Gloves and Masons at work

The gloves, which, like the aprons, represent part of our regalia nowadays, were originally a necessary part of the operative masons' protective clothing, as they were important to protect the workers from injuries. Early records show that they were supplied to the masons by their employers. At Ely, in 1322, the Sacrist bought gloves for the masons engaged on the   of the walls . (Knoop & Jones, The Medieval Mason, 1949, p. 69.) At York, in 1423, ten pairs of gloves were supplied to the mason at a total cost of eighteen pence (Salzman, Building in England... p. 80). At Ayr, Edinburgh and St. Andrews there are a large number of records of gloves supplied to and from 1598 to 1688. (Knoop, The Scottish Mason, pp. 42/3.) All these records relate to masons . But for the masons in their lodges there was another source of supply. From 1599 onwards there is evidence that masons were obliged to furnish a pair of gloves to each of the Brethren on the day of their entry into the lodge, as part of their admission fees. The earliest official record on the subject is in the Schaw Statures addressed to the Kilwinning Lodge in 1599, requiring that all Fellows of Craft at their admission to that grade were to pay £ 10 Scots with 10/- worth of gloves. F. C's [fellow craft] therefore paid the equivalent of 16/8d plus ten pence for gloves.

Records of the Lodge of Meirose for 1674 and 1675 show that both apprentices and Fellows at their entry were to pay the requisite fees with <sufficient gloves to ye whole company...>(Vernon, pp. 12J 13.) At Aberdeen, in 1670, the apprentice was called upon to pay <4 rex dollars>, with < ... Ane linen apron and a pair of good gloves... > to each of the Brethren. (Miller, p. 6 1.) The linen apron is rather surprising, but linen was probably a local product and therefore economical.

At Dunblane, in 1724, the Lodge presented gloves and aprons to its . (Lyon, p. 204.) At Haughfoot, as late as 1754, the Lodge enacted : < ... that none can Enter here in time Corneing without a pair of Gloves to each member oi the sd Lodge. >. (Carr, Haughfoot, p. 35.). In 1723, a Masonic exposure, now known as The Mason's Examination, was published in a London newspaper, The Flying Post. It's opening words run :<When a Free-Mason is enter'd after having given te, all present of the Fraternity a Pair of Men and Women's Gloves and Leathern Apron ...>.

Transcription from  www.guigue.org