Masonic Hall, Great George Street, Leeds,

Wednesday, March 22nd, 1922.

The President then introduced the Lecturer, W. Bro. A. E. Waite.

He said he much regretted to see so small an attendance to welcome so distinguished a visitor, but he felt sure those present were more or less experts and that they would give Bro. Waite a very hearty Yorkshire welcome. He mentioned a variety of circumstances which had combined to make the meeting a smaller one than usual.

Before commencing his Lecture on "Ancient York Masonry," Bro. Waite thanked the President and members for their kindness in altering the date of the meeting to suit his convenience, and said he felt sure that would in some part account for the small attendance.

Ancient York Masonry — A Plea for Further Research


Past Senior Grand Warden of Iowa, etc.

The sub-title of my paper represents the purpose in view and should at the same time dissuade those who are addressed from presuming that it is possible on my own part to offer a display of learning. I am in search, if it may be, of knowledge, or of some means which will open a path leading in that direction. And in order to draw the subject within measurable limits, and there keep it, my concern is with the Craft Degrees, though others may be mentioned in passing. There are some of us, at least in the South, who find that they are brought up against a stone wall in the course of their research into those Three Degrees which have been defined as constituting "pure and ancient Freemasonry," with the help apparently of the Holy Royal Arch. There is no need to say that the barrier which rises up belongs to the question of origin, and it may be permissible to add that my own especial concern is with the Master-Grade, because it embodies to my thinking the root-matter, is a summary or reflection — whatever we like to call it — of a great initiation. It is like a synthesis of things which have gone before it in the wide world of Figurative Mysteries, and it is an omen of things which come after, some of which have been or are in evidence and some remain in the hiddenness for a few to find. It may not enlist your assent, but you will suffer it to stand at its value as an individual point of view, when I say that apart from the Third Degree that of Entered Apprentice seems little and Fellow Craft seems less than little, that they could neither stand alone nor yet be sufficient to one another. But seeing that, with a brilliant French writer of the nineteenth century, "I also believe in the resurrection of Hiram," one is content with the preliminary experiences leading up to the central event of the whole Craft System, when Hiram is raised in the person of every Candidate and every Candidate by the fact of that raising becomes a Master Mason.

It is a great symbol in Ritual and many witnesses of the past stand about it, as I have intimated, with messages from things behind for those who can hear them, and it is for this reason that one is asking continually of oneself and of others: Whence comes this Third Degree, with all its omens of derived greatness, its gaps and seeming contradiction, above all its inexplicable contrast between the event in the legend and the chief event in the Lodge? In the sense of that contrast we know the kind of raising which befell the Master-Builder, though it cannot be set down in written words. It is only the Candidate who is raised alive and so restored to the former fellowship of toil, but in the achievement now of his and their reward, being that at least of a great lesson. Whence come these strange indications? Looking back upon the past of our initiation, we remember at the time of our making that Masonry came before us as a thing more ancient than the Golden Fleece, not to speak of its enthronement above all other Orders in honour. The claim in respect of antiquity is part of that which the Craft guarantees to us, in consideration of various guarantees certified on our own part and embodied in the pledge of an Apprentice. In virtue of what facts and what evidence is the claim made? If the appeal is to Operative Masonry, to its presumable trade secrets and its precautions for keeping out the Cowan and intruder who did not belong to the Guild, it seems obvious that these things are none of our concern. They are honourable enough and historically of interest within their own measures: the hallows of mediaeval English life are about them, and they are older admittedly than the Order of the Golden Fleece, which belongs to the early fifteenth century;[1] but their part is not our part, who are seeking the records, if any, of a Figurative Mystery, vestured in building symbolism, dealing with death and resurrection, and recalling therefore the great Osirian myth, at however far a distance. We remember this and the other speaking connections when at a certain point of procedure our eyes are lifted to that bright and Morning Star, whose rising brings peace and salvation.[2] We remember, it may be, the Sign of Osiris slain, the Sign of the mourning of Isis, the Sign of Typhon and Apophis and the Sign of Osiris risen. We remember the rending of Iacchos and his symbolic restoration, when the sun turns, in the springtide and buds and blossoms come forth. We remember greater things, legenda aurea et verissima of the Great Master of all, of Whom it is said, passus et sepultus est: but thereafter tertia die ressurexit.

