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Wykeham, William Of

Bishop of Winchester. Born at Wykeham, in Hampshire, in 1324, and died in 1404. He was eminent both as an ecclesiastic and statesman. In 1359, before he reached the episcopate, Edward III appointed him Surveyor of the Works at Windsor, which Castle he rebuilt. In his Warrant or Commission, he was invested with power "to appoint a11 workmen, to provide materials, and to order everything relating to building and repairs."

He was, in fact, what the old manuscript Constitutions call the Lord, under whom were the Master Masons. Doctor Anderson says that he was at the head of four hundred Freemasons (Constitutions, 1738, page 70) was Master of Work under Edward III, and Grand Master under Richard II (Constitutions, page 72). And the freemasons Magazine (August, 1796) styles him "one of the brightest ornaments that Freemasonry has ever boasted." In this there is, of course, a mixture of myth and history. Wylseham was an architect as well as a bishop, and superintended the building of many public edifices in England in the fourteenth century, being a distinguished example of the connection so common in Medieval times between the ecclesiastics and the Freemasons.

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