A title applied to a Symbolic Lodge and to its Master. The Germans sometimes use the title Hochwurdig. The French style the Worshipful Master Venerable, and the Lodge, Respectable. In the seventeenth century, the Gilds of London began to call themselves Worshipful, as "the Worshipful Company of Grocers," etc.; and it is likely that the Lodges at the Revival, and perhaps a few years before, adopted the same style.
The reader will find in the remarks made to a Lodge by Paul Revere a significant and free use of the word in addressing both Masters and Wardens (see Revere, Paul). Many such instances are also mentioned in MisceUanea Latoinorum. On page 28, volume v, mention is made of the use of Right Worshipful Master in a number of Lodges, including the Lodge of Antiquity, No. 2, and Saint John the Baptist Lodge, No. 39, though it cannot be said to have been the usual practise. Two old Warrants issued by the Modern Grand Lodge in 1767 and 1769 are also noted on the same page as being "at the Petition of our Right Worshipful and well beloved Brethren." Brother J. Vroom notes on page 44, volume v, that in the records of the Orphan's Friend Lodge, No. 34, on the registry of the Grand Lodge of Nova Scotia, Ancient, until some time later than 1813, the three principal officers of the Lodge were styled Right Worshipful Master, Worshipful Senior Warden, and Worshipful Junior Warden. The writer suggested that this may be a local custom, derived through Massachusetts influence from Lodges established under Scottish Warrants.
Brother T. B. Whytehead, discussing Relics of the Grand Lodge at York (in volume xiii, 1900, page 107) Transactions, Quatuor Coronati Lodge, states that at a Communication of the Lodge held on November 30, 1778, "it was considered the title of Most Worshipful should be used in future to the Grand Master of all England and the Lodges granted in future under this Constitution the Masters of such Lodges be called Right Worshipful Master."
The expression has the prestige of long service as a term of respectful formality but is now of much more limited usefulness than formerly. In Samuel Pepys' famous Diary there is a pertinent entry under date of August 4, 1661, where it is recorded that a clergyman addressed his congregation as "Right Worshipful and dearly beloved This was in the Parish of "my Cousin Roger," who was the Member of Parliament for the town of Cambridge. Probably the presence of such persons of distinction was the reason for the expression employed by the preacher.
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