Regalia

A Freemason's Regalia

Worshipful Master Pete BarkerAs you can see from the pictures on this website we Freemasons wear elaborate aprons, collars, and gauntlet-cuffs and gloves. These items of regalia which are worn during our private meetings and ceremonies. All have great meaning and significance to us. 

Uniform 

The uniform of a Freemason is universally a black suit, black shoes, white shirt and black tie. However, accepted variations do exist. For instance in Worcestershire many Freemasons wear a grey striped trouser with a black jacket and the Provincial tie which has a green diagonal stripe. Dress codes will always be explained to newly joining members.   

The Apron

The Masonic apron of course alludes to the stone mason’s leather aprons of old, used to protect clothing from the harsh rough working conditions of stone quarries and builying sites. The aprons we wear today identify progression through the three degrees and signify rank within the order which we call 'the Craft'In the USA they refer to this order as the ‘Blue Lodge’.

Our aprons are usually made from white lambskin or leather and are embellished with light blue ribbon and other emblems as the wearer advances in the order. Someone first entering Freemasonry wears a plain white apron to signify the innocence of an uninstructed novice or apprentice.

Display regalia

Other Masonic orders wear different coloured aprons with different emblems, however none of these orders are accessible to anyone who is not already a Freemason initiated into the Craft.

There are a number of books published about Freemasonry that show Freemasons aprons through the centuries and it is remarkable how they have changed; becoming more uniform and regular in their present day design.

Early aprons were often decorated by hand with Masonic symbols and images, some of the art work being incredibly beautiful and unique. 


The apron remains the defining and distinguishing badge of a Freemason.

Collars

Collars are worn by members of the Lodge who have specific jobs to do and who are called Lodge officers. From these collars are suspended silver emblems denoting their offices, allowing brethren to identify their roles in the Lodge. Collars are also worn by Past Masters and senior brethren who have been awarded a higher rank or position in Freemasonry. They are usually light blue in colour. Again, other Masonic orders wear different coloured collars with different emblems.

Gauntlet-Cuffs

Cuffs are worn by the three senior officers in the Lodge and are to signify their rank. Cuffs are common in many Lodges but not all Lodges choose to wear them.

Gloves

There are a number of theories as to why we wear gloves. One theory alludes to the protective hand wear used by stonemasons when working with rough stone so that they would not injure their hands and have to stop working thereby losing their income.

Further speculation is that when Freemasonry began in its existing form back in the 1700’s, the wearing of gloves disguised the hands of the wearer. Whether the callused hands of a manual worker or the soft hands of an affluent gent; Freemasons would appear to each other as equals.

Other people believe that the wearing of white gloves came about through the formal fashions of gentlemen’s clothing in the 18th and 19th century.

Whatever the reasons, gloves form part of our uniform and are worn with our regalia.

Masonic Breast Jewels (Medals)

Masonic Breast JewelsAs you may have noticed in the photographs the brethren are wearing medals or as we describe them – Masonic Jewels.

These are worn to commemorate a significant event such as a jubilee, the anniversary of the founding of the lodge, a noteworthy contribution to a charitable festival or to distinguish the wearer as a Past Master of the Lodge.

There are numerous reasons for the wearing of these Breast Jewels and they must always be worn in accordance with Masonic uniform regulation.

See The Hall Stone Jewel page.


Conclusion

The wearing of regalia carries great meaning to Freemasons and allows us to recognise each other’s rank and position in the Lodge. Each and every one of us begins our Masonic careers with a plain white apron. This practice is couched in our ancient traditions and is inextricable from Freemasonry. It also gives us opportunity to dress up in ceremonial paraphernalia at our meetings and enjoy the pomp and circumstance of our customs and ceremonies. Many Freemasons will tell you that this aspect of our meetings is actually a great deal of fun!

 

 

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