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We are blessed with some wonderful Masonic Halls throughout England and Wales. I have often visited Lodge rooms of antiquity, each with a very special atmosphere all of its own. There is something soothing and serene in sitting in an old Lodge, aware that for hundreds of years, regularly without fail, Masons attended this very same Lodge room, observed and enjoyed the same furniture, the same ritual. Masters and candidates, through the centuries, experiencing the same sentiments of trepidation and pride. The most striking of these antique pieces of furniture are terrestrial and celestial globes now, sadly, only occasionally still to be encountered as part of the standard Masonic furnishing. We are, of course, familiar with the miniature globes atop the Wardens columns, but these cannot compare with the stupendous full size globes that appear atop large pillars, usually placed in the west, on either side of the entrance to a lodge room. Sometimes they adorn the sides of the Master’s and Wardens’ chairs or a conspicuously large, particularly attractive, pair may be found on prominent display as a free-standing ornament, strategically placed to give maximal visual impact.


Having had these various thoughts over the years, I was rather surprised to discover that - outside the recommended text for the presentation of a Grand Lodge certificate - there is only one single specific reference to Globes in the whole of our ritual. It appears in the explanation of the second Tracing Board (East London and other workings) which includes the following paragraph:


At the Building of King Solomon’s Temple, the Fellow Crafts who had to go into the Middle Chamber of the Temple to receive their Specie, arrived there by way of a Porch, at the entrance of which their attention was particularly arrested by two great pillars. These pillars were adorned with two Chapiters which were further adorned with spheres on which were delineated maps of the Celestial and Terrestrial globes, which point out that Masonry is Universal…


King Solomon’s Temple referred to in the quote is the First Temple built in the year 1001 BC, when King Solomon had completed his ‘magnificent dedication’. In the year 1001 BC, however, the earth was thought to be flat. In fact, no kind of a map of the whole surface of the earth was to appear for at least a further four hundred years.


The late and lamented Bro Harry Carr, in his The Freemason at Work attributes this important, blatant discrepancy to ....a flight of fancy, doubtless introduced by a fanatical ‘improver’ who was determined to make ritual comply with his own ill-founded theories. There appear to be, however, far stronger grounds than mere ‘flight of fancy’ for freemasons of the past to have adopted the symbolism inherent in terrestrial and celestial globes, frequently surmounted on pillars.


Origins Of Globes And Maps

Anaximander, the Ionian philosopher, who lived between 611 and 547 BC, introduced the earliest map of the earth to the Greeks. He depicted the world as being cylindrical in shape – held in place in the centre of the universe by its equipoise in relation to all other objects in the heavens. Although the concept of a spherical earth was not widely accepted for a further 1500 years some early philosophers, very much in a minority, persisted in the theory of a spherical world and produced globes reflecting their views. Thus the earliest terrestrial globe is attributed to the Greek geographer Cratos, Royal Librarian at Pergamona, who constructed it in the year 150 BC. The heavens themselves had already been depicted in detail on celestial globes described by Greek and Roman authors as early as the 4th Century BC. They are often found represented on coins of the period. The earliest of the celestial globes is attributed to the Greek astronomer Eudoxus of Cnidus.


Armillary spheres – skeleton celestial globes made of metal rings called armillas, representing in linear from astronomical circles – will also be of relevance when we consider globes in their Masonic context. These spheres had an academic rather than decorative function. From the time of their development at the turn of the first millennium, they were composed of various degrees of complexity, the simplest being a single ring fixed in the plane of the equator. These are known as Equinoctial Armillas. The most complex is an elaborate nine-circled sphere incorporating the equator, meridian, ecliptic and tropics. The earth is at times represented with a visible axis in the centre of the sphere. The Armillary spheres were used for practical study and measurement. They are totally associated with Astronomy and have served as a symbol of education and learning since early times. Once the roundness of the earth and the skies was established and accepted in the 14th century, the popularity of the symbolic depiction of spheres and globes became inevitable.


