"To preserve the reputation of the fraternity unsullied must be your constant care..."

Welcome * Blog * Books * Calendar * Chris Hodapp * Alice Von Kannon * Photos * Contact

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Oldest Masonic Manuscripts All In One Place

French Masonic author and researcher Guy Chassagnard has recently put up an extensive website featuring 33 of the earliest known manuscripts and exposures of operative and speculative Freemasonry, dating all the way from 1248 up through "Masonry Dissected" in 1730. They come from Italian, French, English, Scottish, and German sources. 

Go here: www.theoldcharges.com 

I believe this is actually an English translation of Brother Chassagnard's book, Les Anciens Devoirs: Maçons opératifs et maçons acceptés.

Previously, hunting down these manuscripts from various sites was a tedious task.  So, to have them collected all in one place is a godsend to researchers. Many thanks to Brother Guy for posting this!

One word of warning: when you first click on the site, there's a music track that blares out at you at full volume. Hit the pause button under the square and compass image on the right side of the page to shut it off.


  1. Wonderful to have these made available for our Masonic education.
    John Arford, PM
    Leo Lodge #224
    Leo, Indiana

  2. Thanks. I've had particular trouble tracing an online copy of the Graham MS.

    Francophones might also want to have a look at this lot. Berne is the earliest complete ritual for the first two degrees, and the Marquis de Gage the earliest third online. It pretty much agrees with the early 1740s third published by Bernheim.
    These are Modern's rituals, with the reversed passwords in the 1st and 2nd. I believe this form was only used by a few London Lodges, but thanks to Desaguliers and Richmond it is still the dominant form in France.


Kindly sign your comment posts. Anonymous postings on Masonic topics have the same status as cowans and eavesdroppers, as far as I am concerned, and may be deleted if I don't recognize you or if I'm in a grumpy mood.