THE POCKET HISTORY
FRED L. PICK
(P.A.G.D.C., P.P.G.W., P.M. of Quatuor Coronati
Manchester Lodge for Masonic Research, 5502).
G. NORMAN KNIGHT
(M.A., Oxon., Barrister-at-Law, P.M. of Old
Bradfield Lodge Member of Correspondence Circle, Quatuor Coronati Lodge,
Manchester Association for Masonic Research).
FREDERICK MULLER LIMITED
(Scanned at the Phoenixmasonry
Research Society by Brother Ralph W. Omholt, January 2007)
FIRST PUBLISHED BY FREDERICK
PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN
BY BESLEY AND COPP LTD.,
BOUND BY THE LEIGHTON STRAKER
BOOKBINDING CO. LTD.
First Impression, September,
Second Impression, October,
Third Impression, March, 1954
Origin of Freemasonry - -
Medieval Operative Masonry - -
The Old Charges - -
- - 28
Pre-Grand Lodge Freemasonry - -
Grand Lodge Period until 1750 -
- - 73
English Freemasonry, 1751 to 1813 - -
United Grand Lodge Freemasonry, 1813 to 1952
History of Irish Freemasonry - -
History of Scottish Freemasonry - -
Freemasonry in the Forces - -
Freemasonry Overseas, other than in U.S.A. -
Freemasonry in the U.S.A. - -
The Holy Royal Arch - -
- - 250
Mark and Royal Ark Freemasonry - -
Additional Degrees - -
- - 268
List of Books Recommended - -
Useful Masonic Dates - -
- - 281
Index - - -
- - - 285
In its inception this little
work was to have been undertaken by the Rev. Herbert Poole in collaboration
with the present junior author. On Brother Poole's premature passing on the
14th February 1951, which deprived Masonic research of one of its foremost
lights, he had completes only a few rough notes towards the project.
Fortunately Brother Pick was willing to step into the breach.
In condensing the whole of the history of Freemasonry in all its
aspects into 283 pages, the chief difficulty has beer this very task of
compression and much fascinating detail has perforce had to be omitted. The
Pocket History is in no sense a mere epitome of any of the larger histories.
Although in its compilation all the standard authorities and records have been
consulted. A principal aim has beer to achieve accuracy of statement; with the
many doubt: and uncertainties in which the earlier part of the story is
shrouded it has been impossible to avoid the use of "probably," "possibly" and
“it may have been that. .. " The authors believe that their work will prove
especially useful to the young Master Mason, for whom, should h be tempted to
pursue his studies further, they have prepares é a short list of recommended
They wish most gratefully to acknowledge the help they have
received from Brother R. E. Parkinson of Downpatrick, N. Ireland, and Brother
Ward St. Clair of New York. Brother Parkinson very kindly read through the
Chapter on Irish Freemasonry and made several valuably suggestions. It is good
news to learn that he is no' engaged in preparing a sequel to Lepper and
Crossle's History of the Grand Lodge of Ireland, the only published volume of
which stopped short at 1813.
Brother St. Clair, who performed a similar service for the Chapter
on the U.S.A., is a well-known American student and a Past District Deputy
Grand Master of New York. He has a remarkable collection of transcripts of
Rituals, many of which are no longer worked. His interest in present day
Freemasonry is none the less practical.
The authors would like also to express their indebtedness to
Brother J. Heron Lepper, late Librarian of the Grand Lodge of England, and his
Staff, and to Brother J. R. Dashwood, Secretary of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge
of Research, No. 2076. The death of Bro. Lepper while this work was in the
press has robbed Freemasonry of one of its greatest students.
In sending out this brief history the authors trust that they have
done justice to their subject—the story of an Order which has numbered among
its members monarchs such as Francis I (of the Holy Roman Empire), Frederick
the Great, the Emperor Napoleon I, Their Majesties Kings George IV and VI,
William IV and Edward VII and VIII: such soldiers as the 2nd Earl of Moira,
the 1st Marquess of Wellesley and the 1st Duke of Wellington, Marshal Blucher,
General Garibaldi, Lord Garnet Wolseley, Lieut.-General Sir Charles Warren,
Field Marshals Earl Kitchener of Khartoum, Earl Haig of Bemersyde and Earl
Alexander of Tunis as well as General MacArthur: such statesmen as Benjamin
Franklin, George Washington, Bolivar the Liberator, Daniel O'Connell, Theodore
Roosevelt and Harry Truman: with politicians like John Wilkes: men of letters
such as Alexander Pope, the 4th Earl of Chesterfield, Goethe, Boswell, Horace
Walpole, Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott and Rudyard Kipling: architects like
Sir Christopher Wren: composers like Samuel Wesley, Mozart and Joseph Haydn:
antiquaries such as Elias Ashmole and the Randle Holmes: such artists as
William Hogarth, "Old Crome" and John Sell Cotman: such doctors as Sir Bernard
Spilsbury and Sir Alexander Fleming: with a host of other celebrities who have
adorned and been adorned by the Ancient and Accepted Craft of Freemasonry.
THE ORIGIN OF FREEMASONRY
An immense amount of ingenuity
has been expended on the exploration of possible origins of Freemasonry, a
good deal of which is now fairly generally admitted to have been wasted.
In a system, fundamentally ethical, which makes a wide use of
symbolism in its manner of imparting instruction, it would be surprising if
there were not many points of contact with a variety of religions, old and
new, in addition to the classical "Mysteries," and even ancient Chinese
philosophy, in which, for example, the Square is known to have been employed
as an illustration or emblem of morality.
Many of the doctrines or tenets inculcated in Freemasonry belong
to the vast traditions of humanity of all ages and all parts of the world.
Nevertheless, not only has no convincing evidence yet been brought forward to
prove the lineal descent of our Craft from any ancient organization which is
known to have, or even suspected of having, taught any similar system of
morality, but also, from what we know of the Craft in the few centuries prior
to the formation of the first Grand Lodge in 1717, it is excessively unlikely
that there was any such parentage. Indeed, it can be very plausibly argued
that a great deal of the symbolism which we find in the Craft today is
actually a comparatively modern feature and that some was not introduced until
after the beginning of the eighteenth century.
Without attempting to give an exhaustive list of ancient bodies or
organizations which have at various times been claimed as the ancestors of
Freemasonry, it may be said
THE ORIGIN OF FREEMASONRY
roughly, they fall into three groups, which will be shortly reviewed in what
appears to be the order of increasing plausibility.
Druids, Culdees and Rosicrucians.
First come certain bodies such as the Druids and the Culdees, of
whom we know nothing, or next to nothing, as to what rites or ceremonies they
may have practised; and who thus provide admirable opportunities for guesswork
as to any possible or probable ancestorship. Of both these it need only be
said that they certainly existed and functioned in the British Isles, but that
our knowledge of neither justifies any attempt at establishing a relationship
Again the Rosicrucians, no less mysterious, have been claimed as
among our ancestors. But, whether there ever was such a body at all, and, if
so, whether it possessed any peculiar ritual or secrets, are extremely
doubtful; and in any case there can have scarcely have been such a fraternity
until after the beginning of the seventeenth century, and by that date
Freemasonry was widely distributed over Scotland, and probably over England.
The Essenes and the Ancient Mysteries.
Next must come the "esoteric" moral systems of the past, such as
that of the Essenes (who flourished from an early date in brew history until
well into our era), the ancient Mysteries of Egypt and Greece, and the
Mithraic cult. These, undoubtedly taught morality through symbolism, used
elaborate rituals and inculcated such doctrines as that of the immortality of
Here we do in some cases know rather more regarding their tenets
and practices; but the differences are more pronounced than the resemblances,
and the latter are in such details as might well have developed quite
independently in widely separated places or ages.
COLLEGIA, ARCHITECTS &
The Collegia, Travelling Architects and
Thirdly, there are several known or fancied bodies of operative
builders or architects, who have been suspected of having handed down and
propagated moral teachings and symbolism which finally came into the
possession of the medieval operative Masons, to blossom at last into the Craft
as we have it today. There are three main "theories" (if such a term is
permissible); and, as the technique of operative masonry has undoubtedly been
handed down from generation to generation for perhaps several thousand years2
we cannot ignore entirely the possibility that some esoteric teaching has come
to us through the same channels. The three main theories will be dealt with
The "Collegia" were
part-religious, part-social and part-craft "clubs" which flourished,
encouraged by the Roman authorities, at the height of the Empire. It is quite
likely (but there is no evidence) that such bodies, 7 primarily devoted to the
craft of building, accompanied or followed the Roman armies to Britain in
mid-first century; and that when the Romans withdrew from this country towards
the end of the fourth century, some of the personnel remained behind, so that
their teaching survived and was handed down until it found utterance (j~ again
among the stone-builders of the Anglo-Saxon period. It is not impossible that
this may have been the case; but as there is no evidence that the Collegia
possessed any esoteric teaching; as there was an almost complete break of
several centuries in stone-building after the departure of the Romans; and as
there is no evidence even of craft-organization among the Masons until the to
tenth century (and then only very slender evidence), the chances of an
inheritance from the Collegia would appear highly remote.
Again, there is a remark of Dugdale, the seventeenth century
antiquary and herald, recorded somewhat casually by John Aubrey, to the effect
that" about Henry the Third's
THE ORIGIN OF FREEMASONRY
the Pope gave a Bull or diploma to a Company of Italian Architects to travell
up and downe over all Europe to build Churches. From these are derived the
Fraternity of Free-Masons. This, again, is not impossible; but, in spite of
intensive search in Papal archives and elsewhere, no evidence is yet available
in support of the statement. We can safely, therefore, dismiss it as a guess,
at the same time emphasising that, though much research has been carried out
in recent years on operative documents, there is still no reason for supposing
that any special body of Masons was ever employed exclusively on Church - or
Abbey - building in this country. On the contrary, a Mason took any job which
came his way, whether Church or Castle.
Lastly, much has been said and written of recent years of a
supposed body of Masons who called themselves the "Comacine Masters,"
so-called, it is said, because their original headquarters were situated on an
island in Lake Como. Now it is certainly true that the early development of
Romanesque architecture was much influenced by Lombard builders, who were in
wide demand dyer western Europe, and whose work in some of .its characteristic
features is distinctive. But it is extremely doubtful if they ever formed an
organized body; while, even if they did so, there is no reason Whatever for
supposing that they possessed any of the features, such as symbolic teaching
or secret signs or words, which are among the peculiarities of the Freemasons.
Consequently, though the rather attractive idea that we had found here our
lineal ancestors gained a considerable hold thirty or forty years ago, it has
long since been abandoned as a working hypothesis.
The theory that our fraternity derived from the Steinmetzen, or
stonecutters, of Germany became very popular about a century ago, following
the publication in 1848 of the writings of Fallou who however, failed to
evidence in support of his claim. His lead was followed uncritically by later
writers, including several of much greater eminence. The Abbot Wilhelm, of
Hirschau, is said to have introduced an institution of lay 'brothers but
examination of the records shows that these were not connected with the
building trades. Another claim, like that of the Comacines, is that the
Steinmetzen were established by papal bulls but these have never been traced.
As in other countries, Lodges (Bauhiitten) were set up in connection with the
building of the great cathedrals and their rules and customs tend to follow a
common pattern. it must be remembered that for several reasons there was a
constant interchange of staff and there would be a tendency for the best ideas
evolved in one place quickly to spread to others. The earliest known text of
their rules was drawn up at Regensburg in 1459 and the Torgau Statutes of 1462
record the acceptance by masters from several places of the ordinances
previously drawn up. These regulations were confirmed by imperial authority in
1498 and again in 1563. Translations may be found in Gould's History of
Freemasonry but we may here mention briefly that though some of their
provisions are found in the Old Charges of England the latter do not in the
main follow those documents. The Apprentice, when declared free, was required
to enter into an obligation among other things not unlawfully þ communicate
the mason's greeting and grip and not to alter without permission the mark
conferred on him. The Torgau Ordinances contain detailed instructions on the
conferment and use of the mark and even on its loan to an apprentice when his
master has no work for him. The nature of the "greeting" is unknown today, but
was probably a formula rather than a Word such as was given in Scotland.
There was in the organisation a chain of authority not established
in England, a much more compact country. The Lodge was subordinate to its
provincial Lodge and the
THE ORIGIN OF FREEMASONRY
Lodge of Straassburg was prey dominant over all. There is no evidence of any
direct connection between the Steinmetzen and Freemasonry.
Turning to France we find an association much ore closely akin to
Freemasonry than the Steinmetzen, one curiously overlooked by many French
authorities. The French gild system has a much greater antiquity than anything
in Britain, in fact, of all parts of Europe the shadow of the dark ages passed
over none so lightly as the South of France. There were many trade
fraternities and we hear of an organisation of stonemasons as early as 1365,
while a code of the masons of 1407 is preserved in the archives of Amiens. A
still earlier code, of 1260, of an organisation of masons, stonemasons,
plasterers and mortarers is especially interesting as it refers to a privilege
granted by Charles Martel, who also figures in the English Old Charges.
But there was another organisation in France, among the journeymen
Masons & members of allied trades and, curiously, its very existence was only
known by the fact that encounters between members of rival sections were
generally the prelude to the outbreak of bloody fighting, hardly kept in check
by the threat of the galleys. In 1841, one Agricol Perdiguier published the
Livre du Compagnonnage the first really detailed account to appear. The
Compagnonnage contained three great divisions, the Sons of Solomon, the Sons
of Maitre Jacques and the Sons of Soubisse. Maitre Jacques, according to his
legend, was one of the first masters of Solomon and a colleague of Hiram. He
was the son of Jacquin, a celebrated architect and his life was attempted and,
after one rescue, a further attempt was successful.
The newly-admitted journeyman was expected to make the tour de
France in search of employment and wider
experience and measures were taken for the reception of travelling craftsmen
who were provided with work or helped on their way. The similarities between
their initiation and English Masonic catechisms are suggestive but It is
unfortunate that so little is known of them before Perdiguier, by which time
much may have been adopted from Freemasonry which had been popular and
widespread for a century. (In this country we know remarkably little about
Friendly Society ritual which was so generally borrowed from the Masonic that
the Foresters took an especial pride in their alleged independence).
In Britain, Operative masonry lost its ritual which passed over
into the keeping of and was elaborated by the speculatives, whereas the
Compagnonnage retained its and remained aloof from French speculative
freemasonry. Although this Compagnonnage cannot be claimed to be in any way
one of the origins of Freemasonry, yet it is more than likely that it did
exercise considerable, if indirect, influence upon Speculative Freemasonry in
the sixteenth century, just as other institutions in England and Scotland were
similarly influenced from across the Channel in this period.
Freemasonry a British product.
Up to the present time, no even plausible theory of the "origin"
of the Freemasons has been put forward. The reason for this is probably that
the Craft, as we know it, originated among the Operative Masons of Britain. No
doubt it incorporated from the earliest times shreds of ritual, folk-lore and
even occult elements, of time-immemorial antiquity. But it is almost certainly
a British product and of British origin.
MEDIEVAL OPERATIVE MASONRY
The history of Freemasonry is
not so much the story of the development of a Craft Gild, culminating in such
organizations as the Masons' Company of London, as the development of a body
of "moral instruction" communicated by means of meetings held under the seal
of secrecy. For this reason that history is not to be found written in the
stone buildings which successive generations of masons have left behind them.
Nevertheless, in order to understand the possibility of such a
development, the forms which it took and the terms which it employed, it is
necessary to know something of the organization under which they were
developed. Though, therefore, we need not consider the various styles of
Architecture that prevailed successively in the medieval period, we shall have
to look into the status of the different classes of Masons, the conditions
under which they worked, the trade customs and legal enactments by which they
were bound, and (so far as we can) the Craft system which grew up as a
consequence of those conditions and customs.
Inter-communication among Masons.
Until the 14th Century we have no evidence at all of organization.
Yet, from the rapidity with which each new "style" seems to have spread far
and wide soon after its appearance, it is evident that there must have been at
least a high degree of inter-communication among the Masons. To take a single
instance—it seems likely that scarcely fewer than 5,000 churches were built in
the twenty years immediately following the Norman Conquest (1066-86); and not
only is there a remarkable similarity among them as regards size, proportions
and general lay-out, but they differed appreciably from the surviving churches
which are known to have been built during the half century or so before that
period. In other words, it looks almost as if some central authority had
prescribed (roughly) what sort of building was to be erected. Yet we know of
no such central authority; and it may be that the mere mobility of the Masons,
passing quickly from job to job, was sufficient to spread the " specification"
(if we may so call it) of a church of that date.
The Secret Signs.
To anticipate somewhat, in order to indicate the direction in
which our study of the period must tend, it will be best to say now that two
features of the Craft, even in those early days, probably played a part in
rendering it susceptible to the development of an "esoteric" element.
In the first place, the Mason's occupation must have kept him more
or less permanently on the move, at any rate during all but the winter months.
Practically all the stone buildings erected up and down the country almost up
to the Elizabethan period were cathedrals, abbeys, churches or castles; and on
completion of a few years work at one job he had to travel, possibly far, in
search for the next. Thus a Mason must have been joining parties or lodges of
hitherto complete strangers; and the possession of some secret. or word to
prove his bona fides would at least be appropriate —not so much, perhaps, to
guarantee his ability (which could easily be tested practically) as to satisfy
his employer that he was familiar with, and had pledged his fidelity to, the
established customs and usages of the Craft.
In the second place for several (perhaps many) years at a time the
body of Masons employed on a building enterprise would form a more or less
isolated community, living close
MEDIEVAL OPERATIVE MASONRY
their work, and having comparatively little intercourse with the inhabitants
of the nearest town or village. Such conditions, too, might well have provided
a suitable nursery for the development of the Craft in its infancy.
Before passing on to consider the "background" of the mediaeval
Mason we must consider the Gild system. Many Crafts had their trade secrets;
many, perhaps most, from the tenth century onwards tended to form Gilds for
the better governing of their members and for securing a high standard of
technical skill. The Masons, too, had their trade secrets of a technical
character, but they were in a different position from other Crafts, the
members of which generally followed their trade throughout life in the same
The Craft Gilds were essentially products of the larger
communities, their members well-known to each other, contributing regularly to
a common purse for sick benefits, burial and other purposes, and maintaining
an altar at which they met on the Festival of their Patron Saint. The Mason,
on the other hand, went where the work was available, sometimes under
compulsion when royal castles were under construction on the Welsh Marches or
In Tudor and Stuart times we find the Masons formed into actual
gilds in conjunction with other building trades, but their mediaeval
organization was of a regional or national character. Exactly how this
functioned we do not know, but there are references to a periodical assembly
of Masons in the Old Charges, which will be considered later. Another trade
which was not confined to the towns was that of the Minstrels and they have
left definite traces of periodical regional assemblies.
Though the Mason-organization was distinct from that of the
general run of the Gilds, much of the gild machinery was known to and adopted
by the Craft, as will be seen by
Old Charges. It has also been suggested that our ritual may have been inspired
by the annual productions of Miracle Plays, the various sections or interludes
of which were taken over by various Crafts with more or less suitability.
Here we run into difficulty. Four complete cycles of Miracle Plays
are still in existence and many other individual plays, but in no play with
which the Masons were concerned is there any connexion with any part that has
now passed into Masonic ceremonial, nor is there any play based on the
building of King Solomon's Temple. On the other hand no part of the Old
Testament story was more fully dramatized than the building of the Ark and
there was in very early times a ritual based on this structure. As the Craft
in general adopted much from the Gilds, so there are parallels between the
dramas enacted in public by the Craft Gilds and the essentially private
productions of the Masons.
We may now pass on to refer to some "operative" usages. Several
were common in other trades or crafts, but in Freemasonry all have survived,
in more than mere name, to the present day.
A Lodge was originally the Mason's working place, as distinguished
from the place where he slept and ate. The earliest known reference occurs in
1277 in the building accounts of Vale Royal Abbey, whereas and mansiones were
erected for the workers, as no doubt the building was being carried out far
from town or village. Later operative documents have many allusions to
"lodges," which in some cases (for example at York in 1399) served also as
repositories for tools and implements.
The body of Masons working there may well have been referred to
also as a "Lodge" quite early; but we have no clear indication of such a
practice before the (Scottish) Schaw Statutes of 1599, in which three
organized bodies of
MEDIEVAL OPERATIVE MASONRY
are spoken of as the Lodges of Edinburgh, Killwinning and Stirling.
The system of apprenticeship was, of course, known and used in
many trades and crafts from early days. It seems to date from the first part
of the 13th century, the earliest known London regulation being dated about
1230, although that was nearly a century before it began to be insisted upon
and to come into general use.
Early references to Mason Apprentices are very sparse; but this
may well be because our knowledge of Craft organization is largely based on
building accounts, usually relating to " major" buildings such as abbeys or
castles, at the erection of which apprentices would scarcely be encouraged.
The Entered Apprentice was a feature of Scottish operative Masonry
at least as early as 1598, though the system is not known to have existed in
England, and the term is not heard of in English Masonry before the first Book
of Constitutions, which were written in 1723 by a Scotsman.
According to the Scottish practice an apprentice, after,
completing his (nominally) seven years under indenture, was "entered" in the
Lodge and became an Entered ' Apprentice. He was then allowed to do a certain
amount of work on his own account, but was not yet free to undertake a
building enterprise involving the employment of subordinate labour.
Fellows and Fellow Crafts.
The Entered Apprentice's full freedom came some seen years later
(but the length of time varied considerably), when he became a Fellow of
Craft, which term is again unknown in England unti 1723. He was then fully
qualified as regards membership of his Lodge, and could also undertake
contracts as an employer. Incidentally it is fully
FELLOWS AND FELLOW CRAFTS
established that as early as 1598 the admission to the grades of both Entered
Apprentice and Fellow Craft was of an esoteric nature.
In English documents the term "Fellow" is first found near the end
of the 14th Century, when it is used in the sense of one of a body or member
of a fraternity, and with no grade significance. By perhaps late in the middle
of the 15th Century, it is used in Craft regulations with that implication,
but the Fellow was by then of a status superior to that of the " mere " Mason,
and qualified, if called on, to take charge or to employ Masons under him—a
status roughly equivalent to that of the Fellow Craft of Scottish documents.
The Warden was a normal feature of the Gilds, whence the Masonic
office was derived. In our Craft the Warden begins to appear about 1400. At
York in 1408 the Warden and other senior Masons took the oath of obedience to
the regulations as well as to the Master. In several cases, as for instance in
London in 1481, the Warden was in charge of the Lodge's cash.
The Master, or Master Mason.
This was a term applied almost until the 18th Century solely to
the Mason i harìe of a building operation, the earliest example in this
country being John of Gloucester, who was Master Mason at the erection of
Westminster Hall,1254 – 62.
In Scottish lodges, although
the presiding officer was usually known as the Deacon, Warden or Preses, we
find near the end of the 17th Century the title Master Mason applied to the
ruler of a Lodge; it is not quite clear, however, if this was an operative
Masons and "Free" Masons.
Three other terms may perhaps be best dealt with here:-
MEDIEVAL OPERATIVE MASONRY
Freemason, Layer and Cowan.
The earliest known use of the word Freemason occurs in 1376, when
it implies an operative Mason of a somewhat superior class, though not very
clearly defined; indeed it is by no means certain that there was actually any
technical distinction between a Mason and a Freemason. During the 17th Century
a number of examples of the use of the latter word suggest that it was
beginning to be applied especially to the non-operative Mason.
Curiously enough they meaning of the term is not certain. By many
it is taken to imply a "freedom," in what sense is not clear, whether free
from restrictive laws and regulations, free from tolls and taxes, or free as
emancipated skilled artisans; unlike practically every other craft or trade,
in which the " freedom" of a city or borough was required to qualify the
craftsman to exercise his occupation, the Mason could be and was called on to
build anywhere, regardless of town regulations, and it may be that this is
what is implied in the term " Free " Mason.
On the other hand, the accepted opinion of the best authorities is
that the term was originally an abbreviated form of "Freesstone Mason,” that
is, one whose work would involve the cutting and shaping of the finer kinds of
stone, called freestone, as found in a belt stretching from Dorset to
Yorkshire and as imported from Normandy.
This would require more skill than was possessed by one who was
occupied with the roughstone, or stone of inferior quality, which was more or
less incapable of being properly squared.
Although we believe that the Freemason meant originally a worker
in free yet the insistence on physical freedom, that is freedom from, serfdom,
in the Old Charges (see next Chapter) and in the modern ritual, must be noted.
The probable explanation is that the term "free" in Freemason had different
implications in successive periods of Free' masonry.
THE LAYER (OR
The Layer (or Setter).
This name, which figures largely in the early building accounts,
was given to a separate class of workman, whose job it was to build up the
prepared stones. The craft of the Layer (or Setter) was less skilled than that
of the Mason (or Hewer), and there may have been a certain amount of jealousy
between them. Though there is a fair amount of evidence as to the
interchangeability of the two trades and the authorities in London in the
middle of the 14th Century tried to prevent such specialization, yet the
distinction between the two classes persisted. The Layer's chief tool was the
trowel, which even today occupies a comparatively unimportant place in the
We first hear of the Cowan in the (Scottish) Schaw Statute of 1598
(see p.167), and he had no exact counterpart in England or Ireland. He was a
working Mason who had not properly joined the Fraternity—who had not, in fact,
been admitted into a Lodge after serving his term under indentures. No doubt
there were many such capable of doing good work. But the official attitude to
them is clearly indicated by the following regulation from the Schaw Statutes
(wording modernized):- Item, that no master or fellow of craft receive a cowan
to work in his society or company, nor send any of his servants to work with
cowans, under pain of twenty pounds (Scots) so oft as any person offends in
According to a minute of the Mother Kilwinning Lodge in 1707 "No
Meason shall employ no cowan which is to say without the word to work," which
(by leaving out the last two important words) has given rise to the definition
of a cowan as a "Mason without the word." Mention of him does not enter
English Freemasonry until Anderson's second Book of Constitutions, 1738.
MEDIEVAL OPERATIVE MASONRY
So far we have documentary evidence for all that has been said. We
are on less safe ground when we come to consider the Assembly of Masons.
According to the earliest two of the Old Charges (see next Chapter) such a
governing body existed, meeting every third year and possessing certain
legislative powers; every master was bound to attend. Its origin is there
attributed (with no historical probability) to the time of King At elstan. The
much later Roberts Family of Old Charges speak of annual assemblies.
It is just possible that such General Assemblies of Masons were
actually held, either annually or triennially, in medieval times. But it is at
least curious that beyond the two Old Charges there is no contemporary
evidence to confirm their existence, since it is now believed that the
Statutes of 1360 and 1425 (see next Section) which banned confederations of
Masons were more likely to have been aimed at ii organizations formed to
In the second edition (1738) of his Constitutions Dr. Anderson
gives a detailed account of an attempt to break up a General Assembly at York
in 1561, for which no authority has been found, although the doctor assures us
that" this tradition was firmly believ'd by all the old English Masons."
According to his narrative Queen Elizabeth, "hearing the Masons had certain
Secrets that could not be reveal'd to her (for that she could not be Grand
Master) and being jealous of all secret Assemblies, she sent an armed force to
break up their annual Grand Lodge at York on St. John's Day, Dec. 27, 1561....
But Sir Thomas Sackville, Grand Master, took care to make some of the chief
Men sent Fre-masons, who then joing in that Communication, made a very
honourable Report to the Queen; and she never more attempted to dislodge or
disturb them, but it esteem'd them as a peculiar sort of Men that cultivated
Peace and Friendship, Arts and Sciences, without meddling
Affairs of Church or State." For the tradition of a General Assembly in 1663,
see page 71.
The advent of Grand Lodge in 1717 was, according to Anderson, a
re'dval not so much of Freemasonry as of the General Ass mbly.
The Statutes Affecting the Masons.
The Statutes of the realm provided the only evidence, apart from
the Old Charges and such records as the building accounts already mentioned,
of the existence of Freemasonry in England before the initiation of Elias
Ashmole in 1646 (see p.46).
In Edward III's reign that dread Asiatic plague, the Black Death,
swept away more than half of the four million population of England; the
demand for the labour of the survivors became so great that wages rose to
heights unknown before. In consequence was enacted the restrictive Statute of
Labourers of 1350, the following clause of which applies to the Masons:-
Item, that carpenters, masons
and tilers and other workmen of houses shall not take for their work, but in
such manner as they were wont; that is to say, a master carpenter iid., and
another iid.; a master freestone mason iiiid., and other masons iiid., and
their servants id.
This was confirmed by a
Statute of ten years later, which also declared that:—
All alliances and covines of
masons and carpenters, and congregations, chapters, ordinances and oaths
betwixt them.. . shall be from henceforth void and wholly annulled; so that
every mason. . . shall be compelled by his master whom he serveth to do every
work that to him pertaining to do, or of free stone, or of rough stone.
MEDIEVAL OPERATIVE MASONRY
In 1425, the third year of
King Henry VI's reign, it was /\ enacted that:-
Whereas by the yearly
Congregations and Confederacies made by the Masons in their general Chapiters
assembled, the good Course and Effect of the Statutes of Labourers be openly
violated and broken. . . Our said Lord the King. . . hath ordained anct
established ... that such Chapiters and Congregations shall not be hereafter
holden ... and that all... Masons that coine to such Chapiters and
Congregations be punished by Imprisonment of their Bodies, and make Fine and
Ransom at the King's Will.
Piquancy is added to this Statute by the once commonly held
belief, endorsed by Dr. Anderson, that Henry VI himself later became a
Freemason. there is nothing in the Statutes of 1360 and 1425 to connect the "
convines," congregations, confederacies and " chapiters " therein mentioned
with the General Assembly of the first two Old Charges; it is far more likely
that they arose in revolt against the low wages fixed by the Statute of 1350.
The various Statutes of Labourers Were edified, and in part
repealed, by an Act of 1563 in Queen Elizabeth's reign; one clause is of
especial interest, since among many tradesmen allowed to have their sons
apprenticed to them is specified the “roughe mason," whereas in previous
legislation the term "mason" had been used. The explanation may be that the
latter expression had by this time already lost its purely operative
Later laws affecting the (Speculative) Freerfiasons, such as the
Unlawful Societies Act, 1799, and the Unlawful Oaths in Iôeland Act, 1823,
will be referfed to in their proper places.
The Four Crowned Martyrs.
This seems a fitting place for telling the story of the Christian
stonemason martyrs, who suffered under Dio-
THE FOUR CROWNED MARTYRS
cletian. They were to become the Patron Saints of the Building Trades, though
their commemorative Day, 8th November, was less popularly observed by English
Masons than among the German steinmetzen and on the Continent generally.
Actually there were jive Masons, Claudius, Castorius, Nicostratus,
Simphorianus and Simplicius and (including four soldiers) nine martyrs in all,
who are commemorated under the name of Quatuor Coronati.
The five Masons, who were highly skilled sculptors, refused to
fashion a statue of the heathen god Aesculapius for the Emperor, who thereupon
ordered that they be buried alive in leaden coffins and cast into the River
Tiber. Forty-two days later the chests were recovered by Nicodemus, a fellow
Christian. When the image had been made by other hands Diocletian ordered the
City Militia to offer incense, and four Christian soldiers who declined to do
so were scourged to death. Their bodies, which were thrown to the dogs, were
rescued and buried with the other saints. The dates assigned to the two sets
of martyrdoms were A.D. 298 and 300 respectively.
In 313 Pope Melchiades built for the relics a Basilica on the
Caelian Hill, dedicated to the Four Crowned Ones and the Five Sculptor
Martyrs. But as it was always called by the first part of the title, the
memory of the Five became blended in the Four.
The Basilica was rebuilt by Pope Honorius I in A.D. 622, but three
years earlier a Church of the Four Crowned Martyrs had been erected in
Canterbury, probably where St. Alphege's Church now stands. Of the Old
Charges, the earliest, the Regius Poem, alone mentions the Quatuor Coronati;
this it does as follows:-
Pray we now to God almyght,
And to hys swete Mo er Mary
That we nowe keepe these
And these poynts wel al-y-fere
MEDIEVAL OPERATIVE MASONRY
As dede these holy Martyres
That yn thys Craft were of
They were as gode Masonus as
on erthe schul go
Gravers and ymage-makers they
In Speculative Freemasonry the name of Quatuor Coronati survives
in that of the oldest and best known Lodge of Masonic Research, No. 2076,
London, warranted in 1884.
THE OLD CHARGES
This is a subject about which
the average brother hears more than he learns. At the first Installation
Meeting he attends after his Passing certain "Old Charges and Regulations" are
read over to the Master-elect and our brother has probably and quite properly
made their acquaintance in the Book of Constitutions presented to him after
his Initiation. This preliminary section is, however, all that survives in
present-day form of a mass of Manuscripts of varying age which played a very
vital part in the lives of our operative brethren. Although parallels will be
found here and there, no other medieval body, whether craft, religious or
otherwise, is known to have possessed such documents.
Over one hundred copies are now known and most are available in
reliable reproductions, while the original documents can be seen in the
British Museum, Grand Lodge or other Masonic libraries although a few remain
in private hands.
The Regius and Cooke MSS.
The two oldest are in the British Museum; the Regius Ms.
THE REGIUS AND COOKS MSS.
believed to have been written about 1390 and the Cooke Ms. about 1425. The
Grand Lodge No 1. Ms. in the possession of the Grand Lodge of England, is
dated 1583 and several others are ascribed to the 17th century and others were
actually written in the 18th century after the formation of Grand Lodge. Great
attention has been paid to them by students during `the past 'three-quarters
of a century and, by examining in great detail the various copies, it has been
possible to work out lines of descent for, like many manuscripts, "
differences " occur between copy and copy. They are essentially English or of
English origin and as Professor Douglas Knoop was of the opinion that there
was little trace of any English Masonic organisation before about 1375 it will
be realised they bring us very close to the earliest operative organisation.
Their use will be discussed later but first it is well to give a
description of them. The two old copies are in book form as are a few of the
more recent ones, but many are written on skins stitched end to end in the
form of a roll, measuring as much as six feet by nine inches.
The text falls into three parts.
First, a prayer of invocation.
The following example is taken from Grand Lodge No. 1 Ms. of 1583:
"THE MIGHTE OF THE FATHER OF
HEAVEN and the wysedome of the glorious Soonne through the grace & the goodnes
of the holly ghoste yt been three p'sons & one god be wth us at or beginning,
and giueg us grace so to gou'ne us here in or lyuing that wee maye come to his
blisse that n`eur shall haiie ending. AMEN."
Then follows the historical portion which is too long to reproduce
in full. The following is an abstract of the version given in the
Beswicke-Royds Ms. which was dis-
THE OLD CHARGES
covered in l915 and is now in the possession of the Province of Lancashire
This version was probably written in the early part of the
sixteenth century and consists of four pieces of parchment about six inches
wide stitched tügether to form a continuous strip six feet, ten inches in
The Liberal Arts and Sciences.
The historical statement opens with an account of the Seven
Liberal Arts and Sciences. These are still referred to in connection with the
Second Degree but in medieval times they formed the non ma urricþilum of the
Universities. The place of Geometry Will be fealised by the following
" .... The wch seaven liberall
scienc's bee as it were all one science that is to say Geometry for thus may a
man proue that all the scienc's in the world bee found by Geometry for it
teacheth meat & measure ponderacon & weight of all maner of kynd & earth and
there is no man that worketh by any craft but hee worketh by some measure and
no man buyes or sells but by measure & weight and all is Geometry. And
Craftsmen & merchants fynd no other of the VII scienc's espetially plowe-men &
tillers of graine both come seeds vynes plants & sellers of all other fruits,
for Gram neither Astronomy nor any of these can fynd a man one measure or meat
without Geometry wherefore I thinke that science most worthy that fyndeth all
The Two Pillars.
The story proper begins with Lamech and his two sons by one wife
and one son and one daughter by another. These children were the founders of
all Crafts in the world, Jabell of Geometry, Juball of Music, Tuballcain of
the Smiths craft and the sister discovered Weaving. These
THE TWO PILLARS
children knew that God would take vengeance for sin either by fire or water
" .... wherefore they writt
these scienc's wch were found in twoe pillars of Stone that they might bee
found at after the flood. The one ftone was called marble that cannot burne
with fire. The othr was called Lateras that cannot drowne wth watr. Our Intent
is now to tell you truly howe & in what manner these stones were found whereon
these Crafts were written The Greek Hermenes that was sonne unto Cus and Cus
was sonne unto Sem who was sonne unto Noah This same Herme nes was afterwards
called Hermes the father of wise men and hee found out the twoe pillars of
stone wherein the scienc's were written and taught them forth And at the
makinge of the Tower Babilon there was the Craft of masonry then first found &
made much of and the kinge of Babion who was called Hembroth or Nembroth was a
mason and loved well the Craft as it is said wth the mr of the stories"
Here we have the original
legend of the Pillars, not those with which we are familiar today but two
others erected by the inhabitants of the ancient world to carry over the
knowledge of mankind over an impending destruction which proved to be Noah's
flood. Of all our traditions this has the longest pedigree for it was taken by
the compiler of the early version from Higden's Polychronicon, a world history
written by Ranulf Higden, a monk of Chester, who died about 1364. Higden
copied from Josephus who in turn took it from the Greek historian, Berosus,
who wrote about 300 B.C. and is believed to have copied from the Sumerian
account of about 1500 B.C.
The first Charge was given by the King of Babylon to a party of
sixty Masons sent to assist in the builing of the city of Ninevah. We then
pass to the removal of Abraham and Sarah into Egypt where the patriarchs
taught the seven
THE OLD CHARGES
sciences to the Egyptians, a worthy scholar being Euclid.
... And it befell
in his dayes That the lords and state of this Realme had so many sonnes that
they had begotter some by their wyues and some by ladies of the realme' for
that land is an hott land & plenteous generacon and they had no Competent
living for their children wherefore they made much sorrowe And the kinge of
that land called a great Counsell & a pliamt to knowe howe they might fynd
there children meanes and they could fynd no good wages Then hee caused a Cry
to bee made throughout the Realme That if there were any man that could
informe him that hee should come unto him and hee should bee well rewarded and
hould himselfe well paid. And after this Crye was made, this worthy Clarke
Euclid came and said to the kinge and all his great Lords If you will haue yor
children gouerned & taught honestly as gentlemen should bee under Condison
that you will grant them & mee a Comifsion that I may haue power to rule them
honestly as those sciencs ought to bee ruled And the kinge wth his Counsell
granted them & sealed that Comifsion And then the worthy docter tooke the
Lords sonnes and taught them the science of Geometry in practice to worke
masonry and all manner of worthy workes that belonged to building of Castles &
all maner of Courts Temples Churchs wth all other buildings & hee gaue them a
charge in this manner first that they should bee true unto the kinge and unto
the lord they serued and that they should loue well togethr and bee true one
to anothr and that they should call one & other fellowes & not servant or
knaue nor othr foule names and that they should truly serue for their paymt
the lord they serued "
Building of the Temple.
The next major episode is the building of the Temple.
“... Longe after the Children
of Israel came into the
THE BUILDING OF THE TEMPLE
land of Behest wch nowe is
called amongst vs is called Jerusalem kinge Dauid began the temple of
Jerusalem called wth them Templu' Domini And the same kinge Dauid loued Masons
well & cherished them and gaue them paymt And hee gaue them chargs as you
shall here afterwards. And after the decease of Kinge David Solomon that was
sonne unto Dauid pformed out the Temple his father had begun and hee sent
after Masons into dyvers lands and gathered them togeather so hat hee had
foure score thoufand workers of stone and they were named Masons and hee had
three thoufand of them wch were ordeyned maisters & governors of that worke
And there was a kinge of another Region that men called Hyram and hee loved
well kinge Solomon & gaue him timber for his worke and hee had a Sonne that
was named Aynon and hee was mr of Geometry and hee was chiefe mr of all his
masons and mr of all his Graveinge works & of all othr masons that belonged to
the Temple and this witnefseth the Byble in libro Regn 11IIt0 capite VII. And
this sonne Solomon confirmed both charges & manners wch his father had given
to masons and thus was the worthy craft of masons confirmed in the Cuntry of
Jerusalem and in many othr kingdomes glorious craftsmen walkinge abrode into
dyuers Cuntryes some because of learninge more craft & other some to teach
The reference above to the son of King Hiram "named Anon" is
interesting. This person is introduced in various guises in the different
versions of the Old Charges. Another curious name follows in the next section,
Naymus Graecus, the man with the Greek name, probably a reference to
Pythagoras. Charles Martell who is also referred to is Charlemagne (throughout
this history anachronisms must be overlooked).
THE OLD CHARGES
so it befell yt a curious mason named Naymus Graecus who had beene at the
makinge of Solomons Temple came into france & there taught the Craft of
masonry to the men of France, And then there was one of the royals blood of
france called Charles Martell & hee loued well this Craft and hee drewe td him
this Naymus Graecus & learned of him the Craft & tooke upon him the Charges &
manners & afterwards b the grace of God hee was elected kinge of france & when
hee was in his state hee tooke to him many masons and made mafons there that
were none before and (tt them on worke & gaue them charges & manners & 'good
paymt wch hee had learned of other masons & hee confirmed them a Charter from
yeare to yeare to hould an afsembly & thus came the Craft of masonry into
There immediately follows the story of the introduction of
Masmjry into Ång1m É with an account of the fixing of the rate of pay. This is
regarded by many authorities as confirmative of the theory that the original
traditional history was devised shortly after the Blagk Death with its
" .... England
all this season stood void both of any Charge & Masonry vntill the tyme of St.
Albon and in his tyme the kinge of England yt was a pagan and hee walled the
Towne wch is nowe called St Albons and so lÞ in Albons tyme a worthy knight
was chiefe steward to the kinge & had goumt of the Realme & alfo of makinge
the towne walls & hee loued masons well & cherished them & made their paymt
right good standinge wages as the Realme did require for hee gaue them euery
three weeks IIIs VId their double wages whereas before
that tyme through all the whole land a mason tooke but a pent' a day till the
tyme that St Albon mended it and gott them a charter of the kinge and his
gaue it the name of an
Afsembly & was thereat himselfe & made masons & gaue them arges as you shall
The Assembly at York.
There followed a period of inactivity until the King Athelston
and here we find an account of the Assemb at York around which a Masonic
legend persisted for many centuries.
" .. and head a sonne that was named Hedwine and hee loved masons
much more than his father was full of the practice of Geometry wherefore h
himselfe to comune wth masons & to learne of the Craft & afterwards for loue
hee had to mason craft hee was made mason himselfe & hee gott father the kinge
a Charter & a Commifsion to hould euer yeare an Afsembly where they would
within the realm & to correct wthin themselues by statute Trespafses if they
were done wthin the Craft. And hee held an afsembly at York & there hee made
masons them charges and taught them the manners of and comannded that Rule to
bee houlden euer a to him he betooke the Charter & Comifsion to keep and
ordeyned. That it should bee ruled from kinge to kinge. when the Afsembly was
gathered together he caufsed a Cry to bee made that all masons both yonge That
had any writings or vnderstanding Charges that were made before either in this
land any othr that they should shewe them forth and tt some in french some in
Greeke & some in Englishe some in othr langages and the Intent thereof was
found and thereof hee commannded a booke to bee made, how the Craft was first
found & made, and Commanded that it should bee read & tould when any mafon
should bee made & to giue them the charge and from tyme till this masonry hath
beene kept in that forme and order
THE OLD CHARGES
well as men might Gouerne the same, And furthermore at dyvers afsemblies hath
beene putt to and added certaine charges more by the best aduice of maisters &
This ends the historical statement and, on this point in several
versions, we find an instruction to take an obligation on the volume of the
Sacred Law. In the Hadslon Ms. of 1723 this instruction is interposed in
"Tunc unus ex Senioribus
teneat Librum, ut illi vel ponat, vel ponnt manus super Librum et tune
praecipta deberunt legi."
The Charges differ widely from the general character of Gild
ordinances and, while some set out rules for the conduct of the work, others
may be described as general rules of conduct. Internal evidence shows that the
Charges in the Cooke Ms. of about 1425 were taken from an earlier original
version than the shorter ones in the Regius Ms. of about 1390 and, again, the
evidence points to mid 14th century.
Here are the Charges as set forth in the Beswicke-Royds Ms.: -
"here followeth the worthy &
godly oath of masons (vizt)
"EUERY man that is a mason
take heed right well of this charge if you fynd yo· selfe guilty of any of
these that you may amend you againe espetially you that are to bee charged
take good heed that you may keepe this é Charge for it is a great grill for a
man to forsweare him- I selfe vpon a Booke.
1 The first charge is that you
shall bee true man to God and holy church, and that you vse no heresie or
your vnderstandinge or by teachinge of indiscreet men.
you shall bee true liegemen to the kinge wthout treason or fallshood and that
you knowe no treason but that you amend it if you may or ells Warne the kinge
or his Counfell thereof.
you shall be true one to another, that is to say to euery mr & fellowe of the
Craft of masonry that bee mafons allowed & that you doe to them as you would
they should doe to you.
alfo that euer mason keepe Counsell of lodge and chamber truly & all othr
Counsell that ought to bee kept by the way of masonry.
that no mason bee thiefe in Company so farr forth as you shall knowe.
alfo that you shall bee true unto the lord & mr that you ferue & truly to see
for his prïfitt & advantage.
that you doe no villany in that house whereby the Craft may be slandered.
These bee the Charges in
Gen'all wch euery mason should hould both maisters & fellowes Now followe
other Charges in pticuler for masters & fellowes.
first that no mr take upon him any lords worke nor other worke butt that hee
knowe himselfe able of Cuninge to pforme the same so that the Craft haue no
disworship but that the lord may bee ferued truly.
that no mr take any worke but that hee take it reasonably so that the lord may
be truly ferved wth his owne goods & the mr hue honestly & truly pay his
fellowes their pay as the manner of the Craft doth require.
that no mr nor fellowe supplant other of their worke (that is to say) if they
haue taken a worke or stand mr of a lord's worke you shall not putt him out
vnles hee bee unable of Cunning to end the worke.
