The Legend Begins

Rough Mason, Mason, Freemason, Accepted Mason - Oscar Patterson III 2017

The Legend Begins

There are still in existence about 140 Masonic manuscripts known collectively as the Old Charges or Constitutions and include rituals as well as catechisms. They include:


Halliwell Manuscript or Regius Poem

The Matthew Cooke Manuscript

The Dowland Manuscript

Grand Lodge No. 1



York No. 4

Melrose No. 2


Edinburgh Register House


Trinity College, Dublin

The Haughfoot fragment

Graham Manuscript


Mary’s Chapel

York Minutes

London Grand Lodges


Fabric Rolls of York Minster

Statutes of Ratisbon

Schaw Statutes

Kirkwell Scroll

London Masons’ Ordances 1481 and 1521.


Three Distinct Knocks at the Door

Edinburgh Register House

The Grand Mystery of Free-Mason’s Discover’d

Prichard’s Masonry Dissected

(A more complete list may be found in Appendix I.)

These manuscripts outline the history of the Craft as well as its organization and regulation. They are considered the primary documents from the operative and early speculative periods when each Lodge maintained a hand-written copy of its charges inscribed either on a vellum or parchment scroll or entered in the first pages of the minute books. This was their authority to meet as a lodge and to exercise certain privileges and duties. Of the old charges, the Regius Poem is unique in that it is set in verse. Excluding the Schaw Manuscript, these charges open with a prayer, an invocation for God’s assistance, or a general declaration of purpose. What follows includes a history of the craft which varies from document to document; a capitulation of the seven liberal arts and sciences, especially geometry; and a set of rules and regulations for masters and fellows. These early documents demonstrate the evolution of the craft’s legend and often begin with Noah and the flood and concluding with the establishment of the masonic guild at York by Athelstan.


The Regius Poem or Halliwell Manuscript is accepted as the most ancient of these documents with modern analysis dating it to about 1390. The manuscript appeared in several estate or personal inventories as it changed hands and was finally deposited in the Royal Library before being donated to the British Museum in 1757 by King George II. It was first referred to as a Freemasonic document in 1838 by James Halliwell. It is listed in an inventory of 1734 as simply A Poem of Moral Duties. Halliwell, though not a Freemason, published a short paper about the manuscript in 1840 giving it the 1390 date. It is assumed, based on the numerous Biblical allusions, writing style, Latin grammar, fineness of the script, and other exegesis, that the poem was written by a Catholic priest or monk. It was for a time mistakenly assumed that the document was written about 1440 to counter the 1425 edicts banning guild meetings.

Albert Mackey suggests that the extant rhymed verse manuscript is a copy of two earlier documents with what he refers to as “a carless admixture.”[1] The poem consists of 5,260 words in 794 lines written in a fine hand on sixty-four pages of small quarto vellum. It appears to come from the German stone mason tradition which suggests that the author was familiar with the thoughts and principles of the Germanic guild in the medieval period. The original legend was modified by masons from France or Gaul. The Regius Poem makes no mention of King Solomon’s Temple which constitutes such an important part of modern Freemasonic ritual and legend. It does, however, note the Four Crowned Martyrs-Sancti Quatuor Coronati--of Roman origin also referenced by Bede but absent from later manuscripts (see Chapter I). What is interesting about the document is that while the poem attributes masonry in England to Athelstan, it makes no reference to Edwin of the later York Legend nor is there any reference to St. Alban or Bishop Benedict noted by Bede. This poem does, however, provide the beginnings of craft history in England which will become known as The Legend of the Craft. This legend, first recorded in this late fourteenth century document, it will soon expand to include accounts of Lamech’s sons and the pillars (The Legend of Noah); Hermes; the Tower of Babel; Nimrod; Euclid; the Temple of Solomon; St. Alban; and the more complete York legend.


The Matthew Cooke Manuscript or Gothic Constitution is the oldest Freemasonic document written in prose. The document includes the legend of the children of Lamech with Jabal’s discovery of geometry; Jubal’s development of music; Tubal’s creation of metallurgy;and Naamah’s invention of weaving as well as their inscription of these mysteries on pillars that would be discovered after the great flood. Nimrod, the Tower of Babel, Euclid and, even, Egyptians are found in Cooke’s rendition of Masonic history. This manuscript is written on sheets of vellum 112 millimeters by 86 millimeters (4 3/8 inches by 3 3/8 inches) and bound into a book between oak covers. The Middle English of the documents supports a date of around 1450. The Regius Poem and The Cooke Manuscript demonstrate early masons’ attempts to establish their immemorial history (see Pocock on immemorial histories) and, for Cooke, possibly, determine their privileges considering the 1425 ban on assemblies. These documents endeavor to prove that the Craft had ancient royal approval and that even the King’s (Athelstan) son was associated directly with masonry.


The Graham Manuscript, which dates from about 1725 and comes after the foundation of the Grand Lodge of England, is the first to offer the Legend of Hiram Abiff though in greatly abbreviated form with the older Legend of Noah (see Chapter I) being retained. The first reference to the death of Hiram Abiff is found in Pritchard’s Masonry Dissected even though there are references to Hiram in the 1723 and 1738 Anderson’s Constitution. The existing version of Graham was discovered in Yorkshire in 1930 but the location of its origin is unknown. It is filled with editorial errors which indicate that it is a copy of an earlier document. Unlike the older documents, this manuscript is written in a catechism format with set questions and answers.


The Schaw Statutes were written by William Schaw, Master of the Works under James VI (1566-1625) of Scotland [who was King of England as James I successor to Elizabeth I] and later general warden of all Scottish stonemasons’ lodges. He was responsible not only for the general oversight of royal building projects but also the operations of a fraternity already in existence. Schaw’s task was to codify and create uniformity in the rules governing both the fraternity and the trade. His rules or statutes cover the proper qualifications of a person admitted into the craft; provisions for the sick and widows; and the formalization of an already existing oath. The statutes also provided rules for the election of wardens; set in writing the seven-year apprenticeship; and established examinations for promotion to fellow of the craft. The document did meet opposition which focused, primarily, on which existing Lodge would be declared Lodge No. 1. The issue was settled in 1599 with Edinburgh being declared first or principle Lodge and Kilwinning in West Scotland the second and head Lodge.

The four Old Charges noted above are given in their entirety below. A more detailed discussion of the various theories of Freemasonic origin and legend may be found in Mackey’s The History of Freemasonry to include the Andersonian, Prestonian, Hutchinsonian, and Oliverian theories.


  Regius Poem.


   Cooke Manuscript.


   Schaw Statutes.


Here begin the constitutions of the art of

Geometry according to Euclid.

Whoever will both well read and look

He may find written in old book

Of great lords and also ladies,

That had many children together, y-wisse;

And had no income to keep them with,

Neither in town nor field nor frith;

A council together they could them take,

To ordain for these children’s sake,

How they might best lead their life

Without great dis-ease, care, and strife;

And most for the multitude that was coming

Of their children after their ending

They send them after great clerks,

To teach them then good works;

And pray we them, for our Lord’s sake.

To our children some work to make,

That they might get their living thereby,

Both well and honestly full securely.

In that time, through good geometry,

This honest craft of good masonry

Was ordained and made in this manner,

Counterfeited of these clerks together;

At these lord’s prayers they counterfeited


And gave it the name of masonry,

For the most honest craft of all.

These lords’ children thereto did fall,

To learn of him the craft of geometry,

The which he made full curiously;

Through fathers’ prayers and mothers’ also,

This honest craft he put them to.

He learned best, and was of honesty,

And passed his fellows in curiosity,

If in that craft he did him pass,

He should have more worship than the lasse,

This great clerk’s name was Euclid,

His name it spread full wonder wide.

Yet this great clerk ordained he

To him that was higher in this degree,

That he should teach the simplest of wit

In that honest craft to be parfytte;

And so each one shall teach the other,

And love together as sister and brother.

Furthermore yet that ordained he,

Master called so should he be;

So that he were most worshipped,

Then should he be so called;

But masons should never one another call,

Within the craft amongst them all,

Neither subject nor servant, my dear brother,

Though he be not so perfect as is another;

Each shall call other fellows by cuthe,

Because they come of ladies’ birth.

On this manner, through good wit of


Began first the craft of masonry;

The clerk Euclid on this wise it found,

This craft of geometry in Egypt land.

In Egypt he taught it full wide,

In divers lands on every side;

Many years afterwards, I understand,

Ere that the craft came into this land.

This craft came into England, as I you say,

In time of good King Athelstane’s day;

He made then both hall and even bower,

And high temples of great honour,

To disport him in both day and night,

And to worship his God with all his might.

This good lord loved this craft full well,

And purposed to strengthen it every del,

For divers faults that in the craft he found;

He sent about into the land

After all the masons of the craft,

To come to him full even straghfte,

For to amend these defaults all

By good counsel, if it might fall.

An assembly then he could let make

Of divers lords in their state,

Dukes, earls, and barons also,

Knights, squires and many mo,

And the great burgesses of that city,

They were there all in their degree;

There were there each one algate,

To ordain for these masons’ estate,

There they sought by their wit,

How they might govern it;

Fifteen articles they there sought,

And fifteen points there they wrought,

Here begins the first article.

