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Dowland's Manuscript (ca 1500)

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MessagePosté le: Mar 21 Oct - 05:13 (2008)    Sujet du message: Dowland's Manuscript (ca 1500) Répondre en citant


Manuscript discovered around 1815 by James Dowland. First published in the Gentleman's Magazine in 1815 (vol. 85, P. 489, May 1815); also reproduced in the book "Old Charges of British Freemasons" by William James Hughan (1872).

The orignal document was written on a long parchment roll. Several experts have dated it circa 1500 (others say 1550), which makes it the third oldest MS after the Cook and Halliwel manuscripts. The Dowland MS was probably a copy of the Cooke MS.


THE might of the Father of Kings, with the wisdom e of his glorious Son, through
the grace of the goodness of the Holy Ghost, there bene three persons in one
Godheade, be with us at our beginninge, and give us grace so to governe us
here in this mortall life liveinge, that wee may come to his kingdome that never
shall have endinge. Amen.

Good Breetheren and Fellowes : Our purpose is to tell you how and in what
manner this worthy science of Masonrye was begunne, and afterwards how it was
favoured by worthy Kings and Princes, and by many other worshipfull men. And
also, to those that be willinge, wee will declare the Charge that belongeth to any
true Mason to keepe for in good faith, And yee, have good heede thereto ; it is
well worthy to be well kept for a worthy craft and a curious science.

For there be Seaven liberall Sciences, of the which seaven it is one of them.
And the names of the Seaven Scyences bene these : First is Grammere ; and it
teacheth man to speake truly and write truly. And the second is Rethoricke ; and
teacheth a man to speake faire in subtill termes. And the third is Dialectyke ;
and teacheth a man for to discern or know truth from false. And the fourth is
Arithmeticke ; and that teacheth a man for to recken and to accompteall manner
of numbers. And the fifth is called Geometrie ; and that teacheth mett and measure
of earth and of all other things ; of the which science is called Masonrye.

And the sixt science is called Musicke ; and that teacheth a man of songe and
voice, of tongue, and orgaine, harpe and trompe. And the seaventh science is called
Astronomye ; and that teacheth a man the course of the sunn, moone, and Starrs.
These be the Seaven liberall Sciences, the which bene all founded by one
Science ; that is to say Geometrie. And this may a man prove, that the science
of the work is founded by Geometrie, for Geometrie teacheth a man mett and
measure, ponderation and weight, of all manner of things on earth ; for there is
noeraan that worketh any science, but he worketh by some mett or measure, nor
noe man that buyeth or selleth, but he buyeth or selleth by some measure or
by some weight ; and all these is Geometrie. And these merchants and all craftsmen,
and all other of the Seaven Sciences, and in especiall the plowman and
tillers of all manner of grounds, graynes, seedes, vynes, plowers and sellers of
other fruits ; for Grammere or Retricke, neither Astronomie nor none of all
the other Seaven Sciences can noe manner find mett nor measure without
Geometrie. Wherefore methinketh that the science of Geometrie is most worthy,
and that findeth all other.

How that these worthy Sciences were first begonne, I shall you tell. Before
Noyes floode there was a man called Lameche, as it is written in the Byble, in
the iiijth chapter of Genesis ; and this Lameche had two wives, and the one
height Ada, and that other height Sella ; by his first wife Ada he gott two sons,
and that one Jahell and thother Tuball, and by that other wife Sella he gott a
son and a daughter. And these four children founden the begining of all sciences
in the world. And this elder son Jahell found the science of Geometrie, and he
departed flocks of sheepe and lambs in the field, and first wrought house of stone
and tree, as is noted in the chapter above said. And his brother Tuball found
the science of Musicke, songe of tonge, harpe and orgaine. And the third
brother Tuball Cain found smithcraft of gold, silver, copper, iron and steele ;
and the daughter found the craft of Weavinge. And these children knew well
that God would take vengeance for synn, either by fire or by water ; wherefore
they writt their science that they had found in two pillars of stone, that they might
be found after Noyes flood. And that one stone was marble, for that would not
bren with fire ; and that other stone was clepped laterns, and would not drown in
noe water.

