Common Gavel     Chisel     24 Inch Gauge
Square     Level     Plumb Rule
Skirret     Pencil     Compasses

Freemasonry is believed to have originated in England in the late 16th or early 17th centuries, descending directly or indirectly from the craft of the mediaeval stonemason. Directly, by operative lodges accepting non-operative members who gradually took over and transformed the lodges into purely speculative ones. Indirectly, in that a group of men interested in promoting tolerance in an intolerant age came together and adopted the stonemason's tools and customs as allegorical aids to teach their precepts.