THE OLD CHARGES
that no mr or fellowe take any Prentice to bee allowed his aprentice but for
seaven years and that the apprentice bee able of birth & limms as hee ought to
that no mr nor fellowe take allowance to bee made mafon wthout the afsent of
his fellowes at the leaft fyve or six.
alfo that hee that is to bee made masons bee free borne of good kinred & no
bondman & that hee haue his right lams as a man ought to haue.
that no mr putt a lords worke to taske that was used to goe to journey.
that euery mason giue pay to his fellowes but as hee may deserue so that hee
bee not deseaued by false workmen.
that no fellowe slandr anothr falsly behind his backe to make him loose his
good name or his worldly goods.
Alfo that no fellowe wthin the lodg or wthout answer another ungodly wthout
Alfo that euery mason preferr his elder & putt him to worship.
Alfo that no mason shall play at cards hazards or any othr ínlaw" game wherby
they may bee slandered.
Alfo that no mason comitt Ribaldry or leachery to make the Craft slandered &
that no fellowe goe into the towne where there is a lodge of masons wthout a
fellowe to bear him witnes that hee was in honest Company.
Alfo that euer mr & fellowe come to the Afsembly if hee bee wthin fifty myles
& hee haue warninge & to ftend to the award of maisters and fellowes.
Alfo that euery mr & fellowe if hee haue trespafsed shall ftend to the award
of mrs & fellowes to make them accord & if they cannot to goe to the Comon
Alfo that no mason make moulds sware or rule to any rough layers.
Alfo that no mason sett layers wthin a lodge or wthout to haue mould ftones
wth moulde of his owne makinge.
Alfo that euery mason shall receave and cherish strang masons when they come
ouer the Cuntry & sett them on worke as the manner is (that is to say) if they
haue mould ftones in place hee shall sett him a fortnight on worke at the
least & giue him his hyre & if there bee no stones for him then to refresh him
wth some money to bringe him to the next lodge, and alfo euery mason shall
serue truly the workes and truly make an end of the worke bee it taske or
Journey if hee haue his pay as he ought to haue.
These charges that
are here rehearsed and all other that belonge to masonry you shall truly keepe
to the uttermost of yor knowledge
So helpe you God and by the
Contents of this Book."
The English character of the
Charges is indicated by the fact that in the Scottish versions we find the
craftsmen pledging obedience to the King of England, a very curious provision
before the Union of the two countries.
Use of the Old Charges.
We have now described very briefly the general form of the Old
Charges and the question arises, what were their uses? We gather from the
historial portion that Prince Edwin, son of Athelstan, collected the writings
and understandings of the Craft at his Asse.mbly at York. It is doubtful
whether this history was ever read or recited in full but the possession of a
copy seems to have served very much the same purpose as a Lodge Warrant today.
This is borne out by the
THE OLD CHARGES
3848 Ms. to the effect that it was finished by Edward Sankey on the 16th day
of October, 1646. This was the day on which Elias Ashmole was initi'ted at
Warrington, the earliest recorded initiation in an English Lodge. Richard
Sankey was one of the members and it is almost certain the document was
prepared for use on that occasion. There is a note on the Scarborough Ms. of a
meeting at Scarborough in 1705 when six gentlemen were admitted.
The last section—the Charges, General and Singular— (open up a new
field. They are of different classes. How came they to be included ? They
reveal a mixture of what we may call the operative and the speculative side.
About a score contain an Apprentice Charge, of a definitely operative
character ; of these, a group mainly, though not exclusively, associated with
the latter part of the pre-Grand Lodge era, contain New Articles, definitely
of a speculat'i've character and some other copies refer to Masonic secrets.
It is a curious fact that these documents contain no mention of
the use of the Mason's Mark, a very essential feature of operative life which
comes into full prominence in Scottish records.
There was a ritual side. Two distinguished Brethren, the late
Bros. E. L. Hawkins and Roderick H. Baxter, devoted much time to analysing and
identifying passages which have now passed into Ritual or may have inspired
it. One small group goes so far as to describe the ceremonial at the
conferment of secrets. These were written in the latter part of the 16th and
early part of the 17th century and link up with another type of document which
is more closely associated with speculative freemasonry and will be described
Here are a few examples from versions of the Old Charges not
already quoted here. They were selected by the late Roderick H. Baxter.
USE OF THE OLD CHARGES
MS., No. 2054. (written by Randle Holme (1627-1699) the Chester Herald and
Antiquary, and well known to have been a Freemason).
There is seurall words and signs of a free Mason to be revailed to
yu wch as you will ans : before God at the great and terrible day of Judgmt.
yu keep secrett & not to revail the same to any in the heares of any pson but
to the M.rs and fellows of the said Society of free Masons so help me God xt.
MS. (Second half seventeenth century).
These Charges that you have Received you shall well and truly
keepe, not discloseing the Secrecy of our Lodge to man, woman, nor child :
stick nor stone, thing moue-able nor immoueable : so God you helpe and his
holy Doome. Amen.
MS., No. 1. (Second half seventeenth century).
These Charges wch wee now rehearse to you and all other the
Charges, Secrets and Mysteries belonging to Free-Masonry, you shall faithfully
and truely keep together with the Council of this Lodge or Chamber. You shall
not for any Gift, Bribe or Reward, favour or affection, directly or
Indirectly, for any Cause whatsoever divulge or disclose to either Father or
Mother, Sister or Brother, Wife, Child, friend, Relation or Stranger, or any
other Arson whatsoever. So help you God your Holy-doom and the Contents of
Harleian MS., No. 1942. (Second half seventeenth century).
I: A: B: Doe in the presence of Almighty god & my fellowes and
Brethren here present, promise and declare that I will not at any time,
hereafter, by any Act, or Circumstance whatsoever, Directly or Indirectly,
Publish, discover, reveale or make knowne any of the secrets
THE OLD CHARGES
privilidges, or Councells of the ffraternity or fellowship of free masonry,
which at this time, or any time hereafter shalbee made knowne unto mee, soe
helpe me god & the holy contents of this booke.
"Dumfries-Kilwinning MS., No. 4. (First half eighteenth century).
The charges we now w Rehearse to you wt. all other f charges and
secrets otherways belonging to free masons or any that enter their interest
for curiocitie together wt. the counsels of this holy ludge chamber or hall
you shall not for any gift bribe or Reward favour of affection directly or
indirectly nor for any cause qt. soever devulge disclose ye same to ether
father or mother sister or brother or children or stranger or any person
qt.soever. So help you God.
"You yt. are under vouees take hee yt. you keep ye ath and promise
you made in presence of allmighty God think not yt. a mental reservation or
equivocation will serve for to be sure every word you speak the whole time of
your Admission is ane oath."
W.Ts. are suggested by the Melrose No. 2 Ms. (1674) .... and he ought not to
let you know the priviledge of ye compass, Square, levell and ye plum-rule"
There is an interesting endorsement on the Grand Lodge No. 1 Ms. which, as we
have already mentioned, is dated 1583. The addition was probably made about a
couple of centuries later but is very suggestive of early Royal Arch
In the beginning was the Word,
And the Word was with God,
And the Word was God.
Whose Sacred and universal Law
I shall endeavour to observe
So help me God.
USE OF THE OLD CHARGES
The original Grand Lodge of
England furnished testimony of the importance of the Old Charges when a
request to the Craft to bring in old records was issued in 1719. This and its
sequel will be considered later.
The first Book of Constitutions published in 1723 is claimed by
its author, Dr. James Anderson, to contain a digest of the old Records. We may
here mention that two copies of the Cooke Ms., the Woodford Ms. and the
Supreme Council Ms. were made in 1728. The former bears the endorsement:-
“This is a very Ancient Record
of Masonry wch
was copyed for me by Wm. Reid
Secretary to the
Grand Lodge 1728."
lt is a curious fact that,
'despite this display of official interest, the study of the Old Charges did
not seriously begin for more than a century and was then inspired by a
non-Mason who drew public attention to the long-overlooked document now known
as the Regius Ms. The first analysis into what we know today as "families,"
which enable lines of descent of groups of these documents to be ascertained
and studied, was undertaken by a German, Dr. Begemann, and was continued and
developed in this country by those two giants of Masonic research, W. J.
Hughan and R. F. Gould. As has already been mentioned, the majority are now
available in facsimile reproduction or reliable transcript, the need for which
is exemplified by the destruction of the Bolt-Colerane Ms. in an air raid on
Bristol. It was tragic that the hand of death has recently removed the two
great experts of this century, Professor Douglas Knoop and the Rev. H. Poole,
each of whom, by a most fortunate circumstance, completed his magnum opus
shortly before his death.
We have discussed briefly
various suggested sources of Freemasonry and given some account of medieval
operative masonry and the Old Charges. We now reach the important task of
describing the evoluton of our speculative system. In addition to several
copies of the Old Charges we have certain seventeenth-century records in
England but nothing of the nature of Lodge minutes, whereas in Scotland there
are not only minute books, one running back as far as 1599, but also the
tradition of the Mason Word.
The economic changes of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries had
far-reaching effects on the mason craft. The building of churches and the
older ashlar-faced castles had declined and the classical style of
architecture was being introduced. At the same time there was a drastic fall
in the value of money which stimulated building while, at the same time, it
diminished the reward of labour. It is not always realised today that
"direction of labour" is no new thing; it was commonly resorted to in
connection with the building of royal castles and residences and is still
found in the seventeenth century.
Later Gilds and the Masons' Company of London.
There were in several places Gilds or Companies of Masons, often
in conjunction with other building trades and the books of the London Masons'
Company are extant from 1619 onwards and it is about this time that we begin
find traces of Lodges or other bodies as well as individuals not connected
with the craft of Masonry. For the sake of convenience we call them
speculative freemasons but, though the word is found in the Cooke Ms. of about
1425, it is not found in general use before the middle of the eighteenth
century. Thus we have the picture of an entirely operative craft in 1600 which
has given place to the speculative side by the middle of the eighteenth
century. Bro. Knoop carried the process a little further but we are not with
him on this point.
The London Masons' Company was probably not in existence before
1356, though there is a record that in 1306 the journeymen combined and
threatened to beat newcomers if they accepted lower wages than was customary.
In 1376 four Masons were elected to the Common Council and there was a grant
of arms in 1472 while in 1481 ordinances were adopted and approved. Other
incorporations including Masons were found at Canterbury, Durham, Exeter,
Gateshead, &c. &c.
There was, within the London body, an inner fraternity known as
the Acception, membership of which did not necessarily follow membership of
the Company. Those admitted paid a fee of 20s. if of the Company, 40s. if
strangers. Seven members of the Company were enrolled in the Acception in
1620-21 and Nicholas Stone, the King's Master Mason, who was Master of the
Company in 1633, did not join the Accepted Masons until 1639.
Initiation of Sir Robert Moray.
Shortly afterwards occurred the earliest recorded initiation on
English soil. Some members of the Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary's Chapel) No. 1, to
give it its present-day title, had entered England with the Scottish Ármy and
on 20th May, 1641, they initiated "Mr. the Right Honerabell Mr. Robert Moray,
General Quartermaster to the Armie of Scotland." This was at Newcastle-on-Tyne
PRE-GRAND LODGE FREEMASONRY
evacuated by the Scottish Army the following July after which those
responsible reported the fact to the Lodge and the matter was rectified and
recorded in the Minutes. Sir Robert Moray also attended a meeting of the Lodge
in 1647, when he signed the minutes.
The next event is particularly interesting. Elias Ashmole, the
antiquary, left a diary in which are mentioned many matters of astrological or
other occult significance and there are two references to Freemasonry: 1646.
Oct. 16. 4 H 30' p.m. I was made a Freemason at Warrington in Lancashire with
Coll. Henry Main-Waring of Karincham in Cheshire. The names of those who were
then of the Lodge, Mr. Rich Penket, Warden, Mr. James Collier, Mr. Rich Sankey,
Henry Littler, John Ellam, Rich Ellam and Hugh Brewer.
Most of these have been identified as men of good social position
and there was not a single operative member. We have already mentioned that
the Sloane 3848 Ms. was transcribed by Edward Sankey, possibly the son of
Richard Sankey, one of the members of the Lodge.
Nearly thirty-six years later, Ashmole sat in Lodge again, . this
time in London: " March, 1682.
"10—About 5 P.M. I reed: a Sumons to appr at a Lodge to be held
the next day, at Masons Hall London. " 11—Accordingly I went, & about Noone
were admitted into the Fellowship of Free Masons, S William Wilson Knight,
Capt. Rich: Borthwick, Ì', Will: Woodman, Ìô Wm Grey, Ìr Samuel! Taylour & Mr
"I was the Senior Fellow among them (it being 35 yeares since I
was admitted) There were prsent beside my selfe the Fellowes after named.
"Mw Tho: Wise Mr of the Masons
Company this prsent yeare. Mr Thomas Shorthose, Mr Thomas Shadbolt, Waindsford
Esgr Ìr Nich: Young Mr John Shorthose, Ìr William Hamon, Mr John Thompson, &
Ir Will: Stanton.
" Wee all dyned at
the halfe Moone Taverne in Cheapeside, at a Noble dinner prepaired at the
charge of the New-accepted Masons."
This is truly valuable. All
but three of those present were members of the Masons' Company; several filled
the Chair in various years and it was evidently possible for gentlemen-Masons
to become members without the formality of joining the Company and taking up
the Freedom of the City.
There is in a number of pamphlets, some of which are now
exceedingly rare, ample confirmation of the fact that Freemasonry was familiar
to more Londoners than the members of the Company or the Acception. A skit on
the "Company of Accepted Masons" was published in Poor Robin's Intelligencer
in 1676; an anti-Masonic leaflet of 1698, now in the Library of Grand Lodge,
is addressed "To all Goodly People of the Citie of London." There are two
well-known references to'" Pretty Fellows" who have their "Signs and Tokens
like Freemasons" in The Tatter of 1709 and 1710.
In the Midlands, Dr. Robert Plot, Keeper of the Ashmolean Museum,
Oxford, published his Natural History of Staffordshire in 1686. This contains
not only an abstract and criticism of part of the Old Charges but a
contemporary account of our fraternity:
"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
PRE-GRAND LODGE FREEMASONRY
to be of greater request, than any where else, though I find the Custom spread
more or less all over 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 an h or, that is pretended in a large parchment
vblum they have amongst rem, containing the History and Rules of the craft of
masonry. Which is there deduced not only from sacred writ, but profane story,
particularly that it was brought into England by St Amphibal, and first
cornmunicated to S. Alban, who set down the Charges of masonry, and was made
paymaster and Governor of the Kings works, and gave them charges and manners
as St Amphibal had taught him. Which were after confirmed by King Athelstan,
whose youngest son Edwyn loved well masonry, took upon him the charges, and
learned the manners, and obtained for them of his Father, a free-Charter.
Whereupon he caused them to assemble at York, and to bring all the old Books
of their craft, and out of them ordained such charges and manners, as they
then thought fit: which charges in the said Schrole or Parchment volum, are in
part declared; and thus was the craft of masonry grounded and confirmed in
England. 1t is also there declared that these charges and manners were after
perused and approved by King Hen. 6. and his council, both as to Masters and
Fellows of this right Worshipfull craft."
"Into which Society when any
are admitted, they call a meeting (or Lodg as they term it in some places),
which must consist at lest of 5 or 6 of the Ancients of the Order, whom the
candidats present with gloves, and so likewise to their wives, and entertain
with a collation according to the Custom of the place: This ended, they
proceed to the admission of them, which chiefly consists in the communication
of certain secret signes, whereby they are known to one another all over the
Nation, by which
they have maintenance whither ever they travel: for if any man appear though
altogether unknown that can shew any of these signes to a Fellow of the
Society, whom they otherwise call an accepted mason, he is obliged presently
to come to him, from what company or place soever he be in, nay, tho' from the
top of a Steeple (what hazard or inconvenience soever he run), to know his
pleasure, and assist him; viz., if he want work he is bound to find him some;
or if he cannot doe that, to give him mony, or otherwise support him till work
can be had; which is one of their Articles; and it is another, that they
advise the Masters they work for, according to the best of their skill,
acquainting them with the goodness or badness of their materials; and if they
be any way out in the contrivance of their buildings, modestly to rectify them
in it; that masonry be not dishonored: and many such like that are commonly
known: but some others they have (to which they are sworn after their
fashion), that none know but themselves, which I have reason to suspect are
much worse than these, perhaps as bad as this History of the craft it self;
than which there is nothing I ever met with, more false or incoherent."
Five heraldic painters of Chester bore the name of Randle Holme.
The third of the line, who was born in 1627 and died in 1699-1700, was the
author of the " Academie of Armory" in which were several references to
Freemasonry of the greatest importance as indicating the relationship of a
non-operative to the fraternity in the seventeenth century, for instance:
"A Fraternity, or Society, or
Brotherhood, or Company; are such in a corporation, that are of one and the
same trade, or occupation, who being joyned together by oath and covenant, do
follow such orders and rules, as are made, or to be made for the good order,
PRE-GRAND LODGE FREEMASONRY
and support of such and every
of their occupations. These several Fraternities are generally governed by one
or two Masters, and two Wardens, but most Companies with us by two Aldermen,
and two Stewards, the later, being to pay and receive what concerns them."
Again, he refers to various
tools without, apparently, moralising upon them (this came much later in the
develop- ment of Freemasonry) and in a later passage said,
"I cannot but Honor the
Felloship 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 these several Tools following some whereof I have
seen being born in Coats of Armour"
He attached some importance to
Pillars and they were depicted in an illustration of the Arms of the Masons
(the familiar three castles).
Among the loose papers in the Harleian Ms. 2054 is a version of
the Old Charges transcribed by Randle Holme III and immediately following this
there is written on a small scrap of paper: "There is seurall words & signes
of a free Mason to be revailed to y° wch as y° will answ: before God at the
Great & terrible day of Iudgmt y° keep Secret & not to revaile the same to any
in the heares of any pson w but to the Mt' & fellows of the said Society of
free Masons so helpe me God, ëÑc, " The significance of this cannot be doubted
and the passage will be further considered later. The next leaf contains
further notes by the same writer obviously relating to an existing Lodge
including a list of the members and certain figures apparently relating to
entrance fees and subscriptions. Much study has been devoted to this record
majority of the persons concerned have now been identified without much shadow
of doubt. They were members of various trades, including some Masons or
followers of other building trades but obviously persons of culture with whom
Randle Holme would feel at home.
Much of his work can still be seen in Chester and he was enrolled
as a foreign burgess at the celebration of Preston Gild in 1662, his son,
Randle Holme IV, being similarly enrolled in 1682.
It is convenient at this point to refer to an interesting fact
often overlooked by Masonic students. Attempts have been made to enlist
Freemasonry in one or the other side in various political controversies, a
factor sternly discouraged from the very beginning in English Freemasonry. Of
the three individuals most prominently considered in this Chapter, Sir Robert
Moray was serving with the Army of Scotland, then allied to the Parliamentary
side, Ashmole was a staunch Cavalier and Randle Holme III was also a Royalist.
John Aubrey (1626-97) published The Natural History of Wiltshire
in 1686. He thus repeats the fable of the Papal Bull on which so much false
history is based: Sr William Dugdale told me many years since, that about
Henry the third's time, the Pope gave a Bull or diploma (Patents) to a Company
of Italian Architects (Freemasons) to travell up and down over all Europe to
build Churches. From those are derived the Fraternity of Free-Masons.
(Adopted-Masons) They are known to any another by certayn Signes & Markes (Markes
is erased) and Watch-words: it continues to this day. They have Severall
Lodges in severall Counties for their reception: and when any of them fall
into decay, the brotherhood is to relieve him, &c. The manner of their
Adoption is very formal!, and with an Oath of Secrecy.
PRE-GRAND LODGE FREEMASONRY
This was taken from the
original in the Bodleian and the additions in brackets indicate alternative
wordings written above the original. Aubrey therefore felt the subject was of
sufficient importance to polish considerably.
On the reverse of Folio 72 we have the famous reference to Sir
1691. Mdm, this day (May the
18th, being Monday) [another interpolation—after Rogation Sunday] is a great
convention at St. Paul's Church of the Fraternity of the Free Masons: [again
Aubrey strikes out the word Free and inserts "Accepted "] where Sr Christopher
Wren is to be adopted a Brother: and Sr Henry Goodric .... of ye Tower &
divers others—There have been kings, that have been of this Sodalitie.
Sir Christopher Wren.
The above paragraph has
introduced us to this great and controversial figure. Born in 1632, he became
a professor of Astronomy in 1657 and of Mathematics in 1661, being also
appointed Assistant Surveyor General of the Royal Buildings. After the Fire of
London he was entrusted with the great work of reconstruction and, though many
of his plans were not followed, we owe to him the magnificent St. Paul's
Cathedral and the many Wren churches and other buildings. The first Book of
Constitutions, edited for Grand Lodge by Dr. Anderson and published in 1723,
refers but briefly to him as "the ingenious Architect" and as the architect of
the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford. At that time, however, Wren was not in favour
with George I and, when the second edition of the Book of Constitutions
appears in 1738 Anderson felt himself at liberty to give much greater
prominence to the famous architect. Unfortunately, as we shall see later,
Anderson was no reliable authority and his story of Wren's Masonic offices,
including that of Grand Master are simply without foundation, though it is
probable that he was a member of the Craft
SIR CHRISTOPHER WREN
Anderson's History, for what it is worth, may be briefly summarised:
1669. Completed the Sheldonian
Theatre and the "pretty Museum."
1673. Grand Master Rivers
levelled the Footstone of St. Paul's, designed by D. G. Master Wren.
1685. Upon the death of Grand
Master Arlington, the Lodges met and elected Sir Christopher Wren Grand
Master, who appointed Mr. Gabriel Cibber and Mr. Edward Strong, Grand Wardens.
1707. Lodges in the South
neglected by Wren.
1708. St. Paul's completed.
"Some few Years after this Sir Christopher Wren neglected the
Office of Grand Master; yet the Old Lodge near St. Paul's and a few more
continued their stated meetings."
An account of the building of
St. Paul's Cathedral, by Sir Christopher's Son, and published by his grandson,
Stephen Wren, mentions that "The highest or last Stone on the Top of the
Lantern, was laid by the Hands of the Surveyor's son, Christopher Wren deputed
by his Father, in the Presence of that excellent Artificer Mr
Strong, his Son, and other Free and Accepted Masons, chiefly employed in the
Execution of the Work."
There were several other
seventeenth-century references to Freemasonry, of greater or lesser
importance, but it will be sufficient here to introduce some records from the
North-East of England.
The Alnwick Lodge.
There is a tradition that this Lodge was founded by,, operative
Masons brought from the South by Sir Ambrose Crowley when he established a
foundry at Winlaton in 1690. The records include a copy of the Old Charges and
are the only English operative minutes going back to pre-Grand Lodge days. The
early members were mainly operative and the first Rules are dated 1701. They
have been closely
PRE-GRAND LODGE FREEMASONRY
examined and debated upon and Bro. Poole was of the opinion that in the early
days, although the degrees as now understood were not worked, the materials
out of which the degrees were subseguently formed are to be found. It was not
until 1735 that the Lodge accepted a Deputation from Grand Lodge and we have
an interesting minute of 1708 describing the Masonic dress of the day:
at a true & prfect Lodge kept
at Alnwick at the house of Ìr Thomas Davison then one of the Ward(ens) of the
same Lodge the twentieth day of this Instant Janery 1708 It was Order(ed) that
for the future foe Member of the said Mar Wardens or ‚fellows should appear at
(any) or the Lodge to be kept on St Johns day in Christ-m(ass) without his
appron & Common Square fixt in the Belt thereof upon pain of forfeiting two
shills Six pence each pson offending and that Care be taken by the Mar &
Wardens for the time being that a Sermon be pvided & prea(ched) that day at
the (Parish) Church at Alnw(icke) by some clergyman at their appointmt. where
the Lodge shall all appear with their aprons on & Comon Square as aforesaid &
that the Mar & Wardens neglecting their duty in providing a Clergyman to
preach as aforesd shall forfiet the sure of tenn shillings
While the Lodge was still
independent, in 1734, "it is agreed by the Master and Wardens, and the rest of
the Society, that if any Brother shall appear in the Assembly without gloves
and aprons at any time when summoned by Master and Wardens, shall for each
offence pay one shilling on demand."
No name appeals more strongly to the Masonic imagination than York
and, unfortunately, imagination has too often been too freely used. Prince
Edwin's Assembly of 926 and the raid on the assembled Craft ordered by Queen
Elizabeth are among the best-known examples. (But York has a Masonic
antiquity, Operative and Speculative, of its own. On the Operative side we
have the Fabric Rolls of York Minster and the original of the Levander-York
Ms. of the Old Charges, said to have been written in 1560.
Another version of the Old Charges, the York Ms. copied in 1693,
bears, below the signature of the copyist the names of five members of "the
Lodg." Unfortunately, neither copyist nor members can be traced among the
Freemen of York. There is an endorsement on the back of the Scarborough Ms.
recording the admission of six persons at a private Lodge at Scarborough on
10th July, 1705. Finally, the original Minute Book of the York Lodge, later to
assume Grand Lodge status, has been lost for some years, but extracts were
taken in 1778 from which we know that Sir George Tempest, Bart., presided in
1705 and that in 1713 "18 gentlemen of the first families in the Neighbourhood
were made Masons" at Bradford.
Central Organisation not traced.
Though there is a family resemblence between many of the bodies we
have described in this Chapter there is no definite evidence of the existence
during the early eighteenth century of any central authority, though the
evidence of the Catechisms, which will be considered later, indicates a
remarkable uniformity of procedure and there is a hint in me of theaT ter
versions of the Old Charges that the establishment of such a body was at least
Early Freemasonry in Scotland.
A separate chapter will be devoted to Scotland but we must here
interpolate some remarks on the line of development of Operative and
Speculative Masonry which differed considerably from that which obtained in
England. We have already mentioned that the Old Charges were essen-
PRE-GRAND LODGE FREEMASONRY
English. Scotland has, however, an abundance of old records including Tsodge
Minute Books running back far beyond anything in existence South of the Tweed.
She has the registration and use of the Mark, the Edinburgh Minutes of 1599
being attested by the Mark of the Warden and the Lodge of Aberdeen being in
possession of a beautiful Mark Book which began in 1670. Above all, Scotland
has the Mason Word, no trace of which has been found in English medieval
The old Scottish Lodge Minutes are those of essentially operative
bodies yet non-operatives were admitted to membership from a very early date.
By the late sixteenth century there was a measure of co-operation and
uniformity which at least hints at the existence of some central authority.
What was the function of a test Word? The skilled Mason could give practical
proof of his ability; possession of the means of recognition proved him to be
a member of the organisation.
We have a description written in 1691, by the Rev. Robert Kirk,
Minister of Aberfoyle, "like a Rabbinical Tradition, in way of comment on
Jachin and Boaz, the two Pillars erected in Solomon's Temple (1 Kings vii, 21)
with ane Addition of some secret Signe delyvered from Hand to Hand, by which
they know and become familiar with one another."
A letter of 1697 tells that
the Lairds of Roslyn "are obliged to receive the masons' word which is a
secret signall masons have thro'out the world to know one another by. They
alledge 'tis as old as Babel, when they could not understand one another and
they conversed by signs. Others would have it no older than Solomon."
Trinity College, Dublin.
A remarkable document is preserved in the Library of Trinity
College, Dublin. It was customary during the 17th and 18th centuries for a
satirical speech to be delivered
TRINITY COLLEGE, DUBLIN
Universities by a representative of the undergraduates, known as " Terrae
Filius." In 1688 the speech at Trinity College contained interesting satirical
references to Freemasonry. The first passage opens, "It was lately ordained
that for the honour and dignity of the University there should be introduced a
Society of Freemasons consisting of gentlemen, mechanics, porters" &c. &c."
who shall bind themselves by an oath never to discover their mighty no-secret;
and to relieve whatsoever strolling distressed brethren they meet with, after
the manner of the Fraternity of Freemasons in and about Trinity College, by
whom a collection was lately made for, and the purse of charity well stuffed
for, a reduced Brother." Then followed a ridiculous list of gifts including "
From Sir Warren, for being Freemasonised the new way five shillings."
Later we are informed that on
the corpse of one Ridley (a notorious informer) was the "Freemasons' Mark." It
must be remembered that this address was delivered to a well-informed audience
the members of whom might be expected to understand the various allusions. It
indicates the existence of a Society known to be secret, benevolent and of
mixed membership, and hints at a recent change of procedure.
Seventeenth Century Procedure.
A suggestion was made recently and gave rise to much controversy
that the bridge between Operative and Speculative Masonry would rest mainly on
Scotland at the Operative end and on England at the Speculative. What can we
gather from the information available?
Position of the Old Charges.
The Old Charges were still held in veneration and in example after
example we find a copy in evidence at an assembly wholly or partially
non-operative—Ashmole's, Randle Holme's, Alnwick, Scarborough, York.
PRE-GRAND LODGE FREEMASONRY
The Social Board.
Ashmole tells how the brethren at London dined together at the
expense of the newly-admitted Masons. Something of the nature of an initiation
fee, or paying one's footing is indicated here and in Plot we find the
candidates presenting the brethren and their wives with gloves in addition to
entertaining them with a collation. Randle Holme left what appears to be a
These are referred to at Chester by Randle Holme. The moralising
with which we are familiar was introduced much later.
The only account of the dress of the Lodge is found at Alnwick
where in 1708 the brother was required to wear on a ceremonial occasioh his
apron with the common square fixed in the belt.
There is an elaborate gibe at the duty to relieve a distressed
brother in the Trinity College, Dublin Ms. Plot also waxes satirical on this
point and his remark probably inspired a later parody of the E.A. Song: If on
House ne'er so high, A Brother they spy, As his Trowel he dextrously lays on,
He must leave off his Work, And come down with a Jerk, At the Sign of an
It will surprise some to learn that our ritual of today was
consolidated only after the Union of 1813. Before that date we rely on a mass
of documents and printed
exposures from which we gather the three degrees iéf sümething like their
present form were fully-established by 1730 but, over the years before that,
even after the formation of the first Grand Lodge in 1717, controversy raged
for many years and at the beginning of the present century the leading Masonic
historians were ranged in rival camps according as they believed one, three or
two ceremonies were known. Much has been discovered since then and present day
students recognise that at least two separate ceremonies were worked and that,
if one looks further, much of the esoteric teaching now divided between the
three (some go further and add the Royal Arch) is to be found.
We have mentioned the Mason Word in Scotland: we have seen Randle
Holme's cryptic reference to the secrecy to be observed in regard to several
words and signs. Aubrey leaves a similar hint but, at the beginning of this
twentieth century, pre-Grand Lodge ritual was virtually unknown.
The Haughfoot Minute.
The Haughfoot Lodge, now extinct, left its Minute Book from which
some scrupulous brother tore the first pages so that the book opens
tantalisingly with a minute of 22nd December 1702:
.... of entrie as the
apprentice did Leaving out (The Common Judge). Then they whisper the word as
before—and the Master Mason grips his hand after the ordinary way.
The same day Sr James Scott of Gala Thomas Scott his Brother,
David Murray in Philliphaugh James Pringle in Haughfoot Robert Lowrie in
Stowtonherd and John Pringle Wright gave in ther petition each for themselves
earnest desiring to be admitted into the sd Society of Masons and ffellow
Craft Which ther desir being maturely considered was accordingly agreed to and
granted and they each of them
PRE-GRAND LODGE FREEMASONRY
them selves were duely and orderly admitted apprentices and ffellow Craft. And
ther was imposed on them the soumes following to be payed in to the box quh
they accordingly each of them for himself promised to pay, viz.:
Sir James Scott half a
guinie or 71b 2b
Thomas Scott Three
David Murray One
James Pringle One
Robert Lowrie One
John Pringle One
Thereafter the meeting
resolved with one voice yt yr shall be ane yearly meeting of those concerned
in this Lodge att Haughfoot in all tyme comeing upon St John's Day.
They also committed to Andrew Thompson one of yr number to provide
a Register book against their next meeting.
And they comitted to John Hoppringle of yt Ilk to appoint the next
meeting and give timely advertissement thereof to all concerned.
We have here a most important minute indicating in a few lines the
progress from one degree to another, the acceptance of candidates and their
admission fees (in Scots currency). The Lodge was also putting its affairs in
order by purchasing a register and arranging an Annual Meeting—on St. John's
The next evidence is provided by a group of sixteen manuscripts
and prints ranging in date from 1696 to 1730. Each is cast in cachetical form,
hence the name given to the group. Though certain relationships are apparent
they do not fall into families as do the Old Charges.
THE CHETWODE CRAWLEY MSS.
The Chetwode Crawley and the Edinburgh Register
About 1900, several years after the publication of the first
edition of Gould's great History of Freemasonry and much of Hughan's early
work, some volumes were purchased from a second-hand collector and among them
was discovered a masonic catechism. Thanks to the efforts of W. J. Hughan, it
was secured for the Grand Lodge of Ireland and named after the great Irish
Masonic student, W. J. Chetwode Crawley. The paper, watermark and writing
indicate an origin about the end of the seventeenth century or the beginning
of the eighteenth and the date commonly ascribed is 1700. The drawback, from
the point of view of the student, was that it might have been written after
the formation of the Grand Lodge of England and the great spread of interest
in Freemasonry, hence it was not completely accepted in evidence before 1930
when the Edinburgh Register House Ms. was discovered in the Scottish Archives
after which it is named. This is definitely dated, the endorsement being,
"Some Questiones Anent the mason Word 1696" and the document is headed "Some
Questiones that Masons use to put to Those who have ye Word before they will
acknowledge them." Although the two documents have obviously not been copied
one from another they are as obviously closely related. Many of the questions
are identical and most of the others approximately so; the Form of Giving the
Mason Word is not identical but very similar and this appears in different
parts of the two documents.
The following transcript of the Edinburgh Register House Ms. is
taken, by permission, from the Transactions of the Manchester Association for
Some Questiones That Masons
use to put to those who have the word before they will acknowledge them.
PRE-GRAND LODGE FREEMASONRY
1 Are you a mason. Answer Yes.
Q. 2 How shall I know it? Ans. you shall know it in time and place
convenient. Remark the fors[ai]d answer is only to be made when there is
company present who are not masons But if there be no such company by, you
should answer by signes tokens and other points of my entrie.
Q. 3 What is the first point? Ans. Tell me the first point ile
tell you the second. The first is to heill and conceal!, second, under no less
pain, which is then cutting of your throat. For you most make that sign when
you say that.
Q. 4 Where was you entered? An. At the honourable Lodge.
Q. 5 What makes a true and perfect Lodge? An. Seven masters, five
entered apprentices, A dayes journey from a burroughs town without bark of dog
or crow of cock.
Q. 6 Does no less make a true and perfect lodge? An. Yes five
masons and three entered apprentices &c.
Q. 7 Does no less. An. The more the merrier the fewer the better
Q. 8 What is the name of your lodge An. Kilwinning.
Q. 9 How stands your lodge An. east and west as the temple of
Q. 10 Where was the first lodge. An. in the porch of Solomons
Q. 11 Are there any lights in your lodge An. Yes three the north
east, s w, and eastern passage. The one denotes the master mason, the other
the warden. The third the setter croft.
THE CHETWODE CRAWLEY MSS.
Q. 12 Are there jewells in your lodge An. Yes three, Perpend esler
a square pavement and a broad oval!.
Q. 13 Where shall I find the key of your lodge. Yes [sic. lege-An.]
Three foot and a half from the lodge door under a Perpend esler, and a green
divot. But under the lap of my liver where all my secrets of my heart lie.
Q. 14 Which is the key of your lodge. An. a wool hung tongue.
Q. 15 Where lies the key. Ans. In the bone box.
After the masons have examined
you by all or some of these Questions and that you have answered them exactly
and made the signes, they will acknowledge you, but not a master mason or
fellow croft but only as [sic. legean] apprentice, soe they will say I see you
have been in the kitchine but I know not if you have been in the hall. Ans. I
have been in the hall as weel as in the kitchine.
Quest. 1 Are you a fellow craft Ans. Yes.
Quest. 2 How many points of the fellowship are ther Ans. Fyve viz.
foot to foot, knee to knee, Heart to Heart, hand to hand and ear to ear. Then
make the sign of fellowship and shake hand and you will be acknowledged a true
The words are in . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . and in . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . .
The forme of giveing the mason word.
Imprimis you are to take the person to take the word upon his knees and after
a great many ceremonies to frighten him you make him take up the bible and
laying his right hand on it you are to conjure him to secrecie by threatning
that if [he] shall break his oath the sun in the firmament will be a witness
ag[ain]st him and all
PRE-GRAND LODGE FREEMASONRY
company then present, which will be an occasion of his damnation and that
likewise the masons will be sure to murder him. Then after he hes proniised
secrecie. They give him the oath a[s] follows By god himself and you shall
answer to god when you shall stand naked' before him, at the great day, you
shall not reveal any pairt of what you shall hear of see at this time whether
by word nor write nor put it in wryte at any time nor draw it with the point
of a sword, or any other instrument upon the snow or sand, nor shall you speak
of it but with an entered mason, so help you god.
After he hes taken the oath he is removed out of the company with
the youngest mason, where after he is sufficiently frighted with 1000
ridiculous postures and' grimmaces, He is to learn from the s(ai)d mason the
manner of makeing his due guard which is the signe and the postures and words
of his entrie which are as follows First when he enters again into the company
he must make a ridiculous bow, then the signe and say God bless the honourable
company. Then putting off. his hat after a very foolish manner only to be
demonstrated then (as the rest of the signes are likewise) he sages the words
of his entrie which are as follows Here come I the youngest and last entered
apprentice As I am, sworn by God and St Jhon by the square and compass, and
common judge to attend my masters service at the honourable lodge from munday
in the morning till saturday at night and to keep the keyes therof under no
less pain then haveing my tongue cut out under my chin and of being buried,
within the flood mark where no man shall know, then he makes the sign again
withdrawing his hand under his chin alongst his throat which denotes that it
be cut out in case he break his word.
Then all the mason(s) present whisper amongst themselves the word
beginning at the youngest till it come to
THE CHETWODE CRAWLEY MSS
master mason who gives the word to the entered apprentice. Now it is to be
remarked that all the signes and words as yet spoken of are only what belong
to the entered apprentice, But to be a master mason or fellow craft there is
more to be done which after follows. First all the prentices are to be removed
out of the company and none suffered to stay but masters.
Then he who is to be admitted a member of fellowship is putt again
to his knees, and gets the oat[h] administrated to him of new afterwards he
must go out of the company with the youngest mason to learn the postures and
signes of fellowship, then comeing in again He makes the masters sign, and
sages the same words of entrie as the apprentice did only leaving out the
common judge then the masons whisper the word among them selves beginning at
the youngest as formerly afterwards the youngest mason must advance and put
himself into the posture he is to receive the word and sages to the eldest
mason in whispering The worthy masters and honourable company greet you weel,
greet you weel, greet you weel.
Then the master gives him the word and gripes his hand after the
masons way, which is all that is to be done to make him a perfect mason.
The Dumfries No. 4 Ms.
It will have been observed that, throughout this chapter,
references to the Old Charges have constantly been introduced also material of
later origin provided in the Catechism and the possible bridge between
Operative and Speculative Masonry involving England and Scotland.
An interesting document embodying all these matters has been in
the possession of the Dumfries Kilwinning Lodge, No. 53, ever since it was
first written early in the eighteenth century. The date usually ascribed is
The Dumfries No. 4 Ms. as it is known today, consists
PRE-GRAND LODGE FREEMASONRY
Masonic Catechism combined with an unusually corrupt version of the Old
Charges and some notes on King Solomon's Temple. It was obviously at one time
of practical use as it shows signs of considerable handling.
This Ms. opens with a version of the Old Charges concluding with
the Apprentice Charge; then follows a set of questions and answers partly on
the lines of the other Catechisms and partly introducing some scriptural
matter. A detail met with very early in Irish Freemasonry is the dress of the
" Q. would you know your master if you saw him A. yes Q. what way
would ye know him A. by his habit Q. what couller is his habit A. yellow &
blew meaning the compass Wc is bras & Iron."
Then follows "The Strangers
Salutation" which is succeeded by "Questions concerning the Temple." Some of
these are found in other Catechisms in this section. The writer describes
quite fully the Pillars of King Solomon's Temple but a question immediately
preceding this apparently refers to the earlier ante-diluvian Pillars.
" Q. where [was] the noble art or science found when it was lost
A. it was found in two pillers of stone the one would not sink and the other
would not burn "
The whole concludes with eight
lines of doggerel verse:
"A caput mortuu here you see
To mind you of mortality ... "
The Graham Ms.
One of the most startling discoveries of this century occurred in
Yorkshire, in 1936, after the Initiation of the Rev. H. I. Robinson, in whose
family the Ms. had been for a considerable time. The date is rather vague and
could be read as 1672 or 1726 and the latter is generally accepted as
authentic. The examination follows closely
THE GRAHAM MSS.
conventional masonic lines, containing parallels to other
catechisms, notably The Whole Institution of Free-Masons Opened, printed in
1725, also there are similarities to the Dumfries No. 4 Ms., of about 1710,
which combines with a catechism a corrupt version of the Old Charges.
The candidate is tested after his entering and after his raising
and the latter differs from anything else known in Freemasonry for the
traditional history is devoted to an attempt to extract from the body of Noah
the secrets he had carried with him from the antediluvian world. Here is the
counterpart of our traditional history:-
we have it by tradition and
still some refferance to scripture cause shem ham and Japheth ffor to go to
their father noahs grave for to try if they could find anything about him ffor
to Lead them to the vertuable secret which this famieous preacher had for I
hop all will allow that all things needfull for the new world was in the ark
with noah Now these 3 men had allready agreed that if they did not fund the
very thing it self that the first thing that they found was to be to them as a
secret they not Douting but did most ffirmly be Leive that God was able and
would allso prove willing through their faith prayer and obedience for to
cause what they did find for to prove as vertuable to them as if they had
received the secret at ffirst from God himself at its head spring so came to
the Grave finding nothing save the dead body all most consumed away takeing a
greip at a ffinger it came away so from Joynt to Joynt so to the wrest so to
the Elbow so they R Reared up the dead body and suported it setting ffoot to
ffoot knee to knee Breast to breast Cheeck to cheeck and hand to back and
cryed out help o 'father as if they had said o father of heaven help us now
for our Earthly 'father cannot so Laid down the dead body again and not
knowing what to do—so one said here is yet marow in this bone and the second
said but a dry bone and the third said it
PRE-GRAND LODGE FREEMASONRY
stinketh so they agreed for to
give it a name as is known to free masonry to this day so went to their
undertakings and afterwards works stood: yet it is to be beleived and allso
understood that the vertue did not proceed from what they Wound or how it was
called but ffrom ffaith and prayer so thus it Contenued the will pass for the
The narrative passes on to the
building of King Solomon's Temple with an ingenious method of differential
payments of interest to present-day Mark Master Masons.
now it is holden
Worth by tradition that there was a tumult at this Errection which should
hapened betwext the Laborours and masons about wages and ffor to call me all
and to make all things easie the wise king should have had said be all of you
contented ffor you shall be payed all alike yet give a signe to the Masons not
known to the Laborours and who could make that signe at the paying place was
to be payed as masons the Laborours not knowing thereof was payed as fforesaid
The description of the secrets
indicates some primitive symbolism including the five points of fellowship and
the writer was overtaken by caution at the last.
So all Being
ffinised then was the secrets off ifree Masonry ordered aright as is now and
will be to the E End of the world for such as do rightly understand it—in 3
parts in refferance to the blesed trinity who made all things yet in 13
brenches in refferances to Christ and his 12 apostles which is as follows a
word ffor a deveine Six ffor the clargey and 6 ffor the ffellow craft and at
the ffull and totall agreement therof to ffollow with five points off ffree
Masons fellowshipe which is 'foot to 'foot knee to knee breast to breast
cheeck to cheeck and hand to Back which rye points hath refferance to the rye
cheife signes which is head 'foot body hand and heart
THE GRAHAM MSS.
and allso to the rye points
off artitectur and allso to the rye orders of'Masonry yet takes thire strength
ffrom five primitive one devine and ffour temporall which is as ffollows
ffirst christ the chiefe and Cornnerston secondly Peter called Cephas thirdly
moses who cutte the commands ffourthly Bazalliell the best of Masons ffifftly
hiram who was riled with wisdom and understanding
The signature of this
interesting document is "Tho Graham Chanceing Master of Lodges outher Enquam
Ebo." A palaeographer suggested the third word was misread and was possibly
part of the name. If this be so (and the point is not generally admitted), "
Outher " might refer to the instructor of candidates sometimes found
(especially in Scotland) and an ingenious anagrammatic mnemonic can be
constructed out of the two last pseudo-Latin words!
Slade's Free Mason Examin'd.
It is convenient at this point to mention a work which appeared
over half a century later, The Free Mason Examin'd by Alexander Slade was
published in 1754 and ran to half a dozen editions in the course of the next
five years. There was at the time quite a craze for alleged revelations of the
secrets of Freemasonry. This differed from all other varieties in that the
ceremonies are based on the building of the Tower of Babel. The three degrees
are called the Minor's Part, the Major's Part and the Officers' Part, and, the
Officers are the six sons of Cush, the eldest son of Ham and the Grandson of
The pamphlet has been largely discounted by students and the
following reasons put forth as possible causes of its publication:
First—It was a picture of a branch of Masonic work in 1754. Although Nimrod
does not appear in our ritual, he figured in some of the Old Charges &c. Slade
PRE-GRAND LODGE FREEMASONRY
his grandfather was made a Free-Mason about 1708 when Sir Christopher Wren was
Grand Master and it is just possible it represents a working of that time.
