The Old Charges

Illustration from the King George IV MS

The following is a complete list of all known old manuscripts relating to Craft Masonry and Freemasonry. The manuscripts explain and lay down to us the legendary and history of the Craft and a set of rules for conduct of its members. These documents are beautifully written and the study of them will shed much light, to the reader on the history and Tradition of Craft Freemasonry.

If you have a full text copy of any manuscript here not yet published please e-mail it to us at contact(at)

The Families of the Old Charges

The manuscripts of the Old Charges exhibit a basic similarity, but they fall readily into “families,” each of which displays a large measure of textual uniformity. This classification was first worked out by the great Masonic scholar Dr. Wilhelm Begemann in 1888. There are eight families, each indicated by a name and a code letter.

A Regius Manuscript (1 text)
B Cooke Family (3 texts)
C Plot Family (6 texts)
T Tew Family (9 texts)
D Grand Lodge Family (53 texts)
E Sloane Family (21 texts)
F Roberts Family (6 texts)
G Spencer Family (6 texts)
H Sundry Family (8 texts)

Operative Masons Charges

Manuscript Name & Date

Edict of Rothari A.D. 643

Constitutions York 926

Charter of Bologna 1248

York 1370 (French Translation)

Preambolo Veneziano relativoalle Mariegole dei Taiapiera, dei tagliatori dipietra (1307)

Anglo-Norman Charges 1356 England

King David and the Temple of Jerusalem

Regius 1390 British Museum

Cooke 1450 British Museum

Strassburg, Ratisbona 1459 Germany

Torgau Ordinances 1462 Germany

Watson MS series 1535

Grand Lodge No.1 1583 London

Schaw 1598

The Sinclair MS 1601

Jones 1607 ( Possibly 1655)

Wood 1610 Worcester

Thorp 1629 Leicester

Sloane No. 3848 1646 British Museum

Inigo Jones MS 1655

Sloane No.3323, 1659 British Museum

Atcheson Haven 1666, Grand Lodge of Scotland

Aberdeen 1670, Aberdeen Lodge No.1 (copy published "Voice of Masonry" December 1874)

Henery Heade 1675, Inner Temple, London

Melrose No.2 1675, Melrose St. John Lodge No.1

Stanley 1677 West Yorkshire Library

The Thomas Tew MS 1680

Plot 1686 Epitome in Nat. Hist. Staffordshire

Clerke 1686

Antiquity 1686, Lodge of Antiquity No.2

William Watson 1687, West Yorkshire Library

Beaumont 1690, West Yorkshire Library

Waistell 1693, West Yorkshire Library

York No.4 1693, York Lodge No.236

Edinburgh 1696

Edinburgh 1696 (French Translation)

Foxcroft 1699

Buchanan 1600's

Phillips No.1 1600's Cheltenham

Phillips No.2 1600's Cheltenham

Speculative Masons Charges

York No.1 1600's York

York No.5 1600's York

York No.6 1600's York

Kilwinning, 1600's Kilwinning Lodge No.0

Lansdowne 1560 - 1600's British Museum

Harleian No.1942 1600's British Museum

Harleian No.2054, 1600's British Museum

Grand Lodge No.2 1600's London

Colne No.1 1600's Royal Lancashire Lodge No.116, Colne

Harris No.1 1600's Bedford Lodge No.157, London

Dumfries No.1 1600's Dumfries Kilwinning Lodge No.53

Dumfries No.2 1600's Dumfries Kilwinning Lodge No.53

Dumfries No.3 1600's Dumfries Kilwinning Lodge No.53

Stirling 1600's, Ancient Lodge No.30, Stirling

Hope 1600's Benevolent Lodge No.303, Teignmouth

Bain 1600's London

Dring-Gale 1600's London

Langdale 1600's Rochdale

Clapham 1600's West Yorkshire Library

Dauntesey 1600's Manchester

Taylor 1600's West Yorkshire Library

Lechmere 1600's Worcester

Beswicke-Royde, 1600's East Lancashire

David Ramsay, 1600's Hamburg

Embleton 1600's, West Yorkshire Library

Sloane No.3329, 1700 British Museum (French Translation)

Drinkwater No.1, 1700 Manchester Association

Drinkwater No.2, 1700 Manchester Association

Chetwode Crawley 1700 (French Translation)

Boyden 1700, Washington, DC.