The first article of this geometry;-

The master mason must be full securely

Both steadfast, trusty and true,

It shall him never then rue;

And pay thy fellows after the cost,

As victuals goeth then, well thou woste;

And pay them truly, upon thy fay, (faith)

What they deserven may;

And to their hire take no more,

But what that they may serve for;

And spare neither for love nor drede,

Of neither parties to take no mede;

Of lord nor fellow, whoever he be,

Of them thou take no manner of fee;

And as a judge stand upright,

And then thou dost to both good right;

And truly do this wheresoever thou gost,

Thy worship, thy profit, it shall be most.

Second article.

The second article of good masonry,

As you must it here hear specially,

That every master, that is a mason,

Must be at the general congregation,

So that he it reasonably be told

Where that the assembly shall be holde;

And to that assembly he must needs gon,

Unless he have a reasonable skwasacyon,

Or unless he be disobedient to that craft

Or with falsehood is over-raft,

Or else sickness hath him so strong,

That he may not come them among;

That is an excuse good and able,

To that assembly without fable.

Third article.

The third article forsooth it is,

That the master takes to no ’prentice,

Unless he have good assurance to dwell

Seven years with him, as I you tell,

His craft to learn, that is profitable;

Within less he may not be able

To lords’ profit, nor to his own

As you may know by good reason.

Fourth article.

The fourth article this must be,

That the master him well besee,

That he no bondman ’prentice make,

Nor for no covetousness do him take;

For the lord that he is bound to,

May fetch the ’prentice wheresoever he go.

If in the lodge he were ty-take,

Much dis-ease it might there make,

And such case it might befal,

That it might grieve some or all.

For all the masons that be there

Will stand together all y-fere.

If such one in that craft should dwell,

Of divers dis-eases you might tell;

For more ease then, and of honesty,

Take a ’prentice of higher degree.

By old time written I find

That the ’prentice should be of gentle kind;

And so sometime, great lords’ blood

Took this geometry that is full good.

Fifth article.

The fifth article is very good,

So that the ’prentice be of lawful blood;

The master shall not, for no advantage,

Make no ’prentice that is outrage;

It is to mean, as you may hear

That he have all his limbs whole all y-fere;

To the craft it were great shame,

To make a halt man and a lame,

For an imperfect man of such blood

Should do the craft but little good.

Thus you may know every one,

The craft would have a mighty man;

A maimed man he hath no might,

You must it know long ere night.

Sixth article.

The sixth article you must not miss

That the master do the lord no prejudice,

To take the lord for his ’prentice,

As much as his fellows do, in all wise.

For in that craft they be full perfect,

So is not he, you must see it.

Also it were against good reason,

To take his hire as his fellows don.

This same article in this case,

Judgeth his prentice to take less

Than his fellows, that be full perfect.

In divers matters, know requite it,

The master may his ’prentice so inform,

That his hire may increase full soon,

And ere his term come to an end,

His hire may full well amend.

Seventh article.

The seventh article that is now here,

Full well will tell you all y-fere

That no master for favour nor dread,

Shall no thief neither clothe nor feed.

Thieves he shall harbour never one,

Nor him that hath killed a man,

Nor the same that hath a feeble name,

Lest it would turn the craft to shame.

Eighth article.

The eighth article sheweth you so,

That the master may it well do.

If that he have any man of craft,

And he be not so perfect as he ought,

He may him change soon anon,

And take for him a more perfect man.

Such a man through rechalaschepe,

Might do the craft scant worship.

Ninth article.

The ninth article sheweth full well,

That the master be both wise and felle;

That he no work undertake,

Unless he can both it end and make;

And that it be to the lords’ profit also,

And to his craft, wheresoever he go;

And that the ground be well y-take,

That it neither flaw nor grake.

Tenth article.

The tenth article is for to know,

Among the craft, to high and low,

There shall no master supplant another,

But be together as sister and brother,

In this curious craft, all and some,

That belongeth to a master mason.

Nor shall he supplant no other man,

That hath taken a work him upon,

In pain thereof that is so strong,

That weigheth no less than ten ponge,

but if that he be guilty found,

That took first the work on hand;

For no man in masonry

Shall not supplant other securely,

But if that it be so wrought,

That in turn the work to nought;

Then may a mason that work crave,

To the lords’ profit for it to save

In such a case if it do fall,

There shall no mason meddle withal.

Forsooth he that beginneth the ground,

If he be a mason good and sound,

He hath it securely in his mind

To bring the work to full good end.

Eleventh article.

The eleventh article I tell thee,

That he is both fair and free;

For he teacheth, by his might,

That no mason should work by night,

But if be in practising of wit,

If that I could amend it.

Twelfth article.

The twelfth article is of high honesty

To every mason wheresoever he be,

He shall not his fellows’ work deprave,

If that he will his honesty save;

With honest words he it commend,

By the wit God did thee send;

But it amend by all that thou may,

Between you both without nay.

Thirteenth article.

The thirteenth article, so God me save,

Is if that the master a ’prentice have,

Entirely then that he him teach,

And measurable points that he him reche,

That he the craft ably may conne,

Wheresoever he go under the sun.

Fourteenth article.

The fourteenth article by good reason,

Sheweth the master how he shall don;

He shall no ’prentice to him take,

Unless diver cares he have to make,

That he may within his term,

Of him divers points may learn.

Fifteenth article.

The fifteenth article maketh an end,

For to the master he is a friend;

To teach him so, that for no man,

No false maintenance he take him upon,

Nor maintain his fellows in their sin,

For no good that he might win;

Nor no false oath suffer him to make,

For dread of their souls’ sake,

Lest it would turn the craft to shame,

And himself to very much blame.

Plural constitutions.

At this assembly were points ordained mo, Of great lords and masters also. That who will know this craft and come to estate, He must love well God and holy church algate, And his master also that he is with, Wheresoever he go in field or frythe, And thy fellows thou love also, For that thy craft will that thou do.

Second Point.

The second point as I you say,

That the mason work upon the work day,

As truly as he can or may,

To deserve his hire for the holy-day,

And truly to labour on his deed,

Well deserve to have his mede.

Third point.

The third point must be severele,

With the ’prentice know it well,

His master’s counsel he keep and close,

And his fellows by his good purpose;

The privities of the chamber tell he no man,

Nor in the lodge whatsoever they don;

Whatsoever thou hearest or seest them do,

Tell it no man wheresoever you go;

The counsel of hall, and even of bower,

Keep it well to great honour,

Lest it would turn thyself to blame,

And bring the craft into great shame.

Fourth point.

The fourth point teacheth us alse,

That no man to his craft be false;

Error he shall maintain none

Against the craft, but let it gone;

Nor no prejudice he shall not do

To his master, nor his fellow also;

And though the ’prentice be under awe,

Yet he would have the same law.

Fifth point.

The fifth point is without nay,

That when the mason taketh his pay

Of the master, ordained to him,

Full meekly taken so must it byn;

Yet must the master by good reason,

Warn him lawfully before noon,

If he will not occupy him no more,

As he hath done there before;

Against this order he may not strive,

If he think well for to thrive.

Sixth point.

The sixth point is full given to know,

Both to high and even to low,

For such case it might befall;

Among the masons some or all,

Through envy or deadly hate,

Oft ariseth full great debate.

Then ought the mason if that he may,

Put them both under a day;

But loveday yet shall they make none,

Till that the work-day be clean gone

Upon the holy-day you must well take

Leisure enough loveday to make,

Lest that it would the work-day

Hinder their work for such a fray;

To such end then that you them draw.

That they stand well in God’s law.

Seventh point.

The seventh point he may well mean,

Of well long life that God us lene,

As it descrieth well openly,

Thou shalt not by thy master’s wife lie,

Nor by thy fellows’, in no manner wise,

Lest the craft would thee despise;

Nor by thy fellows’ concubine,

No more thou wouldst he did by thine.

The pain thereof let it be sure,

That he be ’prentice full seven year,

If he forfeit in any of them

So chastised then must he ben;

Full much care might there begin,

For such a foul deadly sin.

Eighth point.

The eighth point, he may be sure,

If thou hast taken any cure,

Under thy master thou be true,

For that point thou shalt never rue;

A true mediator thou must needs be

To thy master, and thy fellows free;

Do truly all that thou might,

To both parties, and that is good right.

Ninth point.

The ninth point we shall him call,

That he be steward of our hall,

If that you be in chamber y-fere,

Each one serve other with mild cheer;

Gentle fellows, you must it know,

For to be stewards all o-rowe,

Week after week without doubt,

Stewards to be so all in turn about,

Amiably to serve each one other,

As though they were sister and brother;

There shall never one another costage

Free himself to no advantage,

But every man shall be equally free

In that cost, so must it be;

Look that thou pay well every man algate,

That thou hast bought any victuals ate,

That no craving be made to thee,

Nor to thy fellows in no degree,

To man or to woman, whoever he be,

Pay them well and truly, for that will we;

Thereof on thy fellow true record thou take,

For that good pay as thou dost make,

Lest it would thy fellow shame,

And bring thyself into great blame.

Yet good accounts he must make

Of such goods as he hath y-take

Of thy fellows’ goods that thou hast spende,

Where and how and to what end;

Such accounts thou must come to,

When thy fellows wish that thou do.

Tenth point.

The tenth point presenteth well good life,

To live without care and strife;

For if the mason live amiss,

And in his work be false y-wisse,

And through such a false skewsasyon

May slander his fellows without reason,

Through false slander of such fame.

May make the craft acquire blame.

If he do the craft such villainy,

Do him no favour then securely,

Nor maintain not him in wicked life,

Lest it would turn to care and strife;

But yet him you shall not delayme,

Unless that you shall him constrain,

For to appear wheresoever you will,

Where that you will, loud, or still;

To the next assembly you shall him call,

To appear before his fellows all,

And unless he will before them appear,

The craft he must need forswear;

He shall then be punished after the law

That was founded by old dawe.

