Information Corner - Three Principle Officers

Working ToolsI give only a brief summary as a full list would require several pages.

To a list of the Companies of the date of 1377 is affixed what is called the Oath of the Wardens of Crafts, of which this is the commencement: "Ye shall Were that ye shall wele and treuly oversee the Craft of- whereof ye be chosen Wardeyns for the year. It thus appears that the Wardens were at first the presiding officers of the Gilds.

At a later period, in the reign of Elizabeth, we find that the chief officer began to be called Master; and in the time of James I, between 1603 and 1625, the Gilds were generally governed by a Master and Wardens.

“Ward” is of Medieval origin, having been used in early English, French, German, etc., always in the sense of to guard something, a meaning preserved in warden, guard, guardian, wary, ware, ward, etc. A warden is guardian of the west gate of the Temple, the Junior Warden of the south gate.

In every Symbolic Lodge, there are three principal officers, namely, a Master, a Senior Warden, and a Junior Warden. This rule has existed ever since the revival, and for some time previous to that event, and is so universal that it has been considered as one of the landmarks. It exists in every country and in every Rite The titles of the officers may be different in different languages, but their functions as presiding over the Lodge in a tripartite division of duties, are everywhere the same. The German Masons call the two Wardens erste and zweite Aufseher; the French, premier and second Surveillant; the Spanish, primer and segundo Vigilante; and the Italians, primo and secondo Sorvegliante.

The precise time when the presidency of the Lodge was divided between these three officers or when they were first introduced into Freemasonry, is unknown. The Lodges of Scotland, during the Operative regime, or era, were governed by a Deacon and one Warden. The Earl of Cassilis was Master of Kilwinning in 1670, though only an Apprentice. This seems to have been not unusual, as there were cases of Apprentices presiding over Lodges. The Deacon performed the functions of a Master, and the Warden was the second officer, and took charge of and distributed the funds. In other words, he acted as a Treasurer.

Comments

Thanks, Bro. Gerald

I'm certain that these first two "information corner" posts are but the first of many. However, many of us have already seen the benefit of new bits of knowledge.