Secondly—It was published as a counterblast to the newly formed rival Grand
Lodge, the Antients, of which more will be heard in Chapter VI.
Thirdly—that it was an ingenious parody designed to confuse the minds of those
who were too eagerly buying the exposures then widely printed and sold.
Fourthly—It was a pure financial speculation.
Our earliest ritual.
What was the form of our earliest ritual? Some pointers have been
given above and the indication is clear that before the formation of the first
Grand Lodge more than one version was to be found. How the change was made
from the Pillars of the Old Charges constructed to carry the knowledge of
mankind over an impending destruction to the Pillars in which so much of
today's interest centres is a mystery that may never be solved. But it is
probable that, before the Craft finally settled on the building of King
Solomon's Temple and the loss and subsequent recovery of certain knowledge,
other prototypes were tried out perhaps by small groups of Masons in isolated
parts of the country. The evidence in favour of the Temple rite as a general
basis is overwhelming but the Graham Ms. of undeniable authenticity and the
Slade pamphlet of dubious parentage at least hint of rites based on Noah's Ark
and the Tower of Babel.
Moving towards organisation.
Mention has already been made of a small group of the Old Charges
containing new orders. These are set out in full in the Roberts version
published actually five years after the formation of the first Grand Lodge and
MOVING TOWARDS ORGANISATION
the publication of the first official Book of Constitutions.
We do not know what truth there is in the heading of the new
articles but at least they give a pointer to some attempt at metropolitan
organisation:— ADDITIONAL ORDERS AND CONSTITUTIONS MADE AND AGREED UPON AT A
GENERAL ASSEMBLY HELD AT . . . . . . . . . , ON THE EIGHTH DAY OF DECEMBER,
THAT no Person,
of what Degree soever, be accepted a Free-Mason, unless he shall have a Lodge
of five Free-Masons at the least, where-of one to be a Master or Warden of
that Limit or Division where such Lodge shall be kept, and another to be a
Workman of the Trade of Free-Masonry.
That no Person
hereafter shall be accepted a Free-Mason, but such as are of able Body, honest
Parentage, good Reputation, and Observers of the Laws of the Land.
III. That no Person
hereafter, which shall be accepted a Free-Mason, shall be admitted into any
Lodge, or Assembly, until he hath brought a Certificate of the Time and Place
of his Acception, from the Lodge that accepted him, unto the Master of that
Limit and Division, where such Lodge was kept, which said Master shall enroll
the fame on Parchment in a Roll to be kept for that Purpose, and give an
Account of all such Acceptions, at every General Assembly.
IV. That every Person,
who is now a Free-Mason, shall bring to the Master a Note of the Time of his
Acception, to the end the same may be enrolled in such Priority of Place, as
the Person deserves, and to the end the whole Company and Fellows may the
better know each other.
V. That for the future
the said Society, Company and Fraternity of Free-Masons, shall be regulated
and governed by one Master, and as many Wardens as the said
PRE-GRAND LODGE FREEMASONRY
Company shall think fit to chuse at every Yearly General Assembly.
VI. That no Person shall be accepted a Free-Mason, unless he be
One and Twenty Years Old, or more.
VII. That no person hereafter be accepted a Free-Mason, or know
the Secrets of the said Society, until he shall have first taken the Oath of
Secrecy here following, viz.: I, A.B. DO HERE IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD ALMIGHTY,
AND OF MY FELLOWS AND BRETHREN HERE PRESENT, PROMISE AND DECLARE, THAT I WILL
NOT AT ANY TIME HEREAFTER BY ANY ACT OR CIRCUMSTANCE WHATSOEVER, DIRECTLY OR
INDIRECTLY, PUBLISH DISCOVER, REVEAL OR MAKE KNOWN ANY OF THERE SECRETS,
PRIVITIES OR COUNCILS OF THE FRATERNITY OR FELLOWSHIP OF FREE MASONS, WHICH AT
THIS TIME, OR AT ANY TIME HEREAFTER SHALL BE MADE KNOWN UNTO ME. SO HELP ME
GOD, AND THE TRUE AND HOLY CONTENTS OF THIS BOOK.
Immediately after this date,
London was visited by a double calamity. One-fifth bf the population was
killed by the Great Plague of 1665, and, a year later, two-thirds of London's
houses and almost one hundred of its churches, including St. Paul's Cathedral,
perished in the Great Fire.
It is fortunate that there was available a genius of the nature of
Sir Christopher Wren and it will be realised that a major building problem
arose. An Act of Parliament was passed encouraging all manner of building
trade workers to settle in the City of London promising their freedom on the
completion of seven years residence and work there. At the same time, King
Charles II exercised his influence with the corporations of other towns for
the rehabilitation of those who had lost their homes and businesses in the
This move brought hundreds of Masons flocking into the City. We
have no records of their organisation but undoubtedly Operative Masonry at
least was given an
MOVING TOWARDS ORGANISATION
enormous impetus and, following the tendency of the time, Accepted Masons were
no doubt admitted into the Lodges.
By the early part of the eighteenth century, the stage was set for
the first assembly of Free and Accepted Masons which we can confidently record
and the establishment of the Grand Lodge of England.
THE GRAND LODGE PERIOD, 1717-50.
The Formation of Grand Lodge.
1717 is the most important date in the history of Freemasonry. For
it was in the third year of the reign of King George I and two years after the
defeat of the Old Pretender's hopes of recovering his kingdom, that, conceived
the year before, the Grand Lodge of England had its birth. —Now it has been
truly observed that " all Freemasonry in existence today can be traced,
through one channel or another, to the Grand Lodge of England."*
Since no Minutes were then
kept, Dr. James Anderson's second (1738) edition of his Book of Constitutions
is practically our sole authority for the proceedings of Grand Lodge during
the first six years of its existence, and his account, in which is mentioned a
preliminary meeting the preceding year, runs as follows:-
A.D. 1716, the few Lodges at
London .... thought fit to cement under a Grand Master as the Center of Union
and Harmony, viz. the Lodges that met,
1. At the Goose and Gridiron
Ale-house in St. Paul's Church Yard.
J. Chetwode Crawley.
THE GRAND LODGE PERIOD,
2. At the Crown Ale-house in
Parker's Lane near Drury-Lane.
3. At the Apple-Tree Tavern in Charles-street, Covent-Garden.
4. At the Rummer and Grapes Tavern in Channel-Row, 'Westéninster.
They and some old Brothers met at the said Apple-Tree, and having
put into the Chair the oldest Master Mason (now the Master of a Lodge) they
constituted themselves a GRAND LODGE pro Tempore in Due Form, and forthwith
revived the Quarterly Communication of the Officers of Lodges (call'd the
Grand Lodge) resolv'd to hold the Annual ASSEMBLY and Feast, and then to
chusea GRAND MASTER from among themselves, till they.–should have the Honour
of a Noble Brother at their Head.
On St. John Baptist's Day,
(24th June), A.D. 1717, the ASSEMBLY and Feast of the Free and accepted Masons
was held at the foresaid Goose and Gridiron Alehouse.
Before Dinner, the oldest Master Mason (now the Master of a Lodge)
in the Chair, proposed a List of proper Candidates; and the Brethren by a
Majority of Hands elected Mr. ANTHONY SAYER, Gentleman, Grand Master of
Masons, who being forthwith invested with the Badges of Office and Power by
the said Oldest Master, and install'd, was duly congratulated by the Assembly
who pay'd him the Homage.
Capt. Joseph Elliot and Mr.
Jacob Lamball, Carpenter - Grand Wardens
SAYER Grand Master commanded
the Masters and Wardens of Lodges to meet the Grand Officers every
THE FORMATION OF GRAND LODGE
Quarter in Communication, at
the Place that he should appoint in his Summons sent by the Tyler.
Of the above two Grand Wardens we meet the Junior again as Acting
Grand Warden in 1735, but Captain Elliot fades entirely from sight.
The above Assembly represents the so-called "revival of
Freemasonry," wrongly so named since in its earliest years the Grand Lodge
claimed jurisdiction over Lodges in London and Westminster alone.
The above account is supplemented by a reference to the formation
of Grand Lodge in The Complete Free-mason; or, Multa Paucis for Lovers of
Secrets, which, published as late as 1763, substantially confirms Anderson's
statement, but gives as the number of sponsoring lodges, six. The additional
two, which may have been represented by" some old Brothers" as above, are not
The Four Old Lodges.
Original No. 1. According to the Engraved List of Lodges of
1729 this Lodge was constituted in 1691, but it probably had a far earlier
origin. In 1723 it had 22 members, including Thomas Morris and Josias Villenau,
who both at different times served as Grand Wardens. But in those early days
its members seem not to have had the same social significance as for example
those of Original No. 4. When Lodges began to cease to be known by their
meeting-places it became in 1760 the West India and American Lodge and ten
years later adopted the title of the Lodge of Antiquity, which it still bears.
It is now No. 2 on the Grand Lodge roll, having drawn lots in 1813 with the
Grand Master's Lodge for the honour of heading the list—and having lost the
One of its most famous Masters was William Preston (See p.105) the
author of Illustrations of Masonry, who asserted that Sir Christopher Wren had
THE GRAND LODGE PERIOD,
Lodge and had presented it with three mahogany candlesticks and the mallet
with which Charles II levelled the foundation-stone of St. Paul's. There is no
confirmation of any of these statements. It was largely through Preston that
for ten years, from 1777 to 1787, the Lodge was rent in twain; the majority of
members seceded from Grand Lodge and actually became one on their own, the
Grand Lodge of England South of the River Trent, being so constituted by the
York Grand Lodge. Other distinguished members included the Duke of Sussex, son
of George III and Grand Master for thirty years (1813-43), the Duke of Albany,
youngest son of Queen Victoria, and Thomas Harper, D.G.M. of the Antients.
Original No. 2 had 1712 as the official date of its
constitution. It had only a short life under Grand Lodge as it came to an end
between 1736 and 1738.
Original No. 3 obtained in 1723 a Grand Lodge warrant
which, as one of the "Time Immemorial" lodges, it scarcely required, and in
consequence found itself in 1729 ousted from its proud seniority and, despite
its protests, relegated by the Committee of Precedence to the eleventh place.
In 1768 it became the Lodge of Fortitude and, having amalgamated with the Old
Cumberland Lodge in 1818, is now the Fortitude and Old Cumberland Lodge, No.
12. It has the honour of having supplied from its members the first Grand
Original No. 4 was the aristocrat of the Old Lodges. Of its
71 members in 1724 ten were noblemen, three were honourables, four baronets or
knights and two general officers, while the three senior Lodges possessed not
a single "Esquire." The second and third Grand Masters were both members of
this Lodge, as well as Dr. James Anderson. The Duke of Richmond was its Master
in 1724 until being elected Grand Master next year.
The Lodge took Original No. 3's place in 1729 and eleven, years
later advanced to No. 2, which number it retained
THE FOUR OLD LODGES
the Union of Moderns and Antients in 1813 (seep.117). In 1747 it was erased
from the list for non-attendance at Quarterly Communications, but was restored
in 1751 on the intercession of the second Grand Master.
The Lodge moved in 1723/4 from the Rummer and Grapes Tavern to the
Horn Tavern, Palace Yard, and was called by the name of the latter tavern for
many years. Unfortunately there was formed a New Lodge at the Horn, which
became the more fashionable, and in 1774, "finding themselves in a declining
state," the members agreed to amalgamate with the Somerset House Lodge. It is
now known as the Royal Somerset House and Inverness Lodge, and is once again
The First Grand Master.
Little enough is known of Anthony Sayer, Gentleman. Two years
after his Grand Mastership he was elected Senior Grand Warden in the reign of
Dr. Desaguliers. He was a member of No. 3 of the Four Old Lodges, of which he
was Warden in 1723 and remained a member until at any rate 1730.
His financial circumstances seem to have been poor and a petition
from him is recorded in Grand Lodge Minutes in 1724—with what result is not
known. A second petition for relief was made in 1730, when "the Question
having been put it was agreed that he should have £15 on Acct. of his having
been Grand Master," and a final sum of two guineas was paid to him from the
General Charity in 1741.
More pleasant is it to picture Anthony Sayer as walking last in a
procession of ten Grand Masters, arranged in order of juniority, at the
installation of the Duke of Norfolk in 1730. Unfortunately the same year saw
him arraigned before Grand Lodge on a complaint of his having committed
irregularities, their nature not being specified. "The Deputy Grand Master
told Bro. Sayer that he was acquitted
THE GRAND LODGE PERIOD,
Charge against him and recommended it to him to do nothing so irregular for
the future."—the equivalent of a verdict of " Not Guilty, but don't do it
At the time of his death in
January, 1742, he was Tyler of what is now the Old King's Arms Lodge, No. 28.
The Second and Fourth Grand Master.
George Payne was on 24 June, 1718, "duly invested, install'd,
congratulated and homaged " as Grand Master of Masons, after which he "
desired any Brethren to bring to the Grand Lodge any old Writings and Records
concerning Masons and Masonry in order to shew the Usages of antient Times."
Anderson further states that during that year several copies of the Gothic
(i.e. MS.) Constitutions were produced and collated.
During his second term of office as (the last commoner) Grand
Master (1720-1) he produced the Cooke MS. in Grand Lodge and also compiled the
General Regulations which were enshrined in Anderson's Constitutions, 1723.
What was from our point of view a tragedy of this year was that in some
private lodges several valuable MSS. (probably Old Charges) "were too hastily
burnt by some scrupulous Brothers, that those Papers might not fall into
He was Master of No. 4 Lodge
in 1723, and it was out of respect to him that Grand Lodge restored that Lodge
to its place in 1751. He was appointed J.G.W. in 1725 and acted as Grand
Master on a special occasion in 1735, continuing as an active member of Grand
Lodge until 1754, in which year he was appointed a member of the Committee set
up to revise the Constitutions: the new edition was published in 1756. George
Payne was of considerably more substance than the first Grand Master, and when
he died in 1757 he held the post of Secretary of the Pay Office.
THE THIRD GRAND MASTER
The Third Grand Master.
Dr. John Theosophilus Desaguliers, LL.D, F.R.S. succeeded George
Payne in 1719. Of French descent and attractive personality if forbidding
aspet, he had been educated at Christ Church, Oxford, where he took orders in
1710. In the same year he became a lecturer on Experimental Philosophy and in
one of his books on this subject, published in 1734, he showed himself (as
Bernard Jones points out) a prophet, over two hundred years before the event,
of the splitting of the atom! While Grand Master, it is recorded that he "reviv'd
the old regular and peculiar Toasts or Healths of the Free Masons." It was
also during his rule that it was agreed that the Grand Master should have the
power of appointing his Grand Wardens, who had hitherto been annually elected,
and a Deputy Grand Master. The first D.G.M. was Dr. John Beal, appointed by
the Duke of Montague in 1921. Dr. Desaguliers himself was Deputy Grand Master
to the Duke of Wharton in 1722, and held the same office again in 1723 and
1725. Like his predecessor he was a staunch supporter of the General Charity
when it came to be established in 1724.
The high-light of his Masonic career may be said to have been his
famous visit to Edinburgh in 1721, which he undertook for professional
reasons, but while there he sought an interview at the Lodge of Edinburgh, the
Master Masons of which, "finding him duly qualified in all points of Masonry,
received him as a Brother into their Societie." This visit is believed to have
had a considerable influence on the introduction of Speculative Masonry into
It was Dr. Desaguliers who was responsible for the initiation of
the first Royal Freemasons. These were the Duke of Lorraine, who was admitted
into the Craft by the Doctor at the Hague, in 1731, and Frederick, Prince of
Wales (whose Chaplain he was) at an "Occasional Lodge" at Kew Palace in 1737.
THE GRAND LODGE PERIOD,
On his death in 1744 he was
buried in the Chapel Royal in the Savoy. His son, Lieut.-Gen. Thomas
Desaguliers, who served for fifty-seven years in the Royal Artillery, was a
well-known Freemason, and the remarº able number of Lodges in that Corps
during the second half of the 18th Century may well have been due to his
A lineal descendent, Lord Shuttleworth, was J.G.W. in 1952.
Noblemen as Grand Masters.
In 1721 John, Duke of Montague was chosen as Grand Master, which
office has since been invariably held by one of noble or Royal blood. In that
year, Dr. William Stuk1y, the antiquarian, had been, according to his Diary,
"made a Freemason at the Salutation Tavern,
Tavistock Street .... I was
the first person made a Freemason in London for many years. We had great
difficulty to find members enough to perform the ceremony. Immediately upon
that it took a run and ran itself out of breath thro' the folly of the
What led him to become a
Freemason is explained in his Autobiography:
"His curiosity led him to be
initiated into the mysterys of Masonry, suspecting it to be the remains of the
mysterys of the antients; when, with difficulty, a number sufficient was to be
found in all London. After this it became a public fashion, not only spred
over Brittain and Ireland, but all of Europe."
Stukeley was present at the installation of the Duke of Montague.
An important discovery relating to the latter's term of office was
made in 1930, when the new Bank of England was being built. This was of a
"Foundation Stone" bearing the following names:—
NOBLEMEN AS GRAND MASTERS
Mr. Thomas Dunn & Mr. John
Townsend - Masons.
Anno Masonry 5722
Ld. Montacute, G. Master
Now Brothers Dunn and Townsend
have been identified as having been apprenticed Masons in 1694 and as
belonging in 1723 to the Lodge held at the " Ship behind the Royal Exchange,"
so that this discovery proves conclusively the continuity of descent from
Operative to Speculative Masonry.
The next Grand Master (1722) was Philip, Duke of Wharton, who was
most probably the original of Lovelace in Richardson's Clarissa and in any
case proved an unsatisfactory Freemason.* He appointed Dr. Desaguliers as his
Deputy and the Rev. James Anderson as one of his Wardens.
Dr. James Anderson (1684-1739)
This important Masonic
pioneer, was the second son of James Anderson, "Glassier and-Measson," whose
name is recorded as a member of the Aberdeen Lodge in 1670. Educated at
Marischal College, Aberdeen, he was licensed as a minister of the Church of
Scotland about 1702, but moved to London in 1709, receiving the degree of D.D.
in 1731 from Aberdeen University.
There is no trace of his having been present at the formation of
Grand Lodge or of ever having attended until 1721. It is not known in what
Lodge he was initiated or whether it was a Scottish or English one, but we do
know that he was a member of the Horn Lodge (Original No. 4, see p.76). He
achieved some fame at the time by the publication of his Royal Genealogies,
but it is his Masonic activities that have saved his name from oblivion.
*He is thus summed up in Pope's Moral Essays:-
Wharton, the scorn and wonder
of our days,
Whose ruling passion was the
lust of praise.
THE GRAND LODGE PERIOD,
According to his own account,
at a meeting of Grand Lodge in 1721, when sixteen Lodges were represented,
"His Grace's Worship and the
Lodge finding fault with all the Copies of the old Gothic Constitutions,'
order'd Brother James Anderson, A.M., to digest the same in a new and better
is more likely that the suggestion came from Anderson himself, who is known to
have always kept an eye' on the main chance and not only sought and obtained
the approval, of Grand Lodge for the preparation of the second edition of his
Constitutions (which appeared in 1738), but also throughout retained the
property in both editions, and actually secured from Grand Lodge a motion
discouraging members from buying Smith's Pocket Companion, which "pyrated "
his work in 1735.
At any rate Anderson produced his manuscript, which, after being
examined by a committee of "14 learned Brothers, who reported that they had
perused Brother Anderson's History, Charges, Regulations and Master's Song and
had approved of it with certain amendments, was ordered to be printed. This
was done, with the addition of The Antient Manner of Constituting a Lodge.
After the publication of his work in 1723 he stayed away from Grand Lodge for
Anderson's Constitutions, 1723.
This small quarto volume of 91 pages contains a remarkable
frontispiece representing a classical arcade with two noble Grand Masters in
the foreground, and behind them attendants, one of whom carries aprons and
gloves: in the centre is a diagram of Euclid's 47th (Pythagoras's)
proposition, with underneath the Greek word "Eureka," which exclamation,
however, is commonly ascribed to Archimedes rather than to Pythagoras. There
is a Preface from the pen of Dr. Desaguliers, followed by the History, in
which Anderson excels himself. Whereas the Old
ANDERSON'S CONSTITUTIONS, 1723
Charges had traced Masonry, or Geometry, from Lamech, Anderson must needs go
back to Adam. Many English monarchs are claimed as having belonged to the
Order, 'but it is noteworthy that although " the ingenious architect, Sir
Christopher Wren," (see p.52) is mentioned, he is not referred to in this
edition as Grand Master.
More important is the introduction of several phrases derived from
Scottish Operative Masonry, including "Entered Apprentice" and " Fellow-craft
" (the old Operative expressions in England having been " Apprentice " and
"Fellow,") although Anderson leaves the word "Cowan" until his second edition
Of "The Charges of a Free-Mason," the most striking and one that,
as we shall see, was to have far-reaching consequences, is the first, which
states that"'tis now thought more expedient only to oblige them (Freemasons)
to that Religion to which all men agree, leaving their particular opinions to
themselves." Now, in spite of Anderson's explanation that in ancient times
masons were charged in every country to be of the religion of that country,
this article was definitely an innovation, since the Old Charges have almost
without exception a positively Christian character.
The 39 General Regulations, which formed the chief feature of the
work, had been compiled by George Payne during his second Grand Mastership in
1720. One of them, No. XIII has always been a headache to Masonic historians.
It lays down quite simply that "Apprentices must be admitted Masters and
Fellow Crafts only here [in the Grand Lodge] except by dispensation." This at
once raises the question whether Masters and Fellow Crafts are intended here
as separate degrees.
How Many Degrees?
quite certain that in the great majority of Lodges at
THE GRAND LODGE PERIOD,
time there were only two degrees, that of Initiate or (Entered) Apprentice and
that of Fellow, the latter being quite eligible to become Master of his lodge
or even a Grand Officer. The working of these two degrees was in no sense
identical with that of our own first two degrees, but most probably covered
between them most of those degrees together with part of our third. The two
degrees were commonly bestowed on the candidate on the same evening.
On the other hand there is evidence that fairly early in the 18th
Century a few Speculative Lodges were admitting Masons, passing them to the
degree of Fellow Craft and making Master Masons in three separate steps. This
was an innovation since the “Master" of the Old Charges referred to the Mason
who organized the building operations or else the Contractor, and not the
Master Mason in our present meaning.
Whatever may have been the reason for imposing Regulation No.
XIII, its observance (if it ever was observed) must have been extremely
inconvenient to London Lodges and have been resented even more by the growing
number of provincial lodges under Grand Lodge jurisdiction. That it was
impracticable is shown by its repeal two years later.
The wording "Masters and Fellow Crafts" in the Regulation we can
only conclude to have been one of Anderson's importations from Scotland, where
the two expressions meant much the same thing. That they were intended to
convey the same grade is shown by the omission of “Fellow Crafts" from the
At any rate we may rest assured that by 1730 quite a number of
lodges were working the third degree, complete with the Hiramic legend—it is
not known exactly when this made its appearance in Freemasonry—and that three
degrees were officially recognized in the 1738 Constitutions, although for
long afterwards some lodges persisted in confining themselves to the old two
degrees. The wording
HOW MANY DEGREES?
"Sublime Degree" does not make its appearance until after 1750.
Grand Lodge Minutes.
Hitherto for our account of the proceedings of Grand Lodge we have
had to rely mainly on the History in Dr. Anderson's second (1738) Book of
Constitutions. But in 1723 William Cowper, Clerk to the Parliaments, was
appointed its first Secretary, and thenceforth we have contemporary and
reliable Minutes to which to refer. It was not, however, until 1741 that the
Secretary was to be declared automatically a member of Grand Lodge. William
Cowper served as Secretary for only a year, but we meet him again as Chairman
of the Committee of Charity in 1725 and as Deputy Grand Master in 1728.
His first Minutes, dated 24th June, 1723, record that on the
election of the Earl of Dalkeith to succeed the Duke of Wharton, the latter
appealed against the new Grand Master's appointment of Dr. Desaguliers as his
Deputy, whereupon the Duke's action was held to be " unprecedented,
unwarrantable, and Irregular" and His Grace seems to have left the hall in a
At the meeting of Grand Lodge in February, 1724, it was agreed
that a Brother must not belong to more than one lodge at one time "within the
Bills of Mortality." The last is a curious phrase, often met with at this
period, and is explained by Bernard Jones as having had its origin about five
hundred years before, when London began to issue weekly lists of deaths.
Curiously enough, the provision of 1724 has never been repealed, the reason
being that, to the relief of many ardent London brethren, it was never
During 1724 there first came to public notice a rival and
THE GRAND LODGE PERIOD,
definitely anti-Masonic body, regarding whom the following appeared in the
Daily Post of the 3rd September:-
"Whereas the truly ANTIENT
NOBLE ORDER of the Gormogons, instituted by Chin-Quaw Ky-Po, the first Emperor
of China. . . . many thousand years before Adam and of which the great
philosopher Confucius was CEcumenical Volgee, has lately been brought into
England by a Mandarin and he, having admitted several Gentlemen of Honour into
the Mystery of that most illustrious order, they have determined to hold a
Chapter at the Castle Tavern in Fleet Street, at the particular request of
several persons of Quality. This is to inform the public, that there will be
no drawn Sword at the Door, nor Ladder in a dark Room, nor will any Mason be
receiv'd as a Member till he has renounced his Novel Order and been properly
degraded .... The Mandarin will shortly set out for Rome, having a particular
Commission to make a Present of this Antient Order to His Holiness and it is
believed the whole Sacred College of Cardinals will commence Gormogons."
The last sentence rather
points to the Roman Catholics (and perhaps the Jacobites) as having been
behind the movement. A later news-sheet asserted that "many eminent Freemasons
have degraded themselves" and seceded to the Gormogons, while, according to
the British Journal of the 12th December:-
"A Peer of the first Rank, a
noted Member of the Society of Free Masons, hath suffered himself to be
degraded as a member of that Society and his Leather Apron and Gloves to be
burnt and thereupon enter'd himself as a Member of the Society of Gormogons,
at the Castle Tavern."
This last cutting establishes
the connexion with the movement of the first and last Duke of Wharton, 6th
Master, whose flighty and unstable character well fits in with such a
When exactly the Gormogons died out is not known, but two
considerations seem to render untenable Gould's theory that "the Order is said
to have become extinct in 1738." In the first place the existence of a
Lancashire Gormogon in the person of John Collier, better known as Tim Bobbin
(1708-86) was revealed by the chance stumbling upon a poem of his, The Goose,
by one of the present authors. The first appearance of the poem known to the
authors is in Tim Bobbin's Collected Poems of 1757 and in any case very little
of his verse is ascribed to a period before the last forty years of his life.
The Goose has a dedication:- "As I have the honor to be a member of the
ancient and venerable order of the Gormogons, I am obliged by the laws of the
great Chin-Quaw-Ki-Po, emperor of China, to read, yearly, some part of the
ancient records of that country .... "
The poem describes, in part,
the spinning of a coin to settle a dispute about the payment for a goose:-
"No sooner said than done—both
The Justice twirls aloft a
"While she, (ah nature,
nature,) calls for tail,
And pity 'tis, poor soul, that
she should fail!
But chance decrees—up turns
Whose very name my belly sore
Secondly, Gould's theory is
further stultified by the existence of some very rare but undoubtedly Gormogon
medals which bear every evidence of having been minted as late as 1799.
The Musical Society.
A curious minute of Grand Lodge in 1725, ordering William Gulston
and six other brethren to attend the next Quarterly Communication (but with no
THE GRAND LODGE PERIOD,
that source) is explained by the minutes of the Philo Musicae et Architecturae
Societas, which had been instituted the same year by those seven brethren from
the Lodge at the Queen's Head in Holles Street. It was a condition of
membership that the applicant must be a Mason; failing this the Society would
make him one; it went so far as to pass Fellow Crafts and even make Master
Masons, despite Regulation XIII, then in force.
George Payne as Junior Grand Warden visited the Society to see for
himself and there followed a letter from the Duke of Richmond, the Grand
Master, calling attention to the irregular makings. The Society paid no
attention, but went on with its practices without any action's being taken by
Grand Lodge; indeed a week later Francis Sorrell, Senior Grand Warden, is
shown to have been a guest of the Society. The Musical Society died out early
The Grand Lodge of York.
Although the once firmly believed account of Edwin's Assembly of
Masons at York (see p.35) is purely apocryphal, there was undoubtedly an Old
(Operative) Lodge at York of considerable antiquity. Its extant records start
from 1712, when it was in process of becoming Speculative. In these the Master
of the Lodge is usually referred to as "President" and initiates are
invariably "admitted and sworne" or "sworne and admitted "—a gild term.
On the Festival of St. John, 1725, called now the "Grand Feast,"
the Lodge met in slightly strange circumstances, since the President of
previous years had now become " the Grand Master," while a Deputy Grand Master
and Grand Wardens were also elected.
The reason for this translation (in the sense of Bottom in The
Midsummer Night's Dream) is clearly a Grand Lodge's having been set up in
London eight years previously, and the explanation of the sudden burst of
pride is furnished
THE GRAND LODGE OF YORK
famous Oration next year of Francis Drake, Junior Grand Warden, wherein he
"Edwin, the first Christian
King of the Northumbers, about the six hundredth year after Christ, and who
laid the Foundation of our Cathedral, sat as Grand Master. This is sufficient
to make us dispute the superiority with the Lodges at London. But as nought of
that kind ought to be amongst so amicable a fraternity, we are content they
enjoy the Title of Grand Master of England; but the Totius Angliae (of All
England) we claim as an undoubted right."
Incidentally, in this speech
Dr. Drake addresses the "Working Masons; persons of other Trades and
Occupadons; and Gentlemen," showing that the Lodge still contained Operative
members, and also alludes to "E.P. (Entered 'Prentice), F.C. and M.M.," thus
making it clear that three degrees were already worked in this Lodge.
The new Grand Lodge drew up 19 "Articles agreed to be kept and
observ'd by the Antient Society of Free Masons in the City of York," which
read more like the rules for a single Lodge than the Regulations of a Grand
Lodge. Although its independence is grudgingly acknowledged in Anderson's
Constitutions of 1738, York Grand Lodge did not attempt to warrant lodges or
indulge in other similar Grand Lodge activities until after its revival in
1761 (see p.102).
The Duke of Norfolk.
When this nobleman was proclaimed and installed in January, 1730
nine former Grand Masters, as already recorded, " walk'd one by one according
to Juniorityviz.: Lord Coleraine, Earl of Inchiquin, Lord Paisley, Duke of
Richmond, Earl of Dalkeith, Duke of Montagu, Dr. Desaguliers, George Payne,
Esq., and Mr. Anthony Sayer." The only one absent was the Duke of Wharton, who
died the following year.
THE GRAND LODGE PERIOD,
Howard, 8th Duke of Norfolk, was a Roman, Catholic. It was he who presented to
Grand Lodge its Sword of State (still in use), which had belonged to King
Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden and carries that great warrior's name on its
The General Charity.
Up to the establishment of Grand Lodge the disbursement of relief
had been the affair of individual lodges. It was not until 1724 that a
centralized charity scheme was seriously mooted and a Committee of Charity
(today's Board of Benevolence) appointed. Five years later the first
contributions from lodges were received, each newly constituted lodge being
assessed at two guineas.
In 1730, and even more in 1733, the functions of that Committee
were considerably extended, and duties which today would fall to the Board of
General Purposes were entrusted to it.
We have already spoken of the case of Anthony Sayer. Other early
applicants for relief were Joshua Timson, who had been Grand Warden in 1722,
and Edward Hall, whose petition in 1732 was personally recommended by the Duke
of Richmond, he at the Lodge at the Swan in Chichester having been " made a
Mason by the late Duke of Richmond Six and thirty Years agoe." Brother Hall
got six guineas.
It was suggested in Grand Lodge in 1735 that the General Charity
might be the cause of Masons' being made irregularly, for the purpose of
participating in the benefits therefrom.
Extension of Grand Lodge Jurisdiction.
It has already been observed that the Grand Lodge that was founded
by the Four Old Lodges (or possibly six) in 1717 did not claim any
jurisdiction over lodges outside London and Westminster, that is a total of
EXTENSION OF GRAND LODGE
The first three years were quiet ones, but after that came a spate of
In 1723 we find Grand Lodge legislating for lodges " in or near
London," "within the Bills of Mortality" and "within ten miles of London," and
in the same year the furthest "regular constituted lodges" are recorded as
having been situated in Edgeworth (Edgware?), Acton and Richmond. In the
Engraved List of Lodges of 1725 are to be found 64 lodges in all and the
sphere of jurisdiction extended to such places as Bath—this spa may well have
had the honour of having inits Queen's Head Lodge the first at any distance
from London to come under Grand Lodge—Bristol, Carmarthen, Chester, Chichester,
Gosport, Norwich, Reading, Salford and Warwick. In 1727 it became necessary to
appoint the first Provincial Grand Masters, and in the next two years came the
constitution of the first overseas Lodges, at Fort William in Bengal,
Gibraltar and Madrid. The last had been originally constituted, personally but
irregularly, by the erratic Duke of Wharton in 1728. By 1732 there were 102
lodges in all on the Engraved List.
Next the vexed question of precedence began to trouble the lodges,
but this was in 1729 settled for the time being, but naturally not without a
certain want of harmony, by Grand Lodge's arranging the order according to the
dates of their constitution as lodges, or what they themselves considered to
be those dates.
Masonry Dissected, by Samuel Prichard, "late Member of a
constituted Lodge," first published in 1730, was so successful that it ran
through three editions in eleven days and was reprinted in numerous editions
in many countries for the remainder of the century; it had two effects. In the
first place, unlike its contemporary fellow-expose, The Mystery of
Free-Masonry, this 32-page catechism
THE GRAND LODGE PERIOD,
definitely establishes the working of three degrees, and the great stimulus
given to the use of the third degree in lodges at this time may well have been
the result of its enormous sales. Secondly, although the ritual it displays
was not wholly accurate, yet its disclosures were enough to cause alarm and
despondency in Grand Lodge, one result being a tightening up of the
regulations regarding a lodge's admission of a visitor, who must thenceforth
be personally vouched for by a member.
A further and more important consequence was that in the words of
John Noorthouck's Book of Constitutions of 1784 " some variations were made in
the established forms" at this time, the better to detect impgstors. What
exactly these "variations" were is not now cIear*, but it is certain that they
gave a decided impetus to the dispute between Antients and Moderns, leading to
the setting up of a rival Grand Lodge, as dealt with in the next Chapter.
It remains to add that an anonymous and allegedly impartial
counterblast to Masonry Dissected was duly forthcoming under the title
of A Defence of Masonry. Its authorship is commonly attributed to
Martin Clare, who was to be Deputy Grand Master in 1741.
The Grand Stewards.
In 1728, on the proposition of Dr. Desaguliers, twelve Stewards
were nominated to look after the Great Feast, and this number remained until
the Union of 1813, when it was increased to 18. In 1735 it was decided that
for the future all Grand Officers should be chosen out of the body of the
Stewards, who the same year were granted their petition to form a Stewards'
Lodge, acting as a Master Masons' Lodge.
In the following year Grand Lodge was declared to consist of the
four present and all former Grand Officers, the Master and Wardens of all
regular Lodges, and in the
*But see p.95.
THE GRAND STEWARDS
of the Stewards' Lodge, of nine other representatives as well, the nomination
of whom was left to that Lodge.
The Second Book Of Constitutions, 1738.
A good deal has already been said about the new and revised
edition, which was again the work of Dr. Anderson and appeared the year before
his death. One of the chief additions to his previous volume is an imposing
list of pre-Grand Lodge Grand Masters, including Grand Masters Moses,
Nebuchadnezzar, Alfred the Great, Cardinal Wolsey and Sir Christopher Wren.
(For the last, see page 52). It is easy to laugh at such absurdities of
spurious i erudition, but it must be remembered that Anderson's Constitutions
exercised an enormous influence all over the world and that his reputation as
the Historian of the Craft survived his death by nearly a hundred years.
Nowadays the Doctor's statements, except those within his own Masonic
experience or fully collaborated, are usually disregarded.
Up to 1747 it had been the custom for Brethren, dressed in full
Masonic clothing, to move in procession through the streets to the Great
Feast. But owing to the number of mock processions, often of an elaborate and
expensive character, which had been taking place with the object of deriding
the Order, the practice was discontinued for the future.
Further, a Regulation of 1754 forbade a Brother's joining any
public procession clothed as a Mason, except by dispensation.
A Period of Neglect, 1747-1750.
Lord Byron, a great-uncle of the Poet, was elected Grand Master in
1747 at the age of 25—there had already been one (Lord Raymond in 1739) 22
years of age—and during his
THE GRAND LODGE PERIOD,
years' reign he attended Grand Lodge but thrice, while the same Grand Officers
and Stewards remained in office throughout. Everything points to this having
been a period of slackness and neglectful conduct of the Society's affairs.
There were increasing complaints of "irregular makings," and one London tavern
is recorded as having displayed a Notice:— "Masons made here for 2/6." Horace
Walpole, himself a Mason, had remarked in 1743:-
"The Freemasons are in. . . .
low repute now in England. . . . I believe nothing but a persecution could
bring them into vogue again."
If there was to be no
persecution, there was to ensue a fierce dissension in their ranks, as the
next Chapter will reveal.
GRAND LODGE FREEMASONRY, 1251-1813.
The Great Dissension — Antients and Moderns.
Throughout the latter half of the 18th Century Freemasonry in
England (and likewise in much of the English speaking world) was rent into two
bitterly opposed camps, that of the " Antients," who in 1751 formed a rival
Grand Lodge " Under the Old Institutions," and that of the " Moderns " (so
dubbed), who loyally adhered to the original Grand Lodge.
lentil comparatively recently it was customary to describe the
Antients as " seceders " and " schismatics," but both terms are quite
unjustified seeing that not one of the first dissidents belonged to any lodge
under the jurisdiction of the premier Grand Lodge, and also that their ritual
and customs differed scarcely at all from those of their Irish and Scottish
brethren, whose Grand Lodges, as we shall
THE GREAT DISSENSION
were later to recognize the new as the Grand Lodge of England.
Later secessions of Masons and Lodges from the Moderns to the
Antients did occur, just as there are recorded instances of secession from the
Antients to the Moderns.
The Causes of the Break.
These can be found partly in the slackness and weak administration
of the original governing body at this time, as alluded to in the preceding
chapter, and partly in certain changes in custom and ritual which had been
made, some deliberately (see p.92). These changes can be stated with some
certainty to have included the following:-
(1) The de-Christianization of
Freemasonry, which had started at least as early as 1723.
(2) Neglect of the Days of St. John as special Masonic festivals.*
Between 1730 and 1753 not one ("Modern") Grand Master was installed on either
on those Saints' days. Now among 18th Century Freemasons this was regarded as
a serious matter.
(3) A transposition of the modes of recognition in the E.A. and
the F.C. degrees. Probably one of the "variations in the established forms"
deliberately made about 1730, as earlier recorded, it certainly destroyed any
claim of Freemasonry to be "universal" and it is likely that this destruction
of a land-mark incensed the Antients most of all.
(4) Abandonment of the esoteric part, slight though it then was,
in the ceremony of installing a lodge Master.
(5) Neglect of the catechisms attached to each degree, Other
variations in working, as practised by Antients and strict Moderns included:-
(a) Differences in the
Passwords for the F.C. and the
*The traditional birthday of
St. John the Baptist is celebrated on June 24, while St. John the Evangelist's
Day is December 27.
GRAND LODGE FREEMASONRY,
M.M. degrees; (b) Different
words for one of the substituted secrets of a Master Mason, resulting in the
alternative forms in use today; (c) The method of placing the Three Great
Lights and the Wardens; (d) The employment of Deacons in lodges. These
officers are known to have functioned in Ireland as early as 1727, but in
strict Modern lodges their duties were performed by Stewards until the
Articles of Union in 1813; (e) The refusal of the premier Grand Lodge
officially to recognize the Royal Arch degree.
We have used the expression " strict Moderns" because, it must not
be imagined that by any means all of the lodges ' under the jurisdiction of
the "Modern" Grand Lodge allowed themselves to be influenced by its edicts to
the extent of changing their customs. For those—and additional instances are
coming to light very frequently—who remained faithful at once to their own
Constitution and their old ritual, Brother Heron Lepper, late Librarian of
Grand Lodge, coined (in this sense) the excellent tern " Traditioners."
For the most part the " strict
Modern" lodges are found to have been those in or near London, while the
Traditioner lodges flourished further afield.
The Antients' Grand Lodge.
When exactly the Grand Committee, which preceded the Grand Lodge
of the Antients, was formed, is not known; some have put it even as early as
1739. What we do discover from the first records is the meeting of a Committee
of " a General Assembly" in July,. 1751, when the " Rules and Orders to be
Observ'd by the Most ANTIENT and HONble Society of FREE and ACCEPTED MASONS"
were agreed by five members, including a "Grand Secretary."
THE ANTIENTS' GRAND LODGE
Next year we find the Grand
Committee a fait accompli, and its first Minutes record the presence of
representatives of nine duly numbered lodges, " all the Antient Masons in and
adjacent to London." There was undoubtedly a large Irish element in these
lodges, whose members were mainly mechanics or shop-keepers.
It was not until December, 1753, that a Grand Master was chosen in
the person of Robert Turner, " Master of No. 15 " (whose warrant is now held
by ttie Newcastle-onTyne Lodge No. 24), who then appointed a Deputy. With the
election of Grand Wardens the transformation into a Grand Lodge was complete.
The Minutes of 1752 already quoted record the appointment as the
second Grand Secretary of one who has been characterized as " the most
remarkable Mason that ever existed." This was Laurence Dermott, who was born
in Ireland in 1720. Initiated there at the age of 20, he was made Master of a
Dublin Lodge in 1746 and in the same ear was Exalted in the Royal Arch, the
allusion to this in he records of the Antients being one of the earliest known
references to the degree.
Coming to England about 1748 as a journeyman painter, at which
trade he often worked a twelve-hour day, he at first joined a lodge under the
premier Grand Lodge but later transferred his allegiance to Nos. 9 and 10 of
the Antients (now the Kent Lodge, No. 15 and the Royal Athelstan Lodge, No. 19
respectively). He afterwards became a wine merchant and prospered. Of no mean
education, he had at least a smattering of Latin and Hebrew, his polemic style
was a match for that of any of his "Modern" antagonists, and such was the
force of his character that he was the life and soul of the Antient movement
almost until his death in 1791.
Laurence Dermott fulfilled the duties of Grand Secretary
GRAND LODGE FREEMASONRY,
triumphant success until 1770, when he resigned after disputes with his deputy
and successor, William Dickey; from the following year until 1787 he was often
chosen as Deputy Grand Master. One of his first acts as Grand Secretary was to
produce a model set of by-laws for private lodges, and in 1756 he compiled,
like Anderson before him, a book of Constitutions. To this he gave the curious
or, A Help to a Brother. (The
Hebrew words can barely stretch to this interpretation). This edition, which,
it is worthy of note, contains not a single word derogatory to the "Moderns,"
was in fact copied very largely from Anderson and from Spratt's Constitutions
for the Use of Lodges in Ireland, 1751. Three more editions, with a greater
use of original matter and increasingly strong strictures on the premier Grand
Lodge, were to be published in the lifetime of the compiler and proprietor,
and a further four before the Union of 1813.
Of the 224 pages of the 1764 edition no fewer than 118 were
devoted to poetry and songs. In the 1778 edition there is a note to the third
Charge (forbidding the initiation of women or eunuchs) which runs:— "This is
still the law of Antient Masons, though disregarded by our Brethren (I mean
our Sisters) the Modern Masons." (see p.113).
That the title of the book was often misunderstood by Masons is
shown by the reference to it in a Lodge Inventory (1838) as " A. H. Iman's
Progress of the Antients.
The first country lodge, at Bristol, was constituted in 1753. By
next year there were 36 lodges on the register, which 17 years later accounted
for 74 lodges in London, 83 country lodges and 43 in overseas countries. In
that same year, 1771, the "Modern" Grand Lodge had under
PROGRESS OF THE ANTIENTS
London, 164 country and 100 overseas lodges.
In 1754 a Committee of Charity, known as the Stewards' Lodge, was
set up with powers very much the same as those of the similar Committee of the
Moderns, (see p.90). A curious Minute of Grand Lodge the same year runs as
follows:- Bro. Cowen, Master of Lodge No. 37, proposed paying one guinea into
the Grand Fund for No. 6, now vacant. This proposal was accepted and the
Brethren of No. 37 are to rank as No. 6 [since 1819 the Enoch Lodge, No. 11]
for ye future.
The efforts of Laurence Dermott and others to find a Noble Grand
Master were successful in 1756, when the Earl of Blesington, who as Viscount
Mountjoy had already ruled the Grand Lodge of Ireland in 1738 and 1739, was
installed as Grand Master of the Antients in proxy, as indeed the four years
of his term of office were to be continued. His absence can, however, be
accounted for by the fact that the Seven Years War (1756-63) made it necessary
for him to be in Ireland. It was no doubt to promote the Earl's acceptance of
the Grand Mastership that Dermott had discreetly dedicated his Ahiman Rezon to
In 1738 a "strict union" was established with the Grand Lodge of
Ireland, and Scotland followed suit in 1773, the third Duke of Atholl, then
head of the Grand Lodge of the Antients, being at the same time Grand
Master-elect of Scotland.
Four years later it was decided that no one should be made a Mason
for less than two guineas, of which five shillings was to be paid to the Fund
of Charity, and one shilling to the Grand Secretary. Curiously enough we read
that later the same year "David Fisher, late Grand Warden Elect" had "
attempted to form a Grand Lodge of his own and offered to Register Masons
therein for 6d. each."—which is a little reminiscent of the tavern notice
mentioned in last Chapter. Brother Fisher was under-
GRAND LODGE FREEMASONRY,
standably "deem'd unworthy of any office or seat in the Grand Lodge." In 1767
Thomas Mathew, who according to Dermott had a fortune of £16,000 a year (worth
more than four times that amount today), was privately installed as Grand
Master. He was a Roman Catholic, but despite the Papal Bulls of 1738 and 1751
"so fond of the Craft that
wherever he resided, whether in Great Britain, Ireland, or France, he also
held a Regular Lodge among his own Domesticks."
The Atholl Masons.
When the third Duke of Atholl was installed Grand Master in 1771,
he chose Laurence Dermott as his Deputy, and William Dickey was elected to
succeed the latter as Grand Secretary. The two seem to have worked in complete
harmony from this time.
Next year it was agreed that the Masters and Wardens of all lodges
within five miles of London must attend every meeting of Grand Lodge, or in
default pay a fine of five shillings and threepence "to be levy'd on the
Warrant." After expressing satisfaction that the " Antient Craft is regaining
its ground from the Moderns" the third Duke died in 1774. He was succeeded
both as Duke and Grand Master by his nephew, who was initiated, passed,
raised, installed Master of the Grand Master's Lodge and elected Grand Master
of the Antients, all in four days. His installation in the last office came
after a further 24 days, and the above must constitute something of a record
in rapid advancement in the Craft. There was no counterpart in the premier
constitution to the Grand Master's Lodge, which (under the Antients) was then
No. 1, and is so listed today.
Thus breathlessly installed, the fourth Duke was to reign, with
one ten-year interval, until 1813. It is little wonder that the Antients came
to be known as "Atholl Masons"
THE ATHOLL MASONS
their lodges as "Atholl Lodges." John Murray, fourth Duke of Atholl, came of a
family which had been connected with Masonry since 1641; the initiation of his
direct ancestor, Sir Robert Moray in that year is related on page 45.
In 1783 Robert Leslie was appointed Grand Secretary and despite a
serious conflict with Dermott retained that position, with one brief interval,
until the Union with the Moderns in 1813. The Grand Secretary at this time
does not appear to have been overpaid. His salary was five guineas a year,
increased in 1790 to fifteen, paid "quarterly or half-yearly, as he pleased to
take it." There was a glimmer of the dawning of reconciliation with the
Moderns in 1797, when it was moved to appoint a committee to effect with one
from the rival Grand Lodgei a Union between the two controlling bodies. But
the time was not yet.
At the height of the feud both Grand Lodges fulminated - against a
member of the rival body's being admitted to one of their own lodges, even as
a visitor, and it was consequently the custom for both Modern and Antient
lodges to " remake " a brother of the other persuasion who sought admission.
Sometimes this was carried to ridiculous lengths, as in the case of Milbourne
West, who as an Irish and Antient Freemason had been elected Provincial Grand
Master of Quebec under the Modern Grand Lodge. When, however, he applied for
membership of what is now the Royal Cumberland Lodge, No. 41, of Bath, that
experience was of no avail, and he had to be "remade," but without fee.
In the sixties the situation seems to have softened somewhat, at
any rate in London, and we find William Dickey, when Grand Secretary of the
Antients, being made a Modern Mason without in any way diminishing his
allegiance to the
GRAND LODGE FREEMASONRY,
Antients' Grand Lodge, of which he subsequently became Deputy Grand Master
from 1777-81 and from 1794 till his death in 1800.
The York Grand Lodge.
Before relating the further history of the Moderns it will be
necessary to say something of two other Grand Lodges. These were the Grand
Lodge of all England, situated at York, to which allusion has already been
made on p.88 and the Grand Lodge of England South of the River Trent, deriving
The original Grand Lodge of York was dormant from 1740-60. The
occasion of its revival in 1761 by " Six of the Surviving Members of the
Fraternity " was the warranting of a Lodge which met at the Punch Bowl, York,
by the Grand Lodge of the Moderns, which had already chartered lodges at
Scarborough, Halifax and Leeds and appointed a Prov. G.M. for Yorkshire.
The Lodge at the Punch Bowl did not last long and the York Grand
Secretary wrote to the Moderns' Grand Lodge in 1767 that it "had been for some
years discontinued, and that the most Antient Grand Lodge of All England held
for time immemorial in this City is the only Lodge held therein." He went on
That this Lodge acknowledges
no Superior, that it pays Homage to none, that it exists in its own Right,
that it grants Constitutions, and Certificates in the same Manner, as is done
by the Grand Lodge in London, and as it has from Time immemorial had a Right
and use to do. .. .
The collapse of the Lodge at the Punch Bowl did not deter the
Moderns' Grand Lodge from constituting other lodges in York at this time, one
of which is the famous York Lodge, No. 236.
Noorthouck's Constitutions of 1784 stated that "the antient York
Masons were confined to one lodge, which is
THE YORK GRAND LODGE
extant, but consists of very few members, and will probably be soon altogether
annihilated." This last wish or prophecy was to be fulfilled although not
immediately. The Grand Lodge was never dissolved, but lingered on until about
1792, when it gradually faded out.
During its heyday the jurisdiction of the "Grand Lodge of All
England" never extended beyond Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cheshire, but it is
to be observed that the "York Rite " and "York Masonry" have always been
regarded and notably in the United States as denoting the oldest and purest
form of Freemasonry. During the sixty-seven years of its existence the Grand
Lodge constituted, so far as is known, not more than fourteen lodges and one
Grand Lodge, namely:— The Grand Lodge of England South of the River Trent,
Under this high-sounding title masquerades our old friend the
Lodge of Antiquity, first of the Four Old Lodges. How did it come about that
this mainstay of the original Grand Lodge should desert its allegiance and set
itself up as a rival organization? The cause was the antipathy existing
between the famous William Preston, then Master of the Lodge, and John
Noorthouck, its Treasurer. Preston had been appointed Assistant Grand
Secretary and employed by the G.S., James Heseltine, in preparing a new
edition of the Book of Constitutions. When this was nearly completed, the job
was taken away from him and given to Noorthouck, whereupon Preston threw up
his Assistant Grand Secretaryship in disgust.
Next came a complaint from Noorthouck to Grand Lodge that on St.
John the Evangelist's Day, 1777, Preston had instigated a procession in
Masonic dress from St. Dunstan's Church (actually a distance of a few yards)
in contravention of the Grand Lodge Regulation already mentioned (p.93). When
Preston was arraigned for this offence he pleaded
GRAND LODGE FREEMASONRY,
by virtue of its immemorial constitution the Lodge of Antiquity had certain
privileges that more modern lodges did not possess. Although he was induced to
withdraw this plea and just when reconciliation seemed in sight, fresh fuel
was added to the fames by the action of the Lodge in expelling Noorthouck and
two of his faction.
Grand Lodge demanded their reinstatement without effect, and
meanwhile the Lodge Secretary had been in touch with the York Grand Lodge and
obtained its consent to constituting the majority members of the Lodge of
Antiquity as the Grand Lodge of England South of the River Trent. This was
followed by a severance of relations with the original Grand Lodge and the
publication of a Manifesto acknowledging the authority of the Grand Lodge of
York as the senior body.
The expelled minority, backed by Grand Lodge, continued to style
themselves the Lodge of Antiquity, but Preston and his associates had secured
the Lodge furniture which they moved by night to fresh rooms. Of the new Grand
Lodge John Wilson was the first Grand Master and John Sealy the Grand
Secretary, while Preston himself was appointed D.G.M. and Grand Orator. The
leading seceders were formally expelled from the original Grand ' Lodge. There
were thus two Lodges of Antiquity operating at the same time and under
different Constitutions, one of them having a dual capacity, that of a private
lodge and that of a Grand Lodge.
Two new lodges were constituted by it during the ten years of its
existence, but little else was accomplished to bring glory either to itself or
to the Yorkist 'cause which had sponsored it. In 1789 Preston and those
expelled with him submitted to Grand Lodge and were restored to their
privileges, while the warring members of the Lodge of Antiquity were reunited
in that harmony which the Lodge has preserved ever since. The Grand Lodge of
England South of the River Trent thus came painlessly to its end,
GRAND LODGE SOUTH OF THE TRENT
should be noted that during its brief lifetime it formed one of four Grand
Lodges in simultaneous existence in England.
William Preston, (1742-1818).
The author of Illustrations of Masonry, which was first published
in 1772 and ran to eleven further editions in his lifetime, came in 1760 from
Edinburgh to London, where he became a journeyman printer. At the age of
twenty he was the second initiate of an Antients lodge of Edinburgh brethren
in London, whom he persuaded to be reconstituted by the Moderns' Grand Lodge
in 1772. That Lodge is today the Caledonian Lodge, No. 134.
Two years later he joined the Lodge of Antiquity and within three
months was elected its Master. The story of this " time immemorial" Lodge
fascinated him and he devoted much of his time to increasing its membership
and winning recognition for its prestige.
Always adept in composing and delivering Masonic lectures, William
Preston, " little Solomon" as his opponents dubbed him, may be regarded as the
father of the modern Preceptor. When he died in 1818 he left £500 to the Fund
of Benevolence and another £300 in Consols as the endowment which has allowed
the celebrated Prestonian Lectures to be given to this day—annually except for
breaks from 1862 to 1925 and during the second World War.
William Preston lies buried in St. Paul's Cathedral.
The Moderns' Grand Lodge after 1750.
After several ineffective Grand Masters, the 9th Baron Blayney was
installed in that high office in 1764. This Irish nobleman was a soldier and
may have been initiated in a military lodge; at any rate he was undoubtedly a
Traditioner in his outlook on ritual and he took his duties as Grand Master
very seriously. During his three years of office he constituted 74 lodges, 62
of them in England and
GRAND LODGE FREEMASONRY,
19 of which are still in existence, while in the same period only 24 lodges
were warranted by the Grand Lodge of the Antients.
Sale of Lodge Constitutions.
There was at this time more than one case of the illegal sale of
lodge constitutions, and a notable instance occurred in 1767, when the members
of the George Lodge, then No. 3, which met at the Sun and Punch Bowl, High
Holborn, agreed to sell their warrant and regalia for thirty guineas to "some
Honourable Gentlemen Newly Made." These newly made gentlemen included Thomas
Dunckerley, of whom we shall be hearing more, and Thomas French, who was next
year to be appointed Grand Secretary. The new Lodge was the present famous
Lodge of Friendship, No. 6*
At its first meeting the Duke of Beaufort was initiated and elected to the
chair; a few months later he was elected Grand Master.
Meanwhile, the Committee of Charity, to whom the irregular sale of
the constitution had been reported, decided that "as a mark of high respect to
his Grace the Duke of Beaufort and the other Noblemen and Honourable Gentlemen
who meet under the name of the Lodge of Friendship and in consideration of
their being very young Masons," the constitution of No. 3 should remain with
them, this decision not to be looked upon as a precedent.
Thomas Dunckerley (1724-95).
This outstanding Freemason was a natural son of King George II,
although his royal descent was not acknowledged by George III until 1767. He
joined the Navy, from which he retired about 1764 with the rank of gunner.
Having been initiated in Plymouth in 1754, he formed Masonic lodges in several
of the ships in which he served, and one of
1856 it was found that out of 20 Grand Wardens recently elected, no fewer than
13 had come from the ranks of the Lodge of Friendship.
that meeting in H.M.S. Prince, became the shore lodge now known as the Royal
Somerset and Inverness Lodge, No. 4.
Like Lord Blayney he was a Traditioner. In 1767 that Grand Master
appointed him the first Provincial Grand Master of Hampshire, and at a time
when, as his biographer, Henry Sadler, points out, that office was virtually
dormant in England, as were also most of those who held it, he carried out his
duties with the utmost enthusiasm and energy. Eventually he held no fewer than
eight out of the thirty-four Prov. G. Masterships, and was honoured in 1786 by
being appointed Past Grand Warden.
His connexion with the Royal Arch and Mark degrees will be related
in its proper places.
Proposed Charter of Incorporation, 1769.
The Duke of Beaufort was anxious to obtain a Royal Charter of
Incorporation for the Society, and in 1769 the project was approved by Grand
Lodge after the lodges had voted in its favour by 168 to 43. But determined
opposition now arose, the Caledonian Lodge even entering with the Attorney
General a caveat against the move (for which they narrowly escaped erasure).
The Antients' Grand Lodge were also alarmed, holding that the scheme was
directed against themselves.
In any case, the Moderns' Deputy Grand Master, the Hon. Charles
Dillon, when due to move the appropriate bill in the House of Commons, moved
instead that its consideration should be deferred sine die. The scheme had
failed, but in the picturesque wording of Heron Lepper, " in vanishing from
human ken, like the fiend of folklore, it left behind a nauseous stench to
remind men that something unholy had passed that way." The Antients, of
course, jeered jubilantly.
But, apart from the prestige conferred, a Royal Charter of
Incorporation has distinct advantages, such as the right
GRAND LODGE FREEMASONRY,
in the courts, and it may be pertinent to inquire if in the altered
circumstances of today the time has not come for the Society to seek to be so
Freemasons' Hall, 1776.
Another venture of the Duke of Beaufort's was far more successful.
In 1769 he proposed the raising of a fund for defraying the expenses of
building a new hall, and four years later a Hall Committee (of which William
Preston was originally a member) was set up to superintend the scheme.
Hitherto Grand Lodge had held its ordinary meetings ' usually at various
The Committee bought "two large commodious dwelling houses and a
large garden situated in Great Queen Street" for £3,180 and with the customary
optimism of building estimates it was reckoned that the complete structure
could be erected for a further £3,180. Actually the building cost no less a
sum than £20,000. This naturally required paying for, and there was much
groaning among the brethren of the time at the increased charges payable to
The first Freemasons' Hall took little more than a year to build
and in 1776 it was ceremoniously opened and dedicated to Masonry, Virtue,
Universal Charity and Benevolence.
Three new Grand Officers were appointed in connexion with the new
Hall. These were Grand Chaplain (Dr. William Dodd, Dr. Johnson's friend, who,
however was expelled from the Society in 1777 on being convicted of having
forged a bond from his patron, the Earl of Chesterfield, for which offence he
was executed), Grand Architect (Thomas Sandby) and Grand Portrait Painter
(Rev. William Peters). The last two appointments were intended to be purely
personal and not to be perpetual offices.
Freemasons' Hall was completed during the Grand
Mastership of Lord Petre, who had succeeded the Duke of Beaufort in 1772 and
ruled for five years. Robert Edward, 9th Lord Petre, was looked upon as the
head of the Roman Catholic community in England. Although he was not the first
Catholic to hold the English office of Grand Master (see p.90), he was the
only one to do so in the original Grand Lodge after the Papal denunciations of
1738 and 1751, since we can except the Marquess of Ripon, who in 1874 resigned
the supreme office in Freemasonry on adopting the Catholic religion. William
Preston praised Lord Petre's Masonic enthusiasm.
John Wilkes, (1727-97).
A mystery attaches to the initiation of the famous (or notorious)
"Friend of Liberty." The minutes of the Jerusalem Lodge (now No. 197) of 1769
record that John Wilkes was made a Mason "by virtue of a dispensation under
the hand and seal of Charles Dillon, Deputy Grand Master, "and this is
supplemented by a notice in the contemporary press that the ceremony took
place in King's Bench Prison in the presence of Grand Officers, who are named
in the minutes as having been Bro. Dobson, the W.M., who was also P.A.G.M.,
Bro. Maschall, a Prov. G.M. and Bro. French, Grand Secretary.
Although the dispensation and the presence of Grand Officers were
both officially denied a few days later (also in the press), we may take it
for granted that the facts recorded above are correct and that what Grand
Lodge was nervous about was the revelation that Wilkes had been initiated in
prison; this is confirmed by the subsequent fate of:—
Captain George Smith.
This officer was simultaneously Junior Grand Warden and Prov. G.M.
for Kent. His book The Use and Abuse of Freemasonry the Grand Lodge declined
to sponsor. In
GRAND LODGE FREEMASONRY,
he was arraigned for" making Masons in a clandestine manner in the King's
Bench Prison." His defence was that he had done so as Master of the Royal
Military Lodge, an itinerant lodge, the master of which having the
constitution had the right to hold a lodge and make Masons. But Grand Lodge
set its face against this plea, declaring it to be inconsistent with the
principles of Masonry to hold a Freemason's Lodge for making, passing or
raising Masons in any place of confinement.
Captain Smith was subsequently in more serious trouble, being
charged with "uttering an Instrument purporting to be a certificate of the
Grand Lodge, recommending two distressed Brethren," for which he was expelled
from the Society.
The Duke of Cumberland, younger son of King George III, was
elected Grand Master in 1782, and the Earl of Effingham, whom he nominated as
Acting Grand Master, was installed as his proxy. Five years later, the Prince
of Wales and his brother, Prince William, (afterwards William IV) were
initiated. All the other sons of George III (except the Duke of Cambridge)
became members of the Craft, and we shall hear more of the Duke of Kent and
the Duke of Sussex.
Fifth Book of Constitutions, 1784.
The third editor of the Book of Constitutions was John Noorthouck,
the antagonist of William Preston. The new I edition, which as we have seen
had been started by William Preston, was an improvement on any that had gone
before, and what is more carried for the first time a full index "without
which no publication beyond the size of a pamphlet can be deemed compleat."
With this sentiment, expressed in its preface, the present authors heartily
THE MASONIC CHARITIES
The Masonic Charities.
This period saw the start of the great charities of the Craft. The
Royal . Cumberland Free Masons' School, now the Royal Masonic Institution for
Girls, the first of them, was founded in 1788, largely through the exertions
of the Chevalier Bartholomew Ruspini, Grand Sword Bearer and a Founder of the
Nine Muses Lodge (now No. 235); he was the Prince of Wales's dentist. Two of
his grandchildren were subsequently admitted as pupils at the School. In his
charitable endeavour he was ably seconded by Thomas Dunckerley and James
Heseltine, the Grand Secretary.
The School was first sited at Somers Place East, near the present
St. Pancras Station, and was able to accommodate 15 girls, but it had already
proved inadequate by 1795, when a new building was erected in St. George's
Fields at a cost of £3,000. The number of pupils was now increased to thirty,
which was again doubled by 1802.
Since 1792, Grand Lodge has annually made a contribution of £150
to the Institution.
The second of the great charities, the Royal Masonic Institution
for Boys was, unlike its predecessor, established by the Antients. In 1798
William Burwood, P.M. of the United Mariners' Lodge (now No. 30), with other
members, set up the Institution for Clothing and Educating the Sons of
Indigent Freemasons, of whom the number first to be cared for was six. In 1801
the fourth Duke of Atholl became its Patron, while towards the end of its
separate existence the Antients Grand Lodge contributed a proportion of the
fees it had received for the initiation of candidates. In 1810, to commemorate
the fiftieth year of George III's reign, the number of pupils was increased to
The subsequent history of the first two of the great charities, as
well as the founding of the third, will be briefly related in the following
GRAND LODGE FREEMASONRY,
The Chevalier d'Eon (1728-1810).
In the person of this French gentleman and Freemason English
Freemasonry became indirectly involved in one of the major scandals of the
18th Century. It is an extraordinary story.
An expert swordsman and Dragoon officer, the Chevalier was the
trusted servant of both Louis XV and Louis XVI and at the end of the Seven
Years War was appointed Ambassador at the Court of St. James. When in 1764 he
was superseded in this post by a personal enemy, he É' carried away the State
papers relating to his mission, which included details of a scheme for
invading this country.
In 1777 he accepted an offer by Louis XVI to increase his pension
in return for the papers, accompanied by the amazing stipulation that he
should " lay aside the uniform of a Dragoon .... and resume the garments of
her sex." Now rumours that he was in reality Mlle. la Chevaliere had been
growing ever since they were started by his enemy the French Ambassador and to
such an extent that several hundreds of thousands of pounds were freely
wagered on his sex. One of these "insurance policies" had been brought to the
Law Courts in 1777; a French surgeon gave evidence from his surgical knowledge
and another Frenchman swore from his carnal knowledge that d'Eon was a woman.
Lord Mansfield, the judge, rejected the argument that he must be a man since
he had been admitted a Freemason and the jury legally decreed him a woman.
The Chevalier had in fact been initiated in 1767 by the
L'Immïrtalite de L'Ordre Lodge, one of several ("Modern") French lodges
constituted in London at this time, and rose to be its Junior Warden; his
writings show how keen he was on the Craft. When the rumours recounted above
were at their height he took refuge with the Earl Ferrers, who had been Grand
Master in 1762-3.
The amazing sequel is that, although hitherto he had stoutly
protested his manhood, without, however, agreeing
THE CHEVALIER D'EON
it to the proof, after accepting King Louis's offer — he proclaimed himself a
female and for the remaining thirty-three years of his life so attired
himself; he never re-entered a lodge. The actual truth about his sex did not ë
come to light until his death, when he was divested of his ë (female) clothes
The judgment of the High Court was the origin of Laurence
Dermott's jibe in Ahiman Rezon (1778), already quoted, concerning "our
brethren (I mean sisters) the modern-masons.. .. And upon a late tryal at
Westminster, it appeared that they had admitted a woman named Madame D'E—."
The Earl of Moira.
It was a fortunate day when, in 1790, the Earl of Moira was
appointed Acting Grand Master of the Moderns by the G.M., the Duke of
Cumberland, and he was continued in that office by the next G.M., the Prince
of Wales, afterwards King George IV. This outstanding military commander and
fine Freemason was styled "Acting Grand Master of India" in 1813, when he went
to that sub-continent as Governor-General.
As a member of the Committee set up to effect a reconciliation
with the Antients, his efforts towards that desirable,end were tremendous.
Equally useful was his help in securing the immunity of Freemasons from the
provisions of the Unlawful Societies Act of 1799, which is dealt with in the
His only not wholly successful action was the founding, in 1799,
of the Masonic Benefit Society, which flourished for a while but perished
The Unlawful Societies Act, 1799.
At the height of the Wars of the French Revolution, Parliament
passed an Act for the suppression of seditious
GRAND LODGE FREEMASONRY,
societies. It enacted that all societies, the members of which are required to
take an oath not authorized by law shall be deemed unlawful combinations.
Owing to the efforts of the Duke of Atholl and the Earl of Moira a clause was
inserted exempting all lodges of Freemasons from its operation.
It was, however, assumed at first that the Act precluded the
constituting of new lodges, thus doubling the perils of erasure.
Steps towards Reconciliation.
After nearly half a century of severance a new generation of
Freemasons of both societies had arisen, many of whom were heartily sick of
the internecine warfare between the two bodies.
The first move came from the Antients Grand Lodge, as already
recorded on page 101. Five years later, the next attempt to heal the breach,
which was made by the Moderns, was also unsuccessful and matters were not
improved by their expulsion in 1803 of Brother Thomas Harper, who, curiously
enough, held important positions in both bodies, sitting as a Past Grand
Steward on the Committee of Charity of the elder, while at the same time
serving as Deputy G.M. of the Antients.
In 1809 the Moderns' Grand Lodge, which had meanwhile entered into
fraternal alliances with the Grand Lodges of Scotland (of which the Earl of
Moira was Grand Master) and of Ireland, took an important step, resolving that
It is not necessary any longer to continue in force those Measures which were
resorted to in or about 1739 (see pp. 92 and 95) respecting irregular Masons
and do therefore enjoin the several Lodges to revert to the Antient Land Marks
of the Society, and next year Thomas Harper was reinstated. It is generally
believed that this Brother, while professing to be keen on the Union, was in
reality opposed to it, since he believed
STEPS TOWARDS RECONCILIATION
his trade as a jeweller, supplying Masonic regalia, would be affected.
In 1810, however, the Atholl Grand Lodge resolved that a Masonic
Union on principles equal and honourable to both Grand Lodges, and preserving
the Land Marks of the Ancient Craft, would be. . . . expedient and
advantageous to both.
Meetings followed between the Earl of Moira and the Duke of Atholl
and between special Committees of the rival Grand Lodges.
The Lodge of Promulgation.
The Moderns' negotiating Committee had been formed in 1809 as the
Lodge of Promulgation, which lasted until 1811. Its original object was to
report on the differences of ritual, as practised by Antients and Moderns.
Ceremonies were rehearsed in front of the Duke of Sussex, W.M. of the Lodge of
Antiquity (who was to succeed the Prince of Wales as G.M. in 1813 and was
easily the most cultured of the sons of King George III), and the Masters of
eight other London lodges.
In the result the working adopted was mainly that of the Antients,
and notably in the use of Deacons, which had hitherto been confined to Antient
lodges and in the Installation ceremony for Masters of Lodges; it is
considered that the expression “Board of Installed Masters" dates from this
Among other recommendations of the Lodge to the Earl of Moira was
one for appointing a "Professor of the Art and Mystery of Speculative
Freemasonry," to settle all doubtful points. Such an officer never
The Articles of Union.
In 1813 the Duke of Atholl, who had ruled the Antient Masons since
1774, was succeeded by the Duke of Kent,
GRAND LODGE FREEMASONRY,
father of Queen Victoria. This Prince, who was far frombeing generalIy
popular, certainly showed his best side in his Masonic contacts. Royal
brothers were thus in command of the two branches of the English Craft, and
the Duke of Kent had also, as a mark of reconciliation, been appointed his
Deputy by the Duke of ussex, the new Grand Master of the Moderns.
In the same year twenty-one Articles of Union between the two
Grand Lodges were signed and sealed by both Grand Masters and other important
officers, including Thomas Harper.
The second Article lays down that "pure Ancient Masonry consists
of three degrees and no more, viz. those of the Entered Apprentice, the
Fellowcraft and the Master Mason, including the Supreme Oder of the Royal
Arch." The fifth Article set up a Lodge of Reconciliation, consisting of
representatives of both fraternities, to visit lodges for the purpose of
obligating and instructing members.
The Articles of Union were very soon ratified by both Grand Lodges
and thus was born the present United Grand Lodge of England, with the Duke of
Sussex (proposed by the Duke of Kent) as its first Grand Master. Thus also was
happily ended the feud of sixty years. Probably the feud itself, but certainly
the terms of settlement, have been of inestimable benefit to the present
UNITED GRAND LODGE FREEMASONRY 1813 to 1952
However wonderful the Union
must have seemed to English Freemasons, it was not unattended by difficulties;
UNITED GRAND LODGE FREEMASONRY
these was that it was not equally welcomed in other parts of the World, and
notably in America; another was the question of the:—
New Numbering of Lodges.
This was solved by the
respective No. 1 Lodges of the two Constitutions drawing lots for the first
place; the (Antients') Grand Master's Lodge won, so that the Lodge of
Antiquity, as already recorded on page 75, has from thenceforth become No. 2.
The remaining lodges on the two lists were given alternate numbers, the
Antients taking the odd numbers and the Moderns the even, so far as the old
Ancient lodge numbers lasted.*
At this time there were
altogether 647 lodges, not counting the (Moderns') Grand Stewards’ Lodge,
which kept its place at the head of the roll without a number.
There were further closings-up of lodges in 1832 and in 1863; the
order and numbers stabilized in the latter year are likely to remain permanent
and final, whether or not further lodges drop out.
The Lodge of Reconciliation (1813-6).
This Lodge, appointed by the Articles of Union, comprised among
its eighteen members some of the ablest ritualists of the day, and the present
Craft working is vastly indebted to the labours of these brethren. The Rev.
Dr. S. Hemming, a Modern Mason, was the Worshipful Master.
In 1814 there was a certain amount of dissension about the
obligations of the three degrees. This was fomented by Bro. J. H. Goldsworthy,
a P.M. of the Lodge of Fidelity, No. 3 (who at its start was a member of the
Lodge of Reconciliation and was later to become a member of the
is a happy coincidence that the latest constituted Aistients' lodge surviving
at the present day is the appositely named Union Lodge of British Guiana, No.
247, while the latest similar Modems lodge is the equally apt Lodge of
Unanimity of Peðrith, Nï. 339. Both were founded in 1813.
UNITED GRAND LODGE FREEMASONRY
of General Purposes and a noted Preceptor) and by members of the Phoenix
Lodge, No. 289 and other Antient lodges.
But the trouble, which at one time threatened to develop into a
schism, was patched up with the result that in Grand Lodge in 1816:-
The Ceremonies and Practices,
recommended by the Lodge of Reconciliation, were exhibited and explained; and
alterations on two points in the Third Degree [one of which was that the
Master's Light was never to be extinguished while the Lodge was open] having
been resolved upon, the several Ceremonies ... were approved and confirmed.
And so, its labours being ended, the Lodge was thanked for its
"unremitting Zeal and Exertion" and ceased to be.
Another important result of the Act of Union was the setting up of
the Board of General Purposes, which soon became a most important instrument
of Grand Lodge.
The International Compact, 1814.
With the establishment of the United Grand Lodge of England it
became necessary for the sister Grand Lodges of Ireland and Scotland to be
assured that the working sanctioned by the new authority was in conformity
with their own. Accordingly at the end of 1814 there took place at Freemasons'
Hall a historic meeting between the Duke of Sussex, the Duke of Leinster, G.M.
of Ireland and Lord Kinnaird, the Scottish G.M., together with other brethren
from the three Grand Lodges, and at this theV, eight resolutions that form the
International Compact were unanimously agreed to.
By these the definition of pure Ancient Masonry was declared in
the same wording as in the second Article of Union (see p.116) and provision
was made for a "constant fraternal intercourse, correspondence and communion"
THE INTERNATIONAL COMPACT,
maintained for ever between the three Grand Lodges, each agreeing not to issue
Warrants for lodges within the officers of the jurisdiction.
Although the last of the Resolutions ordered the circularization
of the Compact to all lodges under the rule of the three Grand Lodges, the
only known official record of it in full is contained in the Minutes of the
Irish Grand Lodge.
The Book of Constitutions, 1815.
New Constitutions were clearly necessary, and these were published
in 1815, the editor being Bro. W. Williams. For the first time the fabulous
history of Freemasonry was omitted.
The Ancient Charges were scarcely altered, with the exception of
the First, "Concerning God and Religion" (see p.83), which is now made to
Let a man's religion or mode
of worship be what it may, he is not excluded from the order, provided he
believe in the glorious architect of heaven and earth, and practise the sacred
duties of morality.
By the Regulations of 1815 Provincial Grand Masters for the first
time ranked after the Grand Treasurer and before the Grand Wardens, while past
rank was not to be given to the holder of any Grand Office below that of
Deacon. The least sum payable by an applicant for initiation was fixed at
three guineas, which was raised in 1883 to five guineas in the case of lodges
at home. The same Master was precluded from remaining in the chair for more
than two years, and at least a month must elapse between different degrees for
any one Freemason. Official sanction, moreover, was for the first time given
to the ceremony of Consecrating a Lodge.
The General Regulations were revised in 1818, the chief amendments
being to restore to Grand Lodge the election
UNITED GRAND LODGE FREEMASONRY
Grand Treasurer and to add all Past Masters to the Masters and Wardens as
admissible to Grand Lodge.
Lodges of Instruction and Preceptors.
With the Union's newly agreed ritual, Lodges of Instruction began
to flourish, fifteen existing in 1814. The most famous were the Stability
Lodge (No. 217) of Instruction, founded in 1817, and the Emulation Lodge of
Improvement, which was founded six years later. While the systems taught by
the two Lodges now differ widely in detail, there is evidence that at one time
they more nearly coincided. It must be remembered that the working of the
Lodge of Reconciliation was not committed to writing and may have been
variously recollected by those present: in 1836 the Freemasons' Quarterly
Review (see p.123) rebuked Emulation for lapses from the standard of accuracy
demanded by Peter Gilkes, while in 1856 Bro. Muggeridge, leader of Stability,
said that the differences between the two Lodges were of form only and not of
substance. The printed aides-memoire, on which we lean too much today came
only gradually into general use.
In an age rich in Preceptors the following outstanding ones, all
of whom were elected to the Board of General Purposes, must be briefly
mentioned—Peter Gilkes, whose name was one to conjure with in the Emulation
Lodge of Improvement; Lawrence Thompson, who by the Grand Master's command
delivered for many years the Prestonian Lecture (see p.105) in the Lodge of
Antiquity, No. 2; Peter Thomson, who became a Life Governor of all the Craft
Charities; Philip Broadfoot, a founder of the Stability Lodge of Instruction;
and John Goldsworthy, already referred to in connexion with the Lodge of
Although all had colourful personalities and lived to a great age,
they were not entirely free from jealousy, as witness Peter Gilkes's attempt
in 1819 to induce Grand
LODGES OF INSTRUCTION &
to suppress some unauthorized lectures by Philip Broadfoot. This came to
nothing, but is noteworthy as an early instance of the rivalry between
Stability and Emulation workings.
Erasure of Lodge 31, 1821.
The erasure of this Liverpool Lodge arose out of the presentation
of a Memorial to Grand Lodge through the Provincial Grand Lodge of Lancashire.
When later the latter asked for its withdrawal the Duke of Sussex merely
pigeonholed the document without informing either Grand Lodge or the Board of
General Purposes of its receipt. Lodge No. 31 were far from satisfied, accused
the Board of General Purposes of having detained the Memorial and protested
Other Lancashire lodges joined in, and after Grand Lodge's efforts
at patient explanation and appeasement had proved of no avail, it became
necessary to suspend 68 Masons, belonging to 11 lodges. Subsequently 42 duly
submitted and were restored. The 26 recalcitrants were expelled, and Lodge No.
31 was erased.
Thus was stamped out what might have led to a dangerous mutiny,
but the affair left behind much bitter feeling.
The Grand Lodge of Wigan, 1823.
Four more erased and disgruntled Lancashire lodges formed a new
Grand Lodge in 1823; it constituted six lodges, of which only one, the Lodge
Sincerity of Wigan (since 1913 chartered as No. 3677, E.C.) survives today.
With occasional periods of dormancy the new Grand Lodge struggled on till
It has been the privilege of one of the present authors to dine
with one of the last surviving members of the "Grand Lodge of Free and
Accepted Masons of England according to the Old Institutions" of Wigan.
UNITED GRAND LODGE FREEMASONRY
A Grand Lodge Library Started, 1837.
This invaluable adjunct was added to Grand Lodge when on the
suggestion of the Grand Registrar, Bro. John Henderson, £100 was voted for the
purpose. In 1847 Bro. J. R. Scarborough proposed an annual grant of £20 to the
Library and Museum, emphasizing:-
the desirability of possessing
the means of cultivating intellectuality more than gastronomy; that the other
bottle did not do half so much good as the other volume, that it was laughable
to tell a poor but inquiring brother to make a daily advance in Masonic
knowledge—and the arts and sciences his particular study, if we withheld from
him the means of doing so, and did not even give him a hint where Masonic
knowledge could be gathered.
Although this was equally impressively seconded by Dr. Crucefix,
of whom we shall be hearing more in next section, nothing much was done until
1880, when Grand Lodge voted an annual grant of £25 and added a Library
Committee to the Board of General Purposes.
A Grand Lodge Librarian and Curator was appointed in 1887,*
and assistants in 1920; these offices have been occupied by Masons of high
scholastic attainment, who have proved their worth in the field of Masonic
research and in their unfailing helpfulness to inquiring students. Grand Lodge
Library now comprises more than 20,000 volumes.
The Benevolent Institution Founded, 1838.
We have already dealt with the start of the two earlier Charities
(see p.111). The third, although his was not the inception of the idea, will
always be associated with the name of Dr. Robert Crucefix, who despite
determined opposition from the highest quarters, nevertheless stoutly
The Brother appointed was
Henry Sadler, the famous Masonic author, who was at the time also Grand Tyler.
THE BENEVOLENT INSTITUTION
persevered in his laudable project for the erection of an Asylum for Worthy
and Decayed Freemasons, as the Charity was at first called. He even started
the Freemasons' Quarterly Review, which he edited for several years, to
provide propaganda for the cause.
At the first meeting of subscribers, held in June, 1835, Bro.
Crucefix, who presided, was able to announce that the Earl of Durham, D.G.M.
and the Grand Treasurer had agreed to act as Trustees. A few weeks later,
however, the Earl withdrew, stating that he had been under the impression that
the consent of the Duke of Sussex had been obtained.
When that Prince was tackled, it was found that he had numerous
objections to the scheme, at first on the grounds that a third Charity could
only harm the existing ones, and that the proposed Asylum would " tend to hold
out an inducement for an improper class of individuals to enter the
Fraternity," and later because he preferred a system of annuities to the
erection of a building. Meanwhile, however, Bro. Crucefix, who was Junior
Grand Deacon, had in 1837 obtained from Grand Lodge an unanimous resolution
recommending the contemplated Asylum to the favourable consideration of the
Then in 1840, owing to the G.M's continued opposition, came a
clash between Grand Lodge and Dr. Crucefix, caused by the latter's having
printed certain proceedings of Grand Lodge in his Review—he had already been
suspended in connexion with remarks made at an Asylum Committee meeting. It
was now proposed to expel him from the Society, but this fate was averted by
his making a very humble apology.
In 1842 Grand Lodge launched the Duke of Sussex's rival scheme in
the shape of the "Royal Masonic Benevolent Annuity Fund," and in 1849 the
scheme was extended to cover a Widows' Fund.
In spite of the theft by an absconding Trustee of its
UNITED GRAND LODGE FREEMASONRY
amounting to £620, the Asylum Committee did not lose sight of its object, and
a site having been found near Croydon, the foundation stone of a building to
house 50 annuitants was laid in May, 1849.
Next year came the eagerly awaited amalgamation of the Asylum and
the Annuity Fund, the two Charities being united under the style of the Royal
Masonic Benevolent Institution for Aged Freemasons and their Widows.
Unfortunately Bro. Crucefix did not live to see this final fruition for which
he had striven so valorously.
From that date to the present day the record of the combined
Institution has been one of uninterrupted progress. In 1876 the annuities were
increased to £40 for each brother and £32 for each widow.
* A block of
104 modern flats for the aged will shortly be erected at Hove. There are now
about 2,000 annuitants, living all over the globe. The cost is over £180,000
The Prince of Wales, who became President of the Charity in 1874,
retired to become its Grand Patron in 1901 on his accession to the throne as
King Edward VII.
Progress of the other Chanties.
At the Union both the Royal Masonic Institution for Girls and that
for Boys became available equally to the children of both Atholl Masons and
Moderns. In 1814 it was resolved by Grand Lodge that the charge of registering
new-made Masons initiated in London should be one guinea, of which five
shillings would be applied towards the maintenance of the Schools, and in the
case of initiations in Distant, Foreign and Military Lodges the charge should
be half-a-guinea, of which two and sixpence would be similarly applied.
The full rates are today £156
for a married Brother and £104 for a widower, bachelor, widow, spinster,
daughter or spinster sister of a deceased Freemason.
The largest single donation
during a Bother's lifetime was the munificent sum of £10,000 contributed by
the late K.W. Bro. C. Ó. Keyser, P.G.W., Prov. G.M. for Hertfordshire, in
PROGRESS OF THE OTHER
1851 a new Girls' School (see p.111) was built facing Wandsworth Common and
was dedicated by the Earl of Zetland, G.M. at a Grand Lodge meeting specially
held at the School.
In 1918 a Junior School, which accommodates 120 little girls of
between 7 and 10, was opened at Weybridge, where it still is, while in 1934
the Senior School was moved to Rickmansworth, the fine new buildings (of which
the foundation stone had been laid by the Duke of Connaught, G.M., in 1930)
being opened by H.M. Queen Mary. No fewer than 400 girls can be accommodated
in its nine buildings, situated in a fine parkland of more than 200 acres.
The Boys' School, 1813 to 1952.
This Charity, which, as already stated on page 111, had been
started by the Antients, was amalgamated in 1817 with a similar one which had
been originated by Bro. F. Columbine Daniel and other members of the
(Moderns') Royal Naval Lodge, No. 59. The Institution became "Royal" on King
William IV's agreeing to act as its Patron in 1832. In 1838 Grand Lodge's
annual contribution was fixed at its present amount of £150.
Twelve years later a building was bought at Wood Green, Tottenham,
where the erection of a larger school was begun in 1861, the premises being
opened four years after by Lord Ripon, then Deputy G.M. They were extended in
1873 and again in 1883 through the generosity of the Craft.
In 1898 there took place the Centenary celebration, over which the
Prince of Wales presided. The record sum of £141,000 then collected made the
present School buildings at Bushey Park possible. These were completed in
1902, and in 1929 a Junior School was added.
The Institution, which was Incorporated by Royal Charter in 1926,
provides at present educational benefits for over a thousand youths, 400 in
the Senior School and 300 Juniors, while a further 300 are being assisted
UNITED GRAND LODGE FREEMASONRY
Institution. The last named are mainly receiving higher education, since by a
recent enactment the Board of Management may "vote or set aside annually such
a sum of money as the Board may think fit to provide for the Further
Education, Training and Maintenance of deserving boys after they have finished
their School career."
Finally, plans have recently
been prepared for the upgrading of the School and for the provision of
considerable additions to the buildings to allow for technical training.
The 154th Anniversary Festival on 11th June, 1952, brought a grand
total of £667,592, of which the Western Division of the Province of Lancashire
alone contributed the record sum of £562,282, or four-fifths.
The Duke of Sussex, G.M., 1813-43.
We must now return from the present time to the second decade of
the 19th Century. Something has already been said of the Duke's share in the
achievement of a United Grand Lodge of England. In 1838, to commemorate his
twenty-five years' Grand Mastership, the Craft presented him with a
testimonial valued at one thousand guineas, and when he died in 1843 he had
ruled over English Freemasons for the then record period*
of thirty years. The Earl of Zetland succeeded him as G.M. until 1870.
Although the Duke of Sussex exercised his powers in a somewhat
arbitrary and dictatorial manner, as seen in his dealings with Lodge 31 and
Dr. Crucefix, there was no other Modern (with the exception of the Earl of
Moira) who could have retained the loyal fidelity of such (Atholl) D.G.M.s as
Agar and Harper for the rest of their lives and enjoyed the complete trust of
the whole English Craft.
Of his brother, King William IV, it is related that once when a
deputation of influential Freemasons waited on him, expecting a ceremonious
audience, they were somewhat
actual record was the 38 year reign of the Duke of Connaught (1901-39)—(See
p.liO). This was exceeded in Ireland by the Duke of Leinster, who was G.M. for
61 yearó. (See x.155).
THE DUKE OF SUSSEX
astonished when "Gentlemen," exclaimed the bluff Sailor King, "if my love for
you equalled my ignorance of everything concerning you, it would be
An Impostor, 1847.
It is not often that Grand Lodge allows itself to be hoodwinked,
but it so happened in 1847, when a visiting American, who styled himself
Major-General George Cooke, LL.D. and gave out that he was Chancellor of the
University of Ripley, joined the Prince of Wales's Lodge, No. 259. A generous
supporter of the Masonic Charities, he became Vice-President of the Girls'
School and a Life Governor of the Boys' School and of the Benevolent
Before he left England the Grand Master conferred on him the rank
of P.G.W. and appointed him his representative at the Grand Lodge of New York.
A fund was even raised for the purpose of putting his bust in Freemasons'
Hall. It was not until Cooke was safely back in the States that it came to
light that so far from being a Major-General or a Doctor of Laws he was in
reality a mere medical quack, who advertised his wares.
He was accordingly stripped of his Grand Rank, expelled from Grand
Lodge and reimbursed the sums he had subscribed to the Charities.
The Case of Bro. John Havers.
John Havers, a pupil of Peter Thomson, whom he called the greatest
Mason he had ever known, was in 1855 " the most disliked brother in the
Craft," but lived to be entertained by his old opponents and to have his bust
placed in Freemasons' Hall.
In that year the Craft was at the dictation of Bro. W. H. White,
who had served as Grand Secretary for fifty years, and of three other
influential Grand Officers, and was seething with unrest, largely because
Grand rank was the
UNITED GRAND LODGE FREEMASONRY
perquisite of three or four London lodges. The Earl Zetland then sought and
took the advice of John Havers, who described himself at the time as "an
incendiary red republican," and in a short period everything was quiet and
John Havers became J.G.W. in
1862 and was for is years on the Board of General Purposes and on the Co
mittee of Management of the Masonic Benevolent Annui
A New Freemasons Hall, 1866.
The building of the second
Hall was started in 1864. An improvement on the old Hall but of course no like
as commodious or impressive as the present Masonic Peace Memorial (see p.131),
it took just under two years complete. For the first time Freemasons' Tavern
(now the Connaught Rooms) was separated from the Hall.
After a disastrous fire in
1883, by which the Grand Temple was almost completely destroyed, as well as
most of the oil portraits of previous Grand Masters, the building was
reconstructed and the Temple enlarged.
Some Masonic Miscreants.
Although they have been fortunately few and far between, there have been
occasional black sheep and backsliders in the Craft. The case of Brother
William Dodd, the forger who rose to be Grand Chaplain, has already been
mentioned on page 108.
Then there have been two
brethren who were notorious poisoners. One of these was Dr. Edward William
Pritch P.M. of a Glasgow lodge, who was hanged in 1865 for administering
antimony to his wife and mother-in-law and he may also have been guilty of
murdering a maid servant.
The other was Frederick Henry
Seddon, a miserly murderer of our own time, who in 1911 poisoned a woman
lodger with arsenic, obtained, it was said, from fly-papers.
SOME MASONIC MISCREANTS
defrauded her of all her savings during her lifetime, he caused his victim to
be buried in a pauper's grave, charging the undertaker 7/6 commission for
It is related that during his
trial at the Old Bailey, when under relentless pressure in cross-examination,
he made signs of distress to Mr. Justice Bucknill, whom Seddon knew to be a
prominent Mason. But the Judge promptly rebuked him, saying that if the
prisoner did not desist he would order a retrial before another Judge.
