When operative Freemasons built Europe’s Gothic cathedrals in the Middle ages, they did something seditious in the process,they rebelliously encoded a blasphemous”Secret” into the architecture, for centuries their heretical work went unrecognized.
At the time that Gothic made its appearance almost all art, including architecture, was still under control by the monastic orders; but with the development of the cathedrals art passed into lay control. It believed by some that the scarcity of records concerning the builders themselves is due to the pride of chroniclers, almost always ecclesiastic, who disdained to mention the workmen except in the most general way. These workmen, like almost all other craftsmen of their period, were organized into guilds. Guilds differed among themselves very much with time and place but through all their various changes retained well defined characteristics. Each guild was a stationary organization which usually possessed a monopoly of trade in its own community, the laws of which were binding on the craftsmen. The guilds of one trade wielded no control over those of another, but all together agreed on certain rules and practices, such as those that appertained to apprenticeship, buying raw materials, marketing, and all that. In some communities, the guilds became so powerful that a few historians have confused their government with that of their city, but it is probable that this never happened frequently, if at all
It is believed that, owing to peculiarities in their art, the guilds that had cathedral building in charge became differentiated from others in some very important particulars. If this really happened it was a most natural result of the circumstances under which the cathedral builders laboured. Theirs was a unique calling. All other buildings were wholly unlike cathedrals, and it was not often that cities were able to afford the luxury of one, so that there never was a great plenty of work for them to do. Also, their craft was peculiarly difficult, and involved the possession and learning of many uncommon trade secrets, so that the very nature of the work differentiated the cathedral building craftsman from other guild members. It is believed by cautious historians that after a while the authorities, recognizing the uniqueness of the cathedral builders’ art, granted them certain privileges and immunities, and permitted them to move about at will from place to place, which in itself set them sharply apart from the stationary guilds, each of which was not permitted to do work outside its own incorporated limits; and many writers believe that because of this freedom to move about unrestricted by the usual medieval curtailments of privilege, that these guilds, or Masons (the word means “builders”), came at last to be called “Freemasons.” Governor Pownall wrote a page once to prove that even the popes granted these builders special privileges, but subsequent researches in the Vatican library never enabled him, or other researchers after him, to unearth the papal bulls.
This article was written by Psalm Triginta