It is not — all the same — to a past like these that our thoughts are turned in research, as if one expected in our fondness that Memphis, Eleusis and Thrace transmitted through hidden channels to our modern figuration of morality veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols. We are rather seeking in our modesty for some root-matter or traces of the Hiramic Myth and its personal application in the Third Degree prior to 1717 and the foundation of the London Grand Lodge. I have been looking on my own part through all my literary life, as I have sought for the Rosy Cross prior to 1614. But we are up against the stone wall of which I have spoken, and have found no open door into realms of possible knowledge which in our hypothesis may lie beyond. The position is therefore this: (1) That a Grand Lodge was founded in London in the year 1717 by the combination of four so-called old Lodges which had not consulted others in the immediate neighbourhood, and much less any that were scattered over the Kingdom; (2) That it neither could nor did claim at the beginning anything but local jurisdiction — over the City and immediate places on the South of the Thames; (3) That the original claim was extended gradually, amidst seeming dissatisfaction on the part of those who had not been consulted and who disliked interference and innovation: (4) That the new Grand Lodge had little in the way of old documents and was in search of such; (5) That there is a story at its value of Lodges which burned documents, to prevent them falling into undesirable hands, and that this is suggestive in view of the feeling mentioned; (6) That the kind of Masonry which Grand Lodge was supposed to cement and set in order in 1717 was "but one Degree of initiation," according to the German historian Findel; (7) That in the opinion of Bro. G. W. Speth, two Degrees existed in Masonry centuries before 1717, one of them being purely formal and matter of fact and the second "mystic and speculative," the two in their combination embodying all "esoteric knowledge of the present time";[3] (8) That the evidence of this view is wanting: (9) That it was held in a much modified form by Bro. F. C. Gould, in whose opinion the terms Fellow Craft and Master were interchangeable, and had reference to one and the same thing, being a Second Degree, but he did not suggest that it contained the present elements of the Third Degree: (10) That in 1897 Bro. W. J. Hughan recorded his inability to understand how Brethren versed in craft-lore can see any proof that more than one esoteric ceremony was known to and practised by our Masonic forefathers anterior to the Grand Lodge era.[4] Elsewhere and much earlier he spoke of the Craft Rite of Three Degrees being elaborated by the Revivalists, adding that in all probability they were from "the old Guild legends";[5] Our knowledge of Changes and Constitutions have increased since these words were written, but they have produced no evidence to justify such a suggestion.

We have most of us searched these records: we know all that has been said concerning them: we remember Gould with affection for his open and impartial mind: we have gone over the Regius MS. line by line, with his script on the subject in our hands: but we have not found the speculative or symbolical elements which he could see therein, or the mystic and esoteric knowledge of Bro. Speth's imagined Second Degree. I have said elsewhere that "there is no allegory and there is no symbolism," a statement which applies unreservedly to the whole century or more of similar documents. The fact of a Speculative Masonry prior to the first Grand Lodge is paraded otherwise frequently: and it proves on examination to signify that Non-Operative membership of Operative Lodges constitutes a speculative element: Now, this is a reduction of the term to a mere shibboleth, and we are seeking for early traces of a "system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols."[6] If I dared, however, to suggest that — "lock, stock and barrel" — Emblematic Freemasonry, in the sense that we attach to the words, is post 1717, I am liable to be set down as a traitor to the whole cause and its permanent vested interest. Where, however, are the records of its existence previously? Only in casual intimations throughout the world's literature, only in the counsel of the old Rosicrucian Order: "Be converted from dead into living philosophical stones." The balance of light available seems resident, for the rest, in affirmations. One has heard it stated dogmatically that there were Three Degrees in Scotland prior to the London Grand Lodge, and there are other analogous decrees, most of them formulated in terms which indicate that they are to be received and not questioned. If, however, it is true about Scotland, I want to know whether the Master Grade in that archaic period contained the Hiramic Myth, and there is no one to tell me. Can I do otherwise, under these circumstances, than fall back on a rational investigator like Hughan, who says that the earliest allusion in Scotland to the Degree of Master Mason is "to be found in the first volume of the Minutes of Canongate Kilwinning, No. 2, and is dated March 31, 1735,"[7] at which time there is no question that the system of Three Degrees was spreading far and wide, presumably from its centre and place of origin in London.

