Welcome from the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master

I would like to welcome all visitors to the Provincial Grand Mentors page and as this page continues to develop, hope it will, in particular, assist you in carrying out your respective roles as Mentors.

I would like to express my appreciation to all brethren who have taken on the role of Lodge Mentor.  This is a very important role and an integral part of modern day freemasonry. In carrying out your duties have the opportunity to serve your own individual Lodge and the craft in general to ensure the continued success of our wonderful organisation.

I know many Lodges in the Province have appointed Personal Mentors. This very important role enables them to support our newer members in order to integrate them more swiftly into our Lodges by helping them have a clearer understanding of what we are all about. I do, however, consider the selection of Personal Mentors is an important one, and should be someone who has the necessary experience, time and energy to commit to this role.  I would like to emphasise, in order to clear up any ambiguity, the role of Personal Mentor can be either of the candidates Sponsors, but if they are busy officers of the Lodge it may be more appropriate to appoint another member.

I would also like to express my appreciation to the appointed Group Mentors who are now firmly in place. They perform a very important role in assisting the Provincial Grand Mentor in the maintenance of the scheme throughout the Province by delivering an effective and supported          mentoring programme. It must be remembered all of these Officers are available to you should you have concerns or indeed require advice or guidance.

I feel very confident, with your continued support, in carrying out the Mentoring programme we can ensure all Brethren benefit whether he be an initiate or seasoned mason, a candidate pre-initiation or Brother preparing for Office and beyond. The programme seeks to embed the values of mentoring by being a Good Brother to all.

William John Bewley – Provincial Grand Master

 

‘The Provincial Lodge Mentor Policy

Aim

The aim of the Provincial Mentor Policy is to ensure that every member enjoys his membership by being able to understand Freemasonry and to do this has the necessary support to help him become involved in the work of the lodge and its activities.

 

Objectives

 

  • To ensure continuity and promote the growth of Freemasonry in general and specifically throughout the Province
  • To address the need for Retention and to support Recruitment and Retrieval
  • To create a sense of belonging, understanding and involvement – for all Brethren
  • To ensure the Craft is an enjoyable and fulfilling place to be and Brethren are able to communicate this to others with confidence and enthusiasm
  • To establish a network of Lodge and Personal Mentors under the guidance of the Provincial Grand Mentor, supported by Group Mentors
  • The Mentoring booklets be used as a basis of the Mentoring programme, throughout the Province.

Demands on recruitment may not so much be a reflection on Freemasonry itself, but rather a consequence of external pressures on changing values within the Community.  However, our ability to retain new members is well within our control.   Losing brethren is often a reflection on either inadequate recruitment process or an indication of how well we support our brethren once they have joined, or both.

We must ensure that throughout the Province ALL brethren receive the maximum fulfilment, opportunity and enjoyment from their membership. This, by itself, will naturally improve retention.  Mentoring which focuses on these three matters, is seen as the cornerstone of the Provincial Mentoring scheme and by its successful adoption and implementation will assist in recruitment and retrieval.

Like all successful organisations our Province and Freemasonry must strive for continuous improvement in our members and processes. Mentoring is no exception.  To achieve this the Mentoring Policy introduced in 2015 provides clarity of purpose for all Brethren in the Province.

Mentoring is about ensuring our brethren understand why they have joined Freemasonry, what they can do for it, how it can help them and vitally he reasons why they should stay.  Understanding our rituals and ceremonies is the fundamental key

 

W. Bro Terry Crellin, PAGDC, Provincial Grand Mentor

 

 

 

 

 

NOTE FOR DIARY

 

What is Freemasonry?

 
The Provincial DVD ‘What is Freemasonry?’ has been revised and this current presentation should now be used in all circumstances when it is being shown to prospective candidates or anyone showing an interest in Freemasonry. You can view the video on our YouTube page or on our information page.

Prov Grand Mentor’s Presentations

 
W. Bro Terry Crellin has a presentation entitled ‘The Lodge Mentor Scheme’, which lasts for approx 45 minutes and looks at the role and need of a Mentor, appointing and developing the role of a Lodge and Personal Mentor, support for Mentors, the recently introduced Lodge Mentor policy, membership analysis and evolving the Mentor scheme. If any Lodge, who at a future meeting, does not have a ceremony and would like to have the presentation he is willing to attend any Lodge in the Province.
Please contact W. Bro Terry Crellin on 07974385721 Next presentation:  TO BE CONFIRMED

The significance of The chequered carpet
 

Q:  What is the significance of the chequered carpet or Mosaic Pavement?

