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Masters or Wardens, of such guild as they presided over, Wardens and Purveyors, Guardians or Wardens,1 Bailiffs, and Custodes or Keepers.2
In the Cooke MS. (2), we meet with the expression-Warden under a Master. This takes us back to the early part of the fifteenth century, and about the same date, at York, as we learn from the fabric rolls of that cathedral, viz., in 1422, John Long was Master Mason, and William Waddeswyk the guardian [Warden] or second Master Mason. The same records inform us that William Hyndeley, who became the Master Mason in 1472, had previously received, in the same year, the sum of £4 in wages, as Warden of the Lodge of Masons, for working in the office of the Master of the Masons, it being vacant by the death of Robert Spyllesby, for twenty-four weeks, at 3s. 4d. each week. These examples might be multiplied, but one more will suffice, which I shall take from the oft-quoted essay of Mr Papworth. From this, we learn that whilst the great hall at Hampton Court was in course of erection, in 1531, for King Henry VIII., John Molton was Master Mason at 1s. per day; William Reynolds, Warden at 5s. per week; the setters at 3s. 6d. per week; and lodgemen—a somewhat suggestive term-at 3s. 4d. per week."
From the preceding references, it will be seen that the employment of a Warden under a Master (or Master Mason), was a common practice in the building trades of the South, at a period anterior to the promulgation by William Schaw of the Statutes which have been so frequently alluded to. This fact may be usefully noted, as I shall next attempt to show that to a similar usage in Scottish lodges, during the seventeenth and the early part of the eighteenth century, we are indebted for the highest of the three operative titles used by Dr Anderson in his classification of the Symbolic or Speculative Society of 1723.8 The Scoon and Perth (1658), the Aberdeen (1670), the Melrose (1675), and the Dunblane (1696) Lodges, were in each case ruled by the Master Mason, with the assistance of a Warden. The latter officer appears, in every instance, to have ranked immediately after the former, and is frequently named in the records of lodges 10 as his deputy or substitute. It is singular, however, that in those of "Mother Kilwinning," where the practice was, in the absence of the Deacon or Master,
1 In the Speech of the Junior Grand Warden (Drake) delivered at York on December 27, 1726, the following occurs: "I would not in this be thought to derogate from the Dignity of my Office, which, as the learned Verstegan observes, is a Title of Trust and Power, Warden and Guardian being synonymous terms."
Companies of London, vol. i., p. 51. Cf. Smith, English Gilds, introduction, p. xxxiii.; and ante, Chap. II., p. 110, note 2.
3 Points vi. and viii. ; and see the Halliwell MS. (1)-octavus punctus.
Ante, p. 216.
Transactions, Royal Institute of British Architects, 1861-62, pp. 37-60 (Wyatt Papworth); Browne, History of the Metropolitan Church of St Peter, York, p. 252; Raine, The Fabric Rolls of York Minster, 1858, pp. 46, 77 (Publications, Surtees Soc., vol. xxxv.).
6 Cf. ante, p. 319.
7 Transactions, R. I. B. A., loc. cit.
8 "N.B.-In antient times no brother, however skilled in the craft, was called a master-mason until he had been elected into the chair of a lodge" (Constitutions of the United Grand Lodge of England, 1884, Antient Charges, No. IV.). Although the above appears for the first time in the "Constitutions" of 1815, it is a fair deduction from the language of the "Book of Constitutions," 1723.
Chap. VIII., pp. 411, 419, 428, 450, 451; Masonic Magazine, vol. vii., 1879-80, pp. 133, 134, 323, 366. The following are the terms used in the several records, and except where otherwise stated, under the above dates: Scoon and Perth-Mr Measone, Mr, Master; Aberdeen-Maister Measson, Master; Melrose-Master Mason, Mr Massone, Mester (1679); Dunblane-Master Mason; and Haughfoot-Master Mason, 1702 (ante, p. 311).