I say "presumably," awaiting with anxious heart the evidence of an earlier fount and source. I would give another ten years to research, if they are granted by the Great Architect of the Universe, could I find at the end of all that the root-matter came indeed from elsewhere. But if not, then alternatively I am out to find any shadows and vestiges of the Third Degree and the others in those alleged "old Guild legends" of which Bro. Hughan spoke, or anywhere else in the world of Rite and Myth. It is only in the last resource and then unwillingly that some of us can put up with London as the birthplace of our Emblematic Rite. I have prayed in this respect to be delivered from the Goose and Gridiron, the Crown Alehouse and that other House Mystical which was called the Rummer and Grapes. Georgian Taverns indeed, but they are not houses of call for those who dwell under the shadow of Mount Heredom, and have stood in the crypt of York Minster.

There is something to be said of this crypt and things connected therewith, for on account of various intimations there has been a disposition recently on the part of certain thoughtful Masons in the South to turn for light in the direction of York, its Grand Lodge and the Old Lodge which preceded it. One is treading upon dangerous ground, because it is assumed immediately that the disposition signifies belief in the Old York Rite, and it has been settled that this Rite is only the figment of a dream. Bro. Thomas Bowman Whytehead, who is of precious memory among you, has said that York Masonry is in the nature of an "unknown quantity,"[8] while the verdict of Hughan as regards the Rite generally is (1) that "there is no such Rite," and (2) that "what it was no one now knows," from which it follows that in his view there may have been something in the past, so that it is not exactly "the baseless fabric of a vision," though it has "left no wrack behind." But Bowman says also, and more strongly: (1) that "so far as any actual proof is concerned, the existence of Speculative Masonry at York at a date prior to the close of the seventeenth century is a myth: (2) that no records of "gatherings" at York are "so old as the one at Warrington" — that is 1645: (3) that there is no evidence for "anything in the nature of a Lodge of Speculative Masons" in York prior to 1693, but unfortunately, even his citation under that date testifies only to the membership of non-Operatives, otherwise "well-known local cognomenta": (4) that the extant York minutes begin in 1712:[9] (5) that they are literally of the baldest kind, "bare facts of meetings and names of persons received," who are described as "sworn and admitted": (6) that there are "no traces of anything like a Degree, as we should understand it"[10] These are the findings of Whytehead in 1888, but in 1899 he had revised his view in at least one respect and affirmed that the Old York Lodge was "the most ancient Speculative Masonic Body in this country."[11] The evidence does not emerge.

Gould is in specific agreement as regards York workings, for he says that "before and after 1726, as the existing records shew, there was an extreme simplicity of ceremonial… Candidates were merely "sworn and admitted or admitted and sworn."[12] The statement, being almost indubitably founded on research at first hand in the records, seems to dispose once and for all of a counter-affirmation found in a recent edition of Mackey's Encyclopædia,[13] according to which (1) the York Rite was the oldest of all the Rites "and consisted originally only of Three Degrees": (2) the Third "included a part which contained the True Word, disrupted from it by Dunckerley and never restored."

It disposes also of a hypothesis hazarded in the same work but excluded otherwise by the citations that I have just made, namely, that "the York Rite was that Rite which was most probably organised or modified at the Revival in 1717." There is not the least evidence that the men of the Revival organised or modified anything in the way of Ritual. Whatsoever inventions or revisions took place belong to a later period, to 1725 or thereabouts. It is suggested further that the alleged Rite of York or London — as you please — "was carried in its purity into France in 1725 and into America at a later period." But the French and Americans superposed others upon it, the Third Degree being mutilated. It happens that all French Rituals have been so transformed that it is impossible to speculate as to how they stood originally, but it is entirely gratuitous to suggest a dismemberment either there or in America, more especially at a period which, according to the muddled hypothesis, was long prior to the alleged disruption of Thomas Dunckerley, who was not made a Mason till 1754. Having parted with these confusions, a word may be said — as a further clearance of issues — about the alleged dissemination of a York Rite, about which I have mentioned already the decisions of Whytehead and Hughan. It is of common knowledge that the American Rite — now so called — used to be denominated the York Rite and consists of nine Degrees, classified in an illogical order. It is admitted on all hands that there was no warrant for the title, and the only question is therefore how it arose. Bro. W. J. Chetwode Crawley tells us, and there are other sources of information, that the Ancients came to be called York Masons,[14] apparently wherever they lived and worked. He says further that "English Brethren who adhered to the old standards were called York Masons in Ireland." We learn also from Bro. James Vroom, of New Brunswick, that the expression "Ancient York Masons" is found in early warrants, presumably Colonial, which were signed by Laurence Dermott as Grand Secretary of the Ancients.