 

A:  An explanation of the Mosaic pavement is also given in the 5th Section of the 1st Lecture:  As in the 1st Degree TB – It is described as the beautiful flooring of the Lodge by reason of its being variegated and chequered.  This, points out the diversity of objects which decorate and adorn the creation, as well as the inanimate parts thereof.

 

It continues via the question “Why was Mosaic Work introduced into Freemasonry?”

 

As the steps of man are trod in the various and uncertain incidents of life, and his days are variegated and chequered by a strange contrariety of events, his passage through this existence, though sometimes attended by prosperous circumstances, is often beset by a multitude of evils; hence our Lodge is furnished with Mosaic work, to point out the uncertainty of all things here on earth.  To-day we may travel in prosperity; to-morrow we may totter on uneven paths of weakness and adversity.  Then while such emblems are before us, we are morally instructed not to boast of anything, but to give heed to our ways, to walk uprightly and with humility before God, there being no station in life which pride can with stability be founded; for though some are born to more elevated situations than others, yet, when in the grave, we are all on the level, death destroying all distinctions; and while our feet tread on this Mosaic work, let our ideas recur to the original whence we copy; let us, as good men and Masons, act as dictates of reason prompt us, to practice charity, maintain harmony and endeavour to live in unity and brotherly love.

 

Thus we are informed that the chequered pavement represents the diverse character of the life we lead with its dark and light periods, its difficulties and its achievements, its promises and disappointments.  It also represents the mosaic floor of King Solomon’s Temple.

 

For those who want to learn more about Masonry and its symbolism – This is another example of the amount of Masonic knowledge which can be gained by learning and delivering a section from the Green Book – “The Lectures of the Three Degrees in Craft Masonry.”  All in a shared format by Question and Answer, instead of yet another ‘demonstration’ ceremony……………………..

A Friendly face
 

We may not like to acknowledge it but some brethren in our Lodges can be rather cliquey, which is a natural progression of friends wanting to sit and have a meal and a drink together.  Nothing wrong in that.  However it can be off putting to the newer Mason.  Please make sure that there is someone with him both in the Lodge room and Festive board.  It may not always be possible for his proposer/and or seconder to be available to do this, especially if they are Officers in the Lodge.
The wearing of white gloves at our Meetings
 
The wearing of white gloves dates back to ancient times. The first record of gloves being worn by Masons was in Ely, Cambridgeshire in 1322, when along with gauntlets and aprons they formed part of the Operative Masons protective clothing. The Operative Masons were those who built those magnificent Abbeys and Cathedrals and other fine edifices.
The first record of gloves being worn in a Masonic Lodge was in Kilwinning in Scotland in 1599, but this practice fell into disuse but was revived again about 1724.
As a Mason you may hear the name John Custos mentioned.  John Custos was a Freemason and a London Diamond Merchant who went to Spain in1742 and was subject to the Spanish Inquisition. In 1744 he was put on the rack in Lisbon and under great torture relieved a number of Masonic secrets. Two of which were wearing gloves and aprons a Meetings. It may be to his fortitude that the wearing of gloves has continue to this day.
In 1951 UGLE declared the wearing of gloves would be at the discretion of the Master of the Lodge, but if worn hey should be worn by all present except when placing your hands on the Volume of the Sacred Law to take an Obligation.
In our Province white gloves are worn in all Craft Lodges.
A Friendly face
 

We may not like to acknowledge it but some brethren in our Lodges can be rather cliquey, which is a natural progression of friends wanting to sit and have a meal and a drink together.  Nothing wrong in that.  However it can be off putting to the newer Mason.  Please make sure that there is someone with him both in the Lodge room and Festive board.  It may not always be possible for his proposer/and or seconder to be available to do this, especially if they are Officers in the Lodge.
The wearing of collars
 
