Note:  This material was scanned into text files for the sole purpose of convenient electronic research. This material is NOT intended as a reproduction of the original volumes. However close the material is to becoming a reproduced work, it should ONLY be regarded as a textual reference.  Scanned at Phoenixmasonry by Ralph W. Omholt, PM in June 2007.

THE COLLECTED "PRESTONIAN LECTURES"

1961-1974

(Volume Two)

 

THE COLLECTED PRESTONIAN LECTURES

1961-1974

(Volume Two)

 

Edited by Harry Carr

 

LONDON

LEWIS Masonic

 

Quatuor Coronati Lodge

 

First published in collected form in England in 1965

by

Quatuor Coronati Lodge No 2076

 

This edition published in 1984 by

 

LEWIS MASONIC, Terminal House, Shepperton, Middlesex members of the

IAN ALLAN GROUP

 

Published by kind permission of

The Board of General Purposes of the United Grand Lodge of England

  

1. Freemasons. Quatuor Coronati Lodge 366'.1 HS395

ISBN 0-85318-132-2

Made and printed in Great Britain by The Garden City Press Limited Letchworth, Hertfordshire SG6 US

 

 

CONTENTS

 

List of Lecturers 1961-74     vi

List of Abbreviated References used in the text    vi

Introduction by Cyril Batham            vii

           

 

Year                The Prestonian Lectures

 

 

1961   King Solomon in the Middle Ages              Prof. G. Brett                          1

1962   The Grand Mastership of    

            HRH the Duke of Sussex                             P. R. James                                       11

1963   Folklore into Masonry                       VRev H. G. Michael

                                                                        Clarke                                                             25

1964   The Genesis of Operative Masonry            Rev A. J. Arkell                                  32

1965   Brethren who made Masonic          

            History            E. Newton                                                                                          46

1966   The Evolution of the English

            Provincial Grand Lodge       Hon W. R. S. Bathurst                                               58

1967   The Grand Lodge of England         

            - A History of the First          

            Hundred Years          A. R. Hewitt                                                                            74

1968   The Five Noble Orders of    

            Architecture   H. Kent Atkins                                                                                    94

1969   External Influences on the    

            Evolution of English Masonry           J. R. Clarke                                                    106

1970   In the Beginning was the     

            Word ...           Lt Col Eric Ward                                                                               117

1971   Masters and Master Masons           Rev Canon R. Tydeman                               133

1972   `It is not in the Power of any man:   

            A Study in change'    T. O. Haunch                                                              149

1973   In Search of Ritual Uniformity           C. F. W. Dyer                                                 168

1974   Drama and Craft       N. Barker Cryer                                                                     196

 

Bibliography                                                                                                                          242

 


 

vi

 

`THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES'

 

List of Illustrations

 

 

William Preston as PM of the Lodge of Antiquity  Frontispiece

HRH Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex as MW Grand

Master of the United Grand Lodge of England, 1813-43                                                 13

The Step Pyramid enclosure at Sakkara                                                                           35

Comparative Proportions of the Orders of Architecture                                       95

Solomon's Temple as visualised by Lt Col Eric Ward from available evidence            127

Solomon's Temple as imagined by the seventeenth-century artist,

Romain de Hooghe                                                                                                              128

The Battle of Rephidim as imagined by the sixteenth-century artist,

Philip Galle                                                                                                                            131

 

 

The Lecturers

1961-74

 

 

W Bro Prof Gerard Brett, PM Felix Lodge No 1494.

W Bro P. R. James, MA, AKC, PAGDC.

RW Bro V Rev H. G. Michael Clarke, Prov GM Warwickshire. 1953-65.

W Bro Rev A. J. Arkell, MBE, MC, PM Old Bradford Lodge No 3549.

W Bro Edward Newton, PGStwd.

RW Bro Hon William R. S. Bathurst, TD, Prov GM Gloucestershire, 1950-70.

RW Bro A. R. Hewitt, FLA, PJGD.

W Bro H. K. Atkins, PAGSupt Wks.

W Bro J. R. Clarke, PJGD.

W Bro Lt Col Eric Ward, TD, PAGDC.

VW Bro Rev Canon R. Tydeman, PG Chaplain.

W Bro T. O. Haunch, MA, PAGSupt Wks.

W Bro C. F. W. Dyer, ERD, PJGD, AProv GM (West Kent).

W Bro Rev Neville Barker Cryer, PDepG Chaplain, A Prov GM (Surrey).

 


 

 

 

Abbreviated References used in the Text

 

AQC ‑ Ars Quatuor Coronatorum. Transactions of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge.

 

B of C‑ Book of Constitutions.

 

FQR ‑ Freemasons' Quarterly Review.

 

QCA ‑ Quatuor Coronatorum Antigrapha. Masonic Reprints of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge.

 

INTRODUCTION

 

EXTRACT FROM THE GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS FOR 5 DECEMBER 1923.

 

In the year 1818, Bro William Preston, a very active Freemason at the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth centuries, bequeathed ˙300 3 per cent. Consolidated Bank Annuities, the interest of which was to be applied `to some well‑informed Mason to deliver annually a Lecture on the First, Second, or Third Degree of the Order of Masonry according to the system practised in the Lodge of Antiquity' during his Mastership. For a number of years the terms of this bequest were acted upon, but for a long period no such Lecture has been delivered, and the Fund has gradually accumulated, and is now vested in the MW the Pro Grand Master, the Rt Hon Lord Ampthill, and W Bro Sir Kynaston Studd, PGD, as trustees. The Board has had under consideration for some period the desirability of framing a scheme which would enable the Fund to be used to the best advantage; and, in consultation with the Trustees who have given their assent, has now adopted such a scheme, which is given in full in Appendix A [See below], and will be put into operation when the sanction of Grand Lodge has been received.

 

The Grand Lodge sanction was duly given and the `scheme for the administration of the Prestonian fund' appeared in the Proceedings as follows:

 

APPENDIX

 

A SCHEME FOR ADMINISTRATION OF THE PRESTONIAN FUND

 

1. The Board of General Purposes shall be invited each year to nominate two Brethren of learning and responsibility from whom the Trustees shall appoint the Prestonian Lecturer for the year with power for the Board to subdelegate their power of nomination to the Library, Art, and Publications Committee of the Board, or such other Committee as they think fit.

 

2. The remuneration of the Lecturer so appointed shall be ˙5 5s Od for each Lecture delivered by him together with travelling expenses, if any, not exceeding ˙1 Ss Od, the number of Lectures delivered each year being determined by the income of the fund and the expenses incurred in the way of Lectures and administration.

 

3. The Lectures shall be delivered in accordance with the terms of the Trust.

 

One at least of the Lectures each year shall be delivered in London under the auspices of one or more London Lodges. The nomination of Lodges under whose auspices the Prestonian Lecture shall be delivered shall rest with the Trustees, but with power for one or more Lodges to prefer requests through the Grand Secretary for the Prestonian Lecture to vii viii `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' be delivered at a meeting of such Lodge or combined meeting of such Lodges.

 

4. Having regard to the fact that Bro William Preston was a member of the Lodge of Antiquity and the original Lectures were delivered under the aegis of that Lodge, it is suggested that the first nomination of a Lodge to arrange for the delivery of the Lecture shall be in favour of the Lodge of Antiquity should that Lodge so desire.

 

5. Lodges under whose auspices the Prestonian Lecture may be delivered shall be responsible for all the expenses attending the delivery of such Lecture except the Lecturer's Fee.

 

6. Requests for the delivery of the Prestonian Lecture in Provincial Lodges will be considered by the Trustee who may consult the Board as to the granting or refusal of such consent.

 

7. Requests from Provincial Lodges shall be made through Provincial Grand Secretaries to the Grand Secretary, and such requests, if granted, will be granted subject to the requesting Provinces making themselves responsible for the provision of a suitable hall in which the Lecture can be delivered, and for the Lecturer's travelling expenses beyond the sum of ˙1 5s Od, and if the Lecturer cannot reasonably get back to his place of abode on the same day, the requesting Province must pay his Hotel expenses or make other proper provision for his accommodation.

 

8. Provincial Grand Secretaries, in the case of Lectures delivered in the Province, and Secretaries of Lodges under whose auspices the Lecture may be delivered in London, shall report to the Trustees through the Grand Secretary the number in attendance at the Lecture, the manner in which the Lecture was received, and generally as to the proceedings thereat.

 

9. Master Masons, subscribing members of Lodges, may attend the Lectures, and a fee not exceeding 2s may be charged for their admission for the purpose of covering expenses.

 

Thus after a lapse of some sixty years the Prestonian Lectures were revived in their new form and, with the exception of the War period (1940‑46), a Prestonian Lecturer has been appointed by the Grand Lodge regularly each year.

 

It is interesting to see that neither of those two extracts announcing the revival of the Prestonian Lectures made any mention of the principal change that had been effected under the revival, a change that is here referred to as their new form. The importance of the new form is that the Lecturer is now permitted to choose his own subject and, apart from certain limitations inherent in the work, he really has a free choice.

 

Nowadays the official announcement of the appointment of the Prestonian Lecturer usually carries an additional paragraph which lends great weight to the appointment: The Board desires to emphasize the importance of these the only Lectures held under the authority of the Grand Lodge. It is, therefore, hoped that applications for the privilege of having one of these official Lectures will be made only by Lodges which are prepared to afford facilities INTRODUCTION for all Freemasons in their area, as well as their own members, to participate and thus ensure an attendance worthy of the occasion.

 

The Prestonian Lecturer has to deliver three `official' lectures to lodges applying for that honour. The `official' deliveries are usually allocated to one selected lodge in London and two in the provinces. In addition to these three the lecturer generally delivers the same lecture, unofficially, to other lodges all over the country, and, on occasions, to lodges abroad. It is customary for printed copies of the lecture to be sold‑in vast numbers‑for the benefit of one or more of the masonic charities selected by the author.

 

The Prestonian Lectures have the unique distinction, as noted above, that they are the only lectures given `with the authority of the Grand Lodge.' There are also two unusual financial aspects attaching to them. Firstly, that the lecturer is paid for his services, though the modest fee is not nearly as important as the honour of the appointment.

 

Secondly the lodges that are honoured with the official deliveries of the lectures are expected to take special measures for assembling a large audience and for that reason they are permitted ‑ on that occasion only ‑ to make a small nominal charge for admission.

 

In 1965 a collection of twenty‑seven Prestonian Lectures was published by Quatuor Coronati Lodge entitled The Collected Prestonian Lectures 1925‑60 and was edited by Harry Carr. Unfortunately this has long been out of print. It covered the period from the time of the revival of the lectures until 1960 with the exception of the following three lectures that were omitted because of their esoteric content:  1924 W Bro Capt C. W. Firebrace, The First Degree  PGD   1932 W Bro J. Heron Lepper, The Evolution of Masonic  PGD Ritual in England in   the Eighteenth Century 1951 W Bro H. W. Chetwin, Variations in Masonic  PAGDC Ceremonial Editorial versions of these three lectures were published by Quatuor Coronati Lodge in volume 94 of Ars Quatuor Coronatorum.

 

The present book contains the lectures from 1961 to 1974 and fortunately it has been possible to print all of them in full. They cover a wide range of masonic subjects and as all have been out of print for some considerable time, masonic students will certainly welcome this opportunity of obtaining a collected edition of them. Not only are they a valuable aid to masonic study but they are an excellent means of making `a daily advancement in masonic knowledge'.

 

There are only fourteen lectures in this collection, virtually one‑half of the number printed in the former volume but present‑day costs of book production have imposed this limit. It is hoped that in due course it will be possible to produce a third volume.

 

In some cases the lectures have been expanded or augmented in some way but in every such case this has been done by the individual lecturers. Further it must X `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' be emphasized that they and they alone are responsible for the opinions expressed and for the accuracy of the statements made. Most of those honoured by the United Grand Lodge of England in being appointed as Prestonian Lecturers had previously distinguished themselves, not only as masonic scholars, but in other aspects of masonic life and of the fourteen, no less than ten are or were members of Quatuor Coronati Lodge.

 

Finally it must be pointed out that not only this collection but also the individual lectures are copyright. In every case permission to publish these lectures has been obtained from the authors, their heirs or assigns and their help and co‑operation so freely given is gratefully acknowledged.

 

London, 1983. CYRIL N. BATHAM.

 

KING SOLOMON IN THE MIDDLE AGES THE PRESTONIAN LECTURE FOR 1961 GERARD BRETT THE PROBLEMS of continuity are among the most baffling of those which beset the historian. This is particularly the case in the history of Western Europe in the last 2,000 odd years. We are accustomed to think that of history within the framework invented for it by the German nineteenth‑century philosopher Friedrich Hegel as falling into three periods, the ancient, the medieval and the modern. A continuity between the ancient and the first part of the medieval period can often be traced, and so can one between the second half of the medieval and the modern. Continuity from the first period to the last, however, is extremely rare. Two outstanding examples of it will strike everyone at once ‑ the Christian church and the Latin language. Neither exists today in anything like the original form. As Miss Prism remarked to Canon Chasuble in Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, `the primitive church has not survived in its original form'. In the same way, no one, with classical Latin in mind, has tried to master either of its chief modern derivatives, church Latin and Italian, will maintain that it has done so either. That there is continuity in each case, however, is quite clear.

 

Apart from these two, such examples as there are of this continuity are mainly to be found in the field of folklore, tradition and popular beliefs. It is with one of these that I want to deal today: the legend of King Solomon.

 

I cannot do better than to begin this lecture at the point where the research it incorporates began, that is, with a quotation from a sentence from a contribution to A QC, xxvii by Bro Chetwode Crawley: `Between the third and the thirteenth centuries,' he wrote, `there are not in the whole range of Western Literature a score of references to Solomon or to his Temple, and such as are known to exist are neither complimentary to the Wisdom of the King nor laudatory of the splendour of the edifice.' To my mind this contains two serious mistakes ‑ a misstatement of fact, in that medieval Western literature abounds with complimentary references to Solomon and his Temple, and a mistaken implication that none of the Temple legends existed in written form earlier than AD 1300. All the literature goes to show that Solomon was a great figure in the Middle Ages. In all this material there is, of course, the gap between the first and second Craft degrees on the one side and the third on the other. The origin of the Hiramic legend proper, as Bro Covey‑Crump has demonstrated, is unknown and possibly unknowable; there are no traces of it in medieval literature, and its absence where so much else is present is highly significant. The material in the first and second degrees, on the other hand, is mainly from the Old Testament, 1 2 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' and, even when it is not, its origin is, I think, in every case traceable. But medieval literature, in revealing the transmission of this material, reveals also the recurring traditions about Solomon himself, his Temple, and his chief Architect; and I do not think anyone can study these traditions without beginning to wonder how old the legends may be in something at least nearly approaching the form in which we have them. The many legends about him fall under three headings: Solomon the magician, Solomon the wise man, Solomon the builder. Of these the third one seems to have been the main one from the start, and I propose to pass over the magician and the wise man stories rather rapidly here and concentrate my attention on Solomon the builder.

 

To begin then, with Solomon the magician. An implication that he was a magician is found in two passages in the Old Testament, while the latest writer on the subject points out that the evidence of Solomon's life, with its dark and disastrous end, were exactly of a kind to encourage such a legend. The legend had grown extensively by the time of Josephus in the first century AD. Here we find the legend's two commonest features ‑ Solomon's power over birds and animals, and the books he had written. It is made quite plain that the books referred to here were books of magic; and thus almost at the start we are introduced to the magical rituals which were to be a constant theme.

 

The aim of all magic is to acquire human control over non‑human agencies. Magic takes three great forms ‑ astrology, alchemy and ritual. Ritual magic, that is, the repetition of special words and formulae, is incidental to one if not both the other forms as well as to many types of organised religion. Its most important medieval use, and that in which it shows most clearly the aim of all magic, lies in demonology, the study and knowledge of demons with a view to their control for human purposes. It is in the Roman period, especially in the first four or five centuries AD, that we become aware of the full importance of demonology, principally for use in exorcism, that is the casting out of demons; a series of literary sources from the New Testament onwards shows the importance for the Christian as well as for the Jew of exorcism as a means of healing the sick.

 

Magical books ascribed to Solomon were widespread; Origen in the third century refers to the exorcistic formulae contained in them, and now for the first time we hear of the Seal of Solomon, which cast out demons because it contained the Holy Name of God ‑ an idea which appears in two passages in the Book of Revelation. Amulets of this period invoke Solomon's aid against a variety of ills: as the magician who knew all the demons by their names, and what ailments were caused by which, he was the obvious person to call on.

 

It is in the Testament of Solomon that the King's power and position appear most clearly; and the Testament, a Jewish work probably of the, fourth century AD, was to colour all European magical rituals for twelve hundred years. The Testament is hung on the thread of an autobiographical story of Solomon's life and reign, with stress on the building of the Temple. It is actually little more than a hand‑list of demons, giving their names, the mischief they cause, and how they are to be exorcised. The demonology is far more developed than any other feature of the work, and shows signs of various foreign influences, notably Egyptian and KING SOLOMON IN THE MIDDLE AGES Iranian, acting on its Jewish foundation. There are Christian influences, too; indeed, its importance partly lies in showing how close to each other Christianity and demonology were.

 

But the Testament has a wider importance. The first stage of demonology ‑ paramount in the Testament ‑ was a matter of exorcism and medicine. The next, which parts of the work foreshadow, was a change to demonology as a means of obtaining special benefits. To this end there was produced the series of manuals of demonology, which goes on into the sixteenth century, if not later. The most famous of these are the two Keys of Solomon; nearly all are attributed to him as a matter of course. It is here, perhaps, that it becomes most clear how great a figure Solomon the Magician was in the Middle Ages, and apart from the Manuals he reappears constantly in medieval literature. Most of the legends in the vast Solomon‑Magician corpus probably date from this time, and in any estimate of the mental atmosphere of the later Middle Ages he is a figure to reckon with. It was only with a further change in the character of demonology, and the rise of the new type of magician embodied in Faust, that Solomon lost ground.

 

The second strand in the tradition is that of Solomon the Wise Man. To a great extent, of course, the `Magician' element presupposes this, and in the earlier centuries the two are very hard to distinguish. In the earliest evidence, other than the Old Testament itself, Josephus mentions three points referable strictly to this idea‑ `books' Solomon had written (apart, that is, from the purely magical books already mentioned) ‑ a development from the generalised `Wisdom' which alone is attributed to him by the Old Testament; the riddles he exchanged with Hiram of Tyre, or his servant Abdemonus, which are the occasion for a disquisition on the wisdom of Solomon itself; and the Queen of Sheba's visit to test and hear his wisdom.

 

In the Christian centuries the idea of Solomon's wisdom seems to have gradually separated itself from that of his magic, and stress is increasingly laid on the idea of him as the receptory of the Divine Wisdom‑the Hagia Sophia itself; he appears in this light in at least one fresco with Biblical figures, a twelfth‑century example in S. Demetrius at Vladimir. There are glimpses of the idea of wisdom in general, both in the Testament and in other sources, in the ascription to him of all medical knowledge, indeed of the whole art of healing, without the implication of exorcism. The books appear again in the sixth century in Cosmas' `Solomon again wrote his own works, Proverbs, the Song of Songs and Ecclesiastes. For though he had received the gift of wisdom from God . . . he did not receive the gift of prophecy'; the riddling with Hiram and his servant, who here appears as Abdimus, in Jacques de Vitry's History of Jerusalem (thirteenth century). The Anglo‑Saxon Dialogue of Solomon and Saturn is a separate manifestation of this general idea; another, entirely separate and showing how widely prolific the idea was, is the Arab legend that the original strain of all Arab horses derives from the stallion Zad‑er‑Rakib, given by Solomon to an embassy of Azdites.

 

It is in the encyclopaedic age of the thirteenth century that the specific idea of Solomon as the repository of all Wisdom comes to its full flowering. The medieval notion of the Old and New Testament as complementary parts of one whole, the Old a prefiguration of the New, derives in its later form mainly from the THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' `Allegoriae quaedam Scripturae' of Isidore of Seville, though it is by no means original to him. It was not worked out in detail for some hundreds of years after Isidore, but when it was, we find Solomon as the symbol of Divine Wisdom, and as such the direct prefiguration of Christ Himself. This appears most clearly in the thirteenth century MSS of the Bible Moralises, where miniatures of the various events in the history of Solomon are accompanied by both the Old Testament text and a statement of the precise event in the life and ministry of Christ which is prefigured.

 

The same idea inspires the late medieval version of the story of the Queen of Sheba. The story is Biblical in origin, and appears in Josephus; but with the passage of time its character changes. In the earlier Middle Ages, as well as in Byzantine tradition throughout, the Queen speaks in dark language, and most resembles one of the Roman Sibyls, whereas Jewish and Aramaic writers see her essentially as the riddle giver. In twelfth‑century Europe, she was, so to speak, Christianised, and accepted into Western Christian legend, where she has remained ever since. Solomon is the Divine Wisdom; the Queen of Sheba is the Church coming from the ends of the earth to hear the words of Christ, as she appears in the twelfth‑century stained glass at Canterbury. Alternatively Solomon on the throne represents the Divine Wisdom on the knees of Mary, and the Queen of Sheba's visit, the Adoration of the Magi. The latter version is shown above the Central West Porch of Strasbourg Cathedral, in a relief carving of Solomon on the throne with the Virgin and Child above. The former is illustrated in the Bible Moralises, and in the series of pairs of sculptured figures at Amiens, Chartres, Reims and elsewhere, which were the subject of a fierce argument in AQCxix. The older Sibyl‑Prophetess idea did not die out completely: it reappears in the Nuremberg Liber Cronicarum of 1493; and on a German `Old Testament' Gothic tapestry of about 1500, are two figures with the names `Salaman' and `Sibilla'.

 

The other favourite scene of the wisdom of Solomon ‑ the Judgment ‑ has a longer specifically Christian history. What may be a caricature of it is on a Pompeian fresco (ie before the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79) in the Naples Museum; what is probably the earliest Christian representation is on the lid of a silver casket in the Church of San Nazaro in Milan, attributed to the late fourth century. There are other early medieval examples; and the judgment story, too, is drawn into the encyclopaedic explanation of the Bible. The Bible Moralises makes the living child prefigure the Church, the dead ‑ the Synagogue.

 

The first, or Magician element in the tradition seems to fade about the time of the Renaissance. Not, indeed, that the belief in magic itself fades then; it was, in fact, the great age of Alchemy, and the Philosopher's Stone was often taken to be identical with the Seal of Solomon. But Solomon as a Magician was dying with the Magician conceived as a heroic figure. Solomon as a Wise Man was by no means dead, and with the beginning of serious Old Testament study he takes on a new lease of life. The idea reaches its height, perhaps, in a story told by Bayle in his Dictionary; that Joshua Barnes, Cambridge Professor Greek, in 1710 wrote an epic poem of 10,000 lines to prove that Solomon was the author of the Iliad and Odyssey, attributed to Homer. It is only fair to add that Bayle admits a doubt KING SOLOMON IN THE MIDDLE AGES S whether this feat was not performed to please the Professor's wife, and so induce her to pay for his edition of Homer.

 

These two first strands in the Solomon tradition may at first sight appear to have little to do with the masonic legends, but I suggest that they are important, both as disposing of the suggestion that Solomon was an unknown figure in the Middle Ages and as giving a background to the Temple story. They provide evidence of those general ideas on Solomon which the Middle Ages had, and which the Temple legends do, in fact, presuppose.

 

For the Temple is the centre of the Solomon tradition from the start. In the Old Testament books it is already the main event; and as Solomon himself and the personalities of his reign passed first into memory and then into legend ‑ and especially after the first destruction of Jerusalem, as witness Psalm 137 ‑ the Temple became to an ever‑increasing degree the symbol of past ‑ and lost ‑ greatness. Josephus tells the whole story at great length, and comparison of his account with those of the Old Testament reveals the accretion of legendary and marvellous details to the original. In all later sources the influence of Josephus can be traced, occasionally with acknowledgement, more often not; `almost every person,' writes William of Malmesbury in the twelfth century, `is acquainted with what Josephus, Eucherius and Bede have said' (sc, about the Temple), and in the late medieval romance of 'Titus and Vespasian', Josephus is not only a main authority for the events, but appears as one of the chief actors in the drama.

 

Early Christian writers are, in the main, content to report the story much as Josephus tells it. Clement of Alexandria, in the Stromateis (second century), gives the story of Solomon's reign in some detail, opening with the statements that he reigned for forty years, and that Nathan the Prophet lived in his time and inspired the building of the Temple, of which Sadok was the first High Priest, being the eighth in the line from Aaron. Later come the marriage of Solomon to the daughter of Hiram of Tyre, at the time when Menelaus came to Phoenicia from Troy ‑ a good example of Clement's historical method of synthesising classical and Jewish history ‑ and the `Letters' of Solomon ‑ cited here from a lost work, Alexander on the Jews, and not from Josephus ‑ which brought him 80,000 workmen for the Temple from 'Hophra', King of Egypt, and another 80,000 from Hiram of Tyre, together with an architect named Hyperon, of a Jewish mother of the family of David; Eusebius, in the Praeparatio Evangelica (fourth century), tells much the same story, quoting the lost author Eupolemos, and adding a long description of the building, with particular reference to the two brass pillars gilded with pure gold. John Chrysostom devotes part of a sermon to an argument on whether its plan and design derived from Egypt, concluding in the negative. The Testament is contemporary with these, and, as its latest editor has pointed out, the Temple is the Leitmotif of the whole work ‑a good example of the essential unity of the three strands in the Solomon tradition: it is in order to build the Temple that Solomon seeks and acquires the power over demons which forms the real subject of the book.

 

With Gregory of Tours (sixth century) we are approaching the Middle Ages. Gregory mentions the Temple twice. In his History it is the subject of the sole reference to Solomon, and is described as of such magnificence and splendour 6 that the world has never seen its equal; in the de cursa Stellarum it is cited as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. In the lengthy de templo Solomonis of Bede (625‑735), we first meet the allegorical interpretation of the Temple story which has been a feature of the Western approach to it ever since; Bede, like Josephus, is a source on which many later writers draw. Bede states the basis of the allegorical approach in his first chapter: `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' His method is to start each section with the quotation of a sentence from the Old Testament describing some feature of the Temple, and to give a long allegorical explanation of it. Considerations of time and space make it impossible to cite examples; besides, much of it is intensely dull. Bede quotes some half‑adozen times from Josephus, and twice from Cassiodorus' Commentary on the Pslams; his own influence is clear to see in the three other most important medieval works on this class, Rhabanus Maurus' Commentary on the Books of Samuel and Kings (ninth century) ‑ a great deal of which is taken word for word from Bede‑Richard of Saint Victor's de Tavernaculo Tractatus Secundus (twelfth century), and the Historica Scholastica of Petrus Comestor (twelfth century). Of these, the first two give full importance to the allegorical approach of Bede; in the third it is much less to the fore. Comestor, whose work is an abridged and simplified Bible, is in general satisfied to tell a plain, but very detailed, story of the building and magnificence of the Temple; he relies mainly on the Old Testament and Josephus. Besides these writers, who are essentially ecclesiastical in approach, there are a number of others. Alcuin, for instance, refers to Charlemagne in the ninth century both as David and as Solomon, and, in reference to the new building, speaks of `that Temple of Aachen which is being constructed by the art of the most wise Solomon'. Both the Golden Legend (twelfth century) and Ranulf Higden's Polychronicon (fourteenth century) trace the whole history of Solomon, incorporating many of the later legendary additions, and Higden describes the Temple in considerable detail. From a far distant source‑Palestine itself ‑ comes a legend of unknown age, though it is medieval, to the effect that Solomon himself was a stonemason.

 

This mention of Palestine leads on to the third class of medieval sources on the Temple ‑ the tales brought back by the Pilgrims. The building they saw was, in fact, the Mosque of Omar, but by no means all of them appear to have realised that ‑ though as early as about AD 700 Bishop Arculf says firmly, `On the spot where the Temple once stood, near the Eastern gate, the Saracens have erected a house of prayer' ‑ and even some who do realise it write of the whole area as though the Temple were still standing. William of Malmesbury writes, `Here is the Church of Our Lord and the Temple which they call Solomon's, by whom built is unknown, but religiously reverenced by the Turks', and in the middle of the fifteenth century the Spanish traveller, Pero Tafur, `bargained with a renegade . . . and offered him two ducats if he would get me into the Temple of Solomon'.

 

The House of God, which King Solomon built in Jerusalem, was made in the model of the universal church, which from the first of the elect to the last who shall be born at the end of the world, is built daily by the grace of the peaceful King, her Redeamer.

 

KING SOLOMON IN THE MIDDLE AGES 7 The esteem in which the Temple was held is clear in all the pilgrim accounts. 'It exceeded all the mountains around in height,' writes Saewulf (AD 1102), 'and all walls and buildings in brilliancy and glory,' and 60 years later Benjamin of Tudela reported seeing the two great pillars, each with the name 'Solomon, son of David' engraved upon it, in the Church of S. Giovanni a Porta Latina in Rome. It is in line with these conceptions that in the rebuilding of Jerusalem after its capture by the Crusaders there was a 'Templum Domini', a 'Templum Salomonis' and a 'Domus Regia', and Jacques de Vitry writes: There is also at Jerusalem another temple of vast size and extent, after which the militant friars of the temple are called Templars. This is called Solomon's Temple, perhaps to distinguish it from the other, which is called the Lord's Temple.

 

The later period of the Temple literature was covered in Professor Swift Johnson's paper in A QC, xii; the facts he brings forward substantiate the theory of the permanence of western Temple traditions at this late period, and it would serve no purpose to cite them in detail here. It is interesting, however, to note the persistence of the tradition in Palestine, as shown, for instance, in the diary of Henry Maundrell, who went from Aleppo to Jerusalem and back in 1697, and refers to local legends of Solomon at Tyre (connected with the building of the Temple), Bethlehem and Jerusalem. The important point about almost all the later literature is the influence on it of the study of Ezekiel. This appears in both Richard of Saint‑Victor, who wrote a Commentary on Ezekiel's Temple, with accompanying plans, and Comestor; it led directly to the conclusion that the Temple of Solomon and the Temple described by Ezekiel were one and the same building. This is stated most explicitly late in the seventeenth century by the brothers Villalpandus; it is obviously present to the minds of many of the later writers, and to the makers of Temple models. Many of our own ideas of the magnificence of the building are probably to be traced back to it.

 

The Temple building appears more than any other feature of the Solomon tradition in works of art. It is, indeed, altogether absent during the first 12 Christian centuries in the West, but this absence is in line with the general dearth of Old Testament subjects at that time. Early in the thirteenth century, Solomon is shown kneeling and facing a Gothic building, with a pillared porch, in one of the quatrefoil panels by the south‑western door of Amiens Cathedral; he appears again, seated and watching the building of the Temple, in a Hamburg Bible of 1255 in the Royal Library at Copenhagen. It cannot be accidental that these earliest representations date from the didactic age of the Bible Moralisee, of Richard of Saint‑Victor, and of Comestor. The fourteenth century, so far as my researches have gone, is almost a blank period for Temple pictures, but with the fifteenth, and the generations following the first wave of vernacular translations of, and commentaries on, the Bible, figures of Solomon become ever more common, and we are able to see the importance attached to the Temple in the Solomon story of the time. The famous manuscript, Les Tres Riches Heures de Jean Duc de Berry, now in the Musee Conde at Chantilly, devotes a page to a scene similar to that in the Copenhagen Bible ‑ the Figure of Solomon facing a partially completed Temple. About the middle of the century this is again repe‑ 8 ated in the Josephus manuscript illustrated by the French miniaturist, Jean Foucquet, and now in the Bibliotheque Nationale; the Temple is here an exceedingly elaborate French Gothic building. The earlier English representations are figures in Tree of Jesse designs, with one exception ‑ the fourteenth‑century Queen Mary's Psalter. This has a series of illustrations of the history of Solomon, including the Temple building, a scene similar to that in the Copenhagen Bible. The development of the Tree of Jesse in medieval art is a very large subject, and it must be enough to say that the choice of figures in the earliest representations varies considerably. Solomon is by no means always one of them, and when he is present, he carries a plain sceptre. In later years he appears regularly as one of the ,standard' Ancestors of Christ, and at this time, too, the emblems carried by the figures come to be adapted more closely to the individual. David carries a harp, and Solomon either a sword of justice or a model Temple. Of the examples of the latter known to me, two are English and one Welsh, and the date of the earliest is also significant. This is the Jesse Window in Margaretting Church, in Essex, dated to about 1460; the others, also in glass, are at Thornhill, Yorkshire, dated 1499, and Llanrhaiadr, Denbighshire, dated 1533. The Margaretting temple is a Gothic building with a spire; of the other two, both taken from the artist Jean Pigonchet's illustrations to a French Book of Hours dated 1498, that at Thornhill is hexagonal, and that at Llanrhaiadr cruciform, with a tower and apparently a minaret. Another figure of Solomon is contemporary with Margaretting. It is a roof boss in the nave of Norwich Cathedral, carved under Bishop Lyhart, 1446‑72, and shows Solomon with a small Temple in the right hand and a sword in the left.

 

Another tradition is represented by Raphael's Fresco in the Vatican Stanza ‑ afterwards engraved and copied very widely ‑ a building scene with nothing in particular to distinguish the Temple, but with Solomon and othevfigures standing in the foreground. Going from the sublime to the ridiculous, a similar, but not certainly the same, scene is shown in a stained‑glass window of Flemish early sixteenth‑century origin, brought to this country from Rouen at the time of the French Revolution and erected in Prittlewell Church, Essex. It is one of a set of twelve, some of them copies from Durer, and shows masons at work on a building, watched by two overseers in the background; an angel carrying a square flies above them. The Temple itself, together with the Pillars, the sea of brass and the chariot with the urn, appears among a great variety of other scenes from the history of Solomon in the series of small books of Bible illustrations produced in many European countries during the sixteenth century, with designs by contemporary engravers. The general character of these illustrations is shown in that reproduced in A QC, lxi, 1, (opp p 132) from the Geneva Bible. With reference to the late Bro Poole's remarks, it may be mentioned that the idea of Bible illustrations of this kind and in this form appears first (to my knowledge) in a book published at Antwerp in 1528. The pillars, with their `bowls', appear in a separate illustration there, and in many others of the series, most of which seem to be contemporary with, or somewhat later than, the Geneva Bible. In the series as a whole we see the results of the earlier vernacular Bible versions. Later in the sixteenth and during the following century, a Temple building scene was commonly included in tapestry sets of the History of Solomon. The finest of these is `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' KING SOLOMON IN THE MIDDLE AGES 9 the Brussels tapestry in the Imperial Collections at Vienna; at least one English example is existant, an eighteenth‑century piece belonging to Lord Newton (Grand Lodge also possesses an example of the seventeenth century; it formerly belonged to Lord Charnwood and was acquired in c. 1952). It may be said of all these later Temple pictures that they bear out the substantial truth of Bro J. H. Rylands' dictum, that with the passage of time the Temple bears an everincreasing resemblance to a railway station hotel.

 

So much on the Temple generally; but before I conclude there are one or two points of special interest. The first concerns the two pillars. In the Greek translation of the Biblical manuscript known as the Septuagint, the two Hebrew names are transliterated as we know them today in Kings, but in Chronicles are rendered by the Greek words meaning 'strength' and 'right'. Josephus gives the Hebrew words only, and the early Christian writers, where they mention them at all, do so without translation. The Vulgate does the same, and it is only in comparatively modern editions of it ‑ the earliest I have been able to trace is the Paris edition of 1552 ‑ that a Glossary translates the words as 'In fortitudine aut in Hirco' ('in strength or' with a second meaningless word) and 'Praeparans sive praeparatio, vel firmitas' (preparing or preparation, or firmness).

 

The same Glossary, it is interesting to note, refers to a priest named J, of uncertain date, mentioned in I Chronicles ix, 10, and to a tribe of J.ites in Numbers xxvi, 12; the first of these appears to be the only ground for the legend attached to the name. Long before this, however, the significations almost as we have them had been attached to the pillars. Bede refers to them as 'J., that is, firmness', and 'B., that is, in strength', being followed word for word in this by both Rhabanus Maurus and Comestor. Medieval Jewish traditions about the pillars appear in Benjamin of Tudela, whose account of seeing them in Rome in 1160 has already been mentioned; and in the porch added to Wurzburg Cathedral by Bishop Hermann of Lobdeburg, between 1222 and 1254, the two main pillars at the entrance are carved respectively with the letters B. and J., to which the full names, both rather curiously spelled, have been added. That any of this carving is of the same date as the porch itself, is, I fear, unproven and unprovable. The Authorised Version of 1611 has 'In it is strength' and 'He shall establish', and the discrepancy between this and the older traditional signification of J. is interesting, considering the date.

 

Medieval sources have much to say about Hiram, though on the legend proper they are completely silent. The existence of two Hirams, implied in Kings and stated definitely in Chronicles, is accepted from the start, but there is some discrepancy between the accounts of Hiram the commoner's parentage, and even of his name; Clement calls him Hyperon. As to the name 'Abif', the introduction of which in Europe is generally attributed to Luther's Bible in the early sixteenth century, it is worthy of note that it is mentioned in Rhabanus Maurus' twelfthcentury Commentary of the Books of Chronicles. Hiram is mentioned as an architect rather than a bronzecaster by both Clement and Eusebius, both writing in the fourth century, but not by any of the later authors. The allegorical interpretation is stated most clearly by Bede, and in view of Bro Covey‑Crump's suggestion of a confusion between Hiram (sometimes spelled 'Iram') and Adonir‑ 10 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' am, it may be said that the former is allegorised as the Teacher of the Church (the widow of the tribe of Israel) to the Gentiles, the latter, mentioned constantly as an overseer, as the Saviour Himself.

 

The medieval sources mention other points connected with Solomon and the Temple which there is no time to mention. One of them, after considering the legend that no metal tools were used to build the Temple, gives up the difficulty involved with the comment `it is no cause for wonder that in works of Solomon we find what can rather be marvelled at than usefully examined'. With this sentence we return to the basic conception of Solomon as a Wonder worker from which we started. I am aware that far from all the ground I have covered can be described as being immediately masonic research, if by that term is necessarily meant something connected with the Order we know today. My aim, within the restricted field I have tried to cover, has been to suggest a background of tradition and legend. I do not want to imply that all or much of this tradition ‑ if it was a tradition ‑ was, so to speak, masonic; but if, as the late Bro Knoop and his colleague stress in The Genesis, masonic tenets and principles are slow to grow, legends are even slower. Unlike tenets and principles, they are liable to change in their application; but even where this change may be suspected (and in no relevant case can it be proved), a useful purpose may be served by showing their age and development. Our knowledge of the extent of Old Testament learning at any given time before, say, the late fifteenth century is very incomplete. I believe myself that even the scanty material presented here justifies the phrase 'background of tradition' behind the particular form of many of our legends; and furthermore that though the gaps in time between the appearances of the various factors are sometimes long, it is more convincing to assume a tradition than an indefinite number of written sources, all repeating the same story and almost all now lost.

 

The vernacular translations of the Bible which begin in the later fourteenth century (in England with Wyclif), make the general tradition of Solomon, as then known, likely to be more popular than before. Their effect is to be traced in what may fairly be called the `Old Testament Revival', which has greatly affected the character of all the Reformed Churches, and in the growth of the iconography of Solomon. The medieval repertoire ‑ the Judgment, the visit of the Queen of Sheba, the various figures of the King, generally part of a Tree of Jesse ‑ is extended to include the Temple, the Idolatry, views of the Palace, Throne and details of buildings, and many small and fanciful scenes. But by the same token the effect of the vernacular Bible must have been to make the formation of entirely new legends, not directly dependent on the Old Testament, increasingly unlikely with the passage of time. The problem of the masonic legends is not how early their origin can be, but how late.

 

THE GRAND‑MASTERSHIP OF H.R.H. THE DUKE OF SUSSEX, 1813‑43 THE PRESTONIAN LECTURE FOR 1962 P. R. JAMES HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE DUKE OF SUSSEX was MW Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England from 1813 to 1843, during which period he exerted considerable influence upon the fortunes of the Craft. It is the purpose of this lecture to set forth the nature and extent of that influence. It is not intended as a biography,' but it is necessary first to know something of the man himself.

 

Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex, sixth son and ninth child of George III and Queen Charlotte, was born in 1773. From early childhood he suffered from severe asthma, which sometimes incapacitated him for weeks at a time. It necessitated his living abroad until he was over thirty years of age and prevented him from adopting the customary military career. Educated in Hanover, his days were spent in travel and study whereby he acquired a well‑stocked mind and a famous library. A youthful and indiscreet marriage 2 cut him off from his father and the Court, while the Whig principles to which he steadfastly adhered alienated him from the Tory Governments of the day. Hence he never obtained any of those lucrative appointments which usually fell to members of the Royal Family and always suffered from pecuniary embarrassment. A good speaker and a good trencherman, his wide interests and liberal ideas made him a welcome chairman at many functions. For nine years he was President of the Royal Society and was also, at times, the head of several other learned bodies. 3 The Duke of Sussex's religious convictions have been the subject of much speculation. Undoubtedly he was very devout, spending upwards of two hours daily in the study of Holy Writ. In a letter published in The Christian Observer, May 1843, the Duke wrote that he was convinced of the divine origin of the Scriptures, `which contain matters beyond human understanding', and that he did not `concern himself with dogmas, which are of human origin. I am making this honest declaration,' he said, `not to be thought a Freethinker, which imputation I would indignantly repel; nor to pass for a person indifferent about religion.'4 His marginal comments in some of the theological works in his library show that his Christianity was unorthodox in that he opposed Creeds and held that the Scriptures must be reconciled to reasons He was a Modernist before his time. Among See Royal Dukes, Fulford, R.; AQC, Iii, pp 184‑224.

 

2 Royal Archives, Windsor Castle, Box File 'Augustus, D. of Sussex, 1786‑1842, No 48019'. 3 Gentleman's Magazine. N.S., vol six, pp 645‑652.

 

Some of the opinions of his late R. H. The Duke of Sussex on the subject of Religious Doctrine, by Richard Cogan, Esq; BT Mus, 4014 dd 6.

 

eg, The State in its Relation with the Church, W. E. Gladstone, 1838; Brit Mus, 1413 e 10; see also Cogan, loc cit.

 

12 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' the Royal Archives at Windsor is a small manuscript book of prayers which formerly belonged to His Royal Highness. If he used it, and internal evidence goes to show that he did, it proves that he was a sincere and contrite believer in the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. His membership of Christian Orders whose obligations required such a belief confirms this. His religious opinions were, however, tolerant and, so far as Craft Masonry was concerned, `it was part of his masonic creed that, provided a man believe in the existence of the GAOTU and in futurity, and extends that belief likewise to a system of rewards and punishments hereafter, such a person is fully competent to be received as a brother'.' Masonically, he was a universalist.

 

The Duke of Sussex was initiated, 1798, in the Lodge Victorious Truth, Berlin, a constituent of the Royal York of Friendship, the Grand Lodge of Prussia, which then only accepted Christians. He passed through the several offices to the chair. On his return to England he was given the customary rank of Past GM, subsequently becoming DGM of the `Moderns', or Prince of Wales's, as they were then called. The Duke succeeded his brother, the Prince Regent, as Grand Master, 12 May 1813. He also joined, and for many years presided over, several other lodges, and he had a special fondness for the Pilgrim Lodge, No 238, which, like his Mother Lodge, worked its own ritual in the German language .2 `When I first determined,' he said, `to link myself with this noble Institution, it was a matter of very serious consideration with me; and I can assure the Brethren that it was at a period when, at least, I had the power of well considering the matter, for it was not in the boyish days of my youth, but at the more mature age of 25 or 26 years. I did not take it up as a light and trivial matter, but as a grave and serious concern of my life.'3 The immediate purpose of HRH becoming Grand Master of the `Moderns' was to bring about the long‑desired Union of the two Fraternities in England, upon which `his whole heart was bent'. For the same purpose his elder brother, the Duke of Kent, became Grand Master of the Atholl Masons, or `Ancients', and expressed similar sentiments .4 As a step towards the Union, the Lodge of Promulgation (1809‑11) was established to restore the Ancient Landmarks, to help `the Lodges of the Moderns fall into line with those of the Antients'.5 The Duke of Sussex, as RWM of the Lodge of Antiquity, No 1, was a member and made a useful contribution to the deliberations `by a luminous exposition of the Practices adhered to by our Masonic Brethren at Berlin'. 6 The ceremonies agreed upon, including that of a Board of Installed Masters, almost non‑existent among the Moderns, were rehearsed before the Duke, and arrangements made for their promulgation. The way was thus cleared for the Union, which was celebrated on 27 December 1813, the Duke of Sussex, on the proposition of the Duke of Kent, becoming MW Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of the United Grand Lodge of England. `This,' he said, `is the happiest event of my life' .7 Though t Loage of Research, Leicester. No 2429, Transactions. 1919‑20, p 97.

 

2 A Short History of the Pilgrim Lodge, No 238, F Bernhart, AQC. Ixvi. s Freemason's Quarterly Review. 1839, p 505.

 

Gould, History of Freemasonry, ed Poole, iii, p 81; A QC. Ixviii, p 49. 5 AQC, xxiii, p 215.

 

6 Lodge of Promulgation, Minutes, 29 December 1809; AQC. xxiii, p 38. 7 History of the Royal Alpha Lodge, No 16, Col Shadwell H. Clerke, p 5.

 

THE GRAND‑MASTERSHIP OF H.R.H. THE DUKE OF SUSSEX, 1813‑43 13 HRH Price Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex,.&c., &c., &c. MW Grand Master A print published in 1833. Now reproduced by kind permission of the Board of General Purposes, United Grand Lodge of England. The throne illustrated here is in the Grand Lodge Museum, and is used nowadays only at the Installation of a new Grand Master.

 

14 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' others played notable parts, there is no doubt that the influence of the two Royal Grand Masters was paramount in bringing about the successful result.

 

To harmonise the ritual and ceremonies, the Lodge of Reconciliation was set up (1813‑16), the Grand Master sometimes attending its meetings. The chief obstacle was the Obligation in the First Degree.' Attention was drawn to it from the Chair and, having himself been obligated as an `Ancient' at his brother's Installation ,2 and possibly influenced by the judgment of the Swedish Ambassador to Spain at his own installation, 3 the Duke agreed to this Obligation being made more severe to meet the wishes of the Atholl Brethren. It having been settled, `the Ancient OBgn of the 1st and 2nd degrees were then repeated, the former from the Throne', both being approved by the Grand Lodge as `the only pure and genuine Obs. of these Degrees, and which all Lodges dependent on the Grand Lodge shall practice'. Notwithstanding this, and though the decisions of the Lodge of Reconciliation were finally approved by the Grand Lodge on 5 June 1816, they were not prescribed. Nor did the lodge consider the ceremony of a Board of Installed Masters. For this purpose the Duke of Sussex warranted a special lodge in 1827. With some exceptions the extended ceremony of Installation has fallen out of use: indeed, the Grand Secretary characterised it in 1889 as 'irregular'. 5 The Lectures, put into shape by William Preston, to whose beneficence we owe these Prestonian Lectures, were in those days almost as important as the ritual. Opinions differ as to what happened to them at the time of the Union. The Grand Master is said to have ordered that no alteration should be made in the Lectures, 6 and there is no mention of them in the records of the Lodges of Promulgation and Reconciliation. Yet some important changes were made in them about that time and the majority view is in favour of attributing these to Dr S. Hemmings, WM of the Lodge of Reconciliation, with other influences in the background. The most important change, and that which caused the greatest disturbance, was the substitution of Moses and Solomon for the two Saints John as the Two Great Parallels of Masonry. 7 In 1819 a complaint, endorsed by Peter Gilkes, was made to the Board of General Purposes that Bro Philip Broadfoot and the Lodge of Stability were working Lectures contrary to the stipulations of the Act of Union, they never having been in use in either branch of the Fraternity previous to the Union, and not having received any sanction from Grand Lodge. The complaint was rejected, but the Board decreed that no new Lecture could be used without the consent of the Grand Master or the Grand Lodge. The former laid it down that so long as the Master of any Lodge observed exactly the Land‑Marks of the Craft, he was at liberty to give the Lectures in the language best suited to the character of the Lodge over which he presided . . . that any Master of a Lodge, on visiting another Lodge, and approving of the Lectures delivered therein, is at Liberty to promulgate them from the Chair in his own Lodge, provided he has previously perfected himself in the Instructions of the Master of the aforesaid Lodge. The Grand Lodge concurring in the opinion thus ' A QC. xxiii, p 261.

 

Z Memorials of the Masonic Union, W. J. Hughan, ed J. T. Thorp, p 19. 3 A QC, Ivi, p 308.

 

GL Quarterly Communication, Minutes, 23 August 1815.

 

5 Dorset Masters Lodge, No 3366, Transactions, 1928‑29, pp 19‑23; Misc. Lat., NS, ii, pp 123‑6. 6 FQR, 1843, p 46.

 

' Gould, ed Poole, iii, 108; AQC, xxiii, pp 260, 274; xli, pp 191, 197‑201; Misc. Lat., NS, vi, pp 114‑16, 129‑132.

 

THE GRAND‑MASTERSHIP OF H.R.H. THE DUKE OF SUSSEX, 1813‑43 15 delivered by the MW the Grand Master, requested His Royal Highness to permit the same to stand recorded in the minutes of the day's proceedings, to which HRH acceded.' The process of de‑Christianising the Craft ritual and ceremonies, gradual since 1717,2 was now completed. In place of the two Festivals kept by the Ancients on the two St John's Days, there was to be, under Article XIV of the Union, `A Masonic Festival, annually, on the Anniversary of the Feast of St John the Baptist, or of St George, or such other day as the Grand Master shall appoint'. The General Regulations then adopted and the Book of Constitutions settled for `the Wednesday following the great national festival of St George'. 3 The structure remains Christian, but nearly every Christian allusion has been eliminated in favour of universality. Whose was the influence remains a moot point; in any case, the responsibility was that of the Grand Master. 4 The `new method' was not received with unanimous approval. Both sides felt that they had surrendered something vital, and there was bitter rivalry among lodges and individual brethren. The Union was carried through in the last stages of the Napoleonic War and was worked out during its aftermath of distress and discontent, complicated by the upheaval of the Industrial Revolution. For a generation the country was torn by numerous more or less violent agitations which provoked the Government into repressive legislation or reluctant concessions. Such conditions were not conducive to masonic progress and the number of lodges declined. When the Duke of Sussex ascended the throne there were some 650 of them; when he died there were fewer than 500. In 1828 fifty‑nine lodges were erased for not having made returns for a considerable time; no new lodges were warranted in London between 1813 and 1839.5 The new Grand Master, who was resolved, unlike his predecessors, to rule as well as to reign, realised that a firm hand was necessary. `I recommend to you,' he said, `order, regularity and the observance of masonic duties.'6 Not unnaturally, there was some opposition.

 

From his own Lodge of Antiquity there came, in 1814, an Address to him as its RW Master, drawn up by Charles Bonnor, who had been the Acting Master and had done much useful work in the Lodge of Promulgation. It complained, in ,exceedingly objectionable, offensive and slanderous terms', that the Duke had not done his duty by the lodge in allowing it to lose some of its privileges at the Union, especially that of being No 1 on the roll. His Royal Highness referred the complaint to the lodge, when the opposition to Bonnor, led by William Meyrick, Grand Registrar, presented a counter Address expressing complete confidence in their RW Master, and expelled Bonnor from the lodge. For printing his Address, Bonnor was charged before the Board of General Purposes and expelled from Grand Lodge, though he was soon reinstated. Two years later he fell into disgrace again and was deprived of his Grand Rank. At the same time, in Grand Lodge, Bro Robert Leslie, jun, RWM of Lodge No 9, used some disrespectful remarks to I' GL Quarterly Communication, Minutes, 1 September, 1 December 1819; History of the Emulation Lodge of mprovement, H. Sadler, pp 109‑12.

 

Lodge of Research, Leicester, No 2429, Transactions, 1906‑7, pp 39‑40. 3 Memorials of the Masonic Union, W. J. Hughan, ed J. T. Thorp, p 76.

 

The Symbol of Glory, Dr G. Oliver (1850), pp xvii, 20, 51, 78; FQR, 1844,0 36, 1845, pp 409‑11; A Commentary on the Frrmasonic Ritual, E. H. Cartwright, pp 10, 14, 92; AQC, xlv, p 93.

 

AQC, Ixviii, pp 129‑31; Dorset Masters Lodge, No 3366, Transactions, 1918, p 112; Illustrations of Masonry, W. Prgston, 14th Edn, p 418.

 

FQR Supplementary No 1843, p 193.

 

16 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' the Grand Master in the Chair, `a proceeding of unexampled outrage tending to create discord and dissentions in the Grand Lodge, to undermine the principles on which the late happy Union of the two Grand Lodges of Masons in England was established and insulting to the Grand Lodge in the person of the MW the Grand Master'. The Board decided that his offence merited expulsion, but owing to his youth and inexperience, and the apology he had offered, he was let off with a year's suspension.' Also in this same year, 1814, a group of Ancient Lodges in London formed an influential committee, led by Bro J. H. Goldsworthy, which circulated resolutions against the `Innovations', saying that the Lodge of Reconciliation had ,altered all the ceremonies and language of masonry and had not left one sentence standing'. 2 They were particularly opposed to the Obligations. The Lodge of Reconciliation expelled Goldsworthy from its membership and, calling the dissenters before it, made some slight variations to meet their wishes. They were not satisfied, refused to hold intercourse with the United Grand Lodge and proposed the formation of a new Lodge of Reconciliation. Gradually their resistance broke down, and by 1816 they had more or less grudgingly adopted the system of working officially set forth.

 

There was no harmony in Bath, either. There, the three Modern lodges, Royal Cumberland, No 55 (now 41), Virtue, No 311, and Royal York of Perfect Friendship, No 243, combined to build a new Masonic Hall, opened by HRH the Duke of Sussex with full ceremony in 1819. The project soon failed, partly from lack of co‑operation from the one Ancient lodge in the city, the Royal Sussex, No 61 (now 53), the first to be named after the Duke, by his special permission .4 Rivalry developed into bitterness, the Moderns refusing visits from the Royal Sussex Lodge. Internal disputes shook all four and the Board of General Purposes was called in to adjudicate. As a result, the Royal York Lodge was erased in 1824 and the Lodge of Virtue in 1839, the remaining two continuing their hostilities for many years. On one occasion a member of the Royal Sussex ran off with the warrant of the Knight Templar Encampment attached to the Royal Cumberland Lodge, thus bringing its activities to a temporary close. 5 From Sussex to Lancashire, from Ipswich to Bristol, came reports of unrest. Brethren resigned or were expelled, lodges were suspended or erased through opposition to the new order. It must not be thought, however, that the revolt, though widespread, was general. More ink has been spilled over a few sinners than over the 'ninety‑and‑nine' which needed no repentance. The great majority either loyally accepted the new working or, unheading, quietly continued their old ways. Uniformity in the ceremonies is neither practicable nor desirable.

 

The best‑known and possibly the most resistance led to the foundation of a rival Grand Lodge at Wigan. 6 In Lancashire, Ancients and Moderns had long worked t GL Quarterly Communication, Minutes, 1 June 1814, to 4 December 1816; Records of the Lodge of Antiquity, No 2, vol it, Capt C. W. Firebrace, 26 January to 20 February 1814.

 

2 Statement by the WM. Phoenix Lodge, No 289, to the L of Reconciliation. 3 AQC, xxiii, pp 233‑51.

 

Autograph letter, dated December 1813, in GL Library.

 

s From the records of Lodges 41 and 53; Somerset Masters Lodge. No 3746, Transactions, 1925. pp 400‑61; 1958, pp 29Tb311.

 

History of the Wigan Grand Lodge, E. B. Beesley, 1920; The Grand Lodge in Wigan, N. Rogers, A QC, lxi, pp 170‑210.

 

THE GRAND‑MASTERSHIP OF H.R.H. THE DUKE OF SUSSEX, 1813‑43 17 in harmony and continued to do so after the Union, but there was discontent caused by the introduction of a Provincial Grand Master and the innovations of the Lodge of Reconciliation. The revolt began in 1818 with a threat to close a lodge because of its few members. Then a Memorial was sent from the Provincial Grand Lodge to the Grand Master, who pigeon‑holed it because it contained matter concerning the Royal Arch and was therefore outside the scope of the Board of General Purposes. The Brethren of Lodge No 31, Liverpool, thereupon charged the Board, who knew nothing about it, with suppressing the Memorial, `a dangerous innovation', and circulated the document to all lodges. For this, 68 (later reduced to 26) brethren were expelled from the Craft and the lodge erased. Others who supported Lodge No 31 soon suffered the same fate. The PG Master was suspended `with a view to remove prejudice and suspicion', William Meyrick, Grand Registrar, being placed in charge of the Province. When the PGM died in 1825, the Grand Master divided it into two Provinces. The penalties imposed were severe but necessary; they compare favourably with those of the Government in dealing with the contemporary affair at `Peterloo'. The erased lodges and their supporters continued to meet and, at a meeting in Liverpool, 27 December 1823, resolved to restore the Ancient Grand Lodge on the grounds that the new (1815) Book of Constitutions established a dangerous and despotic authority, that the Landmarks of the Order had not been maintained, and that, as many lodges and individual masons had seceded from it, the United Grand Lodge had ceased to exist. Seven lodges joined the new body, whose headquarters were in the Lodge of Sincerity, which became No 1. The Wigan Grand Lodge functioned formally for many years, only ceasing to exist when the Lodge of Sincerity rejoined the fold in 1913.

 

Cases such as these were generally referred by the Grand Master to the Board of General Purposes, but his influence was usually, though not always, predominant. The process was probably much the same as had been used in the Moderns Grand Lodge before the Union, described by the Swedish Ambassador to Spain: `The Duke was seated on an elevated throne in the East, in front of a great table around which thirty‑five persons were seated. Here all cases concerning Freemasonry were decided . . . The laws were read, and then the Secretary read out a number of cases. At each of them the Chairman said: "A motion is made and seconded. Who approves will raise his right hand." In most cases all present shouted "All", but one question took a long time: it concerned a Master who had been drunk several times in Lodge and behaved in a disorderly way, and whom the Duke wished removed. But there were persons who defended him and also others of opinin not only that he ought to be removed, but also deprived of the dignity of a Brother. There was an awful row. They spoke with a certain amount of heat, but many quite well, and the Duke had to put the proposition eleven times before it was accepted by the majority." Considerable authority was vested in the MW Grand Master by the new Book of Constitutions. His own annual election, proposed from the floor of Grand Lodge from 1836,2 was purely formal. He appointed all the Grand Officers, the ' 1 December 1813; AQC, Ivi, pp 129‑30. 2 FQR, 1836, p 399.

 

18 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' Grand Chaplain, Sword Bearer and, for a time, the Grand Treasurer, being selected from three brethren nominated by the Grand Lodge.' He also chose nearly half the members of the Boards through which that body exercised its administrative functions. The Duke's appointments to Grand Rank have met with some criticism. He said: `Merit is the sole means of promotion',2 and that he had `never given any Brother office who was not in other respects eligible to enter Grand Lodge'. 3 The appointments for 1837 were said to have honestly represented the various interests of the Craft and to `prove that the "Eye" of the Grand Master is observant of merit, and that it does not limit its range of vision to this or that Lodge' .4 Yet three years earlier, when the Grand Master's sight was failing, it was alleged that there had been `a kindly yielding to the solicitations of private friendship', and therefore the appointments were `not altogether gratifying to the expectations of the Craft'.5 Three days after the Union the Duke offered the Deputy Grand‑Mastership to the dissolute and unwashed Duke of Norfolk, who had once been PGM for Herefordshire. 6 The SGW of 1838, Lord Worsley, had been raised only a few days before his appointment, 7 and the Grand Registrar, appointed to that very important office at a critical time in 1840, was seventy years of age and had only four years' experience as a Freemason. 8 Gould wrote that `The Duke of Sussex was, in his way, a despot . . . his patronage was not confined to the right (from 1819) of nominating all the Grand Officers, except the Treasurer. He altered at pleasure the status of any Grand Officer, created new offices, and freely appointed Brethren to rank in Grand Lodge'.9 He may have asked a Brother at a Quarterly Communication to fill a casual vacancy through absence, but an analysis of his appointments from 1813 to 1843 shows that Gould's assertion is not true. The Wardens and Deacons were changed annually, the Sword Bearer almost so; the other officers continued for several years and there was no abnormal creation of new offices. During the whole period there were less than a dozen promotions and, although he was at loggerheads with him at the time, he made Dr R. T. Crucefix Junior Grand Deacon in 1836.

 

The Duke of Sussex was prone to act on his initiative and to interfere personally in proceedings, though he denied any intention of dictation.' He conferred privileges upon those lodges in which he was specially interested." He decided that a Serving Brother could only become a subscribing member in a lodge other than that in which he was initiated under dispensation, but he was not disposed to do anything further in the case of a lodge which has initiated two serving brethren and an excessive number of candidates after being refused a dispensation, because he thought they had acted under a misapprehension. 12 The disputes in Bristol and in the Silent Temple Lodge, No 126, Burnley, 13 were GL Quarterly Communications, Minutes. 7 September 1814, 6 March 1816, etc. Z FQR, 1836, p 319, note.

 

3 FQR, 1840, p 498. FQR, 1837, pp 293‑4. 5 FQR, 1834, pp 240‑1.

 

6 AQC, Iii, p 208, 214, 216; Complete Peerage (Doubleday). 7 FQR, 1840, p 285.

 

s Lodge of Research, Leicester, No 2429, Transactions, 1919‑20, p 96. 9 Gould, ed Poole, iii, 110.

 

AQC. Iii, p 112 I eg, 'itch race, op c1L p 155.

 

~z GL Quarterly Communications, Minutes, 5 March 1834. ~3 Communicated by W Bro N. Rogers.

 

THE GRAND‑MASTERSHIP OF H.R.H. THE DUKE OF SUSSEX, 1813‑43 19 both smoothed over by the Grand Master's personal intervention. On the other hand, whilst the case of the PGM for Somerset against Thomas Whitney, of the Royal York Lodge of Bath, was sub judice, the Duke wrote that the latter's statements were `as distant from truth as the East is from the West', and he told the Board of General Purposes that they were not to receive any affidavits during the course of their investigation. `As Masons,' he said, `we rule and judge by the laws of Conscience and Honour. Public Opinion and the strict observance of a Mason's Word are our only means of Control . . . we cannot punish legally for perjury'.' In 1834 the Duke ordered that there should be no professional singers in the Glee Room with the ladies at the Boys' Festival because of an unpleasant incident three years before. This had a bad effect on contributions to the Institution, so he withdrew the restriction in 1836.2 The Grand Master of England worked in cordial co‑operation with the Duke of Leinster, head of the Order in Ireland, but on one occasion he over‑reached himself and was severely snubbed. Freemasonry in Ireland was made illegal in 1823, and the PGM for Upper Canada attempted to compel an Irish lodge there to accept an English warrant. In 1826 the papers were laid before the Duke of Sussex, who suggested to the Grand Master of Ireland that Irish lodges overseas should be placed under the Grand Lodge of England for better control. The Irish Grand Lodge would thus abandon its rights under the International Compact of 1814. They reacted strongly, characterising the Duke of Sussex's conduct as unmasonic, and issued a new warrant to their lodge in Canada. 3 It was said by the DG Master, Lord Durham, himself in 1835 that `until lately the proceedings at the Quarterly Communications were mere promulgations and registrations of the edicts of the Grand Master; but, Brethren, there has arisen of late a spirit of enquiry worthy of our glorious profession, that has found its way into our legislative assembly, that has brought about discussions upon most important subjects and this has been happily marked by an especial propriety of conduct, and the exercise of great intellectual powers. I have sincere pleasure in stating my conviction that the Grand Master, so far from viewing these proceedings with either distrust or jealousy, is gratified to know that they have taken place. '4 Bro Philipe, a member of the Board of General Purposes, added that the Grand Master `during the past year had, in a most especial manner, endeared himself to the Craft by the ready and kind manner in which he had met their wishes upon some important changes'. 5 At this period, however, the Duke was absent from Grand Lodge owing to his blindness. When he recovered, after an operation, there was a change for the worse.

 

The Duke was a `persevering and unwearied patron of every charitable institution, the most charming beggar in Europe'. 6 In 1829 he approved the design of a jewel to be worn by brethren who had served as stewards to both the Masonic Charities, the Boys' and the Girls' Institutions. It was his concern for these that involved him in the worst dispute of his reign. Dr R. T. Crucefix, in 1834, ' Autograph letter dated 24 October 1824, in GL Library. 2 FQR, 1834, pp 49‑51. 159‑61, 240, 419; 1836, p 169.

 

3 History of the Grand Lodge of F. and A. Masons of Ireland, R. E. Parkinson (1957), pp 60‑67. 4 FQR, 1835, p 176.

 

5 Ibid, p 432.

 

6 FQR, 1843, p 141; A QC, Ixvi, p 71.

 

20 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' suggested the erection of an Asylum for Aged and Decayed Freemasons, inviting the Duke to become its president. But the Grand Master opposed the scheme on the grounds that the proceedings of Dr Crucefix and his supporters were irregular, that it would induce improper persons to enter the Fraternity, and that it would adversely affect the two existing Charities ‑ the Girls' School being at that time in financial difficulties. Interviews between the Duke and Crucefix were variously interpreted, the latter saying that the Grand Master was 'not opposed' to the Asylum, whilst the former said he was,' though he changed his grounds. `Finding that opposition but aided the Asylum, [he] adopted the plan of competition and hoisted the standard of a Masonic Benevolent Annuity Fund. The Duke of Sussex for a long time denied his patronage, but Walton2 sought an interview with him and, meeting with a repulse on his favourite theme, he fairly told the Grand Master, on taking leave, that there remained no other means of preventing the Asylum being built and endowed. This decided the matter; the Grand Master relaxed, adopted Walton's scheme and thus proved the fallacy of all opposition to the Asylum principle; which, so far from being uncalled for and unnecessary, became the parent of a second Masonic Charity." Crucefix, fortified by a Grand Lodge resolution unanimously in favour of the Asylum, went on with his scheme and managed it as though it was an official business with governors, collections, festivals, and so on. A dispute at a meeting held 3 November 1839, led to Crucefix and his lieutenant, J. Lee Stevens, being temporarily suspended from their masonic duties. Crucefix's appeal against the sentence being disallowed, he wrote a highly improper letter to the Duke of Sussex, accusing him of disregarding the Ancient Charges, and recalling a memorable scene in the Grand Secretary's office on 29 April 1840, when the Grand Master `threatened me with the enforcement of a power beyond the Masonic Law and expressed that threat in language so unusual and unexpected from a Brother of your exalted Rank and Station, as was calculated to lower the respect due to the person of Your Royal Highness, and above all the dignified Office of Grand Master'. 5 This the Duke ignored until it was published in Crucefix's periodical, The Freemason's Quarterly Review. Now, publication of masonic proceedings was anathema to the Grand Master. Charles Bonnor, of the Lodge of Antiquity, No 2, and the brethren of Lodge No 31, Liverpool, had been penalised for such an offence. Also, Laurence Thompson, a Prestonian Lecturer and one of Crucefix's opponents, fell under the Grand Master's displeasure for publishing a form of ceremonial promoted by the Lodge of Reconciliation, of which he was a member. 6 Earlier in this same year, 1840, the Duke had circularised all lodges warning them against printing masonic information. The appearance of Crucefix's letter in the Review, therefore, caused the Grand Master to lay it before the Board of General Purposes, `leaving to their Discretion the Proceed AQC, Iii, p 199‑200: FQR, 1837, pp 484‑5.

 

2 Isaac Walton, PM of the Moira Lodge, No 92. 3 Gould, ed Poole, iii, 109‑10.

 

FQR, 1838, flyleaf.

 

5 GL Quarterly Communication. Minutes, 2 September 1840. The letter over the pseudonym 'Pythagoras' in FQR, 1840, p 149‑52, differs from that officially recorded.

 

6 A QC, xxiii, p 86.

 

THE GRAND‑MASTERSHIP OF H.R.H. THE DUKE OF SUSSEX, 1813‑43 21 ings necessary to be adopted for the preservation of Order in the Craft, and for the Maintenance of that Subordination which is so essential to be observed in all regular communities which are governed by Laws, and by no one more particularly than by the great Body of Masons'. The Board found it proved that the Grand Master had taken no part in the original proceedings against Crucefix, which had been initiated by four brethren unknown to him. (Yet Laurence Thompson was one of them!) The letter was denounced as'a false, scandalous and unwarrantable attack on the character and conduct of the MW Grand Master', and it was recommended to the Grand Lodge that Crucefix should be expelled from the Craft. At a subsequent Especial Grand Lodge the motion for his expulsion was put, but, an apology being tendered on his behalf, an amendment was made that this should be received. The amendment was carried by a small majority, one of its principal opponents being RW Bro C. T. D'Eyncourt, an equerry to and friend of the Duke of Sussex and PGM for Lincolnshire.' The Asylum and the Annuity Fund both came into being and were amalgamated in 1850 to form the RMBI.

