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The District Grand Lodge of Madras - Coat of Arms

The District Grand Lodge of Madras - Coat of Arms

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Published by gooseberrie
The District Grand Lodge of Madras is the administrative and controlling body of Freemasons’ lodges functioning in the States of Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala collectively referred to as the District of Madras for Masonic purposes.

This paper deals with tracing the origins of the District Grand Lodge of Madras Coat of Arms and is an attempt at establishing an accurate rendering of the Coat of Arms in the absence of an official blazon or other directives from the Freemasons.
The District Grand Lodge of Madras is the administrative and controlling body of Freemasons’ lodges functioning in the States of Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala collectively referred to as the District of Madras for Masonic purposes.

This paper deals with tracing the origins of the District Grand Lodge of Madras Coat of Arms and is an attempt at establishing an accurate rendering of the Coat of Arms in the absence of an official blazon or other directives from the Freemasons.

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: gooseberrie on Nov 22, 2010
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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10/29/2012

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The District Grand Lodge of Madras:Coat of Arms
Introduction
The District Grand Lodge of Madras coat of arms has been derived from the dexter (right) half of theUGLE coat of arms, which in turn represents the Premier Grand Lodge (previously the Modernsfaction of the Free Masons, prior to the unification with the Antients).The Premier Grand Lodge seal was derived from the London Company of Masons, therefore theDGLM coat of arms can be said to have its origins in a guild trade of stone masons dating back to themid 1300s!The new rendition of the DGLM coat of arms that has been developed has been based on theoriginal scanned copy of the DGLM seal that was provided as a reference, in conjunction withresearch into heraldic design standards, reference to authoritative texts on Free Masonry andHeraldry, as well as assumptions based on the actual origins of the coat of arms.
Figure 1. Premier Grand Lodge Seal Figure2. London Company of Masons CoA
 
 
Deviations from the scanned reference
Omission of 
Pallets
 
The field of the escutcheon appears to be marked with three horizontal divisions which may be
pallets
 
 –
diminutives of the O
rdinary ‘pale’. As the charges appear to be directly derived from the
UGLE CoA, which is a faithful derivative of both the Premier Grand Lodge and London Company of Masons CoA, the new rendition of the DGLM CoA omits these charges, on the assumption that, onthe scanned seal, the presence of the horizontal lines is an artifact of inaccurate rendering, as noneof the original CoAs contains pallets or any other Ordinary aside from the chevron. Further, theactual position and sizes of the lines is inconsistent with any diminutive or Ordinary and the term
“pallet” has been used to descr
ibe it in this document only because it comes closest in approximateappearance.
Crown vs. Helm
In the brief provided, the device above the escutcheon bearing the crest
is described as a “crown”.
Research indicates that this is unlikely as the crown is an emblem of monarchy and unless the DGLMconstitutes a body that is endorsed by a monarchy, the inclusion of a crown beneath the crest wouldbe erroneous.Further, both the Premier Grand Lodge seal and the London Company of Masons CoA feature a helmbelow the crest.Pallets?Dove?Sovereign Helm?
Figure 3. District Grand Lodge of Madras scanned seal 
 
 In physical appearance, the helm, known as the sovereign or royal helm
–“The Sovereign
 –
Helm of gold, with six bars, set affrontée
(Boutell) - is the one that most resembles the crest in the scannedseal and has therefore been employed in the new rendition of the DGLM CoA.However, the same points with regard to the use of a crown are also applicable with regard to thehelm. It is more likely that the
Noblemen
Helm of silver, garnished with gold, set in profile, and showing five bars
” 
 
(Boutell), as depicted in the Premier Grand Lodge seal & London Company of Masons CoA, is the accurate helm to depict. [
 Advice required from DGLM.
]
The Crest
It is apparent that the crest features a bird
 –
though the exact species of the bird is debatable.However, in accordance with the Premier Grand Lodge seal, which is described in a blazon in the
‘Origin of English Rites of Freemasonry’, Bro. Evans, a histo
rian of the lodge is quoted:
 A chevron, charged with a pair of compasses open chevronwise, between three towers embattled.Crest. Upon the helmet of nobility, a Dove with wings close. Supporters, Two Beavers. Motto,.
the bird has been identified as a dove.The rendition in the Premier Grand Lodge seal (
refer Fig. 1
), is consistent with the heraldic symbol of the dove
 –
which includes a tuft on the head (to distinguish it from the wood pigeon). This same birdhas been depicted in the new rendition of the DGLM CoA, though it is likely that the bird may besome other, as, along with the supporters (beavers in the Premier Grand Lodge), the crest mighthave been changed to a bird symbolic of India. [
 Advice required from DGLM.
]
Inconsistencies with formal heraldry:
1.
 
The first rule of heraldic design, 'rule of tincture' has been violated - both on the UGLE coat
of arms as well as the DGLM’s
- this rule states that "metal should not be put on metal, norcolour on colour" (Humphrey Llwyd, 1568). The gold/yellow compass on the silver/whitechevron violates this rule. As such, this violation would classify the arms as
armes fausses
 (false arms), however, a possible loophole to exploit would be to amend the blazon (
seebelow, section The Blazon
) to declare
the compasses as ‘Proper’, not ‘Or’
(gold); (
 proper:
acharge coloured as it normally is in nature, in this case, the colour of brass
;)
 2.
 
While the shape of the shield, or to give it it's right name, escutcheon, is deemed asirrelevant by all authorities, the shape of the DGLM escutcheon is not in keeping with thestandard escutcheon shapes. While this inconsistency does not violate any rule of heraldicdesign, the ornate shield shape with gold (Or) border (again, not as per heraldic design rules- the "bordure" is generally 1/6th the width of the entire escutcheon - see UGLE bordure),can be said to be a deviant from heraldic standards. The DGLM might choose to embrace

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