CORNELL UNIVERSITY LIBRARY
THE RITUAL OF THE OPERATIVE FREE MASONS Part 1
By THOMAS CARR, M.D, P.M. Honorary Member of the Guild of Operative Free-Masons
The original of this book is in the Cornell University Library.
There are no known copyright restrictions in the United States on the use of the text.
PUBLISHED BY THE TYLER PUBLISHING CO. ANN ARBOR, MICH.
This paper is written, first, to prove that Speculative Free Masonry is derived from Operative Free Masonry; second, to give some account of the
Operative Free Masons, of their Ritual, and of their customs.
Chapter 2. The Derivation of Speculative from Operative Free Masonry.
Chapter 3. Existing Operative Free Masons.
Chapter 4. The Apprentice. First Degree.
Chapter 5. The Fellow of the Craft. Second Degree.
Chapter 6. The Super Fellows. Third and Fourth Degrees.
Chapter 7. The Overseers. Fifth and Sixth Degrees.
Chapter 8. The Three Masters. Seventh Degree.
Chapter 9. Annual Ceremonies. The Sanhedrim.
The Worshipful Society of Free Masons, Rough Masons, Wallers, Slaters, Pamors, Plaisterers, and Bricklayers. Lodge "Mount Bardon," No. 110.
Established 1831. Bardon Hill, Leicestershire. The above Lodge, No. 110, of the York Division, passed the following resolution at a meeting held
on the sixth day of May,1831"That the paper written by Thomas Carr of Carlton Terrace, Blackpool, M. D., on 'The Ritual of the "Operative Free
Masons' is a true and accurate account "of the ceremonies practiced by this Lodge, and that the "tradition which has been handed down to us
is that "these ceremonies have been so practised from time immemorial.
"That the said paper is based upon information furnished by us or by our accredited members and that the "said Thomas Carr has received our
permission to publish the said paper. “That there is much more of our ritual and ceremonies than is described in the said paper, but the account
in the said paper is strictly accurate as far as it goes. ”That Thomas Carr is a corresponding member of "this Lodge in full standing and of good
Signed, John A. Grant, 1st Master.
Signed, Robert Walter Grant, 2nd Master.
Signed, William George Major Bailey, Master. Signed, Robert B. Grant, Secretary, I. P. M., VIP.
The Ritual of the Operative Free Masons
THOMAS CARR, M.D., P. M. Honorary Member of the Guild of Operative Free Masons
Most Speculative Free Masons are aware of the fact that a Guild of Operative Free Masons still exists, and that the Masons' Company of London is also
still extant. It is well established that Societies of Operative Masons existed in England, France, and Italy during the Middle Ages and built the Churches,
Bridges, and Cathedrals which still adorn those countries. Also that in Germany there flourished a well organized body of Masons, known as Steinmeten.
The name Free Mason first occurs in Statute 25, Edward 3, (1352). Elsewhere I have shown how Masons had to travel about to their work and how
English Masons worked in France, and French Masons in England. In days when writing was confined to the clerics and diplomas were unknown, it was
the readiest solution of the difficulty of an unknown man testifying he was a skilled and accredited craftsman to have a system of pass words and signs
which enabled him to prove he had been regularly taught his trade and was no cowan or pretender.
These ancient Operative Masons of the Middle Ages, both in England and on the Continent, had their regular procedure by which a lad was admitted as an
apprentice, taught his work, and subsequently became entitled to practise his trade. A good many of the old Regulations and Charges of these early days have
come down to us. Some 80 examples are known and recognized. The following is a list of some of the more important of these "Ancient Charges" as they are
List of Some Ancient Charges.
Regius (Halliwell), c. 1390, British Museum, Royal Library 17 A i.
Cooke, Early isth Century, British Museum, Add. M.S. 23, 198.
Lansdowne, Before 1598, British Museum, No. 98, art 48, f 276 B.
Sloane No. 1, 1646, British Museum, No. 3848.
Sloane No. 2, 1649, British Museum, No. 3323.
Harleian 1942, 17th Century, British Museum, Harleian No. 1942.
