Shaw Statute of 1598 w/ Rough Translation
W. Bro Brian Cowley
At Edinburgh the 27th day of December, the year of God 15 fourscore eighteen years.
The statutes and ordinances to be observed by all the Master Masons within this
Jurisdiction, set down by William Shaw, Master of Work to his Majesty, and
General Warden of the said Craft, with the consent of the Masters specified.
ITEM, First that they observe, and keep all the good ordinances set down here
before they were allowed to receive the Privileges of the Craft, by the showing
of good memory, especially that they be true to each other and live charitably
together as becomes sworn Brothers and Companions of the Craft.
ITEM, That they be obedient to their Wardens, Deacons, and Masters in all
things concerning their Craft.
ITEM, That they be honest, faithful, and diligent in their calling, and deal fairly
with the Masters or owners of the works that they shall undertake, be it in task,
room and board, or hourly wage.
ITEM, That none take upon themselves any work, great or small, while he is
unable to perform quality work under the fine of forty Pounds(approx. $500.00
in current money) money, or else the fourth part of the work, and value of the
said work, and that by payment amended and satisfaction to be made to the
owners of the work at the inspection of the sight, and the discretion of the
General Warden, or in his absence, at the sight of the Wardens, Deacons, and Masters,
of the Sherrifdome (County) of the location in which the work was done.
ITEM, That no Master shall take another master’s work over his head (behind his back)
after the first Master has agreed with the owner of the work, and the contract, written or
verbal has been set, under the penalty of a fine of forty Pounds ($500.00 as before).
ITEM, That no Master shall take over the work that another Master has done, at,
or before the time that the first work order is satisfied (paid) for the work that has
been done, under the penalty as stated before.
ITEM, That there shall be one Warden chosen and elected each year to have
charge over every Lodge, and that they are divided evenly, and that the votes
of the Masters of the said Lodges, and the consent of their General Warden that
he agrees to the appointment, and also that he be advised that such one Warden
is chosen for the agreed one year term, to the effect that the Warden General
elected may send such direction as official.
ITEM, That NO Master shall take on any more than three Apprentices during his
life time without any special consent or dispensation of all the Wardens, Deacons,
and Masters of the Sherrifdom(County) where the said Apprentices live and reside.
ITEM, That No Master takes on any Apprentice for fewer than Seven Years at the
least, and there fore it shall not be permitted to make said Apprentice Brother or
Fellow of the Craft until such time as he has served the time of the seven years,
after the start of his said apprenticeship, without a special license granted by the
Wardens, Deacons, and Masters assembled for that purpose, and that sufficient
testing be done of their worthiness, qualifications, and skills of the person that
wishes to be made a Fellow in Craft, and that under penalty of forty pounds
($500.00) to be assessed as a penalty be made against anyone that is made a
Fellow in Craft against this ordinance, besides the penalties to be brought
against him according to the ordinance of the Lodge where he lives.
ITEM, It shall NOT be allowed to any Master to sell his Apprentices to any
other Master or erase the years served in his apprenticeship, by the person
selling the Apprentices. Under Penalty of forty pounds.
ITEM, That No Master rehire any apprentices without he notifies the same to
the Warden of the Lodge where he lives, to the effect that the said apprentices
Name, and date of his Hiring be officially recorded.
ITEM, That No Apprentice be Entered but by the same record, that the record
of the Day of their entries is recorded.
ITEM, That NO Master or Fellow in Craft hire or admit, without the number of
six Masters and two entered Apprentices the Warden of that Lodge be of the same
six, and that the day or hiring of the said Fellow in Craft, or Master be properly
noted and his name and Mark be put in the book, with the names of the six
admitters and entered Apprentices, and the names of the witnesses that are
chosen to every person to be included in the log, providing always that No
man be admitted without written and trial of his skill and worthiness in his
vocation and Craft.
ITEM, That No Master do any Masonry under the Charge or command of
any other Craftsman that does any work that is Masonic.
ITEM, That No Master or Fellow in Craft retain any Cowans to work on his
projects or company, or send any of his servants to work with Cowans under
penalty of Twenty Pounds ($250.00) as often as any person shall break this
ITEM, It shall Not be allowed to any Entered Apprentice to take on any task
or work from an owner, and will pay the penalty of Ten Pounds ($125.00) under
the penalty as stated before. To wit xxlibs, and the job being done, they shall not
work without the license of the Masters or wardens where they live.
ITEM, If any question, problem or difference arise among any of the Masters,
servants, or entered Apprentices that the parties problems in question or debate
shall bring their reasons for such argument to the particular Wardens or Deacons
of their Lodge within the space of 13 days under the penalty of Ten Pounds($125.00),
to the end that they may reconcile their differences and their grievances removed by
their Wardens, Deacons and Masters, and advise any in the afore said parties who
are still willfully obstinate, that they shall be deprived of all Lodge privileges, and
no permit to work will be granted until they submit themselves to reason in the presence
of these Wardens, Deacons and Masters as stated.
ITEM, That all Masters and overseers of work, be very observant to see that the
scaffolds and framing is set and placed securely so that through their negligence
or oversight, no injury or suffering shall come to any persons that work at the aforesaid
workplace, under penalty of Discharging them here after never to work as Masters or
have any charge of any work, but shall ever be subject for the rest of their lives to
work under or with any other Master having charge of the work.
ITEM, That NO Master hire or employ any other Masters Apprentice or servant that
shall have run away from his MASTERS EMPLOY, NOR CONSIDER THE
HIRING OF HIM WITHIN HIS COMPANY AFTER HE HAS GAINED
INFORMATION OF THIS, UNDER PENALTY OF FORTY POUNDS ($500.00)
ITEM, That all members of the Masonic Craft meet at a lawful time and place
which is lawfully under Warrant, under penalty of Ten Pounds (125.00)
ITEM, That ALL masters that are notified to attend any assembly or meeting,
shall be sworn to their word of honour that they shall hide or conceal any problems
or wrongs done to one another, nor hide the fault or wrongdoing that any man has
done to the owners of the works that they have done or are doing as far as they know.
Under the penalty of Ten Pounds (125.00) to be taken from the perpetrators of the
ITEM, It is ordered that all the afore said penalties shall be obtained from the
offenders and breakers of this ordinance by the Wardens, Deacons, and
Masters of the Lodges where the offenders live, and shall be distributed
fairly in good conscience under the advice if the afore mentioned.
And for the completing and observing of these ordinances, set down verbatim.
The total of Masters convened on the afore mentioned day binds and obligates
them here to faithfully and therefore this request that the said Warden General
will make note of their Apprentices with his own hand, to the effect that one
authentic copy therefore will be sent to every proper Lodge within his Jurisdiction