Chapter 24

The Dumfries No.4 Manuscript (1710)


Property of the Lodge Dumfries Kilwinning No. 531, after having belonged to the Old Lodge of Dumfries, the eponymous Manuscript is undoubtedly from a Scottish source (1). 

It appears different from the preceding Old Charges, not only by the length of its text, but also, and especially, by charges and rules which come from a Masonic practice that remained strongly operative (2).

But the Dumfries No. 4 Manuscript was obviously written based on older documents, in the early eighteenth century. If it lists the seven liberal Scien­ces, it evokes in its own manner how Masonry was born and developed, and holds forth at length on the general and specific obligations of craftsmen.

Furthermore, it establishes itself within a religious framework that showcases the Catholic Church and associates Christ with the Jachin and Boaz pillars - on which “he will write the name of God.”

The document - A detail to be noted: it is composed of fifteen sheets of parchment sewn together, the Dumfries No. 4 Manuscript seems to have served for a long time, as it shows various marks and signs of wear - hence the illegibility of several sentences, and even the absence of certain words.

Editor’s note - Presented below in its original writing, the Dumfries No. 4 Manuscript is fully understandable by any reader; so we have decided not to adapt it nor correct its spelling.

The Original Text


The almighty father of holiness the wisdom of the glorious jesus through the grace of the holy ghost these being three persons in one godhead qm we implore to be with us at the beginning & give us grace so to govern our selves hear in this mortal life towards him that we may come to his kingdome that shal never have end. Amen.


Good brethren and fellows our purpose is to let you know in qt maner this worthy Science of masonry qn & how it began as also how it was Countenanced favoured & adored by the most famous & brave Heroes on earth such as kings princes wt all sorts of intelligent men of high[es]t degree & likewise ye charges to all true & Qualified masons wc they taught to keep wt a true faith & give good head therto as they would wish to Be Rewarded.


The charges wc now w[e] Rehearse to you wt all othe[r] Charges & secrets otherways belonging to free masons or any that enter their intrest for curiositie together wt the counsels of this holy ludge chamber or hall you shal not for any gift bribe or Reward favouer or affection directly or [in]directly nor for any cause qtsoever devulge disclose ye same to ether father or mother sister or brother or children or stranger or any person qtsoever so help you god.


There ar seven libral Sciences ye first is divi[nity] wc teacheth ye logical virtues the 2d is gram[mar] joined to Rhetorick wc teacheth Eloquence & how to speak in subtill tearms ye 3d is philosophy wc is lovers of wisdom by wc is brought both ends of a contrdiction together. & crocke[d] things made straight black grouen white by a Rule of contrarities &c the 4th is musick yt teacheth songs harps & organs wt all other sort[s] of vocal instrumentel musick it is to be mi … ye forsd Science hath neither medium nor end ye 5th is logick yt discovereth truth from falshode & is guide [to] judges & lawiers ye 6th is geometry yt teacheth to measure material heavens with al earthly dementions & all things contained yrin ye 7th & last is of the Scienceiss astronomy wt astrologie yt teacheth to know ye course of ye su[n] moon & stars ornaments of the heavens ye 7 scieneces al suporte by geometry by wc we cunclude yt Science most worthy yt giveth [word omitted in MS.] & aid to the Rest yt is yr is no man yt worketh in any craft but he worketh by some measure & al of geometry for it serves to weight & measure al maner of things on earth especally plughm[e]n & tillers of ground for corn & seeds vines & flouers plants & other for non of ye Rest doe serve men to measure without geometrie How this Science first began I shal tell before Noahs flood ther was a man called Lamach [Lamech] who had two wifes the one Adah & she the sa[i]d Adah brought forth two sons the eldest jabell [Jabal] the other son Jubal & by ye other wife he had a son called Tubal cain & a daughter called Naamah.

And these children found out al ye Sciences and crafts in the world Jabel was the elder & found out geometry & keep flocks of sheep & they had lambs in the fields for wch he wrought houses of stone & timber as you may find it in the 4th chapter o[f] ye geneses & his brother jubal found out the art of musick vocal & instrumentall and the 3d brother found out the smithwork such as bras steel & iron & their sister found out the art of weaving & handling of the distaff & spindle.

These children knew that god would take viengance on the world for sin either by fire or water not wt standing they were more curiouse for the benifit of posterity to prefer the Science they had invented to their lives qr for they engraved ye Science they had invented on pilers of stone so that they might be found after ye flood ye one stone caled marble which cannot burn with fire ye other monoment was leath… we cannot be defusd by water than after the flood the great hermorian son to cush & cush was son to ham second son to Noah hermorian was after called father of wisdom along of ye forsd Pillars he found after the flood wt the Sciences written thereon he taught them at ye building of Babylons Tower qr he was called Nimrod or mightly before ye lord Nimrod profest masonry at the desire of the King neneveh his cossen ye abou[e] designd Nimrod mad masons & recomended ym to the lord of the lord of the land to build All sorts of buildings yn in fashon & taught ym signs & tokens so that they could distingwish on another from all the rest of mankind on the earth.