 

It was the publication of Crucefix's letter in the Freemason's Quarterly Review that brought the Asylum controversy to a head. The Review itself was another cause of the Duke's rancour against the Doctor. Founded by him in 1834, he was its editor for the next six years. The periodical supplied a much‑felt want in masonic literature, but the Grand Master disapproved of it. In the course of the interview in the Grand Secretary's office, already alluded to, he said that Dr Crucefix `had sown the seeds of discontent where all was peace and good order, and by his vile paper he had caused considerable mischief, the effects of which it would take all the care and consideration of the Grand Master, assisted by the Grand Lodge, to correct'. 2 A little later in this same year, when addressing the Grand Lodge on the death of the DGM, Lord Durham, the Duke noticed two brethren, one of whom was Lee Stevens, taking notes, doubtless for the use of the editor of the Review, and told them it was illegal. When they demurred he exclaimed: `It is the law. I have so laid it down and I will enforce it.'3 Yet the Board of General Purposes shortly before this had rejected a memorial against RW Bro J. Easthope, PGW, who, as proprietor of The Morning Chronicle, had printed an account of a public speech by the Grand Master, in which he had associated the Fraternity with his denunciation of the connection between the Established Church and the State as disastrous to both and a grievous hindrance to the dissemination of the true religion .4 In 1841 the Freemason's Quarterly Review was denounced as 'a traitorous violation of the obligation of secrecy'. 5 Two months after Dr Crucefix's narrow escape from expulsion, Lee Stevens opposed, in the Grand Lodge, the re‑nomination of the Duke of Sussex as Grand Master, suggesting instead the Marquis of Salisbury, DGM. The Duke allowed him to make a long speech, which he described as `able, candid and straightforward', and then 'expressed himself very warmly, not to say intemperately',, on the subject. 'I'll let the Brother see,' he said, 'and I'll let the Grand Lodge see, too, that I do know all about him', going on to accuse Stevens of attacking him in the ' GL Quarterly Communications, Minutes, 2 September, 30 October 1840. 2 FQR, 1840, pp 192‑3.

 

s Manchester Association for Masonic Research, Transactions, 1934. pp 95‑6. FQR, 1840, pp 209‑10.

 

5 FQR, 1841. pp 1‑10.

 

22 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' newspapers, and the Asylum supporters of improper practices. The Duke 'declared his desire to resign his office; and it is understood he consents to hold it only until his royal nephew (the Prince Consort) shall be qualified to fill the distinguished and, let me add, not uninfluential station'. Resignation was much in HRH's mind at the time. He had threatened it at Crucefix's appeal: that `he had been many years the Grand Master, and was willing to continue so, but that if Grand Lodge thought a younger and more active person was necessary, he was ready to retire; that personally it was of no consequence to him; that it had rather detracted from than added to his popularity; that it gave considerable trouble, bul~ that he was ready to undergo while he held the office'. On this occasion the Marquis of Salisbury declined the nomination, Stevens withdrew it and the Duke of Sussex was re‑elected.1 Next year Stevens was the moving spirit in the organisation of a testimonial from the Craft to Dr Crucefix. At the presentation and banquet, 24 November 1841, the Chair was taken by Dr George Oliver, the well‑known masonic author and a frequent contributor to the Review. The consequence was that RW Bro C. T. D'Eyncourt dismissed Dr Oliver from his position as DGM for Lincolnshire, which caused another outcry. 2 There is no doubt that the influence behind the PGM's decision was that of the MW Grand Master. The real reason for the attack on these two distinguished brethren was that they were both active propagators of the Higher Degrees.

 

The Duke of Sussex was head of several of these, and on one occasion spoke of `his attachment to the principles and determination to maintain the privileges and to provide the well‑being of the Order'. 3 The Duke, however, did not pursue an active policy for their advancement and they did not flourish under his rule. It may well be that his inactivity was, in the circumstances, more effective in preserving the Higher Degrees than the uninhibited behaviour of Bros Crucefix and Oliver.

 

With the approach of the Union of the two Grand Lodges, the Duke of Sussex was exalted into the Royal Arch, April 1810, and in the next‑month was installed as MEZ of the Supreme Grand Chapter of the Moderns, The Earl of Moira gracefully making way for him. 4 At the Duke's instigation, the SGC, in 1813, `Resolved unanimously that as the Grand Lodge of.England (Moderns) through the MW Grand Master has communicated its Determination to acknowledge the Royal Arch', the MEZ be entrusted with full powers to conclude a union of the SG Chapter with the two Grand Lodges.5 For the Ancients, full recognition of the Royal Arch Degree was a sine qua non of the negotiations, but the universalists, who disliked the Royal Arch as they did the Christian Orders, were able to secure the compromise in the well‑known Article II of the Union. There was to be no fourth degree as the Duke had anticipated ,6 nor was any provision made for the government of the Royal Arch in the new Book of Constitutions. Only after slow progress did the Duke's influence bring about the Union of the two Supreme ' FQR, 1840. pp 496‑9. 202‑3; 1841, pp 457‑8. Z AQC, Ixxiv, pp 53‑70.

 

3 The Origin and Progress of the Preceptory of St George, No 6, C. Fitzgerald Matier, pp 42‑46. Supreme Grand Chapter, Minutes, 17 April, 10 May 1810.

 

5 Origin of the English Rite, W. J. Hughan. ed J. T. Thorp, p 171. 6 Freemasons' Book of the Royal Arch, B. E. Jones, p 111.

 

THE GRAND‑MASTERSHIP OF H.R.H. THE DUKE OF SUSSEX, 1813‑43 23 Grand Chapters, 18 March 1817. Formal recognition was granted by the United Grand Lodge.

 

Obviously some alterations in the ritual were necessitated by the establishment of a united SGC to weld the two systems into one uniform ceremony. But so little interest was taken in the Supreme Order and so chaotic were conditions at headquarters that it was not until 1834 that the Duke of Sussex, as MEZ, set up a committee to revise the ritual.' The work appears to have fallen mainly on his friend and former chaplain, the Rev G. A. Browne, PG Superintendent for Cambridgeshire, the result being approved by the MEZ and SGC in November of the same year. Many alterations were made, new ceremonies for the installation of the Principals were introduced, and an attempt made to remove all Christian allusions from the ritual. The SGC made it `the duty of every Chapter to adopt and obey' the new method, the Grand Principals suggesting that any Chapter which failed to teach its members the `Sussex Ritual' should be suspended .2 A Chapter of Promulgation was warranted on 4 February 1835, for six months, but in spite of the improved means of communication, little was done to spread the new ways beyond the Metropolis. Provincial Companions found it difficult to make the journey for instruction and were hard put to it to learn about and practise the new ritual, especially the installation ceremonies. 3 Even when they did get the information they did not always conform entirely. 4 Though there are several versions existing today claiming to be copies of the `Sussex Ritual' of the Royal Arch Degree, 5 they are no more correct than those of the Craft ritual which purport to be derived from the decisions of the Lodge of Reconciliation. In the Supreme Order uniformity is as non‑existent and as undesirable as it is in the Craft.

 

Many eulogies and criticisms, contemporary and later, have been made of the Grand‑Mastership of the Duke of Sussex. The former may largely be discounted as laudatores temporis acti, having been given on special occasions which demanded them, or as deriving from the deference then customarily paid to Royalty. The critics, though some of their remarks are not without foundation, have, in general, paid too much attention to the last five years of the Duke's reign and too little to the first twenty‑five, at the conclusion of which he was presented with that magnificent testimonial now in Freemasons' Hall. The year 1838 was the turning point. Up till then the Grand Master's rule was successful and popular. In spite of his many other interests, the Duke took great pains to equip himself for his position, was remarkably assiduous in his duties and enjoyed the advantages of very able advisers. Their purpose was to enforce the settlement made at the Union and to resist further change. If his influence sometimes degenerated into interference it was used in what he considered to be the best interests of the Craft. His rule was personal and firm, but not autocratic. His Whig principles, so staunchly held, and his fondness for the British Constitution, so often expressed, can hardly have been lost sight of when he ascended the Masonic Throne. Whether in the Grand Lodge or presiding at the festive board, his burly figure, 1 Ibid, p 170. ' 'Ibid, p 171.

 

FQR, 1837, p 59; 1839, p 78.

 

Freemasonry in Bristol, A. C. Powell, and J. Littlejohn, pp 667‑9. 5 Somerset Masters Lodge, No 3746, Transactions, 1924, p 289.

 

24 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' clothed in a blue coat, light waistcoat, knee breeches and black skull‑cap, his `jolly' countenance and his genial affability made him ever welcome.

 

After twenty‑five years came a sad deterioration. The Duke was getting old, his illnesses were prolonged and painful, for two years he was completely blind and thereafter only partially recovered, his veteran advisers had all passed away. The organised conspiracy ‑ for it was such ‑ of Drs Crucefix and Oliver threatened to bring crashing into ruins the work of the Duke's lifetime. No wonder he became ill‑tempered. The Grand Master was a changed man; he was hectoring, unjust, despotic; it was not a pleasant sight. Though many fine things were said of him at his passing, his demise brought relief to the Fraternity. He was not a great Grand Master, but he was a good one. Of his contemporaries he was by far the best fitted for the office. `If' is a dangerous word in history, but it is a safe assumption that if we had had one of his brothers in his place ‑ and it might easily have happened' ‑ the Craft would not have been so well served. The memorial of his labours is not the statue, the portraits or the other paraphernalia of departed merit: it is one of which any man, of any rank, could be justly proud‑the United Grand Lodge of England. The existence and present prosperity of this great Fraternity are due in no small measure to the Grand‑Mastership of HRH the Duke of Sussex.

 

' Letters of King George IV, 1812‑1830, ed A. A. Aspinall, i, p 60, No 55.

 

FOLKLORE INTO MASONRY THE PRESTONIAN LECTURE FOR 1963 THE VERY REV H. G. MICHAEL CLARKE, MA.

 

THE PASSING OF THE OPERATIVE GILDS SINCE t FIRST began to find in masonry more than the performance of rites and ceremonies, I have wanted to know how it originated. That is to say, I was curious why men took up speculative masonry; for there is no mystery about the old lodges of the operative masons, nor about their practice of admitting honorary members. There is secure evidence of such admissions taking place early in the seventeenth century in England, and in the minute book of the Lodge of Edinburgh the presence of James Boswell, Laird of Auchinleck, is recorded under the date 8 June 1600.

 

The brethren of that time belonged to the Livery Company of Masons of London and to the Gilds of Masons up and down the country, and had plied their craft during the Middle Ages in association with the Cathedral Chapters and the Monastic Orders in building and maintaining the great Gothic Churches. Alone of all trades they had preserved the cohesion of the `fabric lodge'; since by the nature of things they had to keep together as a band, their work could only be done `on the site'. At York the masons employed at the Minster in 1532 were: To begin work immediately after sunrise until the ringing of the bell of the Virgin Mary; then to breakfast in the logium fabricw; then one of the masters is to knock upon the door of the lodge and forthwith all are to return to work till noon. Between April and August, after dinner they shall sleep in the lodge; then work until the first bell for vespers; then sit to drink until the end of the third bell, and return to work so long as they can see by daylight.' The economic changes and the new eagerness to free the individual from restriction had caused the gild system to decay and collapse, and masons lost employment as the new classical styles became popular, which called for less intricate work. Brick, too, was more extensively used.

 

THE SINGULARITY OF THE MASONS There was, however, one feature of the masonic fraternity which made it unique. Unlike other associations of craftsmen, lodges were not permanent. When a building was completed, the workmen might pass to employment in another locality. The secrecy, fidelity and obedience they owed were not to a group in a particular place, but to the Craft as a whole. To ensure that strangers claiming the privileges of masons should not deceive, signs, tokens and words of recognition were communicated under vows of concealment that the mysteries of their art might be guarded and preserved.

 

A special character distinguishes bodies of men who rove the world in the Quoted in Hastings' Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics.

 

25 26 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' pursuit of their livelihood, whether they be sailors, commercial travellers, barristers on circuit ‑ or operative masons. Lacking stable homes, they learn to settle anywhere, they have the cosmopolitan's gift of getting on terms with strangers when they meet them, some fellow‑feeling with the foreigner and understanding of the working of his mind, and, above all, a broader, more tolerant view of the universe and human kind than is held by the types which stay at home. Yet, while all these things are true of the wandering worker, he does not lack ordinary social instincts, and the want of any normal experience of settled community life makes him attach a high, perhaps exaggerated, value to the closed circle of his professional fellowship.

 

I think freemasonry, at the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603, must have been much as I have described, a survival shorn of much of its importance and authority, held together by its traditional connection with building, in which more and more men of the middle ranks of the nation were interesting themselves, and governed as to the constitution of lodges and the conduct of brethren by Ancient Charges and Regulations. Of emblematic or speculative masonry at the beginning of the seventeenth century there is no evidence.

 

Jump a hundred and fourteen years, and in February 1717, four London lodges meet together for the purpose of consolidating their structure and co‑ordinating their activities by the creation of a Grand Lodge. As to how much ritual they possess and in what ways they differ from us, their successors, it would be reckless to speak in definite terms. Certainly all traces of operative masonry have disappeared from these four, though not by any means from all lodges in England. Certainly, too, there is some esoteric teaching contained in the ceremonies connected with the admission of candidates, and possibly on feast days. Prominent practitioners of the art of speculative masonry have given lectures. Thus, material is provided for the Masonic Order to work upon during the eighteenth century and to develop into the standard forms of virtual which we inherit. We have a problem of embryology which is completely insoluble. We simply cannot tell what stage had been reached in 1717, and I have no judgment to offer. I make but two suggestions. The first is that though, no doubt, ritual was then in primitive shape, with possibly only parts exactly phrased and neither so Systematic nor so elaborate as today, there was a basic uniformity running through freemasonry. The second is that whatever may have been the growth of freemasonry we can at least identify the seeds. The former of these suggestions will not take our attention for long, and I shall not argue it further than to offer an historical parallel, but I think a satisfactory one. Indeed, I hope that you will agree that freemasons were, as I have described it, basically uniform in 1717, for it will assist me, if you do, to demonstrate the seeds from which it sprang, similar growth implying similar seeds.

 

UNIFORMITY OF MASONIC RITES, 1717 The assimilation of the content of freemasonry in different lodges depended on the probability of brethren in them mixing, and this in turn upon the facilities for travel and their use by seventeenth‑century Englishmen. It is a commonplace that communications in our country had to wait till nearly 1800 before they were FOLKLORE INTO MASONRY 27 substantially improved. But for three hundred years before then there had been slow but steady advance. The Englishman of the Stuart period was a traveller. If he were a gentleman, that is, one who owned land and lived on the income from it, he regarded travel as a source of information; if he were a merchant, Germany or the Low Countries drew him as profitable markets; if he were a Cavalier, he may have visited or stayed in France while young Charles Stuart took refuge there; if he were a Roundhead, he might well have brothers or cousins in America. These were the sort of men who were entering the Craft as Free and Accepted Masons. If their predecessors, the operative masons, scattered over England, could in the Middle Ages preserve some sort of national association, surely it is not crediting them with too much ingenuity of organisation to say that they were roughly uniform in their precepts and their practice. What they handed on was what they held in common. Except in a few instances the general pattern has prevailed; the anomalous has disappeared.

 

This is what we should expect in a widely scattered fraternity maintaining itself in an indifferent society. On another scale and against another background, the Christian Church was driven underground by persecution in the Roman Empire at the end of the first century of our era and reappeared when toleration was proclaimed in the last quarter of the second. During the intervening period, when it took care as far as it was able to be unknown and unheard of, it succeeded in developing an Organisation and a ritual which were practically uniform from Antioch to York. Is it too much to claim in the same way that the springs of speculative masonry had risen to approximately the same height during the seventeenth century in all the various centres in England? WHAT STARTED SPECULATION? One suggestion has been made that, alone among the craft gilds, masons continued to cherish and transmit their special religious practices. Each medieval association was religious in character, venerated one patron saint and kept its festival in a way which might be peculiar to itself. The Reformers looked askance at such carryings on, which they condemned as superstitious and put ruthlessly down. It is not easy to imagine a group or groups of men taking the trouble and risk to continue to perform them in secret. Nor are the types I have men, tioned as belonging to lodges those whom we should expect to court official disfavour.

 

Elias Ashmole is the most famous of them. He records in his diary that he was made a freemason at Warrington in 1646. His second wife was a wealthy widow, and at the Restoration he was created Windsor Herald. He makes no other reference till 1682, when he again attended a lodge and notes composedly that he was the senior fellow. He was typical of his age, a natural student, now critical, now credulous, Fellow of the newly‑chartered Royal Society, collector of curiosities of art and nature, which Sir Christopher Wren built a famous museum in Oxford to house. His credulity appears in his friendship with the contemporary astrologers and his dabbling in the cult of Rosicrucianism. Michael Maier's book about this system of theosophy had been recently translated from German to English. As Michael Maier was an alchemist, Ashmole seems to focus in his 28 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' person all the novel, unusual and curious ideas that were drifting through the seventeenth century.

 

There are those who believe that Elias Ashmole imported tenets of Rosicrucianism ‑ with its Legend of the Tomb and its implicit principles of brotherly love, relief and truth ‑ into freemasonry. There is not the smallest evidence that he was more than superficially interested in either, and it was to concrete rather than abstract matters that he devoted himself, a history of heraldry and the collection of rarities absorbing him to the exclusion of theology and metaphysics.

 

Robert Plot and John Aubrey have links with Ashmole, for they were both antiquarians and Plot was‑Secretary of tfle Royal Society as well. Neither were freemasons, but both mention the Craft (in 1686 and 1691 respectively) as widespread through England, practising charity and patronised by monarchs themselves. Shadowy as the picture is, it is difficult to conceive that lurking in the shade is a hand bent upon transforming it. Bro Bernard Jones closes his discussion of the subject by quoting Lewis Edwards: Few, if any, institutions are invented offhand. They are all creatures of growth. If we find one of them organised and in working order at a certain date, it is highly probable that, whether or not we find traces of it, it has existed for many years in a rudimentary and unorganised form, and this is obviously the case with speculative freemasonry.' MEDIEVAL IDEAS OF THE UNIVERSE And so it is a question of what, when at dusk the gates of the town were closed and the bellman began his nightly rounds, our seventeenth‑century brethren talked at their secret meetings in private rooms of taverns under the presidency of an expert in the matters under discussion. These were the serious gentry and burgesses of the place; the lighter fry were dancing at the assembly rooms or foregathering in each other's houses for music, cards and supper. Let us think of them for the moment not as masons, but as fairly educated Englishmen fully awake to an endless debate that was going on around them: the debate particularly about the nature of God's creation and the laws by which it was maintained in being, the debate as to how man could be elected to sanctification and what was the balance between revelation and reason, that is, between the evidence of the Bible and the evidence of man's native intelligence. For the Bible, of which the Authorised Version was published in 1611, was in everybody's hands. Its coming had stimulated the teaching of letters.

 

Speaking of the duties of man, a sixteenth‑century writer wrote: Some things in such sort are allowed, that they be also required as necessary unto salvation, by way of direct immediate and proper necessity final; so that without performance of them we cannot by ordinary course be saved, nor by any means be excluded from life observing them. In actions of this kind our chiefest direction is from scripture, for nature is no sufficient teacher what we should do that we may attain unto life everlasting.' Thus Richard Hooker, the man who composed the sublime apology for the Elizabethan middle way in religion, and laid down the principles of faith and Bernard E. Jones, Freemason's Guide and Compendium, 98. z Hooker, The Laws of Ecclesiastical Policy, Bk ii, ch viii, FOLKLORE INTO MASONRY 29 conduct that were classic in the seventeenth century. His attitude was adopted widely by his countrymen.

 

The Bible was read greedily, extensively and quite uncritically. No distinction was drawn between the significance of an account of early Hebrew barbarity and late prophetic insight, between the moral teaching of Proverbs and that of Paul. As commentary upon the elucidation of Scripture, men had the conception of world organisation which had been transmitted through the Middle Ages growing more complicated and more ingenious as the centuries went by. It ultimately constituted a compendium of knowledge contained in the seven liberal arts and sciences, and, of course, fully attained only by the learned few, yet in general outline part of the background of the common mind. It is to this general outline that I have referred in my title as `folklore'. Here it is summarised.

 

In designing the world, The Great Archited imposed upon His Creation a particular style of His own, fitting every item into a single pattern and decreeing for each a course of action appropriate to the part assigned. The pattern was alluded to as a chain, the lowest links consisting of inanimate objects, the next vegetation, then groups of beasts, then men, then angels. Within each class the members were not ranged indiscriminately, but held their positions by merit and desert, and at the head of each class was the primate: fire among the elements, sun among the stars, king among men, eagle among birds. For instance, in Shakespeare's Richard II, Act III, Scene 3, Bolingbroke before Flint Castle says: Be he the fire, I'll be the yielding water, and a few lines later: See, see, King Richard doth himself appear, As doth the blushing discontented sun From out the fiery portal of the east, When he perceives the envious clouds are bent To dim his glory and to strain the track Of his bright passage to the occident To which York adds: Yet looks he like a king: behold his eye, As bright as is the eagle's lightens forth Controlling majesty.' Like children, the medieval thinkers were not accustomed to consider things detached from all other things. All were creatures of God's making and He had given to each nature which it is its raison d'etre to fulfil. The kind of strange theory that was produced to interpret a fact or to relate it to an accepted theory is exemplified by an explanation of the period of creation: the world was created in six days because the crown of creation was human kind, male and female, but the number three stands for man the number two for woman, and through the creative act of multiplying you get six.

 

The point that must be borne in mind is that as everything in the world has been designed by the Great Architect, it had, as it were, His mark upon it and was 1 Quoted by E. M. W. Tillyard, The Elizabethan World Picture.

 

30 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' personalised. Brethren will remember that as a certain word was once a test word to distinguish friend from foe, King Solomon afterwards caused it to be adopted as a Pass Word in a Fellowcraft Lodge to prevent any unqualified person ascending the winding stair'. The propriety of the use of the word for this purpose, to our minds, must consist in a chance felicity produced by the almost humorous comparison between the turbulent Ephraimites and either an entered apprentice or a cowan to masonry trying to force entry to a Fellowcraft Lodge. But to our ancient brethren the word had an existence of its own and with that a special virtue, just as the name of a powerful supernatural being might liberate miraculous powers. The same applies to numbers, as we have seen. The perfection of the number seven is illustrated for masons by the fact that King Solomon was seven years and upwards in building, completing and dedicating the Temple.

 

I trust that I have made the point that things were never indifferent in the medieval mind. If one of them symbolised some abstract idea, the symbolism was never regarded as imposed by man; it was inherent. Without any doubt the twenty‑four inches in the twenty‑four inch gauge were not considered to be similar in number to the twenty‑four hours of the day by accident. The correspondence was part of the pattern. It is obvious that to acquire this knowledge ‑ or science, as it was named‑profound imagination and willingness to be taught were required; the student must `dedicate his heart, thus purified from every baneful and malignant passion, fitted only for the reception of truth and wisdom . . .' THE PASSING OF THE OLD The movement of thought with which the name of Francis Bacon will always be connected began in the seventeenth century to loosen the foundations of this system. Men started to notice things for themselves and found that the facts they observed did not square with it. `Our method,' he said, `is continually to dwell among things soberly ... to establish forever a true and legitimate union between the experimental and rational faculty." Those who have gone all the way with Bacon have completely discarded the scheme of accounting for the universe by abstract principles and values, preferring one which rests upon observation, measurement and the analysis of the results of these. They have built up Science in its modern meaning, and to them the universe apprehended in a form of mathematical terms is the real one, the world dreamed of in seventeenth‑century folklore only a glow of twilight in the sky.

 

THE GUARDIANS OF TRADITION The old ideas passed slowly, and in our century there were many notable writers who sought to fuse the old and the new. Such names as John Milton and Isaac Newton could be instanced, but there is room for one quotation, and I shall choose it from Religio Medici. The family of its author, Thomas Browne, came from Cheshire. His father was a merchant in London, where Thomas was born in 1606. He studied medicine in Leyden, in Holland, and practised as a doctor in Norwich. He wrote on a variety of subjects and wrestled with this question of abstract against experimental science. He was not a freemason, but for reasons ' Preface to De Augmentis.

 

FOLKLORE INTO MASONRY 31 that I have already given the speculative mason would eagerly search his books, which are wise, lively and most choice in style.

 

Nor do I so forget God as to adore the Name of Nature, which I define as that straight and regular line, that settled and constant course the wisdom of God hath ordained the actions of His Creatures, according to their several kinds. To make a revolution every day is the nature of the Sun, because of that necessary course which God hath ordained it, from which it cannot swerve but by a faculty from that voice which did first give it motion. Now this course of Nature God seldom alters or perverts, but like an excellent Artist hath so contrived His work, that with the self‑same instrument, without a new creation, he may effect His obscurest designs . . . for God is like a skilful Geometrician, who when more easily and with one stroak of His compass he might describe or divide a right line, had yet rather do this in a circle or longer way; according to the constituted and forelaid principles of His Art.' ‑Religio Medici, Sect 16 Sir Thomas is, of course, deprecating recourse to miracles to account for events in Nature. So far he is in step with the rationalisers, but his method is not `continually to dwell among things soberly'; to him, God is Artist and Geometrician, he preserves the idea of Divine style in the ordering of the universe. Had opinion in the next century been faithful to Browne's teaching which is reflected in many of his contemporaries, we should not have developed in the one‑sided way we have done.

 

Let me not be misunderstood. That there was much rubbish cumbering medieval science goes without saying. It had to be cast out, and the new science, with all its triumphs, replaced it. Truth has benefited.

 

But Truth has also lost: the facts that life is one: that perfection is a goal to be believed in even if never to be achieved: that the universe exists not only as a mine for wealth, but also as a place of service: that persons rank before things: that there is Absolute Being which we disregard at our peril ‑ these facts are incapable of experimental proof, they cannot be weighed or measured, so they are reduced to the order of indeterminate propositions. But just as those propositions were slipping out of the consciousness of Western Man, the Order of Speculative Freemasons fastened upon them and preserved them in Charge, Constitution and Ceremonial, so that we, their descendants, might follow them in tracing the intellectual faculty from its development, through the paths of Heavenly Science, even to the throne of God Himself.

 

1 Sir Thomas Browne, Religio Medici, Sect 16.

 

THE GENESIS OF OPERATIVE MASONRY THE PRESTONIAN LECTURE FOR 1964 THE REV A. J. ARKELL, MBE, MC BRo FRED L. PICK concluded the Prestonian Lecture for 1948 with these words: `There would therefore appear to be some justification for the theory of Bro J. E. Shum Tuekett (The Origin of Additional Degrees, AQC, xxxii) that a portion only of the store of legend, tradition and symbolism possessed by freemasonry passed into the Rite evolved after the constitution of the first Grand Lodge in 1717.' And Robert Freke Gould, in his History of Freemasonry (1951, vol 1, p 3), quotes with approval Brand's Popular Antiquities as saying: `We must despair of ever being able to reach the fountain‑head of streams which have been running and increasing from the beginning of time. All that we can aspire to do is only to trace their course backwards, as far as possible, on those charts that now remain of the distant countries whence they were first perceived to flow'; and a very few lines later Gould makes the thought‑provoking remark: `Past events leave relics behind them more certainly than future events cast shadows before them.' These considerations, then, are my justification for asking you to take yourselves back in time a long way before 1717, when the Grand Lodge of England was founded, indeed back for nearly five thousand years, to consider what archaeology has revealed to our generation of the circumstances under which operative masonry began. I must from the outset disclaim any intention of suggesting that the beginning of operative masonry in any way influenced the evolution of the ceremonies of speculative masonry; but the beginning of operative masonry cannot lack interest to us as freemasons; and it is particularly important to note that the invention of operative masonry sprang from a religious impulse.

 

It was probably in the Old Stone Age that some genius first thought of piling rough stones on one another to make a shelter. And archaeologists have recently discovered that in Asia, by the seventh millenium BC, rough stone‑walling had been so far developed that, for example, Jericho proves to have been a well‑built town, surrounded by stone fortifications, during much of the seventh and sixth millenia BC.* History begins in Egypt with the introduction of picture‑writing, which has enabled us to compile a list of kings and to learn something about the events which led to the union of Upper and Lower Egypt under the First Dynasty, circa 3000 BC and about ceremonies and other events; for labels on wine jars and receptacles containing food, buried in the tombs of kings and their great officers, mention these events as a way of recording dates.

 

* W. F. Albright, The Archaeology of Palestine, revised edition, 1960. p 62.

 

32 THE GENESIS OF OPERATIVE MASONRY The kings of the First and Second Dynasties were buried at Abydos, the religious capital of Upper Egypt before the union of Egypt, while their great officials and some relatives were buried at Sakkara, a few miles south of Cairo on the western edge of the fertile Nile Valley, in the middle of which they had sited Memphis, the new capital of united Egypt, at the junction of the Nile Valley with the Delta.

 

The superstructures of the royal tombs of the first two dynasties at Abydos have not survived, but judging from the burial chambers there and the great tombs of the same date at Sakkara, there is little doubt that what was seen of them above the surface of the ground was a rectangular mass of sun‑dried mud brick with a rounded roof, the whole painted white, in length anything up to fifty yards, and up to thirty feet high. Internally, the superstructures were divided into thirty or so rooms, in which were stored jars of wine and food, furniture and copper tools ‑ indeed, any objects that were then considered essential for good living. In the centre was a great room; gradually sunk deeper and deeper into the ground in order to make it more safe from robbers. In this room was a wooden coffin, constructed to resemble a house of the period. In the burial chamber were also placed the most valuable treasures ‑ jewellery, dishes of unbelievably skilled workmanship in rock crystal and other fine stones, some made to resemble vine leaves or baskets, etc. Sometimes the burial chamber itself was panelled with wood; in one case (King Den or Udimu) it was paved with slabs of granite brought from Aswan, about 240 miles south of Abydos. As the burial chamber was sunk deeper into the ground it was cut into the natural limestone, the shaft being sometimes built up above the living rock with rough stone walling. Where a sloping staircase was cut down from the surface of the ground to the burial chamber, it came to be blocked by one to three large slabs of dressed limestone, let down by ropes in grooves, portcullis‑wise, to prevent robbers getting in by the stairway.

 

Frequently on the walls of the burial chamber, and occasionally on the walls of the storerooms above it, was painted a doorway in red to imitate wood. There were no other doors, these false doors being intended for the use of the spirit of the dead king, whose `house of eternity' (the ancient Egyptian phrase for the tomb) this large erection was. Indeed, the tomb was an attempt to make in brick as a more permanent material a lasting copy of the palace in which the king lived in life, and which was constructed of timber, with the walls decorated with matting woven in elaborate coloured patterns, of which imitations were painted on the mud brick walls of the tomb. The spirit of the dead king was at this time thought to remain on earth, living in his `house of eternity' among his people, continuing to influence the land for good, as he had done in life.

 

Zoser Neterkhet, the first King of the Third Dynasty, built a tomb of this old type at Beit Khallaf, in Upper Egypt; but then he built a much larger tomb of a new type at Sakkara, employing a completely new method of construction: stone blocks cut and fitted together. Indeed, this new tomb is so large and shows so much advance in many details that at first the mind refuses to believe that it is the first stone masonry construction in Egypt ‑ or, for that matter, in the world. But the more familiar one becomes with the remains, the more clearly one can see that 33 34 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' they contain in themselves evidence of the birth‑pangs of stone masonry ‑ of the efforts of a genius wrestling with problem after problem as it arose from the use of the new technique.

 

There is, too, some indication that it was a new religious belief, attributable to the same genius, which was behind not only the use of the new building material, but the change in form of the superstructure and surroundings of the royal tomb. Neterkhet, the Horus name of King Zoser and the only name used in his tomb, is written with two signs, a flag on a pole above an animal's belly. The first sign means `god' or `divine', and the second is usually interpreted `body'. Whatever the exact meaning of the conjunction of the two signs, the name Neter‑khet indicates that the king was looked on as divine. Thus, when he died, it was reasonable for a man of sufficient imagination to think of the king's spirit as no longer haunting the tomb, his `eternal home' on earth, but as going up into the sky, where the Imperishable Stars, those that revolve round the Pole Star in the northern sky without ever setting, had been ‑ probably from prehistoric times in Egypt ‑ thought of as the mighty dead. Indeed, I hope that you will be able to see, from what follows, that the superstructure of Neterkhet's tomb, the Step Pyramid of Sakkara, the unique and oldest of the pyramids, began as a representation of the king's palace and ended up as a staircase to heaven.

 

While its enclosure wall was plain, the rectangular mud‑brick superstructure over a large First Dynasty tomb was panelled or recessed, apparently in imitation of the appearance of a movable house constructed of timber planks fastened together by lashing and so of necessity overlapping one another. (A few of these planks have been found lining First Dynasty graves at Tarkhan, not far from Sakkara.) The wall enclosing the Step Pyramid and its associated buildings was nearly six hundred yards long from north to south and just over three hundred yards wide. The enclosure was thus ten to twelve times as long as that of a large First Dynasty tomb, and covered one hundred times the area. This enclosure wall preserved the traditional recessed form of the First Dynasty mud‑brick tomb superstructure (see sketch), but instead of being built of brick it was built of very fine white limestone brought from the Tura quarries on the other side of the Nile. It was, however, built, according to the principles governing brickwork, in regular courses of small cut‑stone blocks, each from seven and three‑quarters to ten inches high. In this wall, fourteen double gates were represented as closed and irregularly spaced, suggesting that the architect modelled this enclosure on some actual enclosure in which the gates served a real purpose, probably the famed `White Wall of Memphis', the palace compound built by Menes, legendary first king of united Egypt. The height of this stone enclosure wall, twenty royal cubits or over thirty feet, was ascertained from its batter. In the upper half of this wall were small rectangular recesses representing the ends of timber beams usually built into the upper part of large mud‑brick walls to strengthen them.

 

In the centre of the vast rectangle enclosed by this wall, a pit about twenty‑three feet square was cut in the rock to a depth of ninety‑two feet, and at the bottom of this pit a chamber about 9 ft 9 in in length and 5 ft 6 in in width and height was constructed, entirely of granite brought from Aswan. At its northern end a hole was cut through two of the rafter‑like slabs spanning the roof, in order to admit THE GENESIS OF OPERATIVE MASONRY 35 The Step Pyramid enclosure at Sakkara (Reproduced by permission from I. E. S. Edwards. The Pyramids of Egypt ‑ after J.‑P. Lauer, La Pyramide 6 Degr9s, vol It, plate IV) the royal corpse at the funeral. After the body had been placed in the chamber, this hole was filled by a granite plug, measuring about six feet high and three feet in diameter, and weighing about three‑ and‑a‑half tons. Access to the chamber above this granite roof was by a staircase, which began in an open trench on the north side of the pyramid and descended underground. The tomb was completed by various underground passages in which were stored very many magnificent stone vases and other furniture. One gallery and two underground rooms nearby had their walls lined with blue faience tiles. In one of the rooms the tiles represented the matting‑covered fagade of a palace with windows, its three dummy doors of fine limestone carved with reliefs showing the king in the crown of Upper Egypt performing religious ceremonies.

 

Above the burial pit at first was built a rectangular stone platform (or mastaba) 207 feet square and 26 feet high, each side facing one of the cardinal points. It was made of rubble set in clay mortar, and cased with carefully‑dressed white limestone blocks. It was then extended by about fourteen feet on all four sides and a second facing of dressed limestone added. The height of this extension was two feet less than that of the original platform, making a step, which was probably significant in view of subsequent developments. Along its eastern edge were now sunk a series of eleven pits, each over a hundred feet deep, having at the bottom of each a corridor nearly a hundred feet long running west under the superstructure. These corridors were intended as tombs for the various members of the royal family; in some of them, alabaster coffins were found. This row of tombs was then incorporated in the main tomb by a further enlargement of about twenty‑eight feet which was added on to the east side of the superstructure, thus rendering it oblong. But before the facing of this second addition had been dressed, there was a complete change in the design.

 

Hitherto the tomb had been hidden from anyone outside the enclosure wall; only the wall on the crest of the western desert could have been seen by the inhabitants of Memphis. But now the architect conceived the idea of a great step‑shaped building, a gigantic ladder as it were, erected skywards, as if to facilitate the ascent of the dead king's soul to a celestial abode. The platform was extended by nine‑and‑a‑half feet on each side, and it now became the lowest stage of a pyramid with four steps. On the northern side of this pyramid the construction of a mortuary temple was begun, but before either the pyramid or the temple 36 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' had been finished it was decided to extend the pyramid further to the north and west, and to give the pyramid six steps. But when this enlargement had reached the fourth step, this plan also was abandoned, and the sixth and last extension added a little more to each side. The six‑step pyramid was now completed and cased with a final layer of dressed Tura limestone. Its height was now 204 feet, and its base approximately 411 feet from east to west and 358 feet from north to south.

 

It is interesting to note that there was a change in the size of the blocks of stone used in the construction of the pyramid, larger blocks being used in the last extension. No doubt the architect was learning as the work proceeded that though small blocks of stone approximately the size of bricks are easier to handle, they take more time to prepare and the resultant construction is less strong than one built of larger blocks.

 

Zoser's successor, Sekhem‑khet, possibly employing the same architect as an old man, began another enclosure with a step pyramid close to the south‑west corner of Zoser's tomb complex. It was never completed and is therefore known to archaeologists as the Unfinished Pyramid. Probably the architect died. Its excavation, began in 1951, has also not been completed; but as far as it has gone it has revealed that the stone blocks with which the enclosure wall was built are twenty inches high, that is, double the height of the largest blocks used in Zoser's wall. An economy was also made in the best limestone facing it; for the casing was reduced to one course (about one foot) thick.

 

Many stone masonry constructions surrounded (and mostly still surround) Zoser's Step Pyramid within the great enclosure wall. With the exception of the Mortuary Temple and the Serdab, each built up against the pyramid on its north side, none of the other buildings has any precedent or parallel. But it is important to note that every building in the enclosure had a religious purpose, being intended to provide for the king's needs after death. Between the pyramid itself and the entrance colonnade at the south‑east corner, which will be described later, there is a series of dummy buildings, all solid, of rubble covered with cut stone, intended to provide the setting necessary for repeating in the king's after‑life his jubilee ceremony. Every king of Egypt was entitled to celebrate his jubilee after a certain number of years (usually thirty). This festival derived from prehistory, when kings reigned for a limited time and were then put to death, in the belief that it was essential for the welfare of the country that the king should be physically strong. The jubilee ceremony enabled the king to regain his vigour by magic, and so obviated the necessity of replacing him by a younger man. It is probable that by reproducing in stone the temporary booths, shrines, etc, of wood and matting, in which the ceremony was celebrated in life, the aim was to secure immortality for the king by providing for the perpetual celebration of his jubilee in a new and more permanent medium, stone.

 

In the jubilee festival all ceremonies were duplicated, for, despite the union of Upper and Lower Egypt, the king usually wore a double crown and was looked upon as a dual personality, the King of Upper Egypt and the King of Lower Egypt. Thus the buildings within the Step Pyramid enclosure appear all to have been duplicated for the same reason. There was even a tomb complete with burial chamber duplicating the tomb under the Step Pyramid itself. The superstructure THE GENESIS OF OPERATIVE MASONRY 37 of this second tomb was in the form of a large rectangular mastaba with a curved roof, running east and west, the greater part of it being concealed in the body of the southern stretch of the enclosure wall. The substructure of this mastaba has many features in common with the Step Pyramid itself. A tomb chamber made of blocks of Aswan granite was built at the bottom of a vertical shaft. Its only entrance was a hole, stopped with a granite plug, in the flat roof. East of the tomb chamber were galleries, in one of which were also three separate limestone reliefs of the king performing religious ceremonies. In a parallel gallery just west of the first one, the backs of three doors were carved in the limestone facing of the wall. The position of these doors, approximately behind the reliefs of the king, suggests that the panels with reliefs were regarded as false doors through which the king was thought of as emerging. The walls of several of these galleries were covered with blue faience tiles, representing hangings of matting. The tomb chamber here, being only five‑and‑a‑quarter feet square, is unlikely to have been used for an actual burial, and is therefore regarded as a duplicate tomb required for ceremonial purposes, especially in view of the duplication of the reliefs showing the king performing ritual ceremonies.

 

Immediately on the north side of this apparently duplicate tomb, and thus corresponding in orientation with the temple on the north side of the pyramid, there is a rectangular masonry building. It is almost solid except for two elongated chambers set at right angles to each other, and its outer walls of dressed limestone are decorated at the top with a frieze of cobra‑heads‑the first known example of a motif which was to become very common. These are the well‑known emblems of the cobra goddess of Buto, guardian of the kingdom of Lower Egypt, and it is therefore probable that this south mastaba complex was regarded as the ceremonial tomb of Zoser as King of Lower Egypt.

 

Immediately between this `duplicate tomb' and the pyramid itself was a large open court in which are two solid stone B‑shaped bases, and in line with them near the pyramid an altar. These bases probably marked the course of the ritual race which the king, carrying a flail and accompanied by the priest of the spirits of the dead kings of Upper Egypt, had to run as part of his jubilee ceremony. The king is shown running this race in reliefs found both under the Step Pyramid and in the duplicate tomb.

 

An important element in the jubilee was a re‑enactment of the coronation. Here a procession led by a priest entered the chapels on one side of the jubilee court, in which were the gods of the various districts of Upper Egypt. Having obtained from each god consent to a renewal of his kingship, the king was conducted to the southern of two thrones, placed on a dais beneath a canopy, in order to be crowned with the white crown of Upper Egypt. A similar ceremony was then repeated in the chapels of the gods of the districts of Lower Egypt, before the king ascended the northern throne to receive the red crown of Lower Egypt. This clearly was the purpose of an oblong court on the eastern side of the open space for the ceremonial race. Along both the east and west sides of this oblong court was a series of dummy chapels constructed of solid masonry. In front of each chapel was a small court provided with an imitation open door (also in solid masonry). Sculptured in high relief on the stone walls separating each chapel 38 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' were representations of a wooden fence made of tapered uprights piercing a horizontal crossbar.

 

A passage from the south‑west corner of the jubilee court leads to a smaller court, in which stood a building with an imposing entrance hall, three inner courts and a group of side chambers. Projecting from the middle of the west side of the entrance hall were three tongue‑walls, two of which ended in engaged columns decorated with vertical flutings. Another similar engaged column projected from the north wall, and in the east wall is a dummy door of stone in a half‑open position. The whole may have represented the pavilion in which the king was thought of as residing during his jubilee, and to which he retired between ceremonies in order to change his robes.

 

Going back again through the oblong court between the two rows of dummy shrines, one passes out at the north end between two large masses of rough masonry from which the casing has been stripped, into the area east of the pyramid which was originally dominated by two large rectangular buildings with curved roofs, each composed of a solid core of masonry overlaid with dressed Tura limestone. The southern face of each building, which was once nearly forty feet high, was decorated with four engaged columns, which, together with a broad pilaster at each side, supported a cornice following the curve of the roof. In the more northern of the two buildings, vertical flutings were carved on both the engaged columns and the pilasters. In the southern building the engaged columns were similarly fluted, but the pilasters were ribbed. The capitals of the engaged columns resemble two large pendant leaves, probably those of the Giant Fennel, of which the stem is ribbed when green and fluted when dry.

 

Situated near the middle of the southern face of each building was the entrance to a narrow passage which led, by two right‑angled turns, to a small cruciform sanctuary. The stone ceiling of the passage was carved to resemble the log rafters which similar corridors were roofed in buildings composed of wood and mudbrick.

 

In front of each of these buildings was an open court, the southern one much the larger of the two. Each court was surrounded by a wall, in the east side of which, near the corner of the building, was a broad recess. In the northern court in this recess were three engaged columns, each representing the triangular stem of the papyrus with a single flower‑head at the top; while in the recess in the southern court there was only a single engaged round‑stemmed column which represented a lily. The lily and the papyrus were the emblems of Upper and Lower Egypt respectively, and it is probable that the southern building represented the prehistoric sanctuary of Upper Egypt, and the northern the corresponding sanctuary of Lower Egypt. The presence of a D‑shaped altar in the court of the southern building confirms that their function was religious.

 

The southern sanctuary is near the east side of the pyramid, and its northern face is in line with the northern face of the pyramid.

 

Going round the north‑east corner of the pyramid, one comes to the serdab already mentioned. This was a chamber completely closed and backing on to the pyramid, built throughout of dressed Tura limestone, its front wall inclining inwards at an angle of 16 degrees from the perpendicular to correspond with the THE GENESIS OF OPERATIVE MASONRY 39 angle of the lowest step of the pyramid. Inside it was a limestone statue of King Zoser seated. Two round holes were cut in the front wall of the serdab opposite the face of the statue, to enable the king to look out without harming onlookers by the glory of his presence. It is probably significant that the king is looking towards the north. The serdab is flanked on either side by a wall, against the north end of which on the inside is sculptured in stone the representation of one half of a double door wide open! Just west of the serdab, and also abutting on the north side of the pyramid, is the outer wall of the mortuary temple. Six feet of this wall still stand today. In it is the entrance to the temple, with a single (dummy) door sculptured in stone as if open, with a baffle passage behind it. Little remains of the interior of the temple, but there were many other similar imitation open doors in stone, and the bases of fluted engaged columns belong to the fagade of two interior and symmetrical courts. From one of these courts a staircase descends to the passage under the pyramid. To the west were two rooms, each with a stone bath in its floor, and on the south side of the temple was a sanctuary with two reccsses sunk into the face of the pyramid itself. The duplication of the chief features (courts, ablution rooms and recesses in the sanctuary) indicates that the temple was intended for the celebration of a ritual which had to be repeated for the king, once as ruler of Upper Egypt and again as ruler of Lower Egypt.

 

We have yet to consider the actual entrance (into the great compound surrounding the pyramid). This was situated about thirty yards from the south‑east corner of the enclosure wall, and consisted of a narrow passage running through the fourth bastion. The passage, originally roofed with stone slabs carved on the underside to represent wooden logs, ends in a small hall, on the right side of which can be seen the hinge of one half of an open dummy door carved in stone. Then follows another passage, slightly wider than the first, which ends in another dummy open door, this time a single door. Beyond this is a magnificent walled colonnade consisting of a long narrow passage running westwards between a series of alcoves formed by tongue walls, of which there were forty in all, twenty on each side. These tongue walls terminated in engaged ribbed columns, about twenty feet high. No trace of statues has been found, but it is probable that these alcoves were intended for double statues of the king, each with one of the gods of the forty‑two nomes or districts of Egypt, those on the south side representing him as King of Upper Egypt and those on the north side as King of Lower Egypt. (Such double statues are known from the next dynasty.) This colonnade was covered with a heavy roof made of stone slabs placed on edge and carved round on the lower edge to represent trunks of palm trees. Slits cut at an oblique angle in the side walls near the roof admitted light to each alcove. Across the west end of the colonnade ran a small rectangular hall with a flat roof, borne by eight ribbed columns joined in pairs by masonry walling.

 

The exit from this small pillared hall was on its west side by a narrow passage, at the end of which is an unusually detailed half‑open dummy door, on which can be seen the ends of the crossbars to which the wooden panels were nailed, all details carefully represented in stone. Passing through, one enters the large open court, bounded on the south side by the panelled enclosure wall and on the north by the 40 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' pyramid itself. Straight in front on the west side of this open court is a wall decorated with recessed panelling, which is the outer wall of the first of two parallel structures of solid masonry which cover nearly the whole of the western side of the pyramid complex. The second structure, which was higher than the first, had a curved roof resembling the roof of the south mastaba, and it may therefore be the superstructure of a row of tombs belonging to the king's retinue, but here the rock is dangerous and it has not been excavated. Beyond the two structures was the thick enclosure wall itself.

 

We have now considered the main features of the complex of buildings surrounding the Step Pyramid. It is indeed one of the most remarkable feats of architecture ever produced by the ancient Egyptians. No other pyramid was surrounded by such an array of buildings to supply the king with his needs in the after‑life. In their place, subsequent pharaohs were content with pictorial representations painted or carved in relief; no court with buildings specially designed for the jubilee ceremony was ever made again.

 

Doubts are naturally expressed from time to time as to whether such a high degree of architectural perfection could have been achieved without having been preceded by long development, but for some centuries before this the Egyptians had been making beautiful stone vases from the hardest of stones, which show that the stone‑worker had obtained complete control over his material, both in cutting, drilling, shaping and polishing it. There is, however, no evidence that stone had been employed in any earlier building, except for the construction of isolated parts, and then seldom, if ever, carefully cut stone. Over and over again in the Step Pyramid, features occur which show that its builders lacked experience in the use of stone for building. Small blocks which could easily be handled were used instead of the massive blocks found in later buildings. Clarke and Engelbach (Ancient Egyptian Masonry, 1930), point out that the masonry of the Step Pyramid is inferior to the better examples of later times in that the fineness of the joints between two adjacent blocks, which appears good when viewed in front, only extends inwards for at most a couple of inches; afterwards the joints become wide and irregular, and are filled in with thick white gypsum mortar.

 

In the Step Pyramid, fineness of jointing at the face of the walls was only obtained at the expense of solidity. More patches are noticeable at the joints in the Step Pyramid than ever afterwards. The architect was also clearly puzzled as to how to represent in immovable stone the doors which, in wood, naturally swung on their hinges. That is why in the Step Pyramid the doors are made in stone in one of three positions: open, shut or half‑open. Later, when the stone architecture developed its own rules, the door itself was of wood covered with copper plates and had copper hinges. The unique character of many of the buildings, of which the form, line and proportions were those suitable for the brick, wooden or reed constructions of the time, shows how they were adapted quite naturally by the architect when faced with the need for innovation in creating this, the first great construction in cut stone.

 

It is the size, complexity and beauty of the complete work that make it seem incredible that it is the first edifice in cut stone, especially when one remembers that the architect had little but manpower and the copper chisel at his disposal.

 

THE GENESIS OF OPERATIVE MASONRY 41 The explanation is that he had genius as well. Imhotep, King Zoser's architect, must have had a brain of the same type as that of Leonardo da Vinci. He must have been an inventor and organiser of unique brilliance, capable of inspiring both his master, the king, and all who worked under him, of teaching craftsmen, and of controlling the huge labour force required for this work.

 

It is to Manetho, an Egyptian priest of Heliopolis, who wrote in Greek a history of Egypt in the third century BC for the new Macedonian rulers of the country, that we owe the bare statement that Imhotep invented the art of building in hewn stone. His association with the Step Pyramid is supported by the occurrence of his name on part of the base of a fine limestone statue of King Zoser found just outside the main entrance to the Step Pyramid, with an incomplete inscription which suggests that Imhotep dedicated the statue to the king. This statue, judging from the fragments which survive, represented Zoser as King of Lower Egypt, and must have been one of a pair of statues, the other representing him as King of Upper Egypt. The fragmentary inscription on the front of the base, besides giving the names of the king and of Imhotep, gives part of Imhotep's titles, which may be translated `the Treasurer of the King of Lower Egypt, Next after the King, Steward of the Pharaoh, Prince, Chief (Astronomical) Observer', and two signs, a carpenter's axe and a pair of harpoons, which probably stand for `carpenter' and `sculptor',1 and suggest something like the old priestly title, `Chief of the Master Craftsmen', which was the title of the high priest of Ptah at Memphis, as `Chief of the Observers' was the title of the high priest of On (later Heliopolis, the seat of the cult of Ra). Imhotep's apparently combined responsibility for all astronomical reckonings and craftsmanship is significant, for his masterpiece, the Step Pyramid, is orientated on the north, and its successor, the Great Pyramid of Giza, is the most carefully orientated of all Egyptian buildings.

 

We know that for the construction of temples in later times the actual site was astronomically fixed the night before the foundation ceremony by orientating the short axis of the temple from north to south between the Great Bear and Orion. At the beginning of the ceremony the site was marked out by the king, who, with a mallet, drove in a stake at each of the four corners and then himself made four mud‑bricks. The ceremony ended by the king laying one of these bricks at each corner of the temple. Foundation deposits, including model tools, were placed at these corners. 2 Professor Cerny says that this ceremony was very old and was designed for buildings made of wood or bricks, and is therefore probably earlier than the introduction of building in stone.

 

No foundation deposits have yet been found at the Step Pyramid site, but, at Meydum, Petrie found two foundation deposits 3 that had been under the temple attached to the pyramid. This was begun at the end of the Third Dynasty, perhaps as a step pyramid, and changed into a true pyramid by Seneferu, the first king of the Fourth Dynasty and father of the builder of the Great Pyramid at Giza.

 

By 2000 BC model metal tools were being included with full‑sized pots in the foundation deposits of the temple of the pyramid of Senusret II at Illahun, Bt C. Firth, `Preliminary Report on the Excavations at Saqqara (19250', Annales de Service, Vol 26, 1926, pp 97‑101. itiscombe Gunn, `Inscriptions from the Step Pyramid Site', op. cit., pp 175‑202.

 

J. Cerny, Ancient Egyptian Religion, 1952, p 114 f.

 

3 W. M. Flinders, Meydum and Memphis 111, 1910, p 2 and pl XXV.

 

42 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' although for some reason the four sets of deposits, instead of being put under the corners of the building, were all put together, in a cavity roofed with stone blocks, at the centre of the building. By the New Kingdom (1580‑1085 BC) it was the regular custom to place deposits consisting of stone vases (some unfinished), model pots and tools, and specimens of the materials used in the building, under each of the four corners. Many of these objects had the name of the reigning pharaoh in hieroglyphs inscribed on them.' Thus our present custom of placing coins of the realm, etc, under the corner of a new building is likely to be a continuation of the Egyptian custom of over 3,400 years ago, and unlikely to be connected with a primitive human sacrifice, as Bro Speth suggests. 2 The foundation stones of Sennacherib and Ashurbanipal of Assyria, which were probably inscribed bricks placed under the walls of the palaces they built, were the oldest foundation deposits known to Bro Speth, but they only date from the seventh century BC, and they are later than all the Egyptian examples I have mentioned. Indeed, the introduction of this custom into Mesopotamia was no doubt part of the spread of Egyptian culture into Palestine and the Near East. This culture was influencing Byblos in Syria by the First Dynasty; and in the two millennia that followed, Palestine and Syria were dominated by Egypt, often politically as well as culturally. This applied in the sphere of architecture as well as in other spheres. King Solomon's date is about 1000 BC, and his temple can have been no exception to this Egyptian influence.

 

About a century before King Solomon's day, during the Twentieth Dynasty in Egypt (1200‑1085 BC), we know something about the life and organisation of the stone‑cutters and masons employed on the construction of royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings at Thebes, from the excavation of their village at Deir el Medina. These workmen were organised in gangs. Each gang was divided into the right side and the left side. Each side was under a foreman, `the head one of the gang', and each foreman had a deputy to help him. The size of the gang varied, usually numbering about sixty. The division into right and left sides was not bnly administrative, but applied also to their work, the right side apparently working on the right side of the tomb. A scribe or secretary kept a diary of the work, helped to supervise it, and forwarded regular progress reports to the vizier, the highest official under the king, a rank held by Imhotep long before. As the tomb working penetrated the hill, lamps (pottery' bowls filled with vegetable oil) became necessary, and the issue of wicks from the royal store to either side of the gang was recorded by the scribe.

 

The working day seems to have been divided into two equal periods for labour, with an interval for refreshment. Do we not hear an echo of this when our lodges are called off and on? The workmen were paid monthly by issues of wheat, barley, etc, from the royal granaries. This is interesting, for in the Bible (II Chronicles, 2) we read how King Solomon gave wheat, barley, wine and oil to the hewers of timber from Lebanon for his temple, and, in the explanation of the Tracing Board t G. W. Speth,'Builders'Rites and Ceremonies: the Folk Lore of Masonry', QuatuorCoronati Pamphlet No 1, 1947, pp 5 end 51.

 

The erection of the Egyptian temple at Sesibi, in the Sudan, has been dated to within four years because the name of the pharaoh in the foundation deposits is Amenhotep (IV), and we know that he changed his name to Akhnaton in the fourth year of his reign.

 

THE GENESIS OF OPERATIVE MASONRY 43 in our Second Degree ceremony, it is said that at the building of KST the EAs received a weekly allowance of corn, wine and oil.

 

Near the village were small sanctuaries of the deities specially revered by the workmen, and it may be significant that the largest and finest sanctuary was that of Hathor, the goddess of the night sky in the Archaic period. Some of the workmen themselves acted as the priests of these sanctuaries. Professor Cerny, who took part in the excavations and gave me this information, comments that this small community of royal workmen enjoyed a degree of self‑government in religious as well as civil matters which is remarkable, for Egypt at that time was under the control of an elaborate bureaucracy and a powerful priestly class.

 

The organisation of stone masons into gangs in King Solomon's time seems to find an echo in our own ceremonies when, on a particular occasion which will be familiar to you, fifteen trusty FCs formed themselves into three lodges or classes when ordered by KS to search for ... HA. There is evidence that gang organisation of masons went back in Egypt to the Fourth Dynasty, and probably to Imhotep and the building of the Step Pyramid itself, for his workmen must have been well organised, or such a `stately and superb edifice' could never have been completed. At a certain point, which will again be familiar to you, our ritual also reminds us of the grievous consequences of the loss of the principal architect, which could not fail to be generally and severely felt, and you will recall that the want of those plans and designs which had hitherto been regularly supplied to the different classes of workmen was the first indication that some heavy calamity had befallen our M. From the pyramid at Meydum, probably begun as a step pyramid at the end of the Third Dynasty, come the names of several gangs found on casing blocks: `Step Pyramid gang', `Boat gang', `Vigorous gang', `Sceptre gang', 'Enduring gang', `North gang' and `South gang'. And at the Great Pyramid of Giza built by King Khufu (Cheops), the successor of Seneferu who finished the Meydum pyramid, was found a block of limestone on which is written: `The Craftsmen gang'. How powerful is the white crown of Khnum Khufu (I. E. S. Edwards, The Pyramids of Ancient Egypt, 1961). Here the king's full name means that he is under the protection of Khnum, the creator god from Aswan, incidentally the source of granite much used in his pyramid. Egyptologists have not explained why the names of gangs were placed on stones. Does the last inscription suggest a lodge or class of operative masons who, with instruction in their craft, gave their apprentices esoteric teaching too? Parallels with our working tools are remarkable. I have already mentioned the copper chisel. I do not know of any masons's tools which actually come from the Step Pyramid, but all the working tools of the First and Second Degrees must have been used by Imhotep's masons. If we take the cubit rod as equivalent to the 24‑inch gauge, gavels of wood for striking the chisel and mauls of stone for dressing the stone were in use then, and so no doubt were the square, level and plumb rule. Examples of masons' tools which survive from the Third Dynasty, and must be almost, if not quite, contemporary with the Step Pyramid, are plumb bobs of limestone, gavels of wood and chisels of copper. A model wooden square and plummet were found in a mason's grave at Sedment, dating from about 2200 BC. The earliest surviving level of which I am aware dates from about 1250 BC 44 (about the time of the Exodus). Long before that we know that the Egyptians made use of the property of water to maintain its own level, a slight error in the level of the base of the Great Pyramid being attributable to the prevalence of the north wind.

 

From early times, scribes used to pour a libation to Imhotep from the little vase of water with which they prepared their coloured inks before writing. A number of statuettes of Imhotep as a demi‑god date from 1000 to 500 BC, and it was probably about 500 sc, during the Persian occupation of Egypt, that Imhotep was raised to the status of a full god, as third member of the trinity of Memphis, where he was known by such titles as `Great One' or `Son of Ptah, who gives life to all men'. Two centuries later, when the Ptolemies ruled Egypt, he had become the chief god worshipped at Memphis, and under the Greek form of his name, Imouthes, he was equated with the Greek god of medicine, Asklepios. His botanical skill, shown by his accurate representations of plant forms in his columns, which copy the papyrus, lily and Giant Fennel, probably led him to study the properties of plants and so to found the science of medicine.

 

His final deification is not unconnected with the great part he played as high priest in the spiritualisation of the religion of ancient Egypt. This we have seen reflected in his alteration of the superstructure of the royal tomb, what had been the king's `house of eternity' on earth being changed into a `place of ascent' to the sky, where the king's spirit was to join the immortals, the `Imperishable Stars', revolving round the Pole Star. This explains the northern orientation of the Step Pyramid, with its mortuary temple on the north side, and the chief royal statue in the serdab or `statue house' facing the Pole Star, at the north‑east corner of the pyramid. Incidentally, this may possibly explain why, as it is stated at the beginning of the Charge in our First Degree ceremony, `it is customary at the erection of all stately and superb edifices'‑ what an apt description of the Step Pyramid! ‑ 'to lay the first or foundation stone at the N.E. corner of the building'. For the king, who in foundation ceremonies had to lay a brick at each corner, may well have chosen to lay the first one at the corner at which his own representation in stone was to stand in his `statue house'.

 

We know that in the next (Fourth) Dynasty there was a change in the state religion, the worship of Ra the sun god becoming predominant. The king was now given the title `Son of Ra' during life, for he was regarded as the representative of Ra on earth, and thought of at death as rejoining Ra in the boat in which he crossed the sky every day. The superstructure of the royal tomb now became a true pyramid, probably reflecting the angle at which the sun's rays may often be seen descending from the clouds in the afternoon sky in Egypt. Corresponding with the change from stellar to solar religion, the pyramid temple was moved from the north side to the east side of the pyramid, the eastern horizon now becoming important as that on which the sun rises to open and enliven the day.

 

The priests of Ra from On (Heliopolis) seized political power and replaced the Fourth Dynasty. During their dynasty (the Fifth) the walls of the royal burial chamber under the pyramid began to be covered with magic texts. These texts, which consist of spells, some of which must have been preserved from prehi$toric times in the college of the priests of On, not only refer to the pyramid as a `place of `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' THE GENESIS OF OPERATIVE MASONRY 45 ascent to the sky', but reflect in a confused way all three beliefs as to the after‑life of the king: terrestrial, stellar and solar. (J. H. Breasted, Development of Religion and Thought in Ancient Egypt, 1912).

 

Imhotep's title, `Chief of Observers', shows that he was head of the college of priests at On. His other title suggests `Chief of the Master Craftsmen', the title of the head of the college of priests of the god Ptah at Memphis: and this is to some extent confirmed by the fact that when he was deified centuries later he was called the Son of Ptah. He was a priest as well as an architect and a builder: and it was his religious belief which led him to use his creative and imaginative genius to become the Father of Operative Masonry. The purpose of the stately and superb edifice which he built at Sakkara was entirely religious, to provide a heavenly as opposed to an earthly after‑life for the Pharaoh: and to achieve this end he invented, or at least developed into a new form of architecture, the use of cut stone, which before his day had only been used incidentally for the flooring or doorways of mud‑brick buildings. His pyramid and its associated temple and shrines set a pattern for all temples built in Ancient Egypt during the three thousand years that followed. And it is generally accepted that operative masonry all over the Near East, including Palestine, evinces evidence of an Egyptian origin.

 

Thus, while there can, of course, be no suggestion that Imhotep's beliefs in any way influenced the evolution of the ceremonies in speculative masonry as we know them, he did undoubtedly influence the ideas behind the construction of King Solomon's Temple. In so far, therefore, as Solomon and his temple are imbedded in masonic tradition, it can be said, if only obliquely, that Imhotep and his pyramid are imbedded in masonic tradition also. Thus, brethren, should we not be grateful for this light shed by archaeology on our past, revealing as it does how, through his priestly position as mediator between God and man, Imhotep became the Father of Operative Masonry, being assisted in all his undertakings by the Great Architect of the Universe? BRETHREN WHO MADE MASONIC HISTORY THE PRESTONIAN LECTURE FOR 1965 EDWARD NEWTON OVER A PERIOD of some 250 years many distinguished names have been recorded in the annals of freemasonry. Some known to the outside world, some only in the craft ‑ Anderson, Desaguliers, Dunckerley, Dermott, Leslie, Preston, Harper, Crucefix, and a host of others. It is impossible to say which of them had the greatest influence, not only in their day, but on the future of the craft. For the purpose of this lecture on some of the brethren who made history I have chosen Anderson, Desaguliers, Dunckerley, and Hemming. Not all will agree with my choice but the careers of these men have always had a fascination for me and such must be my excuse for their selection.

 

JAMES ANDERSON, DD (1679‑1739) The story of the formation of the first Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons has been told innumerable times. The earliest and only official accounts are those found in the first and second editions of The Constitutions of Freemasons, compiled by James Anderson and published by the order of the Grand Lodge of England. The edition of 1723 contains only a passing reference to the event. The edition of 1738 is the one which supplies the earliest summary of happenings from 1716.

 

James Anderson was born at Aberdeen in 1679. He graduated from Marischal College and afterwards received the degree of Doctor of Divinity. About 1708 he arrived in London where he gathered together a number of his Presbyterian countrymen and became their minister. On 15 February 1709, he was assigned the lease of a house in Glasshouse Street, his first preaching place. In 1710 he removed to the Scottish Protestant Church in Swallow Street, St James'. There he had a numerous congregation and became popularly known as `Bishop Anderson'. In 1734 he left Swallow Street and moved to Lisle Street, Leicester Fields.

 

Among his published sermons is one preached on 30 January 1715, the anniversary of the execution of Charles I, entitled `No King Killers', and was chiefly intended to beat down current misrepresentation of the position of the Presbyterians during the civil war. The publication is dedicated to the Rev Daniel Williams, one of the most eminent divines of the time, by whom Anderson had been ordained to the ministry.

 

Apart from the Constitutions his chief literary work was entitled Royal Genealogies, or the Genealogical Tables of Emperors, Kings and Princes, from Adam to these times, published in 1732. The folio was dedicated to Frederick Lewis, Prince of Wales. It was the first work of its kind on so large a scale 46 BRETHREN WHO MADE MASONIC HISTORY 47 published in the English language. A catalogue of his non‑masonic writings was compiled by W. J. Chetwode Crawley and published in AQC, vol XVII, 1905. When or where Anderson was initiated into freemasonry is not known, but the earliest records of lodges (Grand Lodge Minute Book, 1723‑31) shows that in 1723 he was a member of a lodge which met at the Horn Tavern, one of the four old lodges which founded the Grand Lodge, and which now works as the Royal Somerset House and Inverness Lodge, No 4. In 1725 he is recorded as a member of The French Lodge which met at Solomon's Temple, Hemmings Row. (This lodge is not shown on the 1729 List of Lodges or in subsequent lists.) He attended the meeting of Grand Lodge on 24 June 1723, as Junior Grand Warden, but there is not other record of his attendance until 28 August 1730, when he acted as Senior Grand Warden pro tempore.

 

The circumstances which led to the compilation of the first two editions of the Book of Constitutions are as follows. At the Annual Assembly of Grand Lodge on 24 June 1718. Brother George Payne was elected and Installed as Grand Master. He thereupon `desired any brethren to bring to the Grand Lodge any old Writings and Records concerning Masons and Masonry in order to show the Usages of ancient Times: and this Year several old copies of the Gothic Constitutions were digested and collated.' (BoC 1738, p 110).

 

During his second term as Grand Master, 1720, Payne compiled a list of General Regulations from the collection of writings, which doubtless included several extracts from the Old Charges. These were approved by Grand Lodge at the Grand Feast held on St John the Baptist's Day, 1721.

 

At a meeting of Grand Lodge on 29 September 1721, the Duke of Montagu, Grand Master, `finding fault with all the old Gothic Constitutions, order'd Brother James Anderson AM, to digest the same in a new and better Method'. (BoC 1738, p 113). Anderson began this task immediately and on 27 December of that year the Grand Master appointed a Committee of 14 learned brethren to examine Brother Anderson's manuscript. This Committee reported to Grand Lodge on 25 March 1722, that they had perused the manuscript and after some amendments had approved of it, upon which the Grand Lodge ordered it to be printed. The printed work was produced at the meeting on 17 January 1723, and approved.

 

The minutes of the meeting of Grand Lodge held on 24 February 1735, record `Brother James Anderson reported that whereas the First Edition of the General Constitutions of Masonry compiled by himself was all sold off, and a Second Edition very much wanted; and that he had spent some Thoughts upon Some Alterations and Additions that might fittly be made to the same which was now ready to lay before the Grand Lodge for their approbation if they were pleased to receive them'. It was then resolved `That a Committee be appointed consisting of the present, and former Grand Officers and such other Master Masons as they think proper to call on to revise and compare the same, and when finished they might lay the same before the Grand Lodge ensuing for their approbations'. Anderson reported to Grand Lodge on 25 January 1738, that the new edition was ready for the press and requested approval for the printing, which was granted.

 

His last recorded attendance at Grand Lodge was on 6 April 1738, when he acted as Junior Grand Warden. He died on 28 May 1739.

 

48 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' James Anderson's History of Free‑Masonry prior to 1716, contained in his `Constitution' has been severely criticised by masonic scholars. In his defence it can be said he was a pioneer in the field and had little to guide him. There is no doubt that he gave rather free rein to his imagination when studying the `Old Writings' collected by Payne, but his chronicle of events from 1716 to the commencement of the first official minutes, 1723, has stood unchallenged and has been quoted many times as an authentic history of the Grand Lodge of England.

 

Freemasons owe him a deep debt of gratitude for without his account we should have no knowledge of the occurrences which led to the establishment of the Grand Lodge from which all regular freemasonry has sprung.

 

JOHN THEOPHILUS DESAGULIERS, FRS, LLD (1683‑1744) This worthy brother was closely associated with Dr Anderson in the compilation of the Book of Constitutions. He has been credited with the authorship of `The Charges of a Free‑Mason', which appeared in the 1723 edition and which have remained substantially the same since that time.

 

John Theophilus Desaguliers was the son of a French Protestant minister and was born at La Rochelle on 12 March 1683. These French Protestants were descendants of the Huguenots of the sixteenth century, who after many years of religous persecution had been granted a measure of toleration by Henry IV under the Edict of Nantes of 1598. The somewhat stormy period of toleration ended when Louis XIV, an ardent Catholic, decided in 1685 on the forcible conversion of all his subjects to Rome, to which end he revoked the Edict promulgated by his grandfather. The results of the Revocation were that French Protestants lost all legal status and became practically outlaws; their property was confiscated, and all personal rights forfeited. The Protestant clergy were ordered to leave France within 14 days under the penalty of death. Their churches were destroyed and laid in ruins. It was forbidden to take children out of the country and it was ordered that these were to be educated in the Roman Catholic faith.

