History

Lodge St. Andrew Kilmarnock No. 126

History Chapter 1

"Outside the Entrance to the Lodge ..."

Lodge 126 History
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LODGE HISTORY COMPILED FROM THE RECORDS 1771 - 1994
BY BRO. ROBERT GHEE LODGE SECRETARY
TO MY MOTHER LODGE
ST. ANDREW KILMARNOCK NUMBERING ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY SIX
ON THE ROLL OF THE GRAND LODGE OF SCOTLAND

During the request by Grand Lodge in 1990 to compile from all the Lodges under the constitution of the Grand Lodge of Scotland a list of Lodge artefacts held by each Lodge, they are to be compiled and entered into a forth-coming publication by Grand Lodge entitled "The Hidden Treasures of Free - Masonry"
In Lodge St. Andrew No 126 there can be no greater treasure than our Lodge minute books, a great legacy left to the Lodge by past secretaries.
To open the pages of these old books we find a complete history of this old and honourable Lodge.
We are most fortunate that we may open a cupboard door within the Lodge room and reach for the first minute book dated 20th February 1771 and thereafter to the present.
In opening these early books we are caught by nostalgia of the past, the wonderful copper plate penmanship, the now faded ink brown in colour and penned with a quill; the composition, wording and spelling all befitting of the time. It can only be expected that a history of 225 years. We have minutes of 3, 4 and 5 pages; some only contain 6 lines recording The Assembly of Lodge St. Andrew Brethren. With such a wealth of words they reflect minutes of joy, sadness, disappointment and expectations.
In the year 1914 Bro. Peter Malcolm recorded a history of Lodge St. Andrew his mother Lodge from 1771 - 1913 which is undoubtedly an outstanding epitaph to this worthy brother, any brother who has read this printed history can only admire the great dedication and love of the craft Brother Malcolm had in compiling this record. Lodge St. Andrew can boast of many artefacts once held by the Lodge but we must appreciate that in 225 years the Lodge has had many homes during which many of our treasures have been lost; never the less these treasures have been recorded in our minutes.
When we read these early minutes the Masonic procedure would not be accepted today. We must remember what times were like in the year 1771 and appreciate what is recorded was acceptable; it was not done in looseness but was the procedure adopted in these early years. Kilmarnock in the Lodges early years was little more than a country town, having a market day, weaving, tanning and mining being the main source of employment, our records show that Lodge St. Andrew was a working mans Lodge. It is true to say that poverty was rife, to most; poverty must have been ever present at their doors.
History has shown that much of the poverty not only in Kilmarnock but throughout Scotland was partly due to religious exercises of the times which included lengthy periods of labour being held because of so many saints feast days.
Ayrshire was ahead of many parts of Scotland in church matters and was famed for their liberal opinions. Robert Burns at that time gave us his "Holy Fair" which summed up the shams and hypocrisies round the church. Kilmarnock has an honoured place in the annals of the Scottish Church for her attempts to sweep away many of the abuses which retarded its true progress towards the mission it is ordained to fulfil.
The general laws of Scotland at the birth of our Lodge were harsh and arbitrate, local magistrates were given considerable latitude in implementing the law, and they had the power to pick men from the tradesmen of the town to form a police force to preserve order as there was no regular police force. Town councils were not elected by the people of the town but by patronage of local superiors or lairds. This was according to a law passed in the year 1496, which also gave the right to the old council of the town to choose the next council which meant that they were elected for life. Lodge St. Andrew was indeed born in stormy times. The kirk and state being powerful factors and held a strong grip over the people of the town, this retarded progress until the shackles were lifted in the early 19th century. Scotland however was in a much better condition than England regarding education. The great legacy left by John Knox of parochial schools had given Scotsmen a start in life which had been denied to those over the border.
The teachings in the late 17 hundreds was elementary confined to the bible and the catechism and such works as may fit the children for servants and allowed for no writing for the poor, such was the education system when the Lodge received it's charter.
War followed war during the early years of the Lodge only 26 years had passed since the Jacobite rebellion of 45 and no doubt there must have been members of the Lodge who had taken sides in this romantic conspiracy but no mention is made in the minutes. This may have been due to the severe penal laws that were in force at this time, if you consider that if caught stealing goods to the value of five shillings was punished by death. People were still being burned at the stake; the statue books contained 160 capital offences. The French revolution was about to commence and the loss of our American colonies took place. This was followed by the Napoleonic wars. Though little is mentioned in the minutes during these times, there are sentiments mentioned that show feelings of these experiences throughout these early testing times. The members of the Lodge stuck loyally together. To their honour and credit, their deep feelings towards the principals of masonry gave success to our Lodge leaving a glorious heritage which we now enjoy.
Such were the times when the Lodge originated. As we look back from these modern days we may imagine a romanticism which is not of today. There was no romanticism only a stern reality always facing the Lodge and its members. Let us keep untarnished the name and fame of our early pioneers for the great privileges they fought for and gained to us their successors.

"The Beginning"

The first steps were taken by 16 Master masons to form a Masonic Lodge; they agreed to meet on Thursday 20th February 1771 in the house of John Paton (Vintner). It is possible that many of these 12 brethren were incomers to the town, as Kilmarnock was becoming an important farming town with the beginnings of industry.
20 - 2 - 1771
The minute of the first meeting shows that it was agreed that a Master, deputy Master, 2 wardens, secretary and treasurer along with 2 stewards were elected. The result of the election being Brother Thomas Boston elected as the first R.W.M. Brother Brown, Deputy Master. Brothers Perry and Laury as wardens, Brother Humphrey Secretary, Brother Murdoch Treasurer, the Steward's Brother Quaill and Brother Reid.
Thereafter it was agreed that the intended Lodge be named Kilmarnock St. Andrews and that every member should pay 5 shillings to maintain the Lodge, with newly admitted brethren paying 7 shillings and 6 pence and thereafter any brother admitted to the Lodge would pay an entrance fee of 10 shillings and 6 pence.
This must have been an extremely busy first meeting as not only the first election took place , the fees to be charged but 7 brothers were passed to the F.C. Degree 6 of which were raised to M.M., there is no mention in the minute where these brethren received the E.A. Degree. At the close of the first meeting it was agreed to hold an Office Bearers meeting 4 days later for the purpose of drawing up a petition to be sent to the Grand Lodge to procure a charter.
24 - 2 - 1771
On Monday 24th February 1771 the first Office Bearers meeting was held. There is no mention where the meeting took place. The meeting was chaired by Master Thomas Boston; the business was to draw up the petition to Grand Lodge to procure a charter.
Along with the agreed petition a letter was sent to a brother mason who resided in Edinburgh enclosing £5 18 shillings to defray the cost to present the petition to Grand Lodge in Edinburgh. It is interesting to note that the proposed charter was to include that the election of Office Bearers was to be carried out twice a year.
The proposed petition was presented to Grand Lodge committee at the quarterly communication but news of this petition came to the ears of members of the existing Kilmarnock Kilwinning Lodges who no doubt been prompted by the animosity towards Grand Lodge at this time to suppress any attempts in the formation of a new Lodge in Kilmarnock. The petition was balked by brethren of the existing Kilmarnock Kilwinning Lodges who raised a number of protests and why the intended Kilmarnock St. Andrew Lodge should not receive a charter.
9 - 4 - 1771
On the 9th April 1771 Brother Thomas Hunter of Edinburgh who had presented the petition to Grand Lodge wrote a letter to R.W.M. Thomas Boston Master explaining his great disappointment in not receiving a charter on behalf of the petitioners in Kilmarnock and the reasons the Kilmarnock Kilwinning Brethren gave to the Grand Lodge as to why the charter should not be granted.
(Extract) of letter from Brother Thomas Hunter Edinburgh containing the following remonstrate put forward by the existing Kilmarnock Kilwinning Lodges.
(1) "That most of the petitioners had been members of the Kilmarnock Kilwinning Lodges."
(2) "That some of the petitioners had been involved in a disturbance within one of the Kilwinning Lodges when a brother was asked to leave, the stewards by the Masters order laying hold on him in order to put him out, they were attacked by members of the petitioners in the open Lodge insisting that the Brother should not be put out the Lodge by force, and actually rose from their seats in order to support this brother and asserted a manner disgraceful to masonry and disrespect to the Masters authority observed in a Lodge."
(3) "That many of the petitioners were new comers into the town."
(4) "That Kilmarnock was a town of no great extent it already had two Lodges and the granting of this new charter would cause a great detriment to masonry as the new Lodge would take as many members as possible to increase their members which would mean such members maybe admitted as may become dishonourable to masonry."
The letter concluded "That these protests be brought before the Lodge committee in Kilmarnock and answers be given to the Grand Committee in time for the annual quarterly communication to be held some time in May when he was sure that a charter would be obtained."
A meeting was called by the Master Thomas Boston where these protests were discussed by the petitioners. It is worthy of note that in Ayrshire at this time there must have been conflicting loyalties of the Kilwinning Lodges and Grand Lodge in Edinburgh.
To the above remonstrance the Lodge committee sent the following answers.
"Answers to the letters or information given by the Pretended Master, Senr and Junr Wardens and secretary of the pretended Kilmarnock Kilwinning Lodge.
(Extract)
"We humbly beg leave to make a few observations or answers to the said letters or information, and to inform your venerable worship that this pretend Lodge under the name of the Kilmarnock Kilwinning is no Lodge at all, they having no charter from, nor do they hold under your worshipful Lodge, nor any other, so consequently are not entitled to presume to object to our intended Lodge."
To the first article
"It is very true that many of the members of our intended Lodge St. Andrews were members lately entered into the same pretended Kilmarnock Kilwinning Lodge and would never have thought of dissenting there from if they had held under your venerable Lodge, which they never did, altho, they ensnare people into their pretended Lodge, telling them they are under your worships protection. They never hesitate of admitting members without any remuneration at all with them, if they have just as much money as to pay their dues its all they want. Then there are brethren, many members of very infamous characters being of late admitted into the said pretended Lodge and the greatest irregularities possible kept therein disgraceful to a mason Lodge if they were such. We never entered any prentices or members into our intended Lodge, nor did ever we attempt to admit any by ourselves without the protection of the Master of some neighbouring Lodge."
To the second article
"That a certain member of the pretended Kilmarnock Kilwinning named John Davie, a bookseller, being only lately admitted a member therein was much inportuned, solely by the pretended Master, Senr and Junr Wardens of the said pretended Kilmarnock Kilwinning Lodge to commission for each of them from Ireland, a masons pocket companion or rather entitled The Grand Secret. Which he out of goodwill and complaisance accordingly commissioned and when they arrived, delivered them one each. The person from whom these books were commissioned having sent two more than the order. Mr Davie was strenuously applied by one of the members of the said pretended Lodge, which he granted and at that members desire printed the following letters there on

  W
H  T
  S

For which and for vending these books when even only to themselves the said Mr Davie was convened before the said pretenders, Master, Senr and Junr Wardens and Secretary only, was tried by them for that infamous crime as they called it and accordingly condemmed and erazed out of their books and Lodge and all the pretended privileges being without ever warning a committee of their brethren to attend at the meeting.
That some of our brethren hearing of this irregular and disrespectful piece of behaviour upon Mr Davie who has always borne a fair character and credit with him and being applied to by him to enquire into the (root) of the cause they accordingly went along with Mr Davies to the said pretended Lodges next quarterly meeting and begged of the Master that he would cause that act in their books to be read in their presence and that they might be heard on Mr Davies behalf, which the Master refused and called the Tyler and stewards to put out Mr Davies by the neck, which they accordingly did in a most barbarous manner but which we never opposed, although it was asserted we did, on the contrary some of our members were violently seized by some of the other members and with the utmost difficulty got ourselves defended and went downstairs.
All we said was that if they were a regular body of a Lodge we would report them to the Grand Lodge, an attestation of which under the hands of some of the pretended Lodge members is herewith produced. Your worships will observe that sometime after the sending in of these books, Mr Davies dissented from their Lodge and became one of our members when as soon as the pretended Lodge heard of this, they brought on their action against him. They never thought of doing it, as long as he remained a member with him."
