Museum of Freemasonry - Masonic Library

The GOLDEN FLEECE referred to here is not that which was sought by Jason and the Argonauts in Greek mythology. But an English [London] Wool Merchants Guild symbol recognized all over Europe In the 15th Cent., a suspended fleece. it Is used even today as a trade symbol.

The Fleece was adopted from the Order of the Golden Fleece, established by Philip, Duke of Burgundy, in 1429. He Initiated the Order in recognition of the enormous wealth the wool trade had brought into his country.

The ROMAN EAGLE was established as an Ensign and Symbol of Rome's power in the World about 100BC. But its relation to Freemasonry Is again as a European Trade Symbol. The Transport and Carrying trade of Western Europe In the 15th Cent was In the hands of the Hanseatic League. Its members had their Headquarters at Lubeck, and adopted the Arms of Lubeck which at this time was the Roman Eagle and appears on the Seal of the Hanse. They also called themselves Knights of the Holy Roman Empire.

The ORDER OF THE GARTER was Instituted by Edward lit of England in 1349 as a Chivalric Order limited to 25 Knights with the Sovereign as its head [and as it exists today]. It is still the most honoured and ancient Order of Chivalry In the World, let alone Europe.

It seems natural that the Masons of the 16th Cent should choose the two most widespread and important Guilds of Europe, together with the oldest Order of Chivalry, to compare the pure white lambskin of the E. A. Apron.

For further details refer to:

Vibert, L.                                                   "Vestiges of Early Days"
Mackey, A.G.                                            "Encyclopedea of Freemasonry"
M. S. A.                                                     "Digests"