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the arcane schools
John Yarker

It has been thought advisable to add here copies of the ancient MSS. referred to in the foregoing pages, reduced into somewhat more modern English for the comfort of the reader.  No injury can arise from this procedure, as those who are interested in the exact verbiage will consult the facsimiles issued by Lodge 2076, and other printed copies.  We have made use of certain emendations which have been shewn to be necessary by the best critics.

Attention was first directed to these MSS. by Brother William James Hughan, who printed, in 1872, a volume of the "Old Charges."  For some years his efforts to direct attention to these MSS. met with slight success, as the bearing of them upon the present state of Freemasonry was not fully recognised; but to Brother Hughan belongs the credit of bringing these documents into prominent notice.

A few zealous brethren, amongst whom may be mentioned the Rev. A. F. A. Woodford, R. F. Gould, G. W. Speth, Dr. William Begemann of Rostock, C. C. Howard of Picton, N.Z., Wm. Watson, Henry Sadler, F. F. Schnitger, and others, have laboured to develop the work thus begun by Brother Hughan, and we must express indebtedness to their unselfish labours.

It is noteworthy that, with the exception of those MSS. which refer to Henry VI., all these documents close their Masonic history with the reign of Athelstan.  Practically the "Regius MS." and the "'Book of Charges'" of the "Cooke MS." are identical, except that the versifier has lengthened the former MS. by his own comments, and we have therefore taken the prose copy, as probably nearer the Athelstan original; for most of the emendations (in brackets) we are indebted to Brother C. C. Howard.  Brother G. W. Speth considered it likely that the nine ARTICLES were the legal enactments of the King, whilst the nine POINTS were those of the employers.

West Didsbury,
near Manchester, 1909. {537}




  This MS. as we have before stated is the "Book of Charges" attached to the "Cooke MS.," and agrees with the "Regius MS.," being complete in itself; and (our oldest MS.) is actually, with some additions, a rhythmical version of No. 1.  When we come to the mention of "New Men," it is possible that the 9 Points may have been substituted for them by "Divers Congregations"; in later times they were read as the Charge of an Apprentice.  It is even so to-day by Masons.



  There seems no reason to doubt that No. 1 is the original Saxon Charge, but as there was a constant influx of French Masons from the time of the conquest, a pure French Charge must at one time have existed, and which has clearly been added to the older English documents.

The 1316 document is extracted from Brother R. F. Gould's History of Freemasonry (Vol. ii. p. 341).  It is of equal value with any that we have, and illustrates the old MSS. in an interesting way.  In the first place the Laws are decreed by the very authorities which the Charges themselves appeal to, and "six or four ancient men of the trade" are required to testify on a Master taking on work.  It settles the dispute between the Mason-hewers and the Light masons or setters, and places them both under sworn Elders or Ancients of the trade.  It admits that there was no Court, and orders one to be sworn, which thus became the London Company of Masons, uniting Masons and Freemasons, of which the former had 4 representatives and the latter 2, but became now a United Company.


  The text of the "Cooke" preface, as far as the same is complete, has been used for this document, the remainder being taken from the "Watson MS.," which is a document complete in itself, but with many errors of the copyist.  The author speaks of "old books of Charges," existing before his time, and he has possibly mistaken "Martellus" for "Secundus," inasmuch as Charles Martel was not King but Regent, and only "came to his {538} kingdom" in his children, Charlemagne being his grandson, who had a grandson Charles Il.



  These modern Charges, of which there are about 70 copies, of which no two are exactly alike, are an abridgement of the "Watson MS." series, which had become too lengthy for use in Lodge work.  The version given is a fair representative of all the others and is a York MS. circa 1600.  The portion in brackets [ ], and Charges 19-25 are found in the "Tew MS.," West Riding of Yorkshire.


  The Southern Variation of No. 5 is peculiar and found in a few MSS.  The evidence of causing Edwin to be made a Mason at Windsor shews that it was compiled in the South, though Winchester is probably meant, as King Athelstan had his royal residence in that city.  The version is a late 16th century view found in the "Lansdowne MS.," the "Probity MS.," and the "Antiquity MS."


  The "Apprentice Charge" attached to a MS. which contains the "New Regulations," are found in many MSS., and are those used in the written Indentures of an Apprentice.  The "New Regulations" are found in the "Harleian MS.," which is the one we give; (2{1?}) the "Grand Lodge MS. 2," numbered 29 c. 33; (2) the "Roberts MS.," numbered 1 to 7; (3) the "McNab MS."; (4) a MS. seen by Dr. James Anderson, number 1 to 7; but there must have been an older original.  The Harleian, Grand Lodge, and McNab MSS. give no date of the Assembly; Roberts and Anderson give 1663; probably there was no date in the oldest original.  The British Museum officials consider the "Harleian MS." to be early 17th century; it forms a species of Grand Lodge, and inaugurates a Charge for Apprentices. 


The Addition of 1663 to the "New Articles," and numbered 6, is given by Anderson in the copy he saw, and also in the copy printed by Roberts in 1722.  But as it appears in "Grand Lodge MS. 2," as Article 32, it may have been omitted by accident from VI. version.   {539}



     GOOD MEN for this cause and in this manner Masonry took its first beginning.  It befell sometimes that great Lords had no such large possessions that they could well advance their free-begotten children for they had so many; therefore they took counsel how they might advance their children and ordain for them an honest livelihood.  And they sent after wise Masters of the worthy science of Geometry, that through their wisdom they might ordain them some honest living.  Then one of them that had the name of Euclid was the subtle and wise founder, and ordained an Art and called it Masonry, and so with this honest art he taught the children of the great Lords, by the prayer of the fathers and the free-will of their children; the which, when they were taught with high care, by a certain time they were not all alike able to take of the aforesaid Art, wherefore Euclid ordained that they who were passing of cunning should be passing honoured, and ordained to call the more cunning Master, to inform the less cunning, Masters of the which were called Masters of Nobility of wit and cunning of that Art.  Nevertheless they commanded that they who were less of wit should not be called servant, nor subject, but fellow for nobility of their gentle blood.  In this manner was the aforesaid Art begun in the land of Egypt, by the aforesaid Master Euclid, and so it went from land to land, and from kingdom to kingdom.

After that many years, in the time of Athelstan King of England, by his Councillors and other great Lords of the land, by common assent, for great defects found amongst Masons, they ordained a certain Rule amongst them, once in the year, or in three years, as the need were, the King and great Lords of the land, and all the commonality, from province to province, and from country to country, Congregations should be made by Masters, of all Master Masons and Fellows in the aforesaid Art, and so at such Congregations they that be made Masters should be examined of the "Articles" after written, and be ransacked whether they be able and cunning to the profit of the Lords (having) them to serve, and to the honour of the aforesaid Art.

And moreover (that) they should receive their "Charge" that they should well and truly dispend the goods of their Lords, as well the lowest as the highest, for they be their Lords for the time of whom they take pay for their service, and for their travail.

The first "Article" is this, -- That every Master of this Art should be wise and true to the lord that he serveth, dispensing his goods truly as he would have his own were dispensed, and not give more pay to a Mason than he wot he may deserve, after the dearth of corn and victual in the country, no favour withstanding for every man to be rewarded after his travail.

The second "Article" is this, -- That every Master of this Art should be warned beforehand to come to his congregation, but they be excused by some cause.  But nevertheless if they be found rebellious at such Congregations, or faulty in any manner {540} of harm to their lords, and reproof of this Art, they should not be excused unless in peril of death, and though they be in peril of death, they shall warn the Master who is Principal of the Gathering of his decease (disease).

The third "Article" is this, -- That no Master take no Prentice for a less term than 7 years at the least, because such as be within a less term may not profitably come to (knowledge of) this Art, nor able to serve truly his lord and to take as a Mason should take.

