Work, Master of The
An architect or superintendent of the building of an edifice. Du Cange Glossarium, thus defines it: "Magister operis vet operarum outgo, mattre de l'oeurre, cui operibus publicis vacare incumbit," that is, "Master of the Work or of the works, commonly, maltre de l'oeurre, one whose duty it is to attend to the public works."
The Cooke Manuscript (line 529) says: "And also he that wele most of connying (skill) schold be governour of the werke, and scholde be callyd maister."
In the old record of the date of Edward III, cited by Doctor Anderson in his second edition (page 71) it is prescribed "that Master Masons, or Masters of Work, shall be examined whether they be able of cunning to serve the irrespective lords."
The word was in common use in the Middle Ages, and applied to the Architect or Master Builder of an edifice. Thus Edwin of Steinbach, the architect of the Cathedral of Strasbourg, is called Master of the Work. The monasteries had a similar officer, who was, however, more generally called the Operaritss, but sometimes Magister operis (see Works, Grand Superintendent of).
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