Eleventh point.

The eleventh point is of good discretion,

As you must know by good reason;

A mason, if he this craft well con, (know,

That seeth his fellow hew on a stone,

And is in point to spoil that stone,

Amend it soon if that thou can,

And teach him then it to amend,

That the lords’ work be not y-schende,

And teach him easily it to amend,

With fair words, that God thee hath lende;

For his sake that sit above,

With sweet words nourish his love.

Twelfth point.

The twelfth point is of great royalty,

There as the assembly held shall be,

There shall be masters and fellows also,

And other great lords many mo;

There shall be the sheriff of that country,

And also the mayor of that city,

Knights and squires there shall be,

And also aldermen, as you shall see;

Such ordinance as they make there,

They shall maintain it all y-fere

Against that man, whatsoever he be,

That belongeth to the craft both fair and free.

If he any strife against them make,

Into their custody he shall be take.

Thirteenth point.

The thirteenth point is to us full lief,

He shall swear never to be no thief,

Nor succour him in his false craft,

For no good that he hath byraft;

And thou must it know or sin,

Neither for his good, nor for his kin.

Fourteenth point.

The fourteenth point is full good law

To him that would be under awe;

A good true oath he must there swear

To his master and his fellows that be there;

He must be steadfast and also true

To all this ordinance, wheresoever he go,

And to his liege lord the king,

To be true to him over all thing.

And all these points here before

To them thou must need be y-swore,

And all shall swear the same oath

Of the masons, be they lief be they loath.

To all these points here before,

That hath been ordained by full good lore.

And they shall enquire every man

Of his party, as well as he can,

If any man may be found guilty

In any of these points specially;

And who he be, let him be sought,

And to the assembly let him be brought.

Fifteen point.

The fifteenth point is of full good lore,

For them that shall be there y-swore, (sworn)

Such ordinance at the assembly was laid

Of great lords and masters before said;

For the same that be disobedient, y-wisse,

Against the ordinance that there is,

Of these articles that were moved there,

Of great lords and masons all y-fere,

And if they be proved openly

Before that assembly, by and by,

And for their guilt’s no amends will make,

Then must they need the craft forsake;

And no masons craft they shall refuse,

And swear it never more to use.

But if that they will amends make,

Again to the craft they shall never take;

And if that they will not do so,

The sheriff shall come them soon to,

And put their bodies in deep prison,

For the trespass that they have done,

And take their goods and their cattle

Into the king’s hand, every delle,

And let them dwell there full still,

Till it be our liege king’s will.

Another ordinance of the art of geometry.

They ordained there an assembly to be


very year, wheresoever they would,

To amend the defaults, if any were found

Among the craft within the land;

Each year or third year it should be holde,

In every place weresoever they would;

Time and place must be ordained also,

In what place they should assemble to,

All the men of craft there they must be,

And other great lords, as you must see,

To mend the faults that he there spoken,

If that any of them be then broken.

There they shall be all y-swore,

That belongeth to this craft’s lore,

To keep their statutes every one

That were ordained by King Athelstane;

These statutes that I have here found

I ordain they be held through my land,

For the worship of my royalty,

That I have by my dignity.

Also at every assembly that you hold,

That you come to your liege king bold,

Beseeching him of his high grace,

To stand with you in every place,

To confirm the statutes of King Athelstane,

That he ordained to this craft by good reason.

The art of the four crowned ones.

Pray we now to God almight,

And to his mother Mary bright,

That we may keep these articles here,

And these points well all y-fere,

As did these holy martyrs four,

That in this craft were of great honour;

They were as good masons as on earth shall


Gravers and image-makers they were also.

For they were workmen of the best,

The emperor had to them great luste;

He willed of them an image to make

That might be worshipped for his sake;

Such monuments he had in his dawe,

To turn the people from Christ’s law.

But they were steadfast in Christ’s lay,

And to their craft without nay;

They loved well God and all his lore,

And were in his service ever more.

True men they were in that dawe,

And lived well in God’s law;

They thought no monuments for to make,

For no good that they might take,

To believe on that monument for their God,

They would not do so, though he were wod;

For they would not forsake their true fay,

And believe on his false lay, (law)

The emperor let take them soon anon,

And put them in a deep prison;

The more sorely he punished them in that


The more joy was to them of Christ’s grace,

Then when he saw no other one,

To death he let them then gon;

Whose will of their life yet more know

By the book he might it show

In the legend of sanctorum

The names of the quatuor coronatorum.

Their feast will be without nay, (doubt)

After Hallow-e’en the eighth day.

You may hear as I do read,

That many years after, for great dread

That Noah’s flood was all run,

The tower of Babylon was begun,

As plain work of lime and stone,

As any man should look upon;

So long and broad it was begun,

Seven miles the height shadoweth the sun.

King Nebuchadnezzar let it make

To great strength for man’s sake,

Though such a flood again should come,

Over the work it should not nome;

For they had so high pride, with strong boast

All that work therefore was lost;

An angel smote them so with divers speech,

That never one knew what the other should


Many years after, the good clerk Euclid

Taught the craft of geometry full wonder


So he did that other time also,

Of divers crafts many mo.

Through high grace of Christ in heaven,

He commenced in the sciences seven;

Grammar is the first science I know,

Dialect the second, so I have I bliss,

Rhetoric the third without nay, (doubt)

Music is the fourth, as I you say,

Astronomy is the fifth, by my snout,

Arithmetic the sixth, without doubt,

Geometry the seventh maketh an end,

For he is both meek and hende,

Grammar forsooth is the root,

Whoever will learn on the book;

But art passeth in his degree,

As the fruit doth the root of the tree;

Rhetoric measureth with ornate speech


And music it is a sweet song;

Astronomy numbereth, my dear brother,

Arithmetic sheweth one thing that is another,

Geometry the seventh science it is,

That can separate falsehood from truth, I


These be the sciences seven,

Who useth them well he may have heaven.

Now dear children by your wit

Pride and covetousness that you leave it,

And taketh heed to good discretion,

And to good nurture, wheresoever you come.

Now I pray you take good heed,

For this you must know nede,

But much more you must wyten,

Than you find here written.

If thee fail thereto wit,

Pray to God to send thee it:

For Christ himself, he teacheth ous

That holy church is God’s house,

That is made for nothing ellus

But for to pray in, as the book tellus;

There the people shall gather in,

To pray and weep for their sin.

Look thou come not to church late,

For to speak harlotry by the gate;

Then to church when thou dost fare,

Have in thy mind ever mare

To worship thy lord God both day and night,

With all thy wits and even thy might.

To the church door when thou dost come

Of that holy water there some thou nome,

For every drop thou feelest there

Quencheth a venial sin, be thou ser.

But first thou must do down thy hood,

For his love that died on the rood.

Into the church when thou dost gon,

Pull up thy heart to Christ, anon;

Upon the rood thou look up then,

And kneel down fair upon thy knen,

Then pray to him so here to worche

After the law of holy church,

For to keep the commandments ten,

That God gave to all men;

And pray to him with mild steven

To keep thee from the sins seven,

That thou here may, in this life,

Keep thee well from care and strife;

Furthermore he grant thee grace,

In heaven’s bliss to have a place.

In holy church leave trifling words

Of lewd speech and foul bordes,

And put away all vanity,

And say thy pater noster and thine ave;

Look also that thou make no bere,

But always to be in thy prayer;

If thou wilt not thyself pray,

Hinder no other man by no way.

In that place neither sit nor stand,

But kneel fair down on the ground,

And when the Gospel me read shall,

Fairly thou stand up from the wall,

And bless the fare if that thou can,

When gloria tibi is begun;

And when the gospel is done,

Again thou might kneel down,

On both knees down thou fall,

For his love that bought us all;

And when thou hearest the bell ring

To that holy sakerynge,

Kneel you must both young and old,

And both your hands fair uphold,

And say then in this manner,

Fair and soft without noise;

“Jesu Lord welcome thou be,

In form of bread as I thee see,

Now Jesu for thine holy name,

Shield me from sin and shame;

Shrift and Eucharist thou grant me bo,

Ere that I shall hence go,

And very contrition for my sin,

That I never, Lord, die therein;

And as thou were of maid y-bore

Suffer me never to be y-lore;

But when I shall hence wend,

Grant me the bliss without end;

Amen! Amen! so mote it be!

Now sweet lady pray for me.”

Thus thou might say, or some other thing,

When thou kneelest at the sakerynge.

For covetousness after good, spare thou not

To worship him that all hath wrought;

For glad may a man that day be,

That once in the day may him see;

It is so much worth, without nay, (doubt)

The virtue thereof no man tell may;

But so much good doth that sight,

That Saint Austin telleth full right,

That day thou seest God’s body,

Thou shalt have these full securely:-

Meet and drink at thy need,

None that day shalt thou gnede; (lack)

Idle oaths and words bo, (both)

God forgiveth thee also;

Sudden death that same day

Thee dare not dread by no way;

Also that day, I thee plight,

Thou shalt not lose thy eye sight;

And each foot that thou goest then,

That holy sight for to sen,

They shall be told to stand instead,

When thou hast thereto great need;

That messenger the angel Gabriel,

Will keep them to thee full well.

