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Old Charges of Operative Freemasons – THE ANTIQUITY Manuscript


God And
Keep His
In the name of the
Great and Holy God
the wisdom of the Son and
the Goodnesse of the holy
Ghos Three Persons & one
God be with us now &
ever. Amen.
This is the
Whole Duty
of Man


Brethren and Fellowes here begineth the Noble and Worthy Science of Free Masons or Geomitrie and in what maner itt was first Founded and begun, And afterwards how itt was confirmed by diverse Kings and Princes and by many other Worshipful men and allso to those that be here we mind to shew you the Charge that belongs to every Free Mason to keepe For in good faith if you take good heed it is well worthy to be kept for A Noble Craft and curious Science. Sirs there be seaven Libreall Sciences of the which this Noble Science of Masons is one And the seaven be these. the First is Gramer and teacheth a man to spell and write truely. The Second is Rhetoricke and that teacheth a man to speake Faire and Subtill. the Third is Logicke and that teacheth a man to desceme the truth from the False The Fouerth is Arithmeticke and that teacheth a man to reckon and Account. The fifth is Geomitrie that teacheth a man Mett and measure of Earth and of all things of the which this Science is called by Mastr Euclides Geomititrie and by Hitruonis is called Architecture the sixth is called Musique seaueum is called Astronomie and teacheth a man to know the course of the Sun and the Moon and the Starrs These be the seaven Libreall Sciences of the which all be Founded by one that is Geomitrie and thus a man may prove that all the Seaven Sciences be Founded by Geomitrie for it teacheth a man Mett and measure Ponderaton and waight on all the things on Earth for there is no workman that worketh any Craft but he worketh by some mett or measure and every man that buyeth or selleth they buy or sell by some waight or measure and all this is Geomitrie and the Merchants and all other Craftsmen of the seaven Sciences and the Plowman and the Tillers of the Earth and the Sowers of all maner of Graines seeds vines and plants and setters of all maner of Fruits for Grammer or ARITHMETICKE nor Astronomie nor none of all the seaven Sciences can no man fine mett or measure in without Geomitrie wherefore methinks the said Science of Geomitrie is most worthy and all the other be Founded by itt. -But how this worthy Science and Craft was First Founded and begun I shall tell you—Before Noah’s Flood there was a man which was called Lameth as it is written in the Bible in the 4th Chapter of Genesis and this Lameth had two wives the one called Adah the other Zillah by his first Wife Adah he begat Jabell and his brother Juball & of Zillah she bare Tuball-Caine and his Sister who was called Naamah. And tliese Foure children found the begining of all these Crafts and Sciences in the world For the Eldest son Jabell found the craft of Geometrie and he fed flecks of Sheep and Lambs in the Field and first wrought houses of stone and he and his brother Juball Found the Craft of MUSIQUE song of mouth HARPP ORGAN and all other Instruments the Third brother Tubal-Caine found the smith craft ot Gold sillver Iron Copper and Steell and the daughter found the craft of weaveing. And these Children knewwell that God would take vengance for sinn either by Fire or Water wherefore they wrote these Sciences they had Founded in two Pillers of stone that they might be found afterwards the one stone was called Carystius for that would not burn in the Fire And the other was called Latherne and that would not be drownded with Water. Our Entent is to tell you how and in what maner these stones were found that these Sciences was written on. the Herminerius that was Cubb his son the which Cubb was Semmett son the which was Noah’s son this same Herminerius was afterwards called Armes the Father of the Wisemen he found one of the two Pillers of stone and found the Sciences written therein and he taught itt to others, and at the makeing of the Tower of Babilon was Masons first there made much of and when the King of BABILON called Membroth who was a Mason himselfe and loved well the rest as is said with the Master of Stories And when the City of Neneve or the City of the East port should have been made Membroth the King of Babilon sent thither Sixty Masons of his Reigon to the King of NINIVE his Cuzzon and when he sent them forth he gave them a Charge in this manner

First that they should be true to their King Lord or Master they served And that they should ordaine the most wise and cunning man to be Master of the King or Lords worke that was amongst them and neither for Love riches or faviour to sett another that had litle cunning to be Master of that worke whereby the Lord should be ill served and the Science ill Dishamed.

Secondly, that they should call the Governour of the said worke Master all the time they wrought with him and other many more charges were too long to cyte and for the keeping all those charges he made them sweare a great Oath which men used at that time and ordained for them reasonable pay that they might live with honesty and allso he gave them in charge They should Assemble together every yeare once to see how they might worke best to serve the King or Lord for their profitt and their own worshipp.