Imprinuus yt they should love on another & serve ye lord of heaven wt a true & sincer heart to prevent furter vengeance & yt they be honest & upright & faithfull to the lord yr imployer so yt he ye sd n[i]mrod might have worship & honou[r] By sending ym to him & yt yr shoul be no circumvention direction devision dissimulation or misaprehensions amongst ym or any thing like contention least god should make ym dumb as before qn he confounded yr Langwiage for yr presumption this was ye first time yt massons had any care of yr craft.

After this came abrahame together with sarah his wife into egypt & yr he taught ye seven Sciences to ye egyptians & yr he had in Egypt a worthy scholar who proved ye glory of yt age his name Eucladas [Euclid] this sd young man improved his talent so yt he exceded all ye artises yn on earth & Abraham tooke delight in him for yt he was a Great proficient & proclaimed all futer events to ye unthinking multitude.

And it befell in his days yt the lords and stats of yt land had so many sons yt they had begotten some by other wives & ladies of ye Realm for egypt was yn a plenished & countrey & nothing Living competent was for ye children Wherefore ye stats of ye land was sore troubled in qt maner to provide for the children. And ye King of ye land caled a parliament to consult how they might furnish ym but could find ne prospect of ye thing but caused a proclimation to be made through out ye Realm if yr qr any man yt could inform wc way to dispose of yr young men he should b[e] well Rewarded for his pains & trouble after the cry or proclimation came ye worthy docter Eucladas & said to ye King & his lords: 

If you wil give me your children to Govern & teach as gentle men ought to be taught And yt you grant ym & me a competent portion yt I may Rule & teach them according to yr Qualitie & yt I may order ym as ye Science Requireth.

And ye King granted it & sealed ym a charter & yn ye worthy clark Eucladas took ye lords sons & taught ym in ye science Geomitrie to work in all maner of worthy work in stone temple churches cloysters cities castles pirimides towers & ll other worthy buildings of stone & he put ym in orders and taught them to know one another truly & confirmed Nimrods maners to ym & yt they should Love onanother truly & keep ye law of god written on yr hearts & yt they should be true to ye king of ye Realm & above all keep ye secrets of ye lodge & one another secrets & yt they should call on another Fellow & forbear all other foul names & yt they should deport ymselves Like men of art and not Like uncriltivat Rusticks & yt they should ordain one of ye wisest of ym to be master of the Rest & to be over ye work & yt neither for love for Riches shul they betray yr trust nor to apoint any yt wants understanding to be master of ye lords work so that ye Craft may not be scandalised & yt they cal ye Governouer of ye work master whilst they work wt him.

& ye forsd Euclidie wryte a book of constitutions to ym & mad ym to swear ye greatest oath men used to swear those dayes yt they yt they should faithfully observe all ye instructions containd in ye constitutions of masonry & ordained ym competent payment so yt they might Live Like men of art & science as alos yt they should assemble & gather ymselves together & hold counsels in maters pertaining to ye craft & art of Geometry & that they ought not to stand with any yt was not duly Qualified and orderly created in a true ludge & yt they should keep a deu distance from al disorder Least god should bring second confusion amongst ym which prove wors than ye first after ye worthy clark Euclidie invented many rare inventions & performed wonderful exploits for yr was nothing too hard for him containd within ye 7 libral sciences by which he mad ye people of Egypt ye wisest people in the world.

Affter ye children of Israel came into ye land of bel… [Behest] wc is now called among ye nations ye countrie of Jerusalem Qr King david began ye temple of jerusalen wch wt ym is called ye temple of Diana & david Loved masons welle & chirished ym by giving ym good wadges & he gave them yr charge on this maner yt they should truly the ten words wc was wryten by the finger of god in char[ac]ters of stone Or tables of marble & delivered to moses on ye holy mount Sinai & yt wt heavenly solemnity qr meriads of angels wt chariots of fire attending that train wc proves stone carting to be of divine institution wt many other things he gave in charge as he had it out of egypt from the most famous Euclidie & other charges wc you shal hear afterward after this david payed ye debt of nature. 

And Solomon his son performed ye temple yt his father had begun and divers massons of severall lands gathered together so yt yr was eighty thousand & 3 hundred of ym wc was Qualified and made over seers of ye worke.

