The Constitutions of Strasburg
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and of our
gracious Mother Mary, and also of her blessed servants, the holy four crowned
martyrs of everlasting memory: considering that true friendship, unanimity,
and obedience are the foundation of all good; therefore, and for the general
advantage and free will of all princes, nobles, lords, cities, chapters, and
convents, who may desire at this time or in future to build churches, choirs,
or other great works of stone, and edifices; that they may be the better
provided and supplied, and also for the benefit and requirements of the
masters and fellows of the whole craft of Masonry, and masons in Germany, and
more especially to avoid in future, between those of the craft, dissensions,
differences, costs, and damages, by which irregular acts many masters have
suffered grievously, contrary to the good customs and ancient usages
maintained and practiced in good faith by the seniors and patrons of the
craft in ancient times. But that we may continue to abide therein in a true
and peaceful way, have we, masters and fellows all, of the said craft,
congregated in chapters at Spries, at Strasburg,
set or not, then shall such master not pull down the set stones, nor in and
at Regensburg, in the name and on behalf of ourselves and of all other
masters and fellows of our whole common craft above mentioned, renewed and
revised these ancient usages, and kindly and affably agreed upon these
statues and fraternity; and having by common consent drawn up the same, have
also vowed and promised, for ourselves and all our successors, to keep them
faithfully, as hereafter stands writ:
a. Firstly: If any of the articles in these statues should prove to be too
strict and severe, or others too light and mild, then may those who are of
the fraternity, by a majority, modify decrease, or increase such articles,
according to the requirements of the time, or country, or circumstance. The
resolutions of those who shall meet together in chapters after the manner of
this book shall thenceforth be observed, in accordance with the oath taken by
b. Item: Whoever of his own free will desires to enter into this fraternity,
according to the regulation as hereafter stands writ in this book, shall
promise to keep all the points and articles, for then only can he be of our
craft. Those shall be masters, who can design and erect such costly edifices
and works, for the execution of which they are authorized and privileged, and
shall not work with any other craft, unless they choose so to do. Masters as
well as fellows must conduct themselves honorably, and not infringe upon the
rights of others, or they may be punished, according to these statues, on the
occasion of every such transgression.
c. Item: Whatever regular works and buildings are now in progress of erection
by journey work- namely, Strasburg, Cologne, Vienna, and Passau, and other
such works, and also in the Lodges which belong to them, and, according to
custom, have been hitherto finished by journey work, such buildings and works
as before mentioned shall be continued by journey work, and in no wise by
task work; so that nothing be cut short of the work, to the damage of the
contract as far as possible.
d. Item: If any craftsman who has had regular work should die, then any
craftsman or master, skilled in Masonry, and sufficient and able for work,
may aspire to complete said work, so that the lords owning or superintending
such building may again be supplied with the requirements of Masonry. So also
may any fellow who understands such Masonry.
e. Item: Any master may, in addition to his own work, undertake a work
abroad, or a master who has no such work may likewise undertake it, in which
case he may give such work or building in good faith, in journey work, and
continue it as best he can or may, so that the work and progress be not
interrupted, according to the regulations and customs of Masonry. If a master
fails to satisfy those persons who committed the work to him, and reliable
information be given thereof, then shall the said master be called to account
by the craft, corrected, and punished, after having been sentenced; but if
the lords are not willing so to do, then may he do it as they choose, be it
by task or journey work.
f. Item: If any master, who has had such a work or building, die, and another
master comes and finds such stone-work, be the stone work any wise cast away
the hewn and unset stones, without previous counsel and agreement with other
craftsmen, so that the owners and other honorable persons, who caused such
edifice to be builded, be not put to unjust
expense, and that also the master who left such work not be defamed. But if
the owners choose to have such work removed, then he may have it done,
provided he seeks no undue advantage thereby.
g. Item: Neither shall the master, not those who have undertaken such work,
hire out anything that relates to or concerns hewn stones and what belongs to
them, be it stone, lime, or sand; but to break or hew by contract or by
journey work he may be allowed without risk.
