Guild of churches and cathedrals builders

Interior Cathedral

The problems of Freemasonry’s research begin even from the word used, the term freemason. Henry Wilson Coil (Masonic Encyclopedia, Macoy Publishing & Macoy Supply Co., Inc., Richmond, Virginia, 1996) states: “The origin of this noun is not known accurately. The oldest name for a stone worker was cæmentarius, from the Latin cæmentus, meaning gravel or pebbles, this term appearing from 1077 A.D. on to 1212, though this word or its plural, the cæmentaries, were still being used, a new term, sculptores lapidum and (Sculptors of “freestone”, stone capable of fine chiseling and trimming, which had to have certain qualities: Fine-grained, uniform and soft enough not to chip or crack; Generally ironing or sandstone) appeared. In 1217, the cæmentaries are found in association with Maszun. At Canterbury, the Freemason was called Artifices. Around 1300, magister Cæmentarius (Master Mason) appeared. In addition to Maszun and Masoune, we find Marmorius and another written word as Latomus, Latomos and Lathomus. An old French writing provided that a masoune would raise a house of pere franche (from “Freestone”). In 1350, the status of workers (statutes of Laborers) refers to a master Mason de Pere Franche. In 1360 a statutory reference is made to a mason of Franche Pear ou of grosse pear. In 1391, at Oxford, it was used magister Lathomus Liberarum Petrarum (Master mason of “Freestone”), and Latin writing from 1415 refers to Liberas Petras (free stones, “freestone”). In 1396, the contractors of the works at Westminster Hall were called Citiens et Masons de Londres and, in the same year, we find Lathomos vocatos ffre maceons and Lathomos Vocatos ligiers (Masons called the Freemasons and Masons called “Layers”, masons – these were Lower first-class workers.)It is said about this use of ffre maceons that it would be the first occurrence in England of a term that literally signifies “freemason”, although freestone and Mason of free Stone were common for about 200 years. The word freemasons [as such – N.M.] had appeared since 1374, but not in connection with construction activities. After 1396, free Mason, Free-Mason, and Freemasons are frequently used and have in the first statutory use of the name (statutes of Laborers, 1444-45), it was Frank Mason, but became free Mason in the statute of 1495. […]

Gothic constitutions usually use Mason, the minutes of Masons Company of London from 1620 to 1643 use Freemasons.  reached up to us.

In Scotland, the term first appears in the form of Frie Masones, at 1636, in the minutes of the lodge of Edinburgh. So, if we look at the etymology and semantics of the term freemason, we note that he was referring to a superior category of builders, those able to chisel the “free stone” finely. This reference is today considered pertinent by most major researchers in the field. It is considered that it replaced the other hypothesis, according to which the term Freemason would describe the state of “free Mason”, i.e. non-payer of duty and free to move, own the guilts of gothic cathedrals builders. Our view is that both meanings can be admitted simultaneously, as they describe simultaneous realities. In Romanian, the Word guild comes from the Slavonic bratistvo, meaning “brotherhood”. The term defines an organization of some craftsmen or professionals specializing in a particular field. This organization had multiple goals: preserving the secrecy of the profession, defending the rights and safety of members, preserving and imposing professional standards. In the west, it was called a guild, a word derived from the contribution the members had to pay. The existence of guild-type organizations, either in the form of the Koinon grafts or of the Collegia novels, is attested in the Mediterranean basin centuries before Christ. The turbulence of the Dark Age of the invasion of the barrages seems to have destroyed them significantly, except for those of stone cutters and glass blowers. In the sixth century, St. Gregoire de Tours talks about the art of masonry. In the NINTH century, the famous Hincmar, Bishop of Reims makes enormous efforts to Christian the Grand-December 25th banquet of the guild master, where they swore to secrecy and honor! – A Pagan feast of Germanic origin, called Yule or Yuletide, was celebrated.

The very masonic tradition of the Amphibal and Alban Saints, preserved in Gothic constitutions, indicates transmission of the art of Masonry, from the Byzantine Empire to the west, that is, a perpetuation of the art of stone cutters.

The X-century provides the first definite evidence about the existence of Guilds in Germany (some of the Stonecutters, others of merchants). Also then, in the year 926, the tradition of Gothic constitutions placed with obstinacy in York the first great gathering of church builders, following which King Athelstan would have drafted the first regulations of masonry, called Old Charges.

