History

Lodge St. Andrew Kilmarnock No. 126

History Chapter 3

"In Due and Ancient Form ..."

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

9 - 5 - 1871
The minute of centenary meeting.
"At Kilmarnock the 9th May 1871. This day the most worshipfull the Grand Master Mason of Scotland. The Rt Honble the Earl of Rosslyn visited the lodge St. Andrew No126 Kilmarnock on the interesting occasion of the centenary meeting of that lodge. His lordship was supported by the R.W. Past Grand Master, the right honble the Earl of Dalhouse K.T.G.C.B. Robert Wylie Esq acting Senior Grand Warden D. Murray Lyon Esq acting Junior Grand Warden Colonel Mure of Caldwell R.W. Prov Grand Master for Ayrshire, and John Lawrie R.W. Grand Clerk. Wm. Bryce Grand Tyler, his lordship and grand officers were received with every mark of respect by the lodge. St. Andrew No126 and other delegate lodges assembled on the occasion and was pleased to compliment the lodge on its appearance, working and general efficiency and having spent a very pleasant evening with the brethren retired with the assembled brethren manifesting their allegiance and devotion to his lordship and the Grand Lodge of Scotland with the usual honours.
Signed Rosslyn Grand Master Dalhousie P.G.M. Robert Wylie A.S.G.W. D. Murray Lyon A.J.G.W. Wm Mure P.G.M. Ayrshire John Lawrie Grand Clerk And. Turnbull R.W.M. No126 John Armour Jr. Secy No126
The Grand Festival was held later in the George Hotel Kilmarnock.
This indeed must have been an outstanding event with a hundred members of lodge St. Andrew attending. The total numbers exceeding four hundred. In attendance was the Grand Master Mason the Hon Earl of Rosslyn, the Past Grand Master Mason the Hon Earl of Dalhousie, with a deputation of Grand Lodge office bearers, Col. Mure of Caldwell the Provincial Grand Master of Ayrshire led a deputation from provincial Grand Lodge. The eloquence and oratory rhetorie made by the distinguished guests was impressive, given in a graceful language sae as to carry conviction in the minds of the listeners. It may not be out of place if an extract is given of a speech made by the R.W.M. of lodge St. Andrew No126 Bro. Andrew Turnbull.
Extract
"Most worshipful sir having already referred is that in a cycle of a century the lodge has never ceased to be in working order (applause) that this has been the case in a provincial town, that on the bosom of the one lodge hundreds upon hundreds of entrants have been instructed in the principles and mysteries of our order, and that never before was it in a more prosperous position speaks. I think volumes not only for the internal dicipline of the lodge without which no society can exist but for the vital principles of our order (applause). Masonry has existed from time immemorial, like a small acorn dropted by a thoughful hand it has taken root. In many ages and in many countries it has flourished. In the dark ages when literature was in a low state it was the pioneer of civilisation, under its fostering influences arts arose and knowledge was diffused restricting itself to no particular country, its branches have extended from pole to pole, spreading over every mountain and valley till today there is not a kindred, a tongue, or a nation but has felt its influence and now in every nation a mason can find a friend and a brother in every climate a home (applause).
Masonry contends for the absoluteness of truth of this there is no uncertainty in the teaching or our order, some where we believe there is that which is invariable, inflexible and unchangeable to believe which is to be faithful to deny, which is to be vicious. Think you, there is enough enthusiasm in humanity to continue for centuries an organisation such as this, if truth were not its very essence. Freemasonry is mysterious in that it is a system veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols we use our emblems and our aprons our greater and our lesser lights with serious ends in view. Each is a crystal of the gem of truth and all combine in the manifestation of that of which each symbol forms a part as religion is the golden cord which unites man to God, so masonry is the silver link which runs from man to man (applause).
There were many more congratulatory speeches from various visiting brethren, also included were a variety of songs by a Bro. Parker which by the records was greatly appreciated. There is mention of a quadrille party under the able leadership of a Bro. W.H.Dixon, again the records record "added much to the enjoyment of the evening". Altogether the proceedings passed off with great (eclat) and reflected great credit upon the brethren of St. Andrew.
It maybe of further interest to today's brethren that prior to the centenary celebrations being entered upon, a meeting took place in the George Hotel of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Ayrshire, where 17 of the then 34 Ayrshire Lodges were represented. The Provincial Grand Master Bro. Col. Mure of Caldwell took the chair, he intimated that they were honoured with the presence of Bro. the Right Hon, the Earl of Rosslyn, Grand Master Mason of Scotland and Bro., the right Hon the Earl of Dalhousie Past Grand Master. The Provincial Grand Master said that the brethren had been called together to consider whether they might not enhance the benefits which were derived from masonry by instituting some charitable scheme. He believed the proposal was to establish a bursary by subscription from the 34 lodges in Ayrshire which should be confined to the craft. This was the inauguration of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Ayrshire Glasgow University Bursary Fund. A fund which still exists today, a true paradox which we can be proud.
So ends the first one hundred years of Lodge St. Andrew, it could be said these were the hardest years. There can be no doubt that the road was rough and rugged. The fragmentary references which have been given are only the small pebbles that have been dislodged by the pen of the then recorders. After the centenary celebrations came a calm. The affairs of the lodge went on an even tenor of their ways. Naturally there had been self congratulatory things said about themselves by themselves and for a time there was an air of importance and dignity about St Andew 126. This may have brought about an attitude for better government and the adoption of records.
Extract 6 - 7 - 1871
"A. Com was then appointed to assist the secy in getting the enrolment book filled up."
Signed John Armour Jn Secy
The first recorded minute of what maybe described as an annual visitation of the Provincial Grand Master is recorded on Thursday 17th August 1871.
Extract 17 - 8 - 1871
"The books of the several lodges in town were submitted for his inspection, when after carefully looking over them and mentioning a few things which might be altered he signified his approval and complimented the different R.W.M.'s on the efficient state in which he found masonry."
