The Arcane Schools by John Yarker

ORIGIN AND ANTIQUITY OF THE FREE MASONRY.
CHAPTER VIII.
MASONRY IN SAXON ENGLAND.

DURING the period embraced in this heading, which includes British times, all the manual arts were Clerical professions in so far as this, that the Monks acted as teachers and directors of lay associations, more or less attached to the Monasteries. Architecture was exercised under the shadow of the church, and M. Blanqui in writing of the French Monasteries observes that "they were the true origin of industrial Corporations; their birth confounds itself with the Convents where the work was arranged; it is thence that serving with the Franks liberty and industry, long enslaved by the Romans, goes out free to establish itself in the bosom of the towns of the middle ages." Nor is this all, from the earliest times of Christianity a community of interests, and of knowledge and art, was maintained by means of Couriers journeying to and fro throughout the world, amongst the whole Christian Fraternity, which may account for the sudden and widespread adoption, of particular styles, in countries distant from each other.

There is no doubt that, even in Druidical times, the Romans organised in the chief cities of this country Colleges of Artificers on the Latin model, although the Britons were themselves, at the time, noble architects. These Colleges were continued by Romanised Britons after the withdrawal of the Roman troops near the middle period of the fifth century, and though the wars with the Saxons must have greatly retarded the labours of the societies, the Saxons interfered but little with city life, {245} contenting themselves with rural affairs. We may therefore conclude that the Art-fraternities were continued, even if influenced by the Clergy and by such Guild life as the Saxons may have brought over with them.

Arranmore has some ancient fortresses. One of these, built 2,000 years ago, had walls 220 feet long, 20 feet high, and 18 to 20 feet thick, and is built on a cliff hundreds of feet sheer to the sea; three sets of massive walls surround the largest fort.

As we have remarked the "Articles and Points" of the Masonic MSS. are in agreement with the "Corpus Juris" of the Collegia, which again are found in an Egypto-Greek source.

As the Clergy were the builders of their Churches, the chief Monks and Bishops figure in the Constitutions of the Grand Lodge, prepared in 1723, as Grand Masters of the Fraternity; and it must at least be admitted that Anderson was half correct, and there is little of any other mode by which the matter can be treated in this chapter; for Art was an Oath-bound Society the property of those who had learned Art by an Apprenticeship.

There are numerous Roman remains in this country of buildings which were erected during the occupation of the island by the Latin troops; and amongst these are to be found many interesting particulars in York, London, Chichester, St. Albans, but scattered over the whole island. Newcastle was in ancient times a place of great importance, and the Romans had a military station in the place by A.D. 78, and a bridge was built over the river to connect it and Gateshead and named the "Pons" Aelii. The Roman foundations were eventually occupied by Monks, for we learn that when Aldwin, with two Monks, travelled from Gloucester in 1194 to restore the religious foundations, the place was known as Monkchester; and the mother church of St. Nicholas is said to have been erected upon a Roman temple; and St. Mary's Church at Gateshead is said to be as old, if not older. {246} Pandon, now a part of Newcastle, was peopled by Saxons, and was a Royal residence before 654 A.D.

Didron1 gives a Latin sculpture, of the first ages, on which is represented a pair of callipers, compasses, square, skirret, level, maul, chisel, and pen or stylus; an ordinary set-square is often found as an amulet on Egyptian mummies. With the exception of the first and last these comprise the symbolic tools of a Free-mason, and though the plumb rule, 24 inch gauge, which is an old Egyptian emblem of Truth and of Thoth, the perfect Ashlar, a symbol everywhere as ancient as Man, are lacking, these are found on other Roman remains, with many other emblems, and Masons' Marks of which mention has already been made.

In Masonic history special mention is made of Verulam, out of the Roman remains of which St. Albans was built, and, it is said that the town was walled round by Alban the Martyr. It is a legend which may have been taken from some Monastic history by a Masonic lodge of the 13th century in that place. Chichester had a College of Roman Artisans that erected a temple circa 46-52 A.D., and Masons' Marks are found in the remains of the city. In the year 114 Marius the British Pendragon, so named as the military chief of the great golden Dragon-standard of Britain, executed a treaty with Tacitus by which Roman law was to be recognised in such towns as might become Municipia or colonies; and the garrisons of York, Chester, and Bangor were to be recruited from British Volunteers; as Rome strengthened herself Christianity was tolerated, but Druidism was prohibited. A quantity of Roman coins was found in the South-basin at Chichester in 1819, and three with the following emblems: Nerva 96 A,D., two joined hands, and "concordia execretus," encircling. Hadrian, 117 A.D., moon and seven stars. Antonius Pius, 138 A.D., two joined hands, two ears of corn, "Cos III."2 We might assume that {247} Chichester in Sussex was the centre of the Roman fraternity, and Verulam a branch. Upon St. Rook's hill is the remains of an ancient building with entrenchments which during the last and the previous century was used as a place of Masonic Assembly, and near this, at Lavant, are caves with a series of chambers where a very curious copper level, intended to be worn, was discovered.3

York has a multitude of Roman remains dating from the time of Adrian and Severus, 134-211 A.D., and later under Constantius. There was discovered at Toft Green in 1770 beneath the foundation of a Roman temple of brickwork a stone with this inscription, "Deo sancto Serapi Templvm asolo fecit Cl. Hieronymianus leg. vi. vic." -- "This temple, sacred to the god Serapis, was erected, from the ground, by Claudius Hieronymianus, Lieutenant of the sixth conquering legion." On each side of the inscription are two identical ornaments which it is difficult to describe, each is of three circles with a rod, or straight line drawn through them; the other is a peculiar trisula having in its centre a star of six points; at the bottom is a circle with an eight-pointed star in the centre, and in that a point. There was also found in Micklegate in 1747 a piece of sculpture said to represent Mythras sacrificing a bull; and in 1638 was found an altar erected to Jupiter by the Prefect Marcianus. A semi-subterranean temple of Mythras was discovered in 1822 at Housesteads in Northumberland, containing an Altar dedicated in 235 A.D., and there are other remains in Chesterholm and Rutchester in the same county; at the latter place is a recess hewn out of the solid rock, called the giant's grave, measuring 12 X 4 1/2 by 2 feet deep. At one end is a hole; this seems to resemble "St. Patrick's hole," in Donegal. Several altars have been found in Cumberland and Westmorland dedicated to Baalcadris. "Acta Latamorum" and Rebold give a very probable explanation of the Masonic Legend of Verulam. Carausius caused himself to be elected and proclaimed Emperor of Britain by the {248} Channel Fleet in 284 A.D., and braved all the efforts of Diocletian to dethrone him. He renewed the privileges of the Collegia in their entirety as these had been much curtailed in the course of centuries, and is therefore supposed to have appointed Albanus as his Inspector. An inscription to Carausius was found at Carlisle in 1894, and his coins are numerous. He was assassinated at York in 295 A.D., and Constantius Chlorus took up his residence there, and confirmed the privileges of the Guilds or Collegia. Brother Giles F. Yates states that an old MS. of the life of St. Alban, the proto-martyr, in British characters was found in the tenth century, and Matthew Paris refers to a book of great antiquity as existing in the Monastery of St. Albans.

Britain had clearly attained architectural distinction in the time of Carausius and was able to send competent men to instruct the Gauls, for Eumenius, the panegyrist of Maximium, congratulates the Emperor on behalf of the city of Autin, which he informs us was renovated by architects from this country, in the following words: "It has been well stored with Artificers since your victories over the Britains, "whose provinces abound with them," and now by their workmanship the city of Autin rises in splendour by rebuilding their ancient houses, the erection of public works, and the instauration of temples. The ancient name of a Roman brotherhood which they long since enjoyed is again restored by having your Imperial Majesty as their second founder."4

Christian architecture, however, is not much in evidence until Saxon times, though the "new superstition," as the Romans termed it, is said to have entered Glastonbury in the Apostleship of Joseph of Arimathea. Welsh historians assert that Christianity was accepted in a National Council held by King Lucius A.D. 155, when the Archdruids of Evroc, Lud, and Leon, became Archbishops and the Chief Druids of 28 cities became bishops. It is {249} further asserted that of the British captives carried to Rome, Claudia and Pudens are addressed by name in the Gospel. King Lucius is said to have been educated at Rome by St. Timotheus, the son of Claudia, to have been proclaimed King in the year 125, and to have been baptised by Timotheus 155 A.D.; after which he proceeded to erect churches at Winchester; Llandaff; St. Peter's, London; and St. Martin's, Canterbury; the faith was then styled Regius Domus, or Royal house. British history says that at this time there were in existence 59 magnificent cities, and numberless handsome residences. Of Monasteries the Triads say: There are three perpetual Choirs in the Isle of Britain -- Great Bangor, Caer-Salog (Salisbury), Avillon (Glastonbury); the first named was munificently endowed by King Lucius; it covered a square of five miles, had 10,000 teachers, and every graduate had to learn some profession, art, or business. Minucius Felix comments upon the absence of temples and altars amongst the Christians of the 3rd century, and of the uselessness of such works in honour of an all embracing Deity, and then says: "Is it not far better to consecrate to the Deity a temple in our heart and spirit?" It was not until about the year 270 that Christians were allowed to assemble in buildings of their own at Rome, and these appear to have been first erected in imitation of the "Scholae" or Lodge rooms, of the artizans, but in Britain there was but one year's persecution of the Christians, when Socrates, Archbishop of York, the Bishop of St. Albans, and others lost their lives. About the year 300 church was erected at Verulam over the martyred body of St. Alban, which Bede says was a handsome structure; and Tanner says that there was a church at Winchester, dedicated to Amphibalus who converted him. There was an Archbishop of York at this time, for Eborius in the year 3I4 attended the Council of Arles in Gaul and is described as "Episcopus de civitate Eboracum Provincia Brit." The same Council was attended by Restitus of {250} London, and Adifius of Caerleon on Usk, which is Lincoln.

