old Roman Verulam, and in the Cottonian Library is a picture, also engraved for the “Freemasons Magazine,” shewing him in the act of giving instructions to his Master Mason, who has the square and compasses in hand; a Mason on the top is using a plumb-rule, whilst another is setting a stone; below are two Masons squaring stones with an axe. These drawings are by Matthew of Paris about the year 1250. Offa before beginning this work made a journey to Rome by way of France, and Brother C. C. Howard, of Picton, supposes that he brought Masons thence for his work. At Lyminge in Kent there is an old church built upon a Roman Basilica by Saxon Masons; it is noteworthy as having an old Roman sun-dial built into the south wall of the Nave by St. Dunstan circa 965. It may be noted here that in recent times a bronze square and compasses were dug up at Corfu, along with coins and vessels of the 8th and 9th centuries.
The Romans seem not to have had a settlement at Durham, and we do not hear of the place during the time of the Saxon Heptarchy. The Bishop s See was founded at Lindisfarne as early as 635. In 883 the Bishop and his clergy took up their abode at the Roman Chester-le-Street, where they remained with the body of St. Cuthbert until 995, when the Danes caused them to take up their wanderings with the body of that Saint. In 999 Aldune the Bishop caused the Cathedral to be erected, and ere 90 years had passed this small edifice gave place to the present stately fabric.
During all this period the Saxons had a Guild system in full operation; and the old laws of Alfred, Ina, and Athelstan reproduce still older laws acknowledging the Guilds. The old Brito-Roman cities must have continued their Guilds during these centuries, even whilst the Saxons were making laws on the subject, and establishing new ones on the old lines. The laws of Ina, 688-725, touch upon the liability of a Guild, in the case of killing a thief. In 824 England had absorbed Britain and Saxon under Egbert, and the latter had become the ruling element. These Guilds exacted an Oath of secrecy for the preservation of trade “Mysteries,” and obedience to the laws. The Judicia Civitatis were ordinances to preserve the social life of Guilds, of the time of Athelstan. A law of Edgar, 959-75, ordains that “every priest for increase of knowledge shall diligently learn some handicraft,” but this was only enforcing old Culdee customs. There is said to be a letter of the 9th century, written by Eric of Auxerre to Charles the Bald of France, in praise of certain Irish philosophers, who, as “servants of the wise Solomon,” were visiting France under the King s protection, who “for the instruction of his countrymen,” attracted thither Greeks and Irishmen. This probably refers to the erection of Aixe-la-Chapelle by his grandfather Charlemagne. It was introduced into the Irish Masonic Calendar by the late Brother Michael Furnivall, and has created an impression that there existed in Ireland at this period some Society analogous to the Sons of Solomon in France, which we shall mention shortly.
St. Werberg at Chester is said to be erected on the site of a Saxon Church as old as 845. About the year 850 Ethelwolf, King and Bretwalda, is said to have employed St. Swithin to repair the pious houses. The Danes burnt Croyland Monastery in 874 and slew Abbot Theodore at the altar steps. Alfred the Great, about 872, fortified and rebuilt many towns, and founded the University of Oxford. In 865, and again in 870, the Priory of Teignmouth, where the Nuns of Hartlepool had taken refuge, was destroyed by the Danes and again rebuilt.
It is certain that in these times, a large number of timber structures were erected; it was a style of building which admitted of rough stone and rubble work, and was equally common both in England and France. This is probably the reason why our ancient “Constitutions” state, as they do, that the original designation of the Fraternity was Geometry, which was as necessary in buildings of wood as of stone, and is some evidence of the antiquity of these ancient MSS. An authority maintains that later erections of stone, by the Saxons, were influenced by this style, as in the use of stone buttresses in imitation of timber beams, and in window balustres or pillars made to imitate work turned in a lathe. (“Freems. Mag.,” J. F. Parker, F.S.A., 1861. iv, p. 183.) Doubtless many of the churches burnt by the Danes were of wood, and rebuilt of stone. In Constantinople, and the East generally, wooden structures continue, and are preferred to stone.
In the year 915 Sigebert, King of the East Angles, began the erection of the University of Cambridge, which was completed by Ethelward the brother of King Edward the elder. This latter erected many considerable works and fortifications, repairing, says Holinshed, in 920, the city of Manchester, defaced by the wars of the Danes. He was succeeded by his elder, but illegitimate, son, Athelstan, who is said in the oldest MS. Constitution to have “built himself churches of great honour, wherein to worship his God with all his might.” Anderson says that Athelstan rebuilt Exeter, repaired the old Culdee church at York, and also built many castles in the old Northumbrian Kingdom to check the Danes; also the Abbey of St. John at Beverley; and Melton Abbey in Dorsetshire. If for the advancement and improvement of architecture this King granted an actual charter to York, he would naturally do the same to Winchester, in which city he fixed his royal residence; and there we find architecture flourishing. Few Saxon specimens of architecture now exist; there is the tower of Earls Barton Church, Lincolnshire; Sempling in Sussex; St. Michael s in Oxford.
A fine specimen of military architecture of the period is Castle Rushen in Man. It is believed to have been begun by King Orry and completed by his son Guthred, circa 960; it resembles so closely one at Elsinore in Denmark that they are both supposed to be by the same architect. The one in Man is built of the limestone of the district, and is in a state of perfect preservation; the elements have had no effect upon the stone, owing to a hard, glass-like glaze, admitting of a high polish, from which it may be inferred that the military architects were acquainted with some chemical secrets that remain a secret to this day.
In 942 Odo, Archbishop of Canterbury began the restoration of his Cathedral; it was afterwards much injured by the Danes in 1011, and King Canute ordered its restoration; again it suffered by fire in 1043. In the time of Ethelworth and St. Dunstan, who was a Benedictine Monk, Anderson says, 26 pious houses were erected, and under Edgar 48 pious houses. Between 963- 84, Ethelwold, Bishop of Winchester, erected 40 Monasteries, and is styled the “Constructor,” of his Cathedral church. Edgar, in 969, at the instance of Dunstan, repaired Westminster Abbey church. In 974, Ednoth, a Monk of Winchester, superintended the erection of Romsay Abbey church. From 977-81, Aelfric, Abbot of Malmesbury, is said to have been skilful in architecture.
There is a charter of King Aethelred of the year 994 which describes the Deity in Masonic terms as “Governor of the bright pole and Architect of the great ethereal design of the world, unexpressibly placing in order the Fabric.” Another of King Canute uses the same preface. (Thorpe s “English Charters,” 1865.) The paucity of Anglo-Saxon remains prevents our dealing largely with their Masonic Symbolism. ( (“Freem. Mag.,” I855, p. 509.) De Caumont mentions a sarcophagus, of this period, which bears a cross within a circle, and two levels placed sideways.
With the close of the year 1000 A.D. a great impulse was given to church building, as a feeling prevailed that this year would see the end of the world. When the panic had passed the Christian nations in thankfulness began building. The Danes had caused great havoc in this country, and especially at York, and had even revived heathen rites, which Canute proclaimed in the year 1030. There is no reason to suppose that these wars extinguished the building fraternities, and Canute in 1020 erected a stone Minster at Assingdon, and also repaired the Minsters throughout England, as we are informed by William of Malmesbury. Leofric Earl of Coventry, circa 1050, built the Abbey of that City and 12 pious houses. King Edward the Confessor rebuilt Westminster Abbey, devoting to the work a tenth of all his substance. Of this reign there was a curious inscription at Kirkdale, W.R. Yorkshire, which says that Orin, son of Gemel, rebuilt the church; Chelittle was architect, assisted by Howard and Brand the Priest. Yorkshire being strong in the Danish element, Mason s Marks are often Runic letters.
Remains of Saxon architecture yet exist in the churches of Jarrow; Monkwearmouth (both Biscops 681); at Repton, Co. Derby (875); Ripon, Hexham, York (in Crypts); Earls Barton, and Barnick, Co. Northampton; Barton on Humber; Sompting, Co. Sussex; Caversfield; Deerhurst, Brixworth, etc. It is well known that the Tower of Babel was one of the most ancient traditions of Masonry, and there is an old Saxon MS. which represents it in course of erection with the Saxon pick, and on the top step of a very tall ladder is the Master Mason giving the hailing sign of a Craftsman yet used, whilst behind him, on the same level, is the angel with drawn sword; a copy of it in Cassells History of England, of the year 1901, can readily be examined. It is said that the keep of Arundel Castle dates from Saxon times, but the chief entrance is a fine Norman doorway. Mr. James Ferguson says that in these times the working bands of Masons served under Bishop, Abbot, or Priest, and this continued down to the 13th century. In travelling from one place to another their costume was a short black, or grey, tunic open at the sides, to which a gorget, or cowl or hood was attached; round the waist was a leathern girdle from which depended a short, heavy sword, and a leathern satchel. Over the tunic they wore a black scapulary, similar to that worn by the priests, which they tucked up under the girdle when working. They had large straw or felt hats; tight leather breeches, and long boots. Attached to the Monasteries were “Oblali,” who were usually received as Monks, acted as serving brothers of the Masons, and whose costume was similar to the travelling Masons, but without the cowl.
Owing to the fact that modern Free Masonry has always looked to the North of England as its Mecca, inasmuch so that last century its system was denominated “Ancient” York Masonry in opposition to the Grand Lodge of England organised in 1717, which was termed “Modern,” we will retrace a little in respect to this division of the old Saxon Heptarchy, which bore the name of Deira, and extended from Humber to Forth, save the Western half which was the Kingdom of the Stratchclyde Britons. It was these two portions which continued to form the centre of Culdee influence, the capital of Deira being York, and the centre of Ancient Masonry.
The city of York possesses numerous remains of the Roman occupation, which the early Christians converted to the use of the Church. The Monastery of the Begging Friars is known to have been a temple dedicated to the Egyptian Serapis, and we have already mentioned the inscription to Serapis discovered at Toft Green in 1770. In this City the British Legionaries, on the death of Constantius Chlorus, raised his son Constantine, surnamed the Great, on their shields, and proclaimed him Emperor 25th July, 306. The Culdee King Arthur is believed to have occupied and repaired it in 522.
It is considered that the Crypt of York Minster affords evidence of the progress of Masonry from Brito-Roman times to Saxon occupation. The Crypt has a Mosaic pavement of blue and white tiles, laid after the form used in the 1st Degree of Masonry; it shews the sites of three stone altars and such triplication was of Egyptian derivation; but these stone altars are also said to have had seats which were used by the Master and his Wardens who met here, after the manner related by Synesius of the Priests of Egypt, as a sacred and secret place, during the construction of the edifice. It is known that the Craft occasionally met in this Crypt during last century, and the alleged Masonic custom of meeting in Crypts elsewhere is no doubt founded in fact.
As the Christian worship at York was of Culdee origin, so the veneration paid to Mistletoe was derived from the Druids. The learned Brother Dr. Wm. Stukeley has this passage in his “Medallic History of Carducius”: “The custom is still preserved, and lately at York on the eve of Christmas Day they carry mistletoe to the high altar of the Cathedral and proclaim a public and universal liberty, pardon, and freedom to all sorts of inferior and even wicked people at the gates of the city towards the four quarters of heaven.”
It follows from what we have seen that the Roman Collegia and the Mysteries of Serapis existed side by side at York, and amongst the members of these it is no improbable thing to suppose after the close connection which we have shewn to have existed in Egypt that there were Brito-Romish Christians who established the Culdee fraternities at York, before the days of Constantius Chlorus, about 2 1/2 centuries before King Arthur was in possession of the city, and that these Culdees influenced the Masonic Collegia, and the same remark equally applies to other cities of the time; and though there is no absolute proof that York was the first centre of Culdee influence in the North, yet everything lends itself to that supposition. Every circumstance gives weight to the statements of the old Northern Constitutions of Masonry, that, as Associates in Geometry, it was of Greco-Roman derivation from Egypt; and that when it was thought fit to reorganise the Fraternity of Artisans, the Craft produced MSS. in Greek, Latin, and British, which it is said were “found to be all one “; and through this descent we reach those Sodalites which studied in Symbols, Geometry, Science, and Theosophy in their home at Alexandria.
When we examine the MSS. which embody the ancient Laws of Freemasonry we find that their historical statements and organisation are as much in agreement as their ceremonies were, with the Arcane and Mystic schools. Nor is this to be wondered at since the Culdee Monks were equally Serapians, Christians, and the Schoolmasters who taught science and religion to the people. As the Colleges of Artisans, which were introduced by the Romans as early as 46 A.D., ceased to exist in the lapse of years, if ever they did cease to exist, which is very improbable, the members became attached to the Culdee Monasteries and transmitted, through this alliance, their traditional art secrets, and as the priests had their own version of the ancient Mysteries, they understood that which the Masonic MSS. imply.
It is an historical fact that the early Culdee priests were sometimes educated in Rome, and that they were converted Druidical Initiates; generally speaking it must have been so. Toland says that in Ireland, Columba, the follower of St. Patrick, converted the Druidical Sanctuaries into Christian Monasteries. (Toland, i, 1726, p. 8.) He also provides us with a theory to explain the preservation of the Masonic Constitutions in rhyme in this, that with the absorption of Druidism, which was prohibited by Rome, into Christianity, it was found necessary to frame new Regulations for the Bards and Minstrels. Accordingly in 537 an assembly was held at Drumcat in modern Londonderry, at which was present the King Ammerius, Aidus King of Scotland, and the Culdee Columba, when it was resolved that, for the preservation of learning, the Kings and every Lord of a Cantred or Hundred, should have a Bard, and that schools should be endowed under the supervision of the Arch- poet of the King. (“Ibid,” p. 4.) Thierry (“Norman Conquest.”) states that when Northumberland, Cumberland, and Westmorland, circa 1138, formed part of Scotland, the Anglo-Saxon traditions were preserved by the Minstrels, and that from thence the old English poetry, although obsolete in places inhabited by the Normans, again made itself heard in a later age.
The oldest version of the Constitutional Charges is in poetical form, and was first printed by Mr. James Orchard Halliwell, who considers it to be a copy written in the latter part of the 14th century. Recently a copy has been printed in fine facsimile, with a most valuable Commentary by Brother Robert Freke Gould, P.M. 2076, who conferred upon it its present name of “Regius MS.” He adduces strong evidence for our belief that this version of Masonry may have been patronised by the Culdee Monks of York, and that the system actually dates from the time of Edwin King of Deira, who was converted to Christianity in the year 626 and for whose baptism a small church or Oratory was constructed of wood, completed by St. Oswald in 642, and repaired by Bishop Wilfrid in 669.
The Culdee Alcuin, surnamed Flaccus and also Albinus, was engaged with Eanbald under Aldbhert, who became Archbishop, in the rebuilding of York Minster of stone between the years 760 and 780. Alcuin and Eanbald made some journeys to the continent together, and on one occasion at least to Rome, between the years 762 and 766, in search of books and other knowledge, and it was in the year 766-7 that Aldbhert became Archbishop, and converted Alcuin from a Layman into an ordained Deacon. Two years before his death in 788 the Archbishop created Eanbald Coadjutor Bishop, and gave to Alcuin the charge of his schools, and the now renowned library.
When Alcuin went to France and became the friend and tutor of Charlemagne it would seem that French Masonry would interlace with that of the North of England. Charlemagne was crowned a King in the year 754, hut his father King Pepin lived until 768; and when Alcuin speaks, as he does, “of the temple at Aachen which is being constructed by the art of the most wise Solomon,” he is paying a compliment to his friend Charlemagne; and again in his treatise “De animae ratione” for the Kings cousin Gundrede he also compares him for wisdom to Solomon. Hence it seems to be possible that Alcuin might have some knowledge of a Solomonian Masonry, and the Moslems then were, or had been, occupying the South of France. It is a curious fact that the receptions into the Vehm, founded by Charlemagne, embraces all the salient points of Masonic reception, though the aims of the two Societies were so dissimilar; and this must be considered in estimating German Masonic receptions.
The ancient Monasteries possessed a “book of gestures,” by which they could converse by signs. The Trappists in Africa use it at this day. The Masons of old seem to have had a knowledge of this. We have every just reason to believe that a Masonic organisation was thus early in existence, and that it was ratified and sanctioned by King Athelstan, who now ruled all England from Winchester to Edwinsburg, now called Edinburgh; and who visited York in the year 933, and again in 937, conferring great privileges upon Beverley and Ripon of which Saxon charters, in rhyme, are produced; he also enriched the Coldei, as they are then termed at York, where they were acting as the priests of St. Peter s, and where they continued until they were relegated to St. Leonard s Hospital by the Bastard to make room for Norman clerics at St. Peters. According to this poetical Constitution, Athelstan, in order to remedy divers defects which existed in the organisation of Craft Geometry or Masonry, invited all the Men of Craft to come to him with their Council:
“Asemble thenne he cowthe let make, Of dyvers lordes yn here state, Dukys, Erlys, and barnes also, Knyzthys, squyers, and mony mo, And the grete burges of that syte, They were there alle yn here degree.”
The details of this poetical MS. is confirmed by a prose copy attached to a more modern historical version in a MS. written before the year 1450, and which is known to have been in possession of Grand Master Payne in 1721, and which was first printed in 1868 by Brother Matthew Cooke and is hence termed the “Cooke MS.” A very precise examination of this MS. has been made by Brother G. W. Speth in a Commentary which he has issued with a facsimile, as well as the MS. itself, in book form bound in oak-boards, which Brother W. J. Hughan has justly described as a “gem.” Brother Speth has clearly demonstrated that this MS. is a copy made about 1450 by a later writer than the original compiler. The first part is a Preface drawn by the author from various histories, Masonic traditions and charges, and is of a later period than the Saxon Charges. To this Preface has been attached an actual copy of the most ancient “Book of the Charges.” With some slight differences; which we will note from time to time, the poetical “Regius MS.,” and the closing “Book of Charges” of the “Cooke MS.” are in substantial agreement, and either might well be the original of the other. The prose version of the composition of Athelstan s Assembly is not so ornate as that of the poetical, but informs us that “for grete defaut founde amongst Masons” he ordained “bi his counsellers and other greter lordys of the londe, bi comyn assent,” a certain rule. A number of such old MSS. tells us that Athelstan granted a charter to hold such Assembly to his son Edwin, and although Athelstan had no son of the name, he had a younger brother Edwin, whom he is accused, on very insufficient evidence, of having caused to be drowned in 933; Mabillon says, on equally doubtful evidence, that this Edwin was received into the Benedictine Monastery of Bath in 944 (“Annals of the Order of St. Benedict,” Paris, 1703.)
It has been recently held by Brother R. F. Gould, in a paper of 1892 upon the nature of the Masonic General Assemblies that it may refer, not to a grant of their own Masonic right of Assembly by Athelstan, but to the Saxon Court- leets, Shire-motes, Folc-motes, or Hundred Courts of the Sheriffs. The author of this theory grounds it chiefly upon that part of the MSS., which we have already quoted, in regard to the great Lords forming part of the Masonic Assembly. But such argument can amount to no more than this, that the writers of these documents attribute the grant of the right of Masonic Assembly by Athelstan at a meeting of the Witenagemote; and that the Masonic Assemblies were held, or supposed to be held, in similar form to the Folcomtes, and they were in fact, a Court of this nature, confined strictly to Masonic affairs. Probably Athelstan sanctioned the Masters “Articles” in a Council of Nobles, and the Masonic Council added the “Points” to govern Craftsmen. The nature of the Constitutions, thus alleged to be sanctioned, describe an organisation which is out of harmony with what we might expect to find in Norman times, or at any period to which we might assign it after the 12th century. The Athelstan grant of Masonic Assembly was held for admitting Fellows, and Passing Masters, whilst, on the other hand, the French Masons had their “Masters Fraternities” to which none were admited without much difficulty. It has also been suggested by Brothers Speth, Rylands, and Begemann that the Masonic Assemblies may have been held on the same day as the Witenagemote to assure an appeal to the Sheriff if necessary.
In regard to the origin of the poetical Constitution which is termed the “Regius MS.,” there is good reason for believing that it was handed down in rhyme in the Kingdom of Northumbria until it was committed to writing in some other part of England; and that it was intended for a Guild or Assembly of Speculative brethren consisting of Artisans of all descriptions connected with buildings, and admitting Clerics and Esquires; for moral addresses suited to all these classes are strung together in the same MS. Dr. Begemann considers from the language that the copy was made in North Chester, Hereford, or Worcestershire. In other words, it is addressed to, and for, an Assembly similar to the imitation made by our present Grand Lodges. Charters of privileges were given by the Norman Bishops of Durham, to a class of people, who must have long existed, called “Hali-werkfolc”; for the name being Saxon they were clearly pre-Norman work folk. The late Brother William Hutchinson, of Barnard Castle, tells us that, in 1775, he had several Charters alluding to these people, and gives the preamble of one, granted about 1100 by the then Bishop of Durham, which is addressed to both “Franci et Hali-werk folc.” This writer believes that the class were Speculative Masons, and he instances a branch connected with the old Culdee Shrine of St. Cuthbert, and if his views were accepted, it would give good grounds on which to assume the connection of this fraternity with the poem.
It is worthy of note that the Culdee system existed in Scotland for some centuries after the Norman Conquest, nor does it then seem to have been extinct in Ireland. The continuation of the name of the Templars in Scotland ages after its suppression in France, is probably owing to the continuance of Culdee heresy. The Monastery of Brechin, as Mr. Cosmo Innes points out, existed in the time of David I., the promoter of Royal Burghs, 1123-53, and that after the erection of the Episcopal See, the old Culdee Convent became the electoral chapter of the new Bishopric; the Abbot of Brechin was secularised, and transmitted to his children the lands which his predecessors had held for the church; and one of these, in the time of William the Lion, made a grant of lands to the monks at Arbroath. (Quoted in Abbotts “Eccl. Surnames,” 1871.) Now the seal of Arbroath has a design which has been taken to refer to the secret Initiation of the Culdees: a priest stands before an altar with a long staff in his right hand, upon the upper part of which is “IO,” the top forming a cross; before the altar kneels a scantily clothed man with something in his hand, he might be swearing upon a relic; three other persons are present, of whom two are brandishing swords. An antagonistic theory is that the seal represents the murder of Thomas a Beckett. All we will say here is that it is a very fair representation of the former view, and a very poor one of the latter; and that, in consonance with the times, it may have a double meaning. Sir James Dalrymple says that the Culdees kept themselves together in Scotland until the beginning of the 14th century, and resisted the whole power of the primacy.
“Constitutional Charges.” We will now make a slight examination of what we will call the Athelstan Constitution, as it appears in the Regius MS., at times quoting the version of the Cooke MS. The former includes much ornate comment, which is given more soberly in the latter, but essentially the two documents are one. Both consist of two series of Charges for “two Classes,” and a final ordinance. These, in both MSS., are preceded by a simple history of the mode in which Euclid organised the fraternity in Egypt, and the regulations by which Athelstan ensured a more perfect system. The first series of Charges in the Regius MS. are 15, called ARTICLES, and concern the duties of a MASTER to his Prentices, Fellows, and their Lords or employers. The second series of Charges are called POINTS, and arrange the duties of CRAFTSMEN to their Master and to each other. In the Cooke MS. these “Articles and Points” have exactly the same bearing but are each divided into 9 in place of 15. The closing part of the Regius MS. is headed “Other Ordinances,” and refers to the grant of a right of Assembly by Athelstan and the duties it had to discharge; but a comparison with the Cooke MS. might suggest that this portion is misplaced and should precede the Articles and Points, though in another point of view it might be taken to be a later addition, and to prove the much greater antiquity of the “Regius,” as having a history settled before the grant of the Assembly. In the Cooke MS. the last thing is Charges to “New Men that never were charged before,” which looks like a more ancient form of the Points, but in the Regius MS. this part constitutes the closing Points of a Craftsman, and is concluded in a very characteristic way. It personates Athelstan himself, and is held to have the very ring of the original grant; and is a record of that King s assent to.all that has been related:
“These Statutes that y have hyr y fonde, Y chulle they ben holde throuzh my londe, For the worshe of my rygolte That y have by my dygnyte.”
Athelstan built several castles in Northumberland, and there yet exists a family of the name of Roddam of Roddam who claim their lands under the following Charter, and there is actually no greater improbability in the one than in the other: (Burke s “Landed Gentry,” 1848.) “I Konig Athelstane, giffe heir to Paulane, Oddiam and Roddam, als gude and als fair, als ever ye mine ware, ann yair to witness Maud my wife.”
Following the Regius Constitution we have a later section devoted to moral duties and etiquette. It begins with the legend of the “Quatuor Coronati,” four “holy martyrs that in this Craft were of great honour,” Masons and sculptors of the best. The church legend relates that they were Christians who were employed in sculpture, and always wrought with prayer in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, after signing with the cross, and their skill was so great that the Philosophers attributed it to the mysterious words of art magic. Diocletian gave them the option of worshipping the Pagan gods, which they refused to do, and were put to death circa 290, and the Catholic Church canonised them as the “Four Crowned Martyrs.” After this they came to be acknowledged as Patrons of the building trades, and as such are found in the Strasburg, English, Lombard, and other Constitutions. They are respectively represented with axe, hammer, mallet, compasses and square; sometimes wearing crowns; at times a dog is represented with them.
Attached to the Regius Constitutions are two other documents intended to complete the instruction in moral duties, begun in the legend just related; the first of them is equally found in a MS. entitled “Instruction to Parish Priests,” and concerns behaviour at church; the closing part of this portion is found in another MS. termed “Urbanitatis,” and refers to the general behaviour of young persons, whether Artisans or Esquires; MSS. of these two latter portions, as old as 1450 are found separately, but their actual origin is unknown, and it is supposed that they may have had Norman originals. The motto of William of Wykeham was “Manners makyth man,” and line 726 has “Gode maneres maken a mon.” Between the legend of the Four Martyrs and the other documents is a portion which has the appearance of being imperfect, but which refers to the building of Babylon and Euclid s tuition in the seven liberal arts and sciences; it is a part of the matter forming the Preface to the “Book of Charges” in the Cooke MS., so that it is possible there was a MS., now lost, from which the writers of these two documents respectively copied additions. In any case both these MSS. are but copies of older documents, both have many imperfections attributable to the copyists, and which prove that they were but copyists.
In both MSS. again, these Constitutions clearly prove that there was a recognised Euclid Charge, who is termed “Englet” in the prose copy; that these Charges were ratified by Athelstan; and the value which the ancient Masons attached to these Charges is proved by the general agreement which exists between two diverse documents, treated in a dissimilar manner, and no doubt used in parts distant from each other. Both documents equally allude to Masters as a degree of the General or Heptarchial, or provincial Assembly, both assert that a Congregation might be made every year or third year, as they would; there is mention also of Elders, and the “principal of the gathering “; and both equally profess to give the Laws as transmitted from Egypt, and sanctioned by Athelstan.
The Regius MS., 12th Point, says that at these Assemblies:
“Ther schul be maystrys and felows also, And other grete lordes many mo; Ther schal be the Scheref of that contre And also the meyer of that syte,
Knyztes and sqwyres ther schul be, And other aldermen, as ye schul se.”
The prose MS. has it, “if need be, the Scheriffe of the countie, or the Mayer of the Cyte, or Alderman of the towne in which the congregacon is holden schall be felaw and sociat of the Master of the congregacon in helpe of him agenst rebelles.” That is the Sheriff and Mayor were to be called to support the Masters authority. This prose version also mentions the “Maister who is principal of the gadering.” Also, that “Congregacons scholde be maide by “Maisters” of all “Maisters Masons” and “Felaus” in the foresaide art. And so at such congregacons thei that be mad Masters schall be examined of the Articuls after written and be ransakyed whether thei be abull and kunnynge to the profyte of the lordys them to serue and to the honour of the forsaide art.”
From this it is clear, and we shall see it more plainly as we proceed, that after the accepted Fellow had developed his architectural knowledge it was the province of the Congregation, Assembly, or Chapter, to examine into his competency for Mastership, to swear him to his special “Articles,” and, according to traditional custom, to Pass him by a ceremony which gave him certain signs, tokens, and words, which enabled him to prove his capacity wherever his travels might carry him. That is to say, not actually to Install him a Master of Work, but to enable him, as was the main object of such Tokens, to shew that he was a Passed Master; for the Assembly considered it to be its duty to see that the Craft and Art of Masonry was not dishonoured by ignorant pretenders. In actual practice, both in this country and on the continent, the Master had to execute an approved task, or piece of work, or “Master piece,” as evidence of his ability. In London in 1356 there was a dispute of such nature between two classes of Masons, when the very authorities cited in these Constitutions, namely, the Aldermen, Sheriffs, &c., arranged the difficulty by a law that any Mason taking work in contract should bring “Six or four ancient men of his trade,” to testify to his ability to complete it. In the laws of the Haupt Hutte of Strasburg) which though of the 15th century must reproduce much older laws, and which resemble our own, it is enacted that they might be altered by “three or four” masters of work, when met together in Chapter; and we find that a Craftsman or Fellow, who served but five years in place of the English seven, could not be made a Parlirer or Foreman until as a Journeyman he had made one year s tour of the country, in order to increase his proficiency. Such duties the Regius MS. gives in Norman-French as “Cure,” and later they are designated Wardens duties; in Guild Rites sworn officers.
It would seem from what has passed that originally the Fellows and Masters met together in Assembly, but the time came when the Masters met by themselves quarterly, as Findel shows in regard to Germany, whilst the Fellows met monthly. There the Masters Fraternities were presided over by an “Old Master,” and the Fellows by an “Old Fellow.”
In addition to what has been described it was in the power of the General Assembly to overlook the Liberal Art of Masonry, regulate it, reward merit, and punish irregularities. It would also appoint officers until the next “Gathering,” and fix contributions. Brother R. F. Gould has disinterred an old 16th century reference to the Guild of Minstrels, which alleges that they had met annually at Beverley, for that purpose, from the day s of King Athelstan; the similar claims of Masons may be valid, though we have access at present to no records, to prove that the Masonic Assembly met annually at York, or elsewhere, beyond what we find in the Laws of the government, and the assertions of old Masonic MSS.
In the Regius MS. we have the following account of the divisions of the Society by Euclid: “Mayster y-called so schulde he be.” For: “To hym that was herre yn this degre That he schulde teche the symplyst of wytte.” Again: “Uchon schulle calle others felows by cuthe, For cause they come of ladyes burthe.”
Now the Cooke MS. had not to accommodate itself to the metre, and may be supposed to give the same thing in closer conformity to the original document. Speaking of the Constitution granted by Enclid to Egyptians it says: “Bi a serteyn time they were not all ilike abull to take of the forseyd art. Wherefore the foresayde Maister Englet ordeynet thei (that) were passing of conynge scholde be passing honoured. And ded to call the conynge Maister for to enforme the lesse of counynge Maisters of the wiche were called Masters of nobilitie of wytte and conynge of that art. Nevertheless thei commanded that thei that were lass of witte scholde not be called seruantes nor sozette but felaus ffor nobilite of their gentylle blode.”
We learn at least from this that a “dual” system was instituted, which finds its equivalent in the lesser and greater Mysteries, for what we find similar in Rites, between these bodies, extends to organisation, and we see it composed of the noble or Knowing Masters, and the less knowing. Fellows craftsmen, or journeymen and we begin to see why the Masters Articles make mention only of that rank, and the Craftsmens Points apply only to those subordinate to the Masters. The two MSS. distinctly tell us that both the Masters and the Prentices were to term the Craftsmen their Fellows. It is evident that the Apprentices had no call to the Assembly, but we shall soon see what their status actually was. They may possibly have been sworn in private Lodges of journeymen, and certainly for about 2 1/2 centuries it has been considered that the Charge of the prose MS. to “New Men that never were sworn before,” referred to them.
The two MSS. are again in entire conformity in the following Regius extract. The first Article of the Masters orders says: “The Mayster Mason must be ful securly, Both steadfast, trusty, and trewe, Hyt schal him never then arewe, And pay thy felows after the coste.” But the 6th Article distinctly specifies “three” grades of payment:”That the Mayster do the lord no pregedysse, To take of the lord for his “prenfysse,” Als much as hys “felows” don in all vysse, For yn that Craft they ben ful perfyt, So ys not he ze mowe sen hyt.”
The Article, however, goes on to enact that the Master may give a “deserving Apprentice” higher wages than a less perfect one. Such an one was no doubt at times accepted in the Assembly before the expiry of his seven years; and there was a similar custom in the Arcane Schools, for Iamblichus (ci., vi., p. 22) tells us it was a custom of the Pythagoreans that “the Novitiate of five years was abridged to those who attained sooner to perfection.” It is yet a custom in some countries that when an Apprentice applies to be made a Fellow Freemason, he requests “augmentation of salary.”