We know, moreover, and it is recorded by Gould, that the Ahiman Rezon of 1756, under Dermott's editorship, was for the use of "Ancient York Masons in England."[15] It is under such auspices that the name passed over into British America, that is to say: Upper and Lower Canada and New England, where according to Vroom — "nothing could be further from the thoughts of American craftsmen at that time than to profess submission to any real or supposed headship at York."[16] They are said to have held "that the supreme authority in Masonry is a Lodge of Master Masons," and it is suggested somewhat unthinkably that in those places and at that time the York style and title represented "a spirit opposed to the centralisation of power": but it is difficult to see what evidence exists for this view, while the doctrine under notice seems to strike at the validity and indeed the very existence of any Grand Obedience. It appears much more simple and an adequate explanation enough to suppose that those who held Charters which termed them Ancient York Masons should have adopted that description, and this is apparently what they did. The identification of the Ancients with York is another question, the more difficult in view of the fact that they came over from Ireland, as proved abundantly by Bro. Sadler,[17] and more especially if Woodford is right in affirming that York was always opposed to the Athol Masons of London, with whose Grand Lodge, formed about 1753, it never associated."[18] For my present purpose I am content to regard the denomination, wheresoever and howsoever it originated, in Ireland or otherwise, as a reflection of the majesty of York in time immemorial tradition.

About this at least there is no question, however the testimony varies on the subjects of Rites and Grades. Has not Gould told us that York was long regarded as the earliest centre of the Building Art in England? Whytehead considers it unquestionable that "tradition does frequently point" thereto as to "a great Masonic centre, from which Masonry spread" and to which Masonry looked up. He says also: "That Masonry had an early existence in York is indisputable." In his view the antique tradition "gave a flavouring and colouring" to the subject throughout the world. It is in this light that he accounts for the "delusions" about "the Old York working" and explains the title of Ancient York Masons, assumed by the so-called Athols.[19] There are statements, moreover, of Woodford which appertain to this aspect of the subject: (1) That the Annual Assembly was "held by Masonry in the City of York for centuries": (2) That this is "acknowledged virtually by all MSS. from the fourteenth century" (3) That by a general agreement of legend and actual history "the home of the Mason Craft" was York until modern times.[20] It was in virtue of such authority that on St. John's Day in the winter, 1726, Dr. Francis Drake, the author of Eboracum, being the "History and Antiquities of the City and Cathedral Church of York," published in 1736, claimed for the York Assembly the title of Grand Lodge of all England, that of Grand Lodge having been arrogated apparently to itself on the corresponding Festival in the previous year.[21] There is no call to consider in this place what reliance if any, can be placed on the written testimony of Jacob Bussey, Grand Secretary (York) in 1778, deposing for the benefit of Benjamin Bradley and William Preston that the Grand Lodge at York anteceded the Lodge of London by twelve or more years. His authority is the missing Minute Book, beginning in 1704, and the question unhappily is likely to remain in suspension for ever and ever. In any case, we find Anderson placing on record in his second Book of Constitutions, 1738, the fact that York was under its own Grand Master. The last institution to challenge the position at the period would be the Grand Lodge of 1717.

