Lewis Jewel

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Lewis Jewel

Lewis.jpg
A Lewis Jewel
Material Gold or Silver

A Lewis Jewel is a jewel worn by a Lewis Mason, or Mason's Son.

Description

A Lewis Jewel is a chain with the names of the Father, Son, and additional relatives in the line, from which by a chain a Lewis is suspended which bears the Square and Compasses.

History

The Lewis Mason is a term coined in the 18th century. The Lewis is named after Frederick Lewis, the Prince of Wales, who was made a Mason in 1737. His son George was born a year later and there was great speculation that he, too, would become a Mason. (He did, in fact, and then reigned as King George III until his death in 1820.) In Anderson’s constitutions (1738), the event was memorialized:

Again let it pass to the ROYAL lov’d NAME,
Whose glorious Admission has crown’d all our Fame:
May a LEWIS be born, whom the World shall admire,
Serene as his MOTHER, August as his SIRE.

Frederick Lewis shared a name with a tool of antiquity called a Lewis Tool, also known historically as “St. Peter’s Keys”. This tool was a set of dovetailed blocks connected by a ring that held them together, and allowed them to fit into a dovetailed recess in stone. This allowed a pulley to lift heavy stones and set them into place without the use of additional ropes. The hole would then be covered by the next row of stones. These dovetailed holes are found in Roman and English architecture throughout history.

The Lewis Today

In most Jurisdictions in the US, the Lewis is afforded no additional rights except to wear a Lewis Jewel in Lodge any time after his initiation. This jewel, featuring the Lewis and the names of both son and father (accompanied by their respective initiation dates) is very common in New England and in areas where New England Ritual has had a significant impact (Such as Ohio, which was heavily influenced by the ritual of New Jersey). In parts of Canada and in England, the Lewis is occasionally afforded the right to be initiated before his 21st birthday, usually at age 19. Furthermore, the Fellowcraft Tracing Board features a section on the Lewis, which is explained by the Junior Warden in that section:

The word Lewis denotes strength, and is here depicted by certain pieces of metal dovetailed into a stone, which forms a cramp, and enables the operative Mason to raise great weights to certain heights with little encumbrance, and to fix them in their proper bases. Lewis, likewise denotes the son of a Mason; his duty is to bear the heat and burden of the day, from which his parents, by reason of their age, ought to be exempt; to help them in time of need, and thereby render the close of their days happy and comfortable; his privilege for so doing is to be made a Mason before any other person however dignified.
- Prestonian Junior Warden’s Lecture excerpt, 1801