Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of
all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead.
Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant
oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about.[i]
Tradition replied, is that so?[ii]
Liverpool, December 21, 1959
Benson turns into Hope Street, the Silver Wraith gliding effortlessly over the cobbles, window-wipers thumping in a downpour that floods the gutters. Stopping at the lights, he quips:
‘It’s cats and dogs out there tonight, sir.’
The Grand Master, an old man of seventy years, immaculately dressed in a black suit and Crombie, sits alone in the rear, surrounded by an opulent red leather interior. He looks lean and tall, his long legs articulated on the foot rest, his brogues as shiny as the Park Ward coachwork. He peers out the window, his keen eyes watching the traffic in a haze of fumes and rain.
‘The world has gone to the dogs, Benson.’
‘That new Catholic cathedral they’re planning.’
‘The Metropolitan. Didn’t you see the plans in evening paper?’
‘They want to put it at the top of Hope Street. It’s a complete monstrosity, devoid of harmony and proportion. It looks like a tin wigwam, propped up by chop-sticks.’
‘A tin wigwam sir?’
‘They hold a world-wide design competition, then award the commission to an architect like Frederick Gibberd. Architect? What do they teach in schools these days? I ask you. I would have stayed with Lutyens’ design myself. What was wrong with it? Nothing, apart from the expense. Unfortunately, they’ve only built the crypt. The modernists are blaming the war. But I blame the modernists. Catholic evils aside, Lutyens’ cathedral would have been the second-largest church in the world, with a dome even bigger than St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.’
‘Perhaps the pope himself put a stop to it, sir. He didn’t want Vatican City being upstaged by Liverpool.’
‘That’s a very astute remark, Benson. You could be right there.’
Benson checks left and right, his head turning like ventriloquist’s dummy on a pole; his cap is too small and his pudding-bowl haircut sticks out like a chimney brush. He raps his fingers on the wheel then asks:
‘What does Liverpool want with another Cathedral anyway? They started the Anglican in 1904, and they still haven’t finished it.’
‘The best things take time Benson. At least the Anglican is a fine building – designed by Giles Gilbert Scott – who gave us Battersea Power Station and red telephone boxes. An architect of class who put principal before ego. Just how much will that tin wigwam cost anyway?’
‘It would be cheaper if Catholics became Anglicans, sir.’
The Grand Master chuckles and clears the misty pane with his palm. He looks over the gardens of Saint James’ Mount, where the brooding Anglican squats beneath a leaden sky, its Gothic tower lost in curtains of rain.
‘Yes, I will admit the Anglican is a fine building, even if the Bishop of Liverpool is steeped in ignorance. Do you know Benson, that the Anglican is the longest Cathedral in the world?’
‘No sir. I didn’t know that.’
‘Scott’s first design of 1903 had two towers at the west end. I preferred it myself: it was reminiscent of Notre-Dame. Remarkable that Scott was just 22 years old at the time. He was a pupil at Temple Moore’s practice, with no existing buildings to his name. He freely confessed to the assessors, that his only major work in life was a pipe-rack.[iii] Humility is always a mark of genius, Benson. A pipe rack. Yet he gave the world that Gothic masterpiece. Scott was sensitive to the aspirations and intentions of the original medieval craftsmen. Not like Gibberd who wants to build a tin wigwam at the top of Hope Street.’
‘A tin wigwam sir? At the top of Hope Street? Are you sure?’
‘Alas Benson, I read in black and white. The Royal Institute of British Architects has taken leave of its senses. I fear they have been infiltrated by the enemy.’
‘The reverend atheists; the evil post-modernists; the snobs of fallacy and fashion; the instructed materialists; the sectarian sceptics; the derogate bigots; the infidels of art and science; the reckless socialists who want to demolish the glories of the past and replace them with anything that denies a link between Man and God. They cannot grasp that the Universe has its raison d’etre not in itself, but in a supra-mundane and intelligent Creator. Creation is a necessary conception. Man is nothing except in relation to God. Materialists prefer to call themselves Positivists. Even though they refute God, they are in fact Dualists, because they adopt the chief tenet of that heresy, namely, the existence of an external uncreated hyle.[iv] But militant atheists would rather peer into the abyss of Futurism than acknowledge the reality of Spirit. Great Lucifer, drive those pigs away…’
‘A good building is a manifestation of the Divine order and harmony of the Universe; it elevates our consciousness, and provides the soul with a transcendent glimpse of a higher reality. I am of the firm belief that good architecture is frozen music, Benson.’
