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The Matthew Cooke Manuscript

 with translation

Next to the Regius the oldest manuscript is that known as the Cooke. It was published by R. Spencer, London, 1861 and was edited by Mr. Matthew Cooke, hence his name. In the British Museum's catalogue it is listed as "Additional M.S. 23,198", and has been dated by Hughan at 1450 or thereabouts, an estimate in which most of the specialists have concurred. Dr. Begemann believed the document to have been "compiled and written in the southeastern portion of the western Midlands, say, in Gloucestershire or Oxfordshire, possibly also in southeast Worcestershire or southwest Warwickshire. The 'Book of Charges' which forms the second part of the document is certainly of the 14th century, the historical or first part, of quite the beginning of the 15th." (A.Q.C. IX, page 18)

The Cooke MS. was most certainly in the hands of Mr. George Payne, when in his second term as Grand Master in 1720 he compiled the "General Regulations", and which Anderson included in his own version of the "Constitutions" published in 1723. Anderson himself evidently made use of lines 901-960 of the MS.

The Lodge Quatuor Coronati reprinted the Cooke in facsimile in Vol. II of its Antigrapha in 1890, and included therewith a Commentary by George William Speth which is, in my own amateur opinion, an even more brilliant piece of work than Gould's Commentary on the Regius. Some of Speth's conclusions are of permanent value. I paraphrase his findings in my own words:

The M.S. is a transcript of a yet older document and was written by a Mason. There were several versions of the Charges to a Mason in circulation at the time. The MS. is in two parts, the former of which is an attempt at a history of the Craft, the latter of which is a version of the Charges. Of this portion Speth writes that it is "far and away the earliest, best and purest version of the 'Old Charges' which we possess." The MS. mentions nine "articles", and these evidently were legal enforcements at the time; the nine "points" given were probably not legally binding but were morally so. "Congregations" of Masons were held here and there but no "General Assembly" (or "Grand Lodge"); Grand Masters existed in fact but not in name and presided at one meeting of a congregation only. "Many of our present usages may be traced in their original form to this manuscript."

Reprinted from an editorial by Bro. H.L. Haywood in the September 1923 edition of The Builder

These texts are transcribed from:

The History and Articles of Masonry; (Now first published from a MS. in the British Museum,), Dedicated, by permission, to, The W. Bro. John Havers, Esq., P.S.G.D., President of the Board of General Purposes, by the Editor, Matthew Cooke. London: Bro. Richard Spencer, 26 Great Queen Street, Lincoln's Inn Fields, W.C., and of the editor, 78, George Street, Euston Road, N.W., 1861. Printed by Bro. J.H. Gaball, at the office of "The Freemasons' Magazine," Salisbury Street, Strand, W.C. [163 pages plus 10 page Preface and a list of subscribers.]

The facsimile is are the work of Mr. F. Compton Price, accompanying G.W. Speth's corrected version, as printed in Quatuor Coronatorum Antigrapha Vol. II, 1890.

Additional notes:

In both Speth's and Cooke's published editions line 899 has been numbered 900, so that there are in fact only 959 lines in the poem. Either this was an error, or both copyist chose to count the appended line at the bottom of Fol. 35 b. as a full line. If this was the case, it was inconsistent with the numbering of earlier appended lines.

The original hand-lettered manuscript made use of a number of abbreviations and characters not found in current usage. These are highlighted in the text above with line brackets. Cooke had custom letters cut for his edition,