The Bible As Our Source

Although the power of the Church in the preceding centuries had successfully suppressed the advancement of science in Europe, by medieval times scientific concepts, which had previously been rigorously shunned, had to be accepted by the ecclesiastical establishment.  It is interesting that there is no description of a shaped world anywhere in the scriptures, the first editions of the Geneva Bible of 1560, at 1 Kings7: 16, refers to the pillars of the first Temple and the ‘two chapiters’, not globes. The text is accompanied by a woodcut engraving depicting the entrance to King Solomon’s Temple and shows two pillars surmounted by two ornamental spheres. Subsequent bibles are even more explicit in the engravings. Perrin’s 1568 bible in French shows a separate woodcut of one of the pillars surmounted by a rounded object referred to in the text as ‘chapiter or round ball’. This same illustration is repeated in an English Bible of 1593. These spheres are clearly unconnected to globes of any nature. It is feasible to consider, however, that these biblical illustrations were the source for the adoption of the symbolism of the celestial and terrestrial globes by the Masonic fraternity.


We are today heavily reliant on the Old Testament for most of the legends and stories we enjoy in our Lodge workings. The compilers of our ritual will have used the same biblical sources for much of the symbolism inherent in freemasonry. It would be logical, within the concepts of a fraternity global in its precepts, to symbolise its tenets by delineation of terrestrial and celestial maps on spheres, which were depicted as ornaments in a biblical illustration.


Laurence Dermott, Grand Secretary and driving force of the 1751 Antients Grand Lodge, contended disparagingly that the adoption of the globes on pillars by the ‘Moderns’, the premier Grand Lodge of 1717, was based on pure ignorance on their part. Bernard Jones, in his Freemasons’ Guide and Compendium, suggests that a ...Mistake appears to have been made…(by the Moderns who) had been led astray by the misleading woodcuts in the Geneva Bible. There is, however, the further possibility, which I contend, and that is that the adoption of globes surmounting the pillars was a deliberate, a premeditated inclusion of symbolism in our ritual, inspired by biblical depictions.


Our Ritual

In this context, the wording used in the ‘Explanation of the second tracing board’, as quoted above, will show the ritual as suggesting not that the pillars were surmounted by globes proper but rather that celestial and terrestrial maps were delineated or drawn on existing spheres, thus converting them to globes. The late Colin Dyer, in his book William Preston and his Work, shows Preston to be far more explicit on this point about delineation of globes on spheres. The catechism in question traces details of the pillars and capitals and then devotes a whole clause to the subject of globes:


            ‘What further adorned those coverings?’

‘The capital of each of those columns was further adorned with a round ball or globe’


            ‘What do we usually delineate on these balls in latter times?’

‘The professors of our art in latter periods of the world, ever having the instruction of their disciples and the good of mankind in view, have extended their improvements by delineating on these round balls, which decorated their columns, maps of the celestial and terrestrial globes.’


The Ancient Charges of the early operative Masons make no specific reference to globes or to ‘Masonry Universal’, although a great deal of emphasis is placed on the Several Liberal Arts and Sciences, two of which, Geometry and Astronomy, have direct relevance to the earth and firmaments. The Cooke MS of c. 1425, one of the oldest of these charges, states:


…Astronomy that techeth man the cours of the sonne and of the moune and of other sterrys and planetys of heven…and Gemetry is as moche to sey as the mesure of the erthe.


The association continues with later, subsequent Ancient Charges. The Grand Lodge No.2 MS Roll of 1610 in section V sates: it’s Geometry that teaches Mett and Measure of anything and from thence cometh Masonry, the text continues:


Note, I pray you, That these Seven are contain’d under Geometry, for it teacheth Mett and Measure, Ponderation and Weight for every Thing in and upon the whole Earth for you to know;…


Exposures and Illustrations

In October 1730 Samuel Prichard’s Masonry Dissected was published. The first major and most important of the early exposures of the period. In one of the catechisms the size of the Lodge - its universality - is thus referred to:


            Q. Of what height?

            A. Inches, feet, cubits innumerable, as high as the heavens.

            Q. Of what depth?

            A. To the centre of the earth.


The success of Prichard’s work was such that no further exposures were published in England for a further thirty years. In Europe and in France in particular, however, a spate of exposures, many based on Prichard’s work, began to appear from 1737. The interest among continental freemasons in earthly and heavenly matters is continuos:


            ‘[The depth of the Lodge is] from the surface of the earth to the

centre. [The height is] cubits without number [It is covered] with a

celestial Canopy, spangled with golden Stars’

                                                                        (Catéchisme des Francs-Maçons, 1744)


‘…Free-Masons are spread over all the Earth, & all together they form nevertheless only one lodge.’

