Contents Page 2, ‘The first English Lodge of Mark Masters’ The part a Scottish Lodge played in the formation of mark masters Lodges in England.
Page 6, ‘The Three Grand Masters.’ A look at our Three Grand Masters..
Page 9, ‘The Master Mason.’ Why we use the title ‘Master’..
Page 11, ‘The Glasgow Star Lodge No.219.’ Another history of one of our old Scottish Lodges.
Page 15, ‘The Old Tiler Talks’, “Costumes”, the nineteenth in the series from Carl Claudy’s ‘Old Tiler Talks.’
Page 18, ‘Rays of Masonry’, “A Fact in Nature’ our new monthly feature of writings.
Page 18, ‘United Ancient Order of Druids’ Another in our series of Fraternal Societies throughout the World.
Page 19, ‘Brothers and Builders’. The Basis and Spirit of Freemasonry, Chapter Three – The Square.
Page 23, ‘Coming to Terms with Freemasonry’ Hele.
In the Lectures website The article for this month is ‘Freemasonry, How, Whence and Whither?’ [link] The cover picture for this months issue is a Mask Master Mason working at King Solomon’s Temple.
The first English Lodge of Mark Masters We come now to the circumstances surrounding the setting up of the first English Mark Lodge. You will be aware of the importance of the year 1813 i.e. the formation of the United Grand Lodge of England. One of the principal articles of The Union stated:- 'Pure Antient Masonry consists of three degrees and no more, viz. those of the Entered Apprentice, the Fellowcraft and the Master Mason, including The Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch'. It then went on to state:- This article is not intended to prevent any Lodge or Chapter from holding a meeting in any of the Degrees of The Orders of Chivalry'. It is clear therefore that, at the time of its formation at any rate, the United Grand Lodge encouraged the continuance of the practice of working, amongst others, The Mark degree in its Craft Lodges and Royal Arch Chapters. Before the union of 1813 there had, of course, been two Grand Lodges, i.e. The Grand Lodge of Masons, otherwise called The Premier Grand Lodge but nicknamed The Moderns Grand Lodge formed in 1717, and The Grand Lodge of Antient and Accepted Masons also known subsequently as the Atholl Grand Lodge, but nicknamed The Antients Grand Lodge formed some 34 years later, in 1751. The Moderns Grand Lodge did not encourage the working of other degrees, whereas the Ancients Grand Lodge did quite the reverse. Thus, in The Ancients' Lodges the Mark
degree was worked regularly, although it must be assumed that some brethren within the Moderns Grand Lodge continued to work the Mark degree irregularly. It seemed therefore that, when the Preliminary Declaration was made in 1813, all was set fair for The Mark degree to be worked in all The Craft Lodges in the new English Constitution. However, four years after the Union, in 1817, The United Grand Lodge reneged on this principle and the second half of the article was deleted, thus outlawing the Mark Degree from its Craft Lodges and, per se, its Royal Arch Chapters. The reasons for this change of heart on the part of The United Grand Lodge are not clear, but one possible explanation is that The Moderns wanted to create a good impression on the Ancients during the run up to the union by implying that there was no difference of opinion between them on the issue of working these additional Degrees in the Orders of Chivalry but, having achieved their objective, were quite happy to exert their influence and outlaw all Orders deemed by them to be not â€˜pure ancient masonryâ€™. It is certain that many of the Craft Lodges and Royal Arch Chapters under the new United Grand Lodge and Supreme Grand Chapter ignored the 1817 edict and continued to work the Mark Degree irregularly and so, for the next thirty years or so, The Mark Degree continued to survive without a Grand Lodge or other overseeing body to coordinate it. In any event some thirty four years later, in 1851, a certain Dr. William Jones, a member of Perseverance Craft Lodge No.7, visited Scotland and became a member of The Bon Accord Royal Arch
Chapter No. 70 Scottish Constitution, in the process of which he received the degrees of Chair Master and Mark Master (it must be remembered that in Scotland, the Degree of Mark Master was worked in a Royal Arch Chapter and was a prerequisite to becoming a Royal Arch Mason). William Jones had therefore become a regular Mark Master as opposed to a Mark Master within a Lodge or Chapter under The English Craft or Royal Arch Constitution and therefore not recognized by any supreme body and considered by them to be irregular. Later in 1851, a friend of Dr. Jones, a Dr. Robert Beveridge from Aberdeen, met Dr. Jones in London during a visit to see the Great Exhibition of that year. Whilst in London, Beveridge was asked by several London brethren if he could Advance them into the Mark Degree here in London rather than their having to travel to Scotland. This, the good doctor agreed to do and five brethren were accordingly so Advanced. The news of these Advancements spread rapidly and Dr. Beveridge, having left London to return to Aberdeen, Dr. Jones was inundated with similar requests from other Craft brethren to be Advanced into the Mark Degree. He approached his Royal Arch Chapter, Bon Accord, to seek advice on this and they stated that an appropriate procedure would be for Dr Jones to apply for a Warrant to establish a Mark Masters Lodge in London (according to the administrators of the Bon Accord Chapter, they had the power to issue such warrants). Such application was duly made by Dr. Jones, the Petition being signed by him and the five brethren recently Advanced by Dr. Beveridge. The application
received favourable consideration and Dr. Jones was invited to Aberdeen where, on 12th September 1851, at a meeting of the Bon Accord Chapter, he was installed as Right Worshipful Master of the Bon Accord Mark Lodge. Dr. Jones returned to London and duly received his Warrant, dated 17th September 1851 that constituted the London Bon Accord Mark Masters Lodge to be held under the aegis of the Bon Accord Chapter of Aberdeen. The Consecration and first meeting of the Bon Accord Mark Lodge was held on 19th September 1851. The ceremony of Consecration must have been a unique affair at that time because there were no Mark Lodges in Scotland since all Mark ceremonies were worked either in a Royal Arch Chapter or a Craft Lodge; therefore no Mark Lodge had ever been consecrated before! In any event, as unusual as the setting up of the Bon Accord Lodge of Mark Masters was, it flourished to the extent that, in less than four years, i.e. by early 1855, it had grown to a membership of no less than 120! In the meantime, a great deal of consternation was being exhibited in Scotland! The Grand Chapter of Scotland was furious with Bon Accord Chapter for granting the warrant that they said the Chapter had no right to do. On the other hand, the Bon Accord Chapter said it a perfect right to do what it did and so the argument went back and forth. Eventually, on 20th of June 1855, the Grand Chapter of Scotland instructed the Bon Accord Chapter to withdraw its warrant … “in order to avoid the necessity of ulterior measures” The Bon Accord Chapter refused to do this and was suspended by the Grand Chapter of Scotland on 19th September