To the third article
"It is true that a few of our members are but a few years ago come to Kilmarnock, altho they are called strangers in the letters or information, and even these few are better and more intimately known of acquaintance with the Master and other members of the St Marnock Lodge than any of the rest of our members. Had the said Kilmarnock Kilwinning Lodge been entered with your venerable Lodge we would then naturally and certainly have applied to them for a recommendation as any other, but when they were not such, whom could we apply to but the next neighbouring Lodge, St Marnock's which they very readily did. If we did not deserve their recommendation, we are sorry for it, however we are able to get many Lodges to attest our character if required."
To the fourth article
"The town of Kilmarnock everybody knows is a place of a pretty large extent and there is nothing but one regular Lodge therin, St Marnock, and that very Lodge is only composed of gentlemen about the county who will admit of no mechanicks or operatives there in. For that reason, and as sundry of us members in the said intended Kilmarnock St Andrews Lodge were admitted and entered apprentices in the Thistle Lodge of Glasgow, so could not have access to our own Mother Lodge, consequently were obliged to apply to your venerable Lodge, to be under your protection which we shall always be happy of and study to the utmost of our powers to promote nor shall we ever admit a member without having the necessary qualifications and recommendations. This is one of our intended rules and laws to be observed in our Lodge, a copy of them shall be presented if required. In respect of what is above set forth it is humbly hoped your venerable worships will clearly see that what the pretended Kilmarnock Kilwinning Lodge has set forth is entirely groundless and without foundation, out of a piece of ill-will and malice and with no other intent than to parry of our charter for the time and that you will pay no regard to the same, but cause our charter to be made out when convenient and shall pay the ordinary dues and fees."
{ Thos. Boston Master
Signed{ Wm. Perry Senr. Warden
{ Jno. Loury Junr. Warden
{ William Humphrey Secretary
"We the under subscribers, members of the Kilmarnock Kilwinning Lodge, do hereby certify and attest that what is set fourth in the third article in the answers by the Kilmarnock St Andrews, in opposition to the second article in the letter or information by our Lodge is just and true. We being present at the transaction, as witness our hand at Kilmarnock this second of May 1771 years."
Signed { John Hilous
{ Jno Smith
On the 1st may 1771 a lengthy letter was sent to brother Thomas Hunter, Edinburgh along with the information and answers to Grand Lodge Committee.
This was the rough and rugged road our founding members had to travel to gain our charter. Let us not forget this all took place in the year 1771. The Lodge had no regular meeting place, the secretarial work was of no small amount, and the fullness into which Bro. Boston and Bro. Humphrey who was secretary at this time must have been an ominous task. The many letters of correspondence between Kilmarnock Kilwinning and Edinburgh could not as today be put in a letter box. Letters in the year 1771 were delivered by hand or by "mail coach" now serving Kilmarnock. The forming of a new Lodge as all founding members will agree is a formidable task, but in 1771 there was no guide lines, no set of rules, procedure was individual, even the cost of a charter varied, never the less on the 31st May 1771 a charter was recorded in the Grand Lodge of Scotland by David Bowt (Grand Clerk) to Lodge St Andrew Kilmarnock, the number given to the Lodge was No 165 seal of 1830.
The account received from Grand Lodge in providing the Charter is worthy of note.
To a charter of constitution and errection in favour of above Lodge.
Petition and order 10 Shillings
To Grand Lodge composition 2 Pounds 2 Shillings
To writing charter and recording 1 Pound 6 Shillings
Vellum 3 Shillings 6 Pence
Seal wax ribbon and box 5 Shillings 6 Pence
Grand Tyler 5 Shillings
Expenses to General Oughton to sign Charter 2 Shillings
To the Grand Clerk for his extraordinary trouble in obtaining this charters 1 Pound 1 Shilling
The Grand Total of 5 Pounds 15 Shillings
3 - 6 - 1771
The Lodge met R.W.M. Thomas Boston presided, there is no record where the Lodge met, but the Master read out to the members attending, that our charter had been granted and the account for same was passed for payment. The minute continues "4 petitions were received, no objections arising they were accordingly admitted." Not only was this the first meeting under our new charter but the Lodge conferred it's first honourary members in the persons of Bro. Alexander Masson (writer) Edinburgh and Bro. Hugh Darby (writer) Kilmarnock. We can only assume that both brothers were given this honour for their help in securing our charter.
Signed Thos. Boston. M.
12 - 10 - 1771 On the 12th October 1771 the Lodge met on account of the Consecration Meeting.
Extract of Minute
"The Lodge being met on account of the Consecration and having dined Bro. Alexr. Cunningham having taking the chair and Bro. T. Clow and Wylie as Wardens and the Lodge being opened. Bro. Cunningham gave an eloquent and learned discourse and the Master and Office Bearers being called up Bro. Clow, Master of St David Lodge Glasgow installed the Master in the chair. Bro. Boston who installed the rest of the Office Bearers in their respective Offices. When Bro. Cunningham gave them a charge, afterwards the brethren passed the night agreeably and conveyed the Master home in procession to his house. Same night Bros. Cunningham and James French were admitted honouary members of the Lodge."
Signed Thos. Boston. M.
21 - 11 - 1771 The Lodge met (there is no mention where) where it was proposed that the Lodge be represented in Grand Lodge by proxy, as it was out of question to send a brother of the Lodge, which at that time was "A long and expensive journey". "As the next meeting of Grand Lodge was on St Andrews day it was agreed that Bro. Alexander Masson (writer) and Bro. Thomas Hunter (tailor) who both reside in Edinburgh be asked to represent the Lodge." "It was also decided that the Lodge would celebrate St Andrews day on Monday 2nd December. This would be held in the shop of Bro. Hunter who would furnish a dinner suitable to the occasion."
Signed Thos. Boston. M.
At this early stage in the Lodge's existence it is characteristic that Lodge St Andrew foster sociability and was determined that a social side to the Lodge should exist."
2 - 12 - 1771
"This evening the brethren assembled in the shop of Bro. James Hunter and having dined and celebrated St Andrews day, proceed to elect a Master and Office Bearers for the ensuing half-year. Bro. William Perry being elected as Master" and the following brethren were elected to the respective Offices:
Davie - Dept. Master
Quale -Warden
Taylor -Warden
Murdoch - Treasurer
Humphrey - Secretary
J. Shaw - Steward
Frazer - Steward
(Minute unsigned)
27 - 12 - 1771
"The Lodge met and this being St Johns day after the business of the Lodge was complete it was decided that a deputation visit the Kilmarnock Kilwinning Lodge and after returning we were visited by four members of the Kilmarnock Kilwinning Lodge."
Signed Wm. Perry. M.
Whatever the feelings that may have existed between the Kilwinning Lodge and Lodge St Andrew, which at this time could not have been harmonious must have been put aside for the good of freemasonry.
16 - 1 - 1772
"The brethren met where several brethren objected to some of the Lodges laws" There has been no mention of bye-laws in the records but it is evident that they must have been in existance, Five members of the Lodge were elected on to a committee to inspect the said laws, the R.W.M.'s opinion was "That if three or more members objected to the opinion of the committee their opinion should stand"
Signed Wm. Perry. M.
16 - 4 - 1772
The minute of this meeting must surely be recorded as the shortest in the Lodges history.
"This being another monthly meeting the brethren met and passed the night agreeably"
Signed Wm. Perry. M.
25 - 6 - 1772
"The said day being the monthly meeting of the Lodge the business being that a number of members were having great difficulty in meeting their financial obligations to the Lodge. The R.W.M. announced that if the members who were in arrears would be otherwise "Prosecuted"". It was evident that the R.W.M. was not allowing any dallying in these early times prosecution of defaulters was in order. The specific remedy of prosecution which in those days was drastic and severe. To read this today it is inconceivable that such action could be taken.
29 - 6 - 1772
This is the first recorded meeting of the Office Bearers of the Lodge. The main business was to "requisite furniture" to carry on "The Ceremonies of Masonary" this meeting was held in the house of Bro. Crawford who was also asked to provide a suitable room in his house to accomodate the Lodge which he promised to do. "The committee also resolved to consult with William Ker (Glazier) anent floor coverings for the Lodge".
Signed Wm. Perry. M.
8 - 8 - 1772
The minute of this meeting is an example of the admission of candidates of the craft at this time. Members took upon themselves to admit candidates at very short notice, without the candidate passing the necessary qualifications regarding character or financial standing. It must be remembered that the dual position of the two Grand Lodges lent itself to this state of matters. The brethren dispensed with all form, one of them would take the "chair" and carry through the ceremony without any authority.
(Extract) 8 - 8 - 1772
"Two or three days ago a petition being presented by John Stevenson (tailor) and proposed to be made this night, as he is going away on Monday, accordingly a number of the brethren and Office Bearers amongst them met and no objections arising, John Davie being appointed to take the chair, and accordingly the candidate was admitted."
Signed John Davie
It is interesting that the above minute was signed by Bro. John Davie. It appears that the business of Lodge procedure our charter was not yet complete as the next minute records.
17 - 9 - 1771
Bro. John Davie made claim that he had spent two shillings and sixpence while in Edinburgh as a treat to our friends in Edinburgh who had interested themselves in procuring a charter for the Lodge. It was agreed that this amount be paid to Bro. Davie. The minute continues with Bro. Davie claiming a further five shillings and six pence as some pretended expences at Ayr about getting recommendations for procuring our charter, this was dismissed by the Lodge as some members had done as much as Bro. Davie at their own expense. At this time in our history it was not uncommon for the Master to write his own minutes of Lodge meetings, we cherish the simplicity and at times humour of their minutes.
22 - 2 - 1773
"The Lodge met, a petition was presented by William Allan (teacher of church musick) when no objection being made he was admitted a member, afterwards the Brn passed the evening happily and parted in good time"
Signed Wm Quayle M.
13 - 5 - 1773
"No business to do the brethren passed the night joyfully in peace and unity."
Signed Wm Quayle M.
9 - 9 - 1773
The minute of this meeting shows that even in these early years of the Lodge it received a number of visitors. The records show that visitors were received from Newmilns Kilwinning, Union and Crown Glasgow and St Marks Glasgow. In these modern times visits from the above brethren are looked upon as regular, but if we consider that the year is 1773. The mode of travel was poor, we can only assume that these visiting brethren arrived in Kilmarnock on horse back or on a horse drawn coach the journey was considerable. The minute also confirms that the meeting continued until 10 p.m. which would require an over night stay.
It is note worthy that the Lodge in these early days was beholding to local circumstances, it shared a close connection with life in the community. Farming was an important part of life in Kilmarnock, the Lodge records show that our register contains the names of farmers and farm workers. Market days in Kilmarnock were traditionally held on Friday, and to some extent this tradition still continues, the Lodge being aware that many of our farming members had to travel some distance, and as history has already recorded, The working of their farms took precedence, this left very little time to pursue their masonic rite. Consideration was given to hold meetings at certain times on Fridays to accommodate these members as the following minute records.
12 - 3 - 1774
"The Lodge being met allowed the Master and members of the committee to take the let of the Lodge room from Bro. Crawford for a term of years and to agree of the terms. It being observed to the Lodge that for the conveniency of our Br who lived in the country one monthly meeting in a quarter of a year should be on a "Friday". The brethren agreed to it and left the Master liberty to appoint the meeting at which time in particular he was to acquaint the country brethren."
Signed Wm Quayle
Disputes began within the Lodge due to finances, there was a continual struggle in these early years of non payment of member’s dues. As the minutes record "This is not confined to members but to Office Bearers themselves who were as big a sinners." A crisis evidently came in 1774.
21 - 4 - 1774
It was minuted at this meeting "That no member shall have a vote or any other cause to this Lodge if he is in arrears to the Lodge for entry money or quarterly accts, in all time coming."
Signed Wm. Perry. M.
These steps were taken to ensure that legally qualified members should rule the destinies of the Lodge. Reference was also made that there was a continual coming and going of members. Like all young institutions they were groping towards an orderly state, motions were as often made and passed only to be broken, new members brought new ideas which did not always fit in with the opinions of the old generation. Hitherto when out of Office they were free from the government of the Lodge. This did not please some of those who had borne the brunt of the battle for recognition. It appears that past Office Bearers had held the right to be present at all committee deliberations. The matter was finally settled by a minute of the 27th December 1773.