These Christian Britains -- monks, priests, and bishops, were known as Culdees, servants of God; they established Monasteries and Churches in various parts of England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, and there is no doubt that many of them were converts from the Druidical faith; in these countries they opened Colleges, and Schools where handicrafts, arts, sciences, and religion were taught to the people. Their faith was heretical according to the standard which the Church of Rome had adopted after the succession of Constantine, and they were what Cardinal J. H. Newman terms Platonising Christians, or of the esoteric Arcane Discipline. They believed in the immortality of the soul, but not in the Jewish doctrine of a resurrection of the material body, which was the teaching of Judaising Christians. They are also accused of denying the existence of a personal devil, and the personality of Jesus, in which case they were Gnostics, but the reader may refer back to the subject in Chapter VI. St. Patrick is said to have been born a Druid and to have left Dumbarton for Ireland in the year 432. Both ancients and moderns charge them with possessing a secret doctrine, and when in 589 Columban went to Burgundy with 12 companions from Ireland (as Columba had previously done in 561 to Icolmkili, the Arcane Mystery gave offence; the King demanded of him, why, as in his own country, "access to their secret enclosures was not granted to all Christians," upon which the Culdee sternly replied, that if he sought to destroy the Cenobia of God his kingdom would assuredly perish. This mission founded the Abbey of Luxeville, and others in France and Italy. In England their principal seat was York, in Wales Bangor, in Ireland Donegal, in Scotland the Hebrides. Those Masons who possess intuition, and the faculty of reading between the lines of such writers as we have quoted, will perceive that Philosophy found it essential, and safe, to openly embrace Christianity, whilst secretly conforming {251} to their old ideals, had it been necessary we could have given plain proof of this. Even Eusebius says: "In order to render Christianity more acceptable to the Gentiles, the priests adopted the exterior vestments and ornaments used in the Pagan culte." Philosophy thus secured the survival of its secrets, hence we find the 12 sons of Jacob assimilated to the Zodiacal signs; and much Gnostic symbolism is found in church architecture -- lions, serpents, and things to be named in due course.

The Rev. W. L. Alexander in writing upon "Iona" says that whilst the Roman armies were harrying the Druids at Anglesea there was a College of them in the Scottish islands situated 56 Degrees 59' N.L. designated "lnnis-nan-Druid-neach" -- the Isle of the Druids -- and that that priesthood prevailed over all the other islands until the year 563-4 when Colum or Columba arrived with 12 companions who were continued in that number till after ages. It is said that there existed there certain Druidical priests who professed to be Christians in the hope of inducing Columb to withdraw, and after the settlement of Columb and his friends, the island began to he known as "li-cholum-chille" -- the island of Columbus' Cell, corrupted to Icolmkill, and we have also "li-shona" -- the holy island, corrupted to Iona.

We may now say something in reference to the construction of their churches. Prior to the 5th century, all Christian churches were after the model of the ancient temples of Egypt divided into three parts, and which corresponded with the secret or esoteric doctrine; and we need have no doubt that the emblematical significance of the architecture was a "close tyled" Mystery of the Initiated builders, and that as in the ancient temples, they were built to symbolise a spiritual doctrine, which ordinary Christians were unacquainted with. The first part, or "Ante-temple," was for the Catechumens, disciples, and penitents; the second part or Nave was for the lay members and the faithful; the third part or "Sanctuary" was a semi-circular recess with an arched roof, raised above {252} the floor by steps; it represents the Sanctuary of the ancient gods, open only to the priests; within it was the throne of the Bishop which was usually veiled, and placed besides it were smaller thrones for the Clergy; in the centre of this most holy place was the altar. In Gothic buildings, of a later date, this part is called the "Chancel" and was separated by a "Rood-screen" of carved wood or other material; and it is remarkable that the carvers, at times, took great liberties with the Monks and priests, in the representation of their vices. There is even much recondite symbolism to be found on the outer walls of such buildings. The Secret Discipline, at these early dates, regulated the symbology of the edifices, and the "Vesica-piscis," so often found on ancient temples, and churches of all eras, is held to be the great secret of constructive measurements, and, as has been stated, the Sign of the Epopts both in Philosophy and Christianity.

In regard to early erections, a small church of rough stone was raised at Peranzabulae in Cornwall about the year 400 by the Culdee Pirau an Irish saint, over whose tomb was found an equilimbed cross of the Greek form, when the building was disinterred in 1835, after having been covered over for ten centuries. Thong Castle in Lincolnshire was erected for the Saxons about the year 450, it must have been a British labour. A church of stone was erected at Candida Casa, by the Culdee bishop Ninian 488 A.D.; and Matthew of Westminster tells us that the British King Aurelius Ambrosius, who slew the Saxon Hengist at Conisborough in 466, repaired the churches, travelling to and fro for that purpose, and sent for Cementarii or Masons, and Lignarii, or Carpenters. Legends state that he erected Stonehenge with blocks brought from Ireland by the engineering skill of Merlin, and that both himself and his brother Uther the Pendragon were buried within its circle (but Norman Lockyer examining it as a Planetarium, dates it, by the Sun, at 1680 B.C.); he defeated Hengist's sons at York in 490. In 524 Arthur son of Uther, defeated the Saxons, and at {253} Christmas of that year he held a Council at York to consider ecclesiastical affairs, and methods were taken to restore the churches and the ruined places at York, which had been occasioned by his wars to expel the Saxons. Though Arthur the Pendragon is alleged to have been buried at Glastonbury the legends of the Prince seem to belong chiefly to Cumberland and the adjacent parts, which formed the Kingdom of the Strathclyde Britains; the names used in the Romances of his Round Table and in the connected tales, are Cambrian, and Blase of Northumberland is said to have registered his doings. Denton says that near St. Cuthbert's Church, Carlisle, in Cumberland, "stood an ancient building called Arthur's chamber, taken to be part of the mansion house of Arthur, the son of Uter Pendragon, of memorable note for his worthiness in the time of antient Kings."5 The Prince was no doubt a Romanised Briton, though his name does not belong to the Celtic language, and that he was a real person who strove to unite the British Christians against the Saxons is beyond serious question. The allegorical history of the Round-table, and the Knights' "Quest of the Sangrael," or cup of the blood of Christ, is supposed to refer, in mystic terms, to Culdee rites; and in spite of the efforts of Rome the Culdee culte continued to exist in England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland down to the Norman conquest, and, in places, until long afterwards. At Caerleon on Usk were two churches, and an important Culdee "College of two hundred Philosophers learned in Astronomy, and in all the sciences and the arts."

It is more than probable that the peculiarities of the Culdee system arose from the engraftation of Druidical beliefs upon the Christian faith. Many learned writers have sought to derive Free Masonry both from a Druidical and Culdee establishment. The latter is not at all improbable for one of the branches. The following may be pointed out at random: -- The custom of symbolising Craft officers by the sun and moon; for the Arch {254} Druid bore the sun and crescent moon on his head dress, whilst the Bard was designated by the crescent moon, equally the tonsure of a Culdee Monk went from ear to ear, in crescent, as opposed to the coronial tonsure of the Romans. A Culdee origin has also been claimed for the Templars, and the modern ceremonies of that body commemorate the 13 of Iona.

St. Cibi's, as asserted by Sir John Stanley, was founded in 550 on a Roman temple at Holyhead. It was, however, rebuilt "temp." Edward III., and again in the reign of Henry VII.

Toland says that the Druidical College of Derry was converted into a Culdee Monastery. About the year 561 Columba and twelve companions left Ireland to build the Monastery of Icolmkill, and Masonic legend assigns the lectures of the Mastership of Harodim to this Monastery; they founded Colleges at Govan and Kilwinning; and Aidan, one of the twelve, established the original Abbey of Melrose. The fraternity had other establishments in Scotland; at Abernethy; St. Serf in Lochleven; Dunkeld; St. Andrews; Moneymusk in Aberdeenshire; Dunblane; Dunfermline; and Aberdeen. Their establishment at Brechin has left a cylinder or Round Tower of unknown date. At each side of the western entrance, near an ancient gateway, is carved in relief an elephant having the feet of a lion and a horse. Brother R. Tytler, M.D., in a paper read before the Antiquarian Society of Scotland,6 makes a precise comparison between this and an astronomical allegory, in like situation, in various Hindu temples. Above this carving is an apparently later crucifixion scene with two Monks. It is said that during the life of Columba 100 monasteries were erected, and the Irish claim to have sent architects to Britain some centuries before this time.

The voyage of Bran, son of Febal (a MS. of 1100), to the Island of Joy, or the Land of the Living, is attributed to Adamnan, Abbot of Ionia, who died in 703; it mentions {255} nine grades of heaven in three steps, and that a fiery circle surrounds the land of the blessed. The throne is a canopied chair with four columns of precious stones, and beneath it are seven glassen walls. The sect in England had seats at Lindisfarne, York, and Ripon.

Mr. Grant Allen in his Anglo-Saxon Britain (1884) says: "It is possible that the families of Craftsmen may at first have been Romanised Welsh inhabitants of the cities, for all the older towns -- London, Canterbury, York, Lincoln, and Rochester -- were almost certainly inhabited without interruption from the Roman period onward."

The Roman law, and therefore the Guilds or Collegia, never became extinct in any place where the Romans had once had a footing. They entered Germany with the sack of Rome by the Goths, a country unconquered by arms. Alaric II. of the Wisegoths, 484-507, commissioned Roman Jurists to compile a code on the basis of the Lex Theodosii which was adopted by all Gaul. Theodrich the Ostragoth in the year 500 promulgated a similar code, which aimed at fusing Roman and Goth into one people. A third compilation of Roman law called the Burgundian "Lex Romano" was promulgated about the year 520 by Sigmund.7 It follows from this that, so far from the Roman Collegia being extinguished with the Empire, they spread throughout Germany. Smith further says: "These Colleges are evidently the Guilds of the Middle ages; in the Roman Disciple we may detect the modern Apprentice, and in the hereditary obligation to follow a particular trade, we may discern the origin of freedom by birth, or by servitude, in Corporate towns. The leading idea in Roman institutions was Municipal. Every franchise was the result of belonging to some College, and we thus infer that the franchise of Cities owe their origin to Rome. Thus to the Municipia of Rome, not to German institutions, are to be ascribed the origin and form of the Municipal Corporations of the middle ages."8

Apropos of this quotation is the existence of the Magistri {256} Comacenes, settled near the lake of Como, who hired themselves out to build for the Lombards and are mentioned by the Rev. Charles Kingsley.9 They are supposed to have fled to a small island on Lake Como, on the sack of Rome by the Goths, where they kept alive the ancient rules of their art, whence was developed the various Italian Styles, the Norman, and the Saxon. Not only was their organisation that of the Collegia but the ornamentation of their architectural work. They venerated the Four crowned Martyrs, and were divided into Scolia or Apprentices; Laborerium, operii or those who did the actual work; the Opera or Fabbrica, or the Magistri who designed and taught the others. Leader Scott quotes an Edict of the Lombard King Rotharis, dated 22nd Nov., 643, conferring privileges on the Magistri Comacini, and the Colligantes, and this when they had been long established. She also quotes an inscribed stone of 712 to shew that they had then Magistri and Discipula under a Gastaldo or Grand Master and that the same terms were kept up in Lombardy, amongst Free Masons, until the 15th century, and it is known that St. William, Abbot of Benigne in Dijon, a Lombard by birth, brought in his countrymen to build his monastery, and that Richard II., Duke of Normandy, employed this architect for 20 years in like work.10 It is not so difficult to connect Freemasonry with the Collegia, the difficulty lies in attributing Jewish traditions to the Collegia, and we say on the evidence of the oldest charges that such traditions had no existence in Saxon times.