The fourth "Article" is this, -- That no Master for no profit take no Prentice to be learned that is born of bond blood, because his lord to whom he is bond, will take him, as he well may, from his Art, and lead him out of his Lodge, or out of his place that he worketh in; for his Fellows peradventure would help him and debate for him, and therefore manslaughter might arise; it is forbidden.  And also for another cause; this Art took beginning of great lord's children freely begotten, as it is said before.

The fifth "Article" is this, -- That no Master give more to his Prentice in time of his Prenticehood, for no profit he might take, than he notes well he may deserve of the lord that he serveth; nor not so much (but) that the lord of the place that he is taught in, may have some profit for his teaching.

The sixth "Article" is this, -- That no Master for no covetousness nor profit take no Prentice to teach that is imperfect, that is to say having any maim, for the which he may not truly work as he ought to do.

The seventh "Article" is this, -- That no Master be found wittingly, or help to procure to be (a) maintainer and sustainer (of) any common nightwalker to rob, by the which manner of nightwalking they may not fulfil their day's work and travail, (and) through the condition their Fellows might be wroth.

The eighth "Article" is this, -- That if it befall that any Mason that be perfect, and cunning come for to seek work, and find an imperfect and uncunning (Mason) working, the Master of the place shall receive the perfect and do way with the imperfect to the profit of his lord.

The ninth "Article" is this, -- That no Master shall supplant another: for it is said in the Art of Masonry, that no man can make an end so well of work, begun by another, to the profit of his lord, as he (that) began it, to end it by his matters, or to whom he sheweth his matters.

THIS COUNCIL is made by divers Lords and Masters of divers Provinces, and divers Congregations of Masonry, and it is, to wit, that whosoe coveteth to come to the state of the foresaid Art it behoveth them: --

First, principally to (love) God and Holy Church and al-halows, and his Master and his Fellows as his own brethren.

The second "Point," -- He must fulfil his day's work truly that he taketh for his pay.

The third "Point," -- That he can hele the Counsel of his Fellows, in "Lodge" and in "Chamber," and in every place where Masons be.

The fourth "Point," -- That he be no deceiver in the foresaid Art, nor do no prejudice, nor sustain any Articles against the Art, nor against any of the Art, but he shall sustain it in all honour, inasmuch as he may.

The fifth "Point," -- When he shall take his pay that he take it meekly, as the time is ordained by the Master to be done, and that he fulfil the acceptations of travail and of rest ordained and set by the Master. {541}

The sixth "Point," -- If any discord shall be between him and his Fellows, he shall obey meekly, and be still at the bidding of his Master, or of the Warden of his Master, in the Master's absence, to the holy day following, and that he accord them at the disposition of his Fellows, and not upon the workday, for hindering of the work and profit of the lord.

The seventh "Point," -- That he covet not the wife, nor the daughter of his Master's, neither of his Fellows, but it be in marriage, nor hold concubines for discord that might fall among them.

The eighth "Point," -- If it befall him to be Warden under his Master, that he be true mean between his Master and his Fellows, and that he be busy in the absence of his Master, to the honour of his Master, and profit of the lord that he serveth.

The ninth "Point," -- If he be wiser and subtler than his Fellow working with him in his Lodge, or any other place, and he perceiveth that he should leave the stone that he is working upon for defect of cunning, and can teach him and amend the stone, he shall inform him, and help him, that the more love may increase among them, and that the work of the lord be not lost.

WHEN THE MASTERS and the Fellows be forewarned (and) are come to the Congregation if need be the Sheriff of the country, or the Mayor of the City, or Alderman of the Town, in which the Congregations are holden, shall be Fellow and Sociate to the Master of the Congregation to help him against rebels, and (for) upbearing of the right of the realm.

At the first beginning "New Men" that never were "Charged" before (were)

"Charged" in this manner, -- (1) That (they) should never be thieves, nor thieves' maintainers.  (2) And that they should truly fulfil their day's work and travail, for their pay that they shall take of their lord.  (3) A true account give to their Fellows (as Stewards) in things to be accounted of them. (4) And to hear and love them as themselves.  (5) And they shall be true to the King of England and to the realm.  (6) And that they keep with all their might all the Articles aforesaid.  (7) After that it shall be enquired if any Master or Fellow that is warned, have broken any Articles beforesaid, the which if they have done it shall be determined there.  (8) Therefore it is, to wit, that if any Master or Fellow that is warned before to come to such Congregations, and be rebellious and will not come, or else shall have trespassed against any Article beforesaid, if it be proved he shall forswear his Masonry and shall no more use his Craft; (9) the which if he presume to do, the Sheriff of the Country in which he may be found working shall prison him and take all his goods into the King's hand, til his grace be granted him and shewed.

For this cause principally were these Congregations ordained that, as well the lowest as the highest should be well and truly served in his Art beforesaid, throughout all the Kingdom of England.  Amen, -- so mote it be.


"These Statutes that I have here found,    Beseeching him, of his high grace,

I will they be held throughout my land,To stand with you in every place,

For the worship of my Royalty,            To confirm the Statutes of King

That I have by my dignity.                    Athelstan.

Also at every 'sembly that you hold,      That he ordained to this Craft,

That ye come to your liege King bold,        for good reason."

(1-9) Possibly the ancient points, the Nos. 1 to 9, do not appear in the original MS. {542}




  At a Congregation of Mayor and Aldermen holden on the Monday next before the purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary (2 Feby.) in the thirtieth year of the reign of King Edward III, etc., there being present Simon Fraunceys the Mayor, John Lovekyn, and other Aldermen, the Sheriffs, and John Little, Symon de Benyngtone, and William de Holbeche, commoners, certain Articles were ordained touching the trade of Masons, in these words: --

1. Whereas Simon Fraunceys, Mayor of the City of London, has been given to understand that divers dissensions and disputes have been moved in the said City, between the Masons who are "hewers" on the one hand, and the light-Masons and "setters" on the other; because that their trade has not been regulated in due manner by the government of Folks of their trade in such form as other trades are.  Therefore the said Mayor, for maintaining the peace of our Lord the King, and for allaying such manner of dissensions and disputes, and for nurturing love among all manner of folks, in honour of the said City, and for the profit of the common people, by assent and counsel of the Aldermen and Sheriffs, caused all the good folks of the said trade to be summoned before him, to have from them good and due information how their trade might be best ordered and ruled, for the profit of the common people.

2. Whereupon the good folks of the said trade chose from among themselves twelve of the most skilful men of their trade, to inform the Mayor, Aldermen, and Sheriffs, as to the acts and articles touching their said trade; -- that is to say Walter de Sallynge, Richard de Sallynge, Thomas de Bredone, John de Tyringtone, Thomas de Gloucestre, and Henry de Yevelee, on behalf of the "Mason Hewers;" Richard Joye, Simon de Bartone, John de Estoune, John Wylot, Thomas Hardegray, and Richard de Cornewaylle on behalf of the "light-Masons and Setters;" which folks were sworn before the aforesaid Mayor, Aldermen, and Sheriffs, in manner as follows: --

3. In the first place that every man of the trade may work at any work touching the trade, if he be perfectly skilled and knowing in the same.

4. Also, that good folks of the said trade shall be chosen and sworn every time that need shall be, to Oversee that no one of the trade takes work to complete, if he does not well and perfectly know how to perform such work, on pain of losing, to the use of the commonality, the first time that he shall by the persons so sworn be convicted thereof, one mark; and the second time two marks; and the third time he shall forswear his trade for ever.

5. Also, that no one shall take work in gross, if he be not in ability in a proper manner to complete such work; and he who wishes to undertake such work in gross, shall come to the good men, of whom he has taken such work to do and complete, and {543} shall bring with him "Six" or "Four" Ancient men of his trade, sworn thereunto, if they are prepared to testify unto the good men of whom he has taken such work to do, that he is skilful and of ability to do such work, and that if he shall fail to complete such work in due manner, or not to be of ability to do the same, they themselves who so testify that he is skilful and of ability to finish the work are bound to complete the same work, well and properly, at their own charges, in such manner as he undertook; in case the employer who owns the work shall have fully paid the workman.  And if the employer shall then owe him anything let him pay it to the persons who have so undertaken for him to complete such work.