With the history of the Grand Lodge at York I am not concerned here: we know that there is a long gap in its records, as from 1730, though Bro. Whytehead speaks of "very strong evidence that meetings were still held for something like fifteen years after that date. Whether it fell asleep about 1745 I suppose that no one can say: but Dr. Francis Drake was alive and destined to come again into evidence in 1761, when he "reconstructed" the Grand Lodge and became its Grand Master. In 1767 the revived body sent a manifesto to the London Grand Lodge, laying claim to a "time immemorial existence as a Grand Lodge," acknowledging no superior and "asserting their ancient rights," without detriment to those of London. The authority is again Whytehead, who in his later study of the subject cites a Brief Account of the York Grand Lodge, under date of September 2, 1779, and in this it is affirmed that the Four London Lodges of 1717 originated from the Ancient York Masons and "regarded the fact as their peculiar honour."[22] Whatever we may think of the claim, not excepting its sincerity, there is interest in the fact that it was made, because it indicates that York at the period held itself to be the source and centre of all English Masonry, however the Arts and Craft may have originated in Scotland and Ireland. Under the auspices of Drake, whose Eboracum of many years back indicates acquaintance with the activities of London Masonry, it is, I believe, understood that York was working Degrees, whether or not, as Crawley says of the Ancients, they did not suffer the "completion of the Master's part to fall into disuse," but "retained the conclusion of the legend." We know that according to this zealous student the Royal Arch of the Ancients "differed in origin, lessons and legend from that of the Moderns,"[23] meaning no doubt that it corresponded to the present Irish working. But Royal Arch history in York is very obscure and indeed non-existent prior to the reconstruction of the Grand Lodge in 1761. In that year, and therefore under Drake obviously, a Grand Chapter is held to have been organised, and its records, which do not begin till 1762, continue for some eighteen years. It was not apparently till 1780 that the Order of Knights Templar was recognised by the Chapter as constituting the Fifth Degree in Freemasonry. Finally, Bro. F. G. Harmer has told us that the Mark Degree "was evidently practised under an old constitution derived from the Grand Lodge of York" by the Old York Lodge at Bradford.[24]

Here is the open history, but is there anything that lies behind? The York tradition antecedes the York records, as we have seen. I have registered on my own part a tentative notion that once in time there may have been roots of many things in that old city of the Art and Craft, and that from these have developed others which are still extant among us, we knowing not whence they come. Bro. Whytehead, in his preface to Hughan's Origin, asks whether it is not possible that the Arch had its beginning far back at York, "amongst a superior class of Operatives" and was only "revived" afterwards "as a Speculative Order." I have wondered whether we should turn in this direction, seeking vestiges of the Hiramic Myth prior to 1717. According to Bro. John Yarker[25] there was an old Masters' Ceremony at York: it contained much that is now omitted and "had many points of resemblance to the Ancient Mysteries." His other affirmations are: (1) that the names of the criminals are given: (2) that after the death of Hiram the Superintendent Adoniram succeeds him and is ruler of Perfect Masters: (3) that the Father of Craftsmen is lamented for twice seven days: (4) that the Fraternity is gladdened thereafter by a reappearance in the person of Adoniram, described as the Prince of the People: (5) that the York ceremony was a good representation of the Aphanism and Euresis of the Mysteries.

I invite you to observe that there is a very clear issue embodied in this specific description of a Ritual and its contents. It does not seem to represent any known Degree in Craft or High Grade Masonry. I have a wide acquaintance with these, both in manuscript and printed form: it corresponds to nothing that I have met with in so-called Adonhiramite Masonry or in any of the rather numerous versions of Perfect Master. It is of course possible that something has escaped me in more or less open sources, and if this be so, we have only to ascertain what it is. In the alternative case it calls to be determined how we are to regard the account. We are most of us aware that Bro. Yarker was a man of somewhat confused mind, that he had many "bees in his bonnet," as the saying goes, and that he left his readers continually in the lurch for want of references by which his statements could be checked: but I should never entertain a suggestion that he forged materials at need. On the contrary I infer that there was a written document before him when he described this "Master Ceremony,' whether its York attribution is literal or not. That was possibly a matter of inference. The first question is what has become of the MS. on which he worked, and the second is whether there is another copy anywhere available to research. I put forward a plea for the settlement of this problem, if that indeed be possible, among the scattered records of Yorkshire. But it is not the only question. Do you remember Hughan's reference in The Origin of the English Rite to a Meeting of the York Chapter on May 27, 1778, in "the ancient Lodge, now a sacred recess within the Cathedral Church at York"? It is drawn from an old record, to which we shall see that there is a story attached, and he thought — I believe — that it accounted for many rumours about Masonic meetings in the crypt. But there is a much more direct reference, and for this I must take you to a great inchoate mass of learning, belonging to the first half of the nineteenth century. Prior to the year 1836, Godfrey Higgins, of Skellow Grange, Doncaster, was made a Mason. He had devoted many years to research, the memorials of which are collected into The Celtic Druids and a monumental treatise entitled Anacalypsis, understood as an inquiry into the origin of languages, nations and religions. They are valuable at the present day only for their materials, which are exceedingly rich and are accompanied by hosts of references, so that all statements can be examined. I mention this point to shew that Higgins was a sincere and zealous worker. He was out for the truth as he understood it, and though his speculations were wild I am very certain that he was to be trusted on a question of fact within his knowledge, but more especially on his personal acts. He was of Doncaster, as I have said, and it happens that his studies made York of great importance, especially on Culdee questions, so it came about that he also, in due course, found it of great antiquity in Masonry. He regarded the London Grand Lodge as having no colourable pretensions in comparison with York and Scotland.[26] The sanctuary at York was the oldest of our Lodges,[27] so far as could be traced, and its meetings took place in the crypt, under the grand Cathedral,[28]: meaning those of the Grand Lodge.[29] "The circular chapter house did very well for ordinary business, but the secret mysteries were held below the ground."[30] He affirms that he can prove this from a manuscript then in his possession. "I searched," he says, "the Masonic records in London, and I found a document which upon the face of it seemed to shew that … the Grand Lodge of all England had been held under the Cathedral in the crypt at York. In consequence of this I went to York and applied" — he does not unfortunately say at what date — "to the only survivor of the Lodge, who skewed me from the documents which he possessed, that the Druidical (sic) Lodge or Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, or Templar Encampment, all of which it calls itself" — meaning of course that the three bodies in question met in the same place — "was held for the last time in the crypt on Sunday May 27, 1778. At that time the Chapter was evidently on the decline, and it is since dead." [31] The last statement which need be quoted is this: "The documents from which I have extracted the above information respecting the York Masons, were given to me by — Blanchard, Esq., and transferred by me to the person who now possesses them, and with whom they ought most properly to be placed, His Royal Highness the Duke of Sussex."