10 E.g., those of Aberdeen and Dunblane.
to place in the chair, with full authority, some brother present-not in any one case, for more than a hundred years, do we find the Warden, by virtue of ranking next after the Master, to have presided over the lodge.1
The instances are rare, where a plurality of Wardens is found to have existed in the early Lodges of Scotland, anterior to the publication of Dr Anderson's "Book of Constitutions (1723). Subsequently to that date, indeed, the transition from one warden to two, was gradually but surely effected.
We find that copies of the English "Constitutions" referred to, were presented to the lodges of Dunblane in 1723, and of Peebles in 1725; and doubtless, these were not solitary instances of the practice. That the permeation of southern ideas was very thorough in the northern capital, as early as 1727, we may infer from a minute for St John's Day (in Christmas) of that year. In this, the initiation of several "creditable citizens," whose recognition as members of the Lodge of Edinburgh, had been objected to by the champions of operative supremacy— is justified on the broad ground that, "their admissions were regularly done, conform to the knowen lawes of this and all other weall Governed Lodges in Brittain." 4
Ashmole's description of his initiation, coupled with the indorsement on No. 25 of the Old Charges, point to the existence of a Warden, in two English Lodges at least, during the seventeenth century, who was charged with very much the same functions as those devolving upon the corresponding official under the regulations of William Schaw. It is tolerably clear, that Mr Richard Penket in the one case (1646), and Mr Isaac Brent in the other (1693), were the virtual presidents of their respective lodges. But this is counterbalanced by other evidence, intermediate in point of time. Sloane MS. 3323 (14)-dating from 1659-forbids a lodge being called without "the consent of Master or Wardens; "7 and the same officers are mentioned in two manuscripts of uncertain date—the Harleian 1942 (11), and the Sloane 3329, as well as in the earliest printed form of the Masons' Examination which has come down to us. The Gateshead (1671) and Alnwick (1701) fraternities elected four and two Wardens each respectively; and in the latter there was also a Master.9 The existence of a plurality of Wardens under a Master, in the Alnwick Lodge-if its records will bear this interpretation 10-demands our careful attention, as it tends to rebut the presumption of a Scottish derivation, which arises from the propinquity of Alnwick to the border, and the practice of affixing marks to their signatures, a custom observed at least, so far as I am aware-by the members of no other English lodge whose records pre-date the epoch of transition.
Although the length of this chapter may seem to illustrate the maxim that precisely in
1 Lyon, History of Mother Kilwinning-Freemasons' Magazine, Sept. 26, 1863, p. 237.
"The Lodge of Aberdeen elected two wardens in the last decade of the seventeenth century (Chap. VIII., p. 438). In the Lodges of Kilwinning and Edinburgh, however, a second warden was only introduced in 1735 and 1737 respectively (Ibid., pp. 398, 406).
3 Lyon, op. cit., pp. 416, 419. Ante, p. 140.
6 Chap. II., p. 68.
8 Published in the Flying Post, or Post Master, No. 4712, from Thursday, April 11, to Saturday, April 13, 1723; and first reprinted by me in the Freemason, October 2, 1880. This, together with other (so-called) "exposures," will be dealt with in Chapter XVII.
9 Ante, pp. 151, 262-264. Compare the 12th Order of the Alnwick Lodge, with Rule 18 of MS. No. 14 (Chap. II., p. 101, note 2).
proportion as certainty vanishes, verbosity abounds, I must freely confess that of the two evils I should prefer to be styled unduly prolix, rather than unsatisfactorily concise. It demands. both industry and patience to wade through the records of the craft, and though in such a task one's judgment is displayed, not so much by the information given, as by that which is withheld, nevertheless, in writing, or attempting to write, a popular history of Freemasonry, it is, before all things, essential to recollect that each subject will only be generally understood, to the extent that it is elucidated within the compass of reading afforded by the work itself.
