ISSUE 10, July 2004
John Pine: A sociable craftsman
Jumping for Joy: Skydiving for charity
Quarterly Communication: Speeches of: the Grand Master, the Pro Grand Master and, Report of the Board of General Purposes
Supreme Grand Chapter: Address of the First Grand Principal and Report of the Committee of General Purposes
Royal Arch: Cheshire gives a lead
  Walking with the greats: Bath Masonic Hall
Motoring in style: Classic Vehicle Club
Masonic education: A daily advancement and Events for your diary
Travel: Portugal
Library & Museum of Freemasonry
International: A warm welcome in Malta
Masonic ritual: Spoilt for choice
Public relations: Sheffield; Dorset; Chelsea Flower Show; Freemasons' Hall
Letters, Book reviews, Gardening

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     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 Taylorís Ritual.
     Apart from Stability, Emulation and Logic Working, very little was heard about teaching bodies for Masonic ritual until recent years.
     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 the ritual?
     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 545 brethren.
     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 Ritual Uniformity:

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