William Shakespeare: Freemason or Not?

William Shakespeare; considered by many to be one of England’s finest writers.

In Freemasonry, the number 3 is important, so is the letter T, which has three points, and the word for the number 3 begins with the letter T.   

William Shakespeare’s monument located in Westminster Abbey, emphasises the number 3.

  • Three line inscription at the top.
  • Three books in the middle.
  • Three heads at the bottom.

The inscription upon the monument was written by Alexander Pope (Poet) and an active Freemason at the time.

The Lord Protector and Rosslyn Chapel

According to the writings of Reverend Dyer, Oliver Cromwell, the Lord Protector of England reigned (1653-1658).  It is said he would roam the lands of England, with his Parliamentary army, during the English Civil War (1642-1649) causing much damage to papist churches.  Yet when he came across Rosslyn Chapel, not so much as a scratch was laid upon this building.  It is said Oliver Cromwell was a senior Freemason of high standard, and Rosslyn Chapel was a Masonic Shrine.

In 1650, General Monk’s forces utterly destroyed Rosslyn Castle, and yet again Rosslyn Chapel was left untouched.  Had the chapel been viewed as Catholic, it would surely have been destroyed, as it was Rosslyn Chapel was a shrine.

Numerous Masonic graves can be found in the graveyard, many sporting the symbol (pick and shovel) of the Royal Arch Degree, and the (skull and crossbones), the Templar symbol of resurrection.

Freemason: Edward Jenner

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Freemason: Edward Jenner

Edward Jenner, the son of Rev Stephen Jenner was born on the 17th May 1749 in Berkeley, Gloucestershire.  Aged just five he became orphaned, and went to live with his older brother.  His early schooling, showed young Edward had a deep interest in science and nature.

When Edward was 14, he became an apprentice to one Daniel Ludlow, the County Surgeon in Sodbury, for a period of seven years.  In 1764 he began an apprenticeship with George Harwicke, where he learnt about surgical and medical practices.

In 1770 aged 21, Jenner became a student under John Hunter, a famous surgeon in his time at St.George’s Hospital in London.  He was well known, and a well respected Biologist and Anatomist, also known as an experimental scientist.

Whilst under tutorage of John Hunter, Jenner studied geology, and carried out experiments on human blood.  It was during this time, he devised an improved method for preparation of medicine known as “Tartar Emetic” (Potassium Antimony Tartrate).

Edward Jenner returned to Berkeley to practice medicine, following the death of John Hunter the Scottish surgeon and friend in October 1793.

Jenner was elected as a “Fellow of the Royal Society” in 1788, following his publication, based upon his study of the much misunderstood life of a “Cuckoo.”  Where upon he undertook experiments, dissected it, and gave his personal thoughts.

In 1792, Edward Jenner earned his MD status, from the University of St.Andrews.

Smallpox was a natural disease, which appeared in Europe during the Middle Ages.

In the 18th century, smallpox was known to kill some 400,000 people per year, some of those who survived, were blinded or badly scarred.

The word variola was a commonly used term when referring to smallpox, as introduced by Bishop Marius of Avenches, Switzerland in AD 570.  Derived from the latin word varius, which meant “stained” or varus which meant “mark on the skin.”

The term small pockes, used in 15th century England was to distinguish the disease from syphilis, known as the great pockes.

If we go back to 430 BC, it was common knowledge that survivors of smallpox, became immune to the disease, and they would nurse the afflicted.

In medieval times, many remedies were attempted:  Dr Sydenham (1624-1689), treated his patients by forbidding a fire to be lit, windows wide open day and night, no bed clothes above the waist, and the patient would consume twelve small bottles of beer, every twenty-four hours.

However the most successful way for early doctors, in combating smallpox before the discovery of vaccination (Vaccine: A substance made from the germs that cause the disease, which is given to people to prevent them getting the disease) was inoculation (Injecting a micro-organism, bacteria, to protect one against the disease.  The word is derived from the Latin inoculare, which meant to graft).

