OPERATIVE Masonry has been a subject of inquiry for more than a century past and the question is yet far from being solved.
The intention of this work is to endeavor to unravel the intricate web in which this subject is involved and, by tracing Speculative Masonry back to its source and showinig its intimate concection and simitude to Operative Masonruy, to prove, if possible, taht there is an Opertive Society of Masons, consisting of seven degbrees and taht Speculative Freemasonry is in reality a survival of these Operative degrees.
A great deal of confusion has arisen owing to wirters attempting to trace Masonry from a special class of what were termed "Mysteries." (7) The early Mysteries were guild and after Castes influenced them all divided them into three sections, they were still all one, varying only in the names, etc. The Guilds of the Priests, warriors, Agriculturists, and Artisans were all three equally Mysteries - equally one Mystery, with like ceremonies varying mainly in the object and technical oart of their Rituals. Masonry in the only one of these that has come donw to us unchanged. We are inclined to treat modern Freemasons as a succession of these Operative Guilds - one of the dexcendants of these bodies but lackiing the technical instruction of the more ancient rite of the Guids - socially of a higher status but separated from them.
(7) Yarker. "Arcane Schools."
 The testimony of the Brethren who have been connected with the Operative Masons in England for agreat many years is unimpeachable. They have been members of the Speculative as well as the Operative Lodges.
The late Bro. John Yarker was well known in Manc llcster as a man of high character and his reputation as a Masonic writer was world-wide. His last work "The Arcane Schools" is a monument of learning and analysis. Perhaps no one man has ever been more active in Masonic affairs.
The late Bro. Clement E. Stretton of Leicestershire was a civil engineer and was well known as a consulting railway engineer for a great many years. He was an enthusiastic Mason and an acknowledged authority on all subjects pertaining to the Order. It is to his vaIuable monograph "Tectonic Art" that the writer is indebted for much of the technical information on Operative Masonry presented in this volume.
Brother Dr. Thomas Carr is a distinguished Mason of Blackpool. He is a man of great learning and ability and the author of a number of valuable Masonic works. IT is to Dr. Carr that the public is indebted for the principle facts concerning the Operative Ritual.
In a letter to the writer, dated Oct. 13th, 1916, Dr. Carr says:-"My book on the Operative Society was all hut ready the greater part had been read and passed hy Bros. Stretton and Grant in June, 1914, when our great war broke out. With heavier professional work and the anxiety of the great war, all Masonic work took a secondary place-and I shall do nothing until the war is over. In the meantime, you are at liberty to repeat anything I have published, if you will be good enough to quote uote me as your authority." This the writer takes the  greatest pleasure in doing, having taken Dr. Carr's Ritual as the basis for this work.
Bro.Robert B Grant, a Master of the VIIth Degree is well known in England by reason of his numerous contributions to Masonic literature.
He has rendered signal service to the Free Mason's Craft and the writer is indebted to him for many values facts concerning Operative customs.
As stated the testimony of these gentlemen as to the history, ritual, and symbolism of the Operative Masons is beyound question.
"The writer having subscribed to the obligations of the seven degrees, has been entrusted with tile infomation that he gives in this volume.
For thousands of Years, Guilds in general and the Free Mason's Guild In particular, have observed the strict letter of the law not to allow outsiders to obtain any information as to the ancient system of working, but these restrictions have been relaxed within the past few years and in consequence the writer has been permitted by the Officers of Mt. Bardon Lodge No. 110, Leicestershire, to present to the members of the Masonic Fraternity in America, a true and accurate account of the ceremonies practiced in Operative Lodges. It must be borne in mind that we are dealing with a Society that was established for the secret and oral transmisslon of its Mysteries, and which bound its members to absolute secrecy on every point under the most binding penalties. The York Masons have always strict respect to their obligations.
That this volume is based On information furnished by accredited members and is accurate in particular will be vouched for by the Officers of Mt. Bardon Lodge above mentioned.
 The Worshipful Company of Masons of the city of London enjoys, besides the interest attached to it on account of its antiquity and continuity, the peculiar distinction, above all other Guilds, of being one of the principal connecting links in that chain of evidence which proves that the modern social cult known as the Society of Free and Accepted Masons, is lineally descended from the old Fraternity of Masons which flourished in the early days of monastic architecture now known by the inappropriate title of Gothic."(8) Unfortunately all the documents of the London Company of Masons prior to 1620 have been lost or we should have had valuable information as to the working of that Guild. It has teen shown by Edward Condor (9) that the Company at the earliest period of its records had a Speculative Lodge meeting at its hall which was not confined to Masons by profession; and that a Master's Grade such as is spoken of in the Regius and Cooke MSS was the appanage of the Fellowship by which "accepted" or non-Operatives I became qualified for the rank of Liverymen and Assistants who composed the Governing Council, and thus t lie esoteric or symbolic branch was allied with the exoteric one in the Council.
(8 Condor. "The Hole Craft and Fellowship of Masons.")
(9 I bid.)