THonkyd be god [Fol. 4]
our glorious
ffadir and foun |
der and former of heuen
and of erthe and of all
thygis that in hym is
that he wolde foche |s|aue of
his glorius god hed for to
make |s|o mony thyngis of d
uers vertu for mankynd. [10]
ffor he mader all thyngis for
to be abedient & |s|oget to man
ffor all thyngis that ben come|s|
tible of hol |s|ome nature he
ordeyned hit for manys |s|usty [Fol.4 b.]
na |n|s. And all to be hath yif
to man wittys and cony |n|g
of dy |ver|s thyngys and craft
tys by the whiche we may
trauayle in this worlde to [20]
gete |wit| our lyuyg to make
diuers thingys to goddis ple
|s|ans and also for our e |s|e and
profyt. The whiche thingis
if I |s|cholde reher |s|e hem hit
wre to longe to telle and to
wryte. Wherfor I woll leue.
but I |s|chall |s|chew you |s|ome
that is to |s|ey ho and in what [Fol. 5]
wyse the |s|ciens of Gemetry [30]
fir |s|te be ganne and who |wer|
the founders therof and of
othur craftis mo as hit is no
tid in |the| bybill and in othur
HOw and in what ma
ner |th|at this worthy
|s|ciens of Gemetry be gan I
wole tell you as I sayde bi
fore. ye |s|chall undirstonde [40]
|that| |ther| ben vi |i| |liberall |s|ciens
by the whiche vi |i| all |s|ciens
and craftis in the world were [Fol. 5 b.]
fyr |s|te founde. and in especiall
for he is causer of all. |that| is to
sey |the| |s|ciens of Gemetry of all
other that be. the whiche v |i|i sci
ens ben called thus. as for the
fir |s|t |that| is called fundament
of sciens his name is gra |mmer| [50]
he techith a man ry |g|thfully to
|s|peke and to write truly. The
|s|econde is rethorik. and he te
chith a man to |s|peke formabe
ly and fayre. The thrid is
dioletic |us|. and |that| |s|ciens techith
a man to discerne the trowthe [Fol. 6]
fro |the| fals and comenly it is
tellid art or |s|oph'stry. The fourth
ys callid ar |s|metryk |the| whiche [60]
techeth a man the crafte of
nowmbers for to rekyn and
to make a coun |t| of all th |y|ge
The ffte Gemetry the which
techith a man all the met |t|
and me |s|u |r|s and ponderat |o|n
of wy |g|htis of all mans craf |t|
The. vi. is musi |k| that techith
a man the crafte of |s|ong in
notys of voys and organ & [70]
trompe and harp and of all [Fol. 6 b.]
othur |p|teynyng to hem. The
vi |i| is a |s|tronomy that techith
man |the| cours of the |s|onne
and of |the| moune and of ot |her|
|s|terrys & planetys of heuen.
OWr entent is princi
pally to trete of fyrst
fundacion of |the| worthe |s|cy |en|s
of Gemetry and we were [80]
|the| founders |ther| of as I seyde
by fore there ben vi |i| liberall
|s|cyens |that| is to|s|ay vi |i| |s|ciens or
craftys that ben fre in hem
selfe the whiche vi |i|. lyuen [Fol. 7.]
only by Gemetry. And Ge
metry is as moche to |s|ey
as the me |s|ure of the erth
Et sic dici |t| a geo |ge| q |ui|n |R| ter
a latine & metro |n| quod |e| [90]
men |s|ura. U |na| Gemetria. i,
mens |u|r terre uel terra |rum|.
that is to |s|ay in englische that
Gemetria is I |s|eyd of geo |that| is
in gru. erthe, and metro |n| |that| is
to |s|ey me |s|ure. And thus is |this|
nam of Gemetria c |om|pounyd
as is |s|eyd the me |s|ur of |the| erthe.
MErvile ye not that I
|s |eyd that all |s|ciens lyu|e| [100]
all only by the |s|ciens of Geme
try. ffor there is none artifici |-|
all ne honcrafte that is wro |g|th
by manys hond bot hit is
wrou |g|ght by Gemetry. and a
notabull cau |s|e. for if a man
worche |wit| his hondis he wor
chyth |wit| so |m|e ma |nner| tole and
|ther| is none in |s|trument of ma |-|
teriall thingis in this worlde [110]
but hit come of |the| kynde of
erthe and to erthe hit wole
turne a yen. and ther is n |one| [Fol. 8.]
in |s|trument |that| is to |s|ay a tole
to wirche |wit| but hit hath
some p |ro|op |r|orcion more or la |s||s|e
And some proporcion is me |s|ure
the tole er the in |s|trment
is erthe. And Gemetry is
|s|aid the me |s|ure of erth |e| Whe |re|
fore I may |s|ey |that| men lyuen
all by Gemetry. ffor all
men here in this worlde lyue
by |the| labour of her hondys.
Mony mo pbacions I
wole telle yow why |that|
Gemetry is the |s|ciens |that| all re [Fol. 8 b.]
sonable m |e|n lyue by. but I
leue hit at |this| tyme for |the| l |o|ge
|pro|ce |s||s|e of wrytyng. And now [130]
I woll |prp|cede forthe |r| on me ma
ter. ye |s|chall under |s|tonde |that|
amonge all |the| craftys of |the|
worlde of mannes crafte
ma |s|onry hath the mo |s|te no
tabilite and mo |s|te |par|te of |this|
|s|ciens Gemetry as hit is
notid and |s |eyd in |s |toriall
as in the bybyll and in the
ma |s ||ter | of |s |tories. And in poli/cronico [140]
a cronycle |pri |nyd and in the [Fol. 9.]
|s |tories |that | is named Beda
De Imagine m |un |di & Isodo |rus |
ethomologia |rum |. Methodius
epus & marti |rus |. And ot |her |
meny mo |s |eyd |that | ma |s |on |r |y is
principall of Gemetry as
me thenkyth hit may well
be |s |ayd for hit was |the | first
that was foundon as hit is [150]
notid in the bybull in |the | first
boke of Genesis in the iii |i |
chap |ter |. And al |s |o all the doc
tours afor |s |ayde acordeth |ther | to
And |s ||u |me of hem |s |eythe hit [Fol. 9. b.]
more openly and playnly
ry |g |t as his |s |eithe in the by
bull Gene |s |is
ADam is line linyalle
|s |one de |s |cendyng doun |e | [160]
the vi |i | age of adam byfore
noes flode |ther | was a ma |n | |that |
was clepyd lameth the
whiche hadde i |i | wyffes |the |
on hyght ada & a nother
|s |ella by the fyr |s |t wyffe |th |at
hyght ada |he | be gate i |i | |s |onys
|that | one hyght Jobel and the o |ther |
height juball. The elder |s |one [Fol 10.]
Jobell he was the fists ma |n | [170]
|that | e |ver | found gemetry and
ma |s |onry. and he made how
|s |is & namyd in |the | bybull
Pa |ter | habitantci |um | in tento |- |
ris atq |ue | pasto |rum | That is to
|s |ay fader of men dwellyng
in tentis |that | is dwellyng
how |s |is. A. he was Cayin is
ma |s ||ter | ma |s |on and go |ver |nor
of all his werkys whan [180]
he made |the | Cite of Enoch
that was the fir |s |te Cite
that was the fir |s |t Cite |th |at [Fol. 10 b.]
e |ver | was made and |that | made
Kayme Adam is |s |one. |an |d
yaf to his owne |s |one. Enoch
and yaff the Cyte the n |am |e
of his |s |one and kallyd hit
Enoch. and now hit is
callyd Effraym and |ther | wa |s | [190]
|s |ciens of Gemetry and ma
|s |onri fyr |s |t occupied and
c |on |trenyd for a |s |ciens and
for a crafte and |s |o we may
|s |ey |that | hit was cav |s |e & f |un |
dacion of all craftys and
|s |ciens. And al |s |o |this | ma |n | [Fol. 11.]
Jobell was called Pa |ter |
Pasto |rum |
THe mas |ter | of |s |tories [200]
|s |eith and beda de yma
gyna m |un |di policronicon &
other mo |s |eyn that he wa |s |
|th |e first that made de |per |ce |s |on
of lond |that | e |ver |y man myght
knowe his owne grounde
and labou |re | the |re | on as for
his owne. And also he de
|par |tid flockes of |s |chepe |that |
e |ver |y man myght know hi |s | [210]
owne |s |chepe and |s |o we may [Fol. 11 b.]
|s |ey that he was the fir |s |t
founder of |that | |sciens. And his
brother Juball. or tuball
was founder of my |s |yke &
|s |ong as pictogoras |s |eyth
in policronycon and the
|s |ame |s |eythe ylodou |re | in his
ethemologi |i | in the v |i | boke
there he |s |eythe that he was [220]
|the | fir |s |t foundere of my |s |yke
and |s |ong and of organ &
trompe and he founde |th |at
|s |ciens by the |s |oune of pon/deracion
of his brotheris hamers |that | [Fol. 12.]
was tubalcaym.
SOthely as |the | bybull
|s |eyth in the chapitre
|that | is to |s |ey the iii |i | of Gene |s |'
|that | he |s |eyth lameth gate apon [230]
his other wiffe |that | height |s |ella
a |s |one & a do |ou |c |ter | |the | names of
th |em | were clepid tubalcaym
|that | was |the | |s |one. & his doghter
hight neema & as the poli
cronycon |s |eyth |that | |s |ome men
|s |ey |that | |s |che was noes wyffe
we |ther | h |it | be |s |o o |ther | no we afferme/ hit nott
YE |s |chul |le | under |s |tonde
|that | |th |is |s |one tubalcaym [240]
was founder of |s |mythis
craft and o |ther | craft of
meteil |that | is to |s |ey of eyron
of braffe of golde & of |s |il |ver |
as |s |ome docturs |s |eyn & his
|s |ys |ter | neema was fynder of
we |ver |scraft. for by fore |that | time
was no cloth weuyn but
they did spynne yerne and
knytte hit & made h |em | |s |uch |e | [250]
clothyng as they couthe
but as |the | woman neema
founde |the | craft of weuyng [Fol. 13.]
& |ther |fore hit was kalled wo
menys craft. and |th |es ii |i |
brotheryn afore |s |ayd had know
lyche |that | god wold take ven
gans for |s |ynne o |ther | by fyre
or watir and they had gre |ter |
care how they my |s |t do to [260]
|s |aue |the | |s |ciens that |th |ey fo |un |de
and |th |ey toke her con |s |el |le |
to gedyr & by all her wit |ts
|th |ey |s |eyde |that | were. i |i | ma |ner | of
|s |tonn of |s |uche |ver |tu |that | |the | one
wolde ne |ver | brenne & |that | |s |to |ne |
is callyd marbyll. & |that | o |ther | sto |ne |
|that | woll not |s |ynke in wa |ter |. &
|that | stone is named la |tr |us. and
|s |o |th |ey deuy |s |yed to wryte all [270]
|the | |s |ciens |that | |th |ey had ffounde in
this i |i | |s |tonys if |that | god wol |de |
take vengns by fyre |that | |the |
marbyll |s |cholde not bren |ne |
And yf god |s |ende vengans
by wa |ter ||that | |th |e o |ther | |s |cholde not
droune. & so |th |ey prayed |ther |
elder brother jobell |that | wold
make i |i |. pillers of |th |es. i |i |
|s |tones |that | is to |s |ey of marb |yll | [280]
and of la |tr |us and |that | he wold [Fol. 14.]
write in the i |i |. pylers al |l |
|the | |s |ciens & craf |ts | |that | al |l | |th |ey
had founde. and |s |o he did
and |ther |for we may |s |ey |that |
he was mo |s |t co |nn |yng in
|s |ciens for he fyr |s |t bygan
