Some random thoughts on LABOUR TO REFRESHMENT

Visiting various lodges can spark interest in what may otherwise be a quiet night.

The calling of a lodge from labour to refreshment or as it may be called in some jurisdictions, “calling off the lodge”

At some meetings the Junior Warden stating “By order of the Worshipful Master, the craft is called from labour to refreshment” , to some members attending is a break in what may be a long meeting or a boring one, which no lodge meeting should be! For those with the habit, a break for cigarette, allows some members a way to slip quietly off into the night.

The custom of moving to refreshment ,some have said, relates to the early lodges where a pint or two and a pipe were part of the evening, with serving brothers moving amongst those present and serving the potables.

It possibly is related more closely to the custom of the medieval operative masons, taking their meals and refreshments on site in their quarters or lodges.

The operative masons of old were known to construct special quarters for their own use, to which the profane were denied entrance. In these mason’s lodges they stored their tools, prepared their plans, crafted their templates, slept and ate. Possibly they met in solemn conclave to judge cases of discipline or the progression of apprentices in the “lodge”.

Mackey quotes from the 1355 Fabric Rolls of the York Minster, orders or rules which were promulgated for the guidance of those operative masons on site.

They were to rise at sunrise and begin work, until the ringing of the bell, which called them to break their fast (breakfast). At a time a Master would knock on the door of the Fabric Lodge, and all were to return to work until noon. They would work until the first call for vespers, which depending on the era may have taken an hour to an hour and a half to recite the Divine office. During this time the workers might take a meal or refreshments, if working on an abbey or church building undoubtedly the break at this time might well include prayers and definitely there would be a grace recited for the food and drink for which they were supplied. They would return to labour at the ringing of the third bell and continue to work as long as they could see by the daylight.

We can then say that each time the bell called them from their labour, they were called from labour to refreshment and when the Master knocked on the door of the lodge to summon them back to work they were in fact called from refreshment to labour again.

Visiting various lodges can spark interest in what may otherwise be a quiet night. The calling of a lodge from labour to refreshment or as it may be called in some jurisdictions, “calling off the lodge” At some meetings the Junior Warden stating “By order of the Worshipful Master, the craft is called from labour…