Why do some people wear collars?
Officers of the Lodge wear light blue collars with the jewel of their office attached.  Past Masters wear light blue collars with a narrow silver band in the centre and a square and the 47th proposition of the first book of Euclid attached.  Provincial and Grand Officers wear dark blue collars, with the jewel of their rank.  Grand Lodge Officers and Provincial Grand Lodge Officers have full dress and undress collars, the ‘full’ dress collars being more ornate in design, especially for Grand Officers.
You will occasionally see someone wearing a chain instead of a collar.  Chains are worn by the Provincial Grand Master, the Deputy Grand Master and the Assistant Provincial Grand Masters.
Grand Officers and Provincial Grand Officers when wearing aprons ornamented with gold lace may wear garter blue silk gauntlets with emblems of their respective offices or past offices embroidered in gold. Provincial Grand Stewards may wear gauntlets of crimson silk with the emblems of their office in silver.
In Lodges Officers may wear gauntlets of light blue silk with silver embroidery.
For further information refer to the plates in the Book of Constitutions.
Why do some people wear medals?
The correct term is JEWEL rather than medal and four types are frequently worn:
Past Master’s jewel
It is customary in some Lodges to present the Worshipful Master with a Past Master’s jewel at the end of his year in Office to thank him for his work during the year.
Charity Festival Jewels
Individuals who subscribe certain amounts to a Festival of one of the national Masonic Charities, qualify as Stewards for that Festival.  To mark this, they may wear the special Festival jewel.  Some of these jewels may only be worn for the duration of the Festival, whilst others receive permission from the Grand Master to be worn permanently.
Centenary Jewels
The Grand Master may grant the Lodge a Centenary jewel when it reaches its 100th anniversary. This can be worn by Master Masons and above in the Lodge.  For a Lodge which has reached its Bicentenary (200) years, a bar is added to the ribbon of the Centenary Jewel.
ROYAL ARCH JEWELS
These are worn by Freemasons who have completed their three Craft degrees and taken that next most important step on the path of Pure Antient Masonry, by joining the Holy Royal Arch.  They are expected to wear their Royal Arch Jewel when attending Craft meetings.  Whilst the design of the jewel stays the same, the colour of the ribbon changes depending upon the progress of the mason (known as a Companion) through the Order.  It should be worn to the right of, and takes precedence over, all other jewels.
For further detailed information please refer to The Book of Constitutions
Masonic Clothing
 
Why are there so many different aprons?

There are seven designs of apron that you may normally see in a lodge:
1. APRONS WORN BY ENTERED APPRENTICES
   A plain white lambskin apron with a white flap
2. APRONS WORN BY FELLOW CRAFTS
   A plain white lambskin apron with two light blue rosettes
3. APRONS WORN BY MASTER MASONS
A plain white lambskin apron, but bordered in light blue with silver tassels on blue ribbons and a third blue rosette on the flap
4. APRONS WORN BY MASTERS AND PAST MASTERS OF LODGES
Similar is design to the Master Mason’s apron, with the rosettes being replaced with perpendicular lines upon horizontal lines, sometimes referred to as ‘levels’. The correct name for them is ‘TAUS’
5. APRONS WORN BY PROVINCIAL GRAND LODGE OFFICERS
Similar to the Past Master’s apron (unless he has not gone through the Chair, in which case the rosettes are not replaced with levels), but dark blue in colour with gold tassels and the emblem of their Office and name of the Province in the centre.  There is an undress version which is ornamented with gold cord and is usually won for normal meetings while the full dress one is ornamented with gold lace and is often worn for Installation meetings.
6. APRONS WORN BY GRAND LODGE OFFICERS
    Developing from the Provincial Grand Officer’s apron, the roundel in the centre with the name of the Province is replaced with the emblem of the holder, surrounded by a sprig of acacia and an ear of corn. Again there is a ‘full’ dress and an ‘undress’ version.
7. PROVINCIAL AND GRAND STEWARDS
These follow a similar design to that of the Provincial or Grand Lodge Officer’s apron but are scarlet in colour.

If you require a more detailed explanation of the various aprons you will find it under Rule 265 Book of Constitutions. Bear in mind the design of aprons for visitors from other Constitutions will differ from those listed.

 

So Mote It Be!
 
Q: Where does the word ‘mote’ come from?

A: ‘Amen! Amen!  So Mote it be!  So say we all for Charity’ – The earliest known Masonic manuscripts (1390) end in that way.  The phrase ‘So Mote it be’ literally means ‘So be it’ or ‘So may it be’.  It is derived from the Saxon word – ‘motan’ and was used in the middle-ages in England as a pious finale to prayers or blessings.  It should be noted that medieval prayers often began with the Hebrew word ‘Amen’, it has a range of meanings all related to fidelity, constancy, sureness, trust and when used at the end of Hebrew prayers and blessings it was a formula of acquiescence and confirmation, as though to say ‘Truly, we believe that it is [or will be] so.  Thus ‘Amen’ and the ‘So Mote it be’ do not have the same original meanings, but have acquired virtually the same meanings in the course of centuries, and possibly explains the modern omission of the word ‘Amen’ in our Lodges.

