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TITLE
Masons' marks from Fortrose Cathedral and Chapter House
EXTERNAL ID
ROMGH_PA_94_009
PLACENAME
Fortrose
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
ROSS: Rosemarkie
PERIOD
1910s
SOURCE
Groam House Museum
ASSET ID
39102
KEYWORDS
Masons' marks from Fortrose Cathedral and Chapter House

These masons' marks from Fortrose Cathedral and Chapter House were collected by W S Geddie between 1913 and 1915 with assistance from Mr R Johnstone, HM Office of Works. W S Geddie was once Provost of Fortrose.

A mason's mark is a monogram, a symbol or some other figure chiselled by a mason on the surface of a stone in order to identify his work. In Scotland, the Schaw Statute of 1598 directed that when a Master or Fellow was admitted into the lodge of master stonemasons, his name and mark had to be entered in a register. The privilege of the mark was sometimes extended to Apprentices but they had to pay a fee for registration. Medieval carpenters and merchants used a similar system of distinguishing 'trade marks'.

Although some masons simply used their initials to identify their work, there is evidence of a great variety of geometrical marks consisting of lines and angles. Some of the marks may have had religious or symbolic significance. Marks are also found in Freemasonry, a fraternal order that uses stonemasons' customs and tools as allegorical guides to convey moral and spiritual values.

Fortrose Cathedral was established by Bishop Robert in the 13th century, after the Bishops of Ross moved there from Rosemarkie. Building ceased during the Wars of Independence and was resumed in the late 14th century. Already in a state of disrepair after the Reformation, much of its red sandstone was removed by Oliver Cromwell's army and taken to build his fort at Inverness. The rest was taken by local villagers for their houses. All that remains today are the south aisle of the nave and the nearby undercroft or sacristy of the chapter house.


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Masons' marks from Fortrose Cathedral and Chapter House

ROSS: Rosemarkie

1910s

Groam House Museum

Groam House Museum Photographic Collection

These masons' marks from Fortrose Cathedral and Chapter House were collected by W S Geddie between 1913 and 1915 with assistance from Mr R Johnstone, HM Office of Works. W S Geddie was once Provost of Fortrose.<br /> <br /> A mason's mark is a monogram, a symbol or some other figure chiselled by a mason on the surface of a stone in order to identify his work. In Scotland, the Schaw Statute of 1598 directed that when a Master or Fellow was admitted into the lodge of master stonemasons, his name and mark had to be entered in a register. The privilege of the mark was sometimes extended to Apprentices but they had to pay a fee for registration. Medieval carpenters and merchants used a similar system of distinguishing 'trade marks'.<br /> <br /> Although some masons simply used their initials to identify their work, there is evidence of a great variety of geometrical marks consisting of lines and angles. Some of the marks may have had religious or symbolic significance. Marks are also found in Freemasonry, a fraternal order that uses stonemasons' customs and tools as allegorical guides to convey moral and spiritual values.<br /> <br /> Fortrose Cathedral was established by Bishop Robert in the 13th century, after the Bishops of Ross moved there from Rosemarkie. Building ceased during the Wars of Independence and was resumed in the late 14th century. Already in a state of disrepair after the Reformation, much of its red sandstone was removed by Oliver Cromwell's army and taken to build his fort at Inverness. The rest was taken by local villagers for their houses. All that remains today are the south aisle of the nave and the nearby undercroft or sacristy of the chapter house. <br /> <br /> <br /> This image may be available to purchase. For further information about purchasing and prices please email <a href="mailto: admin@groamhouse.org.uk">Groam House Museum</a>