"In this darkness which extended over all Italy, only one small lamp remained alight, making a bright spark in the vast Italian Necropolis. It was from the "Magistri Comacini." Their respective names are unknown, their individual works unspecialised, but the breath of their spirit might be felt all through those centuries, and their name collectively is legion. We may safely say that of all the {257} works of art between 800 and 1000, the greater and better part are due to that brotherhood -- always faithful and often secret -- of the 'Magistri Comacini.'" (J. A. Llorente, "Hist. of the Inquisition;" London 1826. "I. Maestri Comacini;" Milano 1893.)

The conquest of Rome, by the Teutonic nations, led to a great extension of the Christian Monasteries, during the 5th and 6th centuries, and these were usually placed in quiet or inaccessible situations, the better to escape from the tumults of the times. Here libraries were established and the ancient learning found a resting place. This led to the cultivation of the Mystical and the spiritual in man, and it may be observed that the term Mystic is derived from the rank of Mystae in the Mysteries, even as the term "Mystery" was adopted by trade Guilds to mean their art, and "closed lips."

Stowe says that in the 7th or 8th century the walls of London were rebuilt by Benedictine Monks brought from Birkenhead. The founder of this brotherhood was St. Benedict, born at Nursia in Umbria about A.D. 480; he went to Monte Cassino, 530, afterwards the centre of his order, and there composed his rule, which entered England between the 6th and 7th century. Archdeacon Prescott says: "The finest Abbeys, and nearly all the Cathedrals, belonged to the order."

About the year 597 Augustine came over to England from the Church of the Quatuor Coronati at Rome. His instruction from Pope Gregory was: "Destroy the idols, never the temples; sprinkle them with holy water, place in them relics, and let the nations worship in the places accustomed." He is said to have brought over Roman Masons, and a further number in the year 601; he died in 605. It has been supposed that he built the Church of the Four crowned Martyrs at Canterbury, which is mentioned casually by Bede in 619. This introduction of Masons from Rome is usually taken to prove that the building fraternities had become extinct in this country, but it does no such thing. There was no doubt a scarcity {258} of capable men amongst the Saxons for the work which the Romish Saint had in view, but we cannot altogether rely upon the good faith of their historians, nor are we at all justified in assuming that the native British Masons, Carpenters, and the building fraternities derived from the Romano-heathen population were extinct, and we have proofs to the contrary in the Culdee erections of St. Peter at York in 626, and in the Culdee establishment at Lindisfarne in the year 634 by Aidan, a Monk of Icolmkill in Iona; and in the "Holy Island" St. Cuthbert was interred before the City of Durham existed. There lies, behind, the fact that Rome considered all British Christianity as heretical, and all the successors of Augustine followed his role, with the unsuccessful object of wholly destroying Culdee influence. Bede informs us that the British Christians refused either to live, or eat, with the Augustinians, and they replied to a demand for obedience: "We owe obedience only to God, and after God to our venerable head, the Bishop of Caerleon-on-Uske." Bede complains also that Monasteries had been established by laymen with themselves as Abbots, whilst still continuing married relations with their wives, a Culdee custom, sanctioned by example of Bishop Synesius. He says also that a Martyrium of the "four blessed Coronati" existed at Canterbury 619-24.

The British Pendragons seem to have kept the Saxons in check, but they were able to destroy Bangor in the year 607. Deira was strongly reinforced by Angles from the Saxon coast, and King Edwin solicited from his friend Caswallon, the British Pendragon, that he might assume the regal crown as Bretwalda, but Caswallon refused his sanction, on the ground that there was "one sole crown of Britain." Kemble says that, "The Saxons neither took possession of the towns, nor gave themselves the trouble of destroying them." The Heptarchial princelings and their villagers were Pagans, and exercised but small influence. Pope Boniface IV. is credited with the grant {259} of privileges in 614 to those architects who had the erection of sacred buildings.

In 616 Ethelbert King of Kent built the Church of St. Peter, and St. Paul, at Canterbury, upon the site of a small church erected by the early Britains; also the church of St. Andrew in Rochester; and he is thought to have restored St. Paul's in London, erected on the site of a temple to Diana, though other writers suppose it to have been built within the area of what was the Roman Pretorian Camp in the time of Constantine. Siebert King of the West Saxons, in 630, built the Monastery of Westminster, on the site of a Temple to Apollo, and it was repaired in the next century by Offa King of Mercia. About the middle of this century, say 650, an Irish saint of the name of Bega established a small Nunnery at the place now called St. Bees in Cumberland, then a British port, and a church was erected afterwards in her honour.

The Romans had a temple at Teignmouth, and here an important Priory was erected. In the reign of Edwin over Yorkshire, Durham, and Northumbria, circa 626, a wooden edifice was erected here, similar to Aidan's Church at Lindisfarne, and was followed by a church of stone erected by his successor St. Oswald, circa 663. After it had been destroyed by the Danes, it was restored by Ecgfrid, in the 15th year of whose reign the neighbouring church at Jarrow was dedicated, and which, with that of Wearmouth, is in the diocese of Hexham.

In the year 675, Benedict Biscop is said to have brought over from France skilled Masons to erect the Monastery at Jarrow. At the same date Wilfrid founded Ripon, Hexham, and Ely, bringing Masons from Rome or Italy and France. King Ina also rebuilt Glastonbury; and William of Malmesbury informs us that it possessed a sapphire of inestimable value, perhaps the origin of the legend of the Graal cup. The same writer says: "In the pavement are stones designedly laid in triangles and squares, and fixed with lead, under which if I believe some sacred enigma to be enshrined I do no injustice to {260} religion"; he also alludes to two pyramidical structures in the churchyard.

Anglo-Saxon building, sometimes of wood, and then of stone, continued upon their gradual conversion to Christianity. In 643 Kenweath of Wessex "bade timber the old Minster of Winchester." In 654 "Botulf began to build a Monastery at Icambo" (Boston). In 657, Penda of Mercia and Oswin of Northumbria built a Monastery at Medeshamstede (Peterborough). Oswin built six in Deira. In 669 Echbert of Kent gave "Reculver to Bass, the Mass-priest, to build a Monastery." In 669 St. Ethelreda "began the Monastery at Ely." Before 735, religious houses existed at Lastringham, Melrose, Lindisfarne, Whithern, Bardney, Gilling, Bury, Ripon, Chertsey, Barking, Abercorn, Selsey, Redbridge, Aldingham, Towcester, Hackness, and several other places. The Irish Monks were active abroad; in 582 St. Peter's Convent at Salzburg was erected by Rudbert. About 610, convents at Costnitz and Augsburg erected by Edumban. About 606, convents at Regenburg under Rudbert. About 740, convents at Eichstadt under the Irish monk Wildwald. As to military architecture we read that Edward, the father of Athelstan, had twenty fortresses between Colchester, Manchester, and Chester. Why then should we dispute the existence of such Guilds as are shadowed in our ancient Masonic MSS.? Professor Freeman says that St. Mary le Wigford Church was built by Coleswegan.

Aelfred, brother of Ecfrid King of Northumberland, sojourned in Ireland to acquire from the Monks the learning of the period, and on the death of Ecfrid, in 685, he was recalled to succeed him, but it is very doubtful whether the Britons recognised these Saxons as Kings, until Egbert became Bretwalda in the year 824. In 690 Theodore, Bishop of Canterbury, erected King's School in that city. In 716 Ethelbald built Croyland in Lincolnshire. Of this period a series of drawings exist amongst the Cottonian MSS. in the British Museum, and have been engraved for the "Freemasons' Magazine," scenes in the {261} life of St. Guthlac; one of these represents him in the act of building his chapel. The Saint is hoisting up material to a Mason who is laying a stone at the top of the building; near the Saint is a stone-cutter who is hewing the stone into shape with an axe. We shall see later that a chisel was used in Norman times, and soon after a claw-adze. Although the Arch had its origin in high antiquity, and is said to have been found in Babylonian remains near 10,000 years old, preference was given in early English church architecture to the straight lintel of the Pagan temples, then Arches followed, but it was not until the 10th century that vaulted roofs came into use, and soon spread over the whole of Europe. As early as the 8th century the English Monk, St. Boniface or Winifrid, established in Germany a special class of Monks for the practice of building, with the grades of Operarii or Craftsmen, and Magistri operum or Masters of Work. Some of these acted as designers, others as painters or sculptors, others wrought in gold and silver embroidery, and others were Cementarii or Stone Masons: occasionally it was necessary to employ laymen under their superintendence.11

The church of York, erected in 626, was damaged by fire in 741, and Archbishop Egbert began a new church. About the year 793 Offa King of Mercia erected the Monastery of St. Albans near the old Roman Verulam, and in the Cottonian Library is a picture, also engraved for the "Freemasons' Magazine," shewing him in the act of giving instructions to his Master Mason, who has the square and compasses in hand; a Mason on the top is using a plumb-rule, whilst another is setting a stone; below are two Masons squaring stones with an axe. These drawings are by Matthew of Paris about the year 1250. Offa before beginning this work made a journey to Rome by way of France, and Brother C. C. Howard, of Picton, supposes that he brought Masons thence for his work. At Lyminge in Kent there is an old church built upon a {262} Roman Basilica by Saxon Masons; it is noteworthy as having an old Roman sun-dial built into the south wall of the Nave by St. Dunstan circa 965. It may be noted here that in recent times a bronze square and compasses were dug up at Corfu, along with coins and vessels of the 8th and 9th centuries.

The Romans seem not to have had a settlement at Durham, and we do not hear of the place during the time of the Saxon Heptarchy. The Bishop's See was founded at Lindisfarne as early as 635. In 883 the Bishop and his clergy took up their abode at the Roman Chester-le-Street, where they remained with the body of St. Cuthbert until 995, when the Danes caused them to take up their wanderings with the body of that Saint. In 999 Aldune the Bishop caused the Cathedral to be erected, and ere 90 years had passed this small edifice gave place to the present stately fabric.

