St. Albans Lodge No. 68
Anniversary Loving Cup
is another beautiful Three Handled Loving Cup made to commemorate the 50th
Anniversary (1865-1915) of St. Albans Lodge No. 68 F. & A.M. of Newark,
New Jersey. Their celebration was held January 28th, 1915. It is
decorated in blue with black transfers and has a gold band around the
lip. It was made by the Thos. Maddock's Son's Co. of Trenton, New
Jersey. It stands 7 1/4 inches tall.
The Ceremony of the Loving Cup
An Ancient Masonic Ceremony of Sharing
This is an old tradition in Wellington Lodge No. 1385 usually performed at the
conclusion of a banquet. It is a very old custom which seems to have almost
died out, at least in Craft Masonry. Wellington tries to maintain this
tradition and is famous for it.
Actually the Loving Cup should be passed after the Entered Apprentice song has
been sung. This is a ceremony handed down through the ages and need not be
limited to initiations, which Wellington does not do.
The procedure was for three Brethren to stand, two would unsheath their swords
and the third (middle) to hold up the cup by the two handles and to drink
whilst the two others defended him, one facing him and the other with his back
to the drinker’s back. Having taking his draught, the drinker then wipes the
cup with a napkin. The two brethren with thier backs together then turn to
face each other and the cup is handed over. The next brother in the line now
stands to protect the back of the drinker, and so on.
A later variation of the Loving Cup for toasting is the large two handled
wassail bowl or cup, usually pewter or silver and sometimes bearing the Lodge
badge or crest. At the festive Board it is passed round from Brother to
Brother around the table. The word “wassail” comes from the old English “Waes
Hail”, meaning “Be thou whole and of good health”. The custom of protection of
the drinker’s back is said to date back to Saxon times, when a man might be
treacherously stabbed whilst drinking - hence a friend or two defend him with
drawn swords. This may be borne out by the murder, in A.D. 979 of King Edward
(later known as Edward the Martyr), when he was so stabbed on the orders of
his stepmother, Elfrida, so that her own son, Ethelred could become King
instead. He was stabbed at the feast while drinking mead from a two handled
loving cup by a paid assassin.
There are many forms of the ceremony but the process of sharing, coupled with
mutual protection is the same — it reinforces the ancient Masonic bond we have
with each other.