The Old Swalwell Lodge and the Harodim, by Bro. John Yarker (1902)
“We have amongst us three classes of confreres, the Novices or Apprentices; the Companions or Professed; the Masters or the Perfected. We explain to the first the moral virtues; to the second the heroic virtues; and to the last the Christian virtues; in such sort that our Institution encloses all the Philosophy of the Sentiments and all the Theology of the heart.”
“This union was after the example of the Israelites, when they raised the second Temple. During this time they handled the trowel and the mortar with one hand, whilst they carried in the other the sword and buckler.”
“The fatal discords of religion which embarrassed and disturbed Europe in the 16th century served to degenerate the nobility of its origin. They changed, they disguised, they suppressed several of our Rites and usages which were contrary to the prejudices of the times.” (Ramsay, 1737. Literally translated.)
If there is any county in England in which we may look for a confirmation of the above extracts from the Chevalier A M Ramsay’s speech of 1737 it is the County of Durham. A county Palatine; the ancient See of a Bishop; Christianised by the Culdee Monks who were the schoolmasters and architects of the times they influenced; so intensely conservative that after the dissolution of the Monasteries and Knightly Orders, 1538-60, it included a larger percentage of persons termed recusants, or those who followed the old dogmas of religion, than any other county (amongst which were the writer’s own ancestors); it is here we should seek that which was lost.
A reference to Bro William Hutchinson’s “Spirit of Masonry,” and the ancient Craft Lectures, will show that the Master’s ceremony included Christian allusions not tolerated in London. The unchristianising of the Craft (of which the present writer does not complain) was gradual in Commonwealth times, and was completed by Desaguliers and Anderson, 1717-22. The old Charges which invoked the Trinity, and obligated the candidate to his duties by “all saints,” or his “halidame,” [ie, “Holy Mother”] etc, was changed to “Almighty God,” or, as in the Antiquity MS., 1686, “Almighty God of Jacob.”
During the times of Culdee influence there was a body of men attached to the Church and Cathedral erections termed Hali-wark-folc, and they continued after the Norman Conquest. Hutchinson says that he had several charters referring to them, and expresses his opinion that they were the Freemasons of the period. Surtees, in his History of Durham, refers to one of these of the Norman Bishop of 1102, addressed to the Hali-wark-folc and the French, from which it appears that the former claimed freedom from Border duty as guards of the patrimony of St Cuthbert.
Even Bro R F Gould allows that our old rhythmetical Constitution, termed the “Regius” MS, was of Culdee origin, transmitted in this part of the country and may represent a Guild from which operative labour may have departed.
That the Bishops of Durham continued to be Charter givers is proved by the record of one granted by the Bishop, 24th April, 1671, to found at Gateshead a Fellowship or Community. It is granted to gentlemen, masons, marblers, and other trades; was to meet four times a year, choose four wardens (the Master, Deputy, and two Wardens, no doubt as in the Swalwell Lodge) at the annual assembly, one of whom must be a mason. Fuller information can be seen in Gould’s History, vol ii, page 151.
The minutes of the Swalwell Lodge begin with a copy of the 1723 edition of Anderson’s Constitutions. These are followed by certain laws, compiled by an educated man, and in the clear hand of 1725. “Orders of Antiquity,” 21 sections; “Apprentice Orders,” 8 sections; “General Orders,” 8 sections; “Penal Orders,” 20 sections. Whence this system came there is no record; the “Orders of Antiquity” are a compilation of our ancient MSS; the “Apprentice Orders” is a form of our old Constitutions, with his charges, to which he was sworn, when he was presented by a member of the Lodge to whom he was indentured, and a charge of 6d was made for “Entry,” and in seven years he had to pay 10/6 for his “Freedom.” All mention of our ceremonies are ignored, but we know that they took place, and the “Penal Laws” give the fines to be paid by any who illegally reveal the “3 ffraternal signs.” The system corresponds closely with the Lodge of Alnwick, the minutes of which from 1701 have been published verbatim by the Newcastle College of Rosicrucians. But the whole system is more carefully elaborated, and naturally the most probable origin of it is the Gateshead Charter of the Bishop granted 1671; Swalwell being but four miles distant. The yearly meeting was St John the Baptist’s day, when the Master, Wardens, and Deputy Master were elected; four quarterly meetings were held on 24th June, 29th September, 27th December, and 25th March.
