The Constitutions of Strasburg
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and of
our gracious Mother Mary, and also of her blessed servants, the holy
four crowned martyrs of everlasting memory: considering that true
friendship, unanimity, and obedience are the foundation of all good;
therefore, and for the general advantage and free will of all princes,
nobles, lords, cities, chapters, and convents, who may desire at this
time or in future to build churches, choirs, or other great works of
stone, and edifices; that they may be the better provided and supplied,
and also for the benefit and requirements of the masters and fellows of
the whole craft of Masonry, and masons in Germany, and more especially
to avoid in future, between those of the craft, dissensions,
differences, costs, and damages, by which irregular acts many masters
have suffered grievously, contrary to the good customs and ancient
usages maintained and practiced in good faith by the seniors and patrons
of the craft in ancient times. But that we may continue to abide therein
in a true and peaceful way, have we, masters and fellows all, of the
said craft, congregated in chapters at Spries, at Strasburg, set or not,
then shall such master not pull down the set stones, nor in and at
Regensburg, in the name and on behalf of ourselves and of all other
masters and fellows of our whole common craft above mentioned, renewed
and revised these ancient usages, and kindly and affably agreed upon
these statues and fraternity; and having by common consent drawn up the
same, have also vowed and promised, for ourselves and all our
successors, to keep them faithfully, as hereafter stands writ:
a. Firstly: If any of the articles in these statues should prove to be
too strict and severe, or others too light and mild, then may those who
are of the fraternity, by a majority, modify decrease, or increase such
articles, according to the requirements of the time, or country, or
circumstance. He resolutions of those who shall meet together in
chapters after the manner of this book shall thenceforth be observed, in
accordance with the oath taken by every one. í
b. Item: Whoever of his own free will desires to enter into this
fraternity, according to the regulation as hereafter stands writ in this
book, shall promise to keep all the points and articles, for then only
can he be of our craft. Those shall be masters, who can design and erect
such costly edifices and works, for the execution of which they are
authorized and privileged, and shall not work with any other craft,
unless they choose so to do. Masters as well as fellows must conduct
themselves honorably, a nd not infringe upon the rights of others, or
they may be punished, according to these statues, on the occasion of
every such transgression.
c. Item: Whatever regular works and buildings are now in progress of
erection by journey work-namely, Strasburg, Cologne, Vienna, and Passau,
and other such works, and also in the Lodges which belong to them, and,
according to custom, have been hitherto finished by journey work, such
buildings and works as before mentioned shall be continued by journey
work, and in no wise by task work; so that nothing be cut short of the
work, to the damage of the contract as far as possible.
d. Item: If any craftsman who has had regular work should die, then any
craftsman or master, skilled in Masonry, and sufficient and able for
work, may aspire to complete said work, so that the lords owning or
superintending such building may again be supplied with the requirements
of Masonry. So also may any fellow who understands such Masonry.
e. Item: Any master may, in addition to his own work, undertake a work
abroad, or a master who has no such work may likewise undertake it, in
which case he may give such work or building in good faith, in journey
work, and continue it as best he can or may, so that the work and
progress be not interrupted, according to the regulations and customs of
Masonry. If a master fails to satisfy those persons who committed the
work to him, and reliable information be given thereof, then shall the
said master be cal led to account by the craft, corrected, and punished,
after having been sentenced; but if the lords are not willing so to do,
then may he do it as they choose, be it by task or journey work.
f. Item: If any master, who has had such a work or building, die, and
another master comes and finds such stone-work, be the stone work any
wise cast away the hewn and unset stones, without previous counsel and
agreement with other craftsmen, so that the owners and other honorable
persons, who caused such edifice to be builded, be not put to unjust
expense, and that also the master who left such work not be defamed. But
if the owners choose to have such work removed, then he may have it
done, provided he seeks no undue advantage thereby.
g. Item: Neither shall the master, not those who have undertaken such
work, hire out anything that relates to ro concerns hewn stones and what
belongs to them, be it stone, lime, or sand; but to break or hew by
contract or by journey work he may be allowed without risk.