( Extract)
"The Lodge thinks it is absolutely necessary and allows them to be always and their predecessors to be in the committee in all time coming." There must have been great confusion and discussion on this matter, which was resolved that the ruling only applies to past Masters of the Lodge. Although the Lodge was still young in years there was great competition for the Office of Master, this was the cause of much rivalry among the members. The half yearly meeting of the election of Master and Lodge Office Bearers held on the 19th May 1774 records what appears to have been an exciting and boisterous meeting. The following is an excerpt from that meeting.
( Extract)19 - 5 - 1774
"The Lodge being mett and quarter accounts drawn in the brethren proceeded to the election of Master and Office Bearers for the ensweing half year, when brothers James Hunter, Pirrie and McVicar were chosen candidates for Master. The election went on when the secretary declared that the votes were equal between Br McVicar and Br Pirrie which was disputed by Br Pirrie and several of the brethren who said Br Pirrie had it by one vote, and altho the majority of the brethren to prevent any disputes demanded that the election begin again, yet Br Pirrie so far from being satisfied with so reasonable a demand left the chair in a passion, loading the brethren with opprobious names and erasing his name out of the Lodge Books, declaring he would not be concerned any more with such a parcel of drunken blackguards then the Lodge declared that Br Pirrie had forfeited any right of being a member both for his own bad conduct and by his own actual deed."
The minute concludes they proceeded to the election of Office Bearers "And passed the night in harmony" Br James Hunter was elected Master. A sequence of events were to follow this unprecedented election meeting Bro. Pirrie was to take some drastic steps.
20 -5 - 1774
"The Master having called a committee of the Office Bearers acquainted them that the reason of his meeting at this time was that Bro. John Lambert. Late secretary had told that Wm. Pirrie had entered his house this morning in his absence and had taken the Lodge charter out of his desk, and begs the advice of the committee how for to act. The committee immediately deputed two of their number to go to Wm. Pirrie and demand the charter which he absolutely refused when the committee agreed that a petition should be presented to one or two of his majesty's justices of the peace to convene him before them to cause him to deliver it up and appoints Bro. James Hunter, John Hunter and Bros. Boston and Br William Brown to act in the affair and report to the committee to be held on Monday."
Signed James Hunter. M.
The demands of the committee were duly carried out and reported as follows.
21 - 5 - 1774
The comitee being mett to (night). They proceded to business when Br Hugh Wyllie was passed and raised a Master mason. The brethren that was appointed by the last comitee to conveine Br Wm. Pirrie, reported that Wm. Pirrie had promised to deliver up the charter within a few days (after their having demanded it before Mr Paterson justice of the peace) which the brethren consented unto.
Signed James Hunter. M.
The sequel is briefly told in the minute of November 25th 1774, from which an excerpt is taken. "The Lodge being mett the Master opned the business and aquainted the Lodge with a motion that Br William Pirrie might be admitted again into the Lodge (out of which he was declared by a minute in May 19th 1774) Which was agreed to on Br Pirrie making a small acknowledgment and Bro. Pirrie being sent for aquiesed to the sentence and the neight was spent in social harmony."
Signed James Hunter. M.
So ended this exceptional episode which the brethren of today may look as an interesting part of our history, insignificant to us but no doubt of keen interest to the members of that day. The compassion shown by the Lodge makes it of interest to us who are members. Freemasons may sometimes be wide of the mark, but there is always an undercurrent that binds the bonds of sentiment which makes for real fraternity
3 - 10 - 1774
The meeting held on this date records the first advert placed in a newspaper by the Lodge, this was placed in the "Glasgow Journal" to call attention to the members who lived outside Kilmarnock that a meeting had been called, the reason being that a loan fund was being formed by the Lodge, which would allow members to subscribe what they pleased to help pay off the debts of the Lodge. These debts that the Lodge had accumulated were mainly due to the Lodge practicing one of the cardinal principles of free masonry "charity".
The records show that the Lodge had for twelve months supported Br Peter Fowlerton a distressed Bro. of the Lodge. To the reader of today this may seem a small facet contained within free masonry. We must now remember that this was taking place in the year 1774. The Lodge was barely three years old. There had been little time to accumulate any funds, yet the brethren had agreed to full-fill one of our society's cardinal principles. The scarcity of money was always evident not only within the Lodge but in the home as well where their worldly possessions would not have amounted to much.
The minute continues At this meeting two pounds and four shillings was subscribed by members and the "Pledged Subscriptions" would be paid to the Lodge on the 30th November St Andrews day. The wording relative to the loans is befitting these times. "We the subscribers subscribe the sums annexed to our names to be paid on St Andrews day, being the 30th instant and to be paid back to us when the Lodge is able to do so." The records record that 13 members subscribed a total of "Forty Four shillings"
Signed James Hunter. M.
As to what further action was taken on this venture our records as silent.
30 - 11 - 1774
Once again the Lodge met and as this was St Andrews day the half yearly elections of Master and Office Bearers was held. Bro. John Davie was elected as Master.
Signed John Davie. M.
1 - 12 - 1774
On the above date the Lodge committee met the minute of this meeting records that Br Archd McVicar handed the Lodge secretary a protest on Bro's Davie, Boston and Darby being elected as Office Bearers. It is worth on note that Bro. Davie had been elected Master. On being asked for his reasons he replied that they would be given at the next monthly meeting. Bro. McVicar was further asked why these objections were not raised at the election meeting. Bro. Boston who was elected secretary stated that as no objections were raised at the election meeting the minute of that meeting stands. (no one signed this minute)
It now seems that the spirit of fraternity was absent as the following minute records.
27 - 12 - 1774
This was the monthy meeting of the Lodge Bro. McVicar produced his reasons for his protest presented at the committee meeting on 1st December. After these reasons were considered one by one by the Lodge brethren it was decided by the Lodge that the election minute stand. We do not have a full record of Bro. McVicar's protests, only one is recorded. "That Bro. Boston Lodge secretary had paid out 10 shillings in benevolence to a Bro. Green without the consent of the full committee." Bro. McVicar's protest came to "nought" but it did highlight the indiscriminate way benevolence was given by the Lodge. The result was that the Laws governing the Lodge would require some sort of revision. The attention given to the above matter was swift.
16 - 2 - 1775
A committee meeting was held on the 16th February when it was agreed that Bro's Bolton, Shaw, Darby and McVicar form a sub committee to look into and alter the Lodge bye laws which at present are defective.
Signed John Davie. M.
The only notice that is taken of the amendment of the bye laws is continued in a minute of 30th November 1775.
( Extract)
"And a motion being enacted that when any of the office bearers shall be absent, on the election night, whoever shall be appointed to the absent office bearers office till once the election be over, he shall have a vote along with the other office bearers for a candidate for Master, which motion being referred to a vote of the members, the same was accordingly "called" and carried in the affirmative."
Signed Hew Darby. M.
Again we must remember that these were early days of the Lodge. It was not expected that complete harmony on the laws governing the Lodge were perfect. New members were being introduced into the Lodge, they brought new ideas, with the growth of these newer ideas, the old feeling of autocracy was silently being undermined. Masonry in Scotland in 1775 did not escape the reflection of these times which were deep routed in feudalism and influenced by a life time of habit and custom. With the growth of these new ideas they were slowly creeping into Scotland, the old uncontrolled power which existed and reigned was gradually diminishing, this new spirit of progress was amending conditions that had existed for centuries. Lodges at this time held a unique position they in some respect were a law unto themselves.
This position was protected by the patronage of those in high positions, allowing Lodges free from many of the restrictions that abounded by the law of the land. To have this freedom and protection many brethren were allowed to develop new ideas many of which were associated with the bye laws governing the Lodge. This gave rise to the Lodge bye laws being changed at the slightest pretence which they knew came under no outside influence. The Lodge after wintering four years was still experiencing financial difficulties.
The minutes now relate a chapter in our history which is truly worthy of mention. One of the main causes of financial distress was that a brother of the Lodge Bro. Petter Fowlertoun had had a long illness, the recordings of the Lodge tell, that the Lodge pledged that it would provide all the brothers needs until his death. Brother Fowlertoun's death is recorded on the 29th December 1774. The Lodge had provided succour for 12 months. Viewed in the light of today, what Lodge would pledge all its funds to provide succour to one brethren, there can be no doubt that the brethren of these times had only one desire to be natural and practise the teachings of our craft.
29 - 12 - 1774
A committee meeting was held on this date in order to make the funeral arrangements of Bro. Petter Fowlertoun. The minutes of this meeting gives an insight as to the manner of dress and the great importance the Lodge placed on procedure and decorum.
( Extract)
"That the hour of burriel should be 3 o'clock that the Lodge be warned to meet at the Lodge room at half an hour after two, to be dressed in black cloths and white stockings, and from thence to walk to the burriel house in procession two by two, that the charge of ordering things proper for the interment be vested in John Davie, James Shaw and Jas Reid."
Signed John Davie. M.
The brethren met after the funeral, there is a short minute recorded which reflects the hard realities of these distant times.
( Extract)
"Same day the brethren met and having buried their brother in a decent manner ajourned to the Lodge and passed the evening, the brethren agreed to give Petter Fowlertoun's cloths to his brother upon his giving the Lodge 3 pounds."
Signed John Davie. M.
The sequel to the above minute records the character of our Lodge fore-fathers, although just men they faced the harsh realities of these times.
4 - 1 - 1775
"The committee met in order to consider of an offer made by - Fularton (Fowlertoun) to give his Master as caution for the £3 to be paid in 6 months, which was rejected on account that the Lodge had some debts to pay that required money, however they agreed to give him fourteen days to raise the money at which time if he did not come they authorised the Mr. to roup them to pay off the Lodge debts."
Signed John Davie. M.
The final chapter to this episode.
19 - 1 - 1775
"This being a monthly meeting the R.W. informed the brn that - Fullattoun (Fowlertoun) had paid the money and had rec'd the clothes, afterwards the brn passed the night as usual." (No signature to this minute)
As a sequel to this small chapter in our history, it would be unjust not to mention a service that was given to the Lodge by a local doctor by the name of Doctor Jasper Touch, sadly the records do not give any information on this local doctor. Our minutes do record that on the 24th December 1774. The following extract is contained in the minute.
( Extract)
"The committee being met being proposed that doctor Jasper Touch, on account of the service done for the Lodge on his humane attendance on our distressed Bro. Peter Fullarton and his generosity in taking nothing for the great trouble he has taken of him and considering that he had of his great humanity assisted the Lodge in maintaining him during the time of his illness there-fore moved that he should be made a member of our Lodge which being unanimously agreed to he was accordingly admitted."
Signed John Davie.
By the year 1775 Kilmarnock had become an important market town, this gave rise to the numbers of farmers and merchants who came to town. The minutes show that a number of farmers and merchants became members of the Lodge, from such places as Dundonald, Loans and the Irvine valley. In today's terms a journey to the Lodge would mean a half hour travel, in 1775 the conditions that prevailed could mean a half days journey the only mode of transport being the horse. To attend the Lodge meetings outwith market days must have been difficult especially in winter, never the less the records show that these journeys were made, it shows the great spirit and strong determination these rural brethren gave to attend the Lodge meetings.
On reading these old minute books which have become history books one cannot but be struck with the originality of the writers of these minutes. We must remember that these men who took on the task as secretary had no precedent or directions as to how our Lodge minutes should be recorded, they we ordinary men, men who had little schooling, who used their every day language in their writings, no doubt if they had been conscious that brethren who are about to enter the 21st century had a desire to learn more of their meetings and of their lives they might possibly have given a fuller detail of their meetings. In one sense we regret that meagreness of detail, in another we cherish the simplicity of their minutes. The following three minutes are of interest as they all bear the same date, why they are recorded in such fashion remains hidden in our history. It does show the complete independence from any outside bureaucracy.
19 - 5 - 1775
"The comety being met a petition was presented from Robert Arbucle student of music, desiring to be addmited a member of this Lodge, which being agreed to he was imeadiatly entered.