This account is mainly taken from, the series of papers published in the Masonic Magazine of 1875, but I shall have to supplement it from other sources, as the bearing of the Harodim was not understood by the Editor, and it was unfortunate that he left unconsulted other sources of information. The secretaryship of the Lodge in 1746 had fallen into the hands of an uneducated man, and he spells Harodim, Highrodiam; and Domatic-also (or some equivalent) Domaskin. Throughout Durham there are various mentions of the Harodim, and what a writer of 1794 terms “an ancient and mysterious degree, the Passage of the Bridge” which included the main features of the Royal Arch, and which was no doubt the component part of some of the three or four Arch Degrees. The same writer states, in the Freemasons’ Magazine of 1794, that the Harodim was conferred by Bro Jos Laycock at Winlaton, but this seems to be a mistake; he became simply a revelator.
Bro Joseph Laycock was SW of the Swalwell Lodge, 21th June, 1734, and was no doubt instrumental in bringing the Lodge under charter of the Grand Lodge of London, on 24th June, 1735, as No. 132. On the 21st March, 1735, he was appointed the Provincial Grand Master of the county. No doubt he kept minutes of his proceedings, which are now lost, and there is only one allusion in the Swalwell minute book to his office, under the date of 4th June, 1744, in which it is stated that “whereas it is enacted by the Provincial Grand Master (Provincell Master) and Master and Wardens of this Constituted Lodge what Brother soever belonging to the Society shall abuse the Sabbath day by Disguising himself in Liquor so that this Lodge be scandalized, as formerly for such offence 1 shilling.” And this penal law is crossed through with the pen.
Although the Lodge joined Grand Lodge in 1735, they made not the slightest change in any of their forms or mode of proceeding. The pages at the reverse end of the book are devoted to the “Entering” of Apprentices “bound ”to some member of the Lodge, and there are twenty-one minutes running from 1725 to 1776.
The remaining minutes of the Lodge proceedings are entered in the ordinary way to follow the Laws, and contain much of interest for which we have not space.
“June 14th, 1733. It is agreed by the Society that any brother of the Lodge that hath an Apprentice that serves his time equally and lawfully as he ought to do, shall be made free for the sum of 8s. And for any working Mason, not of the Lodge, the sum of 10s. And to any gentleman or other, not a working Mason, according to the majority of the Company.”
The Harodim was clearly of old date in the Lodge, as the PGM Bro Joseph Laycock, of Winlaton, Swalwell, made an oration to the Lodge at Gateshead, which is printed in “Book M” at Newcastle, 1736, as “Read 8 March 1735 (6) at the Constitution of a new Lodge at the Fountain, in Pipewell Gate, Gateshead.” In this Oration he repeats twelve lines which he terms “old verses,” in regard to the use by the Jews of the sword and trowel, which are yet found verbatim in the Ritual of Harodim – Rosycross of London (time immemorial 1743), present Royal Order of Scotland; and were referred to by Ramsay in 1737.
It is clear, however, to me, that in accordance with the “Modern” ritual, Laycock abandoned the Harodim, for his name does not appear at its revival or after; that the old members were dissatisfied with him and his innovations; that the allusion to “English Masters,” which means the 3° of Grand Lodge, and the Passed Fellow of the North, is a half sneer, and that they determined to revive the old order as a Grand Lodge, and to appoint Grand Officers independent of, and separate from, Laycock’s Provincial Grand Lodge. Herewith some minutes bearing upon the subject; the first of the Lodge, the others of the Grand Lodge.
24th June,1743. John Ellethorne, Master, deceased, Ralph Howdon, Master. Grand Lodge Officers, 24th June, 1743. Kendk. Jones, Prov G Master; Wm Hawdon, Dep Gd Master; Michl. Dalton, Sen Warden; Thos Dalton, Jun Warden; Wm Dalton, Gd Treasurer.
