Chapter 17

The Inigo Jones Manuscript (1607)


Two dates are advanced to locate in time the writing of this document, the official title of which is The Antient Constitution of the Free and Accepted Masons; 1607 – this is the date given on the title page; the other date is about 1655 –the commonly accepted one by historians who have studied the text, who generally doubt that Inigo Jones (1573-1652) (1) could have been its writer or illustrator.

The document - The Inigo Jones Manuscript, named for the supposed author, has several unique features. This is the first of a collection of connected parchments, each page of which gave to its editor numerous graphical freedoms. It is structured like any Book of Charges of the previous century, with a presentation of the Liberal Sciences, a History of the Craft, and a long list of obligations. 

It also indicates at length the involvement of Hiram Abiff in the construction of the Temple of Solomon, and the introduction of Masonry into ancient Britain. The document is special in one very particular way: the inclusion of a correspondence between Solomon and Hiram of Tyre.

The context - The seventeenth century in England was marked by a power struggle between the monarchy of the Stuart and Parliament, which eventually led to a civil war and the republican revolution of Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) in 1649.

In 1607, there still reigned over England King James I (1566-1625). In 1655, following the execution of Charles I (1600-1649) Cromwell seized power under the title of Lord Protector of the Commonwealth. It was not until 1660 that we see another Stuart, in the person of Charles II Stuart (1630-1685), put back on the throne. Modern transcription from Old English.

The Text

The Antient Constitution of the Free and Accepted Masons

The might of the Father of Heaven, and the wisdom of the Glorious Son, through the grace and goodness of the Holy Ghost, three Persons and One God; be with us and give us grace so to govern us here in our living, that we may come to his bliss that never shall have ending. Amen.

Good Brethren and fellows our purpose is to tell you how and in what manner this worthy Craft of Masonry, was begun; and afterward, how it was kept and encouraged by worthy Kings and Princes, and by many other worthy men. 

And also to those that be here, we will charge by the Charges that belong to every Free Mason to keep; for in good faith, if they take good heed to it, it is worthy to be well kept for Masonry is a worthy Craft, and a curious Science, and one of the Liberal Sciences.

The names of the seven Liberal Sciences are these: 

• Grammar, which teaches a man to speak and write truly. 

• Rhetoric, which teaches a man to speak fair, and in soft terms. 

• Logic, which teaches a man to discern truth from falsehood. 

• Arithmetic, which teaches a man to reckon, and count all manner of numbers. 

• Geometry, which teaches a man the boundaries and measure of the earth, and of all other things; which Science is called Masonry. 

• Music, which gives a man skill in singing, teaching him the Art of composition; and playing upon diverse instruments, as the organ and harp methodically. 

• Astronomy, which teaches a Man to know the course of sun, moon and stars.

Note: I pray you, that these seven [Sciences] are contained under Geometry, for it teaches boundaries and measure, ponderation and weight, for every thing in and upon the whole earth for you to know; because every Craftsman, works by measure. He buys or sells, it is by weight or measure. Husbandmen, navigators, planters and all of them use Geometry for neither Grammar, Logic nor any other of the said Sciences can subsist without Geo­me­try; therefore, it is the most worthy and honorable. 

You ask me how this Science was invented, my answer is this: that before the general deluge, which is commonly called Noah’s flood, there was a man called Lamech, as you may read in chapter IV of Genesis; who had two wives, the one called Ada, the other Zilla. By Ada, he begat two sons, Jabal and Jubal, by Zilla, he had one son called Tuball [Cain] and a daughter called Naamah. 

These four children found the beginning of all Crafts in the world: Jabal found Geometry and he divided flocks of sheep; he first built a house of stone and timber. His brother Jubal found the Art of Music. He was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ. Tubal-Cain was the instructor of every artificer in brass and iron; and the daughter found out the Art of Weaving.

These Children knew well that God would take vengeance for sin either by fire or water; wherefore they wrote their Sciences that they had found in two pillars, that they might be found after Noah’s flood. One of the pillars was Marble, for that will not burn with any fire, and the other stone was Laternes for that will not drown with any water. 