Signed John Armour Jn Secy
The records now contain the following. A communication was received from Grand Lodge dated 18th January 1872 from the Grand Master the Earl of Rosslyn drawing attention to the great debt incurred by Grand Lodge in providing premises to house Grand Lodge, and asked support from all Scottish lodges to over-come this debt. It is surprising that the same communication stated that a new fund was to be set up in Grand Lodge to assist daughter lodges to build their own halls. There was no decision taken on the above at this meeting, it states "This was to lie over until the next meeting". For reasons unknown this was not discussed until the 17th April 1872 when it was "resolved" that the lodge proxy master in Edinburgh be in his place at the next meeting of Grand Lodge and support the motion made by the Grand Master in his proposal scheme for the liquidation of Grand Lodge debts. There are no further details recorded how the above was to be achieved, never the less the lodge was to support Grand Lodge. From time to time the records contain an effusion of natural humour. It appears that at the meeting held on the 18th January a Bro. Black of the lodge had returned to his native shores after years in America, his return was due to ill health. Bro. Black gave a report which was recorded thus.
Extract 18 - 1 - 1872
"He informed us that masonry is so very effectually taught in America that every Br is quite fit to confer the first degree before he gets his second." The scribe of the time Bro. Robert Agnew continues the minute. "There might be a little of "Yankie Boast" in this , but it is generally known that the whole of the cermonials part of masonry is much more strictly adheird to by our cousins over the water, than by us in Scotland, whither they have more of the spirit of masonry is quite another question."
Signed Robt. Agnew Secy
Reference is now made to one of our local manors and a designation which has almost disappeared.
Extract 1 - 2 - 1872
"The lodge met this evening in emergency to initiate Mr James Marshall Butler Caprington Castle".
Signed Robt. Agnew Secy
The next minute of interest may capture the imagination of today's reader, not as a criticism but as an insight to a lodge meeting which contains a story that will never be told. "The lodge met this evening for passing and raising the R.W.M. having to attend a business meeting else where. He introduced Br W. Alpine of St Marnock 109 to confer the degrees. For some reason best known to himself he declined to give the third degree , there fore Brothers Carswell and Dalgleish were only passed fellow craft".
Signed Robt. Agnew Secy
Diplomas have been mentioned on various occasions. We do know that in the early years lodges issued their own diplomas which carried "Their" design although Grand Lodge had banned lodges from issuing such diplomas, ruling that all diplomas must come from Grand Lodge, contrary to this ruling the records show that the lodge must have carried a deep routed conviction of autonomy (the power and right to self government). Candidates were receiving all three degrees at one meeting and receiving their diploma same night . The comment from the minutes. "Due to the candidate leaving town or country". As a sequel to the above. Many lodge members were deeply concerned that they had not received diplomas from Grand Lodge. So deep was the concern on this matter that the R.W.M. called a meeting on the 7th March 1872 to discuss "This festering sore". Little is recorded on the steps taken, the secretary and treasurer were asked to forward the names to Grand Lodge of those brethren who's diplomas was outstanding.
The insecurity of no permanent lodge room is once again recorded in the following extract:
"On the 16th October 1872 the lodge met for the annual nomination of lodge office bearers". The minute continues that the room designated in the George Hotel was "Occupied", but the lodge was opened in the large hall of this establishment. The continuance speaks for itself. "It was too uncomfortable to prolong the meeting so the lodge was duly closed and those who thought fit went down stairs for refreshment".
Signed Robt Agnew Secy
A sequel.
A new date was fixed for the nomination of office bearers, this was to take place on the 30th October 1872. The minute of this meeting contains a number of items worthy of mention. The R.W.M. although nominated refused the nomination. Then P.M. Bro. James Buchanan was nominated as R.W.M. Bro. Buchanan previously held the office of R.W.M. 1864-65. The S.W. of the time Bro. James Osborne "Saw fit" to propose a vote of thanks to the retiring master Bro. Andrew Turnbull.
Extract
"Wishing health and prosperity to all office bearers of this lodge who had wrought long and faithfully but was now about to retire as his successor had been nominated tonight. He thought he need hardly inform the Br which he referred to the R.W.M. Br Andrew Turnbull. After some eulogistic remarks he called upon the lodge to respond to the "Health of Brother Andrew Turnbull","With 3 times 3 and MacDuff" the responce was very hearty and was followed by "For he's a right good fellow" so enthusiastically that it was repeated over and over again". Bro. Andrew Turnbull replied to this unexpected acknowledgement is worthy of inclusion. His instant reply establishes his natural oratory.
Extract
"As there would be another meeting of the brethren before he vacated the chair he might perhaps if opportunity offered say a few things thereby way of formal leave taking of the office, but in the mean time he might be permitted to say for the order in general that in his masonic cupacity he had made the aquaintance of some with whom he might never otherwise have come in contact and formed some friendships that would end only with "Life", that on the other hand it was scarcely possible to take a prominent part in the management of any association without making some "Enemies" but under this otherwise uncomfortable reflection he had often felt consoled by the remarks of an eminent gentleman of his aquaintance - "He who never made an enemy was not capable of making a "Friend" and on the whole he thought the "Friendships" would more show counterballance the "Enemies"" The reply was well received and was followed by vociferous cheering.
Signed Robt Agnew Secy.
Costs to Grand Lodge were rising, this is indicated in the circular at the meeting of the lodge dated 13th November 1872.
Extract 13 - 11 - 1872
"The R.W.M. now read a circular from G. Lodge intimating that in future all diplomas were to be charged five shillings instead of two shillings and six pence as formarly".
Signed Robt Agnew Secy
Extract 28 - 2 - 1873
"The annual supper and Ball was held this evening about 30 couples present, music was supplied by the Kilmr philhamonic string band, altogether a very happy evening was spent".
Signed James Buchanan, H.E. Foster Secy
The spirit of order and propriety was coming more into evidence. On the 3rd September 1873 a number of new innovations were approved by the lodge. That application forms be printed and used by all candidates wishing to become members of Lodge St. Andrew 126. That lodge fees be increased from twenty nine shillings to forty shillings, and be paid on night of initiation. That each member be supplied with a copy of lodge bye-laws.
Signed H.E. Foster secretary
Extract 22 - 10 - 1873
"The lodge met tonight, the R.W.M. presided. Owing to the stormy night not many of the members were present and it was deemed expedient not to nominate office bearers tonight but wait untill the next meeting".