& yr was a king in tyre called Hiram who loved solomon well & he gave to solomon Timber for his work & likewise send him an artist in whome was ye spirit of wisdom his mother was of ye tribe of naphtLie & his father a man of tyre his name was Hiram the world hath not peduced his equal to this day he was a master masson of exquisite knouledge & generositie & was master mason of all ye buildings & bulders of ye temple & master of all graven & carvered works in & about ye temple as it is wryten on the first of the kings in the 6 chapter and 7 chaptere yrof And solomon confirmed both charges and maners of his father david wc he gave to massons & was ye worthy craft of masonry confirmed in ye country of Jerusalem & palistine [&] many other kingdoms craftsmen walked abroad & come to lairn more art & some were Qualified to teach others and inform ye ignrant so yt about the [illegible] began to look splendid & glor… in ye wor… particularlie in jerusalem and in Egypt.

& about this time ye courious masson Minus Greenatis [Naymus Graecus] alias Green yt had been building Solomons Temple into ye Realm of france & taught ye art of masonry to ye sons of art in yt land And their was one of ye Royal line in france named Charles martle who loved Minus Greenatus beyond espresion because of his judgment in ye art of massonrie & he ye sd martil took on him ye maners of masons and after he was in his oun Realm for it would seem he was no french man he took unto him many brave massons yr & aloued ym good wadges & put ym in orders which greenatus taught him [&] confirmed ym a charter & ordred ym to assemble frequently yt they might keep good order within yr divisions & thus cam ye craft into france.

England al this while stood destitute of massons until ye time of St Albons [Alabn] at this time ye King of england was a pagan & he built the town yts called st albons after that in albons time yr was a worthy man who was chief stewart to ye King & had ye government of ye Realm & he imployed masons to build ye toun wals of St albons & he made masons his chief companions and aded a third part to yr payment by what it was formerly & apointed them 3 hours to recreat ymselves every day yt so yr imployment might not prove toylsome to them & yt they might not live Like slaves But like jentlemen of art & science & also ordred a cartain day of every year in ye month of jun to conven & feast to meantain & unity amoongst ym & yt they shoul have that day being St Johns day yr Royal standerd up wt ye names & titles of all ye kings and p[r]­inces yt had entred yr intrest as also ye masons arms wt arms of jerusalem temple & all the famous structutes in ye world all these forsd freedoms ye sd nobleman prevailed wt ye king & procured ym a charter for ever to maintain ye same Likwise they ye moto in letters of gould set in a crimson field wt sables & argent Invia virtute via nula.

After this came great wars into england so so ye Rule of husbandry was Laid aside untill the Reign of Athelston who was a good king in england & brought ye land in peace & build many worthy & sumptious buildings such as abays churches cloysters convents casles towers fortreses bulwarks wt al other monoments of note he was on affectionat brother to all Qualified masons Likewise he had a son whose name was Hodrian [Edwin] & he the sd hodrian loved massons so yt he could neither eat nor drink but when they were in his company he was a brave generous spirit full of art & practiss he chusd Rather to conve[rs]e wt massons than wt the courtiers of his fathers court drew himself Rather to common wt massons & Lairnd ym yr art & put himself in orders he bequethed ye whole master of ye freternity wt squares of gold & compasses of silver tipt wt gold & perpedicular plums to be pure gold yr trewals of silver wt all yr other Instruments conform he likwise pecured his fathers charter & comissions to hold every year ane assembly of masons qr every mason was obliged to [give] ane accompt of his proficiency & practise & at ye forsd metings he enjo[i]ned ym new methods of secrecy & taught ym goof manners conform to the Rules of Euclidie & hiram & other famous worthies & qn trepass was done within ye craft he inflicted condign punishment on ye offender he bent himself for ye crushing of vice & publickly encouraged vertue.

Afterward he came to york & yr made massons & gave yr charge & taught ym maners of masonry & wryt a book of constitutions & comanded the Rule to be kept for ever after & he made ordinances yt ye craft should be so Ruled from Reign to Reign as it was than stated & ordaind by the most worthy in yt assembly. Morover he made a procilimation yt all massons yt had any sertificats ou testimonials in wryting if yr travels proficiency & practise should present ym to prove yr former art & behaviour & yr was brought som in hebrew some in greek Latine caldaick sirack french Dutch salvonick & english wt several other Languages and the intent … as calone upon wch the famous Hodrian put ym in mind of the confusion at ye building of Nimrods tower and yt as they would wish god to prosper ymselves & actions not to attempt or aim at Idolitry any more but sincereLy to honour & Adore ye great architector (3) of heaven & earth the fountain & source of all goodness who buildeth his visible frame of nothing & Laid ye foundation yrof upon the deepe waters and laid a command upon ye see to come so far & no forther ye great land lord of heaven & earth ye sole preserver of man & beast pslms 36. 6. 7 Ruler & governouer of sun moon & stars he further advisvised ym to bring his omnipotency wt[in] ye compass of yr understanding yt so much ye more they might be loath to ofend him wt many other divine sentances he put ym in mind of & he comanded a book to be made how the craft was first found & comanded it should be Read qn any masson was made & if aftter should err they mighty have no excuse to prevent yr punishment & give him his charge conform to ye sds book & from yt time massons should keep yt form & order as weel as men could govern it & further at privat assemblies yr hath ben divers charges added more & mor concerning yr charrige and deportment in every particular part of massonry by ye Masters & Fellows advice.


