French author of freemasonic books of formation and symbolism
ARS QUATUOR CORONATI
CIRCLE OF CORRESPONDENCE - LONDON
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Q. How and why did the derrick corne to be associated with the Senior Warden and be placed on his pedestal ?
A. In one older lodge room the pedestals have only the columns and pillars - (on
the Master's the V.S.L.). In the centre of the room was a 16-foot table, on which
were the derrick supporting a smooth ashiar, two globes and various other items.
Thé members sat round this table during the Lodge meeting, and, when the Lodge
was closed, the old phrase : "Put away our W.Ts. and Jewels" became an actuality,
for ail on the table was locked away in the Lodge cupboard - "a safe and sacred
repository" - after which the table was used for dining and thé festive board. What
more certain than that, when pressure of numbers became too great for comfort,
the table was removed and the furniture disposed round the Lodge room. The
derrick, with its suspended smooth ashiar, would go to the S.W/s pedestal, as being
thé most appropriate place.
lt is well, however, not to be too dogmatic on this point, as many of the old
Lancashire Lodges have elaborate derricks of varying design placed on the east side
of the pavement, suspended sometimes the rough and sometimes the smooth
ashlar, as the occasion may warrant.
lt is likely that the tripod or derrick was introduced to illustrate the practical use of
thé lewis, than that it came in merely as ornament.
Where Lodges meet on their own promises and the ashlars are sizable models of ten
or twelve inches side, the tripod is usually some five or six feet in height, and is
placed in the south-west, sufficient far towards the centre of the room to leave space
for the Deacons and candidate to pass outside it in their perambulations. In those
Lodges the rough ashlar lies on the floor in front of the Junior Warden's pedestal.
But where, as in so many London Lodges, the appurtenances have to be packed
away in a box after each meeting, the necessary tiny ashlars were placed on the
Warden's pedestals, the rough ashiar being given to the Junior Warden and the
perfect ashiar to the Senior Warden. When the tripod was introduced in such
Lodges it had of necessity to be very much in miniature, and it, like the ashlar
previousiy, was placed on the pedestal.
It should be noted that the tripod, although it had corne into use - in London Lodges
at any rate - before the Union, is by no means ubiquitous. Thus, in Manchester
neither it nor the lewis is in evidence, the ashlars (fairly large ones) lying in the
north-east and south-east corners of the small area of tesselated pavement in the
middle of thé floor. Nor is there a tripod in Bristol, where the stones are placed on
the easterly corners of the low table that supports the Tracing Boards.
A paper published by AQCC. London. 1999