Signed John Davie
19 - 5 - 1775
"The comety being met a petition was presented from Peter Grive farmer in Loans, which being agreed to was imeadiatly entered."
Signed John Davie
19 - 5 - 1775
"The said day being the half yearly meeting there was a numari meeting and after the quarterly acounts was gethered in and paid to Petter Bishop instead of the tresury, the following brethren elected office bearers for the ensuing half year
Archbald McVicar- Master
Hughe Gibson - S. Warden
Peter Bishop - J. Warden
Hugh Sterling - Secretary
Willam Strang - Treasurer
John McReady - S. Steward
David McIlwraith - J. Steward
and afterwards
Br. Thomas Balfour was passed fellow craft and raised Master mason the remainder of the evening was spent in harmony."
Signed Arch McVicar. Master.
By the next minute we can only assume that the finances of the Lodge had improved.
11 - 4 - 1776
"The "Brn" being met it was passed by some of the brn that it was neccesary that there should be a commodious seat and table made for the Master, etc. Which the brn. agreed to."
The above extract is the first recording of the Lodge purchasing Lodge furniture. We of today can only speculate how the fortunes of the Lodge had improved. If we consult the Lodge records we see that Ayrshire at this time must have housed a number of military camps, this is shown by the names of regiments from whose ranks many of our candidates came. The regiments recorded in our minute books bear the illustrious names "Prince of Wales Regiment", "The 3rd Dragoon Guards", "Lord McDonalds Highlanders" and the "Royal Edinburgh Regiment". With the passing of time many more old regiments were to enter into our records, each one having its own place in history, it may also be concluded that candidates taken from these regiments were to see battle in the American war of Independence and the Napoleonic wars. The continual coming and going of candidates at this time led to many irregularities, there was also criticism of the irregular manner brethren were admitted. This added to the many differences that existed between the Kilwinning Lodges and the Lodges under the Grand Lodge in Edinburgh. The Lodge being a strong supporter of Grand Lodge and being aware of these chaotic conditions took steps to improve the admission of members in instances brethren were made to go through the ceremonies again before they could be accepted as true masons, as the following extract records.
11 - 3 - 1778
"This night Thomas Findlay applied to me to be enrolled as a member of this Lodge and he being made an entered apprentice, fellowcraft and Master mason in a clandestine manner I have there upon made him go through all the said cermonies and I have granted him a diploma to assert him to be such and have inserted him as a member of this Lodge upon him immediatly paying me ten shillings and sixpence sterling for behoof of the Lodge."
Signed Hugh Dunlop. Junr. M.
The above extract contains an item of great interest that is the issuing of a diploma. Unfortunately no treasure of this kind has survived although there is no definition in the minutes of the Lodge diplomas, further research was rewarded.
In an extract from the history of Lodge St. Ebbe No 70 Eyemouth bearing the date 3rd February 1780, it records that 20 years after their consecration certain brethren raised objection to the wording contained in their diplomas which was granted to their newly raised Master masons.
The extract records that Br Thomas Aird of Lodge St Andrew No 165 Kilmarnock (This was the original number of our Lodge)(Given by Grand Lodge dated 1771) had recently visited Lodge St Ebbe No 70. It is not apparent how the following circumstances came about, but the brethren of Lodge St Ebbe decided to issue a new diploma copied from the diploma used in Lodge St Andrew Kilmarnock.
"This diploma having met with the approval of the brethren, a copy was ordered to be inserted in the minute book of the society and to be used in future when a diploma was demanded by any brother of the Lodge."
"Thus"
"The Light shineth in the darkness, but the darkness comprehendeth it not, let your light shine before men, that they, seeing your good works, may glorify your supreme Grand Master who is in heaven."
"We the Master wardens, and other officers, members of the Lodge of St Andrew No 165, holding of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, N. Britain, do hereby and attest to all the brethren on the face of the earth that our brother Thomas Aird, the bearer hereof, was under due and regular vouchers admitted a member of our Lodge in which he was made an entered apprentice, passed fellow - craft and raised to the sublime degree of a Master mason, and as such we recommend him (after due examination) to be admitted to those parts of our mysteries belonging to him, and that no profane hand may make a bad use of this we have caused our brother to sign his name on the margin hereof so by causing the bearer to sign his name in your presence you may be certified whether this be his diploma or not."
"Given under our hands and our seal this ninth day of December anno domini one thousand seven hundred and eighty - eight et anno mundie five thousand seven hundred and eighty - eight."
Signed Thomas Boston. M.
Wm Kerr. D.M.
Michael Wallace. S.W.
John Muir. J.W.
It may be of interest, that the Lodge St Ebbe No 70 has amongst its treasured relics a copy of this diploma taken from the original diploma of Lodge St Andrew and was issued to a member of Lodge St Ebbe No 70. As in all history there must always be voids, to fill some of these voids, it lightens up the past and adds charm to the present by widening the horizon and a promise for the future. We of today must surely be proud of the fore - bearers of the Lodge, that they could devise a document (diploma) that would suffice in today's world. The brethren were now conscious that to eliminate illicit practices in their masonic ceremonies they must find suitable premises to house the Lodge.
The following minute records the first discussions on acquiring a Lodge room of their own.
16 - 7 - 1778
"Present in the committee Br Boston, Dunlop, Aird, McVicar, Tannahill, Taylor and McCauley who authorise Brs Boston and Dunlop to make a purchase of a house in craft in Kilmarnock belonging to major Brown not to exceed forty pounds sterling, for behoof of the Lodge, if the Lodge thinks the committee have acted imprudent the committee shall take the purchase into their own hands."
Signed Thos. Boston. M.
What became of this action is left unrecorded, no further reference is made to it, and we can only assume that their efforts were a failure. The following minute is of interest as it high lights the strong influence "The Kirk" particularly the old Scottish Presbyterianism held in Scotland.
3 - 11 - 1778
"This day the Lodge being met, the Brs agreed (that on account of the sacrament) the annual meeting of St Andrews day should be posponed till the Friday following afterwards the Brn passed the evening in peace and harmony."
Signed Thos. Boston. M.
The following minute illustrates the great freedom and autonomy that existed in the Lodge at this time.
20 - 1 - 177
"This day application was made by Doctor Emanuell Davie (surgeon) from London to be admitted a member of this Lodge and no objection being raised he was admitted occordingly."
Signed John Paton. M.
Although the recent minutes would seem to give an optimistic impression that the finances of the Lodge had improved we find that the circumstances which prevailed through out the country at this time was affecting the Lodge. This was the napoleonic wars which was to cause a great economic crisis through out Europe. Financial difficulties always bring pressures in some instances these can be over come by restraint others have to be faced in harsh times.
We find in the records that the later had to prevail in dealing with a crisis within the Lodge they show that a Bro. John Hunter who was a Master mason was with-holding Lodge funds for what reasons the minutes are silent, we do know that Br Hunter had been pressured for six months to pay what was owing to the Lodge. The steps taken by the Lodge in today's light may seem harsh, we of today are but by - standards to an age - which was entirely different.
6 - 10 - 1779
"The committee of the Lodge met this night in Hugh Crawfords (house) when they took into consideration the money owing to the Lodge by John Hunter do order Br Tannahill treasurer to see to get caution for the same within six days otherwise he must cause brother Hunter to be poinded and to see the same properly done, at his own perile and to employ any messinger he thinks proper to execute the diligence.
Signed Robt Murdoch. M.
The Lodge was now progressing through a period of change, these changes brought about a continual alterations to the laws governing the Lodge, one of which was that office bearers were elected to serve six months, this was now changed that elections would only take place once a year, as the following minute records.
20 - 11 - 1779
"This night being the anniversary of St Andrews day there was a motion made by brother Boston that the election should be once a year instead of twice. The whole brethren supported the motion and agreed that if there were no material objections offered against the next monthly meeting that the election should only be continued from this date once a year and that at St Andrews day at same time the election for office bearers came on."
The sequel is as follows.
20 - 4 - 1780
This being the first monthly meeting since the last election on St Andrews day, the brethren took into consideration the motion made at that time, when it was agreed by the brethren that the election should continue as usual till St Andrews day next to come and from that time to be annually.
Signed Wm. Pirrey. S.W.
It is unfortunate that there is no record of the Lodge bye-laws which governed the Lodge at this time, by the minutes we can assume that there was a cry and a need for change. We do know that it was not uncommon for a brother who had chaired the Lodge as Master could be re-elected to this high office, indeed brother Thomas Boston a founder member of the Lodge and the first Master, held this high office on eight occasions. This in its self shows the great esteem Bro. Boston held in the Lodge, his influence to make changes to add reform are well documented in our early minutes. Earlier reference was made to the existing differences between the Lodge and the Kilwinning Lodges in Kilmarnock. Our records point to a gradual reconciliation, this may have been influenced by the discussions that was taking place between Grand Lodge in Edinburgh and Kilwinning. The following minute speaks for its self.
27 - 12 - 1779
"This night being ST Johns day the Lodge being met sent a deputation to visit Kilwinning Lodge and receive a return (visit) from thence and having spent the night in harmony and social innocence shut the Lodge." (minute unsigned)
To add to the military connection with the Lodge the following minute records not only the regiment of the candidate but his unusual designation within the regiment.
19 - 2 - 1780
"A commetee being called by the Mast. John Thwaite musician in the 7th dragoons was entered an apprentice." There have been very little reference in the minutes to Grand Lodge and its influence to daughter Lodges at this time. We now find that a letter was received from Grand Lodge dated 30th November 1780, which states "That no future member would be admitted to a Lodge under one guinea of entry money". There is little evidence of any type of balance sheet from the Lodge or Grand Lodge, we do know that dues were paid to Grand Lodge on candidates being admitted to the Lodge.
A record dated 9th November 1780 records that payment of the two pounds sterling to Grand Lodge to enrol 16 members. This new one guinea entrance fee imposed by Grand Lodge was a radical change, one that bore many reservations within the Lodge, never the less it appears that the brethren excepted Grand Lodges decision. Times were hard, the napoleonic wars were still dominant draining the meagre resources at this time, this was causing great economic crisis throughout the country, Scotland being hardest hit. Under these prevailing circumstances new members would be scarce. These conditions brought an ever increasing problem to the Lodge financial burdens were ever present at the Lodge door. The new fee imposed by Grand Lodge added a further burden.
The responsory answer to the above, was that the Lodge adopted an instalment plan which allowed new members to pay what they could on being initiated, there after promises were given that the balance would be paid in instalments. Unfortunately members were reluctant to implement their promises. This eventually brought repercussions.
On St Andrews day 1781 the Lodge received a letter from Br Hugh Dunlop. Br Dunlop can only be described as being one of the pillars which supported Lodge St Andrew. His name is record in numerous minutes which reflected him as a brother of strong personality totally committed to the Lodge. Bro. Dunlop's letter is a long and very precise petition, dealing with the fundamental laws which governed it. It contents contain many criticisms, on the collection and payment of Lodge dues, and holding of Lodge funds by office bearers. He also put forward a proposal that a select committee be elected to deal with the many grievances that was brought before the Lodge which would eliminate interruption of Lodge harmony.
The records are silent on the Lodges reaction to Bro. Dunlop's petition, we do know that on 20th November 1782 his proposals were adopted by the Lodge. Although the following minute maybe unique today in these early days this was not only acceptable but correct and regular.
16 - 5 - 1782
"A comettee being called previous to the meeting of the Lodge Brs Robt McGroan, Jno Wilson, Jas Armour and Robt Templeton was passed fellow craft and raised to Mr Masons, and Hugh Reid was initiated a member of this Lodge.
Signed Hew Darby
The importance of the next minute illustrates the many anomalies that existed regarding the dates and Lodge numbers.
18 - 10 - 1782
" A commettee being called David Allison and William Wilson were admitted members of this Lodge, and paid their dues of ten shillings and sixpence each. At the same time Alex Mortons, stocking-maker here from St Peter's Lodge Galston was initiated a member of this Lodge and paid his dues."