 

John Theophilus was about two years of age at the time of the Revocation, when his father escaped with him to Guernsey. Nine years afterwards they settled in England. The lad was educated by his father until the age of 16 years and then at Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire. He matriculated at Christ Church, Oxford, where he obtained the degree of BA in 1709, and on 7 June 1710, received Deacon's Orders from the Bishop of London. In the same year he was installed Lecturer in Experimental Philosophy at Hart Hall, Oxford, an appointment he held until 1713, having in the meantime proceeded to the degree of MA in 1712. On giving up this Lectureship he went to live at Channel Row, London, and gave public lectures in Natural Philosophy.

 

On 29 July 1714, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and became its Demonstrator and Curator shortly afterwards. He received the degrees of `B & LLD' at Oxford on 16 March 1718. (These degrees are now known as sCL and DCL.) On 8 December 1717, he received Priest's Orders from the Bishop of Ely and was then presented by the Lord Chancellor to the living of Bridgeham in Norfolk, which he held until March 1726, when he exchanged for the living of Little Warley in Essex.

 

BRETHREN WHO MADE MASONIC HISTORY 49 In the eighteenth century it was not unusual for a clergyman to hold two livings at the same time, hence we find that on 28 August 1719, Dr Desaguliers was appointed Rector of Whitchurch (or Little Stanmore) by a lease from the Duke of Chandos whose Chaplain he had been appointed.

 

During the years 1730, 1731 and 1732, the Rector spent some time in Holland where he gave lectures. He was a prolific writer, contributing many papers to Philosophical Transactions. In 1742 he received the Copley Gold Medal from the Royal Society in acknowledgement of his experiments, and his `Dissertation of Electricity' published in the same year gained a prize at the Academy of Bordeaux. His deep scientific knowledge, backed by an intensely practical mind, made him something of an inventor and an engineering consultant and he was retained as such on many large projects. It appears, for instance, that he was adviser on engineering questions at the rebuilding of Westminster Bridge in the years following 1738. His natural bent appeared to be scientific rather than clerical, which no doubt prompted him to appoint a curate to look after the spiritual needs of his congregation at Whitchurch, leaving him free to devote his time and energies to scientific work and freemasonry.

 

There is no evidence to show the date or lodge in which he was initiated, but it can be established that he was a fellow member with his friend James Anderson in Lodge No 2 which met at the Horn Tavern, and was Master of the French Lodge at Solomon's Temple, Hemmings Row. He was also Master of the Lodge of Antiquity, then No 1, in 1723. In the 1731 List of Lodges he appears as a member of the Bear and Harrow Lodge (now the St George's and Corner Stone Lodge, No 5) and in the same List he is shown among the members of University Lodge, No 74, which went out of existence in 1736.

 

On 24 June 1719, Dr Desaguliers was elected Grand Master at a lodge held at the Goose and Gridiron Ale‑house, as recorded by Anderson in the 1738 edition of the Book of Constitutions in the following terms: ASSEMBLY and Feast at the Said Place, 24 June 1719, Brother Payne having gather'd the Votes, after dinner proclaim'd aloud our Reverend Brother John Theophilus Desaguliers, LLD, FRS, Grand Master of Masons, and being duly invested, install'd, congratulated and homaged, forthwith reviv'd the old regular and peculiar Toasts or Healths of the Free Masons. Now several old Brothers, that had neglected the Craft, visited the Lodges; some Noblemen were also made Brothers, and more new Lodges were constituted.

 

He held office until 24 June 1720, when George Payne, Grand Master in 1718, was again elected to succeed him.

 

His association with the Grand Lodge continued after his tenure of office as Grand Master had expired, and for three successive terms he was Deputy Grand Master ‑ in 1722 to the Duke of Wharton, in 1724 to the Earl of Dalkeith, and in 1725 to Lord Paisley. In later years it was usually Desaguliers who was called upon to act as Master when an exalted person was being admitted, and he doubtless had much to do with the introduction of freemasonry to many men of learning and position. It is noteworthy that many members of the craft at that period were also members of the Royal Society. It is certainly of importance to note that with the arrival of Desaguliers freemasonry took on a new and extensive outlook, in 50 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' improving the status of the Order by bringing into it initiates of the most desirable kind.

 

On 8 June 1726, he initiated Lord Kingsdale at the lodge which met at the Swan and Rummer, in the presence of the Grand Master, the Earl of Inchquin. While living in Holland, in 1731, he acted as Master of an Occasional Lodge at The Hague for the initiation of the Duke of Lorraine, afterwards Francis I. Emperor of Germany, thereby introducing freemasonry into the Netherlands. At the Palace of Kew in 1737 he presided as Master of a lodge at which Frederick Lewis, Prince of Wales, was initiated, the first of a long line of Hanoverian Royal Personages to be freemasons.

 

The minutes of the meeting of Grand Lodge held on 26 November 1728, inform us that `Dr Desaguliers, Past Grand Master, proposed that in order to have the Annual Feast conducted in the best manner a certain number of Stewards should be chosen who should have the entire care and direction of the Feast (together with the Grand Wardens). Twelve brethren then advanced to the table and signed their names to be Stewards.' The healths of the Stewards was then proposed `which they returned jointly in like manner. The Stewards then proposed Dr Desaguliers' health for reviving the office of Stewards, and the same was drank accordingly.' As a champion of order and regularity he was responsible for the introduction of the important regulation concerning masonic clothing, for the minutes of the meeting of Grand Lodge held on 17 March 1731, record: Dr Desaguliers taking Notice of Some Irregularities in wearing the marks of Distinction which have been allowed by former Grand Lodges, Proposed, That none but the Grand Master, his Deputy and Wardens shall wear their Jewels in Gold or Gilt pendant to blue Ribbons about their necks and white Leather Aprons lined with blue silk.

 

That all those who have served any of the three Grand Offices shall wear the like Aprons lined with Blue Silk in all Lodges and Assemblies of Masons whenever they appear clothed.

 

That those Brethren that are Stewards shall wear their Aprons lined with red Silk and their proper Jewels pendant to red ribbons.

 

That all those who have served the office of Steward shall be at liberty to wear Aprons lined with red Silk and not otherwise, that all Masters and Wardens of Lodges may wear their Aprons lined with white Silk and their respective Jewels with plain white Ribbons but no other colour whatsoever.

 

The Deputy Grand Master accordingly put the question whether the above Regulation should be agreed to.

 

And it was carried in the affirmative Nemine con.

 

Desaguliers was especially active in the work of the Charity Fund and acted as a kind of Charity Steward (for the want of a better term) in taking charge of the sums voted for the benefit of poor brethren and dispensing relief when the need arose. At the meeting of Grand Lodge on 29 January 1730, he brought about the appointment of a Standing Committee for the disposal of the Charity Fund and at the meeting in December following he proposed that these reliefs should be extended to widows and orphans of masons.

 

No one could doubt the value of the contribution he made during those years as the effective head of the newly organised Grand Lodge. He continued to guide the craft in its constructive work up to the time of his last attendance on 8 BRETHREN WHO MADE MASONIC HISTORY 51 February 1743. He died on 29 February 1744, and was buried in the Royal Chapel of the Savoy.

 

THOMAS DUNCKERLEY (1724‑95) The period 1760 to 1796 was a most eventful one for freemasonry in England being one of consolidation and the adoption of measures which raised the status of the Society and established it on a solid basis. Grand Lodge was then being harassed by an active and powerful rival in the shape of an opposition body of freemasons that had been organised in London in 1751, and which, having formed themselves into a Grand Lodge, made rapid progress in prosperity and influence. It will be sufficient for the present purpose if we state that in the period mentioned the two rival masonic bodies were distinguished by the names of the `Antients' and the `Moderns'; the former because it alleged that it worked according to the ancient institution and the latter because of its innovations and in spite of the fact that it was the premier Grand Lodge.

 

Thomas Dunckerley was a pillar of strength during that difficult period. He devoted more time, hard work and enthusiasm for the extension and elevation of freemasonry than any other member of the craft.

 

Born on 23 October 1724, at Somerset House, London, Dunckerley entered the Navy in 1744 and served for 20 years as a Warrant Officer. In this connection Henry Sadler (Thomas Dunckerley, His Life Labours and letters, p 66) was responsible for originating the statement that Dunckerley was an Able Seaman on board HMS Guadaloupe. This was not so. Admiralty records reveal that he served firstly as a Schoolmaster (HMS Edinburgh, 19 February 1744, until 4 March 1746) and then as Gunner in various vessels from 1746 until superannuated in 1764. His service record in the rank was:  From To  HMS Fortune 20 May 1746 1 March 1747  HMS Crown 17 June 1747 17 April 1753  HMS Nonsuch 18 April 1753 24 April 1753  HMS Tyger 25 April 1753 31 March 1754  HMS Vanguard 1 April 1754 26 July 1754  HMS Eagle 27 July 1754 25 September 1755  HMS Vanguard 26 September 1755 26 March 1761  HMS Prince 27 March 1761 31 May 1763 The rank of Gunner was as important in 1764 as it is today. The armament, ammunition, warlike stores and everything appertaining thereto are under the Gunner's immediate care and he is required to keep an account of their receipt and expenditure.

 

The reasons behind Dunckerley's voyage in the Guadaloupe are set down by Dunckerley himself. (Further particulars of the late Thomas Dunckerley, Esq, communicated in his own handwriting by his executors. The Freemasons' Magazine, February 1796.) Shortly after his retirement he found himself in acute financial difficulties. `Fearful of being arrested,' he records, `I left the Kingdom in August 1764; and, having ordered the principal part of my superannuation for the 52 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' support of my wife and family during my absence, I sailed with Captain Ruthven in the Guadaloupe for the Mediterranean, and here it was that I happened to be known to Lord William Gordon, who was going to rejoin his regiment at Minorca. In June 1765, I was put ashore at Marseilles, being seized with the scurvy to a violent degree.' Six weeks later he returned via France overland to England.

 

It is most improbable that a pensioned Warrant Officer would sign on as an Able Seaman. Again, an Able Seaman would not describe himself as sailing with Captain Ruthven ‑ he would sail under him. Sadler's mistake probably arose from the fact that, at about this time, two others of the name Thomas Dunckerley are recorded in the Admiralty as serving in the Guadaloupe, viz, one, aged 17, who joined from Guernsey as an Able Seaman on 16 August 1764, and was discharged, Leghorn, 11 January 1766, and another who joined the ship from Mahon in the same rating 28 January 1765, and who was discharged Cadiz, 13 April 1765.

 

The Captain of the Guadaloupe, the Hon John Ruthven, had been initiated in the Royal Navy Lodge, No 282, on 7 September 1762, while Dunckerley at that time had been a mason for eight years. It is reasonable to conclude, therefore, that they would have been on friendly terms and that Dunckerley accompanied the Captain as his guest and not as a lower deck rating. All this is of importance for during that period a lodge was held on board the Guadaloupe.

 

Dunckerley was initiated on 10 January 1754, in the Lodge of Antiquity, No 31, which met at the Three Tons Tavern in High Street, Portsmouth. This lodge was frequented by seafaring men of the time, but is not now in existence, having been erased from the roll in 1838. While at Plymouth he joined the Masons Arms Tavern Lodge, No 129, and the Pope's Head Tavern Lodge, No 203. Both lodges are now extinct. Quickly he impressed his personality upon the members of these lodges, and after filling the Wardens' Chairs was installed as Master in both lodges, and was re‑elected in each for three successive sessions.

 

In September 1758, the Vanguard with Dunckerley as her Master Gunner, covered the successful landings in the St Lawrence under General Wolfe. Among the troops which garrisoned Quebec after that decisive victory were seven military lodges from different constitutions; five were Irish, one English under the Antients Grand Lodge, and one under the Provincial Grand Lodge of Boston, emanating from the Moderns. On 8 November 1759, these lodges held a joint meeting and formed themselves into a Provincial Grand Lodge and petitioned Grand Lodge for a Provincial Grand Master to preside over them. Dunckerley carried this petition to London when the Vanguard returned to England late in 1759 for refit and revictualling.

 

By this time he had developed a fiery enthusiasm for freemasonry which was evidently appreciated by the Grand Lodge who gave him a Patent to `Inspect the Craft wheresoever he might go' (Grand Lodge Letter Book, 1769, p 176), and was also granted Warrant No 254, dated 16 January 1760, to hold a lodge and make masons on board HMS Vanguard. The ship arrived back in Canada on 15 May 1760, and on 24 June following Dunckerley honoured the military lodges with his approbation of their conduct and installed Col Simon Fraser as the first Provincial Grand Master of Canada.

 

On leaving the Vanguard in 1761 Dunckerley took the Lodge Warrant ashore BRETHREN WHO MADE MASONIC HISTORY 53 with him, but he made no use of it until 1768, when he formed a lodge in London to meet at the Queen of Bohemia's Head, Wych Street. This lodge now works as the London Lodge, No 108.

 

Soon after his appointment to HMS Prince he obtained Warrant No 279, dated 22 May 1762, with which he formed the second sea‑going lodge. The last payment which Grand Lodge acknowledged from the lodge on board that ship appeared in the accounts of 23 April 1764.

 

Much has been written concerning the circumstances of the birth of Thomas Dunckerley. It will suffice to mention here that he had been acknowledged the natural son of King George II and had been granted a pension from the Privy Purse and allotted a tenure of apartments at Somerset House. Somerset House was then used for precisely the same purpose as Hampton Court is now, that is, for the accommodation of gentlemen and gentlewomen recommended for admission by the Lord Chamberlain. On demolition of the former Somerset House in 1774, the residents were transferred to Hampton Court.

 

On retirement from the Navy Dunckerley retained possession of the Warrant from HMS Prince and it was with the authority of this that he presided over a lodge on board HMS Guadaloupe, described in the Engraved List of 1764, 2nd edition, as `A Masters Lodge on board the Guadaloupe'.

 

A meeting of the Committee of Charity was held at the Horn Tavern in Fleet Street on 22 January 1766, which was attended by the Masters of 38 lodges. Only the names of the lodges attending are recorded, second on the list being `Majesty's Ship Guadaloupe'. A reasonable inference would be that as the Guadaloupe was then in the Mediterranean Dunckerley himself attended as Master.

 

By this time he had taken up residence at Somerset House and with the Prince Warrant he formed a lodge in a Private Room at Somerset House. On 29 January 1766, a Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge was held at the Crown and Anchor in the Strand, and the minutes record that two members of the lodge attended. One year later it was named the Somerset House Lodge.

 

At that time one of the four lodges which participated in the formation of Grand Lodge in 1717, the Horn Lodge, No 2, had fallen into a decline and was practically dormant. It is evident that Dunckerley set about its revival by uniting it with his own vigorous Somerset House Lodge and thereby acquiring the much earlier number. The union of these two lodges took place on 10 January 1774, and the lodge now exists as the Royal Somerset House and Inverness Lodge, No 4.

 

Among the names of the Grand Officers who attended the meeting of Grand Lodge on 15 April 1767, is `Thomas Dunckerley, PGM for the County of Hampshire', the first time his name appears in the minutes. His Patent of Appointment for Hampshire is dated 28 February 1767. Prior to this appointment the office of Provincial Grand Master was virtually dormant in England. The advent of Dunckerley and the earnest enthusiasm he brought to bear on his new duties doubtless awakened the authorities to the knowledge that it was possible for a Provincial Grand Master to be of great service in consolidating freemasonry under the Moderns Grand Lodge. Evidence of this is given in the minutes of Grand Lodge, 54 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' where under date 12 November 1777, Thomas Dunckerley is described as `Superintendent over the Lodges in the Province of Wiltshire', and by Patent dated 22 November 1786, he was appointed `Provincial Grand Master for the Counties of Dorset, Essex, Gloucester, Somerset and Southampton together with the City and County of Bristol and the Isle of Wight'. His last appointment was for Herefordshire, the date of Patent being 8 May 1790.

 

While in residence at Somerset House Dunckerley had been associated with many London lodges, but after removal to Hampton Court he gradually dropped out of active interest in these and devoted most of this time to extensive travel throughout his provinces, constituting many lodges.

 

He retained his great love of the craft until the end of his life. His constructive work during a critical period did much towards bringing peace and reconciliation between the Antients and Moderns which gained for him the respect and confidence of a large number of notable contemporaries, and in particular the brethren of those counties he served so zealously as Provincial Grand Master.

 

William Preston pays this tribute in his Illustrations of Masonry, 1781: By the indefatigable assiduity of that masonic luminary, Thomas Dunckerley, Esq., in whose favour the appointment for Hampshire was first made, masonry has made considerable progress, not only within his Province, but in other Counties in England.

 

The Grand Lodge recorded its thanks on 22 November 1786, when it was resolved unanimously: That the rank of Past Senior Grand Warden (with the right of taking place immediately next to the present Senior Grand Warden) be granted to Thomas Dunckerley, Esq., ... in grateful Testimony of the high Sense the Grand Lodge entertains of his zealous and indefatigable Exertions for many years to promote the honour and interest of the Society.

 

He died at Portsea on 19 November 1795, and was buried in St Mary's Church, now the Cathedral Church of Portsmouth.

 

SAMUEL HEMMING, DD (1757‑1828) The Rev Samuel Hemming is best known in masonic literature as a brother well versed in ritual and who had much to do with the compilation of our present forms and ceremonies.

 

He was initiated in Thomas Dunckerley's first shore lodge, the Somerset House Lodge, on 14 February 1803, and on 21 July following he became a member of the last lodge to be constituted by that worthy brother, the Lodge of Harmony, No 384 (now No 255), at Hampton Court.

 

Samuel Hemming was born on 3 February 1757. He entered the Merchant Taylor's School in 1773; proceeded to St John's College, Oxford, taking his BA degree in 1787; his MA in 1791 and lastly a Doctorate of Divinity in 1801. In 1803 he was appointed Headmaster of the Hampton Free School, which then adjoined the north wall of the Parish Church, and which is now known as the Hampton Grammar School. He held the appointment until his death on 13 June 1828.

 

Brother Hemming showed an aptitude for masonic ceremonial from the beginning, for within five years of his initiation he was installed Master of the Lodge of BRETHREN WHO MADE MASONIC. HISTORY 55 Harmony and was re‑elected as such on nine successive occasions. He was again re‑elected in 1820, 1821 and 1826.

 

On 1 December 1813, the Articles of Union between the Antient and Modern masons were ratified and confirmed by the two respective Grand Lodges. In pursuance of Article V thereof, nine worthy and expert Master Masons or Past Masters were nominated from each of the fraternities, together with the two Grand Secretaries, to form the Lodge of Reconciliation, the Warrant for which was issued on 7 December 1813. Brother Samuel Hemming was appointed by the Grand Master, the Duke of Sussex, to preside as its Master.

 

This special lodge was entrusted with the task of co‑ordinating the forms and ceremonies of the Antients and the Moderns agreeable to all brethren rejecting everything which would not be universally accepted.

 

The fifth Article of Union also enacted that all subscribing members from each fraternity should be re‑obligated in the other mode so that they might be registered on the books of Grand Lodge to entitle them to be present at the Assembly of Union on 27 December 1813. The Lodge of Reconciliation set about this wearisome business at once for the minutes of the lodge inform us that under the Mastership of Samuel Hemming the lodge met on the 10th, 14th, 20th and 21st of December and re‑obligated a total of 365 brethren.

 

Immediately after the Union the Lodge of Reconciliation continued assiduously in the work of reconstruction of the ritual, meeting at regular intervals until 6 December 1814, when the Master sent this report to the Grand Master: To HRH Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex, etc, etc, Grand Master of Masons.

 

The Lodge of Reconciliation respectfully beg leave to report to the Most Worshipful Grand Master that they have proceeded so far in performance of the duties entrusted to them, as to have thrice exhibited to the Lodges in the London District the newly arranged modes of instruction, so far as relates to the opening and closing of a Lodge in the three degrees, the several obligations therein required and the ceremonies of making, passing, and raising, with a brief test or examination in each degree, and that they are also prepared to proceed in their system of elucidation, by such means as may be considered the best adapted to their purpose.

 

Saml. Hemmings, S.G.W., R.W.M.

 

Freemasons Tavern, Sept. 6th, 1814 From this brief document it is evident that Brother Hemming and his lodge had laboured with all diligence in the important task imposed upon them. They then proceeded with the work of instructing lodges in the revised workings. It is recorded that at these rehearsal meetings 98 lodges of the Moderns attended, 63 London lodges, 34 country lodges and 1 overseas lodge. Of the Antients the total lodges attending was 77, of which 47 were London, 28 country and 2 overseas lodges. Samuel Hemming presided at 16 of these meetings.

 

Early in its career the Lodge of Reconciliation decided that no note or record of the newly arranged ritual or ceremonial should be written or printed. A member of the lodge offended in this regard, as is disclosed by the following extract from the records, which unfortunately bears no date: 56 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' On a Motion regularly made and seconded `That Bro Thompson having offended against a known masonic rule, in printing certain letters and marks, tending to convey information on the subject of Masonic Instruction, should for this offence be reprimanded in such terms as the W. Master of the Lodge of Reconciliation might think proper'.

 

The Master being in the chair, did express accordingly, the high senses of disapprobation which the Lodge felt at the unguardedness of his conduct, in having so done, but, that in consequence of his candid acknowledgement of the Error into which he had fallen, and his determination to collect every Copy of the same that could be got at, and place them in the Custody of the Lodge of Reconciliation, to be destroyed at their discretion.

 

The Master expressed his confidence that the reproof now exhibited would effectually prevent any recurrence of such offence in future.

 

This is clear evidence that the scholarly ability of Samuel Hemming helped considerably in guiding the lodge in the literary composition of the ritual, depending largely on the Master's capability of retaining his memory, the essentials of the work as it progressed.

 

At a special meeting of Grand Lodge on 20 May 1816, the Master and brethren of the Lodge of Reconciliation attended, and after opening the lodge in the three degrees, exhibited the ceremonies of initiating, passing and raising a mason. The Grand Master would not permit any discussion on this demonstration. At the quarterly meeting held on 5 June following, the several ceremonies, etc, recommended were approved and confirmed.

 

Thus ended the labours of the special lodge which had completed its task under the skilful mastership of Brother Samuel Hemming to the satisfaction of the Grand Master and the Grand Lodge, reflected in his appointment to the high office of Senior Grand Warden conferred upon him.

 

There can be little doubt that to this day the ritual worked by English lodges remains essentially the same as that drawn up and demonstrated by the Lodge of Reconciliation. There are, of course, many variations in non‑essentials in the wording and working of the degrees, but bearing in mind that no written record of his demonstration has been handed down to us, these variations would seem to be of little importance, and while it is true to say that no written or printed ritual has ever been approved by Grand Lodge, it is equally true that the Grand Lodge would quickly assert itself if the essentials were departed from.

 

CONCLUSION Having recorded something of the activities of four brethren who made history is it possible to compare them? I think not. Each was great in his own way. Each made his mark. Each influenced the development of freemasonry. Anderson's has proved the most widely known name, at home and abroad. His production of the first Book of Constitutions was of the greatest importance, even though his imagination got the better of him in the preparation of the historical portion of the second issue of that great work. Desagulier's contribution was the introduction of many distinguished personages into freemasonry, thereby adding lustre to the craft and improving its status. His regularisation of the wearing of regalia was important. Dunckerley was perhaps the greatest of my four brethren. His work for the Moderns during the difficult period experienced at the formation and growth of the Antients Grand Lodge was outstanding and his devotion to BRETHREN WHO MADE MASONIC HISTORY 57 masonic duties in the various provinces over which he presided as Provincial Grand Master with the consequent spread of freemasonry therein was of the highest order. Hemming's claim to fame lies in his labours in preparing the craft for the Union in 1813 and his work in reconciling the ritual for use in lodges under the newly united Grand lodges. They are each assured a place in masonic history.

 

THE EVOLUTION OF THE ENGLISH PROVINCIAL GRAND LODGE THE PRESTONIAN LECTURE FOR 1966 THE HON W. R. S. BATHURST Provincial Grand Lodge Today PROVINCIAL GRAND RANK is such a common feature of the English Constitution that perhaps we hardly realise how odd it must seem to freemasons of other countries. An observant Norwegian, for instance, on seeing an Englishman wearing an apron edged with crimson (two inches in width) will wonder which of the higher degrees this can denote. On learning that this is the clothing of a Past Provincial Grand Steward of Barsetshire, should he then require an explanation of the duties of the office and the method by which brethren are selected to fill it, our Scandinavian friend may well be confirmed in his opinion that the English are definitely ‑ though not unpleasantly ‑ mad.

 

Every freemason knows that within Grand Lodge and Provincial Grand Lodge a great deal of administrative work is performed by a small nucleus of `permanent staff' and that the more eminent officers perform much ceremonial work as well. But the most obvious function of these bodies is the conferment of Grand or Provincial Grand Rank, once in every year ‑ the creation, in fact, of sinecure offices on a vast scale as a result of which the fortunate recipients are entitled to wear the clothing more decorative than that of those brethren who have not been dignified in this way. This concept is one which, as so often happens, has gradually evolved from something fairly different. Having grown in'this way the system is full of anomalies.

 

London neither is nor could be a Province. To meet the demand of the London brethren for garter‑blue and gold clothing, London Grand Rank was created. But in that system of honour there is one notable advantage. The recipients are all of equal rank. One would have thought that Grand Lodge honours could be arranged somewhat similarly. Active Grand Rank is conferred annually on 64 individuals (exclusive of the Grand Stewards). But what of the `Past Ranks' numbering between 200 and 220 annually? Would it not be simpler to create them `Honorary Officers of Grand Lodge', rather than preserving the fiction that these worthy men at some former time assisted in the direction of ceremonies or bore the standards in Grand Lodge? When the same idiom is transferred to the Provinces and Districts a further complication ensues. For these groups of lodges differ widely in size.

 

The minimum number of Provincial or District Grand Officers is 20. To this may be added two Past Ranks but you may subtract five specialist offices, leaving 17 offices to be distributed annually. Four of the Provinces do not have as many as 17 lodges. Some of the Districts moreover consist of a few lodges which elected to 58 THE EVOLUTION OF THE ENGLISH PROVINCIAL GRAND LODGE 59 remain under the English Constitution rather than join a new Grand Lodge which had been formed. Others are on islands or in similar isolated colonies. More than half the 35 Districts have fewer than 17 lodges.

 

At the other end of the scale six Provinces have more than 200 lodges culminating with West Lancashire, last recorded as having 473 and increasing at the average rate of six per year. There is of course a sliding scale regulating the number of Ranks Present and Past that may be awarded in ratio to the size of the Province. But the gradation of this curve is such that in the largest Province just about half the Past Masters will receive Provincial Honours and the other half will not. In the smallest Provinces every Past Master expects to receive Provincial Rank with little delay as a matter of course; in the larger Provinces there must be a process of selection ‑ in the smaller there is practically none.

 

Selection is never easy. Gideon (Judges vii, 5) thought of an ingenious method but he was only aiming at a product of 3 per cent. In most fields of human activity it is more likely that some 10 per cent will be outstandingly good and 10 per cent outstandingly poor: and, in between, 80 per cent who are tolerably good. A system under which a proportion of 50 per cent are rewarded and the rest left unrewarded must be exceedingly difficult to operate fairly. In the smaller Provinces, omission from the Honours List would of course be regarded as a slur. The award is however taken largely as a matter of course. And as an illustration of this it may be observed that it is still unusual for a recipient to trouble to provide himself with a Past Rank jewel, when his year of office expires.

 

Both in Grand Lodge and in Provincial Grand Lodge this mass of sinecure offices and Past Ranks must be regarded as a vast ormolu case in the centre of which the compact works are busily ticking. Grand Lodges however were at liberty to provide themselves with additional offices as and when necessary ‑ eg the Presidents of the Boards of General Purposes and of Benevolence. Or in times past, with a Grand Portrait Painter, or a General Secretary for German Correspondence.

 

Provincial Grand Lodge cannot do this. The most important function of some officer of Provincial Grand Lodge is the organisation and co‑ordination of the efforts of the Lodges of the Province in support of the recurring Charity Festivals. These Festivals are nearly always organised at the Provincial level in support of the Provincial Grand Master who is termed President or Chairman. The organising secretary could of course be the Provincial Grand Secretary or Treasurer but the office is an onerous one and is usually held by some brother with a talent for that sort of work. He is of course a Past Provincial officer but it does seem strange that, among the mass of sinecures, there should not be a specific rank of Charity Secretary or Almoner so as to give this brother a high place among the present officers of Provincial Grand Lodge. (The Grand Lodge of Scotland has a Grand Bard and a Grand Piper.) The Constitutional Position in the Nineteenth Century Such is Provincial Grand Lodge at the present. How, then, did it come into existence? Bro J. R. Rylands, in his interesting paper on the West Riding of 60 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' Yorkshire reminds us that in the 1815 edition of the Book of Constitutions it is laid down that: As the Provincial Grand Lodge emanates from the authority vested in the provincial grand master, it possesses no other powers than those here specified. It therefore follows that no provincial grand lodge can meet but by the sanction of the provincial grand master or his deputy; and that it ceases to exist on the death, resignation, suspension or removal of the provincial grand master, until he be reinstated or a successor appointed, by whose authority they may again be regularly convoked.

 

In the 1884 Book of Constitutions a new rule (79) appeared which provided that on the death, etc of the Provincial Grand Master, his Deputy should perform all the functions of that office until a Brother is duly appointed Provincial Grand Master. This disposed of the inconvenient doctrine that Provincial Grand Lodge actually ceased to exist when the Provincial Grand Mastership was vacant. It was not until the 1940 edition of the Book of Constitutions that it was declared the Grand Master forms an area into a Province and jurisdiction over it is thereupon given to Provincial Grand Lodge, the Provincial Grand Master acting therein by the authority vested in him under his Patent of Appointment (Rule 62 B of C).

 

The jurisdiction exercised by Provincial Grand Lodge is of course very limited. It can do little beyond the framing of its own By Laws. But right up to 1940 its authority was still held to `emanate' from the Provincial Grand Master. It could throw out motions tabled by him but could not enact any measures of its own volition.

 

Eighteenth Century Origins A difficulty which besets all historians is that words in one age acquire meanings which they did not possess a generation or so before. The words `Pools', 'Grammar School', `Rock' and `Roll', all existed thirty years ago but they did not mean what they mean now. Similarly the term Provincial Grand Master when used in the early eighteenth century does not imply that there was any Provincial Grand Lodge, of if there was that it bore much resemblance to the kind of gathering with which we are familiar today.

 

There are no rules concerning Provincial Grand Masters in Anderson's Second Book of Constitutions ‑ the edition of 1738. It is here however that the existence of Provincial Grand Masters is first recognised. They appear in what one might regard as a sort of narrative appendix. For the learned author seems to be discussing the theme of freemasonry as a society for the promotion of Palladian architecture. He turns to Wales as being full of gothic castles, `but now,' he says, `The Augustan stile is as well esteemed in Wales as in England and there also the Brethren of the Royal Art have coalesced into lodges as branches of our fraternity'.

 

Then, as a sort of digression, he launches into lists: Inchiquin Grand Master granted a Deputation on 10 May 1727 to Hugh Warburton Esquire to be Provincial Grand Master of North Wales at Chester ‑ and another on 24 June 1727 to Sir Edward Mansel Bart. to be Provincial Grand Master of South Wales at Caermarthen.

 

His next list is headed `II Deputations have been requested from and sent to several Countries (sic) Cities and Towns of England'. He names four ‑ Shrop‑ THE EVOLUTION OF THE ENGLISH PROVINCIAL GRAND LODGE 61 shire, Lancashire, Durham and Northumberland. His third list is headed `III Deputations sent beyond Sea' and there follows a list of sixteen names, for places in Europe, East India, Africa and America.

 

He then continues: All these foreign Lodges are under the patronage of our Grand Master of England. But the old Lodge at York City and the Lodges of Scotland, Ireland, France and Italy, affecting independency, are under their own Grand Masters, tho' they have the same Constitution charges and regulations etc. for substance with their brethren in England, and are equally zealous for the Augustan Stile, and the Secrets of the antient and honourable fraternity.

 

The source of Anderson's information is preserved at Grand Lodge. It is a rough notebook headed An Acco`. of Provincial Grand Masters. It appears to have been first compiled about 1737 since the entries up to that date are all in the same handwriting, those for 1738 and later years being by different hands. The names and places are approximately the same. The first entry subsequent to the printing of the list by Anderson, ie in 1739, is of some interest. It is 'William Horton Esq. for ye West Riding of ye County of York'‑ not, as has been stated, for the whole of Yorkshire.

 

The other interesting feature in the notebook `Account' is a blank space ‑ no name given ‑ `for Cheshire'.

 

The first reference to Provincial Grand Masters in the minutes of Grand Lodge occurs on 24 June 1747. The order of the procession into the Hall was laid down. They were to enter juniors first. Provincial Grand Masters are placed after `The Grand Treasurer with his Staff' and are followed by Past Junior Grand Wardens and Past Senior Grand Wardens.

 

The Constitutional Position in Dunckerley's Time We now come to the next edition of the Book of Constitutions. This was Enticks First Edition published in 1756. We read as follows: `OF PROVINCIAL GRAND MASTERS' ART. I. The Office of Provincial Grand Master was found particularly necessary in the Year 1726; when the extraordinary Increase of the Craftsmen, acid their travelling into distant Parts and convening themselves in Lodges, required an immediate Head, to whom they might apply where it was not possible to wait the decision or Opinion of the Grand Lodge.

 

ART. 11. The Appointment of this Grand Officer is a Prerogative of the Grand Master; who grants his Deputation to such Brother of Eminence and Ability in the Craft as he shall think proper; not for life, but during his good pleasure.

 

ART. III. The Provincial thus deputed is invested with the Power and Honour of a Deputy Grand Master; and during the continuance of his Provincialship is entitled to wear the Cloathing, to take rank as the Grand Officers, in all publick Assemblies, immediately after the past Deputy Grand Masters: and to constitute Lodges in his own Province.

 

ART. IV. He is enjoined to correspond with the Grand Lodge and to transmit a circumstantial Account of his Proceedings, at least once in every year. At which times, the Provincial is required to send a List of those Lodges he has constituted, their contributions for the general fund of Charity; and the usual Demand, as specified in his Deputation, for every Lodge he has constituted by the Grand Master's Authority.

 

62 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' Several points of interest arise from the Articles.

 

i The status of a Provincial Grand Master is defined as that of a Deputy Grand Master. His precedence has been raised. In 1741 he was senior to the Grand Treasurer but below the Past Grand Wardens. He now ranks only below Past Deputy Grand Masters.

 

ii There is no mention of Provincial Grand Lodge and its Officers at all. Grand Lodge did not apparently know or care whether these existed or not.

 

iii The Provincial Grand Master is appointed by the Grand Master.

 

iv Entick's Article I. confirms the impression given by the Notebook `Account' and by Anderson's List and his verbiage relating thereto ‑ that Provincial Grand Masters were intended primarily for Foreign Parts and for Wales. Entick's sentence sidetracks the issue, just as Anderson's does, that `these foreign lodges' include Provincial Grand Masters who were not foreign at all. And that they were all in the North of England.

 

Entick's Constitutions went through several editions and in the fourth, published in 1767, we find that the third article has been altered.

 

ART. III. `The PROVINCIAL GRAND MASTER thus deputed is invested with the Power and Honour of a Grand Master in his particular District, and is intitled to wear the Cloathing of a Grand Officer, to constitute Lodges within his own Province and in all public Assemblies to walk immediately after the Grand Treasurer. He is also empowered to appoint a Deputy, Wardens, Treasurer, Secretary and Sword Bearer who are entitled to wear the Cloathing of Grand Officers while they officiate as such, within that particular District; but at no other time or place.' This is the first official appearance of Provincial Grand Officers. As there are now other officers, Entick no longer uses the expression `The Provincial' to denote the Provincial Grand Master. The Provincial Grand Master is a Grand Master within his District. The previous edition defined him as a kind of Deputy Grand Master at large. He now has Officers and they wear the same clothing as Grand Officers, but are only to wear it on Provincial occasions‑not on ordinary lodge nights. The Provincial Grand Master's precedence at Grand Lodge reverts to the 1741 position, ie senior to the Grand Treasurer but inferior to the Past Grand Wardens. In Entick's first edition the precedence had been next below Past Deputy Grand Masters.

 

The number of Provincial Grand Officers may appear rather meagre but there were no more Officers in the Grand Lodge than this, at that period.

 

In Noorthouck's Constitutions of 1784 the individual Officers to be appointed are no longer specified by name. The Provincial ruler is empowered to appoint grand officers for his province ‑ that is to say officers on the same scale as those in the Grand Lodge. Grand Lodge had acquired a Grand Chaplain and a Grand Architect by then, so that Provincial Grand Masters could presumably appoint the same for their Provinces.

 

In 1767 Thomas Dunckerley was first appointed Provincial Grand Master for Hampshire. He was, as you all know, the apostle of freemasonry in the South of England. Before we take this year ‑ the same year as Entick's new Article III ‑ as the date of origin of Provincial Grand Lodge we must enquire what was happening in the North of England.

 

THE EVOLUTION OF THE ENGLISH PROVINCIAL GRAND LODGE 63 The Grand Lodge at York The old lodge at York City, says Anderson, `affecting Independency' was under its own Grand Master. This old lodge was flourishing in 1705. No doubt it was a good deal older than that. The system there was like that which persisted in Scotland. There was a General Lodge on one or both St John's Days but in the meantime written licences could be granted to small bodies of brethren anywhere in Yorkshire to enter masons: and we know that occasional meetings were held one at Bradford and one at Scarborough.

 

The County gentry joined the lodge. Social distinctions were well understood but the classes mixed quite happily. It was a common feature of the dining clubs of the period both in and outside masonry that squires and craftsmen sat down together. At the General Lodge a local notable was elected `President' and served for varying periods.

 

On St John's Day in Winter 1725 instead of a `President' there were elected a Grand Master, Deputy, Wardens, Treasurer and Clerk. The new Grand Master was called Charles Bathurst.

 

You will, I hope, forgive a short digression on my distant cousin. The Bathurst family were small yeoman and landowners on the borders of Sussex and Kent. Various members went to London, made money and settled in various parts of the country. My immediate ancestors were cavaliers but Dr John Bathurst of Goudhurst was obviously on the other side and became physician to Oliver Cromwell. He invested his professional fortune in land in Yorkshire.

 

The doctor's great grandson, Charles, is described as of Clint and Skutterskelf in the County of Yorks. The latter place is near the Durham border not far from Stockton. He was High Sheriff of Yorkshire in 1727 at the age of 23. He was just 21 when he was `admitted and sworn' into the Society of Free and Accepted Masons at York. This was in July 1725 and his election as Grand Master followed on 27 December. This kind of thing was quite normal at that date. Most of the Grand Masters in London were men in their early thirties and the Antient Charges still provide that, though a Grand Warden must have been Master of a lodge, The Grand Master need only be a fellow craft at the time of his election. The lodge at York was moreover clearly working a single‑session rite, whether of one or two degrees we do not know. But it must have been a simple affair as compared with the prodigious feats of memorisation to which we are accustomed today.

 

The Provincial Grand Lodge at Chester Entick gives 1726 as the date when somebody at Grand Lodge realised that the Grand Lodge in London would have to become the Grand Lodge of England and indeed of the whole world. It probably occurred a year or two earlier, since it is clear that the brethren at York had heard of the development in London by 1725 and decided that they had just as good a right to form a Grand Lodge as their brethren in the Capital.

 

I doubt whether this was regarded as a hostile act, in London, at that date. The idea that the other lodges in the North might `join' York rather than London had hardly formed itself in men's minds. Forty years later of course, things were very 64 different. Still, the more thoughtful members in London must have been quite pleased when at the Quarterly Communication on 27 November 1725, returns came in from Chester.

 

The Master, Wardens and Members of three lodges are given, but at the head of the senior lodge‑ the lodge at the `Sunn' in Bridge Street‑ above the Master's name there appears: `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' This seems to me truly remarkable. The decision of the York Lodge to go on electing their own President and to dignify him with the style of Grand Master is quite natural. But here we see the Chester lodges telling London that they already had a Provincial Grand Master, Deputy and Wardens in 1725. They were not appointed: they were elected.

 

One can form all sorts of theories as to what had happened. Armstrong, the author of the History of Freemasonry in Cheshire (1901) presumes that Cheshire was already a Province bearing `a certain allegiance to the Grand Lodge at York'. I feel sure that this is most improbable but what the truth is I cannot imagine. There could have been some correspondence with London in which the position of the elected ruler of the Chester lodges was discussed and the title of Provincial Grand Master suggested. It is hard to see otherwise how the very expression was known in Chester at such an early date. But this is mere conjecture.

 

The next three Provincial Grand Masters at Chester were likewise elected. In 1757, after the publication of Entick's First Book of Constitutions, a `deputation' was sent to Chester appointing the Provincial Grand Master, John Page, who had in fact been elected three years previously. The Chester brethren seem to have received this quite happily and the `deputation' was read in open lodge. They probably felt that the change would not greatly affect them and that any candidate whom they recommended would certainly always be appointed. They could not foresee what odd appointments future Grand Masters would make in some other parts of England.

 

We can now see the reason why the Notebook Account shows a blank against Cheshire and why Anderson does not mention it at all. No deputation had been sent to Cheshire because the Provincial Grand Master there was not deputed, but elected.

 

Whatever may have happened before 1725, there was one man at Grand Lodge who realised that the position called for some action. This was John Theophilus Desaguliers. It seems certain that he was the masonic statesman who, after his journey to Edinburgh in 1721, realised the need for a Grand Lodge of England. It was he who visited Chester, as Deputy Grand Master, in 1727. A letter which was signed by Hugh Warburton, Provincial Grand Master, and the other three Provincial Officers was thought so important that it was copied verbatim into the Minutes of Grand Lodge. It is a beautiful letter expressing `most Chearfull obedience and extensive Gratitude to our Superiors in London and Westminster'. It is addressed to the Grand Master, Lord Inchiquin, and expresses thanks `for the Coll. Francis Columbine Provincial Grand Mar.

 

Samuel Smith Deputy Coll. Herbert Laurence Wardens Captain Hugh Warburton THE EVOLUTION OF THE ENGLISH PROVINCIAL GRAND LODGE 65 great honour done us by your Worship's most affectionate L're and the kind visitation of our Lodges by your most acceptable Deputy'.

 

It is, I think, extraordinary that Armstrong in his History quotes this letter but does not so much as mention who the `most acceptable Deputy' was. That Desaguliers was a wise, far‑seeing man is not in question, but this must have been one of his greatest personal triumphs. The elective Provincial Grand Officers of Chester were tacitly recognised, and peace reigned serene! The immediate result was the issue of the `deputation' of 10 May 1727, to Hugh Warburton, the Provincial Grand Master who signed the letter, to be Provincial Grand Master for North Wales. This would give him surveillance over the lodge at Holywell in Flintshire,17 miles away. Bro William Waples tells us‑ of his evidence of a lodge there in 1728. The Master of the lodge moreover was John Coleclough who had been Master of one of the three Chester lodges in 1725 and who, as Provincial Junior Grand Warden, had signed the letter to the Grand Master in 1727. Desaguliers must have known that Chester was about to `spill over' into North Wales. No record, however, was made in London and the lodge at Holywell never made any returns to Grand Lodge.

 

Sir Edward Matthews, Provincial Grand Master for Shropshire (1732) appears to have been deputed for North Wales in 1735. A typical `paper transaction' of the period ‑ since he knew nothing of Holywell or they of him. On the contrary, the Holy well MS refers to one 'Wm Wessel de Linden' as Grand Master! No doubt `Provincial Grand Master', was meant but, equally, what we have here is another elected Provincial Grand Master, as at Chester. We who are accustomed to everything being `cut and dried' can hardly imagine that Grand Lodge and everybody else could be so vague and informal as was the case in those days.

 

The Other Northern Counties As regards the other Northern Counties the position is even more uncertain than that of Cheshire. Three 'deputations' were issued in 1734 to Edward Entwizle for Lancashire, Joseph Laycock for Durham and Matthew Ridley for Northumberland. The simultaneous issue to three adjacent counties is suggestive that something was being done to regularise a state of affairs which had already come into existence and of which Grand Lodge was not previously aware.

 

It is possible that there were elective Provincial Grand Masters here also before the date in question. We only know that in Durham the old lodge at Swalwell did claim the right to elect, and that Joseph Laycock and his successor were members of that lodge. Bro William Waples has recently recounted that Joseph Laycock was also Provincial Grand Master of the Harodim and conferred degrees the names of which sound as if they consisted of Christian Lectures or Catechisms. Evidently then, in some places St John's Masonry was not all. There was something else as well.

 

Edward Entwizle, of Lancashire, had been the first Master of the Anchor and Hope Lodge (now No 37) of Bolton in 1732. Matthew Ridley was the grandfather of Sir Matthew White Ridley, Provincial Grand Master for Northumberland 1824‑37 whose grandson in turn served that office from 1886 to 1906.

 

It is impossible to say whether there was any calculated policy underlying the 66 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' recognition of Cheshire and the promulgation of these appointments to three Northern Counties. They may have been purely fortuitous ‑ due to the fact that freemasonry was stronger there than in the South. Or they may have been deliberate defensive operations inspired by misgivings at the independence of York. Someone may have thought that, if Provincial Grand Masters were not appointed for the North as for Wales, separatist movements might arise in parts of the country in which rule from London might not be particularly welcome.

 

Stages in Evolution A pattern is now beginning to emerge.

 

1. 1726‑67 Provincial Grand Masters appointed with no reference to any Provincial Grand Officers. In at least one case, the Provincial Grand Master and some Officers were already in existence though how they came to be so is unknown.

 

II. 1767‑1813 Provincial Grand Masters have power to appoint Provincial Grand Officers, but the nature of Provincial Grand Lodge undefined.

 

III. From the `Union Period' onwards. The Williams Constitutions 1815‑27, require the Provincial Grand Master to hold Provincial Grand Lodge at least once a year: and for the first time Provincial clothing is differentiated. The garter‑blue edging is to be 2 inches wide, while that of the Grand Officers is 31/2 inches.

 

Most writers of Provincial histories refer with pained surprise to the Provincial Grand Masters of the first two periods. They seldom attended lodges, they say, and never held Provincial Grand Lodge. But in fact no one at Grand Lodge ever expected them to do anything of the sort. The most a Provincial Grand Master was expected to do at this date was to issue warrants for new lodges (until prevented from doing so by the Unlawful Societies Act of 1799) and to visit Grand Lodge when up in London (eg for Parliament) perhaps so as to give warning of any spurious masons or lodges in his part of the country.

 

The eighteenth century was, of course, an age of sinecures, but the early Provincial Grand Masters are not to be blamed for neglecting their duties. If anyone had supposed that they had any, this would have been quite a strange new idea. They themselves were unaware of any. Sir Walter Vavasour, Bt of Yorkshire when invited to resign in 1783 complied in a charming letter to the effect that, if there was any work attached to the appointment he had not the slightest objection to resigning since he had always known that he was not fit to hold the office. One gets the impression that any peer, baronet or MP who was invited to dine with Grand Lodge was apt to be made Provincial Grand Master irrespective of whether there were any lodges working in his part of the world or not.

 

Absentee Provincial Grand Masters The most absurd instance was that of Robert Cornwall, MP for Leominster. His father, a Vice Admiral, had been offered a baronetcy but declined it `not liking the expense in the way of fees'. Robert reckoned that he had been cheated out of his dignity and called himself Sir Robert. He also called himself `de Cornewall' as his ancestors had often done in the Middle Ages. In 1753 he was appointed Provincial Grand Master not only for Herefordshire but for the adjoining Coun THE EVOLUTION OF THE ENGLISH PROVINCIAL. GRAND LODGE 67 ties of Monmouth, Gloucester, Worcester and Shropshire, and for North Wales. Whether there were any lodges working in this large area, and, if so, whether it was anybody's duty to inform them of the appointment ‑ all this seems to have been regarded as quite unimportant. One is tempted to wonder if the whole thing was not a practical joke.

 

John Dent was appointed Provincial Grand Master for Worcestershire in 1792. He was a partner in Child's Bank at Temple Bar. He was MP first for Lancaster and afterwards for Poole, Dorset. In Parliament he became notable for introducing the Bill for licensing dogs. It can never have been likely that such a man would perform any masonic duties in Worcestershire.

 

The first Provincial Grand Master for Oxfordshire was Physician Extraordinary to the Prince Regent. There were no Modern lodges working in Oxford or the County at the date of his appointment iI; 1792. John Allen was a native of Bury in Lancashire. He was a barrister in Clements Inn. He attended Grand Lodge regularly often acting as Deputy Grand Master and sometimes even presiding. He carried out the conveyancing work of the first purchase by Grand Lodge of premises in Great Queen Street. He was Provincial Grand Master for Lancashire from 1769 to 1806. Such a man was a useful representative of the Lancashire lodges in London but he spent very little of his life in Lancashire and was not a member of any Lancashire lodge.

 

`The appointment of this Grand Officer is a prerogative of the Grand Master'. We must conclude that the Grand Masters who made these appointments had no idea on the question of whether Provincial Grand Masters were really necessary or not. Indeed, if the modern duties of the office had been described to them, they would probably have replied that no one would ever take on such a job.

 

The Pocket Provincial Grand Lodge Entick's Constitutions of 1767 made provision for the appointment of Provincial Grand Officers but none for the holding of Provincial Grand Lodge. When therefore, during Period II (1767‑1813), we come across the expression, we must not assume that it connoted an assembly of the Master and Wardens of every private lodge. The normal arrangement was that it was something that existed within a private lodge; usually, but not always, the oldest lodge in the district. We have seen that this was in effect the position at Chester in 1725 when the names of the Provincial Grand Master, his Deputy and Wardens were given at the head of the list of members of the lodge at the `Sunn'.

 

There are numerous other instances, some of which have puzzled local historians. In fact there was not much else to do about it at that date. Travelling was slow and dangerous and, besides this, there were no provincial dues from which the expense of regular Provincial assemblies could have been defrayed.

 

Bro Beesley, the author of Freemasonry in Lancashire is at a loss to understand the Return to Grand Lodge of 1768 by the Lodge of Unanimity (now No 89) in Manchester. The list of Officers and members of the lodge is headed by the list of Provincial Officers. The Master and Senior Warden of the Lodge proper are Past Provincial Junior Grand Wardens. In fact (and this is the only confusing feature), the lodge was, inaccurately, known as `The Provincial Grand Lodge'. We find the 68 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' same thing in Shropshire. The lodge at Whitchurch was commonly referred to as `the Provincial Grand Lodge', meaning that it had the Provincial Grand Lodge within it and that, if the Provincial Grand Master‑ or, in his absence, the Deputy ‑ were present he could open Provincial Grand Lodge and discharge any Provincial business: after which the lodge reverted to its normal work.

 

The position at York was similar and owing to the great size of the County soon became a cause of discontent. There the ancient Grand Lodge of York, after a period of dormancy, had, rightly or wrongly, been revived, but, in 1773, the more realistic members decided, instead, to hold a regular private lodge under the Modern Constitution. The Apollo Lodge, which was then constituted, became ‑ or contained ‑ the Provincial Grand Lodge. And when the Apollo Lodge began to droop, the Union Lodge at York took over the privileged status. This sort of arrangement began to look absurd when, owing to the Industrial Revolution, the West Riding towns began to grow in size and importance.

 

Thomas Dunckerley To appreciate the extent of Dunckerley's work, we must first realise how small a part of the country was even nominally under Provincial Grand Masters in 1767. Cheshire and Cornwall were in working order. There was an annual gathering of lodges, with a procession to Church. The Provincial Grand Master, or his Deputy, presided and there were Provincial Grand Wardens. The church service in connection with Provincial Grand Lodge is one of the oldest traditions of the Craft. In those Provinces where the custom still survives, it should not be lightly cast away. I myself as a young man have taken part in a procession through the streets. In view of modern traffic conditions however this would be hardly practicable today.

 

Cornwall claims superiority over Chester on the somewhat specious grounds that their first ruler was deputed by the Grand Master in 1752, whereas, as we have seen, the Provincial Grand Master of Cheshire, though recognised by Grand Lodge in 1727, did not actually receive a deputation until 1757.

 

In the other three Northern counties, Lancashire, Durham, and Northumberland, there were Provincial Grand Masters; and also in Norfolk and in Somerset. None of these rulers was expected to do very much, although we do know that the two last named, Edward Bacon and John Smith were quite active by the standards of the day. In York the independent Grand Lodge was still in existence. In the rest of England, Provincial Grand Masters can hardly be said to have existed at all.

 

Dunckerley's career is well known, because ‑ or may I say in spite ‑ of the fact that his life was written by the egregious Sadler. (It is surely one of the worst biographies ever published.) A casual reader of the Masonic Year Book may suppose that Dunckerley's `empire' was of a similar nature to the imaginary domain of Sir Robert de Cornewall. But this is far from being the case.

 

Dunckerley was initiated at Portsmouth in 1754, and Hampshire was therefore his first Province. Thinking that he had found a suitable successor he relinquished that office in 1776 and took on the two adjoining counties, Wiltshire and Dorset in 1777. Likewise Essex. Wiltshire was the only County in which he was not successful. He had acquired a small house in Salisbury (in addition to his apart‑ THE EVOLUTION OF THE ENGLISH PROVINCIAL GRAND LODGE 69 ments in Hampton Court), but the Salisbury brethren seem to have thought this was not quite grand enough for their taste, and they gave him a bit of trouble.

 

In 1784 he took charge of the next two counties ‑ Somerset and Gloucestershire, the latter consisting only of lodges in Bristol. He formed a lodge at Gloucester and severed it from Bristol in 1786. The Isle of Wight was severed from Hampshire in 1787. Finally he took on Herefordshire as well in 1790.

 

In 1786 he wrote: I have in the course of this year held Grand Lodges at Colchester, Blandford and Bristol. I was favour'd with the attendance of near two hundred Brethren (on his Majesty's birthday) in procession to the Church at Wells, and the ladies honour'd us with their company at the Assembly Room where like the welcome Sun, at High twelve they beautify'd adorn'd, and enliven'd our happy meeting.

 

Writing of the formation of the two new Provinces he says: This will be very pleasing to the Brethren at Bristol and the Isle of Wight: and it will enable me to appoint a greater number of blue and red aprons, which I find of great advantage to the Society as it attracts the notice of the principal Gentlemen in the several Counties, whom seem ambitious to attend me at my Prov. Grand Lodges.

 

This is, incidentally, the first mention of Provincial Grand Stewards. Under Noorthouck's Constitutions of 1784 it was inferred, though not expressly stated, that Provincial Grand Officers could be appointed on the same scale at Grand Officers, and wear the same clothing. Dunckerley's `red aprons' were presumably the same as those of the Grand Stewards.

 

Dunckerley made freemasonry spectacular. He also collected money, not only for the General Charity, but for the fund for building a Masonic Hall in Great Queen Street. In this necessary project, brethren who lived a hundred miles or so from London displayed a very faint interest. He saw, however, that a fine spectacle and an elegant repast for the ladies was no bad method of raising funds.

 

And he made freemasonry interesting. He cultivated additional degrees. The Royal Arch was worked by the `Antients' but was little known to the `Moderns' in the South of England. He appears as Grand Superintendent in and over 18 Provinces ‑ though that is really as misleading a picture as it would be to describe St Paul as `Bishop' of all the places which he visited on his missionary journeys. There was also a degree called the Mark and, at the end of his life, another known as the Knight Templar. These all added variety to the masonic scene.

 

Had it not been for this man's work, the `Modern' Grand Lodge might quite easily have been taken over by the `Antients'. And they had no Provincial system. Dunckerley's example created a demand for Provincial Grand Masters in other parts of the country. He not only preserved the `Modern' Constitution ‑ he kept it influential, and indeed enhanced its prestige.

 

With elected Provincial Grand Masters (under the original system) or with no Provincial Grand Masters at all, British freemasonry would not have survived. But for Lord Moira, the Royal Dukes and other peers, and many Members of Parliament, the Craft would have succumbed under the Unlawful Societies Act of 1799.

 

70 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' The Union of the Two Grand Lodges, 1813 After the Union, the new Book of Constitutions was written by William Williams (Provincial Grand Master for Dorset) in 1815. Provincial Grand Lodge now assumes recognisable shape. It is to meet once a year. Present and Past Provincial Grand Officers and the Masters, Past Masters and Wardens of every lodge are members. It may have a local fund for `charitable and other Masonic purposes'. The minutes are to be kept. And, as I have said, the clothing is now defined. Curiously enough there is no specific provision as to the collars and aprons of Provincial Grand Stewards. These were not defined until 1841.

 

Hitherto the minutes of Provincial Grand Lodge had been within the lodge minutes of the lodge to which Provincial Grand Lodge was attached. Cornwall anticipated the new rule by keeping a separate Provincial Minute Book as early as 1792, and seem to have been the first Province to have done so. :' ‑z The new arrangements naturally gave rise to new problems. If, as was now made clear, the Provincial Grand Officer was an inferior species of Grand Officer, what were the qualifications for admission to the superior grade? The logical conclusion was not conceded until 1887 when ‑ apparently under cover of celebrating the Jubilee ‑ large numbers of Provincial Masons, eg Deputy Provincial Grand Masters, were at last admitted to Past Rank in Grand Lodge.

 

A distressing incident had arisen in Gloucestershire in 1880 at the Installation of Sir Michael Hicks Beach. The retiring Deputy Provincial Grand Master, G. F. Newmarch by name, who had toiled with immense zeal for 30 years, had never been made a Grand Officer. A number of Grand Officers Present and Past attended the Installation Ceremony and Newmarch, well aware that the Constitutions stated that a Deputy Provincial Grand Master was invested with the rank of a Deputy Grand Master within the Province, was amazed to find that as a Past Deputy he was considered inferior in rank to Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies. As the Constitutions then stood he seems to have had a strong case. It took Grand Lodge over sixty years to realise that if Provincial Grand Officers were to wear less gorgeous clothing than the Grand Officers, then the leading Provincial Officers must be given rank in Grand Lodge.

 

The new status of Provincial Grand Lodge seems to have given rise to some unexpected problems at first ‑ as reforms often do. Three Provincial Grand Masters came to grief through inexperience in presiding over the new species of assembly‑those for Bristol (1814), Somerset (1819), and Lancashire (1822). In all three cases the underlying cause was the same ‑ some `difficult' brother who, feeling that his merits had been insufficiently appreciated, organised a hostile faction.

 

Arthur Chichester of Somerset had made several propositions with regard to the Byelaws including, however, fines to be inflicted on Provincial Grand Officers who neglected to attend. None of his proposals was confirmed at the following Provincial Grand Lodge, and he resigned. In the other two cases the Grand Registrar was placed in charge whilst accusations against the Provincial Grand Master were investigated. Goldwyer of Bristol was fully vindicated. But even so it must have been a most humiliating experience.

 

THE EVOLUTION OF THE ENGLISH PROVINCIAL GRAND LODGE 71 William Tucker One Provincial Grand Master, however, has actually been deposed by the Grand Master. This was William Tucker, of Coryton Park, Axminster, Provincial Grand Master for Dorset. His offence was that at a Provincial Grand Lodge at Wareham on 18 August 1853, he appeared in the clothing of the 33. He also delivered an address in which he claimed to have taken away the reproach of freemasonry being Anti‑Christian. The Ancient and Accepted Rite in its present form was introduced into England in October 1845 from America. Tucker, who had been appointed Provincial Grand Master for Dorset in January 1846 was one of the eight brethren who, later in the same year, were elected to join the original Supreme Council.

 

I have always wondered how Tucker committed his crime. The correspondence is however preserved at Grand Lodge, and from this it appears that he wore his full clothing as Provincial Grand Master and over it the robe of the 33. This answers my question since nowadays, as you know, no robes are worn by members of that or any other Rose Croix degree. But apparently there was a robe, and he wore it. Tucker did not argue ‑ he was not given time to do so. He might have observed that the Constitutions of 1815 and of 1841 refer only to jewels, though those of 1853 specify `jewel, medal or device'. He could possibly have pleaded that no mention is made of robes. He may of course have worn his collar badge, but it is not stated that he did.

 

On 24 October Tucker admitted that he had committed the offence.

 

On 30 October, the President of the Board of General Purposes (R. G. Alston) wrote to the Grand Secretary (W. H. White). He had, he said, long foreseen that a contest on the pretensions of the 33rd Degree was inevitable‑that it must be far better to fight the battle now, than when they had proceeded further and got a firmer hold. In his opinion an enforced resignation would not have so wholesome an effect as a formal removal, and could not be announced with such good effect to Grand Lodge. On 10 November William Tucker was accordingly deposed. Within two years he was dead.

 

Did Tucker know what he was doing? Was he really a revolutionary or had he wandered aimlessly into a crypt full of barrels of gunpowder? We shall never know the answer. There is an alternative form of masonic government and it is the one with which our Norwegian friend is familiar. In the Scandinavian countries the Third Degree does not predominate as it does in the English speaking world. The Craft is ruled by the highest Christian degree ‑ the 10 in fact.

 

But the date of the episode was 1853. We could have been thrown out of India by the Mutineers in 1857 in which case our African Empire would probably never have existed. If England had become a power without colonies, and if Tucker had been allowed to start a movement (always assuming that he intended to do so) it was then within the bounds of possibility that English freemasonry would have developed along Swedish lines ‑ an interesting picture in the gallery of MightHave‑Beens.

 

Conclusion Provincial Grand Lodge is an accident. It grew from the appointment of Provin‑ 72 cial Grand Wardens. The Grand Lodge had Grand Wardens when it was first formed in 1717. There were Provincial Grand Wardens at Chester in 1725. At York, however, until 1726, there was only a President. Whether the Chester Wardens were elected in imitation of the Grand Wardens in London, or whether both were derived from some earlier tradition, I cannot tell.

 

Grand Lodge do not seem to have contemplated setting up Provincial Grand Lodges at the outset ‑ at least there is no mention of them till the Constitutions of 1767. And the Constitutions of 1756 seem to envisage a Provincial Grand Master acting alone, very much like the Grand Inspectors today. What Desaguliers encountered on his visit to Chester in 1727 was a fait accompli'.

 

Given the modest establishment of a Deputy and Provincial Grand Wardens the rest followed in logical sequence. Grand Lodge had a Treasurer, Secretary and Sword Bearer ‑ the Provincial Grand Master had to have them too. The Grand Officers wore `blue and red aprons'‑ sooner or later the Provincial Grand Officers must wear them too. This distinction was naturally coveted and the bestower of the honours was faced with the problem of how to select some without giving umbrage to the rest. This problem is solved in the smaller‑ but not presumably in the larger‑ provinces by honouring everyone eligible, thus, as the Kings of Barataria discovered, defeating the object of the exercise.

 

The Provincial Grand Masters who were overcome by the complexity of the office cannot, I think, have had‑or have taken‑expert advice. This is fortunately available to every holder of the office today. The tireless and tactful labours of Deputy and Assistant Provincial Grand Masters and Provincial Secretaries keep their chief up to the mark, prevent him from getting into trouble, or get him out of it if he does. Their work will never be recorded in any published Provincial History. Behold, it is written in the Book of Jasher.

 

`THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES'  Sir Cuthbert Sharp Freemasonry in the Province   of Durham 1836  Alexander Graham A History of Freemasonry in   the Province of Shropshire 1892  Hamon le Strange History of Freemasonry in   Norfolk 1896  John Strachan, OC Northumbrian Masonry 1898  John Armstrong A History of Freemasonry in   Cheshire 1901  J. Littleton & A. C. Powell Freemasonry in Bristol 1910  George Norman Provincial Grand Lodge of   Gloucestershire 1911  E. A. Beesley Freemasonry in Lancashire 1932  E. S. Vincent A Record of Freemasonry in   the Province of Cornwall   1751‑19.59 1960  Wilfred G. Fisher History of the Provincial   Grand Lodge of Somerset 1962  Col. A. J. Kerry, OBE History of Freemasonry in   Oxfordshire 1965 BIBLIOGRAPHY THE EVOLUTION OF THE ENGLISH PROVINCIAL GRAND LODGE 73  J. R. Rylands The Qrigin of the Provincial  Grand Lodge of Yorkshire  (WestRiding) AQC, Ixvi  William Waples Note A QC, lxxv  G. Y. Johnson Division of the Masonic  Province of Yorkshire  AQC, lxxvi  Norman Rogers Note A QC, Ixxvii THE GRAND LODGE OF ENGLAND A History of the First Hundred Years, 1717‑1817 THE PRESTONIAN LECTURE FOR 1967 THE CELEBRATION IN 1967 of such a unique event as the 250th anniversary of the founding of the premier Grand Lodge of the world makes it fitting that the Prestonian Lecture for the year should be devoted to a brief historical survey of its origin and growth in the first hundred years notwithstanding that so much has already been said and written on the subject.

 

FREEMASONRY BEFORE 1717 For how long non‑operative or speculative freemasonry existed before the advent of its first governing body it is impossible to say; an exact date can never be assigned to something which has evolved over a long period of time. Undoubtedly what is now known as free and accepted or speculative masonry emerged from early operative masonry‑the craft of the stone mason, the builders or workers in stone. Unlike other crafts and trades the masons needed to travel the country seeking localities where building was in progress whence, on the completion of the work, they moved on once more. For this reason it was seldom possible to organise themselves into static guilds as did other crafts which, generally, operated in some settled place. An exception was the London Company of Masons which regulated the operative craft in and about the City of London. The itinerant masons congregated in lodges at the building site wherein the work was planned, discipline enforced and matters affecting the craft discussed. They were also places for refreshment and relaxation.

 

THE OLD CHARGES Mention should perhaps be made here of the `Old Charges' consisting of a legendary history of the mason craft with a code of regulations governing the behaviour of craftsmen. In the absence of a central or controlling body these `Charges' were a kind of binding force for the craft. Many versions are in existence today the earliest being that known as the Regius Poem (sometimes called the Halliwell MS) written about the end of the fourteenth century (c 1390) and now in the British Museum. Another is the Cooke MS of the early fifteenth century (c 1410). The third oldest is the Grand Lodge MS No 1 and dated 1583. A lodge of mason craftsmen fortunate enough to own a version of these Old Charges would have considered it a treasured possession enabling it to enjoy a measure of continuity. The Ancient Charges known today are their counterparts, many of the individual charges being reminiscent of those read to our predecessors. They form one of the closest links between the operative masons of yesterday and the speculative freemasons of today.

 

74 THE GRAND LODGE OF ENGLAND 75 THE LONDON COMPANY OF MASONS Whereas the travelling masons assembled in lodges near their work the London Company was an established and settled guild of craftsmen founded in the City before the year 1375 (Conder) and some masonic scholars believe that much of the framework of our masonry of today was inherited from that Company. Certainly its mode of government, its coat of arms, its system of accepting non‑operatives into a lodge and probably some of its esoteric character were adopted by Grand Lodge. Conder, author of the standard history of the Company, believed that the Company included a lodge into which persons in no way connected with the building trade were `accepted', a necessary qualification for non‑operatives before being admitted to the Company's livery. The earliest reference to acceptance into masonry in this way is the year 1621.

 

EARLY NON‑OPERATIVE MASONS Elias Ashmole, the distinguished antiquary, recorded that he was, with others, made a freemason at Warrington in Lancashire in 1646. Another antiquary, Randle Holme, a contemporary of Ashmole, and himself a speculative, refers to the words and signs of a freemason in a MS note written between 1670 and 1675, attached to an early version of the Old Charges (Harleian MS No 2054). A third seventeenth‑century reference to the craft is that made by Dr Robert Plot, the historian and antiquary, who mentions the Society of Freemasons and the ceremony of their admission in his Natural History of Staffordshire, 1686. Yet another reference is to be found in John Aubrey's Natural History of Wiltshire, written between 1656 and 1691. Ashmole, 36 years after his admission into the Warrington Lodge, recorded in his diary that, in 1682, he was summoned `to appear at a lodge to be held . . . at Masons Hall, London'.

 

A lodge at Swalwell had a history from the beginning of the eighteenth century and another is known to have met in York in 1705‑6, both probably mainly operative lodges. There was also an operatives' lodge at Alnwick with records from 1701.

 

Grand Lodge minutes, 24 June 1731, refer to a Henry Pritchard as a mason of upwards of 40 years who was, therefore, admitted in c 1690, although the minutes of 15 December 1730 refer to him as being thirty years a mason ‑ whichever was correct he was admitted before the formation of Grand Lodge. Again, 2 March 1732, there is mention of Edward Hall, made a mason in Chichester 36 years previously and therefore admitted in 1696.

 

THE FORMATION OF GRAND LODGE Enough has been said to indicate the existence of numerous lodges throughout the country and that non‑operatives ‑ the gentlemen masons as they are jometimes called‑were being accepted into craft lodges in various parts of England in the seventeenth century, a practice which continued into the early eighteenth. There is even more evidence of similar practice in Scotland. At the turn of the century many lodges had lost their operative character and it was four of such lodges that agreed to band together and form a Grand Lodge. The event has been recounted on innumberable occasions but for the sake of completeness and 76 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' continuity it must be retold here. There is no contemporary account of this historic event but Anderson in his second Book of Constitutions (1738) records that, in 1716, a few lodges in London thought fit to cement under a Grand Master as the centre of union and harmony. The four lodges were those that met: at the Goose and Gridiron Ale‑house in St Paul's Churchyard (now the Lodge of Antiquity, No 2); at the Crown Ale‑house in Parker's Lane, near Drury Lane (no longer in existence); at the Apple Tree Tavern in Charles Street, Covent Garden (now the Lodge of Fortitude and Old Cumberland, No 12) and at the Rummer and Grapes in Channel Row, Westminster (now the Royal Somerset House and Inverness Lodge, No 4). They and some old brothers held a meeting at the Apple Tree and, having placed in the chair the oldest Master Mason present (who was at the time the Master of a lodge) they agreed to constitute themselves into a Grand Lodge pro tempore and forthwith `revived the Quarterly Communication'.

