What is the Lewis Jewel?

It consists of two bars connected by chains, the upper bar contains the name of the father and date of his initiation The lower bar, the name of the son and date of his initiation.

Who can wear a Lewis Jewel?

The Lewis Jewel may be worn by a Mason, if at the time of his initiation, his father was a Mason in good standing.(the initiate of a deceased father- in good standing at the time of his demise-would also qualify)

What is the history behind the Lewis Jewel?

A Lewis is a simple but ingenious device employed by operative Masons to raise heavy blocks of dressed stone into place. It consists of three metal parts: two wedge-shaped side pieces, and a straight centre piece, that fit together (tenon). A dovetailed recess is cut into the top of the stone block (mortise). the two outer pieces are inserted first and then spread by the insertion of the centrepiece. The three parts are then bolted together, a metal ring or shackle is attached and the block is hoisted by hook, rope and pulley. By this means, the block is gripped securely. Once set in place in the structure, the lewis is removed leaving the upper surface smooth with no clamp or chains on the outside to interfere with the laying of the next course. Our ancient operative brethren used the tool as early as the Roman era. Stones were the mortised cavity for the insertion of a lewis have been found in Hadrian’s Wall built c. 121-127CE. The origin of the term “lewis” for this device is uncertain.

Masonic historians conclude that the term came into use in the 18th century. The lecture in the Second Degree published by William Preston in the 1780s contains a lengthy discourse on the Lewis.

WM- How were the sons of craftsmen named

JW To the son on whom these honours were bequeathed, the appellation of Lewis was given, that henceforth he might be entitled to all the privileges which that honour conferred.

A doggerel verse in ” The Deputy Grand Master’s Song”  printed in the second edition of Anderson’s Constitution published in 1738, written as a sort of “loyal toast” to be sung by the brethren around the festive board:

“Again let it pass to the Royal lov’d Name, Whose glorious Admission has crown’d all our Fame: May a Lewis be born, whom the World shall admire, Serene as his Mother, August as his Sire”

Honour thy father…

In the days of operative Masonry, it was a source of pride when a son followed in his father’s footsteps and was Entered as an Apprentice, his name ‘entered’ on the roll, and thereby admitted to the lodge.  To study his father’s skills and learn to use his father’s tools were manifest expressions of the greatest honour and esteem a son could pay. It was common  to carry on the tradition through several generations in the same family.

It is a heart-warming day when a young man first shows interest in Freemasonry and asks his father how he might become a Mason, and it is a proud day when that son, in the fullness of time, is admitted a member of his father’s lodge by initiation.

To moralize on………..

On the day that King Soloman laid the foundation stone of the Temple, beginning the construction of the great building project conceived by  his father David, but given to his son to complete, the last words of King David may have come to mind.” When the time of David’s death drew near, he gave his last charge to his son,” Soloman: I am going the way of all the earth. Be strong and show yourself a man” ( 1Kings 2: 1)

When the son of a Mason proudly wears the Lewis Jewel, it ought to impress upon all this same moral. It personifies the final words of the General Charge -” From generation to generation”

How do I obtain a Lewis Jewel?

Contact the Grand secretary. The cost is somewhere between $60 and $80  Thee is a picture of one in the items sold in the Masonic Store. Contact the Grand Secretary by calling 902-894-3443 or by e-mailing grandsecretary@freemaonry.pe.ca