United Grand Lodge of England - Crest
In order to fully describe the Provincial coat of arms (in the header on this page) it is necessary to describe that of the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) - seen to the left. The inner most part of the Provincial coat of arms is that of the UGLE and is a combination of those of the 'Modern' and 'Ancient' Grand Lodges. The former, founded in 1717, adopted the Arms granted in 1473 to the Freemasons' Company of London, the three castles and compasses.
The 'rival' Grand Lodge formed in 1751, known as 'Atholl' or 'Antient', adopted arms of the man, lion, ox and eagle, which are alleged to have been designed by one Jacob Jehudah Leoni, who flourished towards the end of the 17th century.
The Shield - is divided vertically into two halves. That on the left has a red ground, bearing a silver chevron on which is extended a pair of gold compasses: above the chevron are two silver castles, with a third below the right-hand side of the shield which is divided into quarters by a cross which is itself also 'quartered' i.e. each arm of the cross is equally divided along its length and coloured in alternately green and silver. The first quarter of this side of the shield has a blue ground on which is a golden lion; the second quarter has a gold ground on which is a black ox; the third quarter also has a gold ground and on it a man, with his arms elevated. His main garment is green over which is a crimson robe lined with ermine. His face, hands and feet are in natural colours. The fourth quarter has a blue ground on which is a golden eagle with its wings outspread.
Around the shield is a red border on which are eight golden lions "passant" with their right forelegs raised. A lion thus depicted may be called a "leopard". The two coats of arms, the Modern and the Ancient Grand Lodges were combined, at the union of the two Grand Lodges in 1813, with the addition to the crest of the Ark of the covenant and the supporters in the form of two winged Cherubs which were adopted from the armorial bearings of the 'Ancients'. Over time, the representation of the Arms became very diverse and at variance both as to design and colours, so that in 1918 the College of Arms was approached to regularise them. His Majesty, King George V, was graciously pleased to grant the arms, which up to that time had been used by Grand Lodge without authority, and permission was given to add the bordure of lions, indicative of the Arms of England, to mark the long and close association of the Royal House with our Institution.
The Latin motto "Audi, Vide, Tace" - "Hear, See and Be Silent" is abbreviated from "Audi, Vide, Tace, si vis vivere in pace" "Hear, see, be silent, if you would live in peace." The United Grand Lodge of England web site can be accessed at: www.ugle.org.uk and the Grand Lodge Museum at https://museumfreemasonry.org.uk/