When asked if he had anything
to say before sentence, " I declare," said Seddon, " before the Great
Architect of the Universe, I am not guilty, my Lord." The Judge was deeply
moved as the black cap was
on his head. When he was able to speak, he said :-
"You and I know that we both
belong to the same Brotherhood and it is all the more painful for me to
to say what I am saying. But our Brotherhood does not encourage crime; on the
contrary, it condemns
pray you again to make your peace with the Great Architect of the Universe."
The prisoner was then
sentenced to death.
the Earl of Zetland gave up his Grand Mastership in 1870, he was presented
with a testimonial in the form of £2,730, which he transferred to the Zetland
Fund for the relief of distinguished brethren who might become distressed. He
was succeeded by the Marquess of Ripon (then Earl de Grey and Ripon) who as
already stated on p.109, resigned four years later on becoming a Roman
His successor was the Prince
of Wales, whose Installation Ceremony at the Albert Hall was attended by the
largest assembly of Freemasons that had ever met. Two years
UNITED GRAND LODGE FREEMASONRY
his brother, the Duke of Connaught, became Senior Grand Warden, and in 1886 he
was made Provincial Grand Master for Sussex—the first time such an office had
been held by a Prince of the Blood Royal.
When the Prince of Wales ascended the Throne in 1901 as King
Edward VII, he resigned his Grand Mastership ard became Protector of the
Craft. He was intensely devoted to Freemasonry and wore a special Masonic
ring, to be seen in his portrait by Fildes in Freemasons' Hall. His Majesty
was still wearing it when he died in 1910.
He was succeeded as Grand Master by the Duke of Connaught, whose
38 years' reign was marked by the greatest success and prosperity of the
Craft. These, in some difficult years, were largely due to the active interest
taken by the Pro Grand Master, Lord Ampthill, the Deputy G.M., Sir Frederick
Halsey and the President of the Board of General Purposes, Sir Alfred Robbins,
who was also the first Chairman of the Peace Memorial Committee.
Bicentenary of Grand Lodge, 1917.
This was duly celebrated in the middle of the First World War.
Nearly 8,000 Freemasons then met at the Royal Albert Hall under the presidency
of the Duke of Connaught, G.M. Even more Brethren attended the Masonic Peace
Celebrations in the same building two years later, no fewer than 500 coming
from overseas Jurisdictions and Districts and from Ireland and Scotland.
The Royal Masonic Hospital.
This extremely efficient and useful institution was first
suggested in 1911, and the proposal was approved by Grand Lodge in 1913.
During the First World War three Nursing Homes were maintained at different
times for wounded soldiers (not necessarily Freemasons); these were situated
in the Fulham Road and the Bishop of London's Palace at Fulham, London, and at
THE ROYAL MASONIC HOSPITAL
Reading. After the War the old Chelsea Women's Hospital in Fulham Road was
opened as a Freemasons' Nursing Home, the first patient, the wife of a
Berkshire Mason, being admitted in June, 1920.
Its immense popularity and the fact that it could only accommodate
50 beds produced huge waiting lists, and it became clear that a much larger
building was needed. Accordingly, as soon as funds permitted, a five acre site
was acquired at Ravenscourt Park, and here was built at a cost of £335,000 the
present four-storied structure which so admirably fulfils the purposes for
which it was founded.
This beautiful building, equipped with every modern device, was
opened in 1933 by King George V, who was accompanied by Queen Mary and gave
permission for it to be called from thenceforth the Royal Masonic Hospital. It
has room for 180 patients and is normally practically self-supporting, but in
1951, when the number of patients (both in- and out-) had risen from 3,890 in
1938 to 9,740 and for the first time the Hospital was faced with a deficit, to
the tune of £20,000, it became necessary to make a special—and highly
successful—appeal to lodges.
Between 1940 and 1948 no fewer than 8,600 military patients were
treated (again without distinction and without charge). The Hospital was not
affected by the National Health Service Act, 1946, and retains its independent
In 1933 was also opened:-
The Masonic Peace Memorial, 1933.
This was the name given to the new Freemasons' Hall and Masonic
Headquarters in Great Queen Street, which has many Masonic traditions,
although some brethren wanted to see it situated in the Adelphi, which has
none. The foundation ceremony was held in 1927 at the Royal Albert Hall,
whence the Duke of Connaught laid the
UNITED GRAND LODGE FREEMASONRY
foundation stone by electrical contact.
The architects were Bros. H. V. Ashley and Winton Newman. Over the
main entrance at the corner of Long Acre is a 150 foot tower (slightly higher
than Nelson's Column). The Grand Temple on the first floor is 120 feet in
length, 90 feet in breadth and 62 feet high, and in addition there are 17
temples for private lodges. There is a fine Library cum Museum, roughly four
times as big as that in the former Hall.
The building was at first
estimated to cost one million pounds, but this figure has been considerably
exceeded; the sum needed was raised by an ingenious scheme whereby every lodge
contributing an amount averaging ten guineas É per member was declared a Hall
Stone Lodge, while upon every Mason making that subscription was conferred a
Hall Stone Jewel.
The Dedication Ceremony was impressive and was attended by
distinguished representatives of every jurisdiction with which the United
Grand Lodge is in communion, and there were present Masons from all over the
world, literally from China to Peru.
Grand Masters, 1939-52.
When for health reasons the Duke of Connaught resigned in 1939
after a record period of 38 years, the Duke of Kent was installed in his stead
É1J' King George VIA who like his brother the Duke of Windsor (previïusÔy King
Edward VIII) held the rank of Past Grand Master. Three years later the Duke of
Kent died tragically on Active Service, and thus came to an end a memorable
stretch of 68 years during which three Royal Grand Masters had ruled the
His sucessor, the Earl of Harewood, did not reign much longer,
since he died in 1947. Again, the Duke of Devonshire, who was elected in his
place and was installed early in 1948, died after only holding the office for
GRAND MASTERS, 1939-52
The present Grand Master, the
Earl of Scarbrough, was installed in November, 1951, in a notable ceremony,
which was packed by Freemasons It is a striking fact that Lord Shuttleworth,
who took his place as Junior Grand Warden, is a direct descendant of the third
Grand Master, Dr. Desaguliers (see p.79), thus forging a Grand Lodge link 233
The death of this Royal Freemason on 6th February, 1952, was a
severe blow to the Craft. His Majesty created the precedent of an English
Sovereign's actively participating in Masonic ceremonies, and this before
crowded assemblies. When on his accession he accepted (as mentioned above) the
rank of P.G.M. he was ceremonially installed at the Albert Hall before an
audience of Masons from all parts of the World.
Similarly he conducted in person the installation of three Grand
Masters—tthe Duke of Kent at Olympia in July, 1939; the Earl of Harewood at
Freemasons' Hall in June, 1943; and the Duke of Devonshire at the Royal Albert
Hall in March, 1948. Only his last illness prevented him from installing the
Earl of Scarbrough in November, 1951.
King Geoorr e entered Freemasonry by way of the Navy Lodge, No. 2,
in December, when he was Duke of York; in 1922 he was appointed Senior Grand
Warden; two years later he was installed as Provincial G.M. for Middlesex,
which office he retained until coming to the Throne in 1938.
He himself always regarded Freemasonry as one of the strongest
influences on his life.
"Freemasonry in the Dock," 1951-2.
An attack on Freemasonry had been launched in the Pastoral Session
of the Methodist Conference of 1927 by
UNITED GRAND LODGE FREEMASONRY
Rev. C. Penney Hunt. It was not very successful, and the excellent and
efficient Epworth Lodges, where many Methodist divines and laymen meet "on the
level," continue to exercise a beneficial influence in several large centres
It would be a fairly safe conjecture to assume that the great
majority of English Freemasons belong to the Church of England, whether as
merely "C. of E." (as the Army recruit who does not claim to belong to any
"Fancy Religion " is conveniently labelled) or as ardent adherents. The
Primate himself, moreover, is a Past Grand Chaplain while there are numerous
devout priests who act as Chaplains of Grand Lodges and lodges. It came,
therefore, as something of a shock and bolt from the blue when an attack was
launched on the Order by a group of Anglican parsons.
The trouble started with an article in Theology (issued under the
auspices of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge) in January, 1951;
it was entitled "Should a Christian be a Freemason" and was from the pen of
the Rev. Walton Hannah, who answered his own question in the negative,
pointing to the secret oaths and drastic penalties implicit in Freemasonry,
accusing it of being Gnostic, declaring that the Order had been banned by the
Roman Catholics and denounced by the Methodists and demanding that the Church
should at least hold an inquiry.
There was a sequel in June, when the Church Assembly in annual
session debated a motion tabled by the Rev. R. Creed Meredith, that a
Commission be appointed to report on Mr. Hannah's article.
After stating that Freemasonry had been placed in the dock, Mr.
Meredith defined the Order as "a brotherhood of princes, prelates and peers,
and a great body of ordinary men .... It is a brotherhood which seeks after
truth, encourages members to uphold one another in the highest moral
principles and in strict honesty of purpose and integrity in all matters of
business." The attack had given
"FREEMASONRY IN THE DOCK"
and distress to hundreds of loyal Churchmen up and down the country.
The Rev. K. Healey said that if Freemasonry could attain a measure
of reform from within, its efforts would be received with joy and sympathy.
The Rev. C. E. Douglas stated that in the last 250 years Freemasonry had been
one of the greatest factors in the building of modern civilization. "You
cannot understand Freemasonry except in a lodge. Its real secret is
The Archbishop of York then
rose; after stating that he was not a Freemason and had never been one, he
said:"Freemasonry in this country has always avoided the anticlericalism which
makes it offensive on the continent. It has never made any attack on
Christianity and the Church." Dr. Garbett then asked whom would the proposed
Commission reassure? " I am reassured [turning to the Archbishop of
Canterbury, who was presiding] by your Grace's being a member of the Order and
by the fact that a distinguished layman, Lord Scarbrough, is Grand Master of
the Order .... "
The Assembly then rejected the
motion with only one dissentient, a result which the mover explained he
welcomed and had hoped for.
Like Mr. Hunt before him, Mr. Hannah saw fit to expand his attack
into book form, which was given some publicity, unfortunately, by the more
sensation-loving press of the day. As in the case of all their predecessors—a
too long and wearisome line stretching back to the days before the first Grand
Lodge—the attack was quite unsuccessful.
The State of the English Craft, 1952.
Despite the foregoing attack Freemasonry has continued to progress
and flourish. At the Quarterly Communications of Grand Lodge on the 5th June,
1952, it was reported that the total number of lodges under the English
UNITED GRAND LODGE FREEMASONRY
of which 1,537 were in London, 4,156 in the provinces and 785 overseas The
Earl of Scarbrough, G.M., who presided and was supported by the Earl of Derby,
his Deputy, and the º Assistant Grand Master, Brigadier General W. H. V.
Darell, reported on his recent visit to South Africa, which he said was the
first that had ever been made by the Grand J Master of England in that
The Duke of Edinburgh.
The latest entry into the Craft by a member of the Royal Family
took place in the Navy Lodge No. 2612, in which H.R.H. the Duke of Edinburgh
was Initiated on the 5th December 1952.
This was the Lodge in which His Majesty King George VI., then Duke
of York, was Initiated in 1919, and H.R.H. the Duke of Kent in 1928.
FREEMASONRY IN IRELAND
The Origins of Irish Masonry.
One of the traditional heroes of Celtic mythology was the Gobhan
Saor, the "free smith," of whom many legends are told. It is perhaps
significant, as Lepper and Crossle point out,
** that "Saor"
in the Irish tongue denotes both " free " and "a mason." That the ancient
Irish possessed able masons is proved by their famous round towers, some of
which still stand
more than ten times the number after the Act of Union in 1813 (See p.117).
of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Ireland, Vol. 1. (Alas! the
second volume has never been published. But see p.7). For much of the
information in this Chapter the Authors are indebted to that erudite work.
THE ORIGINS OF IRISH MASONRY
existing for well over a thousand years; some students have attributed the
building of these towers to the Comacines (see p.12), but the theory is not
very widely held today.
While there is a complete absence of any Irish counterpart of the
English Old Charges, as described in Chapter III, we know that the gild system
flourished at any rate from the 15th Century in the Sister Kingdom.
A Charter was granted to the Dublin Masons, in company with the
Carpenters, Millers and Heliers (or Tylers) in 1508, and it is interesting to
note that people who were not craftsmen or operative masons were accepted in
the Gild. Although the Masons were few in number compared with the other
craftsmen in the Gild, William Dougan, a Mason, was its Master in 1558-60.
Like the gild system, in all probability Freemasonry was imported
Pre-Grand Lodge Freemasonry.
From 1602 to any rate 1818 there was a Freemason's Stone, a
well-known landmark in Dublin.
In Limerick a still more ancient relic exists and now forms one of
the treasures of the Union Lodge, No. 13 (I.C.). This is the nearly 450 year
old Baal's Bridge Square, which was discovered in excavating the foundations
of the bridge of that name over the River Shannon.
The wording on it runs:-
Upon the Level, By the Square
I will strive to live, With
love and care.
This shows that Freemasonry was firmly established in Ireland in
the early part of the 16th Century, and while we cannot be certain that it was
then partly Speculative, yet it had already an ethical symbolism for its
The diary of the first Earl of Cork, who came to Ireland
FREEMASONRY IN IRELAND
1588, shows that he had stones specially prepared in Bristol and thence
shipped to Ireland, revealing an early connexion between the operative masons
of the two countries. In later Speculative Freemasonry, as we know, the
relationship between the Bristol working and that of the Irish Freemasons was
so close that in 1793 (when no fraternal communication existed between the two
Grand Lodges). a Cork brother who visited a Moderns' (or rather Traditioners')
Lodge in Bristol could scarcely detect any difference in the ritual from that
of his own lodge. It may easily have originated in the association of the
operative masons over two hundred years before.
The first reference to a Speculative Masonic lodge occurs ‚ in
1688 and is in the form of a jeu d'esprit on the part of ' John Jones, a
Bachelor of Arts at Trinity College, Dublin, which for several preceding years
had been overrun by operative masons who were putting up new buildings. John
Jones, a friend of Dean Swift, that year delivered the "Commencements
harrangue," which contains the following passage (translated from the Latin)
relating to an imaginary new college.
It was lately ordered that for the honour and dignity of the
University there should be introduced a society of Freemasons, consisting of
gentlemen, mechanics, porters (etc. etc.), who shall bind themselves by an
oath never to reveal their no-secret, and to relieve whatsoever strolling
distressed brethren they meet with, after the example of the fraternity of
freemasons in and about Trinity College, by whom a collection was lately made
for, and the purse of charity well stuffed for, a reduced brother.
The Lady Freemason.
The initiation of the Hon. Elizabeth St. Leger (afterwards the
Hon. Mrs. Aldworth) in about 1710, which is now generally accepted as
authentic, makes an interesting story.
THE LADY FREEMASON
According to the most reliable account*
this lady, who was the daughter of the 1st Viscount Doneraile, had fallen
asleep one afternoon in her father's library. When she awoke, she sensed that
something important was going forward in the large adjoining room. Although
she knew that her father was wont to hold lodge meetings in the house, she was
unaware that one was to take place that evening. Some repairs were being made
in the house and bricks between the two rooms had been loosely replaced,
making it easy for Elizabeth to remove one or two and thus get a clear view of
the initiation that was being performed next door.
At first her curiosity held her spellbound; it was not until the
solemn responsibilities undertaken by the candidate were reached that she
realized the seriousness of her action. Now she longed only to flee and rushed
out into the hall, where she found her escape cut off by the Tyler, who
happened to be the family butler. She thereupon screamed and fainted; the
butler-tyler's loyalties were divided between his young mistress and his
Lodge; the latter prevailed and he entered to bring out Elizabeth's father and
brothers, who, when she was restored to consciousness, learnt what had
They then retired into the Lodge-room and anxiously considered
what had best be done. The only course seemed to them tï initiate in turn the
fair eavesdropper, and with her consent this was done.
Elizabeth became a patroness of the Craft and a subscriber to Dr.
Dassigny's famous Impartial Enquiry (see p.148). After her death in 1773 the
memory of "our sister Aldworth" was toasted by the Freemasons of Ireland. Her
Masonic apron exists to this day. The General, who in 1776 instituted the St.
Leger Stakes, run at Doncaster, was her cousin.
There have been one or two other instances, more or less
By Brother Edward Conder,
A.Q.C., 1895, p.16.
FREEMASONRY IN IRELAND
authenticated, of women admitted into Freemasonry—one in England (d. 1802),
one in the United States (b. 1815) é and one in Hungary (b. 1833, init. 1875).
As a result of the last case numerous expulsions and suspensions were ordered
by the Grand Orient of Hungary, who promptly declared the admission of the
Countess in question to be void.
"A Letter from the Grand Mistress," 1724.
The first Masonic pamphlet, entitled A Letter from the
Grand Mistress of the Female Free-Masons was published in Dublin in 1724.
This skit, of which only one original copy is known to exist, but which has
been extensively reprinted, was believed by that great authority, Dr.
Chetwoode Crawley, to have been from the pen of Dean Swift himself, but this
authorship was frowned upon by Brother Heron Lepper, who regarded the pamphlet
as altogether lacking the weight of the Master's style and as more resembling
a catchpenny parody.
Be that as it may, since a second edition was called for in 1731,
this publication provides evidence of the interest in and popularity of the
Craft in Ireland in the seventeen-twenties. These are evinced also by the wide
sales in Dublin and Cork of Anderson's Constitutions of 1723.
Beginnings of Grand Lodge, 1725.
The exact year of the formation of the Irish Grand Lodge —the
second oldest in the World—unfortunately cannot be determined, since none of
its official records exists prior to 1760. Some scholars put it at 1723 or
1724, but the generally recognised date is 1725 and thdt year was accepted
for the Bicentenary Celebrations of 1925.
It is to a newspaper account—the first to mention an Irish Grand
Lodge—that the ascribed year is due. On Saturday, 26th June, 1725, The Dublin
Weekly Journal contained an informed and lively account of a meeting of the
Grand Lodge at the KingInns, Dublin, on St. John's
BEGINNINGS OF GRAND LODGE,
two days before, when "they proceeded to the election of a new Grand
who was Richard, 1st Earl of Rosse.
Six lodges of "Gentlemen Freemasons" (all, probably of Dublin)
were represented, of which the present Nos. 2 & 6 still exist today; in
addition to those representatives, consisting of all the Masters and Wardens,
there were numerous "Private Brothers" in attendance, who were not present at
the Grand Lodge ceremonies and did not vote at the election of the G.M. and
the G. Wardens. Two things are noteworthy; first that the Grand Officers,
except the D.G.M., the Hon. Humphrey Butler, were directly elected and not
nominated by the G.M. as in England; and secondly that this meeting affords
the first recorded occasion of a public Masonic procession by coach, the
second being on the installation of the Duke of Norfolk as G.M. of England in
The Earl of Rosse, G.M., 1725 and 1730.
This nobleman, who was noted for his wit and wild habits, was 29
when he was first elected Grand Master. He is said to have inherited nearly a
million pounds from his grandmother, the great Duchess of Tyrconnel. His
Dublin town-home was on the site of the present Freemasons' Hall. He died in
He was undoubtedly G.M. again
in 1730 and it is quite likely that he held his Grand Office throughout. On
the other hand, the Grand Mastership may have been occupied during one or more
of those years by Lord Southwell, who was referred to in the London press of
1732 as "late Grand Master of Ireland" and next year was installed as proxy
for the Earl of Strathmore, Grand Master of England. At any rate the years
from 1725 to 1729 were dark and desolate ones for Ireland, other than Munster,
italics are ours; the words "new Grand Master” seem to indicate that Grand
Lodge had already been in existence for at least a year.
FREEMASONRY IN IRELAND
very little is heard of Freemasonry during that period.
Thomas Griffith, G. Secretary, 1725-32.
This first Irish Grand Secretary had a colourful personality. He
was apt to mock his own small stature in his play-bills, as thus:—
"The part of Alexander the
Great is to be played by little Griffith." We first hear of him Masonically in
the Dublin Weekly Journal already quoted, where it was reported that after the
banquet following the installation of the Earl of Rosse the members of Grand
Lodge and other Brethren: " all went to the Play, with their Aprons, &c . . .
. Mr. Griffith the Player, who is a Brother, sung the Free Mason's
Apprentices Song, the Grand Master and the whole Brotherhood joyning in the
The words of this very
familiar song may well have been written by Brother Griffith, who was a poet
as well as actor: the music, although attributed by Anderson to "Dr. Birkhead,
Deceased," is almost certainly Irish.
Lord Southwell (G.M., 1743 and probably also during this period)
gave him the official appointment of Tide Waiter (or Customs Officer) and as
such it was his duty to keep an eye on the comings and goings of the " Wild
Geese " and other Jacobite sympathisers, of whom Lord Rosse was rumoured to be
It was the custom of the Irish Grand Lodge (like the English) at
this time to patronize the theatre officially (particularly in the cause of
charity), but one occasion on which they did so landed poor Brother Griffith
in trouble, for in 1734 he chose Wycherley's The Country Wife for his benefit
performance. According to the Dublin Evening Post the Grand Lodge considered
this a "great and public Affront .... in chusing so vile and obscene a play
for their Entertainment."
He was later forgiven his
trespass. Masonic historians
THOMAS GRIFFITH, G. SEC.,
it less easy to forgive him his failure to record or preserve the Minutes of
Minutes are, however, fortunately available for:—
The Grand Lodge of Munster, 1726-33.
These are mixed with records of the transactions of Lodge No. 1 of
Cork, a "time immemorial" Lodge. There is every indication that the Grand
Lodge was already in existence at the time of the first entry in 1726, which
records the election of the Hon. James O'Bryen, a brother of the 4th Earl of
Inchiquin, G.M. of England in 1727, as G.M. and of Springett Penn, a grandson
of the famous Quaker, William Penn, as his Deputy.
Grand Master O'Bryen continued in office until 1730, in which
year, too, Springett Penn died at the early age of 29. The latter is perhaps
best remembered for having added the following verse to the celebrated
"Entered Apprentices' Song":-
"We're true and sincere,
And just to the Fair,
Who will trust us on ev'ry
No mortal can more
The ladies adore
Than a Free and Accepted
Although applications for
warrants from Brethren in Waterford and Clonmel are recorded, there is no
mention of any lodge's having actually been constituted by the Grand Lodge of
Munster. Since, however, General Regulations were formulated by it in 1728,
there must have been local lodges acknowledging its jurisdiction.
With the installation as Grand Master of Munster in 1731 of that
great Mason, Lord Kingston, who was already Grand Master of Ireland—he had al
eady been G.M. of England in 1729—the Grand Lodge of Munster really
FREEMASONRY IN IRELAND
extinct, although efforts to preserve its independence persevered until 1733.
In 1727 the present Lodge No. 2 of Dublin and other ancient Irish
Lodges came under the jurisdiction of Grand Lodge, although their warrants
were not issued until five years later.
In 1730 John Pennell, who was to succeed Griffith as G. Secretary
two years later, published his Constitutions - "for the use of the Lodges" of
Ireland. This volume is partly, but not exclusively, based on Anderson.
The oldest Grand Lodge warrant in the world, that now held by
Lodge No. 1, Cork, was issued in 1731 to a Lodge r at Mitchelstown, Co. Cork,
most probably for the household of Lord Kinston. This vellum document
ante-dated by 23 years the first Warrant known to have been issued by the G.L.
of England. In fact the practice of issuing Lodge warrants, now adopted by
every Grand Lodge in the world, certainly started with the Grand Lodge of
Thomas Griffith in 1731 inserted a notice in the Dublin press
ordering that all lodges in Ireland without a warrant under the hand and seal
of Lord Kingston or of Lord Nettervill, the Deputy G.M., must immediately
"take out true and perfect Warrants and pay the Fees for the same, or they
will not be deem'd true Lodges." A similar notice was issued by John Baldwin,
the Secretary in 1750, this time stating that all lodges which failed to apply
would be "proceeded against as Rebel Masons."
Ulster in particular had
numerous lodges of "non-regular" or "hedge Masons" which had never taken out a
warrant, while Belfast itself had no regular lodge until 1748. Most of the
Munster lodges came in from the beginning of the amalgamation, but the premier
Lodge of Ireland, the present No. 1 of Cork, remained (with im-
without a warrant until 1761. When it did apply for one, however, it set an
example that was generally copied, so that Ireland can now show no example of
a "time immemorial" lodge working without a warrant, whereas there are three
in England, the three surviving Old Lodges.
The difficulty was for Grand Lodge to induce its nominally
submissive lodges to acknowledge its authority, especially those at a distance
from Dublin; in the early days, even when they had obtained warrants, many
lodges would calmly continue working for years without again getting into
contact with Grand Lodge. In 1750 and again in 1759 Edward Spratt and John
Calder, the respective Grand Secretaries in those years, found it necessary to
remind lodges through the press that it would be as well to discharge their
dues and make returns of their members.
Apart from "Private Lodges" such as that at Mitchelstown (supra)
and Military Lodges of the British Army, to which the Grand Lodge of Ireland
issued the first ambulatory warrants, all lodge meetings were held in taverns,
as in England. There was one other exception—from 1754 to 1801 there was a
warranted lodge of debtor Masons confined in the Dublin Marshalsea.
Differences from English Working.
By 1760 at latest the Irish ritual had assumed the form still in
For as long a period as till 1875 Irish Lodges always installed
their Masters on two occasions each year, the two days of St. John. Since that
year there has been only one installation a year, but on a fixed time and not
as arranged by each lodge.
The beautiful Chair degree has always been practised in Ireland,
whereas it was largely dropped by most Modern lodges in England and was only
fully re-adopted in 1813.
Again, in Ireland all the lodge officers are elected by the
FREEMASONRY IN IRELAND
Masons, while in England all but the Treasurer are appointed by the W.M.
Moreover, the office of Deacon has existed in Ireland since 1726 at the
Finally traces of Christianity have persisted in Irish
Freemasonry, and Christian forms of prayer are printed in the Book of
Constitutions for use when no brother is present to whom they could be
offensive; the Lord's Prayer is often used as part of the ordinary Craft
The Earl of Middlesex, Carolus Sackville
Eldest son of the Duke of Dorset, who had been appointed Viceroy
in 1730, this nobleman founded a Lodge in Florence in 1733, when he was 22
years of age, from which it may be deduced that he was an Irish Freemason,
since he was too young then to have been initiated in England.* A finely
designed medal was struck to commemorate his mastership, and by his express
desire it gave as his only title Carolus Sackville Magister Florentinus.
Irish Charity Founded, 1738.
In 1739 under the rule of Viscount Mountjoy, who as Earl of
Blesington was to be first noble Grand Master of the Antients in England (see
p.99), were drawn up the Regulations of the Committee of Charity, which had
come into being the year before; individual lodges had always been generous in
affording relief. Lodge Certificates must have been in existence at this time,
since the Regulations imply the production of such a document** by any
applicant for relief.
In 1777 a Lottery Scheme was started from which the promoters
hoped to net a profit of £1,767. They were, however, over-optimistic, since
tickets were sold but it was found difficult to collect the sums due, hence
In 1741 Ireland copied England in using the earliest age on admission at 23,
reverting with her to 21 in 1813.
Certificate in the world still in existence today occurs in the 1754 Minutes
of the St. John Lodge, Lurgan, 7o. 134.
IRISH CHARITY FOUNDED
amounted to less than the advertised prize money. The latter had to be paid
pro rata, causing much heart burning among the winners.
Despite this set-back Grand Lodge and the lodges were able to give
succour to all their own Brethren needing relief and what is more to help
distressed Brethren from Turkey, Algeria and Morocco, as well as prisoners of
war in France.
The Charity funds were often replenished by means of theatrical
performances, and the great Sarah Siddons herself subscribed five guineas to
the Masonic Female Orphan School in 1802. The idea of this school was started
in 1792 by some Brethren who had been inspired by the English project of the
Chevalier Ruspini (see p.111). They came mainly from the Royal Arch Lodge
15/190, Dublin. To start with, the children were not housed or fed by the
sponsoring Society, which merely paid for their education in a modest way.
In 1799 the scheme was adopted by Grand Lodge, a Committee of
which took over the management of the school from Lodge No. 190 in 1800. At
this time many of the children educated there were brought up as Catholics.
A Disputed Election, 1740.
A curious incident happened in this year. Grand Secretary Spratt
in his Constitutions of 1751 (the historical side of which has, however, been
found to be sometimes astonishingly inaccurate) states that, on the
resignation of Viscount Mountjoy, of three nominees Viscount Doneraile, a
nephew of the Lady Freemason, was unanimously elected G.M., and this is
confirmed in Faulkner's Dublin Journal of the 1st July, 1740, but a rival
advertisement in the same issue announces the installation of the Earl of
Anglesey, and each notice mentions a different Grand Secretary. Whatever the
trouble, the matter was adjusted the following year, when Lord Tullamore, the
third nominee, was installed in the presence of Lord Mountjoy.
FREEMASONRY IN IRELAND
This incident may have
deterred noble candidates from coming forward for the Grand Mastership; in
1745 Lord Allen died suddenly during his term of office as a result of being
wounded by some drunken dragoons in the streets of Dublin and it became
necessary for the veteran Lord Kingston to step into the breach for the
ensuing two years.
The “Impartial Enquiry," 1744.
In that year was published A Serious and Impartial Enquiry into
the Cause of the Present Decay of Free-Masonry in the Kingdom of Ireland, by
Dr. Fifield Dassigny. This book, which was bound up with the first edition of
Spratt's Book of Constitutions, contains the earliest but one known reference
to the Royal Arch in a passage which starts as follows: "I am informed in that
city [York] is held an assembly of Master Masons under the title of Royal Arch
Masons." Again, complaining of the poor quality of some of the Brethren of his
time, the author made a suggestion which 24 years later Grand Lodge put into
practice when it set up County Committees of Inspection. These were the
forerunners of the Provincial Grand Lodges.
The Grand Master's Lodge Formed, 1749.
This highly privileged Lodge, which continues at the head of the
list without a number, was founded by Lord Kingsborough, then Grand Master,
and a number of Grand Officers and distinguished Brethren "to consult the Good
of the Craft and, as far as in their Power lies, promote the welfare of the
Fraternity in general." It was at once directed by Grand Lodge that the new
Lodge should be known as the Grand Master's and that any member who visited
Grand Lodge should "take place of every other Lodge on the Registry .... of
this Kingdom." Up to 1837 every Master Mason raised in the G.M.L. had a vote
in the Grand Lodge and up to 1856 the Lodge
GRAND MASTER'S LODGE FORMED,
the right of recommending the names of new Grand Officers, their advice being
almost always taken.
Grand Secretary and his Deputy.
The Grand Secretary was disqualified throughout the 18th Century
from voting for Grand Officers, although from 1767 onwards his duties and
emoluments (which tended to increase considerably) were both taken over by the
Deputy Grand Secretary.
John Calder succeeded Edward Spratt as G.S. in 1757, but ten years
later we find him suddenly becoming unpopular with the G.M. Lodge and
reverting to Deputy—a post which had not been filled since 1743. Brother
Calder was succeeded in 1768 by Thomas Corker, who held the office for the
next thirty years. It was abolished in 1923.
Provincial Grand Masters.
The first of these was appointed as Provincial Deputy Grand Master
for Munster in 1754. He was authorized to "receive all Chanty Contributions
and regulate all Matters and Affairs relative to the Craft, in as full and
ample Manner as the Necessity of the Business requires," and a few weeks later
we find Brother John Reilly, the appointee, busy at work constituting a Lodge
at Mallow, No. 253, which number was oddly enough also issued to the "True
Blue" Lodge of Carrickfergus, Co. Antrim, constituted on the same day at the
other end of Ireland.
A Deputy Provincial G.M. for Ulster (possibly not the first) was
similarly appointed in 1768 and one for Connaught in 1776. Provincial (Deputy)
Grand Masters have always been appointed solely by the G.M.
In 1790 the Prov. G.M. of Munster was rebuked for improperly
suspending the Warrant of Lodge No. 212 without consulting G.L., and next year
he was removed from office for insulting the W.M. of No. 44.
FREEMASONRY IN IRELAND
thirties of next Century the organization of Provincial Grand Lodges was, as
we shall see, taken in hand, a code of Regulations having been adopted in
The Wesleys and the Wellesleys.
These two distinguished families are really of one and the same
It was for some time believed that the Rev. John Wesley, the
famous founder of Methodism, was a Mason, the supposition being based on an
entry in the Lodge-book of the Union Lodge of Downpatrick, which records the
entering and raising of an initiate of that name on the 3rd October, 1788. But
this must have been another John Wesley, for although (by a coincidence) the
religious pioneer's Journals show him to have visited Downpatrick in the
course of his multitudinous travels in June of that year, yet they also prove
that during the whole of the first week in October he was journeying in
On the other hand, his ne'phew, Samuel Wesley, the celebrated hymn
writer, was undoubtedly admitted by the Lodge of Antiquity, then No. 1 (B.C.)
and he rose to the high rank of Grand Organist in the Moderns' Grand Lodge. In
1813 he composed and conducted a Grand Anthem for Freemasons in honour of the
Union. A few years after he composed a Grand Mass for Pope Pius VI, while he
also wrote the music of a complete set of Matins and Evensong which are still
favourites in the Church of England. It does not fall to everyone to receive
the commendations of the Grand Lodge of Freemasons, the Roman Church and the
Church of England.
The Duke of Wellington was also certainly a Freemason, having been
initiated in 1790 in the family Lodge, No. 494 of Trim, as "A. Wesley" and
continuing as a subscribing member until 1795, when he left Trim for his
Indian campaign. The Duke admitted this in 1838 when Dublin Lodge No. 2, which
had acquired the Trim Warrant,
THE WESLEYS AND THE WELLESLEYS
his permission to call itself by his name. Curiously enough, however, in 1851,
at the end of his life, when pestered by an importunate correspondent, the
Duke denied any "recollection of having been admitted a Freemason."
His almost equally famous
elder brother, the 1st Marquess of Wellesley, was elected Grand Master of
Ireland in 1782, as had been their father, Garret Wesley, Lord Mornington,
Lord Donougmore, G.M., 1789-1813.
The new era begun by the installation of this brilliant and
beloved young nobleman was one of exceptional difficulties for the Irish Grand
Lodge and of intense and successful efforts on the part of the G.M. to cope
with them. It also marked the peak of Irish Freemasonry's influence, there
being scarcely a village that had not its meeting of Masons. Lord Donougmore,
who was the first G.M. of Ireland to hold office for more than a year or two,
made it a practice to travel extensively throughout the Provinces,
popularizing the Order and reconciling its differences.
The first of his problems was connected with the French
Revolution, which caused political feeling to run high in Ireland. In
particular the Society of United Irishmen, whose influence was strongest in
the North, had been barred from meeting as an open political organization:
they took refuge in their Masonic lodges, some of which were unwise enough to
publish resolutions of a political character, whereupon Grand Lodge sent out
in 1793 a circular letter, which lays down the true law so clearly that one
paragraph merits quotation here:—
FREE MASONS have sufficient
opportunities of expressing their Religious and Political Opinions in other
Societies and in other Capacities, and should not, under any pretence
whatsoever, suffer such Topics to invade the sacred retirement of a LODGE,
which is peculiarly
FREEMASONRY IN IRELAND
appropriated to improve Moral Duties—correct Human Frailties,—and inculcate
Another great problem that confronted Lord Donoughmore towards the
end of his reign and taxed all his gifts of reconciliation was the Seton
Breakaway, the story of which will shortly be told.
Throughout his career this worthy Grand Master proved a doughty
champion of the cause of Catholic Emancipation. The outbreak of the
Revolutionary War of 1793 roused his martial ardour into raising a Regiment
called the Masonic, or Royal Irish, Volunteers.
The First Masonic Journal.
In 1792 was started the first Masonic journal in the British
Isles, the monthly Sentimental and Masonic Magazine of Dublin. It ran for
three years, after which its place was taken by the Freemason's Journal: or
Pasley's Universal Intelligence, which appeared twice a week.
The Seton Breakaway.
The story of this discreditable episode, which culminated in a
violent struggle between two rival parties in Grand Lodge and eventually in
the (temporary) formation of a separate Grand Lodge in Ulster, can be told
In 1801 Darcy Irvine, the Grand Secretary, had appointed as his
Deputy his friend, Alexander Seton an able and energetic but dishonest
Barrister. This Seton was the villain of the piece. As soon as he was
appointed, he went to the house of his predecessor and carried off a "hackney
coach full" of books, MSS. and other articles belonging to Grand Lodge some of
which have never since been recovered.
Disappointed at not receiving the additional emoluments of Deputy
Grand Treasurer, which his predecessor for
THE SETON BREAKAWAY
years, Thomas Corker, had enjoyed for many of them, he recouped himself by
pocketing some of the lodge dues paid to him, and by re-issuing lapsed warrant
numbers for a consideration, to the dismay of old lodges which found their
seniority thus menaced.
Scurrilous anonymous pamphlets, aimed against the Grand Treasurer,
John Boardman, and his newly appointed Deputy, now began to fly about in an
effort to secure the support of the lodges and particularly those of Ulster
(which had certain legitimate grievances) for the Seton party.
In 1806 Alexander Seton, who had horsewhipped the G.T. outside the
Grand Lodge Room, was dismissed from his office by a new Grand Secretary, and
battle was joined. For the next twenty months a state of chaos prevailed with
two masonic bodies in Dublin each claiming to be the Grand Lodge. In 1807 the
true Grand Lodge, which had been ousted by the opposition faction from their
premises in Tailors' Hall, expelled Seton from Masonry and they were
encouraged by receiving the support of the Antients' Grand Lodge in England.
At length, in 1808, the G.M., Lord Donoughmore intervened, calling
a meeting of both sides, and a reconciliation followed. On Seton's undertaking
to hand over the books, to recover which a Chancery action had been started,
his expulsion was on the motion of the G.M. himself unanimously revoked. But
he refused to return the more recent books (which would have exposed his own
misfeasances) and the revocation was cancelled.
The Grand East of Ulster, 1808-14.
Meanwhile opposition in Ulster was far from dead, and the
representatives of 311 lodges (62 from Belfast district and 72 from Armagh)
met at Dungannon, where they set up a Grand Lodge under the above title, with
Col. W. Irvine as its first G.M. and Seton as Deputy G.S. It was to last
FREEMASONRY IN IRELAND
six years. Four at least of the Belfast lodges, however, throughout the
trouble remained faithful to the Dublin Grand Lodge; it further received the
support of the Grand Lodge of Scotland (which might perhaps have been thought
likely to back its Ulster Brethren) and the Moderns' Grand Lodge of England,
which for fifty years had been cut off from fraternal intercourse with
Ireland. Both assurances came from the pen of Lord Moira (see pp.113 and 182).
The Grand East proceeded to elect officers without asking their
consent, as for instance, as their second G.M. the Earl of Belmore, who was
already serving as J.G.W. of the G.L. of Ireland, and as S.G.W. Lord Blayney,
(grandson of the "Traditioner" G.M. of England, 1764—see p.105), who resigned
when he found it was not a Provincial Grand Lodge under the G.L. of Ireland,
but was nevertheless reelected.
By 1810 the tide had already begun to turn against the upstart
Grand Lodge and 37 Belfast lodges reverted to their rightful allegiance, while
the Armagh Committee passed an anti-Seton resolution.
In 1811 the Grand East moved to Belfast. Twenty-two lodges in
County Tyrone—Seton's own county—had passed over to the Grand Lodge, which now
felt strong enough to assert its authority, issuing a threat to "suspend or
cancell all Lodges and expell all Masons persisting in rebellious defiance."
The following year Seton's own adherents seem to have become suspicious of his
ways, for all Grand East subscriptions were ordered to be paid to the Grand
By 1813 the revolt had been thoroughly trounced. The protracted
lawsuit came to an end with a judgment against Seton, and lodges and Masons
were tumbling over each other to make their submission to Grand Lodge. The
last meeting of the Grand East took place in 1814; Seton himself survived in
obscurity until 1844.
AHIMAN REZON, 1804
Ahiman Rezon, 1804.
Editions of Laurence Dermott's quaintly named work (see p.98) had
been published in Dublin since 1760. In 1804 Bro. Downes, printer to G.L.,
published under this title the first official Irish Book of Constitutions,
embodying laws that had been added since 1768 and a valuable list of lodges.
The third edition, published in 1817, formed the basis of all subsequent Books
of Constitutions. The title was retained until the edition of 1858.
This famous Irish Statesman was not only Master of Lodge No. 189,
Dublin, in which he had been initiated in 1799, and affiliated to the
well-known No. 13, Limerick, but also acted as Counsel for Grand Lodge in the
litigation over Seton already mentioned.
At this time Pope Clement's Bull In Eminenti (1738) was
ignored in Ireland, in which at the beginning of the 19th Century the Roman
Catholic Freemasons far outnumbered the Protestant. The tightening up of the
ban, however, by the priests resulted in a great decline in the number of
lodges and accounted for the resignation of Daniel O'Connell.
In 1837, when taunted by political opponents with still being a
member of the Order, he stated in The Pilot that many years before he had
unequovically renounced Freemasonry, urging as his objections to it the
tendency to counteract the exertions of the temperance societies and "the
wanton and multiplied taking of oaths."
The Duke of Leinster, G.M., 1813-74.
In 1813 (the year of the Union of the two English Grand Lodges and
two years before the Battle of Waterloo) the oft-expressed wish of the Earl of
Donoughmore to retire
FREEMASONRY IN IRELAND
last allowed to take effect, the young Duke of Leinster whom he had proposed
as his successor being duly elected in his stead.
Although he did not often attend meetings of G.L. during the sixty
years of his reign, the Duke was no mere figurehead, and he was ably served by
John Fowler first as D.G.M. from 1818 to 1824 and then as D.G.S. from 1827
till his death in 1856.
The Duke's term of office was mainly a period of organization and
progressive legislation, and although during this time the Craft suffered a
considerable decline in numbers owing to the withdrawal of the Roman
Catholics, the temporary banning of Masonic meetings in 1823 (see below) and
the economic state of the country—as witness the enormous volume of imigration
to the United States between 1840 and 1860—yet he left Irish Freemasonry in a
sounder and healthier condition than it had ever experienced previously.
Grand Lodge of Instruction.
John Fowler in 1814 presided over a meeting held in his Dublin
house to standardize the Irish ritual, and six years later Grand Lodge
sanctioned the formation of a Lodge of Instruction, which was the direct
ancestor of the present Grand Lodge of Instruction, warranted in 1860.
The International Compact, 1814.
At the end of 1814 the Duke of Leinster, accompanied (at the
special request of Grand Lodge) by the Earl of Donoughmore, met the Grand
Masters of Scotland and the United Grand Lodge of England at the Freemasons'
Hall in London, in order to ascerin "that the three Grand Lodges were
perfectly in unison in all the great and essential points of the Mystery and
Craft." The outcome was the signing of the International Compact.
TROUBLE IN MUNSTER 1814-28
Trouble in Munster, 1814-28.
A Brother Miles Edwards, who called himself "Deputy Provincial
Grand Secretary " and seems to have been a sort of Munster Seton, told a
number of lodges that they were " exonerated from all demands of the National
Grand Lodge" and himself collected dues and arrears from Cork Lodges on behalf
of the "Grand Lodge of Munster."
The revolt was even less
successful than had been that in Ulster six years before. Grand Lodge promptly
gave credit to the lodges for any payments and called on Edwards to furnish an
account of them. The movement thus collapsed ignominiously.
In 1819, however, the Provincial G.L. of Munster protested to the
Grand Lodge against the erasure of certain old Lodges, such as No. 28 of Cork
and No. 31, Kinsale, and refused to recognise a lapsed Warrant, No. 125, which
had been re-issued to a new Lodge at Ballincolig. Grand Lodge was patient, and
in 1823 several of the rebellious lodges submitted, including No. 3 of Cork,
but it was not until 1828 that No. 1, Cork, which had been placed on the list
of erased warrants two years before, made its peace and was re-instated.
A New Form of Warrant, 1817.
The original form of Irish Warrant, which had remained unchanged
since 1732, had conferred upon lodges an absolute grant without providing for
any power of revocation. The 1817 version, on the other hand, is a grant "quamdiu
se bene gesserint"—during good. behaviour.
Freemasonry Stops Working, 1823.
Ireland at this time was full of secret societies, religious and
political; we need only mention the Orangemen and the Ribbonmen. It was
against these, rather than the Freemasons, that the Unlawful Oaths in Ireland
Act, 1823, was directed, but no express exemption was made,
FREEMASONRY IN IRELAND
been arranged in the case of the Unlawful Societies Act of 1799 (see p.113),
and after carefully considering the matter Grand Lodge called on all lodges
throughout the country to cease meeting. This was loyally carried out, but the
Duke of Leinster and Grand Lodge were not willing to lie down under the
interdict, and a widely signed Petition was presented to the United Kingdom
House of Commons.
This pointed out that "the Freemasons have from time immemorial
existed as a charitable, benevolent and peaceable institution, disclaiming all
religious or political differences," which they were not even allowed to
discuss in lodge; that the King and all the male members of his family had
been enrolled among their members; and that they had been exempted from the
provis;ons of the Unlawful Societies Act. They therefore prayed for similar
exemption. Ten months later the Duke of Leinste was able to announce that the
Government had declared that in framing the Act they had not contemplated
This was satisfactory, but
unfortunately many country lodges, having obeyed Grand Lodge's ban, never met
again, to the great loss of the Craft. Further, from this time dates the
increased hostility of the Roman Church, which before had looked on
Freemasonry as the lesser of two evils, as compared with the other secret
Provincial Grand Lodges.
We have already seen that a Provincial Grand Lodge was working in
Munster in 1819. In 1829 Grand Lodge decided to extend this system throughout
their jurisdiction, the Provincial Grand Lodges thus formed taking the place
of the County Committees of Inspection, which had existed with similar
functions since 1790.
The first Prov. G.L. to be constituted as a result of this
decision was that of Cary and Dunluce (N. Antrim), formed in 1834 with the R.W.
