Some Questions and Answers
Food For Thought - Masonic Article
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS - FROM UNITED MASTERS LODGE No. 167
Regarding the Rule “Lodges formed after May, 1912 must conform to the N.Z, Ritual”. Does this refer to N.Z. Constitution Lodges formed immediately before 1912 or old English, Irish and Scottish Constitution Lodges who transfer their allegiance to the New Zealand Constitution?
The Rule means just exactly what it says. It refers only to "Lodges formed after 16th May, 1912" and therefore cannot refer to "N.Z. Constitution Lodges formed immediately before 1912." There might be some doubt about the answer to the second portion of the question because on transferring its allegiance a Lodge received a new charter from the Grand Lodge of New Zealand. This question was raised in the debate on the adoption of this rule at the meeting of the Grand Lodge at Dunedin on the 9th May, 1912. M.W. Bro. C. J. W. Griffiths, P.G.M., Chairman of the Committee which brought down the rule and mover of its adoption In Grand Lodge, replied as follows:-
"The Committee had no intention of making it apply to Lodges transferring their allegiance. The words "Newly formed" mean what they say - Lodges actually newly formed."
It is made quite clear and definite in Rule No.336 in the present Book of Constitution which is an extension of Rule No. 157 in the old Book of Constitution.
Was Sir Christopher Wren a Mason?
The answer to this question is set out very clearly in "Masonic Problems and Queries." I do not think I can do better than quote it in full.
"This is a question which has been vehemently debated by Masonic historians and investigators. It has been pointed out that in Aubrey's Natural History of Wiltshire, completed in 1686, but not published till 1847, there is reference to the fact that on 18th May, 1691 there was to be a 'great Convention' at St. Paul's Church of the Fraternity of the Accepted Masons, where Sir Christopher Wren is to he adopted a Brother.' On Wren's death newspapers alluded to him as 'that worthy Freemason' Full details of Wren's Masonic career are given in the 1738 edition of the Constitutions, stating that he was appointed Grand Warden by the Earl of St. Albans. It is further stated that he was appointed Deputy Grand Master in 1666, and again in 1674, and elected Grand Master in 1685. Laurence Dermott and William Preston have repeated a similar story. Preston states that Wren attended the meetings of the Lodge of Antiquity regularly in 1666.
"Authorities who discountenance the theory that Wren was a Mason claim that no reliable reference to the 'great convention' alluded to by Aubrey has been found elsewhere; and that his statements are inconsistent with dates given in the 1738 Constitutions. They argue, further, that it is unbelievable that Dr. Anderson when he compiled the 1723 Constitutions, could have been ignorant of the details of Wren's Masonic career, which he gave fifteen years later, and that there was no such office as Grand Master till 1717. "When the conflicting arguments have been considered there still remains the strong evidence that two contemporary newspapers at the time of Wren's death referred to him as 'that worthy Freemason’”.
Several Lodge numbers are missing from the Roll of the Grand Lodge of New Zealand. What has happened to the Charters of Lodges Nos. 20, 35, 50, 57 and 59 and what were their respective names?
No. 20 was the number given to the Eden Lodge, No, 1530 E.C., when it transferred its allegiance to the newly formed Grand Lodge of New Zealand by resolution of the Lodge passed on the 26th May, 1891. The Lodge worked under its N.Z. Charter until about the 23rd March, 1892, when it returned to its original Charter under which it still works. No.20 on the Roll of the N.Z. Grand Lodge has never been filled up.
No. 35 was the number given to Lodge Malvern, No, 1919 E.C., of Springfield, Canterbury, when it became a foundation member of the Grand Lodge of NZ. pursuant to a resolution passed by the Lodge on the 4th June, 1890. The Lodge held its last meeting on December 6th. 1893, though the secretary continued to send in returns to Grand Lodge until 1895.
No. 50.-This number appears to be a mistake as it is the number of the Robert Burns Lodge, of Reefton. This Lodge was one of the foundation Lodges of the Grand Lodge of N.Z. and is still active.
No. 57 was the number given to Lodge Waikouaiti, No.2115 E.C.. of Waikouaiti, the earliest settlement in Otago, when it became a foundation member of the Grand Lodge of N.Z. After several years of struggle the Lodge finally closed down in 1901.
No. 59 was the number given to Lodge Foxton Kilwinning, No. 727 S.C., of Foxton, when it became a foundation member of the Grand Lodge of N.Z. in 1890. The Lodge only sent in one half-yearly return to Grand Lodge. It did not admit any new members, and seems to have just quietly faded away.
The only other blank number in the Roll of the Grand Lodge of N.Z. is No.348. This number has never been filled.
- N. B. SPENCER.
SOURCE: Answers to Questions - UMLv11n14 (1956)
The explanations of the Tracing Boards are made up of excerpts from the Masonic Lectures. From the beginning of speculative Masonry down to the Union of the two Grand Lodges in England in 1813, the working of the Masonic Lectures, consisting of questions and answers, formed a large part of the ritual work performed at the regular Lodge meetings.
Shortly after the union of the two Grand Lodges in 1813 the Lectures Were revised by Dr. Hemming, a prominent member of the Lodge of Reconciliation, which settled the difficulties of ritual consequent on the union, Dr. Hemming was taken ill and the work was finished by Rt. Wor. Bro. Williams, Provincial Grand Master for Dorset, and the compiler of the Books of Constitutions of the years 1815, 1819 and 1827.
A large part of the lectures which were revised at this time was the work of the great Masonic ritualist William Preston. Many of the addresses were either his work, or had been reworded and recast by him, particularly those used by Lodges working under the Grand Lodge of the Moderns.
Bro. Rankin, the well-known authority on ritual, maintained that the explanations of the Tracing Boards were made of excerpts from the Emulation Lodge Lectures. He appears to be wrong, however, for the Explanatory of the Tracing Boards appears in cypher in Browne's "Master Key" published in 1802 under the heading "Explanation of the Hieroglyphics," almost word for word as we have them at the present day, whereas the Emulation Lodge of Improvement was not founded until over twenty years later.
Browne's "Master Key" is considered to embody Preston's version of the working of the "Moderns" just prior to the union in 1813. I can find no proof that the piece of ritual in question was actually the work of Preston as it does not appear in any of the editions of his "Illustrations."
I think from the above we are justified in saying that the Explanations of the Tracing Boards consist of excerpts taken from the Masonic Lectures as revised by Bros. Hemming and Williams, and that the originals were probably the work of William Preston.
-N. B. -SPENCER.
SOURCE: SOURCE: UML 1945m8 23rd August