23rd June,1744. Thos. Dalton, PG Master; Wm Hawdon, Dep Gd Master; Michael Dalton, Sen Warden; . . . . Jun Warden; Richard Hawdon, Treasurer.
24th June,1745. Kendk. Jones was Deputy Master.
These are clearly quite distinct from Laycock’s Provincial Grand Lodge; and now follows a portion of the printed extracts, which seems to show that under some older arrangement certain brethren paid 1s 6d, whilst now they were to pay 2s 6d each, for what, as Harodim, was to be 5s to non-members of the Lodge.
“24th June, 1746. Richard Hawdon, PGM; J Hawdon, SGW; J Lawther, JGW; J Hoy, Dep GWM; Michael Hawdon, Perticular Lodge Master Sen Thos Eccles, Jun Thos Liddle, Wardens; Wm Gibson, Chris Dod, Stewards.”
“Memorandum. Highrodiams to pay for meeting in that Order only 1s 6d.
Eight names follow under the law of 1s 6d and three who pay 2s 6d. The eight names are clearly the old members and the three are candidates entered in the next list as paying the 2s. 6d.
“July 1st,1746. Enacted at a Grand Lodge, held that evening, that no brother Mason shall be admitted into the Dignity of a Highrodiam under less than a charge of 2s 6d or as the Domaskin or Forin, as John Thompson from Gateside paid at the same night, 5s.
“N.B. The English Masters to pay for entering into the said Masterships, 2s 6d per majority.”
Thirteen names follow headed, “Names of the Brothers in the High Order.” These do not include the original eight members.
After that thirty names headed, “English Masters to pay at entrance 2s 6d each.”
George Heppel, the manager of Crowley, Millington & Co., is twice mentioned in 1756, and he took the Harodim 23rd June, 1759, but all that we have is a list of names to show reception; and five “Raised Members,”1771-2. But some twenty pages has been torn out of the minute book. Bro W Reed was foreman mason at Crowley’s and used to confer the Harodim as a degree at Gateshead, and gave it to his grandson, Bro R B Reed, the last surviving member of the old Lodge.
Now there is nothing to show the nature of the Harodim in these minutes, nor even Craft ceremonies, and had returns not been made to Grand Lodge, writers would have referred to the minutes to prove no ceremonies. To a certain extent there is a Correspondence with the Royal Order of Scotland. It is as if the Durham Harodim was an older form which had been modified by the London Jacobites and attached to the Stuart faction and Prince Charles Edward. It speaks of its highest section as the Sanhedrim, and the London Grand Master has his “Priory Seal.” We can trace, by documents, neither the “Regius” nor Harodim MSS. till 18th century, yet both exist.
But the present ritual has been kept intact for over 160 years, and claims the Culdees as its founders; and in every form it is the exact embodiment of the “Regius” MS. before alluded to. It has three chief points: the Harodim lecture on Craft Symbolism; 2nd, the Passage of the Bridge (by Zerrubabel); 3rd, the Cabinet of Wisdom, or primitive Rosy-cross. Lastly, a Knighthood said to be ancient, but yet more modern than the other portion, and in smoother versification.
The tradition of the Durham Harodim is that they were the ancient “Elders” of the Craft, and had the adjudication of all disputes, for the adjustment of which they travelled in groups of three; and I am informed that the old Swalwell minutes show such travels. The 1659 minutes of the Lodge of Kilwinning show that there were “Six Quarter Masters” or Elders, or “Men of ancient Memory,” who had analogous duties, and assembled yearly at Ayr to “tak order with transgressors.” From the 12th or 13th century every country had its “Master’s Fraternities,” which had its Altar at some church to which all the Craft contributed. France termed them Prudhommes (wise men); Germany had Craft Masters, and Old Masters (presidents of Masters); England, Elders, etc. It had at Swalwell its Guild or Court Book of the penalties inflicted, one of these yet exists but has not been printed.