‘Frozen music sir?’
‘Just as music expresses harmonious intervals of time and pitch, so they may be translated into corresponding intervals of architectural proportion – void and solid, height, depth and width. Thus the common man finds himself incorporated into the symphony of the Universe. But Gibberd’s tin wigwam is nothing but a discordant, inharmonious, raucous, yawling, squawking, screeching, jarring, atonal stridulation of tinny, tuneless, ear-splitting, soul-destroying, cacophonous nonsense!’
‘What an insult to the past! To the golden proportion of the gods! To the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, who built for one noble purpose: to awaken Man to his Divine source – beyond the fleshy burden of his mortal coils! The great monuments of the ancient world were manifestations of a profound secret Benson.’
‘A secret communicated to the masses by mystical means. And that required the services of a master mason equipped in occult language; a man who could translate that secret into numbers, and master craftsmen who could express those numbers in harmonious curves, verticals and volumes. Craftsmen, accustomed to working with their hands, in the traditions of their ancestors. To what end? To build Heaven on Earth: to manifest infinity in stone. The appearance and effect is that of a sublime miracle. Nature employs the miracle so rarely that most of us go through life without seeing one. Yet enter a Gothic cathedral, and the miracle is manifest all around: vaults of living stone that leap skyward in a taught equilibrium of thrust and counterthrust – the walls mere shells, as the load is carried by an active skeleton of pillars, arches and flying buttresses. But the barbarians at RIBA have the gall to give us a tin wigwam. A tin wigwam, Benson. By god, I’ll have Gibberd’s guts for garters. When that thing goes up, they should rename this Hopeless Street!’
‘The modernists see no purpose in the preservation of old artistic traditions; the nihilists foolishly assert that tradition stands in the way of progress. They want to purge society from all vestige of tradition; they won’t be content until the past is completely erased. But architecture is the living voice of the past; to demolish a great building is to destroy the civilization that built it. Why do they despise the dead who have bequeathed so much?’
‘I don’t know sir.’
‘In choosing Gibberd, they have erased Lutyens. The Golden proportion has fallen by the wayside. The medieval glory is all but gone. What will become of mankind when he has bulldozed all the high watermarks of civilization? When the puritan atheists have razed every church in the land, and despoiled the works of the dead? When the olden gargoyles and bestiaries have been upcycled into bourgeois absurdities? When the altars, fonts and pews have been refashioned into wine-racks, lamp stands, and Bedlam bistro tables? When every oak panel has been coated in luminescent paint and tropical wallpaper? When the developers have pillaged the ancient artisans of wood and stone; stolen sconces from the choir; portals from the chancel; timbers from the rood; and footings from the nave? A cornice here; a corbel there – a mutilation everywhere. Modern man seems to have suffered a wilful lobotomy of his frontal lobes. Not only has he forgotten his roots, he believes he can exist without them. They say that Adam, the progenitor of the human race, was endowed with sanctifying grace. Then came the Fall, and that grace left Him. Yet the medieval carpenters had more grace than us. They were men of peasant parentage, intoxicated with Nature and all Her works – empaths of Diana, who let their skilful chisels run riot with the green wood, carving ivy bosses, fern galleries, mistletoe vaults, vine-clad pillars, and all the happy dryads of Apollo’s grove. Now look at us. Take a good hard look, Benson. We’re travelling north on Hope Street, from the Anglican to the Metropolitan. From a Gothic romance to a post-modern tragedy. From a heavenly past to an infernal future. Is there any other road in England that so embodies the Fall? You can see the results all around us. As the sacred architecture is lost, knowledge wanes and ignorance waxes. A tin wigwam, Benson. I can scarcely believe it. Gibberd’s Metropolitan has all the reverence of a sneering sarcastic savage.’
‘Not frozen music sir?’
