The Families of the Old Charges

The manuscripts of the Old Charges exhibit a basic similarity, but they fall readily into “families,” each of which displays a large measure of textual uniformity. This classification was first worked out by the great Masonic scholar Dr. Wilhelm Begemann in 1888. There are eight families, each indicated by a name and a code letter.

A Regius Manuscript (1 text)
B Cooke Family (3 texts)
C Plot Family (6 texts)
T Tew Family (9 texts)
D Grand Lodge Family (53 texts)
E Sloane Family (21 texts)
F Roberts Family (6 texts)
G Spencer Family (6 texts)
H Sundry Family (8 texts)

Operative Masons Charges

Manuscript Name & Date

Edict of Rothari A.D. 643

Constitutions York 926

Charter of Bologna 1248

York 1370 (French Translation)

Preambolo Veneziano relativoalle Mariegole dei Taiapiera, dei tagliatori dipietra (1307)

Anglo-Norman Charges 1356 England

King David and the Temple of Jerusalem

Regius 1390 British Museum

Cooke 1450 British Museum

Strassburg, Ratisbona 1459 Germany

Torgau Ordinances 1462 Germany

Watson MS series 1535

Grand Lodge No.1 1583 London

Schaw 1598

The Sinclair MS 1601

Jones 1607 ( Possibly 1655)

Wood 1610 Worcester

Thorp 1629 Leicester

Sloane No. 3848 1646 British Museum

Inigo Jones MS 1655

Sloane No.3323, 1659 British Museum

Atcheson Haven 1666, Grand Lodge of Scotland

Aberdeen 1670, Aberdeen Lodge No.1 (copy published “Voice of Masonry” December 1874)

Henery Heade 1675, Inner Temple, London

Melrose No.2 1675, Melrose St. John Lodge No.1

Stanley 1677 West Yorkshire Library

The Thomas Tew MS 1680

Plot 1686 Epitome in Nat. Hist. Staffordshire

Clerke 1686

Antiquity 1686, Lodge of Antiquity No.2

William Watson 1687, West Yorkshire Library

Beaumont 1690, West Yorkshire Library

Waistell 1693, West Yorkshire Library

York No.4 1693, York Lodge No.236

Edinburgh 1696

Edinburgh 1696 (French Translation)

Foxcroft 1699

Buchanan 1600’s

Phillips No.1 1600’s Cheltenham

Phillips No.2 1600’s Cheltenham

Speculative Masons Charges

York No.1 1600’s York

York No.5 1600’s York

York No.6 1600’s York

Kilwinning, 1600’s Kilwinning Lodge No.0

Lansdowne 1560 – 1600’s British Museum

Harleian No.1942 1600’s British Museum

Harleian No.2054, 1600’s British Museum

Grand Lodge No.2 1600’s London

Colne No.1 1600’s Royal Lancashire Lodge No.116, Colne

Harris No.1 1600’s Bedford Lodge No.157, London

Dumfries No.1 1600’s Dumfries Kilwinning Lodge No.53

Dumfries No.2 1600’s Dumfries Kilwinning Lodge No.53

Dumfries No.3 1600’s Dumfries Kilwinning Lodge No.53

Stirling 1600’s, Ancient Lodge No.30, Stirling

Hope 1600’s Benevolent Lodge No.303, Teignmouth

Bain 1600’s London

Dring-Gale 1600’s London

Langdale 1600’s Rochdale

Clapham 1600’s West Yorkshire Library

Dauntesey 1600’s Manchester

Taylor 1600’s West Yorkshire Library

Lechmere 1600’s Worcester

Beswicke-Royde, 1600’s East Lancashire

David Ramsay, 1600’s Hamburg

Embleton 1600’s, West Yorkshire Library

Sloane No.3329, 1700 British Museum (French Translation)

Drinkwater No.1, 1700 Manchester Association

Drinkwater No.2, 1700 Manchester Association

Chetwode Crawley 1700 (French Translation)

Boyden 1700, Washington, DC.

Strachan 1700 QC Lodge No.2076

Alnwick 1701 Newcastle

York No.2, 1704 York Lodge No.236

Heaton 1705 England

Scarborough, York 1705 Grand Lodge of Canada

Dumfries N.4 1710 London (French Translation)

Talents 1700-20 London

Brooks Hill 1700-20 London

Cama Circa 1705 London

Inigo Jones 1705 Worcester

Trinity College 1711 (French Translation)

Kevan 1714

Robert’s Constitutions 1722

Roberts 1722 (original)

Macnab 1722

Ancient Charges of a Free Mason 1723

Regulations of a Free Mason 1723

Post Boy Sham Exposure 1723

Haddon 1723 London

Briscoe 1724 Printed

Grand Mystery of Freemasons 1724 Printed

Grand Mystery of Freemasons 1724 (French Translation)

Institution of Free Masons 1725

Institution of Free Masons 1725 (French Translation)

Whole Institution of Free-Masons Opened 1725

Spencer 1726 Massachusetts

Graham 1726 London (French Translation)

Songhurst Circa 1726 London

Fisher 1726 London

Dundee 1727

Wilkinson 1727 (french Translation)

Tho. Carmick 1727 Pennsylvania

Woodford 1728 London

Cole 1728 Engraved in Cole’s Constitutions

Free Masonry according to the Scriptures 1737 (spanish translation)

La Reception d’un Frey Maçon 1737

Langley 1738 Printed

Dodd 1739 Printed

Levander-York 1740 Port Sunlight

Free Masons Catechism 1740 Harry Carr (Spanish translation)

Le Parfait Maçon 1744

Le Sceau rompu 1745

Holywell 1748 Lancashire

Fortitude 1750 Fortitude Lodge No. 281, Lancaster

Essex 1750 Harry Carr

Thistle Manuscript 1756, Thistle Lodge No. 62, Dumfries

The Free Mason Examin’d 1758

Three Distinctive Knocks 1760 Printed

Melrose No.3, 1762 Melrose St. John Lodge No.1

Jachin and Boaz 1762

Tew 1700’s West Yorkshire Library

Portland 1700’s Wilbick Abbey

Hughan 1700’s West Yorkshire Library

Papworth’s 1700’s London

Phillips No.3, 1700’s Cheltenham

Newcastle College 1700’s Newcastle

Probity 1700’s Probity Lodge No.61, Halifax

Colne No.2, 1700’s Royal Lancashire Lodge No.116, Colne

Harris No.2, 1700’s British Museum

Rawlinson 1700’s Bodleian Library

Dumfries No.4, 1700’s Dumfries Kilwinning Lodge No.53

Gateshead 1700’s Lodge of Industry No.48

Krause 1806 (Printed from an Older MSS)

Dowland MSS (An Older MSS which was Printed in 1815 date unknown)

Hargrove 1818 Printed

Tunnah 1828 London

The Albury MS.1875