Strachan 1700 QC Lodge No.2076

Alnwick 1701 Newcastle

York No.2, 1704 York Lodge No.236

Heaton 1705 England

Scarborough, York 1705 Grand Lodge of Canada

Dumfries N.4 1710 London (French Translation)

Talents 1700-20 London

Brooks Hill 1700-20 London

Cama Circa 1705 London

Inigo Jones 1705 Worcester

Trinity College 1711 (French Translation)

Kevan 1714

Robert's Constitutions 1722

Roberts 1722 (original)

Macnab 1722

Ancient Charges of a Free Mason 1723

Regulations of a Free Mason 1723

Post Boy Sham Exposure 1723

Haddon 1723 London

Briscoe 1724 Printed

Grand Mystery of Freemasons 1724 Printed

Grand Mystery of Freemasons 1724 (French Translation)

Institution of Free Masons 1725

Institution of Free Masons 1725 (French Translation)

Whole Institution of Free-Masons Opened 1725

Spencer 1726 Massachusetts

Graham 1726 London (French Translation)

Songhurst Circa 1726 London

Fisher 1726 London

Dundee 1727

Wilkinson 1727 (french Translation)

Tho. Carmick 1727 Pennsylvania

Woodford 1728 London

Cole 1728 Engraved in Cole's Constitutions

Free Masonry according to the Scriptures 1737 (spanish translation)

La Reception d'un Frey Maçon 1737

Langley 1738 Printed

Dodd 1739 Printed

Levander-York 1740 Port Sunlight

Free Masons Catechism 1740 Harry Carr (Spanish translation)

Le Parfait Maçon 1744

Le Sceau rompu 1745

Holywell 1748 Lancashire

Fortitude 1750 Fortitude Lodge No. 281, Lancaster

Essex 1750 Harry Carr

Thistle Manuscript 1756, Thistle Lodge No. 62, Dumfries

The Free Mason Examin'd 1758

Three Distinctive Knocks 1760 Printed

Melrose No.3, 1762 Melrose St. John Lodge No.1

Jachin and Boaz 1762

Tew 1700's West Yorkshire Library

Portland 1700's Wilbick Abbey

Hughan 1700's West Yorkshire Library

Papworth's 1700's London

Phillips No.3, 1700's Cheltenham

Newcastle College 1700's Newcastle

Probity 1700's Probity Lodge No.61, Halifax

Colne No.2, 1700's Royal Lancashire Lodge No.116, Colne

Harris No.2, 1700's British Museum

Rawlinson 1700's Bodleian Library

Dumfries No.4, 1700's Dumfries Kilwinning Lodge No.53

Gateshead 1700's Lodge of Industry No.48

Krause 1806 (Printed from an Older MSS)

Dowland MSS (An Older MSS which was Printed in 1815 date unknown)

Hargrove 1818 Printed

Tunnah 1828 London

The Albury MS.1875

MHC No.1 The Act of Regularity 2005

MHC No.2 The Observances of Freemasonry 2005

MHC No.3 The Constitutions of the Craft 2005

MHC No.4 The Foundations of Regular Craft Ritual 2006

List of several manuscripts that are presumed missing

Melrose No.1 1600's

York No.3 1630 - Constitutions a parchment Roll of Charges on Masonry
(last seen in 1779)

Bolt-Coleraine 1728

Crane No.1 1700's

Crane No.2 1700's

Wren 1852




Masons Company

Newcastle Lodge

T. Lamb Smith

Anchor & Hope


A List of Early Masonic Documents
Compiled from 1999 to 2002

by Lee Miller

You may well notice that some manuscripts are not present, never the less the present list provides information on the location of the original documents. Many such lists, exist and are published all over the internet, we never the less have chosen to indicate this one as it hails from a reputable site.