Our intent is to tell you trulie how and in what manner these stones were
found, that thise sciences were written in. The great Hem-irynes that was Cubys
son, the which Cub was Sem's son, that was Noys son. This Hermarynes, afterwards
was called Harmes, the father of wise men ; he found one of the two pillars
of stone, and found the science written there, and he taught it to other men.
And at the makinge of the Tower of Babylon there was Masonrye first made
much of. And the Kinge of Babylon that height Nemrothe, was a mason him-
selfe, and loved well the science as it is said with masters of histories. And when
the City of Ninyve and other attics of the East should he made, Nemrothe the
Kinge of Babilon, sent thither threescore masons at the rogation of the Kinge of
Nyneve his cosen. And when he sent them forth, he gave them a charge on this
manner. That they should be true each of them to other, and that they should
love truly together, and that they should serve their lord truly for their pay ; soe
that the master may have worshipp and all that long to him. And other moe
charges he gave them. And this was the first tyme that ever Masons had any
charge of his science.

Moreover when Abraham and Sara his wife went into Egipt, there he taught
the Seaven Scyences to the Egiptians ; and he had a worthy Scoller that height
Ewclyde, and he learned right well, and was a master of all the vij Sciences liberall.
And in his dayes it befell that the lord and the estates of the realme had soe many
sonns that they had gotten, some by their wifes and some by other ladyes of the
realm ; for that land is a hott land and a plentious of generacion. And they had
not competent livelode to find with their children ; wherefore they made much
care. And then the King of the land made a great Counsell and a parliament,
to witt, how they might find their children honestly as gentlemen ; And they could
find noe manner of good way. And then they did crye through all the realm, if
their were any man that could informe them, that he should come to them, and he
should be soe rewarded for his travail, that he should hold him pleased.
After that this cry was made, then came this worthy clarke Ewclyde, and said
to the king and to all his great lords, " If yee will, take me your children to
governe, and to teach them one of the Seaven Scyences, wherewith they may live
honestly as gentlemen should, under a condicion, that yee willgrantme and them
a commission that I may have power to rule them after the manner that the science
ought to be ruled." And that the Kinge and all his Counsell granted to him
anone and sealed their commission. And then this worthy Doctor tooke to him
these lord's sonns, and taught them the scyence of Geometric in practice, for to
worke in stones all manner of worthy worke that belongeth to buildinge churches,
temples, castells, towres, and mannors, and all other manner of buildings ; and
he gave them a charge on this manner.

The first was, that they should be true to the Kinge, and to the lord that they
owe. And that they should love well together, and be true each one to other.
And that they should call each other his fellowe, or else brother, and not by servant,
nor his nave, nor none other foule name. And that the should deserve
their paie of the lord or of the master that they serve. And that they should
ordaine the wisest of them to be master of the worke, and neither for love nor
great lynneage, ne ritches, ne for noe favour to lett another that hath little conning
for to be master of the lord's worke, wherethrough the lord should be evill served
and they ashamed. And also that they should call their governors of the worke,
Master, in the time that they worke with him. And other many moe charges that
longe to tell. And to all these charges he made them to sweare a great oath that
men used in that time ; and ordayned them for reasonable wages, that they might
live honestly by. And also that they should come and semble together every
yeare once, how they might worke best to serve the lord for his profitt and to their
own worshipp ; and to correct within themselves him that had trespassed against
the science. And thus was the scyence grounded there ; and that worthy Mr.
Ewclide gave it the name of Geometric. And now it is called through all this
land, Masonrye.

SYTHEN longe after, when the Children of Israell were coming into the Land
of Beheast, that is now called amongst us, the country of Jhrlm. King DAVID
began the Temple that they called Templum D'ni, and it is named with us the
Temple of Jerusalem. And the same King DAVID loved Masons well and cherished
them much, and gave them good paie. And he gave the charges, and the
manners as he had learned of Egipt given by Ewclyde, and other charges moe
that yee shall heare afterwards. And after the decease of Kinge DAVID, SALAMON
that was DAVID'S sonn, performed out the Temple that his father begonne ;
and sent after Masons into divers countries and of divers lands ; and gathered
them together, so that he had fourscore thousand workers of stone, and were all
named Masons. And he chose out of them thiee thousand that were ordayned to
be maisters and governors of his worke. And furthermore there was a Kinge of
another region that men called I RAM, and he loved well Kinge SOLOMON, and he
gave him tymber to his worke. And he had a sonn that height AYNON, and he
was a Master of Geometrie, and was chiefe Maister of all his Masons, and was
Master of all his gravings and carvinge, and of all manner of Masonrye that
longed to the Temple ; and this is witnessed by the Bible, in libra Rcgum, the
third chapter. And this SOLOMON confirmed both charges and the manners that
his father had given to Masons. And thus was that worthy Science of Masonrye
confirmed in the country of Jerusalem, and in many other kingdomes.