                                                (L’Ordre des Francs-Maçons Trahi, 1745)

This last mentioned French exposure, L’Ordre des Francs-Maçons Trahi, (The Order of the Freemasons Betrayed) was first published anonymously in 1745. It is the most important of the many French exposures of the period prior to 1760. The exposure has been attributed to the well-known anti-Masonic writer the Abbé Gabriel Perau and includes several engraved plates and plans. Plate II is an illustration titled ‘Veritable Plan de la Lodge de Reception d’un Aprentif-Compagnon’ (True layout of an Apprentice-Fellow’s Lodge). It depicts, among some thirty Masonic emblems, a six-ringed Armillary sphere, centrally positioned and upright on a stand with a view of the earth in its centre through which the axis runs due north and south. It is keyed as number 16 and described as ‘La Sphere’. It is the first time we come across the physical portrayal of an Armillary sphere, indicative of early symbolic interest in the earth and the heavens in particular. This same ‘plan’ appears repeatedly in subsequent editions of the same exposure and a series of other similar works. Of particular interest is the first edition of Les Francs-Maçons Écrasés (the Free-Masons Crushed) of 1747, attributed to the Abbé Larudan where the plan, now enumerated as ‘plate I’, describes the sphere as Le Globe.

 Masonry universal

It is in the English exposures, however, that we find the first specific mention of the words ‘Masonry Universal’. The two most important exposures, after Samuel’s Prichard’s Masonry Dissected, were Three Distinct Knocks – disclosing the workings of the Antients Grand Lodge – first published in 1760, and Jachin & Boaz in 1762. Both from anonymous authors have the following identical exchange, The Master asks:            ‘Why is your lodge said to be from the surface to the centre of the Earth?’ The reply to which is:   Because that Masonry is Universal’.


These exposures disclosed the catechisms that were being practised in lodge as a means of communicating Masonic knowledge and instruction. The composition of a lodge in the mid–eighteenth century included many members of high intellectual standing. Old minute books frequently refer to brethren whose names are associated with lectures on a variety of themes from architecture and geometry to other subjects of scientific interest. Their duty would have been to teach and instruct and for this purpose Masonic emblems and instruments, whether drawn on ‘a plan of the Lodge’ or consisting of actual physical furnishing, would have served a practical and useful purpose.


‘Tracing Board’ Inconsistencies

The Masonic meetings of Brethren of both the Antients and Moderns, throughout most of the 18th century, were held at inns and taverns where the ‘Lodge’ was drawn on the floor. Bros. E. H. Dring and T. O. Haunch have covered extensively the subject of tracing boards and their evolution from the early ‘plan of the Lodge’, as illustrated in the early French exposures referred to above, to the ‘modern’ John Harris boards. Their development, particularly in the selective incorporation of Masonic symbols in their designs – such as globes, pillars, the letter ‘G’, inter alia – reflected the thinking and the work undertaken within contemporary lodges. These symbolic representations were the temporary alternative to proper Masonic furniture, which became popular and common when Brethren began to meet in Masonic Lodges of a permanent nature. It is in this light that the development of the tracing board and the inclusion of globes in the drawings become significant.


Many tracing boards have the Armillary sphere or a terrestrial globe as one of the symbolic depictions illustrated, often placed atop a pillars. Bro Dring illustrates, among many examples, the Kirkwall Kilwinning Lodge cloth dated c.1790. It has two primitive drawings of globes mounted on two oversized pillars with grotesque figures precariously positioned above the spheres. Pillars with globes on top are also found, for instance, on the tracing boards of the Union Lodge No.127 at Margate in East Kent but not, on those of Faithful Lodge No.85 at Harleston in the Province of Norfolk. This inconsistency continued until 1823 when John Harris, the architectural draughtsman and miniature painter, designed the three tracing board which effectively standardised their use in lodges throughout the Country.