James Anderson, wrote the following in his narrative of 1720

"This Year, at some private Lodges, several very valuable Manuscripts ... concerning the Fraternity, their Lodges, Regulations, Charges, Secrets, and Usages ... were too hastily burnt by some scrupulous Brothers, that those Papers might not fall into strange Hands." These are now lost to us forever."


(The following article is made up of excerpts from a quaint and lare old book, entitled, "Constitutions of the Ancient and Honorable Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons," compiled by Rev. Thaddeus Mason Harris, A. M. dated 1798.

It is something more than a glimpse into an Old Curiosity Shop, showing how Masonic history was written in that day, which is interesting as a warning, if nothing else; and at the same time furnishing some facts of real value. Such compilers are useful workers, and if some of the rubbish of the Temple gets into their records, it is for us to remove it, preserving, now and then, a stone of unique design--as did a certain young artist, once on a day, while digging in the quarry.)

An old Manuscript which was destroyed, with many others in 1720, said to have been in the possession of NICHOLAS STONE, a curious Sculptor under INIGO JONES, contains the following particulars:


"St. Alban loved Masons well, and cherished them much, and made their pay right good; for he gave them ii s. per weeke and iii d. to their cheer; whereas, before that time, in all the land, a Mason had but a penny a day, and his meat, until St. Alban mended itt. And he gott them a charter from the king and his counsell for to hold a general counsell, and gave itt to name Assemblie. Thereat he was himselfe and did helpe to make Masons, and gave them good charges."


A RECORD OF THE SOCIETY, written in the reign of Edward IV, formerly in the possession of the famous ELIAS ASHMOLE, founder of the Museum at Oxford, and unfortunately destroyed, with other papers on the-subject of Masonry, at the revolution, gives the following account of the State of Masonry at that period: ...

"Though the ancient records of the Brotherhood in England were many of them destroyed or lost in wars of the Saxons and Danes, yet King Athelstane (the grandson of King Alfrede the great, a mighty architect) the first anointed king of England, and who translated the Holy Bible into the Saxon tongue (A.D. 930) when he had brought the land into rest and peace, built many great works, and encouraged many Masons from France, who were appointed overseers thereof, and brought with them the charges and regulations of the Lodges, preserved since the Roman times; who also prevailed with the king to improve the constitution of the English Lodges according to the foreign model, and to increase the wages of working Masons.

"The said King's brother, Prince Edwin, being taught Masonry, and taking upon him the charges of a Master Mason, for the love he had to the said craft, and the honourable principles whereon it is grounded, purchased a free charter of King Athelstane, for the Masons having a correction among themselves (as it was anciently expressed) or a freedom and power to regulate themselves, to amend what might happen amiss, and to hold a yearly communication and general assembly:

"Accordingly Prince Edwin summoned all the Masons in the realm to meet him in a congregation at York, who came and composed a general Lodge, of which he was Grand Master; and having brought with them all the writings and records extant, some in Greek, some in Latin, some in French, and other languages, from the contents thereof that assembly did frame the constitution and charges of an English Lodge, made a law to preserve and observe the same in all time coming, and ordained good pay for working Masons, &c." And he made a book thereof how the craft was founded: And he himself ordered and commanded that it should be read and tolde when any Mason should be made, and for to give him his charges. And from that day until this time manners of Masons have been kept in that forme, as well as menne might govern.

"Furthermore, however, at divers assemblies certain charges have been made and ordained by the best advice of Masters and Fellowes, as the exigencies of the craft made necessarie."


"In the glorious reign of King Edward III, when Lodges were more frequent, the Right Worshipful the Master and Fellows, with consent of the Lords of the realm (for most great men were then Masons) ordained,

"That for the future, at the making or admission of a Brother, the constitution and the ancient charges should be read by the Master or Warden.