h. Item: If masons be required for hewing or setting stone, the master may
set such at work, if they are able, so that the lords be not hindered, and
those who are thus employed shall not be subject to these regulations unless
of their own free will.
i. Item: Two masters
shall not share in the same work or building, unless it be a small one, which
can be finished in the course of a year. Such a work he may have in
common with him that is a brother.
k. Item: If any master accepts a work in contract and makes a design for the
same, how it shall be builded, then he shall not
cut anything short of the design, but shall execute it according to the plan
which he has shown to the lords, cities, or people, so that nothing be
l. Any master or fellow who shall take away from another master of the
fraternity of craftsmen a work on which he is engaged, or who shall endeavor
to disposes him of such work, clandestinely or openly, without the knowledge
or consent of the master who has such work, be the same small or great, he
shall be called to account. No master or fellow shall keep fellowship with
him, nor shall any fellow of the fraternity work for him, so long as he is
engaged in the work which he has thus dishonestly acquired, nor until he has
asked pardon, and given satisfaction to him whom he has driven from his work,
and shall also have been punished in the fraternity by the masters, as is
ordained by these statutes.
m. Item: If any one accepts in whole or in part any work which he does not
understand how to execute, not having consulted any craftsman thereon, nor
having applied to the Lodge, he shall in no wise undertake the work; but if
he attempts to do so, then shall no fellow take work with him, so that the
lords be not put to expense by such ignorant master.
n. Item: No workman, nor master, nor Parlirer, nor fellowcraft, shall instruct any one, whosoever, who is
not of our craft, in any part, if he has not in his day practiced Masonry.
o. Item: No craftsman nor master shall take money
from a fellow for teaching or instructing him in anything belonging to
Masonry, nor shall any parlirer or fellowcraft instruct any one for moneyís sake; but if one
wishes to instruct the other, they may do so mutually or for fraternal
p. Item: A master who has a work or a building for himself may have three
apprentices, and may also set to work fellows of the same Lodge- that is, if
his lords so permit; but if he have more buildings than one, then shall he
have no more than two apprentices on the afore-mentioned building, so that he
shall not have more than five apprentices on all his buildings.
No craftsman or master shall be received in the fraternity who goes not
yearly to the Holy Communion or who keep not Christian discipline, or who
squanders his substance at play; but should any one be inadvertently accepted
into the fraternity who does these things as aforesaid, then shall no master
nor fellow keep fellowship with him until he desists therefrom,
and has been punished therefor by those of the
No craftsman nor master shall live in adultery while
engaged in Masonry; but if such a one will not desist therefrom,
then shall no traveling fellow nor mason work in company with him, nor keep
fellowship with him.
q. Item: If a fellowcraft takes work with a master
who is not accepted into the fraternity of craftsmen, then shall the said
fellow not be punishable therefor. So also, if a
fellow take work with a city master, or with another master, and be there set
to work, that may he well do, so that every fellow may find work; but
nevertheless such fellow shall keep the regulations as hereinbefore and
hereinafter written, and shall also contribute his fee to the fraternity,
although he be not employed in the Lodges o f the fraternity, or with his
But if a fellow would take unto himself a lawful wife, and not being employed
in a Lodge, would establish himself in a city, and be obliged to serve with a
craft, he shall on every ember-week pay four pennies, and shall be exempt
from the weekly penny, because he be not employed in the Lodge.
r. Item: If a master have a complaint against another master, for having
violated the regulations of the craft, or a master against a fellow, or a
fellow against another fellow, any master or fellow who is concerned therein
shall give notice thereof to the master who presides over the fraternity, and
the master who is thereof informed shall hear both parties, and set a day
when he will try the cause: and meanwhile, before the fixed or appointed day,
no fellow shall avoid the master, nor master drive away the fellow, but
render services mutually until the hour when the matter is to be heard and
settled. This shall all be done according to the judgement
of the craftsmen, which shall be observed accordingly. Moreover, the case
shall be tried on the spot where it arose before the nearest master who keeps
the Book of Statutes, and in who district it occured.