The German authors were the first to observe the origin of Freemasonry from the Medieval Guild of Cathedrals builders (Steinmetzen = stone cutters). The idea is first expressed by the Grandidier abbot in 1779 when he was doing research on the cathedral in Strasburg. In 1785, Paul J. S. Vogel Prints Letters on Freemasonry, the first attempt in the world to investigate the early history of Freemasonry. He then followed the work of Carl Christian Friederich Krause from 1810, the three oldest documents on the Freemason fraternity and three other works until the works of Gottfried Joseph Gabriel Findel of 1861-1862, Geschichte der Freimaurer, History of the Freemason from origins to the present day and George W. Steinbrenner, The Origin and Early History of Freemasonry (1868).

The first statutes of Steinmetzen are contemporary with Gothic constitutions: The Constitutions of 1459, the ordinances of Torgau in 1462 and the book of the brother of 1563. They contained the same provisions as Gothic constitutions: fraternization, mutual help, mutual assistance, and esteem; Dignified behavior; Prohibition of hiring dishonored persons; The master was not allowed to accept any work he could not finish; No master is allowed to deceive or defame another; The ban on noisy life, gambling and the attendance of places with poor reputation; Commandment against non-compliance with the integrity of any Mason’s trademark; Keeping secrets. Steinmetzen had the main Quatuor Coronati legend, and their lodge was called Hütt or Hütte. They were better organized than the English; The lodges are grouped into district bodies that grouped into provincial bodies, coordinated by the Lodge of Strasburg led by a Master Chief.

But as Hughan, Gould, Woodford, in Germany, did not spend the transition to speculative.

The legend of Quatuor Coronati appears in the first Gothic Constitution, Ms. Regius, to subsequently disappear from English texts. This can be an indication of the existence of a common European fund in the German-Normand-British area, which will then be differentiated in two areas with different developments: Germany and the Normand-British area. The survival of masonry in its speculative form is the work of the last one.

England is the homeland of Franc-European masonry. Several studies at the end of the twentieth century wanted to challenge the primacy of England, locating the legend of Hiram in Egypt and denying the Anglo-Saxon most of European freemasonry. These authors should explain to us, then, from where the Masonic tradition of the letter G is coming, which is very old and extremely important. Only in Germanic Languages G is the initial both for God (God or Gott) and for geometry – an element that underpins Masonic esotericism. It is not, thus, at all accidental that the first Masonic manuscripts appear in England and in Germany and we see no serious reason why we challenge today what no serious old author has challenged: the primacy of England. According to the same Masonic tradition of Gothic manuscripts, the royal Art of Masonry would have been brought to England by St. Amphibal in the third century. The first important assembly of the Freemason would have been held in York in the year 926, under the authority of King Athelstan. The king would have issued the first documents (hrisov) concerning the organization of the Freemason and would have enthroned his brother Edwyn as the great master. This tradition was seriously taken in laughter in the 17TH century when it implied that St. Amphibal would be fiction and it was pointed out that in the old Masonic documents Edwyn was called the son of Athelstan (in fact he was his brother).

Let’s observe some information contained in the stories of Tradition: The Royal Masonic Art was imported into England through a Greek and was an art already Christian (or christened). These observations are fundamental. They show that Masonic art is the continuation of the architectural efforts of the Greek-Roman world and that it was defined at first as a reality of the Christian world. Ample historical evidence put in relation to the Guild of Masonic operations with Gothic style (architectural style of the great domes and cathedrals of Western Europe), but it does not mean that it would not have existed previously. It existed before the Gothic style, as it will last for centuries and after the disappearance of that style. But the major and monumental expression of operative masonry remains undoubtedly the multitude of Gothic religious architecture in the sunset and Central Europe. As we know, the first Gothic cathedral appears in France in the year 1135, then in England in the year 1150. At the time, the Masons were protected either by monasteries or monastic cavalry orders. In addition, in England, they had royal protection, which explains the very royalist attitude of the first Masonic manuscripts. As the Coil noted well, the manuscripts that came to us date from a relatively late period, from the 14TH century (or later). This means that they come from the second part of the Gothic era (from here, the names of Gothic constitutions). It also means that they cannot be the earliest Masonic documents.