Our intent next is to tell you truly, how and in what manner, these stones were found whereon these Sciences were written. The great Hermes (surnamed Trimagistus, or three times Great) being both King, priest and philosopher (in Egypt), found one of them, and lived in the year of the World two thousand and seventy six, in the reign of Ninus; and some think him to be grandson to Cush, who was grandson to Noah. 

He was the first that began to leave off Astrology to admire the other wonders of nature; he proved there was but one God, creator of all things. He divided the day into twelve hours, he is also thought to be the first to have divided the Zodiac into twelve signs; he was to Osyris, King of Egypt; and is said to have invented ordinary writing, and hieroglyphics, the first Laws of the Egyptians; and diverse Sciences, and taught them (Anno Mundi 1810) to other Men.

And at the building of Babylon, Masonry was much made of; and the King of Babylon, the mighty Nimrod, was a Mason himself, as it is reported by Ancient Histories, and when the city of Nineve [Nineveh], and other cities of the East, were to be built, Nimrod, the King of Babylon, sent thither [there] Masons at the request of the King of Nineveh, his cousin. 

And when he sent them forth, he gave them a Charge in this manner: That they should be true to one another, and love truly together; and that they should serve the Lord truly for their pay, so that their Master might have honor, and all that belonged to him, and several other Charges he gave them. And this was the first time that ever any Mason had any Charge of his Craft. Moreover when Abraham, and Sarah his Wife, went into Egypt, and there taught the seven Sciences to the Egyptians.

He had a worthy scholar whose name was Euclyde [Euclid] (Anno Mundi 1948), and he learned right well, and became a great Master of the seven Scien­ces; and in his days, it befell that the Lords and the Estates of the realm had so many sons, and they had no competent livelihood to find their children. Wherefore they took council together, with the King of the Land, how they might find their children honestly as gentlemen. 

But [they] could find no manner of good way; and then did they proclaim, through all the Land, that if there were any man, that could inform them, that he should be well rewarded for his labor, and that he should hold him well pleased.

After this cry was made, then came the worthy clerk Euclid, and said to the King and the Lords: 

If You will give me your children to govern, I will teach them one of the Seven Sciences, whereby they may live honestly, as Gentlemen should; under condition, that You will grant them, and that I may have power to rule them after the manner that Science ought to be ruled. 

And that the King and the Council granted Anon [immediately] and sealed his commission. 

And then this worthy clerk Euclid took to him these Lords’ sons, and taught them the Science of Geometry, in practice, for the Work in stone, all manner of worthy work, that belongs to building of churches, temples, towers, castles; and all other manners of buildings.

And he gave them a Charge in this manner: 

First, that they should be true to the King and to the Lord, that they serve; and to the fellowship to which they are admitted; and that they should love and be true to one another; and that they should call each other his fellow, or else Brother; and not his servant knave, nor any other foul name; and that they should truly deserve their pay of the Lord; or the Master of the Work, that they serve.

That they should ordain the wisest of them to be the Master of the Work; and neither for love nor lineage, riches nor favor, to set another, who has but little ability, to be Master of the Lord’s Work; whereby the Lord should be evil served, and they ashamed; and also, that they should call the Governor of the Work Master in the time that they work with him. 

And many other Charges he gave them, that are too long to tell, and to all these Charges he made them swear a great oath, that men used at that time. And he ordained for them, a reasonable pay, whereby they may live honestly; and also that they should come and assemble together every year once, to consult how they might work best to serve the Lord, for his profit, and to their own credit, and to correct within themselves, him that had trespassed against the Craft.

And thus was the Craft founded there, and that worthy Clerk Euclid gave it the name of Geometry; and now it is called through all the land Masonry. A long time after when the children of Israel were come into the land of the (Anno Mundi 2474) Jebusites which is now called Jerusalem, King David began the Temple, that is called (Templum Domini) with us the Temple of Jerusalem, alias the Temple of the Lord.

The same King David loved Masons and cherished them, and gave them good pay. And he gave them the Charges in manner as they were given in Egypt, by Euclid; and other Charges more, as you shall hear afterwards.

After the decease of King David, Solomon sent to Hiram, King of Tyre for one who was a Cunning Workman (called Hiram Abif), the son of a woman of the Line of Naphtali and of Urias the Israelite.


