Book Intro – Three Distinct Knocks (c.1760)


Three Distinct Knocks

Or the Door of the most


Opening to all Men, Neither Naked nor Clothed, Bare foot, nor Shod, etc…

Being a universal Description of all its Branches,


Its first rise to this present time, as it is delivered in all Lodges:

Giving an exact account of all their proceedings in making a brother, with the three obligations or oaths belonging to the first second, and third degrees of masonry, viz. The Entered Apprentice, Fellow-craft, and Master-Mason: with the obligating on belonging to the chair, and the grip and word.

Also, full descriptions of the drawing upon the floor of the lodge, with the three steps, and a prayer used at the making of a brother; with songs to be sung after grave business is done, and the examination of a brother, whereby he may get admittance into a lodge, without going through, the obligations.

With, The Author’s Reasons for opening the Door of Masonry to all the World: Also, the Character of some Masters of Lodges at this Time.


W – O – V – n

Member of a Lodge in England at this Time.


Printed and fold by Thomas Watkinson, Bookseller and Stationer, (No. 40) Winetaver- Street, Corner of Cook-Street: Where may be had all Kind of Schoolbooks, Novels, Histories, Plays, Merchants Account-Books, with every Article in the Stationary Way.

Of Number 1

And the whole fraternity which it may be of service to


I am obliged to dedicate my book to number I, because they are all matters, and in partnership; besides, they would be angry if I did not give them that honour; for they that are not masters, can’t be admitted: but it may be of service to the younger brothers, because it will let them into the tricks that are carried on, which you can’t come at under six or seven years, and the expense of a great-many pounds; but here you may learn it all in a month, and go and lecture as well as the best of them.

But if you belong to any lodge, you must give a shilling every quarter to Number 1, to feast their d-mn’d guts, and perhaps your family want it at home: but this family of Pluto have the impudence of the d – l [devil] , to say if you don’t send a shilling when they want it, you shall be excluded all lodges what forever: and thus there go four, or five shillings a year, you don’t know for what; besides other expenses, which is ten times as much.

I could give you a lift of expenses for one year only, would make you stare; but it does not signify, for any man that has been a mason half a year, and comes to read this book, will know what I fay to be true, and more so if he reads it out; for it will let him into things he never thought of but now he will see them as plain as possible.

Pray, brother, what is the matter that six or eight or ten brethren, that like to learn masonry, can’t meet at a brother’s house when they please and spend their six pence with pleasure and depart in peace, without wrangling and cheating one another; which too often, happens of late, by admitting of bad men, and laying charges upon them that are not honest enough to keep one tittle thereof; which I could speak of two or three who were made maters last St. John’s day, and in a month’s time turned out the most foreworn villains in the world.

Therefore, I advise all young brethren to meet as aforesaid; first at one brother’s house, and then at another, that is in the public way: for what occasion have you to be confined to any particular lodge, when you may hold a lodge where you please, and when you please; having either three, five, seven, or eleven, and as many more as you please; and thus you will be of service one to another, without sending your money to the Grand Number 1, as they call it, which they tell you is for charities: but if it be, I am afraid they make them-selves the poor: thus I advise you further that you have nothing to do with them, for they are wolves in sleeps clothing.

It was the custom among the primitive masons, and also among the primitive Christians, to visit one another; for it if laid as iron sharpens iron, so shall one man. Sharpen, another.

But me thinks I hear some young brethren say, who shall instruct us? I answer: buy this book, thou wilt have instructions enough.

But perhaps you will lay, how shall I know that it is right? Get some faithful Irishman, for two or three times, and you will soon see that this book is right; for they all understand masonry, even the lowest class of them, if they are once made; for then it is the chief of their business.

In the winter they have a little money out of the box of Number 1, to buy them a few cloths, so you may have one of them any night only paying for what he eats and drinks, for they never pay anything; but if they can lay hold of the money, they will so I charge you to take care of that, and you may do well enough with them, paying their expenses of the night: or you may have a faithful instructor from Number 1; the secretary, or the like, with one or two with him; but they must be all free, because they come to instruct the young brethren; and sometimes you must pay a coach-hire or waterage, or the like, according to the situation of the place.

Therefore, it is the best way not to be troubled with them, but as little as you can help; yet I would have you try, and you will find what I fay to be true; for it is by experience.