1855; the Bon Accord Chapter returned its warrant to the Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Scotland and never met again after March 1856. From 1855 then, the position of the members of Bon Accord Lodge was invidious; they were members of a Mark Masters Lodge being held under the aegis of a Scottish Royal Arch Chapter that was irregular and soon not to exist at all! Now, among its membership were a number of very eminent and influential Masons and clearly they did not relish the prospect of being branded irregular. One of the options now open to the brethren was to make another attempt to the United Grand Lodge of England and/or the Supreme Grand Chapter of England to recognize the Mark Degree and to include it as part of ‘Antient Masonry’. Such an overture was made and a committee was set up by those two bodies to look into the matter. Their first report was made to Supreme Grand Chapter in February 1856. In effect, the report simply said that, since the Mark Degree formed no part of the English Royal Arch ceremony, any consideration for adoption must lie with the Grand Lodge. They, therefore, had neatly passed the buck to the United Grand Lodge but they did, however, add the rider that the Mark Degree might form “…. a graceful addition to the Craft”. The matter had now been laid fairly and squarely at the door of the United Grand Lodge and, at the Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge held on 5th March 1856, the committee reported back with a recommendation to the effect that the Mark Degree be introduced into the Craft as an adjunct to the Second Degree “… under proper regulation”. This recommendation was
proposed, seconded and, surprisingly, carried on that day and on the face of things it looked as though Mark Masonry would at last be regarded as part of Craft or Ancient Masonry. However, a number of influential Mark Masters felt, on reflection, that the words proper regulation would lead to the submergence of the Mark Degree and its eventual demise, with no possible recourse to prevent that from happening. In the event, all came to naught for, at the next Quarterly Communication held on 4th June 1856, Brother John Henderson, Past President of the Board of General Purposes, moved that the minute of the previous communication relating to the Mark Degree be not approved on the basis that approval would have constituted an innovation and would, therefore, be irregular. The motion was put and carried and so the Mark Degree had been rejected, in this case, for the last time. This final rejection was thought by some to be a mortal blow but by others a blessing; undeniably it would shape the government of the Degree of Mark Master Mason in England for all time! In the meantime, the Scottish Grand Chapter decided to capitalize on the vacuum created by the irregularity of the Bon Accord Lodge and rejection by the United Grand Lodge, by granting a request to allow four London brethren to constitute a Mark Lodge to be called The St. Mark's Lodge of Mark Masters and to be ranked No. 1 on the register of Mark Lodges under the Grand Chapter of Scotland. The St Mark's Lodge warrant is dated 18th June 1856. It must here be explained that there was, and still is, a protocol observed between the various regular Masonic bodies to
the effect that no one body will try to set up units in any area already governed by another regular body. However; the Scottish Grand Chapter regarded England as having no regular body governing the Mark Degree; therefore, as far as the Scottish Grand Chapter was concerned, England was ‘fair game'. The gloves were now off, because it was immediately apparent that the Scottish Grand Chapter intended to take control of Mark Masonry in England (and possibly elsewhere). This situation was also to the great disadvantage of the Bon Accord Lodge, whose members would not only be irregular Mark Masters but would also be junior to St. Mark's even if the Scottish Grand Chapter subsequently agreed to take Bon Accord under its wing. The senior members of the Bon Accord Lodge therefore determined to take such action as was necessary to resolve the problem once and for all. Accordingly, the members of the Lodge, having received a summons dated 14th June to attend, with other selected brethren, a Special Meeting on 23rd June 1856, met on that day and resolved to form a 'Grand Mark Masters Lodge for England’ and this was duly done, the first Grand Master being the Rt. Hon. Lord Leigh. The new Grand Lodge, anxious to undermine any advantage that Scotland might have secured on the 18th of June, actually placed an advertisement in 'The Times' of 28th June and the 12th and l9th of July to the effect that it was now the accredited Grand Lodge for all Mark Masonry in England and that applications for warrants should be addressed to the new Grand Secretary, William Louis Collins, at 14 Portdown
Road, Maida Vale. This action was thought to be most unseemly by the Craft Grand Lodge and many freemasons of the day, including The Masonic press, which in those days was quite prolific and which carried arguments and counter arguments, regarding the ethics of what was being done by the English Mark Grand Lodge. The Scottish Grand Chapter steadfastly refused to recognize the English Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons as regular and this long running battle of words ensured that the growth of the English Mark Grand Lodge was slow and so for many years the Mark Degree was worked variously under the English Constitution, the Scottish Constitution and independently. At around this time, an incident occurred involving Old Kent Mark Lodge (or rather two of its members). Prior to the formation of Mark Grand Lodge, the Mark ceremony was being worked in Old Kent Lodge, working under a warrant issued by H.R.H. the Duke of Kent as Grand Master of the Ancients. Bros George Biggs and Peter Mathews of Old Kent Lodge were approached by a very senior Scottish Royal Arch Mason, a certain William Gaylor who, tried to persuade the members of Old Kent, which appears to have joined the new Mark Grand Lodge very soon after the latter’s formation, to renege on this union and place itself under the Scottish Grand Chapter. In order that such a move might appear to be legal, Gaylor issued them with certificates purporting that the two brethren had been exalted into the Esk Dalkeith Royal Arch Chapter. In fact neither of the brethren had ever left England let alone been exalted. This scandalous act soon became common
knowledge and did much to discredit the Scottish Grand Chapter, which, although being acquainted with the occurrence, did not appear to be overly critical of what had happened. In the event, all came to naught, because Bros. Biggs and Mathews disassociated themselves from the subterfuge and Old Kent Mark Lodge remained loyal to Mark Grand Lodge and of course has remained in its eminent position of being second only to Bon Accord Lodge in its antiquity. I have already mentioned that The Scottish Grand Chapter granted a warrant to St Mark's Lodge in London and had given it the number 1 on its Roll; well, in all, the Scottish Grand Chapter warranted no less than 19 Mark lodges in England, including two more in London, namely Thistle Lodge No.3 and Southwark No. 11. All three London Lodges, originally warranted under the Scottish Constitution, now form part of the English Constitution: Thistle seceded in I859 and was given the number 8, which it still holds. Southwark seceded in 1866 and was given the number 22, which it still holds. Finally, St Mark’s seceded in 1867 and was given the number 24, but later changed to No. 1 in 1869 when Bon Accord was deemed to be Time Immemorial and gave up its number 1. It took many years before Mark Grand Lodge was recognized throughout the world but finally, on 18th June 1879; the Grand Chapter of Scotland gave its recognition - the last Masonic body to do so! The fascinating article was part of a lecture given by VW Bro. Brian Vicars, PDSO to the Mark Master Masons of the Province of Kent 20/09/10. To read the full paper, click this link.