Inoculation; saw subcutaneous instillation of the smallpox disease into a non-immune person, by using a wet lancet with fresh matter from an infected smallpox sufferer.

On the 17th April 1722, two daughters of the Princess of Wales were treated this way, and the procedure received acceptance by the Royal Family.

This form of treatment carried some risks, yet it was better than doing nothing, as thousands died.  It is believed only 2-3% of treated patients died, or went on to suffer from other diseases, like tuberculosis and syphilis.

In 1796 Jenner, made his first steps in the eradication of the smallpox disease, which had been the scourge of mankind for centuries.

He deduced that cowpox, a disease often caught by dairymaids, protected one from the more serious disease of smallpox.

Sarah Nelms, a young dairymaid had cowpox lesions on her hands and arms, and using matter from her lesions, inoculated James Phipps.  Nine days later he was cold and lacked appetite, and on the tenth day was better.  A few months later he inoculated the boy once again, but this time with smallpox lesions.

Smallpox did not develop, proving that cowpox had indeed protected him against the infection.

He sent a paper to the Royal Society in 1797, describing his findings, but they rejected it.  In 1798, Jenner knew his theory and practical application had merit, and so published a book on his findings.  “An Inquiry into the Causes and Effects of the Variolae Vaccinae.”

Part one, consisted of details regarding the origin of cowpox, as a disease of horses, and transmitted to cows… yet the theory was rejected.  Part Two, contained critical observations, related to his tests.  Part Three, was a discussion into the pros and cons of his findings.

In 1799, Dr George Pearson and Dr William Woodville supported his vaccination, which was undertaken and distributed to their patients.  His vaccination spread rapidly through England, and by 1800 had reached much of Europe.

Dr John Haygarth received vaccine from Edward Jenner in 1800, which he sent to Benjamin Waterhouse a physics professor at Harvard University.  He in turn introduced it into New England, and Thomas Jefferson tried it in Virginia, which led to the creation of the “National Vaccine Institute” in the United States of America.

In 1802 Edward Jenner received the sum of £10,000 from the British Parliament for his work on vaccination, and in 1806 received a further £20,000 for his work on microbiology.

On the 30th December 1802, he became a Master Mason at the “Lodge of Faith and Friendship.”  From 1812-1813 he was appointed and served as “Worshipful Master of Royal Berkeley Lodge of Faith and Friendship.”

In 1803 he became involved with the Jennerian Institution, a society whose aim it was to promote vaccination to eradicate smallpox.  In 1808, the society was re-named and became the “National Vaccine Establishment.”

In 1821, he was appointed Physician to King George IV, and made Mayor of Berkeley and Justice of the Peace.

In 1788 Edward Jenner married Catherine Kingscote, and they had four children.  They lived in Chantry House, and in the garden he vaccinated the poor for free.

His family was shattered in 1810, when son Edward died of Tuberculosis, followed by Mary and his wife in 1815.  In 1820 he suffered a stroke, from which he recovered.  On the 23rd January 1823 he visited his final patient, and on the 25th January was found with his right side paralysed.  On the very next day; 26th January 1823, aged 73 Edward Jenner died from an apparent stroke.

He was laid to rest with his parents, wife and children, near the altar of Berkeley Church.

The early works by Edward Jenner on the study of smallpox, and its connection with cowpox had laid the foundation, which would allow future doctors and scientists to come up with a cure for this disease which was known to have taken the lives of thousands…

My Life: Robert Moray

Robert Moray

Sir Robert Moray

Military Man – Scientist – French Spy

Royal Society Founder – Freemason

Robert Moray was born on the 10th March 1609 at Craigie, Perthshire, Scotland.  The son of Perthshire laird; Sir Mungo Moray, and his mother the daughter of George Halket of Pitfirran, Dumferline.

Moray was educated firstly at St.Andrew’s University in Scotland, and continued his education in France.