The first known manuscript is the one called Regius or Halliwell, around 1390. Symptomatically, we find that it was drafted by a Christian clergyman and describes a life organized at the pace of Christian ministering. Previously Ms. Regius, some mentions of the Freemason in documents in York were able to be identified (behold, it verifies the seniority of Masonic activity in York!); namely in some Statute of workers from 1349 and in the so-called canvas documents of the parish of York in the year 1355. The next document that came to us is Ms. Cooke, dated at the beginning of sec. al XV. Ms. Cooke is practically the first copy of the Gothic constitutions that has been preserved (Ms. Regius contains versioned processing of the text of those constitutions, and not the text itself) The text of Ms. Cooke is clearly copied from two older sources, which we do not know. All these documents were drafted in England and refer to the situation in England. They urge, for example, the Freemason to be a faithful subject of the King of England and describe a purely English masonic history. In addition, they were found on the territory of England.

The French Vitruvian authors have launched the hypothesis of a relationship between Freemasonry and the famous Pan-European Association of itinerant craftsmen, called Companionage. This, found in French under the name Compagnonnage, has been certified since 1540 and was a guild organization dominated by itinerant journeymen. English documents, including Masonic, contain references to Fellowship, structure that was at a time supreme in the Operative Anglo-Scottish masonry. As is known, this last form of Masonry had initially only two degrees, apprentice and Caldo. The master was, in fact, The Apprentice “entered” or fellow craft chosen as the leaders of a lodge. Only after the year 1725, the third degree was developed independently. However, the Anglo-Saxon fellow crafts were not allowed to behave itinerant. Itinerants were called journeymen and were obliged to remain in the “entered” Apprentice status. Thus, the Anglo-Saxon Fellowship has major differences from the French Compagnonnage.

Nowadays, the French authors themselves abandon the hypothesis of companionage influence. In 1994, Luc Nefontaine wrote, “some believed that masonry came from Companionage, this ensemble of confreres gathering itinerant craftsmen with the same profession, a phenomenon that has taken momentum since the 16TH century. However, despite a number of common symbols, there is no correlation between the two institutions. ” It is, however, remarkable that the legend of Hiram’s murder, as well as Hiram’s own figure, first developed in Companionage, when the operative Masonry did not give them any particular attention.


For rigorous spirits, eager for tangible evidence, the origin of Freemasonry from Guild of Church builders can be well supported even by the oldest Masonic object existing in the world: the famous Blue Banner, the Blue Bandit. Henry Wilson Coil, based on Scottish documents, tells us the history of this blue blanket that has become a banner. A group of Scottish craftsmen who accompanied in 1189 Alan Fitz Walter, the second-largest Steward of Scotland, in the Third Crusade, made their bandit from a blue bedspread that they wrote In Thy good pleasure build Thou the walls of Jerusalem (a Paraphrase after Ps. 51; 18: Do Good in Thy good pleasure unto Zion: Build Thou the walls of Jerusalem – in Romanian Orthodox version E Ps. 50; 19).On the return, in 1191, they deposited the banner on the altar of St. Eloi in St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh. In the year 1482, James III of Scotland returned the bandits to the Freemason, granting them the privilege of carrying it into processions. However, these Masons were journeymen, a special category of operatives, skilled builders who were allowed to engage with the day (the Masons generally engaged in the work, not the day).

Today it is assumed that journeymen are Entered Apprentices, disciples; And at the degree of Fellow Craft, they were prohibited from hiring with the day. Therefore, many Masons preferred to remain, disciples, although they had the knowledge necessary to become a fellow craft. They’re actually called journeymen. In the year 1705, journeymen swarming from the Edinburgh Lodge and founded the 8 Journeymen’s Lodge in Edinburgh, which exists until today and where the Blue Bandit is still found. The object has major consequences in Masonic history. He attests to the origin of the Guild of the phenomenon called Freemasonry (the early Blue Banner was made, worn and preserved by craftsmen). He attests to the age of blue color in the use of the Freemason operatives. He attests the connection of Masonry with the Crusades and Templars (Alan Fitz Walter was one of the great patrons of the Templars).

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *