THE FREEMASONS' SWORD OF STATE.
THE memorial presented by the St. Pauls Head Lodge1 gives occasion for a description of the Sword which Bro. George Moody was empowered to bear before the Grand Master. For the Sword borne before H.R.H. the Prince of Wales is the Sword of Gustavus Adolphus, and is very much in the same condition as when it left the hands of Bro. George Moody, the Kings Sword-Cutler.
The Sword of State is a weapon of admirable poise, four feet long, from the point of the blade to the crown of the hilt. The scabbard is of dark blue velvet, edged with gold bullion. The sheath cap, or chape, as Bro. Moody would have termed it, is of silver gilt richly ornamented, and extending five inches towards the hilt. Above the chape is a shield, embroidered in the metals and proper colours, of the Masons' Arms. This shield is succeeded by a Masonic scene, wrought in relief upon silver gilt, representing two Freemasons, duly clothed with aprons and gauntlets, each wearing, suspended from the neck by a long ribbon, a Wardens Jewel; the figures stand upon a chequered floor before a tree of six branches, (five in foliage and one bare), rising from a mound. The figure with the plumb-rule suspended from his neck is accompanied by a Sun in Splendour, and the other figure, wearing the level, by the crescent Moon. Above this relievo is the coat armour of the donor of the weapon, Thomas, Duke of Norfolk, beautifully embroidered in the metals and colours, and surmounted by a ducal coronet, a marvel of embroidery, in which the jewels of the coronet are minutely represented in coloured needlework. Immediately below the guard, or crosspiece, of the sheathed sword, at the mouth of the scabbard, upon an oval medallion, within a fine example of relief work in silver gilt, appear three dexter bands, clasped, one in pale and two in fess, having the initials respectively, N.B., T.B., G.C. The medallion bears the legend AMICITIA in chief, and the epigraph of the Kings Master Cutler, Frater G. Moody, Fecit. in base.
Upon the side of the scabbard opposite to that already described, the embroidered Masons' Arms are repeated above the decorated chape. To this succeeds in relief metal work of silver gilt, another Masonic scene of a Freemason clothed, as before, with apron and gauntlets, and having a pair of compasses similarly suspended from the neck by a long ribbon. The figure stands upon a chequered floor before a tree of seven branches, four in foliage and three bare, accompanied by the Sun in Splendour. To the left a Castle and Arch. Immediately below the mouth of the scabbard upon an oval medallion within a highly decorated design in metal work, is the inscription:
The hilt, twelve inches in length, is surmounted by an orb, displaying the level, compass, and square. The grip bears a highly ornamental spiral. In the centre of the guard or cross-piece, is a richly wrought panel upon which are represented other Masons' implements, the plumb-rule, maul, chisel, and trowel. From this centre panel, issues, on either side, part of a Corinthian column with capital and abacus, thus forming the crosspiece. The whole is of silver gilt.
The blade itself measures two feet, seven inches and a half in length. It is inserted and rivetted between two pieces of wrought steel two inches in length, attached to the guard or cross-piece. The widest part of the blade is two inches, tapering to a point. The weapon is straight. Upon either side of the blade once appeared the device of the smith who fashioned the sword, with an inscription, also on either side,
Celsmimi Nobmiq; p.pis
THOMÆ DUCIS NORFOLCI, &c., &c., &c.
Rñiq; Geo. II. P.P. 4°
Sulingen, or Solingen, near Dusseldorf, has retained to our own day its renown for the manufacture of arms and cutlery.
Only traces of this inscription are now to be observed, and those on one side only; some traces of the smiths Device appear in the lower compartment. The Device is the sign of a Swan; the bird standing amid reeds, with wings folded and neck depressed.
In the central compartment, on one side, in time past stood a medallion portrait of Gustavus Adolphus, all trace of which has disappeared from the blade. The legend surrounding the medallion is anything but clear: " GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS, D.G. Suecorum GOTHRUM et Uandalorum, rex-magnus."
The accompanying illustration is a photographic reduction of a rare contemporary engraving, by A. Nunzer, of Nuremberg.
The repetition of the smiths Device on the opposite side of the blade shows, in the central compartment, a medallion portrait of the Duke of Saxe-Weimar and a corresponding inscription still in part recognisable. The form of the smiths Device, with the sign of the Swan can still be made out; but of the medallion of Gustavus on the other side no trace is left, and only the faintest indication of the lower part of the smiths Device may be observed; nothing else is visible.
Grand Lodge Library is not only fortunate enough to possess a copy of the German engaving we reproduce, but also to possess an engraving which appears to be the English parallel, or perhaps the original of Nunzers print, and from which several details can be restored. The inscription at foot of Grand Lodge engraving, preserved in Grand Secretarys ante-room, is :
ME. FECIT. SULINGEE."
The foregoing description of the Sword of State has been compiled from a comparison of the two engravings with the Sword itself; details wanting in one being supplied from the others.
It only remains to add that neither Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, nor Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar had any connection with any form of English Freemasonry, or, as far as is know with any of the cognate Continental organizations.
" The Sword of State
Of the most Ancient, and Honourable, Society of Free and accepted Masons;
wch was Presented and Dedicated to their Use for ever.
By the most Noble Tbos Duke of Norfolk, Earl-Marshall of England; &c.
in ye Year of Masonry 5730, when His Grace was Grand-Master; It had been ye Sword of Adolphus
the valiant King of Sweden, & worn by him at ye Battle of Lutzen, & afterwards by his brave Successor in War,
Barnard Duke of Saxe-Weimar, wth both their Names, Titles, & Pictures represented upon ye Blade as in this
Printed and Sold by Brothr Scott at the Black Swan Pater Noster Row."
1.Vide supra, CALENFDER, No. 39.
W. J. Chetwode Crawley, Ars Quatuor Coronatorum vol. xi (for 1898) pp. 38, 39. Reprinted with permission of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076, London, England, Footnotes renumbered as endnotes and capitalization amended to current AQC Style Guide.