Harleian 2054, 17th Century, British Museum, Harleian No. 2054.
Harris No. 2, 1781, British Museum, Ephemerides, pp. 2493 g a a.
Grand Lodge No.1, 1583, Grand Lodge Library.
Grand Lodge No. 2, 17th Century, Grand Lodge Library.
Buchanan, 1670, Grand Lodge Library, (Copy in Gould's Book).
Colonel Gierke, 1686, Grand Lodge Library.
Thomas Foxcroft, 1699, Grand Lodge Library.
Stanley, 1677, W. York, Masonic Library.
William Watson, 1687, W. York, Masonic Library.
Taylor, Late 17th Century, W. York, Masonic Library.
Plot, 1686, Published in Natural History of Staffordshire. Dr. Plot.
Bain, Bro. C. A. Wilson, Armley, Leeds. Scarborough, Before 1705, Grand Lodge of Canada.
Hidalgo Jones, 1607, Prov. Grand Lodge, Worcestershire.
Wood, 1610, Prov. Grand Lodge, Worcestershire.
Lechmere, 17th Century, Prov. Grand Lodge, Worcestershire.
Phillips No. I, 17th Century, Rev. J. E. A. Fenwick, Cheltenham.
Phillips No. 2, 17th Century, Rev. J. E. A. Fenwick, Cheltenham.
Phillips No. 3, Early 18th Cent., Rev. J. E. A. Fenwick, Cheltenham.
Strasburg, 1459, M.S. at Strasburg (Findel).
Kilwinning No. 1, Late 17th Century, S. Michaels, Kilwinning, Dumfries.
Kilwinning No. 2, 17th Century, S. Michaels, Kilwinning, Dumfries.
Kilwinning No. 3, Late 17th Century, S. Michaels, Kilwinning, Dumfries.
Kilwinning No. 4, 1730-40, S. Michaels, Kilwinning, Dumfries, (A. Q. C. 6).
Kilwinning No. 5, 1730-40, S. Michaels, Kilwinning, Dumfries.
Antiquity, 1686, Lodge of Antiquity.
In these Ancient Charges we get evidences of the commencement of Moral teaching and of Secret Signs. It is at once obvious that from very early
times a high moral standard was inculcated by these Ancient Charges. In the oldest Charge of all, "The Regius," dating about 1390, implicit truth is
recommended. The Harleian MS No. 2054, dating from the 17th Century, was originally the property of the Chester Guild and among other things says
there are "several words and signs of a Free Mason to be revealed "which may be communicated to no one” except to the Master and Fellows of the
said Society of Freemasons. So help me God." Here followeth the worthy and godly oath of Masons. There is said to have been a M.S. by King Henry
VI (1422-1461) in the Bodleian Library, in which that King says "Some Maconnes are not so virtuous as some other menne, but for the most parte they
be more gude than they would be if they were not Maconnes."
In the 17th Century, and probably earlier, private gentlemen and Army Officers began to be admitted as Members of this Society of Free Masons in England
and Scotland. John Boswell, Esq., a landed proprietor, was a member of St. Mary's Chapel Lodge, Edinburgh, in 1600. Robert Moray, Quarter Master General
of the Scottish Army was made a Mason at Newcastle in 1641. Elias Ashmole, the celebrated antiquarian, and Colonel Henry Manwaring were made Masons
at Warrington in 1646. It is interesting to note the fact that of these three men, who were among the earliest Honorary, or non-operative, or in more modern
terms Speculative Masons made in England, Moray was a Scotch Covenanter, Ashmole was a Royalist and Manwaring was a Parliamentarian. So that even
in those days Masonry was a bond of union between men of differing religious and political opinions, and that even in the time of the great Civil War.