h. Item: If masons be required for hewing or setting stone, the master
may set such at work, if they are able, so that the lords be not
hindered, and those who are thus employed shall not be subject to these
regulations unless of their own free will.
i Item: Two masters shall not share in the same work or building, unless
it be a small one, which can be finished in the course of a year. Such a
work he may have in common with him that is a brother.
k. Item: If any master accepts a work in contract and makes a design for
the same, how it shall be builded, then he shall not cut anything short
of the design, but shall execute it according to the plan which he has
shown to the lords, cities, or people, so that nothing be altered.:
l. Any master or fellow who shall take away from another master of the
fraternity of craftsmen a work on which he is engaged, or who shall
endeavor to disposes him of such work, clandestinely or openly, without
the knowledge or consent of the master who has such work, be the same
small or great, he shall be called to account. No master or fellow shall
keep fellowship with him, nor shall any fellow of the fraternity work
for him, so long as he is engaged in the work which he has thus
dishonestly acquired, nor until he has asked pardon, and given
satisfaction to him whom he has driven from his work, and shall also
have been punished in the fraternity by the masters, as is ordained by
m. Item: If any one accepts in whole or in part any work which he does
not understand how to execute, not having consulted any craftsman
thereon, nor having applied to the Lodge, he shall in no wise undertake
the work; but if he attempts to do so, then shall no fellow take work
with him, so that the lords be not put to expense by such ignorant
Item: No workman, nor master, nor Parlirer, nor fellow-craft, shall
instruct any one, whosoever, who is not of our craft, in any part, if he
has not in his day practiced Masonry.
o. No craftsman nor master shall take money from a fellow for teaching
or instructing him in anything belonging to Masonry, nor shall any
arlirer or fellow-craft instruct any one for moneyís sake; but if one
wishes to instruct the other, they may do so mutually or for fraternal
p. Item: A master who has a work or a building for himself may have
three apprentices, and may also set to work fellows of the same
Lodge-that is, if his lords so permit; but if he have more buildings
than one, then shall he have no more than two apprentices on the
afore-mentioned building, so that he shall not have more than five
apprentices on all his buildings.
Item: No craftsman or master shall be received in the fraternity who
goes not yearly to the Holy Communion or who keep not Christian
discipline, or who squanders his substance at play; but should any one
be inadvertently accepted into the fraternity who does these things as
aforesaid, then shall no master nor fellow keep fellowship with him
until he desists therefrom, and has been punished therefor by those of
No craftsman nor master shall live in adultery while engaged in Masonry;
but if such a one will not desist therefrom, then shall no travelling
fellow nor mason work in company with him, nor keep fellowship with him.
q. Item: If a fellowcraft takes work with a master who is not accepted
into the fraternity of craftsmen, then shall the said fellow not be
punishable therefor. So also, if a fellow take work with a city master,
or with another master, and be there set to work, that may he well do,
so that every fellow may find work; but nevertheless such fellow shall
keep the regulations as hereinbefore and hereinafter written, and shall
also contribute his fee to the fraternity, although he be not employed
in the Lodges o f the fraternity, or with his fellow brethren.
But if a fellow would take unto himself a lawful wife, and not being
employed in a Lodge, would establish himself in a city, and be obliged
to serve with a craft, he shall on every ember-week pay four pennies,
and shall be exempt from the weekly penny, because he be not employed in
r. If a master have a complaint against another master, for having
violated the regulations of the craft, or a master against a fellow, or
a fellow against another fellow, any master or fellow who is concerned
therein shall give notice thereof to the master who presides over the
fraternity, and the master who is thereof informed shall hear both
parties, and set a day when he will try the cause: and meanwhile, before
the fixed or appointed day, no fellow shall avoid the master, nor master
drive away the fellow, but render services mutually until the-hour when
the matter is to be heard and settled. This shall all be done according
to the judgement of the craftsmen, which shall be observed accordingly.