6. Also, that no one shall set an apprentice or journeyman to work, except in the presence of his Master, before he has been perfectly instructed in his calling; and he who shall do the contrary, and by the person so sworn be convicted thereof, let him pay the first time to the commonality half a mark, and the second time one mark, and the third time 20 shillings; and so let him pay 20 shillings every time that he shall be convicted thereof.

7. Also, that no man of the said trade shall take an Apprentice for a less time than seven years, according to the usage of the City; and he who shall do the contrary thereof, shall be punished in the same manner.

8. Also; that the said Masters so chosen, shall see that all those who work by the day shall take for their hire according as they are skilled and may deserve for their work, and not outrageously.

9. Also, that if any one of the said trade will not be ruled or directed in due manner by the persons of his trade sworn thereto, such sworn persons are to make known his name unto the Mayor, and the Mayor by assent of the aldermen and sheriffs shall cause him to be chastised by imprisonment, and other punishment, so that rebels may take example by him, to be ruled by the good folks of their trade.

10. Also, that no one of the said trade shall take the Apprentice of another to the prejudice or damage of his Master, until his term shall have fully expired, on pain of paying, to the use of the commonality, half a mark each time that he shall be convicted thereof.



CHARGE, "circa" 1400, REVISED, "circa" 1475.

THANKED BE GOD our glorious Father and founder and former of heaven and earth, and of all things that in them is, that he would vouchsafe of his glorious Godhead to make so many things of divers virtues for mankind; for he made all worldly things to be obedient and subject to man; for all things that be comestible or of wholesome nature he ordained it for man's sustenance.  And also he hath given to man wit and cunning of divers sciences and crafts, by the which he may labour in this world to get our living with (them); and to make divers things for God's pleasure and our (own) ease and profit; the which things if I were to rehearse them, it were too long to tell and to write.  Wherefore I will leave (them), but I will shew you some part of them, and tell you how and in what wise the science of Geometry first began, and who were the founders thereof, and of other Crafts more, as it is noted in the Bible and other stories. {544}

How and in what manner this worthy science of Geometry first began I will tell you, as I said before.  Ye shall understand that there be seven Liberal Sciences by which seven sciences all the Sciences and Crafts in the world were first found, and especially the science of Geometry, for it is the cause of all other that be, the which seven sciences are called thus: -- As for the first, that is called the foundation of science, its name is "Grammar," it teacheth a man rightly to speak, and write truly.  The second is "Rhetorick," and it teacheth a man to write formably and fair.  The third is "Dialecticus"<<"Logic" (Watson M.S.)>>, and that science teacheth a man to discern the true from the false, and most commonly it is called the art of sophistry.  The fourth is called Arithmetic, the which teacheth a man the craft of numbers, for to reckon and make accounts of all manner of things.  The fifth is Geometry," the which teacheth a man mete and measures and ponderation and weightiness, in all manner of crafts.  The sixth is "Music," that teacheth a man the craft of song in notes of voice and organ and trumpet and harp and all others pertaining to them.  The seventh is "Astronomy," that teacheth a man the course of the sun and of the moon, and all other planets and stars of heaven.

OUR INTENT is principally to treat of the first foundation of the worthy science of Geometry, and who were the founders thereof.  As I said before, there are seven Liberal Sciences, that is to say seven sciences or crafts that are free in themselves, the which seven live only by one, and that is the science of Geometry.  And Geometry is, as much as to say, the measure of the earth, "et sic dicetur a Gea graece quod est pro terra Latine, e metrona quod est mensura una Geometria ie mensura terae vel terrarum," that is to say in English that Geometry is, as I said, of "geo" in Greek earth, and "metron" that is to say measure, and thus is this name Geometry compounded, and is said (to be) the measure of the earth.

MARVEL ye not that I said that all sciences live only by the science of Geometry, for there is no artificial or handicraft that is wrought by man's hand but is wrought by Geometry, and a notable cause, for if a man works with his hands he worketh with some manner of tool, and there is no instrument of material things in this world, but it comes of some kind of earth, and to earth it will turn again.  And there is no instrument, that is to say a tool to work with, but it hath some proportion more or less, and proportion is measure, and the tool or instrument is earth, and Geometry is said to be the measure of the earth.  Wherefore I may say that men live all by Geometry, for all men here in this world live by the labour of their hands.

MANY more probations I could tell you, why that Geometry is the science that all reasonable men live by, but I will leave it at this time for the long process of writing.  And now I will proceed further on my matter.  Ye shall understand that among all the crafts of the world of man's craft Masonry hath the most notability, and most part of this science of Geometry, as it is noted and said in history, and in the Bible, and in the Master of Stories, and in the "Polichronicon," a chronicle proved, and in the histories that is named Beda "'de Imagine Mundi,'" et Isodorus "'Ethemolegiarum'."  "Mathodius Episcopus et Martyrus," and others, many more, said that Masonry is principal of Geometry, as me thinketh it may well be said, for it is the first that was founded, as it is noted in the Bible, in the first book of Genesis in the 4th chapter, and also all the doctors aforesaid accordeth thereto, and some of {545} them saith it more openly and plainly right as it saith in the Bible -- Genesis.

ADAM'S line lineal of sons descending down the 7th age after Adam, before Noah's flood there was a man called Lamech, the which had two wives, the one called Adah and the other Zillah; by the first named Adah he begat two sons, the one named Jabal and the other named Jubal.  The elder son Jabal, he was the first man that ever found Geometry and Masonry, and he made houses and is named in the Bible, "Pater habitanicum in tentoriis atque Pastorum," that is to say father of men dwelling in tents, that is dwelling-houses.<<And the fnther of Shepherds and Headsman (other MSS.)>>  And he was Cain's Master Mason and governor of all his works when he made the city of Enoch; that was the first city that ever was made, and that made Cain Adam's son, and gave it to his son Enoch, and gave the city the name of his son and called it Enoch, and now it is called Ephraim, and there was the science of Geometry and Masonry first occupied and contrived for a science and for a craft; and so we may say that was the cause and foundation of all crafts and sciences, and also this man Jabal was called "Pater pastorum."<<And the father of Shepherds and Headsman (other MSS.)>>  The Master of Stories saith, and Beda "de Imagine Mundi Polichronicon," and others more say, that he was the first that made partition of land, that every man might know his own ground and labour thereupon, as for his own.  And also he parted flocks of sheep that every man might know his own sheep, and so we may say that he was the first founder of that science.  And his brother Jubal was the first founder of Music and of song as ("Pythagoras") saith, the "Polichronicon," and the same saith Isadore in his "Ethemolegies" in the sixth book, there he saith that he was the first founder of music in song and of organ and trumpet, and he found that science by the sound of ponderation of his brother's hammers, that was Tubal Cain.

SOOTHLY as the Bible saith in the same chapter, that is to say the 4th of Genesis, this Lamech begat upon his other wife, that named Zillah, a son and a daughter, the names of them were called Tubal Cain, that was the son; and his daughter was called Naamah, and as the "Polichronicon" saith, that some men say that she was Noah's wife; whether it be so or no we affirm it not.

