This manuscript is written on twelve quarto pages as a preface to the Minute Book of the Company and Fellowship of Freemasons of a Lodge held at Alnwick, where it appears under the heading of The Masons' Constitutions. The document tells us of the "Orders to be observed by the Company and Fellowship of Freemasons at a Lodge held at Alnwick, September 29, 1701, being the General Head Meeting Day."
Among the items are the fifth and ninth which are of especial interest to us:
"No mason shall take any Apprentice (but he must) enter him and give him his charge within one whole year after.''
"There shall no apprentice after he have served seven years be admitted or accepted but upon the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel. " But, the festival was in 1704 changed to that of Saint John the Evangelist and later entries of'" made Free December 27th" indicate clearly that. those, who had served their time were admitted or accepted on that date according to the purpose of the ninth "Order."
This record was first published in 1871 in Hughan's Masonic Sketches and Reprints, American edition, and again in 1872 by, the same author in his Old Charges of the British Freemasons. In this latter work, Brother Hughan says of the records of this old Lodge that, "ranging from 1703 to 1757 they mostly, refer to indentures, fines, and initiations, the Lodge from first to last remaining true to its operative origin.
The members were required annually to 'appear at the Parish Church of Alnwicke with their aprons on and common squares as aforesaid on Saint John's Day in Christmas, when a sermon was provided and preached by some clergyman at their appointment.' A. D. 1708." The manuscript was reproduced in facsimile by the Newcastle College of the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia in 1895.
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