Moreover, the case shall be tried on the spot where it arose before the
nearest master who keeps the Book of Statutes, and in who district it
s. Item: Every Parlirer shall honor his master, be true and faithful to
him, according to the rule of Masonry, and obey him with undivided
fidelity, as is meet and of ancient usage. So also shall a fellow.
And when a travelling fellow-craft desires to travel farther, he shall
part from his master and from the Lodge in such wise as to be indebted
to no one, and that no man have any grievance against him, as is meet
t. A travelling fellow, in whatever Lodge he may be employed shall be
obedient to his master and to the Parlirer, according to the rule and
ancient usage of Masonry, and shall also keep all the regulations and
privileges which are of ancient usage in the said Lodge,and shall not
revile his masterís work, either secretly or openly, in any wise. But if
the master infringe upon these regulations, and act contrary to them,
then may any one give notice thereof.
u. Every craftsman employing workmen in the Lodge, to whom is confided
these statues, and who is duly invested with authority, shall have power
and authority in the same over all contentions and matters which pertain
to Masonry, to try and punish in his district. All masters, Parlirers,
and apprentices, shall obey him.
x. A fellow who has travelled, and is practiced in Masonry, and who is
of this fraternity, who wishes to serve a craftsman on a portion of the
work, shall not be accepted by that craftsman or master, in any wise for
a less term than two years.
y. Item: All masters and fellows who are of this fraternity shall
faithfully keep all the points and articles of these regulations, as
hereinbefore and hereinafter stands written. But if anyone should
perchance violate one of the points, and thereby become punishable, if
afterward he be obedient to the regulation, by having compiled with what
has been sentenced upon him, he will have done sufficent, and be
released from his vow, in regard to the article wherefor he has been
z. The master who has charge of the Book shall, on the oath of the
fraternity, have a care that the same be not copied, either by himself
or by any other person, or given, or lent,-so that the Book remain
intact, according to the resolution of the craftsmen. But if one of the
craftsmen, being of this fraternity, have need or cause to know one or
two articles, that may any master give him in writing. Every master
shall cause these statutes to be read every year to the fellows in the
Item: If a complaint be made involving a greater punishment as for
instance, expulsion from Masonry-the same shall not be tried or judged
by one master in his district; but the two nearest masters who are
intrusted with the copies of the statutes, and who have authority over
the fraternity, shall be summoned by him, so that there may be three.
The fellows also who were at work at the place where the grievance arose
shall be summoned also, and whatsoever shall be with one accord agreed
upon by those three, together with all the fellows, or by a majority
thereof in accordance with their oath and best judgement, shall be
observed by the whole fraternity of craftsmen.
Item: If two or more masters who are of the fraternity be at variance or
discord about matters which do not concern Masonry, they shall not
settle these matters anywhere but before Masonry, which shall judge and
reconcile them as far as possible, but so that the agreement be made
without prejudice to the lords or cities who are concerned in the
1. Now, in order that these regulations of the craft may be kept more
honestly, with service to God and other necessary and becoming things,
every master who has craftsmen at work in his Lodge, and practises
Masonry, and is of this fraternity, and afterward each year four
Blapparts; namely, on each ember-week one Blappart or Bohemian to be
paid into the box of the fraternity, and each fellow four Blapparts, and
so likewise an apprentice who has served his time.
2. All masters and craftsmen who are of this fraternity, who employ
workmen in their Lodges, shall each of them have a box, and each fellow
shall pay into the box weekly one penny. Every master shall faithfully
treasure up some money and what may be derived from other sources, and
shall each year deliver it to the fraternity at the nearest place where
a book is kept, in order to provide for Godís worship and to supply the
necessaries or the fraternity.
3. Every master who has a box, if there be no Book in the same Lodge,
shall deliver the money each year to the master who has charge of the
Book, and where the Book is there shall also be held divine worship. If
a master or fellow dies in a Lodge where no Book is kept, another master
or fellow of the said Lodge shall give notice thereof to the master who
has a Book; and when he has been informed thereof he shall cause a mass
to be said for the repose of the soul of him who has departed, and all
the masters and fellows of the Lodge shall assist at the mass and
4. If a master or fellow be put to any expense or disbursement, for
account of the fraternity, and notice be given of how the same occured,
to such master or fellow shall be repaid his expenses, be the same small
or great, out of the box of the fraternity; if also any one gets into
trouble with courts or in other matters, relating to the fraternity,
then shall every one, be he master or fellow, afford him aid and relief,
as he is bound to do by the oath of the fraternity.
