the torgau ordinances of 1462
worshipful Masters of Stonemasons of the Graft, the Wardens,
and the Fellows of the Graft
All Articles and Statutes as they are written in
the Book; how each and every one in his conduct and station in the craft shall
demean himself, both here in Zwickau and elsewhere in all lands; as in the Book,
so stands hereafter written, each article separately.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and
of the Holy Ghost.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and
of the Holy Ghost, in the name of the blessed Virgin Mary, and in honour of the
four crowned martyrs, we workmasters of the stonemasons make known: To all
princes and lords, cities and burgers, and also peasants, of whatsoever rank
they be, of the Church or of the world, that the several workmasters in the
Oberland have assembled on two days at Regenspurgk and at Strasburgk, and have
beheld such great evil and disorders in the work, and failings done in all lands
of master, wardens, and fellows, therefore have they carefully sent into this
land a book of the Ordinances and rules, and do exhort us therein, by the holy
oath which we have sworn unto masonry, to accept and confirm these Ordinances in
this land according to usage, as this Book clearly points out. This have we
done, workmasters in all these lands of Meydeburgk arid Halberstat, Hildeszlieim
and Mullburgk and Merseburgk, and at Meihssen, Voitlandt, Duringen, HartzIandt,
the majority of us being present together, or our wardens on our part having
full power, on the two days of St Bartholomew and St Michael at Torgau; as is
usually written, after the birth of our dear Lord Christ, and in the one
thousand four hundred and sixty-second year, have we confirmed the regulations
of the Book and the contents thereof, and are at one therewith, and thereto have
sworn by the saints.
These Articles are to be maintained in all
lands, far and wide, be they of the Church or of the world, and we have enjoined
upon all judges and overmasters to rule by such and to hold it in high esteem
according to the usages and necessities of the land, and to keep watch over all
that concerns masonry and buildings, and concerns not states nor cities; and to
adjudge penalties in all matters relating to masonry; and it shall be done with
consent of the lords who are the inheritors of the land, and to help the right.
Therefore have we drawn up divers articles from the Book for the general good,
and the Book shall remain in high honour in such places as we shall deposit it
every year; and there will we hear once a year if any offence have been
committed against master builders or fellows, that such be adjudged and atoned,
and also if the lords of states, be they spiritual or temporal, have any cause
of complaint as regards their buildings; and they shall submit them to such
craftsmen as are chosen to be chief masters [literally Overmaster] in writing or
by speech, and they shall be heard according to builders' usage. Therefore shall
the overmasters that are there, and have taken the oath and have summoned them
on the yearly day, whenever it be, give them hearing as is customary, for the
sake of the building; and if the lords suffer any loss, make good such loss
according to the judgment of the masters; but if he come not and answer not for
himself, so shall he be proscribed and lay down all rule over his fellows, and
none shall esteem or hold him true, nor shall he be true man.
And we before-mentioned masters, wardens, and
fellows have taken and drawn up from the Book for brevity, divers Ordinances
that are obligatory on all workmasters in authority and fellows; that the real
Book remain intact, and be only read there when we hold our yearly assembly.
And when the lords will not have it so, then
shall it not be so; and what the lords will not have, that shall be left undone
of all such articles as are not of necessity and the masters in such lands are
not bound to enforce, according to their oath, such articles as contents of the
Book of the craft; to declare what shall be done for the service of God, and
also for sustenance, this is not of necessity to write now; every master knows
this well who has formerly heard it,
And all these articles have been drawn up from
the letter of the ancient lodge rights, that were instituted by the holy worthy
crowned martyrs, by name Claudius, and Christorius, and Significamus, to the
honour and praise of the Holy Trinity and Mary the Queen of Heaven.
1. Therefore have we made divers rules and
statutes with the help of God.
And every master shall on all acknowledged fasts
cause four masses to be said.
And on St Peter's Day, when he was raised at
Antioch, shall he also cause four masses to be said.
