In Part 2 of this paper, under the subheading
'Ornaments. Furniture, and Jewels’, there was time and space for examination
only of the first two items but Jewels’ had to he deferred until now. However,
let us recall that the subject was introduced with this extract from the Fifth
Section of the First Lecture of the craft
Q. Of what is the interior of a Freemasons Lodge
A. Ornaments, Furniture, and Jewels.
Later in that catechism is the following:
Q. You speak of Jewels and seem careful of them how
many are there in the Lodge?
A. Three movable, and three immovable.
Q. Name the movable Jewels.
A. The Square, Level and Plumb Rule.
Q. Why are they called movable?
A. Because they are worn by the Master and his Wardens
and are transferable to their successors on nights of Installation.
Our earliest record of investing with those movable
jewels. although they were then called Instruments comes from Anderson’s
Constitutions of 1723. From his account of Installation we learn that it was
already an established practice as it states:
Here follows the Manner of constituting a News Lodge.
as practised by His Grace the Duke of Wharton, the present Right Worshipful
Grand Master according to the ancient Usages of Masons. Then the Grand Master,
placing the Candidate on his left Hand having asked and obtained the unanimous
Consent of all the Brethren, shall say; I constitute and form these good
Brethren into a new lodge and appoint you the Master of it, not doubting of your
Capacity and Care to preserve the Cement of the Lodge, &c. with some other
Expressions that are proper and usual on that Occasion, but not proper to be
Upon this the Deputy shall rehearse the Charges of a
Master, and the Grand Master shall ask the Candidate, saving, do you submit to
these Charges, as Masters have done in all Ages? And the Candidate signifying
his Cordial Submission thereunto, the Grand-Master shall, by certain significant
Ceremonies and Ancient Usages, install him, and present him with the
Constitutions, the Lodge-Book, and the instruments of his Office, not all
together, but one after another; and after each of them, the Grand-Master, or
his Deputy, shall rehearse the short and pithy Charge that is suitable to the
thing presented. Then the Grand Master desires the new Master to enter
immediately upon the Exercise of his Office, in choosing his Wardens . . .. and
the candidates being solemnly asked by the new Master, shall signify their
submission thereunto. Upon which the New Master, presenting them with the
instruments of their Office, shall in due Form, install them in their proper
So commences the symbolical lives of the Square, Level,
and Plumb Rule as Movable Jewels in a newly Constituted Lodge.
The Three Immovable Jewels are stated in later versions
of the Craft Lectures to be ‘The Tracing Board, the Rough and Perfect
Ashlars’ and are classified as ‘Immovable’: ‘Because they lie open and
Immovable in the Lodge for the Brethren to moralise on.’ Prior to those,
however, some rather quaint terms were in use.
Manuscripts up to 1730, some of which contained only
fragments of ritual, mainly expressed in catechetical form, have sparse
reference to these ‘Jewels’ which even then were sometimes called
‘Lights’; there was no separation into Movable or Immovable.’ Prichard’s
Masonry Dissected, which was published in 1730, is being used for comparative
purposes. It was translated into French, considerable licence being taken in
that process, but from 1760 onwards the French translations were re-translated
into English and from those certain features were planted into standard
practice, traces of which survived the revision of Craft ritual and procedure
that took place in the early 19th century. Regarding ‘Immovable Jewels’,
Q. What are the Immovable jewels?
A. A Trasel Board, Rough Ashlar, and Broach’d Thurnel.
Q. What are their Uses?
A. Trasel Board for the Master to draw his Designs
upon, Rough Ashlar for the Fellow-Craft to try their Jewels upon, and the
Broach’d Thurnel for the Enter’d ‘Prentice to learn to
His word ‘Trasel’ was what we now read as
‘Trestle’. It has come into use in U.S.A. as a title for a Manual of the
Craft Degrees called Masonic Trestle Board. But the Lodge Board, upon which was
drawn or painted the various Masonic symbols, was placed upon trestles for the
convenience of the Master to explain to the Candidate according to his degree;
it was a later development the Floor Drawing in chalk upon the floor of the
lodge executed by the Tyler, but erased after the degree by the Candidate, and
that in turn was succeeded by a painted oilcloth which could be rolled and put
away until next required. The 19th century anti present-day painted Tracing
Boards, although of various designs and styles have become normal equipment of a
In one of the French Masonic exposures Catechisme Des
Franc-Macons published in 1744, the three Immovable Jewels are described thus:
The rough stone for the Apprentices, the pointed stone
for the Fellows
to sharpen their Tools on, & the tracing Board on
which the Masters draw their Designs.
