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Erasme Pincemaille (°1731- ) of Metz 

Knight of the Rosicrucians

 member of the Lodge5



Political situation of Metz (Lorraine) 1737-1766


As a result of an international deal1 between Autrich and France in 1737, Lorraine (to Autrich in 1714) was ceded  to Stanislaw Lesczinski a noble of Poland. Since Lesczinski's daughter was the Queen of France, his death in 1766 will mean the acquisition of Lorraine by King Louis XV of France. So Erasme (°1731 - ) lived in this period of transition (1737 - 1766).


1755. Family: Marriage of Erasme Pincemaille in Metz


Erasme Pincemaille (°1731- ) married 7th Jan 1755 Sébastienne Cordelotte (°1731- ) in Metz (St Marcel), 57, Lor, Fra. His woman was a young widow  from Antoine d'Outre °1721, she married three years before on the 24th of April 1752 in the same church. Erasme was a "maître perruquier " (perfumer), St Victor parish,  Metz and a member of the lodge "Saint Jean de la Candeur". His father  Noël Pincemaille x Elie David (+) was at that time  "débitant de tabac" (tabacco dealer),  rue Canevelle, St Sulpice parish, We have knowledge of 2 children of Erasme: Barbe-Cecile (1755-1757) and  Noël (°1756) born Metz (St Victor). In 1766 he had 7 living children. Ca 1767 we wil find him in Hamburg, in 1772 again in Metz for business and  and later on with Mad. de Pincemaille and an unknown daughter  x Souslaville in 1775 in Moscow.


Origins : Erasme was born in Liège, B and his father Noël was born as Natalis Pinsmaille in 1696 in Dinant, Nam, Belgium. We find this family ca 1750 in Paris, when  Julien a brother of Erasme Pincemaille (born in 1727  in Jumeppe-sur-Meuse,  diocese of Liège)  was condamned for robbery (F: vol, Nl: diefstal) and incarcerated in Rochefort, free in 1774. Erasme moved to Metz where he married in 1755. (Bibliothèque Généalogique de France, Répertoire historique - Les Galériens - Registres d'enregistrement des bagnes des Archives de Toulon et de Rochefort 1750-1788 ( http://www.genehisto.com/ : Swic, 2006)

Erasme is also known as Knaus or Knauser in Germany as stated in the publication of the "Quatuor Coronati" lodge of Bayreuth2., because the German homologue of Pincemaille is Knaus, Knauser: see the German Encyclopedia (1773-1858, 242 thomes) of Kranitz 10


1754-1766: The Lodge of "the Ancient and Accepted Scottisch Rite".

And the role of Erasme Pincemalle

(an important part of the information came from the website of

the "Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Valley of St. Louis" 4)

(See also the ref. in "history of the lodge"5)


        1754. "Chapter of Clermont"

The "Chevalier de Bonneville"8 established a Chapter (Nl: afdeling, Fr: section) of "the Advanced Degrees at Paris" in the College of Jesuits of Clermont, hence called the "Chapter of Clermont". The distinguishing principle of this Rite is that freemasonry was derived from Templarism and that, consequently, every freemason was a Knight ( Fr: Chevalier, Nl: ridder) Templar. So at first view nothing special, simply a new section of the Grand Lodge of France. But history will tell us another story. The college of the Jesuits of Clermont, 80 Oise, Pic, Fra was also the asylum of the adherents of the House of Stuart (Scottish catholics, brutally suppresed by the English). So for them adherence to the lodge was a cover-up and a way for integration in their new country. We can easily understand that they as a consequence of their history were for freedom and against royal totalitarism and that they looked for other groups in France with a similar background. And so were the jesuits, the templars, but we will suppose later also links with the huguenots (Bordeaux, Berlin, Hamburg ) and the protestants  (Metz). And only seven years after this start they will go for a mission to North America. As we know that freemasonry had a great deal in the liberation war against England, we  understand their strategy against England.