Rev. Walter Mant as Prov. G.M. Similarly a Belfast Prov. G.L. was set up two
PROVINCIAL GRAND LODGES
with the Marquis of Donegal as Prov. G.M., and others ollowed shortly
There was a final arrangement
of the Masonic provinces, covering all Ireland and continuing to the present
day, in 1868.
Irish Freemasonry Overseas.
Ireland had the honour of
sponsoring the Mother Lodge of Australia. This was in 1820, when a warrant was
granted to some citizens of Sydney who had been initiated by an Irish Military
Lodge, No. 218, held in the 48th Foot orthamptonshire Regt.). A warrant had
already been pplied for by the South Wales Corps over twenty years before, but
had not then been granted. The first Lodge in New Zealand was also founded by
the Grand Lodge of Ireland and is still on the Irish Register.
About the same tune (1800) a
Provincial Grand Lodge as established in Barbado's, which flourished for many
ears but ultimately transferred its allegiance to the English Constitution.
The "Higher Degrees."
The Royal Arch was established
in Ireland not later than 1743, since in a newspaper of that year we read of
"the Royal Arch carried by two excellent Masons" as part of a St. John's Day
Procession at Youghal - this forming the earliest printed reference to the
Degree. Other popular degrees were Knight Templarism, which probably
originated in Ireland and is first heard of there in 1765, and the Prince
Mason degree, introduced in 1782.
In 1779 some Irish Freemasons
turned to Mother Kilwinning. Lodge of Scotland (see p.177), whose Grand
Master, the Earl of Eglijon, issued a Warrant to "the Kilwiining High Templar
Lodge," Dublin, and on the strength of this arose Grand Encammignt of Ireland,
which warranted over fifty encampments—despite the fact
FREEMASONRY IN IRELAND
Mother Kilwinning itself later declared that it never worked any other than
the first three degrees.
All of the above "higher
degrees " were commonly worked in Craft lodges without special authority, and
Grand Lodge's attempts to control them were resented, indeed they formed one
of the causes of the Ulster revolt (see above).
In 1829, however, on the initiative of John Fowler, a Grand
Chapter was set up to govern the Royal Arch, while in 1836 were established a
Supreme Grand Encampment to control the degrees of Knights Templars, Knights
of Malta and Knights of the Sword or Red Cross Masons, and a Council of Rites
to rule over the other Additional Degrees.
As related in the Chapter on Freemasonry in the Forces, the G.L.
of Ireland was the first to issue ambulatory warrants to regiments of the
British Ármy, and "in all the great campaigns which extended throughout the
British Empire in the 18th Century somewhere among the baggage of the army
there was sure to be a Lodge chest containing an Irish warrant." (Lepper and
Crossle, op cit.) In 1768 Army Lodges were exempted from payment of annual
dues, but in 1813 they came forward voluntarily with an offer to pay 10s. 10d.
each while serving in the British Isles, and this offer was accepted.
Later, in 1825, they were subjected to the same dues as other
After the Battle of Waterloo the Military Lodges began to die out,
although there are five still working under the Irish Constitution,*
and in 1932 the Grand Lodge actually met on English Soil under Lord
Donoughmore in person
These are the 1st King's
Dragoon Guards, No. 571 (1923): the 417th Royal Dragoon Guards, No. 295
(1758): the 5th Royal Inþiskilling Dragoon Guards, No. 570 (1788): the 8th
King's Royal Irish Hussars, No. 646 (1932) and the Woreestershire Regiment,
No. 322 (1769). At the present time an attempt is being made to revive the
dormant lodge in the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infaðtry, No. 227. (see p.195).
IRISH MILITARY LODGES
the constitution of Leswarree Lodge, No. 646, in the 8th King's Royal Irish
Hussars. This took place at Farnborough.
In 1938 the Lodge Glittering Star, No. 322 (Worcestershire
Regiment) held a meeting in the Tower of London, the only Lodge ever to do so.
The Irish Charities.
We have already mentioned on p.147 the foundation of the Female
Orphan School, which was provided with a home in Charlemont Street, Dublin, by
John Boardman, the Grand Treasurer (1791-1813) whom Seton saw fit to
horsewhip. After various moves the present school was built in 1880 at
Balls-bridge, where it now accommodates 100 pupils.
The Girls' School had been in existence for nearly a quarter of a
century before similar provision was made for the sons of deceased Masons.
After subscriptions had been received for this purpose, a start was made in
1869 by placing four orphans in a suitable school. Three years later the
number had increased to fifteen. In 1878 the •ßiïvernïrs bought Adelaide Hall,
which was used for the irst separate Masonic boys' school until 1915, when a
far better site was found at Richview, where the present school stands.
£10,000 was quickly subscribed for converting and adding to the
Both Girls' and Boys' Schools
are now very efficiently serving the Country's educational requirements.
Freemasons' Hall Built, 1865.
The Dublin Masonic Hall
Company of Ireland (Ltd.) which was formed by Grand Lodge with a capital of
£8,000, bought 17 & 18, Molesworth Street., the Duke of Leinster contributing
£200 towards the purchase of a third house.
On this site was erected the present Freemasons' Hall, 73 feet
high, the lower part of the front elevation being of
F FREEMASONRY IN IRELAND
Doric Order, the centre of the Ionic and the upper of the Corinthian.
Grand Lodge took over the Hall from the Company in 1869 and thirty
years later became sole owners, having paid off all debentures. As already
mentioned on page 141, the Hall stands on the site of the town house of the
first recorded Grand Master.
The Dukes of Abercorn, G.Ms., 1874-1913.
After his 61 years' reign, a record for any Grand Master—the Duke
of Leinster was succeeded by the Duke of Abercorn, who continued in office
until 1885, when his son ruled in his stead. During this time Irish
Freemasonry made good progress and the number of lodges increased steadily.
In 1877 Grand Lodge broke with the Grand Orient of France (being
the first Grand Lodge to do so) on the French Freemasons' discarding the
Volume of the Sacred Law.
The Victoria Jubilee Masonic Annuity Fund
The third Charity was begun by a young doctor, Bro. Joseph Graham
Burne, who on the death of an old patient in a Dublin Poor Law Hospital had
found a M.M. certificate under his piles. The old man had made no attempt to
trade on his membership. Bro. Burne vowed then that, so far as he could help
it no Brother should ever be buried in a pauper's grave. He was assisted by
members of Lodge No. 250, and at present there are 260 old brethren and widows
in receipt of modest annuities,, In 1901 Bro. J. G. Burne installed his son as
Master of Lodge No. 2, his own father, Bro. John Burne being present.
The Golden Jubilee of the Fund was marked in 1937 by a service in
St. Patrick's Cathedral.
There are a number of Provincial charities doing excellent work in
addition to the "Three Jewels." Thus Cork has had a Girls' School for nearly
fifty years. It has been
VICTORIA JUBILEE MASONIC
estimated that contributions to the Masonic charities of) Ireland average over
£2 per member per annum.
The Earl of Donoughmore, G.M., 1913-48.
The sixth Earl of Donoughmore, descended from a brother of the
Grand Master from 1789 to 1813, succeeded the 2nd Duke of Abercorn as Grand
Master, on the latter's death.
In 1919 the Grand Lodge met for the first time outside Dublin;
since this Belfast meeting the October communication has been held each year
in some external centre.
Up to 1922 the Grand Secretary was practically an honorary
Officer, the actual work being mainly carried out by his Deputy. On the
retirement of Lord Dunnalley in that year his Deputy, Bro. Henry Charles
Shellard was promoted to be Grand Secretary, since when no Deputy G.S. has
been appointed. Brother Shellard, who has served the Grand Lodge since 1898 ás
Clerk, D.G.S. and G.S. retired from "active service" in 1951, but continues to
read the Minutes as Grand Secretary Emeritus.
In 1924 the Prince of Wales (now the Duke of Windsor) was
appointed Past J.G.W.
Deputations attended from the Grand Lodges of England, Scotland,
the United States, Canada and Australia to mark the celebration of the
Bicentenary of the Grand Lodge of Ireland (see p.140) in 1925.
Two years later Honorary Past Grand Rank, which had previously
been confined to a few outstanding Brethren of the Irish Constitution
overseas, was extended to members at home.
In 1933 it was decreed that all Grand Officers should wear the
gold chain of office, which had hitherto been confined to the Grand Master and
Irish Lodges in New Zealand presented three Officers' Chairs to
Grand Lodge in 1944.
In 1948 Lord Donoughmore died and was succeeded as Grand Master by
Most Wor. Bro. Raymond F. Brooke.
FREEMASONRY IN IRELAND
WHAT WAS A FREEMASON?
And so we must leave Irish
Freemasonry, which has the second oldest Grand Lodge in the world and the only
one to have ever held a regular meeting in another country: which has the
honour of having introduced the Charge to the newly initiated Candidate as
well as Certificates of membership, Lodge Warrants, Military Lodges and
Masonic journalism and which has the earliest known references to the Royal
Arch and much else of which it can justly be extremely proud. I
The study of Freemasonry in
Scotland involves a return to medieval times as the development via the Mason
Word followed lines very different from those of England. Then, though
material is very plentiful, it is less easily digested, the Histories of the
Grand Lodge of Scotland by the two Lauries being out of date and not
altogether reliable. There is among many magnificent Lodge histories
monumental tercentenary edition of Murray Lyon’s History of the Lodge of
Edinburgh (Mary’s Chapel No. 1) and it may be briefly stated here that
Scotland is rich in records of the operative and the pre-Grand Lodge
to the close of the 13th century, the development of the two countries
followed much the same lines but the Anglo-Sottish Wars and the
Franco-Scottish alliance resulted in a divergence of the lines of development.
What was a Freemason?
We have encountered diversity
of interpretation of the
WHAT WAS A FREEMASON?
Freemason in England. In Scotland it first appears in its modern significance
in 1725 when the Lodge of Edinburgh is described as "the Society of Free
Masons." The words "frie mesones" used in the same Lodge a century earlier
clearly relate to the Freedom of a Burgh—the right to practise the Craft. In
1483 we have in Aberdeen "Masonreys of the leige," this word here meaning the
body of workmen who used the room or lodge.
Much has been claimed on
behalf of the Gild organisation in England, but we have shown how tenuous was
the thread of continuity. North of the Border, the disruption of War meant
poverty and the Mason Gilds were forced to amalgamate with the organisations
of other Crafts.
The general medieval
organisation ran on similar lines to the English, though direct labour tended
to give place to the contract system. The term "Master Mason" is
constantly met with, sometimes describing the chief technical official,
sometimes a grade of employee, a master tradesman working on a job with his
duties are nowhere clearly defined and examples of the second form are found
at Holyroodhouse in 1735-6 where two Master Masons are engaged on the same
job, one at 18s. a week and one at 16s. (Scots). Then, it is not easy to
sub-divide the Scottish building craft, indeed no less an authority than
Douglas Knoop divides them into three groups, and admits some overlapping.
These were Quarriers, who hewed and roughly prepared the stone, Cowans, or
builders of drystone walls, a craft not yet extinct in the North of England
or, alternatively and more commonly, Masons without the Word and, lastly,
Masons, there being no distinction in Scotland between hewers and layers.
Edinburgh Seal of Cause, 1475.
have seen that in England there was little or no sign
FREEMASONRY IN SCOTLAND
organisation among the Masons before the latter part of the 14th century, also
that the Gilds tended to develop on oligarchic lines. In Scotland the excluded
humbler brethren did not supinely accept their lost status, but built up their
own organisation which grew in power as the Merchant-Gilds declined, despite
attempts to " suppress" leagues and bands of craftsmen. A Statute of 1424
placed each craft under a Deacon (for the sake of simplicity we are omitting
many delieffully Medieval Scots ways of spelling and expression). Two years
later the Deacon's powers were restricted to a testing of the craftsman's
proficiency while the fixing of wages was vested in the Council of the local
Within half a century the Masons and Wrights of Edinburgh were
strong enough to obtain from -the Burgh a Charter of Incorporation of the
Freemen-Masons and Wrights of Edinburgh. Trade Regulations were drawn up.
No Old Charges.
It is remarkable that Scotland produced no traditional history
such as England had from about 1490 in the Old Charges. The few copies
associated with Scotland are obviously copied from English sources, indeed one
or two naively require the Craftsman to be true to the King of England. The
above-mentioned Edinburgh Incorporation eventually became known as the
Incorporation of Mary's Chapel. Other trades joined and the movement spread to
other parts of Scotland.
It may be well here to consider the Apprenticeship system. Records
are found in the 15th century and some youths were apprenticed to Monasteries.
The period varied - 5, 6, 7, 9 years. In. Edinburgh, the Seal of Cause
provided for a term of seven years, after which the apprentice was to be
examined by four searchers and, if round proficient, admitted to membership of
The Schaw Statutes.
documents of especial importance have survived. ey were drawn up in 1598 and
1599 by William Schaw who had been appointed Master of Work and General Warden
of the Masons by James VI in 1583. He was a trusted official and enjoyed the
confidence of the King and Queen. His first code, of 1598, was circularised to
all Lodges and a copy, in Schaw's own hand is to be seen in the earliest
Minute Book of the Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary's CHapel) No. 1. Another copy is
preserved in the important minutes of the defunct Lodge of Aitchison's Haven,
while the originals of both Statutes are preserved in the Library of the Grand
Lodge of Scotland.
These documents are far too
long to transcribe here and t may merely be said they provided an elaborate
code of organisation and procedure and the 1599 copy provides a more intimate,
what we would today call a Provincial organisation, especial powers being
given to Kilwinning as the second Lodge in Scotland.
We have just introduced a name hallowed in Scotland as is York in
England, in fact Mother Kilwinning has her followers in every part of Scotland
in the multitude of Lodges that have adopted the word as part of their name.
The Abbey of Kilwinning was founded in 1140 and dedicated to St.
Winning. It is situated three miles north of Irving, near the Irish Sea, and
was probably of unusual magnificence. Traditions which will hardly bear
investigation have attached themselves to the building and its builders, but
it is confidently claimed that a Lodge existed as early as the 15th century.
The second Schaw Statute of
1599 very definitely ascribes
FREEMASONRY IN SCOTLAND
Lodge of Kilwinning the second place on the roll and oversight was given to
four districts. She has claimed a seniority over which she was prepared to go
into the wilderness from 1744 to 1807 and now appears at the head of the
Scottish Roll of Lodges, with the number 0 and precedency "Before 1598."
The Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary's Chapel) No. 1.
Although this appears on the Roll as No. 1, below Kilwinning,
there can be no doubt it holds real pride of place, its oldest surviving
(though probably not earliest) minute following the copy of the Schaw Statutes
of 1428. It is dated "Ultimo July 1599" and deals with a complaint against one
George PatoiIn who had offended by employing "ane cowane" in his work but, as
he made submission, no penalty was imposed though a general warning was
issued. The minute is attested with the Mark o Thomas Weir, the Warden.
We shall have more to say about this Lodge later.
The St. Clair Charters.
Two other documents of great interest and value are the St. Clair
Charters of 1601 and 1628. In the first, the claim is made on behalf of the
Lairds of Roslin that they had been for ages patrons and protectors of the
Mason Craft in Scotland, that this patronage had been allowed to fall into
abeyance and that, with the express permission of William Schaw, William St.
Clair of Roslin was to purchase of the King, "liberty, freedom and
jurisdictiori over all Masons in Burgh and Sheriffdoms. This was agreed to by
the representatives of the Lodges of Edinburgh, St. Andrews, Haddington,
Aitchison's Haven and Dunfermline—that is, five widely scattered Lodges united
in the common interest.
The second Charter of 1628 confirms and elaborates the former and
is signed by representatives of the Lodges at Edinburgh, Dundee, Glasgow,
Stirling, Ayr and St.
THE ST. CLAIR CHARTERS
Andrews, seven in all and partly overlapping the previous list. The attempt to
secure the recognition of the Crown was unsuccessful for in 1629 Charles I
appointed Sir Anthony Alexander as Master of Work and Warden General and
summarily brushed aside the prompt objection of Sir William Sinclair.
Incorporations existed among
various crafts in various burghs and were generally established by "seal of
cause" which confirmed and approved on behalf of the municipality, rules drawn
up by the craftsmen. By the end of the 17th century at least six had been
The Masons and Wrights of
The Coopers, Wrights and
Masons of Aberdeen, 1527, ratified in 1541, when the Carvers, Slaters and
Painters were added.
Canongate. Date unknown but a
list of Deacons and admissions from 1585. This included the Wrights, Coopers
and Masons from 1630.
Lanark. A new seal of cause
granted in 1674 to replace an earlier one destroyed in process of disinfection
after the death of the holder from plague in 1645. Ayr. The Squaremen
Incorporation (Masons and Wrights) in 1556.
The Mason Word.
We now come to the great
feature of Scottish Freemasonry. England had in its Old Charges the
traditional history but Scotland had the Mason Word. Douglas Knoop said in a
paper before the Quatuor Coronati Lodge that the bridge between Operative and
Speculative Masonry rested mainly on Scotland at the Operative end and on
England at the Speculative end. Like many of his statements this was hotly
attacked by his fellow students, but
FREEMASONRY IN SCOTLAND
more than probable he was right.
We have briefly reviewed the operative development and some
evidence of combination among the Lodges. They certainly had the Word, which
was something more than a mere expression. The Rev. Robert Kirk, Minister of
Aberfoyle, said in 1691, the Mason Word "is like a Rabbinical Tradition, in
the way of comment on Jachin and Boaz, the two Pillars erected in Solomon's
Temple. (1 Kings 7.21) with one Addition of some secret Signe delyvered from
Hand to Hand, by which they know and become I familiar one with another."
The discovery of the
Catechisms described elsewhere has confirmed that at the conclusion of the
ceremony`of admission the word was circulated amongst the brethren and that
there were two distinct degrees, the Entered Apprentice and the Fellow or
The earliest known printed reference is the celebrated passage in
Henry Adamson's The Muses Threnody: -
For we be brethren of the
We have the Mason Word and
Things for to come we can
What was an Entered Apprentice? It is believed that in Scotland
there were, in the 17th century, two classes of students, "Apprentices," bound
to the Master and not requiring any special mode of recognition, and "entered
apprentices" who were in the midway between the indentured apprentice and the
Master, journeymen as we would call them. They would normally serve under a
Master but might change employment or even sometimes do a little work on their
own account. Then the Schaw Statutes required the presence of six masters and
two apprentices at the reception of a master or fellow craft, so the entered
apprentice had a share in government.
The term is not found in pre-Andersonian Masonry other than in
WHAT WAS AN ENTERED
Custom of Admission.
In primitive times, candidates for admission to the adult body of
the tribe were often subject to ordeals ranging from the sublime to the
ridiculous. As the Edinburgh Register House Ms. of 1696 indicates, racial
memories were not dormant and the decorum now associated with Freemasonry was
conspicuous by its absence. It also indicates the existence of two separate
degrees or ceremonies, one conferred on entered apprentices, the other on
fellow-crafts or Masters. Knoop goes so far as to suggest that there may have
been two sets of secrets as early as 1598, though he admits that in the Schaw
Statute of that year there was no requirement that the mark of the entered
apprentice was to be booked (presumably he had none although in Aberdeen in
1670 the names and marks of the entered apprentices were recorded in the Mark
At least a few of the old Scottish Lodges were in possession of
copies of the Old Charges, though regard must be paid to the caution given
earlier in this chapter. The Lodge of Aberdeen in 1670 admitted its
apprentices with considerable ceremony not only imparting the Mason Word, but
reading over the Lodge version of the Old Charges and the Laws and Statutes of
The Edinburgh Register House Ms. indicates that the person to be
admitted to the fellowship was introduced to a version of the Five points of
fellowship differing only in detail from our own. These points are more fully
dealt with in the Graham Ms. of 1726 which, though discovered in Yorkshire in
1936, very probably related to Scotland or the Border country. It introduces
also a counterpart of the Hiramic legend, the central figure being Noah, not
Appearance of the Speculative element.
Very early in Scottish Masonic history, the non-o erative makes
his appearance. On 8th June, 1600, the Lodge of
FREEMASONRY IN SCOTLAND
Edinburgh met at Holyrood House and the minutes are attested by all present
including James Boswell, Laird of Auchinlech, a prominent landowner.
Incidentally he was an ancestor of andther famous Brother, James Boswell the
biographer of Dr. Johnson. The same Lodge, in 1634, admitted as Fellows of the
Craft, Lord Alexander, Antony Alexander and Sir Alexander Strachan. The
admission of Sir Robert Moray has already been mentioned. The presbytery of
Kelso ruled in 1652 "there is neither sinne nor scandale in that" (the Mason)
"word, because in the purest tymes of this Kirke, maisons haveing that word
have been ministers; .... "
The position of these
non-operatives improved slowly and at variable speed. It is possible they were
looked upon in some places for patronage and support, rather like the Honorary
Vice-President of a village cricket club today; expected to be "forthcoming"
when necessary but to take no part in the government of the Lodge. In Aberdeen
& Kilwinning there was no bar, but in Edinburgh it was not until 1727 that a
non-operative was chosen as Warden and not until 1753 that the operative
element lost its hold. This state of affairs is not found in England where the
operative Lodge is almost unknown.
The Hiving Process.
Towards the end of the 17th century there began an expansion among
the Lodges similar to that which followed the establishment of the
Grand Lodge of England. In earlier times, Lodges had been few and widely
separated but economic conditions had their repercussions—the demand for the
Masons' services increased and the tight little oligarchies began to meet
rivals. The Lodge of Edinburgh had for upwards of a couple of centuries
exercised control in and around Edinburgh, but suddenly in 1677 found a new
lodge in the Canongate. The "interlopers “ evaded the wrath of Edinburg by
THE HIVING PROCESS
document from Kilwinning acknowledging the new Lodg to be a branch of itself -
of course Canongate Kilwinning was in effect an independent Lodge from the
beginning but what could Edinburgh do about it? In any event the Burgh of the
Canongate was then a quite separate entity.
Eleven years later Canongate and Leith/Leith and Canongate set up
on its own authority without the pretence of authority from Kilwinning—and
without assent from the Crown or Warden-General. Edinburgh countered this move
by banning the new movement but their "sanctions" were quite unsuccessful
though the position was not accepted until 1736.
Then, in 1709, schism struck
within the city itself. Opposition to the restrictive practices of the
employers culminated in the formation of the Lodge of Journeymen Masons who,
after a period of difficulties, secured for themselves a Decretal Arbitral in
1715, which empowered them to communicate the Mason Word.
A third method, successful in more isolated places, was the mere
assemblage of a number of Masons into a Lodge without pretence of authority,
'though there was a tendency to adopt the "blessed ward" Kilwinning as part of
the title. The Lodge of Holyrood house came into being in this manner in 1734,
two years before the formation of the Grand Lodge of Scotland.
The fourth method anticipated the Grand Lodge system. The new
Lodge applied to and accepted a Warrant from some established body; for
example, in 1729, Kilwinning granted one to the Lodge of Torpichen, at
Visit of Dr. Desaguliers.
By this time the Grand Lodge of England was in being A, and, as we
have seen, was making good use of the Scottish, material imported by Dr.
Anderson. During 1721, Dr. Desaguliers happened to be in Edinburgh on business
when he visited the Lodge of Edinburgh where he was "received
FREEMASONRY IN SCOTLAND
brother." Within a few days, the Lodge admitted as Entered Apprentices and
Fellowcrafts the Lord Provost, several members of the Council and other
distinguished Scotsmen, as well as a couple of ordinary Operative Apprentices.
The Third Degree.
That mystery of mysteries, the origin of the Third Degree, again
appears here. We know it was in full operation in England before 1730 and was
almost certainly introduced into Scotland from England yet, by some
extrordinary chance, the earliest known record of its operation is found in
what is now Dumbarton Kilwinning Lodge No. 18 (S.C.), whose opening Minute of
the 29th January, 1726, refers to Masters, fellows of the craft and Entered
prentices. At the following Meeting on the 25th March a Fellow Craft was
"unanimously admitted and received a Master of the Fraternity and renewed his
oath and gave his entry money in the terms of the Constitution.*"
The Grand Lodge Projected.
By this time it must have been well known in Scotland that the
establishment of a Grand Lodge in England had proved successful and had been
followed by simar action in Ireland. In 1735 there were Lodges in Edinburgh:
a. Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary's
b. Canongate Kilwinning, 1677.
c. Canongate and Leith/Leith and Canongate, 1688.
d. Journeymen Masons, 1709.
e. Kilwinning Scots Arms, 1729.
f. Holyrood House (St. Luke's), 1734.
Canongate Kilwinning took the initiative and three others joined,
namely Mary's Chapel, Kilwinning Scots Arms and a newly-formed addition, Leith
At this point the St. Clairs of Roslin re-enter the story
See H. Car, The Cïêjïiéét
Theory, A.Q.C., 1953.
THE GRAND LODGE PROJECTED
probably in order to suggest a link with the ancient brethren, Canongate
Kilwinning initiated William St. Clair. He was initiated in the ordinary way
and paid his fee.
There were further cautious preliminary movements after which a
proposal was circulated that a Grand Master should be appointed. Canongate
Kilwinning agreed and added that a proper Secretary was also essential.
Descending to more mundane matters they were scandalised at the behaviour of
one Bro. Wescomb who warms " more (unworthy than a Cowan."
The Four Lodges Meet.
As in England, so in Scotland,
four old Lodges were associated in the formation of Grand Lodge. Canongate
Kilwinning, Mary's Chapel, Kilwinning Scots Arms and Leith Kilwinning were all
represented by their Masters and Wardens on 15th October, 1736, the delegates
taking their places without precedence but in the order of entry into the
room. A series of resolutions formed the first regulations and these were
transmitted to theMasters of all the known regular Lodges in Scotland.
Progress at first was slow, the Lodges hesitated before joining
the movement and among the candidates with an eye on the Throne were William
St. Clair of Roslin, the Earl of Home and Lord Crawford. The Grand Election
was held on 30th November, 1736, when thirty three Lodges were represented,
their Masters and Wardens producing their authorities and, after disposing of
a difficulty caused by the presence of two sets of representatives of the
Lodge of Falkirk, the wily St. Clair produced a written resignation of the
powers which in fact he and his family did not possess over Speculative
Freemasonry. This handsome though meaningless gesture captured the assembly
and William St. Clair was elected first Grand Master of Scotland though it is
believed a substantial number of brethren had intended to vote for the Earl of
FREEMASONRY IN SCOTLAND
Establishment of Precedency.
This was a most difficult matter in Scotland where many Lodges,
some of long standing, were in existence at the time of the formation of Grand
Lodge. England, so far as its Roll was concerned, had but the Four Old Lodges
to consider. Murray Lyon tells us the thirty three Lodges attending the Grand
Election were placed on the roll in the order in which they, entered the hall.
This was but a temporary arrangement and on St. Andrew's Day, 1737, the Grand
Lodge decided to enroll its Lodges according to seniority of foundation, those
producing no documents to be placed at the end of the Roll.
Resuming the story of the first Meeting, there was a prompt
objection to the presence of Canongate and Leith/Leith and Canongate as a
schismatic body, but this was smoothed over.
The first quarterly meng of the new Grand Lodge was held on 12th
January, 1737, when the minutes of the Four Associated Lodges and of the Grand
Election were approved. Kilwinning promptly lodged complaints especially about
the Meeting place being always Edinburgh, very properly pointing out that it
was as easy for the Master and Wardens of the Capital to go elsewhere as for
those of the country to go to Town. It was also submitted that the
registration fee of half a crown bore hardly on the operative brethren who
were hard put to it to meet their Lodge dues. This was overruled and Grand
Lodge decreed that those who failed to pay the entry fee should not benefit
from the charity fund.
Earl of Cromarty.
William St. Clair was succeeded by the Earl of Cromarty on 30th
November 1737, Grand Lodge having patriotically adopted St. Andrew's Day as
that of the Grand Election. It was also decided that the Grand Secretary and
Grand Clerk should not be elected annually but should hold office
EARL OF CROMARTY
"during good behaviour." Grand Lodge lost little time in emerging into public
view, for the foundation stone of the new Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh was
laid with Masonic honours on 2nd August, 1738.
Until 1756 the Grand Master was elected annually but was probably
something of a figure head for it is observed the Deputy Grand Master and the
Substitute Grand Master held continuous office during most of this time. Thus
regularity was maintained while the tenure of the principal Office by a
succession of persons of distinction must have conduced to the public regard
Relations established with England.
It was agreed in 1740, under the Earl of Strathmore, that a
correspondence should be opened with the Grand Lodge of England.
The Kilwinning Secession.
We have already seen that
Kilwinning was not too happy about the new state of affairs. When the
precedence of the Lodges was decided by Grand Lodge, the Lodge of Edinburgh
minute of "Ultimo Julii, 1599" was older by forty-three years than anything
that could be produced by Killwinning. For some years the situation was
accepted outwardly but evidently with mental reservations and in 1743 having
failed in an attempt to secure promotion to the head of the list, Kilwinning
quietly resumed its independence which it maintained for the next seventy
years, granting Charters on its own authority not only in Scotland but in
North America and other places overseas.
The Jacobite Rebellions.
War impinged more forcibly on Scottish than on English
Freemasonry. It has already been recorded that the
FREEMASONRY IN SCOTLAND
earliest recorded initiation in England was carried out by members of the
Lodge of Edinburgh who were at Newcastle with the Scottish Army. The English
Grand Lodge was set up two years after the collapse of the "Fifteen," the
Scottish nine years before the "Fory-five." The only effect of the latter in
England was a short sharp panic as the Jacobites advanced to Derby and as
swiftly withdrew. Far different was the story in Scotland where the country
underwent march and countermarch and almost the whole of the military
Here, we had brethren serving on both sides though, once again,
the Lodges generally steered clear of politics. Murray Lyon tells that in the
Lodge of Dunblane, many of the brethren were non-operatives and some of these
were Jacobites; some taking part in each of the Rebellions. Canongate
Kilwinning is said to have been markedly Jacobite but, though it ceased to
meet for a year, it is not true that it was "closed." Some of the members of
Holyroodhouse were "out" and one or two were transported and others pardoned,
Robert Seton (one of the latter class) occupying the Chair of the Lodge in
There was more trouble in Inverness, where some of the members of
St. John's Kilwinning were said to have taken up arms on behalf of the
Government in the "independent companies." When Charles Edward occupied the
town in 1746 these withdrew into Ross and Sutherland. St. Andrew's Kilwinning,
of the same town, complained that the Duke of Cumberland's troops broke into
the Lodge chest and carried off everything but the Charter. This may be
discounted by the fact that in 1750 an investigation was held into the conduct
of the Treasurer at the time of the alleged losses.
However, in time, peace prevailed and the Scottish Lodges settled
down to a couple of centuries uninterrupted working before one (at Gretna
Green) was dispersed in tragic and untimely fashion by a German bomb in 1941.
We have already referred briefly to curiosity about the Mason
Word. In England the earliest known of a long series of attacks appeared in
1678. The Associate Synod of Stirling considered in 1745 the propriety of the
Mason Oath and allowed the various kirk sessions to act as they thought
proper. This met with some modified success but in 1755 the kirk sessions were
ordered to be more searching in their inquiries and a further stiffening took
place in 1757 when the interrogation of Masons was ordered, those refusing
information to be excommunicated. A confession of participation in Freemasonry
involved public penance and a sessional rebuke. The Grand Lodge of Scotland
took no cognizance of this attack, the effect of which was hardly noticeable.
Grand Lodge continues.
For some years, little of note occurred; each Grand Master Mason
nominated his successor who was duly elected until 1752 when Lord Boyd took no
action and a committee selected as his successor Mr. George Drummond,,
remarkable as being the first person recorded as raised in Mary's Chapel
Lodge. It is curious that at the same time it was necessary to find
replacements for the Depute and rid Substitute Grand Masters and the Grand
Clerk, each of whom had held his office since Grand Lodge's establishment. Is
it possible that we have here a repercussion of the Jacobite troubles? The new
Grand Master had, by raising and leading volunteers, done much towards the
defeat of the 1745 Rebellion, yet the retiring Deputy Grand Master, John
Young, had also a very active military career.
The earliest instance of the re-election of a person as G.M. came
in 1756 when Sholto, Lord Aberdour, was again chosen. During this nobleman's
first year, it was unanimously resolved that the Grand Master for the time
being be affiliated and recorded as a member of every Daughter
FREEMASONRY IN SCOTLAND
in Scotland. There was also some extension of the system of appointing
Provincial Grand Masters. Colonel former Depute Grand Master was appointed
Provincial Grand Master for America and the West Indies.
It now became customary for the Grand Master Mason to serve a
second year, but at the end of the first he nominated his successor, who was
known as Grand Master Elect. This system prevailed until 1827.
Grand Lodge forbade in 1759 the use by Lodges of "Painted Floor
Cloths": in 1760 they attempted to restrict the practice of giving vails or
presents to servants, and in 1762 declined to issue a warrant to some brethren
in London who were desirous of setting up a Scottish Lodge there.
progressively, the Grand Chaplain was made a member of Grand Lodge in 1758, in
1765 it was ordered that proper clothing and jewels should be procured for the
Grand Officers and in 1770 Grand Lodge, by advertisement, threatened to call
in the Charters of Lodges which failed to render their dues to the Grand
In 1778 Lodges were forbidden to offer bounties to military
recruits (Freemasonry, though abstaining from politics, was always interested
in the welfare of the Services and Lodges in Scotland and England occasionally
joined the recruiting parades).
The Lodges are numbered.
It has already been mentioned that attempts were made at a very
early date to decide the precedence of Lodges. About 1760 they were
distinguished by numbers and were re-numbered in 1809, 1816, 1822 and 1826.
nevertheless formed an Antients Lodge, which is today the Caledonian Lodge No.
134 (E.C.). Scotland did warrant Lodges in Carlisle (1786) and Douglas, I.O.M,
(1843), which are represented today by Nos. 310 and 1004 (both E.C.).
No account of Scottish Freemasonry would be complete without some
reference to Scotland's poet. Robert Burns was initiated in St. David's Lodge,
Tarbolton in 1781, though a year later he and others seceded and formed the
Lodge of Tarbolton Kilwinning, St. James, which possesses a fine collection of
his relics. He served as Depute Master and took an active part in the social
side, many poems about the Lodge or its brethren being found among his works.
Perhaps the best is, "Adieu! a heart-warm fond adieu! " written when, having
failed as a farmer, he was about to emigrate. This course was avoided at the
last minute and he visited Edinburgh proving a favourite at Canongate
Kilwinning though it must be recorded with regret that the famous picture of
his Inauguration as Poet-Laureate of the Lodge was painted many years after
his time and the genuineness of the incident has been disputed. The first
reference to his having held the office only occurs in 1815! He died in 1796,
leaving the Craft the poorer for the loss of this wayward but loveable genius.
The Additional Degrees.
Grand Lodge disÜpproved of the participation of the brethren in
additional degrees and in 1799 formally prohibited its Lodges from holding "
any other Meetings than those of the “Three Great Orders of Masonry" It was
necessary to repeat this a year later as some Lodges were so closely
identified with the Royal Arch and Knight Templar.
The Prince Regent.
In 1805, H.R.H. the Prince of Wales was elected "Grand Master and
Patron," an empty title for, as he was not a Scottish Freemason he was
ineligible for the former office. At his accession in 1820 the title was
changed to "Patron of the Most Ancient Order of St. John's Masonry for
FREEMASONRY IN SCOTLAND
The Earl of Moira now became
Acting Grand Master Elect and, during his active association, delivered a
number of those eloquent orations for which he was famous. He may also be
thanked for bringing about the cordial and fraternal relationship which has
subsisted ever since between England and Scotland. Further, during his second
year as Grand Master, there occurred the reconciliation between Grand Lodge
and the Lodge of Kilwinning.
The Lodge of Edinburgh Secedes.
Upon this reconciliation of Kilwinning with Grand Lodge it was
given a new position at the head of the list without a number. This was
certainly unfair to the Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary's Chapel) No. 1, which had
its minutes complete from 1599. Edinburgh was willing to stand aside if
Kilwinning could only produce the proof. This resulted in the temporary
secession of several Lodges who set up an organisation styling itself "The
Associated Lodges seceding from the present Grand Lodge of Scotland" and the
Masters of the seceding Lodges occupied the Chair of the provisional body in
rotation at its annual Festivals. Another trouble on some matter which "ran"
concurrently with this was a rebellion by a Dr. John Mitchell, Master of Lodge
Caledonian, who moved in Grand Lodge in 1807 that an address be presented to
the King thanking him for supporting the established religion of the country.
This was lost by a majority of one vote. The following year, Dr. Mitchell was
found guilty by Grand Lodge of having proposed at a meeting of Caledonian
Lodge that it should secede from Grand Lodge. He was suspended but, three days
later, his Lodge re-installed him in the Chair and the Lodge seceded. After
consultation with the Grand Lodges of England and Ireland, the Grand Lodge of
Scotland expelled Dr. Mitchell in 1808 and suspended several members of Mary's
Chapel and their associates. The Lodge promptly backed Dr.
THE LODGE OF EDINBURGH SECEDES
Mitchell and the greater part of its office bearers and those of the Lodge of
St. Andrew, which had taken similar action, were suspended.
There ensued a long and bitter struggle but, happily in 1813 peace
was achieved, the Grand Lodge having to give way on most matters with the
exception of the expulsion of Dr. Mitchell.
Formation of Grand Chapter.
The position of Royal Arch Masonry in Scotland in the early 19th
century was chaotic. At the time of the formation of the Supreme Grand Royal
Arch Chapter of Scotland in 1816 there were at least five sources, in addition
to the working of the degree under Craft Warrants which had by now been
1. Chapters working under
warrants from the Grand Chapter of England.
There were eight
of these and the minute book and other records of one of them, the Royal
Gallovidian Chapter, were recently rediscovered by one of the present authors
and are now in the Library of the Grand Lodge of England.
2. Chapters which had worked without warrants since the 18th
3. Chapters working under the authority of Knights Templar
4. Chapters working under various forms of authority from Ireland.
5. Chapters of recent formation working without warrant from any
Grand Lodge was antipathetic, insisting even after the formation
of Grand Chapter that no recognition be accorded to anything beyond the Three
Degrees, whereas England, at the Union of 1813, had formally recognised the
Royal Arch. On 4th August, 1817, it was decreed that Lodges
FREEMASONRY IN SCOTLAND
admitting persons to their processions or meetings wearing "regalia, insignia,
badges or crosses" other than those belonging to St. John's Masonry would be
proceeded against. On 3rd November an overwhelming 'majority voted that no
person holding an official position in any body sanctioning higher degrees
should be entitled to sit, act or vote in Grand Lodge.
A very dignified protest by Grand Chapter signed by two Past Grand
Masters, the Earls. of Moray and Aboyne, was not even considered but, though
the Royal Arch has never formally been acknowledged, the prohibitions quickly
became a dead letter.
In 1845 Grand Chapter formally announced that its Chapters were
entitled to confer the Mark, Past, Excellent and Royal Arch, the Royal Ark
Mariners and the Babylonish Pass. Of these, the counterparts in England are
only to be obtained in the Cryptic Degrees (Excellent Master) or the Allied
Degrees (Babylonish Pass—under another name) while Royal Ark Mariner Lodges
are "moored" to Mark Lodges.
The Laws Revised.
Despite, or perhaps because of, the antiquity of Freemasonry in
Scotland, Grand Lodge managed to get along without a Book of Constitutions for
nearly a century. A Committee was set up in 1829 to revise the Laws and their
code was published in 1836 since when there have been several revisions.
The Centenary of Grand Lodge.
On St. Andrew's Day, 1836, the Centenary of Grand V Lodge was
celebrated, the äärand Master being James Andrew, Lord Ramsay, afterwards 10th
Earl and 1st ) Marquess of Dalhousie. Gold medals struck in commemoration were
presented to the Grand Lodges of England and Ireland.
Before the day of organised
Masonic benevolence, there existed in many Lodges an element now associated
more nearly with the Friendly Society movement. This was not peculiar to
Scotland, being found in many parts of the North of England, indeed the
Benefit side of the Travelling Mark Lodge of Ashton-under-Lyne was still in
operation until very nearly the end of the 19th century. In 1844 the Grand
Lodge of Scotland ordered an inquiry into the effect, beneficial or otherwise,
of Benefit Societies on the prosperity of Freemasonry. It transpired that in
some Lodges it was explained to candidates that their fees would be so much
for the Craft and so much (more) for the Benefit Society and it was found that
the person who did not take up membership of the Society was debarred
from Office in the Lodge. It was admitted that the Societies were often
conducted with great care and were beneficial to the parties cohcerned.
On 6th May, 1844, it was resolved, "That all Lodges who may
hereafter form Benefit Societies are hereby prohibited from depriving any of
the members of their Lodges of the right of voting at the election of
Office-bearers, or being chosen Office-bearers; and those Lodges who already
have Benefit Societies connected therewith, are instructed to make such
alterations upon their bye-laws and practice as will admit every duly
constituted Member of the Lodge, not lying under any Masonic disability, to
vote, or to be eligible for office, at the elections of Office-bearers. The
Grand Lodge also recommends all Lodges having Benefit Societies to be very
careful in keeping the funds of the Lodge perfectly distinct and separate from
those of the Society." Two years later the Fund of Masonic Benevolence was
Interval between Degrees.
It was ordained in 1814 that an interval of two weeks
FREEMASONRY IN SCOTLAND
elapse between each of the Craft Degrees. This met the convenience of Lodges
meeting bi-monthly but was designed to stop the practice of hurrying
Candidates through all three in one night, but a proviso permitting the ban to
be overridden by the Master or Wardens "in any particular case of emergency"
made it something of a dead letter. In any event the Scottish Constitutions
still permit the conferring of degrees on several candidates at once. In 1846
it was declared, " .... The Grand Lodge further considers every Master Mason
qualified to be elected to and fill the Chair asR.W. Ivlasters without
receiving any additional secrets whatever:"
It was not until 1870 that the
Grand Lodge, under the Earl of Rosslyn, recognised and adopted the Installed
Grand Temple and Library.
The foundations of what is now a fine Masonic Library were laid in
1849 when the widow of Dr. Charles Morrison presented to Grand Lodge his fine
cïllectiün of Masonic books and manuscripts. This was catalägued by the great
Historian, Murray Lyon and, with considerable additions, is now in the
energetic hands of Geo. S. Draffen.
In 1857, a Committee was
appointed to consider the propriety and practicability of providing a Masonic
Hall. A year later the Foundation Stone was laid by the 6th Duke of Atholl,
Grand Master Mason, and on 24th February, 1859, the Hall, at 98 George
Street,'Edinburgh, was consecrated and inaugurated. The Foundation Stone of
the present Hall, which is on the same site, was laid by the Marquess of
Tullibardine, Grand Master Mason, on 20th April, 1911 and Grand Lodge met
therein for the first time on 7th November, 1912, when the Temple was
Scottish Masonic Charity.
Scotland's efforts for Masonic Charity have ever taken
SCOTTISH MASONIC CHARITY
practical form. We read of the taking of a collection of £10 in Grand Lodge in
1737 and, the same year, Grand Lodge agreed to pay the wages of a number of
Operative Masons engaged on the building of the Edinburgh Infirmary. Provision
was also made for the apprenticing to their fathers' trade of a number of
orphans of Operative Masons; during the apprenticeship of eight years Grand
Lodge provided clothing and other necessaries. Widows and distressed brethren
were not forgotten and donations quickly came in from distant Lodges, some of
In 1759, ten guineas was voted towards the relief of French
Prisoners of War in Edinburgh Castle, priority being given to Brother Masons.
The Grand Lodge Charity Fund covered all benevolent work for more
than a century until, in 1846, the Fund of Scottish Masonic Benevolence was
established, to which Office-bearers of Grand Lodge were required to
contribute and, from 1849, a quarterly contribution has been required from all
brethren. An Annuity Fund was established in 1888, for which a collection is
taken at the Installation Meeting of every Lodge and, in 1917, the Orphan
Annuity Fund was established.
A recent development has been the acquisition of a house called
"Ault Wharrie " in Dunblane, Perthshire, which, after adaptation, was opened
in 1951 by H.R.H. the Princess Royal for use as an old people's home.
Bi-Centenary of Grand Lodge.
The Bi-Centenary of Grand Lodge was celebrated with great éclat
on 30th November, 1936, when Sir Iain Colquhon of Luss, Bart., was succeeded
as Grand Master Mason of Scotland by H.R.H. the Duke of York, who was already
Provincial Grand Master for Middlesex under the English Constitution. His
Royal Highness made his entry into Scottish Freemasonry by affiliation with
the Lodge at Glamis, of which his father-in-law, the Earl of Strathmore,
FREEMASONRY IN SCOTLAND
Past Master. On his accession to the Throne as King George VI he resigned his
office and was succeeded by Brigadier-General Sir Norman A. Orr-Ewing, Bart.
In 1952 Grand Lodge issued its first official Year Book, a
masterly compilation of which good use has been made in the compilation of
this chapter. There were, at the time of issue 935 Lodges on the active list,
the highest number being 1,468. Of these Lodges, 599 were in Scotland and 336
overseas. Many of the "blanks" are accounted 'or by Lodges which, after being
warranted by Scotland, have become affiliated with more recently-formed Grand
Lodges, Queensland alone accounting for some two hundred of these in 1925.
FREEMASONRY IN THE FORCES
"Masonry hath always been
injured by War, Bloodshed, and Confusion," says the Second Charge in
Anderson's Constitutions of 1723, but we propose to shew how our Craft derived
great, though indirect, benefits from the wars of the 18th century and how
Freemasonry, in its turn, proved beneficial to many members of many armed
Pre-Grand Lodge days.
