A wooden hammer used by Operative Masons to set the stones in their proper positions. It is in Speculative Freemasonry a symbol, in the Third Degree, reminding us of the death of the builder of the Temple, which is said to have been effected by this instrument. In some Lodges it is improperly used by the Master as his gavel, from which it totally differs in form and in Symbolic signification.. The gavel is a symbol of order and decorum; the setting-maul, of death by violence. The most famous of Setting Mauls is one treasured by the Lodge of Antiquity, No. 2, United Grand Lodge of England. It once belonged to Sir Christopher Wren, and was by him presented to the Lodge of which he was a member (as was also his son after him). In a written Lodge record called Book E, in what there is said to be a copy of an old Minute Book, an item dated March 18, 1722, refers to "the Old Mallet used at laying the foundation stone of St. Paul's Cathedral." In the Lodge Inventory of 1778 is a record: "the Mallet with which Sir Christopher Wren laid the foundation Stone of St. Paul's Cathedral." In 1827 the Duke of Sussex, Grand Master, caused an engraved silver plate to be affixed to it, reading: "that this is the same Mallet with which his Majesty King Charles the 2nd leveled the foundation Stone of St. Paul's Cathedral A. L. 1677, A. D. 1673, and vv as presented to the Old Lodge of Saint Paul now the Lodge of Antiquity acting by immemorial Constitution by Brother Sir Christopher Wren R.W.D.G.H., W. . M.-. of this Lodge, and Architect of that Edifice." (The date should have been 1675.
A number of textual difficulties center in these and other references to Sir Christopher Ren; they are analyzed by Bros. Rylands and Firebrace in their two-volume Pvecord of the Lodge of Antiquity, No. ma. Bro. Albert F. Calvert devotes nine pages to Wren in his Title Grand Lodge of England, beginning at page 45. Gould devoted some fifty pages of his History to trying to prove that Wren was not a Masons had never been a member of Antiquity, etc.; the amount of space is out of proportion to the subject, and was turned to waste, at least was neutralized, by Bro. Ryland's discovery of Antiquity MSS. which Gould had no knowledge of.)
It is a common fact that the Gavel is one of the Working Tools, and thereby a major symbol, whereas the Maul is but one of many emblems, though the Gavel is almost never mentioned in the older records (Operative Masons used a stone axe) and the Maul often is. The Maul was a thick-bodied mallet, sometimes spherical in shape, sometimes square, by which a finished stone was tapped into place; it came for that reason to stand for the completing of a piece of work. (It is also curious that the Plumb, Square, Level, and Gage, or ruler, were called Working Tools when they were not tools but instruments.)
It is illuminating to assemble the whole set of symbols and emblems having to do with the stone in a single system: the Ashlar. the instruments for measuring it, the tools for cutting it, the maul for putting it in place, etc., for when thus assembled one tool throws light upon the other. When that is done it becomes clear that in the Third Degree there are in reality two mauls: ones a working tool, in the form of an emblem, which explains itself; the second, a weapon. In consequence, there are two separate symbolisms.
It was the duty of the Senior Wardens to pay and dismiss the Craft at the close of day, when the sun sinks in the West; so now the Senior Warden is said in the Lodge to represent the pettily sun.
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