        1758. "the Council of Emperors of the East and West"

The members of the new lodge looked for new adepts in other lodges or founded new ones. In 1758, the "Council of Princes of the Royal Secret" was founded in Bordeaux (old centre of Huguenots and starting point for sailboats to the new world) and the principles of the lodge were carried by the Marquis de Bernez to Berlin (exile place of French Huguenots), and adopted by the Grand Lodge of the Three Globes of Berlin. So In 1758 in accordance with the new situation  there was established in Paris a Chapter called "Council of the Emperors of the East and the West".

        1761. "the Ancient and accepted Scottish Rite"

In 1761 the organisation felt them strong enough for the next step: a mission to North America. For that purpose was established in 1761 "the Ancient and accepted Scottish Rite". This name brings us back to the beginning of this history: the Chapter of Clermont and the Scottish refugees. So Stephen Morin sailed for America, and established Bodies of the Scottish Rite in Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic, spanish colony forming with Haiti, a French colony,  the island before known as Hispaniola) and the nearby island Jamaica (an English colony). He also appointed others for a mission to North America, ic South Carolina (Atlantic coast) etc and through them their Rites were disseminated among the freemasons of the United States. This action was yet with the approval of the "Grand Lodge of France" , but not for long.


        Role of Erasme Pincemaille

        1763-1766: Conversations allégoriques organisées par la sagesse,2, 7

With the growth of the movement and also for further expansion there was a need to define clearly the Degrees and the Rites of the Lodge of "the Ancient and accepted Scottish Rite". In 1763, Erasme Pincemaille, the Master of the Lodge "St Jean de La Candeur" (candeur:  meaning in French Frankness) at Metz, began to publish an exposition of these Degrees in the serial numbers of a work entitled "Allegorical Conversation on freemasonry"2. Yet on the 25 March 1764 his lodge was recognised by the Grand Lodge of France. But the Grand lodge did no more agree when he started to sell his publication in 1764 and she  offered him three hundred livres to suppress the book. Pincemaille accepted the bribe, but continued the publication. Then he was publically accused to sell for his own profit the secrets and the rites of the lodge (especially to the lower members of the lodge)  and he was expulsed from the Lodge "St Jean de la Candeur" in the same year. It was Jean Tifaine 3, an obscur member,  who did the job. But Erasme continued his publications till 1766. In that year France acquired the full authority of the region of Lorraine and Metz. It gived the opportunity to the "Grand Lodge of France" to exclude all these dissidents belonging to  "the Council of Emperors of the East and West". Erasme must then finish his publications and travelled to Hamburg. But the excluded freemasons  continued to work clandestinely till 1781, when they were completely absorbed into the Grand Orient, and had no longer an existence.


1767 - 1772. Erasme Pincemaille in Germany2


We will find Erasme after 1766 in Hamburg, where he started end 1767 a new French Lodge "St Jean de la Candeur" of the scottish rite. She was  officially founded  28 May 1769. And yet in 1770 he  had founded another lodge "de la Candeur" in Berlin. He considered that as a "Knight of the RosiCrucians" (F: Chevalier des Rose Croix, Nl:Ridder van de  Rozekruisers) he had the authority8 to found this lodges  with  obedience to the "Grand Orient de France". Hence it's  for sure that nobody in Hamburg was aware of his events in Metz and so it's logic that he started first in Hamburg and later in Berlin. The office of the master of his lodge was reserved for a Knight of the Rosicrusians and the other offices to the adepts of the Scottish Rite. This French lodges accepted also jewish. With this uncommon structure his lodge asked in vain the adherance to  the Grand Lodge of Germany. The protocols of his lodge in Hamburg of 24 May 1772 tell us that he leaved in that year Germany and returned to France for business reasons. His lodge of Hamburg was then in 1773 absorbed by and the members equally distributed over the 2 existing Lodges of Hamburg. He stayed not very long in France, because in 1775 we will find him in Moscow.


1775. Erasme Pincemaille in Moscow


We see how Mr Pincemaille at the arrival of the French diplomate Daniel de Corberon in Moscow, 12 Aug 1775, mobilised his relations under the French comedians to meet Daniel de Corberon. Mr Pincemaille was successful the 25th dec, the day before Daniel de Corberon leaved Moscow for St Petersbourg.