Know that my Father, having a will to build a Temple to God, has been withdrawn from the performance of doing so by the continual wars and troubles he has had; for he never took rest, before he either defeated his enemies, or made them tributaries to him. For my own part I thank God for the peace which I possess.

And for that, by the means thereof, I have opportunity (according to my own desire) to build a Temple to God; for he it is that foretold to my Father, that his house should be built during my reign, for which cause, I pray you, send me some one of your most skillful men with my servants to the wood Libanon, to hew down trees in that place; for the Macedonians (2) are more skillful in hewing and preparing timber, than our People are, and I will pay the cleavers of wood according to your direction.


You have cause to thank God; in you he had delivered your Father’s Kingdom into your hands; to you I say, who is a man, wise and full of virtue; for which cause, since no news can come to me that is more gracious, nor office of Love more esteemed than this, I will accomplish all that you requested; for after I have caused a great quantity of cedar and cypress wood to be cut down, I will send it to you by sea, by my servants,

Whom I will command (and furnish with convenient vessels of burden) to the end they may deliver the same in whatever place in your kingdom it shall best please you; so that afterwards, your subjects may transport them to Jerusalem. 

You shall provide to furnish us with corn, of which we stand in need, because we inhabit an island. 

Solomon, King David’s son, to finish the Temple that his Father had begun, sent for Masons into various countries, and gathered them together, so that he had Fourscore thousand [80,000] Workmen that were workers of stone, and were all named Masons, and he chose three thousand of them to be Masters and Governors of his work (First of Kings 7:14). 

And Hiram, King of Tyre, sent his servants to Solomon, for he was ever a lover of King. David, and he sent Solomon timber and workmen to help forward the building of the Temple; and he sent one that was named Hiram Abif, a widow’s son of the line of Nephtali. 

He was a Master of Geometry, and was of all his Masons, carvers, engravers and workmen, and casters of brass and all other metals that were used about the Temple.

King Solomon confirmed both the Charges and manners, that his Father had given to Masons, thus was the worthy work of Masonry, confirmed in Jerusalem, and many other kingdoms; and he finished the Temple (Anno Mundi 3 000).

Curious Craftsmen walked about full wide in various countries; some to learn more Craft and cunning, others to teach those who had but little ability. And [came] the destruction of the first Temple by Nebuchadnezar after it had stood 430 years.

The second Temple was begun in the reign of Cyrus, 70 years after the destruction, it being hindred; it was 46 years in building and was finished in Darius’s reign (A.M. 3522). In the reign of Ptolemy and Cleopatra, Onias built a Jewish Temple in the place called (A.M. 3813) Bubastiss, and called it after his own name. The tower of Straton (alias Caesaria) built by Herod in Palestine and many other curious works of marble, as the Temple of Ceasar Agrippa to his memory, in the country called (A.M. 3842) Zenodoras, near to a place called Panion. 

He also pulled down the second Temple, that was finished in Darius’s  reign, and appointed one thousand carriages to draw stone to the place; and chose out ten thousand (A.M. 3946) cunning and expert workmen, to hew, and mould stone; and one thousand he chose out and clothed, and made them Masters and Rulers of the Work; and (Anno Mundi 3947) built a new Temple on the foundation, which Solomon had laid, not inferior to the first. And it was finished nine years before the birth of our Savior (A.M. 3956).

After the birth of our Savior, Aururiagus being King of Britain, Claudius the Emperor came over with an army; and fearing to be overthrown made a league with him; and gave him his daughter in marriage; and that he should hold his kingdom of Romans, and so the Emperor then returned. In the Year 43, after the birth of Christ, Masons came into England, and built a goodly monastery near to Glassenbury, with many castles and towers.

This sumptuous Art of Geometry, it being professed by Emperors, Kings, Popes, Cardinals and Princes innumerable, who have all of them left us the permanent monuments of it in their several (Anno Christi 117) places of their dominions; nor will this I presume be denied, when well considered, that renowned example the Trajan Column; it being one of the most superb remainders of the Romans’ magnificence, to be now seen standing; and which has more immortalized the Emperor Trajan, than all the pens of Historians; it was erected to him, by the Senate and people of Rome, in memory of those great services he had rendered the country, and to the end, the memory of it might remain to all succeeding ages, and continue so long as the very Empire itself. 