From this matter now I may pass,

To tell more benefits of the mass:

To church come yet, if thou may,

And hear the mass each day;

If thou may not come to church,

Where that ever thou dost worche,

When thou hearest the mass knylle,

Pray to God with heart still,

To give they part of that service,

That in church there done is.

Furthermore yet, I will you preach

To your fellows, it for to teach,

When thou comest before a lord,

In hall, in bower, or at the board,

Hood or cap that thou off do,

Ere thou come him entirely to;

Twice or thrice, without doubt,

To that lord thou must lowte;

With thy right knee let it be do,

Thine own worship thou save so.

Hold off thy cap and hood also,

Till thou have leave it on to do.

All the time thou speakest with him,

Fair and amiably hold up thy chin;

So after the nurture of the book,

In his face kindly thou look.

Foot and hand thou keep full still,

For clawing and tripping, is skill;

From spitting and sniffling keep thee also,

By private expulsion let it go,

And if that thou be wise and felle,

Thou has great need to govern thee well.

Into the hall when thou dost wend,

Amongst the gentles, good and hende,

Presume not too high for nothing,

For thine high blood, nor thy cunning,

Neither to sit nor to lean,

That is nurture good and clean.

Let not thy countenance therefore abate,

Forsooth good nurture will save thy state.

Father and mother, whatsoever they be,

Well is the child that well may thee,

In hall, in chamber, where thou dost gon;

Good manners make a man.

To the next degree look wisely,

To do them reverence by and by;

Do them yet no reverence all o-rowe,

Unless that thou do them know.

To the meat when thou art set,

Fair and honestly thou eat it;

First look that thine hands be clean,

And that thy knife be sharp and keen,

And cut thy bread all at thy meat,

Right as it may be there y-ete.

If thou sit by a worthier man,

Then thy self thou art one,

Suffer him first to touch the meat,

Ere thyself to it reach.

To the fairest morsel thou might not strike,

Though that thou do it well like;

Keep thine hands fair and well,

From foul smudging of thy towel;

Thereon thou shalt not thy nose smite.

Nor at the meat thy tooth thou pike;

Too deep in cup thou might not sink,

Though thou have good will to drink,

Lest thine eyes would water thereby-

Then were it no courtesy.

Look in thy mouth there be no meat,

When thou beginnest to drink or speak.

When thou seest any man drinking,

That taketh heed to thy carpynge,

Soon anon thou cease thy tale,

Whether he drink wine or ale,

Look also thou scorn no man,

In what degree thou seest him gone;

Nor thou shalt no man deprave,

If thou wilt thy worship save;

For such word might there outburst.

That might make thee sit in evil rest.

Close thy hand in thy fist,

And keep thee well from “had I known”.

In chamber, among the ladies bright,

Hold thy tongue and spend thy sight;

Laugh thou not with no great cry,

Nor make no lewd sport and ribaldry.

Play thou not but with thy peers,

Nor tell thou not all that thou hears;

Discover thou not thine own deed,

For no mirth, nor for no mede:

With fair speech thou might have thy will,

With it thou might thy self spylle.

When thou meetest a worthy man,

Cap and hood thou hold not on;

In church, in market, or in the gate,

Do him reverence after his state.

If thou goest with a worthier man

Then thyself thou art one,

Let thy foremost shoulder follow his back,

For that is nurture without lack;

When he doth speak, hold thee still,

When he hath done, say for thy will,

In thy speech that thou be felle,

And what thou sayest consider thee well;

But deprive thou not him his tale,

Neither at the wine nor at the ale.

Christ then of his high grace,

Save you both wit and space,

Well this book to know and read,

Heaven to have for your mede.

Amen! Amen! so mote it be!

So say we all for charity.*


Thanked be God,

our glorius

father and found-

er and former of Heaven

and of earth and of all

things that in him is,

that he would vouchsafe, of

his glorious God-head, for to

make so many things of di

vers virtue for mankind;

for He made all things for

to be obedient and subject to man,

for all things that are comes

tible of wholsome nature he

ordained it for mans suste-

nance. And also he hath given

to man wits and cunning

of divers things, and crafts,

by the which we may

travel in this world to

get with our living to make

divers things to God’s plea-

sure, and also for our ease and

profit. The which things

if I should rehearse them it

were too long to tell, and to

write. Wherefore I will leave (them),

but I shall shew you some,

that is to say how, and in what

wise, the science of Geometry

first began, and who were

the founders thereof, and of

other crafts more, as it is noted

in the Bible and in other


How and in what man-

ner that this worthy

science of geometry began, I

will tell you, as I said be-

fore. Ye shall understand

that there be 7 liberal sciences,

by the which 7 all sciences

and crafts, in the world, were

first found, and in espwciall

for he is causer of all, that is to

say the science of geometry of all

other that be, the which 7 sci-

ences are called thus. As for the

first, that is called [the] fundament

of science, his name is grammar,

he teacheth a man rightfully to

speak and to write truly. The

second is rhetoric, and he teach-

eth a man to speak formab-

ly and fair. The third is

dialecticus, and that science teacheth

a man to discern the truth

from the false, and commonly it is

called art or sophistry. The fourth

is called arithmetic, the which

teacheth a man the craft of

numbers, for to reckon and

to make account of all things.

The fifth [is] geometry, the which

teacheth a man all the metcon,

and measures, and ponderacion,

of weights of all mans craft.

The 6th is music, that teacheth

a man the craft of song, in

notes of voice and organ,

and trumpet, and harp, and of all

others pertaining to them. The

7th is astronomy, that teacheth

man the course of the sun,

and of the moon, and of other

stars and planets of heaven.

Our intent is principally to

treat of [the] first

foundation of the worthy science

of geometry, and we were

the foundes thereof, as I said

before. There are 7 liberal

sciences, that is to say, 7 sciences, or

crafts, that are free in them-

selves, the which 7 live

only by geometry. And geo-

metry is as much to say

as the measure of the earth,

“Et sic dicitur a geo ge quin R ter

a latin et metron quod est

mensura. Una Geometria in

mensura terra vel terrarum,”

that is to say in English, that

gemetria is, I said, of geo that is

in gru, earth, and metron, that is

to say measure, and thus is this

name of Gemetria comounded

and is said [to be] the measure of the earth.

Marvel ye not that I

said, that all sciences live

all only, by the science of geome-

try, for there is none [of them] artifici-

al. No handicraft that is wrought

by mans hand but it is

wrought by geometry, and a

notable cause, for if a man

work with his hands he wor-

keth with some manner [of] tool, and

there is none instrument, of ma-

terial things, in this world

but it come[s] of the kind of

earth, and to earth it will

turn again, and there is none

instrument, that is to say a tool

to work with, but it hath

some proportion, more or less.

And proportion is measure,

the tool, or the instrument,

is earth. And geometry is

said [to be] the measure of [the] earth, Where-

fore, I may say that men live

all by geometry, for all

men here in this world live

by the labour of their hands.

Many more probations I

will tell you, why that

geometry is the science that all rea-

sonable men live by, but I

leave it, at this time, for the long

process of writing. And now

I will proceed further on my matter.

Ye shall understand that

among all the crafts of the

world, of man’s craft,

Masonry hath the most notabil-

ity and most part of this

science, geometry, as it is

noted and said in history,

as in the Bible, and in the

master of history. And in [the] Policronicon

a chronicle printed, and in the

histories that is named Bede.

“De Imagine Mundi;” et Isodorus

“Ethomolegiarum.” Methodius,

Episcopus et Martiris, and others,

many more, said that masonry is

principal of geometry, as

me thinketh it may well

be said, for it was the first

that was founded, as it is

noted in the Bible, in the first

book of Genesis in the 4th

chapter; and also all the doc-

tors aforesaid accordeth thereto,

and some of them saith it

more openly, and plainly,

right as it saith in the Bi

ble, Genesis.

Adam’s line lineal

son, descending down

the 7th age of Adam before

Noah’s flood, there was a man that

was named Lamech the

which had 2 wives, the

one hight Adah, and another

Zillah; by the first wife, that

hight Adah, he begat 2 sons

that one hight Jabal, and the other

hight Jubal. The elder son,

Jabal, he was the first man

that ever found geometry and

Masonry, and he made houses,

and [is] named in the Bible

“Pater habitancium in tento-

ris atque pastorum,” that is to

say, father of men dwelling

in tents, that is, dwelling

houses. And he was Cain’s

master mason, and governor

of all his works, when

he made the city of Enock,

that was the first city;

That was the first city that

ever was made, and that made

Cain, Adam’s son, and

gave to his own son Enock,

and gave the city the name

of his son, and called it

Enock. And now it is

called Ephraim, and there was

[the] science of Geometry, and ma-

sonry, first occupied, and

contrenid, for a science and

for a craft, and so we may

say that it was [the] cause and foun-

dation of all crafts, and

sciences, and also this man,

Jaball, was called “pater


The master of stories

saith, and Bede, De Im-

agine Mundi, {the] Policronicon, and

other more say that he was

the first that made depercession

of land, that every man might

know his own ground,

and labour thereon, as for

his own. And also he de-

parted flocks of sheep, that

every man might know his

own sheep, and so we may

say that he was the first

founder of that science. And his

brother Jubal, or Tubal,

was [the] founder of music and

song, as Pythagoras saith

in [the] Policronicon and the

same saith Isodore in his

Ethemologies, in the 6th book,

there he saith that he was

the first founder of music,

and song, and of organ and

trumpet, and he found that

science by the sound of pon-/deration

of his brother’s hammers, that

was Tubal Cain.