 

The Lesser Lights
 
Q: Why do we have ‘lights’ at the Masters and Wardens pedestals?

A: In the 18th century the ‘Moderns’ at first regarded their three big candles carried on high candlesticks as the three great lights, the purpose of which was ‘not only to show the due course of the sun which rises in the east, has its meridian in the south and sets in the west, but also to light men to and from their labour’ and also to represent ‘the Sun, Moon and Master of the Lodge.’  The Antients took a less obvious view of the matter; to them the three great lights were the VSL, the Square and Compasses, while the three lesser lights were the candles of the Master and his Wardens.  To the ‘Moderns’ the VSL, the Square and Compasses were known as the ‘furniture’ of the Lodge and are still often described in that way.  After the Union, the Lodge of Reconciliation whose purpose it was to standardize the ritual, adopted the Antients practice as to the great lights being the VSL, Square and Compasses and agreeing that the three lesser lights be situated in the East, South and West to represent the Sun, Moon and Master of the Lodge.  In the old Lodges the candles were arranged to form a triangle on the floor of the Lodge but have over the years been moved to the side of the Masters and Wardens pedestals.  Who said ‘We’ve always done it that way?”  In case you are wondering – There does not appear to be any reason why the candlestick should be on the left or right of the pedestal and although the right side is more generally used, the left is more practical when working with a candidate.

 

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Free and of the full age of 21 years
 
Q: Why can’t a man be made a Mason until he is free and of the full age of 21 years?

A: As an operative Mason the candidate would have had to have served an apprenticeship for 7 years from the age of 14 and so he was then the full age of 21 years. He had also to have served his articles so as to be a Freeman of the Borough in some trade in order to join the Masons Lodge attached to their Guild. Even when such requirements were no longer needed the candidate had still to be a free man (not tied to the bonds of another) and so able to take and fulfil an obligation.
In the Second Section of the 1st Lecture the candidate is asked “Why are the privileges of masonry restricted to free men? The answer is: “That the vicious habits of slavery (not just African slavery) might not contaminate the true principals of freedom on which our Order is founded.” A further question asks – “Why of mature age”? The Answer is: “The better to be able to judge for ourselves, as well as the Fraternity at large.” 21yrs was also the legal age in the 18th and 19th Century (when our current ritual was formed) for undertaking oaths and obligations.

The age at which a man can be made a Mason under the United Grand Lodge of England is governed by Rule 157 B of C – No person can be made a Mason while under the age of 21 years, unless by dispensation from the Grand Master or Provincial Grand Master. Every candidate must be a free man, and in reputable circumstances. See below regarding a Lewis

Lewis (Description): A Lewis is the uninitiated son of a Mason and it matters not whether the son was born before or after his father became a Mason.

Lewis (Privileges of): Despite what it says in the explanation of the 1st Degree Tracing Board – Under the United Grand Lodge of England, a Lewis has no special privileges other than where a Lewis is one of two candidates being initiated on the same day he would be the senior for the purpose of the ceremony. He cannot claim precedence over candidates proposed or elected previously to himself and he must take his place in the usual rotation on any waiting list. Being a Lewis is not grounds for dispensation to enable him to be initiated under the age of 21.

University Candidates initiated in University Lodges or members of the HM Forces on active service is another matter. (See B of C Rule 161)

 

Belief in a Supreme Being is a fundamental requirement
 
Q: Why is it necessary to believe in a Supreme Being to become a Freemason?

A: At one time Freemasonry was a Christian Order so a belief in God was obviously an essential qualification for membership. This qualification was amended at the time of the Union to include men of all faiths. The 1st Charge published in the B of C concerning God and Religion states: “A Mason is obliged, by his tenure, to obey the moral law; and if he rightly understand the art he will never be a stupid atheist nor an irreligious libertine. He, of all men, should best understand that God seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but God looketh upon the heart. A Mason is therefore, particularly bound never to act against the dictates of his conscience. Let a man’s religion or mode of worship be what it may, he is not excluded from the order, provided he believe in the glorious architect of heaven and earth, and practise the sacred duties of morality etc.