 

THE FIRST GRAND MASTER The use of the word 'revived' has been the subject of conjecture because, in spite of Anderson's legendary history, there is no record or suggestion of any previous Grand Lodge. The meeting also resolved to hold an annual assembly and feast and to choose a Grand Master from among themselves until such time as `they should have the Honour of a Noble Brother at their Head'. Accordingly, an assembly and feast was held on 24 June 1717, and, by a majority, Mr Antony Sayer, gentleman, was elected Grand Master of Masons and invested. He appointed Capt Joseph Elliot and Mr Jacob Lamball, carpenter, Grand Wardens. The assembly then congratulated him and paid him homage. He commanded the Master and Wardens of lodges to meet the Grand Officers every quarter in Communication at a place that he should appoint in the summons. And so Grand Lodge was born.

 

Anderson records regular annual assemblies at which a Grand Master was chosen for each ensuing year. Beginning with only four lodges the new Grand Lodge steadily improved its status by the admission of noblemen and other persons of `quality'. Its jurisdiction was extended by the adherence of more of the self‑constituted lodges and by the constitution of new lodges, so much so that, in 1721, requiring more room, it was proposed that the next assembly and feast should be held at the Stationers' Hall.

 

THE BOOK OF CONSTITUTIONS The second Grand Master, George Payne, in 1718: Desired any Brethren to bring to the Grand Lodge any old Writings and Records concerning Masons and Masonry in order to spew the Usages of antient Times: and this Year several old copies of the Gothic Constitutions [i.e., the Old Charges] were produced and collated.

 

Thus steps were taken for the production of the first Book of Constitutions which Anderson prepared and published in 1723. That year also saw the commencement of recorded minutes, namely, those for 24 June, which continued until 1868 (thereafter only printed minutes have been maintained). The first minute is THE GRAND LODGE OF ENGLAND 77 devoted to matters relating to the Constitutions and one of the resolutions carried provided: That it is not in the Power of any person, or Body of men, to make any Alteration or Innovation in the Body of Masonry without the Consent first obtained of the Annual Grand Lodge which bears a familiar ring today.

 

DEVELOPMENT IN THE EARLY YEARS At first the jurisdiction of Grand Lodge was confined to the cities of London and Westminster and adjacent localities, in fact the earliest Engraved List of lodges, 1723‑24, contains a note of 52, only one of which was beyond the metropolis, viz at Richmond, Surrey. Means of communication were slow and it took time for the founding of Grand Lodge to become known and acknowledged. Some lodges in the country were reluctant to recognise a governing body in London, about which little was known, and so lose their independence, although a study of the 1723 Constitutions reveals how little Grand Lodge controlled or dictated the internal management of private lodges. The first provincial lodges to appear in the list (1724) ‑ apart from those situated near London at Edgware, Acton, Fulham and Brentford ‑ were at Reading, Bath, Bristol, Norwich, Chichester, Chester, Gosport and Carmarthen, all of which appear to have been founded in 1724. The first lodge to be formed overseas was at Gibraltar, known to be in existence on 10 May 1727, when the health of the brethren thereof was drunk in Grand Lodge although the formal deputation to constitute it was not approved until 9 March 1729. In the meantime the Duke of Wharton (Grand Master 1722‑23) had set up a lodge in Madrid in 1728, which was regularised 27 March 1729. Tradition has it that the Earl of Derwentwater established a lodge in Paris in 1725 but nothing is known of it in the Grand Lodge records of the period. On 27 December 1728, a petition was received from brethren at Fort William, Bengal, for a lodge there, the constitution of which was authorised 6 February 1729/30. Some early lodges were of short duration but others were being firmly established ‑ by the end of 1724 there were 61.

 

CONSTITUTION OF LODGES Before the existence of Grand Lodge and for some years after 1717 no formal documentary authority for the constitution of a lodge was deemed necessary. Lodges were probably formed by brethren joining together in meetings who then regarded themselves as a lodge, or by a lodge splitting into separate gatherings or by the possession of a copy of the Old Charges as has already been suggested. After Grand Lodge became firmly established new lodges were formed by the issue of 'dispensations' or 'deputations' authorising some well‑known brother to constitute a number of brethren into a lodge. The Antients Grand Lodge (founded in 1751) constituted the lodges by deputing a distinguished brother to open and hold a Grand Lodge at the place concerned for a number of hours, usually three, and no more. The date of the first English Warrant of Constitution is unknown but by the 1750s Warrants were being regularly issued. It was sometimes the 78 'THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' practice to sell or'assign' a lodge Warrant to a brother or brethren wishing to form a lodge but with the prestige of an earlier number ‑ a masonic offence today, one may hasten to add. After the passing of the Unlawful Societies Act in 1799 the formation of new lodges was impossible for a time and it became the practice to re‑issue Warrants of erased or defunct lodges so as to permit the establishment of new lodges. Although existing lodges were safeguarded under the Act it was not until the passing of the Seditious Meetings Act, 1817, that exemption from both was secured.

 

OTHER GRAND LODGES Within 20 years of the founding of the premier Grand Lodge three others came into being. First, the old lodge in the City of York constituted itself a Grand Lodge in 1725, under the title of Grand Lodge of All England. After a chequered existence it finally disappeared in about 1792. During its lifetime it constituted some 11 lodges and one other Grand Lodge. Secondly, the Grand Lodge of Ireland was formed in 1725 and, thirdly, the Grand Lodge of Scotland in 1736.

 

IRREGULAR MASONS AND THE `EXPOSURES' As early as 1724 there is evidence that, in spite of the existence of Grand Lodge and many regular lodges clandestine masons, some calling themselves honorary masons, were being made and irregular meetings held. The frequent use of the expression 'regular lodges' in the Grand Lodge records pre‑supposes that there were numerous 'irregular' ones. In 1735 the Grand Master took notice of the 'making [of] extranious [sic] Masons in a private and clandestine manner, upon small and unworthy Considerations' and measures were enacted against those so admitted.

 

Irregularity in the making of masons in the middle and later 1720s was undoubtedly stimulated by the publication of a number of so‑called exposures, the first, A Mason's Examination, in 1723. The most successful of such publications was Samuel Prichard's Masonry Dissected which appeared in 1730. It was referred to in Grand Lodge (15 December 1730) by the Deputy Grand Master with indignation and 'as a foolish thing not to be regarded'. In spite of being so described Prichard's book went through many editions in the following years and was used as a basis for similar works. It also proved invaluable to brethren as a book of ritual ‑ hitherto they had had to rely mainly on ritual handed down by word of mouth.

 

ELECTION AND INSTALLATION OF GRAND MASTERS Before the year 1720 Grand Masters were selected by the Masters and Wardens of Lodges assembled in Grand Lodge, the Grand Officers, Stewards and others having previously withdrawn. A change was made in 1720 when it was agreed that the outgoing Grand Master would propose his successor for approval by Grand Lodge.

 

The installation of a Grand Master in the 1720s and 1730s was attended by great ceremonial both in public before the meeting of Grand Lodge and in private after dinner. The former consisted of an impressive cavalcade of coaches and chariots THE GRAND LODGE OF ENGLAND 79 carrying the Grand Officers, with others on foot or horseback, which escorted the Grand Master elect from his house to the Hall. The procession round the dinner table included the Grand Officers and Grand Secretary with his bag and others carrying the Great Lights, the Book of Constitutions on a cushion, and the Sword of State. The procession escorting Lord Weymouth to his installation on 17 April 1735 was accompanied by 'hautboys, trumpets, french horns and kettle drums playing'. In 1747 Grand Lodge ordered that public processions should cease.

 

GRAND OFFICERS For many years there were only four Grand Officers, namely, the Grand Master, the Deputy Grand Master and Wardens. The Secretary was not designated Grand Secretary until 1737 and the Treasurer Grand Treasurer until 1753 (by resolution of 14 June) although the latter was not so shown in the minutes until 1758. The first office holder (other than those mentioned) to be appointed was a Sword Bearer in 1733 who was, at the time, regarded as an Officer of the Grand Masterhe was first described as Grand Sword Bearer in 1768. Other Grand Offices were created in later years‑ Grand Chaplain, 1775; Grand Architect, 1776; and Grand Portrait Painter, 1776. The Antients Grand Lodge (to which reference is made later) first appointed a Grand Pursuivant and a Grand Tyler in 1752, a Grand Chaplain in 1772 and a Grand Sword Bearer in 1788. The other Grand offices known today were not created until the Union in 1813 and after.

 

EARLY JEWELS AND REGALIA Nothing is known of the jewels and regalia worn in the early years of Grand Lodge, the first description occurring in the minutes of 24 June 1727. It was then laid down that Masters and Wardens of lodges should wear the jewels of masonry hanging from a white ribbon, the Master to wear the square, the Senior Warden the level and the Junior Warden the plumbrule. A portrait believed to be of Sir James Thornhill, FRS and Sergeant Painter to Queen Anne, Senior Grand Warden in 1729, shows him wearing a level suspended from a light blue ribbon and an apron edged with the same colour. On 17 March 1731, it was ordered that none but the Grand Master, his Deputy and Wardens should `wear Jewels in Gold or Gilt pendant to blue Ribbons about their Necks and white Leather Aprons lined with blue Silk'. It was also laid down that [Grand] Stewards should wear aprons lined with red silk and those of Masters lined with white silk.

 

RITUAL In the matter of ritual there is such a dearth of material of the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries that little is known of the subject. Anderson tantalisingly records that in 1720.

 

several very valuable Manuscripts . . . concerning the Fraternity, their Lodges, Regulations, Charges, Secrets and Usages, were too hastily burnt by some scrupulous Brothers, that those Papers might not fall into strange Hands.

 

If it had not been for such scruples there might still be in existence today something further to enlighten us on questions of ritual. A little may be gleaned 80 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' from versions of the Old Charges but early catechisms and printed `exposures' of the time are the real sources. The subject is too large to be considered here except to mention that in the early part of the century there were only two degrees and that the ritual was catechismic. The trigradal system evolved during the 1720s and by the end of the decade three degrees were, generally, being worked in lodges. There was no ceremony of installation as it is known today.

 

CONSOLIDATION The decade beginning 1720 was a period of consolidation. Freemasonry was attracting to its ranks persons from all walks of life ‑ clergy, physicians and surgeons, lawyers, the army, actors, writers and painters as well as tradesmen and artisans. Peers joined in some numbers. The first noble Grand Master was John, 2nd Duke of Montagu, elected in 1721, and even envisaged in 1717 when the first Grand Master was installed. Montagu was followed by two barons, two Earls and four Dukes, the last of whom in the decade was Thomas, 8th Duke of Norfolk, 1729‑31, not a very active holder of the office but he is remembered by his gift of the Sword of State in 1731, borne before the Grand Master in Grand Lodge to this day. On the same occasion he gave ˙20 to the Charity and a new Grand Lodge minute book.

 

Not only were the nobility attracted to freemasonry but so were members of the Royal family. According to Anderson, Frederick Lewis, Prince of Wales, was initiated at an occasional lodge held at Kew Palace on 5 November 1737, with the Rev Dr Desaguliers, cleric, philosopher, scientist and a Past Grand Master, as Master. He thus became the first English Royal initiate but 30 years were to elapse before another joined the Order.

 

It is safe to say that in 13 years the new body had firmly established itself as a `centre of union' and its authority had become widely acknowledged. Freemasonry had spread rapidly to many parts of the country as well as to a number of places overseas ‑ a quite remarkable achievement ‑ and the growth of new lodges continued. By the end of the 1720s 69 lodges were recorded. The year 1732 was an outstanding one in that no fewer than 32 lodges were constituted. The extent of the expansion is reflected by two references in the minutes. On 21 November of that year the Deputy Grand Master `observing that the Number of Lodges are very much increased proposed that the Committee of Charity shall be enlarged'. The Junior Grand Warden on the same occasion said that the `Number of Lodges are so very much encreased that . . . some restraint ought to be put upon making any more' unless each should pay five guineas to the General Charity. A year later (13 December 1733), a complaint having been made by a number of lodges that the minutes and proceedings of Grand Lodge had not been sent to them, the Deputy Grand Master observed that the expense of sending minutes to every lodge had become a charge too burdensome ‑ a further indication of growth.

 

ADMINISTRATION AND APPOINTMENTS OF PROVINCIAL GRAND MASTERS During the 1720s an administration was taking shape. The first Secretary of Grand Lodge, William Cowper, was appointed in 1723. A Treasurer, Nathaniel THE GRAND LODGE OF ENGLAND 81 Blackerby, was appointed in 1727, the year in which the Secretary and Treasurer were each allowed a clerk. The first Book of Constitutions was prepared by Anderson and published in 1723. A Charity Fund was established and a Committee appointed to manage its affairs (1724). The first Provincial Grand Masters were appointed, namely, Col Francis Columbine, Chester (1725); Sir Edward Mansell, Bt, South Wales (1726); Capt Hugh Warburton, Chester and North Wales (1727); James Prescot, Warwickshire (1728); Capt Ralph Farr Winter for East‑India (1729) and Daniel Cox, Provinces of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania in America (1730). The appointment of a Provincial Grand Master did not imply the establishment of a Provincial Grand Lodge ‑ his duties were intended to be supervisory of freemasonry in his territory.

 

COMMITTEE OF CHARITY The Committee of Charity, to which reference has just been made, was later enlarged and its functions extended; for example, in 1733, it was found that business before Grand Lodge was increasing to such an extent that it was impossible to go through it on one night and it was agreed that business not despatched at a Quarterly Communication should be referred to the Committee of Charity. As time passed it exercised many general functions and became, in fact, the predecessor of the Board of General Purposes which, with various other boards and committees, was established at the Union in 1813.

 

SECOND BOOK OF CONSTITUTIONS In February 1735, Anderson reported that copies of the Book of Constitutions were exhausted and, at the same time, complained of piracy of his work by William Smith, author of the Pocket Companion for Freemasons (1735). A new edition was prepared and published in 1738. In addition to recording changes in the Regulations since 1723 the new edition contained a much extended legendary history and particulars of meetings of Grand Lodge from 1717 (including the historic meeting when Grand Lodge was formed) and so bridging the gap from that date to the commencement of the first minute book in June 1723. The Regulations of 1723 contained a number of a procedural nature but the first formal Rules of Procedure to be observed in Grand Lodge were laid down in 1736, probably as a result of a'great want of Order that had sometimes happened in the Debates' to which the Deputy Grand Master drew attention on 24 June 1735.

 

James Anderson, whose name will always be associated with the Book of Constitutions, was a Presbyterian Minister, a Master of Arts and Doctor of Divinity and JGW in 1722. He died in 1739 and was buried in Bunhill Fields Cemetery, London. A contemporary account of the funeral (London Daily Post) recorded that the brethren attending `in a most dismal posture, lifted their hands, sigh'd and struck their aprons three times in honour of the deceased'.

 

A PERIOD OF DECLINE The steady growth of the first 20 years of Grand Lodge was arrested in the 1740s and 1750s. A number of unfortunate factors built up over a period of time to 82 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' create serious deterioration in the affairs of the craft, in its Grand Lodge and in the popularity of freemasonry, resulting in the division of the craft into two opposing camps. Let us look at some of these factors.

 

(i) The increasing number of irregular masons and the influx of Irish, Scottish and continental freemasons in the early 1730s, many trying to gain admission into the regular lodges, coupled with the publication of so‑called ,exposures', caused Grand Lodge grave concern. In an endeavour to cope with the problems involved it took a step which had far reaching effects, quite unforseen at the time. It decided to change the modes of recognition by transposing them in the first and second degrees so that `irregular' masons would be more easily detected. Many in the craft felt that Grand Lodge neglected, or at least did not encourage, observance of the established or pure masonic ritual ‑ exactly what that was, there being no established ritual, is uncertain.

 

(ii) The availability of `exposures', particularly Prichard's Masonry Dissected, enabled the profane to learn something of the ritual and ceremonies. Possession of such information was enough for some unscrupulous per sons to advertise the `making' of freemasons for paltry considerations, for example, at a fee of 2/6d. and, in one instance, in exchange for a leg of mutton. These publications also encouraged a number of public burlesques and processions of mock masons. Ridicule, a powerful weapon, did much to bring the craft into disfavour.

 

(iii) Some Grand Masters during the unhappy period showed little or no interest in the craft and were quite ineffectual in the high office they held. Again, there was a general apathy on the part of Grand Lodge itself. Regular Quarterly Communications were dropped ‑ in some years only two or three were held and in each of the years 1746, 1749 and 1750 there was only one meeting. Apathy was not confined to the Grand Lodge. Many lodges did not bother to send representatives to meetings of Grand Lodge and were, in consequence, erased. Owing to the number of lodges in existence in the larger towns, many were too weak to be viable. In this connection the Grand Master on 24 June 1742 `took notice of the great Decay of many Lodges in a great Measure occasioned as he apprehended by the Multiplicity of them'.

 

(iv) There was bad feeling between the Grand Lodges of England and Ireland. (v) The issue of the first Papal Bull against freemasonry in 1738 and the persecution of freemasons on the continent were having detrimental effects. Although the Papal Bull was not promulgated in England for many years it did affect the craft here in that a number of prominent freemasons resigned the Order but no reference to it occurs in the Grand Lodge minutes. Abroad, its effects were more widespread.

 

GRAND LODGE OF THE ANTIENTS Such a state of affairs created fertile ground for the establishment of a rival Grand Lodge which came about in 1751 when six lodges agreed to establish such a body.

 

THE GRAND LODGE OF ENGLAND 83 The purists as well as the malcontents were soon attracted to its ranks. Unattached masons as well as many Irish joined. The newly created Grand Lodge claimed that it practised a more ancient and purer form of freemasonry and thereupon named the older Grand Lodge the `Moderns' because of its neglect of the old forms and for recent innovations. It always maintained this view. For example, in 1775, in a memorial to the Grand Lodge of Scotland the premier Grand Lodge was accused of `swerving from the original system of masonry'. Members of the new Grand Lodge called themselves the `Antients' (almost invariably spelt in this manner) which might imply that it was the older body. The unfortunate use of these terms has caused great confusion ever since and, clearly to differentiate between the two, it is more logical to refer to the earlier body as the premier Grand Lodge.

 

`ANTIENT' RITUAL Not all the lodges under the jurisdiction of the premier Grand Lodge adopted the ritualistic changes. Many of them, although loyal to their Grand Lodge, remained true to the old tradition and continued to practise the old ritual. To describe such masons, `Modern' in loyalty but `Antient' in practice, Heron Lepper coined the expression `traditionar' a most apt and descriptive word. Some lodges even went so far as to obtain Warrants from both Grand Lodges.

 

The spread of `Antient' or traditional ritual throughout the country and overseas was due, in large measure, to movements of military lodges. Such lodges were constituted in Regiments of the British Army by means of ambulatory Warrants issued by the Grand Lodge of Ireland from 1732, 18 years before the first military lodge was formed under the Grand Lodge of England. As the traditional ritual was in use in Ireland it was this ritual which the majority of military lodges took with them.

 

CHARGES AGAINST THE MODERNS As well as the charge of making innovations in the ritual the Antients also accused the so‑called Moderns of, inter alia, de‑Christianising the ritual, ignoring the Saints John days and discouraging the esoteric character of the Installation ceremony. Another important difference between the two was the attitude towards the Royal Arch, at this time beginning to take firm roots. The premier Grand Lodge refused to recognise it (although many of its members took the degree as individuals), whilst the Antients actively supported it by encouraging its conferment in its craft lodges.

 

That the significance of the Saints John days was ignored by the premier Grand Lodge cannot be denied. On 20 May 1725, the Grand Lodge ordered that the Festival be held on St John the Evangelist's day and not on St John the Baptist's day. On 25 November 1729, it being inconvenient to have a feast on the following St John's day, it was ordered that it be `adjourned' to another date. It was also deferred or postponed on other occasions and it seems that the last feast to be held actually on a St John's day was that on 27 December 1728, with the exception of the meeting held in 1813 when the Articles of Union were signed. When the annual Festival was omitted entirely the Grand Master sometimes invited 84 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' members of Grand Lodge to breakfast or dine with him in town, in Hampstead, Putney or elsewhere but these informal occasions were not minuted as were the Festivals.

 

GROWTH OF THE ANTIENTS From the earliest record of the new Grand Lodge (known as Morgan's Register) it appears it first met on 17 July 1751, when a committee was appointed to draw up a set of Rules and Orders. The first recorded minutes are those of 5 February 1752, shown as Transactions of the Grand Committee ‑ the title Grand Lodge was not used until December 1753, although the Rules and Orders of 1751 use the term throughout. John Morgan, first Grand Secretary, held office only until February 1752, when Laurence Dermott, an Irish mason, was appointed. Painter, winemerchant, self‑educated, he became the moving spirit in the Grand Lodge and its early success was undoubtedly due to the energies of this extraordinary man. Two and a half years elapsed before a Grand Master, Robert Turner, was appointed. Like its older rival, the premier Grand Lodge, the new body was anxious to have a noble Grand Master at its head and in 1756 the Earl of Blesington (a past Grand Master of Ireland) was appointed. In 1760 he was followed by the 6th Earl of Kellie (later Grand Master of Scotland). The first of the Atholls (also Grand Masters of Scotland), the 3rd Duke, was appointed in 1771 to be followed by his son, the 4th Duke, from 1775 to 1781 and again from 1791 to 1813. The long reign of the Atholls ‑ a total period of 33 years ‑ earned the Antients the additional name of `Atholl Masons'.

 

Apart from the appointment of a noble Grand Master the year 1756 was an important one for the Antients. Its first Book of Constitutions was published and the lodges warranted, together with the six founder lodges, reached a total of 59, an indication of its fairly rapid growth. The Book of Constitutions was compiled by Dermott and published under the curious title of Ahiman Rezon or help to a Brother, much of its contents being based on Anderson.

 

EFFECT OF THE ANTIENTS ON THE MODERNS The premier Grand Lodge did its best to ignore the new body. The first implied reference in the minutes to its existence occurred on 20 March 1755, when a complaint was considered that Lodge No 94 and other members were meeting at Ben Jonson's Head under the denomination of Ancient masons who considered themselves independent of Grand Lodge and who tended to introduce `Novelties and Conceits of opiniotative [sic] Persons and to create a Belief that there have been other Societies of Masons more Ancient than that of this Ancient and Honourable Society'. The lodge was erased. Earlier, in 1753, other measures were taken to tighten control over the making of masons it being ordered that no lodge should make a mason without due inquiry into his character, neither should a lodge make and raise the same brother at one and the same meeting. As a further means of identification it was later decided that Certificates granted to a brother should, in future, be sealed and signed by the Grand Secretary for which a copper plate was engraved and vellum ordered. Hitherto such certificates, issued by individual lodges, had been handwritten.

 

THE GRAND LODGE OF ENGLAND 85 The earlier difficulties experienced by the premier Grand Lodge were increased enormously by the development and growth in popularity of its rival, which by 1777 had issued or re‑issued over 200 Warrants. On 7 April of that year the premier Grand Lodge ordered that: persons calling themselves Ancient Masons and now assembling in England or elsewhere under the patronage of the Duke of Athol are not be considered as Masons.

 

Antagonism between the two systems is further exemplified by the fact that it became common practice for each Grand Lodge to require brethren under the other's constitution to be re‑made before being admitted either as members of, or visitors to, its own lodges. It was in this connection that a number of lodges `played safe' by obtaining a Warrant or other authority to meet from both Grand Lodges.

 

Apart from the Antient masons the irregular making of masons continued and the premier Grand Lodge decided to increase fees for initiation and the issue of new Warrants, presumably to `raise the tone'.

 

ERASURE OF LODGES Lodges continued to default in their payments and returns and, as a result, were erased from the Roll. That internal disputes disrupted lodges is abundantly clear from the minutes of the Committee of Charity which, on many occasions, it was called upon to resolve. Dissension within the lodges and default by lodges in sending dues was not confined to the one Grand Lodge. The minutes of the Antients and of their Stewards Lodge reveal the existence of similar problems and difficulties. The latter half of the century saw much strife and dissension.

 

ATTEMPTED INCORPORATION OF GRAND LODGE A matter which probably caused more bitterness than any other was the attempted Incorporation of the premier Grand Lodge, proposed by the Duke of Beaufort (Grand Master, 1767‑71). The purpose behind the proposal was to strengthen Grand Lodge, as a legally constituted Corporation, in its fight against the Antients. Although first suggested by Lord Ferrers (Grand Master 1762‑63) it was Beaufort, in 1768, who pressed the matter in the Committee of Charity and before Grand Lodge, finally securing approval by the latter in October 1768. At the same time it was agreed to open a fund for the building of a Hall and to institute a new scale of fees and payments. The project for Incorporation soon ran into trouble in both London and the country. One lodge, the Caledonian (then No 325) went so far as to enter a caveat against the proposal, an action which brought upon it the grave displeasure of Grand Lodge. On 28 October 1769, it was moved that the lodge be erased but the Master, being present, publicly asked pardon of Grand Lodge and the offence was pardoned. The Master, however, the affair still rankling in his mind, behaved in so truculent a manner at later meetings of the Committee of Charity and of Grand Lodge that he was expelled the Order.

 

So many lodges were against the scheme that the idea of a Royal Charter was dropped in Grand Lodge but in 1772 a Bill with the same object was introduced into Parliament. Although it received first and second Readings it was ultimately 86 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' withdrawn. No further attempts at Incorporation were made but the resulting ill‑will lived on.

 

RELATIONS WITH IRELAND AND SCOTLAND The early coolness between the premier Grand Lodge and Ireland also developed between England and Scotland which regarded the Antients as the Grand Lodge of England, a fact borne out by correspondence in 1775 between the Grand Lodge of Scotland and William Preston of the Moderns. In one of his letters to Edinburgh, Preston regretted that Scotland had been so grossly imposed upon as to have established a correspondence with an irregular body of men who falsely assume the appellation of Antient Masons, and I still more sensibly lament that this imposition has likewise received the countenance of the Grand Lodge of Ireland.

 

One of the reasons for the close affinity between Ireland, Scotland and the Antients was that Irish and Scottish ritual was more antient than modern. Although Scotland appeared on occasions to adopt a neutral attitude towards the differences in England the appointment of the Dukes of Atholl, later Grand Masters of Scotland, as Grand Masters of the Antients undoubtedly swung its sympathies towards the GL Antients rather than to the premier Grand Lodge.

 

That the Antients over the years had grossly misrepresented the status and work of the premier Grand Lodge, at least to the Scottish brethren, is revealed in exchanges between Lord Moira, Acting Grand Master of the Moderns, and the Grand Lodge of Scotland in 1806. Moira reported (12 February 1806) that, on a recent visit to the Scottish Grand Lodge, he had taken the opportunity of explaining the extent and importance of the premier Grand Lodge and the origin and situation of those Masons in England who met under the authority of the Duke of Athol.

 

The brethren of the Scottish Grand Lodge expressed to Moira that, until then they had been greatly misinformed of the circumstances having always been led to think that the Grand Lodge of the Moderns was of recent date and of no magnitude but being now thoroughly convinced of their error they were desirous that the strictness union and most intimate communication should subsist between the premier Grand Lodge and the Grand Lodge of Scotland.

 

THE FIRST HALL AND THE HALL COMMITTEE The premier Grand Lodge had met in taverns and Livery Company Halls since 1717 and the need for a permanent home became progressively urgent. Mention has already been made that the building of a Hall was mooted at the same time as Incorporation in 1768 but there was little progress until the appointment of a Hall Committee in 1773. After considering several sites, including the Old Playhouse in Portugal Street and one in Fleet Street, premises in Great Queen Street were acquired in 1774 for conversion and rebuilding. The foundation stone of the Hall was laid on 1 May 1775. It took one year to build and was dedicated and opened in the May following. The Hall Committee continued in being until 1813, it chief THE GRAND LODGE OF ENGLAND 87 purpose being to watch over the maintenance of the Hall, its furnishing and fittings, letting for outside functions, etc, but it did, on occasions, deal with matters not normally within its purview, including the publication of an Appendix to the Book of Constitutions and a Calendar in 1775 and the issue of Noorthouck's edition of the Book of Constitutions in 1784. Extraordinary as it may now seem this Committee on 24 April 1777, by dispensation. initiated, passed and raised two gentlemen engaged as performers for the anniversary concert in 1778.

 

ATTEMPTS AT RECONCILIATION BETWEEN THE GRAND LODGES The division of the craft into two Grand Lodge systems in the eighteenth century, each following its own tradition, with differing rituals, each refusing to recognise the other or its members, each taking every opportunity to decry their opponents, might have brought down the whole edifice of freemasonry. Fortunately, before irreparable harm was done, moderate men on both sides believed reconciliation was possible and essential for the good of the Order. Active moves towards a union were spread over a period of more than 20 years before it was effected. As early as the 1760s however, according to Heron Lepper, efforts were made by Lord Blayney (Grand Master of the premier Grand Lodge, 1764‑66) to restore the ancient ritual in his Grand Lodge. Blayney was a 'traditioner' as was his successor, the Duke of Beaufort (1767‑71) and Lepper credits the former with having set the course which led to Union in 1813. During Blayney's Grand Mastership Laurence Dermott published the second edition of his Book of Constitutions, Ahiman Rezon, which contained a bitter and somewhat spiteful attack on the premier Grand Lodge.

 

The appointment of Lord Moira (afterwards first Marquess of Hastings, KG) as Acting Grand Master during the Prince of Wales' Grand Mastership of the premier Grand Lodge (1790‑1813) was a turning point in the affairs of the craft. A moderate and diplomatist, Moira probably did more than any other to smooth the way towards reconciliation. To two others must also be given a share of the honours, the Duke of Sussex and his brother the Duke of Kent. The latter held appointments at various times under both Grand Lodges and was, therefore, sufficiently broadminded to understand the problems involved and to attempt their resolution. During his military duties in Canada he held the office of Provincial Grand Master of Lower Canada under the Antients. A period of duty in Quebec ended in January 1794, and on his departure from the Province an address was presented to him, signed by the Deputy Grand Masters of both jurisdictions, the Moderns and the Antients, in which the hope was expressed that under the conciliating influence of Your Royal Highness the fraternity in general of Free Masons . . . will soon be united, thus indicating that Kent's desire for and work towards a union was well known. In his reply the Duke said you may trust that my utmost efforts shall be exerted that the much wished for Union of the whole Fraternity of Masons may be effected.

 

The pity of it is that such worthy aims were frustrated for a number of years by the actions or inaction of others.

 

88 'THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' In 1797 there was a slight softening on the part of the Grand Lodge of the Antients in its rigid attitude towards 'modern masons' which it had consistently refused to acknowledge. On 6 December of that year it ordered that when any such mason was to be registered its Grand Secretary should 'request the sight and Inspection of the Grand Lodge Certificate of such Modern Mason' before entering the same in the Antient's Grand Lodge books. By so ordering that Grand Lodge acknowledged the fact that there was another Grand Lodge which issued certificates and which the Antients were willing to accept or at least inspect.

 

On the same day it was also resolved to appoint a Committee to meet one that might be appointed by the Moderns and 'with them to effect an Union'. How such a resolution came about is quite unknown; there is no amplification in the minutes, neither is there any indication that the premier Grand Lodge had appointed at about the same time a similar Committee nor had it suggested such a move.

 

SET‑BACKS IN RECONCILIATION In 1801 and 1802 action by the premier Grand Lodge in the matter of irregular masons and reaction by the Antients undoubtedly postponed any hope of reconciliation. Thomas Harper, Deputy Grand Master of the Antients and a prominent member of that Grand Lodge for many years, having held the offices of Senior Grand Warden and joint Grand Secretary, was also a freemason under the premier Grand Lodge. In April 1801, a complaint came before the premier Grand Lodge against a number of brethren for having participated in the making of irregular masons. Amongst those accused was Thomas Harper, who, as a Modern mason, was called upon to justify himself. He duly appeared before the Committee of Charity and the Grand Lodge, and was requested to renounce his connection with irregular lodges. It was an impossible request with which to comply and he asked for time to consider the matter and to consult with others in the hope of terminating the differences which had so long subsisted amongst masons. This was an admirable opportunity of working towards the common goal and steps were taken accordingly. Unfortunately the premier Grand Lodge appeared to be in something of a hurry and events did not move quickly enough for it. Harper was again taken to task but his answers not proving satisfactory the premier Grand Lodge, on 9 February 1803, expelled him. Some hard things were said by both sides. A kind of 'open letter' from Robert Leslie, Grand Secretary of the Antients, to the brethren was printed and circulated with the minutes of 27 December 1802. It mentioned 'spurious societies' which may not necessarily have been aimed at the premier Grand Lodge but reference was also made to departures from the purity of original principles and to the dressing up of masonry in new‑fangled draperies. The premier Grand Lodge had been through a difficult financial period and had organised a Hall Fund to meet the cost of the new Hall erected in 1776. Leslie referred to his own Grand Lodge as being 'without a shilling in debt'. Other oblique allusions in his letter might also be read as jibes against the Moderns.

 

Leslie's open letter was following by a Declaration, approved by the Antients Grand Lodge on 2 March 1803, and printed, from which it must be assumed that THE GRAND LODGE OF ENGLAND 89 the Moderns had been using `unprovoked expressions' and had resorted to `illiberal and unfounded' acts, etc. The Declaration was an answer to the Moderns and was prepared for the widest circulation. It dragged up the old problem of the ,variations' introduced by the Moderns many years previously and set out to show them as the sinners and the Antients as the saints. One paragraph therein, together with the foolish action of the Moderns in expelling Harper (although he was later restored) effectively put an end to all hopes of union in the near future. The damaging paragraph read The Antient Grand Lodge of England has thought it due to its character to make this short and decisive declaration, on the unauthorised attempts that have recently been made to bring about an union with a body of persons who have not entered into the obligations by which we are bound, and who have descended to calumnies and acts of the most unjustifiable kind.

 

IMPROVEMENT IN RELATIONS WITH IRELAND AND SCOTLAND After events over the period 1801 to 1803 no approach seems to have been made by either side to the other but in the years 1805, 1806 and 1808 efforts were made to improve relations between the Moderns and both Ireland and Scotland. On 4 April 1805 Lord Moira reported that a communication had been received from the Grand Lodge of Scotland whereupon it was resolved that, as that Grand Lodge had expressed its earnest wish to be on terms of confidential communication with the Grand Lodge of England and that as the Grand Lodge was ever desirous to concur in a Fraternal intercourse with regular Masons doth meet that disposition with the utmost cordiality of sentiment and requested Moira to make a `Declaration' accordingly to the Grand Lodge of Scotland.

 

Moira visited the Grand Lodge of Scotland and took the opportunity of dispelling that Grand Lodge's misconception about the premier Grand Lodge. Scotland, as previously mentioned, acknowledged that it had been misinformed and was convinced of its error. Being desirous `that the strictest union and most intimate communication should subsist' between the two Grand Lodges and as a first step towards such a desirable object, the Grand Lodge of Scotland forthwith elected as its Grand Master the Grand Master of the premier Grand Lodge ‑ the Prince of Wales. The Grand Lodge of England resolved that Masters and Wardens of Scottish lodges visiting London should be given seats in Grand Lodge. Other communications with Scotland indicate that the most cordial relationship had been happily established. Although the minutes are silent on the subject discussions with Scotland were, apparently, also being held regarding reciprocity in the matter of masonic discipline for, on 23 November 1808, the minutes refer to a communication from Scotland applauding the principles proposed by the premier Grand Lodge, in a declaration to Scotland, as to authority necessary to be maintained over an individual lodge by a representative body of the whole craft. In this Ireland also pledged itself.

 

not to countenance or receive as a Brother any person standing under the interdict of the Grand Lodge of England for masonic transgressions.

 

90 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' Here, then, were the Grand Lodges of Ireland and Scotland working in harmony with the premier Grand Lodge in matters of common concern to the exclusion of the Antient, a complete change from the previous attitude.

 

A RETURN TO CONCILIATION On 12 April 1809, Grand Lodge with Lord Moira as Acting Grand Master, passed a significant resolution.

 

That it is not necessary any longer to continue in force those Measures which were resorted to in or about the year 1739 respecting Irregular Masons and do therefore enjoin the several Lodges to revert to the Antient Land Marks of the Society.

 

The measures referred to cannot specifically be identified but it is safe to assume that they included the transposition of the words of recognition in the first and second degrees. The restoration of the original practice thus removed one of the most contentious of the charges levelled by the Antients against the Moderns.

 

The year 1809 saw another preparatory step towards union, namely the setting up by the premier Grand Lodge of the Lodge of Promulgation which was charged with the task of reviewing and revising the ritual. It rehearsed revised forms and ceremonies, many such rehearsals taking place in the presence of Masters of lodges. It certainly restored the ancient forms, remodelled the ceremony of Installation and introduced the office of Deacon in lodges (hitherto they were almost unknown in Moderns lodges). Other matters dealt with included the giving of honours, adjournment to refreshment and returning to labour and the arrangement of Wardens' columns. The lodge lasted until 1811.

 

Signs that the Antients were again looking towards a union appeared in the same year when their Grand Lodge set up, not without opposition, a Committee to consider and adopt prompt and effectual measures for accomplishing a masonic union. The Committee met on 24 January and 7 March 1810, when it was finally agreed that a union between the two Grand Lodges on principles equal and honourable to both and preserving inviolate the Landmarks of the Craft would be expedient and advantageous and that it be so communicated to Lord Moira. He reported to his Grand Lodge which received the desire for union with `unfeigned cordiality'. The Antients Grand Lodge held an emergency meeting 1 May 1810, and proceeded, somewhat prematurely, to lay down certain conditions for a union regarding the obligation, attendance of Masters, Past Masters and Wardens of lodges at all meetings of Grand lodge and matters of benevolence. It decided to submit these conditions to the Grand Lodges of Ireland and Scotland for their opinions, both of which intimated that the moves met with their wholehearted approval. During the negotiations in England Ireland appointed a Committee to take into consideration the propriety of admitting Modern English masons to Irish lodges. Ireland `received with inexpressible satisfaction' the news that negotiations towards an English union were taking place.

 

MEETINGS BETWEEN THE TWO SIDES Representatives of both sides first met together at Freemasons' Tavern, 21 July 1810, an historic occasion, although little was achieved. Negotiations were prot‑ THE GRAND LODGE OF ENGLAND 91 racted mainly on the question of the presence of Masters, Past Masters and Wardens at any meetings of a united Grand Lodge, a proposal resisted by the premier Grand Lodge on the grounds of inadequacy of accommodation for so potentially large attendances. The premier Grand Lodge showed signs of impatience over the lack of progress and requested the Antients to appoint a Committee with full powers to effect a union to which the Antients agreed. At one of the meetings of the Antients Grand Committee it was reported that the premier Grand Lodge had resolved to return to the Ancient Landmarks and would consent to the same obligations.

 

A significant event occurred before the meeting of the premier Grand Lodge on 6 February 1811. Moira announced that he intended to be installed before the business of that Quarterly Communication and had requested the attendance of the Lodge of Promulgation for the purpose. He was duly installed accordingly in a form believed to be much as is known today ‑ a complete innovation amongst Moderns masons.

 

CAPITULATION OR STATESMANSHIP? It is clear from the minutes of the Antients Committee that the premier Grand Lodge representatives were prepared to accept the Antient form of obligation and working. It was also recorded that the Moderns had for some time exerted themselves to act by the Ancient forms; they had formed a Lodge of Promulgation and they had the assistance of several Ancient Masons ... in short they were ready to concur in any plan for investigating and ascertaining the genuine course, and when demonstrated to walk in it.

 

The setting up of the Lodge of Promulgation to review and revise the ritual was in fact an admission by the premier Grand Lodge that its ritual left much to be desired and that it was willing to consider and accept change. It certainly accepted the Antient form of obligation and remodelled the Installation ceremony. These and other changes would appear to be capitulation on the part of the premier Grand Lodge, but in the author's view, they demonstrate its greater statesmanship. In its desire to effect a union to the lasting benefit of the craft, it was prepared to change its practices in favour of those tenaciously followed by the Antients, perhaps to the latter's credit, but such inflexibility on the part of the Antients could have prevented unity if the premier Grand Lodge had not been prepared to put the welfare of the craft before everything else.

 

THE DUKES OF SUSSEX AND KENT In February 1812, the Duke of Sussex was appointed Deputy Grand Master of the premier Grand Lodge by his brother the Prince of Wales, then Grand Master. In the following year the Prince did not seek re‑election and Sussex thereupon succeeded him as Grand Master, the Duke of Kent of the Antients, being present at the Installation. At the last meeting of the premier Grand Lodge, August 1813, the Grand Master expressed his anxious wish that a Union of the two Societies should be effected upon terms equal and honourable to both parties. He was thereupon empowered to take such measures as might seem to him most expedient for arranging such a Union. And so in Committee and behind the scenes the 92 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' task of settling outstanding differences and preparing for eventual unity went on. Finally, delegations of both Grand Lodges headed by the Dukes of Sussex and Kent respectively, met at Kensington Palace, 25 November 1813, and the Articles of Union were signed.

 

On 1 December 1813, the Duke of Kent succeeded the Duke of Atholl as Grand Master of the Antients and was duly installed in the presence of the Duke of Sussex of the Moderns. It will be noted that complete identity of interests was established at both Installations by the presence of the representative of the other Grand Lodge.

 

UNION A Grand Assembly of Freemasons for the Union of the Two Grand Lodges of England was held on St John's Day, 27 December 1813. Each Grand Lodge opened in adjoining rooms. Seating in the Hall for the final act was so arranged that brethren of the two Constitutions who had been re‑obligated in the Lodge of Reconciliation (to which reference is made below) were completely intermingled. Two processions then entered the Hall headed by the respective Grand Masters who took each a place on either side of the Throne. The Articles of Union were read and placed in an Ark of the Masonic Covenant. The Duke of Sussex was elected Grand Master of the United Fraternity and placed on the Throne and proclaimed. Prayers were offered. Congratulatory letters from the Grand Lodges of Ireland and Scotland were read ‑ there being insufficient time for their representatives to attend. Grand Officers were nominated. It was then `solemnly proclaimed that the two Grand Lodges were incorporated and consolidated into one' and declared open by the Grand Master. The Grand Lodge was called to refreshment when the Cup of Brotherly Love was passed round. On resumption some business was transacted, Grand Lodge was closed in ample form and the brethren repaired to a banquet. Thus ended some 60 years of division in the Craft.

 

Such a drastic reorganisation of the craft could not, however, be expected to meet with universal approval and acceptance. Some disharmony developed in parts of the country mainly in the matter of ceremonial, ritual and the lectures. The most disturbing revolt occurred among some Lancashire lodges resulting in the expulsion of brethren and the erasure of lodges. In spite of the erasures some of the lodges continued to meet, eventually forming their own Grand Lodge in 1823 which became known as the Grand Lodge of Wigan. After a short period of operation it was in abeyance until 1838, later revived but again becoming ineffectual until its disappearance in 1866. During its existence it constituted six lodges but in 1866 only one was left, the Lodge of Sincerity which, in 1913, returned to the fold as No 3677.

 

LODGE OF RECONCILIATION Under the Articles of Union a Lodge of Reconciliation was constituted, the first duty of which was to undertake the re‑obligation of Masters, Wardens and Past Masters. They were required to attend.

 

for the purpose of being obligated, certified and registered to entitle them to be present at the assembly of Masons for the Union of the two Grand Lodges THE GRAND LODGE OF ENGLAND 93 on 27 December 1813. The lodge's main task, however, was to `promulgate and enjoin the pure and unsullied system of ritual and ceremonial ‑ in short, to reconcile the two former systems. For this purpose Masters and Wardens attended its meetings to learn the agreed ritual and so be enabled to instruct their own lodge members accordingly. It demonstrated or `exhibited' the opening and closing ceremonies and the ceremonies of the three degrees before the Grand Lodge and representative meetings of lodges. Its members and those present at meetings and demonstrations were forbidden to make notes of the proceedings and ceremonies and it is as well to stress here that no ritual has ever been printed and issued as an `approved' ritual. The lodge ended its work in 18.16.

 

ADMINISTRATION AFTER THE UNION The Union of two Grand Grand Lodges necessitated, as a matter of course, an amalgamation of the two administrations into one. Joint Grand Secretaries were appointed, one from each of the former Grand Lodges. A Board of General Purposes was established to carry out the general functions formerly exercised by the Committee of Charity of the Moderns and by the Stewards Lodge of the Antients. Three other Boards were set up, Finance, Works and Schools. The two latter disappeared in 1819 and the Board of Finance in 1835. A Colonial Board came later but has long since disappeared. A Committee, or Lodge, of Benevolence was also established which later became the Board of Benevolence.

 

The first task of the Board of General Purposes was to supervise and arrange the compilation of a new Book of Constitutions which was finally approved and published in 1815. The Board of Works considered the matter of regalia and in due course prepared regulations as to design, etc, which were approved by Grand Lodge. The Board of Finance dealt firstly with the financial problems arising out of the Union and recommended the establishment of a fund of general purposes and a fund of benevolence. It also prepared laws relative to the fund of benevolence.

 

To provide the necessary increase in accommodation the Hall was altered and extended in 1814. In the following year two houses adjoining the tavern were also acquired for the same purpose.

 

The lists of lodges were amalgamated with a new enumeration resulting in the names of 648 lodges appearing in the new list.

 

An International Compact between the Grand Lodges of England, Ireland and Scotland, which regulated fraternal intercourse, territorial jurisdiction and other matters of common concern was signed in 1814.

 

The remaining years of the first century of organised freemasonry were devoted to consolidation. In spite of inevitable problems the united body steadily advanced towards complete integration and harmony under the guiding influence of the Duke of Sussex, Grand Master for 30 years until his death in 1843, who can fairly be regarded as one of the chief architects of Union and a great Grand Master.

 

THE FIVE NOBLE ORDERS OF ARCHITECTURE THE PRESTONIAN LECTURE FOR 1968 H. KENT ATKINS Five hold a Lodge, in allusion to the five noble orders of architecture, namely, the Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian and Composite.

 

ALL FREEMASONS are familiar with the explanation of the Second Tracing Board, and the reference to the Five Noble Orders of Architecture, but not all are as well acquainted with the Orders themselves. Manuals and learned papers have been written on the Five Orders and their place in masonry. William Preston, after whom the Prestonian Lectures are named, arranged a lecture on the Five Orders, which first appeared in the Syllabus. An `explanation' of the lecture appeared in the second edition of his Illustrations of Masonry, 1775, and `remarks' thereon in the third edition, 1781. The manuals and learned papers, however, are not well known, and the Lecture is now unknown in most English lodges.

 

THE FIVE ORDERS AND THE CRAFT It should be remembered that the Five Orders are of `Architecture'. Architecture has always been closely associated with operative masonry, and its influence, its symbolism, was carried forward during the transition period, and into free and accepted or speculative masonry. Non‑operative masonry certainly existed before the formation of Grand Lodge in 1717, but there is a lack of information as to the development of ritual and ceremony.

 

Freemasonry is reputed to be descended from the guilds of medieval stone masons, who worked in the Gothic style; but it was the classical style of ancient Greece and Rome that was adopted for the lecture on architecture. It is impossible to say with certainty when the Five Orders first became associated with the Craft, but as classical architecture was the quintessence of the Renaissance, it is reasonable to assume it was during the latter half of the seventeenth century or early in the eighteenth. An age when the Gothic style was everywhere attacked and abused, and the classical world was the all‑sufficient model. An age when it was the custom for cultured people to devote their attention to the study of architecture. In those days it was not unusual for lectures on architecture to be given at lodge meetings; for the gentlemen of the period, who had travelled and studied the subject, to instruct the ordinary members of the Craft.

 

William Preston (1742‑1818) is considered by some writers to have been responsible for the introduction of the Five Orders of Architecture into the masonic system. Certainly his Lectures have a noted place in masonic literature, but there is ample evidence that the Five Orders were of significance to Freemasons before the publication of his Illustrations of Masonry. A Mason's Examination, an irregular Catechism issued in 1723, fifty‑two years before Wil94 96 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' liam Preston's Lecture first appeared, refers to the Five Orders in the form of question and answer: Q. How many Orders be there in Architecture? A. Five; Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, and Composite, or Roman. Also, in Dr James Anderson's first Book of Constitutions (1723), the frontispiece shows a pavement or arcade with the Five Orders, coupled, on each side; the Composite Order in the foreground, receding to the Tuscan in the background. It is of interest that this illustration, without the figures, bears a close resemblance to designs by Inigo Jones for scenery for Court Masques; made more than one hundred years before, at the time when he introduced into England, Palladian Renaissance architecture.

 

It is intended in this Lecture, first, to refer to the Roman architect and writer Vitruvius; to trace the Five Orders of Architecture from the Roman era, when they were regularly employed, to the beginning of the eighteenth century, when their use became firmly re‑established in England; and to briefly mention the Italian and English architects particularly associated with the Renaissance of the Classical style. Then to describe each of the Five Orders; and finally to consider the Three Pillars more generally known to freemasons.

 

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND Vitruvius is the earliest known authority on the Orders, and his celebrated treatise, de Architectura, had been the most important source of information for all subsequent studies. Sir Henry Wotton, traveller, diplomat and scholar, in his Elements of Architecture, printed in London in 1624, refers to him as `Our principal Master'. Vitruvius's treatise was written about two thousand years ago, and is the only book on architecture in the whole of classical literature. He describes the Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian Orders, and promulgates the canons governing their proportions. He does not mention the Composite Order; it was not evolved until later, possibly in the first century AD. As Vitruvius apparently never visited Greece, the information he gives about the Greek Orders was probably obtained from various Greek authors, with whose writings he seems to have been well acquainted.

 

VITRUVIUS, whose full name was MARCUS VITRUVIUS POLLIO, lived in the time of Julius Caesar and Augustus, the first Roman Emperor, sometime between 90 Bc and 10 Bc. He was a military as well as a civil architect and engineer, and served under Julius Caesar in the African war of 46 BC. He was made by Augustus an Inspector of the various Engines of War and also Inspector of Public Buildings. It is likely that his treatise was composed when he was advanced in life, and that it was presented to his patron, Augustus, to whom it is dedicated, sometime about 25 BC.

 

It is usually accepted that the manuscript of Vitruvius's treatise was rediscovered in about 1414, at the monastery of St Gall, near Lake Constance in Switzerland. Another version is that it was found in the library of the Benedictine Abbey of Monte Cassino, near Naples. The first known printed edition is in Latin, and is believed to have been printed at Rome in 1486. In the sixteenth century further Latin editions were published, and translations in Italian (1521), THE FIVE NOBLE ORDERS OF ARCHITECTURE 97 French (1547), German (1548), and Spanish (1582), but the first English edition was not issued until two hundred years later, in 1771.

 

Some writers have doubted the authenticity and age of the treatise, believing that the author was not a contemporary of Augustus, but of a later date, possibly of the third century or even as late as the fifth. That he was not a practical architect but an unknown man of letters, who had so little faith in his own work that he used the name of the architect mentioned by Pliny.

 

Three of the Classic Orders, the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian, were used by the Greeks. The Romans adopted these three and added the Tuscan and the Composite, so making the Five Orders of Architecture. These Orders are contemporary with Roman civilisation, and examples of them are found, not only in Italy, but in all countries of the Roman Empire. With the decline of the Roman Empire of the West and the eventual break‑up in AD 476, the style of architecture gradually changed, broadly, through Early Christian, Romanesque, and Gothic, and the Roman Orders fell into disuse. It was not until the beginning of the Italian Renaissance, early in the fifteenth century, that the Classic Roman Orders were reintroduced, after having been in abeyance for nearly one thousand years.

 

PHILLIPO BRUNELLESCHI (1377‑1446) may be considered as the first of the Renaissance architects. He was born in Florence, and was first a goldsmith, then a sculptor, and finally an architect. When twenty‑four years of age he entered a competition among sculptors for the famous bronze north doors of the Baptistry in Florence, but he was unsuccessful. He then visited Rome and studied the ancient ruins, and there settled the Orders of architecture from classic examples. In 1418 he started his career as an architect, and one of his first works was the Foundling Hospital in Florence (1421‑34), one of the first Foundling homes in the world. This building has a famous arcaded loggia of Corinthian columns supporting semi‑circular arches. His other works also show the influence of the Classic Orders, for example, the Church of Santo Spirito, Florence (144582), designed by him but only just begun in his lifetime, has a classic arcaded interior and, after a long period of suppression, the entablature again appears interposed between the very light arches and the thirty‑five supporting Corinthian columns.

 

Of all the Italian architects of the period, the two who contributed most to the spread of the Renaissance of Classic architecture to the west were Vignola and Palladio.

 

GIACOMO BAROZZI DA VIGNOLA (1507‑73), engineer and architect, was the author of Regola delli cirque ordini d'Architettura, issued in 1562. This publication made a considerable impression on the architecture of his time, especially on the design and treatment of the Classic Orders. He went to France for two years (1541‑43) in the service of Francis I, where he greatly influenced the development of French Renaissance architecture. One of his best known works is the villa of Pope Julius in Rome (1550‑55), now the Etruscan Museum.

 

ANDREA PALLADIO (1508‑80), usually considered the greatest architect of the whole Renaissance, first trained as a mason, and did not appear as an architect until he was thirty‑two years of age. His careful study of ancient buildings still 98 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' standing in Rome led to the issue in 1570 of his famous book 1 quattro libri dell' Architettura. Many of his buildings no longer exist, or were never completed, but the publication of the designs in his book, first issued in Venice, and since published in every country of Europe, had a very important influence on architecture, especially in England. Palladian architecture, which conforms closely to the precepts of Vitruvius, remained for a long period the model for an entire style. The result of Palladio's classical research can be traced in his designs for buildings, both in Venice and Vicenza. One of particular interest is his celebrated Villa Capra, Vicenza (1567), known also as the Rotonda, with its exaggerated application of Classic features, is a square building with pillared portico of Ionic columns on each face. The design has often been copied both in England, and on the Continent. Mereworth Castle, Kent (1722), by Colin Campbell, is based very closely on the Villa Capra. The elevations are the same on all fronts, each having a pillared portico of Ionic columns. Chiswick House, Chiswick (1725), built by Lord Burlington and William Kent, long known as the Palladian Villa, is a modified copy, but has only one portico.

 

The great Italian architects were the founders of the Renaissance, and it was from the remains of Roman architecture alone that the inspiration came; there is no evidence that they had any knowledge of the more refined architecture of the Greeks. Owing to the distance from Italy, the slow communications of the age, and her insular position, England was the last country to come under the influence of the new movement. Whereas the dawn of the Renaissance in Italy was early in the fifteenth century, the beginning of the full Renaissance in England was not until the early part of the seventeenth century, when Inigo Jones, the famous English architect, introduced Palladian Renaissance architecture, with its reversion to Classic style, and the employment of the Roman Orders.

 

More than one thousand five hundred years before the introduction of Palladian Renaissance architecture, the Classic Orders were used in England by the Romans. With the Roman invasion of AD 43 and the subjugation of the country forty years later, Britain became one of the forty‑five provinces of the Roman Empire. For the next three hundred years, under Roman protection and with comparative civilisation, towns were laid out, and buildings erected. A period of time almost equal to that which separates us today, from the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II. Roman architecture in England was of the same character as in other parts of Europe, although possibly inferior in detail, and the Classic Orders were employed in the design of forums, temples, and other important buildings. After the withdrawal of the Roman legions and the end of Roman control in the year 410, the Britons were left to defend themselves against invasions by the Angles and Saxons. The process of Anglo‑Saxon conquest was slow, and one hundred and fifty years elapsed before the conquest of even southern England was complete. During those turbulent years, Roman buildings were either destroyed by the Saxons, or deserted and left to fall into ruins; the ruins were plundered for building materials, and all trace of Roman architecture disappeared from view.

 

INIGO JONES (1573‑1652) was born in London, the son of a clothworker. Little is known of his early life. It is known, however, that he paid several visits to THE FIVE NOBLE ORDERS OF ARCHITECTURE 99 Italy, where he made serious studies of Italian buildings, both contemporary and antique, and more especially of the works of Andrea Palladio. He was a stage designer as well as an architect, and on his return to England he introduced the precepts of Palladio in scenery designed for Court Masques. When he was forty‑two years of age, Inigo Jones was appointed Surveyor‑General of the Royal Works. A number of country houses and other buildings claim him, but many do not merit serious consideration, for as Sir John Summerson had pointed out, `the figure of Jones is obscured by such a swarm of misattributions that the toil of discernment enfeebles perception'. The only buildings now existing which can be attributed to him with absolute certainty are the Banqueting House, Whitehall, London (1619‑22), and the Queen's House, Greenwich (1616‑35). The Banqueting House, Whitehall, intended to form part of a vast royal palace, is considered to be the first, and one of the finest examples of the English Renaissance. The severely Classic treatment, with its Ionic and Corinthian pilasters and half columns, bold cornice, and balustrade, was the result of his study of the Palladian architecture in Italy. It is ironical that his patron, King Charles I, stepped out to execution on the scaffold in 1649 from a first floor window of this Banqueting Hall. Horace Walpole, the eighteenth‑century writer, said of Inigo Jones, `Vitruvius drew up his grammar, Palladio showed him the practice, Rome displayed a theatre worthy his emulation, and King Charles was ready to encourage, employ, and reward his talents. This is the history of Inigo Jones as a genius'.

 

Inigo Jones initiated the change in England to formal Classic design, with the use of the Orders. His completed works were few but the traditions of design which he pioneered were lasting. Palladian architecture would have been more developed by him had he not lived in an age of wars and general unsettledness: the Thirty Years War, the Civil War, the Execution of King Charles, the Commonwealth with the reaction represented by Puritanism. The Civil War brought a chapter in English architecture to an abrupt close and Inigo Jones died before the Restoration.

 

The second great architect of the period, whose name and work are more widely known, was SIR CHRISTOPHER WREN (1632‑1723). Scholar, mathematician, astronomer, and architect. Professor of Astronomy at the age of twenty‑five; Surveyor‑General and principal Architect for rebuilding London after the Great Fire at thirty‑four; Surveyor‑General of the Royal Works at thirty‑seven; President of the Royal Society at forty‑eight. Who built `the noblest temple, the largest palace, and the most stupendous hospital', as well as fifty‑two London churches, and a great number of other buildings throughout England. He did not practise architecture until he was thirty years of age, when he was already one of the most famous scientists in Europe. With the restoration of the monarchy in the year 1660, and the destruction caused by the Great Fire of London in 1666, Sir Christopher Wren, with the patronage of King Charles II, had many opportunities to exercise his undoubted talents. He continued the classical tradition, though with a more independent style, and did not rely on the precedents of the Italian Renaissance as much as Inigo Jones. He was more influenced by the French Renaissance. Pembroke College Chapel, Cambridge (1663‑65), designed 100 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' for his uncle, the Bishop of Ely, was his first work; a restrained rectangular building with pedimented fagade and simple great Corinthian pilasters. St Paul's Cathedral (1675‑1710) is his most famous and best known building. He was ninety‑one years old when he died, having lived and worked through five reigns.

 

Both Inigo Jones and Sir Christopher Wren are reputed to have been freemasons, and to have hcid high office in the Craft. Dr James Anderson in the second edition of his Book of Constitutions (1738), written fifteen years after Sir Christopher Wren's death, credits him with having held the offices of Grand Warden, Deputy Grand Master, and Grand Master. More recently, George H. Cunningham in his book, London. A Comprehensive Survey of the History, Tradition and Historical Associations of Buildings and Monuments, published in 1927, states that: The former Banqueting House of Whitehall Palace was built in 1619‑22 by Inigo Jones, the famous architect and Grand Master of the Freemasons.

 

The Goose and Gridiron, St Paul's Churchyard, was the meeting‑place of St Paul's Lodge, one of the first lodges of freemasons in London. During the building of St Paul's Catherdral, Sir Christopher Wren presided as Master.

 

St Paul's Cathedral. The present cathedral dates from 1675, when the foundation was laid by Sir Christopher Wren, the architect, as Grand Master of the Freemasons, assisted by his Lodge.

 

However, it is now usually accepted that neither Inigo Jones nor Sir Christopher Wren were prominent freemasons. It is known that Dr James Anderson had a rather vivid imagination, and that much of his writings are legendary; and it is likely that Cunningham's statements are based on Anderson's works. Bro Bernard E. Jones, in his authoritative book Freemasons' Guide and Compendium (1956), does not mention Inigo Jones in this connection, but he considers that Sir Christopher Wren was almost certainly a speculative mason, but not a Grand Master of the Order nor an important figure in the emergence of speculative masonry.

 

At the beginning of the eighteenth century the influence of Inigo Jones and Sir Christopher Wren had spread throughout England. Classical design, of which the Orders were an essential part, was adopted, not only by architects but also by working masons and carpenters. The precepts of Inigo Jones and Sir Christopher Wren were carried on by pupils and followers; such as Sir John Vanbrugh (1664‑1726), who designed Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, the most monumental mansion in England; Nicholas Hawksmoor (1661‑1736), a pupil of Sir Christopher Wren, who built a number of London churches; and James Gibbs (16831774), who designed many buildings in the prevailing Palladian mode. Of note is his Church of St Martin‑in‑the‑Fields, Trafalgar Square, London, with its great Corinthian portico. Sir William Chambers (1723‑96) was probably the last practitioner of the strict Palladian tradition, and his works are found in almost every part of England and even extended to Ireland. His Treatise on Civil Architecture, published in 1759, is still today an important guide as regards the proportions of the Five Orders.

 

And so after thirteen centuries, the Classical style of architecture was again THE FIVE NOBLE ORDERS OF ARCHITECTURE 101 firmly established in England, and the Orders were once more an integral part of design. The age, probably when the Five Orders of Architecture were introduced into the masonic system. It should be remembered that the Orders associated with freemasonry are those employed by the Renaissance architects.

 

ORDERS OF ARCHITECTURE An `Order' in Classic architecture is a combination of column, including capital and base, and horizontal entablature or part supported; designed in relation one to the other. The column by itself is not the order.

 

William Preston in his Lecture on the Five Orders (1781), defines an `Order' in possibly more picturesque language. 'By order in architecture is meant a system of all the ornaments and proportions of columns and pilasters; or a regular arrangement of the projecting parts of a building, especially those of a column, which form one beautiful, perfect and complete whole.' The Orders, as used by the Greeks, were essentially constructive. The Romans introduced the use of column and entablature as facings to piers, and frequently used them as purely decorative features, without any structural value; although they continued to use them constructively, as in the colonnades of forums and temples. The characteristics of all Greek architecture is in its simplicity and refinement; in Roman architecture, in its forcefulness and lavishness of display. The Roman use of the Orders was followed by the architects of the Italian Renaissance who, as previously mentioned, had no knowledge of the architecture of the Greeks. Eastern Europe at that time was dominated by the Ottoman Empire, and travel was almost impossible and certainly dangerous.

 

TUSCAN ORDER The Tuscan is the first of the Five Orders of Architecture. Severely designed with no ornament but mouldings; the column, an unfluted shaft with base and capital, seven diameters high. The entablature is plain, and in ancient times was constructed in timber. The Renaissance architects made their own Tuscan Order with a stone entablature. Sir Henry Wotton (1568‑1639), in his Elements of Architecture (1624), describes it as 'a plain, massive, rural pillar, resembling a sturdy well‑limbed labourer, homely clad'.

 

There is no certainty as to the origin of the Order; it was not used by the Greeks, and it is unlikely that the Romans invented it. No example exists similar in formation to that described by Vitruvius. It seems highly probable that it was used by the Etruscans, and that it was adopted by the Romans at the same time as the arch, vault, and dome. The use of timber in the entablature of the early examples, appears to confirm the origin, as it is known that this form of construction was practised by the Etruscans. Some authorities consider that it is a simplified version, or a mutation, of the Doric Order; while William Preston, in his Lecture on the Five Orders, simply states that it was invented in Tuscany. The Tuscan Order gives an impression of severe dignity, and a good example of this can be seen in the portico of St Paul's Church, Covent Garden, London. The original church (1631‑35) was designed by Inigo Jones, but was burnt down in 1795. The present one is a close copy, built by Thomas Hardwick (1752‑1829), in   101  102 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' 1795‑98. Anthony Sayer, the first Grand Master of the 1717 Grand Lodge, is buried in the vaults of the church.

 

DORIC ORDER The Doric is the second of the Five Orders of Architecture, and the first and simplest of the three Greek Orders. The Roman Order differs in design from the Greek original; it has less monumental grandeur and is freer in detail, without any of the delicate profiles. The Doric Order was evolved by the Greeks of the Western territories, simultaneously with the Ionic Order by the Greeks of the Eastern territories. The true Doric style is found in Greece, Sicily, and South Italy, and its finest and culminating example is the Parthenon on the Acropolis at Athens (447‑432 BC). The Doric was the Order most liked by the Greeks, and they used it almost entirely in temple buildings; it was little used by the Romans, being too severe and plain for the buildings they required. Vitruvius tells us that the Doric column was modelled on the form of a man. That it was found that the length of the foot was one‑sixth of the height of the body; and so the height of the column, including the capital, was made six times its thickness at its base. Thus the Doric column exhibits the proportions, strength, and beauty of the body of a man.

 

In the Greek Order the column stands without a base, directly on a stylobate, usually of three steps, and the circular shaft is divided as a rule into twenty shallow flutes, separated by sharp arrises or edges. The column, including the capital, has a height of from four to six times the diameter in the earlier period, and up to seven in the later period. The entablature, the frieze or middle section of which is often ornamented with sculpture, is about one‑quarter the height of the Order. The column of the Roman Order is more slender, has a base, and the circular shaft is frequently without flutes. The height of the column, including base and capital, is about eight diameters. Sir William Chambers in his Treatise on Civil Architecture (1759), gives the height of the Greek Doric column as six diameters, and the Roman Doric is eight diameters.

 

There are several different opinions as to the origin of the Doric Order. It is traced by some to the sixteen‑sided columns at the entrance to the Egyptian rock‑hewn tombs at Beni Hasan on the Nile. Also, to the numerous small rock‑cut tomb fagades to be found in Asia Minor. Bro Bernard E. Jones considers that the idea of the Doric came from Egypt, but that the Greeks so largely redesigned the Order as to be regarded as its originators. The consensus of opinion is that the Order is traceable to Egypt and that it had a timber origin. The considerable width between the columns of the very early Greek temples shows that the lintel or horizontal beam was of wood, and it is suggested that the columns also were of the same material, being replaced gradually with stone. There is little but a legendary reason why the style should be called Doric. Historic tradition has it that, in about 1000 BC, the Dorians, a tribe from the region to the north of the Gulf of Corinth, invaded and conquered southern Greece; and made important settlements also in Sicily and in south‑west Italy. The Dorians, being the dominant race, gave their name to the style of architecture especially characteristic of the lands over which they ruled.

 

THE FIVE NOBLE ORDERS OF ARCHITECTURE 103 IONIC ORDER The Ionic, the third of the Five Orders of Architecture, and the second of the three Greek Orders, is placed after the Doric though it was developed at the same time. The Romans adopted the Order but they treated its details with less beauty and refinement. The Ionic Order was evolved by the Greeks of the Eastern territories, and its true home was Asia Minor; probably the most important example, however, is the Erechtheion on the Acropolis at Athens. According to Vitruvius: whereas the Doric column was modelled on the form of a man, so the Ionic was fashioned on the proportions of the female figure. That the height of the column was made eight times its thickness at is base, so that it might have a slender look, and in the capital, volutes or scrolls, were placed hanging down at the right and left like curly ringlets; the front was ornamented with cymatia and with festoons of fruit arranged in place of hair, while the flutes were brought down the whole shaft, falling like the folds in the robes worn by matrons. Thus the Ionic column has the delicacy, adornment, and proportions characteristic of women.

 

The Order is comparatively slender; the column, with base and capital, being usually nine times the diameter in height. The circular shaft has as a rule twentyfour flutes, with fillets left between them in place of the sharp edges as in the Doric. The shaft of the Roman column is often unfluted. The base is moulded; the distinctive capital has, in the Greek Order, usually two volutes or scrolls, showing to the front and back, and in the Roman Order, often angle scrolls, showing on all four sides. It is sometimes suggested that the scrolls may have been derived from the Egyptian lotus, or that they represent the horns of a ram, as it is known that rams were venerated in Western Asia. The entablature is usually one‑fifth of the Order. The Ionic Order is thought to take its name from the Ionian tribes, who settled on the coasts and isles of Asia Minor, when driven out of Central Greece by the Dorians.

 

CORINTHIAN ORDER The Corinthian is the fourth of the Five Orders of Architecture, and the third of the three Greek Orders. The Corinthian Order first appeared in Greek architecture as a variant of the Ionic, the difference being almost entirely in the capital. It was less used by the Greeks than either the Doric or the Ionic, and was never fully developed by them; their major achievements had been completed before the Order was invented. The Romans brought the Corinthian Order to full maturity. The richness and exuberance of its decoration appealed to the Roman instinct, and was employed by them far more frequently in their buildings than any of the other Orders of Architecture. Vitruvius relates that, as the Doric column was modelled on a man, and the Ionic on a female figure, so the Corinthian was an imitation of the slenderness of a maiden; for the outlines and limbs of maidens, being more slender on account of their tender years, admit of prettier effects in the way of adornment. Sixteen hundred years after the time of Vitruvius, Sir Henry Wotton gives a different, and maybe less pleasing, description of the Corinthian column: `lasciviously decked like a courtesan, and therein much participating of the place where they were first born; Corinth having been without controversy one of the wantonest towns in the world'.