It will be observed that in this manner the temporary loss of certain York MSS. is explained by a faithful witness, who dealt with them as might be expected from a Mason, and the Grand Master on his part handed them to the United Grand Lodge, by which they were returned on request to their original and lawful keepership. May it come about that the lost Minute Book will be restored also to its home. I do not wish to exaggerate otherwise the testimony of Godfrey Higgins. It is certain that he was inexperienced as a Mason, that he lumped together Craft and High Degrees as if their titles were synonyms for one and the same thing. He regarded the York Grand Lodge as a relic of Culdee Mysteries and the latter as a thinly transformed Druidism. It is unfortunate, but the origin of languages, nations and religions was a chaos embrouillé at that period and spread pits everywhere beneath the feet of unwary investigators. The fact remains as it seems to me, that he met and talked with the sole surviving member of a Lodge which met in the crypt of York Cathedral and was something apart from the ordinary gatherings held in the Chapter House.

I offer no opinion on the nature of the inferred distinction: but we who are lovers of Masonry, and those among us in particular who would find if possible a way of escape from referring the root as well as the development of our Emblematic Order to London of the early Georges, might "try one journey more" to discover whether that House of many Hallows, the Masonic York, has yielded up all its secrets.

This is my thesis, Brethren, and this embodies my plea. If it is destined to produce nothing for want of further materials, I ask you to trite me down as one who loves York because of York Masonry, its great omen and enchantment. I have loved it from the beginning, as I have loved Mother Kilwinning and its fabled mountain. They stand as witnesses and portents, as pillars of a porch which opens on the world of Instituted Mysteries. I look beyond York and Kilwinning to a Craft uplifted in the highest significance of its symbols, to the messages of the High Grades, in which Hiram Abiff rises as another and Greater Master. It is in this sense, Brethren, that "I also believe in the resurrection of Hiram."


At the close of the Lecture which had been followed with close attention, Bro. W. H. Bean said he was delighted that Bro. Waite had referred to the history of Grand Lodge, both that of London and York, but especially the latter. He said that the Library of the Prov. of West Yorks. possessed seven out of the nine copies of the MS. Old Charges found in Yorkshire. He felt sure that much might be done in searching the records and traditions of the smaller places of Masonic interest in the County and that results similar to those accruing from the work of Dr. Maud Sellers at York in the Ancient Records of the Guilds at York would be obtained.

Bro. F. G. Harmer referred to the very interesting records to be obtained from such places as Bottoms, a splendid account of which was given in Craven's History of Bottoms. He also thought that much more of the ritual and ideas underlying our ceremonies as well as much of our symbolism was derived from the religion of the Ancient Egyptians and that the Hiramic legend owed much to the stories of Osiris and Isis. He referred to an old Mark Rite that was used in the Hope Lodge at Bradford, and later in the Old York Mark Lodge there.

