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Registry of masons’ marks launched

The Masons Livery Company has launched a registry of masons’ marks that will make it possible for future generations to identify which stonemason has carried out work.

It invited masons who use a mark, a tradition dating back at least 2,000 years, to fill in a postcard at this year’s Natural Stone Show, so the mark can be associated with them.

A lot of masons still maintain the custom of marks, creating their own  and using it throughout their career, including on headstones. They are particularly prevalent in conservation and ecclesiastical workshops.

They let masons identify the pieces of masonry they have produced and were useful in the past both as a way for masons to ensure they were paid for their work and as a quality control.

When old masonry is removed for repair and restoration work, masons’ marks cut into the stone – perhaps hundreds of years ago – are exposed.

There is seldom any way of relating the mark to the mason who created it but, by starting to collect the marks and the details of the individual using them, the livery company is known wants to make it possible for future generations to identify the mason who carried out earlier work.

It also hopes to formalise the custom of adopting masons’ marks by encouraging colleges to ask their students to create one when they complete their studies. They can then submit it to be included on the Register and the mark will become the individual mason’s property, protected by copyright.

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