We will now follow on to that class of Masons who had not been passed as Masters, or who were employed under a Master of Work. These rules are called “Points” and here also the poetical and prose MSS. are in perfect accord. They enforce Brotherly-love as fully as did the ancient Society of Pythagoras. The first Point says: “That whoso wol conne thys craft and come to astate, He must love wel God, and holy church algate, And his Master also, that he hys wythe, Whether it be in fieid or frythe, And thy felows thou love also.” The third Point enjoins secrecy in regard to all he may see or hear: “The prevyste of the Chamber tell he no mon, Ny yn the logge whatsoever they done, Whatsever thou heryst, or syste him do, Tell it no mon, whersever thou go, The cownsel of halle, and zeke of bowre, Kepe hyt wel to gret honoure.”
The fourth Point is as conclusive as to degrees as was the Masters Articles: “Ny no pregedysse he schal not do, To hys “Mayster,” ny his “fellosw” also, And thazth the “prentis” be under awe.” The seventh Point is a law against unchaste conduct with a Masters wife, daughter, sister, or concubine, which we mention here because it assigns a penalty, which confirms what we have said, that a deserving Apprentice might be made free of his craft before the expiry of seven years, and in this case it implies a secret or traditional regulation; for the crime specified the penalty is:
“The payne thereof let hyt be ser, That he be prentes full seven zer.” The eighth Point alludes to the duty of a Cure or Warden: “A true medyater thou most nede be, To thy Mayster and thy felows fre.” The ninth Point concerns Stewards of “our halle,” and has evident reference to the Charges of Euclid with which the MS. commences: “Lovelyche to serven uchon othur, As thawgh they were syster and brother.” The later Points are not numbered as such in the prose MS., but follow its ninth Point as unnumbered laws. The 12th is of “gret Royalte,” and at the Assembly: “Ther schul be Maystrys and felows also, And other grete lordes many mo.” The fourteenth Point tells us that the Fellow had to be sworn. As the Assembly had two series of laws for Masters and Fellows, it is quite evident that they had authority over two ranks, besides the Apprentice; and hence the Grand Lodge of England from its revival in 1717, down to 1725, claimed like power over the degrees of Masters and Fellows, thus treating the majority of the subordinate bodies as if Apprentice Lodges. This 14th Point says: “A good trewe oathe he must there swere, To hys Mayster and hys felows that ben there.”
The fifteenth Point is a Penal law made against the rebellious and these Statutes close with a confirmation, claiming to be that of Athelstan.
Now although it must be admitted that these ancient Constitutions are exoteric in character, and do not make it a part of their business to settle the work of degrees, in their esoteric aspect, which it left to the ancient traditional mode; yet what does appear is in perfect affinity to a similar system of degrees such as we possess, and with oaths, ceremonials, and secrets for these. As there was an examination, ending in an Oath, there must of necessity have been some ceremony, and in its proper place we will give evidence much older than this copy, that the Craft had its secrets, signs, and watchwords and a president whom they swore to obey. Certificates were not in use at this early date, and in common with the Arcane Schools these secrets did duty for a certificate, and proved as well the degree of skill a Mason possessed; in more ancient times such Rites and symbolic instruction had a higher value than a mere formula by which to recognise each other. Apart from trade secrets there was another reason for great secrecy as to Masonic Rites in the fact that whilst the Christian Emperors of Rome were destroying the Arcane Schools and hounding them to death, the protection of the Masonic art was necessary to the glorification of the Church and each sought to protect themselves.
There is no doubt that these ancient traditional Rites, which were originally the type of an ancient religion, would vary with circumstances, the convenience of time and place, and the members of the Lodge. In the very early times of the Society, the Apprentice had no ceremony, until, with time, he merited to become a Fellow. The esoteric Ritual of the Assembly was then dual, but there is evidence in modern times that the Apprentice was sworn to a Charge. In very extensive buildings where the Lodge was numerous, and we read of some embracing from hundreds to thousands of workmen; the Apprentice would be sworn, and the chief Masters Fellows would come to include two divisions: Some who had been Passed as “Noble Masters” would take employment on such works as Journeymen, and we should thus find in the same Lodge, sworn Fellows, and Masters, under a sole Worshipful Master of Work, or the system we have to-day in our Lodges, but without the ancient technical knowledge.
Though these Constitutions had other legends tacked on to them in Norman times, and to which we shall refer in our next chapter, the Anglo-Saxon Masons must have considered them as the time-immemorial Charter of their privileges, even down to the 14th century. They were the authority under which they continued to hold Assemblies, the existence of which is vouched by the laws which the State made to suppress them. We have seen that the meetings were held under a president, who had power to swear Freed- Apprentices or Passed Fellows, and in due course to examine and pass these as Masters if fully competent. Besides the tokens by which they could prove their rank, they had a system of Marks to indicate their property and workmanship; it is alleged there was even a double system, evidenced in this, that as a Stone Cutter possessed a Mark for his work, and the Master one for his approval; traces are claimed to exist where, at a later period, the stone-cutters Mark comes to be used as the Master s symbol of approbation. Brother Chetwode Crawley, LL.D., draws attention to this, that during the centuries when the Masonic Association was in full operation, Arabic numerals and therefore modern arithmetic was unknown, and calculations could only be made by aid of the Roman notation; hence the traditions and secret rules of geometry were all important to the Craft, and made it essential that Masons should be geometers. Mr. Cox finds that the design or tracing-boards of various old buildings are grounded upon the five-pointed Star of Freemasonry, and on the Pythagorean problem of a modern past-Master, with its ratio of 3, 4, 5, or the multiples thereof as 6, 8, IO, and this was especially a Guild secret of construction.
The MSS. upon which we have been commenting represent the best days of the Saxon Craft; with the Norman Conquest came over French Masons in large numbers; and we may see between the lines, a subtle struggle between antagonistic systems, and possibly much of the secrecy of Masonry that existed throughout the centuries down to 1717, may be owing to this; and to the fact that the Saxon Mason was assigned a subordinate position. There can be no doubt that at the comparative late date when these two MSS. were written there were Masons in various parts who still clung to the Athelstan constitution. On the other hand the Anglo-Norman Kings, 1350-60, were passing Ordinances and laws, against “all alliances, covines, congregations, chapters, ordinances and oaths,” amongst Masons and other artisans. These laws were endorsed by others in 1368, 1378, 1414, and 1423. They seem, however, to have affected very little the Masonic Assemblies, and in 1425 a law was passed to specially prohibit Masons from assembling in Chapters; even this law remained a dead letter on the Statute book; but it is from about this period that the Saxon system passes entirely into disuse. In this contest between the alleged Saxon right of Assembly, and the objections of the Anglo- Norman rulers to meetings held without a Charter, we see the necessity that existed for the Masons to submit their Constitutional Charges to the reigning Sovereigns, as they had been commanded by Athelstan to do, from King to King; indeed Acts were passed in 1389 and 1439 ordering the officers of Guilds and Fraternities to show their Patents to the neighbouring Justices for their approval, but it does not seem clear whether other is meant than the Chartered Livery Companies.
It has been previously mentioned that in these two priceless documents which have all the marks of a genuine Saxon transmission, there is not one word which leads us to suppose that the members of the Society thus formed had an idea that their forefathers had wrought at the building of Solomon s temple; and it is impossible to suppose that if the ceremonies then in use had referred to such a circumstance all reference thereto would have been omitted from the Constitution.
The language in which these documents are couched is Christian, of a liberal but perfectly orthodox cast. Christian churches could only be symbolically constructed, with Christian symbolism, by Masons practising Christian Rites, and the priests would have been ready enough to burn any Mason that supported the Talmud; we have an instance of this intolerance in the destruction of the Templars in the year 1310-13. This is a question of simple historical fact in which we need have no bias either one way or the other. All Masonic tradition is opposed to uniformity of Rites, and in France, from the earliest times, we find three opposing schools whose ceremonies may be broadly classed as Trinitarian and Monotheistic rites.
When we consider that the Masons of pre-conquest times were not subordinated to those of France, we should not expect uniform Rites in the two countries and when we examine the MSS. of the former and the latter it is clear that such did not exist. In France itself no such uniformity existed; coming down side by side, shrouded in secrecy for centuries, there existed three sections denominated the “Compagnonage” formed of artizans generally and not confined to Masons, and it is altogether an error to suppose that the most ancient Saxon fraternity was confined to workers in stone, they included all men who used Geometry in their trade, as the MSS. themselves inform us. Besides these, at an early period, probably much earlier but at least co-eval with the Norman conquest of England, there existed in France Masters fraternities of an essentially Christian character attached to some church, and to the support of which Fellows and Apprentices had to contribute. As a Sodality the Council of Rouen in 1189, and of Avignon 1326, recorded their disapprobation, against their signs, their oaths, and their obedience to a President. The English laws of the Norman Kings followed this prohibition, Scotland followed suit, and it is not improbable that this circumstance led to the chartering of Livery Companies in England, and Incorporations in Scotland.
“The French Sects.” The three divisions of the French Compagnonage became chiefly journeymen, and for a period of over 500 years were in mutual dissension, and at times even at actual war, when many lives were lost. These are, were, and still are, (1) the “Children of Master Jacques,” which is represented in Anglo-Saxon Christian Masonry; (2) the “Sons of Solomon,” classed with our present system; and it is quite possible they may derive a Semitic system from Spain in very early times for the Moslems were in possession in the South until Martel expelled them; (3) the “Children of Father Sonbise “who were chiefly Carpenters, as many of the most early builders must have been, and whose name is supposed to have some affinity with Sabazios, one of the names of Bacchus or Dionysos. Each of these Sections had their own peculiar ceremonies in which is the drama of an assassination, all somewhat similar but apparently arranged in such manner as to cast odium on their opponents. One peculiarity is that the Members assume the name of some animal, and branches are known as wolves, werewolves, dogs, foxes, which reminds us of the masks of criminals worn in the religious Mysteries of Greece and Egypt, and we saw that the sun was compared to a wolf in the Mysteries of Bacchus. Brother Gould has expressed an opinion that the Carpenters were the oldest association, the followers of Jacques the town association, and the Sons of Solomon the privileged corporations that set out from the Monasteries, after the crusades, when architecture became a lay occupation. It is perhaps as probable, though not irreconcilable with thls view, that the sects arose out of the successive developments of civil, sacred, and military architecture. Brother F. F. Schnitger expresses an opinion that the Masons belonging to a “Domus” (civil) were unfree; those attached to the Castle of a Lord would be “glebae proscripti” (military); and that it would only be the travelling church Masons (sacred), free to work anywhere that would be actual Free Masons, and that these would be likely to have different ceremonies, even if the two first-named were allowed any.
The probabilities are exceeding strong in France for the transmission of old Roman Rites, and the Fraternities would seem to possess traditions or customs common to the Gnostics and Saracens. Like the Manichees they reverence the reed and like the Dervish sects they allege the receipt of a Charge by the act of receiving some particular garment of the Master; thus one received his Cap, another his Mantle, and a third his girdle; the same is alleged in the Moslem sects. It is a rite or claim that has the appearance of derivation, though possibly from an ancient common source, and would scarcely arise accidentally.
In the legend of Master Jacques, that personage is slain by the followers of Soubise. The “Sons of Solomon” have a relation in regard to the death of Hiram, or Adoniram the collector of tribute to Solomon and Rheoboam, who was slain by the incensed people, and the account relates that his body was found by a dog; this sect claims a direct Charge from King Solomon and admits all religions without question in contradistinction to the other sects which require their members to be orthodox. Perdiguer says of its Initiation, that “in it are crimes and punishments.”
In reference to the cause of the ill feeling between the sects the legends vary. One account carries back this hostility to a period when a section placed themselves under the patronage of Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of Templars 1308-1310, and immediately before the destruction of that Order by Philip le Bel. Another account attributes these dissensions to the time of a Jacques Molar, who is said to be the builder in 1402 of the towers of Orleans Cathedral; the Sons of Solomon refused to labour with the children of Jacques, struck work and fled, and the strong arm of the law had to be requisitioned. It looks like the quarrels of an ordinary trade-union whether occurring in 1308 or 1402. If the Jacques Molar version is historical it is possible that some of the Sons of Solomon may have left that Society and joined an already existing fraternity of Jacques, thus adding a building programme to the many already represented in that fraternity. The traditions would seem to possess the same reliability as our own Masonic legends; and the one tends to prove the antiquity of the other; for as the Compagnonage and English Masonry, have each their ceremonies, degrees, oaths, and tokens of recognition, they have had a derivation in common, for there has been no alliance between the two at any period.
In regard to Rites the “Children of Master Jacques” admit only Roman Catholics, and say that they “accept Jacques as their mortal father and Christ as their spiritual father,” and adopt the sensible maxim that “whilst Solomon founded them, other men modified them and that they live under the laws of these last.” We have endeavoured, however imperfectly, to shew what Anglo- Saxon Masonry was, and consider this system to assimilate with it; and we must bear in mind that the Continent was much indebted to this country at one time, thus Diocletian sent Artists from Britain to Gaul, Columban journeyed to Burgundy, Alcuin of York to the Court of Charlemagne, St. Boniface to Germany.
The “first step” is termed Attendant or Affiliate, and corresponds to our Apprentice, he is a young workman, protected and looked after, but considered to be outside any Mystic Rites as was the Saxon Apprentice. The “second step” is termed Received Companion; which is equivalent to the term accepted and the Fellow of the Saxon Assemblies, he has certain secrets and takes part in a dramatic ceremony of the assassination and burial with lamentations as in the old Mysteries, of Master Jacques, whose corpse was discovered supported by reeds. It is practically a disguised drama of the betrayal of Christ. The “third step” probably points to a time prior to the establishment of Masters Fraternities, and corresponds with the Passed Masters and Harodim of the Guilds; it is termed Finished Companion, in which the Aspirant passes through a dramatic representation of the passion of Christ, and this ceremony, as was doubtless the case in old times in England, rendered and still renders, its possessor eligible for offices of dignity and honour; and may be classed with the Noble, Knowing, or Worshipful Master which formed the chief rank of the Saxon congregations, save those who had been the “Maister who is principal of the gadering.” It is curious that the names should agree so closely with those of the Persian Magi, in the time of Cyrus, which were in translation, Disciple, Master, Complete Master. Two other circumstances point in the same direction for the descent of this branch of the Society, namely the use of the reed, and of some article of clothing to confirm a “Charge;” both the Manichees and the Dervish sects are descendants of the Persian Magi. This ceremony in the grade of Accepted Companion represents the heroic and pre-Christian anti-type; and as such is parallel with the Pedestal point of Harodim-Rosy Cross, where the Candidate is led up a pinnacle and sees a word that is prophetical of what is given in the degree of Finished Companion which is the explanation and complement of the anti-type. English Masonry has lost much by the refinements of the learned, or by those who “imagined themselves to be learned,” and in any case it is easy for such to influence the ignorant. The French have lacked this in the several sects, and have therefore transmitted what they received without understanding it. So have English Stone Masons. There is a peculiar system of salutation called the Guilbrette, two meet, cross their wands and embrace; it has its analogue in all Guilds both East and West.
The legends as to the schism, though old and in writing now, are of course traditional, and cannot be unconditionally accepted. We learn something of what their ceremonies consisted 250 years ago, as the Doctors of the Sorbonne examined some traitorous members between 1648-50, and accused the Compagnonage of profaning the Mystery of Christs passion and death, of baptising in derision, of taking new names, using secret watchwords, obligating to mutual assistance “with other accursed ceremonies.” (Vide Gould s “Hist. Freemasonry.”) Much of thls we have seen was common to the Arcane Discipline of the church, and the Charges read very similar to those made by the Fathers when they desired to have the Ancient Mysteries suppressed; in the same spirit they have destroyed all literature that made against themselves and their acts. Almost the same thing might be said by a fanatic and fool against the old Ancient degrees of Harodim-Rosy Cross in this country: and it is very noteworthy and “very suggestive” that the ancient oath of the English Rosy Cross has a penalty, alluding to the Saviour s death which is absolutely identical with the highest grade of this French fraternity of Jacques. The French “Fendeurs,” or Charcoal burners, resemble so closely those described by the priests in 1650, that there can be no doubt both have the same common origin; the Fendeur Initiation carry their legends back to remote times, and claim a Scottish origin; possibly it points to a Culdee or other sectarian derivation thence.
“The Salute.” Most of the Mystic Sects which derive from what we term the Arcane Schools, seem to have a “Salute” by way of recognition, that is, a phrase by way of “Salutation,” and this is probably what Brito-Saxon Masonry possessed, before Semitic legends and Hebrew words were introduced in Norman times. This “Greeting” went with the “Word” until it was abandoned last century. A Christian system that had no allusion to Solomon s temple would have the “Greeting,” and is therefore probably one of the most ancient parts of our Rites.
Brother J. G. Findel in his “History of Freemasonry” professes to give the Catechism in use amongst the Masons of the Haupt Hutte of Strasburg, which termed their Assemblies Chapters, after the usage of the Benedictines. In the strict sense of the term what is called “Words” in this ritual is a Greeting. The questioner asks: “How many words has a Mason? Seven. Q. What are they? God bless all honourable conduct; God bless all honourable knowledge; God bless the honourable Craft of Masonry; God bless the honourable Master; God bless the honourable foreman; God bless the honourable Fraternity; God grant honourable preferment to all Masons here, and in all places by sea and land.” We have here seven prayers easily remembered; and the following passwords were elicited by the Questioner: “Kaiser Carl II.; Anton Hieronymus; Walkan.” The two last are supposed to be corrupted from Adoniram, and Tubal Cain, the last named, it may be, through Vulcan. Professor Robison, who wrote upon German Masonry last century, expresses an opinion that an Apprentice received an additional word with each year of his labour. During last century there still remained old members of the Strasburg Constitution, though it had then lost all its influence, and there is an interesting statement recorded on the authority of Mr. Vogel, an old operative Mason, who is reported to have said, in 1785, that the German Masons consisted of three classes: “The Letter Masons,” or those made by Certificate; “The Salute Masons,” or those who used a form of Salutation similar to that just quoted; and “the Freemasons,” who he says, “are the richest, but they work by our word and we by theirs;” (Gould s “Hist. Freemasonry,” ii, p. 312; also Findels “Hist. Freem.”) which implies that he was a “Salute” Mason, and that the “Greeting,” and the “Word” were originally the marks of two distinct sects but had come to be united. Another writer states, on the authority of a newly received Freemason, who was a member of the Haupt Hutte systems, that the grip was the same in both societies.
We may dismiss the “Certificate” Mason in a few words; in England it corresponds with trade Freedom granted by Municipal bodies from the time of Queen Elizabeth to our own days. Our oldest Catechisms not only include a triplicate “Greeting” but the “Word” system, but we need not give this until its proper date, and on the evidence we have given it may be assumed, that in the ancient Masonry of this country the “Salute” was the “Word,” and that upon it was engrafted certain Hebrew words. As the Saxon system was a Christian one, no doubt its chief grade, or Master s Fraternity, has descended to us in the degrees of Harod and the Harodim-Rosy Cross, translated by the French Rose- croix of Heredom, Templar, etc., for all these grades are very similar; and its transmission is equally probable with the known transmission for centuries, of the Christ-like ceremonies of the French fraternity of Jacques, but this we will again refer to in a chapter on the high-grades.
“Conclusion.” As we have observed several times, but may again repeat, the drama of the Mysteries was of a spiritual nature designed to teach how man might so conduct his earthly pilgrimage as to arrive at immortal life, and the Initiate during the instruction personated a god who was slain and rose again from the dead. It is not difficult to comprehend how such a symbolic death and rebirth was transformed into the drama of the career of the Saviour of fallen man. Such a Rite is in entire accord with what we know of the Culdee Monks and Masons, who were at York when King Athelstan granted them a Charter, whilst Hiramism is in discord thereto. We may summarise the details of this chapter in a few words; they point to the derivation of a system of trade Mysteries introduced by Greco-Romans into Britain from an Egyptian source; modified into orthodox Christianity by Culdees who had similar recondite Mysteries of a spiritual type, and who taught and directed the Guilds of Artizans during the whole Saxon period; our next Chapter will indicate a system in consonance with the French “Sons of Solomon.”
IX – MASONRY IN NORMAN ENGLAND
We made mention in our last Chapter of a series of Masonic legends which are, in some measure, historically opposed to the old Saxon Constitutions. These first appear in written documents of about 1450 A.D., but as these are copies of still older MSS., may well date into the 12th century in this country. There are two old MSS. the laws of which differ in essential points: in the elder or “Cooke MS.” those legends which imply a Semitic origin and actually represent our present Craft Rites, form the Preface, or Commentary, to an actual Saxon Charge; whilst the later, or “Wm. Watson MS,” is a copy of a much older document, and itself over two centuries old, is complete in itself, with a modified series of charges: the second part might belong to a “Guild” which had a traditional preference to a Saxon Constitution, and the first to a later compiler, one who had accepted the Norman system, and its Rites. We will endeavour in this Chapter to supply such reliable information, as can be gathered, to account for the legends superimposed upon the older.
It is in Norman times, adding French details, that this matter shews itself, and as there is yet no established view on the subject, it may be examined in various aspects. In the first place these legends may have been fixed in France by the conquests which the Saracens made in that country; or 2ndly, they may have reached that country through the Moorish conquests in Spain; or 3rdly, and a probable view, they might have been brought from the East, by those Masons who returned in the train of the Crusaders; lastly, but upon this we place small credence, some of our able critics have held that the Oriental legends are collected from books of general history by the first compiler of this version of the Charges, though admitting that the author had old Masonic Charges to guide him.
A very elaborate paper, which may be classed with the first of these views, has been written by Brother C. C. Howard, of Picton, New Zealand, and he relies upon the fact that this new Charge draws its inspiration from Roman Verulam and the erection of St. Albans by Offa, King of Mercia, circa 793, and that one Namas Graecus, under various spellings, is given as the teacher of Masonry in France. Offa is supposed, by Brother Howard, to have brought Masons from Nismes, or Nimes, in Southern France, for the purpose in view, hence the derivation of Namas Graecus.
A theory such as that of Brother Howard would well account for all that is peculiar in this Constitution. The present Nimes is a very ancient Greco- Roman town, and has perfect remains of the work of their architects; moreover it was for two centuries in the hands of the Saracens, until Charles Martel, who was the traditional patron of French Masons and the Hammer of the Saracens, drove them out of that town, and may then have appointed a Duke or prince to rule it. The “Cooke MS” like the Strasburg Statutes speak of Charles II., but this is an error, and it is noteworthy that the “Charges of David and Solomon,” are invariably united with the French patronage, proving that we derive these Masonic views from French sources. At whatever date these Constitutions first appeared in this country they eventually superseded the English version.
The Saracens were large builders in the East, and even the Mausoleum of Theodric of Ravenna, erected in the 6th century, is considered by de Vogue to be the work of Syrian Masons brought forward by Byzantines. It is said that about the year 693 they assembled 12,000 stonecutters to build the great Alamya at Damascus. (Condes “Arabs in Spain.”) The Tulun Mosque at Cairo which was built in the 9th century, has all the main features of Gothic styles, and the same race erected numerous magnificent works in Spain. Gibbon informs us that between 813-33 the Moors brought into Spain all the literature which they could obtain in Constantinople, and that between 912-61 the most celebrated architects were invited from thence. We learn from a catalogue of the Escuriel library that they possessed 70 public libraries, and that the MSS. handed down includes translations from Greek and Latin and Arabic writers on philosophy, philology, jurisprudence, theology, mysticism, talismans, divination, agriculture, and other arts. They gave us astronomy, alchemy, arithmetic, algebra, Greek philosophy, paper-making, the pendulum, the mariners compass, and our first notions of chivalry, and armed- fraternities. Whether they gave us Gothic architecture may be doubtful but the durability of their own buildings is astounding, and Cordova, the seat of empire, covered a space 24 miles by 6 miles, even in the 8th and 9th centuries, and was filled with magnificent palaces and public edifices. Roger Bacon probably derived gunpowder through their intermediary.
It is possible that Syrian fraternities of Masons continued to exist until its invasion by the Saracens, and they themselves, as we have seen, had secret fraternities analogous to Freemasonry, and as the Koran accepts the history of the Jewish Patriarchs such a system as we now possess is in accord with their feelings, and might possibly be acceptable to a French fraternity who were Christians and had derived building instructions from a Moslem race. If the Saracenic theory in regard to Nismes is inadmissable, or the derivation of the French Charges under Norman introduction, when the system had consolidated under the “Sons of Solomon;” there are two other views we may notice. The possibility of a derivation from the Spanish Moors; or through the Crusaders who returned from Palestine after erecting endless works with the assistance of the native Masons. Neither of these two views will account fully for the fact that the “Constitutions” of the period of this Chapter connect the Charges of David and Solomon with the Namas Graecus “who had been at the building of Solomon s temple,” with Charles Martel, or even Charles II. But this is not a great difficulty, for Namas does not appear until circa 1525, and was always a trouble to the Copyists, sometimes he is Namas, at others he is Aymon, or the man with a Greek name, and on one occasion he is Grenaeus. Again building, in Europe, was a clerical art down to the 12th century and laymen were subject to them; but the religion of the Saracens was of a different cast, and admitted from the very first, of the continuance of independent schools of Architecture attached to no Sheik-ul-Islam, Mollah, or Dervish. On the whole we seem to be led by these considerations to the Norman-French introduction into this country of a species of Masonic rules, rites, and legends which existed in Southern France, and which were still further influenced in the 13th century by Masons from the East; but the reader can judge of this upon reading all the facts.
When Abdur-Rahman built the great Mosque of Cordova in the short space of ten years, he said, “Let us raise to Allah a Jamma Musjid which shall surpass the temple raised by Sulieman himself at Jerusalem.” This is the oldest comparison which we have of Solomons erection as compared with mediaeval erections, and coming from a Moslem is eminently suggestive. Some 30 years ago Bro. Viner Bedolphe brought forward some cogent arguments to prove that though our Craft Masonry had been derived from the Roman Colleges the 3rd Degree of Modern Masonry had been added, in its second half, by Moslems. But as a matter of fact the existing Jewish Guilds have a ceremony from which our Modern 3rd Degree is derived through the ancient Guilds, and it is quite possible that the work men of Abdur-Rahman found it of old date in Spain, as we shall see later; and that a Guild of them was employed at Cordova. Mecca has had for ages a semi-Masonic Society which claims its derivation from the Koreish who were Guardians of the Kaaba; namely, the Benai Ibraham. For some hundreds of years our Constitutions have asserted that Nimrod was a Grand Master and gave the Masons a Charge which we still follow. Its first degree is the “Builders of Babylon,” and is directed against Nimrod and his idols, and against idolatry in general. Its second degree is the “Brothers of the Pyramids,” and teaches, as do our own Constitutions, that Abraham taught the Egyptians geometry, and the mode of building the pyramids. The third degree is “Builders of the Kaaba,” in which the three Grand Master Masons Ibrahim, Ishmael, and Isaque, erect the first Kaaba, on the foundations of the temple erected by Seth on the plans of his father Adam. At the completion of the Kaaba, the twelve chiefs or Assistants of the “three” Grand Masters are created Princes of Arabia. The Society was clearly ancient in A.D. 600 as al Koran alludes to the legendary basis on which it is formed.
There is a very interesting French romance of the 12th century by Huon de Villeneuve which seems to have a bearing upon the names of our old Masonic MSS., or at least on a corrupt version of them; and which moreover commemorates the Masonic death of a person who is supposed to have battled with the Saracens in France and Palestine. Either the work may veil legends of the Compagnonage, or, with less probability, these latter may have drawn something from it. This romance is entitled “Les Qualre Fils Aymon.” Charlemagne returns victorious from a long and bloody war against the Saracens in Easter, 768, and has to listen to accusations against Prince Aymon of the Ardennes, for failing to perform his fealty in not warring against the Saracens. Charlemagne has as colleagues Solomon of Bretagne, and his trusty friend the Duke of Naismes. Renaud, Allard, Guichard, and Richard, the “four sons of Aymon,” depart from the Court in quest of adventure. They defeat Bourgons the Saracen chief before Bordeaux, cause him to become a Christian, and after that restore Yon, King of Aquitaine, to his throne; Renaud marries his daughter Laura and erects the Castle of Montauban.
Yon fears the anger of Charlemagne, persuades the four Aymons to solicit his grace, and they set out “with olive branches in their hands,” but are treacherously waylaid by their enemies, and would have been slain but for the arrival of their cousin Maugis, and the “cyprus was changed for the palm.” Richard is taken prisoner, and condemned to death, but Maugis disguises himself as a Pilgrim, hangs the executioner, carries off Richard, and also the golden crown and sceptre of Charlemagne, who thereupon resolves to attack Montauban. After a due amount of battles, peace is restored on condition that Renaud departs on a pilgrimage to Palestine. On arrival there he is surprised to meet Maugis, and between them they restore the old Christian King of Jerusalem to the throne. After an interval Renaud is recalled to France and on his arrival finds his wife dead of grief, as well as his aged father Aymon and his mother. His old antagonists Naismes, Oger, and Roland have been slain at Ronciveux. Five years later Charlemagne visits Aix-la-Chapel, with the three brothers Aymon and their two nephews, and the following is a literal translation of what occurred: ” Hollo! says the Emperor, to a good woman, what means this crowd? The peasant answered, I come from the village of Crosne, where died two days ago a holy hermit who was tall and strong as a giant. He proposed to assist the Masons to construct at Cologne the Church of St. Peter; he manoeuvred so well that the others who were jealous of his ability, killed him in the night time whilst he slept, and threw his body into the Rhine, but it floated, covered with light. On the arrival of the bishop the body was exposed in the Nave, with uncovered face that it might be recognised. Behold what it is that draws the crowd. ” The Emperor approached and beheld Renaud of Montauban, and the three Aymons, and two sons of Renaud, mingled their tears over the corpse. Then the bishop said: Console yourselves! He for whom you grieve has conquered the immortal palm.” The Emperor ordered “a magnificent funeral and a rich tomb.” In the translation of Caxton it is the bishop who does this and also Canonises him as “St. Renaude the Marter.” In the time of Charlemagne, and even much later, there existed a great number of pre-Christian and Gnostic rites, and the Emperor is credited with reforming, or establishing, in Saxony, the country of Aymon, whose memory was held in great veneration even down to the 19th century, a secret fraternity for the suppression of Paganism, which has most of the forms of Modern Freemasonry. Hargrave Jennings holds that the fleur-de-lis may be traced through the bees of Charlemagne to the Scarab of Egypt, and is again found on the Tiaras of the gods of Egypt and Chaldea. After the Culdee Alcuin had assisted in building the Church of St. Peter at York, he went over to France, and became a great favourite at Court, having the instruction of the Emperor himself whom he terms a builder “by the Art of the Most Wise Solomon,” who made him an Abbot. Apart from the significance of this romance in a Masonic sense, which appears to have drawn on existing Masonry, there are some peculiar correspondences. The body of Osiris was thrown into the Nile, that of Renaud into the Rhine. The address of the bishop to the mourners is almost identical with that of the old Hierophants to the mourners for the slain sun-god. As before stated the “branch” varied in the Mysteries, as the erica, the ivy, the palm, the laurel, the golden-bough. As in the case of the substituted victim for Richard the Moslems held that a substitute was made for Jesus. The romance confuses the time of Charlemagne, if we accept it literally, with that of a Christian King of Jerusalem, as the Masonic MSS. confuse the date of Charles of France with an apocryphal Aymon who was at the building of Solomon s temple. Possibly the Masons confused the Temple of Solomon with that existing one which Cardinal Vitry and Maundeville inform us was “called the Temple of Solomon to distinguish the temple of the Chivalry from that of Christ;” they allude of course to the house of the Knights Templars. These legends may well represent some ancient tradition, and we know not what MSS. have perished during the centuries. A curiously veiled pagan Mythology may be traced in Paris; comparing St. Denis to Dionysos. The death of St. Denis takes place on Montmartre, that of Dionysos on Mount Parnassus; the remains of Denis are collected by holy women who consign them with lamentations to a tomb over which the beautiful Abbey was erected; but he rises from his tomb like Dionysos, and replacing his severed head walks away. Over the southern gate of the Abbey is also sculptured a sprig of the vine laden with grapes which was a Dionysian symbol, and at the feet of the Saint, in other parts, the panther is represented, whose skin was in use in the Rites of the Mysteries.