In 1633, Moray served with the Scots Guards of Louis XIII.  He became a spy for Cardinal Richelieu.  In 1638, the General Assembly of Scotland’s Covanters rebelled against Charles I.  Richelieu promoted Moray to Lieutenant Colonel in Louis Scots Guards, and sent him to Scotland.  His commission was to recruit Scottish soldiers.  He also had a personal objective, assisting fellow Scots in their dispute with Charles, which would cause trouble for England.

Moray, appointed quartermaster – general of Covanter’s Army in 1640, marched south with Scottish forces, and defeated Earl Stafford’s Army at Newcastle.

On the 20th May 1641 Robert Moray was initiated as a Freemason in Newcastle by General Alexander Hamilton, commander of the Covenanter’s and John Mylne, Master Mason to King Charles I.

By 1643, acted as liaison officer between Covenanter’s Army and Charles I from his Oxford home.  On the 10th January 1643, Charles knighted him, and upon return to France, he was promoted to full Colonel of the Scots Guards.  On the 24th November 1643, was captured by the Duke of Bavaria and held prisoner for eighteen months.  On the 28th April 1645, freed after ransom of £16,500 was paid by the French for his release.

Following the execution of Charles I. Moray opened talks at the bequest of the Earl of Lauderdale, that saw Charles II be crowned King of the Scots at Scone in 1650. Charles campaign against the English and Cromwell lay in shatters at the “Battle of Dunbar.”

Charles had no option but to flee to the safety of France, leaving Moray in Scotland.

In 1652 Robert Moray married Sophia Lindsey and, in the July, returned to Scotland, to drum up support… pushing that Charles should sit on the English throne, it was to be a failed attempt.  Sophia, Robert Morays wife died on the 2nd January 1653, in child birth.

Cromwell defeated Scottish forces in July 1654 at the “Battle of Loch Garry.”  Moray was accused of betrayal towards the King, and cleared of any wrong doing upon appeal.  With this chapter in his life over, returned to France and would never remarry.

Aged forty-six, Moray resigned from the Scots Guards, and spent his time in Maastricht studying science.

In the September, attended Charles in Paris, where he took part in negotiations to have him take his rightful place on England’s throne.  In late June of 1660 the King returned to England, with Moray following up at a later time.  Charles greeted his friend warmly, and gave him quarters in the Palace of Whitehall, near Horse Guards Gate.

Following Charles II’s restoration Moray became one of the Royal Society’s founders, and their first official meeting was held on the 28th November 1660 at Gresham College, Bishopsgate, London, with Moray as its first president.

In February of 1661, Moray became a Privy Councillor and later Lord of the Exchequer.

On the 4th July 1673, Robert Moray died at his London residence, and buried in Westminster Abbey by order of the King.

Benjamin Franklin: Freemason & President

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Benjamin Franklin was one of America’s greatest diplomats and hero of The War of Independence, born on the 17thJanuary 1706 in Boston, Massachusetts, son of Josiah Franklin soap maker, and his mother Abiah Folger.

It was his parents wish, that Benjamin should enter the church.  However, restraints on family finances saw him attend Boson Latin School for only two years, which meant he could not graduate.  Left school aged ten to work in his father’s soap and candle business.

Aged 13, Benjamin undertook the post of an apprentice to his brother James who ran a printing business, and founder of the 1721 New-England Courant Newspaper.

Benjamin wanted to write for the paper, but James said no.  So Benjamin did it anyway in defiant of his brother, by taking a pseudonym; Mrs Silence Dogood … they became a hit amongst the readers.  When he admitted to his brother it was he writing the letters, James became very jealous of the attention he had received.

James got thrown into jail for taking on the established Puritan Preachers on the controversial subject of smallpox, leaving Benjamin to run the paper.

Instead of thanking his brother for keeping the paper going whilst he was in prison, James made Benjamin’s life a living hell, until 1723 when he walked out.

Aged just 17, Benjamin went to Philadelphia, and worked in the printing industry, but it was Governor Sir William Keith of Pennsylvania who suggested he should go to London, where he worked as a typesetter.  Aged 20, he returned to Philadelphia with the help of Thomas Denham, a merchant who employed him.