THE THREE GRAND MASTERS By the Editor of “The Scottish Freemasons’ Magazine” Anthony Oneal Haye (1865) “Sic Itur Ad Astra”
SOLOMON: - King of Israel and First Grand Master of Freemasonry. His history is full of interest to the fraternity. He was the son of David and Bathsheba, and was born in the year of the world 2871. Of him it had been prophesied to his father, “Behold a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about: for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days. He shall build an house for my
name; and he shall be my son, and I will be his father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel for ever,” (1 Chron. xxii. 9, 10). Solomon had scarcely commenced his reign when he began to prepare for the fulfilment of his father’s last solemn injunctions to build a temple to the Most High. With this view he applied for help to the most powerful of his allies, Hiram, King of Tyre, a prince of liberal disposition, who, far from envying Solomon’s wealth and fame, cordially assisted him, and supplied him, not only with the proper materials, but also with labourers, whom he divided into three classes, of 10,000 in each. Each of these classes worked one month in cutting timber on Mount Lebanon, and then rested two. Over these he placed Adoniram as Junior Grand Warden. There were also 80,000 masons, and 70,000 labourers or men of burden, the remains of the old Canaanites, who are not reckoned among the masons, and 3,300 overseers, with 300 rulers, making in all 183,600 persons engaged upon the Temple, of whom: 113,600 were masons. The Temple was begun on Monday, the second day of the month Zif, corresponding to the 21st of April, in the year of the world 2992, and 1012 years before the Christian era, and was completed in a little more than seven years, on the 8th day of the month Bul, or the 23rd of October, in the year of the world 2999, during which period no sound of axe, hammer, or other metallic tool was heard, everything having been cut or framed in the quarries, or on Mount Lebanon, and brought properly prepared to Jerusalem, where they were fitted up by means of wooden mauls. “The Old Constitutions aver” (I here quote from Anderson) “that some short
time before the consecration of the Temple, King Hiram came from Tyre, to take a view of the mighty edifice, and to inspect the different parts thereof, in which he was accompanied by King Solomon and the Deputy Grand Master, Hiram Abiff; and after his view thereof declared the Temple to be the utmost stretch of human art. Solomon here again, renewed the league with Hiram, and made him a present of the sacred Scriptures, translated into the Syriac tongue, which, it is said, is still extant among the Maronites and other Eastern Christians, under the name of the old Syriac version.” Solomon next employed the Craft in the construction of other works, such as his two palaces at Jerusalem, and his house in the forest of Lebanon, besides several cities, the most magnificent of which was Tadmor or Palmyra. But although Solomon had now become the most renowned of all the princes of his time, exceeding in riches and wisdom all who had gone before him, he at length forsook the law of his fathers, and began to worship the false gods of his strange wives. During his idolatry he built temples to Chemosh, Moloch, and Ashtaroth. But repenting to his grievous sin, about three years before his death, he exclaimed, “Vanity of vanities; all is vanity!” He died at the age of fifty-eight, in the year of the world 3029, and before Christ 975. HIRAM, KING OF TYRE: - He was the contemporary of Solomon, and assisted him in the construction of the Temple, furnishing him with timber, stone, and artificers, and lending him one hundred and twenty talents of gold, nearly equal to five hundred thousand pounds sterling. Upon Solomon’s
accession to the throne of Israel, Hiram sent ambassadors to congratulate him on this event. Solomon, in reply, made known to Hiram his intention of carrying into effect the long contemplated object of his father David, by the erection of a Temple to Jehovah, and he requested the assistance of the King of Tyre. Hiram, in his answer, expressed his willingness to grant the required assistance, and said “I will do all thy desire concerning timber of cedar, and timber of fir. My servants shall bring them down from Lebanon unto the sea; and I will convey them by sea in floats, unto the place that thou shall appoint me, and will cause them to be discharged there, and thou shalt receive them; and thou shalt accomplish my desire in giving food for my brotherhood.” The timber cut in Lebanon was accordingly sent in floats to Joppa, the seaport of Jerusalem, whence it was conveyed by land to that city. Solomon, in return for this kindness, gave King Hiram yearly twenty thousand measures of wheat, and twenty thousand measures of pure oil, besides liberally supporting the artificers and labourers with whom the King of Tyre had supplied him. Solomon also presented him with twenty cities in Galilee, with which, however, he was not satisfied, and a Masonic tradition informs us that he visited the King of Israel, to expostulate with him on his injustice. Dius and Menander, two heathen historians, inform us that Hiram and Solomon corresponded frequently, and attempted to puzzle each other by subtle questions. HIRAM THE BUILDER: - Among the workmen sent by Hiram, King of Tyre, to Solomon, was one whom he
styles “a cunning man, endued with understanding,” and he is in another place described as “a widow’s son of the tribe of Naphthali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a worker in brass; and he was filled with wisdom and understanding, and cunning to work in all works of brass.” This is the workman to whom Solomon was indebted for the construction of all the ornaments of the Temple. Hiram calls him Huram abi, that is, “Hiram my father;” which is an evidence of his high standing at the Tyrian Court; for the title ab, or father, was among the Hebrews often bestowed, as a title of honour and dignity, on the chief advisers and intimate friends of the king. Thus, Joseph, according to some commentators, is called Abrech, or the “father of the king:” and this very Hiram is spoken of in Chronicles in the following words: Gnasa Huram Abif l’melech Shlomo, that is, “did Hiram his father make to King Solomon.” The name given to this architect in the Lodges, is derived from this passage, Huram abif, meaning in Hebrew, Hiram his father. This Hiram from his profession as an architect, and his birth as a Tyrian, was, in all probability, acquainted with the Dionysian fraternity, which society had extended itself to Tyre: and if so, the union in his person of the Tyrian and Israelitish races, must have afforded him a favourable opportunity of communicating the mysteries of that fraternity to the Jewish builders of the Temple. Extracted, transcribed and supplied, by Bro. Kenneth C. Jack: Lodge St. Michael No. 38; Lodge St. Andrew No. 814 (RWM) & Lodge Allan Wilson No. 851.The illustration used with this article is credited to Salim Khalaf: Encyclopedia Phoeniciana; Phoenicia.org, many thanks.