YE shall understand that this son Tubal Cain was the founder of Smiths' Craft and of other Crafts of Metal, that is to say of iron, of brass, of gold, and of silver, as sundry doctors sayeth; and his sister Naamah was founder of weavers' craft, for before that time there was no cloth woven, but they did spin yarn and knit it, and made such clothing as they could, but as the woman Naamah found the craft of weaving, therefore it is called women's craft; and these three, her brethren, had knowledge before that God would take vengeance for sin either by fire or by water, and they had great care how they might do to save the sciences that they had found, and they took their counsel together and by all their wits they said that there were two manner of stones of such virtue that the one would never burn, and that stone is called marble, and that other stone would not sink in water, and that stone is named lacerus (laterus).  And so they devised to write all the sciences that they had found in these two stones, so that if God should take vengeance by fire, that the marble should not burn; and if God sent vengeance by water that the other should not drown; and so they prayed their elder brother Jabal that he would make two pillars of these stones, that is to say of marble and lacerus, and that he would write in the two pillars all the {546} sciences and crafts that they all had found, and so he did, and therefore we may say that he was the most cunning in science, for he first began and performed the end before Noah's flood.

KINDLY (intuitively) knowing of that vengeance that God would send, whether it should be by fire or by water the brethren had it not by manner of prophecy; they wist that God would send one thereof, and therefore they wrote their sciences in the ii. pillars of stone, and some men say that they wrote in the stones all the seven sciences; but they had in their minds that a vengeance would come; and so it was that God sent vengeance by water, so that their came such a flood that all the world was drowned; and all men were dead therein; save viii. persons, and that was Noah and his wife and his iii. sons and their wives of which three sons all the world come of and their names were in this manner -- Shem, Ham, and Japheth.  And this flood was called Noah's flood, for he and his children were saved therein.  And after this flood, many years, as the chronicle telleth, these ii. pillars were found, and as the "Polichronicon" saith that a great clerk that men called Pythagoras found the one and Hermes the philosopher found the other, and they taught forth the sciences that they found therein written.

EVERY chronicle and storiell, and many other clerks, and the Bible principally, witnesseth of the making of the tower of Babylon, and it is written in the Bible, Genesis, Capo. x., how that Ham, Noah's son, begot Nimrod, and he waxed a mighty man upon the earth, and he was a strong man like a giant, and he was a great king.  And the beginning of his kingdom was the true kingdom of Babylon, and Erech, and Accad, and Calnah, and the land of Shinar.  And this same Nimrod began the tower of Babylon, and he taught to his workmen the craft of measures, and he had with him many Masons, more than forty thousands, and he loved them and cherished them well: and it is written in the "Polichronicon," and in the Master of Stories, and other stories more, and this, in part, witnesseth the Bible, in the said x. chapter, where it saith that Ashur, that was nigh of kin to Nimrod, "yede" out of the land of Shinar, and he built the city of Nineveh, and Plateas, and other more, thus it saith -- "De terra illa in de Sennare egressus est Assur et edificavit Nineven et Plateas civitatis et Calen, et Resen, quoque est inter Nineven et Calen haec est civitatis magna."

REASON would that we should tell openly how, and in what manner the Charges of Masoncraft was first founded, and who gave first the name to it of Masonry.  And ye shall know well that it is plainly told and written in "Polichronicon," and in Methodius episcopus et Martyrus, that Ashur that was a worthy lord of Shinar, sent to Nimrod the king to send him Masons and workmen of craft that might help him to make his city that he was in will to make.  And Nimrod sent thirty hundred of Masons; and when he should go and send them forth he called them before him, and said to them -- "You must go to my cousin Ashur, to help him to build a city; but look that ye be well governed, and I shall give you a charge profitable to you and me.

"WHEN ye come to that Lord, look that ye be true to him, like as ye would be to me, and truly do your labour and craft, and take reasonable for your meed therefore, as you may deserve; and also that ye love together as ye were brethren, and hold together truly, and he that hath most cunning teach it to his Fellow, and look ye govern yourselves well towards your lord, and among yourselves, that I may have worship and thanks for my sending, and teaching you the craft." {547}

AND they received the charge of the King that was their Master and their Lord, and went forth to Ashur and builded the city of Nineveh in the country of Plateas and other cities more that men call Calah and Resen that is a great city between Calah and Nineveh.  And in this manner the craft of Masonry was first preferred and charged for a science and a craft.

REASON would that we should shew you how that the Elders that were before time had these Charges written (to them as we have now in our Charges of the Story of Euclid, as we have seen them written) in Latin and in French; and how that Euclid came to Geometry, we should tell you as it is noted in the Bible and in other stories.  In xii. capitolo Genesis he telleth how that Abraham came to the land of Canaan, and the Lord appeared to him and said, "I shall give this land to thee and to thy seed," but there fell a great hunger in that land and Abraham took Sarah his wife with him and went into (the land of) Egypt in pilgrimage, while the hunger endured he would bide there.  And Abraham was a wise man and a great cleric, and he knew all the seven sciences, and taught the Egyptians the science of Geometry.  And this worthy clerk Euclid was his scholar and learned of him; and he gave it first the name of Geometry, all be that it was occupied before it had the name of Geometry.  But it is said in Isidorus, "Ethemolegiarum," in the 5th book, Capitolo primo, that Euclid was one of the first founders of Geometry and he gave it name; for in his time there was a water in the land of Egypt that was called Nile, and it flowed so far into the land that men might not dwell therein.  Then this worthy clerk Euclid taught them to make great walls and ditches to hold out the water; and he by Geometry measured the land and apportioned it in divers parts, and made every man to close his own part with walls and ditches, and then it became a plenteous country of all manner of fruit and of young people, of men and women, that there was so much fruit of young people that they could not well live.  And the lords of the country drew them together and made a council how they might help their children that had no livelyhood competent and able to find for themselves and their children, for they had so many.  And among them all in Council was this worthy clerk Euclid, and when he saw that they all could not bring about this matter he said to them -- "Will ye (give) to me your sons in governance and I shall teach them such a science that they shall live thereby gentlemanly, under condition that ye will be sworn to me, to perform the governance that I will set you to, and them both."  And the King of the land and all the lords, by one consent, granted thereto.

REASON would that every man would grant to that thing that were profitable to himself, and they took their sons to Euclid to govern them at his own will, and he taught them the Craft of Masonry and gave it the name of Geometry, because of the parting of the ground that he had taught the people in the time of the making of the walls and ditches aforesaid, to close out the water, and Isadore saith in his "Ethemolegies" that Euclid calleth the craft Geometry; and there this worthy clerk gave it name, and taught it the lords' sons of the land that he had in his teaching.  And he gave them a Charge, that they should call each other Fellow and no otherwise, because they were all of one craft, and gentle birth born and lords' sons.  And also he that were most cunning should be governor of the work and should be called Master, and other Charges more that are written in the "Book of Charges."  And so they wrought with the lords of that land, and {548} made cities and towns, castles, and temples, and lords' palaces, and did live honestly and truly by the said craft.

WHAT time the children of Israel dwelt in Egypt they learned the craft of Masonry.  And afterwards, (when) they were driven out of Egypt, they came into the land of Behest which is now called Jerusalem, and it was occupied and Charges there held and kept.  And (also) at the making of King Solomon's temple that King David began.  And King David loved well Masons and he gave them Charges right nigh as they be now.  And at the making of the temple in Solomon's time, as it is said in the Bible, in the third book "Regum in tercio Regum capitolo quinto" that Solomon had iv. score thousand Masons at his work; and the King's son of Tyre was his Master Mason.  And in other Chronicles it is said, and in old "Books of Masonry," that Solomon confirmed the Charges that David his father had given to Masons.  And Solomon himself taught them their manners, but little differing from the manners that now are used.

AND from thence this worthy science was brought into France, and into many other regions.  Sometime there was a worthy king that was called Carolus Secundus, that is to say Charles the Second, and this Charles was elected King of France by the grace of God and by lineage also.  And some men say that he was elected by fortune only, the which is false as by the chronicle he was of the king's blood royal.  And this same King Charles was a Mason before that he was a King, and after that he was a King he loved well Masons and cherished them, and gave them Charges and manners at his device, whereof some be yet used in France, and he ordained that they should have reasonable pay and should assemble once a year and commune together of such things as were amiss, and to be ruled by Masons and Fellows.