Signed Hew Darby
As the above minute records a brother from Lodge St Peter Galston was initiated. By Grand Lodge records Lodge St Peter did not receive their charter until 1831. We must there for speculate that St Peter Lodge Galston existed before their charter date. To give a short insight to the subject of Lodge charters and numbers (to which many volumes could be written) maybe of interest.
In the year 1737 Grand Lodge placed Lodges upon a roll in order of seniority. This roll cannot now be found, but it is probable that it formed the basis of the numbering scheme at the time when it was first introduced. Certain Lodges which are known to have been chartered do not appear to have carried numbers at any time. It must be presumed that they were no longer active when numbers were first assigned. The assumed date when Lodges were assigned numbers was Late 1756.
The first enumeration (1735 - 1756) This remained in use until 1816, when certain changes taking place in 1809. This was due to the return to Grand Lodge of mother Kilwinning in 1808. 1822 the numbers were again changed, there is no record in Grand Lodge archives of the numbers that were assigned to Lodges in 1809 or 1822. The year 1826 a final numbering took place (this is the one currently in use). Between 1826 and 1848 all Lodges chartered were assigned two numbers, one on the 1826 roll and another on the 1809 roll. Grand Lodge archives do not contain any explanation of this peculiar administrative feature. There are instances where some Lodges have received five different numbers. To conclude this chapter the Grand Lodge archives give the following.
Lodge St Andrew Kilmarnock:
1737 - 1809 Number 166
1809 - 1816 Number 166
1816 - 1822 Number 124
1822 - 1826 Number 125
1826 - Number 126
As to regalia colours I leave to a future historian. Since the Lodge was established the Lodge meetings were held in members houses a practice which by today's standards is inconceivable on the 24th October 1782 a minute records that a committee was selected to look at a house which as the minute records "be repaired" for a Lodge room. To the outcome of this endeavour our minutes are silent. As referred to earlier the Kirk held a dominant influence in the community and in peoples lives. The Kirks attorney was the Kirk session, our local history (Robert Burns) bears great witness to the great power this body yielded. The Lodge was no exception, it too was aware of its power and consulted the Kirk and its Kirk session on a matter that had arisen, which hurt the character of masons and the character of a particular brother. It is commendable that in these early years the Lodge with its members stood steadfast in its undertaking to keep the name of Free Masonry from slander although long and protracted this episode is well worthy of inclusion.
8 - 1 - 1783
"This night the committee of the two Lodges met anent a report that tended to hurt the character of masons in general and a brothers character in particular by a George Thomson, (barber here) The Brn present appointed the following Brn to manage that affair to do in it as they see proper. Viz. Br Corsan. D.M., Br McLean, Br Kerr, from the Kilwinning (Kilmarnock) Lodge. Br Hugh Dunlop. M., Bro. Jas Hunter, Br Hew Gibson, from St Andrews Lodge."
A sequel to the above
22 - 4 - 1783
At a friendly meeting of the office bearers of the Kilmarnock Kilwinning and St Andrews Lodges, brother Robert McLean in the chair. The meeting took into their consideration a report of George Thomson, barber, Kilmarnock, tending to hurt the character of the masons Lodges here and brother Boston in particular, which report was laid before the session by way of petition by the Lodges craving, their decision on the affair. The society wanting to prove the contrary of said report brothers Dunlop and Corsan appeared in the session craving their decission when the session recommended to the society to make up the matter with George Thomson this meeting agreed to accept of an acknowledgement from George Thomson with respect to the falsehood of said report and laid the same before him to sign when he claimed till to-morrow for that purpose which was granted. The meeting hereby authorise Br Dunlop to get the same signed by George Thomson against to-morrow 6 o'clock at night. (no signature to this minute)
Sequel
Kilmarnock 22nd May 1785
"The session being met and (consisting of) the ministers and elders, the Revd Mr John Mutrie moderator compeared according to citation George Thomson, the letter for which the order of citation was given, was read to him and a copy whereof follows.
Kilmarnock 24th Aprile 1783
Genlm. "I am very sorry that what I have said concerning your meeting in Hugh Crawfords house on Saturday night 30th Novr 1782 have given the society of masons so much offence. I have already made an acknowledgement to Mr Boston and am willing to do it again, and I also acknowledge and am fully convinced that what I said of the society was false and am very willing to make an apology and asks the societys pardon and am Gentm. Your most humble servt (sic. subscribitor) George Thomson
Signed in presence of James McLean and James Thomson."
To conclude this chapter in the Lodge history, it is of great interest that the Lodge did receive an extract for the Kirk session minutes, an unusual disposition by any Kirk session at this time. Extract from the minutes of the session. "Whereof he was asked if he had subscribed the acknowledgement contained in that letter, to which he replied that the word "wrong" was in the letter when he subscribed it, in place of the word "false" that some members of the society not satisfied with the word "wrong" insisted that the word "false" should be subscribed in its place, against which substitution the said George Thomson some time remonstrated, but being assured by a gentleman, then present, that the word "false" bore the very same meaning with the word "wrong" he aquiesed in the alteration of the word from all which the session being convinced that there was no intention of falsehood on George Thomson's part agree to dismiss tha affair and that George Thomson be admonished to be cautious for the future as to the way in which he takes up and spreads reports anent the character of his neighbours. The session allow extracts of this minute and concluded with prayer.
Extracted from the minutes of session by (signed) J. Duncan. S.Clk
The next event of importance chronicled in the minutes was the growing interest in the ceremonial part of the order, as the following minute records.
24 - 11 - 1783
This night a committee was called by order of the Master when the wholle of the committee ws present except Br Hew Darby, when by unanimous consent the committee agreed to the following things against St Andrews day next. 1st That there on every sash shall be painted the words St Andrews Lodge Kilmk and that Wm Kerr glazier, shall be ordered to do the same and shall be paid there for. 2nd That there shall be as much yellow lace got from Edinbr as go round the office bearers sashes not to exceed 6d per yard and the Master is ordained to purchase the same. 3rd That there be one dozen flambeaux got for the Lodge on St Andrews day and brother Boston is ordained to purchase same.
Signed Hugh Dunlop
To the reader of today the extract of the following minute can only convey an imagery of the past as it is incongruous to the present.
(Extract) 28 - 11 - 1783
"That for the future any Master mason being a member of this Lodge whether residing in town or country may be choosen to fill the office of Master, altho he should be present at the time of election, and if he does not accept said office, when so choosen, shall pay the fine of five shillings as stipulated in the laws of this Lodge except he has (been in) office for the preceeding year."
Signed Hugh Dunlop. M.
An interesting minute follows which shows the great scope and freedom the Lodge held at this time, it shows that this Lodge could accept new members not only from other Lodges, but from Lodges outwith Scotland. The process was simple as the extract relates.
Extract 16 - 2 - 1784
"This day application was made by brother George Simpson from the St Johns Lodge No 324 Dublin craving to be initiated a member of this Lodge which was agreed to."
Signed Hugh Dunlop. D.M.
Further mention is now made regarding "possessing" a proper Lodge room. As in the past yet an other committee was formed to discuss sharing a Lodge room with the Kilmarnock Kilwinning Lodge, this was discussed at a meeting dated 30th December 1784 progress regarding this took a long time, it was not until 12th February 1788 that an agreement was made between the two Lodges. The records are silent as to why this agreement took so long, we can only speculate that a great deal of thought and deep consideration must have been given to this matter. It might have been that there was great disadvantage and a fear in sharing a Lodge room. As our records show meetings were called on the whims of the Master or a committee member, access to the Lodge room would be curtailed, there must also have been a feeling of a loss of Independance. Never the less the minute dated 12th February 1788 speaks for itself.
12 - 2 - 1788
"This night at a general meeting, the Master and wardens and other office bearers having seriously considered the benefit that will arise from having a proper house to meet in, having thought it proper to look in (to) a proposal given in from the Kilmarnock Kilwinning Lodge, that they will give a convenience for the members of the St Andrews Lodge to meet in at all proper times upon paying to the said Lodge two pounds sterling per year and in place of paying the said two pounds it is resolved that the Lodge bond to said Lodge forty pounds stg, as payment of the two pounds stg. The Master and rest of the members thought proper to bring it to a general vote when there only appeared two disenting voices against it if proper security is given for the money."
Signed Wm. Kerr. Mstr.
At the annual election meeting on the 30th November 1785 Bro. Thomas Boston was elected Master for the fourth time (a procedure that would not be approved today) it is interesting that the election meeting at this time was not confined to the election of Master and office bearers as today, but it was thought congenial that degrees maybe carried out at this meeting. The following chronicle records the death and funeral arrangements of a prominent brother of the Lodge Bro. Hugh Dunlop. Its content is small its words simple, but they are the expressions of men written in every day language.
27 - 5 - 1786
"This night the committee being met to consider on the funeral of our worthy deceased brother Hugh Dunlop when it was agreed that the brethren should meet at Mrs Kennedy's (local innkeeper) to attend the funeral."
Sequel
28 - 5 - 1786
"The brethren accordingly met to attend the funeral and returned again to Mrs Kennedy's and drank to the memory of their deceased brother, by order of the committee at th Lodges expence."
Signed Thos Boston. M.
Thus ended the career of a brother who guided the Lodge over many obstacles on the rough and rugged road the Lodge has had to travel in the very early days. To the reader today the following minute is worthy of note it once again shows the military presence, the conferring of all three degrees on a candidate, it also records that the meeting took place on New Years Day.
1 - 1 - 1787
"The committee being met excluding several members who were in arrears afterwards Serg John Harper of the 15th Regt of Foot was initiated into this Lodge and passed and raised to the degree of Master mason."
Signed William Kerr. M.
The election meeting was held on the 1st December 1788, again Bro. Thomas Boston was elected as Master (for the fifth time) and as in previous years at the election meeting a candidate Thomas Aird of the Scots Greys Regt received three degrees that night. The minute continues, that later that night the Lodge found time to initiate an other candidate James Freebairn.
The years 1787 - 89 must have been a tranquil period in the Lodges history, the records of meetings are few with only the scantiest of text being recorded, as to why the Lodge had succumbed to a position of repose we can only speculate there had always been a great irregularity and inconsistancy of Lodge meetings, perhaps this was caused by circumstances beholding to the conditions that existed in these times. Our Lodge meetings were held in a brothers house a room of a local inn, or public house, this in its self must have caused great difficulties in carrying out their ceremonies in private.
It is inconceivable to us of today that masonic meetings be held in such incrutious surroundings, alternatives were non-existant, their environment dictated what was then an acceptable compatibility. It would not be improper to mention some of the conditions that reigned at this time. The French Revolution was about to commence, the American war of Independance had recently ended leaving its own legacy. These uncertain times brought with it social upheavals and our members being mostly working class were feeling the harshness. To keep alive the old trades and designations of these times the following extracts are worthy of inclusion, not for its content but its unassuming belonging to a time past.
21 - 1 - 1789
Extract "Upon a petition from William Giffen and John Struthers.", innkeepers here," they were both admitted members of this Lodge."
Signed Thos Boston. M.
6 - 2 - 1789
Extract "Upon a petition from Andrew Mattin", innkeeper,",Jas Wilson", barber," and Robert Brown," Weaver," they were all received as members of this Lodge and initiated accordingly."
Signed Thos Boston. M.
12 - 2 - 1789
Extract "At a committee meeting the following Brs were admitted entered apprentices, Vis Wm Duncan, ",tailor,"Henry Crawford,", distiller,"and Alex Robertson", coppersmith," Kilmk."
Signed Thos Boston. M.
1 - 5 - 1789
Extract "At a committee meeting Geo. Boyd "Shoemaker" Kilmarnock was admitted a member of this Lodge."
Signed Thos Boston. M.
The records are mute at to the Lodges meeting place shared with the Kilwinning Lodge. Privacy must have been a great encumbrance, Lodge office bearers required diligence in their duties great reliance must have been placed on these brethren who guarded our ceremonies. The language of the next minute extract contains an ambiguity of words.
14 - 8 - 1789 Extract
"At the same time the Lodge proceeding to the election of a senior and Junr steward when George McGill was chosen Senior and Andrew Crooks Junior Stewards, having fallen vacant by the necessary blame of the former stewards."
Signed Thos Boston. M.