& |per |formed the end by for
noes flode.
KYndly knowyng of [290]
|that | venganns |that | god
wolde |s |end whether hit
|s |cholde be bi fyre or by wa |ter |
the bretherne hadde hit n |ot |
by a ma |ner | of a |pro |phecy they [Fol. 14 b.]
wi |s |t |that | god wold |s |end one |ther |
of. and |ther | for thei writen
he |re | |s |ciens in |the |. i |i |. pilers
of |s |tone. And |s ||u |me men |s |ey
|that | |th |ey writen in |the |. |s |tonis [300]
all |th |e. vi |i | |s |ciens. but as
|th |ey in here mynde |that | a ven
ganns |s |cholde come. And
to hit was |that | god |s |entd ven
ganns |s |o |that | |ther | come |s |uche
a flode |th |at al |le | |the | worl was
drowned. and al |le | men w |er |
dede |ther | in |s |aue. vii |i |. |per |sonis
And |that | was noe and his [Fol. 15.]
wyffe. and his ii |i |. sonys & [310]
here wyffes. of whiche. ii |i |
sones a |ll | |the | world cam of.
and here namys were na
myd in this ma |ner |. Sem. Cam.
& Japhet. And |this | flode was
kalled noes flode ffor he &
his children were |s |auyed |ther |
in. And af |ter | this flode many
yeres as |the | cronycle telleth
thes. i |i | pillers were founde [320]
& as |the | polycronicon |s |eyth |that |
a grete clerke |that | callede puto |- |/goras
|f |onde |that | one and hermes |the |
philisophre fonde |that | other. &
thei tought forthe |the | |s |ciens |that |
thei fonde |ther | y wryten.
Every cronycle and |s |to
riall and meny other
clerkys and the bybull in |pri |nci
pall wittenes of the makyn |ge | [330]
of the toure of babilon and hit
is writen in |the | bibull Gene |sis
Cap |ter | |x | wo |that | Cam noes
|s |one gate nembrothe and he
war a myghty man apon |the |
erthe and he war a stron |ge |
man like a Gyant and he w |as | [Fol. 16.]
a grete Kyng. and the bygyn
yn |ge | of his kyngdom was
trew kyngd |om | of babilon and [340]
arach. and archad. & talan &
the lond if |s |ennare. And this
same Cam Nemroth be gan |the | towre
of babilon and he taught and
he taught to his werkemwn |the |
crafte of ma |s |uri and he had
|wit | h |ym | mony ma |s |onys mo |th ||an |
|x |l |th |ou |s |and. and he louyd &
chere |s |ched them well. and hit
is wryten in policronicon and [350]
in |the | mas |ter | of |s |tories and in
other |s |tories mo. and |this | a part
wytnes bybull in the |s |ame
|x |. chap |ter | he |s |eyth |that | a
|s |ure |that | was nye kynne to
Cam Nembrothe yede owt of |the | londe of
|s |enare and he bylled the Cie
Nunyve and plateas and o |ther |
mo |th |us he |s |eyth. De tra illa
& de |s |ennare egreffus est a |s |u |re | [360]
& edificauit Nunyven & pla |- |
teas ciuiya |te | & cale & Jesu q |o |q |z |
in |ter | nunyven & hec |est | Ciuita |s |
RE |s |on wolde |that | we |s |chold [Fol. 17.]
tell opunly how & in
what ma |ner | that |the | charges
of ma |s |oncraft was fyr |s |t fo |un |
dyd & ho yaf fir |s |t |the | name
to hit of ma |s |onri and ye [370]
|s |chyll knaw well |that | hit told
and writen in policronicon &
in methodus ep |iscopu |s and mar |ter |
|that | a |s |ur |that | was a worthy lord
of |s |ennare |s |ende to nembroth
|the | kynge to |s |ende h |ym | ma |s |ons
and workemen of craft |that | myght
helpe hym to make his Cite
|that | he was in wyll to make. [Fol. 17 b.]
And nembroth |s |ende h |ym | |xxx | [380]
C. of masons. And whan |th |ey
|s |cholde go & |s |ende h |em | forth. he
callyd hem by for h |ym | and |s |eyd
to hem ye mo |s |t go to my co
|s |yn a |s |ure to helpe h |ym | to bilde
a cyte but loke |that | ye be well
go |uer |nyd and I |s |chall yeue
yov a charge |pro |fitable for
you & me.
WHen ye come to |that | lord [390]
loke |that | ye be trewe to
hym lyke as ye wolde be to
me. and truly do your labour [Fol. 18.]
and craft and takyt re |s |on |- |
abull your mede |ther |for as ye
may de |s |erue and al |s |o |that | ye
loue to gedyr as ye were
bre |th |eryn and holde to gedyr
truly. & he |that | hath most c |on ||yn |g
teche hit to hys felaw and [400]
louke ye go |uer |ne you ayen |s |t
yowr lord and a monge
yowr selfe. |that | I may haue
worchyppe and thonke for
me |s |endyng and techyng
you the crafte. and |th |ey re |s |/ceyuyd
the charge of h |ym | |that | was here [Fol. 18 b.]
mai |s ||ter | and here lorde. and
wente forthe to a |s |ure. &
bilde the cite of nunyve in [410]
|the | count |r |e of plateas and o |ther |
Cites mo |that | men call cale
and Jesen |that | is a gret Cite
bi twene Cale and nunyve
And in this ma |ner | |the | craft
of ma |s |onry was fyr |s |t |pre |fer
ryd & chargyd hit for a |s |ci |en |s.
ELders |that | we |re | bi for us
of ma |s |ons had te |s |e
charges wryten to hem as [420]
we haue now in owr char [Fol. 19.]
gys of |the | |s |tory of Enclidnis
as we have |s |eyn hem writ |en |
in latyn & in Fre |s |nche bothe
but ho |that | Enclyd come to ge |- |
metry re |s |on wolde we
|s |cholde telle yow as hit is
notid in the hybull & in other
|s |tories. In |xii | Capitl |or | Gene |sis |
he tellith how |that | abrah |am | com to [430]
the lond of Canan and owre
lord aperyd to h |ym | and |s |eyd I
|s |chall geue this lond to |th |i
|s |eed. but |ther | |s |yll a grete hun |ger |
in |that | lond. And abraham toke [Fol. 19 b.]
|s |ara his wiff |wit | him and
yed in to Egypte in pylgre |- |
mage whyle |the | hunger du
red he wolde hyde |ther |. And A
brah |am | as |the | cronycull |s |eyth [440]
he was a wy |s |e man and a
grete clerk. And covthe all
|the |vi |i | |s |ciens. and taughte
the egypeyans |the | |sciens of
Gemetry. And this worthy
clerk Enclidnis was his
clerke and lerned of hym.
And he yaue |the | fir |s |te name
of Gemetry all be |that | hit [Fol. 20.]
was ocupied bifor hit had [450]
no name of gemetry. But
hit is |s |eyd of ylodour Ethe
mologia |rum | in |the | v. boke. Ethe
mologia |rum | Cap |itolo | p'mo. |s |eyth
|that | Enclyde was on of |the | fir |s |t
founders of Gemetry &
he yaue hit name. ffor |in |
his tyme ther was a wa
ter in |that | lond of Egypt |that |
is callyd Nilo and hit flowid [460]
|so | ferre in to |the | londe |that | men
myght not dwelle |ther |in
THen this worthi
clerke Enclide taught
hem to make grete wallys
and diches to holde owt |the |
watyr. and he by Gemet'
me |s |ured |the | londe and de |par |
tyd hit in dy |ver |s |par |tys. &
mad e |ver |y man to clo |s |e his [470]
awne |par |te |wit | walles and
diches an |the |en hit be c |am |e
a plentuos c |on |untre of all
ma |ner | of freute and of yon |ge |
peple of men and women
that |ther | was |s |o myche pepull
of yonge frute |that | they couth'
not well lyue. And |the | lordys
of the countre drew hem to
gedyr and made a councell [480]
how they myght helpe her
childeryn |that | had no lyflode
c |om |potente & abull for to fyn |de |
hem selfe and here childron
for |th |ey had |s |o many. and
a mong hem all in councell
was |this | worthy clerke Encli
dnis and when he |s |a |we | |th |at
all they cou |th |e not btynge
a bout this mater. he |s |eyd [490]
to hem woll ye take y |our | |s |on |ys | [Fol. 21 b.]
in go |uer |nanns & I |s |chall tec |he |
hen |s |uche a sciens |that | they
|s |chall iyue ther by |j |entel
manly vnder condicion |that |
ye wyll be |s |wore to me to
|per |fourme the go |uer |na |nn |s |that |
I |s |chall |s |ette you too and
hem bothe and the kyng
of |the | londe and all |the | lordys [500]
by one a |ss |ent gra |un |tyd |ther | too.
REson wolde |that | e |uer |y m |an |
woulde graunte to |that |
thyng |that | were |pro |fetable to h |im |
|s |elf. and they toke here |s |o [Fol 22.]
nys to enclide to go |uer |ne
hem at his owne wylle &
he taught to hem the craft
masonry and yaf hit |th |e
name of Gemetry by cav |s |e [510]
of |the | |par |tyng of |the | grounde |that |
he had taught to |the | peple
in the time of |the | makyng
of |the | wallys and diches a
for |s |ayd to claw |s |e out |the |
watyr. & I |s |odor |s |eyth in his
Ethemolegies |that | Enclide
callith the craft Gemetrya
And |ther | this worthye clerke [Fol. 22 b.]
yaf hit name and taught [520]
hitt the lordis |s |onys of |the |
londe |that | he had in his tech |in |g
And he yaf h |em | a charge |that |
they scholde calle here eche
other ffelowe & no nother
wise by cav |s |e |that | they were
all of one crafte & of one
gentyll berthe bore & lor |ds' |
|s |onys. And also he |that | we |re |
most of c |on |nyng scholde be [530]
go |uer |nour of |the | werke and
scholde be callyd mais |ter | &
other charges mo |that | ben [Fol. 23.]
wryten in |the | boke of char
gys. And |s |o they wrought
|with | lordys of |the | lond & made
cities and tounys ca |s |telis
& templis and lordis placis.
WHat tyme |that |the | chil
dren of i |s |rl dwellid [540]
|in | egypte they lernyd |the |
craft of masonry. And
afturward |th |ey were
dryuen ont of Egypte |th |ey
come in to |th |e lond of bihest
and is now callyd ierl |e |m
and hit was ocupied & char [Fol. 23 b.]
gys y holde. And |the | mak |yn |g
of |s |alomonis tempull |that |
Kyng Dauid be gan. k |yn |g [550]
dauid louyd well ma |s |ons
and he yaf hem ry |g |t nye
as |th |ey be nowe. And at |the |
makyng of |the | temple in
|s |alomonis tyme as hit
is seyd in |the | bibull in |the |
ii |i | boke of Regu in |ter |cio
Reg |um | Cap |itolo | quinto. That
Salomon had iii |i |. score
thow |s |and masons at [560]
his werke. And |the | kyngi |s | [Fol 24.]
|s |one of Tyry was |his | ma |s ||ter |
ma |s |en. And other crony
clos hit is |s |eyd & in olde
bokys of ma |s |onry that
Salomon c |on |firmed |the | char
gys |that | dauid has fadir had
yeue to ma |s |ons. And |s |alo
mon hym |s |elf taught h |em |
here maners byt lityll [570]
differans fro the maners
that now ben u |s |yd. And fro
thens |this | worthy |s |ciens
was brought |in to fraunce