"That such as were to be admitted Master Masons, or Masters of the work, should be examined whether they be able of cunning to serve their respective Lords, as well the lowest as the highest, to the honor and worship of the aforesaid art, and to the profit of their Lords; for they be their Lords that employ and pay them for-their service and travel."

The following particulars are also contained in a very Old Manuscript, of which a copy was in the possession of the late GEORGE PAYNE, Esq., Grand Master in 1718.

"That when the Master and Wardens meet in a Lodge, if need be, the Sheriff of the county, or the Mayor of the city, or Alderman of the town, in which the congregation is held, should be made fellow and sociate to the Master, in help of him against rebels, and for upbearing the rights of the realm.

"That entered prentices, at their making, were charged not to be thieves, or thieves maintainers; that they should travel honestly for their pay, and love their fellows as themselves, and be true to the King of England, and to the realm, and to the Lodge.

"That at such congregations it shall be inquired, whether any Master or Fellow has broke any of the articles agreed to; and if the offender, being duly cited to appear, prove rebel, and will not attend, then the Lodge shall determine against him, that he shall forswear (or renounce) his Masonry, and shall no more use this Craft, the which if he presume for to do, the Sheriff of the county shall prison him, and take all his goods into the King's hands, until his grace be granted him and issued. For this Cause principally have these congregations been ordained, that as well the lowest as the highest should be well and truly served in this art aforesaid, throughout all the kingdom of England. Amen, so mote it be."


The Latin Register of William Molart, Prior of CANTERBURY, in Manuscript, (pp. 88), entitled, "Liberatio generalis Domini Gulielmi Prioris Ecclesiae Christi Cantuariensis, erga Fastum Natalis Domini 1429," informs us, that, in the year 1429, during the minority of Henry VI, a respectable Lodge was held at Canterbury, under the patronage of Henry Chicheley, the Archbishop: At which were present Thomas Stapylton, the Master; John Morris, the custos de la Lodge lathomorum, or Warden of the Lodge of Masons; with fifteen fellow crafts and three entered apprentices, all of whom are particularly named.

A record of that time says that,

"The company of Masons, being otherwise termed Free Masons, of auntient staunding and gude reckoning, by means of affable and kind meetings dyverse tymes, and as a loving brotherhood use to do, did frequent this mutual assembly in the time of Henry VI, in the 12th year of his reign, A. D. 1434."

See also Stowe's Survey, Ch. V, p. 215.

The same record says farther,

"That the charges and laws of the Free Masons have been seen and perused by our late Soveraign King Henry VI and by the Lords of his most honourable council, who have allowed them, and declared, That they be right good and reasonable to be holden, as they have been drawn out and collected from the records of ancient tymes" &c.



Ye shall be true to the King, and the Master ye serve, and to the fellowship whereof ye are admitted. Ye shall be true to and love eidher odher. Ye shall call eider odher Brother or Fellow, not slave, nor any unkind name.

Ye shall ordain the wisest to be Master of the work; and neither for love nor lineage, riches nor favor, set one over the work who hath but little knowledge; whereby the Master would be evil served, and ye ashamed. And also ye shall call the governour of the work Master in the time of working with him; And ye shall truly deserve the reward of the Masters ye serve.

All the Freres shall treat the peculiarities of eidber odher with the gentleness, decencie, and forbearance he thinks due to his own. Ye shall have a reasonable pay, and live honestly.

Once a year ye are to come and assemble together, to consult how ye may best work to serve the Craft, and to your own profit and credit.


A MANUSCRIPT copy of an examination of some of the Brotherhood, taken before King Henry VI, was found by the learned John Locke, Esq. in the Bodleian library. This dialogue possesses a double claim to our regard; first for its antiquity, and next for the ingenious notes and conjectures of Mr. Locke upon it, some of which we have retained. The approbation of a Philosopher of as great merit and penetration as the English nation ever produced, added to the real value of the piece itself, must give it a sanction, and render it deserving a serious and candid examination.