In another French publication of 1745 (L’Ordre des
Franc-Macon Trahi) is a diagram entitled ‘The Plan of the Apprentice-Fellows
Lodge’ which shows ‘A Rough Stone’ or 'Block of Limestone’, but the
Pierre Cubique or ‘Pointed Cubed Stone’ in that Plan is not the Perfect
Ashlar known today; it is a squared, shaped stone, with the top surface rising
to a pyramid and is shown with an axe above it Probably the axe was intended to
represent the 'Broaching ‘Tool and two references in that respect are worth
quoting; the first from the English Dialect Dictionary (1898) which states:
BROACH. A narrow, pointed, iron instrument in die form
of a chisel used by masons in hewing stones, hence Broached of stones, hewed,
The second quote is from the Oxford English Dictionary,
which cites an example, dated 1703 where the adjective is described:
To Broach as Mast ons an Atchler when with the small
point if their axe they make it full of little pits or small holes
Prichard’s description ‘Broach’d Thurnel’ lent
itself to such wide interpretations including the positioning of a particular
stone in course in a building, but it is much more likely that he intended to
mean a kind of soft white building stone which is the explanation given in the
Oxford English Dictionary where it appears with a variety of spellings: Thurnel,
Urnell, Ornell, Urnall. An example is quoted from the building accounts of
Rochester Cast I where, in 1368, the term ‘urnel’ occurs, and another when
‘Ornell’ was in use in 1442 when ‘ten tons of Ornell was carted from
London to Cambridge college’.
By the time we reach William Preston’s Craft
Lectures, compiled c. 1772, the ‘pointed cubic stone for the Fellows to
sharpen their Tools on’ had become the ‘Smooth Ashlar’ to complement the
‘Rough Ashlar’ and he described them thus:
Q. Name the immoveable Jewels.
A. The rough ashlar, smooth ashlar and the tracing
Q. What is their use?
A. The first is the representation of the brute stone
taken from the quarry, which is assigned to the apprentice or Brethren of the
First Degree whose time is least valuable; that by their industry it might be
brought into due form and made it for use. The second is the smooth stone, or
polished ashlar, which has undergone the skill of the Craftsman and is used by
him to adjust his tools and implements, as the criterion of truth and accuracy.
The third is the implement on which the designs of Masters are formed, which
there is restricted to the Overseers, whose duty it is to arrange and distribute
the plans of the building amongst the Craftsmen that the work may be properly
executed according to the rules of symmetry and proportion. Thus in the use of
these Jewels we find the Brethren of all three Degrees usefully employed in
their separate departments.
Q. Why are these tools and implements called Jewels?
A. On account of their moral tendency which renders
jewels of inestimable value amongst Masons.
After the Entered Apprentice has been invested with the
appropriate apron, his situation in the lodge is described in Preston’s Craft
Lectures as follows:
Q. Entrusted and invested in the manner described what
is his proper situation in the Lodge?
A. At the north-east corner of the Lodge or at the
right hand of the Master.
Q. Why is he so placed?
A. That he may tread sure and obey the commands of the
Q. Why does he tread sure at the north-east corner
rather than at any other part of the Lodge?
A. Because there he treads on the foundation stone of
Q. To what does it allude?
A. To an established custom of laying the foundation
stone of all capital buildings at the north-east corner.
Q. In what form does he appear?
A. With his feet formed into a square, body erect and
eyes fixed on the master.
And, of the position for the Fellowcraft it states:
is the proper situation of the newly accepted Fellow-Craft?
A. In the S.E. Corner of the Lodge at the left hand of
the Ruler in his proper situation.
