The Kevan Manuscript (1714)
This Manuscript, little known by Masons – because rarely published – was found in 1954 in a collection of old documents, by Brother P. D. Kevan and delivered by him to the Grand Lodge of Scotland.
It is argued, without being able to say for certain, that he was written about the year 1714 ... Its main interest is as one of the last manuscript Catechisms presently identified.
The context - According to an imperial edict free and compulsory education is established in Russia. Ending a family war of succession, Philip V (1683-1746) of Spain renounces definitively his claim to the crown of France.
It is still the beginning of the reign of George I. (1660-1727) of Great Britain.
During the following year, there will be Louis XIV’s death (1638-1715), the crown of France being given to his great-grandson, Louis the Beloved (1710-1774).
The document - By its form it recalls the Edinburgh Manuscript and the Chetwode Crawley one; which were however written a few years earlier.
Its first feature is to dwell on the request for the Mason Word – a word prior to the Master’s Word.
Editor’s note - Presented below in its original writing the Kevan Manuscript is fully understandable by any reader; so we have decided not to adapt it nor correct its spelling.
The Original Text
THE FORME OF GIVING THE MASON WORDE
The Persone qo is to geet ye word is put upon his knees, & after a grate many Serimonys to frighten him they make him take up the Bible & Laying his right hand upon it, they Conjure him, to Secrecy by Severall thretings yt if he shall break his Oath; The Sun in ye Firmament & all ye Company there present will be witnesses agt him qh will be ye occasione of his Damnatione & yt Likewise they’l be sure to Murder him: Then after he has sworne secrecie they wille give him the Oath as Follows:
By: God himselfe & as you shall answer to God qn yoy shall Stand naked befor him at ye great day of Judgment you shall not reveall any poynt of what you shall see or hear at this time neither by word nor writing at any time or draw wt ye poynt of a Sword or any other instrument upon ye Snow, or Sand, Nor shall you Speake of it but wt an Entered Meason.
So hele me God.
After he has taken the oath, he is removed out of ye Company wt ye yowngast Masone, where after he is Sufficiently frightned wt a thousand Grimasses & posturs (1) He is to Learn from ye Sd Mason ye manner of Making [the due guard] which is the Signs & Posturs of his [entry] qh are as follow (2):
Here come I ye youngast & Last Entered prentise, as I am sworne by God & St. John by ye Square & Campass & common Judge to attend my Mrs: service at ye Honourable Lodge from Munday Morning till Setturdays night and to keep ye Keys thereof under no Less paine then to have my toungue cut out under my Chinn & to be buryed wtin ye flood marke wher no man shall know.
Then he makes ye Signe again qh is by Drawing his hand under his Chin alonge his throate qh denots it is to be Cut in case he broke his worde Then all ye Masons present whisper the word amongst hemselves begining [at the youngest] till it come to ye Mr Masone, qo gives ye worde to ye entered Prentise.
Now it is to be Marked yt all ye Signs & words, as yet spoken off are only qt belongs to Entered prentises but to [be] a Mr: Masone or fellow craft: [there is more to be done, as after follows] First all ye Prentices are to be removed out of the Company & none Suffered to stay but only Mrs:
Then [he] qo is to be admitted a member of fellowship is put again to his knees & geets ye oath administrated to him anew. Afterward he most go out of the Company wt ye youngast Mr. to Learne the word & Signs of fellowship yn coming inn again he makes ye Mr Signs of fellowship & says the same words of entry [as ye prentice did] only keeping out ye Coming [Common] Judge yn ye Mrs: whisper the word among emselves beginning at ye youngest as befor,
Afterwards, ye younge masone advancess & puts him selfe in a posture wherein he is to receive ye word & says to them:
The Honourable company, ye worthy Masons & honourable company yt I come from Greet you well, Greet you well, Greete you well.
Then ye Master [Mason] gives him ye word & grips his hand after the mason way, which is all to be done to make a perfect Mason.
Some Questions that Masons use to put to these who profess
to have ye Mason word befor they wille Acknowledge them.
Question. - Are you a Mason?
Answer. - Yes indeed that I am.
Q. - How shall I know that?
A. - In time and place convenient.
Not[e]: This answer is only to be made when there are company present qo are not masons, Bot if there be no such company by you you should answer, by Signs & tokens & other poynts of Entry.
Q. - What is ye first poynt of Entry?
A. - Tell me ye first & I’l tell thee the seacond.
Q. - The first is, to hear & Conseal?
A. - The Second under no Hell pain Drawing the right Hand from the Left to the right yn Cutting yr Throat.
Q. - Where was you Entred?
A. - Att Honowrable Lodge.
Q. - What makes a true & ferfect Lodge?
A. - Mrs 5 Prenices & a days Jurny from a Burrowghs toun wtout barke of a Doge or crow of a Cocke.
Q. - Doeth no less make a true & Perfect Lodge?
A. - 4 Mrs 3 entered Prentices & ye Rest as befor.
Q. - Does no Less?
A. - The Mo the Mirryer & ye fewer the better Chear.
Q.o-oWhat is the name of your Lodge?
A. - The Lodge of Killewinning (3).
Q. - How Stands your Lodge?
A. - Easte & west as ye Temple of Jerusalem.
Q. - Where was the first Lodge?
A. - In the Porch of Sollomons Temple.
Q. - Are there Lights in your Lodge?
A. - Three, ye North East, Southwest, & Easters [Eastern] passages ye first denots the Mr Masone, the Second the word the third the fellowcraft.
Q. - Are there any Jewells in your Lodge?
A. - Three, a Perpendester a Square Pavement & a covered Kinall (4).
Q. - Where Shall I find the Key of your Lodge?
A. - Three foot & a Half from the Lodge door under a Perpendaster Green Divot.
Q. - What do you mean by a Perpendester & a green Divot?
A. - I mean not only under a Perpendester & green Divot, but under the Lape of my Liver where all the Secrets of my Hart Lie.
Q. - Which is the Key of your Lodge?
A. - A well Hunge toungue.
Q. - Where Lys yt Key?
A. - In the Bone Box After The Masons have Examened You by all or Some of these Questions & yt you Have answered em Exactly; they will acknowladge you as a Prenticer But not as a Mason or Fellow Craft.
Q. - So they will say We see you have been in ye Kitchin but know not yt you have been in ye Hall.
A. - I have been in the Hall as well as in the Kitchin.
Q. - Are you a Fellow Craft?
A. - Yes.
Q. - How many Poynts of Fellowship are there?
A. - Five: Viz: Foot to Foot, Knee to Knee, Harte to Harte, Hand to Hand, Ear to Eare, qh make the Signs of Fellowship; & shake hands, & You wille be Acknowladged to be a true Masone.
The Worde is in 1: Kings 7: 21: & in 2d Chron 3d: Last Varse the wholl Varse but especially the words Jachin & Boaz.
1. - A thousand “grimasses and posturs” - The wording might suggest an Anti-Masonic disclosure text. The context shows however that it is not. In fact it is a text coming directly from a Scottish Lodge, probably the Mother Lodge of Kilwinning.
2. - Missing words abound in the text, that the transcriptionist or the reader himself has to fill by his own perception.
3. - By this response, we may conclude that the Kevan Manuscript is of Scottish origin, and that it comes from the Mother Lodge of Kilwinning.
4. - Read in the text: “Three, a Perpendester [perpend-Ashlar], a Square Pavement and a covered Kinall”; the Chetwode Crawley Manuscript has “broked mall,” which may be the original version; so, in Modern English: Three, a Perpend-Ashlar, a Square Pavement and a Broked-Mall (a Heavy Maul for striking a stone so it is broached).