And the first mass of the Holy Trinity, the
other of our dear Lady, the third of the four crowned martyrs, the fourth for
all who have died in the guild, and for all who help our craft and labour
2. And the other masters shall also cause four
masses to be said every feast of our Lady, one for each of the aforesaid souls,
and the money wherewith he pays for the mass, the same money shall he take from
the box, and the remainder shall he give to the craft box.
And for God's service shall every master of a
work, be it great or small, give on each fast of our Lady one old groat.
And every fellow shall give every week to the
box one penny for God's service.
3. And furthermore, no master shall undertake a
work unless he have proved himself such to the craft, that the craftsmen be
4. And should there appear a master that has not
previously worked as master, then shall he have twain proven masters to speak
for him, that he may be placed at the head of the work, and thus shall he be
5. And where it is intended to raise new and
stately buildings, then shall the lords of the work choose them a master
whomsoever they will, and are enjoined to take two or four workmasters, and
shall inquire of them on their oath which they have sworn to the guild whether
the master be truly able to undertake the work.
6. For, if lords or cities appoint one who has
not formerly undertaken such work, for stately buildings and take not craftsmen,
and loss occur thereby, thereof shall nor master nor fellows judge, neither
7. And no master shall undertake a work unless
he be able to accomplish it; and should it be that he fail herein, it is for the
lords of the work to restrain him, and also for us craftsmen. And that must he
rue with one and twenty pounds of wax, and to the lord must he make good the
8. And every one shall keep his time according
to the ancient traditionary usages of the land; if he do that he is free, and
even if he do it not with counsel, according to the usages of the land and the
9. And no master shall diminish or reduce the
10. And every master shall be upright in all
things. He shall incite neither warden nor fellow nor apprentice to evil, nor to
aught whence harm may arise.
11. And every master shall keep his lodge free
of all strife, yea, his lodge shall he keep pure as the seat of justice.
12. And no master shall bear false witness in
his lodge, neither shall he defile it in any manner.
13. Therefore shall no master allow a harlot to
enter his lodge, but if any one have aught to commune with her he shall depart
from the place of labour so far as one may cast a gavel.
14. If other masters learn thereof, they shall
fine him for each offence in five pounds of wax.
15. Natheless, it is not for the fellows to fine
any master, but they are to withdraw from him and forbid other craftsmen his
lodge, so that none consort with him, until he shall have been fined.
16. Whatsoever master shall rob any place, or
take aught from any place of labour whereby any one suffer loss, or if he be
murderer or outlaw, him shall ye altogether thrust from out the guild of the
craft and suffer him in naught.
17. Whatsoever master shall summon another
master before the law, or suffer him to be so done by, or do him evil or speak
ill of him, he is empty of all honour, and fit for neither fellow nor master.
18. A master shall appoint his warden, master
and warden being both present; and he shall appoint no warden unless he be able
thereto, so that the craftsmen and he be supplied. He shall impress him with the
wardenship, and receive his oath to the saints on square and gauge to prevent
harm to the building or the master.
19. So shall neither master nor his wardens be
illegally set over the fellows.
20. When a master has set a warden, the fellows
shall swear to be obedient unto him as unto the master, and the warden shall
pledge master and fellows.
21. And no master shall accept any fee from a
warden or fellow on account of his requirements, nor any offering; for if he be
not able to earn his wages then shall he be discharged on the Saturday.
22. No master shall out of goodwill accept any
apprentice before he have served his time and won his right; that is not in the
master's power to the extent of one week.
23. And the master shall appoint each week a
treasurer, who shall make all payments, and account each week to the new
treasurer, and shall be answerable to him [the master] for the contents of the
24. And the master has power, if he so will, to
rest in the lodge at vesper tide.
25. And if a master or fellow come free of the
craft or trade, and demand a mark of a workmaster, to him shall he grant his
wish, and he shall give for the service of God that which shall be adjudged of
master and fellows. And to master and fellows shall he pledge the mark doubly.