The Master Mason The title of “Master” is both ancient and honourable. It implies one who has control either over men or things; over men, because of force of character, strength or social position; over things by reason of excelling skill and knowledge. To be a master craftsman in the old days of Operative Masonry implied both meanings—to be able to work, to teach others how to work, and to plan and direct the labour of all of one end. No discipline can be maintained, without authority, and without power to enforce that authority vested in the ruler, leader, or teacher in charge. Hence we get the terms “Master Mason,” “Master of a Lodge,” and “Grand, or General, Master of Masons.” The degree and rank of Master is to-day the normal status of Speculative Masons among us, and we are apt to forget all that it implies. The Master Mason is a craftsman who has, or is supposed to have, proved his skill and ability, and is henceforth recognized as fitted and qualified to teach and to rule. From among the Masters one is selected to direct the common labours and to accept Apprentices, and after instructing and examining them, pass them as competent craftsmen worthy of fellowship and employment in the lodge. Among Operative Masons in ancient times the authority of the Master of the lodge was very much that of the employer or foreman to-day. The unruly workman lost his job, the disobedient apprentice was rebuked, or punished. But one who wilfully transgressed the salutary rules and customs of the Craft was denied the right to exercise it at all, which was essentially the same punishment as suspension or expulsion among ourselves. In a changed and changing social environment the old organization of Masonry lost its importance, its raison d’être, but before it died out as it normally
would have done, it was modified into a Speculative Fraternity. The tools and implements of Masons were given a moral significance, and were retained as symbols only; while the rules, customs and usages of the Craft were given an allegorical, or, as we say, Speculative interpretation. But the old organization persisted, though adapted to new uses; and as the craftsmen had wrought the carved and moulded stones for the buildings they erected in work sheds or lodges, so they continued to meet for their Speculative labours in groups bearing the old name of “lodges,” and under the direction of Masters, who, however, paid them no longer save with emblematical wages. Doubtless, the two stages overlapped each other; indeed, it is highly probable that the period of transition was much longer than has generally been supposed—a century at least, and possibly even more. During this time the organization was losing its Operative character and developing the Speculative aspect of the Craft. The lodge of the Master Mason, who was a local contractor and builder, with his dozen or so of men and two or three apprentices, might exist alongside a loge composed almost solely of gentlemen or honorary Masons with perhaps only one or two working Masons among them. But whatever variation existed, the organization of the lodge under its Master persisted, even though in some places he does not always seem to have been known by that title, but sometimes, as in Scotland, to have been called the Deacon, and elsewhere possibly the “Warden,” to distinguish his office as ruler of the lodge from his fellows the Masters of the craft. But this appears to have been exceptional, and the Master came to be designated as “Worshipful”; as later still, when the loose organization of local lodges was “cemented” in a new system, at the head of it was put naturally and inevitably a Grand Master, who was Master of the whole Speculative Craft as the W.M.’s were of their lodges; while the “General Assembly” which elected him became the Grand Lodge.
Thus the Grand Master is the successor, and heir, of all the rights and privileges of the old Masters of lodges. For now the particular lodge is subordinate, and subject to the Grand lodge, whereas before each was sovereign in its own right. Yet the Master of the lodge is not a deputy of the Grand Master, but is still ruler of his lodge by the traditional usage of the Craft; it is merely that just as the Master Masons are circumscribed in their inherent rights to teach and direct by the subordination necessary to co-operation in the work of the lodge, so the lodges and their Masters are limited in their powers by the general regulations of the whole Craft as decided and promulgated by the Grand Lodge. The office, therefore, of Master of a lodge, older than that of any other Masonic office, is one of great honour, and of greater responsibility. His powers and authority far exceed that of the chairman or president of any ordinary society, club or corporation. He is not president merely, but Master. It is his right, and his duty, to set the Craft to work, and also to give them instruction for their labour. This is no empty phrase. Though the Master of a lodge may follow a customary routine in the dispatch of business, it is merely at his own pleasure and convenience that he does so. In ordinary societies and public meetings in which the customary rules of parliamentary procedure are followed, the authority of the presiding officer is subject at all times to the will of the majority; it is always the latter which is the court of appeal. But against the ruling of the Worshipful Master there is no more appeal than the workman in a shop has against his superintendent when he is told to drop one job and take up another; no appeal, that is, save to the Grand Master who, as we have seen, has vested in him the Mastership of the whole Craft. The Master of a lodge, then, decides when the lodge shall be convened; and he can summon any and all the members to be present, which summons it is a serious
offence to neglect or disobey. He decides who shall be admitted, for visitors or even members may be excluded if he thinks best. He decides what shall be done at the meeting, in what order the business shall be taken, and whether any special matter may be brought up, for any motion is out of order if he so rules, and no one may speak except as he permits. It is a simple matter of fact that few monarchs have the absolute power that the Master has in and over his lodge. But such great powers are not vested in him except for the good of the Craft. With them are corresponding duties and responsibilities. He is sworn to uphold the Constitutions and to observe the Landmarks; to use his authority only to promote the welfare of his brethren and to preserve peace and harmony in his lodge; and finally he is to instruct the brethren. He is responsible for seeing that the Entered Apprentices are taught what it is necessary for them to know, and he should see to it that the Fellowcrafts and Masters do not neglect or forget what they have learned. It is all “up to him,” and if he has not fitted himself for the position his work will be more or less completely a failure, for what he has undertaken is indeed a real man’s job. This article was sourced from The New York Masonic Outlook May 1925.
Second Epistle to Davie For me, I’m on Parnassus brink, Rivin the words tae gar them clink; Whyles daez’t wi’ love, whyles daez’t wi drink, Wi’ jads or masons An whyles, but ay ower late, I think Braw sober lessons Robert Burns 1785
The Glasgow Star Lodge No.219
Lodges no longer active. Lodge Star was therefore given the Charter of dormant Lodge No. 164 and given the number 286 on Grand Lodge Roll. In 1907 Lodge Mother Kilwinning rejoined Grand Lodge and the inclusion of Lodges Charted by Mother Kilwinning on Grand Lodge Roll caused considerable confusion. In 1816 a renumbering of Lodges took place and Lodge Star was given the number 214. This was finally changed in 1822 to 219. George 111. Was reigning monarch, and his son George, Prince of Wales (later George 1V) was Grand Master of both Scotland and England. Francis, Earl of Moira, was acting Grand Master and Sir John Stewart, of Allanbank, was Provincial Grand Master of the Under Ward of Lanarkshire (which included Glasgow)
