An Emblem of Innocence

I’m never surprised by what detectorists find in fields. Of course, if I was an archaeologist, taught to use his/her imagination to state what an article was, who it belonged to, and its function, it wouldn’t pose such a problem.

Unfortunately, in Batty Barfordian prose I am just a ‘weak-minded smug-arsed metal detecting half-brain.’ Within these limitations I shall have to try harder.

With that in mind I was reminded of the time my mate Dave brought me a dirty partefact of a bar with tassels. I don’t have his filthy find now, But I knew at once what it was.

© JW From Mrs John’s Collection

What Dave had found was from a masonic apron. Mrs John used to replace the tassels when they parted from the leather straps to which they were attached. You can see them here on a lambskin apron, the masons ’emblem of innocence and the ‘badge of a mason’. 

The picture above shows tassels on a Craft Master Mason’s Apron, “an emblem of innocence and the badge of a mason; more ancient than the Golden Fleece or Roman Eagle, more honourable that the Star and Garter, or any other order that can be conferred upon you at this or any future period, by any King, Prince, Potentate, or any other person, except he be a Mason”. taken from the Grand Lodge site

The seven chains are full of symbolic meaning and represent various masonic allegories such as the seven liberal arts and sciences, the number of masons required to make a perfect lodge, then number of years it took Solomon to build the temple and so on. See more HERE on the apron.

Golden Apron Tassels

Golden apron tassels also appear on a masons’ apron but only for one of a higher rank. Incidentally, you may find out for yourself. Freemasonry isn’t a ‘secret society’. All the information here – and more – can be gleaned from the Net.

Modern aprons and all things masonic can be obtained from the online shop of Toye, Kenning & Spencer and other retailers.


My friend in Canada has found a similar item and always though it was military in nature.

I had no idea John.. I found almost the identical item. I thought is was a military type of thing.  learned something new today and that is always a good thing . . . MICHEAL RAWLINS



In the Searcher magazine of January 1999, I saw this in Identity Parade . . . looks as though two of the chains are missing. Anyway. now sorted!


Paul Mower has all found one. They are a more common find than I originally thought.

© Paul Mower

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