Curious craftsmen walked about full wide into divers countryes, some because
of learninge more craft and cunninge, and some to teach them that had but little
conynge. And soe it befell that there was one curious Mason that height MAVMUS
GRECUS, that had been at the making of SOLOMON'S Temple, and he came into
France, and there he taught the science of Masonrye to men of France. And
there was one of the Regal lyne of Fraunce, that height CHARLES MARTELL ; and
he was a man that loved well such a science, and drew to this MAMUS GRECUS
that is above said, and learned of him the science, and tooke upon him the charges
and manners ; and afterwards by the grace of God, he was elect to be Kinge of
France. And whan he was in his estate, he tooke Masons, and did helpe to make
men Masons that were none ; and set them to worke, and gave them both trre
charge and the manners and good paie, as he had learned of other Masons ; and
confirmed them a Chartor from yeare to yeare, to holde their semble wher they
would ; and cherished them right much ; And thus came the science into France.

England in all this season stood voyd as for any charge of Masonrye unto St.
ALBONES tyme. And in his days the Kinge of England that was a Pagan, he did
wall the towne about, that is called Sainct ALBONES, And Sainct ALBONES was a
worthy Knight and steward with the Kinge of his household. and had governance
of the realme, and also of the makinge of the town walls ; and loved well Masons
and cherished them much. And he made their paie right good, standinge as the
realme did ; for he gave them ij, s. — vj, d. a weeke, and iij, d. to their nonesyn-
ches. And before that time, through all this land, a Mason took but a penny a
day and his meate, till Sainct ALBONE amended it, and gave them a Chartour of
the King and his Counsell for to hold a general councell, and gave it the name of
Assemble ; and thereat he was himselfe, and helped to make Masons, and gave
them charges, as yee shall heare afterward.

Right soone after the decease of Saint ALBONE, there came divers warrs
into the realme of England of divers Nations, soe that the good rule of Masonry
was destroyed unto the tyme of Kinge Athelstone dayes that was a worthy Kinge
of England, and brought this land into good rest and peace ; and builded many
great works of Abbyes and Towres, and other many divers buildings ; and loved
well Masons. And he had a sonn that height EDWINNE, and he loved Masons
much more than his father did. And he was a great practiser in Geometry; and
he drew him much to talke and to commune with Masons, and to learne of them
science ; and afterward for love that he had to Masons, and to the science, he
was made Mason, and he gatt of the Kinge his father, a Chartour and Commission
to hold every yeare once an Assemble, wher that ever they would, within the
realme of England ; and to correct within themselves defaults and trespasses that
were done within the science. And he held himselfe an Assemble at Yorke, and
there he made Masons, and gave them charges, and taught them the manners, and
commanded that rule to be kept ever after, and tooke then the Chartour and Commission
to keepe, and made ordinance that it should be renewed from Kinge to

And when the Assemble was gathered he made a cry that all old Masons and
young, that had any wrireinge or understanding of the charges and the manners
that were made before in this land, or in any other, that they should shew them
forth. And when it was proved, there was tounden some in Frenche, and some
in Greek, and some in English and some in other languages ; and the intent of
them all was founden all one. And he did make a booke thereof, and how the
science was founded. And he himselfe bad and commanded that it should be
readd or tould, when that any Mason should be made, for to give him his Charge.
And fro that day into this tyme manners of Masons have beene kept in that forme
as well as men might governe it. And furthermore divers Assembles have beene
put and ordayned certain charges by the best advice of Masters and fellowes.
Tune unus ex senior ibus teneat librum, ut illi vd ille ponant vel ponat manus super
librum : et tune prcecepta deberent legi.

Every man that is a ITason, take right good hede to these charges, if that
any man find himselfe guilty in any of these charges, that he amend himselfe
against God. And in principall, yee that been to be charged, take good heed, that
yee may keepe these charges right well, for it is a great perill a man to forsweare
himselfe upon a booke.

