ISSUE 11, October 2004
Elias Ashmole: Masonic Icon
Travel: The magical beauty of Scotland
Honoured: By the Glovers' livery company
The Theatre: Strong links between Craft and stage
Quarterly Communication: Address of the Pro Grand Master and, Report of the Board of General Purposes
Mauritius: Fascinating Masonic history
Rochester Cathedral: Kent Masons' magnificent fresco
Clerkenwell: 25 years of Masonry
  Bravery award: One Mason's heroism is honoured
Christmas shopping: What to buy in London's West End
High flight: Helping terminally ill children
Jewels of the Craft: An essential part of Masonry
Library & Museum: John Pine exhibition and Library & Museum Trust report
Masonic education: Events for Masons; Quatuor Coronati Lodge; Mentors for new Masons
Charities: Masons provide emergency aid for flood victims; Charity news; Demelza gives voice
Letters, Book reviews, Gardening

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Freemasonry honoured

The Pro Grand Master, Lord Northampton, has accepted an award on behalf of Grand Lodge from the Worshipful Company of Glovers. John Jackson explains.

Lord Northampton (right) receives the award from the Glovers’ Master, Bill Loach

Glovers’ award to Masonry

Freemasons wear gloves at their Lodge meetings as a matter of course, one of the few remaining organisations to do so. Recently, to thank the Craft, the Worshipful Company of Glovers presented an award to the United Grand Lodge of England.
     The Pro Grand Master, Lord Northampton, accepted the Golden Glove Award, presented by the Worshipful Company’s Master, Bill Loach, on behalf of English Freemasonry.
     The award consists of a gold leather representation of the Master Glover’s gauntlet mounted on a black background and framed in gold. The Award is made selectively, from time to time, to either organisations or individuals whose actions have benefited the UK glove manufacturing industry.
     Previous recipients have included Marks & Spencer, the City of London and Metropolitan Police, round-the-world yachtswoman Tracey Edwards, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, the Royal British Legion, the Royal College of Surgeons of England, the British Horse Society and the Nissan motor company.
     The origin of Masons wearing gloves at their meetings, like much else in Freemasonry, is open to various interpretations. According to Harry Carr in The Freemason At Work:
     As to symbolism, I am inclined to believe that gloves came into Speculative usage, like the aprons, as a direct heritage from operative practice, both aprons and gloves being essential items in a Mason’s working apparel. This would suggest that the prime symbolism of gloves (and aprons) is to emphasise the operative origins of Speculative Masonry.
     Gloves have had a wide-ranging symbolism since the Middle Ages, in legal, military and liturgical use. Our custom of wearing white gloves, as with our aprons of white lambskin, is probably associated with the idea of purity.

     Gloves were clearly part of an operative Mason’s job. In 1322, at Ely, the Sacristy bought gloves for the Masons engaged on ‘new work’.
     For Masons in their Lodges, Carr says that from 1599 onwards, Masons had to provide a pair of gloves on the day they entered the Lodge as part of their entrance fee.
     A Masonic exposure published in 1723 entitled A Mason’s Examination, was published in a London newspaper The Flying Post and stated:
     When a Free-Mason is enter’d, after having given to all present of the Fraternity a Pair of Men and Women’s Gloves and Leathern Apron …”
     Carr adds that the Hérault Letter, the earliest known French exposure of Freemasonry, published in 1737, records an apprentice receiving a pair of gloves for himself and a pair of ladies gloves ‘for her whom he esteems the most.’


The Freemason At Work by Harry Carr (7th and Revised Edition), Lewis Masonic, ISBN 0 85318 189 6.