English Aprons

Article in progress:

English Master Mason Apron

English Master Mason Apron

The wearing of the Masonic apron in Canada is as eclectic as it is esoteric. By eclectic, I refer to a diverse number of designs that exist. By esoteric, I refer to the apron as being complicated in terms of symbolry.

In Canada, the typical Masonic apron – as depicted above – is English in design and origin. By Constitution, the Entered Apprentice’s leathern is “14 to 16 inches in width, 12 to 14 inches in depth”. (Article 179, The Book of Constitution of the Grand Lodge of Quebec, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, 27th March 2004) A full Master Mason’s apron comes to 16¼ inches wide by 14¼ inch deep.

The Fellowcraft’s apron includes only “two sky-blue rosettes at the bottom corners”. As with English Constitution, the Master Mason’s is adorned with “sky-blue lining and edging, […] with an additional rosette on the flap or fall” (G.L.Q.).

The M.M.’s apron is ornamented with two silver tassels. When a Master Mason becomes the Master of his Lodge, he is entitled to replace the three rosettes with three metal levels, sometimes called “double squares”, properly named “taus”.

Where aprons in Canada set themselves apart from their ancestor’s design is how they are otherwise adorned. When a Lodge attains 100 years “from the date of its original Charter or Warrant, […] members are granted the privilege of wearing gold braid and gilt metal on their aprons, collars and jewels as a distinguishing mark” (G.L.Q.).

At 150 years old, some Lodges also add gold-bullion fringe. The wearing of gold braid at 100 years is stated in some Canadian Constitutions, while the gold fringe at 150 is not.

Incidentally, rosettes on Canadian aprons are often bejewelled with silver or gold buttons that have an embossed square and compass.

A quirk to Ontario & other jurisdictions, as well, is that the lining and backing is stipulated to be white.

Not unlike English aprons, nonetheless, a Lodge might possess office bearer aprons. That is to say the apron will have the jewel of office embroidered as a badge on the field of white of the apron – i.e. a square for the Worshipful Master, or double swords for the Inner Guard, etc. Likewise, other Lodges may also embroider the Lodge’s name, number and region.

What is more, in certain Jurisdictions, aprons are clad with garter-blue instead of sky-blue ribbon. Like the wearing of badges, this difference is often an inherited entitlement. Furthermore, Lodges descending from or still belonging to the Grand Lodge of Scotland are permitted to design their own apron. As a result, in Newfoundland for example, apron designs are as colourful and they are varied. Not surprisingly, Scottish tartans adorn these aprons.

“More ancient than the Golden Fleece or Roman Eagle, more honourable than the Garter or any other Order in existence, being the Badge of Innocence and bond of friendship.”

the snow-white lambskin apron, its first tangible gift to you and ordains that all Masons in all ages, wherever they may be throughout the world, shall ever receive it and always wear it.” The apron is an emblem of innocence.

Eccles. 9. 8. “Let thy garments be always white.”

The word “candidate” itself is derived from the Latin word “candidus” – a white man.

The Fellowcraft Apron

The Fellowcraft Apron has the flap pointing down and indicates (1) That wisdom has begun to enter and therefore control matter, and (2) that the Soul and body are acting in unison. The two rosettes stress the dual nature of man and have a clear reference to the two Pillars. The two rosettes also point out that the Fellowcraft has not yet completed Freemasonry as it requires a third rosette to form a triangle. It is thought by some that the blue rozettes added to the Fellowcraft apron indicate the progress being made in the science of regeneration and that the candidate’s spirituality is beginning to bud forth, also that the wilderness of the natural man is now blossoming as the rose, in the flowers and graces of his regenerated nature.

The Master Mason’s Apron.

The addition of the third rosette forms a triangle, pointing upwards. A triangle, point upwards, represents Fire or Divine Spark. It is the emblem of Shiva, the third member of the Hindu Trinity. It also represents spirit. The triangle of the flap and triangle of the rosettes form a square where they overlap. This square represents matter. Thus we have the union of Body (square), Soul (top triangle) and Spirit (lower triangle).

Hudspeth, C.J.E. “The symbolism and design of the masonic apron.” 1949. http://www.lodgeofresearch.com/papers/1949_hudspeth.html

The Rosette: The origin of rosettes on Masonic aprons is unclear. They were not prescribed before 1815 in England, when they were designated denote the three grades of a Mason. “Their original purpose was purely ornamental.” Source: http://www.freemasons-freemasonry.com/masonic-apron-rosette.html