‘Certainly not. RIBA might contrive a case to make it seem like frozen music – a cunning plot to persuade the ignorant. But no Benson, hand on heart, I can assure you, Gibberd’s tin wigwam is not frozen music, and no amount of imposture, duplicity or gerrymandering will make it frozen music. It always astounds me, how the love of beauty, which was innate in medieval builders, is completely stultified and thwarted in modern architects. I find no comfort in this cataclysmal tide of modernism; and I yearn for a strong drift in the opposite direction. Alas, there seems no chance of return. Modern architecture has become a synonym of all that is morally false and mentally despicable. I pray to god Gibberd’s tin wigwam leaks like a sieve. With a roof like that, it certainly will. Then they’ll have to tear it all down and start again. With a proper building – one based on the universal continuum. What a travesty. What a calamity. Moreover, what a complete waste of money… I say, how long does it take to drive half a mile these days? It would be far quicker to get out and walk.’
‘You’re not in very good mood this morning, are you sir?’
‘Forgive me Benson. I got out the wrong side of bed.’
‘It’s the traffic. A van is double-parked ahead.’
‘The traffic. Is that all you can say Benson? Have you not listened to a word I said?’
‘Of course. I’ve been listening very carefully, sir.’
‘Have you Benson? So what is your opinion on the matter?’
‘Well, if you’ll forgive me for saying so, I think you’re viewing the past through rose tinted spectacles. Merry England wasn’t so merry. They burnt witches back in them days you know.’
‘Witches? The masons didn’t burn witches, Benson. The masons were burnt as witches. There was a time when the divine feminine was celebrated throughout Christendom. Even the rude pagan goddesses took pride of place above the altars. Besides, the whole of Catholicism is built upon the cult of The Virgin – a black Virgin, in most cases. Enter any Gothic portal and you pass through the vesica of her vulva. No, the medieval artisans celebrated the generative principal. It was the priests who burnt the witches; and the puritans who mutilated female genitals and decapitated their images. Whenever men become revolutionaries, they hurl themselves in hatred at the past. Or they attack the feminine. Psychologistically, past and feminine are equivalent: they both give birth to the present existential crisis. Revolutions feign to substitute a republic for a monarchy, democracy for aristocracy, and political liberty for absolute power. But they always bring despotism instead. In 1562, the whole of France was ransacked, pillaged and destroyed. The Huguenots burnt the library at Cluny, then vandals of the Revolution demolished what was left. They turned the church into a quarry and carted it away stone by stone! The greatest Romanesque cathedral in the world! The cathedral of Orléans was also destroyed by the Huguenots, who blew up four columns and brought the steeple crashing into the nave. The mystical lead labyrinth of Sens was destroyed in 1769 during the so called “Enlightenment”. Then in 1793, revolutionaries shattered the art treasures of a thousand years, and tore down Cambrai, Avranches and Arras. Under the Terror, Chartres suffered great damage; statues on the south portal were broken up, the lead roof was pilfered for musket balls, and the bronze Minotaur of the maze was smelted into guns. God only knows what splendours we’ve lost to reformation and revolution. Not to mention two world wars. The magnificent Cathedral of Rheims was destroyed by German shellfire; the mighty timbers of the vault were once saplings in the vast forests of the Gauls and Celts, when Druid priests believed the destiny of man was mingled with dreams of metempsychosis. Great oaks like that don’t exist any more. But that didn’t stop them burning; they burned with such rage, that the gargoyles spewed molten lead for three whole hours, destroying the bishops palace.’
Trembling with grief, the Grand Master opens a mahogany cabinet wherein a crystal decanter sparkles with reassuring comfort. Pouring himself a whiskey, he sips and continues:
‘…And just think of medieval Coventry, with its cathedral of melodious bells, and its narrow twisting alleys, leading all the way back to pagan lady Godiver! Razed in the blitz! Not to mention the horrific firestorms of Dresden, which consumed the heritage of centuries – along with two generations and their dim ancestral beliefs. The devotional spirit of the medieval church is gone forever. Believe me Benson, if you could walk amid those lost churches, you would find many perverse images.’
‘Erect phalli and freezes of copulation that would make the Hindu gods blush.’
‘Really sir? In a church?’