        12 Aug 1775.       

Daniel de Corberon arrived 12 august 1775 in the evening in Moscow. One of the next days he went to the "Opéra Comique" and saw "Julie". He appreciated  the talent of the comedian Mr Dugué and his partner, but he found that another comedian Madame Pincemaille  was young and nice, but not very talented.


        11 Octobre

He received an invitation  for a diner at the home of Madame la Daubecourt , a comedian, in presence of Madame Souslaville (daughther of Mr Pincemaille). He did n't understand the reason of  the invitation of the two ladies and asked to reserve it for another occasion.


        20 dec 1775

It was finally the comedian Dugué who introduced him at the occasion of a trip through Moscow to the father of Madame Souslaville: Mr Pincemaille, perfumer and great freemason of Metz. Daniel de Corberon became interested during the discussion and asked him for lunch on  Saturday (23 dec 1775). Mr Pincemaille confirmed also, what Daniel de Corberon had heard elsewhere, that in Metz 3 days a year rained a kind of manna.


        25 dec 1775

But it became monday morning before Daniel de Corberon noted a first discussion about freemasonry at the home of Mr Pincemaille. At the end Mr Pincemaille spoke him about the secrets he likes to communicate. One is a remedy against fever. But Daniel de Corberon is a bit disappointed of what he heard. For him it likes more something of quackery (N: kwakzalverij, F: charlatanisme) and not something for this age of philosophy.

He leaved him for diner and when he returned at home, he found Mr Pincemaille waiting for him and they continued the discussion about freemasonry. But Mr Pincemaille made also confidences about an elixir to revitalise the forces of a man and also a secret metal aloy with the colour and weight of silver.


        26 Dec 1775

Daniel de Corberon leaved Moscow for St Petersbourg.






1:international deal:  Charles  VI (Emperor  : 1711 - 1740) had successed  his brother Jozef I (Emperor: 1704 - 1711) as Emperor of Autrich. His daughter Maria Theresia of Hapsburg married Francis II Duke of Lorraine and Lorraine came under the influence of Autrich. In reaction France tried to gain influence in Poland. But Stanislaw Lesczinski  was the unsuccessful French candidate for the Polish throne during the Polish Succession (1733-1735) War through interaction of Autrich, because the daughter of Stanislas was married with the French King.

But the Emperor Charles VI in order to secure Maria Theresa's inheritance had to negotiate with the other European powers the "Pragmatic Sanction" to set aside the Salic Law against female succession. So following the War of the Polish Succession Francis II Duke of Lorraine agreed to cede Lorraine in 1737  (to Autrich in 1714) as part of the negotiations of "the Pragmatic Sanction" to Stanislaw Lesczinski. Since Lesczinski's daughter was the Queen of France, his death in 1766 will mean the acquisition of Lorraine by the King of France Louis XV.


2. Museum of freemasonry in Bayreuth, Germany (îeimaurermuseum),

-Conversations allégoriques organisées par la sagesse, 13H., London 1763 (ref.4420AA-Sign1583)

-1988: Herzog Werner, Auf den Spuren von Erasme Pincemaille, Quatuor Coronati Jahrbuch Nr 25, Bayreuth, 1988,s.209-218 (ref. 3420PHN-Sign 5833).


3. Article in "Le Republicain Lorrain", 13th May 1992.

About freemasonry in Lorrain and Erasme Pincemaille.


4. website of the" Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Valley of St. Louis".