Thirdly that they should correct within themselves those that had trespassed against the Science and thus was this Noble Craft first grounded there. And the worthy Ms. Euclides gave it the name of Geomitrie and how it was called throughout all the world Masonrie. Long after when the Children of Isreall were come into the Land of Berhest which is now called the Country of Jerusalem where KING David begun the Temple which is now called TEMPLM DEI and is now named with us the Temple of Jerusalem and the same King David loved Masons then right well and gave them good pay And he gave the Charges and manners that he learned in Egypt which were given by the worthy DOCTER Euclides and other more Charges that you shall hear afterwards and after the decease of King David then Raigned Salomon David’s son and he performed out the Temple that his Father had begunn and he sent after Masons into diverse Lands and into diverse Countries and he gathered them together so that he had 24000 workers of stone and were all named Masons and he choosed out of them 3000 and were ordained to be Masts. Rulers and Governours of his worke and there was a King of an other Reigon which men called Iram and he loved well KING Solomon and gave him Timber to his worke and he had a son called…….. that was Master of Geomitrie and was cheife Master of all his Masons that belonged to the TEMPLE both for Graveing Carveing and all other Masonrie.

This is witnessed in the Bible (in Libro Regium tertio & quarto) and this same Salomon confirmed both the Charges and the maners which his Father had given and thus was the worthy Science of Masonrie confirmed in that Countrie of Jerusalem and many other Kingdoms and Reigions -Men walked into diverse countries some because of Learning to learn more cunning and some to teach them that had but little cunning. And so it befell that there was a man called Namus Greecinus who had been at the makeing of Solomon’s Temple and he came to France and there he taught the men of that Land the Science of Masonrie and there was one of the Royall Line of France called Carolus Marsell a man that loved well the said Craft and tooke upon him the Rules and maners and after that By the Grace of God was elected to be King of France and when he was in his Esstate he helped to make those Masons that were non and gave them charges and maners as he had learned of other Masons and set them on worke and gave them good pay and confirmed them a Charter from year to yeare to hould their Assemblie where they would and cherished them right well And thus came this noble Craft into France.

England in that season stood void as Foraigne charge of Masons untill St. Albons time for in his day the King of England and that was as…………….. that did wall the Town about which is now called St. Albons and St. Albons was a worthy KNIGHT and STEWARD to the King of his houshold and head Gouernour of his Realme and allso of the makeing of the walls of the said Town and he loved well Masons and cherished them much and made their pay right good for he gave them iijs. vid. a weeke and iijd. a day for the bearers of Burthens —before that time in all the Land a Mason tooke but one penny on the day and his meat till Albon mended itt. And he gott them a Charter from the King and his Counsell for to hold a General Counsell and gave itt to name Assemblie thereat he was himselfe and did help to make Masons and gave them Charges as you shall heare afterwards. Soon after the death of St. Albon there came diverse Warrs into England out of diverse Nations so that the good Rule of Masons was quite Disheired and put down untill the time of King Aldiston in his time there was a worthy King in England that brought this Land into good rest and he builded many great works and Buildings therefore he loved well Masons for he had a son called Edwine the which loved Masons much more than his Father did and he was so much practiz’d in Geomitrie that he delighted much to come and talke with Masons and to learn of them the Craft and after for the love he had to Masons and to the Craft he was made Mason at WINSOUER and he got of the King his Father a Charter and Commision once every yeare to assemble within the Realm where they would within England and to correct within themselves Faults and Trespasses that were done as touching the Craft and he held them an Assemblie at Yorke and there he made Masons and gave them Charges and taught them the maners and commands the same to be kept ever afterwards And tooke them a Charter and Commision to keepe theire Assemblie and ordained that it should be renewed from KING to King and when the Assemblie were gathered together he made a Cry that all OLD Masons or young that had any writeings or understandings of the Charges and maners that were made before their Lands wheresoever the were made Masons that they shd shew them forth They were found some in French some in Greeke and some in Hebrew some in English and some in other Languages and when they were read and overseen well the Intent of them all was understood to be all one.

And then he caused a Booke to be made thereof how this worthy Craft Masonrie was first Found and he himselfe commanded and allso then caused that itt should be read at any time when it should happen any Mason or Masons to be made to give him or them theire Charges and from that time untill this day manners of Masons hath been kept in this maner and forme as well as men might govern itt. And furthermore at diverse Assemblies have been put and ordained diverse Cratches by the best advice of Masts and Fellows.

Tun unus ex semioribus tenta Librum et illi fonent manum suam super Librum.

Every man that is a Mason take good heed to these Charges (wee pray) that if any man find himselfe guilty of any of these Charges that he may amend himselfe or principally for dread of God you that be charged to take good heed that yee keepe all these Charges well for it is a great perill for a man to foreswear himselfe upon Booke.

