Want more anecdotal proof that Masonry existed before the generally accepted 1717 narrative. Well, I discovered some written words that mentioned Charles Martel, Hammer King of the Franks, from 8th century Germany. The verbiage came from one of the Old Charges of Masonry (MSS); and related the Martel legend, who, in the battle of Tours, turned back the Saracenic invasion of Europe in 732 AD. In portion (full text available by following the two links below), this is what was written about the Masonry (Massonrey), or the Craft (Craftes):
And thus was that woorthy Crafte of Massonrey Confirmed in the Countrey of Jerusalem And in many other Kyngdomes. “Curious Craftes men walked aboute full wyde in Dyu’s Countries soome to Learne more Crafte and conning and some to teache them that had but litle conning and so yt befell that their was on’ Curious Masson that height Naymus grecus that had byn at the making of Sollomon’s Temple and he came into ffrance and there he taught the Science of Massonrey to men of ffraunce And there was one of the Regall lyne of ffraunce that height Charles Martell And he was A man that Loved well suche A Crafte and Drewe to this Naymus grecus and Learned of him the Crafte And to vppon him the Chardges and ye mann’s. And afterward by the grace of god he was elect to be Kyng of ffraunce. And when he was in his Estate he tooke Massons and did help to make men Massons yt weare none and sett them A woorke and gave them bothe the Chargs and mann’s and good paye that he had learned of other Massons And confirmed them A Charter from yere to yeare to holde their assembly wheare they woulde, And churrishe them right much And thus came the Crafte into ffraunce (Builders, 1915 and Grand Lodge No. Manuscript).
Notice the hammer in the first picture above, and the use of the name “Hammer King of the Franks” in the description of Charles Martel? Of course it is an incidental point, but a hammer is one of the primary tools of an ancient Mason. Even though he got his name from his battle tactics, its interesting how history related the meaning of the two names (hammer). Just some further anecdotal evidence to ponder.
I will admit that the writing above, like the Regius Poem, comes with certain controversies, which will not be resolved in this simple blog posting. Despite the controversy, this new information demonstrates another short segment of Masonic history, which should be viewed, read and understood, although with some skepticism, by all serious students of the craft.
So Mote It Be!!!