Every man yt is a massone or enters yr inters yr Intrest to agrandize & satisfie his curiositie looke to ye following charge if any of you be guilty of any of ye following Immortalitys see yt yon Repent & amend speedily for you will find it a hard thing to fall into ye hands [of] our angry god and more especialy you yt are under voues take hee[d] yt you keep ye ath and promise you made in presence of allmighty god think not yt a mental Reservation or Equivocation will serve for to be sure euery word you speak the whole time of your Admission is ane oath and god will examin you according to the purness of your heart and cleaness of your hands it is ane sharp edged toole yt you are playing with beware you cut not your fingers we intreat you that ye forfit not your Saluation for any other seeming contentment.

Imprimus You shall serve the true god and carefully keep his precepts in generall particularlie the Ten words delivered to Moses on mount Sinai As you have them explained in full on ye pavement of the Temple.

Secondly You shall be true & stedfast to ye holy catholick church (4) and shun all herise & shisim or eror to your wnderstanding.

3ly - You shall be true to the lodge and keep all the secrets belonging thereto.

4ly - You shall be true to the lawfull King of the Realm and pray for his safty at all conuenient occasions When you pray for your self & be no partaker of any treasonable designs against his person and government.

5ly - You shall love and be true to one another and do to your neighbours or Fellow as you would wish them to do to you.

6ly - You shall keep a true and faithfull corespondance with all those masters and Fellows of Mesonry that you know to be legally entred in orders there secrets you shall keep there loss you shall withstand to your power them honour and cridit you shall maintain.

7ly - That euery mason keep a true lodge chamber or hall to talk & dignose upon things partining to honestie and moral dealing where they may refresh there memories of the worthies departed.

8ly - That you be true and honest to the lord or Imployer do his work faithfullie keep his profit and advantage to ye outmost of your power that you shall not defraud him in any point what soever so that he may have no cause to exclaim and you reap honour.

9ly - You shall masson your Fellow and Breatheren and not to call them by any disrespective name whereby contenticonis & divisions and heat may arise which may prove scandalous.

10ly - Let no master or Fellow Inwilany or ungodly [take] another fellows wife dawghter or maid in Adultery or fornication.

11ly - That you be very carefull to pay truly and honestly your table such as meat drink washing and lodging where you go to board.

12ly - That you keep a corpass due gaurd wher you lodg that no villany be comited there whereby the craft may be defaimed.

13ly - That you carefully and religously observe the sabbath day by refraining all evill work & labovr and make it your study to Employ that day in serving and seeking the true God to keep in the fauculties of your souls from gading after vanities of this world pray to god to sanctifie your will wnderstanding & memories with your reason and affections.

14ly - That you make it your bussiness to relieve the poor according to your Talent and facultie let not your prudence superceed your charity in thinking in this or the other unworthy or not in need but slip no opertunitie because it is for Gods sake you give it and in obedience to his command.

15ly - That you visit the sick and comfor and pray for them and let them not be in any distress that is in your powr to help them if god cals them hence wait and asist ther funerall.

16ly - Be affable and kinde to all but more especially to the widdow & fatherless stand stoutly in ther behalf defend there Intrest relive ther necessities though this be bread thrown upon the uncertain waters yet by the speciall blessing of heaven in time will Return with seven fold Intrest and secure a stock for you in the other world.

17ly - That you shall not drink drunk at no occassion because it is ane offence to God and likewise you are apt reveal the secrets of the lodge and so perJure your self.

18ly - You shall abstain from all scandalous & profan rcreations from playing at hazard or any other destructive game.

19ly - You shall forbear all lascivious language with all obsceen language pouster or gestures for all such is but pleasing the and fostering of lust.

These be the charges in generall that every mason should hold master and felous it is earnestly wished that they might be carefully kept in heart and will and affections and in so doing they shall reander themselves famous to future generations and God will bless ther progenie and geve them a good Talent and cast their lines in pleasant placeses.