Other attempts to identify Namas Graecus may be given. Brother Robert H. Murdock, Major R.A., considers that this person is the Marcus Graecus from whose MS. Bacon admits in “De Nullitate Magiae,” 1216, that he derived the composition of gunpowder. There is one old MS. in the early days of the Grand Lodge that has adopted this view. Here again we run against the Saracens, for Duten shews that the Brahmins were acquainted with powder from whom it passed to the Lulli or Gypsies of Babylon, the Greeks and Saracens, and it is thought to have been used by the Arabs at the siege of Mecca in 690; again Peter Mexia shews that in 1343 the Moors used explosive shells against Alphonso XII. of Castile, and a little later the Gypsies were expert in making the heavy guns. Very little is known of Marcus Graecus but early in the 9th century his writings are, erroneously, supposed to be mentioned by the Arabian physician Mesue. (The “Cyclo. of” Eph. Chambers, art. “Gunpowder.”>
The acceptance of Marcus of gunpowder notoriety as identical with Namas or Marcus of Masonic notoriety, necessitates one of two suppositions: (1) either he was the instructor, or believed to be so, of Charles Martel in Military erections; or (2) the fraternity of Masons had a branch devoted to the study of Alchemy and the hidden things of nature and science: much might he said in its favor, but unless there was some MS. of a much earlier date that mentions Namas or Marcus, and is missing, the introduction is probably only of the 16th century when Masons were actually Students of Masonry and the secret sciences. Another theory has been propounded by Brother Klein, F.R.S., the eminent P.M. of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge, namely that Haroun al Raschid s son the Caliph al Mamun is “the man with a Greek name.” He shews that in the time of this Caliph the books of Euclid were translated into Arabic for the Colleges of Cordova, and it was not until the 12th century that Abelard of Bath rendered them into Latin. The original Greek MS. was lost for 700 years when it was found by Simon Grynaeus, a Suabian and co-labourer of Melancthon and Luther. In 1530 he gave the MS. to the world, and we actually find that in some of our MSS. Graecus is transformed into Green, Grenenois, Grenus, Graneus. Caxton printed the “Four Sons of Aymon” in the 15th century, and we find some scribes transforming Namas into Aymon. Here we have a later attempt to identify the personality mentioned; he was a man of whom nobody knew anything, and each scribe sought to develop his own idea, if he had any.
Charlemagne was a contemporary of the Haroun al Raschid here mentioned who sent him a sapphire ornament and chain by his ambassador.
Green in his “Short History of the English People” (London, 1876) says: “A Jewish medical school seems to have existed at Oxford; Abelard of Bath brought back a knowledge of Mathematics from Cordova; Roger Bacon himself studied under the English Rabbis”. Bacon himself writes: “I have caused youths to be instructed in languages, geometry, arithmetic, the construction of tables and instruments, and many needful things besides.” The great work of this mendicant Friar of the Order of St. Francis, the “Opus Majus,” is a reform of the methods of philosophy: “But from grammar he passes to mathematics, from mathematics to experimental philosophy. Under the name of Mathematics was enclosed all the physical science of the time.”
It is beyond doubt that after the Norman conquest in 1066 the predominant genius of Masonry was French; the oversight and the design were French, the labour Anglo-Saxon; but the latter were strong enough as shewn, by an eminent architect, to transmit their own style in combination with that of the French. It must also be borne in mind that if the English towns have some claims to Roman succession, that feature is doubly strong in France, even to the language. Long after the conquest of the country by the Franks, and even until modern times, the people were allowed to continue Roman laws, privileges, colleges, and Guilds; pure Roman architecture exists to this day, and notably at Nimes. Lodges, though not perhaps under that name, must have existed from the earliest times, for we find that in the 12th century, the Craft was divided into three divisions; we may even say four, for besides the Passed Masters Associations, there were Apprentices, Companions or Journeymen, and perpetual Companions, or a class who were neither allowed to take an Apprentice, or to begin business as Masters; that is they could employ themselves only on inferior work. The eminent historian of Masonry, Brother R. F. Gould, shews this, and also that the so-called “Fraternities” of France were the Masters Associations, but that the Companions and Apprentices had to contribute to the funds that were necessary for their maintenance. The qualification necessary to obtain Membership of this Association was the execution of a Master-piece, which was made as expensive as possible, in order to keep down the number of Masters. It will be seen at once that this is a very different organisation to the Constitution of the Assemblies of our last Chapter, and the reader must keep this distinction in mind, as well as the fact that there came over to this country a class of men impressed with these discordant views.
It would extend far beyond the scope of this book to give more than a very slight account of the numerous Abbeys, Monasteries, Churches and Castles which were erected after the Norman conquest; it is, however, necessary, in our inquiry after the Speculative element, to say something of these, and of the persons who erected them. Doctor James Anderson states that King William the Bastard employed Gundulf, bishop of Rochester, and Earl Roger de Montgomery in building, or extending, the Tower of London, Castles of Dover, Exeter, Winchester, Warwick, Hereford, Stafford, York, Durham, Newcastle, also Battle Abbey, St. Saviour s in Southwark, and ninety other pious houses; whilst others built forty two such, and five cathedrals. Battle Abbey was in building 1067-90, the architect being a Norman Monk who was a noted arrow- head maker and therefore named William the Faber, or Smith. Between 1070- 1130 Canterbury Cathedral was in course of erection. In 1076 Archbishop Thomas began the re-erection of the Cathedral of York, which had previously been burnt in contest with the Normans. Between 1079-93, Winchester Cathedral was in progress. The White or Square tower on the Thames is of this period and Jennings mentions one of the main pillars which has a valute on one side, and a horn on the other, which he considers to have the same significance as the two pillars of Solomon s temple, that is symbolising male and female. It is evident that Masons must have now been in great demand and that whether Saxon or Norman were sure of employment; the following are of interest, and as we meet with any particulars, which have a distinct bearing upon the Masonic organisation, we will give them.
The New Castle, whence the name of that town is taken, was built by a son of the Bastard, and thenceforth became, as in Roman times, a place of great strength, and also the chief home of the Monastic Orders, for Benedictines, Augustinians, Carmelites, Franciscans, Hospitallers of St. John, and Nuns all built houses here, and their conventual buildings within its walls, and many an Hospitium for wayfarers, many Guilds, and many a chapel of black, white and grey Friars were founded. The Percys had a town residence here in the narrow street called the Close.
In 1074 Lincoln Cathedral was begun by Remgius Foschamp, the Norman Bishop, who had it ready for consecration in 8 years. It was destroyed by fire in 1141, but Bishop Alexander restored it to more than its former beauty. Where the Castle now stands existed an ancient fortress which the Bastard converted into a Norman stronghold.
In 1077 Robert the Cementarius, or Mason, had a grant of lands in reward for his skill in restoring St. Albans; and we may find in this circumstance the origin of the St. Alban Charge combined with that of Charles Martel and David and Solomon; including the Norman fiction that St. Alban had for his Masonic instructor St. Amphabel out of France. We say fiction because Britain at that day sent Masons to Gaul.
In Yorkshire a Godifried the Master-builder witnesses the Whitby Charter of Uchtred, the son of Gospatric. These are Danish names and the Marks of Yorkshire Masons, in this and the following century, are strong in the use of letters of the Runic or Scandinavian alphabet.
Baldwin, Abbot of St. Edmunds began a church in 1066 which was consecrated in 1095. Hermannus the Monk, compares it in magnificence to Solomons temple, which is the first Masonic reference we have to that structure, and in Norman times.
Paine Peverell, a bastard son of the King, built a small round church at Cambridge which was consecrated in 1101, this form being a model of the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem. He also began a castle in Derbyshire, on a peak inaccessible on three sides one of which overlooks the Peak Cavern, which Faber supposes was used in the Druidical Mysteries. A round church was erected at this period in Northampton, probably by Simon de St. Luz. An ancient sun-dial is built into its walls; the tooling of the building is Saxon chevron style, in contradistinction from the Norman diagonal axe work.
There is a curiously mystic monument at Brent Pelham to Piers Shonke, who died in 1086. Weever calls it “a stone whereon is figured a man, and about him an eagle, a lion, and a bull, having all wings, and an angell as if they would represent the four evangelists; under the feet of the man is a cross fleuree.” We must not hastily confound these emblems with the present quartering in the Arms of Freemasons.
During the reign of Rufus the great palace of Westminster was built, and thirty pious houses. In 1089 the King laid the foundation of St. Mary s Abbey at York. In the same year the Bishop of Hereford laid the foundation of the Gothic cathedral at Gloucester, and it was consecrated in 1100. In 1093 William of Karilipho, Bishop of Durham, laid the foundation of his cathedral, in the presence of Malcolm King of Scots and Prior Turgot. Surtees says that it “was on a plan which he had brought with him from France.” In the same year the church of the old Culdee settlement of Lindisfarne was erected, and Edward, a monk of Durham, acted as architect.
In 1093 Hugh Lupus, Earl of Chester, sent for Anselme, Abbot of Bec, “by his conseile to build the Abbey of St. Werberg at Chester.” It contains an old pulpit of black oak which is full of heraldic carving which has been mistaken for Masonic emblems. (Past Grand blaster Smith, U.S.A.) It was in this Monastery that Ralph Higden compiled the Polychronicon, a history often referred to in the “Cooke MS.”
The work of Durham Cathedral was continued by Bishop Ranulf de Flambard from 1104 and completed before the year 1129. Under Bishop William de Carilofe the grant which Waltheof, Earl of Northumberland, had made to the See of Durham was confirmed, of the Priory of Teignmouth to the Church of Jarrow, which was built by Benedict Biscop in 689 and of Wearmouth 8 years later. Also Robert de Mowbray brought monks from St. Albans to rebuild the Priory Church, which was completed in 1110. Anything connected with these Northern provinces is Masonically important, for Northumberland and Durham had many Operative Lodges long prior to the G.L. of 1717, and any legitimacy which that body can have it owes to those Northern Lodges, which eventually joined its ranks.
Northumberland is studded with fortified piles or towers and fortified vicarages which must have given much employment to Masons. Elsden possessed one of these and also two folc-mote hills, where in old time, justice was administered in the open air, as in the Vehm of Westphalia, dating back one thousand years.
Oswold the good Bishop of Salisbury built the Church of St. Nicholas at Newcastle about the year 1004. In 1115 Henry I. made grants to the Canons regular of Carlisle. Many parts of the Church of St. Andrew are earlier than St. Nicholas, but its erection is of later date.
The Church of St. Mary, Beverley, is supposed to have had upon its site, a Chapel of Ease dedicated to St. Martin by Archbishop Thurston, of York, between 1114-42; it is certain, however, that it was constituted a Vicarage of St. Mary in 1325. The Nave was built about 1450, and consists of six bays and seven clerestory windows, but in 1530 the upper part of the central tower fell upon the Nave with much loss of life. Its pillar was erected by the Guild of Minstrels, which like that of the Masons, claimed to date from Saxon times; it has upon the fluted cornishes five figures of the Minstrels with their instruments, of which only two respectively with guitar and pipe are intact; and stands on the north side facing the pulpit. The “Misere” stalls in the chancel are of the 15th century, with carved bas reliefs under the seats; one of these represents a “fox” shot through the body with a woodmans arrow, and a “monkey” approaching with a bottle of physic.
In regard to symbolism Brother George Oliver, D.D., mentions an old church at Chester, which he does not name, containing the double equilateral triangles; also the same in the window of Lichfield Cathedral. Mr. Goodwin states that the triple triangles interlaced may be seen in the tower of a church in Sussex. We are now approaching the period of the Crusades, and it may be noticed that Cluny and other great French Abbeys are usually considered the centres of action whence proceeded the builders that accompanied the armies of the cross to Palestine. Here an enormous number of buildings were erected, between 1148-89, in which Europeans directed native workmen, and in which the former learned a lighter style of architecture which resulted in pointed Gothic; a style which had early existence in the East, for Professor T. Hayter Lewis points out that the 9th century Mosque at Tulun in Cairo has every arch pointed, every pier squared, and every capital enriched with leaf ornament; this style the returned Masons began to construct and superintend in the West.
Mr. Wyatt Papworth mentions that a Bishop of Utrecht in 1199 obtained the “Arcanum Magisterium” in laying the foundation of a church, and that he was slain by a Master Mason whose son had betrayed the secret to the Bishop. About this time was begun the old church at Brownsover, near Rugby; when it was restored in 1876 two skeletons were found under the north and south walls, in spaces cut out of the solid clay, and covered over with the oakblocks of two carpenters benches. A similar discovery was made in Holsworthy parish church in 1885; in this case the skeleton had a mass of mortar over the mouth, and the stones were huddled about the corpse as if to hastily cover it over. There is no doubt that in this and many other cases the victims were buried alive as a sacrifice. (“Builders ites and Ceremonies,” G. W Speth, 1894.) They are instances in proof of a widespread and ancient belief of a living sacrifice being necessary.
King Henry I., 1100-35, built the palaces of Woodstock and Oxford, and fourteen pious houses, whilst others built one hundred such, besides castles and mansions. The Bishop of Durham confirmed and granted privileges to the Hali-werk-folc who would be Saxon artificers.
In 1113 Joffred, Abbot of Croyland, laid the foundation of that Abbey; about 22 stones were laid by Patrons, who gave money or lands. Arnold is described as “a lay brother, of the art of Masonry a most scientific Master.” About this time, or a little earlier, the seven Liberal Arts and Sciences are designated the “Trivium” and “Quadrivium,” and the Chronicler gives us the following illustration of the first division: “During this time Odo read lessons in “Grammar” to the younger sort, Terrick Logic to the elder students at noon; and William “Rhetoric” in the afternoon; whilst Gilbert preached every Sunday, in different churches, in French and Latin against the Jews, and on holiday evenings explained the Scriptures to the learned and clergy.” In Essexs Bibliotheca Topographia, 1783 (vol. iv.) we find it stated that the builders of this portion cut rudely at the west end of the south aisle, a pair of compasses, a lewis, and two circular figures, which, he supposes, are intended for sun and moon; in 1427, however, there were repairs in progress, not of this part, but in the west and north aisles. This Abbey possessed a library of 900 books, and save that Joffrid, or Gilbert, exhibited so much animosity against the Jews, is so consonant with the first part of the “Cooke MS.” that we might have taken it as a proof that the Semitic Rites existed in 1113. They probably did in France and parts of Spain. The bronze candelabrum of Gloucester was made in 1115, and has the double triangles and much other Masonic symbolism; it is of Byzantine design and approximates to old Egyptian work and symbolism.
King Stephen, 1135-54, employed Gilbert de Clare to build four Abbeys, two Nunneries, and the Church of St. Stephen at Westminster, whilst others built about ninety pious houses. Jesus College at Cambridge was founded in this reign, and a very remarkable church was erected at Adel near Leeds. It is recorded of a soldier of King Stephen, named Owen or Tyndal, that he received a species of religious Initiation at the Culdee Monastery in Donegal, placed in a “pastos” of the cell; he then went on a pilgrimage to the Holy-land, and on his return, as has been recorded of Renaud of Montauban, assisted in building the Abbey of Bosmagovsich. The Marks of Birkenhead Priory of this date have been collected and printed by Brother W. H. Rylands, also those of St. Johns Church in Chester, the Cathedral, Chester, and the walls, some of which are Roman work. (“Ars Quat. Cor.,” 1894.)
In 1147 Henry de Lacy laid the foundation of Kirkstall Abbey in Yorkshire; it is of pointed Gothic. Roche Abbey was built between this date and 1186, and these two are believed to be by the same architect. Rivaulx and Fountains Abbey were begun in 1199 and 1200. At this time Adam, a Monk of Fountains Abbey, and previously of Whitby, was celebrated for his knowledge of Gothic architecture, and officiated at the building of the Abbeys of Meux, Woburn, and Kirkstede; it is not said whether he was lay or cleric. York Cathedral was again destroyed by fire in 1137, and Archbishop Roger began to re-erect it in 1154.
In Normandy the Guilds were travelling about like those of England and were of importance in 1145, and had a Guild union when they went to Chartres. At this time Huges, Archbishop of Rouen, wrote to Theodric of Amiens informing him that numerous organised companies of Masons resorted thither under the headship of a Chief designated Prince, and that the same companies on their return are reported by Haimon, Abbe of St. Pierre sur Dive, to have restored a great number of churches in Rouen.
The Priory of St. Mary in Furness was commenced by Benedictines from Savigney. In 1179 the Priory of Lannercost was founded by Robert de Vallibus, Baron of Gillesland. Bishop Hugh de Pudsey rebuilt the Norman Castle of Durham, dating from 1092 to 1174. Between 1153-94 this Prelate was the great Transitional Builder of the north, and he began the erection of a new church at Darlington in 1180 on the site of an old Saxon one. The great Hall of the Castle of Durham was the work of Bishop Hadfield in the reign of Richard III. on an older Norman one.
Henry II. between 1154-89 built ten pious houses, whilst others built one hundred such. It is the era of the advent of the “transitional Gothic.” In the first year of this King s reign, 1155, the “Poor Fellow Soldiers of Jesus Christ, and of the Temple of Solomon,” began to build their Temple in Fleet Street, London, and continued at work till 1190. It is a round church in pointed Gothic to which a rectangular one was added later. By Papal Bull of 1162 these Knights were declared free of all tithes and imposts in respect of their movables and immovables, and their serving brethren had like favours, indulgences, and Apostolic blessings. James of Vitry says that they had a very spacious house in Jerusalem, which was known as the Temple of Solomon to distinguish the Temple of the Chivalry from the Temple of the Lord. In the Rule which Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux, drew up for them, he speaks of the poverty of the Knights, and says of their house that it could not rival the “world renowned temple of Solomon”; in chapter xxx., he again speaks of the poverty of the house of God, and of the temple of Solomon.”
As a fraternity he designates them “valiant Maccabees.” Sir John Maundeville visited the house, and speaks of it in 1356 thus: “Near the temple [of Christ] on the south is the Temple of Solomon, which is very fair and well polished, and in that temple dwell the Knights of the Temple, called Templars, and that was the foundation of their order, so that Knights dwelt there, and Canons Regular in the temple of our Lord.” As Masonic symbolism is found in their Preceptories, this would be a channel from which to deduce both our Solomonic legends, and the alleged Papal bulls, which Sir William Dugdale asserted were granted to travelling Freemasons; but this view has never met with favour from Masonic historians, who aim chiefly at writing things agreeable to their patrons and rulers. Brother Oliver states that the high altar has the double triangles, at any rate these appear on the modern embroidered cover; there is the anchor of the Virgin, also the Beauseant of black and white, which Vitry interprets that they are fair to their friends but black to their enemies, but Jennings says: “This grandly mystic banner is Gnostic, and refers to the mystic Egyptian apothegm that light proceeded from darkness.” He further mentions these symbols in the spandrels of the arches of the long church the Beauseant; paschal lamb on a red cross; the lamb with the red cross standard triple cloven; a prolonged cross issuing out of a crescent moon, having a star on each side. The arches abound with stars, from which issue wavy or crooked flames; the winged horse, white, on a red field, is one of their badges. He adds that there is a wealth of meaning in every curve of the tombs, which appear in the circular portion.
Ireland has many works erected during this period, and Mr. Street says of them: “I find in these buildings the most unmistakable traces of their having been erected by the same men, who were engaged at the same time, in England and Wales.” The same remark will apply to Scotland.
The ancient Preceptory of the Temple at Paris contained (says “Atlanta” xi. p. 337) “24 columns of silver which supported the audience chamber of the Grand Master, and the Chapel hall paved in Mosaic and enriched by woodwork of cedar of Lebanon, contained sixty huge vauses of gold.” The fortress was partially destroyed in 1779.
Batissier in his Elements of Archaeology (Paris, 1843), says that the name “Magister de Lapidibus vivis” was given in the middle ages to the Chief artist of a confraternity Master of living stones. Or the person was simply termed “Magister Lapidum,” and he refers on both these points to some statutes of the Corporation of Sculptors quoted by Father de la Valle. For the origin of the first of these terms consult the Apocryphal books of Hermas, but the term has more in it than appears on the surface, for in Guild ceremonial the candidate had to undergo the same treatment as the stone, wrought from the rough to the perfect. Amateurs were received, for the 1260 “Charte Octroyie” is quoted by the Bishop of Bale thus: “The same conditions apply to those who do not belong the “Metier,” and who desire to enter the Fraternity.”
A Priory of the Clunic order of Monks was founded in 1161 at Dudley by Gervase Pagnel, and they had others at Lewes, Castleacre, and Bermondsey.
A fire having occurred at Canterbury, Gervasius, a Benedictine Monk, in 1174, consulted “French and English Artificers,” who disagreed in regard to the repair of the structure. The account which Gervaise gives is highly interesting and instructing. The work was given to William of Sens, “a man active, ready, and skillfull both in wood and stone. ” “He delivered models for shaping the stones, to the sculptors”; he reconstructed the choir and made two rows, of five pillars on each side; but in the fifth year he was so injured by the fall of his scaffold that he had to appoint as deputy a young Monk “as Overseer of the Masons.” When he found it necessary to return to France the Masons were left to the oversight of William the Englishman, a man “small in body, but in workmanship of many kinds acute and honest.” The Nave was completed in 1180, and Gervaise informs us that in the old structure everything was plain and wrought “with an axe,” but in the new exquisitely “sculptured with a chisel.”
We gather two points of information from this account of 1160; first we have the information that William of Sens issued “Models” to the workmen, which explains a law of the Masonic MSS. that no Master should give “mould” or rule to one not a member of the Society; we see, in the second place, that the chisel was superseding the axe. We will also mention here that there is Charter evidence of this century, that Christian the Mason, and Lambert the Marble Mason had lands from the Bishop of Durham for services rendered. The fall of Jerusalem in 1187 brought back from the East many artisans to the West, whose influence is traceable in the early pointed style, or as it is termed the “Lancet,” or “Early English.”
A noteworthy movement, which extended to other countries had place in France at this period. A shepherd of the name of Benezet conceived the idea of building a bridge over the Rhone at Avignon; the bishop supported his scheme and superintended its erection between 1171-88. Upon Benezets death, in 1184, Pope Clement III. canonised him, and sanctioned a new Fraternity of Freres Pontives bridge builders. In 1189, Fitz Alwine, Mayor of London, held his first assize, from which we learn that the Master Carpenters and Masons of the City were to be sworn not to prejudice the ancient rights ordained of the estates of the City.
Between 1189-1204 Bishop Lacey was engaged in adding to Winchester Cathedral. There are references worthy of note in Scotland at this time. In 1190 Bishop Jocelyne obtained a Charter from William the Lion to establish a “Fraternity” to assist in raising funds wherewith to erect the Cathedral of Glasgow; it is supposed to imply the existence of a band of travelling Masons. The same bishop undertook the erection of the Abbey of Kilwinning. The Templar Preceptory of Redd-Abbey Stead was erected at the same time, and an ancient Lodge of Masons existed here last century.
In the reign of John, 1200-16, about forty pious houses were erected. Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln, about 1200, wrought with his own hands at the choir and transept of the Cathedral, the designs being by Gaufrids de Noires, “constructor ecclesiae.” The Masons Marks are numerous; and it is asserted by Brother Emra Holmes that, from the central tower, may be seen three large figures of a monk, a nun, and an angel, each displaying one of the signs of the three degrees of Masonry. The Cathedral has also an ancient stained glass window, which has the double triangles in four out of six spaces, an engraving of which appears in the “Historical Landmarks” of Brother George Oliver. Brother Fort asserts that the Masons of the middle ages must have received their technical education from the Priories, and that a tendency continually reveals itself to use the abstruse problems of Geometry as the basis of philosophical speculations, thus blending the visible theorems with unseen operations of the spirit. He considers that the building operations of the Masons were canvassed in the Lodge and worked out mathematically, the plan of the building serving as the basis of instruction. These views mean in two words that Masonry in all times was Operative and Speculative, but the identical system prevails to-day in some still existing Stone Masons Guilds.
In 1202 Godfrey de Lucy, Bishop of Winchester, formed a “Fraternity” for repairing his church during the five years ensuing. There is nothing to disclose the nature of these Fraternities; it may mean no more than a committee for collecting the means, possibly the Masters Fraternities of the French may have given the idea. At this period Gilbert de Eversolde was labouring at St. Albans Abbey, as the architect, and Hugh de Goldcliffe is called a deceitful workman. In 1204 the Abbey of Beaulieu in Hants was founded by King John, and Durandus, a Master employed on the Cathedral of Rouen, came over to it by request. In 1209 London Bridge, which was begun by Peter de Colchurch, was completed. There is a slab, of this period, in the transept of Marton Church, W.R. Yorkshire, which has upon it a Calvary cross, a cross-hilted sword, and a Mason s square and level, pointing to the union of arms, religion, and art.
In 1212 a. second Assize was held in London by Mayor Fitz Alwyne, when owing to a great fire it was thought necessary to fix the wages. At this time a horse or cow could be bought for four shillings. Masons were granted 3d. per day with food, or 4 1/2d. without; Labourers had 1 1/2d. or 3d.; cutters of free- stone 2 1/2d. or 4d.; the terms used are “Cementarii,” and “Sculptores lapidam Liberorum.” John died in 1216, and Matthew of Paris, and others, write his epitaph: “Who mourns, or shall ever mourn, the death of King John “; “Hell, with all its pollutions, is polluted by the soul of John.” (i. 288)
In the reign of Henry III., 1216-72, thirty-two pious houses were erected, and the Templars built their Domus Dei at Dover. The beginning of this King s reign is the period when Laymen, emancipating themselves from the Monasteries, come to the front as builders, and leaders of working Masons. It is also the commencement of a more highly finished style of pointed Gothic introduced by the Masons who returned from Palestine. During this reign flourished the celebrated Friar Roger Bacon, who, as member of a sworn fraternity, gave himself to the investigation of the hidden things of nature and science.
In the reign of Henry III. the Monks of Teignmouth raised a masterpiece of architecture in their new conventual church, which they completed by 1220, and were engaged in constant contention with the claims to jurisdiction of the Bishops of Durham; and then followed disputes with the burgesses of Newcastle, owing to the Monks fostering the trade of North Shields. The Prior s officers were in the habit of meeting those of the common law on the hill of Gateshead, or beneath a spreading oak in Northumberland, when they came to hold assizes in Newcastle.
In 1220 the foundation of Salisbury Cathedral was laid by Bishop Poore; Robert was Master Mason, and Helias de Berham, one of the Canons, employed himself on the structure. Its base is the Patriarchal cross, its erection occupied 38 years, and it is the only Gothic cathedral in England built in one style of architecture. The five-pointed star is found in the tracery of the arcades, and heads of 32 windows, and the equilateral triangle is the basic design of the parapet. In 1220 Peter, Bishop of Winchester, levelled the footstone of Solomon s porch in Westminster Abbey. He is the same person as Peter de Rupibus, a native of Poictiers, who served with Coeur de Lion in Palestine, and was knighted by him, created Bishop of Winchester in 1204, Chief Justice in 1214, went on a Pilgrimage to Palestine and returned in 1231. Amongst his architectural labours is a Dominican convent in Winchester; the Abbey of Pitchfield; part of Netley Abbey; a pious house at Joppa; and the Domus Dei in Portsmouth. He died in 1238, and his effigy, which is a recumbent figure in Winchester Cathedral, has the right hand on the left breast, and his left hand clasping a book. (Ars Quat. Cor.)
From 1233-57 the “Close Rolls” give numerous details of the King s Masons who were employed at Guildford, Woodstock, and Westminster. In 1253 the King had consultations with Masons, “Franci et Angli.” It is also the period of origin of the “Geometrical” style.
There is a document of 1258 which, though French, has an important bearing on English Masonic legends, referring amongst other things to Charles Martel, and which, though traditional, was accepted as sufficient to secure important freedoms. In this year Stephen Boileau, Provost of the Corporation of Paris, compiled a code of “Regulations concerning the arts and trades of Paris, based upon the Statements of the Masters of Guilds,” and amongst these we find the following in regard to the Masons, which gives them a double title to the term “Free,” for they were free-stone cutters and free of certain duties: xxi. The Masons (“Macons”) and plasterers are obliged to do guard duty, and pay taxes, and render such other services as the other citizens of Paris owe to their King. xxii. The Mortar-Makers are free of guard duty, as also every stone-cutter since the time of Charles Martel, as the ancients (“Prudolmes” or wise men) have heard, from father to son.” The question arises here whether Masons and setters, who, were not free of duty, though cutters and sculptors were, use the term Carolus Secundus in England as a claim for the Masons and Setters. The Prudomes were the Wardens under the “Master who rules the Craft,” and we are further told that this Master had taken his oath of service at the Palace, and afterwards before the Provost of Paris. It is also said that, after six years service the Apprentice appeared before “the Master who keeps the Craft,” in order to swear “by the Saints,” to conform to Craft usage. He thus became a Journeyman, or Companion, but could not become a Master, and undertake the entire erection of a building, until he had completed such a “Master-Piece” as was appointed him, and which entailed much outlay; but if this was Passed he became a member of the “Masters Fraternity.” The difference between the Saxon and the French custom appears to be this: that whilst in the former case the acceptance of a Master rested with the same Assembly as that to which the Journeyman belonged, in the latter case the Masters Fraternity was now a separate body, with independent laws.
The custom of Montpelier, according to documents printed by Brother R. F. Gould, would seem to have developed somewhat differently. Here, after an Apprentice had served three years, he was placed for another four years to serve as a Journeyman, under a Master. At the end of this period he might present his Master-piece, and if it was approved he took the oath to the Provosts and only such sworn Master was permitted to erect a building from the basement; but it was allowable for a Journeyman to undertake small repairs. Thus as city customs varied confusion must at times have arisen in journeying abroad. There is mention in 1287, when the Cathedral of Upsala in Sweden was begun, that Etienne de Bonneuill took with him from Paris “ten Master Masons and ten Apprentices”; possibly some of the Masters or some of the Apprentices, were what we call Fellows, but there is nothing to warrant any classification.
It is important to shew the secret nature and the import of the French organisation, and Fraternities, and we quote the following from Brother J. G. Findel s “History of Freemasonry”: “The “Fraternities” existing as early as the year 1189 were prohibited by the Council of Rouen (“cap.” 25); and the same was most clearly expressed at the Council of Avignon in the year 1326, where (“cap.” 37) it is said that the members of the Fraternity met annually, bound themselves by oath mutually to love and assist each other, wore a costume, had certain well known and characteristic signs and countersigns, and chose a president (“Majorem”) whom they promised to obey.” Nothing very vile in this.
In 1242 Prior Melsonby made additions to Durham Cathedral, and others were made by Bishop Farnham before 1247, and by Prior Hoghton about 1290. At Newcastle the church of All Saints was founded before 1296, and that of St. John in the same century. The church of St. Nicholas was rebuilt in the 14th century, but the present tower only dates from the time of Henry VI. Clavel says that the seal of Erwin de Steinbach, Chief Master of Cologne, 1275, bears the square and compasses with the letter G.
Turning to the North of England we find that at York in 1171, 1127, 1241, and 1291, the choir, south transept, and nave of the Minster were either completed or in course of erection, and the workmanship is infinitely superior to later portions of the building. In 1270 the new church of the Abbey of St. Mary in York was begun by the Abbot Simon de Warwick, who was seated in a chair with a trowel in his hand and the whole convent standing around him. There is also a Deed of 1277 with the seal of Walter Dixi, Cementarius, de Bernewelle, which conveys lands to his son Lawrence; the legend is “S. Walter le Masun,” surrounding a hammer between a half-moon and a five-pointed star. In this same year, 1277, Pope Nicholas II. is credited with letters patent to the Masons confirming the freedoms and privileges, said to have been granted by Boniface IV. in 614; if such a Bull was issued, it has escaped discovery in recent times.
In these somewhat dry building details it will have been noticed that references are made to French designers, and to consultation with French and English Masons, and with this enormous amount of building there must necessarily have been a constant importation of French Masons, with the introduction of French customs.
On the symbolism of this period there are some interesting particulars in the “Rationale” of Bishop Durandus, who died in 1296. The “tiles” signify the protectors of the church; the “winding-staircase” “imitated from Solomons temple” the hidden knowledge; the “stones” are the faithful, those at the corners being most holy; the “cement” is charity; the “squared stones” holy and pure have unequal burdens to bear; the “foundation” is faith; the “roof” charity; the “door” obedience; the “pavement” humility; the four “side walls” justice, fortitude, temperance, prudence; hence the Apocalypse saith “the city lieth four square.” (“Ars Quat. Cor.,” x, p. 60.) The custom is Hindu, French, British.
In a paper recently read before one of the learned Societies Professor T. Hayter Lewis has shewn that the builders of the early “Pointed Gothic “of the 13th century were of a different school to those who preceded them in the 12th century; he shews that the Masons marks, the style, and the methods of tooling the stones, differ from the older work, and whilst the older was wrought with diagonal tooling, the later was upright with a claw adze. He traces these changes in methods and marks through Palestine to Phoenicia. This new style, he considers, was brought into this country by Masons who had learned it amongst the Saracens, and though Masons marks were in use in this country long before they were now further developed on the Eastern system. (“Ibid,” iii, also v, p. 296) There is as well tangible evidence of the presence of Oriental Masons in this country; two wooden effigies, said to be of the time of the Crusades, were formerly in the Manor house of Wooburn in Buckinghamshire, of which drawings were shewn to the Society of Antiquaries in 1814, and have recently been engraved in “Ars Quatuor Coronatorum.” (“Ibid,” viii. 1895.) These effigies are life size, one represents an old man with quadrant and staff, the other a young man with square and compasses, and “the attire, headdress, and even features, indicate Asiatic originals.” It has been thought that the Moorish Alhambra at Grenada indicates the presence of Persian Masons, and we find the translator of Tasso s “Jerusalem Delivered” in every case substitutes the word Macon for Mohammed, but this is only a provincial abbreviation for Maometto.