In 1647 Dr. William Maxwell joined the Lodge at Edinburgh. As far as is known he was the first medical man to become a Mason. It is also noteworthy that in
the minutes of St. Mary's Chapel Lodge, Edinburgh, it is recorded that Boswell attested his mark at the meeting of the Lodge held on June 8th, 1600. The
Earls of Cassilis and Eglinton were initiated in the Lodge of Kilwinning in or about 1670. Private gentlemen such as these I have instanced began about this
time to be known as Accepted Masons, and gradually increased in number. In 1717; under the influence of Dr. Anderson and his friends, some Operative
Freemasons with some of these non-operative. Accepted or Speculative Freemasons, belonging to four Lodges in London, met and formed the first Grand
Lodge; a combination in which Speculative Masonry instead of Operative Masonry was the primary consideration. Architecture and Operative tools became
symbolical, but the Ritual was based on the Ritual of the old Operative Society, of which indeed it was largely a reproduction.
The Apprentice Degree and the Fellow Craft Degree were founded on the corresponding degrees of the Operative system. Later on, when a Master's Degree
not a Master of a Lodge but a Master Mason — was added, Anderson and his friends invented a ceremony based in the Operatives' Annual Festival of October
2nd commemorating the slaying of Hiram Abiff at the Building of King Solomon's Temple. The real Secrets and the real Ritual of the Operative Masters' Degree
could not be given as but few knew them, namely only those who had actually been one of the three Masters, 7th Degree, by whom the Operatives were ruled,
and Anderson had certainly not been one of these; his function having been that of Chaplain, although it is quite possible he had been admitted an Accepted
member of the Craft some years previously in Scotland.
Derivation of Speculative from Operative Free Masonry.
If anyone doubts the fact that the formation of Speculative Free Masonry was due to and based upon Operative Free Masonry, it is quite easy to convince
him of his error if he will only study the first Book of Constitutions. This First Book of Constitutions is the original one which Anderson had been
commissioned to prepare, in the following terms, "You are to order and arrange the ancient Gothic Constitutions upon a new and better system." It was
printed and published by the Authority of the Grand Lodge in 1723. In spite of many alterations and new additions, and of its complete revisal at the
Union in 1813, the present Book of Constitutions still shows unmistakably its operative origin.
The Ancient Charge given on page 1 of the present Book of Constitutions, dated 1909, are almost identical with the Antient Charges given in the first
Book of Constitutions published in 1723. The alterations are very few and unimportant and there are no alterations in Section 5, which is the one I am
about to quote to prove the origin of Speculative from Operative Free Masonry. This Section 5 has for title "Of the Management of the Craft in Working"
and you will notice the terms used are obviously and solely operative.
Of the Management of the Craft in Working.
1. All masons shall work honestly on working days that they may live creditably on holy days; and the time appointed by the law of the land, or confirmed
by custom, shall be observed.
2. The most expert of the fellow-craftsmen shall be chosen or appointed the master, or overseer of the lord's work; who is to be called master by those
that work under him. The craftsmen are to avoid all ill language, and to call each other by no disobliging name, but brother or fellow; and to behave
themselves courteously within and without the lodge.
3. The master, knowing himself to be able of cunning, shall undertake the lord's work as reasonably as possible, and truly dispend his goods as if they
were his own; not to give more wages to any brother or apprentice than he really may deserve.
4. Both the master and the masons receiving their wages justly, shall be faithful to the lord, and honestly finish their work, whether task or journey; nor
put the work to task that hath been accustomed to journey.
5. None shall discover envy at the prosperity of a brother, nor supplant him, nor put him out of his work, if he be capable to finish the same; for no man
can finish another's work so much to the lord's profit, unless he be thoroughly acquainted with the designs and draughts of him that began it.
6. When a fellow-craftsman is chosen warden of the work under the master, he shall be true both to master and fellows, shall carefully oversee the work
in the master's absence, to the lord's profit; and his brethren shall obey him.
7. All masons employed shall meekly receive their wages without murmuring or mutiny, and not desert the master till the work be finished.
8. A younger brother shall be instructed in working to prevent spoiling the materials for want of judgment and for increasing and continuing of brotherly love.
9. All the tools used in working shall be approved by the grand lodge.
10. No labourer shall be employed in the proper work of masonry; nor shall free-masons work with those that are not free, without an urgent necessity;
nor shall they teach labourers and unaccepted masons, as they should teach a brother or fellow.
The Speculative Ritual also gives proof of its derivation from the Operatives.