A. To mark a distinction from the preceding Degree and
to show he has been regularly accepted a Fellow-Craft in that situation which is
usually assigned to the Second Degree of the
Q. In what form?
A. With his feet formed in a square his body erect and
his eves fixed on the Ruler. They are the positions in which the Entered
Apprentice and the Fellow Craft are placed after being
invested with their distinguishing aprons, but in
Masonic progress, there is a third position yet to arise. In some Craft Workings
the Deacon is instructed to place the Candidate at the centre of the lodge, and
by so doing the Candidate will have stood, figuratively speaking, at the three
angles of a triangle; a geometrical figure that at one time abounded in
symbolical Freemasonry, now prominently displayed, perhaps even reserved, in the
The Letter G
in many lodge rooms, suspended from the ceiling in a
central position, is the letter G, the appearance of which has given rise to
various explanations, but it is under that symbol the Brother is then
positioned. But now let us return to the catechism recorded by Prichard in
Q. Why were you made a Fellow-Craft?
A. For the sake of the Letter G.
Q. What does G denote?
A. Geometry, or the fifth Science.
Q. Can you repeat the Letter G?
A. I’ll do my endeavour.
THE REPEATING OF THE LETTER G
In the midst of Solomon’s Temple there stands a G,
A Letter fair for all to read and see,
But few there be that understands
What means that Letter G?
That stanza is followed by others, which are of little
interest for our subject, but the final one is
By Letters Four and Science Five
The G aright doth stand,
Q. What is the proper situation of the newly-accepted
In a due art and Proportion, You have your answer
N. B. Four Letters are Boaz. Fifth Science Geometry.
Whoever was responsible for that effort was preserving
two routes one of a Biblical nature and the other geometry itself. In the
pamphlet, Dialogue between Simon and Philip published in 1740 we find:
Phil. Why Geometry
Simon: Because it is the Root and foundation of all
Arts and Science.
and in that document are two line drawings of the form
of a lodge.
one 'the form of the old lodge’ and the other the new
lodge under Desaguliers regulation’. Desaguliers was the third Grand Master in
the premier Grand Lodge founded in I7I7. presided in he year 1719, and died in
1744. Both line drawings have the letter G in the centre, t one with the G
enclosed in a lozenge shaped diagram, and the G in the other enclosed in an
irradiated circle. ‘The letter (appeared on comprehensive Floor Cloths. Floor
Plans’ in publications, or Tracing Boards, which were to evolve. They were.
and are pictorial representations of cherished ideas in symbolical form and, as
a result, became the portrayal of the fancies of their designers.
The Masonic Magazine. August 1881, carried details of a
written by W. W. Whytehead, which he had read before Eboracum Lodge, No. 1611
meeting at York. The author observed:
It has often been a matter of speculation among Masonic
students as to what were the real secrets of the medieval masons ... I aim
inclined to submit that the science rediscovered by Monge, and called by him
descriptive geometry constituted the real secrets of our ancient brethren and
that it was this knowledge which they carefully concealed from the profane.
If we turn to the oldest documents we have. we have
that the science of Geometry and those they chose to associate with it received
marked attention in their writings. Most of them contained an unfounded
description of the beginnings of the craft and its preservation and development
through the ages.
Let us take a few extracts front the Buchanan Ms Roll.
which has an attributed date between 1660 and 1680. to see just how much they
valued the liberal arts and sciences. It commences with art invocation to the
Holy Trinity and proceeds to deal with certain biblical characters in their
historical and/or their creative roles eventually it leads on to the Liberal Sciences’
and refers to Geometry as:
The fifth is Geometrye and it teaches a man to mete and
measure the Earth and other things of which is masonry: These be seven
science’s which are all founded by one science which is
Geometry, Thus may you prove that all the sciences of
the world were found by the is science of Geometrye and grounded thereon for it
teacheth mete and measure ponderation add weight of all manner of kind of the
earth for there is noe man that worketh by some mete or measure nor any man that
buyeth or selleth but he may use mete measure or weight and belongeth to
Geometrye and these Marchants and Craft of Geometrye doe find all other of the
six sciences. Especially the ploweman and tiller of the ground for all manner or
come and grayne vynes plants and setters of other fruits For Grammar nor Music
neither Astronomye nor any of time other six sciences can find mete measure or
weight without Geometrye wherefor that Science may well be called the most
worthyest of all sciences which findeth mete measure to all the Rest The
contrived ‘history’ includes the family of Tubalcain who were responsible
for certain sciences.
