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Mason

- one who cuts, carves, dresses and lays stone. Masonry is the work of a mason ie building in stone. The "banker" mason carves stone on the bench, the "hewer" gets stone out of the ground and dresses it, while the "fixer" or "setter" builds the finished work into position. Masons were the pre-eminemt craftsmen of the middle ages. A masons mark was a symbol, often quite elaborate, incised in stonework by the mason responsible for a building or part of a building. As well as a signature, it was also a way of identifying the amount of work undertaken. The banker mason also marked the stones he carved, usually in a place they would not be seen. Marks were originally very simple but as time progressed they became more complicated and often incorporated the initials of the masons name. People have always been tempted to leave their mark on stone and masons marks which can be an important historic record, should not be confused with other marks for example of a patron or even simple graffitti.

The trade in Scotland, while enjoying a revival, has regressed to the extent that currently, there are no master masons, ie a person who produces designs, drawings, undertakes the most difficult work, selects materials and organises the other masons on site.