The Glasgow Star Lodge No. 219 as we know it today began proper on 3rd August 1807, when a charter was granted by the Grand Lodge of Scotland to Lodge Star. During the time the Lodge was chartered the Craft in Scotland was going through a difficult period. One of the reasons for this was the passing of Secret Societies Bill in 1799. Freemasonry was exempted from this Bill providing that Lodges declared upon oath, before a Justice of the Peace, that they were Freemasons. The wording of the clause legalising their continued existence however was in such a form as to apparently prohibit the setting up of new Lodges. The Grand Lodge of Scotland got round this difficulty by re-issuing the Charters of
It is unfortunate that the early records of the Lodge were destroyed by fire and we only have the story of our beginning as handed down from Past Masters of bygone days. It would appear that the Lodge held its first meetings in an Inn in Anderston which in those days was a small village on the outskirts of Glasgow. Just how long the Lodge continued to meet there is unknown. The first and third Mondays of the month are known to have been the regular meeting nights since as far back as 1857 (the Lodge Jubilee year) in that year an agreement was made to rent the Lodge-rooms of The Glasgow Kilwinning Lodge No. 4 at 87 Main Street Anderson. The original letter from The Glasgow Kilwinning Lodge dated 4th May 1857 and signed by J. Flemington, Depute Master giving details of rental terms, is still in the
Lodges possession. The terms were: Rent ÂŁ10 annually, plus a portion of the bills, i.e. gas, water and coals. It is also worth noting that St. Andrews Chapter No.69 were to pay only ÂŁ2 annually, plus a similar portion of overheads, on account of its connection with Lodge Star. Lodge Commercial No.360 were also tenants at 87 Main Street, but in 1862 decided to lease property from the City Union Railway Company at19 Croy Place, Glasgow. It would appear that both Lodge Commercial and Lodge Star had found difficulty in paying the rent to Lodge Glasgow Kilwinning, and Lodge Star agreed to sub-lease Lodge Commercials new premises, where it remained until about 1870. (Lodge Commercials lease from the Railway Company was not renewed in 1874 as Croy Place was to be removed to make way for the building of St. Enoch's Station) The oldest existing minute of the Lodge to hand is dated 14th April 1871, and was recorded at St. Marks Hall 213 Buchanan Street, which the Lodge rented for about 3 years. The brethren at that time, determined to have a Lodge-room of their own, formed a motion that suitable property should be sought and purchased. On 11th August 1873 Lodge Star met for the first time in premises of their own at 12 Trongate, on the first floor of the old Tolbooth building at Glasgow Cross. Surely an ideal historic landmark of the city in which to have our first premises. (Only the Tolbooth steeple now remains. The buildings were removed in 1911). Bro. Joseph Wilson, (R.W.M. 1872-74) was one of the petitioners the Charter of Lodge Clydesdale No. 556, in 1874 along with some brethren of The Bridgeton and Glasgow Shamrock and
Thistle Lodge No.275. Both these Lodges came to meet at Star Lodgerooms and a friendship was formed with them that still exists today. Without doubt a period of prosperity began for the Lodge at Star Lodge-rooms Trongate. The Lodge-rooms were redecorated in 1882 (presumably for the 75th Anniversary Celebration) and in 1891 fitted with new furniture. That same year a presentation of a Master Masons Jewel, Apron, Case and a Purse of Sovereigns was made to a Brother before he departed to Brisbane. Until that point it can be seen that the Lodge had travelled eastwards on the North side of the Clyde and never strayed far from the great river of our city. On the night of 22nd May 1893 the R.W.M. Bro. Hugh Osborne said to the brethren "As this is the last meeting of the Lodge to be held by us here (i.e. 12 Trongate) having taken premises at 4 Carlton Place, I hope that the Star of the East will shine as bright with us in the South as it has done hitherto" Bro. Peter McDonald, an office bearer of the Lodge (R.W.M.1895-97) owned business premises at 4 Carlton Place and, by virtue of an agreement between him and the brethren, Lodge Star met in suitable accommodation there for the first time on 10th July 1893. It would appear that some difficulty arose in getting the use of a Committee Room at 4 Carlton Place, and many of these meetings were held next door at 6 Carlton Place. At that time the home of the Scottish Football Association and meeting place of Lodge Clydesdale. Further problems arose over payment of rent at No.4 and on 3rd June 1901 Lodge Star moved out and joined Lodge Clydesdale at No.6.
The association with Lodge Clydesdale was further cemented in 1902 during Bro. James Somerville's term as R.W.M. when an agreement was formed between both Lodges creating a joint concern known as the "Glasgow Southside Temple" Property was purchased at Nos. 26 and 30 Abbotsford Place, consisting of two large main door flats at a total cost of ÂŁ2970. A hall was built on existing land behind Abbotsford Place by Bro. Wm. McNeil R.W.M. of Lodge Clydesdale (an Honorary Member of 219 under a joint committee. The new temple was consecrated on 19th December 1903 by Provincial Grand Lodge at a joint meeting opened by R.W.M. of 556 and closed by R.W.M. of 219. So began probably the most settled period in the Lodges history, as this was to be its home for 57 years. Many of the brethren today can recall with pride the many happy occasions enjoyed at Abbotsford Place. The dĂŠcor of the temple and adjacent rooms and the Lodge furniture were admired by all who saw it.
The 125th Anniversary celebration took place in 1932, when Bro. George Lightfoot was R.W.M. and a dinner was held that year at the C'adora. The Lodges Sesquicentary (150th) Celebration was held in 1957 during Bro. William MacMillan's term as R.W.M. in the Freemasons Hall 100 West Regent Street, when the late Bro.The Right Honourable The Earl of Eglinton and Winton T.D. D.L. B.A. Depute Grand Master (Grand Master 1957-61) headed the Grand Lodge deputation and ReDedication Ceremony was conducted.
The year 1907 heralded the Centenary celebrations of the Lodge and probably the longest lasting meeting in its history. The Lodge was opened on the evening of 2nd August: Provincial Grand Lodge were received and a Re-Dedication Ceremony took place. The Lodge was then called from Labour to Refreshment and a few hours of harmony prevailed. At 2am. On 3rd August the Lodge was recalled to Labour, when a considerable number of brethren were affiliated. The Lodge was closed about 3am. That year it was decided to change the name to "The Glasgow Star Lodge" and introduce a new Lodge crest (the one in current use)
The original Lodge Roll must also have been destroyed in the fire, as No.1 on the present Roll is Bro. James Campbell, who was Master in 1851 and gives his date of initiation as 1839.
In 1960 the long standing partnership with Lodge Clydesdale was dissolved in the same friendly spirit as it had begun. The property at Abbotsford Place had become very run down and Lodge Clydesdale decided to purchase the vacant Victoria Place Baptist Church at 138 Butterbiggins Road. Soon afterwards the brethren of our Lodge decided to move to Lodge Clydesdale new halls as tenants.