Signed James Buchanan, H.E. Foster secretary
The minutes of the annual meeting held on Wednesday 5th November 1873 contains what was probably the first short obituary in the form of a report.
Extract
"Mr Peter Ratterys untimely death was spoken of in feeling terms by the R.W.M. his sentiments being endorsed by all the brethren present, it will be remembered that this party was proposed and seconded at a meeting on the 8th October last to become a member of the lodge, and had it not been for the accident which befell him on the railway the week after he would in all probability have been among us tonight as a Bro. mason".
Signed James Buchanan, H.E. Foster secretary
It was also agreed at the same meeting that the lodge secretary's salary be increased to two pounds per season and the lodge outer guard receive one shilling and six pence per night. Triviality had never been the vocabulary of the lodge secretary's, the following extract contains originality.
Extract 17 - 12 - 1873
"Bro. Jes Brown's umbrella having been lost on the supper night the secy was instructed to advertise it in Saturday's standard"
Signed H.E. Foster Secy T
he following minute makes reference to a now forgotten establishment within the town. Extract 28 - 1 - 1874 "An application from the proprietor of the wooden building in the market called the "Queens Theatre" for the lodges patronage at his benefit was acceded to".
Signed H.E. Foster Secy
The first ever reference to a lodge demit was recorded.
Extract 25 - 2 - 1874
"Demits to be obtained for John and Adam Harris who are leaving this country"
Signed H.E. Foster Secy
The above extract maybe contrary to our present day ideology, that demits are of a modern medium of masonry. Great credit must be afforded to these early leaders of our society, their vision and foresight instituted a procedure which is still used today. An appreciation was shown by the lodge.
Extract 11 - 3 - 1874
"The lodge was then called to refreshment, after the usual toasts the R.W.M. presented to Bro. David Phillips a handsome time piece, also a ring to Mrs Phillips from the brethren of this lodge in appreciation of his services as treasurer for the last five years."
Signed H.E. Foster Secy
The lodge and masonry are again included in civic ceremonies.
Extract 18 - 3 - 1874
"The subject of laying the foundation stone of the new theatre on the 28th inst was brought forward by the R.W.M. and the lodge unanimously agreed to turn out and attend at the laying of said stone."
Signed H.E. Foster Secy
For reasons unknown a pencilled minute is recorded in the minute books, its content fill only three bottom lines in a much used page, but it captures the imagination.
Extract 13 - 5 - 1874
"Special meeting - Sergeant McGair was initiated, passed and raised he belongs to 42nd Highlanders who were out at the Ashantie War" Minute unsigned
No order or institution however well intentioned can escape the influence of outside conditions.
Extract 21 - 10 - 1874
"The lodge met tonight in the lodge room R.W.M. Bro. Buchanan presided. The lodge having been opened in the first degree, the nomination of office bearers for the ensuing season was brought before the lodge but owing to the difficulty in finding a brother to take the onerous duties of R.W.M. the nominations was not proceeded with."
Signed H.E. Foster Secy
The sequel to the above At the election meeting on the 11th November 1874
Bro. David Phillips nomination as R.W.M. was accepted there after was elected R.W.M. Difficulties still continued regarding lodge accommodation, the George Hotel which for some time had provided the lodge with a some what permanent meeting place was now proving inconsistent meetings were now being cancelled or postponed. This inconsistency could not continue the lodge leaders were aware that the stability the lodge had acquired prompted a new meeting place. On the 25th March 1875 the leaders of the lodge met in the Crown Hotel with the proprietor Mrs Davidson to discuss the use of the Crown Hotel as a lodge meeting place, the discussions were to prove successful. On the 31st March the leaders recommendation was put to open lodge to move to the Crown Hotel. The brethren approved the move, with an added proposal "That an extra attraction as an inauguration meeting was to be held on the 21st April 1875. Some biscuits and sweets were to be placed on the table at this opening meeting".
To give the reader an insight to the extremely fine balance the lodge finances had to bear the following minutes speaks for itself.
25 - 4 - 1875
"The committee met this evening to have a report from the treasurer as to the state of the funds when his books were made up the income was £8 - 18 - 6 and the expenditure £3 - 14 - 6 leaving a bal of £5 - 4 - 0 in his hands. But since making up he had got £1 - 0 - 0 from secretary raising the bal to £6 - 4- 0 two small a/c of 5/- each were handed in which he paid, also Mrs Davidson's a/c for biscuits and sweets which reduced the bal to £4 - 17 - 6. It was intimated that there was an a/c owing to Merrs McKie and Drennan which he was instructed to pay, this will about absorb all the funds, but we will be at least free from debt "Huzza"".
Signed Robt Agnew Secy
The above minute recorded by Bro. Robert Agnew shows his unconscious originality, his use of the closing word "Huzza" which the dictionary defines (to utter a loud shout of joy) makes it a gem, truely worthy a place in this printed record. As one reads the minutes of the old lodge incidents and items appear that not only amaze but captivate the reader. Earlier it was mentioned in these records that a Bro. Duncan McMillan was initiated into the lodge his only attribute to prominence was his unusual designation (Ventriloquist) this should have concluded reference to this brother. Destiny appoints that his name is again portrayed in the minutes.
At the meeting held on the 11th June 1875 a letter was read from the daughter of Bro. Duncan McMillan (Ventriloguist) making two demands. In virtue of her father having been a member of our lodge that the lodge recommend to the administrators of the masonic benevolent fund and the lodge should head a subscription sheet to be sent through the various lodges in Glasgow and Edinburgh. The records are mute as to the circumstances for this appeal. They do record that both demands were unanimously declined the reason, "Unworthiness""
Signed Robt. Agnew Secy
On the 19th August 1875 the lodge assisted at the laying of the foundation stone at the new school at Old Cumnock and on the 25th August 1875 at the new public school in Kilwinning. Reference to these civic functions illustrates the lodges character and its commitment to portray relationships worthy of masonry. The meagreness of detail of these ceremonies has left a great void, this has always opened the door to speculation. There is no doubt today's members would not only have benefited but would have cherished the traditions practised in our mother lodge. The minute dated 1st December 1875 does contain a shadow of detail.