26. No master shall withhold his mark from his
apprentice for a further space than xiiij. days, unless it be that the
apprentice has wasted his master's time, he shall then first do his behest
before that and the feast.
27. And no master shall show any reluctance to
pledge his apprentice's mark, and the several clericals whom he may bid thereto,
with a penny wheaten bread of xv. gr., a loaf of xv. gr., meat, and two stoups
of wine; and the apprentice shall not bid more than x. fellows, and if he bid
more then shall he buy more, that the master suffer not thereby.
28. The master shall knock with three blows, the
warden with two consecutively, and one for announcements at morning, noon, and
eve, as is the old usage of the land.
29. The master may appoint an apprentice who
serves for knowledge to the office of warden, if he be able to maintain it, in
order that the building suffer not,
30. The master may lend his apprentice a mark to
travel during his apprenticeship, if the master have no employment, and must let
31. No master shall allow his apprentice to
pledge his mark, unless he have served his time.
32. No master shall lay snares for another and
entice away his apprentice, so reads the letter.
33. No master shall employ any one who has
brought himself to shame or dishonour either by word or deed; he is worse than a
hound; him shall the master set down as void of honour, likewise also the
34. And no master or warden shall be held of
good report who borrows and remains owing and is unwilling to pay. If this be
brought home to him, he shall be warned and told to make it good by a certain
time, and if he do this not, and do it not with the approval of him to whom he
is indebted, then shall he be debarred from all employment until he comply with
the wish of his creditor.
35. Also no master shall defraud or beslander
the other, nor compete for his work unless it be that he have deserted it, or
given it up, or permitted or prayed him so to do; so may he do it without fear.
But should he do as aforesaid, the other masters shall cast him out.
36. Shame or dishonour one master the other by
word or deed, and bring it not home to him, he shall be cast from out the craft.
37. Whatsoever master shall slight another's
work, and is himself not able thereto, him shall ye proscribe.
38. And no master shall employ any fellow who
has slandered another or doeth evil, and consorts with public women, and who in
the hostelries or houses where they work, speaketh unchastely with maids or
matrons, or is incontinent therein, who goeth not to confession or doeth that
which is wrong; he shall be proscribed and held an evil-doer.
39. And a master may hold a general court. in
his lodge over his own fellows, and he shall judge righteously by his oath, and
not of hatred, or of friendship, or of enmity.
40. And furthermore, no master shall judge alone
of that which touches honour or good repute; but there shall be together three
masters who shall then judge such matters.
41. And farther, every master shall inquire of
his fellows every quarter, on their oath, if any hatred or envy be amongst them
that might disadvantage the building; such shall he judge and put aside, and
whatsoever fellow fail to comply herein, him shall he discharge, that no strife
be found amongst them; and even though it please not the lords or the master
builder, yet shall the master do right and avoid wrong, that he may keep his
42. And he shall every quarter-day hold a
hearing of lords and craftsmen, whether any offence were, whether they have
wasted their time, lived riotously, gamed or otherwise acted disorderly, whence
harm might come to wardens or master, that shall they make known to the master
that he may punish therefor as is meet; and if the lords declare it not to the
master and forgive it the fellows, then shall the master not punish on account
thereof; and if a lord of the building know thereof and the master punish not,
then doth he not fulfil his oath.
43. Is aught to be judged amongst masters
concerning good report, or which might drive away work, or cause a false state
of affairs, whence injury might arise, concerning year work, or large buildings,
that shall be judged where the Book of the Ordinances is deposited, and the
masters assemble every year on the day as is aforesaid; then shall the masters
elect them an over-judge, and the wardens and fellows shall elect Sheriffs to
the judge, and they shall judge by plaint and answer on the oath as
administered; and if they in anything disagree, they shall take to themselves
arbiters, and take counsel together that justice be done to all men.
44. And masters and fellows shall punish each
other amongst themselves, righteously for the best, that the lords may not
interfere through their perjury.
