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was commonly employed as a mark from the end of the twelfth century A.d. [Journ. Arch. Assoc, xlv., 153, 154.) Cut on the stones, sometimes with long angles and sometimes with short ones, it would, as the basis for the plan of castles or fortifications, carry within itself a most important secret. It was employed as the diagram for the human figure by Leonardo da Vinci, and for other similar purposes during the middle ages. (Cf. the sketch book of Villars de Honnecourt, &c.) It is not difficult, therefore, to understand how such a sign, beyond tbe problem of Euclid already referred to, might very well be adopted by the early masons, carrying within it their own symbolism, but having no connexion whatever with the other thousand and one fancies it has been supposed to contain.

It is well known that the possession of masons' marks was handed down by the members of lodges even to absurdity, as will be seen from the quotations given above from some of the Scotch lodge books. A wig, a pair of scissors, and other emblems certainly possessed some trade symbolism, if such it may be called; but it was not exactly the kind of symbolism used and intended by the early masons. It is perhaps interesting to find, however, that some of the older and simpler forms were in a most marked manner continued in freemasonry.

In "The Grand Mystery of Free-Masons Discover'd," one of the so-called exposures published in 1724, are given the following marks, called "The Free-Mason's Signs " :—

A gutteral. A pedestal. A manual. A pectoral.

) A 7 X

Ftg. 31. Ftg. 33. Fig. 34. Fig. 35.

In it is also found a Maltese cross surmounted by a triangle, after the words " The lodge of T St. John." Although this work for use among V Freemasons is of no value, it is curious toFig31s' find these figures given. The author of the book evidently intended them to represent what are usually called " signs." It appears to me that they would more properly be denominated, and, indeed, they all of them occur as masons' marks, being simply different kinds of angles and an equilateral triangle. Their value, if they possess any, consists in their being the latest, and, perhaps I might say, the only instance in Freemasonry of the period immediately after 1717 of masons' marks being supposed to carry in themselves some hidden symbolism.

For purposes of illustration, I have here and there mentioned certain rules belonging to foreign countries, the authority for which appears to be fairly trustworthy. A consideration of this portion of the subject (foreign marks) would be extremely interesting, but would extend my notes to far too great a length. It would, indeed, be necessary to write a book of very considerable size. I therefore leave the subject with regret.4

I have thus, as rapidly as possible, run through some of the principal facts and fancies involved in the study of masons' marks, and have endeavoured rather to bring together information required by anyone wishing to obtain a general idea of the subject than to elaborate any theory of my own. The difficulty has been that of selection, and necessarily much has been omitted and much curtailed, but I trust that I have shown that there really is something to be found out about marks, and that, although perhaps not of first-class importance, they possess very considerable interest and value.

4 The literature on foreign marks is very extensive. A handy little compilation, dealing principally with those of Germany, is the book by George F. Fort. It does not, however, throw much light on those of our own country. The titles of many works will be found in Homeyer, Die Haus-und Hofmarken, Uerlin, 1S9o; and Rziha, Studien iiber i-tcinmctztcichm, as well as many references in the notes of Fort's book, already mentioned (A historical treatise on early builders' marks, Philadelphia, 1885). Some discrimination must be used, however, in the use of some of the authorities, as they are not always equally reliable.

In the plates will be found forty-eight marks from Burscough Priory, forty-three from Ormskirk Church, and ninety-six from Birkenhead Priory. I have included variations. Those from Burscough were found and copied by Mr. Bromley from the walls of the piers of the north transept, or Stanley chantry, the crossing, and the beggars' yard. A plate of the principal part of the buildings remaining will be found in Roby's Traditions of Lancashire. The highest of the marks is below the present level of the field surface; therefore, none of them were discovered until the excavations took place, of which Mr. Bromley has given such an interesting account, together with a plan of the Priory, and a large number of illustrations in the Transactions, vol. xli.

Generally the marks are cut in the centre of the face of the stone, except in the case of mouldings. For full-sized drawings of two different examples I have been indebted to Mr. Bromley, who has also very kindly furnished me with all the necessary information about their position on the building, &c.; they are No. 29 and No. 44. No. 29 measures 5J inches in length, and 3J inches in width. No. 44 is 3J inches in length, and ij inches in width. In the case of No. 30, which my brother measured for me, the three legs are of different lengths, being 3J, 3, and 2\ inches respectively. These may be taken as a fair sample of the whole series. It will be observed that the marks which occur most frequently are forms of what has been called the square and compasses, Nos. 1 to 16, fifteen examples of which were found. Nos. 16 to 27, the last six being only accidentally reversed forms, number in all eighteen. The next in quantity is No. 30, and following; all the others are few in number. It would appear that we have the marks of about twenty masons. To take them in order, No. 1 is frequent in different countries at different dates. On comparing the forms in which this sign appears, it seems probable that it really had for its basis something resembling the letter A. This letter A was found by Prof. Lewis as a potter's mark upon tiles from the Tell el Yahoudeh (Trans. Soc. of Bibl. Arch., vol. vii., p. 182; Jonrn. Arch. Assoc, xlv., p. 153), which have been assigned to the second century B.C. and B.C. 1000; I have already referred to this particular form of mark. Other tile marks from the same place are the letter E, a plain cross, and a feather. No. 7 to 14, the broad arrow, is here found pointing to three sides of the stone, but not to the lowest side. As a mark it is universal. I think I have never examined a building without f1nding it, and it seems to have been in use since the very earliest times. A somewhat similar form occurs in Egypt; Mr. Freshfield found it on the walls of Servius Tullius in Rome; on Spanish buildings of the eleventh and twelfth centuries; on the cathedrals of Winchester and Ely; St. Sebald's Church, Nuremberg; the Church of St. Stephen, Vienna; at Constantinople; and in Asia Minor. The frequency with which this mark occurs was explained to him as being due to the ease with which it may be cut. {ArchcBologia, li., p. 50, &c.) I must, however, agree with him that this explanation is not entirely satisfactory, though it was possibly some recommendation.

No. 14 has a similar basis, the centre line being

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