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


Sunday, October 09, 2016

English "Judge" Bans Masonic Emblem from Churchyard Gravestone

It seems like the more the United Grand Lodge of England tries to spread the word of the upcoming 300 year anniversary of the founding of the Premier Grand Lodge and modern, speculative Freemasonry, the harder the press, government, and religious institutions there push right back against them. 

Today's outrage comes from Sunday's Telegraph in the UK:
An [ecclesiastical court] judge has banned a family from having the Freemasons square and compass emblem etched into the gravestone of a Freemason who died after devoting much of his life to the organization.
William Kenneth Wilson, who died in July 2012 and who had devoted more than 40 years to Freemasonry is buried in the church yard at the 12th century Grade 1 listed St Oswald's Church at Dean in Cumbria.
His niece, Mrs Dorothy Stubbs, had appealed to the Church of England's Consistory Court, which has to approve matters such as what is put on gravestones, for permission to have the Freemason's square and compass emblem put on her uncle's stone.
He had held major offices with the Freemasons and been a Provincial Grand Master representing the country at home and abroad on a number of occasions.
There are an estimated six million Freemasons world-wide and the Grand Master in his country is the Duke of Kent who is a cousin to both the queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.
The Parochial Church Council for St Oswald's had no objections to the emblem being included on the gravestone.
But Geoffrey Tattersall QC, Chancellor of the Diocese of Carlisle in his capacity as a Consistory Court judge, has said "No." He said it would be "detrimental" and "inappropriate" to allow it.
In a decision which will anger Freemasons he said a report on Freemasonry entitled Freemasonry and Christianity : Are they Compatible had been debated by the General Synod of the Church of England in 1987.
He continued : "The report stated that it was clear that some Christians have found the impact of Masonic rituals disturbing and a few perceive them as positively evil. Some believed that Masonic rituals were blasphemous because God's name must not be taken in vain, nor can it be replaced by an amalgam of the names of pagan deities."
He said that the Synod's primary theological objections centred on Freemasonary's use of the word 'Jahbulon' which was the name used for the Supreme Being in Masonic rituals and which was an amalgamation of Semitic, Hebrew and Egyptian titles for God.
Despite the fact there had been "no formal developments" since the 1987 debate he rejected arguments put forward by Mr Wilson's niece that and Keith Hodgson, the Provincial Grand Master of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons of Cumberland and Westmorland.
Mr Hodgson had pointed out that the emblem was to be found on gravestones throughout the area area. And Mrs Stubbs argued that it was extremely difficult to understand why, as a badge or insignia of the Armed Forces of the Crown is permitted on gravestones, the Set Square and compass, which she said was "inoffensive" should not be.
However, banning it from being included on Mr Wilson's gravestone, Chancellor Tattersall said when the General Synod had debated compatibility of Freemasonary and Christianity a very sizeable majority, had decided that there were a number of very fundamental reasons to question whether they were compatible and it was an approach shared by other Christian denominations.
He said that gravestone epitaphs "may reflect the life, work, interests or concerns of the deceased."
But he continued: "These must be entirely compatible with the Christian faith`. Having regard to the controversy as to Freemasonry I believe it would be detrimental to the churchyard and inappropriate to allow such a controversial symbol as that sought by the Petitioner to be added to the Deceased`s existing memorial.
"It thus follows that I dismiss the Petitioner`s application."

 According to Wikipedia (which I rarely cite, but will do so here for the sake of brevity):

The consistory court is a type of ecclesiastical court, especially within the Church of England. They were established by a charter of King William I of England, and still exist today, although since about the middle of the 19th century consistory courts have lost much of their subject-matter jurisdiction. Each diocese in the Church of England has a consistory court (called in the Diocese of Canterbury the Commissary Court).


  1. Ignorance reigns...it is garbage that a judge can determine what can or cannot go on an individual's gravestone.

    1. Well, it was an ecclesiastical court, which DOES have jurisdiction over some Church matters within the CofE. The title of the source article that I copied very late last night was a bit misleading in that respect and I tweaked the post this morning when I reread it.

  2. This infuriates me that a person who doesn't know nothing about Freemasonry and a judge can determine what Freemason and Brother can put on his gravestone. I hope this matter will be appealed !

  3. Seeing as how the Head of the Church of England is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, II, and her husband is himself a Freemason, perhaps this "judge" should pull his head out of the sand, and allow this family to honor their dead.

    David Merckle
    Senior Warden
    La Fayette Lodge #79
    Zanesville, Ohio

  4. The laws and rules about who can be buried in a parish's churchyard and what kind of monument can be erected over the grave are medieval and arcane. While this particular ruling comes from one judge in one diocese (administrative area of the Church of England) other dioceses have no problems with Masonic symbolism. Many church stained glass windows sport the Square and Compasses, and churches and cathedrals across England host Masonic prayer services and invite Masons to set cornerstones.

    Unfortunately, the widow, who might want to have her husband's body moved to a cemetery that doesn't prohibit Masonic symbolism, will have a very difficult time doing that as there is a presumption in ecclesiastical law against moving a body once interred.

    I believe she can appeal to the court of the province (larger administrative division of the Church of England, either York or Canterbury) but there will be costs involved.

    The ultimate solution for others who are afraid that they might be denied the S&C when they've ascended to the Grand Lodge Above is to buy a plot in a secular cemetery--they are not under the jurisdiction of the diocesan chancellor.

    W.Bro Chris Hansen, PM, Goliath Lodge #5595 UGLE
    Emeritus member: Diocese of Southwark's Bishop's Council
    Emeritus member: Diocese of Southwark's Diocesan Synod
    Emeritus Lay Chair of Southwark and Newington Deanery


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