Globes in ‘Ahiman Rezon

An early reference to the subject of globes arose with the publication of the second edition, in 1764, of Ahiman Rezon, the Constitutions of Antients Grand Lodge. The architect and driving force behind this institution, as mentioned, was Laurence Dermott, their Grand Secretary, who appeared constantly to criticise the practices of the ‘Moderns’. Referring to the custom amongst the Moderns of holding lodge meetings in conjunction with a festive board, where lectures were also delivered, Laurence Dermott, on page xxx of his 1764 edition of Ahiman Rezon, complains that the Moderns:


…thought [it] expedient to abolish the custom of Geometry in the Lodge…and that the use of globes might be taught and explained as clearly and briefly upon two bottles as upon Mr Senex’s globes of 28 inches diameter.


The quote is interesting on several counts. It suggests that both the Antients and Moderns used globes for study purposes and implies, by reference to the size of Senex’s globes, inter alia, that they were distinct from ones that may have been placed on top of pillars. The mention of John Senex as a globe-maker, when his name would already have been associated with the publication of the first Book of Constitutions of 1723 is of added interest. John Senex, identified as a bookseller, appears in the 1723 list as a member of the lodge meeting at the ‘Fleece’ in Fleet Street. He was also Senior Warden of Lodge No. XV of the particular lodges listed after the Approbation in the first Constitutions. He had a distinguished Masonic career.


Frontispiece Illustrations

An Armillary sphere, in an engraving identical to the one published in L’Ordre des Francs-Maçons Trahi, appeared in the English exposure Solomon in all his Glory in 1768. In a later edition of Jachin & Boaz, in 1776, we first encounter a frontispiece depicting ‘regalia and emblematical figures used in Masonry’. This incorporates two pillars surmounted by unidentified globes, both of which have horizon circles but are differentiated by only one having a meridian circle. The explanatory key to the frontispiece names the pillars ‘Jachin’ and ‘Boaz’, the first signifying strength, the second to establish in the Lord. The globes are described as the terrestrial and celestial globes representing the works of creation. It was thus that in the latter half of the eighteenth century the manifestation of ‘Masonry Universal’ by way of globes as scientific, educational instruments gained gradual, though random, access into our lodges and ritual.


Preston’s Globes and Influence

It is as we reach the last quarter of the eighteenth century that we encounter greater detail of the academic and symbolic interpretations that are given to globes. William Preston, a most outstanding if controversial freemason, has been mentioned above and his character, methods and work have been minutely covered by both Bro. G. P. Hills in his Prestonian Lecture for 1927 and the late Bro. Colin Dyer. Preston’s Illustrations of Masonry, first published in 1772 and completed two years later, in Section IV of the second book, makes specific and detailed reference to terrestrial and celestial globes. They are defined and then described as being: …the noblest instruments for giving us the most distinct idea of any problems or proposition, as well as for enabling us to solve it.


Preston continues, in his Illustrations, with further commentary on the morals to be learnt through the study of globes and adds more to the subject in his lectures, published separately as catechisms in pamphlet form. Both serve as an affirmation of globes as established Masonic symbols. Preston’s popularity was greatly enhanced by his joining the Time Immemorial Lodge of Antiquity in 1774. He soon became the Master and established a ‘school of instruction’ where his lectures were rehearsed. The dissemination of the content of his lectures, through his ‘school of instruction’, his pamphlets and the Illustration of Masonry, will have further inspired many of his fellow freemasons to consider globes as important instruments to assist in the practical demonstrations of the relevant symbols inherent in the lectures.


1784 Book of Constitutions

Returning to the last two decades of the eighteenth century, we find that brethren, having met in a variety of venues ranging from popular inn houses to private libraries, were inspired by the preparations for the building of the first Freemasons’ Hall in London. They began to establish permanent bases for their meetings, often purchasing property suitable to house their Masonic lodges. Records of the period in Minute Books throughout the country show an increasing expenditure on lodge furniture and a spate of gifts and presentations made to various lodges by dedicated and generous brethren. The acquisition and presentation of globes must have gained a strong impetus with the publication, in 1784, of the fifth edition of the Moderns’ Book of Constitutions by John Noorthouck.


