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The Lewis


The lewis is a device that has been used by stonemasons for many centuries. The lewis provides an anchorage in a stone, which enables lifting tackle to be attached to assist in the raising and lowering of large stones to the required heights and set them in place with safety and precision.

Speculative connections

The first time that a speculative freemason learns about the lewis is usually as an entered apprentice, during the lecture on the tracing board, when he is told that lewis denotes strength and signifies the son of a mason. The use of the word in speculative craft freemasonry seems to have arisen as a result of the old friendship between France and Scotland, which came to be known as the "Auld Alliance".

Anderson’s Constitutions 1738

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.

The Prince of Wales, Frederick Louis (sometimes written as Lewis), had been made a Freemason in the previous year on 5 November 1737. His son, who would reign as King George III, was born on 4 June 1738 amid general rejoicing. Three of his other sons, the Dukes of York, Gloucester, and Cumberland would follow their father into freemasonry.

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.

Grand Lodge of England

"The word Lewis denotes strength, and is here depicted by certain pieces of metal dovetailed into a stone, which forms a cramp, and enables the operative Mason to raise great weights to certain heights with little encumbrance, and to fix them in their proper bases. Lewis, likewise denotes the son of a Mason; his duty is to bear the heat and burden of the day, from which his parents, by reason of their age, ought to be exempt; to help them in time of need, and thereby render the close of their days happy and comfortable; his privilege for so doing is to be made a Mason before any other person however dignified." from the Junior Warden’s Lecture used in the Grand Lodge of England dating from 1801

Lewis Jewel

lewis jewel

The Lewis Jewel has been in use in England and other Jurisdictions under the United Grand Lodge of England for many decades to honor a new Mason's father. The jewel has also been adopted in the Jurisdictions of Vermont, Texas, Massachusetts, Virginia, Connecticut and others in the United States and is offered throughout Canada.

Grand Lodge A.F.&A.M. of Canada in the Province of Ontario has authorised the wearing of a Lewis Jewel. The Lewis Jewel 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.


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