   EVERY honest Mason or any other worthy workman that hath any love to the Craft of Masonry and would know how the Craft came first into England, and how it was grounded and confirmed, as it is noted and written in Storialls of England and in old Charges of St. Alban's time and of King Athelstan ('s reign<<In original the word is "declared.">> that Amphabell came out of France into England and brought St. Alban into Christendom, and made him a Christian man.  And he brought with him the Charges of Masons as they were in France, and in other lands.  And at that time the king of the land, who was a pagan, dwelt where St. Albans is now, and he had many masons working on the town walls, and at that time St. Alban was the King's steward, paymaster, and governor of the King's works, and he loved Masons and cherished them well and made them good pay, for (before that time throughout all England) a Mason took but a penny a day and meat and drink, and St. Alban got of the King that every Mason should have xxxd. and iiid. for their noon finding, and he got them Charges and manners as St. Amphabell had taught him, and they do but little differ from the Charges that be used at this time, and so these Charges and manners were used many years.

AFTERWARDS they were almost near hand lost through barbarous wars, until the time of King Athelstan<<Query, Edwd., and Athelstan (suggested by Bro. W. H. Upton, P.G.M., of Washington).  May admit of interpretation as Edwd. the elder, and his sons Athelstan and Edwin (see IV. and V.)>> (who brought the land to rest and peace, and he loved well Masons and had a son called Edwin),<<Query, Edwd., and Athelstan (suggested by Bro. W. H. Upton, P.G.M., of Washington).  May admit of interpretation as Edwd. the elder, and his sons Athelstan and Edwin (see IV. and V.)>> and the same (Edwin) loved well Geometry and applied himself busily in learning that science, and also he desired to have the practice thereof, wherefore he called to himself {549} the best Masons that were in the realm, for he knew well that they had the practise of Geometry best of any craft in the realm, and he learned of them Masonry and loved and cherished them well, and he took unto him the Charges, and learned the manners, and afterwards for the love that he had unto the craft, and for the good grounding on which it was founded, he purchased a free charter of the King his father that they should have such freedom, to have correction within themselves, and that they might commune together, to correct such things as were amiss within themselves; and they made a great Congregation of Masons to assemble together at York, where he was himself, and let call the old Masons of the realm to that Congregation, and commanded them to bring to him all the writings of the old books of the craft that they had, out of which book they contrived the Charges by the device of the wisest Masons that were there, and commanded that these charges might be kept and holden, and he ordained that such Congregations should be called Assembly, and he ordained for them good pay that they might live honestly; the which Charges I will declare hereafter, and thus was the Craft of Masonry grounded and confirmed in England.

IN ENGLAND Right Worshipful Masters and Fellows that (have) been of divers Assemblies and Congregations, with the consent of the lords of this realm, hath ordained and made Charges, by their best advise, that all manner of men that shall be made and Allowed Masons, must be sworn upon a book to keep the same, in all that they may, to the uttermost of their Power.  And also that they have ordained that when any Fellow shall be Received and Allowed that these Charges shall be read to him, and he to take his Charges.  And these Charges have been seen and perused by our late Sovereign Lord King Henry the Sixth, and the Lords of the honourable Council, and they have allowed them well, and said they were right good and reasonable to be holden.  And these Charges have been drawn and gathered out of divers ancient Books, both of the old Law and new Law, as they were confirmed and made in Egypt by the King and by the great clerk Euclid; and at the making of Solomon's temple by King David, and Salom his son; and in France by Charles King of France; and in England by St. Alban that was steward to the King; and afterwards by King Athelstan<<Query, Edwd., and Athelstan (suggested by Bro. W. H. Upton, P.G.M., of Washington).  May admit of interpretation as Edwd. the elder, and his sons Athelstan and Edwin (see IV. and V.)>> that was King of England, and by his son Edwin that was king after his father<<Query, Edwd., and Athelstan (suggested by Bro. W. H. Upton, P.G.M., of Washington).  May admit of interpretation as Edwd. the elder, and his sons Athelstan and Edwin (see IV. and V.)>>; as it is rehearsed in many and divers histories, and storialls, and chapters, and ensueth as the Charges following, Particularly and severally.

The first and principal Charge is: --

1. THAT ye shall be true man, or true men, to God and the Holy Church, and that ye shall use neither error nor heresy, by your own understanding nor discredit wise-men's teaching.

2. That ye be true liegemen to the King without treason or falsehood, and if you know any treason or treachery, look ye amend it if you can, or else privately warn the King, or his rulers, or his deputies, and officers.

3. That ye shall be true one to another; that is to say every Master and Fellow of the science and craft of Masonry, that be Allowed Masons; and to do unto them as ye would they should do unto you.

4. That every Mason keep true Council both of "Lodge" and "Chamber," and all other councils that ought to be kept by way of Masonry.

5. That no Mason be thief, or thieves (maintainers), so far as he knoweth. {550}

6. That he shall be true to his lord and (to his) Master, that he doth serve, and truly look to his Master's profit and advantage.

7. You shall call Masons your Fellows, or your Brethren, and by no foul name, nor shall you take your Fellow's wife in villany, nor further desire his daughter or servant.

8. And also that you pay truly for your meat or your drink, wheresoever you go to board, also ye shall do no villany in the house, whereby the Craft may be slandered.

THESE be the Charges in general that every Mason should hold, both Masters and Fellows.

NOW other singular Charges for Masters and Fellows: --

1st -- THAT no Master, nor Fellow, take upon him Lord's work, nor other man's, but he know himself able and cunning to perform it; so that the Craft have no slander nor disworship; so that the lord may be well and truly served.

2ly -- That no Master take work but he take it reasonably so that the lords may be well and truly served with his own goods, and the Master may live honestly, and pay his Fellows truly their pay, as the manner of Craft asketh.

3ly -- That no Master, nor Fellow, shall supplant other of his work, that is to say, if he have taken a work, or stand Master of any lord's work, or other.  Ye shall not put him out, unless he is unable of cunning to end that work.

4ly -- That no Master, nor Fellow, take no Apprentice, to be allowed his apprentice but for seven years, and that the apprentice be able, (and) of birth and living, as he ought to be.

5ly -- That no Master, nor Fellow, take no allowance (nor allow any) to be Mason without the consent of V. or VI. of his Fellows at least; and that he that shall be made Mason to be (amenable in all points), that is to say, that he be free born and of good kindred, and no bondsman, and that he have his right limbs, as a man ought to have.

6ly -- "That no Master, nor Fellow, take any lord's work to task that hath been accounted to be journey-work.

7ly -- That every Master) give pay to his Fellow but as he may deserve, so that the worthy lord of the work may not be deceived through false workmen.

8ly -- That no Fellow do slander another behind his back to make him lose his good name, or his worldly goods.

9ly -- That no Fellow within Lodge, or without it, do minister evil answers to another ungodly, without reasonable cause.

10ly -- That every Mason shall do reverence to his elders, and shall put him to worship.

11ly -- That no Mason shall play at hazard, nor at the dice, nor at any other unlawful games, whereby the Craft might be slandered.

12ly -- That no Mason be ribald in lechery, to make the Craft slandered.

13th -- That no Fellow go into town in the night time without a Fellow to bear witness that he hath been in honest company; for if he do so there is to be a Lodge of Fellows to punish the sin.

14th -- That every Mason and Fellow shall come to the Assembly if it be within five (fifty) miles of him, and if he have any warning to stand at the award of Masters and Fellows.

15th -- That every Mason and Fellow if they have trespassed to stand at the award of Masters and Fellows to make them accord, if they may, and if they may not accord then to go to the common law.

16th -- That no Master make no mould, nor square, nor rule, to layers (i.e., setters).

17th -- That no Master, nor Fellow, shall set a layer within {551} Lodge, nor without it, to shew any moulded stones, with any mould of his making.