The next number assigned is 1.1/2, possibly to the Lodge Secretary and brother responsible for compiling the new Roll (as the date of the initiation is given pre. 1851) The Roll proper begins with brethren initiated in 1851 at No.2 and continues un-interupted until the present day. Bro. Thomas Halket (R.W.M. of Lodge St. Marks No.102) has the distinction of being made the first known Honorary Member of the
Lodge on 11th June 1869. From 1872 until 1935 with a few exceptions, it was the custom on the occasion of the annual Provincial Grand Lodge Visitation, to confer Honorary Membership on all Provincial Grand Lodge office bearers in attendance. During that period it was conferred on 177 brethren. Notable among these in 1896, was Bro. Sir Hector Munro P.G.M. of Ross & Cromarty. Since 1935 Honorary Membership has only been conferred to nine brethren, viz. Sir A. B. Swan (P.G.M. of Glasgow) Jas. S. M. Grieve (P.S.G.M.) Wm. King Gillies (Grand Secretary) Leonard Melrose (Grand Treasurer) Dr. Douglas Radford (G.S.W.) Alex F. Buchan (Grand Secretary) Charles J. Hume (S.W.1102) William Love (P.M.1566) and Brian G. Brown (P.G.M. of Glasgow). Many eminent men have occupied the Chair of the Lodge. Unfortunately, details of Masters from 1808 until 1840 (1833 excepted) are unknown. Bro. William Scobie was the longest serving Master, having occupied the Chair for six consecutive years from 1842 until 1848. An oil painting of Bro. John Spencer, Master in 1852 who was a well respected citizen and businessman in the City, hung proudly on the wall of Abbotsford Place. Bro. Hugh Osborne (R.W.M. from 1892-93) served the Lodge as a Past Master for over 50 years. The Master from 1911-13 Bro Matthew W. Montgomery, later became Lord Provost of the City of Glasgow (1924-25) Prior to the Great War (1914) it appears to have been customary for the Master to serve at least 2 years. Since that time only two Masters have served more than one year ---- Bro. Major Archibald Terris (1935-37) and
Bro. Frank Moir (1964-65 and 1974-75) many are noted for their service to Grand Lodge and Provincial Grand Lodge. Notable among these were Brothers R. M. Battison as Grand Senior Warden and Harold A. Browne J.P. C.A. Substitute Provincial Grand Master. The oldest serving Past Master Bro. F. Elliot Dobie (R.W.M. 1946-47) celebrated his 95th birthday (1982) and has the distinction of being a Past Substitute Grand Master. Many are noted for their sterling service to the Lodge, Bro. William Buchanan (R.W.M. 1948-49) was by all accounts, a fine ritualist and served as Lodge Secretary for 16 years until his death in 1969. His Brother, Edward is the present day Treasurer and has been for the past 25 years. As a token of appreciation for Bro. Buchanan's outstanding service the brethren presented him with a commemorative jewel and carriage clock at the last Installation meeting. The youngest brother to occupy the Chair has been Bro. John McCabe (R.W.M. 1966-97 who was 24 years of age. The oldest living member of the Lodge Bro. M Grossman (97) was initiated during the Centenary Year (1907) and was a regular attender at Lodge Battlefield No.1258 of which he was a Founder Member Bro. Grossman celebrated 75 years as a member of the Craft in 1982 by being made an Honorary Member of Lodge Montefiore No.753. The Glasgow Star Lodge has had the pleasure of being one of the Sponsor Lodges for the Charters of three Lodges, the oldest of which is Lodge Montefiore (1888) The other two being Lodge Langside No.955 (1903) and Lodge Oatlands No.1005 (1906) There are
some other points of interest that should be included. The Lodge regalia has changed colour over the years. In 1848 it was orange and blue: in 1881 light blue and in 1896 changed to the present dark blue. A Masonic Apron that was found in the belly of a cod in the old fish market in 1847 by Bro. Torbet, then Lodge Tyler, is still in the Lodges possession. Of prime interest to the brethren is that the Lodge Minute dated 28th February 1881, refers to the 82nd Annual Festival of the Lodge. Should that have been the case, then the Lodge must have been working in 1799. An advertisement in the Glasgow Evening News of 1891 makes reference to Lodge Stars 92nd Annual Festival and would appear to support the previous assumption. It is not possible to do justice to the many important events, or prominent brethren, that have gone before us, in such a short address. Therefore, failure to comment on any of these is due to the limited information available at the time of writing, the short time available to compile these notes, or oversight on the part of the writer. However, one thing is certain, our brethren of the past, whether having occupied the Chair, or held office, or simply attended our meetings, played their part in securing the future of our Lodge, and we can in all humility, be justifiably proud of their achievement.
Costumes "They are having a hot discussion!" replied the New Brother to the Old Tiler's inquiry. "Jones is arguing that we ought to spend a thousand dollars or more to buy costumes for the degrees. Past Master Smith is marshalling all his forces to combat it." "That's the way it would line up," agreed the Old Tiler. "Jones hopes to be Master in a couple of years and wants costumes, and Smith doesn't want his last year's record eclipsed." "I'm against costumes," said the New Brother. "Looks like a waste of money to me."
The newsletter acknowledges Bro. Bill McPherson PM, and Lodge No.219 for allowing us to use this wonderful History. The Lodge website can be accessed at this link. If your Lodge has a history that it might like our readers to read, contact the editor.
"Why is it a waste?" "Why, we can confer the degrees just as well without them!"
"Yes, and we could confer the degrees just as well in a plain board building as in a fine Masonic Temple, with brethren seated on wooden boxes instead of on expensively upholstered leather settees; by candle light as well as electric light?" "Oh, well! Of course we want to be comfortable and to impress the candidate..." "That is what costumes are for, to impress the candidate. The degrees are allegorical; they teach lessons of the present from happenings of the past. If costumes can make them more impressive, the lesson should be easier, and so better learned," countered the Old Tiler, but with an odd smile. "You can't tell me..." "Oh, yes, I can! I â€˜amâ€™ telling you. The third degree in costume takes the candidate back to the building of the Temple. We show him characters dressed as Solomon's workmen dressed. He finds reality in the story he cannot see when the actors are in modern clothes. The more real the story is, the more potent the impression. Costumes add largely to the degree's spectacular features." "You are right, at that," answered the New Brother. "You argue well. I think I'll support Jones in his motion." "Oh, I wouldn't say that!" The Old Tiler smiled broadly. "You haven't thought the question through."
"But you have argued me into believing in costumes," answered the New Brother, bewildered. "Oh, no, I haven't. I have told you what the costume proponents say of it. But there is another side. Masonry is a system of philosophy taught by allegories and symbols. We are not really stone masons. We do not actually lay mortar or construct actual buildings. Our Masonry is speculative, not operative. But the legend of our third degree, when enacted in costume, is certainly an operative performance. The aprons we wear in lodge would not do for a real worker in stone; they are but imaginations or symbols of a body protector and tool holder. Our lodge room does not look like the exterior of a temple, and the three gates exist only in imagination. Why put the actors in costumes and omit a stage and lights and scenery?" "I don't know why not," said the New Brother, thoughtfully. "There isn't any reason why not," answered the Old Tiler. "Some lodges do it that way. But the majority of lodges have no stages, costumes or real actors. Most lodges have earnest workers, who enact the degree with hope of instructing the candidate in one of life's greatest lessons, a lesson so great that it does not need costumes. When the minister in the pulpit reads the gospel, does he act the parts of those whose words he reads? There is but one Passion Play, but all Christianity knows the story. It needs no costumes to sink home to the heart.
"So it is with the Masonic story. It needs no trappings to be glorious, no yellow and blue robes to be effective. It has the dignity of its own impressiveness. To put a business man in a blue and green robe and tell him he is to act like a stone mason of the time of Solomon, without scenery or training, is not to add to the impressiveness of the degree, but to take away from it." "I guess you are right," agreed the New Brother, thoughtfully. "I will back Brother Smith in his contention that we don't need the costumes." "But we do need them!" countered the Old Tiler. "But you have just argued me into thinking we should not buy them!" "Not at all, not at all," was the smiling answer. "I have just quoted you the reasons some urge against them." "But one side must be right and one side wrong!" protested the New Brother. "It is not a matter of sides but of men. The degree neither needs costumes, nor needs to be put on without them. Some need costumes in which to work; others don't. The right answer is in the people who work the degree. A group of dramatic actors, who throw themselves into the story as if it were a play, will do better work if fiction is made real with costumes. Brethren who find the story an allegory rather than a play do better without them. Whether costumes or not depends on the men who do the work."