1 - 12 - 1875
"The lodge met this evening the R.W.M. in the chair when William Wright, Robert Dunlop and John Richmond were admitted to the first degree. Bro. Phillips for the first time performed part of the ceremony and did so with credit to himself and advantage to the bren. After imposing the obligation he called on Br John McKay of St Johns No22 to explain the working tools and give the charge to the young brethren".
Signed Robt Agnew Secy
The following can only attribute its date and the resourcefulness of the lodge.
Extract 19 - 1 - 1876
"The lodge met this evening, in the unavoidable absence of the R.W.M. Bro. John McKay P.M. of lodge St John No22 presided in the chair and conferred the second and third degrees".
Signed Robt Agnew Secy
An item worthy of recognition as it bears witness to the harmony and masonic feeling that existed within the lodge. Extract 1 - 3 - 1876 "Bro. Math Anderson in a few well chosen and highly eulogistic remarks, presented a very handsome walking stick to Bro. David Phillips R.W.M. of St. Andrew 126. As a mark of the donors appreciation of him as a man and as a mason, but specialy of his very pleasant rule as R.W.M."
Signed Robt Agnew Secy
The minute of the 17th May 1876 contains an invitation to assist at the laying of the memorial stone of the new blind asylum in Edinburgh. A further invitation was received on the 13th September 1876 to assist in the laying of the memorial stone of a new dock at Ayr harbour. Throughout the minutes there are faint references to the lodge proxy masters to Grand Lodge, their responsibilities played a humble part in our history.
On the 23rd January 1877 for unknown reasons a new proxy master was elected Bro. John Oliver D.M. of Commercial lodge No360 Glasgow. As a sequel to the above, a rather bold proposal was made by the lodge secretary at the meeting held on the 4th April 1877. "That the lodge do with-out either of the wardens and the proxy master at Grand Lodge as this would save a further two pounds expense on the lodge and that our funds were not in a very prosperous condition this was seconded by Bro. D. Frazer and carried by the brethren". There is great evidence that since the lodges early beginning it has attracted a wealth of visitors. We of today must honour these early ambassadors.
Extract 20 - 6 - 1877
"We had visiting brethren from sister lodges No33 Harmony S. Carolina and 311 Scotia N.Y. America and 86 Navigation Troon."
Signed Robert Smith
A gap now appears in the lodge minutes from the 30th November 1877 to the 20th December 1878 only one minute is recorded. This is followed by the minutes dated the 2nd July 1879 and the 10th July 1879, both of which are loose leaf insertions placed in the minute book. What brought about this passive interest and the irregularity of meetings is unknown, perhaps other conditions prevented them from exercising their privileges, or only a carelessness in maintaining records. It is of some concurrence and significance that the loose leaf minute of the 2nd July 1879 records what must be the first official meeting of all the Kilmarnock lodges to discuss the probability of a single meeting place. It exposed a general feeling "That is would be for the good of masonry in general and each lodge in particular belonging to Kilmarnock if a place of meeting were mentioned, one being the billiard room adjoining the opera house. The records show that enquiries were made to the owners who asked for an annual rent of eighteen pounds, this was to prove prohibitive as each lodge stated that their funds could not afford such a rent.
An extract from our own minutes record.
"That owing to the unsatisfactory state of trade and consequently of the finances of the lodge it was impracticable to attempt any change in the mean time". It has already been mentioned that the lodge was closely allied to the fortunes and misfortunes of the working classes who made up the majority of our members. Failure of the Glasgow city bank in 1879 brought to Kilmarnock the ruination of many local businesses this brought unemployment to an already depressed Scotland. The feeling of caution reflected in the minutes of the lodge in these times is pronounced. The question of France was brought home by the struggles of their own members to make ends meet, thus the matter of a hall was held in abeyance for years.
On Saturday 26th July 1879 the lodge assisted at the laying of the foundation stone to the new memorial hall at Thornliebank. The records record that an invitation was received to attend the inauguration of the Burns statue at Wards Park. Not only was the invitation accepted the lodge agreed that a band be procured as part of the procession, the sum for the band not to exceed five pounds. The records continue that a deputation was received from lodge St. Clements No202 who stated that their lodge was desirous of uniting with us in procuring a band for this important inauguration on the 9th August 1879 and pay half the expense.
A further minute records that the lodge selected the Catrine band to play at this ceremony. The following minute is unique as it bears the signature of the Provincial Grand Master of Ayrshire.
Extract 26 - 9 - 1879
"This day a provincial visitation was made and same executed, minutes were found, they were directed to be inscribed".
Signed R.W. Cochran Patrick P.G.M. of Ayrshire
Reference is again made to lodge bye-laws, one thing is certain, they were hardly obeyed except at such times as was convenient uniformity of procedure was an almost unknown thing. But order was gradually being evolved , a determination of those responsible to put the lodge on a proper working basis is recorded. At a committee meeting on the 29th August 1879 a great debate took place on the upgrading of the bye-laws. On the 1st October 1879 at the lodge regular meeting the changes made by the committee were approved and sent to Grand Lodge for final approval, which was granted on the 8th January 1880, 250 of the new bye-laws was printed at a cost of one pound ten shillings by the old established Kilmarnock printer Dunlop and Drennan. The lodge charged the members six pence for a copy, candidates were given a free copy. It is unknown when or why the lodge was again meeting in the George Hotel, the minutes are silent as to what relationship the lodge carried with the owners. The past history of this alliance was again to prove disarray on the 18th November 1879.
A minute records that the lodge room (George Hotel) was not available, this prompted the lodge to consider once again a new meeting place. A committee meeting was held 26th November 1879 to consider the incongruous situation of the lodge meeting place. A period of instability surrounded the lodge on the 5th December 1879. The lodge regular meeting was called, the brethren assembled at the George Hotel. The lodge room was not available, the members adjourned to Bro. McCrones house, although the lodge was not formally opened the minutes of the previous meeting were read. The lodge scribe continued the narrative by recording that on the 8th January 1880 the members had to wait one hour before they could gain access to the lodge room.
The nomadic movement of the lodge continued, as the minute dated the 5th February 1880 the lodge was to move to the "Bakers Arms". To exemplify the past.