During all this period the Saxons had a Guild system in full operation; and the old laws of Alfred, Ina, and Athelstan reproduce still older laws acknowledging the Guilds. The old Brito-Roman cities must have continued their Guilds during these centuries, even whilst the Saxons were making laws on the subject, and establishing new ones on the old lines. The laws of Ina, 688-725, touch upon the liability of a Guild, in the case of killing a thief. In 824 England had absorbed Britain and Saxon under Egbert, and the latter had become the ruling element. These Guilds exacted an Oath of secrecy for the preservation of trade "Mysteries," and obedience to the laws. The Judicia Civitatis were ordinances to preserve the social life of Guilds, of the time of Athelstan. A law of Edgar, 959-75, ordains that "every priest for increase of knowledge shall diligently learn some handicraft," but this was only enforcing old Culdee customs. There is said to be a letter of the 9th century, written by Eric of Auxerre to Charles the Bald of France, in praise of certain Irish philosophers, who, as "servants of the wise Solomon," were visiting France under the King's protection, who "for {263} the instruction of his countrymen," attracted thither Greeks and Irishmen. This probably refers to the erection of Aixe-la-Chapelle by his grandfather Charlemagne. It was introduced into the Irish Masonic Calendar by the late Brother Michael Furnivall, and has created an impression that there existed in Ireland at this period some Society analogous to the Sons of Solomon in France, which we shall mention shortly. St. Werberg at Chester is said to be erected on the site of a Saxon Church as old as 845.

About the year 850 Ethelwolf, King and Bretwalda, is said to have employed St. Swithin to repair the pious houses. The Danes burnt Croyland Monastery in 874 and slew Abbot Theodore at the altar steps. Alfred the Great, about 872, fortified and rebuilt many towns, and founded the University of Oxford. In 865, and again in 870, the Priory of Teignmouth, where the Nuns of Hartlepool had taken refuge, was destroyed by the Danes and again rebuilt.

It is certain that in these times, a large number of timber structures were erected; it was a style of building which admitted of rough stone and rubble work, and was equally common both in England and France. This is probably the reason why our ancient "Constitutions" state, as they do, that the original designation of the Fraternity was Geometry, which was as necessary in buildings of wood as of stone, and is some evidence of the antiquity of these ancient MSS. An authority maintains that later erections of stone, by the Saxons, were influenced by this style, as in the use of stone buttresses in imitation of timber beams, and in window balustres or pillars made to imitate work turned in a lathe.12 Doubtless many of the churches burnt by the Danes were of wood, and rebuilt of stone. In Constantinople, and the East generally, wooden structures continue, and are preferred to stone.

In the year 915 Sigebert, King of the East Angles, began the erection of the University of Cambridge, which was completed by Ethelward the brother of King Edward {264} the elder. This latter erected many considerable works and fortifications, repairing, says Holinshed, in 920, the city of Manchester, defaced by the wars of the Danes. He was succeeded by his elder, but illegitimate, son, Athelstan, who is said in the oldest MS. Constitution to have "built himself churches of great honour, wherein to worship his God with all his might." Anderson says that Athelstan rebuilt Exeter, repaired the old Culdee church at York, and also built many castles in the old Northumbrian Kingdom to check the Danes; also the Abbey of St. John at Beverley; and Melton Abbey in Dorsetshire. If for the advancement and improvement of architecture this King granted an actual charter to York, he would naturally do the same to Winchester, in which city he fixed his royal residence; and there we find architecture flourishing. Few Saxon specimens of architecture now exist; there is the tower of Earl's Barton Church, Lincolnshire; Sempling in Sussex; St. Michael's in Oxford.

A fine specimen of military architecture of the period is Castle Rushen in Man. It is believed to have been begun by King Orry and completed by his son Guthred, circa 960; it resembles so closely one at Elsinore in Denmark that they are both supposed to be by the same architect. The one in Man is built of the limestone of the district, and is in a state of perfect preservation; the elements have had no effect upon the stone, owing to a hard, glass-like glaze, admitting of a high polish, from which it may be inferred that the military architects were acquainted with some chemical secrets that remain a secret to this day.

In 942 Odo, Archbishop of Canterbury began the restoration of his Cathedral; it was afterwards much injured by the Danes in 1011, and King Canute ordered its restoration; again it suffered by fire in 1043. In the time of Ethelworth and St. Dunstan, who was a Benedictine Monk, Anderson says, 26 pious houses were erected, and under Edgar 48 pious houses. Between 963-84, {265} Ethelwold, Bishop of Winchester, erected 40 Monasteries, and is styled the "Constructor," of his Cathedral church. Edgar, in 969, at the instance of Dunstan, repaired Westminster Abbey church. In 974, Ednoth, a Monk of Winchester, superintended the erection of Romsay Abbey church. From 977-81, Aelfric, Abbot of Malmesbury, is said to have been skilful in architecture.

There is a charter of King Aethelred of the year 994 which describes the Deity in Masonic terms as "Governor of the bright pole and Architect of the great ethereal design . . . .of the world, unexpressibly placing in order the Fabric." Another of King Canute uses the same preface.13 The paucity of Anglo-Saxon remains prevents our dealing largely with their Masonic Symbolism. There is, however, a bronze seal of Aelfric Duke of Mercia, 992, with the legend "{+} Zigillum Aelfrici {symbol, a "T" above two "X's" abutted to form a crossed-pair of chevrons, one chevron inverted.}," thus placing the cross, and the square and compasses in juxtaposition.14 De Caumont mentions a sarcophagus, of this period, which bears a cross within a circle, and two levels placed sideways.

With the close of the year 1000 A.D. a great impulse was given to church building, as a feeling prevailed that this year would see the end of the world. When the panic had passed the Christian nations in thankfulness began building. The Danes had caused great havoc in this country, and especially at York, and had even revived heathen rites, which Canute proclaimed in the year 1030. There is no reason to suppose that these wars extinguished the building fraternities, and Canute in 1020 erected a stone Minster at Assingdon, and also repaired the Minsters throughout England, as we are informed by William of Malmesbury. Leofric Earl of Coventry, circa 1050, built the Abbey of that City and 12 pious houses. King Edward the Confessor rebuilt Westminster Abbey, devoting to the work a tenth of all his substance. Of this reign there was a curious inscription at Kirkdale, W.R. Yorkshire, which says that Orin, son of Gemel, rebuilt the {266} church; Chelittle was architect, assisted by Howard and Brand the Priest. Yorkshire being strong in the Danish element, Mason's Marks are often Runic letters.

Remains of Saxon architecture yet exist in the churches of Jarrow; Monkwearmouth (both Biscop's 681); at Repton, Co. Derby (875); Ripon, Hexham, York (in Crypts); Earls Barton, and Barnick, Co. Northampton; Barton on Humber; Sompting, Co. Sussex; Caversfield; Deerhurst, Brixworth, etc. It is well known that the Tower of Babel was one of the most ancient traditions of Masonry, and there is an old Saxon MS. which represents it in course of erection with the Saxon pick, and on the top step of a very tall ladder is the Master Mason giving the hailing sign of a Craftsman yet used, whilst behind him, on the same level, is the angel with drawn sword; a copy of it in Cassells' History of England, of the year 1901, can readily be examined. It is said that the keep of Arundel Castle dates from Saxon times, but the chief entrance is a fine Norman doorway.

Mr. James Ferguson says that in these times the working bands of Masons served under Bishop, Abbot, or Priest, and this continued down to the 13th century. In travelling from one place to another their costume was a short black, or grey, tunic open at the sides, to which a gorget, or cowl or hood was attached; round the waist was a leathern girdle from which depended a short, heavy sword, and a leathern satchel. Over the tunic they wore a black scapulary, similar to that worn by the priests, which they tucked up under the girdle when working. They had large straw or felt hats; tight leather breeches, and long boots. Attached to the Monasteries were "Oblali," who were usually received as Monks, acted as serving brothers of the Masons, and whose costume was similar to the travelling Masons, but without the cowl.

Owing to the fact that modern Free Masonry has always looked to the North of England as its Mecca, inasmuch so that last century its system was denominated "Ancient" York Masonry in opposition to the Grand {267} Lodge of England organised in 1717, which was termed "Modern," we will retrace a little in respect to this division of the old Saxon Heptarchy, which bore the name of Deira, and extended from Humber to Forth, save the Western half which was the Kingdom of the Stratchclyde Britons. It was these two portions which continued to form the centre of Culdee influence, the capital of Deira being York, and the centre of Ancient Masonry.

The city of York possesses numerous remains of the Roman occupation, which the early Christians converted to the use of the Church. The Monastery of the Begging Friars is known to have been a temple dedicated to the Egyptian Serapis, and we have already mentioned the inscription to Serapis discovered at Toft Green in 1770. In this City the British Legionaries, on the death of Constantius Chlorus, raised his son Constantine, surnamed the Great, on their shields, and proclaimed him Emperor 25th July, 306. The Culdee King Arthur is believed to have occupied and repaired it in 522.

It is considered that the Crypt of York Minster affords evidence of the progress of Masonry from Brito-Roman times to Saxon occupation. The Crypt has a Mosaic pavement of blue and white tiles, laid after the form used in the 1st Degree of Masonry; it shews the sites of three stone altars and such triplication was of Egyptian derivation; but these stone altars are also said to have had seats which were used by the Master and his Wardens who met here, after the manner related by Synesius of the Priests of Egypt, as a sacred and secret place, during the construction of the edifice. It is known that the Craft occasionally met in this Crypt during last century, and the alleged Masonic custom of meeting in Crypts elsewhere is no doubt founded in fact.

As the Christian worship at York was of Culdee origin, so the veneration paid to Mistletoe was derived from the Druids. The learned Brother Dr. Wm. Stukeley has this passage in his "Medallic History of Carducius": "The {268} custom is still preserved, and lately at York on the eve of Christmas Day they carry mistletoe to the high altar of the Cathedral and proclaim a public and universal liberty, pardon, and freedom to all sorts of inferior and even wicked people at the gates of the city towards the four quarters of heaven."

It follows from what we have seen that the Roman Collegia and the Mysteries of Serapis existed side by side at York, and amongst the members of these it is no improbable thing to suppose -- after the close connection which we have shewn to have existed in Egypt -- that there were Brito-Romish Christians who established the Culdee fraternities at York, before the days of Constantius Chlorus, about 2 1/2 centuries before King Arthur was in possession of the city, and that these Culdees influenced the Masonic Collegia, and the same remark equally applies to other cities of the time; and though there is no absolute proof that York was the first centre of Culdee influence in the North, yet everything lends itself to that supposition. Every circumstance gives weight to the statements of the old Northern Constitutions of Masonry, that, as Associates in Geometry, it was of Greco-Roman derivation from Egypt; and that when it was thought fit to reorganise the Fraternity of Artisans, the Craft produced MSS. in Greek, Latin, and British, which it is said were "found to be all one "; and through this descent we reach those Sodalites which studied in Symbols, Geometry, Science, and Theosophy in their home at Alexandria.