Anno Christi 300. And in Saint Albane’s [Alban’s] time; the King of England that was a pagan, did wall the town that was called Verulum; and Saint Alban was a worthy Knight, and Steward of the King’s household; and had got the government of the realm, and also the town walls, and loved Masons well and cherished them much; and he made their pay right good, standing as the realm then did; for he gave them two shillings per week, and three pence to their sustenance; for before that time through all the Land, a Mason had but a penny a day and his meat, until Saint Alban mended it at an Assembly; and he was there himself, and helped to make Masons, and gave them charges as you shall have afterwards. 

It happened presently after the martyrdom of St Alban, who is truly termed England’s Proto Martyr; that a certain King invaded the Land and destroyed most of the natives by fire and sword, that the Science of Masonry was much decayed, until the reign of (Anno Domini 596) Ethelbert, King of Kent, Gregory the First, surnamed Magnus, sent into the Isle of Britain a monk with other learned men, to preach the Christian faith, for this nation as yet, had not fully received it. This said Ethelbert, built a church in Canterbury and dedicated it to St. Peter, and St. Paul; and is supposed to have built, or restored the church of St.Paul in London; he also built the church of St. Andrew in Rochester.

Sibert, King of the East Saxons, by persuasions of Athelbert, King of Kent, having received (Anno Domini 630) the Christian faith, built the monastery at Westminster, to the honour of God, and St Peter.

Sigebert, King of the East Angles (895), began to erect the University of Cambridge. Athelstane [Athelstan] began his reign. He was a man beloved of all Men; he had great devotion towards the churches, as appeared in the building, adorning and endowing of monasteries. He built one at Wilton in the diocese of Salisbury; another at Michelney in Somersetshire; besides these; there were few famous monasteries in this realm, but that he adorned the same, either with some new piece of building, jewels or portions of lands. 

He greatly enriched the church of York. Edwin, brother to King Athelstan, loved Masons much more than his brother did, and was a great practitioner of Geometry, and drew himself to commune and talk with Ma­sons, to learn the Craft, and afterward for the love that (Anno Domini 1432) he had to Masons and to the Craft, he was made a Mason, and got of his brother a charter, and commission, to hold an assembly himself at York; wherever they would want within the Realm, once a Year, to correct within themselves, faults and trespasses, that were done within the Craft.

And he held an Assembly himself at York, and there made Masons and gave them Charges, and taught the manner; and commanded that Rule to be kept forever after; and gave them the charter, and commission to keep; and made an ordinance that it should be renewed from King to King. 

And when the Assembly was gathered together, he made a cry, that all old Masons, and young, that had any writing or understanding of the Charges, and manners, that were made before in the Land, or in any other, they should bring and show them. 

And it was proved there were found some in French, some in Greek, some in English, and some in other Languages; and they were all to one intent and purpose; and he made a Book thereof how the Craft was founded; and he himself commanded that it should be read or told, when any Mason should be made, to give him his Charges. 

And from that day until this time, manners of Masons have been kept in that form, as well as men might govern it. 

Furthermore, at various Assemblies, certain Charges have been made and ordained, by the best advice of Masters and fellows. Every man that is a Mason should take right good heed to these Charges. And if any man find himself guilty in any of these Charges, he ought to amend, and pray to God for his grace; especially you that are to be charged, take good heed that you may keep:

The first Charge is this, that you be true men to God, and the Holy Church.

2. - That you use no heresy, willfully; or run into innovations, but be wise men, and discreet in every thing.

3. - That you be not disloyal; nor confederates in treasonable plots; but if you hear of any treachery against the Government, you ought to disclose it if you could not otherwise prevent it.

4. - That you be true to one another, (that is to say) to every Mason of the Craft of Masonry; to those who are Masons, you shall do as you would [like] they do to you.

5. - That you keep all the council of your fellows truly, be it in Lodge or in Chamber; and all other councils that ought to be kept, by the way of Brotherhood.

6. - That no Mason shall be a thief, or conceal any such unjust action, so far as he may be aware or know.

7. - That every allowed Mason (3) shall be true to the Lord or Master whom he serves, and shall serve him faithfully to his advantage.

8. - That you shall call such Mason your fellow or Brother, neither shall you use to him any scurrilous language.