18th -- That every Master shall receive and cherish strange Masons when they come out of the country, and set them to work, as the manner is; that is to say, if they have moulded stones in the place, ye shall set him a fortnight at the least in work, and give him his pay, and if ye have no stones for him to work, then ye shall refresh him to the next Lodge.

19th -- That you shall truly serve your lord for your pay, and justly and truly make an end of your work, be it task or journey-work, so that you may have your pay truly, as you ought to have.

20th -- That every Mason work truly upon the working day, so that he may receive his pay and deserve it; that he may live honestly upon the holiday; and that ye, and every Mason, receive your pay godly of your paymaster, and that you shall keep due time of labour in your work, and of rest as it is ordained of the Master's counsel.

21st -- That if any Fellow shall be at discord or dissention, ye shall truly treat with them to make accord and agreement, and shew no favour to either party, but act justly and truly for both, and that it be done at such times as the lord's work be not hindered.

22nd -- ALSO if ye stand Warden or have any power under the Master, where you serve, ye shall be true to your said Master while ye be with him, and be a true mediator between Master and Fellows, to the uttermost of your power.

23rd -- ALSO if ye stand steward, either of Lodge, Chamber, or Common House needs, ye shall give a true account of your Fellows' goods, how they are dispensed, at such times as they may take account; and also if ye have more cunning than your Fellow that stands by you at his work, and see him in danger to spoil his stone, and wants counsel of you, ye shall inform and teach him honestly, so that the lord's work be not spoiled.

          THESE Charges that we have declared and recorded unto you, ye shall well and truly keep to your power.  So help you God, and your Hali-dame; and by ye holy contents of this book.



  (ABBREVIATED, "circa" 1535).

   The might of the Father of heaven, with the wisdom of the blessed Son, through the grace of God, and the goodness of     the Holy Ghost, that be three persons in one Godhead, be with us at our beginning, and give us grace so to govern us here in this life, that we may come to His blessing, that never shall have ending.

GOOD BRETHREN and Fellows, our purpose is to tell you how and in what manner this worthy science of Masonry was first founded and afterwards how it was maintained and upholden by worthy kings and princes, and many other worshipful men.  And also, to them that be here, we will declare the Charges that it belongs to every Free-Mason to keep sure in good faith; and therefore take good heed hereunto, for it is a science that is worthy of being kept, for it is a worthy Craft; and is one of the seven liberal sciences. {552}

The names of the seven liberal sciences are these: The first is "Grammar" that teacheth a man to speak and write truly; the second is "Rhetoric" that teacheth a man to speak well, in subtle terms; the third is "Dialectic," or Logic, that teacheth a man to discern truth from falsehood.  The fourth is "Arithmetic," that teacheth a man to reckon and count all kinds of numbers; the fifth is "Geometry" that teacheth a man to mete and measure the earth and all other things, on which science Masonry is grounded.  The sixth is "Music" that teacheth the craft of song and voice, of tongue, organ, and harp.  The seventh is "Astronomy" that teacheth a man to know the course of the sun, moon, and stars.

THESE be the seven liberal Sciences, the which are all grounded upon one, that is to say Geometry.  And this may a man prove that the science of all work is grounded upon Geometry, for it teacheth mete, measure, ponderation, and weight of all manner of things on earth; for there are none that work any science, but he worketh by some measure or weight, and all this is Geometry.  Merchants and all Craftsmen, and others who use the Sciences, and especially the plowmen and tillers of all manner of grains and seeds, planters of vineyards and setters of fruit, none can till without Geometry; for neither in Grammar, Rhetoric, or Astronomy can any man find mete or measure without geometry.  Wherefore this science may well be called the most worthy science, for it foundeth all others.

HOW this science was first begun I will now tell you.  Before Noah's flood there was a man called Lamech, as it is written in the Bible in the 4th chapter of Genesis.  And this Lamech had two wives, the one called Adah by whom he had two sons, one called Jabal and the other Jubal.  And his other wife was called Zillah, by whom he had one son Tubal-Cain, and one daughter named Naamah; and these four children founded the beginning of all the sciences in the world.  Jabal, the eldest son, found out the science of Geometry; he kept flocks of sheep and lambs in the fields, as it is noted in the chapter aforesaid.  His brother Jubal founded the science of Music, in song of tongue, harp, and organ, and trumpet.  And the third brother Tubal Cain found the science of smith's craft, in gold, silver, copper, and iron.  And their sister Naamah found the craft of weaving.  And these persons knowing right well that God would take vengeance for sin, either by fire or water, therefore they writ their several sciences that they had found in ii. pillars of stone, that they might be found after Noah's flood.  The one stone was marble that would not burn with fire, and the other called "latres" (latens, laterns, lacerus, &c.) because it would not drown with water.  Our intent is now to tell you, how and in what manner these stones were found in which were written these sciences.  After the destruction of the world by Noah's flood, as histories affirm, a great clerk called Pythagoras found the one, and Hermes the philosopher (who was Cush's son, who was Shem's son, who was Noah's son) found the other, and was called the Father of wise men.  These two found the two pillars in which the sciences were written, and taught them to other men.

AND at the making of the Tower of Babylon masonry was much esteemed.  And the king of Babylon that was named Nimrod was a Mason himself, and he loved well Masons and their science, as it is said by Masters of histories.  And when the cities of Nineveh, and other cities of eastern Asia, were to be built this Nimrod sent thither three score masons<<Other MSS. have it, sixty, forty, thirty hundred, see also No. 3 MS.>> at the request of the {553} King of Nineveh, his cousin, and when he sent them forth he gave them a Charge in this manner.  That they should each one be true to the other; that they should love well one another; that they should serve their lord truly for their pay, that the Master may have worship and all that belong to him.  And other more Charges he gave them, and this was the first time that a Mason had any Charges of his Craft.

MOREOVER Abraham and Sarah his wife went into Egypt, and there he taught the seven sciences to the Egyptians; and ("he had") a worthy scholar named Euclid ("and he") learned right well and was Master of all the vii. sciences; and in his days it befell that the lords and states of the land had so many sons, some by their wives and some by their concubines, for that land is hot and plenteous of generation; and they had not a competent proportion of estates wherewith to maintain their said children, which caused them much care; and the King of that land summoned a great Council to consult how they might provide for their children to live honestly as gentlemen; and they could find no good way.  And then they made proclamation throughout all the realm, that if there were any that could inform them therein he should come to them and would be well rewarded for his labours.  After this proclamation was made the worthy Clerk Euclid came and said unto the King and the nobles -- "If you will accept of me to teach, instruct, and govern your children, I will teach them the vii. liberal sciences whereby they may live honestly as gentlemen.  I will do it upon condition that you will grant me and them a commission, that I may have power to rule them, after the manner the science ought to be ruled."  The King and all the Council granted him this and sealed the Commission; and then this worthy doctor took to himself these lords' sons and taught them the science of Geometry, and to practise work in stones, of all manner of work that belongeth to building churches, temples, castles, towers, manors, and all other sorts of buildings, and gave them a Charge in this manner: First, that they should be true to the lord that they serve; that they should love well one another; that they should call each other Fellow or Brother, and not servant, knave, or other foul name; that they should truly deserve their pay of their lord, or the master that they served; and that they should ordain the wisest of them to be masters of the work, and neither to chose for love, nor affection, nor greatness, nor richness, to set any in the work that hath not sufficient knowledge or cunning to be master of the work, whereby the Master should be evilly served and they dishonoured; and also that they should call the governor of the work Master, during the time that they work with him, and other more Charges which is too long to tell here.  And to all these Charges he made them swear a great Oath, that men used at that time; and he ordained for them reasonable pay that they might live honestly thereby; also that they should assemble themselves together once every year, and consult how they might best work for their lord's profit and their own credit; and correct within themselves him that had trespassed against the science.  And thus was the science grounded in Egypt, and that worthy Master Euclid was the first that gave it the name of Geometry the which is now called Masonry.