The Charges belong to mastrs  and fellous is as folloueth

Imprimus - That no Fellow shall take any lords work or other Imployer but he shall know himself and cuning to perfect the same so that the craft may have no disworship and the lord or Imployer may not be cheated but truly served for his mony of any masson have taken any work or stand Master of any work he shall not be put from it if he can finish the same.

Itim - That no Master or Fellows shall take ane aprentice to be allowed on for less than seven years and that the Aprentice be able of limbs and well breathed. 

Itim - That no Master or Fellow shall take mony before hand without consent of the lodge.

Itim - That no Master or Fellow shall presum to creat a masson without of his fellows 5: or 6 at the least and that the oath be duly administered to them. 

Itim - No Master or Fellow shall put a lords work to task that used to be jurned.

Itim - That no Master shall give any payment to his felow but as he deserveth so that the Imployer may not be deceived with Ignorant workmen.

Itim - That no Fellow shall slander another bhind his back whereby he may lose his good name or worldly goods.

Itim - That no Fellow within or withowt a lodge shall answear his fellow disrespective.

Itim - That none shall enter the Toun in the nig[ht] where is a loge of fellows without ther be a fellow with to prove him a man honest or wnder that notion.

Itim - That every Master and Fellow shall come to the A[ss]embly upon the first citation if it be within 5 miles of him and ther stand at the revard of his fellows or master.

Itim - Every Master (and Fellow) shall pray for his superior: put him to worship.

Itim - That Master and Fellow that have trespassed shall stand to the determination of his mr and fellow according to the delatio given in upon him and if it can not be decided otherways it must come before the Assembly.

Itim - That no Master Masson shall make any mould square or Rule to any Layer or cowin.

Itim - That no Master within or without a loge shall set a lay mould of stone or other ways withowt it be his own making.

Itim - Every Masson shall receve strange masons within ther divisions over the country where there concerns lyeth and set them to work according to order (viz) if they have muld Standert to place let theim have twoo weeks at least and give him his hire and ife there be no stander let him be refreshed: with meat and drink to carry him to the next lodge.

Itim - None that is in order shall stand to hear any that doth not order his words & steps aright but if he proue him self a man then you are obliged to Imbrace him and gave him the curtisee of the craft.

Itim - All Massons shall be honest in there work be it by task or Jurney and truly make ane end thereof that they may have There ways as they ought to have.

Itim - That no lodge or corum of Massons shall give the Royal secret to any suddently but upon great deliberation first let him learn his Questions by heart then his symbals then do as the lodge thinks fit.

The Apprentice Charge

Imprimus - That he shall be true to god and the holy catholick church & ye king & his master whom he shall serve yt he shall not pick or steell his mr or his mrs goods nor absent himself from yr service nor goe from ym about his oun pleasure by day or by night withowt licience he shall not comit Adultrie nor fornication in or without his mr house wt his mrs daughter servant or otherwise he shall keep cownsel in all things spoken in or without ye lodge chamber or hall spoken by any Fellow Master or Freeman he shall not keep any disobedient argument against he shall disclose any secret Qrby strife may arise Amongst Massons Fellows or Aprenticess but reverently to behave himselfe towards all free massons yt he may win brethren to his mr he shall not use carding or dicing or any other unlawful game or games he shall not haunt taverns or ale houses wasting his masters goods withowt licience he shall not purloin or steal any goods from any person or share during his aprentishipe but to wtstand ye same to ye outmost of his power & yrof to inform his master or some other masson with all possible & convenient speed.

Questions propounded and answered

Question. - What are you?

Answer. - I am a man.

Q. - How shal I know that?

A. - By all trwe signs in ye first part of my entry Ill heall & conceall.

Q. - What are you no more to...?

A. - Yes but a man I was begotten of a man & born of a woman and besids I have severall potentat kings & mighty princes to my brothers.

Q. - What lodge were you entered in?

A. - In ye trwe lodge of st John.

Q. - Where ought a lodge to be keept?

A. - On the top of a mountain or in ye midle of a boge without the hearing of ye crowing of a cok or ye bark of a doge.

Q. - How high is your lodge?

A. - Inches & spans (5) Inumberable.

Q. - How Inumberable?

A. - The material heavens & stary firmament.

Q. - How many pillers is in your lodge?

A. - Three.

Q - What are these?

