Original post on the Taylors Ritual website
See our previous post on Taylors history
By RONNIE MARKS
In the latter part of the 19th and 20th century, certain lodges broke away from the Stability and Emulation workings and started using Hill’s North London workings which was taken from Claret’s Perfect Ceremonies Book, the first Masonic ritual Book to be published with approval by Grand Lodge.
Hill’s book was printed by MM Taylor. When Hill died, Taylor contested the copyright with Hill’s widow and won the case.
The first MM Taylor Ritual Book was published in 1908 and was used until 1975 when the 2nd reprint was published under the auspices of the Ritual Association.
The book of Lectures, a handy book of additional ritual, questions and answers and further explanations of the tracing board was first published in 1908 and was reprinted with corrections in 2008.
The 1975 book was in use until 1990 when stocks ran out and it was necessary for a reprint to correct any mistakes, both in grammar and punctuation.
In 2000 Ian Allen Ltd bought the company from the Taylor family (Mick Taylor, the grandson of MM Taylor having passed to the Grand Lodge above)
So, what is the purpose of Ritual Associations?
To answer this question we have to find out why the ritual Association was formed.
In December 1964, at the quarterly communications of Grand Lodge, Right Worshipful Bro. Bishop Herbert Past Grand Master of Norfolk introduced the subject of the “Permissive Variations” to be adopted into the penalties in the obligations. At this time freemasonry was being criticised by the church and the press. To appease the critics, it was decided to remove the “Physical Penalties” from the obligations.
To achieve this Grand Lodge had to be able to communicate with central bodies not individual lodges. The only rituals having associations to control the ritual and lodges using their ritual were Stability, (the oldest ritual association) Emulation and Logic.
All other lodges using Taylor’s Universal, West End, Carvers, etc, had no governing body for Grand Lodge to communicate with.
Sir James Stubbs, the General Secretary contacted W. Bro. Harry Carr, the Secretary of Quattro Coronati Lodge to contact these lodges using these rituals to organise governing bodies.
In 1965, 500 representatives of Taylor’s Lodges gathered at Freemasons Hall and a committee of 12 was elected, a Chairman to be elected by the committee.
Their first task was to bring the Ritual Book up to date including the “Permissive Variations” This task took 9 years to complete as every change, however minor, had to be agreed by the whole committee, put into print, proof read and then checked again before the final print.
In 1975, 400 representatives assembled at Freemasons Hall to see a demonstration of the 2nd Edition Ritual Book. In 1990 the 3rd edition was published and the correct edition was published in 2000.
Although Ian Allen Ltd are the publishers, no alteration or change can be made to the Ritual Book without the sanction and approval of the Taylor’s Ritual Association as they are the custodians of the text.