I have brought up the history of English Freemasonry to the year 1723, and in the next chapter shall proceed with that of the Grand Lodge of England, basing my narrative of occurrences upon its actual minutes. The scanty evidence relating to the Masonry of the South during the pre-historic period has been given in full detail. To the possible objection that undue space has been accorded to this branch of our inquiry, I reply, the existence of a living Freemasonry in England before the time of Randle Holme (1688) rests on two sources of authority-the diary of Elias Ashmole, and the "Natural History" of Dr Plot. If the former of these antiquaries had not kept a journal—and which, unlike most journals, was printed—and if the latter had not undertaken the task of describing the phenomena of Staffordshire, we should have known absolutely nothing of the existence of Freemasons' lodges at Warrington in 1646, at London in 1682, or in the "moorelands" of Staffordshire, and, indeed, throughout England, in 1686. Now, judging by what light we have, is it credible for an instant that the attractions which drew Ashmole into the Society-and had not lost their hold upon his mind after a lapse of thirty-five years-comprised nothing more than the "benefit of the MASON WORD," which in Scotland alone distinguished the lodge-mason from the cowan? The same remark will hold good with regard to Sir William Wise and the others in 1682, as well as to the persons of distinction who, according to Plot, were members of the craft in 1686.
At the period referred to, English Freemasonry must have been something different, if not distinct, from Scottish Masonry. Under the latter system, the brethren were masons, but not (in the English sense) Freemasons. The latter title, to quote a few representative cases, was unknown-or, at least, not in use-in the lodges of Edinburgh, Kilwinning, and Kelso, until the years 1725, 1735, and 1741 respectively. It has therefore been essential to examine with minuteness, the scanty evidence that has been preserved of English Masonic customs during the seventeenth century, and although the darkness which overspreads this portion of our annals may not be wholly removed, I trust that some light at least has been shed upon it. Yet, as Dr Johnson has finely observed:-"One generation of ignorance effaces the whole series of unwritten history. Books are faithful repositories, which may be a while neglected or forgotten, but, when they are opened again, will again impart their instruction: memory, once interrupted, is not to be recalled. Written learning is a fixed luminary, which, after the cloud that had hidden it has passed away, is again bright in its proper station. Tradition is but a meteor, which, if once it falls, cannot be rekindled."
HISTORY OF THE GRAND LODGE OF ENGLAND-1723-60.
AVING brought the history of English Freemasonry to a point from which our further progress will be greatly facilitated by the use of official documents, it is necessary, before commencing a summary of the proceedings of the Grand Lodge of England from June 24, 1723, to consider a little more closely a few important matters as yet only passed briefly in review.
The year 1723 was a memorable one in the annals of English Masonry, and it affords a convenient halting-place for the discussion of many points of interest which cannot be properly assigned either to an earlier or a later period. The great event of that year was the publication of the first "Book of Constitutions." I shall print the "General Regulations" in the Appendix, but the entire work deserves perusal; and from this, together with a glance at the names of the members of Lodges in 1724 and 1725-also appended-may be gained a very good outside view of the Freemasonry existing at the termination of the epoch of transition. To see it from any other aspect, I must ask my readers to give me their attention, whilst I place before them, to some extent, a retrospect of our past inquiries, and at the same time do my best to read and understand the old evidence by the light of the new.
The narrative of events in the last chapter broke off at April 25, 1723. The story of the formation of the Grand Lodge of England has been briefly told, but the history of that body would be incomplete without some further allusion to the "Four Old Lodges" by whose exertions it was called into existence. I number them in the order in which they are shown by Dr Anderson, to have assented-through their representatives-to the Constitutions of 1723.
ORIGINAL NO. 1 met at the Goose and Gridiron, in St Paul's Churchyard, from 1717 until 1729, and removed in the latter year to the King's (or Queen's) Arms, in the same locality, where it remained for a long period. In 1760 it assumed the title of the "West India and American Lodge," which ten years later was altered to that of the "Lodge of Antiquity." In 1794 it absorbed the Harodim Lodge, No. 467,1 a mushroom creation of the year 1790. At the
1 Among the members were Thomas Harper, "silversmith, London," and William Preston. Harper-D.G. M. of the "Atholl" Grand Lodge at the time of the Union-was also a member of the Lodge of Antiquity from 1792, and served as Grand Steward in 1796. He was for some time Secretary to the "Chapter of Harodim." Cf. the memoir of Preston in Chap. XVIII.; Illustrations oi Masonry, 1792, p. 355; and Freemasons' Magazine, January to June, 1861, p. 449.