AND, AFTER that, when the children of Israel were come into the land of Behest which is now called with us the country of Jerusalem (Jewry), King David began the temple that is now called Templum Dei, as is called with us the Temple of Jerusalem, and the said King David loved well Masons and {554} cherished them much, and he gave them good wages, and also Charges and manners, as they had learned in Egypt ("from Euclid"), and other more Charges that you shall hear afterwards.  After the decease of King David, Solomon his son finished the said temple that his father had begun, and he sent for Masons out of divers countries and divers lands, and gathered them together so that he had four score thousand workers of stone who were Masons, and he chose out of them three thousand that were ordained to be Masters and governors of the work.  And furthermore, there was a king of another region that men called Hiram, and he loved King Solomon well, and he gave him timber for his work.  And he had a son named Aman (Aymon, Hymon, Anon, Adon, &c.) and he was a Master of Geometry, and chief Master of all his gravings, carvings, and all his masons and masonry, as appears in Scripture, in libro primo Regum and chapter 5th.  And this Solomon confirmed both the Charges and manners that his father had given to Masons, and thus was the worthy science of Masonry confirmed in the country of Jewry, and city of Jerusalem, and in many other kingdoms.

CURIOUS Craftsmen walked about full wide into other countries, some to learn more craft, and some to teach others that had little skill and cunning.  And it befell that there was one curious Mason named Namas Graecas (Namus Graecus, Manus Graecus, Memon Grecus, Mammungretus, Mamus Graecus, Minus Goventis, Marcus Graecus, Namus Grenaeus, etc.) that had been at the building<<Building's (query of Bro. Schnitger) -- he had a Solomon's temple ritual.>> of Solomon's temple and he came into France and there he taught the science of Masonry to men of that land.  And there was one of the royal line of France called Charles Martel, and he was a man that loved well such a craft, and he drew to this . . . . . abovesaid, and learned of him the craft, and took upon him Charges and manners, and afterwards by the providence of God, he was elected King of France, and when he was in his estate he took and helped to make men Masons which before were not; and he gave them both their Charge and manners, and good pay as he had learned of other Masons, and also confirmed a Charter from year to year to hold their Assembly where they would, and cherished them right well, and thus came this famous Craft into France.

ENGLAND in all this time stood void of any Charge of Masonry until St. Alban's time, and in his days the King of England<<Carausius.>> then a pagan did wall the town (that is now called) St. Albans about.  And St. Alban was a worthy Knight and Steward of the King's household, and had the government of the realm, and had also the ordering of the walls of the said town, and he loved and cherished Masons right well, and made their pay right good, for he gave them (3s. a week -- 2s. 6d. and 3d. for noon, 3s. 6d. and 3d., etc.), and before that time, throughout all the land, a Mason took but a penny a day, until St. Alban amended it; and he procured them a Charter from the King and his Council, for to hold counsel together, and gave it the name of Assembly, and thereat he was himself, and helped to make men Masons, and gave them a Charge, as ye shall after hear.

BUT it happened soon after the death of St. Alban that there arose great wars in England, which came out of divers nations, so that the goodly rule of Masonry was well nigh destroyed until the days of King Athelstan,<<Query, Edwd., and Athelstan (suggested by Bro. W. H. Upton, P.G.M., of Washington).  May admit of interpretation as Edwd. the elder, and his sons Athelstan and Edwin (see IV. and V.)>> who was a worthy King of England, and he brought the land into good rest and peace, and {555} builded many great works, as abbeys, castles, towns, and other buildings, and loved well Masons; and he had a son named Edwin,<<Query, Edwd., and Athelstan (suggested by Bro. W. H. Upton, P.G.M., of Washington).  May admit of interpretation as Edwd. the elder, and his sons Athelstan and Edwin (see IV. and V.)>> that loved Masons, much more than his father, and he was a great practitioner in geometry, and delighted much to talk and commune with Masons and to learn of them skill and cunning, and afterwards for the love he bore to Masons and to their science, he was made a Mason, and he procured for them of the King his father a Charter and Commission to hold every year an Assembly, wheresoever they would within the realm of England, and to correct within themselves all defaults and trespasses that were done within the Craft, and he himself held an Assembly at York, and there he made Masons and gave them the Charges and taught them the manners and commanded that rule to be kept ever after, and also gave them the Charter to keep, and also gave orders that it should be renewed from king to king.  And when the Assembly was gathered together he made proclamation, that all Masons who had any writings or understanding of the Charges and manners concerning the said science, that was made before in this land or any other, that they should bring them forth, and when they were viewed and examined, there were found some in French, some in Greek, some in English, and other languages, and the intent and meaning was found all one. [<<Added from "Tew MS." W. R. Co. York; also clauses 19 to 25.>> And these Charges have been gathered and drawn out of divers antient books and writings, as they were made and confirmed in Egypt by the King and the great Clerk Euclid; and by David and Solomon his son; and in France by Charles Martel who was King of France; and in England by St. Alban; and afterwards by Athelstan and Edward his son,<<Query, Edwd., and Athelstan (suggested by Bro. W. H. Upton, P.G.M., of Washington).  May admit of interpretation as Edwd. the elder, and his sons Athelstan and Edwin (see IV. and V.)>> that was king after him.]  And he had made a Book thereof, how the Craft was founded, and he himself counselled that it should be read when any Masons should be made, and the Charge given to them.  And from that day to this the manners of Masons have been kept and observed in that form, as well as men might observe and govern it.

ADD furthermore at divers Assemblies there hath been added certain Charges more by the best advice of Masters and Fellows.  Tunc unus ex senioribus teneat librum ut ille vel illi potiat vel potiant manus sup librum et tunc precepta deberent Legi.

EVERY man that is a Mason, take right good heed to these Charges, and if any man find himself guilty of any of them, let him amend himself before God.  And in particular, ye that are to be charged, take good heed to keep them right well, for it is perilous and great danger for a man to forswear himself upon "a book" (the Holy Scriptures).

1st -- The first Charge is that you be true man to God, and the Holy Church, and that you use neither error nor heresy, according to your own understanding, and to discreet and wise-men's teaching.

2nd -- You shall be true liegemen to the King of England without any treason or falsehood, and if you know of any that you amend it privily, if you may, or else warn the King and his Council of it by declaring it to his officers.

3rd -- Ye shall be true to one another, that is to say to every Mason of the Craft of Masonry that be allowed Masons, and do unto them as you would they should do unto you.

4th -- You shall keep truly all the counsel of Lodge and Chamber, and all other counsel, that ought to be kept by way of Masonry.

5th -- Also that you use no thievery, but keep yourselves true.

6th -- Also you shall be true to the lord, or Master, that you {556} serve, and truly see that his profit and advantage be promoted and furthered.

7th -- And also you shall call Masons your Brethren, or Fellows, and no foul name.

8th -- And you shall not take in villainy your Fellow's wife, nor desire his daughter, nor servant, nor put him to any discredit.

9th -- And also that you pay truly for your meat and drink where you go to table, and that you do not anything whereby the Craft may be scandalised, or receive disgrace.

THESE be the Charges in general that belongeth to every Mason to keep both Masters and Fellows.  NOW come I to rehearse certain other Charges singularly, for Masters and Fellows: --

1. That no Master take upon him any lord's work, or any other man's work, except he know himself to be of sufficient skill and cunning to perform and finish the same, that so the Craft receive no slander, but that the lord be well served, and have his work truly done.

2. Also that no Master take any work at unreasonable rates, but so that the lord, or owner, may be truly served with his own goods, and the Master live honestly thereby, and pay his Fellows truly their wages, as the manner is.

3. And also that no Master, nor Fellow, shall supplant another of his work; that is to say, if any Master or Fellow have taken any work to do, and so stands as Master of the said work, you shall not put him out of it, unless he be unable of skill and cunning to perform the same to the end.

