Dating Schnitger’s Version
Pages 12

Dating Schnitger’s Version irdly, Schnitger distinguished ve layers in the text of the manuscript he analysed, and he tried to date those layers.27 In summary, Schnitger had before him a manuscript, originally written in two volumes with paper marks from 1811 and 1819 respectively. He assumed that the manuscript was written c. 1823, and that between 1823 and 1829 revisions, scratchings out and appendices were made and the two books bound in one. However, the ritual represented by the oldest layers is so explicitly Christian that it must date from before the Union in 1813. Indeed, he claims that its origin is the ‘Old Swalwell Lodge’, now ‘Industry Lodge’, No. 48, meeting in Gateshead, Swalwell from 1735 to 1837, and at Winlaton (which is immediately adjoining) already in 1723 and probably long before that. He therefore regards it reasonable to assume that the manuscript he had before him was copied from an older Swalwell manual, which ‘must have been in use between 1735 or earlier and 1809’, but including even earlier material. Such claims that these rituals and lectures would have been that old could not be believed by other scholars, who therefore regarded them a forgery. But they don’t need to be that old to be of interest.