Extract 3 - 6 - 1880
"A letter the secretary had received from the secretary of Trio lodge Rock Island America stated that one William Rodman who claimed to be a member of the St. Andrew lodge Kilmarnock had got the loan of five dollars and had failed to pay it back, and asking if St. Andrew would pay it back for him. When all the members present unanimously stated that the lodge was not responsible in any way and instructed the secretary to write to that effect".
Signed John Wyllie Secy
It is evident that considerable local autonomy in the working of the craft was continuing.
Extract 22 - 7 - 1880
"The said Robert Thomson was initiated, passed and raised at an emergency meeting called for such as the said Robert Thomson had to leave Scotland in a few days for the West Indies".
Signed John Wyllie Secy
The minute recorded on the 27th August 1880 shows that the lodge meeting took place in the Royal Hotel. Two small items of interest appear in the minute dated 11th November 1880. That a request was made to the lodge by an ex baillie of the town called Baird for the loan of the mallet which once belonged to the lodge of Robert Burns, this was refused and that the total lodge funds stood at two pounds twelve shillings. The minute of the 3rd February 1881 records that the lodge attended the laying of the foundation stone of the new church at Crosshouse which took place on the 29th December 1880. At the same meeting a number of lodge members had stated the lodge should meet in a hotel rather than a public house. The records are mute as to where the lodge was meeting at this time. An early prophecy by an unassuming prophet.
Extract 3 - 2 - 1881
"Bro. A. Goldie S.W. said that he considered it possible for lodge St. Andrew and all the other lodges in Kilmarnock to get a hall of there own, where they could meet if properly set agoing", "The R.W.M.'s opinions was different from Bro. Goldies considering the apathy at the present time."
Signed John Wyllie Secy
The continuing narrative regarding a lodge meeting place is again mentioned at a meeting dated 3rd March 1881. A committee was set up to look and make enquires regarding a new meeting place".
A sequel to the above.
Extract 22 - 3 - 1881
"The R.W.M. stated that the committee that had been appointed at last meeting to look out for another place for the lodge to meet Mrs Whitehead of the Crown Hotel had been asked whither she would admit the lodge on the old terms she said "No" that she would require to have four pounds per annum, for the use of the lesser hall which the committee thought was too much they next visited the Sun Inn Hall which they found would suit very well, and an adjicent room to suit nicely and Mr Little the proprietor stated that he would grant the use of the hall at one shilling and six pence for the first hour and one shilling per hour afterwards. The committee strongly recommended that the Sun Inn Hall be the place of meeting for St. Andrew's lodge in the future on these terms, which was unanimously agreed".
Signed John Wyllie Secy
The subject of benevolence was raised by provincial Grand Lodge, they inquired if the lodge had a benevolent fund if so who managed it. They were informed by the secretary, they did have a fund which was managed by the R.W.M. and office-bearers. We must speculate that there must have been on going discussions between provincial and daughter lodges in Ayrshire on funding Provincial Grand Lodge benevolent fund. Whatever discussions took place there is no record but at the meeting on the 6th April 1881 the lodge agreed that two shillings and six pence would be paid to Provincial Grand Lodge from the fees of each entrant towards benevolence. To many of today's members the following extract may raise interest.
Extract 13 - 4 - 1882
"The lodge opened in due form by Bro. Jas Buchanan R.W.M. in the first or entered apprentice degree when William Marr sea captain residing in West Park Dundonald Road Kilmarnock. Application was read signed by Jas Buchanan R.W.M. and Dr James McAllister and agreed to when captain Wm. Marr received said degree".
Signed John Wyllie Secy
For some time peace and harmony reigned in the lodge but the tranquillity was to be broken, this happened in an unreserved and unrestrained manner. This extract gives a mere detail the full facts are left unrecorded.
Extract 5 - 5 - 1882
"The secretary handed the R.W.M. his letter of resignation and his secretary - ship when Bro. Robert Harrison S.W. asked the reason for resigning it was stated that Bro. James Buchanan R.W.M. had given the secretary a lie direct on two different occasions without any justification what ever, the lodge was closed in form although rather hurriedly".
Signed John Wyllie Secy
Extract 24 - 8 - 1882
"An invitation was received to assist at the memorial stone to the new Free Church Beith on the 20th. It was agreed that a deputation would attend".
Signed Robert Brown pro.tem.secy
Like many institutions there comes times when a certain apathy descends, masonry was no exception. We find that on the 4th October 1882 a meeting was called for the annual nomination of lodge office bearers so few members turned up that the lodge was not opened, the scribe entered the following epitome. "In fact there were not as many as could open lodge" Contrary to the above the annual election meeting was held on the 9th November 1882 which was well attended. The office bearers were duly elected and were invested with their jewel of office, a bathos or anti-climax was to complete the evening, when it came to adorn the R.W.M. with his jewel of office the jewel could not be found. What ever happened to overcome this catastrophe the minute is silent. Benevolence was always a foundation stone practised by the lodge. We of today may read the records and surely pause to think of the early sowers of the seeds that has borne much fruit. The true spirit of "Brotherly love and relief" two of our ancient landmarks was essentially a virtue of our early members. The following extract must surely allude to a much quoted passage in the V.S.L. "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal".
Extract 23 - 11 - 1882
"R.W.M. Bro. Thos Scott, our S.W. Bro. Harrison stated they had audited the books of tres and found a ballance in favour of lodge of £1 - 14 - 7 1/2 (one pound fourteen shillings, seven and a half pence). The case of brother Morrison an old member of St. Andrew 126, who was accidentally burned with a naptha lamp in Perth. Lodge Scoon and Perth No3 applying for a little assistance for him through this lodge, it was agreed that £1 (one pound) be given for the benefit of the Bro. to assist him during his illness."
Signed Robert Brown Secy
For almost two years the lodge had met in the Sun Inn but again this proved incongruous to the requirements of the lodge.
Extract 7 - 2 - 1883
"Objections were made to the room we were in being to small to work the 3rd degree, Bro. Robert Marshall proposed our R.W.M. with secretary see the landlady Mrs Little and arrange with her to have the hall if it could not be got they be empowered to look out for a place more suitable to hold our meetings".