The Junto group was formed in 1727 by Benjamin Franklin, consisting of artisans and tradesman intending to improve their community.

The exact date when Benjamin Franklin was initiated as a Freemason is unknown, but believed to be in the February of 1731, at St. John’s Lodge in Philadelphia.

Reading and discussions were their main aim.  As books were expensive, so the subscription library came into force.  This led to the founding of the “Library Company of Philadelphia” in 1731 by Franklin.  In 1739, books were housed at the State House of Pennsylvania … now we refer to it as Independence Hall.  All that changed in 1791 when a building was specially built for the purpose, containing rare books, pamphlets, 160,000 manuscripts and some 75,000 graphical items.

In 1728, Franklin set up a printing business with Hugh Meredith; The Pennsylvania Gazette, it was a forum by which he could comment on local reforms.    Over a period of time, he gained the respect of his local community.

In 1731, Benjamin Franklin was initiated into the Masonic Lodge.  In 1732 went on to publish the first German language newspaper, and in 1734 was appointed Grand Master of Pennsylvania’s Masonic Lodge, and that same year published the “Masonic Book in the America’s.”

Aged just 17 in 1723 Benjamin Franklin proposed to 15-year-old Deborah Read, but the offer of marriage was declined by her mother.  Deborah went on to marry John Rodgers, who accrued debts, and fled to Barbados to avoid prosecution, and being flung into jail.

In 1728 Benjamin Franklin fathered a child named William … mother not known.

Due to bigamy laws at that time, Deborah was not free to take Benjamin Franklin as her husband. So it was that Franklin went on to establish what was known as a common-law marriage on 1stSeptember 1730.

They had three children; “William, Franklin’s illegitimate son, Francis Folger Franklin born October 1732, who died aged four of smallpox.  Sarah Franklin born in 1743, who went on to marry Richard Bache, and they had seven children.

Along with running a printing shop, they ran a store, selling soap and fabric which Deborah was responsible for, and a book store run by Benjamin.

In 1733 Franklin published “Poor Richards Almanack” under the name of Richard Saunders, containing witty aphorisms and lively writings.

Around 1735, Benjamin Franklin was elected Secretary, a post he held until 1738.  He belonged to a committee responsible for the drafting of Lodge Laws.

In 1736, he organised Philadelphia’s Union Fire Company, the first of its kind in the city.  Then in 1752 he helped to found the Philadelphia Contribution for Insurance Against Loss by Fire.

For it was in 1743 Franklin invented a heat-efficient stove, and named it the Franklin Stove, to warm houses more efficiently.  He never took out a patent on its design, claiming it was for the people, to help improve society.  Then in 1749, Franklin retired from printing and concentrated his efforts on science and innovations, which led him down the route of electricity in the early 1750’s.

Politics introduced Franklin into new areas, and in 1757 went to England to represent Pennsylvania, over who should represent the Colony and its descendants.

William Franklin Benjamin’s illegitimate son studied law in the early part of the 1760’s.  He like his father before him also fathered an illegitimate son; William Temple Franklin born 22ndFebruary 1762, who went into care.  Later that year he married Elizabeth Downes, upon passing the bar, and was appointed Royal Governor of New Jersey in 1763.

America opposed the Stamp Act in 1765, had it not been for his testimony to Parliament which persuaded members to cancel the said act.

Benjamin Franklin’s wife died in 1774 of a stroke, whilst he was in England, he had often begged her to come to England, but she feared sea travel.  Franklin went on to stay in England as a Colonial representative until 1775.

Benjamin Franklin is remembered as one of the greatest of the Founding Fathers of the United States, having signed all original founding documents: (Declaration of Independence – Treaty of Paris – U.S. Constitution).

Benjamin Franklin played a major role in America’s development:

  • Unifying the colonists in their rebellion against England.
  • Philosophy concerning the rights of mankind.
  • Facilitating the American Revolution.