The Reverend Dr. James Anderson’s Constitutions, first published in 1723, had subsequent editions in 1738, 1756 and 1767. All of these have engraved frontispieces, none of which depict any pillars or globes and their texts make no mention of anything, factual or fictional, that can be associated with the universality of Masonry.


It is only with the 1784 edition that we are, for the first time, confronted with a clear and deliberate representation of Masonic globes. The elaborate frontispiece to this volume was designed and engraved by Brother Francesco Bartolozzi, assisted by Jean Baptiste Cipriani, both accomplished and famed Italian artists. The architecture depicted is that of the inside of Free Masons’ Hall. Faith, Hope and Charity are represented at the uppermost part of the print. In the centre, Truth holds a mirror from which rays of light descend: ‘…on the Globes and other Masonic Furniture and Implements of the Lodge.’ This quotation is from the explanation to the frontispiece published by Grand Lodge in 1784. It shows that globes, among the Moderns in particular, were now established lodge furniture. It should be also noted that a ray of light shines on an Armillary sphere, situated on the lower left side of the frontispiece.


A Summary of Events

Here then is the accumulation of circumstances towards the end of the eighteenth century which culminated in the first ‘official’ incorporation of globes in the frontispiece of the 1784 Constitutions of the Moderns:


Depictions of globes or spheres on ‘tracing boards’, in their various forms, influence the conversion of symbols to actual implements;

Preston’s lectures between 1772 and 1800 and the publication of his Illustrations of Masonry place considerable emphasis on the significance of globes;

The frontispiece to the 1776 and subsequent editions of English exposures depict globes as part of lodge furnishings;

Globes, independent of any Masonic association, become popular adornment objects among the ‘gentlemen’ class; and finally

Members of the fraternity begin to establish more permanent meeting places and look to the foundation of their own Masonic halls which need furnishing.


Thus, as an example, in August 1791, the Worcester Lodge No. 280 acquires for £4.4.0 a pair of 15” globes made in 1782 by George Adams, Mathematical Instrument Maker in Ordinary to his Majesty George the Third. The Adams family, father George and two sons, George Jr and Dudley, became famous in the scientific world during the second half of the 18th century and well into the nineteenth as suppliers of instruments to James Cook, for instance, and as authors and publishers of various technical and scientific treatise. The history of the Royal Sussex Lodge No.353, Derbyshire, published in 1967 on the 150th anniversary of this distinguished lodge, has the following entry:


In addition to the old furniture which has been left by the French Officer Prisoners of war on the termination of hostilities with France…the globes are of particular interest.


Its first Master, W Bro George Mugliston obtained the globes, made by Dudley Adams, for the Royal Sussex Lodge. He was a Frenchman who is reported to have been a regular visitor to the French prisoners of war Lodge Des Vrais Amis de l’Ordre (True friends of the Order), established in December 1808. The globes were apparently the property of this Lodge.


Globes atop Pillars

Members of the Dunheved Lodge No.789 in the Province of Cornwall were pleasantly surprised in 1919 when, as recorded on the 19th June in their Minute Book,


it was reported that the building committee had made an interesting discovery on examining the spheres which adorn the great pillars. It was found that both are very old Terrestrial Globes one dated 1782…and the other 1797 showing the world as it was then known.


The 7” globes are by the Scottish philosopher and astronomer, James Ferguson and by James Newton, the senior member of the prolific London globe-maker family. Whilst globes on top of large pillars in lodge rooms throughout the provinces is a relatively familiar sight, those belonging to the Dunheved Lodge are exceptional in their quality and rarity. We are accustomed to a pair of globes, wherever represented, being one celestial the other terrestrial. They are almost invariably made in pairs and were offered and sold as such but in their Masonic application, when placed on top of the pillars, there is no logical reason why they should consist of one of each. The commonest representation of the pillars in a lodge room is by the two ‘column’ on the Wardens’ pedestals. The globes surmounting these are a relatively modern innovation and their introduction can almost certainly be attributed to Masonic furnishers. The question as to which globe, celestial or terrestrial, should go on which column, Senior or Junior Warden’s, is, in the light of the argument put forward above, irrelevant. Even if we were to consider the symbolic application from our ritual, namely that...the Sun rules the day and the Moon governs by night, the conclusion would be that both globes should be celestial, as neither the sun nor the moon can properly be represented by a terrestrial globe.