Signed Robert Brown Secy
The nomadic movement of the lodge meeting place continued. The records show that the lodge moved to the Angel Hotel on the 21st February 1883. As to what may be improper today was the acceptable in these early days by the minutes of the 1st March 1883. The R.W.M. and the two wardens were absent, a brother who was visiting the lodge Bro. A. Galloway P.M. of lodge Falkirk No588 was asked to take the chair. Bro. Thos Davies of lodge St. Marnock No109 and Bro. A. Goldie of lodge 126 took over the duties of senior and junior wardens an E.A. degree was carried out by the acting R.W.M. It is worthy of note, that the W.S.W. of lodge 126 appeared some time during the evening and took up his office. The minute concludes "The bros. then adjourned to a private room where a very enjoyable evening was spent together."
Signed Robert Brown Secy
There was some small signs that social conditions were improving, the lodge accepting this extended its sociability. The minute dated 12th July 1883 records that a picnic was to take place to Loudoun Hill and that brethren be invited from sister lodges with an advert being placed in the Kilmarnock Hearld and Kilmarnock Standard. At the meeting on the 26th September 1883 held in the Angel Hotel two invitations were received to assist at the laying of the foundation stones to the new sheriff court house at Paisley and the new municipal buildings in Glasgow. The minutes of the meeting dated 15th December 1883 records that a Bro. Findlay from Glasgow attended the meeting and while there conferred the mark degree on 15 Bros. of lodge St. Andrew. The minute closed "The Sen Warden closed the lodge in due form all being highly satisfied with the evenings proceedings".
Signed Robert Brown Secy
At a meeting dated 7th November 1883 the lodge was presented with 3 mark stones from a Bro. William Murray of Ayr. The scantiness of the minute leaves Bro. Murray like so many others hidden in our past. Nothing is known of Bro. Murray or why he saw fit to present this gift. His thoughtfulness maybe included in this epitaph. "Sad is the day for any man when he becomes absolutely satisfied with the life he is living, the thoughts that he is thinking and the deed that he is doing, when there ceases to be forever beating at the doors of his soul a desire to do something which he feels and knows he was meant and intended to do".
Two items of interest appear in the minute dated 6th March 1884.
The first records that a Bro. James Richmond a member of lodge Loudoun Newmilns No51 was affiliated to lodge St. Andrew this evening and was immediately appointed lodge inner guard. The second records that a great debate took place regarding the old sword which was used at the battle of Drumclog, presented 23 years ago by Bro. Philip McMillan was still hanging in the Sun Inn, the lodges previous meeting place, as the lodge at present were meeting in the Angel Hotel. What ever moves were made (if any) to recover this artifact the minutes are silent never the less the importance of this issue led to the following. "It was agreed that Bro. McMillan who was now residing in Irvine be brought to Kilmarnock to identify the sword and its return to the lodge".
Although no further reference is recorded on the above matter. The sword is in possession of the Lodge Today and remains one of the great treasures of the lodge. It has already been mentioned that the lodge like many others at this time applied a great autonomy, a right to self government. Although great strides of improvement had taken place many laws which Grand Lodge had imposed were treated with much looseness. There had always been a reluctance in administration to Grand Lodge, a stigma resulting from this , was the confusion of the registration of members with Grand Lodge.
The following extract exemplifies.
Extract 10 - 4 - 1884
"Our treasurer handed in his resignation which was read, he stated he held the office illegally owing to not being registered in Grand Lodge of Scotland. Resignation not accepted".
Signed R Brown Secy
As a sequel to the above
"It was later decided that the lodge would pay for the treasurers registration and his Grand Lodge diploma from lodge funds". A presentation to the lodge.
Extract 15 - 6 - 1884
"Our R.W.M. at this stage arrived and took the chair P.M. Wm. Caldwell (Dunedin) was present at this meeting of his mother lodge after an absence of nearly a quarter of a century and in a few choice sentences presented us with a beautiful gold jewel motto. Saint Andrew leaning on the cross to be worn by present R.W.M. and all R.W.M.'s in the future, our R.W.M. Bro. Scott replied and thanked the Bro. in name of Saint Andrew 126".
Signed Robt Brown Secy
As a note to the above P.M. William Caldwell was R.W.M. of lodge St. Andrew 126 (1855 - 61). He left Scotland for a new life in New Zealand returning to Kilmarnock in 1884. The esteem that P.M. Caldwell held in his mother lodge is recorded in a special meeting being held on the 11th July 1884 where a gold pin set with pearls motto being Saint Andrew leaning on a cross was presented to him. The presentation being made by P.M. James Buchanan "Remarking what Bro. Caldwell had done in former years for this lodge when it was in an almost dormant state and raising it up to a great success".
Signed Robt Brown Secy
Extract 6 - 11 - 1884
Bro. David Phillips presented the lodge with a very old junior wardens jewel which had originally belong to the lodge". Decision had always to be made, priorities without diffidence were made, agree or disagree we of today can only read as the records dictate. The lodge receive an appeal from Grand Lodge requesting a subscription towards a bust to be presented to Lady Mar of Lord Mar for his services as Grand Master of Scotland. The lodge voted, no donation was to be given at the same meeting an appeal was read from lodge St George No333 Glasgow to assist a Bro. of their lodge who had been ill for a long time required assistance. The lodge responded to this appeal and gave ten shillings. A designation belonging to a by gone age.
Extract 7 - 5 - 1885
"A William Grant teacher industrial school was initiated".
Signed John Wyllie Secy
What may have become an annual outing was discussed at a meeting on the 4th June 1885. It was agreed that this year would be to the Burns monument near Ayr. A peculiar occurrence is now recorded in the minutes dated 2nd September 1885. It seems that a number of brethren in Kilmarnock lodges including 126 had banded together and formed a clandestine movement within the craft calling itself the black encampment with a joining fee of thirteen shillings. There is no mention why or for what reason the incipient group was formed. This had been brought to Grand Lodges attention, a letter was read out at this meeting from Grand Lodge warning the members that this was a serious breach of the constitution and laws of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, no brother could plead ignorance in joining such a movement. No further mention of this matter is recorded in the minutes.
There now follows a series of presentations to the lodge by members all of which have become treasured artifacts.
21st January 1886 Bro. Thomas Scott R.W.M. presented a skull and crossbones.
18th March 1886 Bro. Robert Brown presented a rough and smooth ashlar.