When we examine the MSS. which embody the ancient Laws of Freemasonry we find that their historical statements and organisation are as much in agreement as their ceremonies were, with the Arcane and Mystic schools. Nor is this to be wondered at since the Culdee Monks were equally Serapians, Christians, and the Schoolmasters who taught science and religion to the people. As the Colleges of Artisans, which were introduced by the Romans as early as 46 A.D., ceased to exist in the lapse {269} of years, if ever they did cease to exist, which is very improbable, the members became attached to the Culdee Monasteries and transmitted, through this alliance, their traditional art secrets, and as the priests had their own version of the ancient Mysteries, they understood that which the Masonic MSS. imply.

It is an historical fact that the early Culdee priests were sometimes educated in Rome, and that they were converted Druidical Initiates; generally speaking it must have been so. Toland says that in Ireland, Columba, the follower of St. Patrick, converted the Druidical Sanctuaries into Christian Monasteries.15 He also provides us with a theory to explain the preservation of the Masonic Constitutions in rhyme in this, that with the absorption of Druidism, which was prohibited by Rome, into Christianity, it was found necessary to frame new Regulations for the Bards and Minstrels. Accordingly in 537 an assembly was held at Drumcat in modern Londonderry, at which was present the King Ammerius, Aidus King of Scotland, and the Culdee Columba, when it was resolved that, for the preservation of learning, the Kings and every Lord of a Cantred or Hundred, should have a Bard, and that schools should be endowed under the supervision of the Arch- poet of the King.16 Thierry17 states that when Northumberland, Cumberland, and Westmorland, circa 1138, formed part of Scotland, the Anglo-Saxon traditions were preserved by the Minstrels, and that from thence the old English poetry, although obsolete in places inhabited by the Normans, again made itself heard in a later age.

The oldest version of the Constitutional Charges is in poetical form, and was first printed by Mr. James Orchard Halliwell, who considers it to be a copy written in the latter part of the 14th century. Recently a copy has been printed in fine facsimile, with a most valuable Commentary by Brother Robert Freke Gould, P.M. 2076, who conferred upon it its present name of "Regius MS." He {270} adduces strong evidence for our belief that this version of Masonry may have been patronised by the Culdee Monks of York, and that the system actually dates from the time of Edwin King of Deira, who was converted to Christianity in the year 626 and for whose baptism a small church or Oratory was constructed of wood, completed by St. Oswald in 642, and repaired by Bishop Wilfrid in 669.

The Culdee Alcuin, surnamed Flaccus and also Albinus, was engaged with Eanbald under Aldbhert, who became Archbishop, in the rebuilding of York Minster of stone between the years 760 and 780. Alcuin and Eanbald made some journeys to the continent together, and on one occasion at least to Rome, between the years 762 and 766, in search of books and other knowledge, and it was in the year 766-7 that Aldbhert became Archbishop, and converted Alcuin from a Layman into an ordained Deacon. Two years before his death in 788 the Archbishop created Eanbald Coadjutor Bishop, and gave to Alcuin the charge of his schools, and the now renowned library.

When Alcuin went to France and became the friend and tutor of Charlemagne it would seem that French Masonry would interlace with that of the North of England. Charlemagne was crowned a King in the year 754, hut his father King Pepin lived until 768; and when Alcuin speaks, as he does, "of the temple at Aachen which is being constructed by the art of the most wise Solomon," he is paying a compliment to his friend Charlemagne; and again in his treatise "De animae ratione" for the King's cousin Gundrede he also compares him for wisdom to Solomon. Hence it seems to be possible that Alcuin might have some knowledge of a Solomonian Masonry, and the Moslems then were, or had been, occupying the South of France. It is a curious fact that the receptions into the Vehm, founded by Charlemagne, embraces all the salient points of Masonic reception, though the aims of the two Societies were so dissimilar; {271} and this must be considered in estimating German Masonic receptions.

The ancient Monasteries possessed a "book of gestures," by which they could converse by signs. The Trappists in Africa use it at this day. The Masons of old seem to have had a knowledge of this.

We have every just reason to believe that a Masonic organisation was thus early in existence, and that it was ratified and sanctioned by King Athelstan, who now ruled all England from Winchester to Edwinsburg, now called Edinburgh; and who visited York in the year 933, and again in 937, conferring great privileges upon Beverley and Ripon of which Saxon charters, in rhyme, are produced; he also enriched the Coldei, as they are then termed at York, where they were acting as the priests of St. Peter's, and where they continued until they were relegated to St. Leonard's Hospital by the Bastard to make room for Norman clerics at St. Peter's. According to this poetical Constitution, Athelstan, in order to remedy divers defects which existed in the organisation of Craft Geometry or Masonry, invited all the Men of Craft to come to him with their Council: --

"Asemble thenne he cowthe let make,

Of dyvers lordes yn here state,

Dukys, Erlys, and barnes also,

Knyzthys, squyers, and mony mo,

And the grete burges of that syte,

They were there alle yn here degree."

The details of this poetical MS. is confirmed by a prose copy attached to a more modern historical version in a MS. written before the year 1450, and which is known to have been in possession of Grand Master Payne in 1721, and which was first printed in 1868 by Brother Matthew Cooke and is hence termed the "Cooke MS." A very precise examination of this MS. has been made by Brother G. W. Speth in a Commentary which he has issued with a facsimile, as well as the MS. itself, in book form bound in oak-boards, which Brother W. J. Hughan {272} has justly described as a "gem." Brother Speth has clearly demonstrated that this MS. is a copy made about 1450 by a later writer than the original compiler. The first part is a Preface drawn by the author from various histories, Masonic traditions and charges, and is of a later period than the Saxon Charges. To this Preface has been attached an actual copy of the most ancient "Book of the Charges." With some slight differences; which we will note from time to time, the poetical "Regius MS.," and the closing "Book of Charges" of the "Cooke MS." are in substantial agreement, and either might well be the original of the other. The prose version of the composition of Athelstan's Assembly is not so ornate as that of the poetical, but informs us that "for grete defaut founde amongst Masons" he ordained "bi his counsellers and other greter lordys of the londe, bi comyn assent," a certain rule. A number of such old MSS. tells us that Athelstan granted a charter to hold such Assembly to his son Edwin, and although Athelstan had no son of the name, he had a younger brother Edwin, whom he is accused, on very insufficient evidence, of having caused to be drowned in 933; Mabillon says, on equally doubtful evidence, that this Edwin was received into the Benedictine Monastery of Bath in 944 18

It has been recently held by Brother R. F. Gould, in a paper of 1892 upon the nature of the Masonic General Assemblies that it may refer, not to a grant of their own Masonic right of Assembly by Athelstan, but to the Saxon Court-leets, Shire-motes, Folc-motes, or Hundred Courts of the Sheriffs. The author of this theory grounds it chiefly upon that part of the MSS., which we have already quoted, in regard to the great Lords forming part of the Masonic Assembly. But such argument can amount to no more than this, that the writers of these documents attribute the grant of the right of Masonic Assembly by Athelstan at a meeting of the Witenagemote; and that the Masonic Assemblies were held, or supposed to be held, {273} in similar form to the Folcomtes, and they were in fact, a Court of this nature, confined strictly to Masonic affairs. Probably Athelstan sanctioned the Masters' "Articles" in a Council of Nobles, and the Masonic Council added the "Points" to govern Craftsmen. The nature of the Constitutions, thus alleged to be sanctioned, describe an organisation which is out of harmony with what we might expect to find in Norman times, or at any period to which we might assign it after the 12th century. The Athelstan grant of Masonic Assembly was held for admitting Fellows, and Passing Masters, whilst, on the other hand, the French Masons had their "Masters' Fraternities" to which none were admited without much difficulty. It has also been suggested by Brothers Speth, Rylands, and Begemann that the Masonic Assemblies may have been held on the same day as the Witenagemote to assure an appeal to the Sheriff if necessary.

In regard to the origin of the poetical Constitution which is termed the "Regius MS.," there is good reason for believing that it was handed down in rhyme in the Kingdom of Northumbria until it was committed to writing in some other part of England; and that it was intended for a Guild or Assembly of Speculative brethren consisting of Artisans of all descriptions connected with buildings, and admitting Clerics and Esquires; for moral addresses suited to all these classes are strung together in the same MS. Dr. Begemann considers from the language that the copy was made in North Chester, Hereford, or Worcestershire. In other words, it is addressed to, and for, an Assembly similar to the imitation made by our present Grand Lodges. Charters of privileges were given by the Norman Bishops of Durham, to a class of people, who must have long existed, called "Hali-werkfolc"; for the name being Saxon they were clearly pre-Norman work folk. The late Brother William Hutchinson, of Barnard Castle, tells us that, in 1775, he had several Charters alluding to these people, and gives the preamble of one, granted about 1100 by the then Bishop of Durham, {274} which is addressed to both "Franci et Hali-werk folc." This writer believes that the class were Speculative Masons, and he instances a branch connected with the old Culdee Shrine of St. Cuthbert, and if his views were accepted, it would give good grounds on which to assume the connection of this fraternity with the poem.

It is worthy of note that the Culdee system existed in Scotland for some centuries after the Norman Conquest, nor does it then seem to have been extinct in Ireland. The continuation of the name of the Templars in Scotland ages after its suppression in France, is probably owing to the continuance of Culdee heresy. The Monastery of Brechin, as Mr. Cosmo Innes points out, existed in the time of David I., the promoter of Royal Burghs, 1123-53, and that after the erection of the Episcopal See, the old Culdee Convent became the electoral chapter of the new Bishopric; the Abbot of Brechin was secularised, and transmitted to his children the lands which his predecessors had held for the church; and one of these, in the time of William the Lion, made a grant of lands to the monks at Arbroath.19 Now the seal of Arbroath has a design which has been taken to refer to the secret Initiation of the Culdees: a priest stands before an altar with a long staff in his right hand, upon the upper part of which is "IO," the top forming a cross; before the altar kneels a scantily clothed man with something in his hand, he might be swearing upon a relic; three other persons are present, of whom two are brandishing swords. An antagonistic theory is that the seal represents the murder of Thomas a Beckett. All we will say here is that it is a very fair representation of the former view, and a very poor one of the latter; and that, in consonance with the times, it may have a double meaning. Sir James Dalrymple says that the Culdees kept themselves together in Scotland until the beginning of the 14th century, and resisted the whole power of the primacy.