Soothly as the Bible

saith in the chapter,

that is to say, the 4th of Genesis,

that he saith Lamech begot upon

his other wife, that hight Zillah,

a son and a daughter, the names of

them were called Tubal Cain,

that was the son, and his daughter [was]

called Naamah, and as the Poli-

cronicon saith, that some men

say that she was Noah’s wife:

whether it be so, or no, we affirm/ it not.

Ye shall understand

that this son Tubal Cain

was [the] founder of smiths’

craft, and of other crafts of

metal, that is to say, of iron,

of brass, of gold, and of silver,

as some doctors say, and his

sister Naamah was finder of

weavers-craft, for before that time

was no cloth woven, but

they did spin yarn and

knit it, and made them such

clothing as they could,

but as the woman Naamah

found the craft of weaving,

and therefore it was called wo-

men’s craft, and these 3

brethren, aforesaid, had know-

ledge that God would take ven-

geance for sin, either by fire,

or water, and they had greater

care how they might do to

save the sciences that they [had] found,

and they took their counsel

together and, by all their witts,

they said that [there] were 2 manner of

stone[s] of such virtue that the one

would never burn, and that stone

is called marble, and that the other stone

that will not sink in water and

that stone is named latres, and

so they devised to write all

the sciences that they had found in

these 2 stones, [so that] if that God would

take vengeance, by fire, that the

marble should not burn.

And if God sent vengeance,

by water, that the other should not

drown, and so they prayed their

elder brother Jabal that [he] would

make 2 pillars of these 2

stones, that is to say of marble

and of latres, and that he would

write in the 2 pillars all

the science[s], and crafts, that all they

had found, and so he did

and, therefore, we may say that

he was most cunning in

science, for he first began

and performed the before

Noah’s flood.

Kindly knowing of

that vengeance, that God

would send, whether it

should be by fire, or by water,

the brethren had it not

by a manner of a prophecy, they

wist that God would send one there-

of, and therefore they wrote

their science[s] in the 2 pillars

of stone, and some men say

that they wrote in the stones

all the 7 science[s], but as

they [had] in their mind[s] that a ven-

geance should come. And

so it was that God sent ven-

geance so that there came such

a flood that all the world was

drowned, and all men were

dead therein, save 8 persons,

And that was Noah, and his

wife, and his three sons, and

their wives, of which 3

sons all the world came of,

and their names were na-

med in this manner, Shem, Ham,

and Japhet. And this flood was

called Noah’s flood, for he, and

his children, were saved there-

in. And after this flood many

years, as the chronicle telleth,

these 2 pillars were found,

and as the Pilicronicon saith, that

a great clerk that [was] called Pythagoras

found that one, and Hermes, the

philosopher, found that other, and

they taught forth the sciences that

they found therein written.

Every chronicle, and his-

tory, and many other

clerks, and the Bible in princi-

pal, witnesses of the making

of the tower of Babel, and it

is written in the Bible, Genesis

Chapter x., how that Ham, Noah’s

son begot Nimrod, and he

waxed a mighty man upon the

earth, and he waxed a strong

man, like a giant, and he was

a great king. And the begin-

ning of his kingdom was [that of the]

true kingdom of Babylon, and

Arach, and Archad, and Calan, and

the land of Sennare. And this

same Nimrod began the tower

of Babylon . . . and

he taught to his workmen the

craft of measures, and he had

with him many masons, more than

40 thousand. And he loved and

cherished them well. And it

is written in [the] Policronicon, and

in the master of stories, and in

other stories more, and this in part

witnesseth [the] Bible, in the same

x. chapter [of Genesis,] where he saith that A-

sur, that was nigh [of] kin to

Nimrod, [and] went out of the land of

Senare and he built the city [of]

Nineveh, and Plateas, and other

more, this he saith “de tra illa

et de Sennare egressus est Asur,

et edificavit Nineven et Plateas

civitatum et Cale et Jesu quoque,

inter Nineven et hoec est Civitas


Reason would that we should

tell openly how, and in

what manner, that the charges

of mason-craft was first found-

ed and who gave first the name

of it of masonry. And ye

shall know well that it [is] told

and written in [the] Policronicon and

in Methodius episcopus and Martyrus

that Asure, that was a worthy lord

of Sennare, sent to Nimrod

the king, to send him masons

and workmen of craft that might

help him to make his city

that he was in will to make.

And Nimrod sent him 30 [380]

hunred of masons. And when they

should go and [he should] send them forth he

called them before him and said

to them--”Ye must go to my cou-

sin Asur, to help him to build

a city; but look [to it] that ye be well

governed, and I shall give

you a charge profitable for

you and me.

When ye come to that lord

look that ye be true to

him like as ye would be to

me, and truly do your labour

and craft, and take reason-

able your meed therefore as ye

may deserve, and also that ye

love together as ye were

brethren, and hold together

truly; and he that hath most cunning

teach it to his fellow; and

look ye govern you against

your lord and among

yourselves, that I may have

worship and thanks for

my sending, and teaching,

you the craft.” and they re-/ceived

the charge of him that was their

master and their lord, and

went forth to Asur, and

built the city of Ninevah, in

the country of Plateas, and other

cities more that men call Cale

and Jesen, that is a great city

between Cale and Nineveh.

And in this manner the craft

of masonry was first prefer-

red and charged it for a science.

Elders that were before us,

of masons, had these

charges written to them as

we have now in our char-

ges of the story of Euclid,

as we have seen them written

in Latin and in French both;

but how that Euclid came to [the knowledge of]

geometry reason would we

should tell you as it is

noted in the Bible and in other

stories. In the twelfth chapter of Genesis

he telleth how that Abraham came to

the Land of Canaan, and our

Lord appeared to him and said, I

shall give this land to thy

seed; but there fell a great hunger

in that land, and Abraham took

Sarah, his wife, with him and

went into Egypt in pilgrim-

age, [and] while the hunger [en]dur-

ed he would bide there. And A-

braham, as the chronicle saith,

he was a wise man and a

great clerk, and couthe all

the 7 science[s] and taught

the Egyptians the science of

geometry. And thid worthy

clerk, Euclid, was his

clerk and learned of him.

And he gave the first name

of geometry, all be that it

was occupied before it had

no name of geometry. But

it is said of Isodour, Ethe-

mologiarum, in the 5th booke Ethe-

molegiarum, capitolo primo, saith

that Euclid was one of the first

founders of geometry, and

he gave it [that] name, for in

his time that was a wa- [there]

ter in that land of Egypt that

is called [the] Nile, and it flowed

so far into the land that men

might not dwell therein.

Then this worthy

clerk, Euclid, taught

them to make great walls

and ditches to holde out the

water; and he, by geometry,

measured the land, and depar-

ted it in divers parts, and

made every man close his

own part with walls and

ditches, and then it became

a plenteous country of all

manner of fruit and of young

people, of men and women,

that there was so much people

of young fruit that they could

not well live. And the lords

of the country drew them [selves] to-

gether and made a council

how they might help their

children that had no livelihood,

competent and able, for to find

themselves and their children

for thy had so many. And

among them all in council

was this worthy clerk Euclid,

and when he saw that

all they could not bring

about this matter he said

to them-“Will ye take your sons

in governance, and I shall teach

them such science that they

shall live thereby gentle-

manly, under condition that

ye will be sworn to me to

perform the governance that

I shall set you to and

them both.” And the king

of the land and all the lords,

by one assent, granted thereto.

Reason would that every man

would grant to that

thing that were profitable to him-

self, and they took their sons

to Euclid to govern

them at his own will, and

he taught to them the craft,

Masonry, and gave it the

name of geometry, because

of the parting of the ground that

he had taught to the people,

in the time of the making

of the walls and ditches a-

foresaid, to close out the

water, and Isodore saith, in his

Ethemologies, that Euclid

calleth the craft geometry;

and there was this worthy clerk

gave it name, and taught

it the lords’ sons of the

land that he had in his teaching.

And he gave them a charge that

they should call here each

other fellow, and no other-

wise, because that they were

all of one craft, and of one

gentle birth born, and lords’

sons. And also he that were

most of cunning should be

governor of the work, and

should be called master, and

other charges more that are

written in the book of char-

ges. And so they wrought

with lords of the land, and made

cities and towns, castles

and temples, and lords’ palaces.

What time that the chil-

drewn of Israel dwelt

in Egypt they learned the

craft of masonry. And

afterward, [when] they were

driven out of Egypt, they

came into the land of behest,

and is now called Jerusalem,

and it was occupied and char-

ges there hel. And the making

of Solomon’s temple that

king David began. (King

David loved well masons,

and he gave them right nigh

as they be now.) And at the

making of the temple in

Solomon’s time as it

is said in te Bible, in the

3rd book of Regum in tercio

Regum capitolo quinto, that

Solomon had 4 score

thousand masons at

his work. And the king’s

son, of Tyre, was his master

Mason. And [in] other chroni-

cles it is said, and in old

books of masonry, that

Solomon confirmed the char-

ges that David, his father, had

given to masons. And Solo-

mon himself taught them

there manners [with] but little [their ?]

difference from the manners

that now are used. And from

thence this worthy science

was brought into France

and into many other regions

Sometime there was

a worthy king in

France that was called Ca-

rolus secundus, that is to say,

Charles the Second, and this

Charles was elected king

of France, by the grace of

God and by lineage also. And

some men say that he was

elected by fortune, the which

is false, as by [the] chronicle he

was of the king’s blood

royal. And this same King,

Charles, was a mason

before that he was king, and

after that he was king he loved

Masons and cherished them,

and gave them charges and

manners at his device, [of] the which

some are yet used in France;

and he ordained that they

should have [an] assembly once

in the year, and come and

speak together, and for to be

ruled by masters and fellows

of all things amiss.