(i) In the presentation of the Working Tools in each of the Three Degrees. "As we are not all Operative Masons, but rather free and accepted, or speculative."
(2) Operative Masons are referred to in the Lecture on the First Tracing Board when the Movable Jewels are described and their uses explained.
(3) Operative Masons are described in the Official Lectures.
Lecture 1. Section 7. Emulation Working.
1. Q. How many sorts of Masons are there?
A. Two: Free and Accepted, and Operative.
2. O. Which of those are you?
3. Q. What do you learn by being a Free and Accepted Mason?
A. Secrecy, Morality, and Good Fellowship.
4. Q. What do Operative Masons learn?
A. The useful rules of Architecture, to hew, square, and mould stones into the forms required for the purposes of building and to unite them by means
of joints, levels, perpendiculars, or otherwise; and by the aid of cement, iron, lead, or copper; which various operations require much practical dexterity
and some skill in geometry and mechanics."
On January 6th, 1911, a historical note by W. Bro. John P. Simpson, B.A., P.A.G. Reg., was published by Grand Lodge, in which the author says "The Ritual
of Freemasonry as far as the First and Second Degrees are concerned is in part no doubt derived from the ceremonies of the early Operative Guilds." Bro.
Simpson would have been more accurate if he had said, is mainly derived from the Operative ceremonies. I would add so is the Third Degree, and also the
Mark. It would make the present paper too long to discuss this question of the Master Mason's Degree now but I hope to publish a paper on "The Third Degree"
at some future time. Here it need only be said that the Third Degree was an afterthought as regards Speculative Masonry. As formulated in 1717 and as laid
down in the First Book of Constitutions in 1723, there was no Third Degree; a Mason only became a Master when he became Master of a Lodge. The antient
Charges in the present Book of Constitutions will suffice to make this quite clear; and this paragraph is the same today as it was in the First Book of
Constitutions published in 1723. Section 4, paragraph 2. "No brother can be a warden until he has passed the part of a fellow-craft, nor a master until he
has acted as a warden, nor grand warden until he has been master of a Lodge." And the present Book of Constitutions has a footnote added to this Section
which does not appear in the Book of 1723 but was first added in 1815. "N. B. In antient times no brother, however skilled in the craft, was called a
master-mason until he had been elected into the chair of a lodge."
The Speculative Third Degree, as has already been stated, is however based on Operative Ritual, as it is an adaptation of the Annual Ceremony of the
Operatives on October 2nd when they commemorate the slaying of the Third Master Hiram Abiff, a month before the Dedication of the Temple which
they celebrate on October 30th.
Existing Operative Free Masons.
The full title of the existing Society of Operative Free Masons, to whose Ritual I am about to refer, is that of "The Worshipful Society of Free Masons,
Rough Masons, Wallers, Slaters, Paviors, Plaisterers , and Bricklayers."
The Rough Masons and Wallers are inferior craftsmen doing rougher work than that done by the Free Masons. They are not Fellows of the Lodges of
Free Masons, but may be regarded as Associates, having however ceremonies of their own. They are regarded as "scabblers" and their work is not
"in course." They are allowed to enter the 1st Degree or Apprentice Stone Yard, but not the Second or Fellow's Yard.
The Slaters, Paviors, Plaisterers, and Bricklayers are of course distinct trades. In London the Paviors, Plaisterers, and Bricklayers (known as the Tilers
and Bricklayers), are also three separate and distinct companies. This title of the Society, comprising so many distinct trades is at first sight not a little
curious but on investigation it was found that it was not an uncommon state of affairs in the 17th Century. In Kendal in 1667, the 12th Trade Company
comprised. Free Masons, rough masons, wallers, plaisterers, slaters, and carpenters. In Oxford, a Company was incorporated in 1604 called' "The
Company of Free Masons, Carpenters, Joiners, and Slaters of the City of Oxford." In Gateshead a most curious conglomeration of trades was
incorporated by a Charter of Cosin Bishop of Durham in 1671. The trades enumerated are Free Masons, Carvers, Stonecutters; Sculptures, Brickmakers,
Tilers, Bricklayers, Glaysiers, Penterstainers. Founders, Neilers, Pewterers, Plumbers, Millwrights, Sadlers, Bridlers, Trunckmakers, and Distillers.
