A tiny article of jewellery passed down through my family is a gold pin. Nothing spectacular about that, but on closer inspection it has a Freemason’s sign on one side and the Lord’s prayer stamped on the other – so tiny you can hardly make out the words.
After some research, my path crossed over the article I previously wrote about the Forgotten Pewter Plate and the trade of stonemasonry. 400 years ago the tradition of Freemasons developed from the medieval stonemasons who built cathedrals and castles. Their goals were to do public good, build moral standards, as well as build structures and lead productive lives.1
Speculating that my eight times great grandfather, Paul Batt, built Tickenham House in Somerset, England for renowned pewterer Henry Burgum, is strengthened by the fact that Henry was the Deputy-Governor of the Corporation of the Poor and President of the Grateful Society.2 These early forms of charity were in line with the Freemasons’ beliefs of Respect, Friendship, Integrity and Charity. It is now clear that the relationship between Burgum and Batt was through this fraternity. In our modern world there are 6 million Freemasons and each year they raise millions of dollars for charity. Some notable Freemasons included Winston Churchill and George Washington.3
The NSW MidCoast has several masonic lodges and undoubtedly many members who make positive contributions to their communities. My little gold pin, obviously a reward to add to the elaborate formal dress worn by the Freemasons, has possibly explained more about the life of the pewter plate than about the pin itself.
Author: Marilyn Boyd, Wallamba
1 United grand Lodge of England, viewed 15 September 2020, https://www.ugle.org.uk/about-freemasonry
2 Burgum Family History Society, Henry Burgum (1739-1789), https://www.burgumfamily.co.uk/article_1.php
3 United grand Lodge of England, viewed 15 September 2020, https://www.ugle.org.uk/about-freemasonry