9. - That you shall not desire any unlawful communication with your fellow’s wife, nor cast a wanton eye upon his daughter; with desire to defile her; nor his maid servant, or in any way put him to dishonor.

10. - That you Pay truly and honestly for your Meat and Drink wherever you Board; so the Craft be not slandered thereby.

These be the Charges in general that belong to Every Free Mason to be kept, both by Masters and fellows. Now I will give other Charges in singular for Masters and fellows

1. - That no Masters or fellows shall take upon him any Lord’s work nor any other man’s work unless he know himself able and sufficient to perform the same, so that the Craft have no slander, nor disworship thereby, but the Lord may be well and truly served.

2. - That no Master take no work, but that he take it reasonably, so that the Lord. may be well served, and the Master get sufficiently, to live handsomely and honestly, and to pay his fellows truly their pay, as the manner is.

3. - That no Master nor fellow shall supplant any other of their work, (that is to say) if another has taken work in hand, or stand Master for any Lord’s work; he shall not deal under hand, to mischief or undermine him, to put him out, except he be unable of cunning, to perform the work.

4. - That no Master nor fellow shall take any apprentice but for the full term of seven years; and that the apprentice be able of birth (that is to say) free born, and whole of limbs, as a man ought to be.

5. - That no Master nor fellow, take any allowance or bribe of any man, that is to be made a Mason, without the assent, consent, and counsel of his fellows; and that he, that is to be made a Mason, be able in all manner of degrees [that is to say] freeborn, come of good kindred, true, and no bondman, and that he have his right limbs, as a man ought to have.

6. - That no Master nor fellow take an apprentice unless he has sufficient occupation to set him at work nay to set three of his fellows; or two at least at work. 

7. - That no Master or fellow shall take any man’s work to task, that used [to be], or was wont to [be], journey work. 

8. - That every Master shall give pay to his fellow according as they deserve so that he be not deceived by false workmen. 

9. - That no man slander another behind his back to make him lose his good name, and thereby also make him suffer in his way of living.

10. - That no fellow within the Lodge, or without, misanswer, or give another reproachfull language, without some reasonable cause.

11. - That every Mason shall reverence his elder; and give him respect.

12. - That no Mason shall be a common player at hazard, or at dice, or at cards, nor [at] any other unlawful game whereby the Craft might be slandered. 

13. - That no Mason shall be a common lecher, nor pander, or baud whereby the Craft might be slandered (4).

14. - That no fellow go into the city or town in night time, unless he has someone or other with him to bear witness that he was in honest places.

15. - That every Master and fellow, shall come to the assembly, if that be within fifty Miles about him, if he has any warning. And if he has trespassed against the Craft, then abide the award of the Masters and fellows, and make satisfaction accordingly, if they are able. But if not submit to their reasonable award, then they shall go to common Law.

16. - That no Master or fellow make any mould or square, or rule to mould stones; but such as are allowed by the Fraternity. 

17. - That every Mason shall receive and cherish strange fellows, when they come over the country, and set them at work if they will as the manner is (that is to say) if he has mould stones in his place, or else he shall refresh him with money to carry him to the next Lodge.

18. - That every Mason shall truly serve the Lord for his pay; and every Master shall truly make an end of his work; be it Task or Journey if he have his demand, and all he ought to have.

These Charges that we have now rehearsed unto you and all other that belong to Masons you shall keep. 

So help you God, and the Itallidom (5). 



1. - Inigo Jones (1573-1652) was in his time a renowned architect. He introduced into England the Italian Renaissance architecture; among his works, he realized the Queen’s House, built in Greenwich, on the banks of the Thames.

2. - The author of the text has made a mistake: The inhabitants of Tyre are called Tyrians or Sidonians, in no case Macedonians.

3. - Allowed Mason - See Chapter 12, note 9.

4. - Oddly enough, this article is absent in any older manuscript; its comprehension is more difficult than it seems, as containing several words which have disappeared from modern dictionaries: No mason shall be a common lecher, nor pander, or baud whereby the craft might be slandered. The intent is that Masons should avoid sexual activities that might bring the Craft into disrepute.

5. - Itallidom - Evident alteration of Holy-Dome, or Halidom (Holy Judgment in Sa­xon).

© Guy Chassagnard 2016