Key to the Sacred Pattern

24 March 2008

Photographer Records Images of Masonic Symbolism in UK Churches

I always believed that people should follow that little voice in the back of their heads. You know the one that tells them they need to take on a particular project, “just because”. The advice of one’s inner muse should be listened to more often than we generally do. I ran across one such person who listened to his "little voice" a couple of weeks back.

Andy Marshall is an award winning architectural photographer in the UK. His “day job” is something any number of us wishes we could do. He packs up his gear and makes stunning visual records of architectural forms and the context to their environment. His success or failure at his endeavors is largely based on the perception we as the public have of his work.

This of course means the popularity and glamour means commercial success for Andy. In e-mailing Andy, I have the feeling he listens to his inner voice more than most. He has undertaken a project to make photographic records of what he calls “Masonic Churches” in the UK.

Andy has begun photographing Saint Edmund's, Falinge near Rochdale, because of its overt Masonic symbolism. …. from the carved altar rails to the brass memorials. I intend to photograph all of the symbols and put them together into one image. We have several “Freemason” churches in this area which are now unfortunately under threat [of being closed]”, said Andy.

The Royds Chapel, Photograph by Andy Marshall.

The marriage between architecture and Masonic symbolism is not a unique phenomenon. Men who are professional craftsman and Architects often incorporate Masonic symbols in their work. Examples of this type of incorporation can be seen in Wren’s additions to the Temple Church in London, and Saint Giles in Edinburgh. It is only natural that members of organization that encrypts moral lessons in their symbolism would want to incorporate these designs in a church. For the conspiracy theorists out there, I wouldn’t read a whole lot into this. Men do and design these things because they are Masons, not because Freemasonry as a group directs them to do so.

Andy felt a pressing need to start making a record of Saint Edmund's and other churches with Masonic symbolism because he fears their architectural treasures may not last much longer. “The churches are being closed because the congregations are dwindling and costs for upkeep are increasing. There is statutory protection (via our listing system) but this cannot protect them from vandalism and deterioration, unfortunately.”, said Andy. To this end, Andy is donating his time to preserve these images for posterity.

I’d like to thank Andy for all his work and dedication to this project. If you’d like to see more of Andy’s works, his web site is (You’ll have to be Flash enabled to view his main site) On Fotofacade, check out the Archmedia tab. Here you will find links to his custom Google Maps of architectural sites, Podcasts, and a video section.

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