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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Elias Ashmole

Elias Ashmole Cover Elias Ashmole (1617-1692) was a chemist and antiquarian of the late 1600s with connections at Oxford. Some sources have reckoned him to be the first person whose name is recorded as having been made a speculative freemason (1646). He was deeply interested in the medicinal uses of plants and was made a member of the Royal Society in 1661, although not active.
Assertions that Ashmole introduced Solomon’s legend into the masonic ritual ignore the Sloane Manuscript (No. 3329, British Museum) or the rituals of the 12th century French stonemason corporation, Compagnonage. These clearly show that operative masons were familiar with the legend. Ashmole’s reputation with his contemporaries was that of an antiquarian and historian, not a ritualist. And unfortunately he never got around to writing a history of the Craft.

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