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Mark Master's Wages

Companion George W. Warvelle commented thus upon the longestablished custom of a penny a day paid as the wages of a Mark Master:

This ridiculously low wage scale seems to have been the work of the early American Titualists. I have in my possession two old English rituals, of Mark Man and Mark Mason, in both of which there is a specification of wages. In the former the rate was ' nine shekels, equal to one pound, two shillings, six pence of our money,' and in the latter it gas 'twenty-five shekels, equal to three pounds, two shillings, six pence of our money.' What the present rate may be in England I am unable to say, but no Englishman would work for the beggarly stipend paid in the American Mark Lodges. I am inclined to believe, however, that our English Brethren have fixed these abnormally high prices to make up for the actual wages formerly paid in England to the Operative Craft. As late as the year 1689 the wages of Freemasons were prescribed by law at one shilling and four pence a day. To demand more subjected them to severe penalties. In fact, it was really the passing of restrictive laws commencing say, about 1356, that led to the present speculative institution, and Masonic scholars of eminence assign the year 1424 as the cessation of English Freemasonry as a strictly operative association (from Tyler Keystone, Michigan, December, 1914) .

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