‘Especially in a church. But the witch-hunters chiselled them off. Puritans whitewashed the walls, pierced the stained glass with their pikes, and peddled spoils to the highest bidder. And now we have a new breed of witch-hunters: the Marxists. They refuse point blank the possibility of purgatory or paradise; they consider themselves far too intellectual to live amongst the damned, let alone the saved. Yet they are more fallible and dangerous than even the most rabid fundamentalists. Marxists insist they are not concerned with God – only with avoiding any heretical expression of thought – like a belief in something greater than the proletariat. They think that to destroy is to build. And what they build are monstrosities. Socialism is a poisoned chalice. Men drift into revolution, only to become accomplices in the very crimes and mischiefs which their original cause tried to suppress. And now the spirit of revolution has given us a tin wigwam. A tin wigwam, Benson. It saturates my soul with despair. I fear the pseudo-intellectuals and architectural reformers will sink us into oblivion. If there’s one thing I abhor, it’s a building that ignores the basic principles of the ad triangulum.’
‘Alas, I can reveal no more, lest I divulge the masonic mysteries to the uninitiated. Which begs me to ask, have you thought any more about my proposition?’
‘Oh come on Benson, you know very well what I’m talking about. Don’t make me repeat myself. Have you thought any more about it?’
‘About what sir?’
‘About becoming an apprentice. For goodness sake!’
‘With all due respect sir, I don’t think Freemasonry is for me.’
‘Why ever not?’
‘I was brought up Protestant, sir. My mother always said that a man is saved not by works, but by grace.’
‘Do you really believe that Benson?’
‘Well, I suppose I do sir.’
‘What a pity.’
‘And you sir? What do you believe?’
‘Yes sir. About the sanctifying grace of Adam.’
‘I pray for it Benson.’
‘As a Catholic or Protestant?’
‘Do you take me for an ass?’
‘But what religion are you, sir?’
‘Catholics and Protestants, Atheists and Theists – all are convinced that they possess the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth; and that it is their divine right to propagate their faith at any price – even if it means slaughter of the innocents. The records of the Dark Ages are grim, but those of modern Europe are far worse. Like the Catholic slaughter of the Huguenots on St. Bartholomew’s Day, 1572. The king had prepared a list of Huguenots in Paris, and their houses were marked. None was spared. Old and young, women and children, were savagely butchered. The orgy of carnage lasted several days, all under the gaze of a resplendent August sun. Then a white thorn was seen blooming out of season in the cemetery of the Innocents; it was hailed as a sign from God that the Catholics would reign after the genocide of the Huguenots. So the killing went on until late September. Huguenot corpses blocked the streets; they piled high around the Louvre and public squares. Tumbrels were hired to toss the dead into the Seine, which literally ran red with blood… Do not ask my religion, Benson. My faith is heresy. They would send me to the scaffold.’
‘But why sir? I have to ask why.’
‘Because, like Lady Jane Grey, I ground my faith upon God’s word and not upon the Church; for if the Church be a good Church, the faith of the Church must be tried by God’s word and not God’s word by the Church.’ [v]
Their eyes meet in the rear view mirror and they fall into a grave silence. They seem to have reached an understanding. But as they pass the Liverpool Philharmonic, the Grand Master tuts and shakes his head in dismay:
‘Art Deco. The less said about that, the better.’
‘But I quite like that building, sir.’
‘Do you really Benson? How extraordinary. Well there’s no accounting for taste, I suppose. The Liverpool Philharmonic looks like something out of Flash Gordon. One fully expects Ming the Merciless to leap out at any moment and destroy us with his death ray.’
Approaching the junction of Myrtle Street, Benson slows before a shire pulling a brewers cart.
‘Look at that poor old nag,’ remarks the Grand Master. ‘Towing all that dead weight, day in day out. All those barrels of beer. How many tons is that, do you suppose?’
‘I dread to think, sir.’
‘The poor brute. He looks ready for the knacker’s yard. One can just feel his sorrows and pains; I bet there’s not a bone in his body that doesn’t ache.’
Benson waits for the horse to pass, its hooves ringing on the cobbles like the sound of yesteryear. Then the Grand Master points across the street:
‘You see that fine building over there: that’s Hope Hall, built in 1837. It used to be a Protestant dissenters chapel. Now look at it: a cinema. What’s playing? A horror film – with Christopher Lee. His terrifying secret – his hideous obsession, made him… The Man Who Could Cheat Death. I know how that one ends. Not in the imperishable world of eternal light and glory, but in the corruption of the body. Immortality amid the ruins of the flesh. A Hammer Film Production.’
‘Christopher Lee does make a good Dracula, though, doesn’t he sir?’