Though supported in a superior manner, the theory of Professor Hayter Lewis is not new to Freemasonry, as in the 17th century Sir Wm. Dugdale, Sir Chris. Wren, and others fix upon the reign of King Henry III. as the period when the Society of Freemasons was introduced into England by Travelling Masons, protected by Papal Bulls, and Wren is said to have added his belief that pointed Gothic was of Saracenic origin, and that the bands resided in Huts near the erection upon which they were working, and had a Warden over every ten men. But Elias Ashmole held that whilst such a reorganisation actually took place, it was upon a Roman foundation. Dugdale probably derived his views from some monastic document, or tradition, whilst Ashmole as a Mason, with better information followed the old MS. Constitutions, as we have done in these chapters. Brother Gould is of opinion that the alleged Bulls were given to the Benedictines and other monkish fraternities who were builders, and that they only apply to Masons as members, or lay brothers of the Monasteries; and, we may add, Templars.
It must be clear to all who have eyes to see, that with this importation into England of the foreign element a new series of legends were engrafted upon.the original simple account of the old English Masons. Such are the Charges of Nimrod, of David and Solomon, and of Charles Martel, and though we have no MSS. of this period to confirm us, there is no doubt that they are of this period; equally we have no contemporary text of the Charges by which the newly imported Masons were ruled. The information already given enables us to see that there was a difference both in legends and laws between the two elements and that it was a sectarian difference.
English MSS., of more modern date, refer to “Books of Charges,” where those of Nimrod, of Solomon, of St. Alban, and of Athelstan are included, and if they actually existed, as we see no reason to doubt, they were of this century. Moreover the references to Carolus Secundus, or to Charles Martel, must be of this period (though there can be no doubt that this refers to Carolus Magnus or Charlemagne) as small importations of French Masons in Saxon times would not have influenced the older legends, nor stood a chance of adoption by the English. In regard to the laws by which the French Masons were governed, we are, however, informed in the more modem MSS. that they differed but little, or “were found all one” with the Roman, British, and Saxon Charges. It is very evident that the early foreign element had a Charge of their own referring to Nimrod, David, Solomon, and Charles of France, applicable to their own ceremonies, and that in England, they united therewith the “Charges” of Euclid, St. Alban, and Athelstan in a heterogeneous manner; and these are found in two, or more, MSS. to which we refer later, as having been approved by King Henry VI., and afterwards made the general law.
There is one piece of evidence which might enable us to settle certain difficult points if we could rely upon it. Professor Marks, a learned Jew, has stated that he saw in one of the public libraries of this country a Commentary upon the Koran of the 14th century, written in the Arabic language, with Hebrew characters, referring according to his view, to Free Masonry, and which contained an anagrammatical sentence of which each line has one of the letters M. O. C. H., and which he reads: “We have found our Lord Hiram” (Chiram); but the Dervish Sects have a similar phrase, which would read: “We have found in our Lord rest” (Kerim, or Cherim). We must therefore hold our minds in reserve until the book has been re-found and examined. In any case it seems to add a link to the chain of evidence as to the Oriental origin of “our present Rites.” We may feel assured that the Masons who returned from the Holy-land were of a class calculated to make a marked impression on the Society. The word to which the foregoing alludes, in modern Arabic, might be translated “Child of the Strong one.” Several modern writers, both Masons and non- Masons, hold to the opinion that there were two Artists at the building of Solomon s temple: Huram the Abiv, who began the work, and Hiram the son, who completed what his father had to leave undone. Succoth, where the brass ornaments for the Temple were cast, signifies Booths or Lodges, and Isaradatha means sorrow or trouble. (Vide “Light from the Lebanon Lodge.” Joel Nash.) Josephus says that Hiram was son of a woman of the tribe of Napthali, and that his father was Ur of the Israelites. The account that we have of him, in the Bible, is that he was expert in dyeing, and in working in gold, and in brass; which makes him a chemist and metallurgist, rather than a Mason. There were many Arts in which the ancients were our superiors. A very important lecture on this point has recently appeared from the pen of the Rev. Bro. M. Rosenbaum.
After this long digression we will return to architecture in general. Mr. Wyatt Papworth points out the use of the term Ingeniator, in various documents, between 1160-1300 referring to castles repaired or constructed. Some of these were undoubtedly Architects and not Engineers, whose duties were the construction of warlike machines; and though gunpowder had not yet come into use in this country, the connection with Masoning might, at a later period, lead to the introduction of Marcus Graecus into our MSS.
In the reign of Edward I., 1272-1307, Merton College in Oxford, the cathedral of Norwich and twenty pious houses were founded; the noble Gothic style had reached its climax. Between 1291-4 several crosses were erected; and there are mentions of Masons who were employed by the King, some items of expense refer to timber, “to make a Lodge for Master Michael and his Masons.” Peter de Cavalini designed the “Eleanor Crosses;” the one in Cheapside was begun by Richard de Crumble, and completed by Roger de Crumble; it was of three stories, decorated with Niches having Statues executed by Alexander le Imaginator. A still more beautiful one was the Charing Cross. From 1290- 1300 West Kirkby Church was building, and the Marks are recorded by Brother Rylands, as well as those of Eastham, and Sefton Churches. (“Ars Quat. Cor.” vii.) In 1300 Henry the Monk, surnamed Lathom, Latomus, Mason or Stone-cutter, rebuilt part of the Abbey of Evesham. In 1303 the Mayor and 24 Aldermen of London, made ordinances for the regulation of the Carpenters, Masons and labourers; the Mayor was Gregory de Rokeslie, and the Mazounes Mestres, or Master Masons, and Master Carpenters are mentioned, in conjunction with their servants. From 1308-26 William Boyden was employed in erecting The Chapel of the Virgin at the Abbey of St. Albans.
In the reign of Edward II., 1307-27, Exeter and Oriel Colleges in Oxford, Clare Hall in Cambridge, and eight pious houses were built. During this King s reign we have the advent of the “Curvilinear,” or “Decorated” style, which held its ground for near a century. In 1313 the Knights Templars were suppressed with great brutality in France; in England their property was confiscated to the Knights of St. John, their leading Preceptories being at London, Warwick, Walsden, Lincoln, Lindsey, Bollingbroke, Widine, Agerstone, York, Temple- Sowerby, Cambridge, etc.; they were distributed throughout the Monasteries, or joined the Knights of St. John; those of York had lenient treatment by Archbishop Greenfield, and were relegated to St. Mary s adjacent to the Culdee hospital of St. Leonard. Their Lay brethren, amongst whom would be a numerous body of Masons, were liberated; a circumstance from which might spring more than a traditional connection. Some of the Knights returned to Lay occupations, and even married to the great annoyance of the Pope. In Scotland the Knights, aided in their aims by the wars between that country and England, retained their Preceptories and though they seem to have united with the Order of St. John in 1465 they were as often distinguished by one name as the other. The Burg-laws of Stirling have the following in 1405, “Na Templar sall intromet with any merchandise or gudes pertaining to the gilde, be buying and selling, within or without their awn lands, but giff he be ane gilde brother.” (“Freem. Mag.” xvi, p. 31.) Thus implying that the Knights had actual membership with the Guilds. The Templars, at the like date (1460) are mentioned in Hungary. (Malczovich “Ars Quat, Cor.” Yarker. Also 1904, p. 240.) In Portugal their innocence of the charges brought against them was accepted, but to please the Pope their name was changed to Knights of Christ. In an old Hungarian town, where the Templars once were, the Arms are a wheel on which is the Baptist s head on a charger.
A bishop of Durham, circa 1295-1300 named Beke had required more than the accustomed military service from the tenants of St. Cuthbert, who pleaded the privileges of “Haly-werk folc, not to march beyond the Tees or Tyne,” and Surtees explains that “Halywerk folc or holywork people, whose business, to wit, was to defend the holy body of St. Cuthbert, in lieu of all other service” (“Hist. Durham, Genl.” xxxiii.) , are here alluded to, but of Culdee original the term implied an art origin. Sir James Dalrymple, speaking of Scotland, says, “The Culdees continued till the beginning of the 14th century, up to which time they contended for their ancient rights, not only in opposition to the whole power of the primacy, but the additional support of papal authority.” Noted Lodges exist from old times at Culdee seats, such as Kilwinning, Melrose, Aberdeen, and as the period when this was shewn was that of the suppression of the Templars, and the Scotch generally never allowed themselves to be Pope-ridden, we have one reason why the name of Templar was continued in that country. There was everywhere a growing discontent against the Church of Rome secretly indicated, even in the art of the Masonic Sodalities. Isaac Disraeli alludes to it in his “Curiosities of Literature.” In his Chapter entitled, “Expression of Suppressed Opinion,” he states that sculptors, and illuminators, shared these opinions, which the multitude dare not express, but which the designers embodied in their work. Wolfius, in 1300 mentions, as in the Abbey of Fulda, the picture of a wolf in a Monk s cowl preaching to a flock of sheep, and the legend, “God is my witness, how I long for you all in my bowels.” A cushion was found in an old Abbey, on which was embroidered a fox preaching to a flock of geese, each with a rosary in its mouth. On the stone work and columns of the great church at Argentine, as old as 1300, were sculptured wolves, bears, foxes, and other animals carrying holy-water, crucifixes, and tapers, and other things more indelicate. In a magnificent illuminated Chronicle of Froissart is inscribed several similar subjects, a wolf in a Monk s cowl stretching out its paw to bless a cock; a fox dropping beads which a cock is picking up. In other cases a Pope (we hope Clement V.) is being thrust by devils into a cauldron, and Cardinals are roasting on spits. He adds that, at a later period, the Reformation produced numerous pictures of the same class in which each party satirised the other.
Over the entrance to the Church of St. Genevieve, says James Grant in “Captain of the Guard” (ch. xxxiii.), at Bommel is the sculpture of mitred cat preaching to twelve little mice. There is a somewhat indecent carving at Stratford upon Avon. The Incorporated Society of Science, Letters, and Art, in its Journal of January, 1902, contains a paper by Mr. T. Tindall Wildbridge upon the ideographic ornamentation of Gothic buildings. He observes that there were Masons who possessed the tradition of ancient symbolic formula, and that whilst the Olympic Mythology is almost ignored, the “Subject being (by them) derived from the Zodiacal system,” and it is, he observes, that this symbolisation, often satirical, holds place on equal terms with the acknowledged church emblems. He instances some of these at Oxford and elsewhere, one of which is the symbol of Horus in his shell, and in a second instance reproduced as a “fox” with a bottle of holy water. The altar of the Church of Doberan in Mecklenburg exhibits the priests grinding dogmas out of a mill.
In 1322 Alan de Walsingham restored Ely, himself planning and working at the building. The 1322 Will of Magister Simon le Masoun of York is printed in the Surtees Society s collection. Of 1325 is the tomb of Sir John Croke and Lady Alyne his wife at Westley Wanterleys in Cambridgeshire; upon it is the letter N, with a hammer above it, and a half-moon and six-pointed star on each side; the N is an old Mason s mark, and also a pre-Christian Persian Symbol. Of this period there is a stone-coffin lid at Thornton Abbey in Lincolnshire, which has upon it a shafted floriated Greek cross, and besides the shaft a square religion and art united; a similar one occurs at Blidworth in Northamptonshire having upon it a square and axe.
At Halsall in Lancashire is a three-step cross on one side of which is a square, and on the other an ordinary set-square. There is also in Lincoln Cathedral a gravestone of this century representing Ricardus de Gaynisburg, Cementarius, or Mason, on each side of whom is a trowel, and a square. Chartres Cathedral in France has a window containing the working tools of masons. Mr. Wyatt Papworth observes that at the end of the 13th century, and beginning of the 14th, there is mention of the “Magister Cementarii” and his Socii, or Fellows. There is documentary evidence of the term Freemason in 1376, and it may have been in use at an earlier date. Brother F. F. Schnitger argues, on the evidence of a Nuremberg work of 1558, that the prefix indicates a free art, as sculpture, which the ancients say that handicraft is not, but that the former is, “the use of the square and compasses artistically.” (Vide “Ars Quat. Cor.” ii., p.141.) Brother G. W. Speth advocated, with a little hesitancy, that as the travelling Masons moved about they adopted the term “Free” to indicate that they were outside, or free “from,” any Guild but that established under their own “Constitution.” It does not, necessarily follow, however, that the term “Free” had everywhere the same import. (“Ibid” vii.)
“Scotland” has many important documents. The Chevalier Ramsay, in his Paris Oration of 1737, states that James, Lord Steward of Scotland, in 1286 held a Lodge at Kilwinning and initiated the Earls of Gloucester and Ulster into Freemasonry. What authority there is for this statement no one now knows, but Tytler in his History of Scotland shows that these two Earls were present at a meeting of the adherents of Robert Bruce at Turnbury Castle, which is about 30 miles west of Kilwinning Abbey, and were concerting plans for the vindication of his claims to the Scottish throne.
The rebuilding of Melrose Abbey in Scotland was begun in 1326 under King Robert the Bruce, who seems to have been a protector of the Templars. There is a legend in regard to a window which is said to have been wrought by an Apprentice who was slain by his Master out of jealousy, and the same myth applies to similar work in other countries. The structure is full of recondite symbolism both within and without; the Chapel is interpreted to represent the human body in all its parts; in Symbols there is a pelican feeding its young, and the phoenix rising from its ashes. It contains a later inscription on the lintel of the turret stairs, as follows, and there are others of like import:
“Sa gays ye compass royn aboute, Truith and laute do but doute, Behold to ye hende q. Johne Morvo.”
A second on the west wall of the south transept is a shield inscribed to the next John Moray, or Murray, who was son of Patrick, bearing two pairs of compasses laid across each other between three fleur-de-lis, though his own arms were three mullets, in chief, and a fleur-de-lis in base. The older of the two inscriptions refers to a John Moray who died 1476, a Mason but also Keeper of Newark Castle in 1467; and whose son Patrick had the same status until 1490. The epitaph of the second of the name is thus read: (“lbid” v, p. 227; also ix, p. 172)
“John Morow sum tym callit was I and born in Parysse certainly an had in kepyng all Mason work of Sant An- droys ye hye Kyrk, of Glas-
-gu Melros and Paslay of Nyddysdayll and of Galway,
Pray to God, and Mari baith. And sweet Sant Tohn to keep this
haly kirk fra Skailh.”
This John Moray had grants of lands from James IV. in 1490 and 1497, was Sheriff of Selkirk 1501, and assassinated on his way to the Sheriff s Court in 1510.
In the reign of Edward III., 1327-77, we are told by Anderson that Lodges were many and frequent, and that great men were Masons, the King patronising the arts and sciences. He says that it is implicitly implied, in an old record, “that in the glorious reign of King Edward III., when Lodges were many and frequent, the Grand Master with his Wardens, at the head of Grand Lodge, with consent of the Lords of the Realm, then generally Free-masons, ordained That for the future, at the making or admission of a brother, the Constitutions shall be read and the Charges hereunto annexed.” Such specific statement is not at present known and is doubtless a paraphrase of the existing MSS. The King founded the Abbey of Eastminster, and others built many stately mansions and about thirty pious houses, in spite of all the expensive wars of this reign.
The south transept of Gloucester Cathedral was begun about the year 1330, and is traditionally said to be by “John Goure, who built Camden Church and Gloster Towre.” He is believed to be represented in a monument, of which an engraving appears in “Ars Quatuor” (vol. ii.); it is in form of a Mason s square, and the builder is represented as if supporting it; his arm is in the position of hailing his Fellows; below the man s effigy is a budget of tools. Until a recent restoration of the ancient Church of the Dominicans in Limerick, there was, on the gable end, the half length figure of a person in Monkish dress; the right hand was clutching the heart, and the left arm, kept close to the side, was raised with the palm outward, index and second finger raised. (“The Kneph.” C. M. Wilson, J.P.)
In 1330, Thomas of Canterbury, a Master Mason, began work at St. Stephen s Chapel, Westminster. The Abbey-gate of Bury St. Edmund s contains the double triangles, and is of this period. On the carved bosses of a Gothic church at Linlithgow are these emblems: (1) a double circle within which is a book upon which are square and compasses; (2) a double square within which are two circles, and in these a double lozenge in the centre of which is the letter G. (“Freem. Mag.,” May 1853.) The brass of John de Bereford at Allhallows, Mayor 1356-7 of Oxford, contains a shield on which are square and compasses. At Dryburgh Abbey there is a tomb, late this century, on which is a cross-hilted sword, surrounded by a wreath of ivy, and on each side of the sword, the square and compasses; this, and others of like nature, might imply the Initiation of a person of Knightly rank.
The condemnation of the 1326 Council of Avignon would seem to have had its influence in England, for upon the “black death” of 1348, when near half the population died, an Ordinance of 1350 confirmed by Statute law in 1360, forbade “all alliances, covines, congregations, chapters, ordinances, and oaths,” amongst Masons, Carpenters, and artisans, and this Statute was endorsed by others of a like nature in 1368, 1378, 1414, and 1423. These laws are, however, rather directed against Journeymen, Apprentices, and labourers, and, in any case, from their repetition at long intervals, had little effect upon the Masonic Assemblies.
A much more important bearing upon the Masonic organisation is a record of 1356. At this period there was a dispute in existence between the “Layer Masons or Setters,” and the “Mason squarers.” Six members of each class appeared before the Mayor, Sheriff, and Aldermen of the city of London, to have their organisation defined in order that the disputes, which had arisen between them might be adjusted, “because that their trades had not been regulated by the folks of their trade in such form as other trades are.” That is, they had not yet been so regulated in the city of London. Amongst these representatives of the Mason squarers was Henry Yeveley; the “Free-masons” as opposed to the “Layer Masons,” who were perhaps derived from the ancient body of the Kingdom, who would suffer in status by French importations, and would prefer, elsewhere, the Saxon Constitution. The Mayor, after consultation with these two sections, drew up a code of ten rules, which appears in full in “Gould s History of Freemasonry,” and which virtually allowed the two bodies identical privileges, and rules, mutually with a seven years Apprenticeship. In either case a Master, taking any work in gross, was to bring 6 or 4 “sworn” men of the “Ancients” of his trade, to prove his ability and to act as his sureties; and they were to be ruled by sworn Overseers. Twelve Masters were sworn, which virtually united both bodies, and made a uniform rule for both, thus establishing the London Company of Masons. Such a union of the Christian Masonry of York and the Semitic Masonry of the Normans, coupled with the grant of Royal Charters to the Masters, might lead to the recognition of the Rites of the Harodim-Rosy Cross as the unification of the two, which it actually is. It is quite probable that this judicious action of the Mayor saved London a repetition of the disturbances which occurred in France amongst the sects of the Compagnonage.
In the middle of the 14th century Ranulf Higden had compiled his “Polychronicon” in the Benedictine Monastery of St. Werberg, Chester, which is here noted as it constituted the authority for all the Masonic Charges as to Jabal, Jubal, Tubal, and Naamah; Nimrod and his cousin Ashur, the two pillars of Enoch, the origin of Geometry, etc., and which introduced into the Saxon Charge by the author of the “Cooke MS.,” whoever that may have been, became the basis of all the later Charges which have come down to us.
It is quite probable that the old 17th century Lodge, of which Randle Holmes was a member, dates from the earliest period of Norman architecture in Chester, if not beyond; its prior antiquity is proved by the fact that it had in the 17th century ceased to have any practical object in relation to architecture. The ancient Scotch Lodges in most cases advance such claims.
This era was the beginning of the “Rectilinear” or “Perpendicular” style of architecture, which continued in vogue down to 1550 From 1349 works were in progress at Windsor, and John de Spoulee, Master stone-cutter to whom Anderson has given the title of “Master of the Ghiblim,” though in Ashmole s “Order of the Garter” the term used is Stone-cutter, had power given him to impress Masons; he rebuilt St. Georges Chapel where the King instituted the Order of the Garter in 1350. In 1356 William of Wykeham, who was made Bishop of Winchester in 1367, was appointed Surveyor, and in 1359 Chief Warden and Surveyor of various castles, and employed 400 Free-Masons at Windsor. In 1360 the King impressed 360 Masons at his own wages, and attempts were made to punish those who left work, and this is the year in which the Statute law was passed against all alliances, covines, and oaths, so that the one may have influenced the other. About this year William Edington, Bishop of Winchester, erected a very beautiful church at Edington. In 1362 writs were issued for the King s works to impress 302 Masons and delvers of stone, and the counties of York, Devon, and Salop were to furnish 60 men each. These arbitrary proceedings of the King have an explanatory bearing upon both the Statute laws and the Masonic Charges. In 1365 Henry Yeveley, already referred to as a Mason-cutter, was director of the work of St. Stephen s Chapel, now the House of Parliament, and according to Anderson is “called at first, in the old Records, the Kings Free Mason”; he built for the King the London Charter-house, King s Hall in Cambridge, and Queensborough Castle. In 1370 William de Wynnesford, Cementarius, was sent beyond sea to retain divers Masons for the service of the King. In 1375, Robert a Barnham at the head of 250 Free Masons completed St Georges great Hall; and Simon Langham, Abbot of Westminster, repaired the body of that cathedral.
In Prior Fossours time, 1341-74, the great West window of Durham Cathedral was placed, and the Altar-screen finished in 1380 to which Lord Neville of Raby contributed 600 marks.
Green, in his “History of the English People,” has some remarks on the English Guilds which we may run over here. He says that “Frank-Pledge,” and the “Frith-Guild” sprang out of kinship and were recognised both by Alfred and Athelstan. The Merchant Guild of London sprang out of various Guilds in the city which were united into one by Athelstan. But this led to a Craft Guild struggle, for their Wardens had the Inspection of all work done, all tools used and everything necessary for the good of their several trades. Apart from the Masons who had their own records, not mentioned by Green, the first to secure royal sanction was the weavers who had their charter from Henry I., though the contest went on during the reign of John, for the control of trade in the 11th century had begun to pass from the Merchant Guild to those of the Craft. It may also be added that the Masons had begun to pass from Monastic control and were becoming secularised. A constant struggle was taking place between the “Prudhommes,” or Wise, and the Commune; those Craftsmen who were unenfranchised united in secret Frith-guilds and Mobs arose, but the open contest did not begin until 1261, when the Craftsmen invaded the Town- mote, set aside the Aldermen and chose Thomas Fitz Thomas for their Mayor. The contest continued until the time of Edward III., who himself joined the Guild of Armourers. Charters had now been granted to every trade, and their ordinances duly enrolled in the Mayors Court, and distinctive Liveries assumed. Green adds that the wealthier citizens now finding their power broken sought to regain their old influence by enrolling themselves as members of the Trade-guilds (p. 189-95).
With the exception of the Masons Guild at York, which was continuously employed on the Minster, and other churches in York, and as these sent Guilds to other distant parts which ceased to exist when their work was done, it is impossible to trace old Guilds in permanency. When they had completed their labours they would report to York, and as workmen were required elsewhere, a Guild with the proper complement of Apprentices, Fellows, and Passed Masters would be sent there. In some cases, in small towns, a remnant would remain in permanence, and it is to such as these that we owe a special Charge distinct from that of the General Assembly.
In 1377 the Guilds of London were reconstituted and became known as “Livery Companies,” from their special Livery or dress. In place of “Guild,” we now have “Crafts and Mysteries,” and for “Aldermen,” the Masters or Wardens. The Masons had sent 4 members and the Free Masons 2 members to the Municipal Council, but an old list shews that this distinction had been done away with and an erasure is made to credit the delegates as “Masons.” The oath of the Wardens is preserved; they swore, well and truly to Oversee the Craft of Masonry, to observe its rules, and to bring all defaulters before the Chamberlain of the City; to spare no man for favour, nor grieve any man for hate; to commit neither extortion nor wrong, nor in anything to be against the peace of the King or city. The Oath concludes, as in the French formula before mentioned, “So help you God and all Syntes.” The title of the London Company of Masons, at this time, was “The Craft and Fellowship of Masons.” The “Court Rolls” of the Manor of Long Benynton, county of Lincoln, the lord being Thomas of Woodstock, the youngest son of Edward III., has John Playster and John Freemason in this year. (“Coleman s Catalogue,” 1882, xviii, No. 150.) The Charters of City Companies of Masons was clearly a legalised usurpation of the Saxon right of Assembly, and modelled upon the older “Fraternities” of France; where such City Companies were chartered the result might be the withdrawal of the Masters into the Livery, leading to the continuation of the Assembly by journeymen and amateurs. To put the question in other words, some Assemblies may have become Livery Companies, whilst York, and other northern towns, continued the ancient right of Masonic Assembly; and in regard to this the views of Brother Speth that the Masonic Assembly, and the Charges belonging thereto, is a claim that they were free “from” the Guilds is worthy of close consideration. Brother Gould has mentioned several instances where Journeymen attempted to establish Guilds for their own enjoyment and protection, but were speedily suppressed by the Masters; in 1387 three Cordwainers had been promised a Papal brief for this purpose, but only obtained the privilege of the London prison of Newgate; a similar attempt of the Journeymen Saddlers was suppressed in 1396; the same befel the Journeymen Tailors in 1415; also the Journeymen Guild of St. George at Coventry in 1427. Unfortunately all the documents of the London Company of Masons prior to 1620 have been lost, or we should have had valuable information as to the working of that Guild. Brother Edward Conder has shewn that the Company at the earliest period of its records had a speculative Lodge meeting at its hall, which was not confined to Masons by profession; and that a Master s grade such as is spoken of in the “Regius” and “Cooke” MSS. was the appanage of the Fellowship, by which “accepted” or non-operatives became qualified for the rank of Liverymen and Assistants who composed the governing Council, and thus the esoteric or symbolic branch was allied with the exoteric one on the Council.
We will now return, in a few notes, to works in progress at this period. In the reign of Richard II., 1377-99, about fifteen pious houses were built. Between 1380-86 the building of the new College, in Oxford, was accomplished by William of Wykeham; the Wardens and Fellows, 14th April, 1386, made solemn entrance, marching in procession with the cross borne before them and chanting Litanies. Between 1387-93 the same architect founded Winchester College; it contains the arms of the Architect, which have a peculiarity worthy of notice; they are two chevronels or carpenters couples between three roses; motto, Manners makyth man. It is probably but a coincidence that if we reverse a Master Mason s apron, it is a copy of the arms of Wykeham, whilst the motto, as previously noted, is found in the “Regius” MS., and in a book on etiquette styled “Urbanitatis,” of which it is possible he may have been author. His Master Mason was William de Wynnesford, mentioned here in 1370, and his portrait as William Wynfor, “lathomus,” appears in stained glass, with that of the Master Carpenter, and Dominus Simon Membury, Supervisor or Clerk of the Works. In the old Masonic Charges there is a law that no Fellow shall go into the town at night, without a Fellow to bear him company, as witness of his good conduct; and Brother F. Compton Price, who has executed the beautiful facsimiles of Masonic MSS., points out that Wykeham had the same law for the Monks and Canons, who were prohibited from going abroad without leave of the Prior, and without a Companion.
From 1389-91 the celebrated poet Geoffrey Chaucer, was Clerk of the Works over the King s Masons, and it is possible that our old Charges may have had some influence upon his poetical works. Romsey Abbey has a pillar in the south aisle, upon the capital of which is sculptured certain figures supposed to represent the Dedicators of the Church; it has a trowel and a large square said to contain the words: “Rohert me fecit.” Between the years 1389-91 two very beautiful churches were erected, one at the village of Shottesbrook in Berkshire, and the other at Winnington in Beds, but the “Perpendicular “style had not reached these places. St. Michael s Church in Coventry was completed in 1395; St. Nicholas in Lynn, 1400; the Collegiate Church in Manchester was in progress, and it has been supposed the builders met at the adjacent “Seven Stars,” a very ancient hostelry.
Works were in constant progress at York from 1349-99, and even down to 1520. In the year 1352, the Chapter of the Minster issued regulations for the Masons employed, which are interesting in themselves, and indicate to us various particulars which shew how carefully old Masonic customs have been handed down to us. It would be an error to suppose that such Lodges as are described herein were the York Assembly; that body was an annual Assembly drawn from all the Masons within a wide circle. Such Lodges might possibly receive Apprentices. The document from which we quote the following particulars is part of the “Fabric Rolls,” printed by the Surtees Society: 1352, “The first and second Masons, who are Masters of the same, and the Carpenters,” took an oath to carry out these regulations. After work, between May and August, breakfast was to last half an hour, “and then the aforesaid Masters, or one of them, shall knock upon the door of the lodge, and forthwith all shall go to their work.” After dinner they shall sleep within their lodge, and when the Vicars have come from the Canons dinner table, the Master Mason, or his substitute, shall cause them to rise and come to their work. Then they were to work from the first bell for Vespers, and then drink within the lodge until the third bell of St. Mary s Abbey called le longe bell. “The aforesaid two Master Masons and Carpenters of the Fabric shall be present at each drinking time, and these shall notify to the Keeper of the Fabric, and to the Controller thereof, all failures and absences.”
In 1370 the Dean and Chapter issued another Code of regulations under which none were allowed to go away above a mile, under penalty of a fine. A new workman was to be tested for a week, and if “he is foundyn conisant of his werke, be recayde ye commune assent of ye Mayster, and ye Keper of ye werke and of ye Mastyr Masoun, shall swere upon ye boke yet he shall trewle ande bysili at his poure, for out anye manner gylary, fayntis, outher desayte, hald, and kepe holy, all ye poyntes of ys forsayde ordinance in all thynges yt him touches or may touche, fra tyme yt he be recavyde.” In this same year Master Robert de Patryngton, and 12 Masons appeared and received Articles to this tenor: – “Lords, if it be your wyles, we grant for to stand at our workes trewly, and at our power.” In the following year we find that this Master had under him 35 Masons and Apprentices, 18 labourers, and the church found them Livery of tunics, aprons, gloves, and clogs.
In 1389 the Masters and Wardens of Guilds were ordered by the Crown to make a return of their laws, oaths, feasts, meetings, and if they possessed charters to produce them, and the existence of both social and Craft Guilds is admitted by issue of separate writs. A body such as the London Fellowship of Masons, says Bro. R. F. Gould, would not be affected by such writs, for it had the governance of the London Craft, and Anderson expresses an opinion, in 1723, that its members had first been received according to well-known Masonic forms. Masons in many parts, who had no Charters, would no doubt be affected by the Writs of 1389, and it is very probable that the order may have led to the compilation of a series of Constitutional Charges, which were, again and again, recopied and handed down to us in later MSS.; but it is clear that such scribes did not hesitate, at any time, to introduce supposed improvements of their own. Whether or not such a recompilation originated thus, the laws of the country shew that Assemblies continued to be held down to the 15th century, and Masonic documents prove their later continuance, and the variations in the MSS. lead us to believe that if there were Masons who preferred a Norman French Charge, there were others who preferred their ancient Saxon privilege of a right of Assembly to obligate Fellows, and pass Masters, and we will give particulars of two such documents shortly, both of which embrace legends of this date.
We will now say a little upon the Symbolism of the time both English and Foreign. Dr. Inman, of Liverpool (“Ancient Faiths in Ancient Names.”, has the following: “The ancient parish church of Bebington, Cheshire, has not only the solar wheel, the spikes of which terminate in the phallic triad, as one of the adornments of the reredos, but abounds with deltas, acorns, Maltese crosses, enfolding triangles, and Virgins who, like the ancient Isis, are crowned with the inverted crescent, the chaplet being still further adorned with the seven planets.” A very interesting series of Marks, cut between 1120-1534 has been collected by Brother Rylands. (“Ars Quat. Cor.” 1894.) At Great Waltham there are some well carved panel heads of open seats, the tops of which in triplicated form contain the five-pointed star, with a ball in the centre. The pavement of Westminster Abbey contains the double triangle, each angle containing a small one, whilst three triangles separated appear in the centre. During last century certain leaden medals designated “Moralli” were disinterred at Dover, and believed to be travelling tokens from one Monastery to another, ensuring welcome, some bore a five-pointed star, others had a dot at each angle, and the letter G in the centre. (“Feem. Mag.,” 1863, viii, p. 86.) Masons as a necessity were travellers, and could not carry work to their shop. The Rev. Bro. A. F. A. Woodford, whose ability as a Masonic authority is unquestioned, has several times stated in print that there was found in the Minster Yard in York an ancient token or seal, undoubtedly of the 14th century, which had upon it words only known to Masons and Hiramites.