And in to many o |ther | regi |on |s [Fol. 24 b.]
SUmtyme ther w |as |
a worthye kyng in
ffrauns |that | was clepyd Ca
rolus |s |'c |undu |s |that | ys to |s |ey
Charlys |the | |s |ecunde. And |this | [580]
Charlys was elyte kyng
of ffrauns by the grace of
god & by lynage also. And
|s |u |mm |e men |s |ey |that | he was
elite by fortune ||the | whiche
is fals as by cronycle he
was of |the | kynges blode
Royal. And |this | |s |ame kyng
Charlys was a ma |s |on [Fol. 25.]
bi for |that | he was kyng. And [590]
af |ter | |that | he was kyng he louyd
ma |s |ons & cher |s |chid them
and yaf hem chargys and
ma |ner |ys at his deui |s |e |the | which |e |
|s ||um | ben yet u |s |ed in fraunce
and he ordeynyd that |th |ey
|s |cholde haue a |s |emly onys
in |the | yere and come and
|s |peke to gedyr and for to be
reuled by ma |s |ters & felows [600]
of thynges a my |ss |e.
ANd |s ||oo |ne af |ter | |that | come
|s |eynt ad habell in to Englond [Fol. 25 b.]
and he c |on ||uer |tyd |s |eynt Albon
to cristendome. And |s |eynt
Albon lovyd well ma |s |ons
and he yaf hem fyr |s |t he |re |
charges & maners fyr |s |t
in Englond. And he or
deyned c |on |uenyent to pay [610]
for |the | trauayle. And af |ter |
|theat | was a worthy kyn |ge |
in Englond |that | was callyd
Athelstone and his yong
est |s |one lovyd well the
|s |ciens of Gemetry. and
he wy |s |t well |that | hand craft [Fol. 26.]
had the practyke of |the |s |ci
ens of Gemetry to well
as masons wherefore he [620]
drewe hym |to | c |on |sell and ler
nyd practyke of |that | |s |ciens
to his |s |peculatyf. For of |s |pec
culatyfe he was a ma |s ||ter |
and he lovyd well ma
|s |onry and ma |s |ons. And
he bicome a mason hym
|s |elfe. And he yaf hem charg |es |
and names as hit is now
vsyd id Englond. and in [630]
othere countries. And he [Fol. 26 b.]
ordyned |that | |th |ey |s |chulde haue
re |s |onabull pay. And pur
cha |s |ed a fre patent of |the | k |y |ng
that they |s |choulde make a
|s |embly whan thei |s |awe re |- |
|s |onably tyme a c |u | to gedir to
he |re | counsel |le | of |the | whiche
Charges manors & |s |emble
as is write and taught |in | |th |e [640]
boke of our charges wher
for I leue hit at this tyme.
GOod men for this
cau |s |e and |this | man |er |
ma |s |onry toke fir |s |te begyn |- | [Fol 27.]
nyng. hit befyll |s ||um |tyme
|that | grete lordis had not |s |o
grete po |s ||s | e |s ||s |ions |that | they
myghte not a vaunce here
fre bigeton childeryn for [650]
|th |ey had so many. Therefore
they toke coun |s |ell howe |th |ey
my |g |t here childeryn ava |n |ce
and ordeyn hem one |s |tly to
lyue. And |s |ende af |ter | wy |s |e
mai |s |ters of |the | worthy |s |ci
ens of Gemetry |that | |they | thorou
here wy |s |dome |s |chold ordey/ne
hem |s ||um | hone |s |t lyuyng [Fol. 27 b.]
Then on of them |that | had |the | [660]
name whiche was callyd
Englet |that | was most |s |otell
& wi |s |e founder ordeyned
and art and callyd hit ma
|s |onry. and so |with | his art ho
nestly he tho |g |t |the | childeren
of get lordis bi |the | pray
er of |the | fathers and |the | fre
will of here children. |the |
wiche when thei tau |g |t |with | [670]
hie Cure bi a |s |erteyn ty |me |
|th |ey were not all ilyke ab/ull
for to take of |the | for |s |eyde art [Fol. 28.]
Wherefore |the | for |s |ayde mai |s ||ter |
Englet ordeynet thei were
pa |s ||s |ing of conyng |s |chold
be pa |s ||s |ing honoured. And
ded to call |the | c |on |nyn |ger | mai |s |ter |
for to enforme |the | la |s ||s |e of c |on |
nyng ma |s |ters of |the | wiche [680]
were callyd ma |s |ters of no
bilite of witte and c |on |nyng
of |that | art. Ne |ver ||th |ele |s ||s |e |th |ei c |om |
maundid |that | thei |that | were la |s ||s |e
of witte |s |chold not be callyd
|s |eruan |ter | ner |s |ogett but felau
ffor nobilite of here gentyll [Fol. 28 b.]
nlode. In this ma |n |e |r | was |the |
for |s |ayde art begunne |i |n |the |
lond of Egypte by |the | for |s |ayde [690]
mai |s ||ter | Englat & so hit went
fro lond to londe and fro k |yn |g
dome to kyngdome af |ter | |that | ma |- |
ny yeris in |the | tyme of kyng
adhel |s |tone wiche was |s |um
tyme kynge of Englonde bi
his co |un |n |s |el |ler | and other gre |ter |
lordys of |the | lond bi c |om |yn
a |s ||s |ent for grete defavt y
fennde amon |ger | ma |s |ons |th |ei [700]
ordeyned a certayne reule [Fol 29.]
a mongys hom on tyme of
|the | yere or in ii |i | yere as nede
were to |the | kyn |g | and gret
lordys of |the | londe and all |the |
comente fro |pr |oynce to |pr |o |yn |ce
and fro co |u |ntre to co |u |ntre
c |on |gregacions |s |cholde be made
by mai |s |ters of all mai |s ||ter |s
ma |s |ons and felaus in the [710]
for |s |ayd art. And |s |o at |s |uche
c |on |gregac |o |ns they |that | be mad
ma |s |ters |s |chold be examined
of |the | articuls af |ter | writen. &
be ran |s |akyd whether thei be [Fol. 29 b.]
abull and kunnyn |g | to |the | |pr |
fyte of |the | lordys hem to serue
and to |the | honour of |the | for |s |aid
art and more o |uer | they |s |chulde
receyue here charge |that | they [720]
|s |chuld well and trewly di |s |
pende |the | goodys of here lordis
and as well |the | lowi |s |t as |the |
hie |s |t for they ben her lordys
for |the | tyme of whom |h |ei take
here pay for here cervyce
and for here trauayle. The
fir |s |te article ys this |that | e |uer |y
mai |s ||ter | of |th |is art |s |chulde be
wy |s ||s |e and trewe to |the | lord |that | he [730]
|s |eruyth di |s |pendyng his godis
trule as he wolde his awne
were di |s |pendyd. and not yefe
more pay to no ma |s |on than
he wot he may di |s |erue af |ter | |the |
derthe of korne & vytayl in |the |
c |o |ntry no fauour |with | stond |y |g
for e |uer |y ma |n | to be rewardyd
af |ter | his trauayle. The se |c |nd
article is this |that | e |uer |y ma |s ||ter | [740]
of |this | art |s |cholde be warned
by fore to cum to his cogrega |t |
|that | thei com dewly but yf thei [Fol. 30 b.]
may a |s ||s |cu |s |yd by |s |ume ma |ner |
cause. But ne |uer |le |s ||s |e if |th |ey
be founde rebell at |s |uche c |on |
gregacions or fauty in eny
ma |ner | harme of here lordys
and reprene of this art thei
|s |chulde not be excu |s |yd in no [750]
ma |ner |e out take |per |ell of dethe
and thow they be in |per |yll of
dethe they |s |call warne |the |
mai |s ||ter | |that | is pryncipall of |the |
gederyng of his de |s ||s |e |s |e. |the |
article is this |that | no ma |s ||ter |
take noprentes for la |s ||s |e terme [Fol. 31.]
than vi |i | yer at |the | le |s |t. by
caus |e | whi |s |uche as ben |with | |i |
la |s ||s |e terme may not |pro |fitely [760]
come to his art. nor abull
to serue truly his lorde to
take as a mason |s |chulde
take. The iii |i | article is |this |
|that | no ma |s ||ter | for no |pro |fyte take
no prentis for to be lernyd
that is bore of bonde blode
fore bi cau |s |e of his lorde to
whom he is bonde woll tak |e |
hym as he well may fro [770]
his art & lede hym |with | h |ym | out
of his logge or out of his
place |that | he worchyth in for
his felaus |per |auen |ter | wold help
hym and debte for h |ym |. and
thereoff man |s |laughter my |g |t
ry |s |e hit is forbede. And also
for a nother cau |s |e of his art
hit toke begynnyng of grete
lordis children frely beget |yn | [780]
as hit is |i |seyd bi for. The
v. article is thys |that | no ma |s |ter |
yef more to his prentis in
tyme of his prenti |s |hode for
no |pro |phite to be take than he [Fol 32.]
note well he may di |s ||s |erue
of |the | lorde |that | he |s |eruith |nor | not
|s |o moche |that | |the | lorde of |the | place
|that | he is taught |i |nne may
haue |s |um |pro |fyte bi his te |- | [790]
chyng. The v |i |. article is
this |that | no ma |s ||ter | for no coue
ty |s |e ne |r | |pro |fite take no p |re |n
tis to teche |that | is un |per |fyte |that |
is to |s |ey havyng eny ma |ym |
for |the | whiche he may not
trewely worche as hym
ought for to do. The vi |i |.
article is this |that | np mai |s ||ter | be [Fol. 32 b.]
y founde wittyngly or help [800]
or |pro |cure to be maynte |ner | &
|s |u |s |tey |ner | any comyn ny |g |twal
ker to robbe bi the whiche
ma |ner | of ny |g |twalkin |g |
thei may not fulfyll |ther | day |s |
werke and traueyell thorow
|the |c |on |dicion he |r | felaus my |g |t
be made wrowthe. The vii |i |
article is this |that | yf hit befall
|that | any ma |s |on |that | be |per |fyte and [810]
c |on |nyng come for to |s |eche
werke and fynde any vn |per |fit
and vnkunnyng worchyng [Fol. 33.]
|the | ma |s ||ter | of |the | place |s |chall re
ceyue |the | |per |fite and do a wey |the |
vn |per |fite to |the | |pro |fite of his lord
The ix. article is this |th |at
no mai |s ||ter | |s |chall supplant
a nother for hit is |s |eyd in |the |
art of ma |s |onry |that | no man [820]
|s |cholde make ende |s |o well
of werke bigonne bi a no
ther to |the | |pro |fite of his lorde
as he bigan hit for to end
hit bi his maters or to wh |om |e
he |s |cheweth his maters.
This councell ys made bi dy [Fol. 33 b.]
uers lordis & mai |s |ters of
dyvers |pro |vynces and di |uer |s
c |on |gregacions of ma |s |onry [830]
and hit is to wyte |that | who |that |
covetyth for to come to the
|s |tate of |that | for |s |eyd art hit be
hoveth hem fyrst |pri |ncypally
to god and holy chyrche &
all halowis and his mas |ter |
and his felowis as his a |wn |e
brotheryn. The |s |econde poynt
he mo |s |t fulfylle his dayes
werke truly |that | he takyth for [840]
his pay. The. ii |i |. |point | he can [Fol. 34.]
hele the councell of his felo |ws |
in logge and in chambere
and in e |uer |y place |ther | as ma |s ||on |s
beth. The iii |i |. poynt |that | he be
no di |s ||s |eyver of |the | for |s |eyd art