Union, in 1813, the first position in the new roll having devolved by lot upon No. 1 of the "Atholl" Lodges, it became, and has since remained, No. 2.
According to the Engraved List of 1729, this Lodge was originally constituted in 1691. Thomas Morris1 and Josias Villeneau, both in their time Grand Wardens, were among the members the former being the Master in 1723, and the latter in 1725. Benjamin Cole, the engraver, belonged to the Lodge in 1730; but with these three exceptions, the names, so far as they are given in the official records, do not invite any remark until after Preston's election to the chair, when the members suddenly awoke to a sense of the dignity of the senior English Lodge, and became gradually impressed with the importance of its traditions. The subsequent history of the Lodge has been incorporated with the memoir of William Preston, and will be found in the next chapter. But I may briefly mention that, from Preston's time down to our own, the Lodge of Antiquity has maintained a high degree of pre-eminence, as well for its seniority of constitution, as for the celebrity of the names which have graced its roll of members. The Duke of Sussex was its Master for many years; and the lamented Duke of Albany in more recent days filled the chair throughout several elections.
ORIGINAL NO. 2 met at the Crown, Parker's Lane, in 1717, and was established at the Queen's Head, Turnstile, Holborn, in 1723 or earlier. Thence it moved in succession to the Green Lettice, Rose and Rummer, and Rose and Buffloe. In 1730 it met at the Bull and Gate, Holborn; and, appearing for the last time in the Engraved List for 1736, was struck off the roll at the renumbering in 1740. An application for its restoration was made in 1752, but, on the ground that none of the petitioners had ever been members of the Lodge, it was rejected. According to the Engraved List for 1729, the Lodge was constituted in 1712.
ORIGINAL NO. 3, which met at the Apple Tree Tavern in Charles Street, Covent Garden, in 1717, moved to the Queen's Head, Knave's Acre, in 1723 or earlier; and after several intermediate changes-including a stay of many years at the Fish and Bell, Charles Street, Soho Square-appears to have settled down, under the title of the Lodge of Fortitude, at the Roebuck, Oxford Street, from 1768 until 1793. In 1818 it amalgamated with the Old Cumberland Lodge-constituted 1753-and is now the Fortitude and Old Cumberland Lodge,
Dr Anderson informs us that, after the removal of this Lodge to the Queen's Head, “upon some difference, the members that met there came under a New Constitution [in 1723] tho' they wanted it not; "5 and accordingly, when the Lodges were arranged in order of seniority in 1729, Original No. 3, instead of being placed as one of the Four at the head of the roll, found itself relegated by the Committee of Precedence to the eleventh number on the list. This appears to have taken the members by surprise-as well it might, considering that the last time the Four were all represented at Grand Lodge-April 19, 1727-before the scale of precedence was adjusted in conformity with the New Regulation enacted for that purpose, their respective
1 Received five guineas from the General Charity, December 15, 1730.
* I do not know, of course, what further light might be thrown upon the history of this Lodge, were the present members to lay bare its archives to public inspection. Why, indeed, there should be such a rooted objection to the publication of old Masonic documents, it is hard to conjecture, unless, as Johnson observes, "He that possesses a valuable manuscript, hopes to raise its esteem by concealment, and delights in the distinction which he imagines himself to obtain, by keeping the key of a treasure which he neither uses or imparts" (The Idler, No. 65, July 14, 1759). 3 Cf. Chap. XII., pp. 38, 46. 4 G. L. Minutes, March 16, 1752. " Constitutions, 1738, p. 185.