By a Statute of Henry VI. (1406) the Liverymen of Guilds were permitted to wear girdles of silk, embroidered with silver and gold. The date to the Will of John Cadeby is indecipherable, but earlier than 1451, as one of the persons mentioned in it died in that year. Bro. G. F. Fort in his treatise on builders marks quotes Matthew of Arras and Peter Arler, whose images in the Cathedral of Prague, of the end of the 14th century, wear in the former case his mark on a keystone “set in a semi-circle,” depending from a broad band of blue, and Peter Arler s is a perfect square. A Guild Mason would say that the Mark of Matthew of Arras proves him to have belonged to an “Arch” Guild, though blue is a Craft colour. The inventory of the Will here named of John Cadeby, of Beverley, Mason, has mention of several Zonas, which though literally girdles, may be interpreted Aprons:
One silk zona, green and red, silver mounted, weight 17 oz., 32s. 8d. One silk zona, silver mounted, with leaves and ivy, weighs 7 1/4 oz., 40s. 8d. One silk zona, silver mounted, with Roses, weighs 9 3/4 oz., 16s. 3d One damaged silk zona, silver mounted, with letters B and I in the middle, weight . . . . One zona, of mixture, silvered, ornamented with stars, 3s One zona, of black and green silk, weight 3 oz., 3s The Girdle, then an article of clothing in general use, was appropriate to a Master. The foreign churches of the 14th century are equally suggestive in Symbolism common to Masonry. The dome of Wurtzburg, in front of the chamber of the dead, has two columns, which are supposed to date from 104o but may be later; on one is the letters IAC-HION, and BOO-Z. There is an old church in Hanover which was building from 1284-1350, and which contains the circle, double triangles, and pentagon; in this church is also a statue of St. George with the red cross, and one of St. James the Pilgrim; at one time it possessed a charger with the Baptist s head; an inscription says: “The fire was a sore thorn to Stoics and Hebrews,” which a Chronicle of 1695 refers to the fact of the burning of the Templars, 1310-3, a remark which would seem to imply a belief that these Knights were guilty of Monotheistic heresy. Hargrave Jennings says that in old representations of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, the sun and moon, with other emblems, are placed respectively on the two porches.
The Church of Doberan has many double triangles, placed in a significant manner; three vine-leaves united by a cord, and symbolic cyphers; there is also a painting in the same church, in which the Apostles are represented in Masonic attitudes. (“Hist. Freem.” J. G. Findel.) Fort asserts that in one of the churches of Florence are life size figures in Masonic attitudes. Many paintings of the old Masters are said to exhibit similar characteristics. The Church of Santa Croce, Florence, over the main portal has a figure of Christ, holding in the hand a perfect square; he it was who told Peter that “upon this stone (“petra”) I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Clavel states that the figure of Christ in the Church of St. Denis has the hand placed in a position well known to Freemasons; at the beginning of this chapter we gave other information hereon. The Abbey Church of St. Owen in Rouen begun in 1318, and completed by Alexander Berneval, who died in 1440 and was buried in the church, has a legend in regard to a very fine Rose-window which is identical with that of Melrose; the five-pointed star appears in the stone tracery, and Murray says that there is a tradition that it was made by an Apprentice whom Berneval, the Master mason, slew out of jealousy because he had surpassed himself. Other edifices at Rouen contain the pentagon. This general identity of Symbolism in various countries tends to prove a secret understanding amongst all Masons as to its meaning, and a similar Initiation of the builders everywhere, which as they travelled about ensured a brotherly welcome.
Victor Hugo in his novel of “Notre Dame” says that “there is an intimate connection between architecture and the Hermetic philosophy.” He further alleges an alchemical symbolism in the sculpture attributed to Bishop William of Parys in the great Portal; he also instances the Virgins with their lamps turned down, and those turned up; the opening of the book (of philosophy); some naked figures at the foot of Mary; one with wings on the heels (Mercury); the Sower; Job (the philosopher s stone, tortured to become perfect); a dragon with its tail in a bath from which rises smoke and a king s head, demons and dragon s head; and Abraham offering his son Isaac.
In the reign of Henry IV., 1399-1413, six pious houses were built; the Londoners erected their Guild Hall, and the King founded Battle Abbey in Shrewsbury, and afterwards that of Fotheringay. In 1399 Hugh de Hedon had employed at York 28 Masons; but fuller information will be found in the “Fabric Rolls.”
In the reign of Henry V., 1413-22, eight pious houses were built, and the King rebuilt the palace, and the Abbey of Sheen, under the direction of Henry Chichley, Archbishop of Canterbury. At York, “our dred lord the King” had, in 1416, given them William de Colchester from Westminster Abbey; the appointment must have been an unpopular one, for, in the third year of his Mastership, certain stone-cutters assaulted and did grievously injure him and his assistant; the work continued here down to 1520. Cattrick Bridge was constructed in 1413, and the three Masons were to have a gown “according to their degree,” but this will mean employment rank. Cattrick Church was begun in 1421, and the Masons were to have “a Luge of tre,” with four rooms of “syelles,” and of two “henforkes.”
The reign of Henry VI. lasted from 1422-61, and he was an infant upon his succession. It is tolerably certain that in his reign the Masons were dabblers in the Hermetic sciences. During the time of Henry IV. Alchemy was made felony, by an act of 1404, which continued in force during the reign of Henry V. Henry VI. took the art under his protection and obtained the consent of Parliament, empowering three Lancashire gentlemen, “lovers of truth and haters of deception,” to practise the art. (“Vide Scientific and Relig. Mysteries.” Yarker. 1872. p. 62.) An Act of Parliament was passed in 1425 alleging that by the “yearly congregations and confederacies of the Masons in their general Chapters assembled,” the good effect of the Statutes of labourers was violated and prohibited all such meetings; no effect was given to this act, and it remained a dead letter on the Statute book until the reign of Queen Elizabeth, when it passed into oblivion, being annulled by other Acts.
In 1424 Prior Wessington repaired the tower of Durham Cathedral, and spent 1,454 Pounds of the money of the time.
In 1426 the Masons erecting Walberswick steeple were to be provided with a house to work in, to eat and drink, and to lie in and to make “mete” in, to be built near the place of working. In 1427, William of Warmington began the rebuilding of the western tower of Croyland Abbey, and the vaulting with stone of the north aisle; his memorial stone, which has been engraved in “Ars Quatuor” (“A.Q.C.” v, p. 146.) , represents him as holding a square in his right hand, and a pair of compasses in his left; there are other Masonic symbols carved here, for which consult the reference under the date 1113. There was a Lodge of Masons attached to the Priory of Canterbury at this time; as the Register of William Molash, in 1429, mentions Thomas Stapylton, the Master, John Morys the Custos, or Warden, both of whom rank as Esquires; and 16 Masons; all receive their livery, or clothing. Chichley also had livery, and these extracts prove that Christ Church Convent had a considerable body of Masons working at the building. St. Mary s Church, Bury, was begun 1424.
In the contract with Horwood for building the Nave of Fotheringay Church in 1434 it is enacted, “that if the two said letters, or any of them, be noght profitable ne suffisant workmen for the lordys availle, then by oversight of Master Masons of the countie, they shall be denyd.” If Horwood did not fulfill his engagements, “he shall yielde his body to prison at my lordy s will (Duke of York), and all his moveable goods and heritages be at my said lordys disposition and ordinance.” In 1439 the Abbot of St. Edmundsbury contracts with John Wood for the restoration of the great bell tower, “in all manere of things that longe to Free-masonry, and to have borde for himself as a gentleman, and his servant as a yeoman, and thereby two robys, one for himselfe after a gentleman s livery.” (“Archaelogia,” xxiii, p. 331.) Southwold Church was begun 1440.
In 1436 an Act was passed which required the Masters, Wardens, people of the Guilds, fraternities, and other companies incorporate, to produce their letters Patent to the Justices and others, where such Guilds and fraternities be, for their approval. This Act is directed against such bodies making their own laws, and it mentions the Chief Master as distinct from the Masons under him. It is a very valid supposition that it was this circumstance which led to the production of the Masonic Constitution for the sanction of the King, as several old copies known last century assert that it was. It has been suggested that the King s Master Mason of our large cities might be the head of the Masonic Assemblies to whom the rest were responsible.
There is a Catechism purporting to be the examination of a Freemason by Henry VI., which admits Occult studies; it was given to the world last century under the name of the antiquaries Leland and John Locke, and though possibly a forgery, in its present shape may have been the actual Catechism of some lodge given to these studies. There, is, however, ancient and genuine testimony to the practice of Alchemy by the Masons. We instanced in our Chapter (VI.) on the Hermetic Schools, the nature of the Symbolism of Jacques Coeur, 1450 and that of Basil Valentine. Whatever uncertainty there may be about this there is none in the fact that Thomas Norton classes the Free Masons by name as giving themselves to Alchemical studies. One Richard Carter in this year 1476, had granted him a license to practise Alchemy.
During this reign Wainfleet, Bishop of Winchester, and Archbishop Chichley superintended the erection of various buildings in Oxford, Cambridge, and others built twelve pious houses. Fuller says of King s College in Cambridge, founded by Henry VI., in 1441, that it is “one of the rarest fabrics in Christendom.” Churches begun, St. Mary s Redcliffe, 1440; Tattershall 1455.
In Scotland William St. Clair built Roslyn Chapel in 1445, and Mr. James Ferguson considers that the builders were from North Spain. Within it is a very beautiful Pillar called the Prentice s Pillar, to which a legend is attached which says that whilst the Master went to Rome for instruction, an Apprentice completed the work in his absence and that out of envy at seeing the beauty of the workmanship he slew the Apprentice by a blow on the forehead. Three heads are shewn in the Chapel as representing those of the Master, the Apprentice, and the widowed Mother, but it has been suggested that they may equally represent Joseph, Jesus, and Mary, in their application to the Rites of Harodim-Rosy Cross. A similar Apprentice legend is attached to Cologne, Strasburg, Rouen, Melrose, Lincoln, and to other places, and though it has a distinct esoteric reference easily understood by all Masons, may possibly be carried forward to an Asiatic superstition that a building intended to endure must be cemented by the sacrifice of life. Brother Speth is of opinion that in addition to a foundation-sacrifice, previously mentioned, there was a completion-sacrifice made at the crowning of the edifice, and that it was a custom obtaining amongst the Teutonic and other races, of which he gives many examples.
Two documents, actually copied at this period, deserve ample reference here; one is the “Cooke MS.,” written about 1450; and of the other there are several duplicates, the “Wm. Watson MS.,” which we shall take as our reference; the duplicates being the “Heade MS.,” dated 1675; another is quoted by Dr. Plot in 1686, and Dr. James Anderson, between 1723-38 had seen a copy. Bro. Dr. W. W. Begemann has investigated the “Cooke MS.,” and considers that it is copied from one about the year 1410, whilst the second part or book of Charges is much earlier, by at least a century; the Preface being compiled in a west Midland County. Upon the “Watson MS., a valuable Commentary by Brother C. C. Howard, of Picton, has been printed, with a facsimile, and he shews very forcibly that it is a more complete and unabridged version than the Preface to the “Cooke MS.,” but this also has been taken from a copy at least three removes from the original compilation, which served both for the “Cooke” and the “Watson” MSS., which again might be amplified copies of still older MSS. It is probable that modifications may have been made to adapt it for presentation to Henry VI., and the “Lords of his honourable Council,” about the year 1442; and it may have been slightly modified in the next reign, when again copied, as little changes are made in all copies, no two being verbally alike. It will be convenient to place the two copies side by side, and to distinguish where the variations occur, to suit them to two different Masonic schools. These MSS. begin with a description of the Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences, upon which all Crafts in the world were founded, and especially Geometry, which is the basis of all other arts, for there is “no handicraft but it is wrought by Geometry.” The author s legendary origin of the Craft begins with Adam, before Noah s flood there was a man called Lamech who had two wives, “one hight Adah, and another Zillah, by the first wife, that hight Adah he begat two sons, that hight Jabal, and the other hight Jubal.” Jabal was “Cain s Master Mason and governor of all his works, when he made the city of Enoch, that was the first city.” Jubal was the founder of Music. “Lamech begat upon his other wife, that hight Zillah.Tubal Cain and his daughter Naamah. This son Tubal Cain was the founder of Smith s Craft. Naamah was the founder of weaver s Craft.” Being forewarned of the deluge they wrote the sciences upon two manner of stones, marble and latres, one of which would not burn, nor the other sink. “A great clerk that was called Putugoras found that one, and Hermes the philosopher, found the other.” Nimrod began to build the tower of Babel and taught the workmen Craft of measures, and had 40 thousand Masons whom he loved and cherished well. Nimrod sent to his cousin Asur 30 hundred of Masons, and gave them a Charge. Abraham “a wise man and a great clerk” taught Geometry to the Egyptians, and had a worthy clerk called Euclid as his pupil. A relation, varied in terms, from the more ancient form, is given as to Euclid s governance. The author then tells us that the Children of Israel learned Masonry when they were in Egypt, that “King David loved well Masons, and he grave them (Charges) right nigh as they be now” and “Solomon confirmed the Charges that David his father had given to Masons.” Thence the worthy Science passed into France where was a worthy King called Charles the Second; “he was a Mason before he was a King and gave them Charges.” Up to this point the two MSS. are in perfect agreement, allowing for copyist s errors, but they now diverge in a remarkable manner, and we give a summary, side by side, the “Watson” MS. complete in itself, the “Cooke” having an older part attached:
WATSON MS. In the Watson MS. the account given of a charge by St. Alban is very full. It gives Athelstan for authority that “Amphabell came out of France,” and con- verted St. Alban to Christendom, he was Steward of the King and built the walls of Verulam; cherished Masons, and “made them good pay,” and gave Charges “as Amphabell had brought them out of France.” COOKE MS. In the Cook MS. the Charge Edwin (son of Athelstan) purchased from his father the right of Assembly and “correc- tion within themselves,” and held an Assembly “at York.”
The style of Cbarges differ and account of St. Alban is much abridged. It says “soon after that came St. Adhabell into England, and converted St. Alban to Christianity, who gave them Charges,” . . .
“And after that there was a worthy King in England that was called Athelstan, and his youngest son
Loved well the Science of Geo- metry, . . . wherefore he drew him to Council and learned the practice of that Science to his speculative, for of speculative he was a Master, and he loved well Masonry and Masons.” It is an abridgement of the from the “Cooke MS.,” and yet allusions are made in these legends to “Books of Charges,” as if existing, which embrace Nimrod, Solomon, Euclid, St. Alban, Athelstan.
A general series of Charges has been collected out of these, which do not differ so much in substance from the Saxon Charge, as they are differently Certain of the “Points,” and in later times attempts were Fellows POINTS, but this might be work of a later Scribe of our Charges wherefore I leave it at this time.”
“Watson MS.,” and goes on to say that this unnamed son purchased a free Patent of the King “that they should make Assembly when they saw a reasonable time.” This omission of the son s name, partially avoids a difficulty, as Athelstan had no son, but he had a younger brother Edwin, who went to sea in a leaky boat and was drowned, arranged. made to fix his death upon King Athelstan. The MS. concludes with the remark that as to the such as duty to King, and Church, and Employers, are Charges to “Masons in general.” There is also no distinction between Masters ARTICLES, and written and taught in the Book manner of Assembly “as it is Stewards of the Lodge, Chamber, or Hall, are men- tioned as in the “Regius MS.” The “Cooke MS.” may have an imperfection, as the duties appear but not the word Steward, to which evidently the duties are intended to apply.
The closing lines, which precede the Charges of the “Watson MS.” are as follows: “These Charges have been seen and perused by “our late” Soveraigne Lord King Henry ye Sixth, and ye Lords of ye Honourable Councell, and they have allowed them well, and said they were right good and reasonable to be holden; and these Charges have been drawn and gathered out of divers ancient books, both of ye old Law, and new Law, as they were confirmed and made in Egypt, by ye King, and ye great Clerk Euclidus, and at ye making of Solomon s temple by King David and Salom his sonn, and in England by St. Alban, who was ye King s Steward yt was at yt time, and afterwards by King Ethelstone yt was King of England, and his son Edwin yt was King after his father, as it is rehearsed in many and diverse histories and stories and Chapters.”
To some extent the false chronology of these MSS. might be reconciled if we substitute Hermes for Euclid, and Chaldeans for Abraham, but this latter would only be correct at a certain period of Egyptian history, when the Shepherd Kings were in power, and scarcely historically accurate. The chronology has been disarranged apparently by adding the Euclid Charge in a document to which it does not belong. The introduction into the Albanus legend of Amphibulus with Charges from France, betrays the work of an Anglo- Norman, for Britain supplied France with Artisans at that remote period. The whole basis of the “Watson MS.” and the first part of the “Cooke MS.,” point to a French original, and the laws might be considered more applicable, as given in the “Watson MS.,” to a Chartered Company which had the supervision of The author attaches an actual “Book of Charges,” which is admittedly of an older date than the Preface of the MS. to the point at which it leaves off. Lodges of the Craft; we consider, as we have before stated, that the “Watson MS.,” may represent the union of two Sects, and the amalgamation of their Constitutional Charges. Our learned Brother the late W. H. Upton, Past Grand Master of Washington, U.S.A., thinks that Hermes may have been first described as “Lucis Pater,” and that Euclid may have been described as pupil of Hermes, until some one destroyed the context by interpolating Abraham. In reference to the Alban legend he supposes that Amphibalus may be a later gloss; and that the Saxon text might be accommodated thus, “the good rule of Masonry was destroyed until the time of Knight Athelstan (a worthy son of King Edward), and he brought the land into good rest and peace, and he (Athelstan) loved Masons more than his father.” The Edwin legend thus arising by substitution of the short Edwd. of the father. He would restore the Saxon thus, or tid cnihte aedlstanes daegs hwele weorthfull sunne cyninge Eadwearde waes, ond se sunu brohte ond he lufode Craeftinga mare d oune his faedr (Eddwd.). Other emendations will be found noticed in the Appendix, with which we close this book.
Architecture is said to have been much neglected during the 17 years of the Wars of the Roses, but in the reign of Edward IV., 1461-83, the walls of London were rebuilt, and seven pious houses erected. Wakefield Church, Yorkshire, was begun in 1470; St. Stephen s, Bristol, same year; Blithborough Church, Suffolk, was completed in 1472,; St. Laurence, Norwich, in the same year; Swaffham, Norfolk, 1474; St. Mary s, Oxford, and St. Mary s, Cambridge, in 1478; Long Melford, Suffolk, 1481. Heswell Church tower, Cheshire, was in course of erection, and its Masons Marks were printed in 1894 by Brother Rylands. The King in 1475 expresses general disapprobation against “the giving of livries, signs, tokens, retainers of indenture, promises, oaths, and writings,” and this is about the date when the “original” of the “Watson MS.” was made. John Islip, Abbot of Westminster, finished the repair of the Abbey in 1483. In 1472 “the hole Craft and Felawship of Masons” had coat armour granted, “sable, a chevron argent engrailed, between three castles, garnished with doors and windows of the field, on the chevron a compass, sable. Crest, A castle triple towered as in the arms.” The oldest motto, God is our guide, which later gave place to this, In the Lord is all our trust. With slight differences the Lodges generally adopted these arms. Brother Conder informs us that the Company, at one time, possessed the Constitutions of the Fellowship, presented to them in the Mayorality of John Brown in 1481; these were the laws of their own body as a Company, but are now lost.
“Germany.” It is known that the Emperor Rudolph I. even in the year 1275, authorised an Order of Masons, whilst Pope Nicholas III. in the year 1278 granted to the Brotherhood of Stonemasons at Strasburg, a letter of Indulgence which was renewed by all his successors down to Benedict XII. in 1340. The oldest order of German Masons arises in 1397, next follow the so-called Vienna witnesses of 1412, 1434, 1435. Then the Strasburg Order of Lodges in 1464; that of Torgau 1462, and finally 16 different orders on to 1500, and the following centuries, for Spiers, Regensburg, Saxony, Altenburg, Strassburg, Oesterrich, and Ungarn. (“Geschichte der Freimaurerei in Oesterreich und Ungarn,” Ludwig Abafi, Budapest, 1890-1). The German statutes of Ratisbon 1459 and of Strasburg 1464, confirmed by the Emperor Maximilian I. on the 1st May, 1498, are but a more ornate version of those of England. They were to be kept secret by the Master upon his Oath, and were his authority, as he had Charge of the (Contribution) book, and they were to be read yearly to the Fellows in the Lodge, and the “Brotherhood book” of 1563 mentions 22 towns where copies were kept. This book contains the following: LIV.
“Every Apprentice when he has served his time, and is “declared free, shall promise the Craft, on his troth and “honor, in lieu of oath, under pain of losing his right “to practise Masonry, that he will disclose or communi- “cate the Masons greeting and grip to no one, except “to him to whom he may justly communicate it, and also “that he will write nothing whatever.” LVI”And “every Master having aforesaid Apprentices, shall “earnestly enjoin and invite each one when he has thus “completed the above written five years to become a “Brother by the Oath which such one has taken to the “Craft, and is offered to each.”
Vicentius in the “Mirrour of the World.” printed by Caxton in 1480, contains short descriptions of the Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences, similar to the description in the Masonic Charges, but adding to each an explanatory woodcut. A book was published by Veldener in Holland in 1486 which is said to contain symbolism of Craft and Egyptian Initiation.
The book of Ludwig Abafi says of Bohemia and Hungary that they had other Mystic Brotherhoods “Die Bruder von Reif und Hammer” Brothers of the Circle and Hammer. “Die Hackbruderschaft” Brotherhood of the Hatchett. “Die Freund vom Kreuz” Friends of the Cross, which spread to Netherlands and were still holding meetings in 1785 in Wallachia, Transylvania, and other places. The Torgau Ordinances of 1462 indicate clearly the German qualification for granting a Mark, enacting, in Article 94, that no Fellow shall qualify if he “has not served his time or has bought his Mark, and not honestly earned it.” By Article 25, at his Freedom he demanded a Mark from his Workmaster, and had to make a payment for the service of God. Article 12 enacts that if any one communed with a harlot he should retire from the Lodge, “so far as one may cast a gavel.” Of the reign of Richard III., 1483-5, nothing noteworthy is recorded. In the reign of Henry VII., 1485-1509, various royal works were in progress, and about six pious houses were built. Reginald Bray, raised the middle chapel of Windsor, and rebuilt the palace of Richmond. The Savoy was converted into a hospital, and in 1500 the Knights of St. John elected the King as Protector. In 1495 the law forbade the giving of liveries, signs, tokens, etc., being an official enforcement of the Complaint made to the Star Chamber in 1475. Various minor works were in progress which we need not particularise here; we may mention that John Hylmer and William Virtue contracted, in 1507 for the groined roofing of St. George s Chapel at Windsor; and in 1509 Robert Jenyns, Robert Virtue, and John Lobins, are styled “Ye King s III Mr. Masons.” The palace of Sheen was rebuilt after the fire of 1500 in the Burgundian style. Additions were made to Windsor, also to Hundsden, Bridewell, and Newhall or Beaulieu in Essex. Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, began the palace of Thornbury, in Gloucestershire, but went to the scaffold before completion. The King in 1544 gave a Patent to John of Padua as “designer of his Majesty s buildings,” and a noted engineer, and Gothic architect, Sir Richard Lea, was employed as a Master Mason, and had a grant of the Manor of Topwell in Hertfordshire. The Church of St. Mary at Beverley already mentioned was rebuilt, in the reign of Henry VIII. It has upon the 6th Pillar: “This pillar made the Minstrels.” The city usually had five officials of this character; the Chief Minstrel had a long loose coat trimmed with fur, and the costume of the others was a yellow jacket, long brown hose, blue belts, and a heavy gold chain round the neck.
A new style in domestic architecture termed the Tudor had arisen and is said to be Burgundian. The Rev. Wm. Benham says that Richard IlI. left an illegitimate son, 16 years of age at his father s death, who got his living as a Mason, and was buried in Eastwell, Kent, thus recorded: “Richard Plantagenet was buried the 22nd day of December ut Supra” (1650), so that he must have been 81 years of age. Drake (Eboracum p. 117) states that he was knighted by his father at York. The reign of Henry VIII., 1509-47, was more remarkable for other things than Masonry, Charles Dickens disposes of the King as a blot of blood and grease on the page of English history. Cardinal Wolsey and Thomas Cromwell built several great works, Hampton Court, Whitehall, Trinity College in Oxford, the College of Ipswich, St James Palace, Christs Hospital in London, Esher in Surrey, and Greenwich Castle. Lord Audley built Magdalen College, and Audley-end. In 1512 the “Master of Works” at Christs Church College in Oxford was Nicholas Townley, a priest. In 1520 York Minster was completed, and at the erection of St. Michael le Belfry, 1526, the Master Mason was John Freeman with 13 Masons, 2 Apprentices, 1 Intailer, and 17 labourers. In 1530 the London “Craft and Fellowship of Masons,” adopted the title of “Company of Freemasons.” There was in building at this date, and at the period of the Reformation: St. James Church, Bury; Lavenham, Suffolk, Bidston Church tower, the Marks of which were collected in 1894 (“Ars Quat. Cor.” 1894.) , St. Stephens, Norwich; Whiston, Northamptonshire, 1534; Bath Abbey Church, 1539; Trinity College Chapel, Cambridge, 1539. Of this century there is in Winchester Cathedral, a carved stone of the Freemasons Arms, and containing also the square, level, and compasses. (“Ibid,” i.)
Brother H. R. Shaw points out in the “Banner,” some interesting symbolism in the pavement of Printing-house Square, London, which would be of value, had it been shewn to be ancient. The manager of the “Times” told him the site was that of old Blackfriars Monastery, and, after the Reformation, of the King s printing-house. The square is slightly oblong and divided with granite cubes, by diagonally crossed lines, so as to form four triangles, each of which has a circle of cubes and in the centre an emblem: in the east is a “cross,” or it may be a pair of diagonals; in the west is a five-pointed star. (“Freemason.” 7 Sep., 1594.) An interesting find was made in digging a drain, near Arreton, in the Isle of Wight, in 1856, a basin of a species of bell-metal, which has on the outside of the base the double triangles, a tau cross within three circles, and at each of the six outer angles a star, and a seventh in the Centre, near the Cross. (“Freem. Mag.,” 1856, p. 845.) The German Rivius, in his “Steinmetzen Grund,” 1548, terms the circle and triangle “the two most distinguished principles of stone Masons,” and he also adds that “the dimensions of the equilateral triangle are the primitive and most distinguishing marks of ancient cathedrals,” of the period treated in this Chapter. As practical symbols they typified arithmetic and geometry, and were treated as the standpoints of all created matter. It is somewhat remarkable that an ancient emblem of the theological trinity of Egypt, the triangle with an eye in it, passed into the Christian Church, and is yet used as an emblem in the Oriental churches. It was carved in 1173 on the Sarcophagus of Bishop Eusebius who was interred at Mount Athos, we have also seen it upon an old Armenian sword.
The regulations of the Masons and other Crafts for the City of Norwich are given in the 1903 volume of “Ars Quatuor Coronatorum.” The Corporation possessed a “Book of Customs” from the 13th or 14th century. The Bailiff and some 12 to 24 members of each Craft had the examination, with power to levy fines, of the Craft guilds. All apprentices were to be indentured for seven years, and some of the 15th century are preserved. The Smith s Craft was at this period united with the Masons, and some regulations were made in 1469 because of faults “used by the Masons to the dishonour of their Craft,” and it is stated in 1491 that no Masters or Wardens had been sworn to make search for defective work. An Apprentice roll from 1512 is preserved and there are lists of Wardens until the middle of the 18th century. In the Mystery plays they had to perform the part of “Abel and Cain.” Each member paid an annual penny to the priest of the Chapel of St. John who “sang for the prosperity of the brethren who are alive, and the souls of those departed.” Some changes took place at the dissolution of Guilds in 1548 but the “feasts” and “fellowships,” and the priest s salary, were continued. In 1572 rules for the Masons are drawn in the “Assembly Book,” and the Limeburners are included, with the fines each had to pay for various faults. The Masons were to assemble every year with their two Wardens and headmen, and were to elect 12, 11, 10, 9, or 8 of the members, and these had to elect new Wardens, headman, a beadall, annually, and fines are imposed for not attending meetings, when summoned by the latter. If necessary the fines were recoverable by distress, half of which went to the town and half to the Society. These regulations do not differ very materially either from the London Livery Companies, or the Scottish Incorporated Masters, nor from the trade Incorporations granted by the Bishop of Durham. There is no doubt such bodies had usually a Speculative Lodge held of them, as at London and as at Newcastle in 1581. In other cases such assemblies granted an annual commission, say of five, to Initiate.
“Scotland.” We will now hark back a little to examine the system which prevailed in Scotland; it embraces the features of the English Livery Companies and the French Fraternities of Masters, with a much stricter control over its members than the English Companies found it convenient to enforce; and probably, at a later period, and even to this day through the Grand Lodge, may have had an influence upon the English Society of Free Masons, though the term Mason is always used in Scotland. There is no doubt that at an early period Scotland had its Masonic Assemblies,but early in the 15th century, a cause was at work which modified the Assemblies, by withdrawing the Masters into bodies, similarly to the English Companies. A Statute was passed in the reign of James I., 1424, empowering handicraftsmen to elect a “Wise Man of the Craft” as “Dekyn or Kirk Master;” and it was found necessary to bring Craftsmen from France, Flanders, Spain, Holland, and England; the reason assigned being that all Scottish Men of Craft had been slain in the wars. The powers granted were obnoxious and abolished 2 years later. There followed upon this the constitution of Masters Incorporations granted by “Seal of Cause,” upon a petition to the Lord provost and town Council. The Masons, Wrights, and Weavers received their Charter in 1475, which would confirm their older self-made regulations; the Hammermen in 1475; Butchers, 1488; Cordwainers, 1489. The members of these Incorporations had to contribute “a weekly penny,” to support the altar and priest, equally a custom of the French Masters Fraternities. Trial-pieces, “essays,” or examinations, equally with France, were exacted upon application for admission to the Masters Incorporations. On opening and closing the meeting prayer was offered up by the Deacon, as the Master was termed. An oath was required which embraced secrecy, obedience to their own and the Burgh laws, and to the Deacon of their own trade, and also to a higher Officer that began to be constituted in various towns, namely the Deacon Convener, loyalty to the King and the whole Craft.
The “Convenery” was established somewhat later than the “Incorporations,” the object being to unite the whole of the trades or Arts of a town under one head and Assembly, composed of the Deacons or Masters of the various “Incorporations;” these elected their own president or “Convener” thus providing a supreme central authority.
We thus see the gradual transformation of the primitive Assemblies into “Lodges” of Apprentices and Journeymen; “Incorporations” of Masters; “Conveneries” of all trades; which were recruited by an accepted trial-piece; the private Lodges being held in subjection to the Masters-Fraternity initiated by “Seal of Cause.” These various bodies never lost their legal status, and the Incorporations of the Masons and Wrights exist to this day; but many of the private Lodges, which were subject, or subordinate to them, went under the Grand Lodge of Scotland when it was established in 1736. (“Vide Ars Quat. Cor.” ii, p. 160; also v, p. 126.) It forms no part of our labours to give a history of Scottish Masonry, but some information is necessary in regard to countries other than England.
The Burgh records of Aberdeen afford evidence from 1483-1555, that the Craft dealings with their employers, without reference to esoteric Lodge work, resembled that of the 14th century Freemasons employed in York Minster. In 1483 the Masons at work are “obligated be the faith of thare bodies,” and there is mention of the Luge. In 1484 it was ordered that the Craftsmen “bear their tokens” on their breasts on Candlemas day; in 1496 that every Craft have their standard. In 1498 Matheu Wricht agreed “be his hand ophaldin to make good service in the luge,” also “that Nicol Masone and Dauid Wricht oblist thame be the fathis of thar bodies, the gret aith sworne to remain at Sand Nicholes werk in the luge to be leil and truve in all points.” In 1532 a “Seal of Cause,” established a Masters Incorporation; and in 1555 it was ordered that “thair be na craftsman made fre man to use his craft except he haf seruit a Prentis under one maister three yeiris, and he found sufficient and qualified in his Craft to be one Maister.” How are we to read this? After serving an apprenticeship he had to be made free of his Lodge, and could only become a Master and a Member of the “Incorporation,” after an “essay.” It is an instance of the loose language so often found in Masonic documents, by which we are necessarily led away in reasoning upon Masonic rites and laws. A law of the Incorporation was in force in 1587 that Journeymen and Prentices, though not members of the Society, were to be entered in the books of their Craft, whilst apprentices were to be entered in the books of the Town, to enable them to obtain the rights of Freedom of Craft, as free Burgesses. It seems like a side blow at the Lodges, and the same custom was in force in the chief towns of England. In 1599 a Convenery of all the trades was established, and their rules of 1641 enact that all Indentures between Masters and Prentices shall be presented to the Town Clerk, within 21 days, for registry. Of course all this legislation, and the foundation of special bodies for the Masters, must have affected the status and position of the Scottish Lodges materially, and the same in England where Lodges were established in towns in which there was a Chartered Livery Company.
Powers which had been granted 1424 were restored 1555. A Dicreet Arbitral was issued by James VI. in 1580 by which the Council consists of: “The auld Pro- “vost, four auld Baillies, the Dean of Guild, and Treasurer “of the next year preceding, and three other Merchants “to be chosen to them, and also to consist of eight “Craftsmen thereof, six Deacons, and the other Crafts- “men, mak, and in the hail, the said Council eighteen persons.” Regulations follow as to the form of Apprenticeship. In 1590 the same King, 25 Septr., appointed Patrick Copeland of Udaucht “Warden and Justice” of the Masons, but in 1601-2 the Freemen Maisons request the St. Clairs to procure from the King the office of Patron and Judge, and the document having perished by fire, the Lodges confirm it in 1628. In 1598 and 1599 William Schaw, “Maister of Wark” to King James, granted Constitutions to Edinburgh and Kilwinning districts, and perhaps also to Stirling and others at these dates; these have already been mentioned.