ne do no |pre |iudice ne |s |u |s |teyne
none articles ayen |s |t |the | art
ne a yen |s |t none of |the | art
but he |s |chall |s |u |s |teyne hit [850]
in all honovre in as moche
as he may. The. v. poynt
whan he schall take his
pay |that | he take hit mekely
as the tyme ys ordeynyd bi [Fol. 34 b.]
the mai |s ||ter | to be done and |that |
he fulfylle the accepcions
of trauayle and of his re |s |t
y ordeyned and |s |ette by |the |
mai |s ||ter |. The. v |i |. poynt yf [860]
eny di |s |corde |s |chall be bitwe
ne hym & his felows he
|s |chall a bey hym mekely &
be stylle at |the | byddyng of
his ma |s ||ter | or of |the | wardeyne
of his ma |s ||ter | in his ma |s ||ter |s
absens to |the | holy day fo |- |
lowyng and |that | he accorde
then at |the | di |s |pocion of his
felaus and not upon |the | wer [870]
keday for lettyng of here
werke and |pro |fyte of his lord
The. vi |i |. poynt |that | he covet
not |the | wyfe ne |the | doughter
of his ma |s |ters no |ther | of his
felaws but yf hit be in ma |-\
tuge nor holde c |on |cubines
for dy |s |cord |that | my |g |t fall a
monges them. The. vii |i |
poynt yf hit befalle hym [880]
ffor to be wardeyne vndyr
his ma |s ||ter | |that | he be trewe mene
bitwene his ma |s ||ter | & his [Fol. 35 b.]
felaws and |that | he be be |s |y in
the ab |s |ence of his ma |s ||ter | to
|the | honor of his ma |s ||ter | and |pro ||- |
fit to |the | lorde |that he |s |erueth
The. iX. poynt yf he be wy |s |er
and |s |otellere |th |an his felawe
worchyng |with | hym in his [890]
logge or in eny other place
and he |per ||s |eyue hit |that | he |s |chold
lefe the stone |that | he worchyt a |- |
pon for defawte of c |on |nyng
and can teche hym and a
mende |the | |s |tone he |s |chall en/forme
hym and helpe h |im | |that | the more
loue may encre |s |e among h |em |
and |that | |the | werke of |the | lorde be not [900]
lo |s |t. Whan the ma |s ||ter | and |the | fe
lawes be for warned ben y
come to |s |uche c |on |gregac |on |ns
if nede be |the | Schereffe of |the |
countre or the mayer of |the |
Cyte or alderman of |the | town |e |
in wyche the c |on |gregac |on |s ys
hold |en | |s |chall be felaw and so
ciat to |the | ma |s ||ter | of the c |on |gre
gacion in helpe of h |ym | ayenst re [910]
belles and vpberyng |the | ry |g |t
of the reme. At |the | fyrst beg |yn | [Fol. 36 b.]
nyng new men |that | ne |uer | we |re |
chargyd bi fore beth charged
in |th |is manere that |s |chold
neuer be theuys nor |th |euys
meynteners and |that | |s |chuld
tryuly fulfyll he |re | dayes
werke and truayle for he |re |
pay that |th |ey |s |chull take of [920]
here lord and trewe a coun |t |
yeue to here felaus in th |yn |
gys |that | be to be a countyd of
hem and to here and hem
loue as hem |s |elfe and they
|s |chall be trew to the kynge
of englond and to the reme
and that they kepe |with | all |ther |
my |g |t and all the articles
a for |s |ayd. Af |ter | that hit |s |chall [930]
be enqueryd if ony ma |s ||ter | or
felaw that is y warnyd haue
y broke ony article be for |s |ayd
the whiche if they haue done
hit schall be de termyned |ther |.
Therefore hit is to wyte if
eny ma |s ||ter | or felawe that is
warnyd bifore to come to
|s |uche c |on |gregac |on |ns and be
rebell and woll not come or [Fol. 37 b.]
els haue tre |s |pa |s ||s |ed a yen |s |t
any article befor |s |ayd if hit
may be |pro |uyd he |s |chall for |- |
|s |were his ma |s |onri and |s |chal
no more v |s |e his craft. The
whiche if he |pre ||s |ume for to do
|the | Sc |her |efe of |the | countre |in | |the | which
he may be founde worchyn |ge |
he |s |chall |pri ||s |on h |im | & take all
his godys |in | to |the | kynges hond [950]
tyll his |gra |ce be |gra |ntyd h |im | & y |s |che
wed for |this | cau |s |e |pri |ncipally w |her |
|th |es c |on |gregat |on |ns ben y ordeyned
that as well the lowist as [Fol 38.]
as the hie |s |t |s |chuld be well
and trewely y |s |eruyd in
his art bifore |s |ayd thorow
owt all the kyngdom of
Englond. Amen |s |o mote
hit be [960]
Thanked be God,
our glorius
father and found-
er and former of Heaven
and of earth and of all
things that in him is,
that he would vouchsafe, of
his glorious God-head, for to
make so many things of di
vers virtue for mankind;
for He made all things for
to be obedient and subject to man,
for all things that are comes
tible of wholsome nature he
ordained it for mans suste-
nance. And also he hath given
to man wits and cunning
of divers things, and crafts,
by the which we may
travel in this world to
get with our living to make
divers things to God's plea-
sure, and also for our ease and
profit. The which things
if I should rehearse them it
were too long to tell, and to
write. Wherefore I will leave (them),
but I shall shew you some,
that is to say 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 in other
How and in what man-
ner that this worthy
science of geometry began, I
will tell you, as I said be-
fore. Ye shall understand
that there be 7 liberal sciences,
by the which 7 all sciences
and crafts, in the world, were
first found, and in espwciall
for he is causer of all, that is to
say the science of geometry of all
other that be, the which 7 sci-
ences are called thus. As for the
first, that is called [the] fundament
of science, his name is grammar,
he teacheth a man rightfully to
speak and to write truly. The
second is rhetoric, and he teach-
eth a man to speak formab-
ly and fair. The third is
dialecticus, and that science teacheth
a man to discern the truth
from the false, and commonly it is
called art or sophistry. The fourth
is called arithmetic, the which
teacheth a man the craft of
numbers, for to reckon and
to make account of all things.
The fifth [is] geometry, the which
teacheth a man all the metcon,
and measures, and ponderacion,
of weights of all mans craft.
The 6th is music, that teacheth
a man the craft of song, in
notes of voice and organ,
and trumpet, and harp, and of all
others pertaining to them. The
7th is astronomy, that teacheth
man the course of the sun,
and of the moon, and of other
stars and planets of heaven.
Our intent is princi-
pally to treat of [the] first
foundation of the worthy science
of geometry, and we were
the foundes thereof, as I said
before. There are 7 liberal
sciences, that is to say, 7 sciences, or
crafts, that are free in them-
selves, the which 7 live
only by geometry. And geo-
metry is as much to say
as the measure of the earth,
"Et sic dicitur a geo ge quin R ter
a latin et metron quod est
mensura. Una Geometria in
mensura terra vel terrarum,"
that is to say in English, that
gemetria is, I said, of geo that is
in gru, earth, and metron, that is
to say measure, and thus is this
name of Gemetria comounded
and is said [to be] the measure of the earth.
Marvel ye not that I
said, that all sciences live
all only, by the science of geome-
try, for there is none [of them] artifici-
al. No handicraft that is wrought
by mans hand but it is
wrought by geometry, and a
notable cause, for if a man
work with his hands he wor-
keth with some manner [of] tool, and
there is none instrument, of ma-
terial things, in this world
but it come[s] of the kind of
earth, and to earth it will
turn again, and there is none
instrument, that is to say a tool
to work with, but it hath
some proportion, more or less.
And proportion is measure,
the tool, or the instrument,
is earth. And geometry is
said [to be] the measure of [the] earth, Where-
fore, 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
will tell you, why that
geometry is the science that all rea-
sonable men live by, but I
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 notabil-
ity and most part of this
science, geometry, as it is
noted and said in history,
as in the Bible, and in the
master of history. And in [the] Policronicon
a chronicle printed, and in the
histories that is named Bede.
"De Imagine Mundi;" et Isodorus
"Ethomolegiarum." Methodius,
Episcopus et Martiris, and others,
many more, said that masonry is
principal of geometry, as
me thinketh it may well
be said, for it was 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 doc-
tors aforesaid accordeth thereto,
and some of them saith it
more openly, and plainly,
right as it saith in the Bi
ble, Genesis.
Adam's line lineal
son, descending down
the 7th age of Adam before
Noah's flood, there was a man that
was named Lamech the
which had 2 wives, the
one hight Adah, and another
Zillah; by the first wife, that
hight Adah, he begat 2 sons
that one hight Jabal, and the other
hight 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 habitancium in tento-
ris atque pastorum," that is to
say, father of men dwelling
in tents, that is, dwelling
houses. And he was Cain's
master mason, and governor
of all his works, when
he made the city of Enock,
that was the first city;
That was the first city that
ever was made, and that made
Cain, Adam's son, and
gave to his own son Enock,
and gave the city the name
of his son, and called it
Enock. And now it is
called Ephraim, and there was
[the] science of Geometry, and ma-
sonry, first occupied, and
contrenid, for a science and
for a craft, and so we may
say that it was [the] cause and foun-
dation of all crafts, and
sciences, and also this man,
Jaball, was called "pater
The master of stories
saith, and Bede, De Im-
agine Mundi,
{the] Policronicon, and
other more say that he was
the first that made depercession
of land, that every man might
know his own ground,
and labour thereon, as for
his own. And also he de-
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, or Tubal,
was [the] founder of music and
song, as Pythagoras saith
in [the] Policronicon and the
same saith Isodore in his
Ethemologies, in the 6th book,