The ancient Manuscript is as follows, viz.

Certayne Questyons, with answeres to the same, concernynge the Mystery of maconrye; wryitenne by the hande of Kynge Henrye the Sixthe of the Name, and faythfullye copyed by me *Johan Leylande Antiquarius, by the commaunde of his Highnesse.**

*Note--"John Leylande was appointed by King Henry the eighth, at the dissolution of Monasteries, to search for, and save such books and records as were valuable among them. He was a man of great labor and industry."

**His Highness, meaning the said King Henry the eighth. Our Kings had not then the title of Majesty."

They be as Followethe:

Quest. What mote ytt be?

Answ. Ytt beeth the Skylle of nature, the understondynge of the myghte that is hereynne, and its sondrye werckynges; sonderlyche, the Skylle of rectenyngs, of waightes, and metynges, and the treu manere of faconnynge al thynges for mannes use, headlye, dwellynges, and buyldynges of alle kindes, and al odher thynges that make gudde to manne.

Quest. Where dyd ytt begyne ?

Answ. Ytt dyd begynne with the fyrste menne yn the este, whych were before the ffyrste manne of the weste, and comynge westlye, ytt hath broughte herwyth alle comfortes to the wylde and comfortlesse.

Quest. Who dyd brynge ytt westlye ?

Answ. The Venetians *, whoo beynge grate merchaundes, comed ffyrste ffromme the este ynn Venetia, ffor the commodytye of merchaundysynge beithe este and weste, bey the Redde and Myddlelonde Sees.

*Note--"The Venetians." In times of monkish ignorance, it is no wonder that the Phenicians should be mistaken for Venetians. Or perhaps, if the people were not taken one for the other, similitude of sound might deceive the clerk who first took down the examination. The Phenicians were the greatest voyagers among the ancients, and were in Europe thought to be the inventors of letters, which perhaps they brought from the east with other arts.

Quest. Howe comede ytt yn Engelonde ?

Answ. Peter Gower,* a Grecian, journyedde ffor kunnynge yn Egypte, and Syria, and yn everyche londe whereas the Venetians hadde plauntedde Maconrye, and wynnynge entraunce yn al Lodges of Maconnes, he lerned muche, and retournedde, and woned yn Grecia Magna** wachsynge, and becommynge a myghtye wyseacre, and gratelyche renowned, and her he framed a grate Lodge at Groton and maked many Maconnes, some whereoffe dyd journey yn Fraunce, and maked manye Maconnes, wherefromme, yn processe of tyme, the arte passed in Engelonde.

*Note--PETER GOWER. "This must be another mistake of the writer. I was puzzled at first to guess who Peter Gower should be, the name beillg perfectly English, or how a Greek should come by such a name; but as soon as I thought of Pythagoras, I could scarce forebare smiling, to find that philosopher had undergone a metempsychosis he never dreamt of. We need only consider the French pronunciation of this name Pythagore that is petegore, to concieve how easily such a mistake might be made by an unlearned clerk. That Pythagoras travelled for knowledge into Egypt, is known to all the learned and that he was initiated into several different orders of Priests, who in those kept all their learning secret from the vulgar, is as well known. Pythagoras also, made every geometrical theorem a secret, and admitted only such to the knowledge of them, as had first undergone a five years silence. He is supposed to be the inventor of the xlviith of the first book of Euclid, for which in the joy of his heart, it is said he sacrificed a hecatomb. He also knew the true system of the world lately revived by Copernicus and was certainly a most wonderful man.

**GRECIA MAGNA. "A part of Italy formerly so-called in which the Greeks had settled a large colony."

Quest. Do the Maconnes discover here arts unto others ?