There is a tomb in the Chapel Royal of Holyrood of the year 1543 upon which is a stepped-cross; on one side of it is a compass and some other emblem beneath, on the other side a square and below that a square-headed gavel. In Glasgow Cathedral, on the inside of a stone window-sill of the south side of the choir and carved over the date 1556, is an eye, crescent moon, three stars, hand pointing a finger, ladder of five steps, square and compasses; these were pointed out by Brother W. P. Buchan who casts doubt, we think unnecessarily, upon the date given. (“Freem. Mag.,” 1869 (engraved).) It may be noticed here, that the Lodge of Mary s Chapel, Edinburgh, has minutes from 1599, and was old then, and that these minutes, those of the Incorporation, and those of the Convenery are independent of each other, and confirm what we have stated, and which we shall refer to more fully. In the year 1543 the Castle of Wark in Northumberland, was repaired by an Italian of the name of Archan. Soon after 1549 the Wark Lodge sent a contingent Guild to Haddington, which afterwards went on to Aitchinson s Haven, and St. John s Kilwinning Lodge, at Haddington, claims to be an offshoot of the Wark Lodge. (“Some old Scot. Lodges,” 1899, Liverpool, Bro. Jobn Armstrong.)
The Belgian Masons, Tilers, etc., had a Guild-house of the “Four Crowned,” erected at Antwerp in 1531, the walls of which were decorated with the 4 Statues, and with seven large pictures representing their martyrdom; the Guild is mentioned in 1423, and their Incorporation by the Magistrates dates from 1458. At Brussels at this date the ranks alluded to are Apprentices, Fellows, and Masters, but the Antwerp laws of 1458, allows an Apprentice, at 18 years of age, who has served 4 years, to make his trial-piece and become a Master. (“Ars Quat. Cor.” 1900. pt. 2. Bro. Count d Alviella. P.G.M.) A recent history of Spanish Freemasonry, by Brother Nicholas Diaz y Perez states that in 1514 Mosen Rubi established a Masonic temple in Avila, and that the celebrated Admiral Coligny initiated a large number of Spanish personages in Catalonia, and later in the army. We give this last with reserve. In Danver s “Portugese in India” is an engraved portrait, of which there is a copy in the British Museum, representing Prince Henrique, surnamed the Navigator, in the upper left hand corner of which is the level, square, plumb-line and weight, and open compasses: it was printed about 1620 by Simon van de Paes.
In Sebastian Munster s “Cosmography,” printed in 1554, is the square and compasses in which is the letter G as a marginal ornament. “The Enemie of Idleness,” by W. F. (Wm. Fleetwood), London, 1578, mentions a work on architecture and the science of building by Baptista Leo, a Florentine, and his “Secrete and hid discipline.” The compilation of this Chapter is much indebted to the collections of the late E. W. Shaw, and Mr. Wyatt Papworth, also to the Histories of Anderson and Gould, and the various papers of “Ars Quatuor Coronatorum.” The particulars, though interesting in themselves, relate rather to the Craft in its operative and exoteric aspect; but they also shew the nature of the speculative and esoteric Symbolism, the plan of the Societies organisation, the nature of an esoteric ritual, the fact that Assemblies continued to be held; and that all things of the period of this Chapter point to a perfect conformity with what is known of Guild Masonry, and its imitation in the Free Masonry of to-day. The Statute law and the chartering of Livery Companies or Masters Fraternities, seems to have gradually shorn the Assemblies of much of their prestige and privileges, and contributed to make the more extensive Assemblies stationary town Lodges, with a modified Constitution. The abandonment of Gothic Art about 1550, and the death of the operative Masters of that Art about 1580 accomplished the rest and left Free Masonry what it was in 1700. The Gothic “arcanum” had died out; its Lodges had become mere social clubs; but a counter movement was in progress under Inigo Jones to restore the “arcanum” of the Classical architecture of Italy. We cannot conclude better than with the following quotation from Robert Fabian s “Concordance of Histories,” which appeared in 1516 (Pynson). The writer was Sheriff and Alderman of London, 1493-1502; and died about 1511, but his book was not printed until 1516 by Pynson. The following is from his prologue of 28 Stanzas of which this is the 5th and 6th. He may have been a member of the Mason s Company: “And I, like the Prentice that heweth the rought stone, And bringeth it to square, with hard strokes and many, That the Master after, may it oeur gone And prynte therein his figures and his story, And so to work after his propornary That it may appear, to all that shall it see, A thynge right parfyte, and well in eche degree; So have I now sette oute this rude worke, As rough as the stone that comen to the square, That the learnede and the studyed Clerke, May it oeur polysshe, and clene do it pare, Flowyrsshe it with eloquence, whereof it is bare, And frame it to ordre that yt is out of joynt, That it with old authors may gree in every poynt.”
We will only add that we think that this Chapter clearly proves that there was engrafted upon the simple Anglo-Saxon Constitution of Masonry a series of Semitic legends, and their compliment in the Free-Masonic ceremonies, which entered this country from the East in Anglo-Norman times, with an improved style of building, of Saracenic origin.
Whence England derived its Semitic ceremonies of Free Masonry is not very definite but circumstances point very clearly to a direct importation from Palestine, extended by French Masons who came over from time to time and it is in that country that we find the earliest allusion to the Solomonic legends, and it is evidenced in this Chapter that these legends were introduced into the older Saxon Charges from that country.
X – FREE-MASONRY IN MODERN TIMES.
THE pretensions that Dr. James Anderson has made for the Grand Masterships of numerous Bishops, Priests, and Monks, should not be passed over with a shrug of contempt. Ages after architecture had been relieved from Monkish trammels the great architects were mainly Clerics, who have left their marks upon the soil of England. We have mentioned many such in our last Chapter, and these stand out prominently: Peter Bishop of Winchester, 1220; Edington and Wykeham, both Bishops 1364; the work of the latter, some author observes, is stamped with a genius, almost a style in itself; Prior Bolton, in conjunction with Sir Reginald Bray, 1503; and Cardinal Wolsey was a most accomplished architect, as is proved by all the buildings with which he was connected. It has been aptly said that, “the Classic styles are the prose of architecture, Gothic its poetry; the Classic its speech, and Gothic its song.” The period of this Chapter is the “Renaissance Style,” which arose in Rome, and spread to this country. The change of style was in part a matter of taste, and in part a matter of vanity as with the affectation of classical learning it became the fashion to treat the brilliant Gothic as a barbarous style. The Gothic fraternity laboured in bands or guilds, travelling about, and disappearing when their work was accomplished, and each man left his individual stamp upon the work: as each part of a Gothic edifice supports both itself and some other part, so the Free Masonic bands supported each other. Under the Renaissance each building bears the stamp of one man, and the architect came into being with the loss of the old Sodalities. With the Reformation we have the decay of Catholic symbolism, and the loss of it to the modern Freemason. With the Renaissance we find this symbolism, as a part of Catholic doctrine in the old times, carried into the erection of private buildings, and we have castles and mansions built on a cruciform basis; or in the form of variously shaped triangles; and in the shape of letters of the Roman Alphabet. It is said that John Thorpe, who erected many mansions in the Elizabethan style was a pupil of John of Padua. But it is to the Italian masters of the 17th century that we owe the preservation of the Rites of Guild Masonry.
The period which we have now reached in Freemasonry exhibits an organisation which somewhat diverges from its ancient Constitution; for reasons assigned in our last Chapter. The ARTICLES and POINTS of a Master and Fellow have become combined in one code, in a new series of Constitutional Charges dating from about the Reformation. York was now universally recognised as the primary seat of Masonic Assembly and London may have acquiesced in this from the fact that the Oversight of Masonry rested with the Company of Freemasons known to date from the time of Edward III., though it had a Speculative Lodge attached to which amateurs, and others for the Livery, were admitted.
Authorities are not quite agreed as to the original date to which we may carry back the numerous copies of Masonic MSS. that we possess, but there seems not the slightest reason to doubt that all our modern Guild Charges are derived from an abridgement of the “Cooke and Watson MSS.,” which had become too lengthy for general use in the Lodges, and with its reduction in length was associated other changes brought about by the circumstances of the times. Of this new Constitution some 70 copied have come down to us dating between 1560-1700, and most of them no doubt have been the Official Copies of Masters of Lodges. They are all verbal departures from some one abridged copy, made perhaps about the years 1535-45, but in what locality there is nothing to shew.
They usually begin with an invocation to the Trinity, and are addressed to the “Good Brethren and Fellows.” The Euclid Charge which is the sole feature of the primitive Saxon Charge, is condensed as in the “Watson MS.,” to ordain a duly Passed Master or a Master of Work, and which, in the esoteric work of a Lodge, is somewhat equivalent to the Installation of a Master; but which would be inapplicable to a large Provincial Assembly, met to receive Fellows, and pass Masters, as arranged for in the Athelstan Constitution. The new MS. also agrees with the present ritualistic system, as it brings into prominence the Charges of David and Solomon, and the assistance of Hiram of Tyre. The Laws begin with a “General Charge to all Masons,” collected out of the oldest Articles and Points, and then follows a “Charge to Masters and Fellows.” Where an “Article” of the Master has been copied out of the oldest MSS. the word Fellow usually follows it, as if with the intention of claiming that a Fellow in a Lodge was equally a Master. Usually the distance assigned, within which attendance at the Assembly is compulsory is 50 miles, which gives 100 miles diameter in a circle round a common centre. All these later Charges are the basis of the esoteric receptions then, and still in use. These later Constitutions are in main agreement with the “Watson MS.” and the Preface to the “Cooke MS.,” which state that the great Patron of Masonry in France was Charles II., the Karl II. of the German Catechism, and the grandson of Charlemagne, respecting which we volunteered some remarks in our last chapter. But in the later MSS., however the correction has been reached, a return has been made to Charles Martel, who, though only Regent of France, was the accepted Patron of stonecutters in France before the 13th century. Possibly “secundus” was a German error either for Magnus or for Martel and obtained credence in England. The instructor of Martel has a name that has puzzled most Masonic scribes, as he appears in endless forms, amongst others, Naymus Grecus, Manus Graecus, Mamongetus, Namus Grenaeus, etc., and he had wrought at the building of Solomon s temple with Ammon, Aymon, Anon, etc. It is possible that the origin of the name was from Nimes in Southern France, then from Namus to Marcus Graecus, a philosopher of the 8th or 9th century it is supposed, though not heard of till the 13th century, and when in the 16th century the name was disfigured beyond recognition, and Caxton had printed the “Four Sons of Aymon,” which contains a Masonic legend, that Aymon was adopted. The name Aymon was used in baptism as Cornelius Agrippa gave it to his firstborn son. Simon Greynaeus also obtained countenance from his eminence as a Geometrician. Brother Schnitger, in his Commentary upon the MS. Charges printed by the Newcastle College of Rosicrucians in 1893, suggests that the difficulty in regard to Namus labouring at Solomon s temple and then instructing Charles Martel may be got over by reading it that he was one “who had been at the buildings of Solomons temple,” that is had visited the site. All these later Constitutions preserve the relations as to Hermes, Pythagoras, and Euclid, and we cannot admit that the Masons who recognised these personages as, in some sort, their predecessors, were ignorant of the sublime spiritual geometry which underlaid their ancient philosophy.
It is probable that in time we may adopt a theory developed in a paper before the Quatuor Coronati Lodge 2076 by Bro. Dring that Carolus Secundus of the Cooke MS. is an error for Carolus Magnus or Charlemagne, and that Manus, Namus, or the man with the Greek name, was Alcuin Flaccus of York, also called Albines, who it was suggested might be the St. Alban therein mentioned, and who terms Charlemagne “the wise Solomon” and speaks of the erection of the Church at Aixe-la-Chapelle as the work of this wise Solomon. The theory has the merit of rectifying the chronology, which is erroneous as it stands.
The importance of York as a Masonic centre would decline from various causes. In 1538 the Monasteries were dissolved, and building requirements ceased for a time; this was emphasised by the suppression of the Minor Fraternities, Brotherhoods, and Guilds. One of the Guilds thus suppressed at York had endured exactly for a century, and was named the Guild of “Corpus Christi” and consisted of a Master and six priests, who annually on Trinity Sunday regulated the “Mystery-play” of Corpus Christi when every trade in the city was bound to furnish a Pageant; this sacred drama existed at York in 1220 A.D. Another reason is that with the abolition of Guilds, the existing Livery Companies lost even the lax hold which they had possessed over the trades; and the Municipality of York, and other cities, had adopted a form of City Freedom, as early as the 14th century, which was granted by the Lord Mayor and Common Council to the Apprentice who had served his term of seven years. It was an Exoteric mode resembling the Esoteric reception of a Mason. An Apprentice was bound by an Indenture, in which he took upon himself rules of conduct, which are practically the same as those to which, as a Mason, he would have been sworn in Lodge; this Indenture was taken to the City Clerk, who endorsed it “Entered.” At the end of his seven years Apprenticeship he repaired to the Guild Hall, and took an oath addressed “to the Lord Mayor and Good Men,” that he would keep the privities and maintain with his body the Freedom of the City. The Clerk then “Charged” him to protect the tolls and dues of the City, and conferred the “Freedom.” We have not the precise date when this form began at York, though there are lists of Freemen from early in the 14th century; the same usage was in force at Boston in Lincolnshire, and lists of the Apprentices “Freed” are preserved there from 1559; it existed at Leicester, Norwich, Appleby, etc., etc. (“Ars Quat. Cor.” iv.) A like custom was adopted in Scotland, and ordered at Aberdeen in 1641. (“Ibid.” ii, p. 161.) Smith, in his learned Essay on the Romano-German laws, which we have previously quoted, considers that the Roman Collegia were the foundations of our Municipal corporations, and says: “In England the Guilds appear to have been the immediate foundation of the old Municipal corporations. Many of the exclusive privileges, which are scarcely yet forgotten, and many of the customs derived from the Guilds, with regard to the exercise of a Craft, have passed into common law, though now disconnected with the immunities derived from the Municipalities.”
At this period, and for long afterwards, the Crown had ample cause for uneasiness in regard to the Assembly of any large body of Men in the North of England; and no other portion of the kingdom so strongly resented the suppression of Monasteries and Guilds as did Northumberland, Durham, and Yorkshire. Brother Francis Drake, the historian, says that their dissolution inflicted a terrible blow upon the grandeur of York, the sick, the infirm, and all sorts of religious persons were turned out of house and home to starve or beg. A formidable rebellion was organised in 1537 under the name of the “Pilgrimage of Grace,” in which the leading men of the country, with the Abbots of Fountains, Jervaux, and Rivalx, took part. These Pilgrims took an oath of their good intentions to church and King, and at their head marched a body of priests, habited in their vestments, and with crosses in their hands. The leaders assumed characteristics such as Charity, Faith, Poverty, Pity. Their banner was embroidered with a crucifix, a chalice, and emblems of the 5 wounds of Christ, and the last mentioned emblems were placed on the sleeves of their robes, with the name of Jesus in the centre. The rising was suppressed in Henry s usual brutal manner, but the dissatisfaction continued to slumber on, and must have caused the government to look with suspicion upon any considerable gathering of men, however innocent their intentions might be. This dissatisfied element was also very strong in South Durham as well as North Yorkshire, and extended into Northumberland. A second and final rising occurred in 1569, under Elizabeth, but was as disastrous as the first, but though these “Recusants” were often persecuted, and large numbers hanged, they made no further attempt to regain their lost position; it is however, known that they adopted secret modes of recognition, such as passwords, by which to recognise friends; one of these was Gibb, and Gibbs in a continental system was one of the 3 Ruffians.
We find nothing worthy of mention in the reigns of Edward VI., 1547-53, or that of Mary, 1553-8, but the long reign of Elizabeth, 1558-1603, has much to record. The “old tradition,” recorded by Anderson, that Queen Elizabeth sent an armed force in 1561 to break up the annual Assembly at York is probably of an authentic character. He states that it was held under Sir Thomas Sackville, as President, and that by his friendly management the Assembly was allowed to continue its labours. There is an ancient song in reference to this which may be almost contemporary. (“Rosicrucian,” 1878, p. 464)
The Law complained querulously, in 1548, that “artificers made confederacies not to meddle with another s work”; which is exactly what the Masonic Charges had insisted upon from ancient times. In 1562 all previous laws are superseded by Statute empowering Justices to rate the wages of journeymen and forbidding the exercise of trades without an Apprenticeship to such trades, which requirement is what Masons always contended for as a necessity of their trade. Anderson quotes the view of Judge Coke, as to the Statute of 1425, which he said was now abrogated, and adds that it confirms the opinions of old Masons that “he was a faithful brother.”
It is asserted in Masonic histories that, up to 1561, York was paramount in Masonic Government, but that North and South were now divided, and the existing remnants of the old Guild system teaches that the Trent was the division line; it is, therefore, probably a true statement.
In the feeble rule of the Masons Company and the existence of independent Guilds there is traditional basis for the foregoing statement, which seems to be represented by a Southern version of the old Charges. These MSS., for there are several copies, do not differ materially from the others except but in one or two points; they omit the Euclid Charge, but that seems to be an accident of the scribe. Edwin is said to have been the son of a worthy King of England in the time of Knight Athelstan, thus referring to their father, Edward the elder, and this Edwin was made a Mason “at Windsor.” Hebrew MSS. are now said to have been produced at the Assembly which Athelstan held at York, and there is actually a Jewish profession of Faith before Solomon in use by the French “Sons of Solomon.” The oath in these MSS. is confirmed by the Invocation of Almighty God, or as a copy of 1686, which is believed to have been prepared for the London Guild whence sprang the Lodge of Antiquity, has it “Almighty God of Jacob,” in place of “by my Halidame.” The most important script of this version is the “Landsdowne MS.,” reproduced in facsimile by the “Quatuor Coronati Lodge,” and supposed to have been in the possession of Lord Burghley, who died in 1598. There is some doubt of its alleged antiquity, and the changes made savour of Commonwealth times, 1649-60 when the Jews were readmitted. A critical examination of the several copies has been made by Brother Dr. W. W. Begemann, with the conclusion that there was an older version than any of the three versions examined, such might have been Burgley s.
If Queen Elizabeth did contemplate the suppression of the Assembly at York, it would go before the law officers of the Crown, and the Secretary of State at that time was Sir William Cecil, a Lincolnshire man, who was created Baron Burghley, and is alleged to have possessed this Constitution. He began the building of Burghley House about 1556, and it was continued down to 1578, and all details of the work were submitted to him. One of the Free- Masons employed was Roger Ward, Peter Kempe was Clerk of Works, and Richard Shute Surveyor. We read 10th January, 1562, Of “one freemason yt was hyred by ye yere working upon ye ij wyndows of ye courte” in the letter of Kempe to Sir William Cecil. (Trans. Ro. Inst. of Brit. Arch. 1890.) Burghley and Sir Nicholas Bacon, who was Lord Keeper, married two sisters, and Bacon died in 1578, leaving a son Francis born in 1561, and created Baron Verulam and Viscount St. Albans in 1618-19. Now the following curious coincidences occur in regard to these three closely related persons of rank and ability:
1. This peculiar Charge is supposed to have belonged to Lord Burghley.
2. The house of Sir Nicholas Bacon, called Gorhambury House in St. Albans, built about 1565, contains portraits of persons distinguished in the seven Liberal Arts and Sciences, and beneath each of these two Latin lines, expressive of benefits to be derived from the study of each:
“Grammar” Donatus, Lilly, Servius, Priscan. “Arithmetic” Stifelius, Budaeus, Pythagoras. “Logic” Aristotle, Rodolp; Porphyry, Seton. “Music” Aryan, Terpander, Orpheus. “Rhetoric” Cicero, Isocrates, Demosthenes, Quintilian. “Geometry” Archimedes, Euclid, Strabo, Apollonius. “Astronomy” Regiomontanus, Haly, Copernicus, Ptolomey. (Vide “Royal
Mas. Cyclo.” Mackenzie.) . 3. Francis, son of Sir Nicholas Bacon, wrote in 1624 the unfinished fragment called “New Atlantis, or the House of Solomon, or of the Six Days Work.” Many foreign writers of note have erroneously thought that it led to the establishment of Freemasonry; but it is likely that the writer had the Masonic Society in his mind and desired to shew how its value might be enhanced. The 1620 edition of his “Instauratio Magna” (John Bell, London) has as engraved title a ship between two columns. In 1570 Sir Thomas Gresham built the Royal Exchange in London, and the movement to revive “the Augustan style” and depreciate the Gothic was general. The facsimile of a map of Portsmouth, of this period, shews the position of a “Masons Lodge,” probably a body was at work on some building at the port. (“A.Q.C.” vi.) In 1584 Sir Walter Mildmay founded Emanuel College at Cambridge. A colony of Spaniards settled at Galway in 1584, and many of their buildings yet exist, and are said to resemble the older Moorish architecture. The north is in evidence in the year 1581: “The Ordinary of the Company of Masons of Newcastle upon Tyne, dated the first of September of this year, constituted a body Incorporated of themselves, with perpetual succession, enjoyned them to meet yearly to choose Wardens, &c. That whenever the general plays of the town called Corpus Christi should be played they should play the burial of our Lady St. Mary the Virgin, every absent brother to pay 2s. 6d., and that at all the marriages and burials of the brethren and their wives, the Company should attend to the church such persons to be married or buried.” The Arms attached to this paragraph are On a chevron between three towers a pair of compasses extended. “Crest” A tower. “Motto” In the Lord is all our trust. (Richardson s “Border Table Talk,” i, p. 219.) It would seem that the intention of the Newcastle Council was to constitute a body held of themselves; at the same time the Lodge may have long existed, and have sought a Municipal Charter to legalise their meetings. In reference to the “Corpus Christi” Mystery-plays, they are mentioned at Newcastle in 1426, but would seem from the “Ordinary” to have been on the decline in 1548, the house-carpenters, whose “Ordinary” dates 1579, played the Burial of Christ, and the Masons that of St. Mary. The Lodge may have been privy to the Initiation of Sir Robert Moray in 1641 by a Scotch deputation, and had late meetings of their own. The “Watson MS.” was discovered in the town, and is signed by Edward Thompson in 1687, who was doubtless a member of that Lodge, the Arms attached to it are identical with those assigned to the body of 1581. It is now known to have come through the hands of Dalziel, a member of Lodge 24. We shall allude to these Masons again in later notices.
The position of this “Ordinary” of Newcastle needs a better explanation than that here given. Durham and Northumberland were a County Palatine under the Bishop, but Newcastle as an important military station was a county in itself. Previously to 1215 Newcastle was governed by Bailiffs, but Henry III. in this year ordered a Mayor and 4 Bailiffs to appoint a trusty Moneyer and Assayist. But it was in 1400 that Henry IV. chartered the town as a separate county with a Sheriff, a Mayor, and 6 Aldermen. The Newcastle “Ordinaries” begin in 1426 with the Coopers. The Skinners “Ordinary” of 1437 contains the names of the Mayor, Sheriff, and the 6 Aldermen. In 1527 the Weavers met in Carliel tower, and in 1532 the Tanners had the Black Friary. The “Ordinary” of the Goldsmiths in 1536 included Braziers, Plumbers, &c., and they had to play the Three Kings of Cologne (the 3 Magi who visited the infant Jesus), at the Corpus Christi. It would seem therefore that an old Masters Guild of Masons existed here which accepted its “Ordinary” from the Mayor, Sheriff, and Bailiffs in 1581.
Whoever examines an old Cathedral cannot fail to see that two classes of Masons were employed on them, a class which did the level and square work, and a class which did the curved and arched work, yet their separate duties was one of their trade secrets. Surprise has often been expressed that amongst these Mystery plays there are none recorded as specially Masonic. Mackenzie states in his “Cyclopaedia” that an “Arch Confraternity” of builders existed in 1540 and enacted Mystery Plays in the Colosseum of Vespasian and expresses belief that it still exists. There is some evidence that in 1561 Masonry at York was in a declining state, as the Records say that their share of the Corpus Christi plays was given to the Minstrels.
Incorporations also continued to be granted by the Bishops as Count Palatines. The Cordwainers of Durham in 1436. In 1559 Bishop Tunstall re- incorporated the Barkers and Tanners of Gateshead. Up to 1565 the City of Durham had been governed by Bailiffs, but in that year Bishop Pilkington Incorporated the Aldermen. In 1638 a charter was granted to the Free Maysons, Rough Maysons, etc., etc., of the Cittie of Durham.
We gather from the Schaw Statutes of 1598, the Warden General of James VI., that Edinburgh was a district governed by “Six men of Ancient Memory,” who had to “tak tryall of the offensis,” and these “six of the maist parfyte and worthiest of memorie” had to “tak tryall of the haill Maisons within the boundis foresaid.” They appear to be the “Deacon Maisters,” and Wardens of the old Lodges, and they were authorised to Pass Fellows of Craft, after serving a seven years Apprenticeship, and another seven years as Journeymen unless the latter was reduced by the Assembly, and after making a trial-piece. We see from this that to become a Passed Master a Freed Apprentice had to serve seven years as a Passed Fellow. A similar Constitution was given to Kilwinning in 1599, and their Six Quarter Masters were to appoint a famous notary as Clerk. King James sanction was awaited this Constitution, and possibly there were other districts that may have had similar grants by the Lord Warden General. Thus we learn from a Kilwinning Minute that the Six Quarter Masters of Cunning, Carrick, and Barrowthrow in 1659 continued to meet once a year at Ayr to “tak order with the transgressors of the Acts of Court.” There can be no question that these six in every case were duly Passed Masters and that they correspond with what we shall hear of as “Harods” in Durham.
For want of contemporary MS. ceremonials we will occasionally refer to Masonic symbolism in several countries; for identity of symbols and the mode of their application, press on towards the proofs that Initiatory ceremonies were identical in all times. In Ireland a Mason s square was deposited in the “east” corner of the northern landpier of Baals Bridge in Limerick. It bears date 1517, and was dug out in 1830. There is a heart at the angle on each side, and this inscription in one line at each side:
I will strive to live with love and care, 1517, Upon the level, by the square. (Freem. Quart., engd., 1850, p. 330) In Coverdale s translation of Wermylierus “Spirituall and Most Precyousse Pearle,” 1550, is the following:” The Free Mason hewyth the harde stones, hewyth of here one pece, there another, tyll the stones be fytte and apte for the place where he wyll lay them. Even so God the heavenly Free Mason buildeth a Christian churche, and he frameth and polysheth us which are the costlye and precyous stone with the cosse and affliction that all abbomynacon and wickedness which do not agree unto this gloryus buyldynge mighte be removed and taken out of the waye.” (Cowderie s “Treasurie of Similies,” 1609.) In the old church in Hanover of which we made mention in our last chapter there is a sun-dial with the date 1555, and the letters H.B.A.S., which a chronicle of 1695 says alludes to Hans Buntingsen, “who loved his art, and was well acquainted with the compasses and square and the great secret thereof.” In the parish register of Much Wenlock in Shropshire is an entry of value, as it shews the meaning then attached to the word “Speculative,” as theory; it refers to dates between 1546-76: “Burd. out of tenmts. in Madfold Street, next St. Owen s well, Sir William Corvehill priest of the service of or. Lady in this ch., which 2 tents. belonged to the sd. service; he had them in his occupacon in pt. of his wages, wch. was viii. marks, and the said houses in an ov plus. He was well skilled in geometry, “not by speculation” but by experience, could make organs, clocks, and chimes, in kerving, in Masonry, in silk weaving, or painting, and could make all instruments of music, etc., etc. All this country had a great loss of Sir William, he was a good bell-founder and maker of frames.” The same Register records in 1599 that “Walter Hancox, free mason, was buried 16 September. This man was a very skilfull man in the art of Masonry.”
A Melrose MS. of 1581 alludes to “Loses or Cowans,” and contains a caution that “he ought not to let you know ye privilege of ye compass, square, levell, and ye plum-rule.” The Master Wincestre who gives the Charge as a Certificate to his freed Apprentice, was evidently an Englishman, as he dates it in the 12th year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth. (“Ars Quat. Cor.” v, p. 129.) “Be it known to all men to whom these presents shall come, that Robert Wincester hath lawfully done his dutie to the science of Masonrie, as witness whereof, I, John Wincester, his Master Free Mason, have subscribed my name, and sett to my Mark, in the year of our Lord 1581, and in the raing of our Most Sovereign Lady Elizabeth the (22) year.” Probably Robert Wincester was an English Mason settling at Melrose, and the Constitution is further endorsed thus: “extracted by me A. M. [in margin Andrew Main ] upon the 1, 2, 3, and 4 dayes of December Anno MDCLXXIII.”
Brother W. H. Rylands has contributed much information, at various times, upon Masons Marks, and amongst these we have those of Stoneyhurst, 1585; Bidston old Hall, 1590; Bromborough Manor-house,etc. At Ayton Church, near Nantwich, is a monument of 21 April, 1596, to Peter and Elizabeth Ashton; it has two shields of arms, one containing a five-pointed star, and the other a square from which hangs a pair of compasses. (“Ibid,” viii, p. 88.)
The reign of James I., 1603-25, is Masonically important. When he came to this country, he had at his own request, been accepted a Mason, by his Master Mason John Mylne, who was Deacon, or Master, of the Scoon and Perth Lodge. This is related in positive terms in the 1658 records of that Lodge, and the King accepted membership in it. (A copy in “Scottish Freemason,” Aug. 1894.) He claimed to be a patron of the learned who designated him the “Scottish Solomon.” A rising artist who had professionally made the tour of Italy under the patronage of Thomas Earl of Pembroke, named Inigo Jones, was employed by the King in 1607 to build a new banqueting hall at Whitehall, and Anderson asserts that at this time many wealthy and learned men were received into the Craft. In 1649 he and Stone were engaged to repair St. Paul s. Part of Wigan Church was rebuilt in 1620, the Rector having a Charter from Richard III. as Lord of the Manor. It is the seat of irregular Lodges in recent times.
In the reign of Charles I., 1625-49, whom Anderson claims as an Initiate, many erections were made under the superintendence of Inigo Jones, who died in 1652 aged 80 years. Anderson (1738) cites a MS. by Nicholas Stone which was burnt in 1720, to shew that Jones “remodelled the Lodges” after the manner of the “Schools,” or “Academies of designers in Italy,” of which we gave a specimen in the “Cuchiari” of Florence (ch. vi.); he is said to have held Quarterly Communications of the Masters and Wardens of Lodges, and Nicholas Stone was a Warden of these Assemblies. Possibly the system of the Guild which built St. Paul s was the system “remodelled” by Jones.
The Stone family was actively employed at this time, and were no doubt members of the Masonic Society. Nicholas was born in 1586 at Woodbury, near Exeter, and buried at St. Martin s-in-the-Fields in 1647, and the records of the Masons Company prove that he was a member of the Speculative Lodge there before 1639; he had several sons; it is recorded upon the monument of his son Henry at Long-acre, that he “spent the greater part of thirty-seven years in Holland, France, and Italy,” and died in 1653; therefore he may have been known to Jehtudi Leon mentioned later; he also seems to have been a member of Masons Company Lodge in 1649. A somewhat interesting inscription appears on a tablet in the Chancel of Sidbury Church in Devonshire, (“The” “Critic,” 15 June. 1861.) to the memory of John Stone, Free-Mason, who died 1 January, 1617: “On our great Corner-Stone, this Stone relied, For blessing to his building, loving most To build God s temples, in works he died, And lived the temple of the Holy Ghost, In whom hard life is proved, and honest fame, God can of Stones raise seed to Abraham.”
Mackey quotes a sentence of 1607: “Yet all this forme of formless deity drewe by the square and compasse of our creed.”
In the year 1619 two books were printed in London, one having the title, “Keep within compasse”; the other, “Live within compasse.” An old black-letter book on Bees, printed at London by H. B., 1608, is dedicated “To the Worshipful Master M. gentleman,” and although the patrons name and profession is not given it proves the use of a certain title at that date. In Speed s “Description of Britain,” 1611, we have some characteristic language of a Masonic cast, worth reference: “Applying myself wholly to this most goodley building, has as a poore labourer, carried the carved stones and polished pillars, from the hands of the more skilfull architects, to be set in their fit places, which I offer upon the altar of love to my country.”
