Baal's Bridge Square
also known as the Balls Bridge Square
Lodge 13 have
in their archives an old brass square that was found under the
foundations of Baal's Bridge. This Square dated 1507 is
reputed to be one of the earliest Masonic items in the world.
The inscription on side 1 is
"I will strive to live with love & care"
and on side 2 "upon
the level and by the
The old brass square, known as the
Baal’s Bridge Square, was recovered from the foundations of Baal’s
Bridge in Limerick when the bridge was being rebuilt in 1830. It is
inscribed “I will strive to live with Love and Care Upon the Level By
the Square” and bears the date, 1507.
This ancient Square, carefully
treasured by Antient Union Lodge 13, is recorded as being presented to
Right Worshipful Brother
Michael Furnell, Provincial Grand Master, by Worshipful Brother James Pain,
(referred to as the Provincial Grand Architect).
In the Freemasons' Quarterly
Review, 1842, p. 288, Bro. Furnell, under the date of 27th. August,
1842, printed a short note on this relic of antiquity, accompanying
which is a facsimile sketch. He says that Bro. Pain, in 1830, had been
contractor for re-building Baal's Bridge in Limerick, and on taking
down the old structure, he discovered under the foundation stone at
the English town side, this old brass square, much eaten away. In the
facsimile sketch, Bro, Furnell puts the date as 1517, which is a
mistake, as the square bears the date 1507. A heart appears in each
Following the passing of Brother
Furnell, his widow presented the Square to the members of Lodge 13 in
a specially commissioned framed display which now hangs in the North
Munster museum along with a painting of the old bridge showing the row
of houses on the bridge.
In the book by H. F. Berry,
Assistant Keeper of the Irish Records, “The Mariencourt Cup and Ancient
Square.” dated 1905, Bro. Berry records that “Ball's (or Baal's)
Bridge is a beautiful structure, of a single arch, built in 1831, to
replace an ancient bridge of the same name, which consisted of four
arches, with a range of houses on its west side. The date of the
erection of this ancient structure has not been ascertained, but
possibly the old square, dated 1507, may have been placed, under the
foundation stone in that year. In any case, Bro. Furnell informs us
that the old bridge is mentioned in records of 1558.
In a most interesting and valuable
paper on a " Diary of the Siege of Limerick Castle, 1642," Journal,
R.S.A.I., 1904, p. 163, Mr. M. J. McEnery, M.R.I.A., reproduces a
facsimile of a Map of Limerick, taken from Speed's Map of Munster,
1610, which shows the old bridge, called in the reference the Thye
bridge; also portion of the city of Limerick, cir. 1590, from Mr. T.
J. Westropp's copy of a map of Limerick in the Library, Trinity
College, Dublin, wherein the same bridge is shown, and called in the
reference the Tide bridge.
James Pain, a distinguished
architect, was born at Isleworth in 1779. He and his brother, George
R, Pain, entered into partnership, subsequently settling in Ireland,
where James resided in Limerick and George in Cork. They designed and
built a number of churches and glebe houses. Mitchelstown Castle, the
magnificent seat of the Earls of Kingston, was the largest and best of
their designs. They were also architects of Cork Court-house and the
County Gaol, both very striking erections, and of Dromoland Castle,
the seat of Lord Inchiquin. James Pain died in Limerick 13th.
December, 1877, in his 98th year, and was buried in the cathedral
church of St. Mary in that city.”
A limited edition of 500 replicas in
“distressed” silver, hall marked and numbered, has been struck from a
mould taken from the original and they come in a presentation box
accompanied by a certificate of provenance together with a history of
The replicas have been made to
commemorate the 160th Anniversary of the founding of the
Provincial Grand Lodge of North Munster in 1842, and are now available
to purchase. The
proceeds are going towards the new Masonic Centre near
King John’s Castle in the old City overlooking the River Shannon and
not far from where the Square was originally discovered in 1830.
The cost is 250.00 Euro including
postage and packing,
To order an authenticated replica of this unique
Masonic artefact, contact:
The Provincial Grand Lodge of
North Munster Masonic Centre
Copyright 2019 -
Provincial Grand Lodge of North Munster - All Rights