Answ. Peter Gower whenne he journeyedde to lernne, was ffyrste made, and anonne techedde; evenne soe shulde all odhers be yn recht. Natheless* Maconnes hauethe alweys yn everyche tyme from tyme to tyme communycatedde to mannkynde soche of her secrettes as generallyche myghte be usefulle; they haueth keped backe soche allein as shulde be harmefulle yff they commed yn euylle haundes, oder soche as ne myghte be holpynge wythouten the techynges to be joynedde herwythe in the Lodge, oder soche as do bynde the Freres more strongelyche togeder, bey the proffytte, and commodytye comynge to the Confrerie herfromme.

*Note--"MACONNES HAUETHE COMMUNYCATEDDE &c. This paragraph hath something remarkable in it. It contains a justification of the secrecy so much boasted of by Masons and so much blamed by others; asserting that they have in ali ages discovered such things as might be useful, and that they conceal such only as would be hurtful either to the world or themselves. What these secrets are, we see afterwards."

Quest. Whatte artes haueth the Maconnes techedde mankynde ?

Answ. The artes Agricultura, Architechura, Astlonomia, Geometria, Numeres, Musica, Poesie, Kymistrye, Governmente, and Relygyonne.

Quest. Howe commethe Maconnes more teachers than odher menne ?

Answ. They hemselfe haueth allein the arte of fyndynge neue artes, whyche art the ffyrste Maconnes receaued from Godde; by the whyche they fyndethe whatte artes hem plesethe, and the treu way of techynge the same. Whatt odher menne doethe ffynde out, ys onelyche bey chaunce, and therfore but Iytel I tro.

Quest. Whatt dothe the Maconnes concele, and hyde ?

Answ. They concelethe the arte of ffyndynge neue artes, and thattys for there owne proffytte, and preise: They concelethe the arte of kepynge secrettes, thatt soe the worlde mayeth nothinge concele from them. They concelethe the arte of wunderwerckynge, and of fore sayinge thynges to comme, thatt so thay same artes may not be usedde of the wyckedde to an euylle ende; they also conceethe the arte of chaunges (Note, The transmutation of metals) the wey of wynnynge the facultye of Abrac (Note, This word "Abracadabra" had a magical signification the explanation of which is now lost) the skylle of becommynge gude and parfyghte wythouten the holpynges of fere, and hope; and the universelle longage of Maconnes.

Quest. Wylle he teche me thay same artes?

Answ. Ye shalle be techedde yff ye be werthye, and able to lerne.

Quest. Dothe alle Maconnes kunne more than odher menne ?

Answ. Not so. Thay onlyche haueth recht, and occasyonne more then odher menne to kunne, butt many doeth fale yn capacity, and manye more doth want industrye, that ys pernecessarye for the gaynynge all kunnynge.

Quest. Are Maconnes gudder menne then odhers ?

Answ. Some Maconnes are nott so vertuous as some odher menne; but yn the moste parte, thay be more gude then thay woulde be yf thay war not Maconnes.

Quest. Doth Maconnes love eidther odher myghtylye as beeth sayde ? Answ. Yea verylyche, and yt may not odherwyse be; for gude menne, and true, kennynge eidher odher to be soche, doeth always love the more as thay be more gude.

Here endethe the Questyonnes and Awnsweres.

A letter from Mr. Locke to the Right Honorable Thomas Earl of Pembroke, to whom he sent this ancient manuscript, concludes as follows, viz. "I know not what effect the sight of this old paper may have upon your Lordship; but for my own part I cannot deny, that it has so much raised my curiosity, as to induce me to enter myself into the Fraternity; which I am determined to do (if I may be admitted) the next time I go to London (and that will be shortly). I am, my Lord, your Lordship's most obedient, and most humble servant. JOHN LOCKE."


Allein, only.

Alweys, always

Beithe, both.

Commodytye, conveniency.

Confrerie, fraternity

Faconnynge, forming.

Fore saying, prophesying.

Freres, brethren

Headlye, chiefly.

Hem plesethe, they please.

Hemselfe, themselves.

Her, there, their

Hereynne, therein.

Herwyth, with it.

Holpynge, beneficial.

Kunne, know.

Kunnynge, knowledge.

Make gudde, are beneficial.