Benjamin Franklin, member of secret groups, in America, France and England, the main players of the War of Independence.

  • Master of the Masonic Lodge of Philadelphia.
  • Master of the Nine Sisters Lodge of France, from which came the French Revolution.
  • England’s Hell-Fire club, a political and sexual club founded by Francis Dashwood.

Franklin was Deputy Postmaster General for North America, and agent to the Pennsylvania Assembly, who resided in London, England for sixteen years.

Franklin became great friends with Francis Dashwood, Lord Despencer, and became a regular guest at the Dashwood estate of West Wycombe Park.

Some six miles from the Dashwood estate, on the banks of the River Thames, close to Marlow, laid the ruins of Medmenham Abbey.  A former Cistercian Order of Monks, founded it in 1145, the perfect location for the Hell-Fire club, located in a grove of trees, and almost concealed from sight.

The Roman Room within the Abbey housed indecent Roman frescoes, walls covered in famous English prostitutes, complimented with Egyptian gods and goddesses in wall niches.

Around 1752, Dashwood opened the Medmenham Monks Society, later known as the Hell-Fire club.  For his monks, there be nuns…  Many were prostitutes, other’s local women who craved excitement, but mostly ladies of society.

The order consisted of two groups of monks; the superiors and inferior members.  The Hell-Fire club was frequented by many important people, with combined power, they could control governments.

It was for this reason Benjamin Franklin became a member around 1764.

Franklin had many friends in England, but his loyalty to America, and the corruption in English politics, made him question, whether America should break their connection with England.  Then it came to his attention that one Thomas Hutchinson, thought to be working for the American people as an English-appointed Governor of Massachusetts, but in truth still worked for King George III of England.

Declaration of Independence

Shortly after his return to America, Franklin was elected to the Second Continental Congress, and was involved in drafting the Declaration of Independence, which was signed by 56 representatives including himself on 4thJuly 1776.

The French Government signed a Treaty of Alliance in 1778 with the American’s, and Franklin went on to sign the Treaty of Paris in 1783.

Upon his return home, Franklin was honoured for his works; he became President of the Executive Council of Pennsylvania, a delegate of the Constitutional Convention, signing the Constitution.

One of his final acts he will go down in history for; the anti-slavery treaty of 1789.

Benjamin Franklin, a loyal subject to his country, fought for what he believed in, and died aged 84 on the 17thApril 1790.  It is said 20,000 people attended his funeral.  His legacy still lives on…

Benjamin Franklin’s Masonic Timeline:

On the 6thJanuary 1705 Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston Massachusetts.

Franklin organized the Leathern Apron Club in 1727, a secret society in Philadelphia.

1730-1731: In the February he was initiated into Philadelphia’s Saint John’s Lodge.

In the June of 1732, drafted a set of By-Laws for Saint John’s Lodge.

On the 24thJune 1732 was elected Junior Grand Warden and Grand Master of Pennsylvania.

In the August of 1734, advertised the reprint of Anderson’s Constitutions of the Free Masons, the first Masonic book printed in America.

During Franklin’s administration as Grand Master 1734-5, The State House and Independence Hall. According to the old Masonic and family traditions the cornerstone was laid by him and the Brethren of Saint John’s Lodge.

According to letter written by Franklin on the 13thApril 1738 to his mother.  He is reportedly have stated that Freemasons have no principles or practices that are inconsistent with religion.

On the 25thMay 1743 visited Saint John’s Boston Lodge.

On the 29thAugust 1749 the Tun Tavern Lodge petitioned Provincial Grand Master Franklin for a Deputation under his sanction.  On the 13thMarch 1750 he was deposed as Provincial Grand Master and immediately appointed Deputy Grand Master by William Allen, Provincial Grand Master.

On the 12thMarch 1752, was appointed on Committee for building the Freemason’s Lodge in Philadelphia, and on the 25thOctober visited the Tun Tavern Lodge.