As the first condition of admission of any man into and membership of the Order, is a belief in a Supreme Being; you will be aware that the VSL is the 1st of the 3 Great Lights in Masonry and is always open when the Lodge is opened. Every Candidate is required to take his obligation on that book or on the Volume that is held by his particular faith to impact sanctity to an oath or promise taken upon it.

The second question a Candidate is asked after his entrance into the Lodge is: “In all cases of difficulty and danger in whom do you put your trust?” He replies “In God.” He later states that he hopes to obtain the privileges “by the help of God” and states in his obligation “So help me God, and keep me steadfast in this my great and solemn obligation.”

Therefore, without a belief in a Supreme Being the promises and Obligations we all make as Masons are entirely worthless.

 

Pro Grand Master definition
 
Q: What is the meaning of Pro Grand Master?

A:  It means “pro temp” or filling the position in a temporary capacity. When a Grand Master is a Prince of the “Blood Royal” Rule 16 B of C allows the appointment of a Pro Grand Master. He has the same powers as the G.M. & ranks immediately below the G.M. in seniority & is prefixed “M.W.”

If a Provincial Grand Master is of the “Blood Royal” he can request the Grand Master to appoint a Pro ProvGM in accordance with Rule 63 B of C.

As a matter of interest, if the W.M. of a Private Lodge is of the “Blood Royal”, the situation is slightly different in that a Deputy Master can be appointed. In this case the Deputy is installed in the same manner as a Master Elect & is subject to the Rules governing W.M.s. However the Prince may serve as W.M. for longer than two consecutive years without dispensation in accordance with Rule 115 B of C. The Deputy Master, after serving his term in Office is entitled to the privileges of a Past Master. The appointment of a Pro Grand Master is made only when the Grand Master is a Prince or Royal Blood. The word Pro in this context means “a substitute or deputy for.”  The current Pro Grand Master – M.W. Bro. Peter Geoffrey Lowndes deputises for the Grand Master.

The significance of the WM’s position in the Lodge
 
Q: Why is the WM seated in the East?

A:  As strange as it may seem, the Master sitting in the East has not always been the case – In the early days Masons met, ate and drank around a long table in the centre of the room, the Master being seated in the West with both Wardens at the far corners.  If you read the Bible, according to Ezekiel and contrary to the layout of modern Freemasons Lodges, Solomon’s temple had its main entrance on the East side which would place the Holy of Holies, the Sanctum Sanctorum, and thus the Masters place in the West.  This surely would make sense as the sun rising in the East at the dawn of every new day would shine through the porch way or entrance to illuminate the entrance to the Most Holy place, the Sanctum Sanctorum beyond.
It was the influence of the clergymen involved in producing the ritual around the time of the creation of the Premier Grand Lodge in 1717 that changed the orientation of our Lodges to that of Christian Churches, entrance in the West and Altar in the East, which thus places the Master in the East.

 

Squaring the Lodge definition
 
Q: Why do we square the Lodge?

A:  It is almost certain that the practice arose unintentionally in the early 1700’s. Lodges usually met in public houses and when the room was prepared for the meeting the tracing board was drawn on the floor before it became a floor cloth or the framed pictures we have to-day.

As the room would be fairly small there would not have been much space to traverse the Lodge and if the drawing or floor-cloth was to be protected a certain amount of squaring would be inevitable. It would not have been the ’heel-clicking’ type of precise squaring we sometimes see to-day but simply a natural caution to avoid spoiling the object or drawing on the floor. Bear in mind also, at one time the Lodge meeting was conducted with the members seated around a long table, so again as certain amount of squaring would have been natural.

I suspect that the more exaggerated squaring we see in some Lodges emanated from the large influx of ex-servicemen after the two world wars. Note that the movement around the Lodge is made clockwise or sun-wise direction which has long been an ancient and stately rite adopted by the Christian Church at least as far back as the 13th Century and shows another link between Christianity and Freemasonry. The practice of squaring is wholly admirable as it adds much to the dignity of the ceremonies, so long as it is not carried to extremes when it becomes tedious and a complete waste of time.

Bared knees during ceremonies
 
Q: Why are the knees bared for the Obligations in the 3 Degree’s?

A:  The mode of preparation in all 3 Degree’s is entirely symbolic. In Operative Lodges the candidate was required to kneel with both knees bare on the rough ashlar, so that nothing was interposed between his flesh and the stone. This perpetuated the ancient concept that the strength and stability of the stone would be transmitted to the Candidate, so that an oath taken on a stone in this manner would be inviolable.