4. Also that no Master nor Fellow, take any Apprentice under the term of seven years, and that such apprentice is sufficiently able of body and sound of limbs, also of good birth, free-born, no alien, but descended of a true and honest kindred, and no bondsman.

5. Also that no Mason take any apprentice unless he have sufficient occupation wherein to employ two or three Fellows at the least.

6. Also that no Master or Fellow take any lords' work (in task) that was wont to be journey work.

7. Also that every Master shall give wages to his Fellows according as his work doth deserve, that he be not deceived by false work.

8. Also that none shall slander another behind his back, whereby he may lose his good name, or worldly riches.

9. Also that no Fellow, within the lodge or without it, shall misanswer or reprove another, without cause.

10. Also that every Mason shall reverence his elder brother, and put him to honour.

11. Also that no Mason shall be a common player at cards or dice, or any other unlawful game, or games, whereby the science may be slandered and disgraced.

12. Also that no Fellow at any time go from the Lodge to any town adjoining, except he have a Fellow with him to witness that he was in an honest place, and civil company.

13. Also that every Master and Fellow shall come to the Assembly of Masons, if it he within fifty (1, 5, 7, 10) miles about him, if he have any warning of the same.

14. And if he or they have trespassed or offended against the Craft, all such trespass shall stand there, at the award and arbitration of the Masters and Fellows there (present); they to make them accord if they can, or may, and if they cannot agree then to go to the common law. {557}

15. Also that no Master, nor Fellow, make any mould, rule, or square for any layer, nor set any layer (with) or without to hew any mould stones.

16. And that every Mason shall cherish strange Fellows, when they come out of other countries and set them on work if he can, as the manner is, viz. -- if he have no stones, nor moulds, in that place, he shall refresh him with money to supply his necessities until he come to the next Lodge.

17. Also that every Mason shall perform his work truly and not sleightly, for his pay, and serve his lord truly for his wages.

18. Also that every Master shall truly make an end of his work, whether it be by task or journey, viz., by measure or by days, and if he have his pay and all other covenants performed to him by the lord of the work according to the bargain.

19. Also that no Mason shall be a common ribald in lechery to make the Craft slandered.

20. Also that every Mason shall work truly upon the work day, that he may truly deserve his pay, and receive it so he may live honestly on the holiday.

21. And also that you and every Mason shall receive weekly (meekly) and godly (the) pay of your paymaster, and that you shall have due time of labour in the work, and of rest as is ordained by the Master's counsel.

22. And also if any Fellows be at discord you shall truly treat with them to be agreed, shewing favour to neither party, but wisely and truly for both, and that it be in such time that the lord's work be not hindered.

23. And also if you stand Warden, or have any power under the Master whom you serve, you shall be true to him, and a true mediator between the Master and your Fellows, to the uttermost of your power whilst you be in care.

24. Also if you stand Steward either of Lodge, Chambers, or common house, you shall give true accounts to your Fellows, at such time as they have accounts.

25. And also if you have more cunning than your Fellow that stands by you, and see him in danger to spoil his stone, and he asketh counsel of you, you shall inform and teach him honestly, so that the lord's work be not damaged.

          THESE Charges that we have now rehearsed to you, and

       to all others here present, which belongeth to Masons, ye

       shall well and truly keep to your power.  So help you

       God, and by ye contents of that book.  Amen.  (by your

       Haly-dome, Hali-dame, etc.).



Afterwards, soon after the decease of St. Alban there came divers wars into England, out of divers nations, so that the good rule of Masonry was destroyed and put down, until the time of King (Knight) Althelstan.<<Query, Edwd., and Athelstan (suggested by Bro. W. H. Upton, P.G.M., of Washington).  May admit of interpretation as Edwd. the elder, and his sons Athelstan and Edwin (see IV. and V.)>>  In his time there was a worthy King of England that brought this land into good rest, and he builded many great works and buildings, therefore he loved well Masons, for he had a son called Edwin,<<Query, Edwd., and Athelstan (suggested by Bro. W. H. Upton, P.G.M., of Washington).  May admit of interpretation as Edwd. the elder, and his sons Athelstan and Edwin (see IV. and V.)>> the which loved Masons much more than his father did, and he was so practised {558} in geometry that he delighted much to come and talk with Masons, and learn of them the Craft; and after for the love he had to Masons and to the Craft, he was made Mason at Windsor,<<Query -- Winchester.>> and got of the King his father a charter and commission, once every year to have Assembly where they would within England, and to correct within themselves, faults and trespasses that were done touching the Craft, and he held them at Assembly at York, and there he made Masons.



   (Harleian MS., etc., early 17th Century)


  (1) 26. No person (of what degree soever) bee accepted a Free-Mason unless he shall have a lodge of five Free Masons; at least where of one to be a Master or Warden, of that limitt or devision, wherein such lodge shall be kept, and another of the trade of Free Masonry.

(2) 27. That noe p'son shall be accepted a Free Mason but such as are of able body, honest parentage, good reputation, and observers of the laws of the land.

(3) 28. That noe p'son hereafter be accepted a Free Mason, nor shall be admitted into any Lodge or Assembly until hee hath brought a certificate of the time of accep'con from the Lodge yt accepted him, unto the master of that limitt and devision where such Lodge was kept which say'd Master shall enrole the same in parchment in a role to he kept for that purpose, to give an account of all such Accep'cions at every general Assembly.<<See the acct. of such Roll at York, Ch. X.>>

(4) 29. That every person whoe now is Free Mason shall bring to the Master a note of the time of his accep'tion, to the end the same may be enrolled in such priority of place of the p'son shall deserve and to ye end the whole Company and Fellows may the better know each other.

(5) 30. That for the future the say'd Society, Company, and Fraternity, of Free Masons shall be regulated and govern'd by one Master, and Assembly, and Wardens, as ye said Company shall think fitt to chose at every yearly general Assembly.

(7) 31. That no p'son shall be accepted a Free Mason, or know the secrets of the said Society, until he hath first taken the Oath of secrecy hereafter following: -- I, A.B., doe in the presence of Almighty God and my Fellows and Brethren here present, promise and declare that I will not at any time hereafter, by any act or circumstance whatsoever, directly or indirectly, publish, discover, reveale, or make knowne, any of the secrets, priviledges, or counsells, of the Fraternity or Fellowship of Free Masons, {559} which at this time, or at any time hereafter, shall be made knowne unto mee.  So helpe mee God, and the holy contents of this booke.


1. You shall truly honour God and his Holy Church, the King, your Master, and Dame, you shall not absent yourself but with the license of both, or one of them, from their service by day or night.

2. You shall not purloin or steal, or be privy, or accessory to the purloining or stealing, to the value of sixpence, from them, or any of them.

3. You shall not commit adultery, or fornication, in the house of your Master, with his wife, daughter, or maid.

4. You shall not disclose your Master's or Dame's counsels, or secrets, which they have imparted to you, nor what is to be concealed, spoken, or done within the precincts of their house, by them or either of them, or by Free Masons.

6. You shall reverently behave yourself to all Free Masons, not using cards, or dice, or any other unlawful games, Christmas excepted.

7. You shall not haunt, or frequent any taverns, alehouses, or such as go into any of them, except when your Master's business, or Dame's, their, or any of their affairs, or without their or any of their consent.

8. You shall not commit adultery or fornication in any man's house, where you shall be at table or at work.

9. You shall not marry or contract yourself to any woman during your Apprenticeship.

10. You shall not steal any man's goods, but especially your said Master's, or any of his Fellow Masons', or suffer any one to steal their goods, but shall hinder it if you can, and if you cannot, then you shall acquaint your said Master, and his Fellows presently.



6th. That noe p'son be accepted a Ffree Mason, except he be one and twenty yeares old or more.

GRAND LODGE MS. No. 2, "circa" 1650. 

32. The 6th. p. 559. (Hence the omission from Harleian MS., and some others may be an error by accident. No date.)

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