5. If a master or fellow fall sick, or a fellow who is of the
fraternity, and has lived uprightly in Masonry, be afflicted with
protracted illness and want for food and necessary money, than shall the
master who has charge of the box lend him relief and assistance from the
box, if he otherwise may, until he recover from his sickness; and he
shall afterward vow and promise to restitute the same into the box. But
if he should die in such sickness, then so much shall be taken from what
he leaves at his death , be it clothing or other articles, as to repay
that which has been loaned to him, if so much be there.
These are the Statutes of the Parlires and Fellows
No craftsman or master shall set at work a fellow who commits adultery,
or who openly lives in illicit intercourse with women, or who does not
yearly make confession, and goes not to the Holy Communion, according to
Christian discipline, nor one who is so foolish as to lose his clothing
Item: if any fellow should wantonly take leave of a Grand Lodge or from
another lodge, he should not ask for employment in the said Lodge for a
year to come.
Item: If a craftsman or master wishes to discharge a travelling fellow
whom he had employed, he shall not do so unles on a Saturday or on a pay
evening, so that he may know how to travel on the morrow, unless he be
guilty of an offence. The same shall also be done by a fellow-craft.
Item : A travelling fellow shall make appllcatlon for employment to one
but the master of the worker or the Parlirer, neither clandestinely nor
openly, without the knowledge and will of the master.
No craftsman or master shall knowingly accept as an apprentice one who
is not of lawful birth, and shall earnestly inquire thereof before he
accepts him, and shall question such apprentice on his word, whether his
father and mother were duly united in lawful wedlock.
Item: No craftsman or master shall promote one of his apprentices as a
Parlirer whom he has taken as an apprentice from his rough state, or who
is still in his years of apprenticeship.
Neither shall any craftsman or master promote any of his apprentices as
a Parlirer whom he has taken from his rough state, notwithstanding he
may have served his years of apprenticeship, if he has not travelled for
the space of one year.
If any one who has served with a Mason (Murer) comes to a craftsman and
wishes to learn of him, the said craftsman shall not accept him as an
apprentice unless he serve as such for three years.
No craftsman or master shall take an apprentice from his rough state for
a less term than five years.
If, however, it happen that an apprentice should leave his master during
the years of his apprenticeship, without sufficient reasons, and does
not serve out his time then no master shall employ such apprentice. No
fellow shall work with him, nor in any wise keep fellowship with him,
until he has served his lawful time with the master whom he left, and
has given him entire satisfaction, and brings a certificate from his
master aforesaid. No apprentice shall ransom himself from his master
unless he intends to marry, with his masterís consent, or there be other
sufficient reasons which urge him or his master to this measure.
If an apprentice deems that he has not been justly dealt with by his
master, in any way they may have agreed upon, then may the apprentice
bring him before the craftsmen and masters, who are in that district, so
that an explanation and redress may take place as the case may be.
Item: Every master who has a Book in the district of Strasburg, shall
pay every year, at Christmas, a half-florin into the box of Strasburg,
until the debt is paid which is due to that box.
And every master who has a Book, and whose building is finished, and who
has no more work whereon he can employ the fellows, shall send his Book,
and the money in his possession, which belongs to the fraternity, to the
workmaster at Strasburg.
It was resolved on the day at Regensburg, four weeks after Easter, in
the year, counting from Godís birth, one thousand four hundred and fifty
nine on St. Markís day, that the workmaster JOST DOTZINGER, of Worms, of
the building of our dear Ladyís minster, the high chapter of Strasburg,
and all of his successors on the same work, should be the supreme judge
of our fraternity of Masonry, and the same was also afterward determined
on at Sprires, at Strasburg, and again at Spires in the year MCCCCLXIV.
on the 9th day of April.í
Item: Master LORENZ SPENNING, of Vienna, shall also be chief judge at
And thus a workmaster or his successors at Strasburg, Vienna, and
Cologne these three are the chief judges and leaders of the fraternity;
they shall not; be removed without just cause, as was determined on, the
day at Regensburg, 1459, and at Spires in 1464.