45. Should the masters have one amongst them, be
he master or fellow, and will not be in obedience, and set himself up against
these ordinances, we pray all lords that none take his part or defend him on his
petition; should he nevertheless, against all usage, be defended against us, we
know well, according to the Ordinances, how we shall then demean ourselves.
46. Should there be a master or fellow who would
defend himself contrary to usage, ye are to call upon all cities and lords, and
lay the matter before them, and enjoin them to help us maintain our right; for
to him who shall help us to our right will we also be obedient when they require
47. And thus shall be the wardens, and maintain
thus the old traditionary lodge rights, according to ancient usage and the Book,
and the Ordinances of the oath.
48. Every warden shall preserve his lodge, and
all that he has sworn to, and all that is entrusted to him of the place of work,
that shall he keep and maintain for the good of the building.
49. The warden shall show goodwill to the
fellows, and show them, without anger and
of go goodwill, what they shall ask of him. He shall use no more than right with
any fellow or apprentice, he shall always prove level and plumb-rule, and all
that pertains thereto, that -no, faults be therein, and if the master himself
prove not or prepare suck then is it the warden's part; and should the master at
any time learn thereof that he have neglected these articles, he thereby incurs
a penalty of xij. kr. to the master.
50. The warden shall willingly choose and mark
out stones for the fellows and apprentices, and inspect and see that they be
well and truly made of the fellows; and if he do not so, and the master discover
errors that anything be untrue, then shall he forfeit to the master viij. kr.
and the fellow vj. kr.
51. And if a warden mark a stone because it is
of no use, then shall he [the workman] lose his wages that he had otherwise
earned on that stone, unless it be made of use.
52. Whatsoever warden shall levy a fine on
account of negligence, or other offence, and shall not acknowledge and announce
the same, he shall forfeit twice the fine that has been incurred.
63. No warden shall deprive his master of his
building by word or deed; he shall not injure him behind his back with false
words; as oft as he so does, shall he be declared worthless and of bad report,
and shall no master, neither the fellows, suffer him, but whosoever shall stand
by him shall like him be worthless.
54. A warden shall knock at the right time, and
shall delay it on no one's account
55. Is a master not on the works, or absent
therefrom, then has the warden full power to do or leave undone that which is
right in the masters absence.
56. And the warden shall mark the under side of
the stones of fellows and apprentices, should the fellows and apprentices fail
to answer the knocks, and not appear to the right time at breakfast; and if he
take not the fines so shall he pay them himself.
57. The warden shall not quarrel himself, or
incite any thereto, either at meals or at work; he shall always comport himself
right amicably and justly; he shall keep the fellows to their stones or work, be
it what it may, that no harm may ensue to buildings or masters; and the master
shall decide the fine, according to the loss he suffers thereby.
58. And no warden shall allow meals in the lodge
during working hours, but only at the vesper rest.
59. Nor shall he suffer that more be spent at
the vesper meal, but only one penny, unless there be a pledge feast, or that a
travelling fellow be arrived; then is the warden empowered to cease work one
60. A warden has power to further a travelling
fellow to the nearest work, also power to discharge on the pay-evening, even if
he be not a builder or master.
61. He has power to allow every fellow or
apprentice a reasonable time without loss.
62. And every warden shall be the first in the
lodge of a morning, and after dinner at the opening; and the last to leave, be
it at noon or at eventide, that all fellows may follow his example, and come to
labour all the sooner. Should he fail herein, and the master come to hear
thereof, whatsoever loss is thereby incurred, such loss shall the warden pay.
63. The warden shall help preserve all
privileges of the lodges and places of labour.
64. And the warden shall make no overcharge on
workshop fines, but according to the traditionary usages of the pay shall he
levy them; and if he do otherwise, so. is he unworthy.
65. And he shall maintain all things
appertaining to the place of labour, and keep them to use, even as the master.
Of the Ordinances of the Fellows, how they shall
66. Whatsoever fellow shall offer his services
to another master before he shall have taken his discharge from the master with
whom he serves, such fellow shall forfeit one pound of wax and be discharged.