"I am going back in that lodge and vote whichever way the degree team votes!" announced the New Brother. "You see, I ‘did’ manage to tell you!" answered the Old Tiler. This is the nineteenth article in this regular feature, ‘The Old Tiler Talks,’ each month we will publish in the newsletter one of these interesting and informative pieces by Carl Claudy
On Presenting the Lambskin Apron Light and white are its leathern folds; And a priceless lesson its texture holds. Symbol it is, as the years increase, Of the paths that lead through the fields of Peace. Type it is of the higher sphere, Where the deeds of the body ended here, Shall one by one the by-way be To Pass the gates of eternity. Emblem it is of a life intense, Held aloof from the world of sense; Of the upright walk and the lofty mind, Far from the dross of Earth inclined. Sign it is that he who wears Its sweep unsullied, about him bears That which should be to mind and heart, A set reminder of his art. So may it ever bring to thee The high resolves of Purity. Its spotless field of shining white, Serve to guide thy steps aright; Thy daily life, in scope and plans, Be that of the strong and upright man And signet shall the honor be Unto those who wear it worthily. Receive it thus to symbolize Its drift, in the life that before thee lies. Badge as it is of a great degree, Be it chart and compass unto thee. Fay Hempstead
Rays of Masonry “A Fact in Nature”
efficient in the art of Freemasonry, is to recognize ‘a fact in Nature.’ Dewey Wollstein 1953.
The ideas advanced by individuals and groups calling for a united world are praiseworthy. However, the attainment is not to be found in the methods employed generally by those who are interested primarily in the political and economical problems of the world. Universal Brotherhood will be achieved only through the education of the individual in the science of morality. The problems of government and economy will be solved readily when the desire for Universal Brotherhood becomes universal. Freemasonry has held forth the Ideal of Brotherhood as the very foundation of its existence. It has done more than voice a hope. Patiently throughout the ages our Institution has taught men Brotherhood as ‘a fact in Nature.’ Its simple creed, The Fatherhood of God, the Brotherhood of Man, has been the watchword. Masonry has left out edicts and dogmas which set up walls between man and his brother, and which stand for the denial of Brotherhood as a fact in nature. In all her teachings Masonry has let the Rays of Light shine unobstructed from the Source to those who are willing to place themselves in position to receive Light, a Divine Gift. There can never be a united world, a single unit of mankind, until there is created within the hearts of men the desire to be serviceable to all creatures. When self is lost in such desire, man becomes a citizen of the world. To obey is to survive. To practice Brotherhood, to learn to become
Rays of Masonry are the musings of Dewey Wollstein, and make for very good reading, these appear as a regular feature in the newsletter.
Fraternal Societies Of the World ‘The United Ancient Order of Druids
This order was founded in 1833 in England as a fraternal benefit society. Its roots were in the Ancient Order of Druids, founded some decades earlier. From England the order spread in the nineteenth century to the United States and Australia and in 1872 the first lodge on the European mainland was founded in Berlin. In Germany the Deutschen Druiden-Orden was founded several years later. From Germany the Order spread over Europe, especially Scandinavia and Switzerland. In 2002 three Dutchmen, who had become members of the German lodge Schwarzer Diamant (black diamond) three years earlier were allowed to form the first Dutch lodge. This lodge, Integrity, met every fortnight in the buildings of the Amsterdam freemasons.
Membership of this Dutch lodge consisted mainly of people with a Surinam background. On July 1st 2004 this lodge was already dissolved and brought back to informal meetings under the name 'Druid-Table'. In Surinam itself two lodges were founded between 1996 and 1998, with the support of the American order. Outside Europe the order is hardly active any more. The order in Australia and New Zealand are nowadays regular insurance corporations. In Europe membership is a couple of thousand. The U.A.O.D. is only open to men. In the past there was a female auxiliary, but it is questionable whether it still exists. German Druids are working on a new female order, the so-called Birgittalodges. The order has seven degrees, the first three are Ovate (knowledge), Bard (feelings) and Druid (decision). Thereafter there are four degrees of deepening: the Chapter degree, Ring degree, Elders degree and Knights degree. The initiation rituals are very loosely based on the ancient druidic myths. That is the only connection to druidism.
These fraternal societies which are featured in the newsletter do really exist; there are virtually hundreds of them throughout the World, the reader will notice the similarity to the Craft..
Brothers and Builders The Basis and Spirit of Freemasonry CHAPTER 3 - THE SQUARE. THE Holy Bible lies open upon the Altar of Masonry, and upon the Bible lie the Square and Compasses. They are the three Great Lights of the Lodge, at once its Divine warrant and its chief working tools. They are symbols of Revelation, Righteousness, and Redemption, teaching us that by walking in the light of Truth, and obeying the law of Right, the Divine in man wins victory over the earthly. How to live is the one important matter, and he will seek far without finding a wiser way than that shown us by the Great Lights of the Lodge. The Square and Compasses are the oldest, the simplest, and the most universal symbols of Masonry. All the world over, whether as a sign on a building, or a badge worn by a Brother, even the profane know them to be emblems of our ancient Craft. Some years ago, when a business firm tried to adopt the Square and Compasses as a trade-mark, the Patent Office refused permission, on the ground, as the decision said, that "there can be no doubt that this device, so commonly worn and employed by Masons, has an established mystic significance, universally recognized as existing; whether comprehended by all or not, is not material to this issue." They belong to us, alike by the associations of history and the tongue of common report.