As mentioned earlier Ayrshire was much used as a military garrison, this is given credance by the names of the old regiments recorded in our minute books, it also shows that the hand of masonic friendship must have been extended by our early members to these military candidates. The minute book once again records the following scant record.
21 - 8 - 1789
"A number of he brethren met entered Bengimin Herebean Sergant of the 44 regiment of Foot."
Signed Thos Boston. M.
It now appears that the Lodge sharing arrangement with the Kilwinning Lodge had given our Lodge members a new stability and a contentment to practice their masonic ceremonies. This may have caused a sense of respectability in spending Lodge finances to enhance the Lodge. The phraseology of the minute relative to the above is quaint and worthy of preserving.
4 - 11 - 1789
"This night the Lodge being met in a social and harmonious manner spent the night in a masonic manner with the autmost love and friendship and parted in the same."
signed Thos. Boston. M.
Although a recent minute records that the Lodge should meet every six weeks we find that for the next few years the pages of our minute books contain only the barest of detail of Lodge meetings which included the election of office bearers. The usage of certain words in our masonic ceremonies are taken for granted, they have been passed down from a distant past. The next minute is unique as it records for the first time in our minutes the "sublime" degree of Master mason.
15 - 11 - 1791
Extract
"Bro. Wm. Hill was passed fellow-craft and raised to the "sublime" degree of Master mason."
Signed Thos. Boston. M.
the following precludes any ambiguity.
2 - 4 - 1792
"This night the Lodge being met when there was no business the night was spent in social harmony."
Signed John. Orr. M
A sequel to the above.
20 - 9 - 1792
"This night the Lodge being met when there was no publick business the night was spent in harmony."
Signed John. Orr.
The minute of the election of office bearers was held on the 30th November 1793. Which brother Thomas Boston was again elected as Master. This was the eighth time Bro. Thomas Boston held this high office.
8 - 7 - 1794
"At a meeting of the committee the following persons were admitted members of this Lodge. Belonging to the 4th Regt Dragoon Guards. James Wale, Henery Watson (segt) John Young, John Fish The those first were entered and passed and raised and the last made entered apprentice."
Signed Thos. Boston. M.
It is interesting that the record shows that three of the above candidates paid ten shillings and six pence and one paying five shillings as entrance fee. Our records are silent to this anomaly. The minute book again records the election of office bearers this was held on the 30th November 1794. Brother Thomas Boston was elected for the ninth time Master. The minutes record the continuation of the military becoming members of the Lodge.
31 - 1 - 1795 Extract
"The following persons soldiers of the 2nd Batt of Argyleshire Fencibles admitted members of this Lodge, Hew McGraw, John McQuarry, John McQuarry (senr) and John Miller (sergt)"
Signed Thos. Boston. M.
A sequel to the above.
16 - 7 - 1795 "Michael O'Neil and John Bready (sergs) in Irish Light Horse were admitted members of this Lodge."
Signed Thos. Boston. M.
The minute dated 16th July 1795 was the Last minute signed by Bro. Thomas Boston as Master. Bro. Boston had been the key stone of the Lodge, he was thee founding father of Lodge St Andrew. His record of being Master of the Lodge on nine occations will remain an everlasting memorial to his faithfulness to the Lodge. On the 30th November 1795 he was elected as depute Master. The following year 1796 he was elected secretary. No further reference is recorded to this founding father. It must be with regret that our records do not contain or reveal any information on one who guided the destiny of the Lodge through the early years.
The content of the minute dated 29th November 1797 is of interest, it records that a bro. Robert Johnstone of St. Mungo's Lodge Mauchline was initiated into the Lodge. For the historians Lodge St. Mungo Mauchline was instituted in 1791. Its original number being 240, its last recorded number 179. There now appears in our minute books what must have been the first "ball" held by the Lodge. The meagreness of detail of this social event does not share where it took place or the numbers who attended.
1 - 12 - 1797
"This day being ordered from the chair, their was an agreable ball ordered when the members met in general and the night was spent in the most aggreable harmony and satisfaction to all parties."
Signed Andw. Crooks. M.
December 1779 (no date)
"This night the Lodge being met when that the following persons were entered apprenties, Viz. Matheo Burns (sergt) in the 21st Regt Royal Scotch Fuzellers, Wm. Crawford (weaver) and (sergt) Strathavin of the 9th Regt of Foot, and the night spent in order as usual."
Signed Andw. Crooks. M.
Note the unusual name of one of the candidates Burns. A military man with the rank of sergeant.
7 - 2 - 1798
"This night the Lodge being met when the brethren assembled to a good number and no busnes being done the night being spent in harmony with maney loyal tosts and songs."
Signed Andw. Crooks. Ms.
There is evidence that meetings were still being held in members houses.
"Extract" from the minute dated 5th April 1798
"This night the committee being met in the house of Hugh Stirling"
Why this old habit was continuing the records are mute. It now seems that Grand Lodge had taken very unusual and harsh steps to bring some uniformity and control over the Lodges as the following extract from the minute dated 10th October 1799.
"Extract"
"A letter was received from Grand Lodge signifying that every attending members name be enrolled with the sherriff clerks office and that the Master and senior warden make an oath before the justice of the peace that the Lodge was in use and held regular meetings and that it held a charter from the Grand Lodge of Scotland." The letter also asked that all enrolled members and future members names be sent to Grand Lodge. The records show that the Lodge unanimously agreed to continue as a body to clear its self with the Grand Lodge. An item of great interest is now record in the minute dated 15th November 1799.
Extract
"The Master produced a letter from Riccartoun St. Clements Lodge with 42 letters to be distributed amongest the members to attend the consecration of said Lodge upon the 20th current which was agreeable."
Signed Andw. Crooks. M.
It is evident from the above extract that there must still have been room for another masonic Lodge.
14 - 11 - 1799
"This night the Lodge being met when Edward Boan and William Inglis both quarter-Masters in the Oxfordshire Cavelry were entered apprentices, the members past the night with the unusual harmony."
Signed Andw. Crooks. Master
The above once again shows that there must have been a great movement of military regiments garrisoned in Ayrshire. The history of which would demand there own volumes. This continual coming and going resulted that many were initiated in a some what irregular manner. The Lodge minutes now enter into the eighteen hundreds. Twenty nine years have passed since the birth of Lodge St Andrew. The minute recorded on this date contains a wealth of interesting facts.
Firstly it agrees to meet on the first Wednesday of each month, this was to conform to Grand Lodge new ruling that Lodges were to meet at regular intervals.
Secondly the minute contains a list of Lodge members who had fully paid their fees and were in good standing. The list comprised of forty-six names, which included their occupations, these included, shoemakers, weavers, wrights, innkeepers & coalcutters. It is interesting to note, that the R.W.M. at this time being Andrew Crooks was a Currier (tanning of leather).
Thirdly it contains the return of Qualified members to Grand Lodge. It is most interesting to note that the return was made in respect of Kilmarnock St. Andrews Lodge No165, the number that appears on our original charter.
It was stated earlier that the Lodge was born in stormy times we now find as the Lodge enters into the eighteen hundreds, which to many historians was the darkest days to face our nation. Napoleon Bonaparte was creating havoc across all Europe, this brought a great fear of an expected invasion, the gravity of this situation was so great that communities started raising volunteers to repel the expected invasion. Although there is no direct reference to this ongoing turmoil entered in the minute books the Lodge brethren were in harmony with the feelings of the community, so much so that they took the unprecedented step that the traditional torch light procession which accompanied the R.W.M. to his home after the election meeting was cancelled as the Lodge was conscious that public rejoicing was out of harmony in these troubled times.
16 - 5 - 1800
"This night the Lodge being met when Edward Conitan and Richard Ryan and John McQuire all soldiers in the 4th Royal Irish Dragoons, were entered apprentices of this Lodge, the evening was spent in usual harmony."
Signed Andw. Crooks. Master.
The above extract once again highlights the diversity of regiments garrisoned in Ayrshire at this time. The following extracts are worthy of mention as they fulfil the natural feelings of the then recorder.
30 - 11 - 1800
Extract
"This being the anniversary of St. Andrews, the members after a sumptous dinner proceeded to the elections of office bearers for the ensuing year." The minute closes with the words by the recorder expressing his natural observations. "The night as usuall after many loyal and constitutionall toasts and songs was spent in the usuall harmony, the Lodge was very crouded." (The minute bears no signature)
The minutes now record that the candidate Sgt. Charles Ewart of the Scots Greys regiment was entered apprentice. Bro. Ewart was to become a hero at the battle of Waterloo, by seizing an imperial eagle and carrying it off the field of battle, his heroism was rewarded by being promoted immediately to ensign.
6 - 12 - 1800
Extract
"This night the Lodge being met when the following members were entered apprentices of this Lodge, John Torrance (surgeon), George Johnston (smith), Charles Ewart (sergient) in the Scots Greys and James Munter Private in said regiment also Wm. Mitchell (shoemaker) here, the night was spent in harmony." (no signature)
The following extract of the office bearers meeting bear signs of optimism and a great disposition to look on the bright side was being felt by the Lodge members.
9 - 11 - 1800
Extract
"This night the office bearers met in the house of Robert Brown when it was agreed by the members present that there should be a dinner upon St Andrews Day and that Robt Brown should furnish the dinner at a reasonable rate, that is to say each subscriber to pay a certain sum not to put the office bearers to any trouble in furnishing the dinner - also agreed since we have got the return of peace and plenty that we shall have a procession - likewise gave orders to Robt Brown to get the Lodge white washed and what other small repairs it stood in need of to put them in order and we should pay the proportion-able expence." (no signature to minute)
We can only speculate that "the return of peace and plenty" was due to the recent military and naval victories against the french, which brought negotiations for peace. An extract from the conclusion of the minute of the election meeting.
30 - 11 - 1801
Extract
"After conveying the Master home as usuall the Lodge was shut and every member behaved in a manner becoming a mason." The content of the following minute makes it unique.
26 - 12 - 1801
"This night the Lodge being met when the following members were admitted entered apprentices of this Lodge Viz. Robert Martin (mercht), Peter Queen (mercht) "Othello, moor of Venice", the evening was spent in the usual harmony." (minute unsigned)
Once again we must enter the realms of speculation when we read the above minute "Othello moor of venice", could this have been a dark coloured gentleman who's name the Lodge scribe could not spell or could not remember, never the less it remains a unique treasure in our records, an epitaph to an unknown scribe of great natural versatility. It has already been mentioned that Lodge St. Andrews was primary a working class Lodge, the members being from all the trades and employment surrounding Kilmarnock as the next minute records.
20 - 5 - 1802
"This night the Lodge being met when the following members were entered apprentices James Brown (writer), John Lamont (mason), Mathew Lamont (merch), Mathew Paton (dancing Master), Francis Currie (printer), James Wilson (weaver) and Wm. Laidlaw (office of excise) the night being spent in the usual harmony." (minute unsigned)
For the next few years the meetings of the Lodge met at irregular intervals, for what reason the records are mute. There is only bare records recording the election of office bearers. The silence is broken on November 30th 1805, at the election of office bearers, the struggle to keep themselves from financial embarrassment was again present. The minute of October 28th 1806 contains drastic steps.
28 - 10 - 1806
"This night the committee being met in the house of Thomas Bickett when it was agreed that all those owing entrys to the St. Andrews Lodge shall be prosecuted before the sheriff of Ayr withour delay." It is interesting that the same minute continues contrary to the scarcity of funds. "It was also agreed that a chandelier holding twelve candles to be made for the Lodge before the 30th November, the Lodge to pay one pound one shilling stg. Mr Bicket to pay whatever is over it may cost. Also agreed that whatever damage is done to it by the masons they repair at their own expence and whatever injury it may receive in Mr Bicketts possession to be repaired at his expence." (minute unsigned)
The following relates to an unknown incident bearing a narrative that has lapsed into our hidden history equally it shows the great bond of friendship which existed within the Lodge.