 

104 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' The column of the Order is more slender than that of the Ionic, and including base and capital, is usually ten diameters in height. The circular shaft of the Greek column is fluted, while the Roman shaft may be either fluted or unfluted. The Romans were inclined to leave the shaft plain, possibly as a contrast to the lavishly decorated capital; or because of their preference for using monolithic columns of granite and veined marble, both materials being unsuitable for fluting. The ornate capital is as a rule about one and one‑sixth diameter high, the Roman capital being more heavily decorated than the Greek. The leaves surrounding the `bell' of the Greek capital are of the prickly acanthus type having pointed leaves of V‑shaped section; while those surrounding the Roman one are blunt‑ended flat section acanthus, or of the olive. The entablature is usually one‑fifth of the whole.

 

The origin of the Order is uncertain, and there is apparently no conclusive reason for its being called Corinthian. The name is possibly derived from the foliated capital. The following traditional legend of the creation of the capital is first recounted by Vitruvius in about 25 BC, it is repeated by many eighteenthcentury architectural writers, and is included by William Preston in his Lecture on the Five Orders of Architecture.

 

A freeborn maiden of Corinth was attacked by an illness and died. After her burial, her nurse collected a few things which used to give the girl pleasure while she was alive, put them into a basket and placed it on her grave, covering the basket with a roof‑tile for protection. It happened that the basket was placed over the root of an acanthus. When the plant grew, the stalks and leaves curled gracefully around the basket, until reaching the tile they were forced to bend downwards into volutes. Callimachus, a sculptor and a worker in Corinthian bronze, passed by the grave and observed the basket with the leaves growing round it. Delighted with the novel style and form, he built for the Corinthians some columns with capitals designed after that pattern, and determined the proportions to be followed in finished works of the Corinthian Order.

 

Anderson and Spiers in their book, The Architecture of Greece and Rome, published in 1902, consider that in early examples of the Greek Corinthian capital, the treatment of the leaves and tendrils is such as to suggest their having been copied in marble from metallic orginals. And as Callimachus of Corinth is known to have worked in marble as well as in metal, he perhaps executed capitals of this type in Corinthian bronze or brass. They suggest, therefore, that the name may have been given because it was invented by Callimachus of Corinth, or on account of the material in which the first prototype was made.

 

COMPOSITE ORDER The Composite, called also Roman, is the last of the Five Orders of Architecture. It differs from the Corinthian only in the design of the capital; which is a combination of the Corinthian and the Ionic, having the angle volutes or scrolls of the Ionic capital inserted above the Corinthian leafage. The height of the column, including base and capital, is usually ten diameters. The entablature resembles the Corinthian. The Order was unknown to the Greeks, being a Roman invention, and used largely by them in triumphal arches to give a very ornate character. Sir Henry Wotton says of the Order: `though the most richly tricked, yet the poorest in this, that he is a borrower of all his beauty.' THE FIVE NOBLE ORDERS OF ARCHITECTURE 105 THE THREE PILLARS William Preston concludes his Lecture on the Five Orders of Architecture with: `The ancient and original, orders of architecture, revered by masons, are no more than three, the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian'. Early writers refer to Three Great Pillars, the emblematic supports of a mason's lodge; and the traditional history attaches considerable importance to the Three Pillars.

 

In the explanation of the First Tracing Board we are told that the three great pillars are called Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty; but as we have no noble orders of Architecture known by the names of Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty, we refer them to the three most celebrated; the Ionic, Doric, and Corinthian. They are now explained as: the Master's, the Ionic, representing wisdom; the Senior Warden's, the Doric, representing strength; and the Junior Warden's, the Corinthian, representing beauty. It is a matter of interest, that whereas the generally accepted sequence of the three Classic Orders is the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian, in the masonic use of the three, the sequence is changed; the Ionic is placed before the Doric.

 

In early lodges the appropriate floor pillar stood before the Master and each of the Wardens, but few lodges now continue this old custom. Today we have floor candlesticks, and in many lodges the actual candle‑holders are on Ionic, Doric, and Corinthian columns. The columns of the three Orders are also often found as pillars on the backs of Master's and Wardens' chairs, but there appears to be no uniformity in the Orders used. Three chairs made by Thomas Chippendale in about 1760, and owned by Britannic Lodge, No 33, can be seen in the museum at Freemasons' Hall, London; the Master's has Corinthian pillars, and both the Senior and Junior Wardens' have Ionic. Also in the museum are two large gilt Wardens' chairs; the Senior Warden's has Ionic pillars, and the Junior Warden's, Corinthian. Other examples of chairs have Corinthian pillars on the Master's, and Doric on the Wardens'.

 

Since the middle of the eighteenth century certificates have been issued to brethren. In the early days of non‑operative masonry they they were apparently written documents, but in 1756 the premier Grand Lodge issued engraved and printed certificates. Owing to the custom in the eighteenth century of destroying all written or printed masonic matter, more especially the certificates of a deceased Brother, to prevent any information passing into the hands of nonmasons, no very early example exists today. The `Three Graces' certificate, which incorporated the Three Pillars, was first issued in 1757 and since that time, despite changing designs, all the pictorial certificates of the two rival Grand Lodges show the Three Pillars. In 1819 the United Grand Lodge first used a design with the Three Pillars in line across the certificate, forming two panels. This certificate is known as the `Pillars Certificate', and, with modifications, is in use today.

 

EXTERNAL INFLUENCES ON THE EVOLUTION OF ENGLISH MASONRY THE PRESTONIAN LECTURE FOR 1969 J. R. CLARKE THE NUMBER of masons, and subsequently freemasons, in this country has never been more than a relatively small proportion of the population yet there has been a tendency when tracing the development of the Craft to concentrate attention on the purely masonic documents available and not sufficiently to take into account the inevitably great influence of contemporaneous thought and events on its evolution. This influence has been continuous for the brethren have always been men living in a wider society and subject to the pressures of their environment. In this lecture I propose to give a few examples of the effect of these at crucial times.

 

The first is from the beginning of our masonic history. In Grand Lodge, 1717 to 1967 H. Carr reminded us that there is justification for regarding the beginning of the trade organisation of masons in England as having taken place in 1356, when the master‑masons of London submitted a code of craft regulations to the civic authorities for registration. These regulations were concerned with men who had more or less permanent employment in one city; and they established working standards which the authorities, the craft and the public could all accept as representing fair dealing. There were, however, masons in a different category who moved from site to site, either voluntarily or by impressment, who could not become members of a city gild and who indeed could only in special circumstances obtain employment in a place where there was one. It is natural to suppose that they also would have to conform to local rules which would have a basis common to all localities; and, in addition, that they would have some means of establishing that they were experienced craftsmen when they moved to a new site. Only so, one would imagine, would it be possible for the immense number of masons to work together at Windsor Castle in 1360 when, it is said, nearly all the masons in England were employed; probably the largest assembly of them there has ever been.

 

THE EARLIEST MASONIC DOCUMENTS These men had been impressed from all over southern England, from Essex in the east to Gloucester in the west, and later from the northern counties also. William of Wykeham was Clerk of Works at the Castle; John of Sponlee (or Spoonley near Winchcombe, Gloucestershire) was chief mason both before and after the impressment; Robert of Gloucester is named as warden of the masons and was succeeded in 1361 by William of Wynford (Somerset). It seems not unlikely that 106 EXTERNAL INFLUENCES ON THE EVOLUTION OF ENGLISH MASONRY 107 these men would establish a code of practice which would have as its basis that of their west country origin, though it would have resemblances to the others. When there was dispersal from this great assembly, the masons would carry with them the usages which had obtained there, of which perhaps some record had been made. Masons from York were amongst those impressed and this may have influenced the rules drawn up by the Chapter of York Minster in 1370 for the masons regularly employed there. They included the provision that Master Masons were to be sworn `upon the book' (ie the Bible) to adhere to the code, a provision later found in the Old Charges. It is even more probable that it influenced the two earliest extant full statements of the customs and usages of masons, the Regius MS and the Cooke MS. These were written in the half century which followed, in western and south‑western dialects of the English of the period. On textual grounds Knoop, Jones and Hamer have decided that they have a common origin. They are the first of the Old Charges, which were used at the admission of operatives, and later of accepted masons, before the eighteenth century. It is known that the Regius MS, which is in verse, found a home in the now ruined Llanthony Abbey, about a mile west of St Peter's Abbey which is now Gloucester Cathedral, and it may have been written there early in the last decade of the fourteenth century. The Cooke MS has been dated as having been written not later than 1410. It came to light when the second Grand Master, George Payne, produced it at the Feast in 1721 and appealed for only early documents so that the Regulations could be revised. He said he had it from the west country.

 

A Gloucester School of Masons flourished between 1330 and 1500, its last great work being the Lady Chapel of Gloucester Cathedral, though its greatest achievement must be considered to be the origination, in the latter half of the fourteenth century, of fan vaulting in the cloisters of the Cathedral. This was later to reach its finest expression in the Chapel of King's College, Cambridge and in Henry VII's Chapel in Westminster Abbey. That the School played a large part in the development of the peculiarly English style of Perpendicular Architecture is especially shown in the sequence of changes in the style in the Cathedral. There was also much rebuilding at Llanthony during the Priory of William of Cheriton from 1376 to 1401. The work of the School was not confined to Gloucester, however, but is in evidence at many other places in a wide area. Consequently it is not surprising that statements of the practices and responsibilities of masons should have been written in the west country. They give an account of the customs, state the oath of entry, include an account of the origin of the Craft and cite the authority of King Athelstan for holding an assembly.

 

Why the Regius MS should have been versified is still to be determined but before we leave these early documents there is another to be mentioned. The masons at Lincoln claimed to have established a gild there in 1313 though there is no documentary evidence to support this, the first record of its existence appearing in 1389. It was made in response to a writ issued by Richard II in 1388. The country was at war and this had to be financed. In 1385 the Commons petitioned the king setting forth the view that the confiscation of Church property would relieve the situation: this was one hundred and fifty years before Henry VIII secularised the monasteries. Richard's writ seems to have been the sequel to the 108 THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' petition. It required that Masters and Wardens of all gilds and brotherhoods (which latter term would include masons not in a gild) should send a return describing the foundation and form of government over which they presided. They were to state the oath of entry, describe their feasts and meetings, liberties and customs, give a list of all their property, all other particulars relating to their constitution, and copies of their Charter or Letters Patent if they had any. Westlake has examined the returns made as a result of this writ, and includes one from the Lincoln gild of All Saints (masons). It enumerates the duties of the masons to each other and to the gild; no oath is mentioned; they were to go to Church and offer up a candle on the Feast of Pentecost and were to meet to transact the business of the gild `on the morrow of Easter'; they had `no general meetings save such as are held for their social purposes among themselves'; and they had no property. The reply was evasive and gave few of the particulars requested; their customs and usages were not described. The differences between a gild and the fellowship of masons not specifically attached to a city or religious centre are recognised but it is noteworthy that The Two Earliest Masonic MSS gives much more of the information demanded by Richard; that they were produced fairly soon after the writ; and that there are no others extant which were written for almost two centuries after it. It may be that these Old Charges were written, perhaps from copies of others, in response to the writ.

 

SIXTEENTH‑CENT URYINFL UENCES There is no evidence of any later attempt to control fraternities except that in 1437 Henry VI enacted that no gild, fraternity or company should make any ordinance without first submitting it to the authorities for approval. No response to this by any body of masons has been found. After the dissolution of the monasteries there was little large scale ecclesiastical building and no building of castles in the old style: the impressment of labour had considerably diminished and the royal palaces of St James and Hampton Court and many large houses were made of brick, the use of which material was gaining ground. Moreover, the conditions under which masons worked were changing: there was less direct employment of labour and an increase in the number of master‑mason contractors who employed their fellows and bargained for the completion of a work or a portion of it. Masons still collected in groups but with decreasing mobility these became stabilised with permanent homes, as operative lodges.

 

It is possible that other MSS relating to masons may have been lost at the dissolution. Westlake ohserves that there are large areas of the country for which no replies to the writ of 1388 are available. On the other hand, it may be that few masonic MSS were written: the transmission of the wording of those which existed may have been oral and the fact that the Regius MS is a poem has been held to help this suggestion, for verse is more easily remembered than prose. Moreover, there are at present many brethren who need no book to help them with our rituals though they are at least as long as the Old Charges. The earliest of the later versions extant to which a definite date has been assigned is the Grand Lodge MS No 1 of 1583, though it is considered possible that a few others were written shortly before this. In these and all subsequent versions the mason is no EXTERNAL INFLUENCES ON THE EVOLUTION OF ENGLISH MASONRY 109 longer bidden to reverence `All Hallowes' or `All Saints' but to be `true to God and Holy Church and Use no Error or Heresy'. This change seems to be significant and may have been made when the monasteries were dissolved. The people who assisted at their dismantling had as little respect for superstitious beliefs about the saints as had Thomas Cromwell's later namesake Oliver. It was about this time (1540), according to Knoop and Jones on other evidence, that a `first revision' of the Old Charges was made. The Reformation had begun and so had the Revival of Learning when educated men were beginning to be interested not only in the knowledge of the ancients but also in that of other groups of their fellow men: for example, in the knowledge which had enabled masons to erect stately and superb edifices. Only fifteen years after 1583 the Schaw Statutes for masons were propounded in Scotland by a man who was not an operative mason though the acknowledged head of the Craft in that country. The accounts of the London Company of Masons contain a record of some operative masons being admitted into the Acception of the Company in 1621; and later it is found that non‑operatives were `made masons' in the same inner circle, which we may conclude to be the first record of a body of Accepted Masons in England. There is no indication that this was anything new: it may have been going on for years, and if in London so elsewhere. I suggest that Accepted Masonry, not yet called `Speculative', may be older than has been imagined: it may have started in the latter half of the sixteenth century when a number of new versions of the Old Charges began to appear. If the Charges were to be read or recited at the admission of a mason, copies would have to be made for the benefit of the new type of entrants: for example, the Sloane MS may have been written for the meeting at which Ashmole was initiated in 1646. As the Accepted Masons became more numerous more copies would be made, which is why more than one hundred of them written between 1583 and 1723 have been found.

 

It is not intended in this lecture to follow the transition from operative to speculative masonry. The whole story, as given by Carr for example, shows the influence of external events on the Craft. He concludes: The transition from operative to speculative Masonry was not a nation‑wide deliberately planned operation, but the result of economic and industrial changes in which the Craft suffered a purely passive role.

 

THE ESTABLISHMENT OFA GRAND LODGE In the latter part of the seventeenth century the Craft continued to be affected by external events but it was by no means passive. It was conscious of its development from operative to accepted masonry both in London and throughout the country, though there is no evidence of communication between the various centres. The want of it may be more apparent than actual because we find lodges at Norwich and Bristol aware of the re‑organisation in London in 1717 soon after it had taken place. The roads may have been bad but all classes of people managed to move about, as we know from the diaries of Pepys and Evelyn. Moreover, owing to its high death rate, the metropolis was continually drawing on the rest of England to make good the loss and to allow for the expansion which was taking place. It was in London, however, more than in any other place in the world, that 110 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' there arose the custom of men meeting together in taverns and coffee‑houses to learn the news of the day and to discuss it and other things with a freedom that surprised foreigners. The number of such places increased enormously and before the end of the century any Londoner had only to walk to the end of the street to find a coffee‑house. Gradually the various meeting places attracted a specialised clientele, merchants meeting at one place (eg Lloyd's), lawyers at another, wits and politicians elsewhere, each group frequenting its own house. Thus there developed a club‑habit and also the custom of men meeting together at stated intervals for conversation and other purposes, as exemplified by the meetings of the newly founded Royal Society. The century was a time of new thought, when questions were being asked about everything; about the phenomena of nature and about the very foundations of religion.

 

The many opportunities for private meetings and the prevalent spirit of inquiry provided just what was required for the development of Accepted Masonry and afford sufficient reasons for the existence of several lodges of Accepted Masons in London at the beginning of the eighteenth century and the question arises why some of them should decide to co‑operate to form a Grand Lodge at this particular time. It seems to have been accepted that the object was social and colour is given to this by an advertisement in the Daily Courant of 7 July 1716: For the Continuance of Mutual Society, the Annual Feast of the Fraternity of St James's at Clerkenwell will be held as usual, on Wednesday, the 25th Instant, at Jerusalem Hall within the said Parish . . . N.B. Stewards are provided for the year ensuing.

 

Freemasons, however, could enjoy their mutual society at their stated meetings, which other brethren could attend if Ashmole's visit to the London Acception in 1682 may be taken as a guide. I have already advanced the suggestion that the political state of the country made it imperative that the freemasons should protest their loyalty at this time. The Jacobite rebellion of 1715 was badly managed and easily suppressed but the government feared a recurrence, suspecting Jacobites behind every closed door. Only one month after the preliminary meeting of the `four old lodges', in January 1717, the Swedish Ambassador was arrested contrary to diplomatic usage and his papers revealed that he and his fellow Ambassadors in France and Holland were involved in a conspiracy to support a fresh insurrection with 12,000 Swedish troops. Later in the year a projected invasion of Scotland with the help of the Swedish fleet was prevented by the intervention of an English fleet. In 1719 a fleet sailed from Cadiz, the Pretender being then in Spain, with regular troops on board, but storms dispersed it and only a small force could be landed in Scotland. This was defeated and forced to surrender. The prolonged trial of Dr Atterbury, Bishop of Rochester, tnded in his exile after he had been shown to have been in communication with the Jacobite leaders abroad since 1717. The fears of the government were entirely justified: and freemasons' lodges were meeting behind closed doors. Whatever the truth of Anderson's story in the Book of Constitutions that Wren had been Grand Master and had forsaken them, it is certain that there was now nobody of position and influence to speak for them. It was necessary for them to demonstrate their loyalty and they decided to do this by co‑operating to hold a Feast.

 

EXTERNAL INFLUENCES ON THE EVOLUTION OF ENGLISH MASONRY 111 Accordingly they met on 24 June 1717, elected a Grand Master and held their Feast in a semi‑public place, a tavern. In such a place their loyal toasts and loyal songs would be heard and gain them credit. Soon they were joined by men of good social standing and the first of a continuing series of noble Grand Masters was elected in 1721. In spite of this, when the Duke of Wharton tried to capture the Craft for the Jacobites in 1722, an influential body of the Society deemed it desirable to wait on the Secretary of State who was in charge of Foreign Affairs (and consequently of anti‑Jacobite measures) and, averring their loyalty, ask permission to hold their annual meeting at Midsummer. This was granted but the fact that such a deputation was needed and could be assembled shows that the decision to publicise the Craft in 1717 had been vital. In the year following this deputation, William Cowper, Clerk of the Parliaments was appointed Secretary to Grand Lodge. That he should have been able to accept this position is a further indication that freemasonry was then well regarded by the authorities.

 

An important aftermath of the declaration of loyalty to the House of Hanover was the Papal Bull of 1738, issued after the Pretender had been in Rome. Although by that time freemasonry had spread to the continent, the Bull was never promulgated in France. It was directed against English freemasonry and for two hundred and thirty years it has made it difficult for a Roman Catholic to be a freemason.

 

THE CHANGES IN THE FIRST BOOK OF CONSTITUTIONS In addition to the freedom of general discussion in the clubs, there was also much more freedom of religious thought and expression than on the continent, though there had been some suppression of it during the Commonwealth and attempted restriction of religious practices by the ecclesiastical Acts of the reign of Charles II. On the whole, however, there had been throughout the century an examination of the foundations of religion which had resulted in a tendency towards Unitarianism. The Deism propounded by Lord Herbert of Cherbury in the time of James I had been discussed and re‑discussed; and at the end of the century the philosophy of John Locke had more `natural religion' in it than Christianity, in spite of his assertion that he was a sincere member of the established church. In fact the tendency to Deism had infiltrated into the churches, both conformist and non‑conformist. G. M. Trevelyan states this succinctly when he writes: The age of latitudinal piety that followed the Revolution of 1688 was prepared by the intellectual movement of the Restoration . . . by the end of the century, Unitarian doctrines, for which men were burnt one hundred years before, were not uncommon among English Presbyterian congregations of the highest bourgeois respectability.

 

There had developed a toleration by the churches for other beliefs in God which has resemblance to that of the present time. This evolution of thought was to find expression in the statement of the First Charge in the first Book of Constitutions of the recently formed Grand Lodge, issued in 1723.

 

The new Regulations for the Craft, which George Payne had said in 1721 that he intended to make, were printed in the 1723 Constitutions, preceded by a legendary history of the Craft and a revised version of the Old Charges. In this 112, `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' version the statement of the first Charge, entitled `Concerning God and Religion' now read: A Mason is oblig'd by his Tenure, to obey the moral Law; and if he rightly understands the Art, he will never be a stupid Atheist, nor an irreligious Libertine. But though in ancient Times Masons were charg'd in every Country to be of the Religion of that Country or Nation, whatever it was, yet 'tis now thought more expedient only to oblige them to that Religion in which all Men agree, leaving their particular Opinions to themselves; that is, to be Good Men and true, or Men of Honour and Honesty, by whatever Denominations or Persuasions they may be distinguish'd; whereby Masonry becomes the Center of Union and the Means of conciliating true Friendship among Persons that must have remain'd at a perpetual Distance.

 

This was a very important change from the wording of the Cooke MS and the other Old Charges to be true to God and Holy Church and it bore fruit quickly. There is incontestable evidence that within a few years Jews were admitted to the Craft which had been, till that time, wholly or predominately Christian. In America Benjamin Franklin was initiated in 1731 and he was a pronounced Deist, never reluctant to proclaim himself as such, not a Christian. In the latest Book of Constitutions issued by Grand Lodge, as in its predecessors of last century, there is amplification of the above wording but no essential change of meaning. The Craft did not become anti‑Christian nor even non‑Christian, but today, by reason of this wording, the product of the latitudinarian thought of the time, Christians, Unitarians, Jews, Moslems, Hindus and men of all other faiths which require a belief in God, are equal members of the Society of Freemasons which has, indeed, become `the Center of Union and the Means of conciliating true Friendship'.

 

THE ORIGIN OF THE ANTIENTS GRAND LODGE I now pass to an instance of the influence of economic conditions on freemasonry. These produced an influx of Irishmen into England in the middle of the eighteenth century. At this time England was prosperous and although the conditions in which the poor of London lived were deplorable by modern standards, the streets of the city seemed to be paved with gold to those outside it. A very large proportion of the population of the country was concentrated in it and there was continuous migration towards it. Pitiable as the life of the London poor appears to us, conditions in Ireland were far worse. An appalling picture is drawn by the historian Lecky: The famine of 1740 and 1741 . . . was followed by malignant fevers so that whole villages were laid waste ... the country was so decimated of its wealth that but little could be done (to alleviate the distress) ... one third of the people in the country of Kerry had disappeared ... it was estimated that in 1742 there were more than 50,000 strolling beggars in the country.

 

Famine was recurrent and was particularly bad again in 1756 and 1757. Protestant emigration from Ireland had started at the end of the seventeenth century when political considerations here had necessitated the imposition of protective duties on woollen goods and the Irish woollen manufacture had been destroyed. Other protective tariffs had followed, Irish industry had been further depressed and the famines gave great impetus to the emigration. It has been said that for several EXTERNAL INFLUENCES ON THE EVOLUTION OF ENGLISH MASONRY 113 years the Protestant emigrants from Ulster annually amounted to more than 12,000. Of course, only a relatively small proportion of them came to these shores, the tide setting mainly westwards, but many came here and gravitated to the capital.

 

Whatever the qualifications and abilities of the immigrants their first thought on arriving in London would be means of subsistence and they would take the jobs available. They would naturally associate with each other and those who were freemasons would meet to talk about the Craft and eventually form lodges. There was no difficulty about this since even at that time warrants were not essential: and there is evidence that lodges of Irishmen had previously been formed in London and Norwich. The premier Grand Lodge had not the power nor, apparently, the desire to prevent this. The immigrants could not affiliate with this Grand Lodge because the Grand Lodge of Ireland, whence they derived their masonry, had not recognised the changes made in the English system in the 1730s as a consequence of the disclosures made in such publications as Masonry Dissected. Eventually, in 1751, they considered that there were enough lodges to enable them to form their own Grand Lodge. They asserted that they adhered to `the Old Constitutions', called themselves `Old York Masons', and obtained recognition from the Grand Lodge of Ireland. In their first Book of Constitutions, issued in 1756, the Secretary, Laurence Dermott, addresses the original members as `Men of some Education and an Honest Character but in low Circumstances', which completely tallies with the description of them as immigrants. The book also makes clear their close connection with the Grand Lodge of Ireland. There is no suggestion in it of antagonism to the Grand Lodge of England: the rivalry only developed when the latter appreciated that the adherence to the old ways, plus the remarkable energy of the Secretary, was attracting to the new body many who might have given their allegiance to the one established in 1717. As we know, the rivalry increased until the end of the century when the political state of this country made a rapprochement and ultimately a union desirable. It is to this that we turn next.

 

THE END OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY AND AFTERWARDS The closing years of the eighteenth century were as full of incident as had been those of its commencement. The arts of literature, painting and music were flourishing; the brothers Adam were combining their artistic taste with architecture. The industrial revolution was beginning for Watt's steam engine had been made; Huntsman was producing better steel by the crucible method and the cutting edges of cutlery and tools were improved by its use; and in the cotton industry the most famous of the inventions concerned with spinning had been made by 1790. These industrial developments and the publication of Thomas Paine's Rights of Man in 1791 led to a demand for electoral reform and to political unrest, intensified by events abroad. The loss of the American colonies was followed in 1789 by the French Revolution. There was a spate of formation of political clubs: the Constitutional Society was founded in Sheffield in 1791; the London Corresponding Society was established in 1792 and at once allied itself with the Sheffield body; and many others arose in Manchester and other growing `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' towns. They professed `Reform and not Revolution is our object' and in this they followed the famous Jacobin club in Paris, started in the year of the Revolution, for it also was at first moderate in its aims. One of the early actions of the London society was to send representatives to present addresses to the French Convention: as one of the most able of its organisers wrote later `All the leading members of the Society were republicans'. The total membership of these societies was not very great in proportion to the population and the majority of the people were not in sympathy with them, so that they had difficulty in finding accommodation for their meetings: in some places the meetings were broken up and riots ensued. A modern sympathiser with them has written `The country, in truth, was against reform'. Nevertheless the propaganda continued and the government came to fear Jacobinism as much as its predecessors at the beginning of the century had feared Jacobitism. This resulted in May 1792 in the issue of a proclamation against seditious meetings and publications. It was not effective and a second proclamation was made in December which ordered the embodiment of the militia because the Constitution was in danger from `evil disposed persons . . . acting in concern with persons from foreign parts'. In 1794 the Habeas Corpus Act was suspended and the suspension was renewed annually until 1801. In 1795 an attack on the King when he went to open Parliament was followed by the Treasonable Practices Act which made any defamation of the Sovereign or the established government or Constitution a high misdemeanour. Another Act of this year, the Seditious Meetings Act, prohibited meetings of more than fifty persons without notice to a magistrate.

 

Still the political unrest continued and it was increased by a succession of poor harvests and the ill‑success of the war on the continent, declared in 1793, in spite of Nelson's successes at sea which eventually enabled victory to be won. Britain was the paymaster of Europe and that made the cost of the war so great that income tax was imposed for the first time in 1798, and in a few years nearly ˙300,000,000 was added to the National Debt. `It was a time of crushing taxation, high prices, unemployment, misery and starvation.' Apparently the restrictions of 1795 did not prevent the two Grand Lodges from holding their Festivals, for Stewards were still appointed annually; there are allusions in the Minutes to show that they were much concerned at the state of the country and their own position therein. In 1791, for example, the premier Grand Lodge voted a loyal address to the King `at this period of innovation and anarchy'. In 1799 a Bill brought before Parliament to control subversive activities threatened to create such a serious position for freemasonry that the heads of the two Grand Lodges felt that they must act together. The events are clearly set out in the minutes of the Antients where, on 6 May it was reported that: a Committee of the Grand Officers had met by command of the Right Worshipful Grand Master to take into consideration what was Necessary and Right to be adopted by the Antient Craft in the Critical State of the Country. Resolved unanimously that it be recommended to his Grace the Duke of Atholl, Right Worshipful Grand Master of Masons according to the Old Constitutions to inhibit and totally prevent all public Masonic Processions and all private meetings of Masons of Lodges of Emergency on any pretence whatever and to suppress and suspend Masonic meetings except the regular Stated Lodge Meetings and Royal Arch Chapters which shall be held open to all Masons EXTERNAL INFLUENCES ON THE EVOLUTION OF ENGLISH MASONRY 115 duly qualified as such. That when the usual Masonic Business be ended the Lodge shall then disperse the Tyler from the door of the Lodge room and formality of restraint of Admission shall cease.

 

On 5 June the record states: Report of the Deputy Grand Master respecting the proceedings relative to a Bill now pending in Parliament for the suppression of Private Meetings of Societies and now containing a Clause granting a Priviledge to the Grand Lodge of Masons according to the Old Constitutions and to all subordinate lodges under them to be exempted from the penalties and Operation of the said Act. Resolved to give thanks to the Duke of Atholl for this Clause.

 

The Premier Grand Lodge had reacted similarly. The Bill which caused this concern was the Unlawful Societies Act and it became law on 12 July 1799. It refers particularly to some societies, mentioned by name and including the London Corresponding Society, which were considered to be in collusion with societies on the continent; and it directs that they should be immediately suppressed and prohibited. Certain other societies were deemed unlawful, namely societies: the members whereof shall . . . be required to take an oath which shall be an unlawful oath . . . or to take any oath not required or authorised by law; and every society the members whereof or any of them shall take or in any manner bind themselves by any such oath or engagement . . . and every person who from and after the passing of this Act shall become a member of any such society at the passing of this Act . . . shall aid, abet or support any such society . . . shall be deemed guilty of an unlawful combination and confederacy.

 

Heavy penalties were prescribed for contravention of the Act, which clearly would put a stop to all masonic activities. The two leaders therefore exerted their influence and obtained the insertion of clauses which stated that the Act was not to extend to regular lodges of freemasons held before the passing of the Act and in conformity with the rules prevailing among the masonic societies. The condition was made that: Two members of such Lodge (are) to certify on Oath as to such Lodge . . . that such society or Lodge had before the passing of this Act been usually held under the denomination of a Lodge of Free Masons and in conformity to the rules prevailing among the societies or lodges of Free Masons in this kingdom . . . which certificate with names and descriptions of all and every the members thereof, (is to be) registered with the clerk of the peace . . . on or before the 25th day of March in every succeeding year.

 

All was not well, however, for ten months later the Earl of Moira (Acting Grand Master of the Moderns) had to call attention to `the situation in which the Society was placed by the late Act of Parliament restraining the Constitution of New Lodges': the exempting clause was not so comprehensive as had been hoped. Apparently it was felt that nothing could be done about it for this premier Grand Lodge only issued two Warrants for lodges at home in the seven years which followed. The Antients Grand Lodge was more fortunately placed during this difficult period: it could grant the numbers of erased Warrants to new lodges... for a consideration. These lodges were allowed to function as having existed previous to the passing of the Act. Both Grand Lodges continued to issue `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' Warrants for military lodges and lodges abroad. The position was clarified in 1817 by a revision of the Seditious Meetings Act. This re‑enacted the Act of 1799 but there was a change in the exempting clause, which now gave exemption to all lodges of freemasons. The returns to the Clerk of the Peace had to be made annually until an Act passed in 1966 made changes in a number of laws relating to offences and among other things nullified the 1817 Act and thus brought to an end a requirement which had been in existence for some 150 years.

 

For almost the whole of the existence of the Society of Antient Freemasons there had been many brethren in both systems who deplored the existence of two Grand Lodges, both professing brotherly love yet openly at variance. Among these were the two Grand Masters at the end of the century and their joint action to obtain amendment of the 1799 Act was a considerable step towards a union. The negotiations to effect this were prolonged, but all English freemasons know that it was accomplished on 27 December 1813. Unfortunately, internal dissensions in the country over electoral reform followed soon afterwards; there was a recurrence of civil disturbance and this affected the prosperity of the Craft. The total number of lodges slumped to a minimum of about 430 in 1840 but the improved economic situation in the Victorian era reacted on masonry and there began the steady increase which has continued ever since.

 

In our own time we have seen the effect of national events for after each of two world wars there has been a `bulge' in the number of lodges and members, men having been attracted to masonry, possibly in the hope that they could renew the companionship with their fellow men which they had experienced on service. The humane tendencies of our national thought have led to the reconsideration of the statements concerning the penalties for breaking the obligations, with consequent permission to make changes. As I said at the beginning of the lecture we are brethren living in a wider Society of all men: we hope that our brotherhood will influence this Society for good; and it is inevitable that, in its turn, it should react on us. This is what I have tried to show has happened in the past.

 

IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD...

 

AN EXERCISE IN RITUAL ARCHAEOLOGY THE PRE STONIAN LEC'T'URE FOR 1970 Lt Col ERIC WARD, TD At the distance of twenty‑five years, I can neither forget nor express the strong emotions which agitated my mind as I first entered the Eternal City . . . as I sat musing amidst the ruins of the Capital, while the barefooted friars were singing vespers in the temple of Jupiter.

 

THESE WORDS. WHICH I hasten to add are not mine but those of Edward Gibbon, seem to me to express dramatically, majestically and not a little romantically, an emotional experience which so inspired the great historian that he was impelled to write his classic history of ancient Rome. But despite his modest disclaimer, he did quite often express his emotions in words and phrases of excelling beauty.

 

I have quoted Gibbon's sentiments for the reason that there is about them something not altogether dissimilar to the feelings we as masons have in looking back, for all of us have an abiding interest in beginnings. To effect these we use a ritual having the preciseness of form required of liturgical recitation, which we try to perform and encourage others to emulate in such a way that an emotional atmosphere is created which can be felt throughout the whole lodge. It is thus communicated to the candidate with the same impact that another temple had upon Gibbon. We want to make so powerful and enduring an impression upon the mind of the initiate, to convey to him the gravity of the occasion, that he will remember it to the end of his life. For this purpose we depend mainly upon words, since words are not only the stones of our fabric but are also the principal working tools of the speculative mason and the way we handle them will determine our qualifications. For patently we are craftsmen in words. But recognition of these qualities depends upon our use of other men's words, for no honours are awarded if we make up our own as we go along.

 

This is not the occasion, nor am I the person to expound upon the delivery of masonic material, but I have an historian's interest in the way our words came to us and it is in the hope that I can stimulate similar interest in others that I have made this the theme of my address.

 

Perhaps the edifices I build are not to the taste of everyone, but I can only suggest that, as in almost every walk of life today, that which was once acceptable without question to our forebears is now seen in a different and not necessarily worse light. But before going on to discuss parts of our ritual on which this new light is to be thrown, my own understanding of the beginning of our kind of masonry must be declared, for this a fundamental.

 

117 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' THE ADVENT OF FREEMASONRY English free and accepted masonry, from which stems speculative masonry the world over, was established in the early years of the eighteenth century. There were sporadic growths before that, but none that can be looked upon as the unleashing of the great stream. We cannot in truth claim to be a continuation of medieval operative masonry for the ground rules are entirely different. When in 1717 a small group of people met together in London to form that which eventually blossomed out into the first Grand Lodge, it was a very primitive organisation composed mainly of men of humble origin who left for posterity no records of their proceedings. In the early 1720s, still within the confines of London and Westminster, the seeds of a great international movement has begun to take root but the days of the elaborate ceremonial familiar to us now were a very long way off. If our forebears had any intention of developing a system of morality, etc, it is difficult to recognise it as such, whereas on the other hand it is crystal clear that one of their principal objects was to meet together in the lodges and Grand Lodges Festivals to enjoy the warmth of human companionship, free from the bickerings about politics and religion which characterised that era and the vulgarity which permeated it. As a means of controlling membership, they adapted certain simple rites and customs which they gathered from documents of the operative craft of former times and to give an aura of respectable antiquity they maintained and believed they were merely continuing an unbroken line of masonic practice and philosophy.

 

To me the way in which speculative masons have drawn upon material from former times, from the freestone masons, the Bible and from ancient sources unconnected with either ‑ is little short of amazing. By a long process of refinement, by adding and discarding, a system has been developed which despite all the anomalies and anachronisms inevitable in such a growth is nevertheless surprisingly harmonious.

 

I will now move on to the consideration of some examples from many that in my opinion demonstrate how significant is the part which words have played in the masonic saga.

 

SAINT JOHN'S MASONRY Until the end of the eighteenth century, when freemasonry in Britain was predominantly Christian and frequently referred to as St John's Masonry, we find continual references linking the Craft to the traditional author of the fourth Gospel.

 

In the MS constitutions or Old Charges which undoubtedly are of English origin there are virtually no references to St John and it is only in very late versions, probably for Scottish or Northern English use, eg Taylor (17 cent) and Gateshead (c 1730) MSS, that the Evangelist's name appears. From about 1700_ many of the Catechisms, eg Sloane, Grand Mystery and Whole Institutions contain in various forms the question `From whence came you' with the answer `I come from a R. Worshipful Lodge . . . of Holy St John'.

 

There are innumerable references from about 1730 onwards to the VSL being open at the Gospel of St John, eg the evidence of John Coustos before the IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD . . . 119 Portuguese Inquisition, and similarly it is most common to find the English speculative lodges having their principal meetings on St John the Evangelist days. Many lodges which had half‑yearly installations celebrated them on St John the Baptist's day in summer, and St John the Evangelist's day in winter. The custom of arranging meetings on both those days is still preserved by many others. In Scotland, the wholly operative lodges adopted the practice much earlier, eg Edinburgh 1599, Melrose 1674, Dunblane 1696 and Aitchisons Haven 1700.

 

Instances of the masonic connection with St John the Evangelist during the first hundred years of organised Free and Accepted Masonry are indeed so common that it is unnecessary to labour the point. But why that particular patron saint? I can see no really valid reason other than the first verse of his Gospel, `In the beginning etc' which remains to this day one of the few and surviving and undoubtedly the most important of the Christian fragments to be still in use in what is called Pure Antient Masonry.

 

The somewhat cryptic phrase `In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God' was of course utilised by the author of the Johannine gospel as an extension of the similar quotation in Genesis I.]. He was leading to a proposition fundamentally unacceptable to Jewish thought, which we do not need to develop here. However, the reference is clearly to the beginning of the Jewish adherence to Jehovah, and the foundation of the national religious doctrine. This was when God revealed himself to Moses who received the tables of the Law. Yet Moses did not see God, for revelation was by voice alone. He thus heard only the spoken word, but this momentous occasion provided the foundation for all the biblical material that was to follow, the completed work being familiarly known as the Word of God.

 

John's proposition was that now God had revealed himself further through the person of his Son Jesus, ie the word was made flesh. Thus the expression in Genesis and that by John, have in common a conspicuous reverence for the importance of the word as the primeval form of communication between Creator and Man.

 

But to see the real significance of the phrase `In the beginning . . .' we must look back some 3,000 years before Christianity and long before the era of Moses. For we find that even then Egyptian philosophers were proclaiming of the Creator that `all things came into being through that which the heart [ie mind] thought and the tongue commanded', which is a still further and more primitive way of expressing the same idea.

 

Now of all living things the genus man is the only one physiologically as well as psychologically equipped to form abstract thoughts and concepts, to express his thinking in terms understandable by other men, and he does this most easily by word of mouth. Although obviously animals, fish and insects can communicate with each other, such communication does not go beyond the material needs of living or perpetuation of the species. No creatures other than men and women can discuss abstract matters, can contemplate phenomena outside their own experience and dilate upon them. None possess minds that can imagine and convey to others beliefs and disbeliefs, nor yet the symbols of speech if they had such minds. To primitive man then the power of speech, the unique ability to use words as a 120 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' means of conveying thought, must have seemed of such tremendous importance as to be a manifestation of the character and personality of the Creator himself. So in Genesis 1 we find `In the beginning' God created Heaven and Earth . . . and God said let there be light . . .'. Not we should note, God decided or God willed, but God said, even though since none were yet created to listen, he said these things to himself. In John's brief account of the creation he condenses both the philosophies of the Egyptian sages and the writer of Genesis by elevating the word to a position where it has become not merely the most important function of the Creator but a manifestation of him.

 

Now some of us may see in the teaching of St John a source of religious conviction which inspired the masons of the eighteenth century and in Scotland from an earlier period. Or alternatively we may perhaps discern a parallel between the importance of the Word as defined by John and the supreme importance to Scottish working masons of the `Mason Word' as a means of protecting their very livelihood. It is my view that such a coincidence was too good to be overlooked and that in this we find the real explanation of the connection between masonry and St John.

 

If such a proposition seems like heresy or merely far‑fetched, I must cite the case of the English Gild of Merchant Taylors who changed from their original patron to St John the Baptist, because they argued he was the harbinger of the Lamb and the wool from the lamb provided the finest material upon which they relied for their living.

 

What then is more likely than the operative masons recognising in the biblical phrase `In the beginning was the word' a dual‑purpose expression strikingly appropriate to their calling, conveying the suggestion of piety on the one hand and reverence for the antiquity of the `Mason Word' on the other? And it is significant that, in the early days of speculatives, warrants issued by Grand Lodge in the setting up of subordinate lodges, eg Royal Cumberland at Bath, carried a seal with the inscription (in Greek) `In the beginning' etc.

 

THE MASON WORD We can now consider the Mason Word itself, by which is meant a password traditionally associated with the craft of the stone mason, but in recent times one of the essential esoterics imparted at the making of a Free and Accepted Mason. Now there is no reason for thinking that there ever was a secret word used by the freestone masons of England, yet there is no doubt at all that it was of great importance to the working masons of Scotland. On the other hand, the Old Charges or manuscript constitutions, of which many copies from the fourteenth century onwards have survived, were devised for and followed by English freemasons, although none of these documents is to be found in Scotland except those undoubtedly of English origin. But there was another vital difference. In England the mason designers and craftsmen of the Gothic era were essentially workers in freestone, ie a material peculiarly adapted to the carving of intricate lace‑work, the beauty of this entailing and the material itself being one of the glories of our ancient cathedrals, royal palaces, and university edifices. Hence these men, the freemasons acquired superlative skill and had no fear of being ousted from their IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD . . . 12.1 jobs by semi‑skilled workers since such men would be detected as soon as they applied hammer to chisel or axe to stone. But in Scotland it was different, for there was virtually no freestone in that country but only intractable stones which cannot be so decoratively fashioned. Hence, those ancient buildings in Scotland made from indigenous stone and by native craftsmen are conspicuously austere in external appearance, simple treatment of the stone being apparent. Consequently in Scotland there were no native freemasons, the term being virtually unknown there. It thus follows that in Scotland there grew up generations of men (who became known as Cowans), without formal apprenticeship whose skill would be not so very far short of those who had followed the time‑honoured procedure. Those who thus did not belong to a lodge, the recognised organisation for regulating the Craft, had first to be challenged if they came to seek employment and then to be rejected once their irregularity was established. One means of testing, although almost certainly not that alone, was the interchange of the Mason Word which was thus a passport of considerable commercial value. In short it was a useful commodity of livelihood, and such was its importance in this respect that so late as 1715, ie centuries after the heyday of the English freestone mason, the Lodge of Journeymen (essentially operative) of Edinburgh successfully applied to the Courts for their right to its use in their trade.

 

We are then on fairly firm ground in regarding the Mason Word as an essentially Scottish institution, where lodges of operative masons continued in being long after the very different pattern of the English freestone mason trade organisation had disappeared. But if it was of no value to the English craftsman and seemingly never had been, the Mason Word was of inestimable value to the non‑operative society when that came into being as a means of preventing `cowans' from obtaining the benefits open to bona‑fide members.

 

In the above I have referred to the Mason Word as if there were only one. But of course secrecy would not for long be preserved by that alone and signs as well as further words were needed in the armoury of the operative Scottish mason. Some of these words and tokens were borrowed by the speculatives as the society developed and further ones were invented to meet requirements unknown to the operative.

 

Distinct from but relevant to the subject of the Mason Word something should be said of the name by which we of the Order are known, because this is an example par excellence of the way that words take on different meanings over a period of time. It has already been indicated that the English word freemason was used over centuries to denote a freestone mason, a craftsman expert in the art of fashioning and carving the fine quality free‑cutting limestone familiar to all in the southern part of the United Kingdom. At the advent of speculative masonry the brethren called themselves Free and Accepted Masons (the Entered Apprentices song is a familiar example), eventually abbreviating this to Free (hyphen) Masons, a term always used in printed matter during the era of the first Grand Lodge. With the revolution of the building trade and the ever decreasing requirement for the old type of freestone mason, all workers in stone tended to be called just masons, and by the end of the eighteenth century the speculative mason had taken the name of his operative predecessor and became a freemason, the title by 122 'THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' which he is now universally known. Yes such is the tenacity of tradition that throughout the Bristol ritual the word freemason is never once used. It is always Mason and the art which he practices Masonry, with the implication that it is still the free and accepted variety to distinguish it from the operative kind of freemasonry which incidentally still exists as a trade.

 

THE ROYAL ARCH In a previous section attention has been given to a phrase now an integral part of the Royal Arch and I am sure most brethren are familiar with the odd sounding, but very important words used at the time of the Union in 1813 and still a fundamental, that 'pure Antient Masonry consistes of three degrees and no more . . . including . . . the Holy Royal Arch'. Now we all know perfectly well that before the Union the original Grand Lodge did not officially recognise the RA, whilst the later rival GL regarded it as the 'root, heart and marrow of Free‑Masonry', union of the two being conditional upon retaining the RA. So what was needed then was a simple compromise phrase to indicate that those masons satisfied with three craft degrees were not to be considered incomplete, but those who leaned towards the RA could feel that it was no less ancient and entitled to be regarded as an integral part of masonry for those who wanted it. For sheer economy of words the 1813 phrase would be hard to improve upon but it poses considerable incongruity. If Pure Masonry consists of no more than three degrees then the RA would seem to be either impure which is not what was meant, or else it was not a degree at all, which also was not intended.

 

My personal view for what it is worth, is that 150 odd years is too long to live with an illogicality that custom (in England) has outmoded. For the RA is beyond doubt a degree and to the great majority part of the masonic system quite irrespective of whether it is a sort of completion of the third degree (as some think) or nothing of the kind (as I think.) Not to recognise this and make it known from the beginning is I feel to render a disservice to young masons who often in later life bitterly regret that their entry into the RA was too long delayed, usually because no one advised them otherwise.

 

It is not my purpose to discuss in depth the history or development of the RA, for many of us have devoted a large slice of our masonic lives to doing this and we are still quite a long way from general agreement. But it is worth while considering why this degree is called the Royal Arch.

 

Now it is no secret that the legend describes the discovery of an arched vault. But the latter is merely an incidental detail and quite unimportant to the theme of the ritual, which would not be impaired had the vault been found with a lintel over the opening. Indeed, historically it would be more sensible as the discovery of an arched vault belonging to the first Temple would have by itself been an archaeological find of exceptional importance seeing that none are known in Phoenician architecture. Yet even if there had been, no one by any stretch of imagination would refer to the entrance to a vault as a Royal arch.

 

We must therefore consider the circumstances which obtained at the beginning. I have argued elsewhere that the degree known as the Scots Master which appeared sporadically in southern England in the 1730s is most likely to have been IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD . . . 123 imported from France and, for what we know of the earliest continental Scots Masters degree, the evidence is fairly clear that it was born of Jacobite and therefore Roman Catholic influences. The period not being conducive to Jacobitism, intended or otherwise, the English 'Scots Master' soon disappeared but almost immediately afterwards the Royal Arch began to be heard about.

 

We know from the earliest literary evidence that the degree, albeit very primitive, was not conferred ad libitum but was reserved for masons of special standing, such as ex‑Masters of lodges. I am sure all are familiar with the well‑known expression by Dassigny concerning brethren 'who have passed the Chair', and the later subterfuge ceremony of passing the Chair as a necessary preliminary to being exalted.

 

Indeed it is quite evident from the documents that the RA was looked upon as a very superior kind of degree, to be conferred only upon men of higher status. Thus it seems certain that Arch meant superior and an Arch mason was of exalted rank compared with the Craft mason. The use of the words Arch Mason to denote a superior mason is exactly paralleled by Archbishop meaning a superior bishop and Archduke, a pre‑eminent duke. Or to come still nearer home as Architect is (or was) a Master Mason of the tectonic art ‑ the profession of building.

 

It was not until many years had passed that a different meaning of Arch began firmly to take root, when conferment of the degree had become almost commonplace and other still more exalted degrees had been invented. By a fortunate coincidence, the ritual act of opening up a keystoned arch, an architectural device so dear to the founding fathers of the eighteenth century but quite unknown to the builders of the Temple, came to be regarded as worthy of entitling the RA degree itself. Thus the most important and central theme of discovering lost secrets was, so far as the title was concerned, subordinated to the incidental act of demolition.

 

But tradition is not easily extinguished and so late as the 1780s an RA ritual of the period and the earliest authentic one we know, contains the basic question addressed to the candidate, 'What is your request', to which the proper answer was 'To be admitted into this sublime arch order'. We could not expect anything more conclusive than this declaration telling us loud and clear of the days when the RA was essentially the arch, equals superior and/or exalted order in FreeMasonry.

 

The appellation Royal may well have come from the earlier Scots Master link, slender that it was, with the Royal House of Scotland influenced possibly by the fact that in the first Book of Constitutions James Anderson was rather fond of referring to masonry generally as the Royal Art. This expression could not properly be used for the Craft in the middle of the eighteenth century, but it could in an abstract sense be applied to a special degree at a time when so few knew anything about it.

 

For those to whom the above explanations may come as perhaps a rather unwelcome surprise, I hope we can at least agree on the two basic facts. They are that in the English Royal Arch as it has been developed from mid eighteenth century the rite, splendid though it is, has nothing about it which is markedly Royal. Nor yet is the breaking away of an arch of any vital significance to the performance or meaning of the ceremony.

 

124 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' Before leaving the Royal Arch it is relevant to refer to another word, now more or less inseparable from that degree, but which we shall meet in another form in the next section. JEHOVAH, the name given to God by Christian translators of Hebrew in the thirteenth century and used ever since, was derived in error, being compounded from the right consonants with the wrong vowels. Certain it is that no such word was known in ancient times, the one now generally accepted by modern scholars being YAHWEH. The original pronunciation is still in some doubt but probably the nearest for the English tongue is Yarway.

 

WHAT IS TRUTH? Having just cited the example of an extremely important word which through errors of transmission has come down to us in a form which whether spoken or written would not be recognisable to the ancients, we should perhaps consider the broader issue before going on to further examples.

 

The importance of the VSL to freemasonry generally and masonic ritual particularly needs no stressing and indeed Truth as revealed to us through the words of the Old Testament is one of the three grand principles of the Order. We accept as fundamental our belief in the Deity and the moral precepts which in every language are conveyed by this remarkable collection of ancient books.

 

But there are two things to be remembered. Firstly the Old Testament is really a misnomer as no single definitive one is yet in existence. Secondly the work contains the saga of the Hebrews and thus embraces a vast amount of incidental historical matter, social customs, laws and so on from which masonic ritual has drawn freely. It is on this aspect alone that I draw attention to the peculiarity that the Old Testament in our native tongue is so familiar to us from childhood that we tend to forget that were it possible to show any of the biblical writers a copy of any English version, not one of them would be able to understand a single word even in the part for which he was responsible. It is not just a matter of the difficulty of exact translation from an ancient language to a modern one, but that we are far from certain both of understanding and interpreting archaic documents all of which are copies of originals which had mostly perished long before the Christian era began. The earliest textual material now known occurs scattered in manuscripts written in Hebrew, in Syriac, in Greek and in Latin, so if we want to know what the Old Testament as a whole has to say we shall not find out from any one of these, not even from the Hebrew text itself. Because so much original matter has been lost and errors of copying and translation have inevitably occurred, as well as changes and re‑arrangements; the Old Testament has never reached finality but is being continuously revised and amended as archaeological discoveries and rethinking bring new light. Such discoveries, generally minute in themselves, frequently involve application of the whole range of Semitic languages and many more besides, so that when some fragment of what is believed to be original text has thus been recovered, the task of deciding its meaning is both extremely complex and arduous, requiring access to a vast amount of comparative data and scholarly equipment of no mean order to make use of it.

 

Thus although we can all agree with and understand the broad moral principles which the VSL teaches, the words used to express them as indeed all other matters IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD . . . 125 of profound interest are often at best approximations of literary material of great antiquity. The understanding of these is beset by highly complex problems of linguistics, transmissional inaccuracies and perhaps most difficult of all that of deciding what the many ancient authors meant to convey in idiomatic phrases used in civilisations that have long since ceased to exist.

 

In the two examples which now follow I discuss the masonic usage of biblical material as portrayed in English versions of the Old Testament but with significantly new meanings. It is nevertheless necessary to make clear that certain conclusions can only be tentative, awaiting the discovery of additional material or better hypotheses to confirm them.

 

JACHIN & BOAZ No aspect of masonic ritual is more intriguing both in symbolism and in Craft history than that of the pillars J and B. Nor would it be easy to find a subject which during the last hundred years has been written about so exhaustively. Yet there is more to be said if we want to have a better understanding of our materials.

 

In masonry, the liturgical description seems strangely at odds with our representations of them. Although we assign to them the qualities of strength and establishment, nowhere so far as I know are they depicted as supports for any part of Solomon's Temple. What then are they supposed to carry to justify being specially named apparently for their exceptional functional qualities? On tracing boards and even on the pillars themselves where they are used in lodges, it is customary to find them surmounted by globes, sometimes said to represent the earthly and celestial spheres and in other cases the sun and moon. If such were the purpose we can hardly doubt the need for strength and (conjointly) stability but we are fairly certain that was not the intention of Solomon. Our usage comes from not being sure of the original purpose, our forbears evidently thinking it necessary to find something for the columns to support rather than they should stand in the open merely holding up the sky. This was by no means the only instance of enthusiasts seeking to improve ritual matter by the injection of common sense, only to bequeath tangled problems which have to be unravelled by those that follow. Let us therefore look at the original pillars J and B to find if we can their original purpose and meaning.

 

Since every stone of Solomon's Temple has disappeared our main source of information is that in I Kings VII, 15 to 22. Although the earliest account, it was nevertheless written during the Exile some 400 years after the Temple was built when the original was in ruins. II Chronicles III, 15 to 17 gives a parallel account but this was written 200 years later still. Nevertheless, both give the impression that the pillars were free standing before the Temple, an interpretation so firmly handed down by tradition that virtually all representations from the introduction of printing in the late fifteenth century show them thus.

 

Yet a study of the earliest manuscripts reveals the possibility that they could have been within the porch, in which case they would most likely have had the simple functional purpose of supporting the roof. Now bearing in mind that this building was of Phoenician design circa 960 BC it had long been hoped to find evidence of similar temples of the same period in Palestine, and we are fortunate 126 'THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' that within the last fifty years two have been discovered. The earliest, in the process of excavation now, was the thirteenth‑century BC temple at Hazor, the latter incidentally being a city which Solomon rebuilt. The other excavated in 1936, was that at biblical Hattina also in Syria dated eighth century BC. Both these temples are of Phoenician design and follow the same principles consisting essentially of porch, holy place and holy of holies. Indeed their ground plans follow so closely the pattern of Solomon's Temple as described in the VSL that being prior to and after their famous counterpart, we can with some degree of certainty say that they all had a family likeness. Both these known temples had the twin pillars within the porch, a fact which supports the Greek version of the Septuagint which in reference to the J & B of Solomon's edifice tells us of 'a beam upon both the pillars', evidently describing the beam of the porch roof. In such case the Temple would most likely have had the appearance indicated on page 127. Compare the proportions of this modern reconstruction from biblical and archaeological data with that imagined in the seventeenth century and illustrated on page 128.

 

Now it is important to our consideration to realise that Solomon's Temple was at the beginning a royal chapel or sanctuary having a not altogether dissimilar relationship to Solomon the King as St George's Chapel, Windsor, has to the English royal house. It was made by a king for a kingly purpose, and except in one respect we must remove from our minds the traditional belief that it was a kind of Westminster Abbey, a shrine for national worship. No such purpose could have ever been considered by David or Solomon, but it does seem clear that their object was to establish a sort of religious focal point for the tribes which was for the first time in Israelitish history synonymous with the court of the King. By this means they were able to prevent the priestly class, the religious leaders, from themselves becoming heads of State. In this they succeeded admirably, as is proved by the fact that for four centuries descendants of David continued to occupy the throne and he himself has been revered as the King par excellence throughout the whole of Jewish history. The Temple, a very modest building by any standards, only began to assume its undisputedly paramount place in the religion of Israel long centuries after it had ceased to exist in its original form, when indeed distance and time lent enchantment to writers recording a glorious past.

 

In the beginning then the Temple planned by David and executed by Solomon was a dynastic institution. It was the place to be identified for ever with the accession of kings, and just as the raising of pillars had from time immemorial been a ritual custom associated with monarchs, so we can expect that the pillars J & B had similar ritualistic significance. Otherwise it is difficult to see why these two of all the many pillars used in the construction of the Temple were alone dignified by special names.

 

In 1939 Professor R.B.Y. Scott pointed out that the names Jachin and Boaz were most likely to have been the initial words of inscribed oracles, ie the pillar names were contractions of divinely inspired messages to the single opening words which became accepted in time through common usage. Such abbreviations of well‑known texts are familiar to churchgoers of the present day, eg Solomon's Temple as visualised by the author from available evidence.


 



 

 

N J z x m m z z F a x m 0 z d IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD 129 Paternoster is The Lord's Prayer in Latin from opening words Pater noster‑ Our Father . . . Again, most people belonging to the Christian church know that the canticle merely called the Te Deum signifies that one which commences Te Deum Laudamus (Thee God we praise).

 

So if JACHIN and BOAZ were the first words of inscriptions, it is reasonable to expect that the pillars themselves were in some way connected with the throne and that the full inscriptions would signify Yahweh's support for the King. What then were these oracles and what was their significance.

 

We have no clue during Solomon's time, but at a later period an account is given of the accession rites of Jehoash when we have the significant observation in II Kings XI, 4 (AV) `And the King stood by a pillar, as the manner was'. This is translated by the Revised Standard Version as `The King standing by the pillar according to custom'.

 

Again at a similar ceremony in honour of Josiah we have in 11 Kings XXIII, 3 `And the King stood by the pillar and made a covenant before the Lord'. These quotations could refer to any pillars were it not for the observation in II Chron XXIII, 13 (RSV): `The King standing by the pillar at the entrance' [to the house of the Lord] Since we know of no pillar or similar furnishing at the entrance other than J or B, we must conclude that one or other of these is meant. But the narrative has the pillar and although there is no evidence to support the proposition it could be that Jachin the southern pillar represented the Southern Kingdom and Boaz the Northern. For it must be recalled that the purpose in selecting Jerusalem as the site of the Temple was to unite the two Kingdoms and the Temple itself had a significant part to play in effecting that unity. Thus it is possible that the King would stand by each pillar in turn as a symbolic gesture to both sides.

 

But to return to the oracles inscribed on the pillars. The words Jachin and Boaz are evidently derivations of early Hebrew terms Yd‑kin and Bo‑6z. Of the former, Scott points out that the verb kun appears again and again with the meaning `to establish', eg II Sam. VII, 12‑26 `1 will establish his Kingdom' and `I will establish the throne of his Kingdom for ever'. And since Yd can be anglicised as He, God, Jehovah or more properly Yahweh, the oracle on the pillar would most probably have the meaning `Yahweh will establish the throne of David and his Kingdom to his descendants for ever'.

 

St Jerome's Bible known as the Vulgate compiled in the fourth century AD has the name of one of the pillars as Booz and in Phoenician the noun 6z is of frequent occurrence in the Psalms to denote strength. Thus in Psalm 21 `O Yahweh, in thy strength shall the King rejoice' and from similar expressions we may conclude that the Bo‑6z caption would most likely be the equivalent of `In the strength of Yahweh shall the King rejoice'.

 

Summarising the evidence, it seems conclusive that the ritualistic significance of the original pillars J & B differs from the masonic application in that the former was concerned with the house of David and the latter with the house of God. And although the verb kun and the noun 6z cannot literally be conjoined to mean stability, maybe we could stretch a point to derive say the significance that `Strengthened by Yahweh the house of David is established for ever'.

 

130 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' The dynastic connection is really a much more satisfactory one than that used masonically, for the latter implies that the first house of God and that necessary to perpetuate his name was the one built by Solomon in 960 Bc, which is irreconcilable with the nature of the Creator and indeed the VSL itself.

 

Nevertheless, it is rather curious that the masonic explanation of Jachin and Boaz by giving them religious rather than dynastic significance, was thereby unable to bring out and exploit the fact that just as the original pillars were necessary symbols at the making of a King, so representations of them now form an essential part of the making of a freemason.

 

THE HAILING SIGN In the previous section we considered Solomon's Temple from its secular rather than religious aspects. It is understandable that the biblical narrative being primarily concerned with the worship of Yahweh, it could not be expected to eulogise the Kings or heads of state of Israel for their purely regal qualities. Consequently, many passages of mainly historical or instructional value in the ancient records were rephrased by the priestly authors of the biblical books to be interpreted in a lofty spiritual sense as indeed they have been ever since.

 

One of the most striking is that from which the Hailing Sign was derived. We are all familiar with the passage in Exodus XVII, 11: And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses' hands were heavy and they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.

 

Now these words can never have been meant to be taken literally see page 131. They obviously signify in metaphorical language the vital importance to success of the sympathetic bond of confidence generated between the head of a nation and his people, a parallel to which was the inspiration conveyed to the British nation under the leadership of Winston Churchill in recent times. Every great general has possessed this same quality from which troops believing in their leader will face overwhelming odds, certain in their minds that they are going to win because he inspires and radiates confidence.

 

Thus when Moses metaphorically lifted up his hand, when it could be seen that he was confident in the ability of his subjects, he transmitted to the people the will to overcome the enemy. When he became weary and his hand fell or to use another biblical metaphor his hand was weakened, this attitude of mind dispirited the troops and they too lacked the essential ingredient needed to win. It furthermore needed the moral support of Aaron and Hur for Moses to regain confidence, after which the former fighting spirit was revived and the Israelites triumphed.

 

So the story of Exodus is really an allegory meant to show primarily the quality of Kingship in a developing nation and secondly the importance of loyalty on the part of the King's trusted advisers.

 

This metaphor of `weakened hands' occurs in other similar instances. In 1935 tablets were discovered during excavations of the ancient city of Lachish which 132 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' was finally destroyed circa 588 ac by Nebuchadnezzar. One of them reads approximately: And behold the words of the princes are not good, but weaken your hands and slacken the hands of the men who are informed of them.

 

The writer of this message again was referring to hands in a figurative manner, but the sense is exactly as that in Exodus. When the princes spoke in pessimistic terms, despondency was communicated to all who heard what had been said and they lost the will to succeed.

 

Similarly in Jeremiah XXXVIII, 4: `he weakeneth the hands of all the people in speaking such words unto them'.

 

So although the masonic explanation of how the hailing sign arose is very colourful and of considerable dramatic value, it is really based upon misinterpretation of quite another message already veiled in allegory.

 

We can be quite sure that the phases of the battle at Rephidim were in no way influenced by the angular position of the hands of Moses, but as in any other battle by his demeanour as a commander during critical periods. Or to use another metaphor whether or not he had cold feet.

 

IN CONCLUSION The purpose of this exercise was really to demonstrate the extraordinary symbolic value we place upon words, some of which were never so interpreted by our ancestors and others were not even to be invented for centuries after the events they depict. Majestic and beautiful as is the English of the King James Bible, it is at best a substitute for material much of which has long since perished and could only approximately be translated if any surviving original fragments were ever found. In adapting material, biblical or otherwise to masonic ritual usage many original meanings have tended to become lost or obscure, but this is not a good enough reason for them to remain so ad infinitum if we are interested enough to want it otherwise. In my opinion knowledge of how things were in the beginning greatly enhances appreciation of the form in which they have come down to us, for if there are lessons to be learned we are the better enabled to teach others.

 

But there is another purpose. Words being symbols to convey ideas to the human mind, it follows that over long periods of time their meanings change as the subjects which they portray themselves change. In the early days of freemasonry many words conveyed quite different meanings to our forbears from those which are commonly understood today. This creates a perpetual temptation to ritual improvers to modernise and tidy up expressions without adequate awareness of the significance of their actions. Certain it is that the application of what may superficially be believed to be common sense can play and in some instances has played havoc with tradition.

 

Hence the full circle is turned. The masonic historian not only takes part in the time‑honoured search for words that are lost and must be found. He has also to consider whether words employed in the search are themselves substitutions for others whose loss has passed unrecognised.

 

MASTERS AND MASTER MASONS A THEORY OF THE THIRD DEGREE THE PRESTONIAN LECTURE FOR 1971 THE REV CANON RICHARD TYDEMAN BRETHREN, IN so respectable an assembly, and before such competent judges of real merit, it may probably be deemed arrogant or presumptuous in an individual to offer his sentiments; especially when convinced that neither his knowledge of language, or his talents for eloquence, can do sufficient justice to the dignity of his theme.

 

It is not my intention to enter into an elaborate disquisition concerning Masonry. That task far exceeds the limits of my abilities. I shall only venture to submit to your serious consideration a few observations . . .

 

Those words are not an example of twentieth‑century modesty; they are, in fact the opening words of the Oration given by Brother William Preston himself, in 1772, when he introduced the first of his Masonic Lectures (Illustrations of Masonry).

 

All the same, those words may be said to sum up the general requirement for a Prestonian Lecture: that it should not be an `elaborate disquisition', but rather the submission of `a few observations', and it is in this spirit that the following thoughts are offered on the subject Of MASTERS AND MASTER MASONS.

 

THE LOGICAL PATTERN OF DEGREES Let us begin with a quotation that will be familiar to all: `To distinguish the spot, they stuck a sprig of acacia at the head . . .' A living sprig from a tree was unceremoniously broken off and hastily thrust into the ground as a temporary measure. So runs the story. But surely that sprig took root in the ground and grew and flourished, until its branches covered the whole earth.

 

In other words, that sprig of acacia may be said to represent the Third Degree itself, which began as a temporary measure and is now firmly established all over the world. Its light is still darkness, its emblems sombre, its s ..... s are substituted and its ritual incomplete (as every Companion of the Royal Arch knows), and yet its popularity remains as strong as ever. Perhaps this is because it comes nearer to our‑own human experience than any of the so‑called `higher degrees'.

 

In the `retrospect of degrees' through which the candidate has already passed, he is reminded that the First represents man's infancy, a state of.helpless indigence in which he is gradually given light and instruction to fit him for his task. The Second develops the intellectual faculty and represents the maturity of man. The Third brings him face to face with his inevitable destiny, the one absolutely certain forecast for each one of us; and it teaches us to face that destiny with fortitude and humble confidence in the Lord of Light who will, in his own good time, restore to us the genuine s . . . . . s denied us in this our mortal existence. 133 134 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' CONFUSION OF TITLES This pattern of degrees in freemasonry is completely logical and understandable. The strange thing is to find that, until two hundred and fifty years ago, masonry in this country acknowledged only two kinds of mason, Apprentices and Fellows, and there is little talk of `degrees' at all until about 1730 (see A QC, vol 75, p 150). The only reference to a'Master Mason' applied to the Craftsman who was elected to preside over the lodge.

 

Confusion arises here because in early days the terms `Master' and `Master Mason' were virtually interchangeable: thus in the Haughfoot Minutes for 1704 (see Freemasons' Magazine, 18 September 1869, p 222) it is agreed that John Hoppringle should continue Master Mason till St John's Day next ‑ which obviously means that he should stay in the Chair until then; while at York in 1725 (Gould, History of Freemasonry, vol IV, p 275) at least three brethren in one lodge are referred to simply as `Masters'. And at Dumbarton in 1726, (AQC, vol 75) Gabriel Porterfield, Fellow Craft, was unanimously admitted and received a Master of the Fraternity.

 

There is further confusion in the use of words to describe the making of a Master Mason. The word `raising' does not appear before 1737 (Collected Prestoman Lectures, Vibert, p 38). One reads of `making', `admitting', `receiving' and even `passing' Masters ‑ which led to the extreme complication of a `passed master' (p.a.s.s.e.d.) as opposed to a `past master' (p.a.s.t.) And just to round it off, we actually find our dear friend Brother William Preston at the very end of the eighteenth century laying down ceremonies for `the initiation of a Master Mason'! (Illustrations of Masonry, 2nd ed, 1775, p 100).

 

DRAWING THE THREADS TOGETHER Little wonder, then, that historians have not been able to make any hard and fast statements about the origins of our three‑degree system, or the actual date when it came into being. There were so many threads to draw together: there was the old‑established working of the operative masons where a Master Mason would take on an apprentice in the same way that a Master Printer or a Master Cutler would take apprentices, while between the master and apprentices came the journeymen who worked on their own. Then there was the early Scottish speculative masonry from which derived the titles (though not necessarily the degrees) of Entered Apprentice and Fellow Craft; there were the Knights Templar and Knights of St John who undoubtedly contributed the title `Grand Master' to freemasonry, and may very well have contributed much more; and there was the old theosophical teaching of the Kabbalah, parts of which probably survive in the Royal Arch.