Physical Pillars and Symbolic Columns

There is, however, a confusion of terms relating to Pillars and Columns which may well be opportune to clarify here. The ritual clearly differentiates between, on the one hand, the two great pillars of King Solomon’s Temple as physical objects. They were adorned with chapiters of a peculiar construction unrelated to any of the established Orders. On the other hand, three symbolic columns, depicted by three of the five principal Orders of architecture, namely the Doric, Ionic and Corinthian, support the lodge. In their Masonic context, pillars are always a pair and they are tangible articles. They do not represent any classical order. They are often to be found decorating Lodges or the entrance to temples, sometimes on the outside of the building. In London lodges they are represented by the two Warden’s columns, which should be correctly referred to as Pillars! In contrasts, the three columns are depicted as a triad and invariably appear in Masonic ritual as abstract concepts, such as: Wisdom to contrive, Strength to support and Beauty to adorn. These abstract columns did gradually acquire physical status as lodge furniture. They were adopted as the three candlesticks situated at the Master’s and the Senior and Junior Wardens’ pedestals. When correctly placed they represent the Doric, Ionic and Corinthian orders respectively. This is the correct order, which at some time was incorrectly changed into Ionic, Doric and Corinthian and which is still in use today. Too well established a pattern to be changed now.


‘Bath furniture’

In December 1805 the Worshipful Master, W. Bro. Charles Geary, of the Royal Cumberland Lodge N0.41, in the Province of Somerset:…made the lodge in the most handsome manner a present of a pair of Globes as Ornaments. The globes, one celestial and the other terrestrial, both dated 1799, were made by John and William Cary and are now part of the celebrated ‘Bath Furniture’. This unique collection of lodge furniture and other Masonic paraphernalia has been extensively written about by Bro. George Norman in the Transactions of the Somerset Master’s Lodge and by Bro. Bruce W Oliver in Vol.57 of Ars Quatuor Coronatorum. The furniture was purchased in toto by the Loyal Lodge No.251 in 1843 and now takes pride of place at the Barnstaple Masonic hall in Devon where it is housed. Most striking are the two brass pillars, situated in the West, standing 5’ 9” in height on painted wooden pedestals. Above the capitals are two bowls overlaid with a brass net from which balls are suspended. They symbolise the biblical description of the pillars that stood at the porch of King Solomon’s Temple. The 12” Cary globes, which are free-standing, have been placed on top of two highly decorated rococo pedestals about 5’ in height and situated behind the Master’s chair. Globes have been used for purely decorative purposes and the Master’s chair in the ‘Bath furniture’ affords a good example. The Regency style chair stands seven feet in height and is nearly three feet wide. It is ornate and magnificent. Two unidentified contemporary globes, probably by William Bardin and approximately 9” in diameter, are set on their own tripods atop two main Corinthian style uprights at the back of the chair.


The Grand Master’s Chair

The superlative design and craftsmanship of this piece of ‘Bath furniture’ must surely have been inspired, if not influenced, by the Grand Master’s Chair, now on view at the permanent exhibition in the Library and Museum of the United Grand Lodge of England at Freemasons' Hall, London. The chair was commissioned by Grand Lodge in 1791 for the use of the M W Grand Master, H R H George, Prince of Wales, K G. It is made of carved gilt wood and upholstered in royal blue velvet and stands 10 feet in height. Fluted columns on either side support the arched back of the chair. The columns are surmounted by a celestial and terrestrial globe made, quite surprisingly, by Malby and Co, dated 1860. Clearly these 9” globes are replacements for the originals which are illustrated in several early prints, including the well-known lithograph – after John Harris dated 1833 – of the Duke of Sussex, the first Grand Master after the Union of 1813, in Masonic regalia seated in the chair. A pair of globes of identical size by William Bardin and George Ferguson were published in 1785 to accompany the Geographical Magazine for that year. An example, in relatively good condition, was to be found, at the time of writing, in the Grand Lodge Librarian's study. These two globes have been in situ since at least 1933 and their provenance unknown. There is a distinct possibility that this latter pair are the original globes that surmounted the Grand Master’s Chair, probably until 1901. In that year a carving of the Prince of Wales’ Feather encircled by his coronet was removed from the apex of the chair and replaced by the coronet of the Duke of Connaught. This may have been a suitable time to replace the rare Bardin pair of globes, which being delicately placed were prone to damage, with the more ‘modern’, less valuable Malby globes. All this is speculation but viable!


