The Freemason’s Liber Musicus: George Bickham – Musical Entertainer 1737

The True Mason

The True Mason appears in an 18th Century song book, The Musical Entertainer. The words were by John Bancks and appear in the 1738 edition of Anderson’s Constitutions. Both Bickham and Anderson call him Brother, so it must be assumed that he was a freemason.

George Bickham (1704-1771) started his career as an engraver but from the 1730s started to publish his own work. The Musical Entertainer, an engraved collection of songs from 1737 was one of his earlier and popular efforts.

Bickham was a prolific and controversial figure. In 1743 he engraved and printed a work titled, Great Britain and Ireland’s Yawn, an account of the fall of Walpole, thus attracting the attention of government censors, who seized pornographic prints from his shop, a hazard of the job for many 18th Century engravers.

Bickham was a member of the Lodge meeting at the Castle and Leg Tavern No. 49, Holborn (now St. Alban’s Lodge No. 29).