Nearly everywhere in our Ritual, as in the public mind, the Square and Compasses are seen together. If not interlocked, they are seldom far apart, and the one suggests the other. And that is as it should be, because the things they symbolize are interwoven. In the old days when the earth was thought to be flat and square, the Square was an emblem of the Earth, and later, of the earthly element in man. As the sky is an arc or a circle, the implement which describes a Circle became the symbol of the heavenly, or sky spirit in man. Thus the tools of the builder became the emblems of the thoughts of the thinker; and nothing in Masonry is more impressive than the slow elevation of the Compasses above the Square in the progress of the degrees. The whole meaning and task of life is there, for such as have eyes to see. Let us separate the Square from the Compasses and study it alone, the better to see its further meaning and use. There is no need to say that the Square we have in mind is not a Cube, which has four equal sides and angles, deemed by the Greeks a figure of perfection. Nor is it the square of the carpenter, one leg of which is longer than the other, with inches marked for measuring. It is a small, plain Square, unmarked and with legs of equal length, a simple try-square used for testing the accuracy of angles, and the precision with which stones are cut. Since the try-square was used to prove that angles were right, it naturally became an emblem of accuracy, integrity, rightness. As stones are cut to fit into a building, so our acts and thoughts are built together into a structure of Character, badly or firmly, and must be tested by a moral standard
of which the simple try-square is a symbol. So, among Speculative Masons, the tiny try-square has always been a symbol of morality, of the basic rightness which must be the test of every act and the foundation of character and society. From the beginning of the Revival in 1717 this was made plain in the teaching of Masonry, by the fact that the Holy Bible was placed upon the Altar, along with the Square and Compasses. In one of the earliest catechisms of the Craft, dated 1725, the question is asked: "How many make a Lodge?" The answer is specific and unmistakable: "God and the square, with five or seven right or perfect Masons." God and the Square, Religion and Morality, must be present in every Lodge as its ruling Lights, or it fails of being a just and truly constituted Lodge. In all lands, in all rites where Masonry is true to itself, the Square is a symbol of righteousness, and is applied in the light of faith in God. God and the Square - it is necessary to keep the two together in our day, because the tendency of the time is to separate them. The idea in vogue to-day is that morality is enough, and that faith in God - if there be a God - may or may not be important. Some very able men of the Craft insist that we make the teaching of Masonry too religious. Whereas, as all history shows, if faith in God grows dim, morality become, a mere custom, if not a cobweb, to be thrown off lightly. It is not rooted in reality, and so lacks authority and sanction. Such an idea, such a spirit - so widespread in our time, and finding so many able and plausible advocates strikes at the foundations, not only of
Masonry, but of all ordered and advancing social life. Once let men come to think that morality is a human invention, and not a part of the order of the world, and the moral law will lose both its meaning and its power. Far wiser was the old book entitled All in All and the Same Forever, by John Davies, and dated 1607, though written by a non-Mason, when it read the reality and nature of God in this manner: "Yet I this form of formless Deity drew by the Square and Compasses of our Creed." For, inevitably, a society without standards will be a society without stability, and it will one day go down. Not only nations, but whole civilizations have perished in the past, for lack of righteousness. History speaks plainly in this matter, and we dare not disregard it. Hence the importance attached to the Square or Virtue, and the reason why Masons call it the great symbol of their Craft. It is a symbol of that moral law upon which human life must rest if it is to stand. A man may build a house in any way he likes, but if he expects it to stand and be his home, he must adjust his structure to the laws and forces that rule in the material realm. Just so, unless we live in obedience to the moral laws which God has written in the order of things, our lives will fall and end in wreck. When a young man forgets the simple Law of the Square, it does not need a prophet to foresee what the result will be. It is like a problem in geometry. Such has been the meaning of the Square as far back as we can go. Long before our era we find the Square teaching the same lesson which it teaches us to-day. In one of the old books of China, called The Great
Learning, which has been dated in the fifth century before Christ, we read that a man should not do unto others what he would not have them do unto him; and the writer adds, "this is called the principle of acting on the square." There it is, recorded long, long ago. The greatest philosopher has found nothing more profound, and the oldest man in his ripe wisdom has learned nothing more true. Even Jesus only altered it from the negative to the positive form in His Golden Rule. So, everywhere, in our Craft and outside, the Square has taught its simple truth which does not grow old. The Deputy Provincial Grand Master of North and East Yorkshire recovered a very curious relic, in the form of an old brass Square found under the foundation stone of an ancient bridge near Limerick, in 1830. On it was inscribed the date, 1517, and the following words:-
"Strive to live with love and care Upon the Level, by the Square." How simple and beautiful it is, revealing the oldest wisdom man has learned and the very genius of our Craft. In fact and truth, the Square rules the Mason as well as the Lodge in which he labours. As soon as he enters a Lodge, the candidate walks with square steps round the square pavement of a rectangular Lodge. All during the ceremony his attitude keeps him in mind of the same symbol, as if to fashion his life after its form. When he is brought to light, he beholds the Square upon the Altar, and at the same time sees that it is worn by the Master of the Lodge, as the emblem of his office. In the north-cast corner he is shown the perfect Ashlar, and told
that it is the type of a finished Mason, who must be a Square-Man in thought and conduct, in word and act. With every art of emphasis the Ritual writes this lesson in our hearts, and if we forget this first truth the Lost Word will remain forever lost. For Masonry is not simply a Ritual; it is a way of living. It offers us a plan, a method, a faith by which we may build our days and years into a character so strong and true that nothing, not even death, can destroy it. Each of us has in his own heart a little try-square called Conscience, by which to test each thought and deed and word, whether it be true or false. By as much as a man honestly applies that test in his own heart, and in his relations with his fellows, by so much will his life be happy, stable, and true. Long ago the question was asked and answered: "Lord, who shall abide in Thy tabernacle? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart." It is the first obligation of a Mason to be on the Square, in all his duties and dealings with his fellow men, and if he fails there he cannot win anywhere. Let one of our poets sum it all up:"It matters not whate'er your lot Or what your task may be, One duty there remains for you, One duty stands for me. Be you a doctor skilled and wise, Or do your work for wage, A laborer upon the street, An artist on the stage; One glory still awaits for you, One honor that is fair, To have men say as you pass by: 'That fellow's on the square.'
"Ah, here's a phrase that stands for much, 'Tis good old English, too; It means that men have confidence In everything you do. It means that what you have you've earned And that you've done your best, And when you go to sleep at night Untroubled you may rest. It means that conscience is your guide, And honor is your care; There is no greater praise than this: 'That fellow's on the square.' "And when I die I would not wish A lengthy epitaph; I do not want a headstone large, Carved with fulsome chaff. Pick out no single deed of mine, If such a deed there be, To 'grave upon my monument, For those who come to see. Just this one phrase of all I choose, To show my life was fair: 'Here sleepeth now a fellow who Was always on the square.' " This is the third Chapter in the Book, Brothers and Builders by Joseph Fort Newton, the fourth Chapter - The Compasses will appear next month. Brethren, the editor is always looking for articles, poems, stories, Lodge Histories, anything in fact that would make for interesting reading for the readers of the newsletter. Many thanks to those who have sent pieces in, I try to use them if I can.
During our ceremonies we are taught to ‘hele’ (pronounced hail*) conceal and never reveal. What does this strange word mean? It is now obsolete among townspeople, but still used by country folk and has been for centuries. The origin is from the Anglo-Saxon helian meaning to cover of conceal, (the Oxford dictionary indicates to ‘hide or keep secret’). Its significance in the Obligation is that the Initiate will ‘cover and conceal’ the secrets of Freemasonry – metaphorically in his mind. In Sussex, use is made of corrugated healed roofs – ‘a roof of corrugated material’. Many people speak of ‘healing’ a house where we normally speak of tiling or slating it. In M.M. Taylor’s working the word is still pronounced “heel”. Countrymen hele or heel in a plant when they cover there roots to await a convenient time for proper planting. They also hele their potato and root crops to protect them from the light and weather, also known as clamps. Hellier is an old name used for a roof slater and tiler. A hill whose crest is covered by cloud is said to be helmed. It can be seen then that the word hele – or ‘hail’ means simply to cover, conceal or preserve. A helmet covers the head. Keep within ‘Hail’, differs by simply meaning, “keep in touch”! *in Scotland some pronounce it Heal
Sourced from Why? ‘Coming to Terms with Freemasonry’ by Bro. John Cane PPG Supt Wks (Surrey)
Until next month, Keep the faith! The Editor.
Published on Jun 2, 2012