s. Item: Every Parlirer shall honor his master, be
true and faithful to him, according to the rule of Masonry, and obey him with
undivided fidelity, as is meet and of ancient usage. So also shall a
fellow. And when a traveling fellowcraft
desires to travel farther, he shall part from his master and from the Lodge
in such wise as to be indebted to no one, and that no man
have any grievance against him, as is meet and proper.
t. A travelling fellow, in whatever Lodge he may be
employed shall be obedient to his master and to the Parlirer,
according to the rule and ancient usage of Masonry, and shall also keep all
the regulations and privileges which are of ancient usage in the said Lodge,
and shall not revile his masterís work, either secretly or openly, in any
wise. But if the master infringe upon these regulations, and act contrary to
them, then may any one give notice thereof.
u. Every craftsman employing workmen in the Lodge, to whom is confided these
statues, and who is duly invested with authority, shall have power and
authority in the same over all contentions and matters which pertain to
Masonry, to try and punish in his district. All masters, Parlirers,
and apprentices, shall obey him.
x. A fellow who has traveled, and is practiced in Masonry, and who is of this
fraternity, who wishes to serve a craftsman on a portion of the work, shall
not be accepted by that craftsman or master, in any wise for a less term than
y. Item: All masters and fellows who are of this fraternity shall faithfully
keep all the points and articles of these regulations, as hereinbefore and
hereinafter stands written. But if anyone should perchance violate one of the
points, and thereby become punishable, if afterward he be obedient to the
regulation, by having compiled with what has been sentenced upon him, he will
have done sufficient, and be released from his vow, in regard to the article wherefor he has been punished.
z. The master who has charge of the Book shall, on the oath of the
fraternity, have a care that the same be not copied, either by himself or by
any other person, or given, or lent,-so that the Book remain intact,
according to the resolution of the craftsmen. But if one of the craftsmen,
being of this fraternity, have need or cause to know one or two articles, that may any master give him in writing. Every
master shall cause these statutes to be read every year to the fellows in the
Item: If a complaint be made involving a greater punishment as for instance,
expulsion from Masonry, the same shall not be tried or judged by one master
in his district; but the two nearest masters who are entrusted with the
copies of the statutes, and who have authority over the fraternity, shall be
summoned by him, so that there may be three. The fellows also who were at
work at the place where the grievance arose shall be summoned also, and
whatsoever shall be with one accord agreed upon by those three, together with
all the fellows, or by a majority thereof in accordance with their oath and
best judgement, shall be observed by the whole
fraternity of craftsmen.
Item: If two or more masters who are of the fraternity be at variance or
discord about matters which do not concern Masonry, they shall not settle
these matters anywhere but before Masonry, which shall judge and reconcile
them as far as possible, but so that the agreement be made without prejudice
to the lords or cities who are concerned in the matter.
1. Now, in order that these regulations of the craft may be kept more honestly,
with service to God and other necessary and becoming things, every master who
has craftsmen at work in his Lodge, and practises
Masonry, and is of this fraternity, and afterward each year four Blapparts; namely, on each ember-week one Blappart or Bohemian to be paid into the box of the
fraternity, and each fellow four Blapparts, and so
likewise an apprentice who has served his time.
2. All masters and craftsmen who are of this fraternity, who employ workmen
in their Lodges, shall each of them have a box, and each fellow shall pay
into the box weekly one penny. Every master shall faithfully treasure up some
money and what may be derived from other sources, and shall each year deliver
it to the fraternity at the nearest place where a book is kept, in order to
provide for Godís worship and to supply the necessaries or the fraternity.
3. Every master who has a box, if there be no Book in the same Lodge, shall
deliver the money each year to the master who has charge of the Book, and
where the Book is there shall also be held divine worship. If a master or
fellow dies in a Lodge where no Book is kept, another master or fellow of the
said Lodge shall give notice thereof to the master who has a Book; and when
he has been informed thereof he shall cause a mass to be said for the repose
of the soul of him who has departed, and all the masters and fellows of the
Lodge shall assist at the mass and contribute thereto.