there he saith that he was
the first founder of music,
and song, and of organ and
trumpet, and he found that
science by the sound of pon-/deration
of his brother's hammers, that
was Tubal Cain.
Soothly as the Bible
saith in the chapter,
that is to say, the 4th of Genesis,
that he saith Lamech begot upon
his other wife, that hight 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 Poli-
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 some doctors say, and his
sister Naamah was finder of
weavers-craft, for before that time
was no cloth woven, but
they did spin yarn and
knit it, and made them such
clothing as they could,
but as the woman Naamah
found the craft of weaving,
and therefore it was called wo-
men's craft, and these 3
brethren, aforesaid, had know-
ledge that God would take ven-
geance for sin, either by fire,
or water, and they had greater
care how they might do to
save the sciences that they [had] found,
and they took their counsel
together and, by all their witts,
they said that [there] were 2 manner of
stone[s] of such virtue that the one
would never burn, and that stone
is called marble, and that the other stone
that will not sink in water and
that stone is named latres, and
so they devised to write all
the sciences that they had found in
these 2 stones, [so that] if that God would
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 2 pillars of these 2
stones, that is to say of marble
and of latres, and that he would
write in the 2 pillars all
the science[s], and crafts, that all they
had found, and so he did
and, therefore, we may say that
he was most cunning in
science, for he first began
and performed the before
Noah's flood.
Kindly knowing of
that vengeance, that God
would send, whether it
should be by fire, or by water,
the brethren had it not
by a manner of a prophecy, they
wist that God would send one there-
of, and therefore they wrote
their science[s] in the 2 pillars
of stone, and some men say
that they wrote in the stones
all the 7 science[s], but as
they [had] in their mind[s] that a ven-
geance should come. And
so it was that God sent ven-
geance so that there came such
a flood that all the world was
drowned, and all men were
dead therein, save 8 persons,
And that was Noah, and his
wife, and his three sons, and
their wives, of which 3
sons all the world came of,
and their names were na-
med in this manner, Shem, Ham,
and Japhet. And this flood was
called Noah's flood, for he, and
his children, were saved there-
in. And after this flood many
years, as the chronicle telleth,
these 2 pillars were found,
and as the Pilicronicon saith, that
a great clerk that [was] called Pythag/oras
found that one, and Hermes, the
philosopher, found that other, and
they taught forth the sciences that
they found therein written.
Every chronicle, and his-
tory, and many other
clerks, and the Bible in princi-
pal, witnesses of the making
of the tower of Babel, and it
is written in the Bible, Genesis
Chapter x., how that Ham, Noah's
son begot Nimrod, and he
waxed a mighty man upon the
earth, and he waxed a strong
man, like a giant, and he was
a great king. And the begin-
ning of his kingdom was [that of the]
true kingdom of Babylon, and
Arach, and Archad, and Calan, and
the land of Sennare. 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
40 thousand. And he loved and
cherished them well. And it
is written in [the] Policronicon, and
in the master of stories, and in
other stories more, and this in part
witnesseth [the] Bible, in the same
x. chapter [of Genesis,] where he saith that A-
sur, that was nigh [of] kin to
Nimrod, [and] went out of the land of
Senare and he built the city [of]
Nineveh, and Plateas, and other
more, this he saith "de tra illa
et de Sennare egressus est Asur,
et edificavit Nineven et Plateas
civitatum et Cale et Jesu quoque,
inter Nineven et hoec est Civitas
Reason would that we should
tell openly how, and in
what manner, that the charges
of mason-craft was first found-
ed and who gave first the name
of it of masonry. And ye
shall know well that it [is] told
and written in [the] Policronicon and
in Methodius episcopus and Martyrus
that Asure, that was a worthy lord
of Sennare, 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 him 30 [380]
hunred of masons. And when they
should go and [he should] send them forth he
called them before him and said
to them--"Ye must go to my cou-
sin Asur, to help him to build
a city; but look [to it] that ye be well
governed, and I shall give
you a charge profitable for
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 reason-
able your meed therefore as ye
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 you against
your lord and among
yourselves, that I may have
worship and thanks for
my sending, and teaching,
you the craft." and they re-/ceived
the charge of him that was their
master and their lord, and
went forth to Asur, and
built the city of Ninevah, in
the country of Plateas, and other
cities more that men call Cale
and Jesen, that is a great city
between Cale and Nineveh.
And in this manner the craft
of masonry was first prefer-
red and charged it for a science.
Elders that were before us,
of masons, had these
charges written to them as
we have now in our char-
ges of the story of Euclid,
as we have seen them written
in Latin and in French both;
but how that Euclid came to [the knowledge of]
geometry reason would we
should tell you as it is
noted in the Bible and in other
stories. In the twelfth chapter of Genesis
he telleth how that Abraham came to
the Land of Canaan, and our
Lord appeared to him and said, I
shall give this land to thy
seed; but there fell a great hunger
in that land, and Abraham took
Sarah, his wife, with him and
went into Egypt in pilgrim-
age, [and] while the hunger [en]dur-
ed he would bide there. And A-
braham, as the chronicle saith,
he was a wise man and a
great clerk, and couthe all
the 7 science[s] and taught
the Egyptians the science of
geometry. And thid worthy
clerk, Euclid, was his
clerk and learned of him.
And he gave the first name
of geometry, all be that it
was occupied before it had
no name of geometry. But
it is said of Isodour, Ethe-
in the 5th booke Ethe-
capitolo primo, saith
that Euclid was one of the first
founders of geometry, and
he gave it [that] name, for in
his time that was a wa- [there]
ter in that land of Egypt that
is called [the] 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 holde out the
water; and he, by geometry,
measured the land, and depar-
ted it in divers parts, and
made every man 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 people
of young fruit that they could
not well live. And the lords
of the country drew them [selves] to-
gether and made a council
how they might help their
children that had no livelihood,
competent and able, for to find
themselves and their children
for thy had so many. And
among them all in council
was this worthy clerk Euclid,
and when he saw that
all they could not bring
about this matter he said
to them-"Will ye take your sons
in governance, and I shall teach
them such science that they
shall live thereby gentle-
manly, under condition that
ye will be sworn to me to
perform the governance that
I shall set you to and
them both." And the king
of the land and all the lords,
by one assent, granted thereto.
Reason would that every man
would grant to that
thing that were profitable to him-
self, and they took their sons
to Euclid to govern
them at his own will, and
he taught to them the craft,
masonry, and gave it the
name of geometry, because
of the parting of the ground that
he had taught to the people,
in the time of the making
of the walls and ditches a-
foresaid, to close out the
water, and Isodore saith, in his
Ethemologies, that Euclid
calleth the craft geometry;
and there was 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 here each
other fellow, and no other-
wise, because that they were
all of one craft, and of one
gentle birth born, and lords'
sons. And also he that were
most of cunning should be
governor of the work, and
should be called master, and
other charges more that are
written in the book of char-
ges. And so they wrought
with lords of the land, and made
cities and towns, castles
and temples, and lords' palaces.
What time that the chil-
drewn of Israel dwelt
in Egypt they learned the
craft of masonry. And
afterward, [when] they were
driven out of Egypt, they
came into the land of behest,
and is now called Jerusalem,
and it was occupied and char-
ges there hel. And the making
of Solomon's temple that
king David began. (King
David loved well masons,
and he gave them right nigh
as they be now.) And at the
making of the temple in
Solomon's time as it
is said in te Bible, in the
3rd book of Regum in tercio
Regum capitolo quinto, that
Solomon had 4 score
thousand masons at
his work. And the king's
son, of Tyre, was his master
mason. And [in] other chroni-
cles it is said, and in old
books of masonry, that
Solomon confirmed the char-
ges that David, his father, had
given to masons. And Solo-
mon himself taught them
there manners [with] but little [their ?]
difference 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 in
France that was called Ca-
rolus 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, 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 king, and
after that he was king he loved
masons and cherished them,
and gave them charges and
manners at his device, [of] the which
some are yet used in France;
and he ordained that they
should have [an] assembly once
in the year, and come and
speak together, and for to be
ruled by masters and fellows
of all things amiss.
And soon after that came