7 - 5 - 1807
"This night the Lodge being met a very full meeting of respectable brother masons was held in St Andrews Lodge, not only to express the high satisfaction they felt, that their worshipfull Master Dr James Hendrie has lately been most honourably accquitted by a right Hon Judge and a respectable jury of an injurious and groundless charge brought against him before the circuit court at Ayr, but also to pay their respects to him as a private gentleman and to testify the respect they have for him as a medical practitioner. Many loyal toasts were give and the evening was spent with that harmony and good order becoming so respectable a meeting." (minute not signed)
As a sequel to the above Dr James Hendrie a local doctor was elected Master of Lodge St Andrew on the 30th November 1805 and reigned as Master until the 30th November 1808. Whatever led to the above minute is unknown it remains hidden in our history. The next two years in our history are quiet. Very little is mentioned in the minutes. By this time freemasonry in Scotland was under the Grand Lodge in Edinburgh. To carry out their duties it was now a necessity that a hall be purchased to control the destiny of free masonry. A circular was sent out to all the daughter Lodges for assistance and support to purchase such a hall. This duly came before the Lodge. The following minute speaks for itself.
8 - 9 - 1809
"This night at a quarterly meeting where a letter was read frome the Grand Lodge wishing a little support frome us for the purchasing of a hall, according to this state of our funds it was out of our pour to give any assistance." (minute unsigned)
There now appears in our records a very bold and flamboyant minute by an unknown scribe of the Lodge, his wording and the great flow of his pen-manship relates an unbridled display of emotional feeling in recording the 50th year reign of King George III.
25 - 10 - 1809
"This night being a jubelie of his majesties asention to the thron being the fifteth ear of his reign thare was a very extraordinery meting of respectable brethren frome difrent Lodges and at eight o'clock, thare was a Grand procession through the principel pairts of the Lodge and spent the evening with the greatest harmony." (minute unsigned) Stability in financial terms was never a characteristic of the Lodge, it's fortunes ebb and flowed like the tide. It's generosity was spasmodic and controlled by circumstances as they arose.
The office of Tyler was first mentioned in the minutes of 30th November 1776 where it is recorded as officer (or Tyler) in the election minute of that year. From 1776 until 1852 the word Tyler never appeared in the election minutes this office was always recorded as "officer". There is no record of his duties or what was expected of this office. What we do know from the minute dated 4th December 1809 that his fee was raised to thirty shillings per year. His previous fee being one guinea, we can only speculate that his duties must have been considerable as there was a great reluctance by the brethren to accept this office but prudence by the Lodge fathers may have prompted this increase.
Looking back from these modern times there is always a feeling of romanticism when we read of these early times, we may not fully appreciate the many if not all the decisions the Lodge leaders had to face. There was no code of practice, no guide lines, no direct rules as we have today, nearly always no precedent set. When troubled waters hit the Lodge they stood steadfast in their duties to the Lodge. Their task was to guide the destiny of the Lodge through all the difficulties and trials of a young society. The following witness bears witness.
6 - 4 - 1810
"This night the committee met and agreed that Mr Hugh Laury our late secretary in the Lodge going to Glasgow and taking with him 3 entrys belonging to the Lodge and refusing to pay the same and the committee all agree to prosecute him for the same. And it was further agreed that every member of the committee if after half an hour of the time appointed to attend shall be fined in three pence unless a proper excuse be given as Mr Hugh Laurey has charged the Lodge with ten shillings for his trouble for acting secretary it is thought he has used the Lodge ill - as he has never wrote one page of the book".
Signed Wm. Alexander. M.
The content of the following minute shows that a masonic bond was being formed in correspondence with Lodges outwith the province of Ayrshire, it also shows the commitment to the community from masonic Lodges even in these early days.
23 - 7 - 1810
"This night the committee met on receiving a letter from John Jones R.W.M. of St. Mungos Lodge Glasgow No20 requesting a little support and the compey of our Lodge in laying the foundation stone of a lunatic asylum for the benefit of the west country. But owing to the situation of the funs of the Lodge at present we was sorry that no asistince could be rendered at present."
Signed Wm. Alexander. M.
A short dictum was now recorded which has stood the test of time as it is still authoritarian today not only in Lodge St. Andrew but in all Lodges under the laws and constitution of the Grand Lodge Scotland.
25 - 8 - 1810
"This night the committee met in the house of Thomas Bickett and agreed that no member of the Lodge should have a vote unless they were clear of the books."
Signed Wm. Alexander. M.
The scribe of the following minute records his unrestrained observation.
2 - 3 - 1811
"This night there was a general meeting of St Andrews Lodge when a great number of the Ayrshire Militia attended and the night was passed as usual was spent in harmony."
Signed Wm. Alexander. M.
As a sequel to the above minute there was still a feeling of anxiety in the local community of a threat of invasion from French forces led by Napoleon Bonaparte so much so that a militia was still being formed and trained to defend our shores. Contrary to the warnings and the many rules passed by the Lodge regarding payment of Lodge fees, defaulters still existed. The following minute relates the potential power given to the then Lodge treasurers.
6 - 6 - 1811
"This night the committee met to look into some accounts of the Lodge when it was determined to use diligence to recover what-ever entrys was in due and power given the treasurer to that purpose."
Signed Wm. Alexander. M.
A sporadic prosperity is once again seen in our minutes.
18 - 8 - 1812
"This night there was a commetee in the house of Thomas Bicketts which it was agreed to purchase one dozen of masons aprons which were got and to be used for nothing else but the making of masons.The price of them was 14 shillings also it was agreed that the Grand stewart is to have the full charge there of.
Signed Wm. Alexander. M.
The minute of election recorded on the 30th November 1812, included for the first time the office of chaplain. It is worthy of note that the election meeting on the 30th November 1810 this office was referred to as "priest". For reasons unknown there is no recorded minutes for the year 1813. On the 15th April 1814 an historical minute is recorded its content is written by the then R.W.M. Bro. Hugh McNeill who's unashamed feelings has added a richness to the pages of our minutes.
15 - 4 - 1814
"This day was received a confirmation of the glorious news of the abidication of Bonaparte from the throne of France I favour of its rightfull sovereign and at the same time restoring to us the blesings of peace. The honourable majistrates gave orders for a generall illumination and the commettee having taken the same into consideration agreed to call a general meeting when a great number of brethren attended. Besides deputations from neibouring Lodges when the whole walked in procession through the principall streets of the town by torch light when the greatest order and sobriety took place and returned to the Lodge where many loyal songs and patriotick toasts was drunk and spent the night in peace and harmony."
Signed Hugh McNeill. M.
The wording of the following minute suggest that the Lodge has agreed to begin what is now the Lodge benevolent fund.
15 - 4 - 1815
"This night a general meeting was warned and met in the Lodge room when it was agreed to form ourselves into a support society and was agreed that all the money over defraying the Lodge expences was to go into the support society."
Signed Hugh McNeill. M.
An extract from the following minute records the heavy administration carried out by the Lodge in these early days.
13 - 11 - 1815
Extract
"This night the committee met in the house of Thoms Bickets, when the letters filled up to the amount of two hundred was sent to the brothers and to the strangers Lodges." There was still a very strong adherence to observe the many religious days that still existed in Scotland. The reigning Master brother Hugh McNeill must have been a man of strong character, his unrelenting standards of the Lodge were rigorously put forward and approved by the Lodge.
Sequel to the above.
5 - 11 - 1815
"This night the committee being met in the house of Hugh McNeills when they agreed that St Andrews day should be put off until the 3rd day of December on account of the proper day falling on the sacrament week, and like-wise agreed that no spirits shall be bought out of any public house but all from the whole-sale spirits dealers."
Signed Hugh McNeill. M.
The strong leader-ship of bro. Hugh McNeill as Master is recorded in the following minute.
6 - 12 - 1817
"This night the committee met in the house of Thomas Bicket and it was agreed that no person should have the use of the furniture belonging to the Lodge unless liberty asked and given by the Master and committee, at the same time it was agreed that no man shall be admitted without paying one half of his entry and give security for the remainder of the committee and one month would be granted them (if required) to make payment of the other half of their entry."
Signed Hugh Neill. M.
The above minute which includes the use of the Lodge furniture was aimed to stop the return of a renewed out-break of clandestine making of masons. Up to this time, and for a considerable period after, all the meetings of the Lodge were either in public houses or inns or rooms adjoining those places. There can be no doubt there was too much drinking of alcohol, and the appellation of "druncken masons" once so common an epithet of derision used against members of the craft, was the outcome of the excess indulged in by the brethren of that day. It was to the benefit of the landlords of these places that he should sell his liquor to them, and it may surmised with good proof that they got their Lodge rooms at a very nominal rental, mine host recouping himself from the sale of his goods.
The minute of the 5th November 1817 strikes at the very root of evil but although they agreed to the striking innovation, it was soon lost sight of in the years that followed. The next minute of interest is the recording for the first time of the Lodge attending "The laying of a foundation stone".
21 - 4 - 1818
"This day a respectable number of the brethren of St. Andrews Lodge went to Ayr with their colours flying all the way in order to walk in procession at the laying the foundation stone of the new jail there. The day was spent in the utmoist convivality and the brethren returned in the greatest possible order."
Signed Robt. Lawrie. Esq. G.M.
There now follows a minute recording the sudden resignation of the Master Bro. Hugh McNeill. The scribe records the bare facts, like-wise his successor was appointed an episode marked by a few words.
9 - 5 - 1818
"This night brother McNeill resigned the office of Master in this Lodge and Robt Lawrie was appointed unanimously to fill the office."
Signed Robt Lawrie Esq
As to what progress was being made towards the ceremonial part of degree work within the Lodge, the records are silent, but from the following minute the Lodge had taken the unprecedented step in a lecture being given by a past Master.
10 - 9 - 1818
"This night a committee with a number of the brethren met in the house of Thos Bicket and after the Lodge being opened in the usual form there was a famous lecture given for the first time in this Lodge on the apprentice part of masonary by Brother Arch. Picken past Master, and after a varity of songs and appropriate toasts were given the brethren retired at high twelve o'clock."
Signed Robt Lawrie G.M.
The Lodge had a brief period of peace, but stormy times were soon to hit the Lodge. A financial crisis was to hit the Lodge. The main cause was the defaulters in paying their dues even the threat of law proceedings against such defaulters was ignored.Many entrants into the Lodge had gained admission without any payment, why this carelessness had continued is surprising. An attempt to end this intolerable situation was again put to the Lodge.
17 - 4 - 1819
"This night there was a quarter meeting of the brethren in the Lodge room, when there was a motion made by David Andrew (writer) and seconded that no member be admitted into this Lodge without giving four weeks previous notice to the committee and if they consider him a good member they will call a meeting for the purpose of admission but not until he pays his entry to the treasurer which is fifteen shillings (STG) and all dues and emoluments charged by said Lodge. Like-wise it was voted that the men who were in custody at the instance of this Lodge should be admitted for two months. The same night D. Thomson D.M. made a motion that all those who were indebted any money to this Lodge should pay it, into the treasurer. The Grand Master being indebted to it took this amis and left the chair in a rage and at the same time declaring he would give up his office for he could not endure such insult. The sum which he is indebted to the Lodge is six pounds six shillings eleven and a half pence. No other business to do the Lodge spent the night in social harmony."
Signed David Thomson.
By the content of the above minute it is obvious this must have been a very volatile meeting, at the same time we see how necessary it was that a thorough force-fullness should be taken by the Lodge leaders, especially when we see the Master was indebted to such an extent to his Lodge.
The minute dated 24th April 1819 records that the Lodge treasurer informed the members that he had received a letter from brother Lawrie intimating that he now resigned the office of Grand Master.
Further action was still taken by the brethren from a minute of April 30th 1819 it appears the resignations of Bro. Lawrie, the Grand Master, and also Bro. Hillhouse, secretary, were accepted and the usual instructions were given to the transference of the Lodge books and monies held by them to their successors and if not successful diligence was to be pursued as a postscript to this minute there appears the following motion, which seems to have been successful
"That the one half of the present committee and all succeeding ones, should retire annually from holding any office in this Lodge."
It appears there had been such a continuous shuffling of offices amongst the holders that the only effectual method of introducing new blood was by the above motion. The affairs of the Lodge had reached a new crisis, especially finance, the sudden resignation of the Master and the circumstances surrounding his demise was to add a great burden to the Lodge fathers. Drastic situations require drastic measures as the following minute shows.