6th April 1886 Bro. George Booth presented a 24 inch gauge, at the same meeting Bro. John Paton presented a scythe, chisel and plumb.
In each case a hearty vote of thanks was given to the presenting brother. From the ebb and flow of the lodge there are times when the expected peace is disturbed by an incident that dictated the conscience of lodge members. We know by reading the records that a great zeal of fidelity had always existed in lodge members when any threat as to the integrity of the lodge occurred, there was unsurpassed loyalty to defend the continuous bond of amity within the lodge. It appears that at the regular meeting on the 6th may 1886 the minutes record that an application made by Mr John Ford (Plasterer) had withdrawn his application. The R.W.M. initiated that along with some senior office bearers he had visited Mr Ford in respect of withdrawing his application to become a member of lodge St. Andrew.
The enquiries made by the R.W.M. is recorded in the minute dated 6th May 1886.
It records that members of an other Kilmarnock lodge had made malign statements against lodge St. Andrew to Mr Ford. A complaint was sent to provincial Grand Lodge. Their reply was "That a possible settlement should be sought between the two lodges in private".
In reply
"As lodge St. Andrew is the aggrieved party they could not approach the other party, but if the offending lodge was to approach lodge St. Andrew they would meet in a true masonic spirit". So ends this episode. The outcome of which remains unrecorded. Viewed in the light of today it is trivial and unimportant and adds nothing material to our history. To exclude this remonstrance would be unworthy to these members who's jealousy was to keep unimpaired the name of lodge St. Andrew. A great consistency had been shown by the lodge since its existence in adherence to one of the crafts basic principals "Charity" as the following extract records.
Extract 2 - 9 - 1886 "
Two poor brothers named James Campbell from No3 and John Milne from No754 Royal Blues were at the meeting and requested help". The minute records that each of the bro's received two shillings and six pence from the lodge funds and a collection was taken on behalf of the two bro's which resulted in each being given a further five shillings and nine pence.
Signed John Wyllie Secy
Today the nomination and election of R.W.M. and office bearers is proceeded in a very exact manner, this was not the case in the early years. Lodges held their own council as to the election of R.W.M. Our records show that prior to the annual election meeting which was to take place on the 4th November 1886 the reigning R.W.M. Bro. Thomas Scott indicated that he would not be seeking re-election. This must have been unexpected as a committee was appointed "There and Then" as the record records, "To look out for a R.W.M. for the ensuing year" as time must have been the essence an unorthodox approach was made to Bro. Andrew Turnbull a past master of the lodge to accept the office of R.W.M. the P.M. promised "To take it into consideration". A wavering uncertaincy must have prevailed. It was to take to the twelfh hour, Bro. Turnbull acceptance to become R.W.M. but only on certain conditions. One of which was the on going dispute between an other Kilmarnock lodge which was referred to earlier being dropped. Feelings must have been deep, to impose such pre-conditions was unacceptable, a stormy meeting took place resulting in Bro. David Phillips being elected as R.W.M.
Extract 29 - 5 - 1887
"The secretary stated that a great many of the younger brethren of St. Andrews were under the impression that they could not get the mark degree in their own lodge and had gone and got it in St. Marnock No109".
Signed John Wyllie Secy
A meeting of lodge office bearers was held on the 17th June 1887 where a letter was read out inviting the lodge to take part in the Jubilee Procession of lodge Navigation Troon No86 which included the opening of a new park in Troon. The invitation was accepted. A further invitation was receive this was to assist at the laying of the memorial stone of the Speirs Institute at Beith on Saturday 24th September 1887. The invitation was accepted. The scarcity of money was always evident this was caused as often as not by the efforts made to relieve distressed brethren, the exceptional economic hardness of the times made more demands to sucour those who fell on evil days. What unwritten story lies in the following extract history had decreed that it will remain hidden.
Extract 15 - 9 - 1887
"Bro. Alexander Fairley's case was brought forward and as he was in destitute state and wanted a little help to return to Canada, when it was agreed that five shillings be given him from the funds".
Signed John Wyllie secy
Although there have been many constitutional changes made by Grand Lodge many old customs were still being practised by the lodge, one being the conferring of all three degrees on the same candidate at the same meeting. The designations of senior office bearers were seldom mentioned in the minutes, an exception was now to be made at the election meeting on the 6th October 1887. Bro. George Miller (Pawnbroker) was elected R.W.M. a first in the records of this notable profession. A greeting undoubtedly met by great tidings.
Extract 2 - 11 - 1887
"The auditors Bro. Jackson and Black stated that the treasurers books was correctly kept and that the lodge was in a flourishing condition".
Signed George E. Miller
The minute of the lodges annual festival records that this was held on the 30th November 1887 in the Angel Hotel with many deputation's attending one such visitor is recorded as P.M. Bro. D.K. Fyfe of lodge Hawaiio Honolula, Sandwich Islands, unfortunately there is no further reference made to this far travelled ambassador. As to what prompted the sudden awareness to conformity is not known.
Extract 17 - 1 - 1888
"The secretary stated that before any one was admitted a member of St. Andrews lodge or into the mysteries of free masonry that the ballot be put into practice and that the three degrees in one night should be as far as practicable not be allowed unless satisfactory circumstances be given and agreed to. The members present agreed that the ballot be put into force for the future".
Signed George. E. Miller. John Wyllie Secy
There can be no doubt that many of the old customs and traditions carried out by the lodge and the surrounding lodges in Ayrshire are lost in antiquity and remain relics of these past times, yet as we pass and search through our minutes there are slight references which give an insight to a past we learn to appreciate more deeply. The minute of the 1st February 1888 records that an invitation was received from lodge St. Peter Galston to attend there torch light procession. The minute is mute as to the reason for this event, we regret the meagreness of detail recorded but cherish the simplicity of these early scribes. A minute of the past could be a minute of today.
