Museum of Freemasonry - Masonic Library
"The problem with the Antient Landmarks is the most Gilbertian of Masonic subjects, for although we have all sworn faithfully to uphold them, not one of us knows what they are!" So said Bro Eric Ward, P.M.of Quatour Coronati Lodge of Masonic Research.

Most Freemasons wish to find an answer to the question ‑ "How did our fore‑runners regard the Landmarks?

The late Bro Harry Carr declared the subject of the Landmarks as one of the most debatable in all Freemasonry.

Many papers have been written on the subject and in the main can be divided into two schools of thought, the first takes Albert Mackey's list of 25 and attempt to justify them; the other disputes this and any other list.

The Grand Lodge of England nor our own Grand Lodge have ever adopted or recognized any official list of Landmarks.

Bro George Payne, when G.M. of the G.L. of England, in his compilation "Gen eral Regulations" published in 1720 and quoted by Anderson in his "Constitutions" of 1723 in which he states in Regulation 39:

"Every Annual Grand Lodge has an inherent Power and Authority to make new Regulations or to alter these, for the real Benefit of this Antient Fraternity. Provided always that the

old Land Marks be carefully preserved ........... **

Bro William Preston in his "Historical Landmarks of Freemasonry" published in 1846, uses the term "Landmarks" in a figurative sense of important occurrences.

Bro G S Draffin states "Landmarks are certainly immovable and unchallengeable; Principles and Doctrines which go right beyond the laws and regulations, and which no law or regulation can alter or modify".

In 1920 the U.G.L.of England issued a statement entitled "Aims and Relationships of the Craft", it contains the remark "a belief in the Supreme Being is essential and admits no compromise".

"Fundamentally, a Landmark (in Freemasonry) is something which cannot be altered without destroying the identity of the Craft", so said Bro, A J A Poignant (A Q C 25 (1912)). "Few words are more often used and less commonly understood than the word 'Landmarks‑, so quotes H L Haywood and J E Craig in "A History of Freemasonry".

Our enquiring Candidate turns to the Book of Constitutions, the Ritual, the Year Books, the Proceedings from 1717 to the present day, NOWHERE does he find an Authoritative pronouncement about Landmarks.

To me the Antient Landmarks are the Moral Truths and Principles inherent in us; to be able to differentiate between Right and Wrong; to obey the Golden Rule; and act upon the Tenents of our Craft, "Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth", or is that too simple.