And soon after that came

Saint Adhabell into England,

and converted Saint Alban

to Christianity. And Saint

Alban loved well masons,

and he gave them first their

charges and manners first

in England. And he or-

dained convenient [times] to pay

for the travail. And after

that was a worthy king

in England that was called

Athelstan, and his young-

est son loved well the

science of geometry, and

he wist well that hand-craft

had the practice of the sci

ence of geometry so well

as masons, wherefore he

drew him to council and learn-

ed [the] practice of that science

to his speculative, for of specu-

lative he was a master,

and he loved well mason-

ry and masons. And

he became a mason him-

self, and he gave them charges

and names as it is now

used in England, and in

other countries. And he

ordained that they shouuld have

reasonable pay and purchas-

ed a free patent of the king

that they should make [an] assem-

bly when they saw a reason-

able time and come together to

their councillors of which

charges, manners, and assembly,

as it is written and taught in the

book of our charges, wherefore

I leave it at this time.

Good men for this

cause and this manner

Masonry took [its] first begin-

ning. It befel sometime[s]

that great lords had not so

great possessions that they

might not advance their

free begotten children, for

thet had so many, therefore

they took counsel how they

might their children advance

and ordain them honestly to

live. And [they] sent after wise

masters of the worthy sci-

ence of geometry that they, through

their wisdom, should ordain

them some honest living.

Then one of them, that had the

name which was called

Englet, that was most subtle

and wise founder, ordained

an art and called it Ma-

sonry, and so with his art, hon-

estly, he taught the children

of great lords, by the pray-

er of the fathers and the free-

will of their children, the

which when they [were] taught with

high care, by a certain time,

they were not all alike able

for to take of the [a]foresaid art

wherefore the [a]foresaid master,

Englet, ordained [that] they [who] were

passing of cunning should

be passing honured, and

ded to call the cunninger master

for to inform the less of cun-

ning masters, of the which

were called masters, of no-

bility of wit and cunning

of that art. Nevertheless they com-

manded that they that were less

of wit should not be called

servant, nor subject, but fellow,

for nobility of their gentle

blood. In this manner was the

[a]foresaid art begun in the

land of Egypt, by the [a]foresaid

master Englet, and so it went

from land to land, and from king-

dom to kingdom. After that, ma-

ny years, in the time of King-

Athelstan, which was some

time king of England, by

his councillors, and other greater

lords of the land, by common

assent, for great default

found among masons, they

ordained a certain rule

amongst them: one time of

the year, or in 3 years as need

were to the king and great

lords of the land, and all the

comonalty, from province to province,

and from country to country,

congregations should be made,

by masters, of all masters,

Masons, and fellows in the

[a]foresaid art, and so, at such

congregations, they that be made

masters should be examined,

of the articles after written, and

be ransacked whether they be

able and cunning to the pro-

fit of the lords [having] them to serve

and to the honour of the [a]foresaid

art. And, moreover, they should

receive their charge that they

should well and truly dis-

pend the goods of their lords,

as well the lowest as the

highest, for they be their lords,

for the time, of whom they take

their pay for their service

and for their travail. The

first Article is this,--That every

master of this art should be

wise and true to the lord that he

serveth, dispending his goods

truly as he would his own

were dispensed, and not give

more pay to no mason than

he wot he may deserve, after the

dearth of corn and victual in the

country, no favour withstanding,

for every man to be rewarded

after his travail. The second

Article is this,--That every master

of this art should be warned,

before, to come to his congregation,

that they come duly, but if they

may [be] excused by some manner [of]

cause. But, nevertheless, if they

be found rebel[lious] at such con-

gregations, or faulty in any

manner [of] harm of their lords,

and reproof of this art, they

should not be excused in no

manner [with]out taking peril of death,

and though they be in peril

of death, they shall warn the

master that is principal of the

gathering of his decease. The

[third] Article is this,--That no master

take no [ap]prentice for [a] less term

than 7 year[s] at the least, be-

cause such as be within [a]

less term may not, profitably,

come to his art nor able

to serve, truly, his lord [and] to

take as a mason should

take. The 4th Article is this,--

That no master, for no profit, take

no [ap]prentice, for to be learned,

that is born of bond blood,

for, because of his lord, to

whom he is bond, will take

him as he well may, from

his art and lead him, with him, out

of his lodge, or out of his

place, that he worketh in, for

his fellows, peradventure, would help

him and debate for him, and

thereof manslaughter might

[a]rise, it is forbid[den.] And also

for another cause of his art,

it took beginning of great

lords’ children, freely begotten,

as it is said before. The

5th Article is this,--That no master

give more to his [ap]prentice in

time of his [ap]prenticehood, for

no profit to be take[n], than he

note[s] well he may deserve

of the lord that he serveth, nor not

so much that the lord, of the place

that he is taught in, may

have some profit of his teach-

ing. The 6th Article is

this,--That no master for no coveteous-

ness, nor profit, take no [ap]pren-

tice to teach that is imperfect, that

is to say, having any maim

for the which he may not

truly work as he

ought for to do. The 7th

Article is this,--That no master be

found wittingly, or help

or procure. to be [a] maintainer and

sustainer [of] any common night wal-

ker to rob, by the which

manner of night-walking

they may not fulfil their day’s

work and travail, [and] through

the condition their fellows might

be made wroth. The 8th

Article is this,--That if it befal

that any mason that be perfect, and

cunning, come for to seek

work and find an imperfect

and uncunning working,

the master of the place shall re-

ceive the perfect, and do away the

imperfect, to the profit of his lord.

The 9th Article is this,--That

no master shall supplant

another for it is said, in the

art of masonry, that no man

should make end so well

of work begun by ano-

ther, to the profit of his lord,

as he [that] began it, for to end

it by his matters, or to whom

he sheweth his matters.

This council is made by di-

vers lords and masters of

divers provinces and divers

congregations of masonry

and it is, to wit, that who that

coveteth for to come to the

state of the [a]foresaid art it be-

hoveth them first, principally,

to God and holy church, and

all-halows, and his master

and his fellows as his own

brethren. The second Point,--

He must fulfil his day’s

work truly that he taketh for

his pay. The 3rd [Point].--That he can

hele the counsel of his fellows

in lodge, and in chamber,

and in every place there as Masons

be. The 4th Point,--That he be

no deceiver of the [a]foresaid art,

nor do no prejudice, nor sustain

no articles, against the art,

nor against none of the art,

but he shall sustain it

in all honour, inasmuch

as he may. The 5th Point,--

When he shall take his

pay, that he take it meekly,

as the time is ordained by

the master to be done, and that

he fulfil the acceptations

of travail, and of rest,

ordained and set by the

master. The 6th Point,--If

any discord shall be be-

tween him and his fellows he

shall obey him meekly, and

be still at the bidding of

his master, or of the warden

of his master, in his master’s

absence, to the holy-day follow-

ing, and that he accord

then at the disposition of his

fellows, anot upon the work-

day for letting of their

work and profit of his lord.

The 7th Point,--That he covet

not the wife, not the daughter,

of his masters, neither of his

fellows, but if it be in mar-

riage, nor hold concubines,

for discord that might fall a-

mongst them. The 8th

Point,--If it befal him

for to be warden under

his master, that he be true mean

between his master and his

fellows, and that he be busy in

the absence of his master to

the honour of his master and pro-

fit of the lord that he serveth.

The 9th Point,--If he be wiser,

and subtler than his fellow

working with him in his

lodge, or any other place,

and he perceive it that he should

leave the stone that he worketh up-

on, for default of cunning,

and can teach him and a-

mend the stone, he shall in-/form

him and help him, that the more

love may increase among them,

and that the work of the lord be not

lost. When the master and the fel-

lows be forewarned [and] are

come to such congregations,

if need be, the Sheriff of the

Country, or the Mayor of the

City, or Alderman of the Town,

in which the congregations is

holden, shall be fellow, and [as] soci-

ate, to the master of the congre-

gation, in help of him, against re-

bels and [for the] up-bearing the right

of the realm. At the first begin-

ning new men, that never were

charged before, be charged

in this manner,--That [they] should

never be thieves, nor thieves’

maintainers, and that [they] should

truly fulfil their day’s

work, and travail, for their

pay that they shall take of

their lord, and [a] true account

give to their fellows, in things

that be to be accounted of

them, and to hear, and them

love as themselves. And they

shall be true to the King

of England, and to the realm,

and that they keep, with all their

might, and all the Articles

aforesaid. After that it shall

be enquired if any master, or

fellow, that is warned, have

broke[n] any Article beforesaid,

the which, if they have done,

it shall be determined there.

Therefore, it is to wit, if

any master, or fellow, that is

warned before to come to

such congregations and be

rebell[ious], and will not come, or

else have trespassed against

any Article beforesaid, if it

may be proved, he shall for-

swear his Masonry and shall

no more use his craft; the

which, if he presume for to do,

the Sheriff of the Country, in which

he may be found working,

he shall [im]prison him and take all

his goods into the king’s hand

till his grace be granted him and shew-

ed. For this cause, principally, where

these congregations ordained

that as well the lowest, as

the highest, should be well

and truly served in

his art, beforesaid, through-

out all the kingdom of

England. Amen: So

Mote it be.


