The above was taken from the Halliwell Manuscript, dated 1390, from the City of York. It is believed to have been copied from a manuscript several hundred years older. For those that do not read English from the Early Middle Ages, a modern translation is shown below.

This craft came unto England, as I tell you, in the time of good King Athelstan's reign; he made then both hall, and also bower, and lofty temples of great honor, to take his recreation in both day and night, and to worship his God with all his might.

This good lord loved this craft full well, and purposed to strengthen it in every part on account of various defects that he discovered in the craft.

He sent about into all the land, after all the masons of the craft, to come straight to him, to amend all these defects by good counsel, if it might so happen.

He then permitted an assembly to be made of divers lords in their rank, dukes, earls, and barons, also knights, squires, and many more, and the great burgesses of that city, they were all there in their degree; these were there, each one in every way to make laws for the estate of these masons.

There they sought by their wisdom how they might govern it; there they found our fifteen articles, and there they made fifteen points.

The following is taken from the Lansdowne Manuscript, dated 1590, and includes information on King Athelstan's son, Prince Edwin, a strong supporter of early Freemasonry.

Soone after the Decease of St. Albones, there came Diverse Warrs into England out of Diverse Nations, so that the food rule of Masons was dishired (disturbed) and put down until the tyme of King Adilston. In his type there was a worthy King in England, that brought this Land into good rest, and he builded many great workes and buildings, therefore, he loved well Masons, for he had a sone called Edwin, the which Loved Masons much more than his Father did, and he was soe practized in Geometry, the he delighed much to come and talke with Masons and to learne of the the Craft.

And after, for the love he had to Masons and to the Craft, he was made a Mason at Windsor, and he gott of the King, his Father, a Charter and commission once every yeare to have Assembley, within the Realme where they would within England, and to correct within themselves Faults & Tresspasses that were done as touching the Craft, and he held them an Assembley, and there he made Maasons and gave them Charges, and taught them the Manners and Comands the same to be kept ever afterwards.

And tooke them the Charter and comission to keep their Assembley, and Ordained that it should be renewed from King to King, and whenn the Assembley were gathered togeather he made a Cry, that all old Masons or young, that had any Writeings or Vnderstanding of the Charges and manners that weere made befor their Lands, wheresoever they weere made Masons, that they should shew them forth, there were found some in French, some in Greek, some in Hebrew, and some in English, and some in other Languages, and when they were read and over seen well the intent of them was vnderstood to be all one, and then he caused a Book to be made thereof how this worth Craft of Masonrie was first founded, and he himselfe comanded, and also then caused, that is should be read at any tyme when it should happen any Mason or Masons to be made to give him or them their Charges, and from that, until this Day, Manners of Masons have been kept in this Manner and forme, as well as Men might Governe it, and Furthermore at diverse Assemblyes have been put and Ordained diverse Charges by the best advice of Masters and Fellows.

Copyright 1998. Missouri Lodge of Research. All rights reserved.

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