Bro. J. H. Ford said how delighted he had been to listen to such a Lecture from a Mason of such wide culture and repute. He was unable himself to add to the information they had received that evening, and he was not sufficiently advanced in the matter to discuss it, but he felt bound to express his delight at what he had heard. A Brother asked if the ritual used in Germany was obtained from the York Rite.

W. Bro. Waite in reply said he was unable to give any information about the ceremonies used in Germany, as there were so many degrees and observances there, and added that the Rites in France, too, were many of them very strange and quite unlike anything we had in England.

The President, in proposing a vote of thanks, referred to the York Rite as once used in the Alfred Lodge. The vote was seconded by W. Bro. E. S. Whalley, who said the paper would inspire him to look up Bro. Makins the next time he was in York.

Bro. Waite suitably replied, and hoped his paper would inspire the Brethren to carry on this very important research work.


[1] it was founded on January 10th, 1429, at Bruges, by Philip III, Duke of Burgundy, to commemorate his marriage with Isabella, daughter of John, King of Portugal. The suggested attributions are to the Argonautic Quest of the Golden Fleece and to the wool trade in the Low Countries. The words Je l'ay empris would apply to the first and the general motto, Pretium laborum non vile to the second.

[2] Compare the Apocalypse, II, 22: "And I will give Him the Morning Star": also XXII, 16: "I am … the bright and Morning Star."

[3] Quoted by Dr. W. J. Chetwode Crawley in Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, Vol. IX, p. 4.

[4] Ibid., Vol. X, p. 127.

[5] Origin of the English Rite, 1884.

[6] Even Gould speaks in an unusually positive mood of Symbolical Masonry in 1646 on the sole warrant that Ashmole, a non-Operative was made in that year. He was writing of "English Freemasonry before the Era of Grand Lodges," in A.Q.C., Vol. I, pp. 67 et seq.

[7] See ibid., I, 2r2, s.v.. Freemasonry and Hermeticism, a review of Allan Mackenzie's, History of the Lodge Canongate Kilwinning, No. 2, 1888.

[8] See an important study of The Grand Lodge at York in A.Q.C., I., pp. 110 et seq.

[9] One of the Minute Books is missing, being that which began, according to one account, in 1704, but according to Gould the first entry was dated March 7th, 1705–6. See The History of Freemasonry, Vol. II, p. 408, 1887. The same date is given by Whytehead and still earlier by Woodford in his Cyclopedia of Freemasonry.

[10] See Whytehead's account of The Grand Lodge at York, published in A.Q.C., Vol. II, pp. 110 et seq.

[11] T. B. Whytehead: Relics of the Grand Lodge at York. See Ibid., Vol. XIII, pp. 93 et seq.

[12] R. F. Gould: Degrees of Pure and Ancient Freemasonry, Ibid., Vol. XVI.

[13] An Encyclopædia of Freemasonry. By Albert G. Mackey. New and revised edition, two vols., 1917.

[14] See A.Q.C., Vol. XVI., p. 73, et seq.

[15] History of Freemasonry, Vol. II, p. 455.

[16] See A.Q.C., Vol. XXIV, pp. 268 et seq., s.v. Ancient York Masonry in British America. I suppose that on every consideration the axiom cited above would be rejected by all thinking Masons.

[17] Henry Sadler: Masonic Facts and Fictions, described as "comprising a new theory of the origin of the Ancient Grand Lodge," 1887.

[18] Kenning's Masonic Cyclopedia, p. 651.

[19] A.Q.C., Vol. II, s.v., The Grand Lodge at York, already cited.

[20] Loc. cit., s.v., York Grand Lodge.

[21] See Old Rules of the Grand Lodge at York, 1725, printed in Hughan's Masonic Sketches and Reprints, pp. 44, 45.

[22] A.Q.C., II, s.v. The Grand Lodge at York and Ibid., XIII, s.v. Relics of the Grand Lodge at York, both already cited.

[23] A.Q.C., Vol. XVI, pp. 73 et seq.

[24] The Mark Degree and Mason's Marks, with Special Reference to the Province of West Yorkshire, p. 22, 1919.

[25] The Arcane Schools, p. 415.

[26] Anacalypsis, I, 817.

[27] Ibid., p. 717.

[28] Ibid., p. 718.

[29] Ibid., also p. 723.

[30] Ibid., p. 718.

[31] Ibid., p. 768. Ibid.

The Installed Masters' Association, Leeds Vol. XVIII 1921–1922