3 - 5 - 1819
"This night there was a committee held in the house of Thos Bickett to hear the report of the Grand Master and Treasurer concerning our late Master's answers to their charge and after a rehearsal of what they thought it proper that a man of business should be consulted on what measures they would take to recover the cash which he has in his possession belonging to this Lodge, likewise it was agreed that all those who are indebted their entries to this Lodge should get a charge for it by the hand of the officer as soon as possible that the Lodge be enabled to pay off their debts." (minute unsigned)
The great threat of bankruptcy faced the Lodge, bills were soaring into the Lodge, so serious was the situation that a general meeting was held on the 15th August 1819 to consider the Lodges affairs. So drastic was the situation that the most austere step was taken. "It was agreed that all defaulting brethren be summoned before the justice court at the first sitting."
A further meeting took place on the 30th August 1819 where a bill was presented to the Lodge for ten pound eighteen shillings and nine pence for immediate payment. An overwhelming apprehension must have been felt within the Lodge as the treasurer was asked to strike a balance of his accounts, the treasurer announcing that the Lodges assets were "eight pounds eight shillings seven and a half pence, this included the total inventory of the Lodge property.
The treasurer continued "that he had visited brother Lawrie the ex-Master of the Lodge asking him for payment of his outstanding debt to the Lodge and returning the cash he had belonging to the Lodge, Bro. Lawrie refused." So serious was the state of matters that the usual harmony was dispensed with, which under the circumstances need not be wondered at. A bathos or anti-climax was to take place shortly afterwards as our records reveal. Bro. Lawrie with-drew his resignation as Master and at the annual general meeting on the 30th November 1819 was re-elected as Master. The details of this conciliatory concord between the Lodge and Bro. Lawrie remains hidden in our history.
So ends this small chapter in our past.
The records confirming the great determination of the early leaders and their capacity to over-come great challenges are now part of our Lodge history. No sooner was one crisis over-come when an other took it's place, they must surely have moralised "The rough and rugged road" the recurring blight of irregular initiations was still abundant, years of fine ideals are recorded to over-come this abuse but the clandestine initiations into masonry continued. This may have been partly caused by the lack of a proper Lodge room. Public houses, Inns and members own houses were still being used to hold our Lodge meetings. Some brethren too it upon themselves to hold meetings indiscriminately and initiated new members. This early anomaly cannot be seen as irregular, but a sign that these brethren were eager to practice our craft, unfortunately this enthusiasm left a legacy that was proving hard to defeat. Fortitude once again prevailed as the following minute extract.
23 - 12 - 1822
"Agreeable to the resolution of the committee upon Friday evening last a meeting of the members was this evening held in our Lodge room and after the Lodge being opened in due form it was agreed between Thos. Bicket and the members and committee that as it was a custom for several of the members to initiate and entre members in other houses and not in the Lodge which is considered detrimental to the interests of the society it was resolved that in future all persons who wish to become members are all to be entered in the Lodge room or if not convenient at the time on account of being occupied we are to have the liberty of any other convenient place for our purpose and all dues of such enterings and initiations are to be spent in the house of Thos. Bicket and on no account are there any person or persons to be entered in any other house and on that account we are to have the liberty of the Lodge room on St Andrews day or any other night at which may be agreed on for any of our quarterly or occational meetings free of rent." (minute contains two signatures)
Thos. Bicket
Robt. Lawrie. M.
Before leaving the year 1822. The following items are worthy of note. The Lodge was using the number St Andrew 125 Bro. Robert Lawrie was elected Master on the 20th December 1822. He gave his resignation as Master. This was the second time Bro. Lawrie had been elected Master and the second time he had resigned during his term in office. The records continued. Three days after his resignation a meeting was called to elect a new Master. By powers of persuasion or a feeling of remorse a remedial redress came about. Bro. Robert Lawrie was re-elected as Master. The Language of the next minute precludes and ambiguity of words, only fact. With no explanation.
17 - 1 - 1825
"This night the committee met in the house of Thomas Bicket and borrowed two pounds from him and sent it to the Grand Lodge of Skotland" (minute unsigned)
Once again we find a number of years passing with only bare records of annual meetings and the names of elected office bearers. With these meagre minutes there is no record of any candidates being admitted, this may have been an oversight by the secretary or the irregularity of meetings. As stated in the minutes the evil practice of clandestine initiations were continuing there is some evidence that an acceptance that this evil was impossible to remedy. The endless discussions to balk or foil this evil continued, many alluded that the entrance fee was too high. Through persuasion or frustration, the following minute is brief and decisive.
21 - 11 - 1831
"This night the committee being met in the house of Mr McFarline and agreed to reduce the initiation money from five shillings stg to two shillings and six pence from this date."
Signed William Lindsay. M.
The interest of the above minute Meetings were still being held in members houses, and decisions made at committee meetings held autonomy of power. The following minute contains a number of interesting items.
27 - 11 - 1833
"The committee of the St Andrews Lodge met No125 in the house of the treasurer Mr Thomas Bicket (esq.). The Kilmarnock fore street at the hour of eight o'clock p.m. to entre upon the business of the society (viz.) after looking over the books for the last year agreed with Mr Bicket for room and rent, washing of bottles twelve shillings sterling which was agreed upon and wrote out and deliver letters for the ensuning festival night being the second day of Decb 1833."
Signed William Stevenson. M.
To the reader the following extract must convey a discourse of agreeable emotion.
Extract
2 - 12 - 1833
"The members of the body having met in their usual harmony and conviviality spent the night in there usual harmony and glee. The most appropriate songs, sentiments toasts and glees were past and sung and the Lodge parted at the usual regular hour in the best of friendship ect. viz. high twelve by the horology of the toun clock."
Signed Wm. Stevenson. M.
At a meeting of the Lodge on the 18th March 1834, the question of bye-laws was passed. It was agreed that a number of bye-laws be drawn up. Unfortunately no reason is given in the minutes why any existing bye-laws be changed or new one's added. The next two minutes contain records of honourary membership being confered. For what reasons these honours were given remain hidden in our history.
Extract 9 - 12 - 1833
"And also initiated Dr. John Taylor of the Ayr chemical works Ayr of Cannongate Edinburgh Kilwinning No2 as an honourary member of the Kilmarnock St Andrews No125."
Signed William Stevenson. M.
Extract
23 - 12 - 1833
"This night the committee met and entered Robt Clow as honouary member for Br Wm. Stevenson R.W.M.."
Signed William Stevenson. M.
The esteem of masonic Lodges in Kilmarnock was growing.
28 - 7 - 1834
"This night a general meeting took place acording to apointment and after the ordenary routine of business the brethren apointed a sub-committee to corespond with the Masters and wardens of St James, St Clements to draw up a respective requisition to messrs Howie and Brown being builders and contractors for a new church saying that it is our desire the foundation stone should be laid with masonic honours."
Signed Wm. Stevenson. R.W.M.
The above minute refers to the St. Marnocks church Kilmarnock. Twelve Ayrshire Lodges attended the foundation stone was laid with full masonic honours by Bro. Miller (esq.) of Montcastle, R.W.M. of mother Kilwinning and provincial Grand Master of Ayrshire. The records continue to show that the Lodge was still meeting in the house of Mr Bicket in Fore Street. The fact that the ceremonies were being carried out in the parlour of the house must have led to many irregularities. This intrusion also brought restrictions from Mrs Bicket on the use of her parlour for Lodge meetings, so much so that the Lodge decided once again to move as the following minute records.
18 - 8 - 1834
"This day the committee and office bearers met and entered Stephen Thomson an apprentice an in consequence of very bad usage from Mrs Bicket we agreed to flit the Lodge to the Turf Inn hall."
Signed Wm. Stevenson R.W.M.
The following extract must surely rank as the most enterprising business transaction the Lodge fathers carried out.
Extract 18 - 9 - 1834
"Same evening the committee met in the Turft Inn hall and by order of a general meeting which took place on 15th first entered all the members of the Junr Instrumental Band being 18 in number and one half of their entry money to stand for playing to the Lodge at a procession upon the 21st Augas to lay with masonic honours the foundation of a new church. (St Marnock) and the other half to stand for playing upon the night of the next festival on the 30th Nover next. Names of the band."
Signed Wm Stevenson. R.W.M.
It is of interest that 18 crosses appear in the minute book with 18 blank spaces where the names should have been entered. We can only assume that the names of the band would be entered at a later date, unfortunately the spaces in the minute book remain blank, their names hidden in the Lodge history. By the records candidates entering the Lodge were scanty, there had been a feeling for some time that entrance fees were too high and demands from the Grand Lodge in Edinburgh for each entrant had jumped dramatically. Feelings within the Lodge were high so much so that a deputation was sent to Kilwinning to Free-Masons hall to report their feelings to the Provincial Grand Master. An extract from the following minute expounds.
Extract
21 - 9 - 1834
"Wee sent of a deputation to the provincial Lodge who were open in Free-Masons hall when our deputation returned they reported that the Provincial Master and mother Lodge Kilwinning resolved to reduce the very high sum the Grand Lodge in Edinburgh required of all the Lodges for entered apprentices, wee then shut our Lodge about nine o'clock."
Signed W. Stevenson. R.W.M.
The inconsistency of a Lodge room is once again high-lighted in this short minute.
22 - 9 - 1834
"This day part of the committee met in the house of Wm. Stevenson and entered - Thomson as entered apprentice and William Merrow."
Signed W. Stevenson. R.W.M.
Another interesting item appears in the minute of the 2nd September 1835. An Extract is given here.
2 - 9 - 1835
"They were also to contract with brother Duncan for the cutting a brass plate to cast off diplomas with."
Signed Bro. Thomson. G.M.
It is evident that a considerable local autonomy was granted to Lodges in the working of the craft. In some respects this item shows the loose hold the Grand Lodge had upon it's daughter Lodges. If other Lodges at that time had the same power, a collection of those diplomas would be interesting as showing the different conceptions of Masonic art, unfortunately we cannot present to the readers a facsimile of this interesting document. Conviviality in the past had been a dominant feature of masonic meetings all over the country, and the toddy bowl was always on the table for the refreshment of the brethren after their labours. It may be surmised from the following extract of 27th November 1835, that the quality had not been giving satisfaction.
Extract
27- 11 - 1835
"They appointed Bro. Gilmour and Andrew Oliver to superintend the making of the toddy and ascertain both the quantity made and the quality thereof at this meeting."
Signed Br Thomson. G.M.
The minutes are silent as regards the results of the brothers superintendence. The 30th November 1836 is the last recorded minute of the Lodges first minute book. It records the election of office bearers for the ensuing year.
The minute is signed
Br William Philips. G.M.

It would be an injustice to the scribe who recorded an inventory of Lodge regalia on the inside rear cover of this minute book if his labours were not recorded.
Kilmarnock 9th Dec 1774
Counted the aprons and found - which was delivered to the care of Brs Reid and Bishop stewards and John Davie. M.
33 Common Aprons
10 Aprons with Blue Ribbon round the border
9 Do with Crimson Do-Do
8 Blue sashes
8 Crimson Do
7 Jewels

So ends the first chapter in our history.

To: The brethren of my Mother Lodge, in compiling this history my first intention was to go into as much detail as possible, but the language and style in which our history is recorded would have been a mammoth task. Since the work I embarked upon was aimed for the Lodge reader I had to be restricted by length.
The dictate of the above imposed the most difficult decision in my endeavours, what should be included and what should remain hidden in our records. The choice made with much difference was individual.
The History of Lodge St. Andrew, though individual touches many facets, references are made to the town of Kilmarnock and the harsh social conditions that surrounded the Lodge in the early years. The ravish of wars and their aftermath left their influence on our minutes.
The extracts I have recorded are in the original phraseology taken from the minute books. The spelling penned by the scribes remain unaltered, any alteration would be a false imitation of their minutes.
I have tried to tell in plain language what I myself have learned from our records and give an interest to the brethren who have not had the opportunity to study this great heritage that we today are the custodians. If, unwittingly, I have transgressed in any interpretation of these records, or in any way offended, I offer my sincere apologies.
R. GHEE.

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