"Constitutional Charges." We will now make a slight {275} examination of what we will call the Athelstan Constitution, as it appears in the Regius MS., at times quoting the version of the Cooke MS. The former includes much ornate comment, which is given more soberly in the latter, but essentially the two documents are one. Both consist of two series of Charges for "two Classes," and a final ordinance. These, in both MSS., are preceded by a simple history of the mode in which Euclid organised the fraternity in Egypt, and the regulations by which Athelstan ensured a more perfect system. The first series of Charges in the Regius MS. are 15, called ARTICLES, and concern the duties of a MASTER to his Prentices, Fellows, and their Lords or employers. The second series of Charges are called POINTS, and arrange the duties of CRAFTSMEN to their Master and to each other. In the Cooke MS. these "Articles and Points" have exactly the same bearing but are each divided into 9 in place of 15. The closing part of the Regius MS. is headed "Other Ordinances," and refers to the grant of a right of Assembly by Athelstan and the duties it had to discharge; but a comparison with the Cooke MS. might suggest that this portion is misplaced and should precede the Articles and Points, though in another point of view it might be taken to be a later addition, and to prove the much greater antiquity of the "Regius," as having a history settled before the grant of the Assembly. In the Cooke MS. the last thing is Charges to "New Men that never were charged before," which looks like a more ancient form of the Points, but in the Regius MS. this part constitutes the closing Points of a Craftsman, and is concluded in a very characteristic way. It personates Athelstan himself, and is held to have the very ring of the original grant; and is a record of that King's assent to.all that has been related: --

"These Statutes that y have hyr y fonde,

Y chulle they ben holde throuzh my londe,

For the worshe of my rygolte

That y have by my dygnyte." {276}

Athelstan built several castles in Northumberland, and there yet exists a family of the name of Roddam of Roddam who claim their lands under the following Charter, and there is actually no greater improbability in the one than in the other: --20

"I Konig Athelstane,

giffe heir to Paulane,

Oddiam and Roddam,

als gude and als fair,

als ever ye mine ware,

ann yair to witness Maud my wife."

Following the Regius Constitution we have a later section devoted to moral duties and etiquette. It begins with the legend of the "Quatuor Coronati," four "holy martyrs that in this Craft were of great honour," Masons and sculptors of the best. The church legend relates that they were Christians who were employed in sculpture, and always wrought with prayer in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, after signing with the cross, and their skill was so great that the Philosophers attributed it to the mysterious words of art magic. Diocletian gave them the option of worshipping the Pagan gods, which they refused to do, and were put to death circa 290, and the Catholic Church canonised them as the "Four Crowned Martyrs." After this they came to be acknowledged as Patrons of the building trades, and as such are found in the Strasburg, English, Lombard, and other Constitutions. They are respectively represented with axe, hammer, mallet, compasses and square; sometimes wearing crowns; at times a dog is represented with them.

Attached to the Regius Constitutions are two other documents intended to complete the instruction in moral duties, begun in the legend just related; the first of them is equally found in a MS. entitled "Instruction to Parish Priests," and concerns behaviour at church; the closing part of this portion is found in another MS. termed "Urbanitatis," and refers to the general behaviour of {277} young persons, whether Artisans or Esquires; MSS. of these two latter portions, as old as 1450 are found separately, but their actual origin is unknown, and it is supposed that they may have had Norman originals. The motto of William of Wykeham was "Manners makyth man," and line 726 has "Gode maneres maken a mon." Between the legend of the Four Martyrs and the other documents is a portion which has the appearance of being imperfect, but which refers to the building of Babylon and Euclid's tuition in the seven liberal arts and sciences; it is a part of the matter forming the Preface to the "Book of Charges" in the Cooke MS., so that it is possible there was a MS., now lost, from which the writers of these two documents respectively copied additions. In any case both these MSS. are but copies of older documents, both have many imperfections attributable to the copyists, and which prove that they were but copyists.

In both MSS. again, these Constitutions clearly prove that there was a recognised Euclid Charge, who is termed "Englet" in the prose copy; that these Charges were ratified by Athelstan; and the value which the ancient Masons attached to these Charges is proved by the general agreement which exists between two diverse documents, treated in a dissimilar manner, and no doubt used in parts distant from each other. Both documents equally allude to Masters as a degree of the General or Heptarchial, or provincial Assembly, both assert that a Congregation might be made every year or third year, as they would; there is mention also of Elders, and the "principal of the gathering "; and both equally profess to give the Laws as transmitted from Egypt, and sanctioned by Athelstan.

The Regius MS., 12th Point, says that at these Assemblies: --

"Ther schul be maystrys and felows also,

And other grete lordes many mo;

Ther schal be the Scheref of that contre

And also the meyer of that syte,

Knyztes and sqwyres ther schul be,

And other aldermen, as ye schul se." {278} The prose MS. has it, "if need be, the Scheriffe of the countie, or the Mayer of the Cyte, or Alderman of the towne in which the congregacon is holden schall be felaw and sociat of the Master of the congregacon in helpe of him agenst rebelles." That is the Sheriff and Mayor were to be called to support the Master's authority. This prose version also mentions the "Maister who is principal of the gadering." Also, that "Congregacons scholde be maide by "Maisters" of all "Maisters Masons" and "Felaus" in the foresaide art. And so at such congregacons thei that be mad Masters schall be examined of the Articuls after written and be ransakyed whether thei be abull and kunnynge to the profyte of the lordys them to serue and to the honour of the forsaide art."

From this it is clear, and we shall see it more plainly as we proceed, that after the accepted Fellow had developed his architectural knowledge it was the province of the Congregation, Assembly, or Chapter, to examine into his competency for Mastership, to swear him to his special "Articles," and, according to traditional custom, to Pass him by a ceremony which gave him certain signs, tokens, and words, which enabled him to prove his capacity wherever his travels might carry him. That is to say, not actually to Install him a Master of Work, but to enable him, as was the main object of such Tokens, to shew that he was a Passed Master; for the Assembly considered it to be its duty to see that the Craft and Art of Masonry was not dishonoured by ignorant pretenders. In actual practice, both in this country and on the continent, the Master had to execute an approved task, or piece of work, or "Master piece," as evidence of his ability. In London in 1356 there was a dispute of such nature between two classes of Masons, when the very authorities cited in these Constitutions, namely, the Aldermen, Sheriffs, &c., arranged the difficulty by a law that any Mason taking work in contract should bring "Six or four ancient men of his trade," to testify to his ability to complete it. In the laws of the Haupt Hutte of Strasburg, {279) which though of the 15th century must reproduce much older laws, and which resemble our own, it is enacted that they might be altered by "three or four" masters of work, when met together in Chapter; and we find that a Craftsman or Fellow, who served but five years in place of the English seven, could not be made a Parlirer or Foreman until as a Journeyman he had made one year's tour of the country, in order to increase his proficiency. Such duties the Regius MS. gives in Norman-French as "Cure," and later they are designated Wardens' duties; in Guild Rites sworn officers.

It would seem from what has passed that originally the Fellows and Masters met together in Assembly, but the time came when the Masters met by themselves quarterly, as Findel shows in regard to Germany, whilst the Fellows met monthly. There the Masters' Fraternities were presided over by an "Old Master," and the Fellows by an "Old Fellow."

In addition to what has been described it was in the power of the General Assembly to overlook the Liberal Art of Masonry, regulate it, reward merit, and punish irregularities. It would also appoint officers until the next "Gathering," and fix contributions. Brother R. F. Gould has disinterred an old 16th century reference to the Guild of Minstrels, which alleges that they had met annually at Beverley, for that purpose, from the day's of King Athelstan; the similar claims of Masons may be valid, though we have access at present to no records, to prove that the Masonic Assembly met annually at York, or elsewhere, beyond what we find in the Laws of the government, and the assertions of old Masonic MSS.

In the Regius MS. we have the following account of the divisions of the Society by Euclid: --

"Mayster y-called so schulde he be." For: --

"To hym that was herre yn this degre

That he schulde teche the symplyst of wytte." Again: --

"Uchon schulle calle others felows by cuthe,

For cause they come of ladyes burthe." {280} Now the Cooke MS. had not to accommodate itself to the metre, and may be supposed to give the same thing in closer conformity to the original document. Speaking of the Constitution granted by Enclid to Egyptians it says: "Bi a serteyn time they were not all ilike abull to take of the forseyd art. Wherefore the foresayde Maister Englet ordeynet thei (that) were passing of conynge scholde be passing honoured. And 'ded to call the conynge Maister for to enforme the lesse of counynge Maisters of the wiche were called Masters of nobilitie of wytte and conynge of that art. Nevertheless thei commanded that thei that were lass of witte scholde not be called seruantes nor sozette but felaus ffor nobilite of their gentylle blode."

We learn at least from this that a "dual" system was instituted, which finds its equivalent in the lesser and greater Mysteries, for what we find similar in Rites, between these bodies, extends to organisation, and we see it composed of the noble or Knowing Masters, and the less knowing. Fellows -- craftsmen, or journeymen -- and we begin to see why the Masters' Articles make mention only of that rank, and the Craftsmens' Points apply only to those subordinate to the Masters. The two MSS. distinctly tell us that both the Masters and the Prentices were to term the Craftsmen their Fellows. It is evident that the Apprentices had no call to the Assembly, but we shall soon see what their status actually was. They may possibly have been sworn in private Lodges of journeymen, and certainly for about 2 1/2 centuries it has been considered that the Charge of the prose MS. to "New Men that never were sworn before," referred to them.

The two MSS. are again in entire conformity in the following Regius extract. The first Article of the Masters' orders says: --

"The Mayster Mason must be ful securly,

Both steadfast, trusty, and trewe,

Hyt schal him never then arewe,

And pay thy felows after the coste." {281} But the 6th Article distinctly specifies "three" grades of payment: --

"That the Mayster do the lord no pregedysse,

To take of the lord for his "prenfysse,"

Als much as hys "felows" don in all vysse,

For yn that Craft they ben ful perfyt,

So ys not he ze mowe sen hyt."

The Article, however, goes on to enact that the Master may give a "deserving Apprentice" higher wages than a less perfect one. Such an one was no doubt at times accepted in the Assembly before the expiry of his seven years; and there was a similar custom in the Arcane Schools, for Iamblichus (ci., vi., p. 22) tells us it was a custom of the Pythagoreans that "the Novitiate of five years was abridged to those who attained sooner to perfection." It is yet a custom in some countries that when an Apprentice applies to be made a Fellow Freemason, he requests "augmentation of salary."