Among the characters associated by legend or in history with the
building craft we may mention briefly St. Alban and the Quatuor Coronati, all
military martyrs under Rome. The first initiation in England of which we have
any record was that of Sir Robert Moray, Quartermaster-
PRE-GRAND LODGE DAYS
General to the Army of Scotland, which took place at Newcastle in 1641, the
brethren concerned being members of the famous Edinburgh Lodge already
described. In 1646 we have the initiation of Elias Ashmole at Warrington and,
among those present, was his father-in-law, Colonel Mainwaring. Thus, of the
three names just quoted we find a covenanter, a royalist and a
parliamentarian. The earliest-known initiation of a naval officer is that of
Admiral Robert Fairfax, admitted at York in 1713.
Early Grand Lodge Days.
War was endemic during the 18th century but total I war, as we
know it only too well today, was yet unknown, so travel through enemy
territory was by no means impossible and a certain amount of trade persisted.
On the expansion of Freemasonry, the Craft came to the notice of many who
followed the drum. The first noble Grand Master, the Duke of Montagu, was
Master-General of the Ordnance. His successor, the Duke of Wharton, the black
sheep of the Craft, founded the first Lodge in Spain to appear on the Register
of Grand Lodge and, very shortly afterwards, was found engaged in the siege of
Gibraltar—on the enemy side!
The first purely Military
Lodge of which we know was established in Gibraltar in 1728 but this was a
stationary body and not of the ambulatory type which later travelled from
place to place with the Regiment to which it was attached. The first of these
warrants was issued by the Grand Lodge of Ireland to the Lodge in the First
Foot (Royal Scots) in 1732. By 1734 four further Lodges were warranted, in the
33rd Foot (now the Duke of Wellington's West Riding Regiment), 27th (Royal
Inniskilling Fusiliers), 21st (Royal Scots Fusiliers) and 28th (the "Glorious
Gloucesters.") In 1747 the Grand Lodge of Scotland issued a Warrant to a Lodge
in the Duke of Norfolk's 12th Foot (now the Suffolk Regiment), and it was
FREEMASONRY IN THE FORCES
Petition that this Lodge had been established about the same time as the
formation of the Regiment in 1685.
England lagged behind in the issue of Military Warrants and by the
time the first was issued Ireland had warranted 29 and Scotland 5 Military
Lodges, a fact that had important bearing on the spread of influence of the
Antients, as the working of Scotland and Ireland was more nearly akin to their
working than to that of the Moderns.
One cannot better trace the vicissitudes of a Military Lodge than
by following the story of one of the older Lodges through the first century of
its existence. The Minden Lodge, No. 63 on the Register of the Grand Lodge of
Ireland, was warranted in the 20th Regiment of Foot (Lancashire Fusiliers) in
1748, its first Master being Colonel George, Lord Saville; the name Minden was
later adopted after the victory of that name. At the time of its formation the
Regiment was employed in the pacification of the Highlands after the 1745
Rebellion; in 1756 it was ordered to Germany, where an Army Order of 1759
directed it out of action owing to its severe losses—an order countermanded
two days later at the Regiment's own request. From 1762 to 1775 it served at
home, this being followed by General Burgoyne's disastrous campaign in
America, the surrender at Saratoga and imprisonment from 1777 to 1783.
Although the early records of the Lodge were lost the Warrant was preserved by
some providential, though unknown, means.
Six years' service in England was followed by four in the then
dreaded West Indies, from which a skeleton force of survivors landed at
Plymouth in April, 1796. Recruitment soon brought the Regiment up to a
strength of two Battalions and there followed a period of intense activity
—Holland, Ireland, an attempt to invade Brittany and, in 1801, to Egypt whence
after a successful engagement, the
THE MINDEN LODGE
Regiment sailed to Malta. Here is found the earliest recorded meeting of the
Lodge, Charles Whitton, whose rank is unknown, being installed, and by 1804 a
membership of 40 had been attained.
Naples, 1805; Sicily, 1806; Gibraltar, 1807, with plenty of
action, were followed by a brief trip home in 1808, followed by the Peninsular
campaign and home after Corunna in 1812. It was then found that the Grand
Lodge regarded the Lodge as defunct, no returns having been rendered for the
past forty years, a fact at which we need hardly wonder, but the Grand Lodge
permitted the Lodge to resume work under the old Warrant without payment of
fees. Duty then recalled the Regiment to the Peninsula and 1819 found it
mounting guard over Napoleon at St. Helena, where Lodge work was quite
impossible owing to lack of facilities.
The Lodge resumed its labours in India in 1821 after an interval
of six years though death, disease and discharge . had reduced the membership
to four but, with the assistance of brethren of other Lodges, the Minden Lodge
was revived. Membership soon increased, charitable duties were resumed and the
brethren participated in many Masonic functions, but after twenty years'
service in India the Regiment and the Lodge returned to England, the latter
shattered once again by "the exigencies of the Service"—once again it built up
its forces and this time established a Masonic Library! The Minden Lodge no
longer figures on the Register of the Grand Lodge of Ireland. Its story has
been told simply to indicate the peculiar difficulties of carrying on an
ambulatory Military Lodge as well as the influence such a body might be
expected to exercise as it passed from station to station.
Last English Warrants.
The last English Military warrants were surrendered as
FREEMASONRY IN THE FORCES
recently as 1947 and 1949. In the former year the Warrant of Social Friendship
Lodge, 497, attached to the old 89th Royal Irish Fusiliers was surrendered,
the Lodge receiving a renewed Warrant authorising it to meet as a stationary
Lodge. In 1949, similar action was taken by the Lodge of Unity, Peace and
Concord, 316, belonging to the Royal Scots.
The Board of General Purposes commented on these events, "This
brings to a close an important chapter in English Freemasonry, for there can
be no doubt that the spread of the Craft overseas was largely due to the
enthusiasm and pertinacity of the members of the Military Lodges, who carried
with them the seeds of Freemasonry to many distant garrison towns and
cantonments, where stationary Lodges were established and still flourish.
"The Board would not wish this change of status of these famous
old Lodges to pass unnoticed by the Craft."
Freemasonry among Prisoners of War.
Military Lodges are to be found or traced under many jurisdictions
but, after our British Lodges, no country seems to have had as many as France.
Seventy-six are known to have been founded down to 1787 but, after that,
expansion was slower and stopped with the Revolution. Though the Lodges
established under the Monarchy generally went out of existence, there were
sixty-nine French Military Lodges in 1812, which at that time used to open and
close with the cry, "Vive l'Empereur!" There was a semi-collapse after the
fall of Napoleon and by 1821 the last French Military Lodge had gone out of
In the days before total war, Freemasonry provided a great solace
for fellow-members of the Craft who found themselves occupying the same
prisoner-of-war establishments. In particular the French formed many Masonic
associations, especially in this country. These Lodges, for they met as such,
were first formed during the Seven
FREEMASONRY AMONG PRISONERS OF
War of 1756-1763 and many more came into being during the Napoleonic Wars.
There were many instances of donations by British Lodges to alleviate the
privations of these French brethren, while in Montrose a number of prisoners
were removed from the local jail to the house of one of the brethren.
Prisoners on parole were received as visitors at Lodges in many places.
Where these facilities were not available the French brethren
often established Lodges of their own; probably the majority were unauthorised
but in four cases, at Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Chesterfield, Leek and Northampton,
permission to hold Lodges was sanctioned by the Earl of Moira, Acting G.M. of
England, though, of course, the working of the Grand Orient was followed.
The prisoners generally restricted their activity to the admission
of their own countrymen, yet hospitality was exchanged with local Lodges. Many
degrees were worked, including Scots Master, Knight of the East and Rose
Croix, and Lodges have been traced in five of the eight prisons and even six
of the fifty-one hulks. Certificates were issued and most of our Masonic
museums contain pathetic relics in the form of jewels of tinsel and coloured
material carefully cut into tiny emblems and mounted between watch glasses.
There were also many British prisoners in France, but the only
Lodge known to have met was No. 183 of the Antients, established in the 9th
Foot (Royal Norfolk Regt.) in 1813. A detachment of this Regiment was wrecked
on the French coast and during its captivity the Lodge met regularly. A charge
was actually brought against the French Freemasons of Verdun that they
connived at the escape of British prisoners of war. Similar Lodges are known
to have been founded in other European countries.
Internees in Holland.
The Lodge Gastvrijheid (Hospitality) No. 113 was
FREEMASONRY IN THE FORCES
warranted by the Grand Orient of the Netherlands in 1915. This permitted
British naval and military personnel interned at Groningen to continue their
Masonic duties and, by special permission, the English ritual was used, the
only restriction being that no person was to be initiated in the Lodge other
than British subjects interned there. The Lodge l'Union Provinciale of
Groningen allowed the use of their Temple and, after the 1914-18 War, the
Lodge was reconstituted in London as No. 3797 under the English Constitution
and still meets at Freemasons' Hall, London.
It is interesting to note that during the 1914-18 War the Ailwyn
Lodge, 3535, provided any of its members entering H.M. Forces with a card of
introduction for use outside the United Kingdom. This was printed in English,
French, Italian, German and Arabic.
One would hardly expect to find Freemasonry flourishing in a
prisoner-of-war camp under the Axis yet this very thing happened after the
fall of Singapore when Padre Benjamin and Dr. B. W. L. Clarke, of the
Australian Forces, assisted by many British and Australian prisoners-of-war,
organised a remarkable series of meetings. No Warrant was available so
activity was confined to ritual rehearsals and lectures, an elaborate system
of tyling enabling the "Lodge" to be converted in a matter of seconds into a
prayer meeting or social function. Equipment was manuactured out of bits of
spare wood and metal and five copies of the Minutes were kept in the hope that
at least one would escape the Japanese. Actually, all were preserved and one
set, with some of the W.T's. etc. may be seen in Freemasons' Hall, London,
today. Daughter associations were ormed in other camps but activity ceased
after July, 1944, on the receipt of information about the Axis views on
Freemasonry, until on 4th September, 1945, a Thanksgiving Service was held.
Membership of the Changi organisation
large that attendance at meetings was "rationed" to 200.
Small meetings were also held in another of the Japanese camps but
conditions permitted nothing more than the rehearsal of the verbal parts of
the ritual by small groups of men apparently engaged in general conversation.
Some Masonic encounters It is proposed in the remaining space
available to give some brief accounts of a number of incidents in which
Freemasonry mitigated the horrors of battle on land or sea.
The earliest-known Military Lodge in America was formed in 1738
under authority from Boston. After the French War (1755) the existing
influence of the Moderns was greatly modified by the arrival of many Military
Lodges, the majority holding Warrants from Ireland, Scotland or the Antients.
We shall refer elsewhere to the part played by American Freemasons in such
episodes as the Boston Tea-party. The majority of the leaders of the
Revolution were Freemasons and with the outbreak of the Revolutionary War
Military Lodges were active on both sides. There is a story that George
Washington was obligated in the Lodge in the 46th Foot (the 2nd Battalion Duke
of Cornwall's Light Infantry) and an article in the Freemasons Quarterly
Review for 1834 goes so far as to claim he was initiated in that Lodge, a
statement unlikely to be true. During the War the Masonic Chest of the Lodge
in the 46th Regiment was captured by the Americans and Washington directed its
return under a flag of truce, with an escort of honour under the command of a
distinguished officer. Some years later, in 1805, the Chest of the same Lodge,
was captured by the French in Dominica and was returned three years later by
the French Government.
During the War of 1812, one Lt. Col. Tytler was thrown
FREEMASONRY IN THE FORCES
ground and was on the point of being bayonetted. He managed to give a Masonic
appeal whereon the American stayed his hand and gave the Colonel not only life
General John Corson Smith, who was an honorary member of the Lodge
of Unity, Peace and Concord, 316, attached to the 2nd Batt., the Royal Scots,
told many stories of the American Civil War. At one time he was in charge of a
camp of Confederate prisoners and observed the adjutant of an Alabama Regiment
wearing a Masonic emblem. Verifying his Masonic Status, the General accepted
his parole within the lines until it was possible to arrange an exchange.
During the Atlanta campaign, an Illinois general saw a small white
apron nailed to a cabin door. The woman of the house told him it was her
husband's, that he was away with the Forces but that if she would let the
Federals know she was the wife of a Mason she would be protected.
The story that the life of a French captain was spared when he
gave a Masonic sign as a Russian lancer was abou to pierce him was deemed
incredible by the Editor of the Freemasons' Quarterly Review. The
incident has, howeve been independently vouched for, the original narrator Sir
Robert Wilson, having actively intervened at the time.
An English officer, whose men
were wiped out during the attack on the Redan, was on the point of being
killer when he, happening to catch the hand of a Russian officer gave him a
Masonic grip. The Russian immediately struck up the bayonets of his men, led
the Englishman to the rear and treated him with all kindness.
More than one story is told of incidents in the heated the battle
of Waterloo, members of both sides being spare by others who recognised them
as Masons. The benefits of Freemasonry worked both ways in the
BATTLE OF WATERLOO
of one French officer. On entering the town of Genappe, his men were engaged
in taking prisoners when they were infuriated by losses inflicted by fire from
a house. They stormed the house and were about to put to death nine wounded
men who were lying there when one of these made the appropriate sign. The
French officer immediately interposed and spared the life of the enemy. The
following day he was, in his turn, wounded and captured by the Prussians, one
of whom recognised him as a Mason, attended to his wants and restored the
money of which he had been plundered.
We have no stories of the adventures of the few Naval Lodges but
many brethren derived benefit from their connexion with Freemasonry in the
course of their hazards by sea.
In 1795 a ship from Maine, U.S.A., was captured by Tripolitan
pirates and the captain and crew imprisoned in that port. While engaged on
slave labour the captain was recognised as a Freemason by a Tripolitan officer
who had been initiated in France. He took steps to ensure his comfort and
eventual liberation. Despite furious personal attacks, the American in later
years refused to bow down before the anti-Masonic storm that followed the
A story was related at Stability Lodge of Instruction in 1845
that, fifteen years previously, a merchant vessel bound for Cuba was captured
by pirates who looted the ship, tied up captain and crew and prepared to burn
the vessel. In his extremity the captain made the S. of an E.A. to which a
pirate responded with that of a F.C. The latter interceded with his captain,
who spared the lives of the crew and, when he again encountered the ship the
following day, left her unmolested. We are not surprised to hear that the mate
lost no time in seeking admission to the Craft on his return
FREEMASONRY IN THE FORCES
England. Commenting on this incident the Freemasons' Quarterly Review said,
"we have a remarkable instance of a man who, though he disregarded every law
both human and divine, had yet remained faithful to his Masonic obligation."
In 1844 the crew of an English brig were attacked on the West Coast of Africa
by some natives urged on by Spanish slavers. The Englishmen were on the point
of being exterminated when the captain noticed a Masonic emblem in the
neckerchief of one of the Spaniards. He gave a Masonic appeal on which the
Spaniard hurriedly proved him (in the heat of battle!) and brought over his
men, dispersing the natives.
The Brethren of Poole, Dorset, have preserved records of their
part in the Napoleonic wars. They raised funds for British prisoners in France
and at least once entertained a French brother, a P.O.W. One of their captains
was captured by a French privateer, whose captain discovered the Englishman's
Masonic certificate among his papers. It was then too late to release him but
he made arrangements for his favourable treatment in France and eventually he
was accommodated in the house of a Brother at Verdun. During his captivity
which lasted from 1803 to 1814, Napoleon personally ordered the provision of a
Christmas dinner for the English Freemasons.
The story of the Amity biscuit has often been told. Captain
Jacques le Bon, a noted French privateer, captured the brig "Oak" in 1813.
Discovering the Captain was a Freemason he not only released him but sent with
him a little dog, the property of a Freemason recently captured, with a
biscuit suspended from its neck, signifying he would not keep a Brother's dog
in bondage nor see it want food, much less a Brother himself. The biscuit,
mounted and framed, is still preserved and prized by the Lodge of Amity at
THE AMITY BISCUIT
The same Lodge welcomed in
1917 an Australian brother rescued from the torpedoed hospital ship " Lanfrane."
Many survivors of this disaster were taken into the port.
* * *
The stories just very briefly
related may be regarded as samples only of hundreds of similar incidents on
battlefields all over the world.
Finally, we tell of an unusual military investiture. At a meeting
of the Lodge of Amity on 8th October, 1917, Bro. W. J. Telfer, of Boston,
U.S.A., who was serving with the British Army, was presented with the Military
Medal by the Provincial Grand Secretary of Dorset.
So far, therefore, from Masonry having "always been injured by War
and bloodshed," we have seen that its principles, learnt in peace, prevailed
in conflict, that in the heat of battle Freemasons have been willing to spare
their enemies whom they found to be in the Craft, and that prisoners of war in
their dire captivity have found their greatest solace in their memories of
Masonry and the rehearsal of its ritual.
OTHER THAN IN THE U.S.A.
The object of this Chapter is to indicate very briefly, the
progress of Freemasonry in many countries near and far. It must be realised
that the subject of. every shor section would require one or more volumes if
justice wer to be done and that what is here presented gives no mor
an indication of the lines on which the Craft has developed. It may also serve
as a warning for in many places the brethren have wandered to such an extent
from the strict line ever observed by the Grand Lodge of England that masonic
intercourse has had to be suspended and in more than one country religious and
political controversies have arisen.
We will deal first with the European countries, starting with our
The legend that Freemasonry
was introduced into France by the Jacobites dies hard. It is certain that it
was established in the early days of our own Grand Lodge and that France
proved a prolific breeding-ground for the additional degrees grafted then on
to the parent stem. Th and Lodge of France flourished until, under the Duc 'd'Orleans
(Citizen Egalité) it was, to all external appearances, swept away during the
Revolution. This terror quickly passed and 1795 saw the revival, under a new
Grand Orient, sanctioned in 1798 by the Paris Police, which quickly absorbed
the surviving elements of its predecessors.
There were renewed attacks on the Craft during the troubles of
1848 and, to counteract these, the Grand Orient elected as its Grand Master in
1852, Prince Lucien Murat, an active ruler until his resignation in 1861. The
Office of Grand Master was abolished in 1871, being replaced by that of
President de l'Ordre. Relations with the Grand Lodge of England were not
harmonious and, in 1877, the Grand Orient having removed from its
Constitutions the affirmation of the existence of T.G.A.O.T.U., England
withdrew recognition and similar action was taken by many other Grand Lodges.
Various stories, many of them
discreditable, have been heard of the subsequent history of the Grand Orient.
the Grand Loge Nationale was established in Paris and this was and is
recognised by England. It has thrived in a modest way and its members are
frequent visitors to English Lodges, especially in London and the South-East
Coast. During the Second World War it came perilously near to extinction but
was successfully revived on the Liberation of France.
After one or two abortive
attempts a German Lodge was established at Hamburg in 1737 and, a year later,
the future Frederick the Great was initiated therein and opened a King's Lodge
at his Castle of Rheinsberg. There was a temporary interruption following the
King's departure to war after which a new Lodge was established in Berlin in
1740 and out of this was formed the Grand National Mother Lodge of the Three
Lodges were quickly erected in many towns, one of which became the
Grand Lodge Royal York. Additional degrees also spread quickly and conflicting
loyalties led to much confusion, the Strict Observance passing through its
The Grand National Lodge of German Freemasons in Berlin was
established by von Zinnendorf who, with much difficulty, broke with the Strict
Observance and succeeded in uniting most of the German Lodges (Frankfort
excepted) into a new Grand Lodge which was recognised by England. In all,
eight Grand Lodges were formed in Germany, in addition to four independent
Lodges which, though ackknowledged as regular, owed no allegiance to anybody.
During the 1914-18 War and for some years thereafter, Masonic intercourse
between England and Germany ceased. It was happily restored but, on the coming
into power of the Nazi regime, Freemasonry was ruthlessly suppressed, its
Temples pillaged and members murdered or sent to concentration camps. Since
the termination of
hostilities a single German Grand Lodge has been allowed to form in the
Western Zones but, at the moment of writing, is not recognised by England.
Count Axel Eric Werde Sparre
was initiated in Paris in 1731 and, on his return to Stockholm, founded a
Lodge which is believed not to have survived a decree of 1738, forbidding
Freemasonry on pain of death. This edict was soon withdrawn and Lodges were
patronised by royalty, a Grand Lodge being formed in 1759. The Swedish Rite
embraced some of the extravagances of the time but, unlike the line followed
in most countries, these were consolidated in a Rite of ten degrees in which
some authorities recognise the influence of Swedenborg's writings. Despite the
great differences in ritual, the Grand Lodges of Sweden and England have been
in fraternal communication since 1799. Charles XIII established an Order of
Knighthood in 1811, the members of which were selected from Freemasons only.
The separation of the thrones of Sweden and Norway involved the establishment
of a separate Grand Lodge in the latter country.
In Denmark, a Lodge was established in Copenhagen in 1743, by
Baron von Munnich, a member of the Three Globes of Berlin, probably without
authority. Other Lodges were soon formed, some under England, but from 1765
the Strict Observance swept its meteoric path across the country. A purely
Danish Lodge was established in 1778 and in 1792 Freemasonry was officially
recognised on the understanding that every Lodge should recognise Prince Karl
as Grand Master.
The Lodges in Norway and Denmark were pillaged and driven out of
existence during the Nazi occupation but have been re-established, re-building
generally being necessary from the floor up. Sweden, which remained neutral
throughout, was comparatively unaffected.
Though at the extremity of
Europe, it is convenient to mention here that, following its independence from
Denmark, a Grand Lodge of Iceland has recently been established and was
recognised by the Grand Lodge of England in 1952.
HOLLAND AND BELGIUM
A Lodge met at the Hague in
1734 with Count Vincent la Chappelle as Master. Press reports of the time
refer always to him as "Grand Master." In 1735 assemblies of the Craft were
forbidden by the Government but this speedily proved a dead letter and the
Grand Lodge of the Netherlands was established in 1756. The fanciful
embellishments met with elsewhere took little root in Holland though the
Strict Observance, which had many individual Dutch members, attempted to win
over the country. The High Degrees did not obtain a firm hold before 1807.
On the German occupation of Holland many prominent Freemasons were
arrested. The Grand Master, H. van Tongeren, died in Buchenwald and his
Deputy, Dr. L. J. J. Caron, suffered similar captivity, though he survived to
become Grand Master in 1945.
The independence of Belgium in 1830 was followed seven years later
by the withdrawal of any claim on Holland's part of supremacy over the Belgian
While fraternal relations between England and the Netherlands are
warm, unfortunately the Grand Orient of Belgium has fallen out of this
AUSTRIA, HUNGARY AND
It It is impossible to
separate the early Masonic history of these countries, partition being a
sequel to the 1914-18 War.
The Duke of Lorraine was initiated in a Special Lodge
Hague by Dr. Desaguliers in 1731, and was Raised in England the same year. He
married Maria Theresa in 1736 and, on her succession to the throne of Austria
in 1738, he was appointed Co-Regent. The position of the Craft was at that
time unsatisfactory, there being many Freemasons but no Lodges, and
persecution was sporadic after the publication of the Papal Bull in 1738.
Maria Theresa is said to have been personaly opposed to Freemasonry but her
hand was withheld from active persecution through the influence of her
The first Vienna Lodge, "The Three Firing Glasses" was founded in
1742 but was closed without warning by the military in 1743, eighteen noble
members being arrested though they were freed after a few days.
It is believed that the first Lodge in Bohemia was formed in
Prague in 1749 and attracted hostility from the clergy. There is a legend that
the Empress and one of her ladies, disguised as men, visited this Lodge, a
story probably without foundation. Following the death of Francis, his son
Joseph II became Emperor and, though not a Freemason, allowed the Lodges to
prosper and expand, but Francis II, who succeeded to the Throne in 1792, tried
to,V persuade the German Princes to suppress the Craft, which virtually died
out about 1801. Mozart composed many pieces of Masonic interest ut nothing of
stronger note than The Magic Flute, first performed in 1791, the Masonic
symbolism introduced covering also the strong forces then contending for the
promotion or at least toleration of Freemasonry on the one hand and
persecution or suppression on the other.
An attempt to revive the Craft was made in Hungary in 1861 but the
Lodge was quickly closed by the police. A Grand Lodge of Hungary was
established in 1870. Though, in Austria, the brethren were permitted to meet
in social clubs, Lodges could not be held. Following the break-up of the
Empire, a Grand Lodge of Vienna was formed in
AUSTRIA, HUNGARY & CZECHO-SLOVAKIA
perished with many of its members on the Nazi inn sion.
The Grand Lodge "Lessing of the Three Rings" in Czecho-Slovakia
was formed in 1920 and worked on the same enlightened lines as its Austrian
counterpart. Here again, Nazi intolerance terminated the Craft and though some
little activity was carried on by exiles`in London and New York throughout
1939-45 we understand it has not been possible successfully to revive the
Craft and its teachings under present conditions.
A number of English gentlemen
formed a Lodge at Geneva in 1736. In 1737 George Hamilton was appointed
Provincial Grand Master, but persecution curtailed expansion for many years
until, in 1769, nine Lodges established the Independent Grand Lodge of Geneva.
The Strict Observance made its inevitable attempt to dominate the country and,
at a Congress at Basel in 1777, two authorities were set up, one governing
German Switzerland and the other entitled the Scottish Helvetian Roman
Directory with headquarters at Lausanne. Further disruption followed the
French Revolution but in 1844 the Grand Lodge Alpena of Switzerland was
established and progress since that date has been maintained.
Before the Federation of
several States in 1860, Italy was a geographical expression rather than an
entity so its Masonic history is unusually chequered. About 1750 a Lodge was
established in Naples and in 1764 a National Grand Lodge was erected but in
1775 the Craft was forbidden by Ferdinand IV and the subsequent alternation of
interdict and toleration resulted in the dying out of the Craft in the Two
An English Lodge was established in Rome by Jacobite
in 1735 but was suppressed under threat of heavy penalties three years later,
though there is evidence of clandestine Masonic activities in the Papal
States. Fortunes alternately rose and fell in the various States, especially
with the transfers of political authority until, in 1867, Garibaldi called a
meeting of all the Lodges in Italy and succeeded in forming various supreme
bodies, though there continued to exist in Italy many quasi-Masonic but
unrecognised bodies. In 1872, at the funeral of Mazzini, Masonic banners were
carried in the streets of Rome for the first time but, with the rise of
Mussolini in 1920 the Craft was suppressed with the utmost cruelty, a decree
of the Grand Fascist Council of 1923 offering the choice of membership of
Craft or Party. Masonic Temples were looted and wrecked and Freemasons found
themselves dismissed from Office, and tried and condemned indiscriminately.
Some English brethren formed a
Lodge at Lisbon in 1735 or 6 which was much used by the English fleet but
Papal opposition from the start rendered the position difficult and in 1743
King John V issued an edict of death, thus ushering in an era of persecution
and torture at the hands of the Inquisition. The best-known case is that of
John Coustos, initiated in England some time before he settled in Lisbon. He,
with two others, was arrested in 1743 and subjected to the most rigorous
tortures by the Inquisition, notwithstanding which he refused to give up the
Craft. He was eventually condemned to the galleys but was claimed by the
British Embassy as a British subject.
Further intensive persecutions followed in 1792, yet a Grand Lodge
of Portugal was established and appointed Don Hypolite Joseph da Costa its
representative at the Grand Lodge of England. He also suffered persecution but
survived to take an active part in the Union of the
English Grand Lodges in 1813, holding the appointment of Prov. Grand Master
for Rutland (a county then without a Lodge). During these persecutions Lodges
were often held on board English ships in the harbour.
Though Freemasonry persisted despite this terrible opposition the
fruit was blighted and, as in the case of so many other Latin countries, there
is at present no fraternal communication between Portugal and England.
Here again, we have a tale of
constant persecution though in one corner, Gibraltar, the British Lodges have
flourished for centuries. The first Lodge in Spain was founded by the Duke of
Wharton and, being subsequently recognised by the Grand Lodge of England,
became the first Lodge warranted in foreign lands by the Mother Grand Lodge.
It was erased in 1768. On the discovery of a Lodge by the Inquisition in 1740,
eight of its members were sent to the galleys but meetings persisted, despite
treachery and cruelty, and, in 1809, a Grand Orient was established at Madrid
in the very dungeons of its bitter enemies.
Persecution ceased in 1853, following the loss of much clerical
power through the civil wars, but the history of the Craft in Spain is
involved and, onee again, recognition by England is impossible. It is probable
that, under the present regime, it is once aLain an underground, anticlerical
It was not until 1809-10 that
the first Lodges were founded in Greece, and then by the Grand Orient of
France. The English Lodge, Pythagoras, was warranted at Corfu in 1836 and
Italy appeared on the scene shortly afterwards. These Lodges were eventually
combined into a Grand Lodge of Greece in 1872, the Grand Master being Prince
Dimitrius Rodocanaki, who was
later associated with John Yarker in the A. & P. Rite. On the outbreak of the
Second World War there were about fifty Greek Lodges, but the Craft was
brutally suppressed, records being destroyed and the brethren imprisoned
during the enemy occupation. Reconstruction is taking place from the bottom
up—no Temples, equipment or records survived and, even after liberation,
considerable amount of American aid was "diverted" without reaching the
Turkey has had several Lodges,
some warranted by recognised Grand Lodges, others clandestine. A general
warning was issued by the Grand Lodge of England in 1859, of the presence of
irregular Lodges in Smyrna, said to have arised out of the action of the
possessor of an Irish Warrant. Yeats-Brown tells how, when his aeroplane
crashed in Palestine during the 1914-18 War, his life was saved by a Turkish
officer, to whom he gave a Masonic grip. Turkey abounded in secret societies
of all kinds before the advent of Kemal Ataturk.
The Grand Orient of France
warranted a Lodge in Bucharest in 1859 and, within a few years, this small
country harboured every Masonic and quasi-Masonic degree imaginable. A Grand
Lodge was established in 1921 but is not active today.
According to a report of the
trial of the Sarajevo assassins, after the incident which resulted in the
out-break of 1914-18 War, Franco-Serbian Freemasonry inspired the
assassination of the Archduke Frederic. The evidence
the flimsiest and the matter is mentioned merely to indicate the nature of the
anti-Masonic campaign in some countries. The National Grand Lodge of
Jugoslavia was established in 1919, after the break-up of the Austro-Hungarian
Empire but its life, alas, was short.
Freemasonry has flourished in
many parts of Africa, especially under European jurisdictions, those of
England, Scotland, Ireland and the Netherlands existing side-by-side in
fraternal brotherhood in South Africa.
The Dutch were the first on
the scene, establishing Lodges at Capetown in 1772 and 1802, followed by
English Lodges in 181rand 1812. Lode No. 334 is the oldest surviving Lodge in
the English District or South Africa, Western Division. Sir John Truter held
at the same the Offices of Provincial Grand Master for the English Province
and Deputy Grand Master of the Netherlands. As civilisation spread, the Craft
went with it andbistricts were established in Rhodesia in 1929 and the Orange
Free State in 1932. It is not generally known in England that inter-visitation
is restricted to Master Masons owing to the fact-that the Netherlands Lodges
impart their Masonic Instruction in a sequence different from ours.
The first Provincial Grand
Master for Gambia, West Coast, was Richard Hull, appointed iri 1735. There are
now English Lodges under the District Grand Lodges of the Gold Coast and
Nigeria, as well as a small number under a Grand Inspector in Sierra Leone,
also a few Scottish and Irish Lodges. There is no colour-bar in West Africa
and black, white and mixed Lodges prosper.
A District Grand Lodge for
East Africa was established in 1926. In St. Helena the Antients formed a
short-lived Lodge in 1764 and it will be remembered that the Minden Lodge, 63
(Ireland) found it impossible to function on the Island while the Regiment was
Though there is a tradition
that the Rite of Memphis was introduced into Egypt by the French in 1798, the
first known Lodges were established in Alexandria in 1802 and 1806 by the
French. English Lodges were formed from 1862 onwards and the District Grand
Lodge of Egypt and the Sudan was established in 1899, the first District Grand
Master being Earl Kitchener of Khartoum. There is a National Grand Lodge of
Egypt, its membership being cosmopolitan and the Lodges working in various
INDIA, PAKISTAN AND CEYLON
Brother George Pomfret was
authorised by Grand Lodge to open a Lodge in Bengal in 1729 and, two years
later, Captain Ralph Fairwinter was appointed Provincial Grand Master for
India. Some Lodges were founded but development was hindered by the War in the
Carnatic and an uphill struggle began in 1798. After 1866 the "Provinces" were
re-named "Districts.' The Grand Lodge of Scotland appointed Dr. James Burnes,
of the Indian Medical Service, as Provincial Grand Master for Western India in
1836 and his Provincial Grand Lodge came into being in 1838. Freemasonry
appealed to the natives, many of whom joined and all appeared to regard the
Institution with respect, though we may add a caution against a too-ready
credence of stories of the working of various Masonic degrees in the temples
of various religions.
The only independent Grand Lodge is that of All-Scottish
Freemasonry in India and Pakistan.
India (by which term we refer to the Sub-Continent now known as
India and Pakistan) has probably presented greater administrative difficulties
than any other country owing to the transitory conditions of residence. It was
long ere the Craft took regular hold on the rank and file of the native
population though some of the Princes and
INDIA, PAKISTAN AND CEYLON
entered the ranks in the 18th century, e.g. Mundatul-Umara, son of the Nabob
of Arcot, in 1776. Many Native Princes have later received Grand Rank. There
was, however, a popular belief until at least 1860 that Orientals were
ineligible for initiation and a By-Law of the District of Bengal requiring the
permission of the District Grand Master was only rescinded in 1871. The
Parsees were the first Indian people really to take the Craft to their hearts
and, in 1866, one of the Cama family became Grand Treasurer of the English
Grand Lodge, another becoming Past Asst. Grand Registrar in 1927.
In Ceylon Regimental Lodges appeared from 1761 and, after several
more or less abortive attempts, St. John Lodge of Colombo, now 454, was
established in Kandy in 1838. The District of Ceylon was established in 1907
and there are also a few Scottish and Irish Lodges.
Amity Lodge, 407, was
established in Canton by the Grand Lodge of England in 12 and a Swedish Lodge
was established there in 1788. These did not survive very long and we next
hear of the Royal Sussex Lodge, No. 735, at Canton in 1844. A Provincial Grand
Master for China was appointed in 1847 and a District Grand Master for
Northern China in 1877. A District Grand Lodge was also established by the
Grand Lodge of ss ustts, with Lodges at Shan hai, Peking and in Manchuria.
In Hong Kong, etland Lodge, 768, was established in 1846 and
Freemasonry still flourishes on the Island, the Paul Chater Lodge of Installed
Masters, 5391, taking an active part in Masonic education. During the Second '
World War, Freemasonry in Asia, other than India, virtually came to a halt and
it is understood conditiofis in China are not advantageous, though Hong Kong
affords a home to the surviving elements of what was at one time an active
force in Eastern Asia.
NEW SOUTH WALES
Fifty years ago the "new chum"
in New South Wales used to be told by the old colonists (as they still were at
that time) that no new settlement was complete without its Lodge. This
manifestation of brotherhood is not peculiar to Australia as we shall see when
we study the spread of the Craft in North America.
Although Captain Cook proclaimed New South Wales a British
Possession in 1770, it was not until 1778 that the first convict convoy
arrived at Sidney Cove and, in 1803, the earliest recorded Masonic meeting was
held by “several officers of His Majesty's Ships, together with some
respectable inhabitants of Sydney." This was against the orders of the
Governor, Captain King, and some of the members were arrested, though
subsequently released. The instigator, Bro. Brown Hayes, was ordered to Van
Dieman's Land, though probably his expulsion was never enforced. This was no
promising beginning but it must be remembered the Governor's task was no easy
one and it is possible he was not aware of the exemption given to Freemasonry
under the Unlawful Societies Act, 1799.
Once again, the spread of Freemasonry owed much to the activity of
Military Lodges, especially Social and Military Virtues, 227 (I.C.) attached
to the 46th Regiment (Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry). There was also some
American influence and, by 1847, we find an abortive attempt to found a Grand
Lodge of Australia. The next attempt, in 1865, was of the nature of a
seccession from the Grand Lodge of Scotland by a number of brethren, headed by
one James Blair. This also proved a slip as did similar, attempts in Victoria
and New Zealand in 1876.
In 1877, however, thirteen Lodges, mostly of âÝ origin, succeeded
in establishing the Grand Lodge of New South Wales, which was generally
unrecognised for the first, thirteen years of its life. Victoria, with a few
Lodges, also declared independence in 1883, but the first Australian Grand
Lodge to gain immediate and general recognition was that of South Australia,
founded in 1890, followed by Tasmania.
Contrary to general experience elsewhere, the Irish influence was
less apparent in New South Wales than that of the English and Scottish, an
English Provincial Grand Lodge being set up in 1839. The United Grand Lodge of
New South Wales was established in 1888, the first Grand Master being Lord
Carrington, the Governor, who had been designated, though never installed
District Grand Master by England. There is one important difference between
N.S.W. practice and the English. Under the former system, all offices are
elective, whether in Grand Lodge or Private Lodge. Uniformity of ritual is
There was for a long time one trouble-centre, the Cambrian Lodge,
636. Membership was almost equally divided between those who desired to remain
under England and those who preferred the new Grand Lodge and it was only
after a fifteen-year struggle that harmony was restored and the Lodge
recognised by New South Wales.
Ireland was first in the
field, in 1823, but some English Lodges were established before the Grand
Lodge was organised and recognised in 1890, the last English ruler, the Rev.
R. D. Pomfret-Harris, being the first Grand Master.
This part of Australia
remained undeveloped for many years, and the first English Lodge, St. John's,
No. 712, was warranted at Perth in 1842. The gold rush stimulated expansion
and when the Grand Lodge was established in 1899, twenty-six of the
thirty-three English Lodges that constituted this body had been formed within
decade. The Plantagenet Lodge, 1454, still remains on the English Register.
The Colony was proclaimed in
1836 but a Lodge had been warranted two years earlier, the South Australian
Lodge of Friendship (now No. 1 on the S. A. Register) being consecrated in
London the very day the warrant was signed by the Duke of Sussex, in order
that the Founders could carry the charter with them and work in their new
country. English, Scottish and Irish Lodges followed and the first Irish
Lodge, the Duke of Leinster Lodge, 363, remains on the Irish Register to this
day. The Grand Lodge of South Australia was inaugurated in 1884, just fifty
years after the Consecration of the first Lodge.
It was not until 1835 that the
Colony was founded and in 1839 the first Masonic meeting was held at
Melbourne, twenty-one brethren being present. The Lodge of Australia Felix,
697, was warranted by England and opened in 1840, a Royal Arch Chapter
following in 1844. These two work closely together to this day. The gold rush
of the 1850's brought expansion and an interesting story is told of a meeting
called by a card nailed to a gum tree in Bendigo in 1854. Several brethren of
various nationalities responded to this call and, after a search, a Bible was
found in one of the cabins and on this the Brethren sealed their Obligations.
Abortive attempts were made to establish a Grand Lodge but stability was
maintained by the co-operation of England, Scotland and Ireland, each of whom
appointed Sir William Clarke as District Grand Master, though one Scottish and
two Irish Lodges united in forming the Grand Lodge of Victoria in 1883. This
was recognised by some of the American Grand Lodges, but not by others, nor
was it countenanced by England. In 1888, following a visit by
Earl of Carnarvon, a Committee of English, Irish and Scottish Freemasons was
formed and in 1889 the United Grand Lodge of Victoria came into being, Sir
William Clarke being installed Grand Master by Lord Carrington, Grand Master
of New South Wales. The Victorian Constitutions differ from those of the other
Australian Grand Lodges in that all officers are appointed, not elected, in
Grand Lodge and Private Lodges.
The first settlement was
established in 1824 and, in 1854 the population of Brisbane, the capital, was
only 800. At this time the earliest Lodge, the North Australian, was founded
by England. Its first Master, J. W. Jackson, had been the first initiate in
the Cambrian Lodge, of which we have already heard under the heading, New
South Wales, and he is accordingly recognised as the founder of Freemasonry in
Queensland. The formation of the Grand Lodge, in 1905, led to some discord and
it was only recognised by England as recently as 1920. Two of the Queensland
Lodges still remain on the English Register.
The first Europeans settled in
North Island in 1792 and for many years the process of colonisation was but
slow. The Irish opened a Lodge at Auckland in 1842; this is now Ara Lodge, 1,
on the Register of the Grand Lodge of New Zealand. In 1843, two members of the
crew of a French Corvette opened a Lodge at Arakoa and initiated four persons
and the then unrecognised Grand Orient of France opened a Lodge in the country
in 1889. These were but flashes in the pan. District Grand Lodges were
established by England at Canterbury, Otago & Southland, Westland, Auckland
The establishment of the Grand Lodge in 1890 was not
carried through without internal trouble and in a few cases seceding members
of Lodges carried off the warrants so that the Lodges were unable to meet, an
action which resulted in an alteration of the English Book of Constitutions to
meet any similar difficulty in the future. Fortunately this trouble was but
transient; the majority of the English Lodges joined the new Grand Lodge but
forty-one still hold English Warrants, though they live in the closest harmony
with the Lodges under the N.Z. Constitution. Eleven still meet under Scottish
Mention should be made of the educational work carried out in the
Dominion, both in Craft and Royal Arch. Official Lecturers are appointed by
Grand Lodge while the work of the Masters and Past Masters Lodge, 130, is
known and respected by students all over the world. An official ritual has
been adopted and must be worked by all Lodges consecrated since 1912. There
are in all six Research Lodges and an annual grant of £200 is divided among
them. A Craft publication is indirectly subsidised and supported.
There is a tradition that a
French Lodge met in Quebec in 1720 but this story is doubtful and without
proof. The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts warraited a Lodge at Annapoïlis in
1749, while a Lodge was formed at Halifax in 1750. Once again, we are indebted
to many Military Lodges for the spread of Freemasonry in the country and an
attempt was made in 1759-60 by nine of these to form a Grand Lodge, but, on
the termination of the French War, the regiments returned to England and it
was left to the civilian Lodges of Quebec to apply for a Provincial Warrant,
which was issued in 1762 but never reached Canada, the first Provincial Grand
Warrant being received in 1767.
After the upheaval of the War of Independence many, who preferred
to remain in the Empire, made their way
the United States to Canada where, after great privations, they established
themselves and the many Masons among them began to form Lodges. Among the
Provincial Grand Masters was the Duke of Kent (1792). There was a further
disturbance in 1812-15 owing to the Anglo-American War and it is gratifying to
realise that, within a few months of peace, inter-visitation between Canadian
and American Lodges was taking place.
Within a few years an irritating difficulty arose on the frontier.
The omce organisation of the United Grand Lodge of England was not good and
the Grand Secretary, William Henry White was an aged man, who was not only
dilatory in correspondence but who delayed the issue of Certificates for, in
some instances, many years. This hampered the Canadian brethren who desired to
visit American Lodges.
In the ordinary course of evolution Canada would have worked out
her Masonic independence but this delay speeded the breach and the Independent
Grand Lodge was formed in 1858, Sir Alan Napier MacNabb, Prime Minister from
1854-56 and the last Provincial Grand Master, being the first Grand Master. A
Grand Lodge of Ontario was established in 1856 and the two, when united, were
recognised by England in 1859. There are now independent Grand Lodges within
Canada, all in fraternal communication with the United Grand Lodge of England.
A lodge was formed at St.
John's under the authority of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Massachusetts in
1746 and another in 1766. Neither was ever registered in England, but English
Lodges were established from 1784 onwards and the inevitable Military Lodges
were found there. The District Grand Lodge was established in 1870 and, by
1885, a Temple had been built, only to be destroyed by the disastrous fire of
1892. The Grand Lodge of England
contributed towards the relief of the many brethren who had suffered by the
OTHER BRITISH DISTRICTS
District Grand Lodges also
exist in Barbados, British Guiana, South America (Northern and Southern
Divisions) while Groups of Lodges under Grand Inspectors are to be found at
Bermuda, Leeward Islands, and Trinidad and Fiji.
A West Indian Lodge in London—the Caribbean, No. 4826—was founded
FREEMASONRY IN THE U.S.A.
The discussion of Freemasonry in the United States within a short
chapter combines all the difficulty of getting a quart into a pint pot with
the representation of the treasures of Aladdin's Cave within the resources of
a provincial pantomime. Far more Freemasons are to be found in the United
States than in any other country in the world, rich are their buildings and
colourful their ritual. Historically, Freemasonry there dates back very nearly
to the earliest days of organised Grand Lodges and the early influence of the
Antients and many military Lodges has never been effaced.
Many events now to be described have no parallel on this side of
the Atlantic yet, behind all differences of organisation, ritual and even
outlook, lie the fundamental principles of Freemasonry preserved alike in the
two great countries.
To begin with, all our English Lodges are registered under and
controlled by the United Grand Lodge of Eng-
one Grand Lodge ruling many thousands of private Lodges, through a host of
Provincial and District Grand Lodges. There is no Grand Lodge of the U.S.A.
but forty-nine sovereign and independent Grand Lodges, one for each State and
one for the tiny District of Columbia, where stands Washington, the Capital.
Each of these Grand Lodges exchanges representatives with the United Grand
Lodge of England and their names are to be found recorded publicly in the
Masonic Year Book.
Difficulties arise and are settled or sometimes left amicably
unsettled in a fraternal manner; for example, at the moment, the post-War
German Grand Lodge is ackknowledged by some but not by others.
Early Freemasonry in the United States.
Early records are scanty and imperfect and, as with us, legend has
been busy and many unverifiable stories are told but Melvin Johnson, Past
Grand Master of Massachusetts, has examined very thoroughly the records
available and æ has expressed the considered opinion that Freemasonry) was
introduced into the colonies of North America very early in the eighteenth
century and that immigrants often worked without the sanction of Warrants.