The first chaige is, that he or thou shalt be true man to God and Holy Church,
and that he use neither error nor herysie by your understandinge or discreet men
or wise men's teachinge. And also that he shall be true liege man to the Kinge of
England without treason or any other falsehoode ; and that they know no treason
ne treachery but if ye amend it privily if ye may, or else warn the Kinge or his
Councell. And also ye shalbe true each one to other (that is to say) to every
Mason of the science of Masonrye that bene Masons allowed, yee shall doe to
them as yee would that they should doe to you ; and also that yee keep truly all
the counsells of Lodge and Chamber, and all other counsells that ought to be kept
by way of masonhood. And also that noe Mason shalbe in thefte or theevishe, for
as farr forth as he may weete or k&ow. And also that yee shalbe true to the lord
or master that ye serve, and truly see his profitt and his advantage. And also ye
shall call Masons your Brethren, or else your Fellowes, and none other foule
names. And also yee shall not take your fellow's wife in villany, nor desire ungodly
his daughter nor his servant, nor put him to noe disworshipp. And also that
yee pay truly for your meat and drinke there yee go to borde. And also yee shall
doe no villiny in that place where yee goe to bord, whereby the science might be
slandered thereby. These be the charges in generall that belongeth to every true
Mason to keepe, both Masters and Fellowes.

Rehearse I will now other charges singular for Masters and Fellowes. First,
that noe Master shall not take upon him noe lord's worke nor none other man's
worke, but hee know himselfe able and sufficient of coninge to performe and end
the lord's worke, soe that the science have noe slander nor noe disworshipp, but
that the lord may be well served and truly. And also that noe Master take noe
worke, but that he take it reasonable, soe that the lord may be truly served with
his owne good, and the Master to live honestly and to pay his fellowes truly their
paie as the manner is; And also that noe maister ne fellowe shall not supplant
other of 'their worke (that is to say) and ye have taken a worke, or else stand
maister of the lord's worke, yee shall not put him out, but if he be unable of
conynge for to end the worke ; And also that noe Master nor noe fellowe take
noe apprentice within the tearme of seaven yeares : and that the apprentice be
able, ot birth freeborne, and of lymes whole as a man ought to be. And also that
noe maister nor fellowe take noe allowance to be made Mason without the assent
and the counsell of his fellowes at the least sixe or seaven given yeares ; and he
that shalbe made Mason to be able in all manner of degrees, (that is to say)
free-borne, and of good kindred come, and true and noe bondman : And also that
noe Mason, shall not take noe apprentice but if he have sufficient occupacion for
to occupie on two fellowes, or else three at the least ; And also that noe maister
nor fellowe, put noe lord's worke to taske that was wont to goe to jornaye : And
also that every Master shall give paye to his fellowes but as he may deserve, so
that yee bee not deceived by false workmen : And also that none of you slander
another behind his back to make him to loose his good name or his worldly goods ;
And also that no fellowe within the Lodge or without mis-answer eyther ungodly
or reprovably without reasonable cause. And also that every Mason shall révérence
his elder and and put him to worshippe ; And also that no Mason shall not
be any common player at hazard or at the dice, nor at any other unlawfull playes
whereby the science might be slondered ; And also that noe Mason shall not use
noe lechery, nor be noe bawde, whereby the science might be slondered. And
also that noe fellowe goe into the towne on nights tyme there as a lodg is of fellowes,
without that he have a fellowe with him that he may beare him witnesse that he was
in an honest place ; And also that every Master and fellowe shall come to th'
Assemble, an it be within fifty myles about him, if he have any writeinge. And
if yee have trespassed against the science, for to abide the award of the masters
and fellowes, and to make them accorded if they may, and, if they may not accord
them, to goe to the common law ; and also that ne maister, ne fellowe make noe
molde nor squayar nor rule to noe layer, nor set noe layer within the lodge, nor
without, to hew noe molde stones. And also that every Mason receive and cherish
strange fellowes when they come over the countryes, and set them a worke and
they will, as the manner is, (that is to say) yf to have no mould stones in his place,
he shall refresh him with money into the next lodge. And also that every Mason
shall truly serve the lorde for his paie, and every master truly make an end of his
worke, be it taske or jorney, if yee have your covenants and all that yee ought
for to have. These charges that wee now rehearsed to you and to all other that
belongeth to Masons yee shall keepe soe helpe your God, and your holydome,
and by this booke unto your power. Amen !

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