4. If a master or fellow be put to any expense or disbursement, for account
of the fraternity, and notice be given of how the same occured,
to such master or fellow shall be repaid his expenses, be the same small or
great, out of the box of the fraternity; if also any one gets into trouble
with courts or in other matters, relating to the fraternity, then shall every
one, be he master or fellow, afford him aid and relief, as he is bound to do
by the oath of the fraternity.
5. If a master or fellow fall sick, or a fellow who is of the fraternity, and
has lived uprightly in Masonry, be afflicted with protracted illness and want
for food and necessary money, than shall the master who has charge of the box
lend him relief and assistance from the box, if he otherwise may, until he
recover from his sickness; and he shall afterward vow and promise to restitute
the same into the box. But if he should die in such sickness, then so much
shall be taken from what he leaves at his death , be it clothing or other
articles, as to repay that which has been loaned to him, if so much be there.
These are the Statutes of the Parlires and Fellows
No craftsman or master shall set at work a fellow who commits adultery, or
who openly lives in illicit intercourse with women, or who does not yearly
make confession, and goes not to the Holy Communion, according to Christian
discipline, nor one who is so foolish as to lose his clothing at play.
Item: if any fellow should wantonly take leave of a Grand Lodge or from
another lodge, he should not ask for employment in the said Lodge for a year
Item: If a craftsman or master wishes to discharge a travelling
fellow whom he had employed, he shall not do so unless on a Saturday or on a
pay evening, so that he may know how to travel on the morrow, unless he be guilty of an offence. The same shall also be done by a fellowcraft.
Item : A travelling fellow
shall make application for employment to one but the master of the worker or
the Parlirer, neither clandestinely nor openly,
without the knowledge and will of the master.
No craftsman or master shall knowingly accept as an apprentice one who is not
of lawful birth, and shall earnestly inquire thereof before he accepts him,
and shall question such apprentice on his word, whether his father and mother
were duly united in lawful wedlock.
Item: No craftsman or master shall promote one of his apprentices as a Parlirer whom he has taken as an apprentice from his
rough state, or who is still in his years of apprenticeship.
Neither shall any craftsman or master promote any of his apprentices as a Parlirer whom he has taken from his rough state,
notwithstanding he may have served his years of apprenticeship, if he has not
travelled for the space of one year.
If any one who has served with a Mason (Murer)
comes to a craftsman and wishes to learn of him, the said craftsman shall not
accept him as an apprentice unless he serve as such for three years.
No craftsman or master shall take an apprentice from his rough state for a
less term than five years.
If, however, it happen that an apprentice should leave his master during the
years of his apprenticeship, without sufficient reasons, and does not serve
out his time then no master shall employ such apprentice. No fellow shall
work with him, nor in any wise keep fellowship with
him, until he has served his lawful time with the master whom he left, and
has given him entire satisfaction, and brings a certificate from his master
aforesaid. No apprentice shall ransom himself from his master unless he
intends to marry, with his masterís consent, or there be other sufficient
reasons which urge him or his master to this measure.
If an apprentice deems that he has not been justly dealt with by his master,
in any way they may have agreed upon, then may the apprentice bring him
before the craftsmen and masters, who are in that district, so that an explanation
and redress may take place as the case may be.
Item: Every master who has a Book in the district of Strasburg,
shall pay every year, at Christmas, a half-florin into the box of Strasburg,
until the debt is paid which is due to that box.
And every master who has a Book, and whose building is finished, and who has
no more work whereon he can employ the fellows, shall send his Book, and the
money in his possession, which belongs to the fraternity, to the workmaster at Strasburg.
It was resolved on the day at Regensburg, four weeks after Easter, in the
year, counting from Godís birth, one thousand four hundred and fifty nine on
St. Markís day, that the workmaster JOST DOTZINGER,
of Worms, of the building of our dear Ladyís minister, the high chapter of Strasburg,
and all of his successors on the same work, should be the supreme judge of
our fraternity of Masonry, and the same was also afterward determined on at
Spires, at Strasburg, and again at Spires in the year MCCCCLXIV. on the 9th day of April.í
Item: Master LORENZ SPENNING, of Vienna, shall
also be chief judge at Vienna.