Dating from 1620, Bother Edward Conder, junr., has given us some valuable information in regard to the Speculative Lodge of the London Company of Masons, which met, from time to time, in their own Hall, accepted Master Masons, and had a framed list of such, now unfortunately lost. The fees, 1622, are thus recorded: “As a gratuity to the Company, 1.Pounds 0s. 0d.; for being made a Master, 3s. 4d.; fee for entrance, 6d.” The Company preserved “the names of the Accepted Masons in a fair enclosed frame with a lock and key.” The Inventory (of 1660 and 1675) mentions, “one book of the Constitutions that Mr. fflood gave.” In 1629-33 the celebrated Dr. Fludd has various symbolic allusions to his wise brethren who are labouring as architects. The Lodge had also a set of 1481 laws for the governance of the Livery. In 1649 certain persons were admitted on the “Livery,” after “Accepting Masonry,” or in other words after Initiation and Passing as Masters. This proves that Anderson had grounds for expressing a belief that in former times members of the Masons Company had first to be admitted in a private Lodge; and also that Continental writers had slight grounds for their belief that Freemasonry arose at Masons Hall.
Brother J. Ross Robertson, P.G.M. of Canada, alludes to a boulder stone, with square and compasses, and the date 1606 indented upon it, which was discovered in 1827 on the shore of Annapolis Basin in Nova Scotia. (“Canadian Craftsman,” xxvii, p. 206.) Brother Hosier mentions in the “Bauhutte” of 1889 that amongst the portraits of his ancestors is one of 1624 of Jacob Hosier, which represents him decorated with Masonic emblems and using the Master s sign. In Derrykeighan, County Antrim, is a tombstone of Robert Kar, who died 1617; it appears to have Masonic application to family arms; the top is a species of shield: Quarterly, 1st and 4th, a sun, or star of eleven points; 2nd and 3rd, a deer s head upon which is a square.
A Lodge at Berwick upon Tweed has an old armchair of 1641, (“Ars Quat. Cor.” Plate, iv.) which may be described as a carved shield of arms; a chevron between various Masonic emblems; in the lower division a circular body, apparently an armilliary sphere, and “1641” above the chevron a pair of compasses and square, and reversed, back to back, with the others, square and compasses; in chief a scallop shell between two circular or floral emblems, with a raised point in the centre. Of Commonwealth times, 1649-60 there is nothing that need be specifically named. Speculative Masons have no Lodge minutes of any antiquity in England, such as they have in Scotland, and though these are rather a puzzle to us than of serious value, our want of such is regrettable. Besides the paucity of the material to be found in such minutes, there is the fact of their dependence upon the Masters Incorporations, and a doubt whether the rituals of Scotland and England were identical though no doubt they had in ancient times been so. The Jews were readmitted in Cromwell s time, and Catholic attacks in France alleged that he founded Masonry. In 1655 the London Company dropped the title of “Free,” presumably because there existed independent Guilds of Free Masons, and Robt. Padgett who signed the MS. of 1686, now in possession of Lodge “Antiquity,” was not a member of the Company.
The Kilwinning records shew between 1642-56 that the Lodge consisted of Fellow Crafts or Masters and Apprentices. Prentices on entering paid 20s. and Fellow Crafts at Passing 40s. Scots, with 5s. additional for their Mark. This incidentally confirms certain old Catechisms which make the Fellow Craft degree to consist of two parts the Master s part being the second portion. Scotland certainly had, in some sort, two degrees in their Lodges, whilst the Chair and Work Masters were in the Incorporations and had their trials upon admission; opening and closing prayers, with oaths as in the English Companies. In neither company, at any time in their history, does the Society seem to have confined the Lodge receptions to operative Masons, and certainly, in the 17th century, amateurs and gentlemen were accepted in both countries; in Scotland the non-operatives were termed “Geomatic” and the operative “Domatic”; thus distinguishing Geometers and house builders. Nor can we form any other opinion of the Constitutions during a thousand years, when they tell us that it was a Society for all trades using Geometry, and we see Clerics as leading members. A Lodge was held at Newcastle, by deputation, on behalf of the Lodge of Marys Chapel, the 20th May, 1641, under commission to Robert Mackey, General Quartermaster of the Armies of Scotland, to receive Sir Robert Moray; amongst those present were General Hamilton and John Mylne. This latter family were Master Masons to the Kings of Scotland for many generations, and for five they were members of the Lodge of Mary s Chapel; the last of them was buried in St. Paul s Cathedral in 1811, having been surveyor of that edifice for fifty years. (Gould s “Hist. Freem.” i, p. 151.)
In 1646 Elias Ashmole was made a Mason in a Lodge at Warrington, and it is now ascertained that the majority of the members present were not operative Masons. Amongst the Sloane MSS. is a copy of the Masonic Charges, endorsed by Robert Sankey in 1646; the name is a place name, and that of an old Warrington family.
The reign of Charles II. extended from 1660-85. Anderson asserts that he was made a Mason abroad during his exile, which is not improbable, and may have been traditional. In a proclamation of 1661 he advocates the building in brick and stone in place of timber, for the safety and beauty of London, the former being equally cheap. Early last century the clerical enemies of Masonry in France attributed a Cromwellian use to Masonry, but on the other hand, and with more probability, there has existed a Masonic belief that the Lodges were used by the Stuarts to further the return of Charles II., and Brother Charles Purton Cooper, past P.G.M., has given us a note to the effect that “G” (Geusau 1741), who was acquainted with the Chevalier Ramsay and often conversed with him on Masonry, had learned from him that the restoration was prepared by the Freemasons, and that General Monck belonged to the Lodges. (“Freem. Mag.,” xii, p. 301; vide also Bonneville s “Jesuits Chasse,” 1788.) “The Wise Man s Crown,” 1664, alludes to the “late years of tyranny,” in which Masons, who are mixed with other trades in the notice, were allowed to write and teach Astrology; the affinity between the two must lie in the abstruse geometrical and mathematical calculations required in both professions.
Brother George E. Turner some short time ago bought from a widow a quantity of Masonic scraps, amongst which are 27 plates, apparently torn out of various books, and referring chiefly to the ancient gods and Mysteries. These he printed in 1896 at Blandford, and, from the mode in which they were acquired we give them with reserve. One of these is a readable “set off,” from an alleged work entitled: “Treatise on Phremazeonry,” with dedication to the Earl of St. Albans, 1670. A fragment of printed matter on one of the plates, mentions a 12 mo. tome of 1539 entitled “Solis Adoraio,” which alludes to Phre- Mazonry, and says Lord Danby (died 1643), Sir Gilbert Gerherd (named in sister s Will 1637), Sir John Brooke (created Baron Cobham 1645), “and many others; noted members of the Order,” were of this opinion, whatever that may be.
The Scottish Kirk was tainted with the narrow-mindedness of the times of the Commonwealth, as is proved by an attack upon one of their own Ministers: Extracted from the MS. records of the Presbytery of Jedburg, parish of Minto, by the Rev. J. Thompson Grant. “1652. James Ainslie, A.M….called 11th January and admitted and instituted (after being sustained by the General Assembly). December 9th, 1652, objection having been taken because he was a Freemason, and the neighbouring Presbytery consulted previous to entering him on trial, the Presbytery of Kelso, 24th February, 1653, shewed that, to their judgement, there is neither sinne nor scandal in that Word, because in the purest tymes of this Kirke, Maisons having that Word have been, and are daylie in our sessions, and many professors having that Word are daylie admitted to the ordinances, ” Two other references, 1678 and 1691, as to the nature of this Word, have recently come to light. The first is from the letters of the Rev. George Hickes, D.D., Dean of Worcester, amongst the MSS. of the Duke of Portland. He says: “The Lairds of Roslyn have been great Architects and Patrons of building for many generations. They are obliged to receive the Masons Word, which is a secret signall Masons have throughout the world to know one another by. They allege it is as old as since Babel when they could not understand one another and conversed by signs. Others would have it no older than Solomon. However it is he that hath it will bring his brother Mason to him without calling to him, or you perceiving the signe.” (Vide “Ars Quat. Cor.” vii, pp. 55-8.) The other notice is from a MS. in the advocate s Library entitled the “Secret Commonwealth,” by Mr. Robert Kirk, Minister of Aberfoil, 1691. It contains the following:” The Masons Word which tho some make a misterie of it, I will not conceal a little of what I know. It is like a Rabbinical Tradition in way of comment on Jachin and Boaz, the two Pillars erected in Solomon s temple (I. Kings 7, 21) with ane addition of some secret signe, delivered from Hand to Hand, by which they know and become familiar one with another.” (Vide “Ars Quat. Cor.” vii, pp. 55-8.) Much nonsense has been written by Modern Masons by way of proving that Scottish Masonry consisted in a Single Word, but there is no doubt that well informed Initiates meant more by it than four letters, in the same way that Plato and St. John meant more than the five letters in “Logos.” An Oath must have had some ceremonial.
The traditions of the ancient Masonic Guilds are not to be altogether despised. The actual Guild of York is said to have claimed to date from A.D. 79 in the time of Agricola, and there was a Carpenters Guild which claimed to date from A.D. 626. The former built a Roman temple at that time, and the latter a church of wood on the model of the Tabernacle of Moses. Like the old operative Lodge of which the Duke of Richmond was Master which claimed to date from the time of Julius Caesar it would seem to have been the fashion of the Guilds to claim from some great ancient work, thus there was an operative Lodge at Berwick which claimed to date from the erection of the great wall to keep out the Picts.
The detached printed notices which we have of Free-Masonry in England during the reign of Charles II, shew that small Lodges were scattered over the country, independent of each other, but with a copy of the old Constitutions as its right of Assembly, and with a formal ceremony of reception. All Trades are admissable, and gentlemen affect their company. Here and there, as we might expect, one Lodge seems more faithful to the old traditions than another. It is evident that in the 17th century the Speculative, or Geomatic, element was becoming predominant, and that an attempt was made to retain the Society in its old groove, and to keep on foot the general Assembly. This is indicated in the existence of several Copies of the old MSS. which contain a Code headed “New Regulations.” It is quite probable that there was an earlier and a later formal adoption of this Code. Two of these MSS., the “Harleian” and “Grand Lodge No. 2,” have been printed in facsimile. Yet we have no record, either of the date of these, or the place where the Assembly was held. They are supposed to be early 17th century, but Anderson says that they were adopted, though it may be readopted with the addition of an article limiting the reception to persons of full age, at an Assembly held on the 27th December, 1663, under the Earl of St. Albans. Critics admit that none of the existing MSS. are copied from each other and that there was an older copy not now extant. A version was printed by J. Roberts in 1722. which states that the “New Laws” were adopted at a General Assembly held at (13 dashes which may read “the city of York “) on the 8th day of December 1663. The New Laws, of this latest Charge, enact that in future the Craft shall be ruled by “one Master and Assembly,” and that there shall be present a Master and Warden of the trade of operative Free-Masonry, and that certificates were to be given and required. The “Grand Lodge, No. 2;” “Roberts; “and the MSS. seen by Anderson contain a Clause which is not in the “Harleian MS.,” that no one shall be accepted if under 21 years of age; possibly this indicates the 1663 revision of an older form. Attached to these “New Regulations” is, for the first time, a separate Apprentice Charge, which closes with an oath of Secrecy, and indicates that Apprentices and Fellows had a ceremony of reception. A York origin for this form may be thought to be indicated by the fact that most of the Copies in which the Apprentice Charge appears are found in the North of England; the form was used at Bradford and elsewhere 1680-93; at Alnwick 1701; and is minuted in 1725 at Swalwell. Brother Conder, however, considers that it originated with the London Company of Masons.
There are no minutes now preserved at York of the 16th and 17th centuries, but there are other proofs that Assemblies continued to be held. There is a copy of the Charges which was discovered at the demolition of Pontefract Castle, where persons sent their documents for safety during the civil wars; it is supposed to date about the year 1600, and contains: “An annagraime upon the name of Masonrie: Willm. Kay to his friend Robt. Preston upon his Artt of masonrie as followeth: M Much might be said of the noble Artt, A A craft that s worth estieming in every part, S Sundry Nations, Noables, and Kings also, O Oh how they sought its worth to know. Masonrie.” N Nimrod and Solomon, the wisest of all men, R Reason saw to love this science then I I ll say no more, lest by my shallow verses I, E Endeavouring to praise should blemish Masonrie .Another MS. was found at York circa 1630. There is also a mahogany flat rule of 15 inches containing the following names. It is considered that John Drake was cousin of the Rev. Francis Drake who was collated to the Prebendal Stall of Donnington in 1663, and father of the historian of same name:
WILLIAM (Symbol: Hexagram) BARON OF YORK, 1663 JOHN DRAKE. JOHN (Symbol: Hexagram) BARON
Before 1660 there existed a Lodge at Chester of which Randle Holme was a member. A Copy of the Charges, written by himself, is No. 2054 of the Harleian MSS., which contains the ordinary information and two fragments: “There is severall words and signes of a free Mason to be reveiled to you, which as you will answer before God at the great and terrible day of judgement you keep secret, and not to revaile the same in the heares of any person, or to any but the Masters and Fellows of the said Society of free Masons, so helpe me God.” The second fragment is a list of fees, and no doubt a Lodge list, beginning: “William Wade wt. give for to be a Free Mason,” twenty-five names follow paying sums from 5s. to 20s. Brother W. R. Rylands has shewn that it was a Speculative Lodge, embracing many who did not follow operative Masonry. In his “Academie of Armorie,” 1688, Randle Holme, a member of above Lodge, says: “I cannot but honour the Fellowship of the Masons because of its antiquity; and the more as being a member of that Society called Free Masons. In being conversant amongst them I have observed the use of their several tools following, some whereof I have seen borne in coats of armour.” Lord Egerton held a special P.G.L. at Chester 18 April 1892 to erect a memorial to this old Brother, and quoted the following words of his, as written above 200 years ago: “By the help of Masonry the most glorious structures in the world have been set up, as if their art had endeavoured to imitate the handiwork of God, in making little worlds in the great fabric of the universe.” The tomb of the third Randle at Chester, erected by his son, has the skull and cross bones. (Vide “Ars Quat. Cor.” 1897. But see full arguments in the History of F.M. in Cheshire, by Bro. John Armstrong. London, 1902.)
There is an interesting document at Gateshead dated 24 April 1671, which the Bishop of Durham, granted as a Charter of Incorporation of a “Communitie. ffelowship, and Company,” to make freemen and brethren; amongst the Charter members are Myles Stapylton, Esquire (son of Brian Stapleton of Myton, co. York); Henry Fresall, gentleman; Robert Trollop; Henry Trollop; and others, Masons, Carvers, Stone-cutters, and various trades mentioned therein. It would seem to represent an ordinary Masters Incorporated Lodge of the time. They were to assemble yearly on St. John the Baptist s day, and to elect four to be Wardens, and a fit person to be Clerk; each Warden was to have a key of the Chest. On the dexter margin of the Charter are various trade arms, those of the Masons, Azure, on a chevron between three Single towers a pair of compasses; “Crest,” A tower; “Motto,” In the Lord is all our trust. On the sinister side are the arms of the sculptors. (Vide “Hist. Freem.,” R. F. Gould.) The Masons arms are the same as those in the MS. of 1687 written by Edward Thompson, and termed “Watson MS.”
As a Masters fraternity it would hold Craft Lodges, and as Harodim would rule them. There is an early grave cover in St. Nicholas church, now the Cathedral, with a floriated Greek Cross lengthened, on the left side is a fish, and on the right a key. It is said to have had an inscription to the Architect of the Newcastle town Court, built in 1659. The two Trollopes who are mentioned in the Bishop s charter were Masons of the City of York. The inscription to Robert Trollope is said to have been as follows: Here lies Robert Trollope, Who made yon stones roll up, When death took his soul up, His body filled this hole up. It may be mentioned here that Brother Horace Swete, M.D., described in 1872, a tobacco box, which he says formerly belonged to the Jacobite John Drummond, created Earl of Melfort in 1685, and which with the date and initials “J.D. 1670.” contains emblems identical with those of the catechisms of 1723. (“Spec. Mas.” Yarker; also “Ars Quat. Cor.” 1901.)
It is not probable that Christopher Wren was a Mason accepted at this period, though it is said there is an Arch Guild minute of his reception in 1649, but no doubt his colleagues the Strongs were such. Valentine Strong, son of Timothy of Little Berrington, is termed Free-Mason and was buried Novr. 1662, at Fairford, Oxfordshire. He was father of Thomas Strong of London; and of Edward Strong, senior, who with his son laboured at St. Paul s. Thomas laid the first stone 11th June, 1677, and brought from Oxford a Lodge of Masons for whom a special Act was passed to make them free of London for seven years; he died in 1681, and his brother Edward laid the last stone 26th October 1708. Hayden in his “Dictionary of Dates” (p.51) mentions the Court of Arches is so called from its having been held at the Church of St. Mary le Bow, London, whose top is built on stone pillars erected archwise. An old record says that it was built by “Companions of the Arch Guild,” and was designed by its Master, and was considered a Master piece. The “Bow-Makers Guild” included “Bow Carpenters,” who had the construction of the wooden centres to build Arches. It is said that Strong was a member of the Arch Guild and that they received Chris. Wren in 1649. They reckoned seven degrees as in the Craft, but where the latter held, as symbols three straight rods to form a “square,” the Arch-i- tectus, of whom there were three, had curved rods with which to form a “circle.” They, only, used compasses and employed themselves in curved, and in Assemblies they sat in circular and not in square fashion.
Elias Ashmole records his own presence at a Lodge in London in 1682, and Brother Conder makes no doubt that it was the Speculative Lodge held at Masons Hall by the Company, 10th March 1682. Ashmole says that he was the Senior Fellow present amongst a number whose names he gives, and that there was admitted into the Fellowship of Free Masons, Sir William Wilson, Knight; Captain Richard Borthwick; Mr. William Woodman; Mr. William Grey; Mr. Samuel Taylour; and Mr. William Wise. These notices, and those which follow, have been so often printed verbatim, that we give only a summary of them. (Vide “Kneph;” also Gould s “Hist. Mas.”; also a “West Yorks reprint.”)
The next printed notice is one of 1686, by Robert Plot, LLD., in his “Natural History of Staffordshire,” wherein he says: “To these add the “customs” relating to the “County” whereof they have one of admitting men into the Society of Free-Masons, that in the Moorelands of this County seems to be of greater request than anywhere else; though I find the custom spread more or less over all the nation.” “For here I found persons of the most eminent quality that did not disdain to be of this “Fellowship.” Nor indeed need they, were it of that “antiquity” and “honour” that is pretended in a large “parchment volume” that they have amongst them containing the History and Rules of the Craft of Masonry.” He then goes on to give an account from the old Masonic MSS., and the nature of the copy which he had seen is indicated by his stating that “these Charges and manners were after perused and approved by King Henry VI. and his Council.” He then describes the mode of admission, with signs whereby they are known to each other, and the obligations of mutual assistance. He then comments in an abusive manner upon the Society, and thinks the old Acts against the Society ought to be revived. (Vide “Kneph;” also Gould s “Hist. Mas.”; also a “West Yorks reprint.”) The names of Ashmole, Boyle, and Wren, appear amongst the subscribers to the work.
Aubrey next mentions the Society in his “Natural History of Wiltshire” (page 277): “Sir William Dugdale told me many years since, that about Henry, the Thirds time, the Pope gave a Bull or Patent to a company of Italian Free- Masons to travel up and down over all Europe to build churches. The manner of their adoption is very formall, and with an oath of secrecy.” (Vide “Kneph;” also Goulds “Hist. Mas.”; also a “West Yorks reprint.”) “Memorandum, This day, May the 18th being Monday 1691, after Rogation Sunday, is a great convention at St. Paul s Church of the Fraternity of Adopted Masons, when Sir C. Wren is to be Adopted a Brother, and Sir Henry Gooderic of the Tower, and divers others. There have been Kings that have been of this Sodality.” There is no doubt these three interesting accounts give an accurate view of the state of Freemasonry in England at the time. Both an “Arch” and “Square” Guild existed at St. Paul s in 1675 and minutes have been preserved with extreme care. Its ceremonies are known to the writer and it sent a branch into Derbyshire to build Chatsworth, though in the jurisdiction of York. Some 30 or 40 years ago, an Assembly of about 400 could be expected annually and it is not yet extinct. The St. Paul s Guild was quite independent of the Masons Company which in 1677 obtained a Charter from the King. One of their Initiates is now at Assuan, and affirms that an ancient Jewish Guild exists there, and that they practise Solomonian ceremonies with exactly the same rites as he received in 1866-76. They have a plan of a quarry, of three rooms through which the stone is perfected, and near thereto are other three for the officers, and a “site” for the building. Egypt has a “Slant Masons Guild” unknown here.
A properly constructed Lodge room in these several offices or yards would have double folding doors, forming a porch to each, where the preparation takes place. Solomon s temple is said to have had only a single door in the East. The 1st Officer sits in the West, the 2nd in the East, and the 3rd in the North; and this applies to all the six sections; in the Modern Freemasonry of 1717 they sit East, South, and West, or with their backs to their assigned duties. Their carpet has squares of one cubit and the border is a lozenge 8 x 6 inches, a figure which includes the 3-4-5 angle four times repeated. All Stones are sent from the Quarry to the 1st yard and dressed 1/16th larger than required; in the 2nd yard they are trued to their required size; and in the 3rd are marked and fitted for the site. The 5th, 6th, 7th Offices are Overseers. Now as to the ceremony continued to our own day; the Candidate passes through the same process, and as a “living stone,” is first taken as a boy rough dressed, then polished, and advanced. Ist Degree “Apprentice,” received by a ceremony similar to the Ist Degree in Speculative Freemasonry. Three officers are sent out to prepare him in the Porch. He bathes as in the ancient Mysteries, is refreshed with food, clothed in the white Roman Cloak, examined by the doctor, and finally admitted on the report of the three officers sent out. He remains a brother 7 years, but is not a Free-Mason as in the speculative system.
2nd Degree “Fellow,” at about 21 years of age the Brother applies to be relieved of his Bond; is accepted as a square Fellow by a ceremony similar to the 2nd Degree of modern Freemasonry. 3rd Degree “Super-Fellow,” after 12 months is “Marked” as a “living stone,” and sent to the “site.” He is instructed in marking and fitting the actual stone. 4th Degree “Super-Fellow, Erector,” knowing the system of Marking he knows how to join the stones and is himself erected in that position. If it has any connection with Modern Masonry it is the 1st part of 3rd Degree. The two sections, however, are found in the degree of Mark Man and Master. 5th Degree “Superintendent.” These represent the 3,300 Menatzchim of Solomon. They are foremen, and were of old termed “cures” or Wardens under the Master. Receives technical instruction. Has 10 men under him as Intendant. 6th Degree Passed Masters. These are the ancient Harods or Chiefs of whom there were 15. The qualification, absolutely required, is that of a modern Architect. The ceremony of reception is of a most solemn character, and cannot be given publicly.
7th Degree “Grand Master.” There are three of these, co-equal, received in private. The degree has no analogy in Modern Freemasonry, except in the three Principals of a Royal Arch Chapter, which seems to have restored a portion of the old Guild ceremonial.
“Annual Commemorations,” given 2nd and 30th October. (1) Laying Foundation and fixing the centre by 3, 4, 5, and by the 5 Points; there is a portion referring to the 2nd temple which has originated the Modern Royal Arch degree. (2) A tragedy, and Solomon appoints Adoniram the 3rd G.M.M.; the 2nd part of the Modern 3rd Degree is taken from this. (3) The Dedication. There is a symbolical sacrifice in the 1st or Foundation. These Rites should be performed by the Grand Master, acting in the 6th Degree and transferred to the site of the Temple or 4th Degree. All these commemorative ceremonies are Semitic, the rest might equally appertain to any nation. When first I heard of these ceremonies in 1856 the Guild could number 400 members at the annual Drama.
There is a curious analogy between the seven “degrees” of the Guild and the seven “ranks” of the London Company of Masons, which had a Charter of Incorporation, granted, in 1677, with a 7 mile radius: Conder gives these ranks as follows (p. 139): (1) Apprentice, bound for 7 years to a member, and paid 2s 6d; (2) Freedom or Yeomandry; (3) the Livery or robes; (4) the Court of Assistants; (5) Renter Warden; (6) Upper Warden; (7) Master in the Chair; these would have to be sworn though no ceremony is mentioned. They had however the Guild Societys branch, and Conder considers that they were termed “Accepted,” because they were received as amateurs to qualify them for acceptance into the Livery of the Company.
The Guild Masons say that before the advent of Modern Freemasonry they had four Head Guild Houses which ruled different parts of the country and are those given by Anderson. As I read Anderson, who wrote in 1738, guided by what we actually know before 1738, he can only mean that when, in 1716, Anthony Sayer was elected Grand Master, by “some old brothers,” he had one or more of some, or of all these Guilds, or is supposed to have had them. It seems an attempt to hoodwink the reader. No. 1, the Antiquity, certainly continued to meet for some years at the Goose and Gridiron, the House of St. Paul s Guild, but Modern Nos. 2, 3 and 4, seem never to have “met” at the other three Guild houses.
The reign of James II., 1685-8, was too short to leave its influence upon Free- Masonry but much of importance must have occurred in that of William III., 1689-1702, had the particulars been preserved. We do not doubt that 16 May 1691 is the actual date of the Initiation of Sir C. Wren as an Accepted Mason; even though a Master of the Arch Guild 1649; and with the Convention of St. Paul s it may be conjectured that the connection of the Accepted Masons with the Livery Company ceased to exist, if any existed, which the Arch Guilds deny. The notorious Prichard, who wrote in 1730 makes 1691 to be the actual beginning of the “Quarterly Communications,” which ended in the formation of the Grand Lodge of 1717 by the dissidents who had been members of a real Guild.
Dr Anderson in his Constitutions (1738) writes that a Lodge met at St. Thomas Hospital in 1691 at the instance of Sir Thomas Clayton; and, on the authority of “some brothers living in 1730” that six other Lodges then assembled in London; and besides the old Lodge of St. Paul s (whose bastard offspring, according to the Guild, was the Lodge of Antiquity), which possesses a copy of the Masonic Charges written by “Robert Padgett, Clearke to the Worshipful Society of Free-Masons for the City of London,” he mentions one in Piccadilly opposite St. James Church; one near Westminster Abbey, which may be represented in a printed catechism of 1723 alluding to the “Lodge of St. Stephens”; one in Covent Garden; one in Holborn; another on Tower Hill; and some others that assembled at stated times, these were probably no more than meetings at Inns frequented by Masons. No doubt the great fire of London, and the efforts of Sir C. Wren in restoring the city after that calamity, would attract people from all parts of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and lead to the Assemblies of Masons.
In the North there is a copy of the old MSS. at York, of 1680, which concludes “that at every meeting or Assembly they pray heartily for all Christians.” Another copy of 1693, includes the Apprentice Charge, and has a peculiar reading which is doubtless ill translated Latin, it reads, “Then one of the Elders takeing the Booke, and that hee or “shee” that is to be made Mason, shall lay their hands thereon, and the Charge shall be given.” It concludes, “These be the constitucions of the Noble and famous History, called Masonry, made and now in practise by the best Masters and Fellowes, for directing and guiding all that use the said Craft. Scripted p. me, vicesimo tertio die Octobris, Anno Regni Regis et Regina Gulielmy et Marie quinto annoque domini 1693. Mark Kypling. The names of the Lodg, William Simpson, Anthony Horsman, Christopher Thompson, Christopher Gill, Mr. Isaac Brent, Lodg. Ward.”
The Duke of Richmond seems to have been Master of a Lodge at Chichester in 1696. The Minutes of Grand Lodge of 2 March 1732 contain an entry that Edward Hall was “Made a Mason by the late Duke of Richmond six and thirty years ago.” Hall s petition was recommended by the Duke s son, who was then Grand Master, and the Chichester Lodge was registered by Grand Lodge as dating from the time of Julius Caesar. (“Freemasonry in Havant.” Thos. Francis. 1892.)
A Lodge met at Alnwick, Northumberland, in 1701; it was an operative Craft Lodge, and may have kept more closely to old customs from its nearness to Scotland, where the ceremonial work was practically extinct though the legal basis of Masonic Guilds was still in force. We give two of the regulations of 1701 in regard to Entering Apprentices, and Accepting Fellows,, “5th item. That no Mason shall take an Apprentice and give him his Charge within one whole year after. Not so doing the Master shall pay for any such offence 0Pounds 3 4.” “9th item. There shall noe Apprentice, after he has served his seven years, be admitted or Accepted but on the Feast of Michaell the Archangel, paying to the Master and Wardens 0Pounds 6 8.” A minute of 21 January 1708, decrees, “that for the future no Master, Warden, or Fellow shall appear on St. John s day, or attend the church service at Alnwick, without his apron, and common square fixt in the belt thereof.”
We must carefully guard ourselves from the supposition that these (Passed) Wardens and Masters, are those now termed such; they were the Menatzchim and Harods, or Superintendents and Passed Masters of the old Guild ceremonies. In the County of Durham up to 1813, Wardens, as well as other officers, took the same O.B. as the Master. The Guilds O.B. the Master in the 6th Degree and the Minor officers in the 5th Degree Lodge.
A similar operative Lodge existed in Durham, and is supposed to have been first established at Winlaton circa 1690, by a German iron Master, which art had been established at Solingen from early centuries, from Damascus, thence it removed to Swalwell in 1725. This last date is later than the period with which we intended to close this Chapter, but as it is considered to date from 1690, and as its Lodge customs were similar to those at Alnwick, and were maintained to the last unaltered, it is not inappropriate here. Its regulations are minuted in 1725. The “Penal Laws,” that when a youth was taken as Apprentice by a member of the Lodge, his Master was required to “Enter” him within 40 days, in contrast to the one year at Alnwick, and a small fee was charged. The form by which the Apprentice was “Entered” is given in the Minute Book, and is an abridgement of the history given in our Charge. Of course the Apprentice Charges, known to date between 1600-63, are those he would be sworn to keep. Nothing is said about Secrets, but the 8th Penal Laws imposes a fine of 10 Pounds, “not faithfully to keep the 3 fraternal signs, and all points of fellowship.” When the Apprenticeship expired the youth was made free of his Craft by the full ceremony. On the 21 March 1735 the Lodge went under the Grand Lodge of London, but retained its old customs intact for over 30 years afterwards. But we now read of two Masters grades, the one termed Harodim, spelled in the minutes Highrodiam, given in a “Grand Lodge,” and the other termed “English Master,” and the presumption is very strong, and especially as a mutual recognition of fees are made, that Harodim was their old Passed Master s Ceremony, but we shall again refer to the nature of these Rites in our next Chapter, as operative Masons. There was also an independent Lodge at Hexham, but nothing is known of its history.
In the Minute Book of the Haughfoot Lodge, Scotland, there is an entry under date 22 Decr. 1701, after a missing leaf, which clearly alludes to Fellow Craft work, as it says, “Of entrie as the Apprentice did leaving out the common Juge (Gudge? Luge); they then whisper the word as before, and the Master Mason grips his hand after the ordinary way.” As we understand it, the “common,” or Apprentice part, who is a rough dresser, was omitted from the ceremony, and the Fellowcraft word was given in a manner similar to the former degree. But the Scottish system seems to have been so loose that very little reliance can be placed upon what we meet with in their minutes, as a general custom, and it would appear that, at times, Apprentices were present when a higher ceremony was conferred, and that the signs, tokens, and words, were communicated privately, whispered, shewn in the Bible, or given in a separate room. The regulations of the old Dumfries Lodge, 20th May, 1687, enact that on Entering Apprentices a fee of 10 Pounds Scots had to be paid, and when afterwards passed as Fellow Craft a fee of 5 Pounds Scots, in each case besides gloves and entertainment. (A Scots Pound is 1 shilling.)
If Professor Robison is correct in his conclusions as to the operative Masonry of Germany, and he seems to have carefully studied the subject, the instruction and therefore the ceremonies varied in that country. He says that there were “Wort Maurers,” and “Schrift Maurers;” and that there were Borough Laws enjoining the Masters to give employment to Journeymen who had the proper words and signs; that some Cities had more.extensive privileges in this respect than others; that the Word given at Wetzler entitled the possessor to work over the whole empire; and that we may infer from some Municipal decisions that the Master gave a Word and Token, for each year s progress of the Apprentice, the Word of the City upon which he depended, and another by which all his pupils recognised each other. The Word and Token were abolished in 1731 in favour of the Script Masons. At Halberstadt there is a copy of the German Statutes of 2 December 1713, from which we gather that there were still four Overmasters at Koln, Strasburg, Wien, and Zurich. These are designated Old-Masters, as distinct from the Old-Fellows who governed the Craft. The first were a Chief or Arch-fraternity, the second were Masters of Lodges. A Master who made his Apprentice Free of the Craft had to bind him to keep the Word concealed in his heart, under the pain of his soul s salvation.