67. Whatsoever fellow shall carry tales or
create scandal between the master or other craftsmen, he shall. forfeit one-half
his week's wages.
68. Whoever takes another's tools without leave
shall forfeit ij. kr.
69. Whatsoever fellow shall falsely apply his
templet, or put it by before he have proved his work, and that without leave or
before the master or warden shall have inspected his work, or shall leave his
square hanging on the stone, or allow the level to lie about and not hang it up
though it be furnished with a hole thereto, or lets his stone fall from the
bench, or forces the pick iron from off the handle, or leaves his gauge
otherwise than in the place appointed therefor, or closes not the window near
his bench,--whoever shall do anything of the aforementioned articles, he shall
forfeit iij. kr. for every such offence.
70. Whatsoever fellow shall speak the other ill,
or call him liar in ill-will or earnest, or is foul-mouthed in the place of
labour, he shall pay xij. kr. to forfeit.
71. Whatsoever fellow shall laugh another to
scorn, or jeer at him, or call him by a nickname, he shall pay 15 kr. to
72. Whatsoever fellow shall not offer assistance
to turn his stone this way or that, to fetch it or to turn it over when
necessary, or places his mark thereon as if it were truly made, and that before
it shall have been proven, so that it be passed unproven to the store, or
improperly finishes his work, he shall stand to forfeit one half pound of wax.
73. Whatsoever fellow shall drink or eat to
excess, so that it become known, he shall forfeit one weeks wages and j. pound
74. Whatsoever fellow shall use force in places
of labour or of refreshment, or shall consort with or treat notorious females in
the presence of godly women, he shall be discharged, and the weeks pay that he
has earned that same week shall be retained and given to the box.
75. Whatsoever fellow shall squander lodge
moneys, or pilfer, or murder, or steal, or commit any other crime, or disports
himself in the land with ungodly women, and goeth not to confession and doeth
not God's will, he shall be cast out from the craft and proscribed for ever.
76. Whosoever shall slander another and spread
evil report of him, and justifieth it not, he shall make atonement to the
satisfaction of masters and fellows.
77. Who shall accuse another and bring it not
home to him, him shall ye severely punish, that he be careful of his speech
another time; but if he prove it to the satisfaction of the fellows, according
as the offence is shall ye judge, and no fellow shall ye judge out of malice.
78. And no fellow shall lord it over an
apprentice, but he shall lay his plaint before the master, wherein the
apprentice have offended him, and he shall punish him therefor.
79. And no warden, nor fellow, nor apprentice
shall be his own judge, for if they do that, which of right belongs to the
master, then are they deserving of a fine; and the master shall be judge and
80. And the fellows shall not fine each other
without the knowledge of masters and wardens.
81. And no fellow shall hew stones with a
proscribed fellow, unless it be that he have made amends on that day of the
year, when the masters do assemble.
82. And no fellow shall lead a woman of evil
report into the lodges or places of labour, neither shall he take her where
masters are together; who so doeth shall pay iiij. pounds of wax.
83. Whatsoever fellow shall make unto himself
holy days in the week when he should be at labour, they are not holy, and he
shall not be instructed.
84. And whatsoever fellow is absent when he
should be at work, even after the breakfast is eaten, he shall not be paid for
his time till noon; and if he remain absent all day and come to supper, then
shall he not be paid for the whole day.
85. Whatsoever fellow shall not, for his
master's honour, accompany him to church on Sundays and the greater fasts at
high mass, but remains without, and without leave, he shall pay iiij. kr. to
86. Whatsoever warden or fellow be not with his
master at the stroke of one on the Monday afternoon, and keep with him the
vesper rest, and hear what he shall do on that Monday, he shall pay the supper
bill; if he set himself up against this he shall be discharged that Monday for
disobedience, but if he pray excuse at his entrance, so shall he pay nothing and
87. And every master may discharge a fellow from
the building without causing anger, if it seem right to him.
88. And every fellow may take his discharge any
pay evening if it please him, for none is bound to the other.