The Grand Master looks into his empty glass and mutters:
‘Vampires. Socialist vampires…’
The Silver Wraith slows to a crawl as Benson pulls up beside Minerva Lodge – its Georgian front stained with grime. Above the entrance are the words: Kodes La Adonai [Holiness to the Lord].
‘I say Benson, will you help with that crate in the boot? It’s rather heavy.’
‘Of course sir.’
‘I would be most grateful.’
‘What is it? A statue or something?’
‘No, it’s a television set. And quite expensive. So handle it with care. It’s very fragile. We don’t want any sudden knocks: they might damage the tubes.’
‘I understand sir. Leave it to me.’
‘That’s most kind. You’ll find a sack trolley by the lift, half way down the corridor.’
Benson exits into the rain and runs inside the lodge. A moment later he re-appears with the sack trolley which he steers towards the boot. The Grand Master gets out, raising his umbrella as he navigates around the bumper. Benson fumbles with his keys and the boot yawns to a leaden sky. Inside is a large crate about four feet long.
‘That’s a bloody big television!’ exclaims Benson.
‘Yes, it is rather. I had to get rid of the spare wheel just to make it fit.’
The rain smothers their voices, rattling on the roof, hissing on the pavement, and gurgling in the drains.
‘Be careful Benson,’ frets the Grand Master. ‘It’s priceless and irreplaceable…’
The men grapple with the crate, edging it over the bumper and onto the sack trolley.
‘Easy does it Benson! Easy does it!’
A van rumbles past, its wheels raising a curtain of filthy water that drops about their shins. Benson slams the boot and cries:
‘Bloody idiot! Watch where you’re going!’
The van honks and speeds away.
‘Never mind him Benson. Just watch the curb as you go. We don’t want any sudden knocks, remember?’
‘You go inside sir. I can take it from here.’
‘No, no, no,’ insists the Grand Master. ‘I’m staying with you. I must protect the merchandise at all times.’
Sticking like glue, he follows Benson down the pavement, his umbrella shielding the crate as they weave amid a crowd of Christmas shoppers. At one point they become stranded, surrounded by pedestrians going hither and thither, some rushing by without noticing them in the least. At length, Benson cries:
‘Coming through! Make way now! Coming through! Make way!’
Forging through the melee, they finally enter Minerva Lodge, pausing for breath in the lobby. Benson stoops like a wet pigeon, rain dripping from his nose and cap. His sodden trousers cling to his legs revealing thin shanks, knock knees, and chubby avian thighs.
‘Look at you Benson. You’re soaked through. You’d better have a hot bath. I’ll find you a clean suit from my wardrobe. I don’t want you catching cold.’
‘That’s very good of you sir. But what about you?’
The Grand Master grins:
‘I’m waterproof mostly. And fireproof too, now I come to think of it.’ He pats the crate proudly. ‘Thank god we got here in one piece. Shall we go in?’
After ascending a small flight of stairs, they amble down a fine corridor lined with masonic banners. The building is much bigger than it looks from the street, stretching back tens of yards, with an elegant lift in an iron cage that ascends many floors. At the end of the corridor is a bronze memorial, listing the names of 190 Masons who died in World War I.[vi]
‘They were all heroes, Benson,’ remarks the Grand Master.
‘I don’t doubt it sir.’
‘That plaque always brings a tear to my eye. Such a tragic waste of life.’
‘Where do you want it?’ asks Benson.
‘The television. Which suite? The Corinthian, Adams or Roman? We can use the lift…’
‘No. I don’t want it taken upstairs. Put it in the Egyptian Room.’
‘Egyptian Room? Sorry sir, I don’t know where that is.’
‘Few people do. It’s on the lower ground floor. Sorry, I wasn’t thinking: it’s back the way we came. The Egyptian Room is only used by Royal Arch masons.’
‘– That’s a senior level of freemasonry. You see Benson, for a Freemason to take only the three craft degrees and not join the Royal Arch means his masonry is incomplete. He might be compared with a man who goes to watch Agatha Christie’s Mousetrap but leaves 10 minutes before the end. He can claim to have seen the play, but he doesn’t know what it was about. He’s missing the final piece of the puzzle that reveals the plot.[vii] Do you follow?’
‘I think so sir.’
