The Web of Hiram

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York Rite Side Degrees

The Old York T.I. Lodge

The Grand Lodge of York


Ark Mariners

Order of the Grand High Priest


The ceremony of opening the Lodge, as far as it goes, is precisely the same as in the-Fellow Craft's degree, and would be superflously printed. The Catechism will be all that is necessary to explain the distinctions of the degree. 


WORSHIPFUL MASTER. Brother Senior Warden, in what manner do we prepare our candidates in this degree?

SENIOR WARDEN. As a Fellow Craft, with the additional characteristic of this degree on his apron.

W. M. What is that characteristic?

S. W. The ten mathematical characters, to correspond with the nine figures and cypher in arithmetic ; the signature of Hiram Abif, and the mark of this degree.

W. M. Why is he thus prepared?

S. W. To denote the official duties of this class of Masons at the building of King Solomon's temple, and the discovery made by the brethren, when they were repairing the temple.

W. M. Being thus prepared, in what manner did you enter?

S. W. By three reports (knocks), varying in sound from those of a Fellow Craft.

W. M. Having gained your admission, how were you dealt with?

S. W. I was conducted round to repair the temple in a manner peculiar to this degree, and having made a valuable discovery, I afterwards received the solemn obligation to keep sacred the secrets of this Order. After I had taken the obligation and sealed it in the usual manner, I was raised in the ancient form of a Master Mason.

W. M. Having thus bound yourself to keep sacred the secrets of this Order, what were the mysteries with which you were then entrusted?

S. W. The sign, token, and word of a Mark Man.

W. M. What does the sign denote?

S. W. The penalty of the obligation.

W. M. Why was it introduced into this Order of Masonry?

 S. W. To commemorate the signal used by our ancient brethren of this degree, when the first temple was erected in the City of Jerusalem.

W. M. What was that signal?

S. W. The trumpet.

W. M . Why was it used?

S. W. To denote the approach of danger.

W. M. What does the grip or token denote?

S. W. One of the penal laws of ancient Tyre united with the famous link of a Mark Man.

W. M. What does the word denote?

S. W. Everything past, present, or to come.

W. M. Why was this grand, majestic word introduced?

S. W. To hold in commemoration a very remarkable circumstance that occurred on the morning that the foundation, stone of the Temple was laid. Whilst King Solomon was in the act of congratulating our Grand Superintendent, Hiram Abif, on the occasion of his having discovered the celebrated ]problem in masonry and geometry, one of the precious stones fell from the royal crown to the ground, which, being perceived by the senior master of the Order of Mark Men, who, with the chief officers, were in attendance on this grand and solemn assembly, he picked it up and returned it to the king. This stone was of the carbuncle kind, and represented the tribe of Judah and our Saviour. It was formed into that great and glorious name, which King Solomon permitted to be used in the test word of this degree, in commemoration of its having been found by one of the chief brethren of this Order.

W. M. What was the original number of Mark Men at the building of' King Solomon's temple?

S. W. Two thousand.

W. M. Who were they?

S. W. The Senior and Junior Wardens of the Fellow Crafts Lodges.

W. M. How many lodges of Mark Men were there in the city of Jerusalem

S. W. Twenty.

W. M. Why limited to twenty?

S. W. In allusion to the height, length, and breadth of the sanctum sanctorum, or holy of holies.

W. M. How many Masons in each lodge?

S. W. One hundred.

W. M. What was the employ of these mark men?

S, W. To mark the materials, as they came out of the hands of the workmen, to enable them to put them together with greater facility and precision, when brought from the quarries of Tyre, the Forests of Lebanon and the clay ground of the Jordan, between the Succoth and Zarthan, to the holy city of Jerusalem.

W. M. What were the peculiar marks on that occasion?

S. W. Certain mathematical figures, consisting of squares, levels, and perpendiculars, that King Solomon commanded to be used on that occasion, which have ever since been denominated the Freemasons' Secret Alphabet or Mystic Characters.

W. M. Can you describe those characters?

S. W. With that circumspection peculiar to Masons, I will meet you on the line parallel, by giving you one part, leaving you to your own free will in giving the remainder.

W. M. I will thank you to proceed.

The S. W. rises, salutes the W. M. with the sign, advances to him, and lays his two penal fingers * (first and second) on those of the W. M., and thus forms the index to the secret alphabet, by joining the horizontal parallel to two perpendicular parallels.

[* footnote: A square, its portions, and the different positions, into which those portions may be placed, with the aid of the dot, will form an alphabet of twenty-four letters, without the use of a quarto.. or single side, such as the Roman I. This . is the secret alphabet of Masonry. It is very probable, that the circle, triangle, and square,' their divisions, and the varied positions of those, divisions, first gave the idea of letters and an alphabet. The Egyptian letters are plainly of this character. One of the Greek letters is a triangle. The circle is common in almost all alphabets ; the square in many, the united divisions of both in all.]