On the 24thJune 1755 played a prominent part in the Grand Anniversary and Dedication of the Freemason’s Lodge in Philadelphia, the first Masonic building in America.

In 1760 became Provincial Grand Master of Philadelphia.

On the 17thNovember 1760 present at the Crown & Anchor in London, England’s Grand Lodge.

In 1776 Benjamin Franklin became affiliated with Masonic Lodges in France.

On the 7thApril 1778, he assisted at the initiation of Voltaire in the Nine Sisters Lodge, a famous lodge in Paris.

On the 28thNovember 1778 officiated at the Lodge of Sorrou, the Masonic Funeral Service.

Benjamin Franklin was elected Worshipful Master on the 21stMay 1779, a post he held for two years.

In 1782 elected Venerable Worshipful Master of Loge des Neuf Soeurs, Grand Orient de Paris.

On the 7thJuly became member of the Respectable Lodge de Saint Jean de Jerusalem.

On the 24thApril 1785, elected Venerable d’Honneur of Respectable Lodge de Saint Jean de Jerusalem.

In the 1785 elected honorary member of Loge des Ron Amis, Good Friends, Rouen France.

On the 19thApril 1906, memorial services were held at his grave side in Christ Church yard, Philadelphia by officers of the Pennsylvania Lodge.  The occasion being to observe the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of Benjamin Franklin.

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Freemason: Paul Revere

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Paul Revere

Paul Revere was born on the 21st December 1734 in Boston to parents; Apollos Rivoire and Deborah Hitchbourn.  His father was a silversmith, and Paul was trained in the art, and when his father died in 1753, he carried on the family business.  He became one of America’s finest precious metal craftsmen.  He also practiced dentistry and developed an early form of orthodontics.

In 1760 Paul Revere became a Freemason, and shortly thereafter joined two political groups; “The Sons of Liberty” and “The North End Caucus.”  He would become an active member in the Sons of Liberty, a group consisting of American Patriots who sought liberty for the colonies.

In the August of 1765, Paul Revere took part in the Stamp Act riots, which saw mobs tear down government offices in protest, which forced Parliament to withdraw the impending Stamp Act.

In 1766, Parliament brought forth the “Declaratory Act” giving them the right to tax the colonies.

Paul Revere was not a man of words, but a silversmith and started producing engravings highlighting the British Government, and their unpopular laws in Boston.

On the 1st October 1768 a force of 2,000 British soldiers arrived in Boston.  Tensions quickly rose between occupying British forces, which led to the deaths of five Boston civilians on the 5th March 1770, a tragedy that was known as the Boston Massacre.

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The Boston Massacre

Paul Revere produced the engraving “The Bloody Massacre” showing the murderous act which took place in King Street, Boston.  His propaganda convinced the public that Britain’s Parliament was flawed in their colonial policies.  Revere and the Sons of Liberty kept the memory of the Boston Massacre alive in people’s minds.  For on the first anniversary of the massacre “5th March 1771.”  Revere staged a display of Boston Massacre engravings from his home windows.  This form of propaganda achieved the desired effect, persuading civilians that liberty was a just cause.

In the April of 1775, rumours spread that the British forces stationed in Boston were preparing to attack the Sons of Liberty and American patriots.  What the British didn’t know, the Sons of Liberty were watching them, so they could warn of an impending attack.

Patriot leader Dr Joseph Warren dispatched Paul Revere and William Dawes by separate routes to Lexington to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock.

Paul Revere put in place another warning system.  Robert Newman would set lanterns in the steeple of the Old North Church to alert colonists in Charleston.  One lantern meant the British were coming by land and two lanterns by sea.

Later Paul Revere would serve in the American Army as an artillery man and thereafter turn his attention back to his silversmith business, which led to his expansion with a sheet copper mill.  This gave the American navy the option to use copper in ship hull production.

In later years, he served as Grand Master of Boston’s Masonic Grand Lodge.  Paul Revere died on the 10th May 1818.

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