A. - Ye square the compas & ye bible.

Q. - Where Lyes ye key of your lodge.

A. - In a bone box covered wt a rough map.

Q. - Give ye distinction of your box.

A. - My head is ye box my teeth is the bons my hair is the mapp my tongue is ye key.

Q. - Hou were you brought in?

A. - Shamfully wt a rope about my neck.

Q. - What pouster were you in when you Receved?

A. - Neither sitting nor standing nor running nor going but on my left knee.

Q. - Whay a rop about your neck?

A. - To hang me If I should Betry may trust.

Q. - Why upon your left knee?

A. - Because I would be in too humble a pouster to ye receiving o[f] ye Royall secret.

Q. - What Obligation are you under?

A. - Great oath.

Q. - What punishment is inflicted on these that reveals ye secret?

A. - Yr heart is to be taken out alive yr head to be cut of & yr bodys to be buried in ye sea mark & not in any place qr Christians are buried.

Q. - How many lights is in your lodge?

A. - Two.

Q. - Wc be ye two?

A. - Ye sun riseth in ye east & sets all men to work & sets in ye west & so turns all men to bed.

Q. - Wc way stands your Lodge?

A. - East & west because all holy churches & temples stands yt way and particularlie ye temple of jerusalem.

Q. - Might not Hiram lade ye foundation of ye temple south & north rather than east & West?

A. - No he could not.

Q. - Give a reason for yt.

A. - David appointed ye foundation of ye temple to be laid on a barn flore as you may read in ye holy bible qr it is caled ye thrashing floor araunah ye jebusit likwise you may read in holy wryt yt ye ark of ye lord Qrin was ye covenant betwixt god & men & ye two marble tables wt ye ten commandments wryten by ye finger of god ye said Ark was detained by misfortain a considerable [time] on the forsaid thrashing floor of araunah wc oblidged ym to lay ye foundation of ye temple East & west conformt to ye pouster of ye two tables.

Q. - What is masonry?

A. - It is a squere work.

Q. - What is a masson?

A. - He is a worker in stone.

Q. - Would you know your master if you saw him?

A. - Yes.

Q. - What way would ye know him?

A. - By his habit.

Q. - What couller is his habit?

A. - Yellow & blew meaning the compass wc is bras & Iron.

Q. - What morter had these massons at ye buillding of ye temple?

A. - The same such smorter as they had at ye building of nimrods Tower viz slime being a kind of hot o Earth wc they made thin & powred it into ye wall affter ye stons was laid it was of ye nature sement or bitumor.

Q. - What ladder had they?

A. - ... building of ye ... jacobs ... between ye heaven & ye earth.

Q. - How many steps was in jacobs ladder?

A. - Three.

Q. - What was ye 3?

A. - Father son & holy spirit.

Q. - How many flowers is in ye massons possie?

A. - Three & Twelve.

Q. - What call you ym?

A. - Trinity & ye twelve Apostles.

Q. - Who was master mason at ye buillding of ye temple?

A. - Hiram of tyre.

Q. - Who laid the first stone in ye foundation of ye temple?

A. - Ye above said Hiram.

Q. - What place did he lay ye first stone?

A. - In ye south east comer of ye Temple.

Q. - What did he say qn he laid it?

A. - Help us god.

Q. - What was ye greatest wonder yt seen or heard about the temple?

A. - God was mam & man was god mary was a mother & yet a maid.

Q. - What is ye night good for?

A. - Ye night is better for hearing than seeing?

Q. - What is ye day good for?

A. - Ye day is bette for seeing than hearing.

Q. - What did ye second man when ye first man died?

A. - He perfected ye work wc ye first man Intended thus King david yt intended to build ye temple but was prevented by death but solomon performed it.

Q. - What is meant by ye brassen see yt Hiram framed & supported it by 12 oxen 3 looking towards ye north 3 towards ye south 3 towards ye west 3 towards ye east?

A. - It was appointed to bath & wash ye preists in at yt time But now we finde it was a tipe of Christs blood whose blood was to purg sin & to wash ye elect & ye 12 oxen a type of ye 12 apostles who opposed all heathenism & athism & sealed ye cause of christ wt there blood.

Q. - What meant ye golden dore of ye temple qr they went in to sanctum sanctorum?

A. - It was another type of Christ who is ye door ye way and the truth & ye life by whome & in whom all ye elect entreth into heaven.

The Strangers Salutation

The worshipfull masters of our lodge sendeth me unto you who salutes you heartily wishing that this my visit may Refresh your memories of your good will towards ym.

And we the masters & fellows of this lodge welcome you heartily intreating you to make bold wt what you see & tell us your wishes & claim our relife which shall be at your comand at all times & occations & as we are we shall continue to honour love & serve you.

When you enter a roome you must say is ye house cleen if they ansure it is dropie or ill thatched upon this answre you are to be sillent this is ye most matieriall questions belonging to massonry.

Sic subscribe [n] tur the constitutions.