In speculative Freemasonry we now have bared left knee in the 1st Degree. The left side has always been regarded as the weaker side of man, the Candidate is taking his first or weakest step when he is being initiated, for which reason he steps off with his left foot. It logically follows that the left side is considered to typify an Apprentice and is the reason why the bare left knee is used in the 1st Degree. Whilst you took it on your left knee, your inherent weakness was strengthened by placing your right hand on the volume of the Sacred Law. Kneeling should also remind the Candidate of the posture of his daily supplications due to his creator. In the 2nd Degree the mode of preparation is reversed and the right knee is bared. In the 3rd Degree both knees are bare as was the case with our Operative brethren mentioned earlier.

Exchanging the sceptre definition
 
Q: What is meant by ‘exchanging the sceptre for the trowel’?

A:  Whilst the trowel is now the Collar Jewel of the Charity Steward, it hasn’t always been so; it was once the insignia of the doorkeeper or Inner Tyler of the Lodge (the Office of Inner Guard didn’t appear officially until 1814). Traditionally, the Office of doorkeeper was given to the most junior entered apprentice. He was armed with a pointed trowel, not with a sword as we have to-day as the sword was considered to be the emblematic weapon of the Outer Guard or Tyler.

When a new initiate entered the Lodge in those days ‘on the point of a sharp instrument’, it was not the point of a poniard but on the point of the trowel held by the doorkeeper.

The words in the Charge after Initiation – “exchange the sceptre for the trowel” are telling us that, whilst the Monarch holds a sceptre as the highest ruler of the land, he had to, for a time, be ready to become the lowliest member of the Lodge when he entered into Freemasonry – A lesson that all Freemasons must learn as no matter what branch of Freemasonry they may join, we all have to start from the bottom of the ladder on each occasion.

How many degrees are there
 
Q: How many Degrees are there and why?

A:  There are at least 17 other Orders beyond the Craft all ruled over by their own Sovereign bodies and all having their own rituals each conveying distinct moral lessons. Some like the Craft also have several degrees within their order. Whilst they are all (with the exception of the Royal Arch) completely separate from the Craft, all require a candidate to be a Master Mason or above. In some cases, (KT’s, Red Cross, KT Priests, Allied, Royal and Select Masters, Scottish Rite and The Operatives) candidates must also be members of the Royal Arch. KT Priests and the Scottish Rectified Rite must also be KT’s. Candidates for the Royal Ark Mariners must be Mark Master Masons and members of the Allied Masonic Degrees and The Operatives must also be Royal Arch and Mark Masons.

The Royal Arch more commonly known as the Chapter is the only one which is directly linked with the Craft. All Master Masons of 4 weeks and upwards are eligible join the RA to complete their Craft education before joining any other Degree. The candidate enters the Chapter some 500 years after Solomon’s 1st Temple was completed. He learns that this Temple had been destroyed and the people taken into captivity by the Babylonians, they were eventually released and returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the city and the Temple, during the course of which they make a remarkable discovery of that which was lost in the 3rd Degree and thus the story completes the full picture of Craft Masonry.

There is also The Mark Degree. The Royal Ark Mariners. The Knights Templar (including Knight Templar, Knight of St Paul and Knight of St John, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta). The Ancient and Accepted Rite (Rose Croix – comprising of 33 Degrees). The Red Cross of Constantine (3 Degrees including Knight of the Red Cross of Constantine, Knight of the Holy Sepulchre and Knight of St John the Evangelist). The Royal and Select Masters (4 Degrees including Select Master, Royal Master, Most Excellent Master and Super Excellent Master). The Allied Masonic Degrees (5 Degrees including St Lawrence the Martyr, Knight of Constantinople, Grand Tyler’s of Solomon, Red Cross of Babylon and Grand High Priest). The Order of the Secret Monitor (3 Degrees – 1st Degree – Secret Monitor, 2nd Degree – Prince and 3rd Degree – Supreme Ruler) The Operatives (7 Degrees – 1st Degree – Indentured Apprentice, 2nd Degree – Fellow of the Craft, 3rd Degree – Fitter and Marker, 4th Degree – Setter Erector, 5th Degree – Intendent, Overseer, Super Intendent & Warden, 6th Degree – Passed Master and 7th Degree – Master Mason). The Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priest (including in excess of 30 Degrees), The Royal Order of Scotland (2 Degrees – The Heredom of Kilwinning and Knighthood of the Rosy Cross). The Scottish Rite (4 Degrees by invitation only including Scottish Master, Scottish Master of St Andrew, Squire Novice and Knight Beneficence of the Holy City). The Rite of Baldwyn (in Bristol by invitation only on MM’s who are also RAM’s comprises of another 6 Degrees – Knight of the Nine Elected Masters, Ancient Order of Scots Knights Grand Architect, Scots Knights of Kilwinning, Knights of the East the Sword and Eagle, Knights of St John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta and Knights Templar, Knights of the Rose Croix of Mount Carmel). The Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia (comprising of nine grades – Zelator, Theoricus, Practicus, Philosophus, Adeptus Minor, Adeptus Major, Adeptus Exemptus, Magister and Magus). The Royal Order of Eri (must be a member of Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia, comprises of Three Degrees – Man-at-Arms, Esquire and Knight). The August Order of Light (3 Degrees – First Degree, Passing Degree and Second Degree).