Could lay ten times more, but I don’t care to be too harsh; I only give you hints, whereby, with a little experience, you will find it all out, and a great deal more villainy that is carried on, and three parts of the free-masons know nothing about the matter.

For they pretended to so much holiness at first when I came to England, I thought they were. Gods, but I soon found them devils.

For at first, I found all their pretended friendship not to be real, because they had so much of it that made me sick, and I dare say some of you, brethren, have been as sick with their pretended honesty, as ever I was.

But with all their wit, they never could find me out, that I never was made a mason, or received any of following obligations; yet I have been a member of several lodges, both antient and modern, and royal arch; and have been master of some lodges in England.

I will tell you how I came at it without being made; as follows.

I am a German, born near Berlin; and being acquainted with an English family, who had a large quantity of books, and being intimate with their children, I learnt a little English, and took great delight in reading of English, books, which I could have when I would.

About the year 1740, (I was then upwards of 20 years old) as, I was a looking in my neighbour’s library, I found a pamphlet, called Masonry Dissected, [by Samuel Prichard, first published 1730] an English book; I read it with great attention, because I had heard of masonry to be a very bad thing; so I took great notice of this book, and could say it all by heart, or very near, and concluded it was the whole thing, but it was not, yet there was enough to get admittance into a lodge.

For, about two or three years after, I went to Paris I had not been there long, before I worked with a man that was a Mason, and belonged to a lodge in Paris.

We fell in discourse about masonry, (I had heard that he was one before) I asked him if he was a Free-Mason; he said you? I said I am; and he asked me where I was made, I said at Berlin.

He asked me some questions, which I answered out of the book, and happened to be right; so he shook me by the hand and called me, brother, and took me to his lodge, which I became a member of, and belonged to it whilst I said there, which was two or three years; then my business led me to England.

When I set out, they gave me a certificate, and were very sorry to part from me, but desired me to remember them to all brothers in England, which I did not forget.

I went to a Modern Lodge, as the Irish call them, whose Grand Lodge is held at the Devil Tavern, but I don’t care to mention the lodge.

They never disputed me when I showed them my certificate, for they were fond of hearing how masons proceeded in other countries, which is just the same as it is here only one thing in the Master’s part, and that I shall speak of in the Master’s part.

Then I was invited to an Irish lodge, that called themselves the most Antient Masons, and held their Grand Lodge at the Five Bell Tavern in the Strand, [London. England] which is the whole subject of this book; but the other I don’t meddle with, because there is a book already published, called Masonry Dissected, which was published in the year 1730; and I believe was all the masonry that was made use of at that time; but it is not half that is used now, though it is the nicest that was ever wrote about the matter before this.

Indeed there have been many books written about masonry but most to draw the reader’s mind from off the aforesaid book, for I have read them all that have been published these twenty years, and I never saw any masonry but in the aforesaid book.

There was one published the other day, called, A Master Key to Free Masonry, but it is not the thing, thou it is something about the mater, but so very little, that it is not worth speaking of; there is not one thing right, only some of the words, but not in their proper places.

I wonder that any man can pretend to write a book of a thing that he knows nothing of, but by picking a bit here and there.

For no man is able to speak or write this secret without he has visited lodges some years. He speaks of drawing upon the ceiling with a pencil, that shows he knew nothing of the matter, to fill people’s ceilings full of marks and scratches, which would be soon known to all the world.

All men that ever saw anything of masonry, know that their drawing is upon the floor, (and that is the reason of the mop and pale) but any man that reads my book with attention, will find it right, by his own judgment only; for I will assure you there was never such an exact account before published; which I hope will give entire satisfaction to all lovers of truth; so I shall remain,

Your most obedient
Humble Servant

W – O – V – n

N. B. The style of the aforesaid and following apologies may not be so fine as it should, but I hope the reader will excuse as I am not an Englishman; but I assure you my meaning truth and justice, and I hope will be understood.

Three Distinct Knocks

By:   Samuel Pritchard  (Author)

This scarce antiquarian book is a facsimile reprint of the original. Due to its age, it may contain imperfections such as marks, notations, marginalia and flawed pages. Because we believe this work is culturally important, we have made it available as part of our commitment for protecting, preserving, and promoting the world’s literature in affordable, high quality, modern editions that are true to the original work.


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