A Tile of Tweedmouth

Masonic carving from Tweedmouth

Here’s an oddity I discovered in the 1927 Berwick-upon-Tweed Visitor’s Guide.  If anyone has any ideas about the word in the bottom left, please let me know. It seems to be SKAT[IM?].  Skat is a card game from Germany (where there is a big freemasonry following, and there are masonic sets of skat cards.  Skat is of early 19th century German origin and is derived from the 15th century game of Tarock (Tarot).  Tarock cards were originally nothing to do with the occult but merely used for gaming.

I’m not entirely convinced though.  Why would you refer to Skat on a carving? And anyway, to my non-specialist eyes, I’d say the writing and coat the man is wearing looks earlier;18th century?

However, “skat” means to cast aside (there are only 32 cards in the game) and so the inscription may be something to do with casting one’s former life aside for the obligations of Freemasonry.

The attitude of the man is odd.  He looks like he is leaning casually on the pillar. However, the pillar is no doubt a reference to the three pillars of masonic belief—wisdom, strength and beauty. Thus the image might be interpreted as man’s dependance on these tenets of the faith.  I’m sure people with far more knowledge will correct me.  Interesting stuff though.

Sadly, I don’t know what became of it!


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