Saint Adhabell into England,
and converted Saint Alban
to Christianity. And Saint
Alban loved well masons,
and he gave them first their
charges and manners first
in England. And he or-
dained convenient [times] to pay
for the travail. And after
that was a worthy king
in England that was called
Athelstan, and his young-
est son loved well the
science of geometry, and
he wist well that hand-craft
had the practice of the sci
ence of geometry so well
as masons, wherefore he
drew him to council and learn-
ed [the] practice of that science
to his speculative, for of specu-
lative he was a master,
and he loved well mason-
ry and masons. And
he became a mason him-
self, and he gave them charges
and names as it is now
used in England, and in
other countries. And he
ordained that they shouuld have
reasonable pay and purchas-
ed a free patent of the king
that they should make [an] assem-
bly when they saw a reason-
able time and come together to
their councillors of which
charges, manners, and assembly,
as it is written and taught in the
book of our charges, wherefore
I leave it at this time.
Good men for this
cause and this manner
masonry took [its] first begin-
ning. It befel sometime[s]
that great lords had not so
great possessions that they
might not advance their
free begotten children, for
thet had so many, therefore
they took counsel how they
might their children advance
and ordain them honestly to
live. And [they] sent after wise
masters of the worthy sci-
ence of geometry that they, through
their wisdom, should ordain
them some honest living.
Then one of them, that had the
name which was called
Englet, that was most subtle
and wise founder, ordained
an art and called it Ma-
sonry, and so with his art, hon-
estly, he taught the children
of great lords, by the pray-
er 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
for to take of the [a]foresaid art
wherefore the [a]foresaid master,
Englet, ordained [that] they [who] were
passing of cunning should
be passing honured, and
ded to call the cunninger master
for to inform the less of cun-
ning masters, of the which
were called masters, of no-
bility of wit and cunning
of that art. Nevertheless they com-
manded that they that were less
of wit should not be called
servant, nor subject, but fellow,
for nobility of their gentle
blood. In this manner was the
[a]foresaid art begun in the
land of Egypt, by the [a]foresaid
master Englet, and so it went
from land to land, and from king-
dom to kingdom. After that, ma-
ny years, in the time of King-
Athelstan, which was some
time king of England, by
his councillors, and other greater
lords of the land, by common
assent, for great default
found among masons, they
ordained a certain rule
amongst them: one time of
the year, or in 3 years as need
were to the king and great
lords of the land, and all the
comonalty, from province to province,
and from country to country,
congregations should be made,
by masters, of all masters,
masons, and fellows in the
[a]foresaid 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 pro-
fit of the lords [having] them to serve
and to the honour of the [a]foresaid
art. And, moreover, they should
receive their charge that they
should well and truly dis-
pend the goods of their lords,
as well the lowest as the
highest, for they be their lords,
for the time, of whom they take
their 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, dispending his goods
truly as he would his own
were dispensed, and not give
more pay to no 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,
before, to come to his congregation,
that they come duly, but if they
may [be] excused by some manner [of]
cause. But, nevertheless, if they
be found rebel[lious] at such con-
gregations, or faulty in any
manner [of] harm of their lords,
and reproof of this art, they
should not be excused in no
manner [with]out taking peril of death,
and though they be in peril
of death, they shall warn the
master that is principal of the
gathering of his decease. The
[third] Article is this,--That no master
take no [ap]prentice for [a] less term
than 7 year[s] at the least, be-
cause such as be within [a]
less term may not, profitably,
come to his art nor able
to serve, truly, his lord [and] to
take as a mason should
take. The 4th Article is this,--
That no master, for no profit, take
no [ap]prentice, for to be learned,
that is born of bond blood,
for, because of his lord, to
whom he is bond, will take
him as he well may, from
his art and lead him, with 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
thereof manslaughter might
[a]rise, it is forbid[den.] And also
for another cause of his art,
it took beginning of great
lords' children, freely begotten,
as it is said before. The
5th Article is this,--That no master
give more to his [ap]prentice in
time of his [ap]prenticehood, for
no profit to be take[n], than he
note[s] well he may deserve
of the lord that he serveth, nor not
so much that the lord, of the place
that he is taught in, may
have some profit of his teach-
ing. The 6th Article is
this,--That no master for no coveteous-
ness, nor profit, take no [ap]pren-
tice to teach that is imperfect, that
is to say, having any maim
for the which he may not
truly work as he
ought for to do. The 7th
Article is this,--That no master be
found wittingly, or help
or procure. to be [a] maintainer and
sustainer [of] any common night wal-
ker to rob, by the which
manner of night-walking
they may not fulfil their day's
work and travail, [and] through
the condition their fellows might
be made wroth. The 8th
Article is this,--That if it befal
that any mason that be perfect, and
cunning, come for to seek
work and find an imperfect
and uncunning working,
the master of the place shall re-
ceive the perfect, and do away the
imperfect, to the profit of his lord.
The 9th Article is this,--That
no master shall supplant
another for it is said, in the
art of masonry, that no man
should make end so well
of work begun by ano-
ther, to the profit of his lord,
as he [that] began it, for to end
it by his matters, or to whom
he sheweth his matters.
This council is made by di-
vers lords and masters of
divers provinces and divers
congregations of masonry
and it is, to wit, that who that
coveteth for to come to the
state of the [a]foresaid art it be-
hoveth them first, principally,
to God and holy church, and
all-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 3rd [Point].--That he can
hele the counsel of his fellows
in lodge, and in chamber,
and in every place there as Masons
be. The 4th Point,--That he be
no deceiver of the [a]foresaid art,
nor do no prejudice, nor sustain
no articles, against the art,
nor against none of the art,
but he shall sustain it
in all honour, inasmuch
as he may. The 5th 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. The 6th Point,--If
any discord shall be be-
tween him and his fellows he
shall obey him meekly, and
be still at the bidding of
his master, or of the warden
of his master, in his master's
absence, to the holy-day follow-
ing, and that he accord
then at the disposition of his
fellows, anot upon the work-
day for letting of their
work and profit of his lord.
The 7th Point,--That he covet
not the wife, not the daughter,
of his masters, neither of his
fellows, but if it be in mar-
riage, nor hold concubines,
for discord that might fall a-
mongst them. The 8th
Point,--If it befal him
for 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 pro-
fit of the lord that he serveth.
The 9th Point,--If he be wiser,
and subtler than his fellow
working with him in his
lodge, or any other place,
and he perceive it that he should
leave the stone that he worketh up-
on, for default of cunning,
and can teach him and a-
mend the stone, he shall in-/form
him and help him, that the more
love may increase among them,
and that the work of the lord be not
lost. When the master and the fel-
lows be forewarned [and] are
come to such congregations,
if need be, the Sheriff of the
Country, or the Mayor of the
City, or Alderman of the Town,
in which the congregations is
holden, shall be fellow, and [as] soci-
ate, to the master of the congre-
gation, in help of him, against re-
bels and [for the] up-bearing the right
of the realm. At the first begin-
ning new men, that never were
charged before, be charged
in this manner,--That [they] should
never be thieves, nor thieves'
maintainers, and that [they] should
truly fulfil their day's
work, and travail, for their
pay that they shall take of
their lord, and [a] true account
give to their fellows, in things
that be to be accounted of
them, and to hear, and them
love as themselves. And they
shall be true to the King
of England, and to the realm,
and that they keep, with all their
might, and all the Articles
aforesaid. After that it shall
be enquired if any master, or
fellow, that is warned, have
broke[n] any Article beforesaid,
the which, if they have done,
it shall be determined there.
Therefore, it is to wit, if
any master, or fellow, that is
warned before to come to
such congregations and be
rebell[ious], and will not come, or
else have trespassed against
any Article beforesaid, if it
may be proved, he shall for-
swear his Masonry and shall
no more use his craft; the
which, if he presume for to do,
the Sheriff of the Country, in which
he may be found working,
he shall [im]prison him and take all
his goods into the king's hand
till his grace be granted him and shew-
ed. For this cause, principally, where
these congregations ordained
that as well the lowest, as
the highest, should be well
and truly served in
his art, beforesaid, through-
out all the kingdom of
England. Amen: So
Mote it be.