5. History of the Lodge: The idea came from the lodge (N: bouwkeet, F: abri) where free masons (N: vrije metselaars, F: Francs maçons) who constructed in the Middle Ages a Building or a stonen Church under the leading of a master met each other. Each mason had to cut his stone as good as possible for their common task the building. People in Great Brittain  translated their ideas for freedom and egality in terms of free masons constructing a building. freemasonry tells us a history of secret societies. It was a way of opposition against the dominant postion of the autorities (sometimes church and nobles, sometimes English in Scotland) and a good cover-up. So far that in the beginning they  presented themselves as so-called Accepted  members of existing associations of real masons. In 1717, when the guilds of the real masons were in full decline,  has been established the first Grand Lodge of 4  lodges in London. This date is accepted as the beginning of what we know today as freemasonry.We find Grand Lodges in Ireland and Scotland in 1725 and 1736, but also in the West-Indies, Spain, Germany etc. Nevertheless the history of freemasonry begon earlier because it was simply England that exported his lodges through the world in this days they domininated the seas. Thus in earlier times it will lead us p.e. to lodges in Scotland around 1600 and before, considered as the Ancient Lodges. So we can understand the terminology "Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite". But probably we have to go further back in history, 15th .. 14th .. century ... , to understand the symbolism, and  at the time the church was in full power constructing the signs of his domination in cathedrals. This secret societies used then symbolically the carpenter's square, the stone etc. to make their idea of what should be the society. And we should ask us who are this people in the Middle-Ages who used then symbolically the objects of their opponents to construct the idea of another kind of society and we should also investigate if they let signs of their movement in the stonen sculptures of the churches. Even it could reveal an older existing conflict in the European society, because we find back in freemasonry elements of Celtic, German, Egyptian, Jewish and Roman religion and also of Templars all used in a symbolic way. For all this reasons the secrets of the Lodge were revealed gradually each time one attained a higher degree in the Lodge, because at the end of the day they would another order in the society.


freemasonry from ad 1600 to the Grand Lodge Era, a sketch of the transition period, by Bro. W.J. Hughan, P.G.D., Hon. Mem. No. 2049

freemasonry - History and Ritual - A Political Force - Scottish Rite freemasonry

Some strange coincidences:

Bordeaux, a city under English dominion for three centuries (1154 - 1453):  the City Cathedral is consecrated to St. Andrew, patron saint of Scotland.

Charles de Lorraine as future husband of the Austrian Empress Maria Theresa was a member  of a lodge.


6. Le Journal de Marie Daniel Bourrée de Corberon, Paris - Saint-Pétersbourg - Paris 1775-1781, partly published on internet (1775) (copyright: Revue.org).

Rédigé en majeure partie entre 1775 et 1781, ce journal couvre l'intégralité de la mission diplomatique en Russie du chevalier et ses activités à son retour à Paris ; il est une source documentaire de première importance pour les curieux qui s'intéressent à la Franc-maçonnerie et ses réseaux, aux relations culturelles et diplomatiques entre la France et la Russie à la fin du XVIIIe siècle, et aux modes de sociabilité en usage à cette époque.


7.  Alain Le Bihan, "Loges et Chapitres de la Grande Loge et du Grand Orient de France", Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, 1967.


8. Before he became master of the lodge "St Jean de la candeur" ca 1763/1764 Erasme Pincemaille was also a member of the "Chapitre des Chevaliers de l'Aigle Noir". Known is the "Souverain Chapitre des Chevaliers de L’Aigle Noir-Rose-Croix" founded in 1763 in Lyon by Jean-Baptiste Willermoz. That confirms the link with the Rosicrusians. See http://www.geocities.com/roggemansmarcel/cbcs.htm (W. Roggemans).


9. "St Jean de la Candeur". The term "St Jean" makes a reference to the crusaders. The original Order of Saint John, surviving today as the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta (the Sovereign Military Order of Malta), could be traced back to a hospital probably founded in about 1080 by the brothers of the Benedictine Monastery of Saint Mary Latina. This Order may be regarded as the first of the Chivalric Orders of Knighthood that were imitated across Europe, both as Religious Military foundations, and later as Princely awards for their allies and supporters.

This orders are nowadays as well catholic or protestant (some links):

L'Ordre de saint Jean ; (commanderie Française du Grand Baillage de Brandebourg)
Le Johanniter Orden ; international (in English & Deutsch)
The Saint John Order ;(in English)
De Johanniter Orde ;(Nederland)
The Alliance of the Orders of Saint John of Jerusalem ; (in English)
L'Ordre des Chevaliers-Hospitaliers Orthodoxes de saint Jean de Jérusalem ;
10 German Encyclopedia (1773-1858, 242 thomes) of Kranitz, Oekonomische  Encyklopädie oder allgemeines System der Staats- Stadt- Haus- und Landwirthschaft (Economical Encyclopedia or general System of the Economy of the State, City, Home and Land).