Wednesday, 19 August 2009

And here we have the answer

Thanks to Ian and all who commented yesterday (and the wonders of the Internet) I now know all about my strange little symbol and, probably, its origin.

It is a Masonic keystone and is part of the regalia of a Mark Master Mason. I assume it belonged to John Dowd - our next door neighbour and one time close frind of Mum's about whom I have blogged on a previous occasion. He was a member of the Freemasons and some of his other bits and pieces were passed on to Mum when he died.

The following is quoted from a Freemasonry site:-

The ceremony of advancement to the degree of Mark Master Mason centres on the traditional practice of choosing and using a distinguishing mark to identify each craftsman's work, so that he may be entitled to receive his wages. The themes of the Mark degree include regularity, diligence and discipline. The Second degree of Freemasonry encourages learning, and the Mark degree instructs how that learning can be most usefully and judiciously employed for our own honour and the benefit of our fellow man. While motives may sometimes be misinterpreted, attainments underrated and reputations traduced, the Mark degree demonstrates the merits of persistence in the face of adversity, and the conviction that truth will prevail.

The Mark Degree is one of hope and encouragement. The ritual is built around a single verse from Psalm 118: "The stone which the builders refused is become the headstone of the corner". It deals with the building of King Solomon's Temple and the various Craftsmen employed, but its real message is the contemplation of human strength and weakness.

The regalia of the Mark degree include a special Masonic apron, with dark red and blue trim, and a breast jewel showing the keystone.



  1. Of course, that's the shape - keystone... Clever symbol for *Masons*. It's that stone at the top of an arch that locks the whole thing together and keeps it from falling apart. I think I've heard it said in a sermon (or two) that in that Bible verse that says cornerstone, what is referred to is really a keystone (the very last piece of the puzzle, rather than the first stone in the foundation).

  2. Oh how fascinating. And how wonderful that you know to whom the Masonic keystone belonged. Thanks for sharing the information with us. Take care, the Canadian Chickadee

  3. Thanks for putting us out of our misery, well me at least... I have been up all night worrying where to find out what it meant. The answer is, Phew, quite an anti climax. I was thinking magic, Satanism, witches and all that.
    Simple when you know!!!

    Love Granny


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