Harodom I have dealt with, but a very learned Brother suggests that he has no doubt Domaskin is a Domatic Mason in opposition to a Geomatic Mason, and derived originally from Domus as attendant upon a Cathedral, Priory, or other religious community, whilst Forin may be from a stranger working at a particular Domus. On the other hand, as regards this particular Lodge, there is proof that the steel workers of Solingen imported men from Damascus from whom to learn the trade, and that Crawley brought in Germans and Walloons for the same purpose, and it is held that the words “Domaskin and Forin” refers to these artisans.
The Durham tradition says further that the Harodim united the Geomatic, or Speculative, Mason with the Domatic or Operative. A Master of the ordinary, or particular Lodge as it is termed before, might open a Harodim Lodge but must retire “for the appropriate lecture.” Nine members were to be present at receptions, but in cases of necessity six members and three candidates. So much is all that can be printed in reference to Harodim.
The Craft Lodge lost its original Constitution and obtained a Charter of Confirmation, 1st October, 1771, being then No. 61. — T. Chambers, WM; W Daglish, SW, W Hall, JW.
In 1794 it appears as the “Industry,” No. 44 (a name assumed in 1776). John Taylor, WM and PGJW, for the county; Michael Shield, SW; Henry Marshall, JW; Abraham Shield, SD; Robert Wilson, JD; Thomas Carr, Treasurer; Wm Newton, Secretary. The ceremonies being performed by Ralph Arther, Dep WM.
A second minute book is bound up with the Constitutions of 1767. The actual minutes begin 5th June, 1780, and end 3rd February, 1845.
“September 7th, 1781. Bro Longstaff and Bro Capt George Farquhar, chosen honorary members. The officers were chosen.
“From the Charter granted to this Lodge in 1774 by the V Honble Earl of Crawford, authorising us to appoint a Provincial Master, we have unanimously, upwards of 10 brethren present, elected our Worshipful Master David Richardson to that honourable office for life.”
On the 26th September, 1845, a special meeting was held of Lodge Industry, No. 56, when twelve brethren, including visitors, were present.
On the 29th January, 1845, a meeting was held to consider the propriety of removing the Lodge to Gateshead, when it was adjourned to 3rd February. On that date it was decided to remove the Lodge accordingly, when about twenty brethren were elected as joining members.
In 1867 the Lodge obtained permission to wear a centenary medal from the Earl of Zetland, the then MWGM, and the Lodge still flourishes at the Masonic Hall in Gateshead as the Industry, No 48, and long may it continue to do so
A few words may be added upon the Harodim Court and its decline. The assumption of a Knighthood by the highest class of Domatic Masons is not so bizarre as it may seem. Bro. Gould has shown that in the six ancient Municipal Guilds of Paris, of which the Jewellers dated from 628, the Masters and Wardens were Esquires, whilst their Chief Provost was Chevalier. The Harodim decayed through no fault of its own. (1) The civil law deprived it of its judicial functions; (2) the Grand Lodge of its ruling power. Ramsay’s Masonry was the Durham Harodim pure and simple, but it was not the Rite, 1738-43 of the French Clermont Chapter which lost the points of its ritual; (3) the Craft absorbed its symbolic instruction; (4) its second point became the Army’s Knights of the Sword and the Civilians’ Royal Arch; (5) its Cabinet of Wisdom became the Rose Croix of Heredom; (6) lastly, its Knighthood was assumed by the Templar Kadosh. No doubt the Royal Arch Fraternity of York, in 1740, was Harodim, to be succeeded after 1761 with a more modern (even if ancient then) system.
“The Old Swalwell Lodge and the Harodim,” by Bro. John Yarker, in: Ars Quatuor Coronatorum: being the transactions of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge, No. 2076, Vol. XV, by Freemasons, Quatuor Coronati Lodge, No. 2076 (London, England) Printed at “Keble’s Gazette” Office: Margate, 1902 (pgs. 184-188)
THE LODGE OF INDUSTRY No.48