Metynges, measures.

Mote may.

Myddlelonde, Mediterranean.

Myghte, power.

Occasyonne, opportunity.

Oder, or.

Onelyche, only.

Perneccessarye, absolutely necessary.

Preise, honor.

Recht, right.

Reckenyngs, numbers.

Sonderlyche, particularly.

Skylle, knowledge.

Wachsynge, growing.

Werck, operation.

Wey, way.

Whereas, where.

Woned, dwelt.

Wunderwerckynge, working miracles.

Wylde, savage.

Wynnynge, gaining.

Ynn, into


Ancient Charges at the Constituting of a Lodge; Extracted from a Manuscript in the possession of the Lodge of Antiquity in London, written in the time of James the second.

"And furthermore, at diverse assemblies have been put and ordained diverse crafties by the best advise of magistrates and fellows.

Tunc unus ex senioribus tenet, librum, et illi ponent manum suam super librum.

"Every man that is a Mason take good heed to these charges (we Pray) that if any may find himselfe guilty of any of these charges, that he may amend himselfe, or principally for dread of God, you that be charged to take good heed that you keepe all these charges well, for it is a great evill for a man to forswear himselfe upon a book.

"The first charge is, That yee shall be true men to God and the holy church, and to use no error or heresie by your understanding and by wise mens teachings. Allso

"Secondly, That yee shall be true liege men to the king of England, without treason or any falsehood, and that ye know no treason or treachery but yee shall give knowledge thereof to the King or his counseil; also yee shall be true one to another, that is to say, every Mason of the Craft that is Mason allowed, yee shall doe to him as yee would be done unto yourselfe.

"Thirdly, And yee shall keepe truly all the counsell that ought to be kept in the way of Masonhood, and all the counsell of the Lodge or of the chamber. Also, that yee shall be no thiefe nor thieves to your knowledge free. That yee shall be true to the King, Lord or Master that yee serve, and truly to see and worke for his advantage.

"Fourthly, Yee shall call all Masons your fellows, or your brethren, and no other names.

"Fifthly, Yee shall not take your Fellows wife in villany nor deflower his daughter or servant, nor put him to disworship.

"Sixthly, Yee shall truely pay for your meat or drinke wheresoever yee goe, to table or bord. Also, Yee shall doe no villany there, whereby the Craft or Science may be slandered.

"These be the charges general - to every true Mason, both Masters and Fellowes.

"Now will I rehearse other charges single for Masons allowed or accepted.

"First, That no Mason take on him no Lord's worke, nor any other man's, unless he know himself well able to perform the worke, so that the Craft shall have no Slander.

"Secondly, Allso, that that no Master take worke but that he take reasonable pay for itt; so that the Lord may be truly served, and the Master to live honestly and to pay his fellows truely. And that no Master or fellow supplant others of their worke; that is to say, that if he hath taken a worke, or else stand Master of any worke, that he shall not put him out, unless he be unable of cunning to make an end of his worke. And no Master nor Fellow shall take no apprintice for less than seven years. And that the apprintice be free born, and of limbs whole as a man ought to be, and no bastard. And that no Master or Fellow take no allowance to be made Mason without the assent of his fellows, at the least six or seaven.

"Thirdly, That he that be made be able in all degrees; that is, free born, of good kindred, true, and no bondsman, and that he have his right limbs, as a man ought to have.

"Fourthly, That a Master take no apprintice without occupation to occupy two or three Fellows at the least.

"Fifthly, That no Master or Fellow put away any Lord's worke to taske that ought to be journey worke.

"Sixthly, That every Master give pay to his Fellows and servants as they may deserve, soe that he be not defamed with false workeing; And that none slander another behind his back, to make loose his good name.

"Seventhly, That no Fellow in the house or abroad answear another ungodly or reproveably without a cause.

"Eighthly, That every Master Mason doe reverance his elder; and that a Mason be no common plaier at cards, dice or hazzard nor at any other unlawfull plaies, through the which the science and Craft may be dishonoured or slandered.

