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The three ruffians

The three ruffians, first mentioned in Samual Pritchard's Masonry Dissected (London : 1730) were not named. It was not until Three Distinct Knocks (London : H. Serjeant, 1760 p. 53) that they were named Jubela, Jubelo, and Jubelum. They also appear in Jachin and Boaz (London : 1762. p. 39) but William Preston doesn't name them in Illustrations of Fremasonry (1773) and George Oliver later writes that their names are not known. William Finch's Masonic Treatise (London : 1802) named them but he didn't name them in his 1810 edition and they subsequently do not appear in later rituals worked in England.
Albert G. Mackey (Encyclopedia vol iii. pp. 1358-1359) finds the origin of the words in The Whole Institutions of Freemasonry (Dublin : 1725): "Your third word is Gibboram".
Mackey also reports that Dr. David Eugene Smith has suggested that the three names may be variations on the Hebrew word for jubilee. (Mackey's Encyclopedia vol iii. p. 1359)
"The three (3) names were originally one (1) name for a 'fellowcraft, a leader in the conspiracy against Hiram Abif, and that the names were corrupted names of Giblimite. It is suggested that later writers gave them the a, the o and um to prove their "conspiracy" point. Giblim was corrupted to Gibalim or three (3) syllables or spelled another way, Chibbelum." (Mackey's Encyclopedia vol i. p. 525)
There does not appear to be any ritualistic connexion between this and a significant word in the Royal Arch, "Jabulon".
There also does not appear to be any ritualistic connection between this and another significant word. "Giblum" or stone-squarer. Bernard Jones in his Compendium, states, when referring to the three assassins, "...if they have any true derivation of a masonic nature, then it is more likely to be by some roundabout road from the word 'ghiblim' or 'giblim' (stone-cutter or mason)."
Henry Wilson Coil (Coil's Masonic Encyclopedia, Richmond, Virginia : Macoy, 1966. p. 584) suggests that the names may be derived from the Gothic Constitutions of Freemasonry in which the three sons and daughter of Lamech are named Jabel, Jubal, Tubal and Naamah.
In the context of the Whitechapel murders, although Charles Warren was well-read in masonic texts, there is no reason to suppose that he was aware that the three ruffians had been named in earlier, 18th century English texts or, to him, contemporary American ritual.
They were never referred to as Juwes, nor were their names given in the several rituals used in England at the time. The most common is the Emulation Work adopted in 1815, easily found in reference libraries.
There is also no evidence that three Ruffians were ever referred to as "Juwes" in any masonic context.


© 1871-2024 Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon A.F. & A.M. Updated: 2008/07/30