What is meant by ‘signify in the usual manner?
 
After a proposal, duly seconded, has been put to the members of the Lodge the Master, in asking for the members approval or otherwise states, after giving details: “which you will signify in the usual manner observed amongst Masons.” 

What is the ‘usual manner’?

A:  In an old book of mine (1860) it states that voting in Lodges viva voce (orally) is an innovation.  The ancient method of voting is by holding up one of the hands.  In the Regulations of the Grand Lodge of England, revised in 1767, it states: “The opinions or votes of the members are always to be signified by each holding up one of his hands; which uplifted hands the Grand Wardens are to count, unless the number of hands be so unequal as to render counting useless.  Nor should any other kind of division be ever admitted on such occasions.”

Rule 59 (Voting) of the current Book of Constitutions informs us that: “All matters are to be decided by a majority of votes, each member having one vote, and the Grand Master or Officer presiding a second or casting vote, unless the Grand Lodge think proper to leave any particular subject to the determination of the Grand Master or Officer presiding.  Except in elections by ballot or voting papers, the votes are to be signified by each member holding up one hand, and the motion is then to be declared carried or lost; but if two members demand that the votes be counted, and such demand appear reasonable to the Grand Master or Officer presiding, the counting shall be conducted under the direction of the Grand DC.”

Clearly the regulation requires that one hand should be held up, not outstretched as is the norm in most Lodges.  If we assume that the Grand Lodge adheres to its own regulations, then ‘holding up’ has been, for more than two centuries, ‘the usual manner observed amongst Masons’.  Yet, even in Grand Lodge, when confirming the minutes for ordinary voting, the vast majority of those attending use the outstretched hand.

Although some say that the outstretched arm, palm downwards is emblematical of the act of ratification when we take our obligations on the VSL – If it is, then the thumb should be forming a square also.

Obviously a hand held up is easier to see and count than one outstretched.  I therefore suspect that, over the years, we have just adopted a lazy response to the instruction – hand held up!

What is meant by High time when calling off?
 
When the Master asks the J.W. “What time is it?” and he replies “High time W.M.”

What does he mean by “High time”?

A:  With the establishment of ‘organised’ Freemasonry in 1717, various rearrangements of the Craft Ceremonies took place.  Before that time, the 1st Degree, what we now regard as a single ceremony, was usually divided into two parts.  The first part being ‘the essentials’ (the Obligation etc) followed by a second part, which has since been largely included in our current ritual.

During the second part, the Master and brethren would be seated at a table and the procedure which followed was by way of question and answer.  The Master put the questions and worked round the table clockwise so that each member, in rotation, was called upon to reply.  This procedure was referred to as “working” and it is from this old form that the present Craft Lectures were compiled.  In those days eating and drinking in the Lodge was pretty much regarded as the norm.

However, note the reply to one of the questions posed by the Master in the series which commenced:

WM: “How blows a Mason’s wind Brother?”

Answer: “Due East and West.”

This was followed by: “What o’clock is it Brother?”

The Junior Warden answers: “High Twelve.” (which is Midday).

The Master would then say: “Call the men off from work to refreshment and see that they come on again in due time.”

You will notice that the Junior Wardens answer not ‘High Time’ as is stated in the modern ritual, but ‘High Twelve’

For some unknown reason, perhaps as most Lodges now meet in the evening?  High Time has been substituted for High Twelve although, in the Third Degree, the correct interpretation of the words remains with us, as they are still preserved in the statement: “whither our Master had retired to pay his adoration to the M.H. as was his wanted custom at the hour of high twelve.”