The whole Institutions of Free-Masonry opened and proved by the best of Tradition and still some referance to Scripture.

Ffirst observe that all our signes is taken from the square according to every subject in handleing this is proved by the 9 vers of the 6 chapter of ffirst book of kings.

The Sallutation is as follows:

Ffrom whence came you?

I came ffrom a right worshipfull Lodge of Masters and ffellows (1) belonging to God and holy saint John who doth greet all perfect brothers of our holy secrets so do I you if I find you be one.

I greet you well Brother craveing your name?

J and the other is to say his is B.

The examination as ffollows:

How shall I know you are a ffree Mason?

By true words signes and tokens from my entering.

How were you made a ffree Mason?

By a true and perfect Lodge.

What is a perfect Lodge?

The senter of a true heart.

But how many masons is so called?

Any od number from three to 13.

Why so much ado and still having od numbers?

Still in refferance ffrom the blesed trinity to the comeing of christ with his 12 apostles.

What was the first step towards your entering?

A willing disire for to know the secrets of free masonry.

Why is it called free masonry (2)?

First because a ffree gift of God to the children of men secondly free from the intruption of infernall spirits thirdly a ffree union amonge the brothers of that holy secret to remain for ever.

How came you into the Lodge?

Poor and penyless blind and Ignorant of our secrets.

Some reason for that?

In regard our saviour became poor ffor our redemption so I became poor at that time for the knowledge of God contracted in the square.

What did you see in the Lodge when you did see?

I saw truth the wolrd and Justice and brotherly Love.


Before Me.

What was behind you?

Perjury and hatred of Brotherhood ffor ever if I discover our Secrets without the consent of a Lodge Except that have obtained a trible Voice (3) by being entered passed and raised and Conformed by three severall Lodges and not so Except I take the party sworn to be true to our articles.

How stood your Lodge at your entering?

East west and south.

Why not north also?

In regard we dwell at the north part of the world we burie no dead at the north side of our churches so we cary a Vacancey at the north side of our Lodges.

Why east and west?

Because churches stands eats and west and porches to the south.

Why doth churches stand east and west?

In ffour references.

What are they?

First our first parance was placed Eastward in edin - secondly the East winde dryed up the sea before the children of Israell so was the temple of the Lord to be builded - thirdly these who dwell near the Equenoxall the sun riseth and seteth west on them - fourthly the stare appeared in the East that advertised both the sheep heards and wise men that our saviour was come in the flesh.

Who Conducted you into the Lodge?

The warden and the oldest fellow craft.

Why not the youngest fellow craft?

In regard our Saviour exorted the chiefe to Serve at the table that being an exortation to Hummility to be observed by us for ever.

What poster did you pass your oath in?

I was nether siting standing goeing running rideing hinging nor flying naked nor cloathed shode nor bairfoot.

A reason fffor such poster?

In regard one God one man makes a very christ so one naked object being half naked half cloathed half shode half bairfoot half kneeling half standing being half on all was one on the whole this sheweth a humble and obedient heart for to be o ffaithfull ffollower of that Just Jesus.

What were you sworn to?

For to hale and conceal our secrets.

What other tenours did your oath Cary?

My second was to obey God and all true Squares made or sent from a brother my third was never to steall Least I should offend God and shame the square my fourth was never to commite adultery with a brothers wife nor tell him a willfull lie my fift was to disire no unjust revange of a brother but Love and relieve him when its in my power it not horting my self too far.

I pass you have been in a Lodge yet I demand how many Lights belongs to a Lodge?

I answer 12.

What are they?

The first three jewells is ffather son holy ghost sun moon Master Mason square Rule plum Lyne Mell and cheisall.

Prove all thses proper?

As ffor the blesed trinity they affurd reason as ffor the sun he renders Light day and night as ffor the moon she is a dark body off water and doth receive her Light ffrom the sun ans is also queen of waters which is the best of Leavells as ffor the Master Mason he teaches the trade and ought to have a trible voice in teaching of our secrets if he be a bright man because we do be Leive into a Supper oratory power for alltho the 70 had great power Yet the 11 had mor for they chused matthias in place of Judas as ffor square Rule plum lyne mell and cheisall they are six toolls that no mason can performe true work without the major part of them.

What refferance can be prest on the 12 Lights?

We draw refferance from the 12 patriarches and also from the 12 oxen we reid of at the 7 chapter of first king that caryed up the molten sea of brass which was tipes of the 12 disciples was to be tought by christ.

I pass you entered yet I demand if you were raised?

Yes I was.

Into what were you raised?

I was raised into knowled of our primitive both by tradition and scripture.

What is your foundation words at the Laying of a builiding where you exspect that some inffernall squandering spirit hath haunted and posable may shake your handy work?

O come Let us and you shall have.

To whom do you speak?

To the blesed trinity in prayer.

How do you administer these words?

Kneeling bairhead fface towards the east.

What mean you by the exspreshion thereof?

We mean that we forsake self righteiouness and differs ffrom these baballonians who presumed to build to heaven but we pray the blesed trinity to Let us build trueLy and square and they shall have the praise to whom it is due.

When was these words made or what need was for them?

I answere into the primitive before the ghospell spraid the world being incumbered with infernall squandering spirits except that men did build by ffaith and prayer their works were oft asulted.

But how came that the works of the Baballonians [Babylonians] stood before all this or yet the brightness off the gospell?

I yet by your own question answere you because the presumption of the Baballonians aforesaid had vexed the God head in so much the Langvage was Confounded ffor their sake so that no mankind ffor ever was to do the Like again without a devine Lisiance which could not be had wtout faith and prayer.

Tradition that ?

We have it by tradition and still some refferance to scripture cause shem ham and Japheth ffor to go to their father noahs grave for to try if they could find anything about him ffor to Lead them to the vertuable secret which this famieous preacher had fot I hop all will allow that all things needful for the new world was in the ark with noah.

Now these three men had allready agreed that if they did not ffind the very thing it self that the first thing that they found was to be to them as a secret they not Douting but did most ffirmly be Leive that God was able and would also prove willing through their fatih prayer and obedience for to cause what they did find for to prove as vertuable to them as if they had received the secret at ffirst from God himself at its head spring so came to the Grave finding nothing save the dead body all most consumed away takeing a greip at a ffinger it came away so from Joynt to Joynt so to the wrest so to the Elbow.

So they Reared up the dead body and suported it setting ffoot to ffoot knee to knee Breats to beast Cheeck to check and hand to back and cryed out help o ffather as if they had said o father of heaven help us now for our Earthly ffather cannot so Laid down the dead body again and not knowing what to do.

So one said here is yet marrow in this bone and the second said but a dry bone and the third said it stinketh so they agreed for to give it a name as is known to free masonry to this day so went to their undertakings and afterwards works stood: yet it is to be beleived and also understood thet the vertue did not proceed from what they ffound or how it was called but ffrom ffaith and prayer so thus it Contenued the will pass for the deed.

While the reigne of king alboyne then was born Bazalliell [Bezalel] (4) who was so Called of God before conceived in the [womb] and this holy man knew by inspiration that the secret titles and primitive pallies of the God head was preservitiv and he builded on them in so much that no infernall squandering spirit durst presume to shake his handy work so his works became so ffameious while the two younger brothers of the fforesaid king alboyin disired for to be instructed by him his noble asiance by which he wrought to which he agreed conditionally they were not to discover it without a another to themselves to make a trible voice so they entered oath and he tought them the heorick and the practick part of masonry and they did work.

Then was masons wages called up in that realme then was masons numbered with kings and princes yet near to the death of Bazalliell he disired to be buried in the valey of Jehosephate and have cutte over him according to his diserveing which was performed by these two princes and this was cutte as follows.

Here Lys the flowr of masonry superiour of many other companion to a king and to two princes a brother Here Lys the heart all secrets could conceall Here lys the tongue that never did reveal.

Now after his death the inhabitance there about did think that the secrets of masonry had been totally Lost because they were no more heard of for none knew the secrets therof Save these two princes and they were so sworn at their entering not to discover it without another to make a trible voice.

Yet it is to be beleiued and allso under stood that such a holy secret could never be Lost while any good servant of God remained alive on the earth for every good servant of God had hath and allways will have a great part of that holy secret alltho they know it not themselves nor by what means to make use therof for it hapened with the world at that time as it did with the Sammaritan church about christ they were Seeking ffor what they did not want.

But their deep Ignorance could not disarne it so all this contenued dark and obscure while the ffour hundred and ffour Score off year after the children of Israell came out of the Land off Egypt in the ffourth year of Sollomons reigne over Israell that sollomon begun to Build the house of the Lord which his father david should have builded but was not admited to performe it because his hands was gultie of blood wars being on every side.

So all reffered while the days off Sollomon his son that he be gun to build the house of the Lord now I hope all men will give ffor granted that all things needffull ffor carying on off that holy errection was not holden ffrom that wise king.

To this we must all allow Els we must charge God with unJustice which no ffraill mortall dare presume to charge God with nether can his devine goodness be Guilty off now we read at the 13 vers off the 7 chapter of ffirst book of kings that Sollomon sent and ffet hiram out off tyre he being a widdows son of the tribe of naphtale and his father was a man of tyre a worker in brass ffilled with wisdom and Cunning to work all works in brass and he came to king sollomon and wrought all his work ffor him.