Additional notes

The following description of the original MS. may be interesting to many readers:

It is written on vellum, is in a good state of preservation, and is protected by its original binding of two oak covers, at a former period secured by a clasp, the ends of which only remain. Its height is 4 3/8 inches, by 3 3/8 inches in width.

On the first folio, which is fastened down to the inside of the wood cover, are three portions of writing by modern hands. The first has been considerably obliterated, but the word "war" is still visible. The second, quite legible, is "William K." The third, in the neat hand of Sir Frederick Madden, Knt., Keeper of the MSS. in the British Museum, shows how it came into the library of that institution by a memoranda stating it was "Purchd of Mrs. Caroline Baker, 14th Oct., 1859."

On fol. 2 is written, in a large bold hand, "Jno. Fenn, 1786," and engrossed across the leaf is "Printing in Germany, 1548. In England, 1471, Robert Crowe, MDCCLXXXI." There is also the British Museum press mark, "199g," in pencil.

The verso fol. 2 is stamped with an impression of the Museum book mark.

On fol. 3 is the number of the MS., viz, 23,198, inscribed by the Museum officer whose duty it is to number the books. There is also, in the same bold hand as that of Jno. Fenn's name on fol. 2, "The Seven Sciences. Geometry. A History of Masonry. Its Articles, Points, &c."

The verso of fol. 3 is blank, and the MS. itself commences on fol. 4.

The book extends over 34 folios, i.e., 68 pages, and concludes on fol. 38, six lines down.

Fol. 39 again bears the Museum stamp, after whch a leaf of the vellum has been cut out, or the side of a smaller leaf left, so that the binding threads should retain a firm hold. It has also been written upon, but the words are obliterated by rubbing; yet there are still sufficient marks left to enable any one to distinguish the name "William K." in a diamond-shaped border.

Fol. 39b. has some traces of writing, but they are wholly illegible, and the same holds good with regard to fol. 40, which latter is fastened down to the wooden cover at the end.

The History and Articles of Freemasonry are not put forward as entirely new to Freemasons. Various versions of them are to be found in our public libraries, and, during the last hundred and fifty years, in print. The Editor's friend, J.O. Halliwell, Esq., printed a Poem on Masonry, which has the same common features, and sets forth much of the same history; but until the present book appeared, there was no prose work of such undoubted antiquity, know to be in existence, on the subject. It is this special circumstance that called forth the present publication, and that the same might go out to the world as near as possible to the original, has been one of the chief reasons for introducing it in its existing form.

Excerpted from the preface to the original 1861 edition.

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