"Ninthly, That no Felllow goe into town by night, except he hath a Fellow with him, who may beare him record that he was in an honest place.

"Tenthly, That every Master and Fellow shall come to the assemblie, if itt be eithin fifty miles of him, if he have any warning. And if he have trespassed against the Craft, to abide the award of Masters and Fellows.

"Eleventhly, That every Master Mason and Fellow that hath trespassed against the Craft shall stand to the correction of other Masters and Fellows to make him accord, and if they cannot accord, to go to the common law.

"Twelvethly, That a Master or Fellow make not a mould stone, square, nor rule, to no lowen, nor let no lowen worke within their Lodge, nor without to mould stone.

"Thirteenthly, That every Mason receive and cherish strange Fellows when they come over the countrie, and set them on worke if they will worke, as the manner is; that is to say, if the Mason have any mould stone in his place, he shall give him a mould stone, and sett him on worke; and if he have none, the Mason shall refresh him with money unto the next Lodge.

"Fourteenthly, That every Mason shall truely serve his Master for his pay.

"Fifteenthly, That every Master shall truely make an end of his worke, taske or journey whethersoe it be.

"These be all the charges and covenants that ought to be read at the installment of Master, or makeing of a Free Mason or Free Masons. The Almighty God of Jacob who ever have you and me in his keeping, bless us now and ever, Amen."


Extract from the Diary of ELIAS ASHMOLE, a learned Antiquary.

"I was made a Free Mason at Warrington, Lancashire, with Colonel Henry Mainwaring, of Kerthingham, in Cheshire, by Mr. Richard Penket the Warden, and the Fellow Crafts (all of whom are specified) on the 16th October, 1646."

In another place of his diary he says.

"On March the 10th,1682, about 5 hor. post merid. I received a summons to appear at a Lodge to be held the next day at Masons Hall in London. March 11, accordingly I went, and about noon were admitted into the fellowship of Free Masons Sir William Wilson, Knt. Capt. Richard Borthwick, Mr. Wiiliam Woodman, Mr. William Gray, Mr. Samuel Taylour, and Mr. William Wise. I was the senior Fellow among them, it being thirty five years since I was admitted. There were present, beside myself, the Fellows after named: Mr. Thomas Wise, Master of the Masons' Company this present year, Mr. Thomas Shorthose, and seven more old Free Masons. We all dined at the Half Moon Tavern, Cheapside, at a noble dinner prepared at the charge of the new accepted Masons."

An old record of the Society describes a coat of arms much the same with that of the London company of Freemen Masons; whence it is generally believed that this company is a branch of that ancient Fraternity; and in former times, no man, it also appears, was made free of that company, until he was initiated in land among the operative Masons.

The writer of Mr. Ashmole's life, who was not a Mason, before his History of Berkshire, p. 6, gives the following account of Masonry.

"He (Mr. Ashmole) was elected a Brother of the company of Free Masons; a favour esteemed so singular by the members that Kings themselves have not disdained to enter themselves of this Society. From these are derived the adopted Masons, accepted Masons, or Free Masons, who are known to one another all over the world by certain ,signals and watch words known to them alone. They have several Lodges in different countries for their reception; and when any of them fall into decay, the Brotherhood is to relieve them. The manner of their adoption or admission is very formal and solemn, and with the administration of an oath of secrecy, which has had better fate than all other oaths, and has ever been most religiously observed; nor has the world been yet able, by the inadvertency, surprise, or folly of any of its members, to dive into this mystery or make the least discovery."

(The above extract of Masonic antiquities is taken from the CONSTITUTIONS of the ANCIENT and HONORABLE FRATERNITY of FREE and ACCEPTED MASONS, published by the GRAND LODGE of MASSACHUSETTS, 25th June, 1798, Compiled by the Rev. Thaddeus Mason Harris, A. M. Grand Chaplain.)

Compagnonnage Poster of 1848, French Operative Masonry


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