General Charges by which masters and fellows of the order are expected to adhere to. The words may read oddly in places, but it be the original grammar, text and spelling as used at the time of being written.
- The first charge is that you shall be true to God and the Holy Church, and that you use no heresy or error by your understanding or by teaching of indiscreet men.
- Also you shall be true liegemen to the King without treason or falsehood and that you know no treason but that you amend it if you may or else warn the King or his Council thereof.
- And also that every mason keep counsel of lodge and chamber and all other counsel that ought to be kept by the way of masonry.
- Also that no member be thief in Company so far forth that you shall know.
- And also that you shall be true unto the Lord and master that you serve and truly see for his profit and advantage.
- Also you do no villainy in that house whereby The Craft may be slandered.
SPECIFIC CHARGES FOR MASTER’S & FELLOWS
- First that no master take upon him any lord’s work nor other work but that he know himself unable to perform the same so that The Craft have no disworship but the lord may be served truly.
- Also that no master take any work that he take it reasonably so that the lord may be truly served with his own goods and that the master live honestly and truly pay his fellows their pay as the manner of The Craft does require.
- Also that no master or fellow supplant other of their work (that is to say) if they have taken a work or stand master of a lord’s work you shall not put him out unless he be unable to end the work.
- Also that no master or fellow take any apprentice to be allowed his apprentice but for seven years and that the apprentice be able of birth and limbs as he ought to be.
- Also that no master or fellow take allowance to be made mason without the assent of his fellows at the least five or six.
- And also that is to be made freeborn of good kindred and no bondsman and that he have his right limbs, as a man ought to have.
- Also that no master put a lord’s work to task that was used to go to journey.
- Also that every mason give pay to his fellows but as he may deserve so that he be not deceived by false workmen.
- Also that no fellows slander another falsely behind his back to make him lose his good name or his worldly goods.
- Also that no fellow withhold his lodge or without answer another ungodly without reasonable cause.
- Also that every mason prefers his elder and put him to worship.
- Also that no mason shall play cards hazards of any other unlawful game whereby they may be slandered.
- Also that no mason commit ribaldry or lechery to make The Craft slandered and that no fellow go into the town where there is a lodge of masons without a fellow to bear him witness that he was in honest company.
- Also that every master and fellow come to the assembly if he be within fifty miles and he have warning and to stand to the award of masters and fellows.
- Also that every master and fellow if he have trespassed shall stand to the award of masters and fellows to make them accord and if they cannot to go to the Common Law.
- Also that no mason make moulds ‘sware’ or rule to any rough layers.
- Also that no mason set layers within a lodge or without to have moulded stones with a mould of his marking.
- Also that every mason shall receive and cherish strange masons when they came over the country and set them on work as the manner is (that is to say) if they have moulded stones in place he shall set him a fortnight on work at the least and give him his hire and there be no stones for him then to refresh him with some money to bring him to the next lodge, and also to every mason shall serve truly the works and truly make an end of the work be it task or journey if he has pay as he ought to have.
The spirit of the charges,
equals the heart of Freemasonry.