High Time has no Masonic significance whatsoever, but High Twelve is the hour when labour traditionally ceased for refreshment, meditation and prayer and the custom of prayer at High Twelve is strictly observed in some religions in the East to this day.

Note: the terms: “High Twelve” refers to 12 Noon and “Low Twelve” is 12 Midnight.

Who says “We’ve always done it that way”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

What is signify in the usual manner?
 

Q: After a proposal, duly seconded, has been put to the members of the Lodge the Master, in
asking for the members approval or otherwise states, after giving details: "which you will signify in
the usual manner observed amongst Masons." 
 
What is the usual manner? And why?
 
A: In an old book of mine (1860) it states that voting in Lodges viva voce (orally) is an innovation. The ancient method of voting is by holding up one of the hands. In the Regulations of the Grand Lodge of England, revised in 1767, it states: “The opinions or votes of the members are always to be signified by each holding up one of his hands; which uplifted hands the Grand Wardens are to count, unless the number of hands be so unequal as to render counting useless. Nor should any other kind of division be ever admitted on such occasions.”
 
Rule 59 (Voting) of the current Book of Constitutions informs us that: "All matters are to be decided by a majority of votes, each member having one vote, and the Grand Master or Officer presiding a second or casting vote, unless the Grand Lodge think proper to leave any particular subject to the determination of the Grand Master or Officer presiding. Except in elections by ballot or voting papers, the votes are to be signified by each member holding up one hand, and the motion is then to be declared carried or lost; but if two members demand that the votes be counted, and such demand appear reasonable to the Grand Master or Officer presiding, the counting shall be conducted under the direction of the Grand DC."
 
Clearly the regulation requires that one hand should be held up, not outstretched as is the norm in most Lodges. If we assume that the Grand Lodge adheres to its own regulations, then ‘holding up’ has been, for more than two centuries, ‘the usual manner observed amongst Masons’. Yet, even in Grand Lodge, when confirming the minutes for ordinary voting, the vast majority of those attending use the outstretched hand.
 
Although some say that the outstretched arm, palm downwards is emblematical of the act of ratification when we take our obligations on the VSL – If it is then the thumb should be forming a square also !
 
Obviously a hand held up is easier to see and count than one outstretched. I therefore suspect that, over the years, we have just adopted a lazy response to the instruction – hand held up! As we clearly haven’t always done it that way!

Position of the SW and JW and change in occupation
 

Q: We are told at the Opening of the Lodge that the JW is placed in the South to mark the Sun at its meridian, the SW is placed in the West to mark the setting Sun…………  We are then strangely informed in the 1st Degree that they are situated in the South and West to represent the Sun and Moon.  Why this change in their occupation? 
 

A: In the early days Freemasons Lodges were orientated completely the opposite way round to the layout we are familiar with to-day. According to the VSL – Solomon’s Temple had its entrance in the East and the sanctum sanctorum in the West, therefore the original layout of a Lodge had the Master seated in the West, facing East with the JW in the NE and the SW in the SE thus forming a triangle (or the points of a pair of compasses). (RA Masons please note: As with all Masonic Triangles, the apex points to the East).
 
With this orientation, the JW being seated in the North East, would certainly be in a good position to mark (notice, or see) when the sun was at its meridian in the South and therefore would be able to

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carry out his duty of “calling the brethren from labour to refreshment and refreshment to labour etc.” Likewise, the SW in the South East would better be able to mark (or observe) the setting Sun in the West, thus enabling him to carry out his duty of closing the Lodge by command of the WM.
 
If you think about the seating of the Principal Officers at the Festive Board – Whilst the orientation of the Lodge room has changed, we still retain the original positions of the Principal Officers at the Festive Board with the Master at the centre of the table (figuratively in the West, facing East) with the JW seated at the end of the LH Leg (in the North East) and the SW at the end of the RH Leg (in the South East).
 
It was not until Freemasonry became ‘organised’ by the creation of the Premier Grand Lodge in 1717 and the creation of its own new rules and ritual that the orientation of the Lodge took on the form used by the English church, with the Master placed in the East. The SW was thus moved to the West and the JW to the South and the wording of the 1 st Degree ritual (incorrectly) amended to reflect their new stations, as ‘representing’ the Sun and Moon in those positions !
 
Whilst we are now told that the Wardens now ‘represent’ the Sun and Moon, the original dialogue at the opening of the Lodge, ‘to mark’ (or see) the Sun, remains with us.