W. M. What is the mark of this degree? 

S. W. The H T or Tau in ancient characters.

W. M. What is the chief signature of this degree?

S. W
. The first is H. A. B., and the word is STODAN.

W. M. In what manner are they depicted in a Mark Man's lodge?

S. W. On the under surface of the key-stone of King Solomon's Arch, which they discovered to be a little loosened, at the time that they were inspecting the subterraneous passages and making preparations for the repairs of the temple. 

W. M. What else was there discovered? 

S.W. Round the circle surrounding the letters H. A. B., and between the other letters forming the remainder of the signature of this degree, we found conspicuous in Hebrew characters the word Amasaphus, or as some say, Amethyst.

W. M. How many Mark Men were there employed in the quarry of Tyre? 

S. W. Fourteen hundred.

W. M. How many lodges were there in those quarries?

S. W. Fourteen.

W. M. How many Mark Men in each lodge?

S. W. One hundred.

W. M. What was the pay of each Mason in this degree per day?

S. W. Nine shekels, equal to 1. 2s. 6d. of our money.

W. M. What was the sum total paid on this class of workmen, at the finishing of the temple of Jerusalem?

S. W. Six million, two hundred and twenty-five thousand, seven hundred and fifty pounds.

W. M. What was delineated on this ancient coin?

S. W. On one side, the pot of manna, and the words, Shekel of Israel; on the other, the rod of Aaron budding, with the word, Jerusalem the Holy.

W. M. Give me the historical account of this degree?

S. W. At the building of King Solomon's temple, the valuable and curious key-stone, containing many valuable coins and the ten letters in precious stone work which Hiram Abif took so much pains to complete, was lost, supposed to have been taken away by some of the workmen, and a reward was offered by King Solomon for the speedy finding or making of another to fit the place. An ingenious Entered Apprentice made one and fixed it in the vacancy in the arch, which, being known to some of the Fellow Crafts, they conceived it a disgrace to the Order to let an inferior degree bear the palm of honour. The therefore, in the heat of jealousy, took it and threw it into the Brook Kedron, adjacent to the temple. A reward was also offered for the finding of this second stone, which excited the brother who had made it, to go with two other Entered Apprentices, in pursuit of it; and when they had found it, they, received equally among them the last reward, and with it the degree of a Fellow Craft. The Brother who made it received the first reward to his own share for his ingenuity, and had the honour with his two Companions to fix it the second time in the arch, previous to which, the brother who made it cut on the under-side the word Amasaphus; and in addition to his former rewards, he was honoured with the degree of Mark Man, which is done by going round the lodge of a Mark Man in putting in his hands as a fellow craft to receive his wages. He is desired to state on what ground he claims those honours and having informed them of his discovery and what he had made, they then acknowledge his claim to be just; and he being desired to fetch the said key-stone, he finds it in his way the arch, by kicking against the ring of it concealed underground, the original key-stone that Hiram, Abif had made with the proper characters and signatures to it. He is then taught to put in his hands in due form for the payment of his wages, after which he receives the secrets of this degree.

W. M. Brethren, I  now crave your assistance in closing this lodge of mark men.

The Brethren stand round the lodge in due form.

W. M. Brother Senior Warden, what is the internal signal for closing this Order?

S. W. Three reports varying in Sound.

W. M. By whom are they given?

S. W. By the Worshipful Master and Wardens.

W. M. When are they to be given?

S. W. Immediately after all the brethren of this degree have given the proper sign.

W.M. Brethren, be pleased to give me the sign. (The reports are then given.)

W. M. Why are those reports given?

S. W. As a perpetual memorial of the labour of our ancient brethren in the three famous places where the materials of the temple were prepared :.-the Quarries of Tyre, the Forests of Lebanon, and the Clay Ground of the Jordan between Succoth and Zarthan.

W. M. To what do the reports further allude?

S. W. To the class of workmen that compose this degree.

W. M. Then, Brethren, as the master of that class, I declare this lodge duly closed, till our Fellow Craft brethren have furnished us with fresh materials to be MARKED and PASSED to the spot on which we intend to erect a building to the service of the Grand Architect of heaven and earth.

Home Lectures of the Craft Lectures of the Holy Royal Arch Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite The Royal Order of Scotland York Rite Side Degrees English Knights Templar Order of Women Freemasons Walter Leslie Wilmshurst Preston Illustrations of Masonry Masonic Tutor Support

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