This is the district that belongs to Strasburg; all the country below
the Moselle, and Franconia as far as the Thuringian forest, and
Babenberg as far as the episcopate at Eichstatten, from Eichstatten to
Ulm, from Ulm to Augsburg to the Adelberg and as far as Italy; the
countries of Misnia, Thuringia, Saxony, Frankfort, Hesse, and Suabia,
these shall be obedient.
Item: To Master LORENZ SPENNING, workmaster of the building of St.
Stephen, at Vienna, appertains Lampach, Steiermarch, Hungary, and the
Item: Master STEFFAN HURDER, architect of St. Vincentís at Berne, shall
have the district of the Swiss Confederacy.
Item: To Master CONRAD, of Cologen, master of the chapter there, and to
all his successors liekwise, shall appertain the other districts
downward, whatever there be of buildings and Lodges which belong to the
fraternity, or may hereafter belong to it.
If any master, Parlirer, fellow-craft, or apprentice acts contrary to
any of the hereinbefore or hereinafter written points or articles, and
does not keep them collectively or individually, and reliable
information be obtained thereof., then he or they shall be summoned
before the fraternity, by reason of such violation, and shall be called
to account therefor, and shall be obedient, to the correction or penalty
which is sentenced upon him, for the sake of the oath and vow which he
has pledged unto the fraternity. And if he slights the summons without
honest reason, and does not come, he shall yet give what has been
sentenced upon him as a penalty for his disobedience, although he be not
present. But if he will not do so, he may be brought before
ecclesiastical or civil courts at the place where they be held, and may
be judged according to what may be right in the matter.
Item: Whoever desires to enter this fraternity, shall promise ever to
keep steadfastly all these articles hereinbefore and hereafter written
in this Book; except our gracious lord the Emperor, or the King,
Princes, Lords, or any other Nobles, by force or right, should be
opposed to his belonging to the fraternity; that shall be a sufficient
excuse, so that there be no harm therein, but for what he is indebted
for to the fraternity, he shall come to an agreement thereon with the
craftsman who are in the fraternity.
Although by Christian discipline every Christian is bound to provide for
his own salvation, yet it must be duly remembered by the masters and
craftsmen whom the Almighty God has graciously endowed with their art
and workmanship, to build houses of God and other costly edifices, and
honestly to gain their living thereby, that by gratitude their hearts be
justly unto true Christian feelings, to promote divine worship, and to
merit the salvation of their souls therby. Therefore to the praise and
honour of Almighty God, His worthy Mother Mary, of all her blessed
saints, and particularly of the holy four crowned martyrs, and
especially for the salvation of the souls of all persons who are of this
fraternity, or who may hereafter belong to it, have we the craftsmen of
Masonry stipulated and ordained, for us and all our successors, to have
a divine service yearly, at the four holy festivals and on the day of
the holy four crowned martyrs, at Strasburg, in the minster of the high
chapter, in our dear Ladyís chapel, with vigils and soul masses, after
the manner to be instituted.
It was determined upon the day at Spires, on the ninth day of April, in
the year, counting from Godís birth, 1464 that the workmaster, JOST
DOTZINGER, of Worms, workmaster of the high chapter at Strasburg, shall
have an assembly of craftsmen in his district, when three or four
masters shall be taken and chosen, to come together on a certain day, as
they may agree, and what is there determined on by a majority of those
who are so congregated in chapters, and who are then present, and how
they may decrease or increase some articles, that shall be kept
throughout the whole fraternity.;
The day shall be on St. Georgeís day in the sixty-ninth year.
These are the masters who were present on the day at Spires, on the
ninth day of April in the year 1464.
(There follows a list of Masters
which is not included here)