The Verulam Workings of Craft Freemasonry

The history of the “Verulam Workings” is more elusive than that of “Lauderdale”. “Verulam” been in print since at least 1922, so if it is based on “Dharma“, it has to go back to the fourth edition of 1916.

I have a 1922 edition printed by McLellan in Glasgow, just like the 1925 “Ritual of the Three Craft Degrees (1916 Working revised)”.

In 1916 there already were the “preliminary ceremonies”, “procession”, “introcessional”, etc. In “Verulam” these haven’t been entirely omitted. The text opens with:

The Brn. being assembled, the officers enter in procession. The D.C. incenses the lodge. The S.D. lights the candles in due form.

The further opening is almost identical, only in “Verulam” the lodge is “properly tyled” and in 1916 (and later editions) the lodge is “close tyled”. Other elements are somewhat different. “Verulam” leaves out the question: “W.S.W., how many assistent officers are there?”, but both versions do speak about “O.G. or T.” for example.

The start of the initiation is simpler in “Verulam”. Also wordings have been edited, elements left out or added.

“Verulam” really is a new edition. It is very much like 1916 and 1925 versions of ‘Dharma’, but has obviously been revised and -in most cases- made somewhat simpler and with less instructions.

The title page of “Verulam” says that it has been “compiled by a P.M. Assisted by certain Wise and Skilled Brethern”. The fifth edition (of 1925) says that: “The lodges of the Craft are allowed a choice between the sanctioned Rituals, some preferring the more ornate, others the plainer Rituals.” It could be that “Verulam” are the “plainer” rituals and the other the “more ornate”.

The British federation of Le Droit Humain says about “Verulam”:

The Verulam Ritual
The Verulam Ritual dates back to about 1925. It is a compromise between the very elaborate Lauderdale and the plainer ceremonial of the English and Scottish workings, again with its own traditions, such as the freeing ceremony. It is thought to have been written by Bishop Wedgwood, who was a leading member of the British Federation.

Thus suggesting that there are ‘even plainer’ rituals (“of the English and Scottish workings”) and that “Verulam” holds the middle between “Lauderdale” and these “plainer ceremonial”. attributes “Verulam” to Wedgwood. I think Wedgwood is (partly) responsible for the 1913 edition of “Dharma“. It is not impossible that he also worked on “Verulam”, but he certainly worked on the 1916 ‘Sydney‘ edition (with Leadbeater). Would the somewhat simpler “Verulam” have been his preferred route and was he no longer involved in the 1925 edition?

Where could the name of this ritual have come from? “Lord Verulam” was a pen-name of Francis Bacon, whom Leadbeater claims to have seen working. Another source of inspiration is that “The Head Of All True Freemasons” aka Comte de S. Germain aka Prince Rakoczi, etc. was “born at the town of Verulam in England” according to Leadbeater in The Hidden Life In Freemasonry. Wedgwood and Leadbeater had been working together since 1915, so it could be that Leadbeater that was the inspiration for the name.

All in all a more detailed history of the “Verulam Workings” than can be found elsewhere, but with a few questions that are left open.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *