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Inside a Masonic Lodge

The first thing that stands out to non-Masons is the way we dress for a meeting. To some, it may look strange, comical even, but it is a tradition that has been part of Freemasonry since it began over 300 years ago.

masonic

Black or dark grey suit, some Lodges opt for a morning suit.

Dark tie, although a dedicated Lodge or Provincial tie is favoured by most members.

Collars are worn by all officers in the lodge to denote their position. 

Grand Lodge and Provincial officers also wear collars and jewels to denote their roles.

On this particular collar is the jewel of a Worshipful Master. Each office has a different jewel that symbolizes his role within the lodge.

Gauntlets are worn by the three principal officers of the Lodge i.e. the Worshipful Master and the Senior and Junior Wardens and it identifies them as such.

White gloves are worn by everybody whilst in the Temple. Why we wear gloves is unsure but as operative stone masons it was maybe to protect the hands.

Aprons must be worn by all members and visitors in the Lodge. They come in all different colours and sizes depending on the rank of the wearer.

Aprons

All Freemasons must wear an apron when in the Temple. When a Mason is first initiated he takes the first step in Freemasonry and becomes an Entered Apprentice. His apron is plain white. With the second step, he becomes a Fellowcraft which sees his apron become more decorated. The third step makes him a Master Mason, which again sees his apron become even more decorated. His apron will not change again until he has become a Worshipful Master if he decides to make that advancement.

The apron is worn high around the waist and over, never under the jacket except in Scotland where it is the common practice.

Enterered Apprentice

entered apprentice apron

The apron of an entered apprentice is plain white to symbolise purity and innocence and usually made of lambs leather

apron
fellowcraft apron

Fellow Craft

The next apron belongs to the Fellowcraft. It has the same white background but with the addition of two blue rosettes. It is not clear why we use two rosettes or the colour blue.

master mason apron

Master Mason

As Master Mason, the decoration becomes more elaborate and now looks recognizable as a Masonic apron. This design will not change again until the wearer becomes a Worshipful Master. Some choose not to progress and so will remain in this apron for the whole of their Masonic career.

worshipful master apron

Worshipful Master

When you enter the chair as Worshipful Master, the blue rosettes are replaced by three levels. You are now instantly recognizable as being a present or past Worshipful Master of a Lodge.

provincail apron

Provincial Honours

Once a mason has gone through the chair and become Worshipful Master, his title changes from Brother to Worshipful Brother. After so many years he may then be granted Provincial honours. His apron will then change from light blue to dark blue with gold braid. This apron in the picture is from the Province of East Kent, the badge will suit the Province you are associated with.

Aprons

To a Freemason, the Lodge room or Temple as it is known in Masonry is where the business of the Lodge is transacted. The Temple is closed to non-masons and guarded from the outside by a member called a Tyler. Entry to the Temple is by proof of being a Freemason in a way that is known only to us.

It is set up to resemble the Temple of King Solomon, hence we call it the Temple.

The layout is standard in all Lodges, the Worshipful Master always sits in the east,the Senior Warden in the west and the Junior Warden in the south. The Lodge Banner sits to the side of the Worshipful Master, usually in the southeast but Coleshill Lodge places theirs in the northeast. The Lodge Warrant which proves the Lodge's authenticity sits in full view in front of the Secretary's desk to be seen by all and at all times.

Below is the layout of a Temple. Click the different boxes to see who they are and their respective duties

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wmjewel

Worshipful Master

The Worshipful Master (WM) is like a chief executive of a company. The meeting is opened, chaired, controlled and closed by him. The Worshipful Master will call upon officers to carry out various duties during the meeting, as well as carry out duties himself.

In Coleshill Lodge, we run a progression system where you advance through the various offices until you make the heights of Worshipful

Master. It is not compulsory to make an advancement through the offices as it is not for everyone to progress but you should not accept the offices of Senior or Junior Warden if you are not prepared to advance to Worshipful Master.

All officers wear a collar that has a jewel hanging from it. The jewels are all different to reflect the officer's rank within the lodge. The only position where the jewels are duplicated is the Stewards as there is usually  more than one to a Lodge.

The Worshipful Master jewel is the square.

swjewel

Senior Warden

The Senior Warden (SW), sits in the west facing the WM in the east. He, along with the Junior Warden, assists in running the lodge. Both wardens take active parts in opening and closing the lodge and have an involvement in the rituals such as initiations. Being a Junior or Senior warden demonstrates to the membership your desire to progress through the ranks to WM. It also shows your ability to take

on the role. The SW will usually become the next WM.

The Jewel of a Senior Warden is the level.

jwjewel

Junior Warden

The Junior Warden sits in the south 45 degrees to the left of the WM. As Ostensible steward of the Lodge, he is responsible for the welfare of all visitors attending the meeting. He must ensure that all attendees are Masons before they can enter the Lodge and direct the stewards to see that the visitors are well looked after at the Festive Board (the social meal after a meeting).

The Jewel of the Junior Warden is the Plumb Rule

IPM

Immediate Past Master

The Immediate Past Master (IPM), is not an officer in the Lodge. It is a supporting role to the WM. He sits close to his left both in the temple and at the Festive Board to give him guidance and support. The office of IPM is a rite of passage, the only automatic position in the Lodge and in normal circumstances, can only be held for one year after leaving the WM's chair.

The jewel of the Immediate Past Master is the square. with an emblem suspended off it.
chaplin

Chaplain

Although every lodge has a Chaplain, he is not necessarily a man of the cloth although he may well be. It is his duty to read scriptures from the Volume of the Sacred Law at the opening of the Lodge, during ceremonies and to say Grace at the Festive Board.

He usually sits to the left of the Worshipful master and tends to be a very experienced Mason.

The Jewel of the Chaplain is the Volume of the Sacred Law on a

triangle surrounded by a sunburst.

DC

Director of Ceremonies

The Director of Ceremonies (DC), as the name suggests directs the ceremonies at the lodge meeting. He must see that the protocol is followed during the rituals, to receive important visitors and give salutations to Grand officers.

He is also responsible for the smooth running of the Festive board, calling brethren to order when the WM needs to address them for wine taking and to announce toasts.

The jewel of the Director of Ceremonies is two rods tied with a ribbon.

Senior deacon

Senior and Junior Deacons

The Senior Deacon sits at or near the right of the Worshipful Master. The Junior Deacon sits to the right of the Senior Warden. both the wardens lead the candidates through the ceremonies of the different degrees. The Junior Deacon leads in both the Initiation and the raising to Master Mason,and the Senior Deacon leads in the raising to the second degree. Both Deacons are very important throughout the rituals, ensuring the candidate is in the right position at the right time

and giving him the answers to the necessary questions. Good Deacons usually means good ritual.

The Jewel of both the Senior and Junior Deacons is the Dove holding an olive branch 

Sec

Secretary

The secretary is the same as a secretary in any organiztaion. His role is to document the Lodge meeting, take minutes at officer's meetings, send out the summons and  and communicate between the Lodge and Province. It is a very important role, one that takes a lot of time and commitment therefore it is usually an ongoing office with some secretaries being in the role for many years.

The jewel of the secretary is two crossed quills or pens tied by a ribbon.

Tre

Treasurer

The Treasurer is responsible for the finances of the lodge. He is elected not appointed and must be a member. All subscriptions are paid through the treasurer and he must supply annual reports for the lodge auditors to approve. He is also responsible for day-to-day expenses such as rent and dining fees and also to keep the lodge in a sound financial position.

The jewel of the Treasurer is a key.

Inner

Inner Guard

The Inner Guard sits inside the door of the lodge. It is the first office that involves a speaking role and is usually undertaken by an inexperienced mason. It is a good way to build a new masons confidence on the floor and is the first step on the journey to becoming the Worshipfull Master if he so desires.

His duty also includes the vetting of Masons in the lodge room to show they have the right to be there. He helps in openning and closing the lodge and informs the WM when somebody arrives late.

The jewel of the Inner Guard is two crossed swords

Tyl

Tyler

The Tyler sits outside the door to the lodge. he is armed with a drawn sword to keep out intruders in a ceremonial sense. He sees that everybody attending signs the Tylers book as a record and to aid in case of evacuation. He is also responsible for candidates to be properly prepared before initiations and raisings and generally sees that the candidate is comfortable and relaxed.

The only time the Tyler enters the lodge room is during the openning and closing where he leads the procession in and out of the lodge. The role is sometimes carried out by a so called proffessional Tyler, who may perform the role for a number of different lodges.

The jewel of the Tyler is a single sword

Stew

Stewards

The Stewards have no role within the Temple itself, their work starts once the meeting has ended by looking after the members and visitors at the Festive Board. This usually involves serving drinks, collecting donation envelopes and helping where help is needed. It is always a good role for new masons as it introduces him to visitors who in turn may invite him to their lodge.

The jewel of the stewards is the cornucopia sat between an extended compass.

Others

Other Lodge offices

Organist

The organist accompanies the singing at the opening and closing of the lodge. He also plays at the Festive Board. Not every Lodge has an organist but it adds character to the meetings.

The jewel of the organist is a lyre (small harp).

Almoner

Responsible for the well being of the lodge members and the widows of members who have passed away. He is the point of contact if somebody may need help in some way

 

The jewel of the Almoner is a purse embosed with a heart.

Charity Steward

The Charity Steward is basically a fundraiser. He arranges the collection of donations and the payment to charities of his choice, recomendation or an appeal from a local charity. He also liaises with Provincial charity stewards for donations towards Masonic charities.

The jewel of the Charity Steward is the trowel.

Grnd
Officers of Grand Lodge

Grand Officers or Officers of United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) as they are addressed are amongst the highest of ranks and although they are usually visitors, because of their status they sit to the left of the Worshipful Master in any Lodge they visit. To reach the heights of a Grand Lodge Officer takes extreme dedication and many years of experience.

Banner

Banners and Warrants

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Banner

The lodge banner has the same purpose as flags and banners used in ancient battles. It identifies a lodge with every banner being different. The banners are works of art in their own right, using fine materials and intricate needlework to create masonic scenes along side local landmarks to give the banner a uniqueness. The Banner of Coleshill Lodge depicts the church of St Peter and St Paul and the town pillory. Some banners are many years old.

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Warrant

The warrant or Charter is issued by Grand Lodge and authorises  the lodge to meet and perform as such. It is an agreement between the two parties that the lodge, will follow the laws and regulations  set out. It allows for uniformity across all lodges governed by the United Grand Lodge of England. Coleshill Lodge Warrant is just over 50 years old but some Lodges are many years older.

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