The Exsplanation of these verses is as ffollows:

The word Cunning renders ingenuity as ffor wisdom and understanding when they are both found in one person he can want nothing: so by this present scripture must be allowed that the widows Son whose name was hiram had a holy inspiration as well as the wise king sollomon or yet the holy Bazalliell. Now it is holden fforth by tradition that there was a tumult at this Errection which should hapened betwext the Laborours and masons about wages and ffor to call me all and to make all things easie the wise king should have had said be all of you contented ffor- you shall be payed all alike yet give a signe to the Masons not known to the Laborours and who could make that signe at the paying place was to be payed as masons the Laborours not knowing thereof was payed as fforesaid.

This might have been yet if it was so we are to Judge very Mercyfull on the words of the wise king sollomon ffor it is to be understood and allso beleived that the wise king meant according to every mans disarveing yet the 7 vers of the 6 chapter off ffirst book off kings reads me still Better where it is said the House when it was in Building was build of ston made ready beffore it was brought theither so that there was nether hammer nor ax nor any tooll off Iron heard in the house when it was in Building. 

Ffrom whence may be gathered that all things was flitted affore hand yet not posable to be caryed on without a motion and when all things were sought ffrom the horasin off the heavens to the plate fform off the earth there could be nothing ffound more be Comeing more becomeing then then the square ffor to be their signe ffor to signifie what they would have each other to do. 

So the work went on and prospered which could not well go amiss being they wrought ffor so good a Master and had the wisest man on earth for to be their overseer therefore in so parts by Merite yet Much mor by ffree grace Masonry obtained a name and a new command.

Their name doth signifie strength and their answere beauty and theire command Love ffor proofe hereoff read the 7 and 6 of ffirst book off kings where you will finde the wonderfull works off hiram at the building off the house of the Lord.

So all Being ffinised then was the secrets off ffree Masonry ordered aright as is now and will be to the End of the world for such as do rightly understand it. 

In three parts in refferance to the blesed trinity who made all things yet in 13 brenches in refferances to Christ and his 12 apostles which is as follows a word ffor a devine Six ffor the clargey and 6 ffor the ffellow craft and at the ffull and totall agreement therof to ffollow with five points off ffree Masons fellowshipe which is ffoot to ffoot knee to knee breast to breast cheeck to cheeck and hand to Back which ffive points hath refferance to the ffive cheife signes which is head ffoot body hand and heart and allso to the ffive points off artitectur and allso to the ffive orders of Masonry yet takes thire strength ffrom five primitive one devine and ffour temporall which is as ffollows ffirst christ the chiefe and Cornnerston secondly Peter called Cephas thirdly moses who cutte the commands ffourthly Bazalliell the best of Masons ffifftly hiram who was ffilled with wisdom and understanding.

You[r] ffirst is...

Your Second is...

Your third is...

You[r] ffourth is...

Your ffift is...

Your sixt is...

Your seven is...

Your eight is...

Your nineth is...

Your tent is...

you[r] Elewent is...

your twelt is...

You[r] thirteen is

Tho[mas] Graham Chanceing Master of Lodges

outher Enquam Ebo

October ye 24 1726

To all or any off our ffretarnity

that intends to Learn by this.


Edinburgh, the 28th day of December AD1598.

The Statutes and Ordinances to be observed by all the Master Masons within this realm. Set down by William Schaw, Master of Work to His Majesty and Warden General of the said Craft, with consent of the Masters specified hereafter.

(1) First, they shall observe and keep all the good ordinances established before, concerning the privileges of their craft, by their predecessors of good memory; and especially. They shall be true to one another and live charitably together as becometh sworn brethren and companions of the Craft.

(2) They shall be obedient to their wardens, deacons, and masters in all things concerning their craft.

(3) They shall be honest, faithful, and diligent in their calling, and deal uprightly with their masters, or the employers, on the work which they shall take in hand, whether it be piece-work with meals and pay [task, melt, & fie], or for wages by the week.

(4) None shall undertake any work great or small, which he is not capable to perform adequately, under penalty of forty pounds lawful money or else the fourth part of the worth and value of the work, besides making satisfactory amends to the employers, according as the Warden General may direct or, in the absence of the latter, as may be ordered by the wardens, deacons, and masters of the sheriffdom in which the work is undertaken and carried on.

(5) No master shall take away another master’s work after the latter has entered into an agreement with the employer by contract or otherwise, under penalty of forty pounds.

(6) No master shall take over any work at which other masters have been engaged previously, until the latter shall have been paid in full for the work they did, under penalty of forty pounds.

(7) A warden shall be elected annually to have charge of every lodge in the district for which he is chosen by the votes of the masters of the lodges of such district and the consent of the Warden General if he happens to be present; otherwise the Warden General shall be notified of the election that he may send to the warden-elect necessary directions.

(8) No master shall take more than three ’prentices in his lifetime, without the special consent of all the wardens, deacons, and masters of the sheriffdom in which the to-be-received ’prentice resides.

(9) No master shall take on any ’prentice except by binding him to serve him as such for at least seven years, and it shall not be lawful to make such ’prentice a brother or fellow of the craft until he shall have served other seven years after the completion of his ’prenticeship, without a special license granted by the wardens, deacons, and masters, assembled for that purpose, after sufficient trial shall have been made by them of the worthiness, qualifications and skill of the person desiring to be made a fellowcraft. A fine of forty pounds shall be collected as a pecuniary penalty from the person who is made a fellow of the craft in violation of this order, besides the penalties to be levied against his person by order of the lodge of the place where he resides.

(10) It shall not be lawful for any master to sell his ’prentice to another master, nor to curtail the years of his ’prenticeship by selling these off to the ’prentice himself, under the penalty of forty pounds.

(11) No master shall take on a ’Prentice without notice to the warden of the lodge where he resides, so that the ’Prentice and the day of his reception may be duly booked.

(12) No ’Prentice shall be entered except according to the aforesaid regulations in order that the day of entry may be duly booked.

(13) No master or fellow of craft shall be received or admitted without there being present six masters and two entered ’prentices, the warden of the lodge being one of the six, when the day of receiving the new fellow of craft or master shall be duly booked and his mark inserted in the same book, with the names of the six admitters and entered ’prentices, as also the names of the intenders [intendaris-instructors] which shall be chosen for every person so entered in the book of the lodge. Providing always that no man be admitted without an essay and sufficient trial of his skill and worthiness in his vocation and craft.

(14) No master shall engage in any mason work under the charge or command of any other craftsman who has undertaken the doing of any mason work.

(15) No master or fellow of craft shall accept any cowan to work in his society or company, nor send any of his servants to work with cowans, under the penalty of twenty pounds as often as any person offends in this matter.

(16) It shall not be lawful for any entered ’Prentice to undertake any greater task or work for an employer, which amounts to as much as ten pounds, under the penalty just mentioned, to wit twenty pounds, and that task being done he shall not undertake any other work without license of the masters or warden where he dwells.

(17) If any question, strife, or variance shall arise among any of the masters, servants, or entered ’prentices, the parties involved in such questions or debate shall make known the causes of their quarrel to the particular warden and deacon of their lodge, within the space of twenty-four hours, under penalty of ten pounds, to the end that they may be reconciled and agreed and their variances removed by their said warden, deacon, and masters; and if any of the said parties shall remain wilful or obstinate, they shall be deprived f the privilege of their lodge and not permitted to work thereat unto the time that they shall submit themselves to reason according to the view of the said wardens, deacons, and masters.

(18) All masters, undertakers of works, shall be very careful to see that the scaffolds and gangways are set and placed securely in order that by reason of their negligence and sloth no injury or damage [hurt or skaith] may come to any persons employed in the said work, under penalty of their being excluded thereafter from working as masters having charge of any work, and shall ever be subject all the rest of their days to work under or with an other principal master in charge of the work.

(19) No master shall receive or house [resset] a ’Prentice or servant of any other master, who shall have run away from his master’s service, nor entertain him in his company after he has received knowledge thereof, under penalty of forty pounds.

(20) All persons of the mason craft shall convene at the time and place lawfully made known to them [being lawchfullie warnit], under penalty of ten pounds.

(21) All the masters who shall happen to be sent to any assembly or meeting, shall be sworn by their great oath that they will neither hide nor conceal any faults or wrongs done to the employers on the work they have in hand, so far as they know, and that under penalty of ten pounds to be collected from the concealers of the said faults.

(22) It is ordained that all the aforesaid penalties shall be lifted and taken up from the offenders and breakers of their ordinances by the wardens, deacons, and masters of the lodges where the offenders dwell, the moneys to be expended ad pios usus (for charitable purposes) according to good conscience and by the advice of such wardens, deacons, and masters.

For the fulfilling and observing of these ordinances, as set down above, the master convened on the aforesaid day bind and obligate themselves faithfully. Therefore they have requested their said Warden General to sign these ordinances by his own hand in order that an authentic copy hereof may be sent to every particular lodge within this realm.


Master of the Work

[Maistir o/ Wark.]

If there is to be discovered in modern Freemasonry of English origin any direct influence from the craft guild, it is probably to be found through the London Masons’ Company of the fifteenth century which received its Crown charter in 1481 but built is first hall in 1463. Therefore, the next chapter will be devoted to that company. In London in 1677 an operative masons’ lodge used the last money in the lodge’s chest to purchase a banner before the speculatives broke away to form their own lodge.[2] This company will be discussed in Chapter 5.



Albert B. Mackey. History of Freemasonry, Volume One. (New York: The Masonic History Company, 1895), p. 29.


R. A. Leeson. Traveling Brothers; The Six Centuries’ Road from Craft Fellowship to Trade Unionism. London” George Allen & Unsin Ltd., 1979, p. 68.