‘Very well Benson. Follow me…’
Retracing their steps, they proceed down a gloomy corridor and enter a striking multi-coloured hall, designed like an Egyptian temple. Around the walls are fluted columns with blue papyrus capitals inset with white lotus leaves. In the centre is a strange chequered platform surrounded by banners representing the 12 tribes of Israel; a small prayer cushion sits before a semi-circular motif with the words Fiat Lux. At the far end is a raised dais with three oaken thrones, whilst various chairs and benches surround the rest of the hall.
‘Leave it by the door,’ instructs the Grand Master.
‘Shall I help you unpack it?’ asks Benson, curiously.
‘Oh, no thank you Benson. That won’t be necessary.’
‘As you wish sir.’
Benson eases the crate off the trolley and backs away.
‘Take a hot bath Benson. I’ll hang a clean suit outside the bathroom. And er, wait a minute…’
The Grand Master fumbles in his wallet and removes a crisp new note:
‘Please Benson, accept this for your trouble.’
‘Five pounds!’ gasps Benson. ‘I can’t take that!’
‘Oh, but you must. I insist.’
‘But that’s more than I earn in a week!’
‘Benson, you’re very good at giving, but not at taking. I want you to have it. A small token of my appreciation.’
‘Small token? A shilling perhaps. But not five pounds!’
‘You’ve been driving me about for fourteen years. You’re always kind, courteous, reliable, and loyal to the last. And you always listen to my ramblings with attentive ears. Please Benson, take it. Get yourself something nice for Christmas.’
‘I couldn’t sir. It wouldn’t be right. I don’t need tips for loyalty. You have that already, without question. I know the contents of that crate is far more important than a television set. But what’s inside is none of my business.’
‘You’re quite right Benson. None of your business at all.’
‘Will that be all sir?’
The Grand Master tucks the note back inside his wallet:
‘Yes Benson. That will be all.’
‘Very well sir. And what about tonight?’
‘What time shall I pick you up?’
‘Take the evening off Benson. I’m holding an informal meeting with the brethren. I’ll make my own way home.’
‘In that case, I’ll bid you good day, sir.’
As soon as Benson has left the room, the Grand Master locks the door and sets about dismantling the crate. After removing two side lathes, the box folds apart, revealing a mysterious machine standing four feet high. It does indeed resemble an old television set, but modified with a large control panel, crammed with dials, and switches. The Grand Master peers into the screen which gleams with a foreboding darkness. His bony fingers tremble on the controls as he whispers in awe:
‘What lies beyond? What monad, what spirit, what creature from the depths? By what forbidden metamorphosis do men of clay become seraphim of fire?’
Copyright © Nicholas Shea 1992-2021. All rights reserved.
Image credit: Illustration of Hope Street by A. P. Tankhard. By Courtesy of the University of Liverpool Library, reference number (D1081/6/2/1/4). Thanks to Robyn Orr at the Special Collections and Archives for arranging this.
i. ‘Orthodoxy’, G.K. Chesterton.
ii. ‘The Mysteries of Chartres Cathedral’ by Louis Charpentier-1972.
iii. “Liverpool’s 75-year-old infant”, The Guardian, 21 October 1978, p. 9. [unverified ref. via Wikipedia]. Another unverified source claims the pipe-rack was constructed to Scott’s design by his sister.
iv. ‘God The Author of Nature and The Supernatural’ (De Deo Creante et Elevante) A Dogmatic Treatise by The Reverend Joseph Pohle, PH.D., D.D. 1916.
v. In a letter, Lady Jane Grey recounts her debate with John Feckenham (c. 1515–1584), a Benedictine monk sent by Mary Tudor a few days before her execution, in order to convert her to Catholicism. In it, Jane details how she refutes and remains unmoved by Feckenham’s attacks on her Protestant ideas. For example, she retorts: ‘I grounde my faith uppon goddes word and not uppon the Churche for if the Churche be a good Churche the faith of the Churche must be tried by goddes worde and not goddes worde by the Churche’. (The dialogue was published in pamphlet form as early as 1554, but gained further circulation by its inclusion in Foxe’s Actes and Monuments). [‘Lady Jane Grey’s Letters from The Tower of London’, by Clarck Drieshen, Medieval manuscripts blog of the British Library]. https://blogs.bl.uk/digitisedmanuscripts/2021/02/lady-jane-greys-letters-from-the-tower-of-london.html
NOTE: Both the Grand Master and Benson are fictional charcters, and no representation is intended or implied, to any person, either living or dead.