 

THE MASTER'S PART These and various other threads were all weaving together at the beginning of the eighteenth century and it was clear that some central authority was vitally necessary to co‑ordinate and regularise things into due order. The four London lodges who formed our Grand Lodge in 1717 had just that purpose in view. Within a very few years their Book of Constitutions, under the guiding hand of Brother Ander MASTERS AND MASTER MASONS 135 son, had laid down rules for lodges to make Apprentices and Fellows, ‑though at this stage it is not clear whether this meant two separate ceremonies or only one. What is abundantly clear, however, is that private lodges were not permitted to `work the Master's Part', and Masters could only be made by and in Grand Lodge itself. In this way, Grand Lodge could keep a firm hand on those to 15e numbered among the rulers of the Craft, and be able to `vet' each incoming Master to make sure he was orthodox and suitable.

 

This state of things lasted a very short time. On the one hand as lodges grew in number it must have become increasingly difficult for candidates to make the necessary journey up to Grand Lodge to be given `the Master's Part', and on the other hand there were other lodges working in defiance of Grand Lodge who insisted on making Masters themselves; and so we find in 1725 a motion in Grand Lodge repealing Article 13, and saying, `that the Mast of each lodge with the consent of his Wardens and the majority of the Brn, being Mas"may make masts at their discretion'. By 1738 there are records of at least eleven such lodges working the `Master's Part' (Gould: History of Freemasonry, vol IV, p 368).

 

THE MASTER ELECT For a time, then, it seems certain that this third degree of Master Mason was given only to those who were about to become Masters of lodges. This is the only interpretation which makes sense of the idea of a `Master's Part', and as evidence I rely on the footnote to the Antient Charges printed at the beginning of our Book of Constitutions (1970, p 6).

 

N. B. In antient times, no brother, however skilled in the craft, was called a Master Mason until he had been elected into the chair of a Lodge.

 

The expression `in antient times' is certainly vague; but here at any rate is a direct connection between Master Mason and Master Elect ‑ not Master, you notice, but Master Elect; and this perhaps provides the clue to the way in which things then developed.

 

No doubt because of the difficulties of travel and the infrequency of such ceremonies, it became the practice to get the Master's Part conferred, in one of the `Masters' Lodges', on Fellowcrafts who were qualified by experience and skill to occupy the chair some time in the fairly near future, so as to have a reserve of qualified candidates for installation without having to send each one up for his third degree after becoming Master Elect. In much the same way that on board ship, almost every Mate will already hold a Captain's ticket in preparation for the day when he may be given a ship of his own.

 

INSTALLATION And so there began to be found this new phenomenon, the Craftsman who had `taken the Master's Part' but had not yet been installed in the Chair. He was not a Master in the sense of `Installed Master', and yet he was obviously more than a Fellow Craft. He was in fact, and still is, a Master Mason.

 

Those Antient Charges in our Book of Constitutions again seem to support this theory: 136 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' No Brother can be a Warden until he has passed the part of a Fellow Craft, nor a Master until he had acted as a Warden.

 

or again, The most expert of the fellowcraftsmen shall be chosen or appointed the Master.

 

And notice that in our Installation ceremonies we still acknowledge the old working, and go on behaving as though the degree of Master Mason did not exist! For example, the Master Elect is presented and obligated not in the third degree but in the second. (For, don't forget, that according to the Antient Charges, a Warden only needed to be a Fellow Craft.) The Installing Master addresses the Brethren: From ancient times it has been the custom . . . to select . . . an experienced craftsman to preside as Master not `an experienced Master Mason', but `an experienced craftsman', who must have been elected by his `Brethren and Fellows'. The Master Elect advances and takes his obligation in the position of a Fellow Craft. The lodge is then opened in the third degree, but nothing whatever is done in it, and all below the rank of Installed Master retire immediately. I suggest to you that in the early eighteenth century it was at this point, and originally at this point only, that the third degree as we know it, was conferred on the Master Elect.

 

JEWELS AND SYMBOLS Of the inner working of the Board of Installed Masters one can obviously say nothing here, except to mention that when the new Worshipful Master is invested with his collar he is informed how the Square is to be applied by Master Masons. Is this a slip of the tongue or a printer's error? Should the Square have been applied by Installed Masters rather than Master Masons? Or is this not just one more indication that the new Master is also a new Master Mason? When the brethren return after their temporary absence, the only visible difference they find is that their newly installed Master now wears the collar and jewel of his office, and some new symbols on his apron, and we might stop for a moment here to consider what these new symbols are.

 

They are usually described as `levels', and indeed they do bear a superficial resemblance to that particular working tool; but they are certainly not intended to be levels ‑ and in any case the level is the jewel of the Senior Warden and not of the Worshipful Master.

 

They are neither explained nor even referred to in the inner working, so we can get no help there. The Book of Constitutions describes them cautiously and mathematically, without saying what they are: `perpendicular lines one inch each upon horizontal lines two inches and a half each, thereby forming three several sets of two right angles'. This latter description will sound familiar to Companions of the Royal Arch who will see in this a separation of certain elements which are gathered together in new form in that supreme degree. Others have likened them to `T‑squares', or `two squares back to back', while some writers have gone into fanciful references to phallic symbolism and the cult of Osiris.

 

MASTERS AND MASTER MASONS 137 A FURTHER EXPLANATION None of these explanations would seem entirely satisfactory and I want to suggest another idea altogether, which fits in completely with what we have been saying so far.

 

Remembering that, under the old system, only Installed Masters were considered to be in possession of the third degree it therefore follows that only they had taken the three regular sps in freemasonry. But recollecting how those sps are formed my submission is that each of these symbols which we call levels or perpendicular and horizontal lines is in fact a picture of a I.f. with a r.f. in its h., thus showing that the wearer of this apron has taken the three regular sps. Now there is no proof of this, but it seems reasonable, especially when we consider the evolution of the apron generally.

 

THE APRON In every case, speculative masonry has formalised and standardised what it took from operative masonry. Thus the large protective leather apron of the operatives, which covered him from chin to below the knee, has been reduced to (again to quote the Book of Constitutions, 1970) `a plain white lamb‑skin from fourteen to sixteen inches wide, twelve to fourteen inches deep, with a flap'. The flap, of course, is all that remains of the upper part that formerly went up to the chin.

 

This plain white lamb‑skin is, as the Senior Warden tells the newly made brother, the badge of a mason‑ not just the badge of an Entered Apprentice, but the badge of a mason. In time it may get covered with rosettes and symbols, sky blue, garter blue and gold braid, but all the time the plain white lamb‑skin is still there, as it was on the night he was initiated. It is rather impressive to read the description in the Book of Constitutions which begin, as quoted, with the plain white lamb‑skin for the Entered Apprentice, and then goes on: Fellow Craft, the same, with two rosettes. Master Mason, the same, with three rosettes and a light blue edging etc, and so on up the scale, through `Provincial Grand Officers, the same, with garter blue edging and gold cord' until last of all comes Grand Master, the same, with the blazing sun in,gold in the centre, an edging of pomegranate, lotus and seven‑eared wheat, and a fringe of gold bullion.

 

but the most important word in all those descriptions is `the same', the plain white lamb‑skin.

 

ROSETTES The origin of rosettes is obscure. Could they have started as buttons or buttonholes which, when no longer required, were left in position like the two useless buttons on the back of a tail coat? Brother Vibert in his Prestonian Lecture for 1925 made this suggestion: The MM may have worn it (the apron) with the flap down as we do today; the EA and FC keeping the flap up, buttoned to the waistcoat, the EA further turning up one corner. The rosettes ... may have been adopted in Germany in the 18th century; they seem to represent original buttonholes for the turned up corners.

 

138 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' Brother Hills in 1916 (Somerset Masters Transactions) wrote: The . . . rosettes . . . possibly originated in some contrivance, a loop or a buttonhole, which appears in old illustrations, for fastening the flap up against a brother's coat and he adds, In the USA the ordinary apron is simply a white‑skin, and the rank is distinguished by the EA wearing the flap turned up, the FC the flap turned down, whilst the MM has the corner of his apron turned up.

 

Against this there is a statement in the Encyclopedia of Freemasonry (Hawkins & Hughan, 1920) There is evidence in some old American aprons still existing that rosettes were formerly worn but have since been discarded.

 

Therefore, though the idea of `functional' button‑rosettes is attractive, it seems more probable that the two rosettes of a FC were purely ornamental, to distinguish him from the EA. There is such an apron in the museum at Freemasons' Hall with two rosettes, dated 1795.

 

Meanwhile the Master had lined and edged his apron, first with white silk and by 1770 with blue, together with those indications that his three sps had now been completed. But if there were still brethren who had `taken the Master's Part' but had not yet occupied the chair; how could they be distinguished? And if, by then, the symbols on the apron had become a regular part of the Installed Master's regalia, then a new form would have to be evolved. Why not add one more rosette to the Fellow Craft's? A third `button' to indicate that here is a craftsman marked out for promotion, and on his way to the chair.

 

Now I realise that this has considerably simplified and streamlined the history of aprons. It is not as easy as all that. For many years there was no set pattern for aprons at all, and they were decorated with painted, embroidered or printed designs incorporating pillars, working‑tools, all‑seeing eyes and practically anything else you can think of. But by the end of the eighteenth century a set pattern had started to emerge, and I submit that my explanation is not unreasonable.

 

THE GREAT DIVISION Before we leave this subject we must not lose sight of the great division that existed during the eighteenth century between the so‑called Antients and the Moderns, with two Grand Lodges both claiming supremacy. (The Moderns, in spite of this name which their rivals bestowed on them, represented the premier Grand Lodge established in 1717; the self‑styled Antients were constituted in 1751, claiming that they alone preserved the ancient customs and practices of masonry. The division was only finally healed by the Union of 1813 into the United Grand Lodge of England.) The Antients were concerned about the third degree for quite another reason: in their system the Royal Arch was an integral part of the Craft working. Their Grand Secretary, Laurence Dermott in 1764 (Ahiman Rezon) calls it `the very essence of masonry' and in another place says he `firmly believes it to be the root, heart and marrow of masonry'. `A Modern', says Dermott, `is unqualified to MASTERS AND MASTER MASONS 139 appear in a Master's Lodge . . . nor in a Royal Arch Lodge [sic] until he has been installed'.

 

And he has hard things to say about `those who think themselves Royal Arch Masons without passing the chair in regular form'.

 

Now there seems no particular reason why an uninstalled Master Mason should not be exalted into the Royal Arch. There is certainly nothing in our present Installation ceremony which would be necessary for that purpose, and in fact Master Masons are readily exalted every day into our Chapters; but it would make complete nonsense of the Royal Arch ceremony to confer it on a Fellow Craft who would not have the necessary background to understand what it is all about.

 

PRACTICE OF THE ANTIENTS And so, among the Antients, the same sort of subterfuge was adopted to allow brethren to proceed to the Royal Arch without actually going through the chairthey were made Master Masons. Thus Brother Gould expresses an opinion in an article (in the Freemason, 1 September 1883) on Rights and Privileges of Past Masters that the `degree of Master . . . was invented by the (Antient) Grand Lodge to serve as a constructive passing of the chair, and thereby qualify Brethren for the degree of Royal Arch which could only be conferred on actual Past Masters of Lodges'. The same author in his History of Freemasonry (vol IV) admits that under both Grand Lodges the practice of `passing Brethren through the chair‑ or in other words conferring upon them the degree (without serving the office) of Installed Master, which had crept into the ritual of the Antients, was very common'. If, by this, Brother Gould means that craftsmen were given the `Master's Part' to proceed to the RA before being installed in the chair of a lodge, then surely it has become so common that it is now the normal procedure.

 

One more point about regalia: not all the old customs have survived. Laurence Dermott, in reference to the Moderns, informs us that each Apprentice carries a plumb, Fellow Crafts carry a level, and `that every person dignified with the title of a Master Mason [italics sic] should wear a square pendant to his right leg' (Ahiman Rezor, 1764, 2nd ed. p xxx).

 

Laurence Dermott is not entirely trustworthy, and here he is obviously being facetious at the expense of his rivals, but even so there is surely something significant in applying to every Master Mason the pendant Square which is now worn only by the Master of the Lodge ‑ albeit on a collar and not on his leg.

 

WORKING TOOLS For two hundred and forty years, then, the three degrees as we know them have been generally practised with this strange mixture of logic and illogic, with so much of the third degree being more appropriate to an Installed Master: Look at the working tools. In the first degree they are menial ‑ measuring, hammering, smoothing, but never finishing. In the second degree they are responsible, the tools for finishing the job, trying, adjusting, fixing. But the third degree tools are not the tools of a workman at all; they are the instruments of the architect, the Master himself, laying lines, drawing designs and rendering the circle complete.

 

140 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' The sps in the first are hesitant but growing bolder; in the second ascending towards the place of reward. The bold marching sps of the third would carry us right up to the chair itself if they had not been diverted on the way.

 

THE HIRAMIC LEGEND Which brings us to Hiram Abif and the masonic traditional history. That there was such a person there is no doubt. He is mentioned several times in Scripture where he appears as a highly skilled craftsman sent to King Solomon by Hiram King of Tyre to supervise the building of the Temple. He was of mixed race, his father being a man of Tyre and his mother a widow of the tribe of Dan or Naphtali. The legend of his death and its consequences will not be found in Scripture, but only in our masonic ritual. This is not to say, as some have suggested, that the story was only invented 250 years ago when the third degree took its present form; but one of the handicaps which our society has to accept is the absence of documentary evidence. One can say that there is no written evidence of the Hiramic legend before the eighteenth century, but that does not prove that the oral tradition did not exist, for masonic ritual was not written down at all in those days but passed on by memory and word of mouth. (Perhaps it would make for the better preservation of our secrets if the same practice were still observed today.) BIBLICAL EVIDENCE There is, however, one piece of historical evidence that has sometimes been overlooked, and that is the name by which we refer to our hero ‑ Hiram Abif. Where does it come from? Certainly not from the Authorised Version of the Bible which tells us plainly about Solomon King of Israel and Hiram King of Tyre, and merely mentions a third man called Hiram or Huram. But there are two texts where this name appears to be qualified in some way. As we shall be referring to these two texts quite extensively, let us call them, for convenience, text (a) and text (b). Text (a) is in fact II Chronicles II, 13, and text (b) II Chronicles IV, 16. In the Authorised Version they read as follows: The first is part of the letter from King Hiram to King Solomon: (a) `And I have sent a cunning man, endued with understanding, of Huram my father's.' The second is at the end of the list of ornaments: (b) `And all their instruments did Huram his father make to King Solomon for the house of the Lord of bright brass.' THE ORIGINAL HEBREW Both obviously refer to this Hiram or Huram who was a skilled craftsman, but what is the significance of `my father's' and `his father'? Look now at the original Hebrew: in text (a) we find `Huram Abi' (aleph, beth, jod). In text (b), `Huram Abiv' (aleph, beth, jod, van). The Hebrew word `Ab' means `Father', `Abi' means `My father', and Abiv' means `His father'. So far, so good; but the trouble is that `Huram my father's' and `Huram his father' just don't make sense, for this Hiram could hardly have been the father of King Hiram, and certainly wasn't the father of King Solomon.

 

MASTERS AND MASTER MASONS 141 THE VULGATE The Greek version of the Septuagint ignores the dilemma and just calls him `Cheiram', but St Jerome and the Latin Vulgate plumped for the literal translation: (a) Mihi ergo tibi virum prudentem et scientissimum Hyram patrem meum . (b) Omnia vassa fecit Salamoni Huram pater eius.

 

It was this version that was followed by most subsequent translators, so that the first English Bible of Wyclif in 1388 has: (a) I sente to ye a prudent man and most kunnynge Huram my fader (b) Hyram ye fader of Salomon made to hym alle vessels in ye hous of ye Lord The Great Bible of 1539 which was the parent of the Authorised Version varies this slightly: (a) ... a man whom my father Hyram did use (b) ... did Hyram (his father) make.

 

THE BISHOPS' BIBLE The Bishops' Bible 1572 repeats this, omitting the parenthesis in (b) ` . . . did Hiram his father make', and adds this interesting footnote: 'Hiram is called Solomon's father because Solomon reverenced hym and favoured hym as his father'. This shows that the editor was unhappy about the text and felt he must attempt to justify it. So also in the version printed by Christopher Barker in 1599 `with most profitable annotations upon all the hard places, and other things of great importance', text (b) reads: `All these vessels made Huram his father', and the marginal note says, whom Salomon reverenced for his gifts that God had given him, as a father. He had the same name also that Huram the King of Tyre had; his mother was a Jewesse and his father a Tyrian. Some reade, for his father, the author of this work.

 

This latter statement represents yet another tradition to which we shall be returning presently.

 

THE DOUAI VERSION However, not all editors agreed that the `fatherhood' referred to Solomon; some thought it referred to the King of Tyre. Thus the Douai Bible 1635 makes that King write in text (a): `I have sent thee a man wise and most skilful, Hiram my father', explaining in the marginal note, It is probable that this man had instructed the King of Tyre in true religion of One God, whom he confesseth in verses 11 and 12, and that therefore the King called him his father.

 

From then onwards, until the Revised Standard Version of 1952, all English Bibles have stuck to the plain `my father's' and `his father', without any attempt at explanation.

 

LUTHER AND COVERDALE Now in all this wilderness of translations and marginal notes, there have been one 142 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' or two lone voices which have insisted that if a description doesn't make sense, then the likelihood is that we are dealing with a proper name and not a description at all. The earliest I can find of these is Martin Luther in Germany in the 1520s who made his own translation of the Bible, going back when possible to original manuscripts. Here is his version of our texts: (a) ... einen weisen man der verstand hat Huram Abi.

 

(b) ... and alle ihr gefess macht Huram Abif dem Konige Solomo.

 

In 1528, Myles Coverdale, one of the leaders of the English Reformation, finding England too dangerous for him, fled to Hamburg where he met William Tyndale and helped him to translate the Pentateuch. By 1535, Coverdale had produced a complete translation of the Bible into English, using not only the Latin Vulgate but also Luther's German Bible as his sources. And so it is that in Coverdale's Bible, published only in three years 1535, 6 and 7, we find in text (a) the name Hiram Abi, and in text (b) Hiram Abif. Not `Huram' but `Hiram'‑Hiram Abif, in two distinct words with a capital H and a capital A.

 

This is the one and only place in the whole of English literature outside masonic ritual that I have been able to find the full name printed in this particular manner. In 1537 the 'Matthews' Bible, which drew upon Tyndale and Coverdale, prints 'Abi' in both places, but by 1539 the Great Bible had arrived with `my father' and `his father', and the old name was lost again.

 

RECENT TRANSLATIONS It reappears in the French Bible of D'Osterwald in 1881 as 'Huram‑Abi' in both texts, with a capital `A' but hyphenated, but we do not find it again in English until the Revised Standard Version of 1952 where it is printed in both texts as 'Huramabi', hyphenated and without the capital 'A'. It is repeated in this form in the Jerusalem Bible of 1966.

 

It remains to account for the third possible reading of the original Hebrew, hinted at in that marginal note of 1599: 'Some reade, for "his father, the author of this work" ', suggesting that it means, 'The work was done by Hiram who was the author or father of it'. Later translators have observed that the word `Ab' besides meaning `father' could possibly bear the meaning of `author', `originator' ‑ or even `master'. This is the sense in which the Esperanto Bible of 1890 took it, using `mian majstron Huram' `lia majstro Huram', and it is interesting to note that this is the interpretation accepted by the most recent translation of all, the New English Bible 1970, in which our two texts are given as: (a) I now send you a skilful and experienced craftsman, master Huram.

 

(b) All these objects master Huram made of bronze, burnished work for King Solomon.

 

THE NAME IN REGULAR USE Out of all this bewildering mass of material, one fact of great significance emerges clearly: that in England the name Hiram Abif had appeared in print but once, in a little known Bible of 1535, and nothing like it was used again in Scripture for 400 years. Yet freemasons in 1723 were apparently familiar with the name and did not find it necessary to explain it in any way. Can we really suppose that Anderson MASTERS AND MASTER MASONS 143 and his brethren invented a legend, and took the trouble to dig out a name from a Bible of two centuries earlier to go with it? Is it not far more probable that the name Hiram Abif was in regular use among masons even before Luther and Coverdale came across it, and that it has been in continuous use among masons ever since? Perhaps someone should do a little research on the relationship between Luther and the Craft, to see which way round the borrowing took place! The story of Hiram Abif, then, cannot be proved as history, but neither can it be disproved. It is therefore aptly described in our ceremony as a `traditional history', and as such it still can and still does teach Master Masons many great and useful lessons.

 

THE TRACING BOARD Let us turn now to the Tracing Board of this degree.

 

The first thing to notice about it is that it stands the opposite way round, compared with the other two, for its head is towards the west and its foot to the east. * Here, surely, is yet another indication that the third degree is the `Master's part', for the other two Boards are placed so that they can best be seen by the brethren on the floor, but the Third is placed so that it can best be seen by the Worshipful Master in the chair. (Tracing‑boards are, of course, of comparatively late origin, but this pattern had become well established towards the end of the eighteenth century.) Round the edge of the Board are the points of the compass, with the rest of the emblems occupying the centre. This degree attaches a great deal of importance to the Centre: the lodge is opened on it; we hope to find the genuine secrets with it; ashes are to be burnt on it, and the sign recovered on it. And now we find in the description of the dimensions that they are to be measured `from the centre, 3 ft. E and 3 ft. W'.

 

For in this degree it is implied that we can now work to render our circle complete. But the first thing necessary for making a circle is to establish a centre, and then one can trace the circumference, every part of which will be equidistant from that centre.

 

However, the compasses, we are told, belong to the Grand Master in particular as being the supreme authority by which we are kept within due bounds. The compasses, together with the VSL, and the S are described as the three Great Lights; they are symbols of authority and command. On a French tracing board of 1745, a pair of compasses is depicted in the east and a square in the west. This seems to fit in with that early eighteenth‑century catechism described in the exposure called Masonry Dissected: (reproduced in Early Masonic Catechisms, Knoop & Jones, p 168).

 

Q. How came you to be pass'd Master? A. By the help of God, the Square and my own industry. Q. How was you pass'd Master? A. From the Square to the Compass.

 

" This statement maybe disputed by lodges who are accustomed to stand all their boards against a pedestal or hang them on the wall; but the fact remains that most boards have the points of the compass inscribed round the edge, and if boards are placed on the floor with the `N' to the north and the `E' to the east, it will be found that the first two face one way and the third the other.

 

144 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' Can this be interpreted as anything less than a reference to the passing of a Master into the chair of authority in his lodge? THE CENTRE But to go back to the emphasis laid on the Centre in this degree, and the enigmatic statement that with it we hope to find the genuine. Let us take it that the Centre whose aid we seek is in some way connected with the grave of Hiram Abif who is certainly the central character in this story.

 

There is a grave, from the centre 3 ft. E and 3 ft. W, 3 ft. between N and S, and 5 ft. or more perpendicular . . .

 

We solemnly recite those dimensions, but what do they mean? Certainly they represent the sort of grave one would expect for a man of average height; but the measurements are so specific: let us try multiplying them together and see what happens. 6 ft long by 3 ft wide gives us an area of 18 square ft. Now multiply this 18 by the 5 ft perpendicular, and we get a total volume of 90 cu ft‑ninety degrees, or the fourth part of a circle. In other words, Hiram Abif is buried on the Square. But he is also buried on the Centre, the point within the circle.

 

`How will you be proved?T 'By the Square and Compasses'‑ in other words, by the test of the perfection of Hiram Abif. It is for this reason that we hope to find that which is genuine `with the Centre', for this Centre contains an example of the perfect mason.

 

But where is this Centre? The First TB tells us that in every regular well‑formed constituted lodge there is a point within a circle round which the brethren cannot err. On the upper part of this circle rests the VSL. So the Centre is located as close to the Holy Word as it can be. And our Master was ordered to be re‑interred as near the SS as Israelitish law would permit. In fact it would seem that we are to understand that his sepulchre was right in front of the SS just as the point within the circle is right in front of the pedestal.

 

ORNAMENTS Further indications of this are given by Ornaments of a Master Mason's Lodge. There they are, appropriately enough in the centre of our picture.

 

The Porch is the Entrance, showing that we need go no further than that. Next comes `the window that gave light to the same'. I am sure that we usually interpret `the same' as referring to the SS but is this the right interpretation? The SS needed no light, for (Exodus XL, 34) `the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle'. The light therefore is coming from within, and we should understand that the Porch was the Entrance to the SS, the D the window that gave light from within to that Porch, just as the VSL, that great light in freemasonry, gives light to all who move in the circle before it. And thirdly the reference to the Square Pavement over which the HP walked to approach the Porch, should surely suggest that it was beneath this that Hiram found his last resting place.

 

In these ways the actual spot where the grave is to be found is disguised under various symbols so as to be intelligible only to those who can understand their meaning. Or, as the Charge after the second section of the third lecture puts it: MASTERS AND MASTER MASONS 145 To him who did the Temple rear, Who lived and died within the Square And now lies buried, none know where But we, who Master Masons are.

 

THE MUSGRAVE RITUAL This somewhat extravagant manner of concealing a secret hiding‑place by a series of questions and answers was perhaps not so uncommon as might be supposed. An interesting side light is thrown on the subject by the great detective Mr Sherlock Holmes in the story called The Musgrave Ritual.

 

For ten generations, the eldest son of the Musgrave family was required to learn and answer a series of questions when he reached the age of twenty‑one, although he had no idea what he was talking about, or why. It remained for a clever and unscrupulous butler ‑ and of course for an equally clever but more scrupulous Sherlock Holmes, to find the place where the treasure was hidden. Compare some of the questions we ask (eg `How came they lost?', `How do you hope to find them') with these questions in The Musgrave Ritual: Whose was it? His who is gone.

 

Who shall have it? He who will come.

 

What was the month? The sixth from the first.

 

Where was the sun? Over the oak.

 

Where was the shadow? Under the elm.

 

How was it stepped? North by ten and by ten, west by five and by five, south by two and by two, west by one and by one, and so under.

 

What shall we give for it? All that is ours.

 

Why should we give it? For the sake of the trust.

 

In the end the treasure of the Musgraves turned out to be part of the crown jewels of King Charles I, concealed in 1649. The clues to their whereabouts had been carefully passed on from father to son, but the identity of the treasure and the meaning of the clues had long been forgotten.

 

There is much in this fascinating Sherlock Holmes story which will sound familiar to us: a winding staircase, the endeavour to raise something, only achieved with the aid of two others, and a very indecent interment. But this is not really a coincidence, for the author, Brother Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, was initiated in the Phoenix Lodge No 257 in Portsmouth in 1887.

 

CIPHERS AND CODES Returning to our tracing‑board: every coffin carries an inscription, and this one is no exception. On the plate on this coffin is the statement ‑ so we are told, that 146) 'THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' here lies Hiram Abif who was slain three thousand years after the creation of the world.

 

How do we arrive at this? By interpreting the masonic cipher in which it is written. These ciphers and codes were very popular in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries but have since fallen out of use ‑mainly because they are so easy to find out.

 

First of all, as one can guess from the figures, the writing is back to front ‑ 'Mirror writing', in imitation of Hebrew which is written from right to left. Next, all the letters and symbols are made up of straight lines and dots ‑ the usual thing for masons' marks which have to be made with the straight edge of the chisel or with the point of a compass. The alphabet was constructed by making two sets of crossed parallel lines (as if about to play 'noughts and crosses') and inserting letters in the angles so formed, from right to left, starting with 'A' in the top right‑hand corner. This diagram will accommodate the first nine letters of the alphabet (A‑I), and the process is then repeated for the next nine (J‑R). The last eight letters are shown in the same way in two saltire crosses. To write in code, all that was necessary was to depict the section of the diagram in which the letter is situated, and this now stood for the letter. To indicate a letter from A to I, the section was drawn plain; to indicate a letter from J to R, it was shown with a dot in it. Similarly S to V were plain, W to Z with a dot. With the aid of these diagrams the inscription can now be clearly understood.

 

NUMERALS AND ACACIA Very often on a third Tracing‑Board you will also find three '5's, or else three Hebrew characters which are in fact the letter 'He', the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet which has the same numerical value. These allude to the fifteen trusty fellow crafts who divided into three lodges of five each, and they further allude to the five sns, the five Ps of F and the salute of five which all Craftsmen give to their new Master when they enter the Lodge after their temporary absence.

 

And so we return to that sprig of acacia at the head. Plucked in haste it may have been, and temporary it was intended to be, but the more you think about it, the more you will realise that there could have been no more appropriate symbol to adorn the grave of Hiram Abif.

 

For first, the acacia which grows in Israel is an evergreen, a symbol of immortality containing all the hope and expectation of the life to come.

 

Secondly the acacia was a sacred tree, the Hebrew 'shittim', and of its wood Moses was commanded to make the Ark of the Covenant, the Table of Shewbread, and all the furniture of the Tabernacle.

 

Thirdly the word 'acacia' itself is a Greek word signifying 'innocent' or 'guiltless'.

 

Here, then, in this symbol of innocence, holiness and immortality, are summed up all the mysteries of life and death, of time and eternity, of the present and of the future.

 

SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS Such, then, are the 'observations which I submit to your serious consideration'.

 

MASTERS AND MASTER MASONS 147 And what conclusions can we draw from them? Surely that the office of Master and the degree of Master Mason have been torn away from each other, just as a sprig is torn from a tree. The logical pattern of the three degrees only remains logical if the third degree leads straight to the chair. The reluctance of the first Grand Lodge to let this degree pass out of their hands, the evidence of the Antient Charges in the Book of Constitutions, the curious way in which modern installation ceremonies ignore the third degree, the sps, the working‑tools, the symbols on the apron, the relationship to the Royal Arch, the square, the compasses, the Tracing Board ‑ all these point to the identification of Master and Master Mason as one and the same person.

 

Not that one would wish turn back the clock. We may indeed be thankful that every installation does not have to include the working of the third degree on the same evening, and thousands of Master Masons all over the world have cause to be eternally grateful to those eighteenth‑century pioneers who evolved a means whereby a man need not remain a Fellow Craft until elected to the chair, but can now participate in the mysteries of a Master Mason to prepare himself for the day when he may be called on to preside as Master of the lodge.

 

From being an elite minority, Master Masons now form the overwhelming majority of the membership of the Craft: the sprig has grown bigger than the original tree. Thus that `one great and useful lesson more' has been taught to so many who can profit by it. Courage, faithfulness, truth and honour are qualities which the modern world does its best to devalue, and virtue is constantly under attack in our permissive society.

 

EIGHTEENTH‑CENTURY MORALS It was surely no accident that the third degree, as we know it, dates its popularity from the early eighteenth century: for this was an age when death held many terrors; when public executions were common; when churches were empty and prisons full. It was the age of Hogarth's `Rake's Progress', of Dick Turpin and Jack Sheppard, Jonathan Wild and similar anti‑heroes glorifying crime; an age of piracy and 'hi‑jacking', with outbreaks of violence in the streets coinciding with a fashion among young men for growing their hair long.

 

As far as morals were concerned, notice that it was found not only desirable but apparently necessary to insert a clause in the Ob to protect the chastity of those nearest and dearest to a Brother Mason‑ even defining the relationship to include sisters as well as wives and children. Notice also how this seems to suggest, by implication, that the chastity of any other female can still be fair game, even to a man of honour and a Master Mason. Such was life in the early eighteenth century.

 

However, the picture was not entirely gloomy, for you will observe that this same Ob does not consider it necessary to define what it means by `the posture of my daily supplication'; the reference to a knee was quite sufficient to take that for granted. They may not have been great churchgoers but it could be safely assumed that every Brother said his prayers every day. I venture to believe that this could also be assumed about far more brethren in 1971 than any sort of statistics would be likely to show.

 

148 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' HOPE FOR THE FUTURE There is great encouragement in this. For the age of Dick Turpin and Jack Sheppard was quickly followed by the age of Wesley and Wilberforce, of John Howard and Elizabeth Fry ‑ a complete swing of the pendulum, made possible only because there were sufficient individuals who prized honour and virtue above the external advantages of rank and fortune, who kept faith with the past, and gave hope to the future.

 

And so, perhaps the origins and history of the third degree are after all the least important parts of it. What really matters is the meaning of it today ‑a call to us in another age of moral and spiritual chaos to hold on steadfastly to what we know to be right, at whatever cost, confident that the pendulum is about to swing again, if we keep faith.

 

I quoted Brother William Preston at the beginning of this talk. Let him also have the last word, for he sums it all up better than I can, and thus he ended his lecture on the third degree: The whole serves to commemorate the life and death of our Grand Master Hiram Abif whose extensive genius was amply displayed by his works, while the fidelity to his trust and his manly behaviour at the close of life must inspire every generous mind with gratitude and render his name everlasting to our annals. His example must teach us a noble and heroic fortitude, to defend our virtue when exposed to the most severe attacks, and to preserve our honour at the risk of our lives.* ' As transcribed in MS by John Henderson, 1837, for the Lodge of Antiquity.

 

`IT IS NOT IN THE POWER OF ANY MAN...' A STUDY IN CHANGE THE PRESTONIAN LECTURE FOR 1972 T. O. HAUNCH Summary of the ANTIENT CHARGES AND REGULATIONS to be read by the Secretary (or acting Secretary), to the MASTER ELECT, prior to his Installation into the Chair of a Lodge You admit that it is not the power of any Man or Body of Men to make innovation in the Body of Masonry (Constitutions of the United Grand Lodge of England) IT IS, PERHAPS A slightly unhappy fact that the recorded history of the Grand Lodge of England, the first Minute Book commenced in 1723, opens with a suggestion of some disharmony ‑ and in Grand Lodge itself. The retiring Grand Master, the Duke of Wharton, frustrated in an attempt to have his own way over a certain matter departed from Grand Lodge in a huff ‑ or, as it is put somewhat less colloquially in the minutes for 24 June 1723: `The Grand Master went away from the Meeting without any Ceremony.' Earlier at the same Meeting the authority for James Anderson's Constitutions (the very first Book of Constitutions) had been called into question and Grand Lodge, without satisfactorily resolving that particular matter did, instead, proceed to pass a resolution which has continued to ring down the years ever since, and to whose substance every candidate for the Master's Chair in one of our lodges is still called upon to signify his submission. `It is not in the Power' [Grand Lodge resolved] `of any person, or Body of men, to make any Alteration, or Innovation in the Body of Masonry without the Consent first of the Annual Grand Lodge.' To many who are familiar with the `summary of Antient Charges and Regulations' to be read to a Master Elect, (an innovation, incidentally, introduced by the 1827 Book of Constitutions) it may appear significant that the eleventh clause of that summary omits the final phrase quoted above, `without the Consent first obtained of . . . Grand Lodge'. This clause is therefore the mast, maybe, to which many a'no innovations' banner has been nailed over the years for there has 149 150 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' been ‑ and often still is ‑ a tendency to cloak freemasonry with an aura of mystic reverence which is as uncritical as it is irrational. It is to brethren who may not perhaps have paused to think about it, but who have rather accepted that the system of freemasonry has always been as it is now and, like the laws of the Medes and Persians `altereth not', that this lecture is particularly addressed. In it I hope to show that, as with any living thing, freemasonry has been subject to a continuing process of alteration and innovation with a climactic date of 1813 at the Union of the two Grand Lodges.

 

THE FORMATION OF GRAND LODGE In 1717 Grand Lodge was itself an innovation. Independent lodges of free and accepted masons had existed before that date back into the seventeenth century, but they were unco‑ordinated and often short‑lived. The four London lodges which held a meeting at the Apple Tree Tavern (171(‑17) and constituted themselves `a Grand Lodge pro Tempore' were not seeking to set up, at a stroke, a de facto autocratic system of government for the Craft. Their purpose was merely `to cement together under a Grand Master as the Centre of Union and Harmony'. The principal officers of the few London lodges were to meet together quarterly in fraternal communication (in the event they did not do so for the first few years) and once a year they would hold a Grand Assembly and Feast. Outside these meetings Grand Lodge did not exist except as an abstraction represented by the persons of the Grand Master and his two Grand Wardens‑the only Grand Officers originally. It is doubtful whether the instigators of the idea saw anything more than a social purpose in the periodical getting together of the lodges in a general assembly or `grand lodge'. If the latter was thought of as a central controlling body it was one aspiring to strictly limited territorial jurisdiction only, the Cities of London and Westminster and their immediate environs.

 

GRAND LODGE CUTS ITS TEETH In six short years, however, matters had taken on a very different complexion. By 1723 a Book of Constitutions had been published, Grand Lodge had appointed a Secretary for itself, had caused the regular recording of its proceedings to be commenced and had arrogated to itself sufficient authority to be able, in the first of its recorded minutes, to pass the resolution from which the title of this lecture is taken.

 

The brethren composing Grand Lodge at that date (1723) quite obviously did not regard freemasonry as a complete system delivered, as it were, from heaven on tablets of stone and complete to the last detail. Innovations and alterations could be (and in the event were) made in the `Body of Masonry', but only with the prior consent of Grand Lodge. And even then, it appears, the sort of changes immediately envisaged were those affecting the organisation and administration of the Craft rather than modifications in freemasonry as `a peculiar system of morality veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols'‑ which anyhow it was not at that date; this development was to come later. We find no evidence for instance that the consent of Grand Lodge was necessary ‑ or sought ‑ for the fundamental `IT IS NOT IN THE POWER OF ANY MAN change which was taking place at that time (the 1720s): the evolution of a structure of three degrees from one of two grades only. Grand Lodge in any case could no more prevent this than it could enforce obedience to its own regulation that Apprentices were to receive the next‑and then only other‑degree solely in Grand Lodge and, just as later in the century it could only frown upon, but not stop the next ritual innovation, the rise of the Royal Arch and the proliferation of additional degrees.

 

THE THIRD DEGREE The study of the development of masonic ritual from the seventeenth, through the eighteenth and into the early nineteenth centuries is by the very nature of the subject a difficult one. From such little direct evidence as there is, and from what can be drawn by inference, it is apparent that it was very much a process of innovation and change reflecting the transition from operative masonry, by way of accepted masonry, to speculative freemasonry. The advent of the Third Degree is a striking example of this process at work. It was a free and accepted or speculative innovation to take the material of the old two degrees, `Entered Apprentice' and `Master and Fellow‑Craft', and rearrange and expand it into three: EA, FC, and `Master's Part' (ie MM). Yet, as I have already remarked, this three‑degree system was coming into use in the lodges about, or very shortly after the time (1723) that Grand Lodge had passed its `no innovations' resolution.

 

The new arrangement did not take on immediately. An exposure of 1730 (The Mystery of Freemasonry) remarked that `There is not one Mason in an Hundred that will be at the Expence to pass the Master's Part except it be for Interest'. As late as the middle of the century it had still not penetrated to Kelso in Scotland, for it was only in 1754 that the lodge there discovered `a most essential defect of our Constitution', namely'. . . that this lodge had attained only to the two Degrees of Apprentices and Fellow Crafts, and know nothing of the Master's part, whereas all regular Lodges over the World are composed of at least the three Regular Degrees of Master, Fellow Craft, and Prentice'.

 

The Constitutions of the Free‑Masons, the first Book of Constitutions of the first Grand Lodge, was based on the old two‑degree system. Among the General Regulations we find this, for instance: `If the Deputy Grand‑Master be sick, or necessarily absent, the Grand‑Master may chuse any Fellow‑Craft he pleases to be his Deputy pro tempore.' Then again, in the `Manner of constituting a New Lodge' (the earliest official piece of ceremonial working we have) the Master and Wardens designate are described as `being yet among the Fellow‑Craft' and as the ceremony proceeds it is directed that the Deputy Grand Master `shall take the Candidate [ie the Master designate] from among his Fellows'. The resemblance between the Ceremony of Installation as practised in English 'lodges and this, its counterpart of two hundred and fifty years ago, will be obvious if the two are compared. It explains, too, why today the presentation of the Master Elect takes place in the Second Degree; when this particular piece of ceremonial was devised there was none higher; the Third Degree was still to come.

 

The fact that the three‑degree system was able to establish itself from the 152 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' middle 1720s onwards, apparently without demur from the Grand Lodge, seems to lend support to the theory that it was developed by a rearrangement and expansion of basic material which already existed in the two‑degree system. To this extent it was not considered an innovation and therefore acceptable. This is strengthened when we compare the attitude of Grand Lodge in the latter half of the eighteenth century to the next degree novelty which had by then made its appearance, the Royal Arch.

 

First, however, it is necessary for us to take a brief look at the relationship between the two rival Craft systems which were working in England at that time: that under the premier Grand Lodge of 1717, and that obtaining with its rival which came into being in 1751, the `Grand Lodge of England according to the Old Institutions', the so‑called Antients' Grand Lodge.

 

FREEMASONRY ANTIENT AND MODERN To us the differences between the two systems may now seem small and of little consequence, and certainly out of proportion to the unmasonic feelings they generated, but at the time much was made of them, not least by the leading protagonist and Grand Secretary of the Antients, Laurence Dermott. In the Book of Constitutions which he compiled for that Grand Lodge, and to which he gave the curious title Ahiman Rezon, he roundly condemned (2nd, 1764, and later editions) the whole system of what he called `modern masonry' (thereby, incidentally, coining the nickname for the original Grand Lodge) and charged it with having deviated greatly from the old landmarks. `The innovation,' he declared, `was made in the reign of George the first [1714‑27] and the new form was delivered as orthodox to the present members.' He went on to allege in his typically disparaging way that the founders of the premier Grand Lodge had invented what they could not remember of the original mode of working: About the year 1717 some joyous companions, who had passed the degree of a craft, (although very rusty) resolved to form a lodge for themselves, in order (by conversation) to recollect what had been formerly dictated to them, or if that should be found impracticable, to substitute something new, which might for the future pass for masonry amongst themselves. At this meeting the question was asked, whether any person in the assembly knew the Master's part, and being answered in the negative, it was resolved, nem. con. that the deficiency should be made up with a new composition, and what fragments of the old order found amongst them, should be immediately reformed and made more pliable to the humours of the people . . .

 

Dermott's assertions may have a grain of distorted truth in them for, as we have already noted, the three Craft degrees were developed by a rearrangement of the existing motifs of the original two degrees and a filling‑out with certain new material. On the other hand Dermott's own Grand Lodge worked the same three‑degree system so that he was probably carping only about matters of detail on which we know the two Grand Lodges differed. In this respect the most notable case in point related to the modes of recognition of the First and Second Degrees over which the premier Grand Lodge had made its most significant‑ and most ill‑judged ‑ innovation.

 

`IT IS NOT IN THE POWER OF ANY MAN . . . 153 THE TRANSPOSITION At some time in the 1730s the premier Grand Lodge, alarmed by the publicity which freemasonry was attracting through so‑called exposures and by the increase in the numbers of irregular masons (the two things were probably cause and effect), adopted a series of measures `to be observed in their respective Lodges for their Security against all open and Secret Enemies to the Craft'. Just how far these measures went is open to debate for the minutes of Grand Lodge are understandably reticent on the subject. Some concerned rules for visiting, but there seems little doubt that the major change was the transposition of certain words of recognition. This is apparent from the mid‑eighteenth‑century exposures and from the fact that certain continental systems, which took their freemasonry from England at that time, still to this day retain the transposed arrangement, making intervisitation between Constitutions by EAs and FCs something of a difficulty.

 

This innovation was one of the sources of contention between the Antients and the Moderns. Dermott made an oblique reference to it in a typical skit describing Moderns' lodges and, in particular, the drawing of the lodge done by the tyler on the floor of the meeting room. `Nor is it uncommon', he wrote in Ahiman Rezon, `for a tyler to receive ten or twelve shillings for drawing two sign posts with chalk &c. and writing Jamaica rum upon one, and Barbadoes rum upon the other . . .' The premier Grand Lodge, having allowed itself the power to make this fundamental alteration, equally found no difficulty some seventy or so years later in countermanding it, in order to pave the way for the union of the two rival Grand Lodges. In 1809 it passed a resolution to `enjoin the several Lodges to revert to the Ancient Land Marks of the Society' and so removed one of the greatest obstacles to a reconciliation.

 

THE ROYAL ARCH The Antients were, as we have seen, quick to charge the Moderns with having made innovations in masonry, but it was they who adopted and fostered the biggest innovation of all in eighteenth‑century freemasonry, the Royal Arch, together with a series of `side' degrees out of which have grown some of the present‑day additional degrees and orders of freemasonry.

 

The Royal Arch degree had made its appearance some time during the 1740s and‑the Antients' Grand Lodge, under Dermott's leadership, were quickly to become enthusiasts for it. Their lodges worked this degree (and others) under the aegis of their Craft warrant and they did not admit the necessity of any separate authority or organisation for doing so. The preamble to their Rules and Regulations for the , . . Government of Holy Royal Arch Chapters (1794) led off with the statement that `Ancient Masonry consists of Four Degrees ... The apprentice, the Fellow Craft . . . the Sublime Degree of Master, [and] The Holy Royal Arch' and it continued: `It follows therefore, of course, that every Warranted Lodge possesses the Power of forming and holding Lodges in each of those several Degrees; the last of which, from its Pre‑eminence, is denominated among Masons a Chapter.' The premier Grand Lodge on the other hand did not recognise the Royal Arch as part of the original system of freemasonry, although had it been so disposed it 154 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' could presumably have done so within the power Grand Lodge had reserved to itself by the 1723 `no innovations' resolution. It preferred however to remain completely apart from the Royal Arch and so a quite separate organisation came into existence in 1766 to control the degree among the Moderns ‑ the Grand and Royal Chapter of the Royal Arch of Jerusalem. The Grand Secretary at that time, Samuel Spencer, went so far as to say in writing to a correspondent: `. . . the Royal Arch is a Society which we do not acknowledge, and which we believe to have been invented to introduce innovations and to seduce the brethren from the true and original foundations which our ancestors laid down . . .'In other words it was not an innovation which the premier Grand Lodge was prepared to accept into the `Body of Masonry' in the way that, in the formative stage of its development, it had accepted the tri‑gradal system which, as we have seen, was certainly not laid down by any who might be deemed to be the `ancestors' of the speculative freemasons of the mid‑eighteenth century.

 

Nevertheless, in spite of the premier Grand Lodge's non‑recognition of the Royal Arch ‑ and I use the neutral term 'non ‑recognition' in preference to ,opposition to' as more nearly defining the attitude of Grand Lodge in the matter ‑ the degree grew in popularity among the Moderns and indeed many of the leading figures in the premier Grand Lodge joined it. They were not opposed to it, but they would not mix the Royal Arch with Craft Masonry in their Grand Lodge nor allow their private lodges to do so ‑ although here and there they occasionally did. As it was put by a later Grand Secretary, James Heseltine (himself a Royal Arch Mason and a founder of the Grand Chapter), displaying a more tolerant outlook than his predecessor and one better reflecting the position taken up by Grand Lodge on the subject: `. . . the Royal Arch is a private and distinct society. It is a part of Masonry, but has no connection with Grand Lodge.' Then again later, writing apropos the Royal Arch degree, he commented. . . its explanations of freemasonry are very pleasing and instructive'.

 

This fundamental difference in their attitude to the Royal Arch by the Moderns and the Antients was one of the more important points at issue which had to be reconciled before a union between the two could be effected. The compromise that in this instance did so was the statesmanlike concession by the premier Grand Lodge in 1813 that the Supreme Order of the Royal Arch was, after all, part of pure Antient Masonry, and the legal fiction by which it was acknowledged as `the Perfection of the Master's Degree', thus leaving intact the body of pure Antient Masonry as consisting of `three degrees and no more'. An equivocation, perhaps, but one which, happily, was to prove a firm foundation for the United Grand Lodge.

 

THE NATURE OF EIGHTEENTH‑CENTURY FREEMASONRY When one examines (as far as the evidence permits) the development of eighteenth‑century freemasonry, its religious basis, the moral and symbolic content of its ritual, the form of its ceremonies, its social customs‑what, in fact, is of the very essence of freemasonry ‑ one cannot escape the conclusion that there was a subtle but continuous process of innovation, alteration and expansion which could hardly have been envisaged by the framers of the `no innovations' resolution of `IT IS NOT IN THE POWER OF ANY MAN 155 1723 although the seed of one very fundamental change had been planted in that year.

 

The year 1723, as we know, saw the publication of the first Book of Constitutions. It has been argued that the First Charge of a Freemason contained in the Constitutions, `Concerning God and Religion', established the early speculative freemasonry of Grand Lodge on a deistic basis. It is by no means certain, however, that this was the intention of James Anderson, the editor, or of the committee of `14 learned Brothers' who were appointed to examine the manuscript. It may have been no more than a reflection of the more tolerant attitude of the Age of Reason to divergent views of the basic and universal Christian religion of the country. Be that as it may, and in spite of the fact that there are recorded instances from the 1720s onwards of men of the Jewish faith being admitted into the Craft, there is no doubt that English freemasonry remained very definitely Christian throughout the eighteenth century and up to the watershed date of 1813, the Union of the two Grand Lodges. Then in a whole series of innovations and alterations the United Grand Lodge gave a `new look' to the system of freemasonry by, among other things, de‑Christianising its ritual, thus establishing it henceforward and quite unequivocally as `the centre of union between good men and true' irrespective of religion and mode of worship.

 

It was only to be expected that speculative freemasonry should earlier have been developed on a Christian basis in a Christian country by the practising Christians who formed the great majority of its members. The ritual and ceremonies embraced Christian forms and allusions. The two Saints named John figured prominently in masonic tradition; they were the Patrons of the Art, the two Grand Parallels in masonry; unattached brethren were said to be from `the Lodge of St John'; the feast days‑that of St John the Baptist on 24 June and of the Evangelist on 27 December ‑ were observed by masons as the days of installation which in many cases took place every six months. The installation meeting was called the Festival of St John; in some places it still is ‑ thus does tradition die hard.

 

The MS Constitutions of the operative masons, the so‑called `Old Charges', were prefaced by a Trinitarian prayer which Dermott took and reproduced in Ahiman Rezon as `A Prayer used amongst the primitive Christian Masons'. He also, incidentally, printed a deistic prayer stated to be `used by Jewish FreeMasons', but in general the speculative freemasons of the eighteenth century followed their operative ancestors and when prayers were required in their proceedings they quite naturally adopted or adapted the Christian forms to which they were used in their worship. (As a matter of interest we may note that the Book of Constitutions of the Grand Lodge of Ireland, which is descended indirectly from an Irish version of Ahiman Rezon, still gives a prayer for use in the Third Degree which is Christian and Trinitarian in character. On its certificates, too this Grand Lodge is referred to as `The Most Worshipful Lodge of St John'.) When lodges started to adopt distinctive titles ‑ the first to do so was in 1730; Antients' lodges seldom troubled; with the Moderns, and at first with the United Grand Lodge, it was usual but still optional; from 1884 it was mandatory ‑a great many took the name.of a Christian saint. One has only to refer to Lane's Masonic 156 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' Records and the Masonic Year Book to note the numbers of lodges which have been and continue to be so named, thus underlining the strong connection there has always been between the Craft and the established religion of the country and its individual churches.

 

RITUAL, CEREMONIAL AND CUSTOM The development of the Craft system in the eighteenth century and up to 1813 is the final chapter in the story of the transformation of free and accepted masonry into speculative freemasonry ‑ of the change from a simple social and benevolent society with a picturesque ceremony of admission inherited in its essence from the operative masons, to an altogether more serious and highminded means of demonstrating a pattern for living by means of allegory and symbols. Freed from the shackles of its operative, purely trade restrictive purpose, and becoming fashionable and accepted at all levels of society, it was able to rise and expand on a more esoteric plane.

 

The first stage in this process has already been referred to: the adaptation of the system into three degrees and the clothing of the skeleton of these with additional material to fit them into the new pattern. Thus at first the purpose ‑ or perhaps merely the effect ‑ was to add to the novelty and appeal of what was becoming a fashionable and growing institution by providing it with a dramatic content and with traditional `histories' or explanations to suit its elements and motifs, old and new. As far as can be judged from the sources available (and, for want of anything better, and unreliable as by their nature they must to some extent be, we have here to depend very heavily upon exposures) there appears at this stage to have been no attempt to draw moral lessons from masonic traditions and emblems. True, Samuel Prichard in one of the first of the exposures to be widely circulated, his Masonry Dissected of 1730, did include this exchange: Q. What do you learn by being a Gentleman‑Mason? A. Secresy, Morality and Goodfellowship.

 

but he did not go on to develop this answer either here or elsewhere in the catechism. The morality which a 'Gentleman‑Mason' learned was probably that of the code of conduct of the `Old Charges' rather than that conveyed by ritual allegories and symbols.

 

In the 1740s however we begin to find scraps of evidence that symbolical explanations were being attached to certain features of the ritual and ceremonies. These occur here and there in contemporary French exposures and in the statements extracted by the Portuguese Inquisition from the unfortunate John Coustos, who was tried and tortured as a result of his masonic activities in Lisbon. It seems, therefore, that the expansion of masonic symbolism as a means of expressing certain ethical teachings must have been taking place round about the middle of the eighteenth century. By the end of the 1760s writers and lecturers were beginning to appear to expand and explain this new‑found philosophy of freemasonry and to develop its spiritual ideas and inner meanings, culminating in the work of one who was to tower above them all and whose masonic genius is annually commemorated by a lecture such as this ‑ William Preston.

 

`IT IS NOT 1N THE POWER OF ANY MAN 157 There can be little doubt but that the work of these masonic philosophers did much to give energy and direction to this aspect of freemasonry. What they did in their commentaries was to produce a great mass of didactic and homiletic material which, although not specifically designed with this purpose in mind, was in factor the best parts of it ‑ absorbed into the lodge work, thus establishing the pattern familiar to us. Reduced to their essentials our masonic ceremonies consist of certain forms of words and actions by which a man is made a mason or advance to another degree. These, the esoteric elements of the ceremonies, provide a rite which is complete in itself and all that is necessary to achieve its prime purpose, but around this framework is then built an elaborate system of formalised addresses, exhortations, charges and the like which lifts the whole on to a higher plane and expands and expounds (which the basic rite does not) the philosophical principles and tenets of freemasonry.

 

We can understand how this, the great but gradual innovation of the latter half of the eighteenth century, came about if we consider what we know of the working of the time. The actual ceremonies were probably very brief by modern standards ‑no more than the simple ritual procedures for making, passing and raising; the basic rite, in fact. It was in the catechetical lectures, which at that time were worked as the brethren sat at table, that the explanations, the moralising and eulogising, the drawing‑out of allegory and symbolism, took place. This is still so, of course, but the Lectures are largely neglected since much of their teaching (or, at least, the less verbose parts of it) has been absorbed into the ceremonies, and because of the change in function of lodges of instruction, for these are now almost entirely mere lodges of rehearsal and not, as they were until well into the nineteenth century, lodges giving instruction in freemasonry by working the Lectures.

 

The coalescing of the basic rite and what might be termed the teaching and preaching part of freemasonry came about as the ceremonial and the social and convivial aspects of lodge meetings became divorced into two separate and distinct activities. This was one of the many changes which finally became universal as a result of the work of the Lodge of Reconciliation in 1815. Whilst the Lectures were `gone through' as the brethren sat around a table, smoking and drinking and indulging in many toasts and charges, there was probably much room for individual ideas in matters of interpretation and symbolism. The author of the exposure Three Distinct Knocks (1760) confirms this (despite his gibes) in a footnote appended to his version of the Fellow‑Craft's Lecture or `Reasons' (as he elsewhere calls a lecture) when he states: Some Masters of Lodges will argue upon Reasons about the holy Vessels in the Temple and the Windows and Doors, the Length, Breadth and Height of every Thing in the Temple. Saying, why was it so and so? One will give one Reason; and another will give another Reason, and thus they will continue for Two or Three Hours in this Part and the Master‑Part; but this happens but very seldom, except an Irishman should come, who likes to hear himself talk ... some give one Reason and some give another; thus you see that every Man's Reason is not alike . . .' When the writings of the masonic philosophers began to make their appearance they found favour by providing and popularising ready‑made, but deeper inter‑ 158 'THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' pretations which caught the imagination of the masons of the day. To take an example by way of illustration, one of the first of these publications was Wellins Calcott's A Candid Disquisition of the Principles and Practices of the Most Ancient and Honourable Society of Free and Accepted Masons, published in 1769. The second part of this book has the sub‑title `The Duties of a Free‑Mason, in several charges delivered in regular Lodges . . .' It consists of some sixty or so pages of charges, addresses, prayers and so forth delivered on particular, named occasions. This is what the author, Calcott, said in `a Short Charge' delivered by him in the Palladian Lodge (now No 120), Hereford, to a brother on his being installed in the Chair of that lodge. The language may not be unfamiliar, although not necessarily in the same context.

 

Right Worshipful Sir, By the unanimous voice of the members of this lodge, you are elected to the mastership thereof for the ensuing half‑year; . . .

 

You have been too long standing, and are too good a member of our community, to require now any information in the duty of your office. What you have seen praise‑worthy in others, we doubt not you will imitate; and what you have seen defective, you will in yourself amend . . .

 

For a pattern of imitation, consider the great luminary of nature, which, rising in the east, regularly diffuses light and lustre to all within its circle. In like manner it is your province, with due decorum, to spread and communicate light and instruction to the brethren in the lodge.

 

From the knowledge we already have of your zeal and abilities, we rest assured you will discharge the duties of this important station in such a manner, as will greatly redound to the honour of yourself, as well as of those members over whom you are elected to preside.

 

Other examples could be quoted from this and other authors where one finds phrases or sentiments unexpectedly standing out from the printed page with equal familiarity. It is difficult, however, to assess whether these represent original source material or whether they are instances of a writer collating or paraphrasing something already well known to him. Whichever way round it was, their appearance in print would nevertheless have the effect of standardising approaches and attitudes of mind if not of actual words.

 

This process ‑by which the rudimentary degree system was expanded into fully‑developed speculative freemasonry has a faint analogy today in the desire of some brethren to expand and embellish lodge work still further by desiring standard formal addresses or `explanations' where ad hoc informality would be more appropriate. So new accretions grow quite unnecessarily on to `The Ritual' to cover such occasions as the presentation of a Grand Lodge certificate, Hall Stone Jewel, or the Master's 250th Anniversary collar jewel, `explanations' of the apron and so on. We may remember however that in their freemasonry eighteenth‑century brethren were only following the custom of the time, the Age of Formality, when almost any occasion was made the excuse for a sermon, address or discourse of one sort or another. For instance, James Boswell on being received as a member of the Literary Club in 1773 recorded in his Journal: `Upon my entrance, Johnson placed himself behind a chair, on which he leaned as on a desk or pulpit, and with humorous formality gave me a charge, pointing out the conduct expected from me as a good member of this club'. This procedure has a `IT IS NOT IN THE POWER OF ANY MAN 159 familiar ring to us although it must be stated at once that there is no evidence that Dr Johnson was ever a member of the Craft although Boswell certainly was. Apropos this custom of a `charge' being given to the new member of some organisation, we may remember that the MS Constitutions of the operative masons are referred to as the `Old Charges' simply because they contained a series of charges, read to a man on his being made a mason, giving rules and precepts for his conduct in his trade and in life, to which he was required to pledge his adherence.

 

1813 ‑ UNION AND RECONCILIATION Reference has already been made more than once in the course of this Lecture to the coming together of the two Grand Lodges as the United Grand Lodge of England and to the year in which this took place, 1813, as a turning point in the development of English freemasonry. We have now reached the point where we may take a look at the effect of this great upheaval and reorganisation of the English Craft, a traumatic experience which sister constitutions were spared ‑ a fact which accounts for some of the differences between English practice and theirs. The story of the events leading up to the Union and how this was celebrated on 27 December 1813 has been told many times over and need not be repeated here, for we are now more immediately concerned with the series of alterations and innovations which was its outcome.

 

The Articles of Union‑the `peace treaty' (as it were) ratified and confirmed by the two Grand Lodges ‑ had provided for machinery `to promulgate and enjoin the pure and unsullied system, that perfect reconciliation, unity of obligation, law, working, language, and dress, may be happily restored to the English Craft' (Article XV). This provision was put into effect by the warranting of the Lodge of Reconciliation which commenced work in 1814 and continued over the following two years until 1816 when `the several Ceremonies, &c.' recommended by the lodge were approved and confirmed by Grand Lodge (20 May and 5 June 1816 respectively).

 

Masonic scholars have now been arguing for many years as to how far the Lodge of Reconciliation went into detail in settling wording and working, and what therefore was approved and confirmed by Grand Lodge. The minutes of the lodge (which are preserved in the Grand Lodge Library) are very sketchy and unrevealing, but it does seem that the Lodge of Reconciliation may have concerned itself in the main with the broad outline or pattern of the ceremonies and only to have gone into precise detail on particular matters like the opening and closing, the obligations, passwords, methods of advancing and the like.

 

Be that as it may, the work of the lodge was not accomplished without arousing opposition. Six Antients' lodges under the leadership of the Lodge of Fidelity (former Antients' No 2, now No 3) set up a committee `for the protecting safeguard of Ancient Masonry' which embarked on a vigorous campaign against what were described as `the Innovations attempted to be introduced by the Lodge of Reconciliation'. The leaders were Bros J. H. Goldsworthy of the Lodge of Fidelity (who had originally been a member of the Lodge of Reconciliation until 160 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' excluded therefrom for his `improper conduct' in this affair) and Bro John Woodcock, Master of the Phoenix Lodge (now No 173).

 

The activities of the protesters soon, and inevitably, resulted in their being arraigned before the newly‑created Board of General Purposes, but they had the courage of their convictions. Woodcock in particular pulled no punches. He refused to recognise the authority of the Board denying `that Grand Lodge was itself properly constituted, the Articles of Union not having been observed' and the Union therefore not yet complete. He then went on to level at the Lodge of Reconciliation the accusation that the lodge `had not done what they were directed by the Articles of Union and had altered all the Ceremonies and Language of Masonry and not left one Sentence standing'.

 

But the Union, so long and earnestly worked for and so recently won, was not to be jeopardised by renewed divisions and disharmony. The Board showed patience and the Lodge of Reconciliation a willingness to compromise. The Board could have recommended‑but did not‑action under one of the Articles of Union (XVI) which gave Grand Lodge power `to declare the Warrants to be forfeited, if the measures proposed shall be resisted'. On its part the Lodge of Reconciliation, through its Master, Samuel Hemming (in a report to the Grand Master, 11 February 1815), stated that `In conformity to the wishes of some of the objectors the Lodge of Reconciliation have introduced a trifling variation in the business of the Second Degree, because they are most anxious that the general harmony of masonic arrangement should not be disturbed by a pertinacious adherence to mere forms, which are themselves of minor import.' This was the crux of the matter; the lodge was prepared to take the broader view for the general good of the Craft.

 

Although the organised anti‑Reconciliation lobby stemmed from the Antients' side (which had tended all along to show itself as intransigent as the Moderns were prepared to be statesmanlike) disquiet at the changes that were being made could not have been all one‑sided. The premier Grand Lodge had already made moves to bring itself into line with the Antients, and thus to prepare the way for the Union, through the work of its own lodge specially warranted for the purpose, the Lodge of Promulgation which had worked from 1809 to 1811. (One of its recommendations ‑ an innovation, incidentally, as far as Moderns' lodges were concerned ‑ was the introduction of Deacons). Moderns' masons had thus already felt the first stirrings of the wind of change which was to blow through the Craft at the Union. Nevertheless there must have been many, too, among their ranks who found this disturbing and even unacceptable. The Old Dundee Lodge (now No 18), for instance, recorded a number of resignations about this time (1814‑15) including that of a Past Master who wrote to say that he had ceased coming to meetings `in consequence of his not being of late as comfortable when he attended the Lodge (on account of the alterations in the lodge) owing to the New System since the Union'. The years after 1813 were unsettled ones for the English Craft when members fell away or were expelled and lodges erased and, although this may have been partly the result of economic conditions during the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars, it was also to some extent a reflection of the dissatisfaction of the die‑hards with the Union and its results. Only the firm Grand Mastership of `IT IS NOT IN THE POWER OF ANY MAN the Duke of Sussex steered the United Grand Lodge safely through these difficult and often stormy seas and brought it into calmer waters beyond.

 

It is easy to understand the feelings of brethren as they found the old order changing. Imagine the reaction today in the event ‑ the highly unlikely event, we may be sure ‑ of the Grand Lodge deciding to issue an approved, standard ritual and requiring all lodges to conform. The adherents of this or that' working' would indeed be quick to protest and to defend their own favourite variant. We may remember the excitement and controversy aroused on the two occasions in this century when Grand Lodge has moved from its traditional position of noninterference in such matters to discuss and legislate on ritual ‑ and then only within particular, narrow fields. The first in 1926, when the initial prohibition of the extended ceremony of Installation was wisely modified by a permissive compromise; and the second, in more recent years, over the optional variations in the obligations. How much greater must have been the consternation among many brethren a century and a half ago when, after years of bitterness and rivalry marked by a tenacity often verging on the fanatical to their own way of doing things, they found the Lodge of Reconciliation, backed by Grand Lodge, seeking to level out everything on to one common denominator of ritual and practice.

 

In point of fact the lodge could not‑and did not‑succeed in doing this. For the remoter country lodges the sending of representatives to London to witness the demonstration of the ceremonies was an expensive and difficult business. Many did not even attempt to do so. Furthermore, for the transmission of the ritual to lodges reliance had to be placed on that most fallible of instruments, the human memory. The influence and effect of the work of the Lodge of Reconciliation over the country as a whole was therefore patchy and uncertain and this accounts for the many local variations which survive today. That in the circumstances so much uniformity was achieved is surprising, but it was probably' only arrived at over several decades as opposition and disgruntlement evaporated and the English Craft readjusted itself and settled down again. The founding of general lodges of instruction, such as Stability and Emulation, no doubt accelerated the stabilising process, as did that innovation of the nineteenth century, the printed ritual. The first of these was brought out by George Claret, a printer, in 1838‑ although not, it may be noted, without escaping the censure of Grand Lodge. (It was not until 1890 that the first edition of the popular Perfect Ceremonies of Craft Masonry, purporting to give correct Emulation working, was published.) ALTERATIONS AND INNOVATIONS AT THE UNION The question which now naturally arises is what then were the alterations and innovations made in the English Craft at the time of the Union? In broad terms they affected both of the aspects under which the system can be analysed. The basic rite was co‑ordinated so that the outline of and sequence of events in the ceremonies (the openings and closings, making, passing and raising) followed a uniform and logical sequence. The unifying of the monitorial content of the ritual, the didactic and homiletic elements woven around the basic rite, was apparently more a process of selection and discarding (through the medium of the Lectures) from the mass of such material that had grown up since the middle of the 162 THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' eighteenth century as already described. A process, so to speak, of knocking off the superfluous knobs and exrescences. In both respects what was innovation to some was probably established usage to others; of necessity there had to be a great deal of give and take. It must have been to those prepared to take only the narrowest view that it seemed as though the ritual and ceremonies had been so altered that `not one Sentence' had been `left standing'.

 

The fundamentals of the system of freemasonry‑ that is what were and still are the essentials of the basic rite ‑ remained unchanged. This must be so, but if it were not self‑evident, proof is forthcoming from a conference of the Grand Masters of England, Ireland and Scotland, which took place in London six months after the United Grand Lodge had come into being. At this conference . . . it was ascertained that the Three Grand Lodges were perfectly in unison in all the great and essential points of the Mystery & Craft according to the immemorial traditions and uninterrupted usage of ancient Masons and they recognized this unity in a fraternal Manner'. Minutes of the Grand Lodge of Ireland, I December 1814, Author's italics).

 

It is possible to gain some idea of the variations which must have existed in the English Craft by comparison with the workings in those other constitutions (the Irish, Scottish and, to some extent, American) which were not subjected to internal strife and the purgative experience of subsequent union as was freemasonry in this country. Further light can be thrown on the subject by an examination also of the position in Bristol which managed to remain the `odd man out' and retain in it affinity with Irish practice its own unique working and system of degrees. The basic rite is common to all; the variations arise in the language and in the ceremonial to a greater or lesser degree dramatic (or even melodramatic) used to enact it, and in the range and diversity of the allegory in which it is veiled and of the symbols by which it is illustrated.

 

American printed monitors and lodge manuals provide interesting evidence on these points. Since they were derived in the first instance from English practice or publications originating here before 1813 they give an indication of the motifs and features which disappeared from English Craft freemasonry at, or shortly after, the Union. They also, and incidentally, well illustrate the difference between the basic rite and the monitorial material with which it is embellished. The former, if given at all, tends to be printed in these American publications in a highly abbreviated form or in code; the latter, consisting of exhortations, charges, addresses, explanations and the like, is printed in the clear, sometimes with engravings of the emblems and symbols involved.

 

Among these will be found many of those which appear times over on pre‑1813 English jewels and regalia, masonic pottery and porcelain, furniture, tracing boards, emblematic charts and certificates and so on, but which no longer figure in the English Craft degrees. To quote but a few examples by way of illustration: the Trowel, emblematically for the spreading of the cement of brotherly love and affection (still to be found in Bristol); the Beehive, the emblem of industry, whose example urges man to add to the common store of knowledge so that he does not become a drone in the hive of nature, a useless member of society; the Hour‑glass and Scythe, emblems respectively of human life and of time, serving to remind us `IT IS NOT IN THE POWER OF ANY MAN 163 of the transitory nature of our existence here on earth; the Pot of Incense, an emblem of that most acceptable sacrifice, a pure heart; and many others. Then there are sundry features such as the Middle Chamber Lecture with its homilies on the Five Noble Orders of Architecture and Five Senses of Human Nature ‑ hearing, seeing, feeling, smelling and tasting‑which originally appeared in print in Preston's Illustrations of Masonry. The Five Senses did not survive the Union in this country and the Five Noble Orders remain in the Ritual as a passing reference only (they are still described more fully in the Craft Lectures).