Eventually it introduces Euclid who, it is claimed,
mastered all seven. It also claims that Euclid took the sons of noblemen:
and taught them time science of Geometric in practise
for to worke all manner of worthy worke that belong to building of Temples
Churches Castles mannors Towers houses and all manner of buildings.
Among the Charges contained in that document we find:
That they should come and Assemble themselves together
once every yeare. That they might take Advice and Councell together how they
might worke best to serve theire Lord and Master for his proffiitt and theire
own Credit and honestie And to correct amongst themselves him or them that Erred
and Trespassed. And thus was the craft or Science of Geometrie grounded there
And this worthyMaster gave it the name of Geometrie and now it is called
It ends with the following statement:
These charges that you have received you shall well and
truly keepe not disclosing the secresy of our Lodge to man, woman, nor child:
stick nor stone’: thing moveable nor unmovable so God you heIpe and his holy
We have now seen how the science of Geometry and
Masonry were deemed to be synonymous but, from a ritual exposure published in
France in I744 (1. ‘Ordre’ Des Francs-Macons Trahi) we have another
treatment t for the Letter G.
Q Are you a Fellow?
A Yes, I am
Q. How were you made a Fellow?
A. By the Square, the Letter G. and the Compasses
Q. Why were you made a Fellow
A. For the Letter G.
Q. What does that letter signify
A. Geometry, or the fifth Science
(If it is a Master. who is being asked thin’ meaning
of the Letter C, he replies: A thing greater than you Question: What can this
thing be which is greater than I, who am a Freemason & Master? Answer’ God
which (en Anglois) means, Dieu
With regard to the reply ‘A thing greater than
you’, it was a portion of Prichard’s work that received only superficial
treatment as his catechism at that point had:
Q. Who doth that G denote?
A One that’s greater than you
Q. Who’s greater than I, that am a Free and Accepted
mason, the Master of a Lodge?
A. The Grand Architect and Contriver of the Universe,
or He that was taken up to the top of the Pinnacle of the Holy Temple.
But, when we compare that with the Sloane MS 3329, with
an attributed date of c. 1 700, having the title A Narrative of the Freemasons
Word and Signes, we find that Prichard also had inserted a variation:
Q. From whom do you derive your principalls?
A. From a greater than you
Q. Who is on earth that is greater than a Freemason?
A. He [That] was carried to ye highest pinnicall of the
Temple of Jerusalem
The MS stated ‘greater than a Freemason’ whereas
Prichard specified ‘The Master of a Lodge’. Just what is meant by all this?
Once again we have to refer to the New Testament in the Bible in which two
accounts are worth quoting:
And Jesus answered and saith unto him, Get thee behind
me Satan; for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only
shalt thou serve.And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of
the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the son of God, cast thyself down from
hence. . (Luke IV, 9, vii, 9)
But he answered and said, It is written Man shall not
live by bread alone, hut by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God
Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle
of the temple And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down;
for it is written, He shall give his charge concerning thee; and in their hands
shall they Bear thee up, lest it any time thou dash thy foot against a stone
Jesus said unto him It is written again Thou shalt not tempt him the Lord thy
God (Matthew IV, 4-6)
So, we may see the plain letter G hanging in a lodge,
or within a Diamond or lozenge outline. or within a circle. sometimes
irradiated, and adapted in symbolism for Entered Apprentice, or Fellowcraft or
Master Mason, according to the manner in which it was depicted, such
individuality having faded almost to vanishing point But there was in the 18th
century another place where the Letter G was prominently displayed the most
public of all in the satirical street processions of mock masons. From Guild
histories we learn that it was a long established custom for craftsmen of all
organised trades to form processions to attend church service when observing the
Festival of their particular Patron Saint it created a spin-off into thin’
behaviour of Grand Lodge on the days of installation of a new Grand Master each
year an excellent example of which is contained in the Minutes of the premier
Grand Lodge on 28 April 1737: but we must bear in mind that, at the previous
meeting following his election, the Grand Master Elect had invited brethren to
his residence for Breakfast at 12 noon on the appointed day then to go in
procession to fishmongers' Hall. in Thames Street, w here the installation was
to take place, An extract from the account is follows:
At the house of the Right Honourable Edward, Earl &
Viscount Darnley &c. in
Pall Mall on Thursday the 28th Day of April I 737
The Earl of Laudon, G.M.