89. Whatsoever fellow takes service of a master
for the winter ' he shall be with him till St John's Day, when the crown is hung
up; unless it be that the fellow have aught serious against the master, whereby
the work may sustain injury, then may he justly leave him. And if the fellow
know aught to the master's dishonour, and keep silent, and hold his peace winter
and summer, and denies it, that fellow keepeth not good faith, and is meet for
90. And no fellow shall give master or warden
any offering for the sake of work; with him shall no fellow work until he have
91. And no fellow shall do another's work for
money, but he shall do one piece for another, or do it for him to his honour.
92. No fellow shall speak against either warden
93. And no fellow shall carry about with him any
knife or other weapon other than one knife of half an ell in length, be it at
work or refreshment; if it be longer, then shall he pay vij. kr. as fine, and
also lay it aside.
94. If a fellow have not served his time, or
have bought his mark and not honestly earned it, or if a hired servant or help
establishes himself and teaches to work in stone, with him shall no man take
95. And no fellow shall speak M of his master or
warden unless he wish to make it known to those who stand in that master's
96. And no fellow shall fleece or maltreat the
master builders, but they shall willingly do as the in builders instruct them if
the master or warden be not on the works; but if they be there, so shall they
tell the master or warden what is necessary to be said.
97. And no fellow shall complain of another
fellow to the master builder, but to the workmaster.
98. And no master builder shall correct any
strife amongst the fellows unless he be desired to do so of the master.
99. And no fellow shall take service with those
who employ a master builder without the master's consent.
100. Whatsoever fellow shall be treated by the
master builder, with him shall no fellow consort.
101. Whatsoever offence the master builder
commit, either against warden or fellow, that shall they lay before the master,
and have strife with none.
102. And no warden or fellow shall secretly take
pay without the master's knowledge, and though the master builder should wish to
punish, it is for the master only to decide how he will arrange with his
103. And no fellow shall go with another to the
closet, but one after the other, that the place of labour stand not empty; or
one shall bear the other into the lodge, or pay ij. kr.
104. And no fellow shall do aught, or take stone
for aught, or go out from the lodge, without the master's leave; and the master
shall decide what he shall pay.
105. And when a fellow travels, then when he
comes to a new lodge shall he leave his master in friendship, and not in anger.
106. And if a travelling fellow come before work
is knocked off, he shall earn his day's wages. And every travelling fellow, when
he has received the donation, shall go from one to the other and shall thank him
107. And this is the greeting wherewith every
fellow shall greet; when he first goeth into the lodge, thus shall he say:
" God greet ye, God guide ye, God reward ye, ye
honourable overmaster, warden, and trusty fellows;" and the master or warden
shall thank him, that he may know who is the superior in the lodge.
Then shall the fellow address himself to the
same, and say: "The master" (naming him) "bids me greet you worthily;" and he
shall go to the fellows from one to the other and greet each in a friendly
manner, even as he greeted the superior.
And then shall they all, master, and wardens,
and fellows, pledge him as is the custom, and m is already written of the
greeting and pledge; but not to him whom they hold for no true man, he shall be
fined one pound of wax, xxiiij. kr.
108. And every fellow when he returns thanks, if
he wish for employment, shall ask of the master, and the master shall employ him
till the next pay day, and deny him not, that the fellow may cam his living; and
should the master have no more work than he can perform alone, the master shall
help him find work.
109. And every travelling fellow shall ask first
for a pick, thereafter for a piece of stone, and furthermore for tools, and that
shall be lent to him of goodwill.
110. And every fellow shall pray the other
fellows, and they shall not turn a deaf car; they shall all help; "help me that
God may help ye;" and when they have helped him he shall doff his hat, and shall
say, ,God thank the master, and warden, and worthy fellows."
111. And if any fellow be in need on account of
sickness. and have not wherewithal to live because he lieth sick he shall be
assisted from the box and if he recover he shall pay it.
112. And if any fellow shall make a journey for
the guild in that that concerns the craft his expenses also shall be paid him
out of the box.
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