Questions concerning the Temple

Q. - What signifies the temple?

A. - Ye son of god & partly of the church ye son soffered his body to be destroyed & rose again ye 3d day & raised up to us ye christian church wc is ye true spiritwal church.

Q. - What signifies the white marble?

A. - Christ is ye white marble without spot the stone ye builders r[ejecte]d but god choised it out [several words are illegible] might be built.

Q. - The mistery of the cader wood?

A. - The cader cyprus & olive wood was not subject putrifaction nor posible to be devoured by worm[s] so ye human nature of christ was subject to no corruption nor putrifaction.

Q. - The mistrey of the Gold?

A. - The gold and precious stones signifies the dietie of christ wherein duelt the fulness thereof for he is the fountain thereof.

Q. - The mistery of the cherubims?

A. - First they signifie the heavenly glory and the everlasting life to come they being pictured to the Image of man do represen[t] the congregation of ye blessd angles & saints wc sing Te Dum law damuss secondly ye two cherubins on ye mercy seat in the holy Quire signifies ye old & new testmant containing ye doctrine of christ & as yr wings touch one another so the old & [new] testament are joined together ye end of the one beginning ye other ye one containing ye first world ye other containning ye end of ye 2 world both had a relation to christ to whome ye ministrie of god was comitted.

Q. - The mistry of the golden door of the temple?

A.. - Christ is the dore of life by wc we must enter into eternall happiness ye two doves signifies a two fold knowledge before we can enter that is of his person & office.

Q.. - What doth the vaill signiffie?

A.. - The son of god our lord jesus christ hanging upon ye alter of ye cross is ye trwe vaill yt is put betwe god & us shadowing wt his wounds and blood ye multitud of our offencess yt so we may be made accaptable to his father.

Q.. - The ark of the covenant?

A.. - It represents as weel our saviour christ as ye hearts of ye faithfull for in christs breast was ye doctrine both of law & gosple so is it in ye faithfull though not in yt measure he was ye true manna yt descended to give life to ye world ye table of ye law move us to love & obedience Aarons rod flowrishing wt blossoms signifies ye swetnes of ye gosple & ye glory of our High preist jesus christ of whome Aaron was a figure.

Q.. - The mistry of the alter?

A.. - The alter wt 4 golden horns being made part of shittim wood & part of gold compassed about wt a crown of gold Represents the unity of ye humanitie & dietie of our saviour for ye naturly incoriptable was beautified wt gold so ye humanitie of christ not of putrifaction being adorned wt ye celestiall... of ye dietie personaly united to the devine nature ascended to heven & sitteth at ye Right hand of god his father crouned with the crown of majestie and etternall happiness.

Q.. - The mistrie of the golden candlesticke?

A.. - The Golden candlestick wt his six branches & seven lights signifies christ & ye ministers christ the foundation is cheif preist & light of ye world Iluminating us to eternall liffe the docters & teachers of ye church are ye branches qm christ enlightens wt ye sound doctren of ye gosple neither ought they to be seprated from christ but by ye Light of ye doctren to be lamp to our feet & as all ye branches was united unto ye candlestick so every minister & child of god ought to be united to ye bod of christ without any seperation the flowers & lillies donot ye graces of his spirit wc he hath bestowed upon ye faithful ministers the lights & lamps do Admonish al godly ministers to a godly care & diligance.

Q.. - The mistrie of the golden table and shewbread?

A.. - The table being compased wt a precious crown signifies Ye ministers of ye gosple ye bread signifies Christ ye bread of Life.

Q.. - The mistrie of ye golden vine & christal grape[s]?

A.. - The vine in ye East of ye temple mad of shining gold Resembles our christ who compared himself unto a vine & the faithfull unto branches ye christall grapes ye doctren of ye gospel & ye work of ye faithfull wc are faith love hope charite patience prayer & works of grace unto such as belives.

Q.. - [The] molten sea its mistrie?

A.. - The molten sea was a figure of baptism & ye living water Issuing from ye wounds of Christ ye twelve oxen signifies ye twelve Apostles.

The Temple was in height and lenght: It was 100 cubits in length in hight 120 cubits ye holy Queer stood in ye west end ye Marble stons in ye temple was 25 cubits Long 12 cubits broad & 8 cubits thick being all whit marble

Questions propounded and answered

Q.. - How many lights is in yt lodge?

A.. - Three. 

Q.. - What…of ye 3?

A.. - Ye master the fellow craftsmen & ye ward[en].

Q.. - Wc way stands yee lights?

A.. - Ye is one in ye East & [one] in ye west & one in ye midle.

Q.. - What is for ye one [in] ye East?

A.. - It is for the master & ye west is for the ffellow craftsmen & ye midle is for ye warden.