There is an old Arm chair at Lincoln of the date of 1681. (“Ars. Quat. Cor,” v, Plate.) In a semi-circular top is carved a hand holding a balance in equilibrium, and under it PIERI1681POYNT. Below this are two stalks with leaves, each bearing what appears to be a passion-flower. Beneath are two panels, one of which contains the double triangles, and the plumb-rule; the other panel has the square and compasses. A member of the family deems the chair to have belonged to William, 4th Earl of Kingston, Lord Chief Justice in Eyre beyond Trent. In the grave-yard of Slane Castle, Ireland, there is a tomb-stone to John Frow, who died in 1687, in the upper arc are compasses, Greek cross, and square. The “Freemasons Chronicle” (2 March 1909) says that in the Leicester Corporation Museum there is an old chair which, 250 years ago, belonged to a Free Masons Guild which met at the White Lion down to 1790. Upon the back is a design to mark a square building and the letter B, and it is thought there may have been another with J. A second chair is said to have belonged the Arch Guild.
Until very recent times our knowledge of what transpired in Ireland has been almost nil, but Brother Chetwode Crawley has recently shown that in 1688 a Lodge of Free-masons, “consisting of gentlemen, mechanics, porters, parsons, ragmen, divines, tinkers, freshmen, doctors, butchers, and tailors,” thus heterogeneously denominated, in the 1688 Tripos of John Jones, as connected with the University of Dublin. It is further mentioned by Jones that a collection was made for a new brother, “who received from Sir Warren, being Free-Masonised this new way, five shillings.” This new way may mean by some new regulation, or simply in reference to the collection, (“Ars Quat. Cor.,” 1898, p. 192; also Oliver s “Rev. of a Square.”) but that was old Guild custom. The tomb of John Abell of Sarsfield, Herts, 1694, has a representation of himself and his two wives; between a circular hoop at the bottom is a square, and above that a plumb, over which is a pair of compasses. It is said (“Voice of Masonry.” 1887.) that one John Moore settled in South Carolina in 1680 from England, thence removed to Philadelphia, and in a letter which he writes in 1715, he speaks of having “spent a few evenings in festivity with my Masonic brethren.” The celebrated Jonathan Belcher, Governor of Massachusetts, was made a Mason in the year 1704, for he writes to a Boston Lodge, in 1741, “It is now thirty-seven years since I was admitted in the Ancient and Honourable Society of Free and Accepted Masons.” There is a record at Newport, U.S.A., “That ye day and date (1686 or 1688) We mett at ye House of Mordecai Campunall and after synagog We gave Abm. Moses the degrees of Masonrie.” If this took place it would be Operative Masonry, and I see no reason to express a doubt. We have alluded in the foregoing, and shall again, to Scottish customs, the more fully because there are traces, to be read between the lines, that the Advent of the Stuarts, and later introductions of Scottish Masons into the South, was instrumental in somewhat modifying the Free-masonry of London, and that what is taken for English is sometimes Scottish.
Yorkshire is notably rich in the old Charges, as besides those which formerly belonged to the York Grand Lodge, and are in possession of a modern Lodge there, there are others in private hands, and in the “West Yorkshire, Masonic Library.” It is stated in a Manifesto of the Lodge of Antiquity (1778) that there was one old MS. in the hands of Mr. Wilson, of Broomhead, near Sheffield, written in the reign of Henry VIII., which is now missing, and there appears to have been one dated 1560. The Lodge of Hope, Bradford, has a copy of circa 1680. It forms no part of our plan to give an account of these old MSS., but students of them are greatly indebted to the late Brother Thomas W. Tew, P.G.M. of the West Riding, who had eight of these, in possession of his Provincial Library, printed and distributed at his sole cost. Amongst them are the “Thomes W. Tew MS.” circa 1680; the “Waistell MS.,” circa 1693; and the “Clapham MS.,” circa 1700. The Rolls in possession of the Lodge at York have also been printed by subscription; one of these, dated 1704, is headed with the same Anagram on “Masonrie” as that of 1600, but addressed by Robert Preston to Daniel Moult. It also appears in a Newcastle Roll, addressed by Richard Stead to his friend Joseph Claughton.
There are other documents at York, but none older than the reign of Anne, 1702-14. It seems that George Benson was President in 1705, and that he was followed by other gentlemen at each annual election. We learn also from an old copy of the Charges which has passed into the possession of the Grand Lodge of Canada, that a “Private Lodge” was held at Scarborough, Yorkshire, 10th July, 1705, with Wm. Thompson, Esq., as President, when six members were received whose names will be found in the facsimiles executed for the West Yorkshire Masons. Last century the Grand Lodge of All England at York had minutes from the year 1704, but they are not now to be found, they have, however, at the York Lodge some later parchment Rolls, which to some extent take the place of minutes. The probability is that such information as we have prior to 1726 belongs to the Operative Guild. On the 19th March, 1712, we read that several members were “sworne and admitted into the honourable Society and fraternity of free Masons by George Bowes, Esq., Deputy President.” In 1713 the Ancient Lodge held a meeting at Bradford, “when 18 gentlemen of the first families were made Free-Masons.” Meetings were held each succeeding year at York, those on St. John the Baptists Day, in June, being termed a “General Lodge on St. Johns Day,” whilst the others are designated “Private Lodges.” This was four years before any movement was made in London, and the meetings at Scarborough and at Bradford are in agreement with the ancient Constitutions which state that the Masons were to hold an Assembly “in what place they would”; and it seems very apparent that where the term “General Lodge” is used, as distinct from a “Private Lodge,” it is the tradition of the ancient Assembly continued.
Again in 1716 it is minuted on this parchment roll as follows: “At St. John s Lodge in Christmas, 1716. At the house of Mr. James Boreham, situate Stone-gate in York, being a general Lodge held then by the Honoble. Society and Company of Free-Masons in the City of York, John Turner, Esqre., was sworne and admitted into the Said Honoble. Society and Fraternity of Free- Masons.” “Charles Fairfax, Esqre., Dep. President.” Lists of the Grand Masters are found in any Modern Masonic Cyclopaedia, but Brother Whitehead recently discovered in an old Armorial MS. that the name of Sir Wm. Milner, Bart., 1728, has been omitted, “being the 798th Successor from Edwin the Great,” apparently claiming an annual election of Grand Masters from the year 930. However much we may regret it, yet we cannot blame the York Brothers for the strict respect shewn to the obligations. In such written documents as we have the terms used are simply well known Guild terms. We can draw no inference on such slight grounds as to the nature of their ceremonies, we do not know from contemporary documents what they were, and we have no right to expect that we should know. We can only judge of them by what they were when publicity began to be given to Masonic Rites in the 18th century. We have not the least warrant for thinking that, on the one hand, they took up new inventions and palmed them off as old Rites, nor on the other hand can we hope that they were very much better than the Grand Lodge of London, and shut their eyes to all improvement of the Ritual; they would be guided in this by old tradition and landmarks. We note that in the facsimile of the “Stanley MS.,” 1677, it is closed with the tail-piece of a chequered pavement. The “Tatler” for 9 June 1709, has an article upon a class of Londoners termed “Pretty Fellows”; the paper is believed to be by Sir Richard Steele, and alludes to matters with which he seems to be acquainted, for he says: “they have signs and words like Free-Masons,” and a similar reference is found in the same journal for 1710. There is no record of Steele being a Mason, but there evidently was an impression that such was the case, for Picart, in his “Ceremonies and Costumes,” gives a medallion portrait of “Sir Richard Steele,” on a screen which gives a copy of the engraved list of Lodges in 1735.
As illustrating the state of things in Scotland at this date we may instance a dispute which occurred with the Mary s Chapel Lodge in 1707. A portion of these withdrew and established without permission the Lodge “Journeymen.” Lodge Marys Chapel objected to their meeting to take fees and give the “Masons Word,” and the dispute ran on for some years. The Masters Incorporation was the legal head of such bodies, and the Journeymen obtained leave to sue Mary s Chapel for such Masonic rights as the latter possessed. The Incorporation agreed in 1715 that the Journeymen should have an “Act of Allowance” to give the Mason s Word. From this circumstance Bro. R. F. Gould is inclined to think that the custodians of this privilege were the Incorporations, and that this case is the old survival of a claim that the private Lodges were Agencies or Deputations of the Incorporations for that purpose. It is a reasonable and just conclusion, and however loose the Lodges may have been in their working, we may feel sure that the Incorporations were Custodians of ritualistic Catechisms, probably of a Christian nature, of all known grades in Masonry, whether the same were conferred or had lapsed. Brother Clement E. Stretton, who is eminent as a writer of books on his own line as a C.E., has stated in the journals of the day and confirmed to me by letters that Dr. James Anderson was made chaplain of the St. Paul s Guild in 1710, in succession to Dr. Compton, who had been in the habit of holding a daily service. In September, 1714, Anderson proposed that men of position should be admitted to a species of honorary membership, which was carried by one vote, and the accounts, in that and the following year, show seven fees of 5 guineas each. All the time St. Paul s work was in operation the Guilds met at High XII. on a Saturday, but Anderson changed the period of meeting to 7 oclock on a Wednesday evening, at the Goose and Gridiron, and in September, 1715, the Operatives found that their old pass would not admit them, and they complained to Wren and Strong and the dissidents were struck off the Rolls; and this is probably why Anderson complained that Wren “neglected the Lodges.” Now, under such circumstances, no honourable man can say that Anderson acted a creditable part. But we can see what he actually “digested.” He made the Apprentice in a month, in place of seven years, struck out everything technical, including the ceremonies of conferring the Mark Mason; and left a fine moral institution on the lines of the Mystic Societies of the Ancients, but it is not Free Masonry, but an imitation of it; he retained as much of the Old Rites as suited his purpose, and could be worked into the modern system, but it lacked the explanation the Guild Rites afforded. In the Stanley MS. of 1697, facsimiled for the West Yorkshire P.G. Lodge, there is a peculiar addition which is of later date. A very precise investigation of the allusions therein was made by Brother Gould in 1888, and he has come to the conclusion that the lines are applicable to 1714. It is supposed to have been a North Country MS., and we give the endorsement:
“The prophecy of Brother Roger Bacon, Disciple of Balaam, Wch Hee Writt on ye N.E. Square of ye Pyramids of Egypt In capital, Letters. “When a Martyr s Grand Daughter In ye Throne of Great Brittain, Makes Capet s Proud Son look you d think him beshitten, [Louis XIV.]
When ye Medway and Mais Piss together In a Quill, And Tagus and Rhine of ye Seine have their will, When ye Thames has ye Tay taen for better, for worse, An to purchase ye Doxy has well drained his purse, When by roasting a Priest ye Church has her wishes, Loyal Tory s in places, Whiggs silent as fishes, When Europe grows Quiet and a man yts right wily, Setts up a wood bridge from ye Land s End to Chili, and married to Richard Aldworth in 1713, we may reasonably fix 1710 as about the date of the reception. Brother W. J. C. Crawley, LL.D., has gone also into this matter in “Coementaria Hibernica,” and expresses his opinion that similar Lodges may have existed at the Eagle Tavern under Lord Rosse, and at Mitchelstown under Lord Kingstown. There is an Irish MS. amongst the Molyneux papers endorsed “Feb., 1711,” which clearly indicates a 3-Degree system, and is headed with a (symbol: This is like an elongated “H” with a vertical line down to the center of the cross bar. Above, across the vertical line, are two horizontal cross lines, upper shorter and just below top.) All the serious works which refer, in print, to the Society of Free-Masons make no question of its antiquity, either during the 17th century or after it had passed into an entirely Speculative System. The “Antiquities of Berkskire” by Elias Ashmole (London 1719) has a paragraph which includes the information given by Plot and Aubrey that we have before referred to; and we add some interesting particulars from the letters of Dr. Thomas Knipe, who flourished between 1660 and 1711, in which year he died, and which were used by the compilers of Ashmole s Biography in 1748. This writer repeats the statement in regard to the Papal Bull of the time of Henry III., and goes on to say: “But this Bull, in the opinion of the learned Mr. Ashmole, was confirmative only and did not by any means create our fraternity, nor even to establish them in this kingdom.” He then proceeds to give an account of the statements gathered from the old Charges from St. Alban to the ratification of the Constitution by Henry VI., and closes with a statement that in the Civil Wars the Free-Masons were generally Yorkists, and abuses Plot for his injurious comments. (“The Kneph;” Gould s “Hist. Freem.,” etc.)
In Scotland technically it would seem that a Scottish Master was Work Master of the Domatic Lodge, and the Chair Master of the Geomatic Lodge, but who had to be examined and Passed as a Master; for it is to be presumed that non-operatives might be ritualistically dispensed from the 7 years probation required for a Fellow of Craft. Melrose had a very old Lodge which kept to the ancient system until a few years ago, when it joined Grand Lodge. There is a Melrose minute of 1764 of which an unwise use is made; it enacts that the Apprentice and Fellow Craft ceremonies for that is what is meant shall be “administered in a simple way and manner free of anything sinful and superstitious,” at this date it had two degrees and the Praeses was Master Mason. It only proves the presence of a puritanical spirit in the Lodge. That there was a Fellow Craft degree in Scotland worked in Lodges is proved by the Charge of St. Mary s, Edinburgh, against the Journeymen in 1713 that they “presumed at their own hand to enter Apprentices and Pass Fellow Crafts in a public change house.”
From the middle of the 17th century the Scottish minute books show numerous admissions of military men, and of Lairds who are designated by their lands. The Kelso Lodge, to which Sir John Pringle s name appears in 1701, in 1705 imposes a fine for absence upon “Cornet Drummond and Lovetenant Benett.” The Haughfoot Lodge, opened in 1702 by John Pringle of Torsonce, leave us in no doubt that it then conferred and “Passed” Apprentice and Fellow Craft, the Master Mason occupying the chair. Sometimes both degrees were given at one meeting, at others after an interval. The annual meeting was held for business, and a “Commission” given each year to 5 members to Initiate others. The Lodge at Aberdeen had two classes, Geomatic and Domatic Masons, and the admissions differently worded for each. The Master was Geomatic, and the Senior Warden Domatic, and this latter class had to make a trial-piece for each degree.
“Old Catechisms.” The most important question with Freemasons will be by what sort of Rites were these 17th century Masons received into the Brotherhood? and the answer must depend on the nature of the Lodge which acted. It does not seem very difficult to form an approximate idea of this. There are various old Catechisms which, though of doubtful authority, and not wholly written in this century, but yet are clearly of it, and moreover are in general unison with the reduced 16th and 17th century Constitutional Charges. There is one copy of these Catechisms which the late Rev. Bro. A. F. A. Woodford, who further quotes competent authority, considers from its archaisms to date 1650 if not earlier, and there are versions of 1723, 1724, 1729, 1730 and onwards. A copy was printed in the “Scots Magazine” of 1755, and is said to reveal an actual reception at Dundee in 1727. Although the general character of these Catechisms are similar they differ in detail, but the Dundee specimen is in close agreement with the one that Brother Woodford has attributed to 1650, or earlier, and which is found amongst the Sloane MSS., and has been printed by him; it raises the question whether it is not actually a Scottish version brought South.
All these documents besides the recognition of some Apprentice ceremony, of an operative appearance, divide the Fellow s part into two portions; “first” the Catechism of that degree which we now term Fellow-craft, and “second” the degree now termed Master, and this last clearly defined in every copy that we have, and quite as clearly in the “Sloane MS.” as any other. They are all a debased version of the original system prevailing when it took some years to become an operative Fellow or Master. Equally some sort of mark or ceremony is in evidence. In Scottish Lodges such a system might arise from a desire to continue to confer a Master s degree after the actual Masters had Incorporated, and in parts of England where the Fraternity ceased to be practical, from a desire to shorten the reception of Fellow and Master; in other words, to make an amateur into an Apprentice, Fellow, and Master in one evening; in any case all give 5 points of Fellowship as applicable to Craftsmen, but in the ancient Guilds they had a technical reference. Sometimes a Passed Apprentice would appear to mean a Fellow, and a Passed Fellow a Master, so loose is the wording. In all cases, however, the Catechisms give certain secrets of the modern 3rd Degree, from which we may justly infer that they had knowledge of a certain annual Rite, or drama, and that if it should have passed out of practice it was owing to the changed position of the Lodge. Precisely the same thing has occurred amongst the Guilds claiming mediaeval descent, of which many yet exist, and Passed Masters have to be called in from a distance; one of the most expert workers is a York Mason. It is unnecessary to particularise much of these Catechisms, but in our chapter viii. we advocated on the evidence to be obtained from the Saxon Charge, old operatives, and the usages of Societies similarly constituted, that the most ancient form of recognition was a “Salutation,” and this is found in every Catechism that has come down to us, until it was expunged in 1813. If this is correct the most ancient Masons were “Salute Masons,” the Freemasons were Hebrew “Word Masons”; no doubt when this union took place, whether in the 13th century or any other date, it would be followed from time to time with revisions, to correct inaccurate oral transmission. The “Salutation” varies in these old MSS., but the following from the “Sloane,” and the printed 1723, are given as specimens; those of Germany were more elaborate as they contained seven prayers or “Words”: “The Right Worshipful, the Masters and Fellows, in that Worshipful Lodge from whence we last come, Greet you, Greet you, Greet you well.” The Warden replies: “God s Greeting be at this meeting, and with the Right Worshipful the Master, and the Worshipful Fellows who keeps the keys of the Lodge from whence you come, and you also are welcome, Worshipful Brother, into this Worshipful Society.” In the “Sloane MS.” there is found “a Jerusalem word,” Giblin, as well as a two-syllabled word, Maharhyn, and doubts thrown on a sign, said to be given in France and Turkey, which may be considered in relation, to what was said at the opening of chapter ix.
The Catechism of 1723 has the following lines: (Gould s “Hist. Frem.” Appendix.)
“An Entered Mason I have been, Boaz and Jachin I have seen, A Fellow I was sworn most rare, And know the Ashlar, Diamond and Square; I know the Master s part full well,
As honest Maughbin will you tell.” Then the Master says: “If a Master Mason you would be, Observe you well the “rule of three,” And what you want in Masonry, Thy “Mark” and “Maughbin” makes thee Free.”
The printed catechism of 1724 represents a body qualified as a St. John s Lodge, a term we saw used in the oldest York minutes, and it is in altogether better form than some of the others. We find in it a “version” of an old Rosicrucian and Gnostic symbol, an equal cross with a triangle over it (Symbol: as described); it has also the word “Irah,” which no one has ventured to explain, but it occurs in the Lectures of HRDM-RSYCSS. Symbolism couched in rhyme is found in the Scottish and north England Catechisms, to a late period. In a MS. of the old Charges belonging to the Dumfries Lodge, of date early 18th century, is the following, but we have no space to quote the Christian Catechism of the old Temple Symbolism found therein. (Vide “Ars Quat. Cor.” vi, p. 42.)
“Q. Where ought a Lodge to be keapt? A. On the top of a mountain or in ye middle of a boge, Without the hearing of ye crowing of a cock or ye bark of a doge. Q. What was the greatest wonder yt was seen or heard about the Temple? A. God was man and man was God, Mary was a mother and yet a maid.” There can be little doubt that one of the customs here referred to originated in the British and Teutonic customs of holding a Council, Folcmote, or Thing, Friestuhl or Vehme, either on the top of a mountain, or in the open, in the middle of a field, and every Free-Man had a voice in such Courts. According to a MS. of the learned Mr. Jones in the Cottonian library, the early British Kings when they held a Council either personally or by deputy, “went to a certain private house or tower on the top of a hill, or some solitary place of counsel, far distant from any dwelling, and there advised unknown to any man, but the Counsellors themselves.” The following lines, of much interest, appear in the “Dumfries MS.” just quoted: “A caput mortem (symbol: circle with face: two dots with eyebrows, a curve for a nose and a small dash for a mouth) here you see, To mind you of mortality.” “Behold great strength (symbol of two vertical, parallel lines) by Herod fell, But stablishment in heaven doeth dwell.” “Let all your acts (symbol: vertical line with horizontal line at top to right) be just and true, Which after death gives life to you,”
“Keep round within (symbol: small circle over inverted “V”) of your appointed sphere,
Be ready for your latter end draws near.” (Vide “Ars Quat. Cor.” vi, p. 42.)
A formula of old transmission has the following:
“By letters four and science five, This G aright doth stand.”
Brother J. A. Cockburn of Adelaide thinks they are of very great antiquity. He holds that originally the G was the Hebrew “gimel,” and the Greek “gamma,” which is a Mason s square, held sacred by the Pythagoreans, and the Cabiric Initiates of the earth-goddess “Ge” or “Gai,” and he further suggests that the primitive emblem may have been the Svastica (Symbol: Swastika) which embraces “four” gammas, and again represents the sacred tetragrammaton of the Jews, Plutarch says “The number four is a square”; and Philo says, “Four is the most ancient of all square numbers, it is found to exist in right angles, as a square in Geometry Shows.” Brother Sydney T. Klein, P.M. 2076, in a lecture upon the ancient Geometry (“Ars Quat. Cor.” x.) says, that the Greek “gamma” was actually the etymon or name designating the square in the earliest times. The same Brother considers that the great secret of prehistoric geometry was, “how to make a perfect right angle, in any desired position without possibility of error,” and gives as illustration an Egyptian deed of 2,000 B.C., and later papyrus of 1,500 B.C. Both English and Coptic Guilds still give it, and the old York Lectures also. He shews that the ancient geometers had this secret, and that it could be made by means of the centre, from any straight line, or by taking any triangular line drawn from the circumference of a circle, by the rope or skirret. On the formation of Grand Lodge, he says, in 1717, every gentleman desired to be a Master Mason, and as the property of the square was assigned to one W.M., whilst the ritual retained the original wording, the symbolic allusion was lost, and the Euclidean problem was given to the W.M. in place of the simple square. The Ancient Guilds have possessed this as a secret for ages and based much ceremony upon it.
Malvern old church, is said to have a curious window, but no information is afforded as to its date; “In the left hand division of the last window, at the east end of the south aisle (the subject alluding to paradise); in the top section, is a figure before a dial column (the dial gone) holding in his right hand a square and a huge pair of compasses. In the next section of the same window, westward, is a figure kneeling, having a globe on a stand, on a pedestal behind him, with the moon, the sun, and seven stars before him; a root of corn is at the foot near a stream of water, with a branch of acacia on raised ground. And in the third section is a figure prostrate, on a piece of square pavement; the latter is, however, only a compilation of odd pieces of ancient coloured glass.” Brother Ker of Scotland has written something in reference to an examination of the Master s grade by two astronomers who decided it was some very ancient system. The celestial and terrestrial globes were rectified to the time of the foundation of Solomon s temple, and “the signs and words were obtained, and the reason of the implements being used; the legend of the third degree; also the name being thrice repeated; why the ear of corn and the waterfall are depicted; and the direction in which the procession moves.” A lecture similar to this, but not covering all these points, embracing chiefly the temple of Solomon as a type of the Universe, is in the Library of the Grand Chapter of Scotland and attributed to Dr. Walker Arnott, an eminent Scottish Mason. The late Brother Albert Pike seems to have entertained a similar opinion, and argues for the identification of Hiram with the Sun-god. (“Morals and Dogma; Vide also Liverpool Mas. Jol.,” Dec. 1901.) In Egypt, Horus is represented as seated upon lions, the same word meaning both sun and lion. Again Hari is a Hindu name of the sun, and Khurum or Hiram is the Egyptian Her-ra, Hermes, Hercules. He thinks certain assassins may possibly be recognised in the Arabic names of certain stars; when, by the precession of the equinoxes, the sun was in Libra, in autumn, he met in the east, where the reign of Typhon commenced, three stars forming a triangle, they are thus designated Zuben-es- chamali in the west, Zuben-hak-rabi in the east, Zuben-el-gabi in the south; of these the corrupt forms, he thinks, may be found in Jubela-Gravelot, Jubelo- Akirop; and Jubulum-Gibbs. (“Ibid,” pp. 79, 488.) The theory of Brother Ker s two celebrated astronomers might imply the arrangement of the Rites by old astrologers.
A similar theory is embodied in the Swedenborgian Rite, which upholds the Masonic symbols as those of the “most” ancient races, allied to the doctrine of correspondences. Thus the Masters degree is an astrological, or astronomical allegory, based upon the position of the stars 5873 B.C. The Lodge is a symbol of the Universe (also Dr. Arnotts contention), and the Rites represent the building of God s temple in nature, and the building up of humanity; it has a further reference to the erection of the Succuth, Booths, or Lodges erected at the feast of Tabernacles. Brother Samuel Beswick, in his work on the Rite, asserts that Emanuel Swedenborg was made a Mason at the University of Lunden in 1706, and that this date appears upon a minute of 1787 when King Gustavus III. presided, but that it is erroneously entered London. He also asserts that Charles XII., who was assassinated in 1718, had Lodges, and Chapters or Encampments in his army. The ancient Guilds may have been continued in Sweden, and with reference to higher degrees we have already mentioned the existence of Rosy Cross in the 15th century and there was a similar non-Masonic Society in the 18th with the King as Chief.
It is not supposed that any quarrel occurred at York to separate the Operatives and the Speculatives; the former continued to hold their meetings at High XII., and the latter withdrew to meet in the evening; and their Ritual retained much of the Operative customs not now found in the modern ritual of 1813.
In the 1st Degree the Candidate took a short O.B. before preparation, in order that if he was rejected or withdrew, he might be pledged to secrecy, and the same system exists in the Guild, as the boy is O.B. in the porch before admission. On a York reception he was invested with the Operative Mason s leather apron up to the neck; and as in the Operative Guild he was shewn how to hew the rough Ashlar.
In the 2nd Degree he was thrice tested by the J.W., S.W., and W.M. in the use of the plumb, level, and square. At the 1st and 2nd rounds he had to test the columns of the Wardens, and the W.M. required him to prove the perfect Ashlar with the square; there is this difference however that the Guild used the hollow square of the nature of a picture frame as a guage both for the stone and the Fellow. The 3rd Degree begins as Fellow, and ends as “Casual” Master.
The old Masters ceremony of York, and the north of England, contained much that is now omitted, and had many points of resemblance to the ancient Mysteries. The names of the criminals are given, and after the death of Hiram the Superintendent Adoniram succeeds him, and is ruler of Perfect Masters. The details would read thus, on the lines of the ancient Mysteries: Hiram the Abiv or father of Craftsmen is lamented for twice 7 days, when the fraternity is gladdened by a reappearance in the person of Adoniram the prince of the people. In real history Adoniram was slain, whilst according to Oliver, who quotes Dius and Menander, Hiram returned to Tyre, where he is known as Abdemonos. The York ceremony was a good representation of the “Aphenism” and “Euresis” of the Mysteries; respecting which Diodorus informs us that Egypt lamented the violent death of Osiris for fourteen days at his tomb, referring to the lunation of the moon, after which they rejoiced on a proclaimed rising.
In regard to the Masonic symbols it is tolerably certain that the more recondite of these have been received by the Free-Masons from the most ancient times, yet that their actual signification became lost, to the society which ceased its connection with architecture, and in many cases as we know new meanings were assigned by the Grand Lodge in 1717. In reference to what has already been said of the perpetuation of a Mark for tools and work, it may be pointed out that the custom was continued in Scotland when an Apprentice was Entered, and Fellows had it in England according to the Catechism quoted and the remnants of Guild life still have it. By the 1670 Laws of the Aberdeen Lodge the Apprentice, besides other fees, had to pay one Mark for his Mark. The Laws of this date enact that Apprentices were to be “Entered,” in their “Outfield Lodge,” in the parish of Ness, save in ill weather when, “We ordain lykwise that no lodge be holden within a dwelling house, where there is people living in it, but in the open fields, except it be ill weather, and let there be a house closed, that no person shall heir or see us.” In the old Dumfries Lodge, No. 53, by the Laws of 1687 Apprentices had to pay, “a mark Scots money assignt mark.” The “Scots Magazine” gives a Dundee Initiation of 1727 and has, “How got you that Mark?” Answer, “I took up one Mark, and laid down another.”
In the Catechism, printed in England, we quoted the lines: And what you want in Masonry, Thy “Mark” and “Maughbin” makes thee Free.”
All the evidence which these documents afford us, rudimentary, aid- memory, or fragmentary though they may be, point to this, that in some parts, and especially in Scotland, the ancient Fellow and Master of the General Assembly had become the Apprentice and Fellow of the Lodge, first by swearing the Apprentice to a Charge, and then by reducing the seven years qualification for Fellowship, until finally there was little or no interval, but customs were not uniform, for there was no general central authority. In other cases, where a stricter tradition was followed, the Apprentice was sworn to a Charge by some ceremonial and at the end of his seven years Apprenticeship was accepted a Fellow by a formal ceremony and then, or afterwards, received the more ancient secrets of a Master Mason; or, as in certain Northern Lodges was created a Harod or ruling Chief; for as the Lodges ceased to be schools of architecture there was no call to continue a strict examination for the title of a Passed Master. This apparently was the view of Grand Lodge in 1717, adopted with some changes to suit a new state of things.
It is quite open to belief, as modern critics contend, that when an unindentured man, or a gentleman, was made a Mason in a Lodge, such as that of York, he would receive the whole degrees at once, in a running ceremony. The Guild received amateurs in the 6th Degree only. It must therefore be true, in a modified sense, that Fellow and Master were convertible terms. It is all but certain that the Speculative, so-called revivalists of 1717 had oral or written Catechisms of Guild ceremonies, and we are told by Anderson, that the 1721 meetings of Grand Lodge were made very interesting by the Lectures of old Masons. At any rate, we are required to believe in their good faith, and that the men who formed the Grand Lodge of London in 1717, transmitted us what they had or could remember from the ancients; revised, subtracted, added a little, it may be, but their chief alteration was eventually to make three ceremonies the rule of Speculative Masons, and to contain, in one form or another, all which they had obtained from the Ancient Guild Masons; who when they received an Amateur swore him only in the 6th Degree. As they had now no use for an Indentured Apprentice, they divided the degree of Reception into two portions, in our present Apprentice and Fellow- Craft degrees, revising somewhat the Passed Fellow and adding a second part to their Master s degree.
At least they knew, however badly instructed they may have been, better of what genuine Masonry consisted than the iconocalistic critics of near two centuries later; and we must bear in mind that we are dealing with a Society that was established for secret and oral transmission of its Mysteries, and which bound its members to absolute secrecy on every point under the most binding penalties. The whole allegory of a Master, it has been observed, enforces the lesson that it is a danger, even to allow it to be suspected that he possessed certain Rites, that were a certificate of his proficiency in the Craft. Nor must we forget that speculative Masonry was constituted as a Triad Society governed by threes, after the manner of the Druids. Shakespere says, “that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet;” and the Grand Lodge established in 1717 is the same thing whether we call it by that name, or term it Assembly, Congregation, or Chapter, as the ancient designations ran. Practically 1717 was the revival of a previous attempt to continue a ruling body without its Rites and ceremonies, and from this period Freemasons can have little doubt as to the nature of the Society and its degrees so far as the ordinary Craft Mason is concerned. The supposed claim of the Modern Grand Lodge to a full possession of the entire system of Masonry was not universally acknowledged but denied, and led to York, and other centres of Masons, being termed ANCIENTS, whilst the Grand Lodge of London was designated MODERN. The guiding principle of the founders of the Grand Lodge Rites was Universality, and with antiquarian tastes, and logical views, nothing was accepted as Masonry but what concerned Solomon s Temple, and in adopting Guild ceremonies they did so without reference to the 2nd temple. The question arises here whether or no they were fully informed Initiates, and that is very dubious.
After a full consideration of all the facts produced in previous chapters can we arrive at any other conclusion than this, that though Freemasonry of the present day, may have undergone modifications in its ceremonies, and changed with the manners of Society, yet that the general tone of its ritual has descended to us from the most remote antiquity. As to the 2nd part of the Master s ceremony, on which so much criticism has been wasted, there can be no doubt that it has been taken from the yearly celebration of the Guilds of what is supposed to have occurred at the building of the Temple.
Throughout these pages we have followed the ordinary histories which treat Modern Freemasonry as a succession of the Operative Guilds; it is one of the descendants of these bodies, but lacking their technical instruction, and the abridgement which it has undergone can only be fully understood by placing the two Rites in juxtaposition. It is, what else can we say? a moral and speculative imitation of the more ancient Rites of the Guilds, socially of a higher status, but separated from them, and with the next Chapter we enter entirely upon a Speculative Freemasonry.
Much confusion has arisen owing to writers attempting to trace Masonry from a special class of what were termed “Mysteries.” We have seen that the early Mysteries were Guilds, and that even after Caste influenced them, and divided them into three sections they were still all one, varying only in the names, &c. There were then (1) those of the Priests; (2) those of Warriors and agriculturists; (3) those of the Artisans. All three were equally Mysteries; all were equally Guilds; equally one Mystery; with like ceremonies varying mainly in the object and technical part of their Rituals. Masonry is the only one of these that has come down to us unchanged at the date we close this Chapter. They were a necessity to the priestly builders of Temples and Churches, and therefore encouraged. It must be admitted, however, that the modern rites have a remarkable reference to those of the Cabiri. It had “seven” anthropomorphised Gods of Art, the number of a “perfect Lodge”; of these, three were “Chief” Gods, and one was slain by the others and buried in the roots of Olympus. It is said that the Roman Emperor Commodius in initiating a candidate was so energetic that he sent him to join his prototype.