Researches by Roy Fisher, currently Life President of the
Association, suggest that Taylor, who started his printing business
in 1863, began publishing and printing for Hill about 1897.
A few years before this, during the 1880s, Logic, West
End and Oxford rituals were published and it is believed that
the precursory of Taylorís Working, known as Hillís North
London Working, appeared in the same period.
The only printed material for this working that has been
traced is a booklet Questions which must be answered by the
Candidate before Passing.
A comparison of Taylorís ritual with others of the same
period and earlier leads to the belief that Hillís North London
Working was derived from Claretís working, the seventh and
last edition of which was published in 1873.
It is pure conjecture, but perfectly plausible, that Hillís
Lodge (which works Emulation) would probably have used
Claretís Working until the supply of books ran out, when
they would have used the Perfect Ceremonies.
Hill, after his year as Master in 1885, may have seized
the opportunity to re-issue Claret under his own title. At
present this is the best that can be offered for the original of
Apart from Stability, Emulation and Logic Working, very
little was heard about teaching bodies for Masonic ritual until
Why did users of Taylorís Handbook, along with adherents
to several other rituals, some 60 years after the book was first
published, decide that they needed an association to control
As stated earlier, Grand Lodge had not deliberated on matters
of ritual since the Lodge of Reconciliation closed in 1816. But in
1964 they did, and it was precisely for this reason that a number of
hitherto unattached workings, such as Taylorís and Universal,
were brought under the control of ritual Associations.
At the Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge held on
6 December 1964, a resolution in the name of Bishop Herbert,
Provincial Grand Master for Norfolk, to approve a ďpermissive
variation to the working of the penalties in the Craft obligationsĒ
was duly passed.
The alternative working to be used, and the way it would
be incorporated within the ritual, would be left to the discretion
of the teaching bodies in particular and, generally, to the
multitude of Lodges of Instruction which used the unattached
workings, like Taylorís.
In May 1965, Harry Carr, then secretary of Quatuor
Coronati Lodge No. 2076 (the Premier Lodge of Masonic
Research), presided over a meeting of representatives of a
number of Lodges using the more popular of the unattached
workings. The main object of the meeting was to agree on a
standard form of wording for the permissive variations, based
on the form already adopted by the established teaching bodies.
After the meeting five brethren representing Lodges that
use Taylorís Working, formed an ad hoc committee. Much
effort was involved, particularly in trying to trace Lodges that
used the ritual. A meeting of representatives of Taylorís
Lodges was convened on 30 November 1965 and they formed
the Association of Taylorís Working, and the inaugural meeting
was held on 31 January 1967.
The plans included the production of a new edition of the
ritual book, the setting up of a team to demonstrate the working
and the formation of a Lodge of Improvement. The second
edition of the Handbook was published in 1975, some 68
years after the first edition. Taylorís Lodge of Improvement
held its first meeting in February 1976. Regular demonstrations
of the work started in 1968, the first being attended by
After 100 years of publishing Masonic ritual, M.M. Taylor
sold the publishing rights to Ian Allan Publishing in 1996.
The late M M (Marlborough Millbank) Taylor, who died on
31 August 1999, was the grandson of the original publisher.
An embroidered drape was produced for the Masterís
pedestal incorporating the familiar MMT Logo (the one that
appears at the front of all Taylorís ritual books) in full colour.
This now takes pride of place at the LOI.
Following the publication of a new edition, almost all
changes are to the rubric and explanatory notes Ė these are
now much more extensive than in earlier editions. Changes
to the spoken ritual are almost entirely corrections to grammer,
spelling and punctuation.
In certain cases we resort to the ultimate weapon, a quote
from then Grand Secretary Sir James Stubbs to a paper by the
distinguished Masonic author Colin Dyer entitled In Search of
ďÖwhile nothing will induce me publicly to compare one ritualís
virtues and failings with anotherís I can and will say that what is
thoroughly reprehensible is the practice, all too common among senior
Past Masters who have become DCs and Preceptors, of culling different
titbits from various rituals they have heard (or misheard) and
incorporating them in what they purport to teach. A ritual is not the
sum of the whims of the Lodgeís often self-appointed expert, it is
something which should be laid down by the teaching authorities
and from it there should be no deviation.Ē
(QC Transactions, Vol. 86, pp.166Ė167)
Michael Barnes is a Vice-President of the|
Association of Taylorís Working