And thus a workmaster or his successors at
Strasburg, Vienna, and Cologne these three are the chief judges and leaders
of the fraternity; they shall not be removed without just cause, as was
determined on, the day at Regensburg, 1459, and at Spires in 1464.
This is the district that belongs to Strasburg; all the country below the Moselle, and Franconia as far as the Thuringian
forest, and Babenberg as far as the episcopate at Eichstatten,
from Eichstatten to Ulm, from Ulm to Augsburg to
the Adelberg and as far as Italy; the countries of Misnia, Thuringia, Saxony, Frankfort, Hesse,
and Suabia, these shall be obedient.
Item: To Master LORENZ SPENNING, workmaster of the
building of St. Stephen, at Vienna, appertains Lampach, Steiermarch, Hungary, and the Danube
Item: Master STEFFAN HURDER, architect of St. Vincentís at Berne,
shall have the district of the Swiss Confederacy.
Item: To Master CONRAD, of Cologen, master of the
chapter there, and to all his successors likewise, shall appertain the other
districts downward, whatever there be of buildings and Lodges which belong to
the fraternity, or may hereafter belong to it.
If any master, Parlirer, fellowcraft,
or apprentice acts contrary to any of the hereinbefore or hereinafter written
points or articles, and does not keep them collectively or individually, and
reliable information be obtained thereof., then he or they shall be summoned
before the fraternity, by reason of such violation, and shall be called to
account therefor, and shall be obedient, to the
correction or penalty which is sentenced upon him, for the sake of the oath
and vow which he has pledged unto the fraternity. And if he slights the
summons without honest reason, and does not come, he shall yet give what has
been sentenced upon him as a penalty for his disobedience, although he be not present. But if he will not do so, he may be
brought before ecclesiastical or civil courts at the place where they be
held, and may be judged according to what may be right in the matter.
Item: Whoever desires to enter this fraternity, shall promise ever to keep
steadfastly all these articles hereinbefore and hereafter written in this
Book; except our gracious lord the Emperor, or the King, Princes, Lords, or
any other Nobles, by force or right, should be opposed to his belonging to
the fraternity; that shall be a sufficient excuse, so that there be no harm
therein, but for what he is indebted for to the fraternity, he shall come to
an agreement thereon with the craftsman who are in the fraternity.
Although by Christian discipline every Christian is bound to provide for his
own salvation, yet it must be duly remembered by the masters and craftsmen
whom the Almighty God has graciously endowed with their art and workmanship,
to build houses of God and other costly edifices, and honestly to gain their
living thereby, that by gratitude their hearts be justly unto true Christian
feelings, to promote divine worship, and to merit the salvation of their
souls thereby. Therefore to the praise and honour
of Almighty God, His worthy Mother Mary, of all her blessed saints, and
particularly of the holy four crowned martyrs, and especially for the
salvation of the souls of all persons who are of this fraternity, or who may
hereafter belong to it, have we the craftsmen of Masonry stipulated and
ordained, for us and all our successors, to have a divine service yearly, at
the four holy festivals and on the day of the holy four crowned martyrs, at
Strasburg, in the minister of the high chapter, in our dear Ladyís chapel,
with vigils and soul masses, after the manner to be instituted.
It was determined upon the day at Spires, on the ninth day of April, in the
year, counting from Godís birth, 1464 that the workmaster,
JOST DOTZINGER, of Worms, workmaster of the high
chapter at Strasburg, shall have an assembly of craftsmen in his district,
when three or four masters shall be taken and chosen, to come together on a
certain day, as they may agree, and what is there determined on by a majority
of those who are so congregated in chapters, and who are then present, and
how they may decrease or increase some articles, that shall be kept
throughout the whole fraternity.;
The day shall be on St. Georgeís day in the sixty-ninth year.
These are the masters who were present on the day at Spires,
on the ninth day of April in the year 1464.