The Cary Family

The Cary family, mentioned in connection with the ‘Bath furniture’ above, was the most prolific of the globe and mapmakers of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. The cartographic firm was founded by John Cary c.1781 and continued by his brother George and son William till 1844 when George Crutchley bought them out. Many lodges posses globes by these makers. The earliest globes by John Cary in Masonic hands are to be found taking pride of place in the ‘Board Room’ at

Freemasons’ Hall, Knole Road in Bournemouth. The celestial globe is dated 1799 and the terrestrial 1815. They have been professionally cleaned and are now both in excellent condition and measure 20” in diameter. A similar undated example of the terrestrial globe is also on permanent exhibit in the Museum at Freemasons’ Hall, London. It is labelled as being the property of the Emulation Lodge of Improvement.


Minutes of the meeting of 6 October 1814 of the Royal Lancashire Lodge No.116 state: …it was decided to purchase a pair of globes, a Lewis and cushion for use in ye Lodge. The 14” globes are a rare pair by Thomas Wright who flourished as a globe-maker between 1782 and 1800. They are a further example of some of the early globes in our lodges. The period throughout the 1800s is one during which the majority of lodges that now possess globes acquired them. A most striking example, in exceptionally good condition, are the large size 24” celestial and terrestrial globes by W. Newton in that Boardroom of Mark Masons’ Hall, St. James’s London. These are dated 1878 and 1860 respectively and are mounted on decorative pedestals with a central compass straddling the three legs of each of the stands.


The ‘Use’ of Globes

There is no functional use that globes serve in lodges today except for purely decorative purposes. This applies equally to the free-standing globes and to those surmounted on pillars. Several lodges introduce the initiate from in between the pillars and in some the ceremony is continued with the candidate facing the Master flanked by the two globes. The presentation of the Grand Lodge certificate, by nature of the text, will induce an illustration of the relevant section about globes by their being pointed at when such globes are present. Interestingly it is the globes atop the pillars that are pointed out in those lodges that are in possession of both free-standing and mounted globes. There is an interesting entry dated 20 December 1909 in the Minute Book of the Legiolium Lodge No.1542 meeting in Castleford, West Yorkshire. It states:


The Lodge was opened in the 2nd degree and the ceremony of unveiling the two pillars (B and J) was performed by W Bro Schofield who gave a lucid description of them and the purpose for which they were erected at the temple of King Solomon.


The pillars appear to have been surmounted by the two early globes from the date of their acquisition and one presumes that Bro Schofield’s ‘lucid description’ will have included a direct reference to them after the unveiling. There is an unconfirmed report of ‘a lecture on the spheres’ which was regularly delivered by a senior member of St. John’s Lodge No.80 in Sunderland. The two globes, property of the Lodge and now housed in the William Waples Library and Museum, used to stand on the floor in front of the Wardens’ chair. Regrettably the extensive collection of Masonic material preserved after the death of Bro John Graham in 1931, and to whom these references are attributed, have so far failed to reveal details of this ‘lecture on the spheres’. One can surmise that good use may have been made of Preston’s lectures.


The presence of Terrestrial and Celestial Globes as part of our Lodge furnishing is fast becoming a thing of the past. It can only be hoped that those fortunate Lodges that do posses Globes will take care of them and continue to display them at their meetings enhancing the atmosphere and beauty of the Lodge room.




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