Library and Museum
Sword's link with Gustavus Adolphus
The sword carried before the Grand Master at meetings of Grand Lodge is the oldest object in the Grand Lodge collection still in regular use. The blade is reputed to have been found lying across the body of the Swedish king, Gustavus Adolphus, at the battle of Lutzen in 1632.
It was subsequently acquired by Thomas, 8th Duke of Norfolk, Grand Master of the Premier Grand Lodge 1729-1730, who presented it to Grand Lodge in 1730.
The silver gilt hilt and mounts on the scabbard were made by George Moody, armourer to George I and George II, who was appointed the first Grand Sword Bearer.
The attribution to Gustavus Adolphus is disputed by museum authorities in Sweden, who claim to have his sword in their possession. The blade is correct for a military sword of the period, and the legend may have arisen because of an engraving of Gustavus Adolphus originally on one side of the blade.
It probably belonged to one of his bodyguard, perhaps his Master of the Horse, as the blade is of the very heavy type carried by an officer expecting to fight, rather than be defended.
In 2001 the Board of General Purposes decided to present a replica of the sword to the Grand Lodge of Sweden. Wilkinson Sword, who had previously undertaken conservation work on the original sword, completed the replica earlier this year.
The sword was presented at the annual meeting of the Grand Lodge of Sweden on 22nd March 2003 by Sir Kenneth Newton, UGLE representative, and is now on display at the Grand Lodge museum in Stockholm.
Rivalry on show
During the second half of the 18th century two rival Grand Lodges, the Antients and the Moderns, battled for supremacy in England, a dispute shown in documents in the archive of the United Grand Lodge of England.
These documents are currently being catalogued and conserved by the Library and Museum of Freemasonry with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Some will be displayed at the Library and Museum from September as part of a national event being held at record offices and archive centres across the country - Archives Awareness Month.
In 1813 the two Grand Lodges negotiated a Union (which has survived to the present day) and the simple peace treaty which ended their rivalry will also be on display.
Exhibition dates: 1 September 2003 to December 2003. Special Saturday opening on 20 September (10am to 5pm) as part of London Open House.
For details of Archives Awareness Month: www.aamsept2003.com
Trench art exhibition
The summer exhibition at the Library and Museum of Freemasonry called Art of the Apocalypse was opened by Lord Northampton, Pro Grand Master, at the end of June.
Web site created by Mark Griffin