We will now follow on to that class of Masons who had not been passed as Masters, or who were employed under a Master of Work. These rules are called "Points" and here also the poetical and prose MSS. are in perfect accord. They enforce Brotherly-love as fully as did the ancient Society of Pythagoras. The first Point says: --

"That whoso wol conne thys craft and come to astate,

He must love wel God, and holy church algate,

And his Master also, that he hys wythe,

Whether it be in fieid or frythe,

And thy felows thou love also." The third Point enjoins secrecy in regard to all he may see or hear: --

"The prevyste of the Chamber tell he no mon,

Ny yn the logge whatsoever they done,

Whatsever thou heryst, or syste him do,

Tell it no mon, whersever thou go,

The cownsel of halle, and zeke of bowre,

Kepe hyt wel to gret honoure." {282} The fourth Point is as conclusive as to degrees as was the Masters' Articles: --

"Ny no pregedysse he schal not do,

To hys "Mayster," ny his "fellosw" also,

And thazth the "prentis" be under awe." The seventh Point is a law against unchaste conduct with a Master's wife, daughter, sister, or concubine, which we mention here because it assigns a penalty, which confirms what we have said, that a deserving Apprentice might be made free of his craft before the expiry of seven years, and in this case it implies a secret or traditional regulation; for the crime specified the penalty is: --

"The payne thereof let hyt be ser,

That he be prentes full seven zer." The eighth Point alludes to the duty of a Cure or Warden: --

"A true medyater thou most nede be,

To thy Mayster and thy felows fre." The ninth Point concerns Stewards of "our halle," and has evident reference to the Charges of Euclid with which the MS. commences: --

"Lovelyche to serven uchon othur,

As thawgh they were syster and brother." The later Points are not numbered as such in the prose MS., but follow its ninth Point as unnumbered laws. The 12th is of "gret Royalte," and at the Assembly: --

"Ther schul be Maystrys and felows also,

And other grete lordes many mo." The fourteenth Point tells us that the Fellow had to be sworn. As the Assembly had two series of laws for Masters and Fellows, it is quite evident that they had authority over two ranks, besides the Apprentice; and hence the Grand Lodge of England from its revival in 1717, down to 1725, claimed like power over the degrees of Masters and Fellows, thus treating the majority of the subordinate bodies as if Apprentice Lodges. This 14th Point says: --

"A good trewe oathe he must there swere,

To hys Mayster and hys felows that ben there." {283} The fifteenth Point is a Penal law made against the rebellious and these Statutes close with a confirmation, claiming to be that of Athelstan.

Now although it must be admitted that these ancient Constitutions are exoteric in character, and do not make it a part of their business to settle the work of degrees, in their esoteric aspect, which it left to the ancient traditional mode; yet what does appear is in perfect affinity to a similar system of degrees such as we possess, and with oaths, ceremonials, and secrets for these. As there was an examination, ending in an Oath, there must of necessity have been some ceremony, and in its proper place we will give evidence much older than this copy, that the Craft had its secrets, signs, and watchwords and a president whom they swore to obey. Certificates were not in use at this early date, and in common with the Arcane Schools these secrets did duty for a certificate, and proved as well the degree of skill a Mason possessed; in more ancient times such Rites and symbolic instruction had a higher value than a mere formula by which to recognise each other. Apart from trade secrets there was another reason for great secrecy as to Masonic Rites in the fact that whilst the Christian Emperors of Rome were destroying the Arcane Schools and hounding them to death, the protection of the Masonic art was necessary to the glorification of the Church -- and each sought to protect themselves.

There is no doubt that these ancient traditional Rites, which were originally the type of an ancient religion, would vary with circumstances, the convenience of time and place, and the members of the Lodge. In the very early times of the Society, the Apprentice had no ceremony, until, with time, he merited to become a Fellow. The esoteric Ritual of the Assembly was then dual, but there is evidence in modern times that the Apprentice was sworn to a Charge. In very extensive buildings where the Lodge was numerous, -- and we read of some embracing from hundreds to thousands of workmen; the {284} Apprentice would be sworn, and the chief Master's Fellows would come to include two divisions: Some who had been Passed as "Noble Masters" would take employment on such works as Journeymen, and we should thus find in the same Lodge, sworn Fellows, and Masters, under a sole Worshipful Master of Work, or the system we have to-day in our Lodges, but without the ancient technical knowledge.

Though these Constitutions had other legends tacked on to them in Norman times, and to which we shall refer in our next chapter, the Anglo-Saxon Masons must have considered them as the time-immemorial Charter of their privileges, even down to the 14th century. They were the authority under which they continued to hold Assemblies, the existence of which is vouched by the laws which the State made to suppress them. We have seen that the meetings were held under a president, who had power to swear Freed-Apprentices or Passed Fellows, and in due course to examine and pass these as Masters if fully competent. Besides the tokens by which they could prove their rank, they had a system of Marks to indicate their property and workmanship; it is alleged there was even a double system, evidenced in this, that as a Stone Cutter possessed a Mark for his work, and the Master one for his approval; traces are claimed to exist where, at a later period, the stone-cutter's Mark comes to be used as the Master's symbol of approbation. Brother Chetwode Crawley, LL.D., draws attention to this, that during the centuries when the Masonic Association was in full operation, Arabic numerals and therefore modern arithmetic was unknown, and calculations could only be made by aid of the Roman notation; hence the traditions and secret rules of geometry were all important to the Craft, and made it essential that Masons should be geometers. Mr. Cox finds that the design or tracing-boards of various old buildings are grounded upon the five-pointed Star of Freemasonry, and on the Pythagorean problem of a modern past-Master, with its ratio of 3, 4, {285} 5, or the multiples thereof as 6, 8, IO, and this was especially a Guild secret of construction.

The MSS. upon which we have been commenting represent the best days of the Saxon Craft; with the Norman Conquest came over French Masons in large numbers; and we may see between the lines, a subtle struggle between antagonistic systems, and possibly much of the secrecy of Masonry that existed throughout the centuries down to 1717, may be owing to this; and to the fact that the Saxon Mason was assigned a subordinate position. There can be no doubt that at the comparative late date when these two MSS. were written there were Masons in various parts who still clung to the Athelstan constitution. On the other hand the Anglo-Norman Kings, 1350-60, were passing Ordinances and laws, against "all alliances, covines, congregations, chapters, ordinances and oaths," amongst Masons and other artisans. These laws were endorsed by others in 1368, 1378, 1414, and 1423. They seem, however, to have affected very little the Masonic Assemblies, and in 1425 a law was passed to specially prohibit Masons from assembling in Chapters; even this law remained a dead letter on the Statute book; but it is from about this period that the Saxon system passes entirely into disuse. In this contest between the alleged Saxon right of Assembly, and the objections of the Anglo-Norman rulers to meetings held without a Charter, we see the necessity that existed for the Masons to submit their Constitutional Charges to the reigning Sovereigns, as they had been commanded by Athelstan to do, from King to King; indeed Acts were passed in 1389 and 1439 ordering the officers of Guilds and Fraternities to show their Patents to the neighbouring Justices for their approval, but it does not seem clear whether other is meant than the Chartered Livery Companies.

It has been previously mentioned that in these two priceless documents which have all the marks of a genuine Saxon transmission, there is not one word which leads us to suppose that the members of the Society thus {286} formed had an idea that their forefathers had wrought at the building of Solomon's temple; and it is impossible to suppose that if the ceremonies then in use had referred to such a circumstance all reference thereto would have been omitted from the Constitution.

The language in which these documents are couched is Christian, of a liberal but perfectly orthodox cast. Christian churches could only be symbolically constructed, with Christian symbolism, by Masons practising Christian Rites, and the priests would have been ready enough to burn any Mason that supported the Talmud; we have an instance of this intolerance in the destruction of the Templars in the year 1310-13. This is a question of simple historical fact in which we need have no bias either one way or the other. All Masonic tradition is opposed to uniformity of Rites, and in France, from the earliest times, we find three opposing schools whose ceremonies may be broadly classed as Trinitarian and Monotheistic rites.

When we consider that the Masons of pre-conquest times were not subordinated to those of France, we should not expect uniform Rites in the two countries and when we examine the MSS. of the former and the latter it is clear that such did not exist. In France itself no such uniformity existed; coming down side by side, shrouded in secrecy for centuries, there existed three sections denominated the "Compagnonage" formed of artizans generally and not confined to Masons, and it is altogether an error to suppose that the most ancient Saxon fraternity was confined to workers in stone, they included all men who used Geometry in their trade, as the MSS. themselves inform us. Besides these, at an early period, probably much earlier but at least co-eval with the Norman conquest of England, there existed in France Master's fraternities of an essentially Christian character attached to some church, and to the support of which Fellows and Apprentices had to contribute. As a Sodality the Council of Rouen in 1189, and of Avignon {287} 1326, recorded their disapprobation, against their signs, their oaths, and their obedience to a President. The English laws of the Norman Kings followed this prohibition, Scotland followed suit, and it is not improbable that this circumstance led to the chartering of Livery Companies in England, and Incorporations in Scotland.

"The French Sects." The three divisions of the French Compagnonage became chiefly journeymen, and for a period of over 500 years were in mutual dissension, and at times even at actual war, when many lives were lost. These are, were, and still are, -- (1) the "Children of Master Jacques," which is represented in Anglo-Saxon Christian Masonry; (2) the "Sons of Solomon," classed with our present system; and it is quite possible they may derive a Semitic system from Spain in very early times for the Moslems were in possession in the South until Martel expelled them; (3) the "Children of Father Sonbise "who were chiefly Carpenters, as many of the most early builders must have been, and whose name is supposed to have some affinity with Sabazios, one of the names of Bacchus or Dionysos. Each of these Sections had their own peculiar ceremonies in which is the drama of an assassination, all somewhat similar but apparently arranged in such manner as to cast odium on their opponents. One peculiarity is that the Members assume the name of some animal, and branches are known as wolves, werewolves, dogs, foxes, which reminds us of the masks of criminals worn in the religious Mysteries of Greece and Egypt, and we saw that the sun was compared to a wolf in the Mysteries of Bacchus. Brother Gould has expressed an opinion that the Carpenters were the oldest association, the followers of Jacques the town association, and the Sons of Solomon the privileged corporations that set out from the Monasteries, after the crusades, when architecture became a lay occupation. It is perhaps as probable, though not irreconcilable with thls view, that the sects arose out of the successive developments of civil, sacred, and military architecture. Brother {288} F. F. Schnitger expresses an opinion that the Masons belonging to a "Domus" (civil) were unfree; those attached to the Castle of a Lord would be "glebae proscripti" (military); and that it would only be the travelling church Masons (sacred), free to work anywhere that would be actual Free Masons, and that these would be likely to have different ceremonies, even if the two first-named were allowed any.

The probabilities are exceeding strong in France for the transmission of old Roman Rites, and the Fraternities would seem to possess traditions or customs common to the Gnostics and Saracens. Like the Manichees they reverence the reed and like the Dervish sects they allege the receipt of a Charge by the act of receiving some particular garment of the Master; thus one received his Cap, another his Mantle, and a third his girdle; the same is alleged in the Moslem sects. It is a rite or claim that has the appearance of derivation, though possibly from an ancient common source, and would scarcely arise accidentally.

In the legend of Master Jacques, that personage is slain by the followers of Soubise. The "Sons of Solomon" have a relation in regard to the death of Hiram, or Adoniram the collector of tribute to Solomon and Rheoboam, who was slain by the incensed people, and the account relates that his body was found by a dog; this sect claims a direct Charge from King Solomon and admits all religions without question in contradistinction to the other sects which require their members to be orthodox. Perdiguer says of its Initiation, that "in it are crimes and punishments."