A writer in the Builder in speaking of the Mason's Company says: For a long time Masonic scholars have been interested in the Mason's Company because in it they found a connecting link between Speculative Masonry of today and the Operative Masonry of old days. Historians not a few have endeavored to trace the origin. If Freemasonry to all kinds of early movements-the Ancient Mysteries, the Essenes, the Culdees, the Knights Templar, the Hermeticists, the Rosicrucians and what  not. But the best equipped scholars of the Order have insisted that the Fraternity, as we now have it, developed cant cal the old builders' guilds which once were so powerful in England. Hose holding this view have considered the records of the Mason's Company of London of the highest importance because in them they have been able to trace the gradual evolution of the rites :card customs of the ancient architects into the symbolical ceremonies of the modern Blue Lodge. Inasmuch as it gives us these records and traces this evolution, Edward Condor's Book, "The Hole Crafte of Masonry" may rightly be considered one of the authoritative and important work in Masonic literature. "x x x x x"
"The theory that modern Masonry descended from ancient practical architecture has often been set forth by our writers hut rut very slender evidence; in this volume we are offered the facts on which the theory rests. It may be too much to say that Brother Condor has demonstrated the theory but he has come as close to doing so its ally writer so far."
It may not be generally known among the Speculative Masons that a Guild of Operative Free Masons still exists and that the Mason's Company of London is also still extant.
It is however well known that Societies of Operative Masons existed in England, France and Italy during the middle ages and that hey built churches, bridges and cathedrals that have proven the wander and compelled the admiration of succeeding ages.
The Operative Free Mason of Germany known as the Steinmetzen cultivated the high principles of a religious architectural art and at cane time acquired great prominence and because firmly established.
 The word "Freemason," formerly divided into two words "Free Mason," first occurs in a Statute passed in 1350, in the 25th year of the reign of Edward I. The wages of a master Free Mason are fixed at 4 pence and that of other Masons at 3 pence."(11) This is also the date assigned by Dr. Mackey. It has been ably argued on the evidence of a Nuremburg work of 1558, that the prefix indicates a free art, as sculpture, which the ancients say handicraft is not, but that the former is "the use of the square and compasses artistically; (12) also that the traveling Masons as they moved about, adopted the term "Free" to indicate that they were outside or free from any Guild but that established under their own Constitution. But it does not by any means follow that the term "Free" had everywhere the same import. Steinbrenner. "Origin and Early History of Masonry."
(11 Steinbrenner, "Origin and Early History of Freemasonry.")
(12 Ars. Quat. Cor. Vol. ii.)
According to Mr. Wyatt Papworth the word appears for the first time in a document dated 14th June, 1396. (19 Richard II), now in the British Museum, in which occurs the following passage: "Viginti et Quatuor Lathrrmos vocatos free maccons et viginti et quatuor Latteromos vocatos ligiers," or as it maybe translated "Twenty four masons called free (stone) masons, and twentyfour Masons called layers or setters." (13)
(13 Sloane MS, iv. 595.)
A record of 1356 has an important bearing upon the Mason's organization. At this period there was a dispute in existence between the "Layer Masons or Setters" and the "Masons Squarers." Six members of each class appeared before the Mayor, Sheriff and Alderman of London to have their organization defined, in order  that the disputes that had arisen might he adjusted, "because their trades had not been regulated by the folks of their trade in such form as other trades are." Among those representatives of the Mason Squarers was Henry Yevely. The "Free Masons" were opposed to the "Layer Masons." The Mayor drew up a code of ten rules which allowed the bodies identical privileges and rules with a seven years Apprenticeship. (14)
(14 In either case a Master. taking any work in gross, was to bring 6 or 4 sworn men of the "Ancients" of his trade to prove his ability and to act as his sureties; and they were to be ruled by a sworn Overseer. Twelve Masters were sworn, which virtually united both bodies, and made a uniform rule for both, thus establishing the London Company of Masons.)
Particularly interesting is that portion of the history of Freemasonry embraced by the middle ages elf Christendom when the whole of civilized Europe was perambulated by these associations of workmen, who traveled from country to country for the purpose of erecting religious edifices. In the days when diplomas were unknown, because writing was confined to the cleris, the readiest solution of the difficulty of an unknown man testifying he was skilled and accredited craftsman, was to have a system of passwords and signs which enabled him to prove that he had been regularly taught his trade and was no cowan or prentender
The majority of the Mystic sects which deseended from what are termed the Arcane Schools have a "salute" by way of recognition a phrase by way of "salutation" and this is undoubtedly what Brito-Saxon Masonry possessed before Semitic and Hebrew words were introduced in Norman times. This "greeting" went with the "word" until it was abandoned in the last century. Prof. Robison who wrote upon German Masonry last century states that an Apprentice received an additional word with each year of his labor. It may be assumed that in the ancient Masonry of England the  "salute" was the "word" and that upon it were engrafted certain Hebrew words.
The author of the life of the celebrated Elias Ashmole says: "Freemasons are known to one another all over the world by certain passwords that are known to them alone."
It is related that Jose Dotzinger, and architect of the Cathedral of Strasburg (1452), formed all the Masons in n Germany into one body and "he gave them a word and a particular sign by which they might recognize those who were of their cofraternity." (15)
(15 Abbe Grandidier. "Essais Historique et Topographique.")
Martene says the Masons had a sign which he describes as "pugnam super pugnam pane vicissim quasi simules constructores marum:" that is "they placed alternately fist upon fist as if imitating the builders of walls."
He also says, and other writers confirm him, that in the Middle Ages, the monks had a system of signs by which they were enabled to recognize the members of their different orders. (16)
(16) Martene. "De Antiquis Monarchorum Ritibus."
These signs and passwords were of course regarded with great secrecy as they constituted the very essence of Masonic character and were the safeguards that gave these associations their security and perpetuity.
These ancient Operative Masons of the Middle
Ages, both in England and on the Continent, had a regular procedure
by which a lad was admitted as an Apprentice, taught his work,
and subsequently became entitled to practice his trade.
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