John Ward Esq. D.G.M.
Sir Robert Lawley Batt and WilliamGraeme. M.D. F.R.S.
Earl of Crauford P.G.M.
George Payne Esq, P.G.M.
John Theophilus Desaguliers L.I.D. F.R.S. P.G.M.
Earl of Weymes
Together with a vast appearance of former Grand
Officers & other brethren as well of the Nobility as others properly
cloathed who proceeded in a regular manner in Coaches & Chariots to
Fishmongers Hall in Thames Street The Grand Master being in a Chariot richly
carved & gilt drawn by six beautiful Grey Horses having three setts of
Musick properly disposed playing before them that preceeding the Grand Master
consisting of a pair of Kettle Drums four Trumpets & four French Horns the
others of pair of Kettle Drums two Trumpets & two French Horns each.
It was in that manner the man in the street became even
more acquainted with the activity of Freemasons and Freemasonry, for there was
ample material available in ritual exposures,
broadsheets against the Craft. Masonic skits on the
stage, and cartoons. It was no great effort for a mock—Masonic procession to
be organised to take place on the same day and at the same time. Perhaps the
best known of these is the one that was held on 27 April 1742, of which a later
engraving, designed by one Antoine Benoist, is preserved for posterity. He gave
it the title — A Geometrical View of the Grand Procession a/the Scald
Miserable Masons, designed as they were drawn up over against Somerset House in
the Strand. The key to his illustration listed the participants, the banners,
and the various items carried and it is from that we note just two items:
8. The letter G famous in Masonry for differencing the
Fellow—Craft’s Lodge from that of Prentices
(and his use of the word ‘Lodge’ in that context
meant a Tracing Board so large that it required a group of men to keep it
12 ‘Two Trophies one being that of a Black-shoe Boy
and a Link Boy, the other that of a chimney-sweeper
(and for that two urchins each carry on high a Trophy
composed of shoe-brushes, shovels, links and sweeps’ brushes. They are
followed by another band of mummers mostly boys, preceding a banner’ upon
which is shewn an irradiated sun, with the letter G in its centre).
The word ‘Scald’ in those days meant
‘infected’, ‘paltry’, ‘shabby’, and there is no question that those
concerned in the procession are well portrayed as such: in that respect the word
is now obsolete.
On 3 May the St. Jame's Evening Post carried a full
report that commenced with:
Yesterday the Cavalcade of Scald Miserable—Masons.
went in Procession from the Place of Meeting thro the Strand to Temple Bar, and
on returning back to meet Free and Accepted masons, they were put into disorder
near Somerset House. by the High Constable of Westminster attended by a large
Body of inferior Officers who press'd Dag A-e Jack Pony and several others to
the number of 20 who they secur'd in St Clement’s Church and Round House, for
His Majesty’s Service
behalf of the engthy preamble presumably written by or
on behalf of the organizers to justify their action, it listed the order of the
procession. Again, we select the portion most applicable to this’.paper:
Three great lights
Mystically’ resembling the Sun and Moon, and the’
Master Mason the Sun: to Rule the Day
The moon: ‘to Rule the Night
A Master Mason. To Rule his Lodge Political
The Letter G The Fellow Craft‘s Token
The Fellow—Craft — or Letter G, Men
A footnote has the following:
NB. After the Procession was over £5 was spent at one
of the Lodges
£4 19s 4d in Geneva Gin and 3d in Bread and Cheese so
the Night was
concluded with Drinking Swearing Fighting amid all
other Demonstrations of
The official attitude towards such demonstrations can
only lie described as dignity personified, for on 20 March 1741 the London Daily
Post provided the following report of yet another satirical demonstration:
Yesterday some mock Freemasons marched through Pall
Mall and the Strand as far as Temple Bar, in procession They stayed without
Temple Bar till the Masons came by and paid their Compliments to them Who
returned the same with an agreeable humour that possibly disappointed the witty
contriver of this Mock-Scene whose Misfortune is that though he had some wit his
subjects are so generally ill-chosen that he loses by it as many Friends as
other People of more Judgement gain Pursuit of further employment of the Letter
G will lead us to a subject that must wait for attention in the next part of