Q.. - What stands at the wardens back?

A.. - Three shelve[s].

Q.. - What is yr upon ym?

A.. - Yr is 3 Rulers.

Q.. - What ... these?

A.. - Yr is 36 foot 34 foot & 32 foot.

Q.. - What is ym for?

A.. - 36 is for leveling 34 is for beve[ll]ing & 32 for measuring ye earth about.

Q.. - Which way came ye W first about?

A.. - It was given to King david by report qn he was hewing ye stons in ye mount to know ye workmen from... Labourers & it pleased god to take away King David & solomon suceeded in his place & it was Given him.

Q.. - What is ye length of your cable?

A.. - It is as long as between ye point of my navel and ye shortest of my hair.

Q.. - What is ye reason of yt.

A.. - Because all secrets lyes there.

Q.. - By what... by whom do you stand upon your princip[les]?

A.. - [By him] yt stood upon ye highest penacle of the temple.

Q.. - Wc way was ye temple built?

A.. - By solomon & Hiram who furnished tooles for yt work it was Hiram who was brought out of Egypt he w[as] a widdows son he furnished all sorts of Tools pick[s] spades shovels & all things belonging to ye temple.

Q.. - Where layes ye master?

A.. - In a stone trough (6) under ye west window looking to ye east waiting for ye son rising to sett his men to work.

Q.. - Where [was] the noble art or Science found when it was lost?

A.. - It was found in two pillers of stone the one would not sink and the other would not burn.

Solomon and the two Names

Solomon set up twoo notable Names yt on ye Right hand called Jachine yt is in it yr is strength show ... not only by ye matter but by ye Name Also of these two pillers what stedfastness ye elect stands in before god both for ye present & for time to come for ye present ye sons of god have Received strength inwardly for ye time to come god will stablish so with his spirit of grace yt they shall never wholy depart from him & wt I was by the way taught this point.

These two Names seems to note out besids this ye two churches of ye Jews & gentiles yt of ye jews by jachin on ye right hand as ... god would at length Establish in his time though as yet it had not atained to this stablnes through ye obstinacy of yr minds qrwt they should reject christ qn he should come This of ye gentiles by boaz on ye left hand because of ye present strength yt should be in her qn she should Imbrace christ at ye first hearing these christ shall wryt upon these pillers better names than those of Jachin & boaz for first he shall wryt upon ym ye name of his god yt it may be made plaice to all men yt these men are chossen out fr[om] ye rest to be gods peculiar people as in us wt all mat ... yt are openly marked wc do by yr titles declare to every one whose they are in wc sense it was said they shal know yt I have loved yee for wc caus[e] allso Holiness to ye lord was wryten upon ye lit ... bells yt hang upon ye horses in the prophet Zacharie 14 chap 20 verse.



1. - Dumfries is a town located in the southwest of Scotland, and was founded in the early twelfth century. In 1815 there was celebrated here, with great pomp, the tri-centenary of the Lodge Dumfries Kilwinning; 1515, the official date of creation of the Lodge, was later amended to 1575. Its first records only go back to 1687, however. Among its members was featured Robert Burns (1759-1796), the most famous of the romantic bards of Scotland.

2. - Operative practice here is justified, given the antiquity of the Lodge and the age of the Schaw and Sinclair texts reported previously.

3. - First allusion to the Great Architect of Heaven and Earth. This Great Architect will become the Designer of the Universe in Masonry Dissected of Samuel Prichard (1730).

4. - Holy Catholic Church - The assembly of Christians that is headed by the Pope and Bishop of Rome. It is not abnormal to find this reference in the Dumfries Manuscript, in reason of its Scottish origin, and Scotland being a land of Catholic tradition.

5. - Span - Measurement of length determined by the distance existing between the tip of the thumb and little finger - taken usually as a measurement equal to 9 inches.

6. - Is “the master” [Hiram?] standing alive, or lying dead, in a stone trough, or in a hollow carved stone, such as a sarcophagus? The question and answer are not clear, but the Wilkinson Manuscript, an Old English Charge dated about 1727, provides a precision that is particularly interesting:

Q. - What is the form of your Lodge?

A. - An Oblong Square.

Q. - Why so?

A. - The Manner of our Great Master Hiram’s grave.

In an anonymous broadsheet, “dated in the year 1726”, it is asked and answered: 

Q. - Where sat King John in the Morning when he assembled the Society?

A. - He sat in the East Window of the Temple in a Chair of Marble waiting the rising Sun.

Q. Where sat He in the Evening when He dismissed it?

A. - At the West End of the Temple in the same Chair waiting the rising sun.

© Guy Chassagnard 2016