The First Charge is that yee shall be true men to God and the holy Church and to use no error or Herisie by your understanding and by wise men’s teaching

Secondly that yee shall be true Leige men to the King of England without Treason or any Falshood and that ye know no Treason or Trechery but yee shall give knowledge thereof to the King or to his Counsell allso yee shall be true one to another (that is to say) every Mason of the Craft that is Mason allowed yee shall doe to him as yee would be done unto your selfe.

Thirdly and yee shall keepe truely all the Counsell that ought to be kept in the way of Masonhood and all the Counsell of the Lodge or of the Chamber allso that yee be no Theife nor Theives to your knowledge free that yee shall be true to the King Lord or Master that yee serve and traely to see and worke for his advantage.

Fourthly yee shall call all Masons your Fellowes or your Bretheren and no other names.

Fifthly yee shall not take your Fellows Wife in villany nor deflower his daughter or servant nor put him to disworshipp.

Sixthly yee shall truely pay for your meat or drinke wheresoever yee goe to Table or board allso yee shall doe no villany there whereby the Craft or Science may be Slandered.

These be the Charges Generall to every true Mason both Masters & Fellowes.

Now will I Rehearse other Charges single for Masons allowed or accepted.

First that no Mason take on him no Lords worke nor other mans unless he know himsehe well able to perform the worke so that the Craft have no Slander.

Secondly allso that no Master take worke but that he take reasonable pay for itt So that the Lord may be truely served and the Master to live honestly and to pay his Fellows truely and that no Master or Fellow supplant others of theire worke (that is to say) that if he hath taken a worke or else stand Master of any worke that he shall not put him out unless he be unable of cunning to make an end of his worke And no Master nor Fellow shall take no Apprintice for less then seaven yeares and that the Apprintice be free-born and of Limbs whole as a man ought to be and no Bastard and that no Master or Fellow take no allowance to be made Mason without the Assent of his Fellows at the least six or seaven.

Thirdly that he that be made be able in all degrees that is free-born of a good kindred true and no Bondsman and that he have his right Limbes as a man ought to have.

Fourthly that a Master take no Apprintice without he have occupation to occupie two or three fellows at the least.

Fifthly that no Master nor Fellow put away any Lords worke to task that ought to be Journey worke.

Sixthly that every Master give pay to his Fellows and servants as they may deserve soe that he be not defamed with false workeing And that none slander another behind his backe to make him loose his good name.

Seventhly that no Fellow in the house or abroad answear another ungodly or reproveably without a cause.

Eightly that every MASTER Mason doe reverence his Elder and that a Mason be no common plaier at the Cards Dice or hazzard nor at other unlawfull plaies through the which the Science and Craft may be dishonered or slandered.

Ninthly that no Fellow goe into the Town by night exept he have a Fellow with him who may beare him record that he was in an honest place.

Tenthly that every Master and Fellow shall come to the Assemblie if itt be within Fifty Miles ot him if he have any warning and if he have trespased against the Craft to abide the award of Masters and Fellows.

Eleventhly that every Master Mason and Fellow that hath trespassed against the Craft shall stand to the correction of other Masters and Fellows to make him accord and if they cannot accord to go to the Common Law.

Twelvethly that a Master or Fellow make not a mould stone Square nor Rule to no Lowen nor set no Lowen worke within their Lodge nor without to mould stone.

Thirteenthly that every Mason receve and cherish strange Fellowes when they come over the Countrie and set them on worke if they will worke as the manner is (that is to say) if the Mason have any mould Stone in his place he shall give him a mould stone and sett him on worke and if he have none the Mason shall refresh him with money unto the next Lodge.

Fourteenthly that every Mason shall truely serve his Master for his pay.

Fifteenthly that every Master shall truely make an end of his worke Taske or Journey whether soe it be.

These be all the Charges and Covenants that ought to be Read at the makeing of a Free Mason or Free Masons THE ALMIGHTY God OF Jacob who ever have you and me in his keepeing bless us now and ever Amen.

William Bray free-man of London and Free-mason.

Written by Robert Padgett Clearke to the WORSHIPPFULL Society of the FREE Masons of the CITY of LONDON in the second yeare of the RAIGNE of our most GRACIOUS SOVERAIGN LORD King James the SECOND of ENGLAND &c. Annoq Domini 1686.


Certified to be a true transcript of the Original Scroll by

E.JACKSON BARRON, F.S.A., P.M. & Sec. ”Lodge of Antiquity.”

London, 6th December, 1871.

In, Old Charges of the British Freemasonry  by William Hughan

The book can be purchased from HERE

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