At Edinburgh, the incorporation of St. Mary's Chapel' at one time embraced a great variety of trades such as Sievewrights, Coopers, Upholsterers,
Bowmakers, Slaters, Glaziers, Painters, Plumbers, and Wrights as well as Masons. Later there were only two in union, the Wrights and' the Masons,
and finally these separated, each becoming a distinct Corporation. Our greatest interest centres in the City of Durham where we find the combination
of trades the same as in the Society we are especially concerned with. In 1594 Bishop Matthew Hutton incorporated the "Rough' Masons, 'Wallers, and
Slaters." In 1609 Bishop' James confirmed their Bye Laws and Ordinances in which they are designated "Rough Masons, Wallers, Slaters, Paviors,
Tylers, and Plaisterers." On April i6th, 1638, Bishop Morton gave a new charter to "The Company Societie and Felowshipp of Free Masons, Rough
Masons, Wallers, Slaytors, Pavers, Plaisterers, and Bricklayers." The Bishops of Durham were Counts Palatinate, so charters originated from them.
These operatives became freemen of the City, which conferred many rights and privileges upon them, and many of the gentry of the County became
Honorary Members and regarded it as an honourable distinction; just as today many members of the mercantile and professional classes become
Freemen and Liverymen of the Trade Companies of London. I am a Liveryman of the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries of the City of London. The
Mason's Company of London was incorporated in the second year of Henry IV (1411) and was granted arms in the 12th year of Edward IV (1473)
which are still used by them. The Slaters of London also have arms although not a recognized Company; the Paviors is a small London Company;
the Plaisterers were incorporated in 1501 and the Tilers and Bricklayers in 1508.
In London, disputes arose between these various trades and others of a kindred nature as to what was their respective work; these quarrels were
particularly acute in and about 1356, and many references to them are found in the old records. Again in 1615 and 1632 similar difficulties arose. In
the year 1677 "The Worshipful Society of the Free Masons of the City of London" issued a map of England for the information of all the Operative
Free Masons, and it showed the country divided into eight districts:
In former times, Durham had apparently been a separate district. The Worshipful Society of Free Masons, Rough Masons, Wallers, Slaters, Paviors,
Plaisterers, and Bricklayers, claims a coat of arms which still hangs in the Guild Hall at Durham and which is really a combination of the arms of the
separate trades. In chief, on the dexter side, are those of the Masons; in the centre those of the Slaters; on the sinister side those of the Paviors;
below on the dexter side, those of the Plaisterers; on the sinister side, those of the Tilers and Bricklayers. The arms in each case are similar to, if
not identical with, those of the London Companies. The date on this armorial combination is 1784, but the incorporation it represents, as already
stated, was made in 1638.
In London the use of the word "Free" in the title Free Mason was allowed to lapse towards the end of the 17th Century; possibly because it had
ceased to be a distinction when members of all the other London Companies were equally free, and probably because the Free Masons had ceased
to include Rough Masons &c. in their Corporation. As far as can be ascertained; both London and Westminster Free Masons dropped the association
with other trades in about 1655-6. This is only a suggestion as it is very difficult to get any exact knowledge on this point.
As regards York Division we can give more accurate information. W. Bro. Stretton informs me that when he took his obligation as an Entered
Apprentice to the Operative Society in 1867 Rough Masons, Wallers, Slaters, Paviors, Plaisterers, and Bricklayers were all present. When he was
passed to the Degree of a Fellow of the Craft in May, 1874, only Free Masons were present, as was also the case when he was advanced to the
Third Degree, that of a Super Fellow. The Trade Union Act of 1871 had been passed in the meantime and this was the cause of the separation of
the Rough Masons, Wallers, Slaters, Paviors, Plaisterers, and Bricklayers from the Free Masons in the York division. These trades began to leave
the Free Masons in 1871 as soon as the Trade Union Act was passed and by the end of 1883 there were none left in Lodges 91, and W. Bro.
