The Regius Manuscript

By Right Worshipful Brother Brian Rossouw

Published in the 2016 GLSA Southern Division Spring Ball Magazine

Freemasonry is an ancient Order but the true origins are unknown. We may refer to the builders of King Solomon’s Temple, The Knights Templar and to operative and speculative masons, but these form just parts of the overall puzzle that reveal the true origins of Freemasonry.

Whilst the first formal and detailed Masonic structures date back to 1717 it is worth reflecting on another written word. The Regius Manuscript was composed in the form of a poem by a monk in 1390. The monk based the poem on previous Masonic scripts concerning the proper behaviour of Masons. It was translated from the old English by James Halliwell in 1840 and had been donated to the British Museum in 1757 by King George II.

An extract of the Regius Poem reads as follows: “Furthermore yet that ordained he, Master called so should he be; So that he were most worshipped, then should he be so called.

The Master has been the focal point of The Order, non-higher than the Worshipful Master. The Presiding Master so ordained is destined to lead the Lodge, to fulfill the passage of continuation and to be placed in history. The election of a Master bears the responsibilities entrusted down the centuries to maintain the Order of the Craft and to ensure its survival for centuries to come.”

The responsibility passed down this night to the new Master Elect demands faith and trust from him. The future of the Order has been placed on his shoulders.

The Regius Manuscript further says: “The Master Mason must be full securely, Both steadfast, trusty and true …”

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