In reference to the cause of the ill feeling between the sects the legends vary. One account carries back this hostility to a period when a section placed themselves under the patronage of Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of Templars 1308-1310, and immediately before the destruction of that Order by Philip le Bel. Another account attributes these dissensions to the time of a Jacques Molar, who is said to be the builder in 1402 of {289} the towers of Orleans Cathedral; the Sons of Solomon refused to labour with the children of Jacques, struck work and fled, and the strong arm of the law had to be requisitioned. It looks like the quarrels of an ordinary trade-union whether occurring in 1308 or 1402. If the Jacques Molar version is historical it is possible that some of the Sons of Solomon may have left that Society and joined an already existing fraternity of Jacques, thus adding a building programme to the many already represented in that fraternity. The traditions would seem to possess the same reliability as our own Masonic legends; and the one tends to prove the antiquity of the other; for as the Compagnonage and English Masonry, have each their ceremonies, degrees, oaths, and tokens of recognition, they have had a derivation in common, for there has been no alliance between the two at any period.

In regard to Rites the "Children of Master Jacques" admit only Roman Catholics, and say that they "accept Jacques as their mortal father and Christ as their spiritual father," and adopt the sensible maxim that "whilst Solomon founded them, other men modified them and that they live under the laws of these last." We have endeavoured, however imperfectly, to shew what Anglo-Saxon Masonry was, and consider this system to assimilate with it; and we must bear in mind that the Continent was much indebted to this country at one time, thus Diocletian sent Artists from Britain to Gaul, Columban journeyed to Burgundy, Alcuin of York to the Court of Charlemagne, St. Boniface to Germany.

The "first step" is termed Attendant or Affiliate, and corresponds to our Apprentice, he is a young workman, protected and looked after, but considered to be outside any Mystic Rites as was the Saxon Apprentice. The "second step" is termed Received Companion; which is equivalent to the term accepted and the Fellow of the Saxon Assemblies, he has certain secrets and takes part in a dramatic ceremony of the assassination and burial with lamentations as in the old Mysteries, of Master {290} Jacques, whose corpse was discovered supported by reeds. It is practically a disguised drama of the betrayal of Christ. The "third step" probably points to a time prior to the establishment of Masters' Fraternities, and corresponds with the Passed Masters and Harodim of the Guilds; it is termed Finished Companion, in which the Aspirant passes through a dramatic representation of the passion of Christ, and this ceremony, as was doubtless the case in old times in England, rendered and still renders, its possessor eligible for offices of dignity and honour; and may be classed with the Noble, Knowing, or Worshipful Master which formed the chief rank of the Saxon congregations, save those who had been the "Maister who is principal of the gadering." It is curious that the names should agree so closely with those of the Persian Magi, in the time of Cyrus, which were in translation, -- Disciple, Master, Complete Master. Two other circumstances point in the same direction for the descent of this branch of the Society, namely the use of the reed, and of some article of clothing to confirm a "Charge;" both the Manichees and the Dervish sects are descendants of the Persian Magi. This ceremony in the grade of Accepted Companion represents the heroic and pre-Christian anti-type; and as such is parallel with the Pedestal point of Harodim-Rosy Cross, where the Candidate is led up a pinnacle and sees a word that is prophetical of what is given in the degree of Finished Companion which is the explanation and complement of the anti-type. English Masonry has lost much by the refinements of the learned, or by those who "imagined themselves to be learned," and in any case it is easy for such to influence the ignorant. The French have lacked this in the several sects, and have therefore transmitted what they received without understanding it. So have English Stone Masons. There is a peculiar system of salutation called the Guilbrette, two meet, cross their wands and embrace; it has its analogue in all Guilds both East and West. {291}

The legends as to the schism, though old and in writing now, are of course traditional, and cannot be unconditionally accepted. We learn something of what their ceremonies consisted 250 years ago, as the Doctors of the Sorbonne examined some traitorous members between 1648-50, and accused the Compagnonage of profaning the Mystery of Christ's passion and death, of baptising in derision, of taking new names, using secret watchwords, obligating to mutual assistance "with other accursed ceremonies."21 Much of thls we have seen was common to the Arcane Discipline of the church, and the Charges read very similar to those made by the Fathers when they desired to have the Ancient Mysteries suppressed; in the same spirit they have destroyed all literature that made against themselves and their acts. Almost the same thing might be said by a fanatic and fool against the old Ancient degrees of Harodim-Rosy Cross in this country: and it is very noteworthy and "very suggestive" that the ancient oath of the English Rosy Cross has a penalty, alluding to the Saviour's death which is absolutely identical with the highest grade of this French fraternity of Jacques. The French "Fendeurs," or Charcoal burners, resemble so closely those described by the priests in 1650, that there can be no doubt both have the same common origin; the Fendeur Initiation carry their legends back to remote times, and claim a Scottish origin; possibly it points to a Culdee or other sectarian derivation thence.

"The Salute." Most of the Mystic Sects which derive from what we term the Arcane Schools, seem to have a "Salute" by way of recognition, that is, a phrase by way of "Salutation," and this is probably what Brito-Saxon Masonry possessed, before Semitic legends and Hebrew words were introduced in Norman times. This "Greeting" went with the "Word" until it was abandoned last century. A Christian system that had no allusion to Solomon's temple would have the "Greeting," and is therefore probably one of the most ancient parts of our Rites. {292}

Brother J. G. Findel in his "History of Freemasonry" professes to give the Catechism in use amongst the Masons of the Haupt Hutte of Strasburg, which termed their Assemblies Chapters, after the usage of the Benedictines. In the strict sense of the term what is called "Words" in this ritual is a Greeting. The questioner asks: -- "How many words has a Mason? Seven. Q. What are they? God bless all honourable conduct; God bless all honourable knowledge; God bless the honourable Craft of Masonry; God bless the honourable Master; God bless the honourable foreman; God bless the honourable Fraternity; God grant honourable preferment to all Masons here, and in all places by sea and land." We have here seven prayers easily remembered; and the following passwords were elicited by the Questioner: -- "Kaiser Carl II.; Anton Hieronymus; Walkan." The two last are supposed to be corrupted from Adoniram, and Tubal Cain, the last named, it may be, through Vulcan. Professor Robison, who wrote upon German Masonry last century, expresses an opinion that an Apprentice received an additional word with each year of his labour. During last century there still remained old members of the Strasburg Constitution, though it had then lost all its influence, and there is an interesting statement recorded on the authority of Mr. Vogel, an old operative Mason, who is reported to have said, in 1785, that the German Masons consisted of three classes: -- "The Letter Masons," or those made by Certificate; "The Salute Masons," or those who used a form of Salutation similar to that just quoted; and "the Freemasons," who he says, "are the richest, but they work by our word and we by theirs;"22 which implies that he was a "Salute" Mason, and that the "Greeting," and the "Word" were originally the marks of two distinct sects but had come to be united. Another writer states, on the authority of a newly received Freemason, who was a member of the Haupt Hutte systems, that the grip was the same in both societies. {293}

We may dismiss the "Certificate" Mason in a few words; in England it corresponds with trade Freedom granted by Municipal bodies from the time of Queen Elizabeth to our own days. Our oldest Catechisms not only include a triplicate "Greeting" but the "Word" system, but we need not give this until its proper date, and on the evidence we have given it may be assumed, that in the ancient Masonry of this country the "Salute" was the "Word," and that upon it was engrafted certain Hebrew words. As the Saxon system was a Christian one, no doubt its chief grade, or Master's Fraternity, has descended to us in the degrees of Harod and the Harodim-Rosy Cross, translated by the French Rose-croix of Heredom, Templar, etc., for all these grades are very similar; and its transmission is equally probable with the known transmission for centuries, of the Christ-like ceremonies of the French fraternity of Jacques, but this we will again refer to in a chapter on the high-grades.

"Conclusion." As we have observed several times, but may again repeat, the drama of the Mysteries was of a spiritual nature designed to teach how man might so conduct his earthly pilgrimage as to arrive at immortal life, and the Initiate during the instruction personated a god who was slain and rose again from the dead. It is not difficult to comprehend how such a symbolic death and rebirth was transformed into the drama of the career of the Saviour of fallen man. Such a Rite is in entire accord with what we know of the Culdee Monks and Masons, who were at York when King Athelstan granted them a Charter, whilst Hiramism is in discord thereto. We may summarise the details of this chapter in a few words; they point to the derivation of a system of trade Mysteries introduced by Greco-Romans into Britain from an Egyptian source; modified into orthodox Christianity by Culdees who had similar recondite Mysteries of a spiritual type, and who taught and directed the Guilds of Artizans during the whole Saxon period; our next Chapter will indicate a system in consonance with the French "Sons of Solomon." {294}

1 "Ichnography," i, p. 456.

2 "Freemasonry in Havant," 892a, Thos. Francis.

3 "A.Q.C.," 1898, W. H. Rylands.

4 "Paneg. Maximian Aug. dict." -- Oliver's "Remains," iii, and v; also "Masonic Mirror," 1855, p. 32.

5 Quoted in "Hist. Cumb." by Wm. Hutchinson, 1794. ii, p. 606.

6 Vide "Freem. Quart.," 1834.

7 "Arminius," Thos. Smith, F.S.A.. London, 1861.

8 "Arminius," Thos. Smith, F.S.A.. London, 1861.

9 "Roman and Teuton," 1891, Lec. x. p. 253.

10 The "Cathedral Builders," Leader Scott, 1899, London.

11 "Ludwig Steiglitz," quoted by Mackey.

12 "Freems. Mag.," J. F. Parker, F.S.A., 1861. iv, p. 183.

13 Thorpe's "English Charters," 1865.

14 "Freem. Mag.," I855, p. 509.

15 Toland, i, 1726, p. 8.

16 Ibid, p. 4.

17 "Norman Conquest."

18 "Annals of the Order of St. Benedict," Paris, 1703.

19 Quoted in Abbott's "Eccl. Surnames," 1871.

20 Burke's "Landed Gentry," 1848.

21 Vide Gould's "Hist. Freemasonry."

22 Gould's "Hist. Freemasonry," ii, p. 312; also Findel's "Hist. Freem."

 

Table of Contents | Archaic Legends | Proto-Aryan Civilisation and Mysteries | Aryan Civilisation and Mysteries | The Mysteries in Relation to Philosophy | Philosophy in Relation to Masonic Rites | The Mystic and Hermetic Schools in Christian Times | Recapitulated Proof of Ancient Masonry | Masonry in Saxon England | Masonry in Norman England | …