 

It seems, then, that what the Lodge of Reconciliation aimed to do and what in large measure it succeeded in doing, was to cut through the thicket of the accretions of the years to get back to the heart of things and re‑establish English freemasonry on the basis of `pure Antient masonry'. If in so doing much was discarded which we may now regard with somewhat nostalgic regret, we may also be thankful that the Craft degrees emerged from the Union as the firm, lasting and (with the Royal Arch) the only basis of the English system.

 

THE 1815 BOOK OF CONSTITUTIONS At the same time that the Lodge of Reconciliation was working to restore `unity of obligation, . . . working [and] language', attention was also being given, as required by the Articles of Union to the subject of `law and dress'. By the twenty‑first (and last) of the Articles of Union it had been agreed that `A revision shall be made of the rules and regulations now established and in force in the two Fraternities, and a code of laws . . . for the whole conduct of the Craft, shall be forthwith prepared, and a new Book of Constitutions be composed and printed . . .'When this eventually appeared in 1815 it was a complete departure from what had gone before, the creaking structure which had been built up over the years on Anderson's Constitutions and the extraordinary hotch‑potch of Ahiman Rezon which had done duty as a Book of Constitutions for the Antients' Grand Lodge.

 

With the first Book of Constitutions of the new United Grand Lodge a serious attempt was made to codify the law and custom of English freemasonry by gathering together under subject heads the regulations already in being (if appropriate) or such new ones as were required as a result of the Union. The Book remained in force for a period of three years during which time members of the Craft were invited to offer comments and suggestions and in 1819 a revised edition appeared containing a number of important alterations in substance.

 

The 1815‑19 Constitutions had many new features, mainly covering administration and procedural points which had previously only been dealt with inadequately or not at all. Among them for example was a table of precedence of Grand Officers, more comprehensive than anything which had gone before and including a number of new offices the duties of which were detailed in new regulations; other new sections set out rules on such matters as Provincial and District Grand Lodges, the London District, and a number of newly created boards including a `lodge' to administer the Fund of Benevolence and (another innovation) the Board of General Purposes; a section on certificates appearing for the first time in 164 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' 1815 was completely revised in 1819 to make it automatic for a Grand Lodge certificate to be issued to every member of the Craft ‑ hitherto it had been optional, on request. There was much else that was new but we are not immediately concerned with the detailed codification of masonic law and matters of administration; of more interest to us in this present study are the regulations made to secure uniformity of dress.

 

REGALIA BEFORE AND AFTER THE UNION One of the more extensive innovations of the 1815 Book of Constitutions (not substantially altered in 1819) concerned masonic clothing. Heretofore little or nothing precise had been ordained about this. Although from quite early in its history Grand Lodge had occasionally made orders about regalia, these were concerned only with such details as the colour of the silk lining to aprons or of that of `ribbons' (ie collars) for jewels (in each case blue for Grand Officers, red for Grand Stewards, and white for all other brethren); the overall design of aprons and jewels was largely at the whim of the maker or wearer. Just as in the latter years of the eighteenth century masonic writers were being inspired to interpret in many ways the philosophy and symbolism of freemasonry, the makers of regalia from the professional to the home‑made gave free rein to their imagination in the representation of its outward and visible signs and emblems. The result was an astonishing variety of aprons and jewels numerous examples of which are to be seen today in masonic museums and collections.

 

Aprons were often highly decorated with elaborate hand‑drawn, printed, embroidered or applique designs. Jewels, apart from those of lodge officers (by no means as uniform and comprehensive as now) often took the form of medallions ‑ thin plates of silver either engraved on the solid or intricately fretted with masonic emblems. Such medallions were for the most part worn by brethren, it seems, simply as personal adornment; quite often they were presentation pieces and occasionally they served as officers' jewels. The exposure Three Distinct Knocks (6th edition, 1776) described them in this way: These Medals are usually of Silver, and some have them highly finished and ornamented so as to be worth ten or twenty Guineas. They are suspended round the Neck with Ribbons of various Colours, and worn on their Publick Days of Meeting, at Funeral Processions, &c. in Honour of the Craft. On the Reverse of these Medals it is usual to put the Owner's Coat of Arms, or Cypher, or any other Device that the Owner fancies, and some even add to the Emblems other Fancy Things that bear some Analogy to Masonry.

 

Plenty of room there for innovation, it would appear.

 

The Regulations of the 1815 Book of Constitutions swept away all this by introducing a section entitled `Of Regalia' which for the first time laid down standard patterns for a complete range of aprons and jewels which were little different from those of today ‑ an innovation one hundred years after the founding of Grand Lodge which must surely make misplaced the ingenuity of those who see hidden meanings in everything masonic, however practical and mundane, even to the tassels of our aprons.

 

An alteration made at this time in officers' jewels was the changing of the Deacons' j ewel from the previously generally used (but nowhere ordained) figure `IT IS NOT IN THE POWER OF ANY MAN 165 of Mercury to a dove bearing an olive branch, but just why this change was made was not recorded nor had it ever been satisfactorily explained.

 

THE NINETEENTH CENTURY With `perfect reconciliation' and unity `happily restored to the English Craft'‑or nearly so ‑ the years following 1815 consolidated the position and paved the way for the great expansion of the Order in this country in the later years of the nineteenth century. The `no innovations' principle (omitted from the Regulations in the 1815 Book of Constitutions but reinstated in the 1827 edition, as already noted, as one of the clauses in the `Summary of Antient Charges') had only one further real test to face. Not that the process of development did not continue after 1815, for it did, but within very much narrower limits as far as ritual and ceremonial were concerned.

 

The ceremonies of Installation and of Consecration are cases in point. An attempt was made in 1827 to 'tidy‑up' and standardise the ceremony of Installation, but with limited success since the work of the Lodge or Board of Installed Masters warranted for the purpose was promulgated to London lodges only. The ceremony of Consecration on the other hand is an example of something new in post‑Union practice ‑ although not in theory for it was not unknown in the eighteenth century having been first described in Preston's Illustrations of 1772. There is indeed good reason to suppose that it may have been an innovation of that worthy founder of this, the Prestonian Lecture. However the ceremony appears to have been performed very little ‑ if at all ‑ in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. A prayer of consecration or dedication was the most that might attend the formal constitution of a new lodge. It was only from about the late 1830s or early 1840s onwards that the ceremony of Consecration as we know it (and derived essentially from the Preston model) really began to take on as an indispensible part of the ritual formulary for constituting a new lodge. So much so that we today speak of the Consecration of a new lodge rather than, as formerly, of its Constitution.

 

What was, it is to be hoped, the last great test of the innovatory powers of Grand Lodge came in the middle of the last century over the recognition of the Mark Degree when Grand Lodge found itself confronted by a similar situation to that which a century before had faced its predecessor, the premier Grand Lodge, over the Royal Arch. The story is long and involved and need not detain us here for we are interested only in its outcome. After much discussion and investigation by a special Committee set up for the purpose Grand Lodge adopted a resolution on 5 March 1856 (on the recommendation of the Committee) `That the Degree of Mark Mason is not at variance with Craft masonry, and that it be added thereto, under proper regulations.' But this was not to be the end of the matter. At the next Quarterly Communication on 4 June 1856 when the minutes of the previous meeting were put to Grand Lodge, a motion was proposed by Brother John Henderson (a Past President of the Board of General Purposes and Past Grand Registrar) that the portion relating to the Mark Degree be not confirmed. In an impassioned speech to Grand Lodge (reported in the Freemasons' Monthly Magazine, 1 July 1856): 166 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' He called upon Grand Lodge not to consent to any innovation on their present ceremonies, as, should they do so, the most disastrous consequences might result. If Grand Lodge were to consent to the proposed innovation, they would be laying the axe to their prosperity, and violating not only the letter but the spirit of their Masonic Union. He trusted the day would never arrive when Grand Lodge would give its sanction to so important an alteration in their laws and disciplines as was then proposed. Indeed, he denied that they had the power to make so great a constitutional change as that of adding a new Degree to the Order. They were pledged against all false doctrines, all innovations on their landmarks, and he contended that no man, nor body of men, could make such innovations as that now proposed without endangering the stability of the whole Institution.

 

Much discussion ensued but the matter was finally clinched when the Grand Master, the Earl of Zetland, declared (according to the same report) that `seeing that the Book of Constitutions called upon all Masters to declare that no man, or body of men, could make innovation in the tenets of Freemasonry, and that by the Act of Union their Order was declared to consist of three degrees, and no more, he could not do otherwise than record his vote in favour of the non‑confirmation of the minutes'.

 

The motion proposing this was then put and carried by a large majority. The Mark Degree was not to be admitted part of pure Antient Masonry. The result, as we know, was that a separate organisation, the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons, then came into being to control the Mark Degree in much the same way that a century previously the first Grand Chapter was formed because of the non‑recognition of the Royal Arch by the premier Grand Lodge. Masonic history had repeated itself and once again on this point of the definition of `pure Antient Masonry'.

 

IN CONCLUSION By its decision over the Mark Degree, Grand Lodge had finally divested itself of the wider power it had originally reserved to itself in 1723. So today our Book of Constitutions defines the powers of Grand Lodge within the more limited field of organisation and administration. `The Grand Lodge', states Rule 4, `possesses the supreme superintending authority, and alone has the inherent power of enacting laws and regulations for the government of the Craft, and of altering, repealing, and abrogating them always taking care that the antient Landmarks of the Order be observed.' There, in that last phrase, is the heart of the matter and the real `Body of Masonry' is seen to be `the antient Landmarks of the Order' ‑ that corpus of the lore and custom of the fraternity, undefined and undefinable, which subjectively rather than objectively forms the ethos of freemasonry.

 

We hear much today about permissiveness and we quite rightly see our Order as a bastion against the insidious nihilism which seeks to set aside accepted scales of values without offering anything in their place. But this does not mean that in our approach to the craft we need remain rigidly uncomprehending so that innovation comes to mean anything to which we are not accustomed or, worse still, something with which we merely do not happen to agree. For we have seen how, over the years since the emergence of speculative freemasonry and its growth as an organised Society, the `body of Masonry' did not remain unalter‑ `IT IS NOT IN THE POWER OF ANY MAN . . . 167 able. Fundamental innovations there have been such as the three‑degree system and the Royal Arch, alteration and additions in ritual and ceremonies as these grew in scope and significance, and changes without number in routine matters such as are inevitable in any developing organisation.

 

In 1813, after sixty years of dissension and division, English freemasonry was given an opportunity to pause and take stock, to redefine and re‑establish itself. The processes of innovation, alteration and development that have given us our system of speculative freemasonry were slowed down, almost halted; the challenge of 1856 showed they were virtually complete. Grand Lodge had, in effect, acknowledged that not even it had any longer the power to make further innovations in the body of masonry. In a century and a quarter the wheel had come full circle.

 

IN SEARCH OF RITUAL UNIFORMITY A General Examination of the Regulation and Development of Craft Ritual Proceedings after 1823 THE PRESTONIAN LECTURE FOR 1973 C. F. W. DYER From Illustrations of Masonry by William Preston (1742‑1818) The Attentive ear receives the sound from the Instructive tongue and the sacred mysteries are safely lodged in the repository of faithful breasts.

 

From the Articles of Union of the two former Grand Lodges, 1813 III. There shall be the most perfect unity of obligation, of discipline, of working the lodges, of making, passing and raising, instructing and clothing Brothers; so that but one pure unsullied system, according to the genuine landmarks, laws and traditions of the Craft, shall be maintained, upheld and practised, throughout the Masonic World, from the day and date of the said union until time shall be no more.

 

From the Book of Constitutions current in 1973 132. No Lodge of Instruction shall be holden unless under the sanction of a regular warranted Lodge, or by the licence and authority of the Grand Master. The Lodge giving its sanction, or the Brethren to whom such licence is granted, shall be responsible for seeing that the proceedings are in accordance with the Antient Charges, Landmarks, and Regulations of the Order as established by the Grand Lodge.

 

155. The members present at any Lodge duly summoned have an undoubted right to, regulate their own proceedings, provided they are consistent with the general laws and regulations of the Craft; but a protest against any resolution or proceeding, based on the ground of its being contrary to the laws and usages of the Craft, and for the purpose of complaining or appealing to a higher Masonic authority, may be made, and such protest shall be entered in the Minute Book if the Brother making the protest shall so request.

 

1 INTRODUCTION A GREAT DEAL of my masonic experience has been in connection with matters of ritual and Lodges of Instruction. Ritual practice is an emotive subject with most masons and they tend to view with the gravest suspicion any practices which they themselves are not used to. We have reached a stage in the English Craft where, between different lodges and areas, a great deal of variety is found in the detailed working of the Degree Ceremonies and, as all the varieties continue without complaint or censure from any authority, it cannot be a matter of some being right 168 IN SEARCH OF RITUAL UNIFORMITY 169 and some wrong. Most of us learn the basic Ritual from suitable books, but in teaching the detail and the finer points, Lodges of Instruction play an important part. Some Lodges of Instruction restrict membership to brethren belonging to one lodge or to a specified group of lodges, while others admit any properly qualified Brother. In the latter case such lodges can become so general in nature as to become a separate body, controlled only by its own members. I have had occasion to ponder on the relationship on Ritual matters between such a Lodge of Instruction and its sanctioning lodge, as well as on rules 132‑35 of the current Book of Constitutions which govern Lodges of Instruction. It seems to me that there could be difficulties in strict compliance with the rules.

 

I had earlier taken some comfort from `Points of Procedure' printed in the back of the Year Book. These are also included, with Aims and Relationships and Basic Principles in a separate booklet, for which the Authorities have recently taken steps to secure a much wider circulation. For some years the following decision of the Board of General Purposes appeared: Ritual in Lodge Is a Master entitled to decide what Rule 155 B of C lays it down that the ritual shall be practised during his majority of a Lodge shall regulate the year of office? proceedings.

 

Without this direct reference to Ritual in the Board's decision, it is likely that many brethren might not have considered that Rule 155 (reproduced above) covered that aspect of lodge procedure. I was surprised to find that in the Year Book for 1965 the word `procedure' had been substituted for `ritual'. This new form was contained in later editions of the separate booklet and in subsequent Year Books (1973 at page 820). This small change could mean one of two things ‑ either the rule must be taken as no longer applying to Ritual procedure, or the word `procedure' must be taken to include Ritual, although in this latter case no alteration seemed necessary. I was unable to satisfy myself, but did find that the Board considered Ritual to be outside its jurisdiction and had in consequence sought for some years to avoid any question of taking decisions on matters involving Ritual. This did not supply an answer but left me more confused when I considered that other authorities under Grand Lodge, such as Provinces and Districts, found no difficulty, Rule 155 or no, in giving direction on Ritual matters.

 

It was these experiences in the interpretation and application of these rules which caused me to look into their origins and into the history of Ritual differences and the control of Lodges of Instruction. The basic Ritual which we use in the English Craft for the three Degree Ceremonies dates from the Union of the two former Grand Lodges in 1813. Shortly after that date a new Ritual, definitely different in some respects from the practices of either of the former bodies, was promulgated for the use of the Craft. I therefore referred to the terms of the Union and it seemed quite clear to me that when this new Ritual was taken into use it was the intention that all Ritual working was to be done in exactly the same way, without any variations, throughout the United Grand Lodge of England. The Duke of Sussex was Grand Master at the Union and I became interested to 170 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' see if, in the thirty years he held that office, he succeeded in ensuring that uniformity of Ritual working prevailed and what steps he took. I was also concerned to try to ascertain what he would consider Ritual to be, for no copy of the post‑Union Ritual was officially kept. As additional issues, I was interested to see if this doctrine of complete uniformity was new or had been practised prior to the Union, and further, if complete uniformity had been considered important at the time of the Union when our present Ritual was formulated, how there come to be so many variations today.

 

2 PRE‑UNION AND WILLIAM PRESTON There had no doubt been attempts at various times before the Union to secure uniformity of working but it seems unlikely that they were particularly successful. In the Grand Lodge under the Duke of Atholl, the Nine Worthies were appointed to ensure general uniformity but their employment seemed to die out. In considering control under the premier Grand Lodge, the work of William Preston, after whom this Lecture is named, very quickly commands the attention. His Illustrations of Masonry indicates his intense interest in instruction in Craft Ritual procedures. In the 1790s, after his reinstatement in the Craft by the premier Grand Lodge, it is more than probable that the Ritual procedures which he taught, as well as the system of teaching them, were to some degree of his own devising. By the early 1800s his medium for instruction was a Lodge of Instruction associated with the Lodge of Antiquity and his method was through Lectures in question and answer form. There was a separate Lecture for each Degree, with set questions in a particular sequence and standard answers, and some part of each Lecture described the Ritual of the Degree Ceremony in detail and contained some of the wording to be used.

 

The use of catechsml Lectures as a means of teaching and controlling Ritual practices developed during the second half of the eighteenth century from the testing catechisms of earlier years and by 1800 was the accepted method of instruction. The public nights of the Stewards' Lodge (later Grand Stewards' Lodge) had been started in order to demonstrate and so apply a measure of control on the authorised working of the premier Grand Lodge, and the work was done in this way.' Other systems were developed and we read of Dunckerley's, Browne's and Finch's by the early 1800s, but Preston's was the most sophisticated. Despite the Grand Stewards' Lodge public nights, there was not complete uniformity, although most lodges probably did not work according to Preston's system and in the manner of the Lodge of Antiquity.

 

THE LODGES OF PROMULGATION AND RECONCILIATION In 1810 the premier Grand Lodge, through the Lodge of Promulgation specially formed for the purpose, adopted alterations designed to reverse changes made some seventy years before. The change back was made to facilitate a union with t Freemasons' Magazine, 1858, p 917: `Those who like ourselves have been many years in Freemasonry may remember that in their younger days they were informed that the Grand Stewards' Lodge . . . was established for preserving the authorised mode of working and public nights were specially set aside to enable the Brethren to attend and see what the working was.' For method of working at public nights, see p 148 under The Grand Stewards' Lodge Public Nights.

 

IN SEARCH OF RITUAL UNIFORMITY the rival (Atholl) Grand Lodge and at the same time the Ritual work was generally overhauled with the same end in view. The Lodge of Promulgation was very much influenced by the system of the Lodge of Antiquity and a number of Brethren who were members of Antiquity were appointed members of Promulgation, including the Duke of Sussex, who took part in the deliberations (the Duke was permanent Master of Antiquity from 1809 until his death).' The fact that Antiquity did not work according to the earlier changes made by the premier Grand Lodge; that its system followed a number of points of the Ritual used by the Atholl Grand Lodge under which Preston had been initiated; and that it had, in Preston's Lectures, a ready‑made method of instruction, must have made the task of the Lodge of Promulgation much easier and it reached agreement surprisingly quickly.

 

The Secretary of the Lodge of Promulgation was Charles Bonnor, also of the Lodge of Antiquity. He described, as a pattern, the `Ancient practice' as used in his lodge, and also presented a scheme for obtaining `one uniform mode of practice' and an improvement in the `relaxed state' of Ritual discipline of the times. Although his proposal was not officially adopted, it seemed to have some effect in the next few years and may even have been the starting point of the attempt at complete uniformity which the Duke of Sussex made at the Union four years later. The whole of the forms settled by the Lodge of Promulgation were incorporated in Preston's Lectures, slight adjustments being made in the Lectures where Promulgation did not follow exactly the Antiquity procedures and a new edition of Preston's Syllabus, containing an aide memoire of the set questions, was put into print. In 1810 and after, Preston's Lectures came into more general use in Lodges of Instruction. 3 They represented a standard of the work of the premier Grand Lodge as settled by the Lodge of Promulgation.

 

When the Union of the two former Grand Lodges took place in 1813 the task of settling the Ritual forms for use in the lodges under the new United Grand Lodge was given to another lodge specially formed for the purpose, the Lodge of Reconciliation. The Ritual which was ultimately settled by this lodge, probably by the end of 1814, and which was approved by the United Grand Lodge in 1816, was different in a number of respects from that which had been settled by the Lodge of Promulgation. If Preston's Lectures were to be of use in this new situation, they must be amended again. Preston was by this time a sick and old man and he died in 1818 at the age of seventy‑six. It is probable that he did some revision, or that someone did it for him with his connivance, 5 but it is likely that they were never adjusted to conform fully to the new forms and so may not have been generally acceptable. For the short period between the taking into use of the revisions made by the Lodge of Promulgation in 1810 and the Union in December 1813, Preston's t For further details of the Duke of Sussex, see P. R. James. 'The Grand‑Mastership of H.R.H. the Duke of Sussex, 1813‑1843' (The Prestonian Lecture for 1962), Sponsored by the Lodge of Antiquity and drawn up by H. J. da Costa. They were published in 1812 (the First and Second Lectures) and 1813 (the Third Lecture) when de Costa was Acting Master of the lodge, see Capt C. W. Firebrace, Records of the Lodge of Antiquity. No 2, vol 11.

 

'For example, the Burlington Lodge of Instruction whose minutes from 1810 are in the Grand Lodge Library and whose members from that time include several members of the Lodge of Anti9mty.

 

For details of the Lodge of Promulgation, see W. B. Hextall,'The Special Lodge of Promulgation. 1809‑11 '. A QC.23, p 37.

 

5 See comments on a manuscript, attributed to John Turk, of Preston's Third Lecture: mentioned by P. R. James, 'William Preston's Third Lecture of Freemasonry'. AQC, 85.

 

172 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' system provided a control aimed at uniformity in the procedures of the lodges under the premier Grand Lodge.

 

ESTABLISHMENT OF THE PRESTONIAN LECTURE Henry George Warren, when giving the Prestonian Lecture in 1861, said in his introduction, `Upon his death, believing he would leave behind him a complete and orthodox formulary, Brother Preston bequeathed a sum of ˙300, the interest of which was to be devoted to the establishment of an annual Lecture in order to preserve the work of his hands and the result of his labours to the Craft.' This annual Lecture was to be of part of Preston's system and was first given under the terms of Preston's bequest in 1820. Such an annual rendering might well have formed a point of reference in Ritual practice after the Union, if given publicly, and if the content followed the new forms. By 1820 other systems of instruction were established; the Lecture was given privately in the Lodge of Antiquity and differed in some respects from the new accepted forms, so that its purpose was not achieved. For the next thirty years and more it continued to be given privately, usually in the Lodge of Antiquity. In 1858 the Lecture was given to a wider audience but, because of its difference from the working then current, it did not prove popular.' The Lecture was given in conjunction with the Grand Stewards' Lodge public nights until 1862, after which the appointment lapsed. (The appointment was revived in 1924 in its present form, the Lecturer delivering a paper on a masonic subject of his own choice.) 3 THE ARTICLES OF UNION The Union of the Grand Lodges was achieved in 1813 by the signing and ratification of Articles of Union. Article III, which is set out at the head of this paper, refers to `the most perfect unity in most aspects of Ritual procedure. This, if achieved, could leave no room for any alternatives and this desired unity extended, not only to `working' and the three Degrees, but also to 'instructing'which in 1813 could only mean a system of Lectures, the standard method of the time. Articles IV and V provided for the obligations, forms, rules and ancient traditions to be agreed with deputations from the Grand Lodges of Ireland and Scotland before being promulgated; and this desired uniformity was to be secured through a Lodge of Reconciliation consisting of `nine worthy and expert Master Masons or Past Masters', along with some Grand Officers, from each of the former Grand Lodges. The task of promulgation after the Union was also laid as a duty on the Lodge of Reconciliation by Article XV: XV. After the day of Re‑union, as aforesaid, and when it shall be ascertained what are the obligations, forms, regulations, working, and instruction, to be universally established, speedy and effectual steps shall be taken to obligate all the members of each Lodge in all the degrees, according to the form taken and recognised by the Grand Master, Past Grand Masters, Grand Officers, and Representatives of Lodges, on the day of the Re‑union; and for this purpose the worthy and expert Master Masons appointed, as aforesaid, shall visit and attend the several Lodges, within the Bills of Mortality, in rotation, dividing themselves into quorums of not less than three each, for the greater ' H. G. Warren makes this statement in the introduction to the Prestonian Lecture in 1861; the manuscript of his introductory speech is in the Grand Lodge Library.

 

IN SEARCH OF RITUAL UNIFORMITY 173 expedition, and they shall assist the Master and Wardens to promulgate and enjoin the pure and unsullied system, that perfect reconciliation, unity of obligation, law, working, language, and dress, may be happily restored to the English Craft.

 

`Instruction' is also included in this Article, while unity of language is to be restored as well. Everyone must work in precisely the same way and the duty of ensuring this was first placed on the Lodge of Reconciliation.

 

4 THE RULE OF THE DUKE OF SUSSEX The Union of Grand Lodges had hung fire from 1810, in which year the premier Grand Lodge had put its house in order so far as the Ritual of the Degree Ceremonies was concerned and the Atholl Grand Lodge had gone some way to meet the situation by making conciliatory changes also. Little real progress seems to have been made in the next three years. The Duke of Sussex became Grand Master of the premier Grand Lodge in April 1813 and by December of that year the Union was an established fact. Its achievement, including the principle of complete uniformity so strongly set out in the Articles, had become a personal challenge for the Duke. The success of a United Grand Lodge in the years following 1813 was a matter of personal prestige and finally of personal triumph for him; it was not achieved without a great deal of careful and patient diplomacy by the Grand Master himself.

 

The Duke of Sussex was a Grand Master who was very much involved in masonry.' After the manner of his times he tended to be autocratic, although he appeared ready to consider opinion put forward in a democratic manner. He was quite prepared to allow the Craft to be governed by the majority decision of Grand Lodge but, if he made proposals he expected them to be passed, democratic rule or not. His interest in Ritual matters first showed in his taking part in the deliberations of the Lodge of Promulgation; this interest continued not only in the early years of the United Grand Lodge, but right through the rest of his life, and much that happened in the sphere of control of Ritual practice and instruction can be traced to him. He even suggested to the Grand Lodges of Ireland and Scotland that they should consider following the English post‑union forms; he probably felt that his position in the Royal family when Ireland and Scotland were subject to the same rule as England allowed him to make such a suggestion, for he had no other authority in those sovereign Grand Lodges.

 

THE LODGE OF RECONCILIATION With some ad hoc adjustments, matters proceeded very much as planned. The Union took place, but the Representatives from Ireland and Scotland were not able to be present at such short notice. 2 They did come to London at the end of June 1814 3 and approved the forms put forward as a result of the work of the Lodge of Reconciliation. The lodge then commenced, in August 1814, to promulgate the new forms by giving demonstrations. Its members also visited lodges t See Prestonian Lecture for 1962, mentioned ante.

 

2 Minutes of the meeting on 27 December 1813 for the Union of the two former Grand Lodges.

 

3 This meeting resulted in the signing of the International Compact which still regulates relations with these two Grand Lodgese .

 

W. Wonnacott, `The Lodge of Reconciliation (1813‑1816)', AQC, 23.

 

174 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' as the Articles of Union required, though not always in threes.' In 1814 and the early part of 1815, by this demonstration and visiting, it attempted to carry out its duty of ensuring uniformity in Ritual working. By the later months of 1815 there was some concern that this desired uniformity was not being achieved. The minutes for December 1815 of the General Committee, which met in the week before each Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge to settle the agenda, contain a comment by Rev Henry 1. Knapp, one of the Grand Chaplains, `that something ought to be done for the sake of uniformity and also that he should move that the mode recommended by the Lodge of Reconciliation should be adopted'. Knapp withdrew this notice of motion, but Peter Gilkes2 then said that he would put forward a petition to the Grand Master in similar terms. When his motion for the petition was not taken at the December Communication, Gilkes angrily put forward a motion for March 1816: That the Lodge do sanction the System as promulgated by the Lodge of Reconciliation of initiating passing and raising with the exception of the obligations which have already received its Sanction.

 

Gilkes finally withdrew this motion, but the Grand Master had decided to place the whole of the new `forms' before Grand Lodge for approval. They were put before Grand Lodge in May and approved in June 1816, but the Lodge of Reconciliation was not called to meet again although the work given to it under the Articles of Union was not completed .3 NEW LECTURES Although `instruction' is mentioned in connection with the duties of the Lodge of Reconciliation and their surviving records contain occasional references to the subject, and to a reprimand for printing `information on the subject of Masonic Instruction', there is no direct reference to the complication of Lectures nor to working by that method. The minutes of the lodge which are in the Grand Lodge Library refer mainly to those meetings to which members of the Craft were invited in order to witness demonstrations of Ceremonies, and no records remain of other meetings held to compile and agree the new Ritual forms. The Master of the Lodge was Rev Samuel Hemming and he did compile a Lecture in the first Degree. Several writers (including A. F. A. Woodford, R. F. Gould, W. Wonnacott, Dr Oliver and Henry Sadler, the last when reporting a speech by Thomas Fenn)5 have said that Hemming did not complete the other two and so the task was given to William Williams, who abandoned Hemming's work and started afresh. Known delays in the Lodge of Reconciliation after 1814 may have accounted for Hemming not completing his Lectures and for the Lodge of Reconciliation giving no formal guide on instruction as its brief required it to ' AQC, 23, p 258 gives a note of some of these.

 

2 For details of the life of Peter Gilkes, see A QC, 84, p 260.

 

s Apart from the responsibilities placed on them by the Articles of Union. see letters written by Philip Broadfoot to the Lodge of Probity. No 61, in Halifax, and quoted in their History.

 

See AQC, 23, p 243.

 

5 Woodford, Notes on the English Ritual: Gould, History of Freemasonry‑although he infers that this relates to Ritual and not Lectures: Wonnacott, in AQC, 23, p 260, disputes this on the ground that the Ritual was settled and approved by Grand lodge: the speech by Fenn was made at the Festival of the Emulation Lodge of Improvement on 24 February 1893 and the proceedings are reported at length, with comments, in Sadler. Illustrated History of the Emulation Lodge of Improvement, pp 103‑16.

 

IN SEARCH OF RITUAL UNIFORMITY do.' If the Duke of Sussex was anxious to get instruction by Lectures started as soon as possible and there were delays by Hemming and the Lodge of Reconciliation, then his only course was to give the task of preparing a system to someone else. Williams was extremely prominent in masonic matters at that time. He was the Provincial Grand Master for Dorsetshire; the new Book of Constitutions in 1815 was published in his name; he was a member of the Lodge of Reconciliation and a prominent member of the Grand Stewards' Lodge. It was under the aegis of the Grand Stewards' Lodge that the system of Lectures compiled by Williams was ultimately promulgated.

 

THE GRAND STEWARDS' LODGE PUBLIC NIGHTS The Grand Stewards' Lodge enjoyed considerable standing, including that as a reference point on Ritual matters. In the premier Grand Lodge, which was the bigger in numbers at the time of the Union, for many years no Brother could be appointed a Grand Officer unless he had first served as a Grand Steward. This placed the lodge in a special position of influence. For many years their two public nights in the year had provided a semi‑official demonstration of Ritual forms by means of Lectures.' When the Lodge of Promulgation had been formed in 1809 to revise the Ritual, the Brother selected as Master was James Earnshaw, then and for two further years, Master of the Grand Stewards' Lodge. The Lectures which Williams compiled, based largely, but not completely, on those of Preston, 3 were brought into use by the Grand Stewards' Lodge at their public nights and so, from the very start of what became known as the Grand Stewards' Lodge System, it had the authority which came from the standing and reputation of that lodge. It is not recorded whether the Grand Master had in mind that the sponsorship of the Grand Stewards' Lodge should also be given to the new system compiled by Williams, but, if he had to abandon Hemming, he could hardly have done better in the alternative he chose.

 

The Lectures were compiled during 1815 and 1816. At the public night in December 1815 the Lecture in the first Degree was worked ‑ in the new form consisting of seven sections ‑ William Shadbolt, the Master, being in the Chair. 4 Shadbolt was also the Junior Warden of the Lodge of Reconciliation and was in his second year as Master of Grand Stewards'. William Williams was elected Master of Grand Stewards' Lodge for 1816 and in March of that year the Lecture of the first Degree was again the work at the public night with Williams in the Chair. He was also in the Chair at the ensuing December public night when the new Lectures of the second and third Degrees, consisting of five and three sections respectively, were worked for the first time. Williams was re‑elected as Master for 1817 and presided at the two public nights in that year. For nearly fifty t Article XV of Articles of Union, quoted ante.

 

Z See note from Freemasons' Magazine, 1858, quoted ante.

 

3 Since the Lecture was written a book originally presented to the Lodge of All Souls. Weymouth, in August 1816, by William Williams. has come to light. This book contains a set of Lectures based on post‑Union Ritual, but obviously using the system set out in Browne's Master Key, rather than Preston, as a source. The book will be the subject of a Paper to the lodge in 1974.

 

A closer study of the minutes of the Grand Stewards' Lodge shows that the first mention of the number of sections in each Lecture was in 1817. Although the new form of Lecture was worked in December 1815 and at both Public Nights in 1816, it is probable that the rearrangement into sections took place at the end of 1816. The system in Browne's Master Key, on which the new Lectures were based, was not divided into sections in quite the same way as the seven, five, three system found shortly after. I am grateful to Brother F. J. Cooper for pointing this out to me.

 

175 176 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' years these Lectures were worked at Grand Stewards' Lodge public nights until long after the work of Lodges of Instruction in teaching the Ritual had changed to rehearsal of the Ceremonies.' The public nights eventually ceased as much from having outlived their usefulness as from any other cause.

 

A summary of the work and attendances at the public nights illustrate the interest which the Craft in London took in the new Lectures after they became established .2 At the eleven public nights from March 1807 to March 1812, the highest attendance was sixty‑five, the lowest thirty‑seven, and the average fifty; the work on all occasions was described as `the usual Lectures'.

 

December 1812: `a most excellent Lecture in the Third Degree'‑ seventy‑one present. This was about the time of the publication of the first known syllabus of any part of Preston's third Lecture (containing the opening and closing and the basic Ceremony). After the work of the Lodge of Promulgation, this represented the orthodox working. This work was repeated in March and December 1813 when the attendance was seventy‑three and sixty‑three respectively.

 

March 1814: `Lodge opened in the First Degree. R.W.M. and his Warden favoured the Lodge with a most excellent Lecture in that Degree'. Fifty‑two present. This was in the waiting period between the Union and the beginning of demonstration by the Lodge of Reconciliation.

 

December 1814: `Mode of initiating passing and raising Masons according to the plan laid down by the Lodge of Reconciliation'. Fifty‑two present, William Shadbolt in the Chair.

 

December 1815 (March not held): First working of the new first Lecture of the Grand Stewards' System. Fifty‑nine present.

 

From 1816 the work was consistently the new first Lecture at the March meeting and the new second and third Lectures in December. Attendances were: When considering these figures one must have in mind that there were probably not more than seven or eight hundred active masons living near the centre of London where the Public Nights were held .3  1816 March 112 1822 March 168  December 69 December 164  1817 March 69 1823 March 159  December 67 December 120  1818 March 109 1824 March 169  December 94 December, no record  1819 March 118 1825 March 174  December 143 December 159 1820 March 146 1826 March 134  December 155 December 172 1821 March 162 1827 March 177  December 166 December 153 ' The Grand Stewards' Lodge public nights ceased in 1867. The work of Lodges of Instruction for the teaching of the Ceăemonies had become rehearsal of Ceremonies, certainly by the early 1840s.

 

The details of the work and attendances at Grand Stewards' Lodge public nights are extracted from the minute books of thS lodge.

 

For details on lodges meeting to central London, see a note with a map contained in C. F. W. Dyer. Emulation ‑A Ritual to Remember. (1973).

 

IN SEARCH OF RITUAL UNIFORMITY 177 Although no system of instruction by Lectures was ever given official sanction by Grand Lodge, the Grand Stewards' Lodge System and Lectures had a sort of official acceptance. This system became a standard for Ritual working in London and a means by which instruction in the new Ritual could be given and the Public Nights for some years provided a point of reference as to what that standard was. There are several references to the use of this system in Lodges of Instruction of that time.' The System of the Grand Stewards' Lodge provided a solution to one half of the problems of the Grand Master. He had a standardised means of instruction and had only to ensure that it was used. It would have been simple to have printed the whole thing in book form as a record and a reference, but the printing of anything purporting to give any clue to the Ritual was considered an extremely serious offence. 2 The teaching was done by oral means, although many manuscript notes have survived. The twice yearly Public Nights were not sufficient in themselves to provide all the instruction that was required and Lodges of Instruction were formed to meet the need, while instruction was also given privately by Brethren who had made a study of the new forms.

 

Lodge membership at this time was small and many lodges did not have anyone sufficiently expert to instruct them, so that a lodge was not normally able to support a Lodge of Instruction restricted to its own members. This gave rise to the formation of `General' Lodges of Instruction organised by keen experts and which any Brother seeking instruction might join. General Lodges of Instruction were promoted by groups of Brethren or by Lodges, although in the latter case quick change of membership could mean that within a year or two the Lodge of Instruction had lost identity with the Lodge which originally promoted it. In this spate of teaching there had to be some control of those who taught. Where there was any sort of formal gathering for this purpose responsibility for teaching and practice could be placed firmly on the officers of a regular Lodge, for pressures could be employed to make Lodges conform. These controls were set out in the regulations for the government of the Craft.

 

THE BOOK OF CONSTITUTIONS OF 1815 New rules were necessary for the government of the United Craft and speed in approving them was of vital importance. A complete draft was stated to be ready at the Quarterly Communication in September 1814, just over eight months after the Union, but it was not immediately put forward so as to give more time for mature consideration. It was laid before a special Grand Lodge on 1 February 1815, and finally approved on 23 August. This new Book of Constitutions was to remain in force for a limited period of three years from 1 November 1815 so that revisions could be considered after some experience. The new Ritual forms had been promulgated for the first time in August 1814 in the Lodge of Reconciliation. Even by August 1815 it would not have been possible to assess the need for t For example, in the minutes of the Lodge of Emulation, No 21, and in the Memorial sent to the Grand Master in 1830 by zthe Emulation Lodge of Improvement.

 

For example, the case of Laurence Thompson in the Lodge of Reconciliation ‑ see AQC, 23, p 243.

 

178 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' control of instruction, particularly as no formal system had yet been devised in connection with the new forms. As a consequence, the 1815 Book of Constitutions contains no regulations about Ritual working other than one very mild in form: All Lodges being particularly bound to observe the same usages and customs, it is recommended that some members of every lodge shall be deputed to visit the other lodges as often as shall be found convenient, in order to preserve uniformity, and to cultivate a good understanding among freemasons.

 

THE BOOK OF CONSTITUTIONS PUBLISHED IN 1819 The Board of General Purposes of 1817‑18 undertook the revising of the Book of Constitutions, and reported with proposals for amendment at the Quarterly Communication on 3 June 1818. The revisions were ordered to be considered at a special Grand Lodge convened for the purpose on 29 July 1818; they were approved at that meeting and were effective from 1 November 1818. Some of these new regulations were aimed at the control of Lodges of Instruction. The provision regarding visiting in the 1815 rules was included in the rules relating to lodges, but with an important addition: If any Lodge shall give its sanction for a lodge of instruction being holden under its warrant, such lodge shall be responsible that the proceedings in the lodge of instruction are correct and regular, and that the mode of working there adopted, has received the sanction of the grand lodge.

 

There was also a completely new section: LODGES OF INSTRUCTION No general lodge of instruction shall be holden unless under the sanction of a regular warranted lodge, or by the special licence and authority of the grand master. The lodge giving their sanction, or the brethren to whom such licence is granted, shall be answerable for the proceedings of such lodge of instruction, and responsible that the mode of working there adopted has received the sanction of the grand lodge.

 

Notice of the times and places of meeting of the lodges of instruction, within the London district, shall be given to the grand secretary.

 

The minutes kept of the proceedings of the Board at this time are not very full and, except for the proposals for revision actually put before Grand Lodge, the only records of consideration of these revisions are: (i) an entry in December 1817 that lodges were circularised about possible alterations ‑ and this action was reported to Grand Lodge on 4 March 1818, and (ii) a cryptic note under February 1818 about replies to the circular ‑ none of which referred to Lodges of Instruction. It is not possible, therefore, to say what circumstances had been found in the running of Lodges of Instruction between 1815 and 1818 to make such control necessary. There is equally no record of who put forward the proposals, except that they were not made by lodges in response to the circular. In view of his later activity in this respect, the Grand Master himself may have put them forward.

 

The 1815 Book of Constitutions as revised in 1818 was republished in February 1819. The method of titling ‑ still showing it as the 1815 Book of Constitutions ‑ has given rise to some confusion because of the ease with which the 1819 revised edition can be mistaken for the original of 1815. In the Prestonian Lecture for 1950 Brother Ivor Grantham states that the earliest mention of the control of IN SEARCH OF RITUAL UNIFORMITY 179 Lodges of Instruction by means of rules in the Book of Constitutions was in that of 1815. 1 have had an opportunity of discussing the matter with him and he told me that it was not until after the publication of his Prestonian Lecture that he had appreciated that these regulations were among the amendments passed in 1818 and were printed for the first time in the revised edition published in 1819. The 1815 Book of Constitutions, as originally passed and published, contains no reference to the control of Lodges of Instruction.

 

The new regulations of 1818, although imposing control on all Lodges of Instruction, makes a special point of responsibility for general Lodges of Instruction. The mode of working must be one approved by Grand Lodge. In 1818 this meant the Ritual formulated by the Lodge of Reconciliation which had been approved by Grand Lodge in 1816; there was no other. It is not clear from the second part of the new rule on Lodges of Instruction whether the requirement to give notice to the Grand Secretary applied to all Lodges of Instruction in London. The requirement to register within the London district is understandable in relation to general Lodges of Instruction. In the years following the Union there were just over one hundred regular lodges meeting in the newly‑defined London district of ten miles radius around Freemasons' Hall in Great Queen Street. More than half of these met in the central area ‑ on the north of the river Thames in a band about a mile wide and stretching about two miles each side of Freemasons' Hall. 1 No other centre of population in the country had such a density of lodges; in fact, with the possible exception of Manchester which may have had up to ten, few cities had as many as five lodges, so that the problem of the general Lodge of Instruction and what it taught was essentially one related to London. 2 These regulations meant that a record of some sort had to be kept by the Grand Secretary from 1818. A book has survived which contains the information, apparently from the start; it is very roughly kept, but it seems likely that it was the actual register. The record is in the back of a book used for notes on other matters relating to the administration of Grand Lodge which take up in all ninety‑six pages, then after fifty blank pages, six pages of details of Lodges of Instruction, entered in various handwritings and obviously at different times. The front label states that the book contains the particulars of Grand Officers, Grand Stewards and lodges, 1820 to 1824, but the last entry in the Lodge of Instruction register is dated `15 Septr. 1832'. No other entry is dated, although other evidence can give approximate dates. It is also clear that all lodges which should have registered did not do so 3, while the record contains several mistakes and some duplicate entries which are merely changes of meeting place. It is interesting to note that nearly half of the entries show meetings on a Sunday, which had for some years already been a popular day for Lodge of Instruction meetings. It was not until forty years later that such formal Sunday meetings were frowned on.

 

THE 1819 COMPLAINT ABOUT LECTURES The making of regular lodges responsible for what was taught in Lodges of Instruction was no sooner settled than the matter of a system of instruction came ' For a map with lodge meeting places in 1826, see C. F. W. Dyer, Emulation ‑ A Ritual to Remember. (1973). a The details of lodges at this nme have been extracted from Lane's Masonic Records.

 

3 See Post. One notable absentee was the well known Stability Lodge of Instruction.

 

180 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' up again. On 2 June 1819, Peter Gilkes proposed in Grand Lodge `that a Committee be appointed to investigate the manner in which the Lectures of Masonry are now worked'. This proposal was not carried. The probable reason for such a proposal in Grand Lodge is shown in complaints contained in two Memorials to the Board of General Purposes about the same time. They were in relation to a new and unauthorised Lecture being worked in general Lodges of Instruction by Philip Broadfoot, Thomas Satterly and James McEvoy in which, among other things, `subjects which belong to one degree are introduced into others'. The Memorial asked the Board `to put a stop to such proceedings'. The complaints were investigated and the Board reported to Grand Lodge on 1 September 1819: That the Board are of the opinion that the charges stated in the said Memorials are not made out although they must at the same time state their deliberate judgement that no Individuals have any right to make a new Lecture and promulgate the same to the Craft as authorised without receiving the authority of the Grand Master or Grand Lodge for such a Lecture, but they also feel that the Individuals complained of had no improper motives.

 

and later in the same report: the Board are of Opinion that the Lecture complained of should not be further promulgated in any General Lodge of Instruction at this time and that the Grand Lodge be requested at the meeting in December to adopt measures in order to have Lectures established for the three Degrees under the sanction of the Craft.

 

Philip Broadfoot and Thomas Satterly were leading members of the Stability Lodge of Instruction which they had established in December 1817.1 They had both been members of the Lodge of Reconciliation, although they were not appointed to fill vacancies until December 1814 2 ‑ by which time, or very shortly after, it is probable that Rev Samuel Hemming, its Master, had given up his work on Lectures and the task had been transferred to William Williams. From later records of the Stability Lodge of Instruction, we know that the Lecture in the first Degree which they consistently worked was compiled by Hemming. 3 It seems likely that, if other Lectures were compiled as the complaint implies, they were dropped as a result of the Board's comments, for the records of Stability Lodge of Instruction show that, through the 1820s, the Lecture in the first Degree was the only one worked.

 

The Duke of Sussex was not present at the September meeting at which this report of the Board was presented, although several were, including Hemming, who might have been aware of the situation. If measures were adopted to establish officially sanctioned Lectures, the semi‑official system of the Grand Stewards' Lodge might have to be re‑examined, with further bickering of the sort that had occurred at the time of trying to settle the Ritual only five years before. The day was saved by a resolution being carried that it was unnecessary to adopt the recommendation of the Board on sanctioned Lectures as the motion for a Committee had been negatived at the previous Grand Lodge. This episode reflects the feeling about uniformity in those who attended Grand Lodge at that time, although some adopted a more rigid approach than others. Those who felt ' See F. W. Golby, A Century of Masonic Working. (1921). 2 See A QC, 23,p 233.

 

3 See F. W. Golby. A Century of Masonic Working, p 62.

 

IN SEARCH OF RITUAL UNIFORMITY 181 that a formally sanctioned system was the best way of achieving complete uniformity made a further attempt at the next Quarterly Communication on 1 December 1819. They were, however, unsuccessful in seeking to restore the Board's recommendation for sanctioned Lectures. The Grand Master was in the Chair at this December meeting and he made a pronouncement on the subject which was quite uncharacteristic of his known wish for complete uniformity, but which diplomatically reflected the obvious feeling of the majority: The M.W. Grand Master then addressed the Brethren on the subject of the Lectures when he stated that it was his opinion that so long as the Master of any Lodge observed exactly the Land Marks of the Craft he was at liberty to give the Lectures in the Language best suited to the Character of the Lodge over which he presided; That however no person was permitted to practise as an Itinerant Lecturer to other Lodges which was decidedly against the Rules and regulations of the Craft and that Brethren of different Lodges convening themselves for the purpose of a Lecture without a regular Warrant or other Sanction from the Grand Master were likewise guilty of dereliction of their duty towards the Grand Lodge, and which of course if known would be noticed and proceeded against accordingly . . .

 

Brethren from different lodges meeting to work a Lecture is a fair description of a general Lodge of Instruction and shows the Grand Master's interest in the recently passed rules. His pronouncement about freedom to use suitable language gave no authority for any different Lectures, nor for any change in the basic illustrations and symbolism contained in the generally accepted Lectures of the time. His pronouncement has been interpreted, particularly when read in later years with the present rule 155, to mean that the Ritual could be worked using any words at the Master's discretion. When it is considered that the Duke had gone to some trouble a few years before to have certain parts of the Ceremonies approved in detail, Obligations being a particular example, and with his known efforts for a high degree of uniformity, I think such complete freedom puts too wide an interpretation on the Duke's words. It is of interest to note that Philip Broadfoot was a member of the Board of General Purposes which dealt with the 1818 revisions and that Thomas Satterly was a member in the year that the complaints were dealt with; yet their Stability Lodge of Instruction does not appear to have given notice to the Grand Secretary in terms of the 1818 rule, for its name is not in the register which contains the record up to 1832.

 

THE 1819 BOOK OF CONSTITUTIONS IN PRACTICE With rules and a system of instruction, everything was now made water‑tight so far as Authority was concerned, but it is to be wondered if the average Brother‑inthe‑Lodge realised fully that the regulations existed, or what they meant. Initiates did not receive a copy of the Book of Constitutions for themselves and there was probably only one in the lodge ‑if the Secretary had bothered to get it. A circular was issued to lodges in October 1819, over a year after the new rules were passed: Those Lodges which have not yet provided themselves with the present Code of LAWS AND REGULATIONS OF THE SOCIETY are hereby reminded of the Necessity of being possessed of a copy. The Expense is Twenty Shillings. Such Lodges as may not yet have sent up their books to have the Sheets, containing the revised Laws, inserted, are 182 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' again requested to transmit them to the Grand Secretary free of Expense and they will be returned without additional charge.

 

Lodge Secretaries were casual about getting copies at all and the new regulations, although summarised in the circulated report of the Quarterly Communication of September 1818, were not likely to be well known and appreciated. With the turnover of members and officers, the rules regarding the sanctioning of Lodges of Instruction could well go out of mind without constant reminder. Even where they were remembered, there could be doubt as to who, as a person, was responsible if it was the Lodge that was answerable‑and the most obvious answer was the Master for the time being. Although the situation might be appreciated at the time the sanction for a Lodge of Instruction was given, no thought might be given to the position a few years later when the officers had changed and there was no longer any real connection between the members of the Lodge of Instruction and its sanctioning lodge, whose then members might not even be aware of any responsibility. As an example, this is demonstrated in the records of the Castle Lodge and its Lodge of Instruction, the minute books for that period of both bodies being in the Grand Lodge Library. In October 1819 the minutes of the Lodge of Instruction: observe with the greatest regret the Neglect of the Master & Officers of the Regular Castle Lodge No. 39 in totally absenting themselves from their duty to the Lodge of Instruction.

 

The Lodge of Instruction had originally been promoted by the lodge, probably before the 1818 revisions had become known. Because of this neglect, the Lodge of Instruction decided to change its meeting place to an address more convenient to those members who attended. The Master of the lodge at its meeting on 6 December announced that the Lodge of Instruction were meeting only to instruct themselves and not under the sanction of the Castle Lodge. The lodge minutes contain no reference to this but a full report is recorded in the minutes of the Lodge of Instruction for 12 December. The Lodge of Instruction then resolved: This Lodge of Instruction will feel happy to hold their future meetings under the sanction of the Castle Lodge of Freemasons No 39, it appearing by the resolutions of the Grand Lodge that the sanction of a Master of a regular Lodge is necessary has (sic) if such sanction is necessary will forthwith place themselves under the sanction of the Lodge of Felicity No 75 Bro. Walmsley the Master of that Lodge having most handsomely offered his sanction to our meeting in case such sanction be withheld by the Castle Lodge No 39.

 

The brethren present on that occasion seem to have the impression that it was the Master's sanction which mattered. This Lodge of Instruction is the subject of the second entry in the register kept by the Grand Secretaries of the meeting places notified to them. It is one of those entries carelessly made, for it has been entered as Castle Lodge of Harmony which was No 29 in those days.

 

The question also arises as to whether sanction was always given by a lodge with a due sense of responsibility. The Lodge of Hope gave its sanction for the meeting of the Emulation Lodge of Instruction (later called `Lodge of Improvement') in 1823 when Joseph Dennis, the Master of Hope, was the only member to join the Lodge of Instruction. The lodge minutes even give the wrong name to the meeting IN SEARCH OF RITUAL UNIFORMITY 183 place. During the next three years only two other members of the lodge joined the Lodge of Instruction and during the six and a half years that the Lodge of Hope maintained the sanction, only eight of its members joined. In 1830 only one was in regular attendance.

 

THE GM's COMMUNICATION AND COMMAND IN 1830 In 1827 a new edition of the Book of Constitutions was published but no change was made in the rules governing Lodges of Instruction. At the Quarterly Communication in March 1830, the Grand Master was not present, but he sent a `Communication and Command' which was read in Grand Lodge. He directed that in future, at meetings of Lodges of Instruction, the Chair must be taken by the Master or a Past Master of the sanctioning regular lodge. There are records of the reaction to this direction in the St Michael's Lodge of Instruction and in the Emulation Lodge of Improvement. In both cases they could not comply because the membership did not include enough Past Masters of the sanctioning Lodge to enable them to continue meeting and so in both cases the Lodge of Instruction sought the help of the lodge which provided the most members of the Lodge of Instruction and asked to be sanctioned by that lodge; in both cases they were successful. Lodges of Instruction, and particularly general Lodges of Instruction, tended in those days to be separate organisations from their sanctioning lodges; the connection was slight and could be changed at will. This may or may not have been what the Grand Master wanted, but his direction reminded the Lodges of Instruction where they stood. The work was at that time largely controlled from the Chair in Lodges of Instruction and it was important that adequately skilled brethren should be available if a Lodge of Instruction was to flourish.

 

The minutes of Grand Lodge for 3 March 1830 do not make any reference at all to the Communication and Command and no further action seems to have been taken over the Grand Master's proposal, although its very reading in Grand Lodge had had some effect. It is likely that control over the teaching of Lodges of Instruction was not what the Grand Master had in mind on that occasion. Shortly before this meeting of Grand Lodge it had been reported to the Board of General Purposes that Candidates who had been regularly initiated were being passed and raised at meetings which were merely Lodges of Instruction and it was probably this sort of irregularity the Grand Master wished to deal with. In May 1830 the Masters of Royal Athelstan, Mount Moriah, Royal Jubilee and Percy Lodges were summoned to attend the Board to answer such complaints. The Grand Master seems to have settled the matter with some diplomacy and without drastic action and this may account for the Communication and Command being omitted from the Grand Lodge minutes and for there being no follow up to the proposal.

 

THE GRAND MASTER'S LICENCE Ever since November 1818 the Book of Constitutions has included, in the rules governing Lodges of Instruction, provision for such lodges to be held under licence direct from the Grand Master. Emulation Lodge of Improvement was one of the general Lodges of Instruction affected by the Grand Master's Communication and Command in 1830, but before it took the course of finding another 184 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' regular lodge to sanction its meeting, it petitioned the Grand Master for such a licence direct from him.' This was refused; whether the result might have been different had not the Grand Master withdrawn the provisions of his Communication and Command it is not possible to say. It was practically one hundred years before the only other recorded instance of invoking this provision. This was in connection with a Lodge of Instruction held in the China Fleet in 1929, when the Lodge of Instruction might be held in any one of several masonic districts. In this case the licence was granted, the Grand Secretary's letter dated 24 May 1929 to the District Grand Secretary of Northern China, reading: The conditions are of course exceptional. I think the position might be met by the Grand Master giving authority for the holding of the Lodge of Instruction if the District Grand Master will undertake the necessary supervision.

 

In that event, this letter will act as authority to proceed.

 

THE 1838 AMENDMENTS During the 1830s the Duke of Sussex was for a time virtually blind and his activities were reduced. It is possible that the neglect to keep up the register of meeting places of Lodges of Instruction after 1832 was a result of this. After an operation his sight was partially restored and he returned to something approaching his former powers. In 1838 he personally put forward further amendments to the Book of Constitutions to improve the supervision of Lodges of Instruction. 2 These amendments were the addition of two paragraphs to that already in force: 2. Lodges of Instruction shall keep a minute of all Brethren present at each meeting and of Brethren appointed to hold office, and such minutes shall be produced when called for by the grand master, board of general purposes, or the lodge granting the sanction and the minutes shall be submitted. to the worshipful master of the lodge giving its sanction.

 

3. If a lodge which has given its sanction for a lodge of instruction being held under its warrant shall see fit, it may at any regular meeting withdraw that sanction by a resolution of the lodge, to be communicated to the lodge of instruction. Provided notice of the intention to withdraw the sanction be inserted in the summons for the meeting.

 

Most Lodges of Instruction seem to have kept minutes, but the provision for them to be submitted as a matter of routine to the Master of the sanctioning lodge would be an effective control if carried out. It is probable that it did not work, for it was deleted in the 1853 edition. It is not clear from the new rule 3 itself whether the withdrawing of sanction constituted any real penalty. Lodges of Instruction had previously been able to seek new sponsors if they wished, so that it may have been the Grand Master's intention that a Lodge of Instruction was closed down if its sanction was withdrawn; the rules did not make this completely clear for another one hundred years. 3 These 1838 amendments were included in the 1841 edition of the Book of Constitutions (with minor adjustments to the wording of the old rules). In that 'For details of the Memorial to the Grand Master and the reply, see C. F. W. Dyer, Emulation ‑A Ritual to Remember. (1973) For further details of the China Fleet Lodge of Instruction, see Ivor Grantham, Lodges of Instruction, their origin and development, the Prestonian Lecture for 1950, and The China Fleet Lodge of Instruction, a paper presented by A. H. Carter to the Paul Chater Lodge of Installed Masters, No 5391, in Hong Kong. (A copy of the paper is m the Grand Lodge Li~rary.) The proceedings state that the proposals were put forward by the Duke. 3 See Rule 135, B of C which was first included m the 1940 edition.

 

IN SEARCH OF RITUAL UNIFORMITY 185 same year the official Calendar, for the first time since the passing of the 1818 regulations, contained particulars of `Lodges of Instruction which have given notice of their meetings in conformity with the laws of the Grand Lodge' so reviving the register which had not been kept up after 1832. Only three such lodges were included; the fact that they were listed in the name of the sanctioning lodge stresses that that was where it was considered the responsibility lay. There were many more than three Lodges of Instruction in London at that time, but this publication at least shows that after the passing of the additional rules in 1838, someone was showing concern, and in the 1842 and 1843 Calendars the number of entries increased to nine. This still did not reflect all the Lodges of Instruction which should have made a return.

 

The Duke of Sussex died at the age of seventy in 1843. There had been some challenge to his rule in the last five or six years of his life and some of the regulations he had been instrumental in putting into the Book of Constitutions had not always been kept to the letter. But his firm and personally involved rule during most of his thirty years as Grand Master had been for the good of the Craft. He had seen the Union through and established the United Grand Lodge with a success that few others of his time could have achieved. His insistence on uniformity, particularly in the sphere of Ritual practice, had a very material effect, for the 1830s ended with still virtually one uniform system of working, at least so far as London and its environs were concerned. I have taken considerable space over the efforts he made to maintain this uniformity in Ritual forms, but as the forms which he sought to impose were only promulgated after the Union, it was natural that such efforts needed to be strongest immediately after their introduction and that the Duke, as the sponsor, should be concerned all his life to try to keep the forms unchanged.

 

5 THE ERA OF INNOVATION In the years immediately following the Union there had been considerable masonic activity but lodges tended to be small and membership changed very quickly. In the consolidation which happened naturally after about 1820, activity slowed and the weakest lodges either closed down or amalgamated with others. This tendency to consolidate continued still further in the 1830s, so that by the end of that decade there were many fewer lodges working, both in London and the Provinces, than there had been twenty‑five years earlier. A revival of interest started about 1840 and gained steady momentum over the next fifteen years. After that it developed into the tremendous expansion in masonry reflected in the increase in the number of active lodges in the 1860s and 1870s. This revival of interest also brought pressures for change which caused the next fifty years to become an era of innovation.

 

OFFICIAL CONTROLS Control, so far as Lodges of Instruction were concerned, was nominally maintained in the rules of the Book of Constitutions and, except for the deletion of the requirement for minutes to be submitted to the Master of the sanctioning lodge, the rules remained completely unaltered, other than for slight rearrangements of 186 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' words, until 1884. The register which was now published in the Calendar continued to be maintained and the number of lodges shown increased; in 1850 there were twenty‑one on the list, but although the rule referred only to London, the list included a Liverpool lodge. Many lodges did keep control over the Lodges of Instruction which they sanctioned, even those which were of a general nature, by retaining the appointment of the `directors', as preceptors were than called, in their own hands, but as the rules had no bite, they did not necessarily prevent changes in the forms. In 1895, Victorian influence had an effect, for the Board of General Purposes ruled that Lodges of Instruction meeting on Sundays should not be included in the Calendar.

 

THE TUG‑OF‑WAR The death of the Duke of Sussex removed a strong control. The Earl of Zetland was Grand Master for the next twenty‑seven years; with his more withdrawn attitude and with some slackness in the Grand Lodge administration as W. H. White, the Grand Secretary, got older, there was less restraint on those who might not wish to conform completely to what had been laid down thirty years before. The masonic press of the 1840s and 1850s contains references which lead me to believe that a tug‑of‑war took place between those who wished to embellish and innovate and those who wished to preserve the forms of the Union unaltered. That some still felt that the forms were sacrosanct is shown by a reaction to the Grand Master's own proposal in September 1847 that `free born' should no longer apply and that all who were free should be eligible. It was pointed out to him in Grand Lodge that this was contrary to the Lectures ‑ to which he replied that the Lectures must be altered.' During his lifetime the Duke of Sussex, although nominally interested, had succeeded in playing down the many additional degrees which flourished prior to the Union in association with Craft lodges. He was committed to a Craft of `three degrees and no more'; he had his hands full in achieving a complete union in that sphere and additional degrees had to be outside the Craft. There were stirrings in the additional degrees in the last few years of the Duke's rule which culminated in the re‑establishment of the Ancient and Accepted Rite and the Mark Degree. Other degrees also flourished‑to an extent that in 1884 the Grand Council for the Allied Degrees was formed to provide an organisation. It is difficult now, and was probably equally difficult then, for the average mason to separate completely in his mind the multiplicity of Ritual forms as he acquired additional degrees. In some lodges today, forms are used which patently have been borrowed from other degrees; this tendency, along with the revival of pre‑union practices which had been arbitrarily dropped by the Lodge of Reconciliation, and the borrowings from Irish, Scottish and probably Bristol workings, affected the detailed work of individual English lodges. A correspondent complained in the Freemasons' Magazine in 1859 of the adoption of practices from other Constitutions in the working of English lodges situated overseas.

 

In 1848 the masons of Birmingham were concerned about lack of uniformity and asked Emulation Lodge of Improvement in London to send someone 1 Minutes of Grand Lodge, 1 September 11147.

 

IN SEARCH OF RITUAL UNIFORMITY 187 to instruct them; as a result William Honey of Royal Athelstan Lodge spent a month in Birmingham holding instruction classes.' In 1849 the Freemasons' Quarterly Review derided Peter Thomson and Henry Muggeridge, the leading lights of Stability Lodge of Instruction, for teaching exactly what they had themselves been taught. At the same time it applauded S. B. Wilson, President of Emulation for his liberal attitude. In 1858 the Freemasons' Magazine, successor to the Quarterly, took a completely opposite view and in an article on `Uniformity of Working' was urging Stability and Emulation to keep their promises to get together and work to the same Ritual and pointing out in detail how small were the differences between them; 2 at the same time they upbraided the Grand Stewards' Lodge for its loss of authority, prestige and leadership in its Public Nights, and the Grand Master for not ensuring that the Prestonian Lecture was given ably and publicly. In 1861 the Grand Stewards' Lodge formed a Committee to revise the Lectures. Ultimately Grand Lodge took note and in 1869 appointed a committee of thirty‑nine brethren to go into the whole question of uniformity of Ritual. John Havers, who had been trying since 1857 to bring just Stability and Emulation together, pointed out the impossibility of the task, particularly with a committee of thirty‑nine, and the matter was dropped. Change won as it always will, and with the rise by the 1870s of the various differing systems into recognisably different workings, it is unlikely that any one of those systems retained in its entirety the forms which the Duke of Sussex tried so hard to perpetuate.

 

GRAND STEWARDS' LODGE PUBLIC NIGHTS Although through the 1830s and 1840s the Public Nights continued to attract many visitors, the attendance was not on the scale of the 1820s, while it became increasingly difficult to find members of the lodge prepared to support the demonstrations. Typical attendances were thirteen members and seventy visitors in 1847 and nine members and sixty‑six visitors in 1852.3 By 1857 the numbers had fallen drastically, total attendances at the two meetings being twenty‑six and forty. As lodges were by then working to systems containing differences from that explained in the Grand Stewards' Lodge Lectures, the Public Nights lost their appeal. In March 1867 only five members attended ‑ one working four of the seven sections ‑ along with twenty visitors. After this the Public Nights were discontinued.

 

An important matter in the 1870s was the implied relaxing of the complete ban, which had existed since before the Union, on the printing and publishing of anything purporting to give information on Ritual forms. There had been printed books before this, but these had been either exposures, which had had no authority; or publications by such men as George Claret, who were under approbrium; or anonymous publications where the author could not be traced. About the end of 1870, John Hogg, a member of Oak Lodge No 190, published The 2 Freemasons' Quarterly Review, 1848, pp 369‑70.

 

n2 These were stated to be (a) position of WM when communicating the secrets of I' and 2'; (b) 1 working tools; (c) explanation and derivation of FC sn; (d) giving of MM badge; (e) some unimportant verbal distinctions ‑ altogether efligible differences when considered in the context of the complete Ritual of the three Degrees.

 

Freemasons' Quarterly Magazine. 1850, p 70, offers a comment on the public nights: `It is our firm conviction that the Lectures as delivered in the Grand Stewards' Lodge, though differing frequently from the same lectures as taught in one or two of the London Lodges of Instruction, as far as regards the exact words, yet adhering to the same landmarks, must ever prove eminently useful to the Craft . . .' 188 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' Perfect Ceremonies of Craft Masonry and publicised it freely. He did not at that time give his name to the publication but issued it as `A Lewis', giving his private address in Raven Villas, Hammersmith. In 1874, still a member of the Craft and trading under his own name in Paternoster Row, London, he used this new business address for further editions of the book so that he was readily identifiable. No action was taken by Authority against him. As a result Ritual systems could be made openly available in printed form for all who wished to follow them. After the collapse of the 1869 attempt to restore uniformity, some brethren took the opportunity to compile revised versions of the Ritual, either to vary the grammar of the traditional workings, or to render the illustrations nearer to Holy Writ, or just to give rein to their own particular or local preferences and otherwise to bring the Ritual `up‑to‑date'. This further placed beyond all hope the prospect of the uniformity which the Duke of Sussex tried so hard to bring about and came so near to achieving during his rule.

 

PRINTED RITUAL BOOKS The effect of the printed word cannot be over‑emphasised in its controlling influence on Ritual practice. The average mason looks for help of this nature and has always done so, as the popularity of the use of `exposures' as Ritual books showed before the Union, when no other such source was available. In more modern days the average mason has come to regard anything that gets into print as being unquestionably right and he makes no enquiry as to its authenticity. Richard Carlile printed in The Republican in 1825 an exposure of Craft Ritual.' This was reprinted in booklet form in 1831, with some revisions. Carlile published the first edition himself but a number of later editions, expanded to include additional degrees, came to the market through other publishers. 2 Carlile was not a mason. It is probable that the publication of Carlile's book and its use as a Ritual aid caused George Claret to start to publish masonic booklets and in 1838 he produced a Ritual book. It went through four editions in the first ten years and continued through other editions at least until 1873, even after Claret himself had disappeared from the scene. 2 Claret, who had been prominent in Ritual teaching, stated quite freely that he introduced alternatives and variations of his own, and succeeding editions tend to show the progress of change from the 1840s to the 1860s. Claret was not proceeded against by any Authority; by the time he published the book he had been so often the subject of various complaints that he was no longer an active mason. The only action taken in the early years was to attempt to discourage the use of his books, a policy which was quite ineffective. In the 1840s his book was noted to be in use but still no action was taken, although in 1859 J. Mott Thurle, a bookseller, was brought before the Board of General Purposes for obtaining the book privately for known masons.

 

In 1847 George Bradshaw of St Swithin's Lane, London offered a Ritual book for sale. 2 The address given was, during the whole of the time that Bradshaw used it, a public house, 3 so that it was likely that it was no more than an address of t For details of Richard Carlile, see S. J. Fenton, `Richard Carlile: his life and Masonic writings', AQC, 49, pp 83‑121. z See Appendix.

 

3 The Bay Tree Tavern.

 

IN SEARCH OF RITUAL UNIFORMITY 189 convenience, similar to that used by later publishers of Carlile's book. Bradshaw offered for sale in 1851 a completely new publication containing the Ritual of the three Degrees.' This book appeared during the 1860s in a different binding as a private printing with no printer's or publisher's name, but with the addition of the legend that the contents were as taught by the late Peter Gilkes'. When Hogg's Perfect Ceremonies were first published about 1870 it was almost exactly similar to the later private editions of Bradshaw and it is probable that Hogg, who came to London in 1858,2 used it as his source. Whether or not the work contained in these books reflected the system in general use, the opposite must have been true‑ that the lodges began to work according to the systems which the various books gave, so that, where they were used, they had a considerable influence on Ritual and its instruction. In 1864, H. T. Baldwin wrote from Manchester to the Grand Secretary asking if Lodges of Instruction were permitted to use books in instruction and quoted a lodge which `publicly instructed from books' and another where he had been informed `that the Grand Lodge were about to sanction their use'. The Grand Secretary, after referring Baldwin to his Provincial Grand Master, commented that Grand Lodge had not directly or indirectly authorised any such thing.

 

In addition to those mentioned several other printed books appeared after the 1850s in small private editions, although the anonymous Text Book of Freemasonry (1870)3 achieved a fairly wide use in Birmingham. In the next thirty years, Oxford, Logic (following John Maclean's revisions), West End (which seems to adopt most of Claret), Complete, Durham, Revised, Bottomley (N.W. England), Common Sense (Plymouth), Taylor's and a number of others made their appearance, some privately and some commercially produced. Hogg's Perfect Ceremonies, which purported to give Emulation, went into several editions and, just after the turn of the century, Stability also arranged for John Hogg to publish its old Ritual commercially (calling it Standard, or Muggeridge). A number of private lodge Rituals, in many cases containing unique features, were also being used.