Stretton informs me that there have been none in the York Division for some years.
Certainly since 1883 they have not had notices sent them to attend Meetings of Free Masons; but they still have meetings of their own, and Operative
Masons tell me that some of the old Ritual is worked by some of the Trade Unions, but I have had no opportunity of verifying this statement, although
I accept it. The old Operative members in the York Division still (1911) regard these Rough Masons &c. as Associates or Free Brothers but not as Fellows.
They exchange the 1st Degree Grip and Word with them and will give them money for a drink; but they are not Fellows or Accepted Masons and they
will not teach them anything, higher than the First Degree. These Operative Free Masons are divided into two classes, and each class into seven
degrees. The two classes are Straight or Square Masons, and Round or Arch Masons. A man can only belong to one of these two classes or kinds,
either the Square or the Arch, never to both, although a man may be transferred from one to the other, usually from the Square to the Arch, if the Masters
so order it. When a man is apprenticed he selects which form he intends to follow. The "Square" is the symbol of the Square Mason and the "Compasses"
the symbol of the Arch Mason. Blue is the colour of the Square Mason, and Red is the colour of the Arch Mason.
A good deal of elaborate stuff has been written of recent years as to the origin of these colours in Speculative Masonry, the Orders of the Garter
and of the Bath have been suggested as prototypes for colour! A lot of time and imaginative writing would have been saved by a reference to the
customs of the Operatives. The Free Masons' original arms were granted them by Edward IV but the combined Trades arms have two supporters
whose first appearance I have been unable to trace. Of these supporters the one on the dexter, or right, side has a "square" in his hand and is a
Square Mason and his clothes are faced with Blue. The one on the left, or sinister, side has a pair of "compasses" in his hand and is an Arch
Mason and his clothes are faced with Red.
Each of these two great classes of Square and Arch Masons is divided into Seven Degrees, with special secrets and special working rules and
technical instruction restricted to each Degree.
1. The Apprentices to the Craft of Free Mason.
2. The Fellows of the Craft of Free Mason.
3. The Super Fellows who have their Mark.
4. The Super Fellows who also are Erectors on the Site.
5. The Intendents and Super Intendents or Menatzchim.
6. Those who have passed the Technical Examination for the position of Master. Really Certified Masters, known as Passed Masters. Also known
as Harodim particularly in Durham and the North.
7. The Grand Masters, of whom there are only three.
In these two higher grades, VI and VII, it is possible for a man of high social position to be a Passed Master or a Grand Master in both Square and
Arch Masonry. The Operative Lodges to which I have the honour to belong are Nos. 91 and no, both situated at Leicester and both in the York
Division, not because of their geographical position but because of their origin. Really they are in the part of England belonging to Westminster.
No. 91 was founded in 1761 at Leicester under the authority of the Worshipful Society of Free Masons of the City and Division of York, for Free
Masons who were sent from York to repair the Churches at Leicester in that year, and who had, most of them, been previously employed on York
Minster. This Lodge was in a languishing condition from 1883 until 1909, only meeting once a year; but it is now in good condition again, with
regular monthly meetings at high XII on every Second Thursday.
The Speculative Lodge No. 279 on the Grand Register of England was formed in 1790 by a split from this Operative Lodge. Charles Horton, the
First Master of the Operative Lodge No. 91, becoming the First Master of the Speculative Lodge No. 562, now No. 279. The other Operative Lodge
is the Mount Bardon Lodge No. no with over 300 members, and works at the Bardon Hill Quarries. It was founded by George Stephenson in 1831
when the Leicester and Swannington Railway was being made. I owe my introduction to both these Lodges to my friend W. Bro. Clement E. Stretton,
Civil Engineer of Leicester; who is P. Pr. G.S.W. for Leicestershire, P.M. and P.Z. 279 Speculative, and Past Third Grand Master VII Degree in the
Operative, York Division. As already stated, since the introduction of Trade Unionism these Operative Guilds have lost their supremacy. In 1867
there were over 2,300 Operative Masons belonging to the Society in Leicestershire, in 1910 there were under 600.
continued in October Issue