On the occasion of the visit of M.W. Bro. John Hodgson, Grand Master, and MW Bro. James Sidney Miller, Grand Secretary, to England in 1951, there to be present, at the Installation if the Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England, the, Right Honourable the Earl of Scarborough, K.G., G.C.S.I., G.C.I.E., T.D., the Grand Secretary, M.W. Bro. Miller, at the request of the Board of General Purpose5, visited The Wilkinson Sword Company limited, a very well‑known and eminent maker of swords, with a view to procuring a ceremonial sword somewhat similar in design to the sword used to precede the Grand Master of the United Grand lodge of England on ceremonial occasions.

He was instructed to make such a‑ purchase and to ensure that the sword. was of a standard and quality as to be commensurate with the honour and dignity of a Grand Master of The United Grand Lodge of New South Wales. 1 am sure you will agree that this magnificent and majestic sword meets that requirement fully. The sword is carried with honour, dignity, and ceremonial pomp on special occasions in front of every Grand Master who is honoured to represent his Grand Lodge.

But why does the Grand Master have a sword and Sword Bearer to precede him? you ask Many reasons are given for the practice of a sword preceding a dignitary. Most are based on symbolically emphasising that the dignitary concerned is under physical guard, e.g., among the ancient Romans, on all public occasions, a Lictor ‑ one of the guards or officers attending the chief Roman Magistrates carried a bundle of rods, sometimes with an axe inserted among them, before the Consul 'or other magistrate as a token of his authority and his power to punish criminals. . Hence, most probably, arose the custom in the Middle Ages of carrying a naked word before Kings or Chief Magistrates. Thus, at the election of the Emperor of Germany, the Elector of Saxony (as Arch‑Marshal of the Empire) carried a naked sword before the newly‑elected Emperor. Other reasons are that he dignitary is the guardian of a faith, a creed, or other virtue or principal he is sworn to defend.

We find the same practice prevailing in England as early as the reign of Henry III, at whose coronation in 1236, a sword was carried by the Earl of Chester.. This sword was named "Curtana" and being without a point, thereby indicating *that it was not a sword of attack, was said to be emblematic of' the spirit of mercy that should actuate a‑ sovereign.'

So highly was "the sword esteemed in the Middle Ages as a part of a knight's”  equipment that special names were given to the swords of the most celebrated and renowned heroes, which have been transmitted to us in the ballads and romances of that period.

Perhaps the best‑known and most famous sword of English interest is King Arthur's sword, "Excalibur", which he found embedded in a stone as its sheath and which he withdrew from the stone with ease after the unavailing attempts of 201 of his most puissant barons. Hence, Arthur was proclaimed King. On his death‑bed, Arthur' commanded that Excalibur be thrown into a near‑by lake, but the knight entrusted with the assignment twice eluded the command ~ the sword, he thought, was too * majestic, too magnificent, to discard in such a manner‑‑ ‑The legend Tells Is us that when the command was finally obeyed, a hand and an arm arose from the water, seized the sword by the hilt, waved it thrice, and then sinking into the lake, was seen no more.

The sword on display in the foyer of the third floor of the Masonic Centre is known as "The Grand Master's Ceremonial Sword". It is used only on special ceremonial occasions, such as Grand Installations, Grand Proclamations, Quarterly Communications, Foundation Stone Ceremonies, and the like. On lesser occasions a lesser sword precedes the Grand Master.

The Grand Master's Ceremonial Sword is a double‑handed broadsword and is monofaced, i.e., the decorations are on one side of the blade only. It consists of a pointed broadsword blade (its shape is like the early Crusade swords or the Scottish claymore), basically plain with the exception of an etched representation of the Grand Master's jewel. The only other imprints on the blade are the maker's marks and engraved historical reference marks on the obverse side. The hilt is of a characteristic Crusader crossguard, double hander. The quillon, or arms forming the crossguard, is of fluted square, balanced, terminated by a stylistic Corinthian capital, with shield‑shaped langets, the one on the face of the Grand Master's Ceremonial Sword being an enamelled representation of the Coat of Arms of The United Grand lodge of New South Wales (details of which are given in another paper in this brochure) with the obverse plain. The grip is wound with twisted gilt wire, the pommel being of a conventional shield‑like design and surmounted on the face with an enamelled representation of the Badge of the State of New South Wales which is the red cross of St George on a field of white with four gold stars on the arms of the cross and a lion passant at the centre. For some unknown reason the enamelled Badge of the State of New South Wales and the Coat of Arms of The United Grand lodge of New South Wales are mounted upside down; the usual practice being that all decoration is relevant to the sword in its vertical position, i.e., hilt uppermost. On the Grand Master's Ceremonial Sword the representation of the Grand Master's jewel on the blade is technically directionally correct. Our Grand Master's. Ceremonial Sword is 1370mm or 4' 6" in length.

The practice prevailing to the present day in England is that all principal officers, who have openly and officially pledged allegiance to the reigning monarch and are considered to be of sufficient public importance by the Sovereign or the Earl Marshal, may be granted permission to be preceded in public procession by a sword.

The Freemasons adopted the custom. We learn from the Rev. Dr James Anderson, M.A., (the eminent and well‑known compiler of the celebrated "Book of Constitutions" which was published by the Grand lodge of England in 1723) that from the time of the "Revival of 1717", a sword, the property of a Private Lodge, was borne by the Worshipful Master of that Lodge before the Grand Master until the United Grand lodge of England acquired one by the liberality of the then Grand Master, Thomas, 8th Duke of Norfolk, in 1730.

The Grand Master's Ceremonial Sword or Sword of State of the United Grand Lodge of England is of great historical interest. The blade originally belonged to Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden (1611‑32), who was killed in the Battle of Lutzen in 1632. It was worn next by his successor in war, the brave Bernard, Duke of Sax‑Weimar it has both their names engraved on the blade. The Grand Master ordered Bro. George Moody, the King's Sword Cutler, to adorn it richly with the arms of Norfolk in silver on the scabbard, in order to be "the Grand Master's Sword of State in future". At the time of presentation, the blade made originally by Heinrich Binger of Solingen, was remounted in a silver‑gilt hilt and scabbard.

Of special interest is the quillon or crossguard, which, in both the New South Wales and the England Grand Lodges Swords, are decorative columns of the Corinthian Order. The Corinthian is the lightest and most ornamental of the pure Orders of Architecture and possesses the highest degree of richness and detail. Its capital is its greatest distinction, being richly adorned with leaves of acanthus, olive, etc., as well as other ornaments. The Column of Beauty which supports the Lodge, and which is to be found on the Junior Warden's pedestal, is of the Corinthian Order.

The blade of the Grand Master's Ceremonial Sword is silver in hue, whilst the hilt and adornments on the scabbard are gold in appearance. Silver is a colourless and precious metal and is always associated with the soul, whilst gold, by reason of its supreme value and warm colour, is always associated with the spirit.

We Freemasons in New South Wales are naturally very proud of this beautiful. strong and majestic ceremonial sword for it is indicative of the dignity and high importance of the highest office in Freemasonry, that of Grand Master.