 

The ultimate in innovation in a published Ritual for Craft use was reached in 1888 with the appearance of The Revised Ritual of Craft Freemasonry compiled by Franklin Thomas. Thomas was initiated in the Royal Kent Lodge of Antiquity at Chatham in 1841 at the age of 23. He may have been in the Chair of a lodge by 1846, although in that year he moved to Oxford. There he joined Alfred Lodge, now No 340, and was Master in 1850. In the 1850s he lived for a few years in Torquay where he was Master of St John's Lodge, now No 328, in 1856‑57. Just afterwards he moved to east Lancashire and joined Perseverance Lodge No 345 at Blackburn in 1861. He was active in masonry wherever he was and became a Provincial Grand Officer in Kent, Oxford and Lancashire (Eastern Division); in the last he was made PPSGW in 1887. There is no doubt he was very experienced, and his opinions were listened to; he also wrote The Etiquette of Freemasonry, published in 1890. In his travels he developed curious views about the Ritual and `was a great stickler for the old fashioned form of Installation Ceremony' ‑ now t See Appendix.

 

2 A note on James Hogg and Son and John Hogg & Co., and particular reference to the Perfect Ceremonies, is in C. F. W. Dyer, Emulation ‑ A Ritual to Remember. (1973) pp 212‑14.

 

3 Printed in Birmingham by Corns and Bartleet, Union Street, and published by Reeves and Turner, 196, Strand, London (who had nine years before started to publish Carlile's Manual of Freemasonry ‑ see Appendix).

 

190 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' known as the extended form. He died in 1907 at the age of ninety. His system involved considerable change from traditional practice in the Degree Ceremonies, not just in grammar and word variation, but in fundamental structure, without much concern that English Craft Ritual in general use was based on the approved forms of the Lodge of Reconciliation. He included copious footnotes in his book, stating in categorical terms why his methods were right and more usual forms wrong. His book was published by John Hogg, who had previously published the Perfect Ceremonies. The present owner of the business has kindly permitted me to see some of the correspondence with Thomas with reference to this book. His letters are written in the same forthright terms as the footnotes in his book. He also included the extended working of Installation in his own version ‑ in a manner which constituted that Ceremony into the conferment of a further degree and it was the use of this which triggered off the start of the reactionary trend.

 

6 THE PERIOD OF REACTION AND THE PRESENT POSITION The only public effort at further control in the 1880s was contained in the new edition of the Book of Constitutions in 1884. This extended the requirement that the meeting places of Lodges of Instruction should be registered, to those in Provinces and Districts. Early in 1889 the newly appointed Provincial Grand Master for Staffordshire, Colonel A. C. Foster Gough, queried with the Grand Secretary the orthodoxy of the extended working of the Installation Ceremony which was used in parts of his Province. As a result, a circular was sent by the Grand Secretary to all Provinces indicating that this particular Ceremony was not permitted and many Provinces carried out his direction quite strenuously.' This was not the end of Foster Gough's efforts, for he had been initiated in the Lodge of Honour in Wolverhampton in 1856 and had learnt, as his Ritual, that taught by William Honey on his visit to Birmingham in 1848. Gough was concerned at the amount of innovation of different sorts which had crept into the working of lodges in his Province. He issued a circular urging a return to the simpler forms of earlier times and encouraging the formation of Lodges of Instruction to that end.2 He died in February 1892 and so did not see the matter through, but he sparked off a movement of reaction which still has echoes in the 1970s.

 

Where the Duke of Sussex had tried to control from a central point and had tended to concentrate on London, the new control arising from this movement was by direction from Provincial Grand Masters. This effectively halted indiscriminate innovation when it was adopted in any locality but put in its place Ritual forms peculiar to an area, much at the whim of successive Provincial or District Grand Masters. Since the 1890s the actions of Provincial and District Grand Masters have varied between extremes in dealing with the matter. There have been examples of the imposition of a particular form of Ritual, either specially ' See W. Read, `The "Extended" Working in the Board of Installed Masters', A QC, 84, from page 26, and, in particular, comments on pp 60‑63.

 

The letter is dated 2 February 1891 and was circulated as a 13 pp pamphlet, printed by John Steen & Co, Ltd, Wolverhampton. It contains the following passage on the possibility of his insisting on Ritual practices which he might personally prefer and might publish: . . . I feel it would be eminently unfair on my part to practically say to them "I am right". Upon this ground I decline the refponsibility and I may add that such a ritual would not in any way bind my successors, or the ruler of any other Province, and its publication under my authority alone, could not be expected to obtain any sanction from the Grand Lodge . . .' IN SEARCH OF RITUAL UNIFORMITY compiled to include personal views or of a particular standard working. Some have attempted to secure agreement on a uniform working by discussion in such bodies as their Stewards' Lodge. Some, in an effort to prevent the spread of innovation without being too rigid, merely try to persuade lodges to work to one of the more generally recognised workings in its entirety. Circumstances differ and there may in some cases be a need for a directed answer, particularly where there is free association with lodges of other Constitutions. This new form of control arose gradually over a long period and in some places innovation continued at the same time. W. J. Hughan wrote in 1910 (AQC, 23, p 304): `At the present time there are to be found Lodges openly violating what may be considered Ritualistic Landmarks, and all because there is no recognised authority to set matters straight.' Grand Lodge took action in another direction in 1916, to restrict the amount of religious music which was becoming incorporated as part of the Ceremonies.

 

As in the earlier innovation era, when reaction came, there was a tendency for some to try to carry it too far. This showed itself in an attempt over a period to gain complete uniformity of Ritual by imposing one particular working on the whole Craft. Those who put this view forward claimed that the working they used was the only sanctioned or approved Ritual. Naturally this claim was disputed by others; complete uniformity was not a viable solution and these attempts merely brought a legacy of ill‑will towards the Working concerned.

 

A revised Book of Constitutions in 1940 produced the regulations on Lodges of Instruction which are in force today ‑ including making it clear that a Lodge of Instruction ceases to exist if the sanctioning lodge withdraws its sanction. It also carried a significant change in the description of the proper proceedings of a Lodge of Instruction. Previously it was the responsibility of the sanctioning lodge `that the mode of working adopted has received the sanction of the grand lodge'; it is now `seeing that the proceedings are in accordance with the Antient Charges, Landmarks, and Regulations of the Order as established by the Grand Lodge'. One wonders to what extent the change of wording was influenced by the claims and counterclaims of the preceding twenty‑five years to have the only Ritual sanctioned by Grand Lodge.

 

Since the 1939‑45 war other events have shown that the tug‑of‑war still goes on. In 1963, Grand Lodge, after consultation between the Board of General Purposes and Provincial and District Grand Masters, thought it necessary to re‑state, in slightly revised terms, the edict of 1916 with regard to music in Ceremonies. In 1964 came the decision by Grand Lodge to permit the use of alternative forms of Obligation in relation to the penalties. This represented the control of important change from the centre and only came about after very full discussion. Its aftermath tended to show how great is the feeling among many responsible masons that there should be some control of Ritual change. Grand Lodge settled only the wording of the Obligations themselves and the Ritual teaching bodies were officially left to work out the necessary consequential adjustments in other parts of the Ceremonies. An attempt in London to find out who these teaching bodies were, showed that many of the generally used Workings were taken from printed books originally published many years ago and with no responsible 192 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' headquarters. Three such headquarters which could be found co‑operated to produce recommendations which were given wide publicity, and undoubtedly helped to prevent a number of different versions coming into practice. A further effect was to bring together brethren using some of the `book' Workings to form Ritual Associations and try to arrive at common practice. This also made possible some control over reprinting of Ritual books, the decision on the content of which had previously been entirely a matter for publishers. Another noticeable feature of the last few years has been a renewed interest in Provinces and Districts in the control of differences in Ritual practice. The change in the Board of General Purposes' decision, mentioned earlier, also happened in this period.

 

7 CONCLUSIONS We tend to regard the illustrations of symbolism, charges, and explanations and lectures, which are customarily given, as parts of the complete Degree Ceremonies. It is doubtful if all this was intended to be treated as truly Ritual; there is no official record, but all that seems to have been truly regarded as Ritual in the period after the Union were the essential rites of testing, obligating and entrusting a Candidate. I do not believe that this Ritual was intended to consist of just a set form of words. Rather, I believe that it consists of a series of Ritual acts in a particular sequence; words are used as part of those Ritual acts in order to convey a particular sense and to emphasise a particular point and in certain cases certain specific words should be used, but the precise words may not in every case be important in themselves. If every word were of such importance, then every slip in lodge must be corrected or the Ceremony must be treated as not having been properly conducted and the Candidate must repeat it ‑ which is nonsense. At the same time the true sense must be preserved or the Ceremonies would take on a different meaning as time went by. There must be some standard and some control, even if, as a living thing, our Ritual tends to be affected by the changing ways of life.

 

It seems to me that the use of the rules in the Book of Constitutions, the history of which I have tried to trace, no longer really exercises the control that was intended. Those relating to Lodges of Instruction include, basically, the provisions originally passed in 1818. They have outlived the original need for them and now serve quite a different purpose. Lodges of Instruction must still be registered with the appropriate authority by the regular lodges which sanction them. Registers are kept by the authority and information can be given to enquirers. I have enquired as to the register of London lodges and a selection of Provincial and District Grand Lodges. Interpretation of the rules differs and in some areas there are officially no Lodges of Instruction, only rehearsals of lodge Ceremonies and Classes of Instruction. The original purpose of these rules was to locate responsibility for Ritual teaching and to place it on a regular lodge. Where a lodge rehearsal takes place, the responsibility is clear, but meeting together for the purpose of instruction as a Class for which no lodge has given sanction is still technically a breach of the rules ‑ yet how many such bodies are deliberately called Classes in the belief that the mere use of the name takes the matter outside the rules. Examination shows that general Lodges of Instruction still lose touch with their sanctioning lodges and although the sanction is not withdrawn they are not officially recorded because the onus to make the return is on the sanctioning lodge. Sanction is often given in these days to show to the members of a regular lodge an interest in the Lodge of Instruction which they are recommended to attend. I have found Lodges of Instruction which proudly announce that they have the sanction of as many as ten regular lodges. Sanction implies responsibility for what is done; if a lodge withdraws its sanction, officially the Lodge of Instruction ceases to exist. With multiple sanction, someone might have a busy time sorting the situation out.

 

In some other Constitutions control of Ritual practice is exercised by publishing an official Ritual book only obtainable from the Grand Secretary. Such a degree of uniformity is no longer possible ‑ or perhaps desirable ‑ in the English Constitution, but even with us the printed word has come to stay. In the Ritual essentials, most of the printed workings are remarkably similar, even if the language used and the non‑essentials differ a great deal. In these days of almost complete reliance on a printed book, following one of the standard workings already in use seems to me to be the best answer to ensuring a lodge keeps to the landmarks.

 

The reluctance of the Board of General Purposes to rule on Ritual matters, and the tremendous interest and objection which seems to arise whenever such matters come before Grand Lodge, will probably mean that we cannot look for any resumption of control from the centre. So far as nearly two thousand lodges in London are concerned, there is no intermediate authority. As to the responsibility of Provincial or District Grand Masters with respect to permitted Ritual practice, it is difficult in the present circumstances to suggest a more reasonable area of control. This will only remain reasonable while the matter is handled with proper discretion and not made the opportunity merely to impose the views of one person. Without some central authority, the differences in practice between areas will be perpetuated and will probably increase. The import of Rule 155 so far as a Lodge's responsibility for its own working is concerned ‑ and therefore, incidentally, its resistance to direction ‑ is still not clear. I hope that, at least, some attempt may be made, while preserving all we have, to control any further inadvertent or deliberate change without due authority, and to place some check on the printing and issuing of any further different forms.

 

APPENDIX In the Grand Lodge Library there is a number of copies of Ritual books of the 1830‑70 period. Those stemming from Richard Carlile, George Claret and George Bradshaw are noted below. There may be other printings or editions of which there is no copy in the Grand Lodge Library.

 

RICHARD CARLILE An Exposure of Freemasonry or a Mason's Printed Manual, published by R. Carlile, 62, Fleet Street, London, 1831 (5s).

 

Second edition, renamed on the cover Carlile's Manual of Freemasonry, and on the title page Freemasonry, Part I. A Manual of the First Three Degrees. Printed and published by Alfred Carlile, 183, Fleet Street, London, 1836.

 

Freemasonry, Part III, dealing with some additional Degrees. Published by Alfred Carlile, IN SEARCH OF RITUAL UNIFORMITY 193 194 'THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' Water Lane, Fleet Street, London, 1837 (5s). Although the title page stated that it was printed by Carlile, it has at the end the name of Cunningham and Salmon, Printers, Crown Court, 72, Fleet Street.

 

Freemasonry, Part II, dealing with Craft Installation, Royal Arch and K.T., published by Bruce and Wyld, 84, Farringdon Street, London, undated (5s). There is no separate printer's name.

 

A further printing of the Second edition of Part I, published by N. Bruce‑, 84, Farringdon Street, 1843, and printed by him at Peterborough Court, Fleet Street.

 

All three parts in one volume, marked `now first collected in one volume'. This was merely a binding in one volume of the three separate Parts previously published‑ Part I, as in 1843 by Bruce, Part II, the Bruce and Wyld printing, Part III, as in 1837 by A. Carlile. From this date all books contain the three Parts in one volume.

 

Manual of Freemasonry, `printed and published by R. Carlile, Fleet Street, re‑printed and published by W. Dugdale, Holywell Street,' London. Third edition, revised and enlarged, 1845. This appears to be a complete reprinting of all three Parts and bears throughout Dugdale's name as printer. It is also headed `The genuine edition', perhaps implying that there were other, pirate editions, on offer, as appears likely from later printings. There is another version bearing throughout Dugdale's name as printer in the same way. This is undated and bears R. Carlile's name as publisher on Parts 1 and III.

 

An edition dated 1853, repeating the claim of Bruce's 1843 edition to be `now first collected in one volume'. This is stated to be published by R. Carlile, Fleet Street, and was printed by J. O. Clarke, 3, Raquet Court and 121, Fleet Street, London.

 

1855; published by Andrew Vickers, 37, Holywell Street, Strand, London, and printed by.l. Turner, Holywell Street. It is possible that these were successors to Dugdale.

 

1858; A reprinting by J. O. Clark, whose address had changed to 107, Dorset Street, Fleet Street, and published by R. Carlile, Fleet Street. Fourth edition, undated, published by Richard Carlile, 2, Lovell's Court, Paternoster Row, London and Murrey Street, Hoxton and printed by Johnston, Red Lion Court, Charterhouse Lane, London. The copy in the Grand Lodge Library is wrongly made up, some pages of Part 1 having been interchanged with similarly numbered pages from Part II and with the title page and early pages of Part II at the front of the book.

 

1861; A reprinting of the 1855 Andrew Vickers version.

 

1861; An edition published by Reeves and Turner, 238, Strand, London and J. W. Bouton & Co., 87, Walker Street, New York and printed by Bowden and Brawn, 13, Princes Street, Little Queen Street, London W.C.

 

All editions after this are undated and published by William Reeves, or by Reeves and Turner (which was the same firm) from sundry addresses in London: 238, Strand some with no printer's name and some with Bowden and Brawn as above.

 

100, Chancery Lane printed by W. Bowden, 23, Red Lion Street, Holborn, London.

 

196, Strand no printer's name.

 

5, Wellington Street printed by New Temple Press, 185, Fleet Street.

 

185, Fleet Street printed by New Temple Press, 185, Fleet Street.

 

83, Charing Cross Road some with no printer's name and some printed by New Temple Press (17, Grant Road) Croydon.

 

How authentic the publishers' names and addresses were probably cannot now be established, but a fairly recent enquiry showed the Charing Cross Road address to be one of accommodation and not a place of business.

 

GEORGE CLARET.

 

The Ceremonies of Initiation, Passing & Raising, with copious notes, as regards the duties of the Master, Wardens, Deacons, &c. G. Claret, 5, Queen Square, Eldon Street, Finsbury Circus, London, 1838 (21s).

 

The Ceremonies of Initiation Passing & Raising. Opening and Closing, Installation. Explanation of the_ Tracing Boards &c. G. Claret, Printer, Queen Square, Finsbury Circus, 1840 (21s). This was a completely revised book.

 

IN SEARCH OF RITUAL UNIFORMITY 195 The Whole of Craft Masonry in three parts, 1840, from the same address, was a reprint of the other 1840 Ritual along with other, former separate, publications as the other two partsthe Lectures and Illustrations.

 

The Whole of Craft Masonry, Second edition, 1841, G. Claret, 28, Upper Clifton Street, Finsbury.

 

Third edition, 1847, from the same address.

 

Fourth edition, `with very considerable improvements', ?1848, same address.

 

Fifth edition, ?1850 with a possible reprinting ?1855. This and all subsequent printings referred to very considerable improvements.

 

Sixth edition. ?1866.

 

Seventh and probably last edition, ?1873 from 84, Clifton Street, Finsbury.

 

The queried dates are those that are allotted as approximately correct in the copies in the Grand Lodge Library. The copies are undated where these approximations have been made.

 

GEORGE BRADSHAW.

 

The Ceremonies of Opening and Closing, Initiation, Passing and Raising Installation, &c. Printed and sold by G. Bradshaw, 1847. No address.

 

Audi, Vide, Tace, published by G. Bradshaw, 15, North Street, Westminster. One copy is endorsed `Thomas Trollope May 1864'.

 

The Ceremonies of Opening and Closing in the Three Degrees. Questions to Candidates. Initiation Passing and Raising. Together with the whole of the Lectures ... Published for the Compilers and sold by George Bradshaw & Co, 33, St Swithen's Lane, Lombard Street, London, 1851.

 

Second edition 1853. There was an additional heading above that stated: Works on Freemasonry containing . . . This edition was stated to be `Published (for the Compilers) by John Allen, No 22, Bromley Street, Commercial Road East.' There is a stick‑on label `sold by Bro George Bradshaw & Co, 33, St Swithen's Lane . . .' No trace has been found of a Brother George Bradshaw, nor is there any record of a Bradshaw in connection with either of the addresses given. Similarly, John Allen cannot be traced in connection with any of the addresses.

 

DRAMA AND CRAFT PRESTONIAN LECTURE FOR 1974 N. BARKER CRYER IT WAS PYTHAGORAS who taught his followers not to linger on the well‑worn paths of knowledge but to seek out less familiar ground. In regard to material for masonic research and for one who is privileged to deliver the Prestonian Lecture in the 50th year since the present series began this advice may seem wise, though impracticable, since I would be foolhardy as well as presumptuous were I to pretend that the subject of this lecture was original and its contents uninfluenced by the devoted labours of those who have gone before. This lecture is, in a real sense, the result of much reading and pondering on the research work of the last two generations and without hesitation it will be as well at the outset to acknowledge the debt that is due to those who, like William Preston, and bearing in some sense his mantle, first furnished the ideas and evidence that will reveal itself in the course of these pages.

 

That said, it may be stated that the main thesis of this enquiry (and nothing more positive is to be claimed for it) does represent an attempt to shed light on an activity and an aspect of masonry which have been less considered than most others. To that extent it might claim in some sense to follow the counsel of Pythagoras ‑ surely a just aim for even a speculative mason ‑ and it will, I trust, encourage a fresh appraisal of a whole section of our masonic researches. If any substantial basis emerges for the conclusions to which I shall eventually point the reader then I shall have achieved my dual purpose: to have added something worthwhile to authentic masonic study and to have reopened some avenues of investigation which might have been thought to be for ever closed.

 

There are, so far as I have been able to discover, only four masonic students of note who have published writings directly related to the theme of this Lecture. One of them, Bro Fred L. Pick, was himself a Prestonian Lecturer in 1948 when he took as his subject, `The Deluge', in which reference was made to the medieval drama and about which he had already written more specifically for the Manchester Association of Masonic Research, in `The Miracle Play' (1942).

 

The second distinguished author and student was Ed Conder Jnr who in the AQC transactions XIV had written about Mystery Plays. Whilst the third and fourth are Bro Robert Race and Ernest Thiemeyer to whose writings I was directed in the recent study of Solomon's Temple by Alex Horne. I have read what these knowledgeable brethren have written with the greatest interest. If, as things transpire, I will be found to differ with them on several points, I hope that this will not be regarded as in any way lessening my respect for their labours. The debt we owe to our predecessors in research is always a special one‑it is that they show us where to question and what to think about. Most of my queries are of their making.

 

196 DRAMA AND CRAFT 197 In addition, however, and in particular regard to medieval drama, it needs to be recorded that since the days of Bro Pick's Lecture there has been an enormous wave of research into the origins and character, the scripts and significance of the mystery and morality plays of the thirteenth to seventeenth centuries. Anyone who embarks on this path of research will soon discover a great output of modern material with which he needs to engage. If I have found clues and eyed vistas that were apparently unknown to my predecessors then the debt here is to a further range of literary scholars since 1950 whose work is enthralling and well‑nigh exhaustive. To have had the opportunity to read and use the material they have uncovered for this Lecture means that this has been yet another privilege gained. Though the use of footnotes has been avoided, all the evidence given can be provided at source for any who ask for it, and a simple bibliography is appended at the close.

 

MORAL TEACHING IN MASONRY We are all familiar with the time‑honoured description of freemasonry which runs: `A peculiar system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols'. As a description of our present practice and standpoint it could not be bettered. What is borne in upon me the more I delve into the background of our masonic ancestry, as it emerges in the fourteenth to the seventeenth centuries, is that in every respect this is precisely a description which would have fitted our brethren in those ages as well as our own. Of course, there were specifically Christian dimensions to the morality practised by our operative forbears but what we have to hand, recorded in the Ancient Charges and, as I shall presently demonstrate, presented in dramatic form by masons, is a strict attention to moral, as well as technical, practice amongst the building craftsmen of the later Middle Ages. Maynard Smith in his volume, Pre‑Reformation England, writes: A too great familiarity with sacred things may cause men to be flippant and irreverent; and the holiest mysteries, when explained in vulgar terms, may cease to inspire wonder, so that any real sense of the supernatural is lost. It was entirely right to teach men to live by means of allegories, and to teach men by symbols to grasp spiritual truths. Allegories are analogies in action; and symbolism is a visible shorthand by which we recognise truths that defy verbal definition. Both are justified by the belief of the unity of all things in God.

 

It is in such a context as this (and only space prevents one from elaborating it at length) that one needs to view the continuing development of the craft of masonry, a craft as well shall see below, which was inevitably at the heart of public living and closely connected with that mainspring of medieval experience ‑ the practice of the religious life. The Constitutions of masonry, commonly called the Old or Ancient Charges, point to a recognisable continuity of attitude, if not of ritual practice, as between the so‑called operative period of the late fourteenth century (Regius MS) and the avowedly `speculative' period (Anderson, 1723).

 

This continuity is precisely of a moral nature, though I will hope to show in other connections that symbol and legend, not to mention allegory, were also present in the practice of masonry ‑ indeed were inseparable from it. About the moral emphasis, however, there can be no question. Harry Carr, in his important Prestonian Lecture for 1957, said: 198 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' One other feature distinguishes the MS Constitutions . . . from the normal codes of mediaeval craft ordinances, i.e. the inclusion of a number of items in the regulations which were not trade matters at all but designed to preserve and elevate the moral character of the craftsmen. It is this extraordinary combination of `history', trade and moral regulations which makes these early MSS unique among contemporary craft documents. (My italics.) Whilst it is true that the Regius MS of 1390 is, of course, representative of its time in advising the mason of his duty to his master, brethren and to Holy Church, even containing the expression: `Pray we now to God almyght and to hys moder Mary bryght', yet there is enough to reveal the bond of fellowship in right living which permeates our ritual utterances today. Between the stress of 1390 on leading a moral life and respecting the chastity of a master's or fellow's wife and daughter, and the First Charge with which we are, or ought to be, familiar there is an undeniable link.

 

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 practice the sacred duties of morality.

 

It will not be irrelevant to add here one more brief extract from the 1390 Regius MS. It closes with these words: `Amen! Amen! So mote it be So say we all for charity.' Yet familiar as such a sentiment will appear to us today I wonder if we are aware that this was just as pre‑eminently and familiarly to the fore in the days when those words were first penned, `probably by a priest, himself a master mason, or, at any rate, in close touch with the building fraternity'.

 

Whatever may be our understanding of the nature of the medieval Masons' Gild, and something must be said about this in the next section, it yet remains true that medieval masons, like any other association of craft‑workers, `no matter for what special purpose they were founded, had the same general characteristics of brotherly aid and social charity; and no guild was divorced from the ordinary religious observances, commonly practiced by all such bodies in those days'. A master employing an apprentice was not simply his technical superior and instructor. He acted also in the capacity of his father, watching over his morals, as well as his work, during the period of apprenticeship. There was concern for the use of proper tools, and no member of the Gild was allowed to possess tools `unless the same were testified to be good and honest ... It was specially forbidden, in the strongest terms, to mix inferior materials with a better sort, to the detriment of the buyer, or to sell patched‑up work as new . . . Thus, the statutes of the Whitawers directed the Gild‑brothers to assist a member who did not know ho to go on with his work, in order that it might not be spoiled. Such directions are specially frequent among the Masons, from whom customers received special guarantees for the proper completion of their work.' In his recent essay on the `Communal year at Coventry, 1450‑1550' C. Phythian‑Adams has written, 'Exclusion from the fellowships of building workers (for bad work or bad behaviour) automatically meant the stigma of inferior status as only `comen laborers' or mere DRAMA AND CRAFT 199 servants . . . When all masters and journeymen annually processed in their respective companies at Corpus Christitide and on the eves of Midsummer and St Peter, therefore, the community in its entirety was literally defining itself for all to see'.

 

It is against such a backcloth of public as well as trade morality that masonry in the late Middle Ages has to be seen. What I now have to introduce is the evidence which we have acquired, since the days of Pick and Conder, regarding the involvement of those very medieval masons in `moral' plays. I am not here referring to the Mystery, or biblical, productions as these will be dealt with at a later stage. I refer particularly to what were, in fact, called `Morality Plays' or simply `Moralities'.

 

Already, in the year 1389, we have evidence that shows how in York 'once upon a time, a play setting forth the goodness of the Lord's Prayer was played in the City of York; in which play all manner of vices and sins were held up to scorn, and the virtues were held up to praise'. The play was called appropriately, the Pater Noster play and an ancient tradition provided that each of the seven petitions contained in that prayer was a means of salvation from one of the Seven Deadly Sins. What we are told by the great expert on the plays in York at this period, Lucy Toulmin Smith, is that this Pater Noster play was probably played on separate stages, each provided by one trade, albeit we do not yet have the evidence in York to determine how those scenes were allocated. We do know that there were also such plays in two other places not that far from York, viz. Beverley and Lincoln. Here we are able to gather some further information, for in the Furnivall Miscellany by A. F. Leach we learn that in 1469 there were eight scenes at Beverley, one for each of the Deadly Sins, and an additional one called `Viciose'. We also know for certain that the play was a processional one like the Corpus Christi plays here and elsewhere and we also know that the craft guilds had a scene apportioned to them individually or as groups of trades. Moreover the 'stations' where these play‑scenes were presented were approximately those of the longer and more frequent Corpus Christi Mysteries. Since we shall notice more similarities between Beverley and York drama later, it is especially interesting to learn that the masons in Beverley were responsible for presenting the play on 'Avarice', of which the contrasting virtue displayed was ‑ Charity! At Lincoln we learn still more. We know that there was a Pater Noster play performed there in 1397‑98, in 1410‑11, in 1424‑25 and in 1456‑57. What we also know is that besides these alternatives to the otherwise annual mystery plays there were other'saints plays' which all portray the conquest by their namesake of some particular vice. Three of the saints named come interestingly on three August days, the 10th, 1lth and 12th, and besides St Susanna and St Clara I am fascinated to find ‑ St Laurence ‑ who conquered Avarice by his display of Charity. Hardin Craig is of the strong opinion that here at last we begin to see how this form of early 'morality‑cum‑saints' play of the Pater Noser was made up. The search must continue but we are on a new track and our masonic forbears are not inappropriately involved.

 

Here I must draw attention to one other contemporary facet which had a very great effect on both literature and drama . . . the 'danse macabre' or Dance of 200 Death. W. Seelman has gone a long way towards proving that the `dramatic' versions of the Dance of Death in the fourteenth century were actually morality plays. All they lack is an abstract virtue as a hero. The performances took place in a church and were religious in spirit and purpose. There was a door or grave into which the victims of Death disappeared and as they did so the preacher would give warning of the certainty of death to all and the necessity of preparation for the ordeal of death by the accumulation of good works. Death, when he appears on the scene, is made to resemble a corpse or skeleton. The development of the Dance of Death into a morality play was very obvious and two of the best known English moralities of the fifteenth century Everyman and The Pride of Life, were direct descendants of this theme and pattern.

 

THE MEDIEVAL MASON AND HIS CRAFT What I believe is all too easily forgotten in much of our masonic research is the fact that we are dealing with human beings. `As a man and a mason' is a phrase that our ritual has bequeathed to us and it is a phrase that merits proper consideration. Masons today are human, creatures of their time and subject to all the thought forms and practices of the society in which they live. Indeed it is one of the first reprieves that we receive after our obligation that we are dispensed from our masonic responsibilities if they bring `detriment to ourselves and connections'. As with us, so it was with our ancestors in the craft. It is for this reason that some of us have to try and enable these ancestors to live afresh, understanding their age and its customs, so that we shall lend proper weight to the influence upon them of the practices in which they engaged and the ideas with which they were familiar. Ideas and practices, let me at once say, that I believe have left indelible marks upon our present, apparently very altered, Brotherhood.

 

The six aspects of mediaeval freemasonry which are particularly relevant are as follows: 1. Masons were fallible men: Though it is customary and laudable to look with pleasure and pride on the great masonic achievements in stone that still so richly adorn our own and many other Continental countries and to speak in somewhat exalted tones about the permanence of their construction work and their immense beauty, it is also good for us to realise that like us these men were also inadequate and incompetent at times, and there are not a few occasions recorded in the documents still extant which show that buildings were erected which fell down within a few years or were so unsatisfactorily executed that the patrons of the building venture demanded that a new start or a replacement should be executed. Galling as it may be to accept this it will do us no good to ignore it. Nor will it do us any good to imagine that all masons were highly dedicated persons who only undertook work as it pleased them or as they saw in it the fulfilment of some noble concept. The men we are dealing with were sometimes impressed by royal agents to work far from home on tasks that they would never have sought and in places which they wished to leave as soon as they might. They were men who overslept and were fined for it, men who looked for short cuts to doing unpleasant chores and were sometimes maimed through inadequate care, men who would tolerate no unproven stranger on their work‑area and who might (even with their `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' DRAMA AND CRAFT brethren) occasionally find fault and come to blows or at least sharp words.

 

It was these flesh and blood creatures, these men of hardiness and passion, of whom we so often speak as `the masons of old'. For anyone who has unduly romantic notions about the craft with which we are concerned these other words in a recent book on Cathedral Architecture by Hugh Braun may prove salutary: Think of (these men) particularly in the winter of their years. Living in shelters of poles and mud thatched with heather. Wrapped in clothing of some coarse material and hooded to keep out the winds howling at them while they perched upon some wall‑top. One wonders how they were shod . . . possibly often with straw bound round with rags from clothing worn out a generation or more before.

 

Think of them climbing the scaffolding a hundred feet in the air, while the months pass into years as they lug stone after stone up and up to help the walls rise while the spirit of the tower‑top beckons them upwards still and the carpenters are waiting to begin their difficult task of assembling huge beams to form a tall steeple.

 

Surely the work of the builder . . . was verging upon the superhuman. Called from the world of hovels, none more than a single storey in height, he found himself having to raise a pair of walls eighty feet high and cover them with a roof.

 

When in a little while we shall see these hardy and hardworking men involved in the drama of the public place we shall need to remember that we are not talking about the dilettante handymen of the age, but professional and hot‑blooded men of their day who would stand for no nonsense and would think hard about what occupied their time and energy.

 

2. Masons were money‑conscious: Professional they certainly were, both master‑mason designers and free‑stone carvers and moulders. They were, as a result, amongst the more highly‑paid employees of the whole country and yet the sums which were involved seem paltry by modern standards‑4d a day in 1400, 6d a day in 1500, 8d by 1550 and doubled to 16d a day by 1600, until by the time of the rebuilding of London and the era of our first Grand Lodge a working mason would receive 32d a day.

 

Though the VSL tells us that `man does not live by bread alone', yet the truth is that our masonic predecessors had to exist and to eat and it is instructive to hear what Knoop and Jones have to say about the ratio of wages to the price of food and drink.

 

Thus in 1212, the mason's daily wage in London was fixed at 41/zd without food and 3d with food, i.e. the food was treated as worth 11hd, and the money wage without food may be expressed as three times what the food cost. It was also the case in 1495 that a mason's daily wage was equal to three times the cost of providing him with `meat and drink'. In the second half of the sixteenth century the money wage appears to have been equivalent to only twice the cost of his `meat and drink'. During the seventeenth century the position appears to have improved somewhat ‑ . . .

 

To achieve or to maintain these standards the masons were far from unready to take a stand. In the middle of the fourteenth century we have a London ordinance which asserts that `the good folks of the City, rich and poor, have suffered within the past year, by reason of masons, carpenters, plasterers, tilers, and all manner of labourers, who take immeasureably more than they have been wont to take'  201  202 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' Thus in 1360 a Statute of Labourers increased the penalties to be imposed upon all those `masons and carpenters' who were extortionate in their demands.

 

It is also worth noting that at this time any workman taking more than he was entitled to was liable to go to prison for 40 days, whilst anyone paying higher wages than those authorised was to be fined 40s (or the equivalent of 120 men's pay for a day!). When in a little while we come to examine the costs and fines levied in relation to the drama in which these 'pay‑minded' secular workers were involved we shall, I think, be able to judge in a new way the values they placed on the `play' which diverted them from their work.

 

3. Masons were religious: Yet though these were secular men they were also religious men. I find myself in full agreement with the opinion expressed by Bro Roderick Baxter in the Prestonian Lecture for 1929 when he says, `It is generally acknowledged now that the present‑day Speculative Freemasons are the legitimate descendants of the mediaeval Operative craftsmen who built our Gothic cathedrals, churches, castles and keeps and the theory which I want to lay before you is that these old Masons being so closely in touch with all the rites of the church, simply applied the gospel narrative to their trade in a symbolical way, just as they moralised on their working tools and implements.' Apart from the employment for certain urgent periods and in some areas of the country by the Royal house of the time, the vast majority of masons were the servants and dependants of the monks and clergy. No sooner had the great Benedictine and Cluniac houses of the eleventh to thirteenth centuries been completed than the Friars arrived and showed the need, not only for a whole range of new Dominican and Franciscan convents, but also for great new churches of fresh design and in new areas of the country. It will not be surprising therefore if we observe in the interplay of masons and monastic, of friar and freemason, a partnership which was not only productive but which was so eminently harmonious.

 

During the medieval period architecture provided a meeting‑place for science and art, of reason and feeling, of the numinous and the severely practical in life. It touched ‑ as it was intended to touch ‑ spirit, mind and body together. The architect was not simply a master craftsman of a traditional manual skill but one who sought to come very close `in his endeavours to imitate the Creator of the natural environment. The Middle Ages symbolised this clearly in representations of God the Father, as Creator of the Universe, measuring it out, as in the Holkham Picture Bible Book, with the giant compasses of the architectural or speculative master mason.' What was clearly required of the Master Mason at this stage was a sensitive and also an informed religious sense which would enable the mason not simply to know what to do but to know what he was doing. To quote again from Braun: It seems that the exterior (of a cathedral) might have been intended not as architecture but as scenery, similar to a stage setting for a pageant . . . Was this piling up of turrets, buttresses and pinnacles . . . more like a rocky hillside than a building ‑ could this have been, perhaps unconsciously, a tribute not only to God, but to the inescapable glory of his Works, ever before the eyes of mediaeval man? DRAMA AND CRAFT 203 Whatever may have been the case in earlier ages I would assert that in the latter fourteenth century, and after, this was certainly the case.

 

For this reason. Mention has already been made of the impact of the Black Death on the provision of labour in England, as indeed on many countries of Western Europe. Yet it was not only in its economic or social impact that this phenomenon was significant. It had, as Philip Ziegler has made very clear, a religious and psychological effect of profound dimension.

 

Mediaeval man in 1350 and 1351 believed without question that the Black Death was God's punishment for his wickedness. This time he had been spared but he could hardly hope for such indulgence to be renewed if his contumacious failure to mend his ways stung God into a second onslaught. The situation, with sin provoking plague and plague generating yet more sin, seemed to have all the makings of a uniquely vicious circle, a circle from which he could only hope to escape by a drastic mending of his ways. Yet, undeterred, he continued on his wicked course against a background of apocalyptic mutterings prophesying every kind of doom.

 

The practical effect for masonry was a spate of chantry chapels in which the dead might be regularly prayed for, saints might be asked to save those in purgatory and God's house might be further honoured. There was a veritable stampede towards altars and processions, and the hell‑fire preaching of the Friars was given a new lease of life and called for new expression in roof‑boss and wall‑decoration, in painted glass and stone‑tracery. The sombre and the tragic, the emphasis on the necromantic (the cult of the dead) and of Hell; above all, the awareness of the violence in life ‑ all these came to the fore for 'no‑one can live through a catastrophe so devastating and so inexplicable without retaining for ever the scars of his experience'.

 

Such, I am sure, was the natural air the mason of the day breathed and such the backcloth to his involvement in society. What is remarkable and fascinating is that when you see the setting in which men are, in and around 1370, you begin to understand why it was that at this very moment there emerged a whole succession of events that are significant for the Craft. The first recorded articles and charges of masons are seen to appear, a vast new spate of parish church building develops, the new style of architecture, Perpendicular, begins to flourish and the towers of Worcester, the West front of Beverley or the nave of Canterbury come into existence, the friars need new accoutrements for their popular instruction and with the decimation of the monastery population (almost half the monks and nuns died, over 8,000 of them) plays which had hitherto been almost entirely regarded as their preserve are taken over by the local community of which the masons are far from being unimportant members. It was not coincidence ‑ it was a stage in a new development.

 

4. Masons were visually acute: As the rich gave eagerly for the beautifying of those earthly temples which might stay the return of the pestilence that had been endured so the masonic artificers were faced with a new task of ecclesiastical workmanship ‑ the production of fresh symbolic design.

 

Medieval writers were perfectly well aware that the function of design was then performed by men who were members of the relevant building trades, masons, carpenters and the like. Thus Lydgate in his Troy Book written in 1412‑20, 204 'THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' describes how King Priam, desiring to build a new city on a clear site, sent out to seek: For such workmen as were curious, Of wit inventive, of casting marvellous; Or such as could craft of geometry Or were subtle in their fantasy; And for everyone that was good deviser, Mason, hewer, or crafty quarrier; For every wright and passing carpenter That may be found . . .

 

The combination in this passage of the craft of geometry, mathematical knowledge, the function of 'deviser', with such types of craftsmen as masons and carpenters is significant. The mention of skilled quarrymen is also of interest because there is a good deal of evidence that areas of stone quarrying were one of the main sources of the most highly trained types of mason.

 

For my present thesis this mention of the quarry is also very germane for there is evidence to show that either the quarry was a natural 'theatre' for the performing of plays or at any rate formed one of the stations in which part of the medieval procession or 'play' took place. Thus, in Shrewsbury, from which we have recovered fragments of the plays which show how an individual player was 'prompted' or 'cued in' for his part, we know that in 1494 ˙5.6s.9d was paid for wine 'given to Prince Arthur at the play in the Quarrell' and in 1516 there was presented 'the play and show of the Martydom of Feliciana and Sabina in the Whitsun week in the Quarry behind the town walls . . .'. In Wakefield also we learn how, following the much older custom of the Corpus Christi procession, the later series of craft plays ended their sequence of stopping places at Goodybower, once a small open place, then, as now, a narrow lane running from the North East part of the parish, now Cathedral, churchyard and leading from the local quarry to the town centre. In his history of Wakefield J. W. Walker says of the name, Goodybower, that it was 'in allusion to the place where the Mystery plays were performed', hence 'God i'th bower', and certainly in the mystery play of Cain and Abel, a play which could well have been that performed by the masons locally, there occurs the following couplet, 'Whan I am dede,' bery me in Gudeboure at the Quarrell hede.' When, as may well have been the case, the quarry was the place for the careful choice of stone and its first squaring or 'quarrying' (both of which words, like ,quarrelling', have a link with 'quatuor', the Latin word for 'four') and also a spot in which much preliminary carving took place it is obvious that this was where the mason exercised his skill of sight and imagination. It was not simply a case of knowing the line of the stone and its suitability for this or that decoration. It was also a case of knowing which decoration to adopt and for what purpose. Whilst it is often recognised that the masons were good constructors it is, I think, still not sufficiently recognised that they were the servants of the church as teachers and symbolical communicators. Anyone who begins to study carefully the masonic masterpieces of the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries in Britain will be struck not DRAMA AND CRAFT 205 so much by their grandeur as by their detail. The masons were men with a very perceptive and retentive eye. To them the minutiae of symbolic representation was not merely something required by their employers or patrons: it was clearly something in which they themselves were expressing all they knew and all that they, and they alone, could convey to their unlettered as well as their educated contemporaries, not to mention those who in future ages, like us, would, they would be sure, understand without language the truths which they portrayed.

 

Though one cannot pursue this matter at more length here it is, I am sure, important for us to try and discern why the masons did in fact represent in their work the same objects in identical or near‑identical fashion, viz, the Temple, a Palace, a Jewish priest, an Angel, some Saint, Prophet or Apostle. To quote John Harvey again: `A church was the House of God, a shelter for worshippers, and a picture book of religious doctrine. Statuary, paintings, and stained glass told their stories in the manner of the strip‑cartoon. . .' The problem that faces us is not, why did the masons engage in drama, but why they engage as they did? For men of the kind of sure sight and wide experience that they were in the matter of architectural symbolism and allegory it cannot have been by chance that they took up their `part' in the drama of their day without a full awareness of what they were doing. Yet to this we shall come very shortly and in more detail.

 

5. Masons were community men of their time: We must first consider another aspect of the medieval masons' life as real human beings and that is their community sense. Without at this stage entering into the important and still open‑ended debate as to what was, and what was not, the real nature of the masons' associations, such as we can know them from the fourteenth century onwards, the fact still stands that masons were regarded, and were apparently happy to be regarded, as genuine members of the local society. For our present purpose and whilst recognising the questions left unanswered and unresolved it will be enough to record here the unmistakable impression that two years of careful reading of municipal documents has left upon me. In no instance am I aware that when the masons are mentioned there is any suggestion that they are a race apart or that their participation in the city life was unusual or peculiar.

 

As one example of the early inclusion of the masons in their community life I would especially mention their presence in the town or city processions which developed in this country long before there was any suggestion of their being associated with public plays. Between 1311, when the official authorisation in England of the public Corpus Christi festival occurred, and the certain emergence of the mystery plays c 1370, it is known that the religious procession, an act involving both church and municipal officials, was steadily developed as a principal feature of the day's activities. The outline of the day's activity was simple enough but its components were clearly the launching‑pad for something much more ambitious as time went on. After a solemn high‑mass, the clergy and their acolytes would leave the church building with candles, robes and incense and with the sacrament of the `sacrificed Master' borne under a panoply by the chief cleric present. This would be followed by the principal town officers and then the crafts in their precise order of precedence, also bearing candles and their own banners, 206 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' the latter specially and newly designed. The first of such banners, as Conder has informed us, was that chosen and displayed in London by the masons‑ `3 Castles with a chevron between bearing an open pair of compasses', the very motif which is displayed to this day on every Grand Lodge certificate that a new mason receives.

 

It is, I believe, because the craftsmen were accustomed to sharing in this kind of religious ceremony and to taking an increasingly `visible' part in the proceedings that we should be less surprised at their eventual and total participation in the plays which emerged. It is here that a significant passage from Glynne Wickham's Early English Stages (vol I) needs quoting: Since the distinguishing feature of the Corpus Christi celebrations was a procession of the most formal kind, it is reasonable to suppose that the livery companies would carry with them not only the obligatory 'lights' or torches and banners, but more material symbols of their calling, as they were wont to do at civic celebrations. What could be more appropriate to the occasion than banners depicting a scriptural scene with which the craft guild had professional affinities? And if the symbol was on a banner, why not three‑dimensionally as a model on a small, portable rostrum or platform? The thirty years between the general adoption of the Festival and the first onslaught of the Black Death was quite long enough for this practice to have become universal and for the same trades to have become firmly associated with the same scenes in many cities. . . . Once thus attached, it is an easy step for the guilds to claim as `their own' a particular scene or story when called upon by the clergy to participate in the performance of the plays. If they offered to pay the costs in order to secure `their scene', the claim would be hard to resist.

 

It is tempting to quote more but enough has been said to show that we are dealing here with a communal activity in which masons, like their contemporaries in other crafts, were caught up in a developing process. Whether it be the mention of individuals (like Johannus Hardere, freemason, in the Corpus Christi Guild at York) or the mention of the masons generally in Norwich in 1453 as amongst those crafts which, unlike the majority, bore two banners in the city procession for Corpus Christi instead of one; or yet again the stipulation in Edinburgh in 1475 that `the Masons and Wrights should always have place in all public processions, as they haf in the towne of Bruges'‑ the impression seems undeniable that many of our masonic predecessors were rooted and grounded in the life of their localities. In 17591 read that the Builders' Company of Kendal (which we know to have included the masons) made the following contribution to the public procession: Builders about 100 in number will be preceded by 2 Hewers of wood on Horseback, followed by King David playing on his harp, after him will be carried on men's shoulders a model of Solomon's Temple, followed by King Solomon with proper Guards, next the Journeymen and Apprentices in sashes and caps with the Armes of the Trade, beautifully painted on the Front, followed by the Masters in sashes and cockades, richly embroidered. . . .

 

The public expression of more intimate ceremonial seems to be still at work and the community's awareness of its building craftsmen unquestioned.

 

6. Masons were men with special insights: Before we come to the principal section of this Lecture, however, there is still need for us to consider one further aspect of the masonic craftsmen's make‑up. Countless writers have referred to the DRAMA AND CRAFT 207 fact that the medieval masons appear to have had secrets, not only of a technical, but also of an esoteric, nature. (For the technical `secrets' see the Prestonian Lecture for 1931.) Bro Harry Carr, in his recent paper on the relationship of the Craft and the Royal Arch, writes, `The present writer has always believed that there must be some kind of legend, not necessarily Hiramic, to explain the F.P.O.F.', and in his latest book, King Solomon's Temple in the Masonic Tradition, Alex Horne makes a similar point at various stages throughout that work. On page 26 he suggests that the underlying masonic legend seems to go back to the fifteenth century according to written records and possibly much later by `oral tradition'; and on page 46 he repeats the words of Professor Johnston, who concluded that the Temple legends `were not taken wholesale into our system from an outside source' but were indigenous to the genius of the masonic institution itself.

 

As with contemporary manorial customs it is suggested that there could well have been, among masons, `customs, and perhaps traditions, which had been orally transmitted from generation to generation' and this is the less difficult to conceive when we recall that it was in such a manner that the so‑called 'geometrical secrets' were communicated. Moreover Alex Horne is not the only writer to suggest that there grew up a tradition in thirteenth‑century churches and cathedrals of `mutilation, sacrifice and death' such as is recounted of the transept window of Lincoln Cathedral.

 

It is on p 330 of Horne's book that material very relevant to my present thesis appears. Reference is made to Robert Race's view (BMM, ix) that analysis of the Hiramic Drama confirms that it is in reality `nothing more than the libretto of a religious drama ‑ one of those Mystery or Miracle plays that we know to have been in the habit of being enacted in the Middle Ages'. Whatever may or may not be the truth of this suggestion it does provoke Alex Horne into postulating the idea of `a Masonic play (which) may well have been of an esoteric character, meant for inner circles only, and transmitted purely by oral tradition and therefore not available in written form'. Even after giving due weight to Ernest E. Thiemeyer's attack on the Race theory I find it most instructive to note that Alex Horne's recent study comes to the following conclusion: `It would seem obvious, however, that Thiemeyer's ‑folk‑lore theory and Robert Race's Morality Play theory are not mutually exclusive, but that, if some elements of the Hiramic Myth are indeed `a product of the thought processes of a social group', preserved from more primitive times through the instrumentality of popular folk‑lore and mythology, these elements could very well have incarnated themselves in the body of a folk‑drama, on the one hand, as well as in a ritual, on the other, and in these two forms may have passed on to a time when, as now, both the drama and the ritual are found incorporated in a single rite.' With this thought uppermost we are ready to move to another stage of the argument.

 

THE MASONS AND THE MYSTERY PLAYS We now come to what is the principal section of this Lecture. Its argument may be simply stated. Contrary to what has been previous opinion on the subject I 208 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' believe that the surviving evidence regarding the involvement of local masons in the medieval Mystery dramas sufficiently proves that this involvement was determinate and not haphazard, was specifically related to certain biblical and hence typological events, was widespread and continued for long periods, and, above all, does seem to have had some connection with the emergence of our current rituals. As R. J. Meekren once remarked in a related, albeit a different, context (AQC, lxxii), `it would take a treatise of considerable length to set out (the argument) in a coherent form'. All I can hope to do here is to give an outline of the argument and to suggest where more evidence can be found.

 

In AQC, xxxvii R. I. Clegg ‑ in his discussion of Herbert Poole's paper, Masonic Ritual and Secrets before 1717 ‑ points to `the early ceremonies of the Church and particularly those spectacles which have been associated with the period of Easter' as being a possible origin for the later Hiramic drama. Let us therefore consider just what it was, that the masons who were so continuously at work on the slowly constructed church buildings could have seen and heard taking place around the stone sepulchres which they had erected at the North East part of the church sanctuary (sanctum sanctorum) from the thirteenth century onwards.

 

The following extracts are from the Sepulchrum or Easter liturgical drama written for use in Salisbury Cathedral in the fourteenth century and also belonging to the parish of St John the Evangelist, Dublin, in the fifteenth century. The original text is, of course, in Latin.

 

Three persons enter in surplices . . . (The first approaches the sepulchre) Alas! the good shepherd is slain, Whom no guilt stained, O lamentable death! (The third duly adds) Alas! the true teacher is dead (A) who gave life to the dead. O lamentable fact! (The second Mary duly says) Alas! our Consolation, Why did he suffer death? (After coming close to the altar, the third Mary says) But this we cannot accomplish without assistance. who shall roll away the stone for us ... ? (The angel, leaning on the tomb, says) What seek ye at the sepulchre, O followers of Christ? (After the Maries' answer the angel adds) He is risen; he is not here ...

 

Come and see the place where he was laid. (The Maries having looked around, cry) He is risen, the powerful, the strong ... (First Mary says to the congregation after John and Peter have arrived) . . . Death and Life have fought in a wonderful duel; The Prince of Life, having died, reigns living.' In case anyone imagines that my use of italics is by way of special pleading it DRAMA AND CRAFT 209 might be worth noting that in other variations of this particular church drama there are variations which still more strongly enhance a phraseology not unfamiliar to present‑day masons. In a version used in Orleans in the thirteenth century we find . . .

 

instead of (A) above, `who gave life to the upright'; and the first Mary adds the words: Why condemned ye to an impious death The Holy One with savage hate? O Direful rage! and the third Mary's refrain is then Alas! what are we wretched ones to do, Bereft of our sweet Master? ...

 

Moreover the angel sits at the head of the grave with an evergreen or palm, and a candelabra or lights in his hand.

 

Whilst there are many more details which could be quoted from the exhaustive studies by Chambers and Young enough has been given here to show that following the allegorisation of the Mass in the ninth century there exists by the fourteenth century a pattern of liturgical representation at the great Festivals which would have been very familiar to all loyal churchmen and not least to those whose very livelihood compelled them to be intimately related to the church building and its activity. When to the dialogue already reported we add the fact that the three clerics who played Mary, the Mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene and Mary Salome, `did not proceed in formal liturgical order, but went slowly and wanderingly, as though searching for something' we are I think bound to be struck with a further ritual similarity.

 

The next interesting fact is that by the thirteenth century there is also a well‑established and documented Christmas play which echoes in striking fashion the features already pointed out in the Easter sequence. It starts with three shepherds searching for something and their being asked the question, `what do you seek?', to which they answer, `The Saviour, Christ the Lord: we do not know where they have laid him'. The baby is then pointed out to them. This dialogue is clearly analogous to the Easter event and is exactly parallel in its religious meaning, save that the one refers to the event of `rising' and the other to that of `being born'.

 

Yet this is not the end of the story. Not only was the play of the Shepherds, at Christmas, sometimes, and in some places often, replaced by a sequence called the `Ordo Prophetarum' (or Play of the Prophets) in which David and Solomon, amongst others, foretell the coming of the final Master or Messiah, but there is also a further variation which involved an extended play at Epiphanytide,12 days after Christmas, when the three shepherds, leaving the manger, are met by the Three Kings who have left the East to search for someone and who are led by a light, a star, because that will guide them to where this new‑born King and Master is laid.

 

There was even one more elaboration of which we have firm evidence by the twelfth century. We know that in some places on the Continent the play of the 210 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' shepherds and of the Kings was still further lengthened to include what was called the `Ordo Rachaelis' (or play of the Massacre of the Innocents) in which, following the visit of the three Kings, or Wise men (Magi), to Bethlehem, Herod ordered the death of all children in the city who were two years old or under. In some cases, but not all, this contained one section called Rachel's Lament for the children ‑ a feature which again links up the whole with the original Easter theme.

 

Such plays as these were known to have been played in the course of the cathedral worship, even whilst the building of these cathedrals progressed, at York, Lincoln, Lichfield and Norwich, and of these only Lichfield was too small a town to support the kind of public plays which developed in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. It is clear, in general, that the liturgical drama provided an authoritative model for the mystery cycles whilst in no sense giving way to them, for whereas the liturgical drama was performed inside the church building at certain specific seasons of the year, the plays to which we must now turn were performed outside in the summer period and on one, two or at the most three, consecutive days during which crowds of people could be gathered together. Contrary to earlier Victorian and Edwardian literary opinion we now know that both church liturgical, and public Mystery, plays were in existence concurrently.

 

In one respect, and one far from irrelevant to our present purpose, the two presentations were quite distinct. In the liturgical plays the figure of Christ was never portrayed. Instead, his presence was symbolically, demonstrated by the clergy carrying the cross and candles, or tapers, and also by processing with the consecrated Host, or bread specially appointed for the Mass. It is, I believe, significant that in no play‑sequence in which the masons were ever engaged was there any event which involved the physical presence of `the Master'. Since in any series of Corpus Christi plays there were many parts in which Jesus appeared I am bound to remark that I do not think that this was a mere coincidence. Combined with the other features which I shall shortly illustrate I suggest that this was of determinate and considered choice. It also says a good deal about the place of symbolic illustration and the veil of allegory.

 

We must come now to the crucial question (clearly not one to be argued at length in this lecture) as to how and why there developed a public `spectacle' such as the summer Mystery plays proved to be. What needs to be remarked on here is the astonishing fact, and one that I myself had never previously grasped, that the plays with which we are dealing were played in some form and in some parts of the British Isles, and in some parts continuously, for 250 years! When we recall that our own Craft has only recently celebrated such a passage of time it is well to recognise that for a similar period there were in this realm ‑from about 1370 until 1620 ‑ plays of a biblical and religious nature which drew audiences that have had no equal and no similar affection, even in the days of Shakespeare. One passage from Mysteries End by Gardiner (1946) will illustrate the point: (After 1570) the old religious drama in the North still held the people's hearts, and when the long story of God's dealings with his children, which had been set before the people of York since at least the year 1378, ceased to teach the Christian Faith and a love of DRAMA AND CRAFT pageantry and acting to the Northerners, it was not because the people wished to see them go, but because under an atmosphere of suspicion that had been still more troubled by the (Northern) rebellion, the plays had been fairly `perused, amended and corrected' out of existence.

 

Yet that was not the end, for in 1575 the guild ordinances of York were totally revised and still included the regulation that `the guilds shall be ready to set forth their play, among the rest of the Corpus Christi plays ‑ whenever the whole plays of the town shall proceed' and in 1581 the masons themselves have a regulation which endorses this particular point. In 1591 on 19 May the Corporation of Coventry are making plans for a new play to be given on `the Pagens on Midsomer daye and St Peter's daye' so that these Coventry dramas were still very much in evidence all through Shakespeare's young manhood. In Chester the last copying of the plays took place in 1601. In Kendal, as we have earlier mentioned, the plays continued until James I's reign and it was outside Ely House, Holborn, that the last recorded performance of a medieval Mystery play took place in the presence of a crowd of thousands! We are here dealing, then, with a social phenomenon of no small magnitude. To dismiss these plays as if they were a mere irrelevance to contemporary living and to reach the conclusion that, whilst regrettable, the involvement of the masons of the day was not in any way significant for them or, by inference, for us, simply will not do. I submit, with respect yet also with confidence, that neither brothers Conder nor Pick had really searched far enough before they came to the conclusions which they offered. Let us, however, recall what their conclusions were before we pass on to some further considerations.

 

In 1945 Fred Pick wrote an article in the proceedings of the Manchester Association of Masonic Research (XXXV) entitled The Influence of the Gilds. On page 64 of that issue he wrote as follows: . . . There is no conclusive evidence of the existence of the Hiramic legend before 1730 and among the few plays preserved is none connected with the Temple or any story bearing on our ritual. On the other hand we have preserved in certain ceremonies dramatic episodes that may well have had their germ in some long‑forgotten series of miracle plays, and it must be remembered that the plays were still being produced in the reign of James I, by which time speculative masonry was beginning to develop. When Bro Conder's paper was discussed ... the consensus of opinion was that no case could be made out for a connection between the miracle play and masonic ritual and no more satisfactory case can be established today.... (My italics.) The paper of Ed Conder Jnr to which he refers was presented in 1901(A QC, XIV) and was entitled simply The Miracle Play. Having done a good deal of research he admits to there being plays by the close of the fourteenth century from Newcastle upon Tyne to Penairth (?) in Cornwall, wherever the craft guilds had their centres, but he does not seem to have had knowledge of the Cornish Guary plays in their full form, he asserts that there was no special play with which the masons were generally connected, and whilst apparently stating that there is `no trace' of any story which might have a bearing on the ritual of the Craft he makes the point obviously taken up by Bro Pick, that the MM and Royal Arch may have had the source of their ceremonies from the plays. Finally, on page 79, he writes as follows: 212 'THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' . . . as drama representation was evidently a great factor in the hands of the clergy in bringing home to an unlettered people the truths of the Scripture, such a means of procedure must have forced itself upon the pre‑Reformation Masons as a suitable channel for instilling any special tradition they may have thought necessary to keep alive in their craft; and further, such realistic plays as the 'Burial of Christ' and the 'Raising of Lazarus', so well known to them, may have had a considerable effect in the formation of any private Craft play, mystery or legend they wished to perpetuate, always supposing that at that date such a legend existed.

 

I have only one conclusion to draw from the work which my notable and assiduous predecessors did in this field. I believe that they were so single‑minded in their endeavour to find the kind of link that most reluctantly they could not find that they stopped looking again at the material which even they had unearthed and which is still there to be examined. Had they had the time and the further literary research which is now available I am certain that they would have come to somewhat different conclusions. One commentator on Bro Conder's paper remarked that it was now impossible 'to resuscitate these dry bones and clothe the body in its proper garments'. I suggest that that was too pessimistic an opinion and I have endeavoured to respond to Bro Hughan's remarks that same evening ‑ '. . . the data supplied will enable students so desirous, to continue their researches.' We shall best continue our research by first reminding ourselves of the plays in which the masons actually took part. At first sight it is quite true that the impression you receive is of a motley array of plays for which the masons assumed responsibility. Before we look at the actual titles, therefore, we shall need to remind ourselves of one or two factors which applied to all the crafts of the day, set as they were in the communal context of their age. A moment's reflection on the reality of the human situation in which we have already tried to set our ancestors will make plain that in every local community in Britain there were different trades which stood out as pre‑eminent and others which took their place as of greater or lesser importance according to who were the principal citizens of any particular town or city. The application of this fact to the Mystery plays is of paramount importance. In Chester and Norwich, for example, the most important persons were the Drapers, Haberdashers and Hosiers, whereas in York and Wakefield it was the Barbers. The significance of this fact for the performance of what were now plays which were a charge and responsibility, before God and Holy Church, on the Town and City Corporation, was that those who were the most eminent in the town were usually invited to perform the first or last plays of the day, and so far as I have been able to discover, that is exactly what happened. This at once meant a shift in the allocation of all the other plays and gives anyone who sets out in order the known performers of all the plays we are aware of a kaleidoscope of appointments which at first sight have neither shape nor reason. Hence you find the play The Flight into Egypt being performed in York by the Marshalls (or Veterinary surgeons), in Coventry by the Shearmen and Taylors, in Newcastle by the Bricklayers and Plasterers, and in Beverley by the Coopers. On the other hand, the Barbers alone present the Baptism of Christ in York, Norwich, Newcastle and Beverley. In case all this seems confusing let me try to explain why it is not so confusing after all.

 

In a previous part of this Lecture I drew attention to the fact that the original method of commemorating the Corpus Christi festival was the holding of a public procession in which, following an ecclestiastical vanguard, the crafts in due sequence paraded with their appropriate banners and/or craft symbols, most of which demonstrated either the tools of their trade, the symbol of their patron saint or some combination of both. I also showed that wherever possible the trade in question would later seek to secure for itself as `its own', the play which most naturally demonstrated either the craft which was responsible for it or some event which might allegorically refer to its patron saint. All these factors now come into play as the proper order of each local Corpus Christi programme is finally arranged. To put it more simply ‑a craft‑guild would be allocated a play according to (i) its importance in the town hierarchy, (ii) the appropriateness of the play's content in relation to that trade, or (iii) the connection of this biblical incident with a particular patron saint. In looking at the plays allocated above we can see just that pattern at work.

 

The reason why the Barbers were so consistently awarded the play of The Baptism of Christ was because the presentation of this play required a great deal of hair and its special arrangement, eg St John the Baptist was clothed in `camel's hair', was heavily bearded by tradition, and was visited at the Jordan by the bearded representatives of the priests in Jerusalem. When you learn that the Patron Saint of the Barbers was John the Baptist because he was decapitated and they were also medieval surgeons (!) the explanation is even more obvious.

 

When we come to the variegated performers of the Flight into Egypt play there are the same logical explanations. No play is taken up `by chance'. A play which showed an ass or donkey stoutly carrying Mary on a journey was a trade advertisement for the York Marshalls, whilst in Coventry the Shearmen and Taylors had a monopoly of all the Nativity sequences, including this one, because Christ the Lamb was their patron and they had ample opportunity for displaying their trade qualities with fabricated animal skins, shepherds' garments, the robes of Mary, Joseph and the Three Kings, etc. The undertaking of this play by plasterers and bricklayers in Newcastle seems less obvious until you learn that the medieval presentation included the overturning of idols and the destruction of a building during the stay in Egypt of the Holy Family.

 

Fascinating as you may now see this enquiry to be we must, because of our main purpose here, leave further such investigation and concentrate on what all this could mean for the masons' trade. Apart from Aberdeen, where the masons are thrice mentioned as occupying the honoured processional place at Corpus Christi of marching next to the `Sacramental Host' (the focus of the occasion), our trade ancestors were not usually amongst the most prominent of a municipality's inhabitants. Hence they were not amongst those first able to choose or claim the plays which they would regard as especially their own. The result, in so far as my present, though I am sure still incomplete, researches have taken me, was as follows: Aberdeen Beverley DRAMA AND CRAFT 213 The Three Knights play (or Massacre of Innocents) The Pinnacle of the Temple temptation? 214 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' Chester Coventry Dublin Newcastle upon Tyne Norwich Wakefield York 1415 1431 14? Massacre of the Innocents play The Three Maries at the Tomb play Pharaoh and his host at the Red Sea (Dumb Show?) The Burial of the Virgin (or Fergus) play Cain and Abel play (Either the Presentation in the Temple or Cain & Abel play) The Burial of the Virgin play The Herod (Searching by Magi) play (Transfer) The Purification play also added.

 

At first view there again seems to be no discernible pattern in this list of plays from across the whole of Britain and the earlier conclusions referred to would seem to be fully justified. Let us, however, consider further.

 

The same play is mentioned in Newcastle upon Tyne and the first presentation recorded for the masons in York: the Burial of the Virgin. Though Conder was aware of the two play presentations he did not comment further upon this information save to remark, that `these plays must have exercised a beneficial effect upon the populace whenever and wherever a representation took place'. What he does not investigate nor answer is the surely proper question why the masons were separately invited, and accepted, as the performers of such a drama. A study of this example will, I believe, provide valuable pointers to the other plays yet to be considered.

 

The play called Fergus, or The Burial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, was one of the Corpus Christi plays which was entirely based on the legendary material provided in the books of what are now called The Apocryphal New Testament. There are many versions of the story behind this event concerning Mary, the mother of Jesus, and it is regrettably not possible in this lecture to enter into too much detail. The outline on which all agree is as follows: The Apostles are summoned from all the four corners of the world to which they had been sent and they arrive at the house of the Virgin whose body has duly to be prepared for burial in Jerusalem. The body was to be carried by Peter at the head and John at the feet with three palms from paradise, and three branches of the olive tree which Noah's dove had brought, laid on the corpse. On the way to the valley of Jehoshaphat men selected by the Jewish priests in Jerusalem were sent against the procession and one of them, who is variously called Jephonias, Yophana, Ruben (or in the very early Irish forms of this play ‑ Fergus), attacks the bier and then finds that `his hands dry up from the elbows' and come away from his arms and cleave to the bier. When Peter asks him whether he believes that this is the Mother of the Lord and commands him to show his b9lief by embracing the body, which the man does, the hands are restored to him and the darkness which had descended upon all the Jews present is removed. The Virgin is laid in a stone coffin `which was shut like Noah's Ark' and in due course is ,assumed' into heaven.

 

This general story, which had many other very striking features that must be pursued at more length elsewhere, was both well known and much appreciated DRAMA AND CRAFT 215 by the medieval believer. It was, of course, the very first of the Mary plays to be discontinued as soon as the Reformers in England could exercise censorship of the Corpus Christi cycle, and its legendary content and unusual facets sufficiently explain any such treatment. That the masons were the principal performers of this play when it was included, and this was not often the case, does demand explanation or consideration, and not least in the light of what happened in York.

 

In his reflective study of the whole Corpus Christi cycle‑event, V. A. Kolve has written this: Mediaeval writers who used laughter as a technique of teaching were, at the same time, rarely asleep to its possible dangers. . . . An incident in the history of the York cycle can illustrate (this) concern on the part of the drama. Among the plays lost from that cycle is the play of 'Fergus', once the charge of the Masons. We know it was a source of great embarrassment to them, for they complained to the civic authority in 1431 that it caused more laughter and clamour than devotion. They were given 'Herod' to perform instead. The guild itself sought the change ‑ the lay people too wanted a dignified and useful entertainment. Anyone reading the description of the lost play from Burton's list of 1415 would be hard put to say why it was found objectionable: `Quatuor Apostoli portantes feretrum Marie, et Fergus pendens super feretrum, cum ij aliis Judeis (cum uno Angelo)' (ie Four Apostles carrying the bier of Mary, and Fergus hanging upon the bier, with two other Jews (and one angel).... ) A drama that offered `game' equivalents for reality would not have hesitated to dramatise this incident in detail ... so Fergus' arms come off at the elbow and stick to the bier. But this last action, in real life so horrible, would translate into a game‑version undoubtedly comic: its literalness would make it ludicrous, and attention would be focused far more on the costuming and the trick, and on Fergus' humiliation, than on the serious miracle it was supposedly enacting.

 

Whether or not this last conclusion is altogether the right one the important matter for our present consideration is that the masons were concerned that their play should be treated with respect and reverence and that there would need to be a change when these elements were lacking. The impression which I get, and which I commend to your attention, is not that the masons were unconcerned about what play they presented but that they were very concerned. If what they had first chosen was ill‑received or wrongly interpreted then it were better to turn to something else. The content, and the effect of the content, of their play mattered as much to them as devout Catholics as it did to all their fellowcraftsmen in other guilds.

 

Yet even to say all this does not answer the previous question as to why the Fergus play was chosen and accepted in York and Newcastle in the first place. I believe that there are six reasons.

 

1. It was a play which reflected the widespread, but particularly masonic, concern with the necromantic feeling of the age of which mention has already been made. The mason was a man who at this date was absorbed with tombs, chantries for the dead, sepulchres and grave stones. Chapels and even whole churches were erected in profusion as a result of the Black Death and a play which was not concerned with the fact of burial would hardly be a true reflection of the craft at that time.

 

2. There is, however, the element of life through death, in that all who 216 `THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES' listened to the teaching of the Church, and especially the teaching of the Friars, knew that this Mother of the Lord was not only herself to be `raised' but could restore the believer to new life. In the Greek narrative of the Burial it states categorically that as she lay on her deathbed sick people who touched the Wall of the room where she lay were restored to health again.

 

3. The procession of the cortege was a perfect opportunity for showing in religious form some of the patrons of the masons, the Quatuor Coronati, or Four Crowned Martyrs (see AQC, 72, 66, et al.), and saints such as Thomas and John.

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