Lord Alexander, Viscount Canada, became a member of the Lodge of
Edinburgh in 1634, shortly after which he formed a colony on the St. Lawrence
river but we have no record of any Masonic activity on his part and the story
occasionally heard that in 1658 the Three Degrees of Masonry were introduced
into Newport, Rhode Island, is generally discredited.
There is, however, one piece of evidence, the Tho. Carmick Ms. of
the Old Charges copied in 1727. In 1756 this was in the possession of Bro. P.
Frazer, a prominent Pennsylvania Freemason.
It is said that the earliest known Anglo-American Freemason was
Jonathan Belcher born in Boston and educated
FREEMASONRY IN THE U.S.A.
Harvard, who was "made " in an English Lodge about 1704. Returning to Boston
the following year he became a prosperous merchant and obtained from George II
in 1730 the Governorship of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The authority for
his date of admission is a speech he made in 1741 when he claimed to have been
a Freemason for thirty-seven years. There is, of course, no confirmatory
record in this country.
The spread of influence of the first Grand Lodge soon extended
beyond England and on the 5th of June, 1730, Daniel Coxe, Esq., was
granted a Deputation appointing him Provincial Grand Master of "The Provinces
of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania in America." He was empowered for two
years after the ensuing St. John the Evangelist's Day to nominate and appoint
his Deputy Grand Master and Grand Wardens and to constitute with strict care
regular Lodges within his Province, the members of which were, after the
expiry of his commission to elect every other year a Provincial Grand Master
Absolute freedom, financial and otherwise, was accorded to Brother
Coxe, but he was required to see that the Book of Constitutions was strictly
adhered to and that the names of the Lodges and their members were sent to the
Grand Master, together with such other matters as he thought should be
communicated. He was also asked to recommend the establishment of a General
Charity for the benefit of Poor Brethren and so early began the significent
record of Masonic Benevolence in the United States, the story of which will
never be complete.
In 1731 he attended a Quarterly Communication of the Grand Lodge
of England, where he was recorded as being "Provincial Grand Master of North
America" but, unfortunately, nothing is known of his Masonic activities in his
Though Daniel Coxe apparently contributed little to Freemasonry in
America, about the time of his appointment we have traces of Masonic activity
in various places. Benjamin Franklin, later to become one of the leading
spirits in America's freedom, was born at Boston in 1706 and, after spending
some few years in London, went to Philadelphia where he set up as a printer;
founding the Pennsylvania Gazette in 1722. In 1728 he formed a Leather Apron
Club possibly in a sort of rivalry to a St. John's Lodge of Freemasons stated
to have been started there the previous year. On December 8th, 1730, his paper
gave us what is now the earliest known printed notice of the Craft in America,
"as there are several Lodges of Free Masons erected in this Province; and
People have lately been, much amus'd with Conjectures concerning them; we
think the following Account of Free-Masonry from London will not be
unacceptable to our Readers." There then followed a reprint of an alleged
Exposure. Despite this statement, there is no evidence of any Lodge in
Philadelphia other than St. John's, the earliest records of which are
contained in a ledger account giving the names of members of the Lodge from
1731 to 1738. As it is entitled "Libre `B '" it is assumed that an earlier
Franklin himself became a Freemason, probably in February, 1731,
and, whatever his previous attitude, any hostility was now reversed as he
gives "Some Information concerning the Society called Free Masons" in May,
1731. His progress was rapid—within a year and a half he succeeded to the
Mastership of his Lodge and produced the oldest draft of American Masonic
Lodge By Laws still in existence. In 1732 he was Junior Grand Warden of the
Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, a body which must have been self-created, as it
derived no authority from the Grand Lodge of England and in 1734 he reprinted
the 1723 edition
FREEMASONRY IN THE U.S.A.
Anderson's Constitutions. He must have had some slight doubt as to his
constitutionary position as he wrote officially to the Provincial Grand Lodge
at Boston and privately to Henry Price, the Grand Master thereof, for
confirmation of the privileges enjoyed by the Brethren of Pennsylvania of
holding annually their Grand Lodge, choosing their Grand Master, etc. "the
said Grand Master of Pennsylvania only yielding his Chair when the Grand
Master of all America shall be in place." Neither these letters nor Franklin's
later obituary notice of Coxe in the Pennsylvania Gazette recognise Coxe as
being even a member of the Society.
Henry Price was born in 1697, went to England about 1723 and
appeared in Boston about 1732 though, about this time, he must have been
present in London as he received a deputation appointing him Provincial Grand
Master for New England. At any rate, 1733 found him in Boston with the rank of
Major conferred by Governor Belcher and he died in 1780. There is some
confusion in the English archives as his name does not appear in the lists of
Provincial Grand Masters in the Constitutions of 1738-1767 though the engraved
list for 1770 mentioned him as Provincial Grand Master for North America, an
appointment then held by John Rowe, whose name is never mentioned in the
English Calendars, but Price's name was continued annually until 1804, long
after his death.
Tradition states that a Provincial Grand Lodge and a private Lodge
were established at Boston by Henry Price in 1733. In 1751, Charles Pelham was
appointed Grand Secretary and "constructed" a record from 1733. By 1734 it was
rumoured that Price's powers had been extended (over all America and we have
already seen that Benjamin Franklin partly subscribed to this idea. Price's
Boston Lodge appeared on the roll of the Grand Lodge of England
1734 where No. 126 is shown as meeting at Boston in New England.
On February 5th, 1736, a petition was addressed to Henry Price by
six Brethren "of the holy and exquisite Lodge of St. John " of Portsmouth, New
Hampshire, asking for power to hold a Lodge though they declared they had
their " Constitutions both in print and manuscript as good and as ancient as
any that England can afford." "Constitutions in manuscript" seems to indicate
the possession of a copy of the Old Charges which may indicate that the Lodge
had been in existence some time previously while "Constitutions in print" no
doubt refers to a copy of Anderson's Constitutions or Franklin's reprint.
On 1st September, 1736, Robert Tomlinson was appointed Provincial
Grand Master for New England. The reason for this succession is not explained
and in 1738 Tomlinson went to England, first visiting Antigua, where he found
some old Boston Masons and went to work making the Governor and other
gentlemen of distinction Masons, thus founding Freemasonry in the West Indies.
Tomlinson died in 1740 and, during the next three years, Henry
Price appears to have presided and acted as Provincial Grand Master.
Thomas Oxnard was a merchant of some importance and was appointed
Provincial Grand Master for North America on 23rd September, 1743. In 1749 he
issued a Provincial Commission to Benjamin Franklin and in 1750 the second
Lodge in Boston was founded. We thus have the position that both at Boston and
Philadelphia, Freemasons were meeting, sometimes as a Grand and at other times
as a private Lodge. This state of affairs was also found in England long after
this period where it was no uncommon thing for the Provincial Grand Master to
select his Officers from a single Lodge which, to all extents and purposes,
FREEMASONRY IN THE U.S.A.
GRIDLEY carried out the functions of Provincial Grand Lodge. death in
1767 he was Attorney-General, a member of the Henry Price appears to have held
the position of Master General Court and a Justice of the Province and, once
again, of the Lodges at Boston, the first in 1738 and the second in Henry
Price resumed his old function as Provincial Grand Y 1750. The first Li dge
conferred two' degrees only until Master.
when the third appears.
A separate set of minutes was kept of the Masters' Lodge, Georgia.
another factor commonly found in England at this period, The Grand
Lodge of England now took a new step which and it is obvious that, as in
Sc+~tland, many were content greatly contributed to the spread of Freemasonry
in America with the fixrst two degrees until late in the eighteenth century.
by starting a subscription in 1733 for " sending to the new Thomas Oxnard
hirôi eif, who was Master of the Lodge in Colony of Georgia in America "
distressed Brethren " where 1736 and again in 1737 was not raised to the
degree of they may be comfortably be provided for." A Lodge was ë, ç Master
Mason until 1739. formed at Savannah in, 5 and appears in the
English! "- Oxnard þent to England in 1751 and the same year a
Engraved List of 1736, this being the second American Humble Remonstrance
signed b all the Lodes of Boston r g Y g Lodge of which we have
ofIécial record. Quéckly the Craft was addressed to the Grand Master of
England in which spread into South Carolina and New Hampshire but it was
requested that he be granted a " full and plenary though the official records
do not confirm all åôáims it was commission as Grand Master over all the
Lodges in North announced in England in 1738 that, two years before, a
America." He died in 1754 and Henry Price, on the Deputation had been issued
to John Hammerton as Pro-request of the Deputy Grand Master, resumed his
office vincial Grand Master for South Carolina. Bro. Hammer- as Grand Master
the sane day. ton had been made a Mason at the Horn Lodge in West-
minster and was one of the first to offer his services as a Jeremy Gridley.
Steward at the Annual Feast.
On October 11th, 1754 a Committee was elected to He attended Grand
Lodge in 1738 when there were obtain the appointment of Jeremy Gridley,
Counsellor at present such early stalwarts as Desaguliers, Payne and Law.
Henry Price wrote the following year in support Anderson, and in 1739 was
accompanied there by Robert of the petition, describing his own services as
Provincial Tomlinson, Prov. Grand Master of New England.
Grand Master and how, on the death of Tomlinson and Oxnard, the
Chair had reverted to him again. He pointed Freemasonry Spreads.
out with pardonable pride that over for~t Lodges had
Unsatisfactory and incomplete as are these records it is sprung from his first
Lodge in Boston. "Ô ridley was duly obvious that Freemasonry was spreading
along the Atlantic appointed in Ô755, his Deputation being qualified as its
Coast and during the next few decades, before the Era of authority ran in "
all Such Provinces and Places in North . Independence, they multiplied.
America and the Territories thereof, of which no Provincial By the
end of the War of Independence, the Moderns' Grand Master is at present
appointed." He was installed Grand Lodge was represented in every one of the
original as Provincial Grand Master by Henry Price on October 1st, States of
the Union while the Antients, especially represented 1755 with great pomp and
ceremony. At the time of his by the military Lodges, flourished. The annals of
FREEMASONRY IN THE U.S.A.
carried out the functions of Provincial Grand Lodge.
Henry Price appears to have
held, the position of of the Lodges at Boston, the first in 1738 and the
second 1750. The 'first Lodge conferred two degrees only 1794 when the third
A separate set of minutes was
kept of the Masters' L another factor commonly found in England at this peri
and it is obvious that, as in Scotland, many were con with the first two
degrees until late in the eighteenth century Thomas Oxnard himself, who was
Master of the Lodge 1736 and again in 1737 was. not raised to the degree of
Master Mason until 1739.
Oxnard Went to England in 1751
and the same year k Humble Remonstrance signed by all the Lodges of Bostoo was
addressed to the Grand Master of England in which it was requested that he be
granted a " full and plenary commission as Grand Master over all the Lodges in
North America." He died in 1754 and Henry Price, on the request of the Deputy
Grand Master, resumed his office as Grand Master the same day.
On October 11 th, 1754 a
Committee was elected to, obtain the appointment of Jeremy Gridley, Counsellor
at Law. Henry Price wrote the following year in support of the petition,
describing his own services as Provincial' Grand Master and how, on the death
of Tomlinson and Oxnard, the Chair had reverted to him again. He pointed out
with pardonable pride that over forty Lodges had sprung from his first Lodge
in Boston. -Gridley was duly appointed in 1 755, his Deputation being
qualified as its authority ran in " all Such Provinces and Places in North
America and the Territories thereof, of which no Provincial Grand Master is at
present appointed." He was installed as Provincial Grand Master by Henry Price
on October 1st, 1755 with great pomp and ceremony. At, the time of his
in 1767 he was Attorney-General, a member of the General Court and a Justice
of the Province and, once again, Henry Price resumed his old function as
Provincial Grand Master.
The Grand Lodge of England now
took a new step which greatly contributed to the spread of Freemasonry in
America by starting a subscription in 1733 for "sending to the new Colony of
Georgia in America" distressed Brethren "where they may be comfortably be
provided for." A Lodge was formed at Savannah in 1735 and appears in the
English Engraved List of 1736, This being the second American Lodge of which
we have official record. Quickly the Craft spread. into South Carolina and New
Hampshire but though the official records do not confirm all claims it was
announced in England in 1738 that, two years before, a Deputation had been
issued to John Hammerton as Provincial Grand Master for South Carolina. Bro.
Hammerton had been made a Mason at the Horn Lodge in Westminster and was one
of the first to offer his services as a Steward at the Annual Feast.
He attended Grand Lodge in
1738 when there were present such early stalwarts as Desaguliers, Payne and
Anderson, and in 1739 was accompanied there by Robert Tomlinson, Prov. Grand
Master of New England.
Unsatisfactory and incomplete
as are these records it is obvious that Freemasonry was spreading along the
Atlantic Coast and during the next few decades, before the Era of
independence, they multiplied.
By the end of the War of
Independence, the Moderns' Grand Lodge was represented in every one of the
original tates of the Union while the Antients, especially represented y the
military Lodges, flourished. The annals of the War
FREEMASONRY IN THE U.S.A.
repeatedly instances of brotherhood surmounting the rivalries of War and, when
the time came for the various American Lodges to separate from the Mother
Grand Lodge and to set up their own Grand Lodges, the transfer was
accomplished without friction or hard feeling.
It is well for the twentieth century reader to pause and consider
the conditions under which Freemasonry spread in North America. Communications
in England were relatively poor, but the country was compact and news
travelled from end to end in a matter of days. There the West and much of the
rest of the country was not opened up. Communications were difficult and
hazardous and the Indian was a factor to be reckoned with and the tie of
brotherhood in the small and scattered pockets of population was knit firm
under stresses and strains of many kinds. Then came the War of Independence
and, as in other Wars in North America and elsewhere, the fraternal bond
inspired every Mason to do his duty, whatever his side, and occasionally the
fortune of war permitted one or the other to extend Masonic courtesy almost in
the heat of battle.
Boston Tea Party.
On 16th December, 1773, three cargoes of tea were thrown overboard
from three 'East Indiamen by a party of men disguised as Indians. The Lodge of
St. Andrew closed early that night "on account of the few members in
attendance" and the page of the Minute Book is embellished with the letter T
written large several times.
The Constitution of the United States of America owes far more to
Freemasonry than is realised outside that country. The close ties of
brotherhood already referred to inspired the leading men of sp t to band
together in this very " extra-Masonic "'activity and many of the signatories
of the Declaration of Independence were Freemasons. It naturally followed the
outbreak of war that many of these
THE BOSTON TEA PARTY
desire a Masonic Independence and the Provincial Grand Lodges assumed the
character of independent Grand Lodges. Moreover, we have already seen the idea
of a Provincial Grand Master for North America; the idea of a Grand Master for
the whole country was very seriously considered by some. On 7th February,
1780, a Convention of Delegates from the Military Lodges was held at
Morristown, N.J., when the Grand Masters in the various States were
recommended to agree to the election of a Grand Master. Pennsylvania was in
favour, Massachussetts doubted, and the project was dropped.
Who was the ideal choice for the position but George Washington
whose name is today honoured as much in the country of his forebears, (then
his bitterest enemy) as in the States; whose portrait hangs in a place of
honour in Freemasons' Hall, London, and who is commemorated by the magnificent
Washington Memorial opened in 1951? Born at Bridges Creek, Westmoreland
County, Virginia, in 1732, he was initiated in 1752 in the Lodge at
Fredericksburg, Virginia, where the record of his Initiation may still be
seen, passed and raised in the following year. It is uncertain whether he took
the Royal Arch in the same Lodge. His general career can be followed
elsewhere. Suffice it to say here that in 1777 the Convention of Virginia
Lodges suggested Washington for the Grand Mastership of the Grand Lodge of
Virginia but he declined the office. In 1788 he was named as the Charter
Master of Lodge No. 39 at Alexandria which transferred its allegiance from
Pennsylvania to Virginia and in 1805 the Lodge honoured its first Master by
changing its name to Washington Alexandria.
He repeatedly expressed his attachment to, and esteem for the
Order and Americans are proud of the fact that their great patriot was a
Brother and a keen one at that.
FREEMASONRY IN THE U.S.A.
Washington was, of course, only one of many leaders associated
with the Craft. On the very day he received his commission as Commander in
Chief, the Battle of Bunkers' Hill was fought. Lord Rawdon fought well on the
one side, Major-General Joseph warren (who was killed) on the other. The
British occupation of New York brought about the introduction of Antient
Masonry into that State. Pennsylvania was occupied in 1777, the American Army
standing at Valley Forge, 26 miles from Philadelphia. In the course of General
Grey's expedition into Massachussetts in 1778, the Masonic crest of the Lodge
in the 46th (D.C.L.I.) Regt. was captured. General Washington directed that it
be returned accompanied by a guard of honour.
It is impossible in the space here available to deal with this
great subject with anything like justice but a few names may be briefly
referred to: Richard Caswell, Governor and afterwards Grand Master of North
Carolina; Mordecai Gist, who may be said to have fought with sword in one hand
and trowel in the other, afterwards Grand Master of South Carolina; James
Jackson, later Governor and Grand Master of Georgia; Morgan Lewis, who also
fought in the War of 1812, Governor of New York in 1804 and Grand Master from
1830-1844; Israel and Rufus Putnam; John Sullivan, G.M. of New Hampshire and
Joseph Brant was a Mohawk Chief initiated in London in 1776. He
commanded some Indian allies of the British by whom Captain Mckisty of the
U.S. Army was captured. The prisoner was about to be burnt at the stake when
Brant, recognising a Masonic appeal, intervened and saved his life and later
handed him over to some English Freemasons who returned him uninjured to the
is stated also to have translated the Gospel of St. Mark into the Mohawk
language in 1787.
Another name to conjure with in American History is Paul Revere,
born in Boston in 1735, initiated in St. Andrew's Lodge in 1760, of which he
became Master in 1770. He was a leader of the Boston Tea Party. His ride from
Charlestown to Lexington in 1775 is world-famous and he became Grand Master of
John Paul was born in Kirkcudbright in Scotland in 1747 and later
added the name of Jones. Raised in the Lodge of St. Bernard, Kirkcudbright, in
1770, he removed shortly afterwards to America where he quickly rose to
prominence as a naval officer. He subsequently served in the French and
Russian navies and is best known in this country for his fight off Scarborough
against H.M.S. Serapis.
It is now becoming impossible to tell the further story of
American Freemasonry as a complete picture so it is proposed to deal with the
Morgan affair which convulsed the entire country, and conclude the story of
Craft Freemasonry with a short account of the emergence or erection of each of
the Grand Lodges.
The strongest attack on Freemasonry launched on the American
continent developed out of the death of one William Morgan, born in 1774. It
is not known whether he was ever regularly initiated but he succeeded in
visiting a number of Lodges though admission was refused in his own town,
Batavia. He thereupon conspired with one Miller, a newsaperman, to publish an
attack on Free-ma ünry in the form of an exposure in 1826, Some more or less
ineffective attembô"s were made to
FREEMASONRY IN THE U.S.A.
silence him after which he was removed (accounts differ as to whether
voluntarily or involuntarily) to Fort Niagara. Here his known story ends but a
rumour of his murder resulted in the rise of an Anti-Masonic movement,
newspapers were founded and anti-Masonic candidates ran for office while three
of the alleged assassins received sentences of imprisonment.
So strong were the attacks that throughout the States countless
Lodges closed down. Lodge rooms were attacked and their contents destroyed,
families were divided and public disavowals of guilt by the fraternity were
discounted. The attack ran for over ten years, after which its pace slackened
and by 1860 the Craft was again making progress, but, to this day, the
allegations of the Morgan affair are still used as a stick by the enemies of
Madison Lodge No. 21 was
established under dispensation from the Grand Lodge of Kentucky in 1811 and
several other Lodges were constituted before a Convention of nine Lodges met
at Cahaba in 1821 for the purpose of constituting a Grand Lodge. Following the
Morgan affair, this faded out of existence and was declared extinct in 1836
but a new Grand Lodge was formed immediately, the first Grand Master being
John C. Hicks. The Grand Chapter of Alabama was established in 1823 and
reorganized in 1837.
The Grand Master of the
territory of Washington granted a dispensation to form a Lodge at Sitka,
Alaska. This was revoked in 1877 and a new Lodge was not formed until 1879,
this Charter being cancelled in 1886. It was not until 1900 that Freemasonry
became fully established in Alaska but, since then, it has met with every
success in 'Craft and other Degrees.
The Aztlan Lodge, Prescot,
Arizona, was chartered by the Grand Lodge of California in 1866, other Lodges
following, and in 1882 Grand Officers were elected and installed. The first
Royal Arch Chapter was chartered at Phoenix in 1880 and the Grand Chapter
established in 1889.
It is said that Freemasonry
started in Arkansas in November, 1819 when a Dispensation was granted by the
Grand Lodge of Kentucky. The Charter of this Lodge was returned in 1820 after
which there appears to have been no activity until December, 1835. The Grand
Lodge of Arkansas was formed in November, 1838 by four Lodges. A certain
vagueness in the above lines arises out of the fact that all the records of
the Grand Lodge were destroyed by fire in 1864 and again in 1876. Grand
Chapter was formed in 1857 and many branches of Freemasonry still flourish in
Many Masonic brethren joined
in the Gold Rush of 1848 and, within a couple of years, Lodges chartered by
several other Grand Lodges united in forming the Grand Lodge of California in
the city of Sacramento on 18th April, 1850. The same year, the first Royal
Arch Chapter was organised and a Grand Chapter was set up at Sacramento in
This State was originally part
of Kansas. Following the discovery of gold in Jefferson territory, a
dispensation was issued by the Grand Master of Kansas in 1859. The first
Lodge, Auraria, was formed in 1859, and in 1861 the Grand Lodge of Colorado
was organised, followed by the Grand Chapter in 1875.
FREEMASONRY IN THE U.S.A.
The St. John's Grand Lodge of
Massachusetts graned a charter to Hiram Lodge, New Haven, in 1750 and other
Lodges were later warranted by the same authority. Conventions held in 1783
failed to organise a Grand Lodge but a third Convention in 1789, at which
representatives of twelve Lodges attended, made some progress and that year
the Grand Lodge of Connecticut was duly opened. This was another State
adversely affected by the anti-Masonic movement. Freemasonry flourished up to
about 1800 but, in 1832, only the Grand Master and Grand Treasurer were
present at Grand Lodge. In the middle 1840's early vigour had been restored.
The well-known Masonic author of his day, Jeremy L. Cross, formed the first
Council of Royal and Select Masters in 1818.
There is some doubt as to the
early history of Free masonry in Delaware. The Grand Lodge of Scotland is
stated to have issued a Warrant in 1764 for General Marshbank's Regiment and,
in 1765, Lodge No. 5 at Cantwell's Bridge was warranted by the Grand Lodge of
Pennsylvania The members of this took part in the formation of the Grand Lodge
of Pennsylvania in 1786 and in 1806 the Grand Lodge of Delaware was founded.
The Royal Arch dates from 1806 and a Grand Chapter was established 1817 which
ceased to meet in 1856 but was reformed in 1868.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Geographically, this small but
very important District lies partly in Maryland and partly in Virginia.
Shortly before its appointment by Act of Congress as capital of the United
States, Patomac Lodge No. 9 was set up by the Grand Lodge of Maryland in 1789.
A later Lodge of the same name was the first to endure and the Grand Lodge was
founded on 19th February, 1811. The dedication of
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
magnificent memorial to George Washington was honoured by the presence of the
M.W. Brother Harry S. Truman, P.G.M., Missouri, President of the United
States, in 1950.
Florida was formerly a Spanish
possession and did not become part of the United States before 1821, The East
Florida Lodge was established by the Grand Lodge of Scotland in 1768 on the
petition of James Grant, Governor of the Province of East Florida, who was
also appointed Provincial Grand Master over the Lodges of the Southern
District of North America. The Provincial Grand Lodge ceased operation in 1786
on account of the Spanish succession. One of its lodges removed to Charlestown
where it worked under the South Caroline jurisdiction until 1890 when it
became dormant. The Grand Lodge of Florida was organised in 1830; the Grand
Chapter in 1847. Another name familiar to all American Freemasons and the
majority elsewhere was Albert G. Mackey who organised a Council of Royal and
Select Masters at Lake City about 1852.
Major J. E. Oglethorp, the
Colony's founder, formed at Savannah in 1734 a Lodge known later as Soloman’s
Lodge, No. 1. The Grand Lodge of England granted warrants for three Lodges in
Georgia in 1735, 1774 and 1775. Solomon's Lodge possesses an apron said to
have been worn in 1758 which bears the emblem of the Royal Arch Degree. George
Whitefield records in his diary that he read prayers and preached before the
Freemasons with whom he afterwards dined in 1738. The Grand Lodge of Georgia
was formed in 1786, but its records were unfortunately destroyed by fire in
1820 after which a new Constitution was adopted but there was some disharmony
FREEMASONRY IN THE U.S.A.
was not healed until 1839, since which time the Craft has flourished. The
Grand Chapter was established in 1821.
In 1863 a Dispensation was
granted by the Grand Lodge of Oregon to Lewiston Lodge, No. 10, and a Charter
was issued in 1864. Grand Lodge was organised in 1867 and Grand Chapter in
Illinois was still in Indiana
Territory when the first Lodge was founded. The Grand Lodge was opened on 1st
December, 1823 when eight Lodges were represented but in consequence of the
anti-Masonic agitation this ceased operations in 1827 and all the Lodges in
the State went out of existence. Grand Lodge was reconstituted in 1840 though
for some time several of the Illinois Lodges remained under the constitution
of Missouri. There are now upwards of 1,000 Lodges with a membership of a
quarter of a million. Grand Chapter was established in 1850.
Freemasonry was no novelty in
Dana when the first Lodge was opened at Vines in 180 as it had been worked by
Army Lodges in 1795. Grand Lodge was established in 1818 but since 1820 has
had permanent quarters at Indianapolis. The first Chapter was warranted in
1820 and the Grand Chapter of Indiana constituted in 1845.
Congress passed a bill for the
organisation of the Territory of Iowa in 1837 and, two years later, the
Brethren in the new State formed their first Lodge. The Grand Lodge was formed
in 1844 when Bro. Oliver Cock was elected M.W. Grand Master and T.S. Parvin,
Cock was a very young man and
was only thirty-five years old and a Mason for less than four years when he
was elected Grand Master. In his first address he proposed to save part of the
funds for the establishment of what is now the famous Grand Lodge Library of
Iowa. Theodore Sutton Parvin, his colleague as rand Secretary, was another of
America's most famous Freemasons and to him must be ascribed the lion's share
of the credit for the establishment of the magnificent Masonic Library at
The Grand Lodge of Missouri
granted a Dispensation under which in 1854 a Craft Lodge was opened in
Wyandotte Territory. In 1856 three Lodges formed the Grand Lodge of Kansas and
Grand Chapter was set up in 1866.
Until 1792, when Kentucky
became a separate State, its Lodges came under the jurisdiction of Virginia.
Lexington Lodge was chartered in 1788 and four other Lodges in the successive
years. Representatives of the five Lodges met at Lexington in 1800 and
established the Grand Lodge of Kentucky. The first Chapters were established
at Lexington, Frankfort and Shelbyville in 1816 and formed a Grand Chapter in
The first Lodge to be
established in Louisiana was the Parfait Union Lodge, No. 29. At this time,
the country was peopled mainly by the French and Negro slaves and, following a
Negro insurrection in 1791, Freemasons who had fled to New Orleans organised
in 1793 the Parfait Union Lodge No. 29. The Louisiana Purchase and return of
many of the refugees to San Domingo left Freemasonry in the State more in the
hands of the Americans than had
FREEMASONRY IN THE U.S.A.
hitherto been the case and, in 1812, Grand Lodge was formed, Grand Chapter
following in 1813.
The Provincial Grand Master
for Massachusetts authorised Alexander Ross to form a Lodge, afterwards known
as Portland Lodge, at Falmouth, Maine, sometime prior to November, 1768. In
1769 a new Charter was granted and in 1772 the Lodge, doubting which was the
correct ritual to work, decided to use the Antient and Modern rituals on
alternate evenings. By 1819 when Maine was admitted into the Union, there were
31 Lodge's in existence of which 21 agreed to form an independent Grand Lodge
and the following year the Grand Lodge of Maine was formed with William King,
the Governor of the State, as the first Grand Master. Later, there was a
considerable reduction owing to the anti-Masonic agitation but, by 1870, 154
Lodges were at work in the State. Royal Arch Masonry in Maine dates back to
1805 and the Grand Royal Arch Chapter was incorporated in 1822.
The absence of records renders
difficult the construction of a true picture of early Freemasonry in Maryland
but it is known that a Lodge was chartered by the Provincial Grand Master of
Massachusetts in 1750. The Grand Lodge was set up in 1783. J. Hugo Tatsch, one
of the most eminent of American Masonic historians, considered that Maryland
received its Freemasonry from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, the
Grand Lodge of England (Antients) and the Provincial Grand Lodge of
Pennsylvania. There may also have been Scottish influence but traditions of
German Freemasonry are not now accepted. The first Royal Arch Chapter of which
we have any knowledge was Washington Chapter founded in 1787 and the Grand
Chapter was formed in 1814.
It was claimed in 1827 that
the first regular Lodge of Freemasons in America was held in King's Chapel,
Boston, by dispensation from the Grand Lodge of England about 1720. All we can
say is that St. John's Grand Lodge of Massachusetts was formed in 1733 under
the authority of the Grand Lodge of England, Henry Price being appointed
Provincial Grand Master, but the petition for the Grand Lodge mentions that
some of the petitioners were "made here." In 1769, the Grand Lodge of Scotland
authorised the formation of the St. Andrew's Grand Lodge but it was not until
1792 that a single Grand Lodge was formed. This has a peculiarity of issuing
no numbers to its Lodges. The Royal Arch Lodge of Boston was formed in 1769,
about four of the founders being members of Army Lodges. It became known as
St. Andrew's Chapter in 1792 and the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the Northern
States of America was formed in 1797, the Massachusetts Deputy Grand Royal
Arch Chapter being formed the same year.
St. Paul Lodge No. 223 met
under dispensation from 1849 and was constituted in 1853 under a warrant of
the Grand Lodge of Ohio. Other Lodges had been formed previous to the latter
date and, on 23rd February, 1853, the Grand Lodge of Minnesota was duly
constituted. A Chapter was formed at St. Paul in July, 1753, a petition for
the necessary approval being carried four hundred miles to the nearest Chapter
at Dibuke, Ohio, for approval. Other Chapters followed and in 1856, under the
authority of A. G. Mackey, General Grand High Priest, a Meeting was held to
arrange for the organisation of a Grand Chapter of Minnesota.
The Grand Lodge of Kentucky
FREEMASONRY IN THE U.S.A.
No. 7 at Natchez in 1801. It surrendered its Charter in 1814 but was again
chartered in 1816 and the Grand Lodge was formed in 1815. The Natchez Royal
Arch Chapter was formed in 1816 and the Grand Chapter in 1846.
Louisiana Lodge No. 109 was
warranted by the Grand Lodge of ennslvania in 1807, many of the founders
having been initiate in a French Lodge in Penlvania and settled in Missouri.
Several Lodges were formed under various authorities and the Grand Lodge Was
formed on 21st April, 18the Grand Master being Thomas F. Riddick. The first
Royal Arch Charter was issued on 3rd April, 1819 by the General Grand High
Priest and, in 1826, Missouri Chapter Nï. 1 began to work. In 1846, Grand
Chapter was organised and after some little delay owing to an alleged
irregularity, the . General Grand Chapter recognised its existence.
In November, 1862, William H.
Bell, who passed away at Bannock of a fever, requested on his deathbed a
Masonic funeral, when no fewer than 76 Brethren were present. This is the
first record of Freemasonry in Montana. The presence of so many Masons énay
have inspired some form of Masonic activity for, the following April, a
dispensation for a Lodge at Bannock was granted by the Grand Lodge of Nebraska
but, owing to the removal of the majority of the petitioners, no meeting was
held. The Grand Lodge of Nebraska issued a second Dispensation to Idaho Lodge
in 1863 and, although a charter was granted, this Lodge ceased to work in
1864. Montana was third time lucky. Dispensations were granted to two Lodges
in 1864 by the Grand Lodge of Kansas and two more in 1865 while, in 1866, the
Grand Lodge of Montana came into being, there being upwards of 140 Lodges
today. Dispensation for the
Chapter was issued in 1866 and a charter was granted in 1868, the Grand
Chapter being organised in 1891.
Following the division of the
region between the Missouri River and the Rocky Mountains into the territories
of Kansas and Nebraska, a dispensation was issued by the Grand Master of
Illinois for a Lodge at Bellevue which removed to Omaha in 1888. Other Lodges
were formed in 1857. A Grand Lodge was organised at Omaha, the Lodges being
renumbered. Omaha Chapter No. 1 was granted a Dispensation by the General
Grand King in 1859 and a charter issued six years later, the Grand Chapter
being regularly organised in 1867.
Carson Lodge at Carson City
was granted a charter in 1862 by the Grand Lodge of California and, by 1864,
the same body had warranted seven other Lodges in the same territory. Five of
these eight Lodges are still in existence. The Grand Lodge was formed in 1865
but, unfortunately lost its library and all its records by fire in 1875.
During the rebuilding, Grand Lodge met on top of Mount Davidson at a height of
7,827 feet, when 92 members and 286 visitors were present. The first Chapter
met under a dispensation issued in 1863 and charter dated 1865.
We have already heard much of
Henry Price of Boston. In 1735 he warranted a Lodge at Portsmouth, the first
settlement of Europeans in the State of New Hampshire and it is possible that
there had already been Meetings among the settlers. Grand Lodge was not fully
established until 1789 when General John Sullivan was elected first Grand
Master. St. Andrew's Chapter, Hanover, was warranted in 1807 and the Grand
Chapter organised in 1819.
FREEMASONRY IN THE U.S.A.
Although Daniel Coxe, the
first Provincial Grand Master for America, lived in the State of New Jersey,
it is not known that he took any active part in Freemasonry in that State. In
1761 a warrant was issued by George Harrison, Provincial Grand Master of the
Province of New York to St. John's Lodge, Newark. The Lodge is still in
existence and its Minutes are intact. William Ball was appointed Provincial
Grand Master for Pennsylvania by the Antients' Grand Lodge of England and
warranted three Lodges in New Jersey between 1767 and 1781. In 1779, George
Washington attended a Masonic Festival at Morristown and there was
considerable activity among Military Lodges. The Grand Lodge of New Jersey was
organised in 1786 but the Constitution was not adopted until the following
year. A warrant was granted to Washington Chapter, Newark, in 1813 but Grand
Chapter was not established until 13th February, 1857.
Although the first Provincial
Grand Master, Daniel Coxe, appears to have neglected his duties, the fact that
a song for Freemasons and a parody for the ladies was published in the New
York Gazette in 1738 indicates that Freemasonry was then well known. In 1739,
the same paper published an advertisement that a Lodge was being held at the
Montgomerie Arms Tavern on the first and, third Wednesday of every month.
Captain Richard Riggs, who succeeded Coxe as Provincial Grand Master, probably
organised his Provincial Grand Lodge soon after his arrival in May, 1738.
The Antients constituted a Provincial Grand Lodge of New York in
1781 with the Rev. William Walter as Provincial Grand Master and Grand Lodge
was established by 1787 when it issued an edict that "no Lodge can exist in
this State but under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge."
This was the New York G.L.,
equivalent to the union of the Antients and Moderns later to take place in
England in 1813.
The Royal Arch was probably worked under Lodge Charters at first.
Unfortunately, the early history of the Washington Chapter is uncertain as its
records were destroyed by fire. The Deputy Grand Chapter for the State of New
York, subordinate to the Grand Chapter of the United States was constituted.
De Witt Clinton was elected Deputy Grand High Priest. He also served as the
Grand Master of the Grand Encampment of New York, Grand Master of Knights
Templar of the United States and was Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of New
York for fourteen years. He was also a Senator of the United States, Mayor of
New York and Governor of New York. Despite the Anti-Masonic agitation he had
not hesitated to defend the Craft.
It has been stated that a
Lodge was formed at Wilmington, North Carolina about 1735 but all attempts to
trace this have failed and the earliest Lodge, St. John's, was warranted by
the Grand Lodge of England in March, 1774. The Grand Lodge of North Carolina
was organised in 1771 but its early records appear to have been destroyed
during the War of the Revolution. The Grand Lodge was reorganised in 1787 and
St. John's College was established in 1856 but, on its evacuation, during the
Civil War, it was converted into a fine Orphanage. A charter was issued to
Wilmington in 1815 and in 1847 it was reported that a Grand Chapter of North
Carolina had existed but had ceased work twenty years before. It was re-organised
about this time.
The Grand Lodge split off from
the Grand Lodge of
FREEMASONRY IN THE U.S.A.
Dakota in 1889, 27 Lodges from the North being represented.
Similar action was taken by Grand Chapter the following year.
About the close of the War of
the Revolution, a number of members of the American Union Lodge working under
a charter granted by the St. John's Grand Lodge of Massachusetts settled at
rie a Säme years late., this charter was destroyed by fire but the authority
was renewed by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts with a proviso teat a Grand
Lodge should be formed only in the territory in which it was located. There
were five Lodges in existence in 1809 when Grand Lodge was formed, Samuel
Huntingdon t1 n Governor of Ohio being elected Grand Master.
A Chapter was opened at Marietta in 1792 under the same authority
and Grand Chapter was formed in 1816.
The Indian and Oklahoma
Territories were originally separate from each other. Flint Lodge in Indian
Territory received a charter from the Grand Lodge of Arkansas in 1853. In 1874
three Lodges met in convention and the Grand Lodge of Indian Territory was
constituted. Oklahoma Lodge joined soon after but two other existing Lodges
steered clear until 1878 and the Grand Lodge of Indian Territory and Grand
Lodge of Oklahoma Territory were only united at a convention held at Guthrie
in 1909, the only formal fusion of two Grand Lodges in American Masonic
history. The Grand Lodge now ruled over upwards of 400 Lodges.
Multnomha Lodge was warranted
by the Grand Lodge of Ìß uri at e o ' 184 Two other Lodges were formed under
the Grand Lodge of California and in
the Grand Lodge was formed. Multnomha Chapter, Salem, was granted a
dispensation in 1856 and the Grand Chapter organised in 1860.
We have already referred to
Pennsylvania when consider- ing Benjamin Franklin and his Pennsylvania
Gazette. It is believed that Freemasonry existed in Pennsylvania prior to 1711
and it has often been claimed that the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania wasa
sister, not a daughter, to the Grand Lodge of England. It separate from the
Grand Lodge of England on 28th December, 1778 when delegates from thirteen
Lodges formed the Grandge of Pennsylvania. The Royal Arch was worked there
from 1763 and until 1795 all Chapters were under the authority of Lodges.
Grand Chapter was opened on 24th February, 1798, attached to the Grand Lodge
of Pennsylvania but this was closed in 1824 and an independent Grand Chapter
It has been claimed that a
Lodge was established in 1658 at Newport but this rests on tradition only. In
1749 a warrant was granted to St. John's Lodge at Newport by St. John's
Provincial Grand Lodge at Boston, Massachusetts and in 1751 a Lodge was
warranted at Providence. Grand Lodge was organised in 1791 and still retains
in its full form the old name of the "Providence Plantations." Provincial
Royal Arch Chapter was established in 1793 and the Grand Chapter of Rhode
Island organised in 1798.
About 1735 some Freemasons
going to South Carolina met Brothers in Charleston and forthwith started work,
the earliest authenticated account appearing in the South Carolina Gazette of
29th October, 1736. This was Solomon's Lodge warranted by the Grand Lodge of
England in 1735.
FREEMASONRY IN THE U.S.A.
Hammerton was appointed Provincial Grand Master for South Carolina and
resigned his office the following year on his return to England. His Masonic
career was noteworthy for in 1730 he served as a Steward at the Festival of
the Grand Lodge of Ål gland, held a number of appointments in America and
attended communications of Grand Lodge in 1738 and 1739 when again in England.
Antient Freemasonry appeared in South Carolina about 1783 and in
1787 organised the "Grand Lodge of Antient York Masons." The two Grand Lodges
were united in 1817 under the name, "Grand Lodge of Antient Freemasons." The
first Chapter was warranted by the Grand Chapter of New York in 1803 and Grand
Chapter was formed in 1812.
Lodges were meeting in 1796
under the Grand Lodge of North Carolina and Kentucky. Following a Convention
of 2nd December, 1811 the Grand Lodge of Tennessee was duly established in
1813. Cumberland Chapter was formed in 1818 and the Grand Chapter of Tennessee
recognised as a constituent of General Grand Chapter in 1826.
The first Meeting was held in
a grove at Brazoria in March, 1835 when five Master Masons decided to open a
Lodge which was warranted by the Grand Lodge of Louisiana as Holland No. 26.
War with Mexico and Roman Catholic opposition interrupted the work of the
Lodge and in 1836, when Brazoria was captured, the records and all its
belongings were destroyed and the members scattered. The charter had however
been issued and been brought to Texas in 1837. The Lodge reopened at Houston
and Grand Lodge was formed in 1837-38.
The first Royal Arch Chapter was not established until 2nd June,
1840 when Texas was no longer part of Mexico
the Grand Chapter was formed in 1841. It was however not recognised by the
General Grand Chapter before 1850 and in 1861 it again separated from that
The first Lodge organised in
Utah was among soldiers sent there by President Buchanan in 1859 but, after a
short life, this ceased working on account of the recall of the Army to
Washington City. The Grand Master of Nevada issued a dispensation in 1866 for
the organisation of Mount Moriah Lodge at Salt Lake City but vetoed the
admission to the Craft of any Mormons and, for the while, the dispensation of
the Lodge was surrendered. The Grand Lodge of Montana also refused this but
the Grand Lodge of Kansas issued a dispensation in 1867, charter in 1868 and a
Grand Lodge was organised in 1872 but expelled one brother from the Craft who
had become a Mormon. Utah Chapter was founded in 1872 and the Grand Chapter in
St. Andrew's Grand Lodge of
Massachusetts chartered a Lodge in 1781 to meet at Springfield, Vermont but,
as its Meetings were held at Charlestown, New Hampshire, a plan was devolved
to divide into two Lodges and a second Charter was granted in 1788. The first
Lodge then moved to Springfield and in 1795 was permitted to meet at Windsor.
Other Lodges rapidly followed and the Grand Lodge was founded in 1794. Vermont
passed through a particularly difficult time during the anti-Masonic
disturbances and, although the Grand Lodge met annually, it was not until 1846
that conditions became normal. A Mark Master Masons Lodge was Founded at
Bennington in 1799 and in 1805 Jerusalem Chapter came into being at Vergennes
followed by the Grand Royal Arch Chapter in 1806. This, however, went out of
action from 1832 to 1847 owing to the Morgan trouble.
FREEMASONRY IN THE U.S.A.
Lodges were meeting at Norfolk
in 1733 and York Town in 1755 and the Grand Lodge of Virginia was set up in
1778, Meetings being held at Williamsburg until 1784 when the Grand Lodge came
to Richmond. That year, General LaFayette presented George Washington with an
apron worked by Madam LaFayette. The Royal Arch was probably worked at first
under Lodge charters and the holy Royal Arch of the Antient and Accepted Rite
was taught in the State until 1820, the Grand Chapter being established on 1st
Washington was separated from
Oregon in 1853, at which time there were four Lodges in the new Territory`,
all under the Grand Lodge of Oregon. The Grand Lodge of Washington was set up
in 1858 and the Grand Chapter in 1884.
West Virginia separated from
Virginia in 1863. Unfortunately, the early records appear to have been lost
during the Civil War. Several attempts were made to establish a Grand Lodge
but, owing to wartime difficulties, it was not possible for this to be carried
out until 1865. About the same time, several of the nine Chaters of West
Virginia formed themselves into a Grand Chapter.
A Meeting was held in 1823 to
organise a Lodge at Green Bay, then in Michigan. The Lodge was founded in
1824, others following at Mineral Point etc. and in 1843 a Convention was held
at Madison for the purpose of organising a Grand Lodge. Milwaukee Chapter was
formed in 1844 and the Grand Chapter established in 1850.
On July 4th, 1862, several
trains of immigrants had a Meeting in Wyoming and about twenty Brethren held
an informal Meeting on the top of de endence Rock, Nitrona County. Four Lodges
forme the Grand odge of Wyoming in 1874 and the .Grand Chapter was set up in
Although there are earlier indirect references, the earliest
minute in the world is found at Fredericsburg, Virginia:-
Decembr. 22d. 5753
Which Night the Lodge being Assembled was present -
Right Worshipfull Simon
Frazier G M, D° John Neilson S Wardn, D° Robert Armistead Jun Wardn; all
of the Royall Arch Lodge
Transactions of the night
Daniel Campbell, Robert
Halkerston, Alexr Wodrow - All Raised to the Degree of Rovall Arch Mason
Royal Arch Lodge being Shutt -
Enterd aprentices Lodge Opend - present
Right Worshipfull Dan'
Campbell G M D° John Neilson S.W., D° Robert Halkerston J.W.,
Alexr Wodrow Secretary Robert
Armistead, Treasr pro Temp; Robert Spotswood, Simon Frazier - Visiting Bror.
John Benger was admitted as a Member of this Lodge .... .
FREEMASONRY IN THE U.S.A.
It is interesting to find the Master, Junior Warden and Secretary
of the Craft Lodge candidates for what we now call "Exaltation."
We have seen that in the Craft
each State has its own autonomous drand Lodge. When we come to the Capitular
Degrees there is a greater though not quite complete central organisation as
the majority 'of the U.S. Chapters and some of those of Canada are members of
the General Grand Chapter of North America. The first meeting out of which
this imposing body grew was held at Boston, Mass, on the 24th October,1797. It
adjourned and at Hartford the Grand Chapter of the United States was organised
in 1798. In 1806 the name The General Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons
for the United States of America was adopted and this was simplified in 1946
to The General Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons when the three Canadian
Provinces were admitted to fe