Extract 21 - 3 - 1888
"An invitation was received from lodge Louden Newmilns to send a deputation to their 141st Anniversary to be held in the Crown Hotel Newmilns. It was agreed that deputation would attend. It was then proposed and seconded that the conveyance to Newmilns be paid out of lodge funds. An amendment was made and seconded that each member attending, pay one shilling and the remainder taken from lodge funds. The amendment was carried. One of the lodge stalwarts of this time was the lodge secretary Bro. John Wyllie (1879 - 81) & (1884 - 88). A period of seven years. Little is known of Bro. John Wyllie other than he was a local sheriff officer. His duties as secretary were considerable at times must have been arduous, his minutes were expressed in every day language, like many others he never sought publicity nor counted fame, their abiding sense of duty was to hand downwards which had been intrusted to them.
At a meeting held on the 30th November 1888 the lodge presented Bro. John Wyllie with a gold jewel in appreciation for his long services as secretary. "He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much, who has gained respect of intelligent men who has filled his niche and accomplished his task, who has always looked for the best in others and given the best he had". The history of any lodge must have a few skeletons in there closets, one such skeleton is recorded openly in our minutes. On the 6th February 1889 the S.W. of the lodge reported that a Bro. W.Wilson of the lodge had attended the quarterly communication of Grand Lodge in place of the lodge J.W. he asked if this was legal, the secretary was asked to write to Grand Lodge for guidance on this matter.
The following is the reply from Grand Secretary.
3 - 4 - 1889
Mr John Wylie secretary 126 Kilmarnock.
Dear Sir & Brother. "I have your letter of the 23rd instant confirmatory of the explanation by your R.W. master of the circumstances under which Bro. W. Wilson impersonated the Junior Warden of your lodge at the quarterly communication of February 1888, and voted there at. The tickets of membership of Grand Lodge "Are not transferable". In presenting Bro. Blacks (J.W.) ticket and under that authority appearing at Grand Lodge and acting as a member there of Bro. William exposed himself to suspension from all members privileges seeing the offence was commited in ignorance I shall not repeat the matter to Grand Committee but will delete Bro. Wilson's name from the sederint of the said 2 communication".
Yours faithfully D. Murray Lyon Grand Secretary
No further mention of this matter is recorded in the minutes. The placing of notices in the Kilmarnock Standard was becoming a financial burden, it was agreed that a deputation should meet with the standard to discuss the price of lodge notices. At the meeting dated 20th February 1889 the deputation gave the following report. "Bro. Booth and the secretary reported the result of a deputation to the Standard (Kilmarnock) to see if they would not reduce the price of the notices of meetings advertised in the Standard to what it had formerly been a few years ago. The deputation was informed that the lodge was getting a third off already.", "It was then proposed and seconded that the meetings should not be advertised in the Standard as all the members receive notices from the secretary when meetings were to be held". The next meeting of importance was dated 15th May 1889 where a letter was read out from a Bro. Angus Cameron of lodge St. Marnock No109 asking lodge St. Andrew to co-operate with them in finding suitable premises to carry on masonry in Kilmarnock. This was approved by the Brethren.
We know from past records that lodge meeting places were anything but adequate, most were held in licensed hotels and inns which at the best of times at the landlords discretion. There is also no doubt that meeting in such premises cast doubt and misconception of masonry among the uninitiated. For many years uppermost in the minds a of the members was the necessity to have a place of their own. The records show that no matter how hard they tried it always resulted in defeat, the economic conditions dictated the path the lodge was to travel. At this point in our history there was much poverty and great depression of trade this shared an idleness among the working classes, many of our members were struggling to make ends meet, these hard times always brought caution to the lodge. The matter regarding a hall of our own was continually left in abeyance.
At the meeting dated 9th October 1889 an invitation was received from lodge St. James Kilwinning No135 Tarbolton to assist at the laying of the foundation stone of the masonic hall Tarbolton on Saturday 12th October 1889. A deputation from lodge St. Andrew attended. A most unexpected and some what controversial item appears in the minute of the 5th February 1890. Enquiries were to be made regarding a property in Portland Street owned by a Mr William Orr if this maybe converted to a lodge room at a small cost to the lodge. This was to prove unsuccessful, the cost too great for the lodge finances.
By fate or coincidence a circular was received from Grand Lodge asking two questions.
(1) Does your lodge meet in premises licensed for the sale of excisable liquors.
(2) Could premises other than licensed premises be obtained without serious difficulty.
The secretary reported that he had replied to the circular in accordance with the facts adding that enquiries were being made in securing accommodation to hold our meetings in the new oddfellows hall being erected in John Finnie Street. Further records show that these enquiries were doomed to disappointment. We can only assume that the rent was beyond the finances of the lodge. By recent events the lodge members may have been stirred to move the lodge meeting place . A sudden move was made to leave the Angel Hotel which had been home to the lodge for almost seven years and meet in the Royal Hotel Duke Street. No reason for the move is recorded.
One item of interest is recorded, that a vote was taken on moving to the Royal Hotel, it was only carried by the R.W.M. casting vote. We have commented earlier of the bareness of many of the minutes, we now find an exception.
The minute dated the 2nd April 1890 consists of four full pages, its content gives an insight to the versatility and range of business carried out at lodge meetings. The usual business of reading minutes of previous meetings and there approval, the R.W.M. then installed five office bearers, Junior Warden, Inner Guard, Senior Steward, Junior Steward and Lodge Chaplain. No explanation is given as to why these installations were carried out, especially in the month of April. The R.W.M. then proceeded to carry out an affiliation on a Bro. William McRae who's mother lodge was St. James Nethertonholm Kilmarnock No274, after which a most remarkable presentation was made by Bro. McRae, he handed over to R.W.M. Bro. Thomas Scott of Lodge St. Andrew the original charter of Lodge St. James Nethertonholm No274. Explaining that it had been in his possession for about 35 years, as the lodge had ceased to be a working lodge around the eighteen fifties, it had be handed over to him for safe keeping, in the hope that the lodge maybe resuscitated, as this had not taken place, he asked that R.W.M. Scott be the instrument in the resignation of the charter to Grand Lodge. Bro. Scott expressed his willingness to carry out this duty and would personally contact Grand Secretary with a full explanation so that Bro. McRae name might be recorded in Grand Lodge books and his worthy conduct duly acknowledged. A fellow craft degree was then carried out.
The minute continues, Bro. Booth now presented the lodge with a masters mallet which was suitably acknowledged by R.W.M. Scott. The minute concludes by the R.W.M. announcing that the lodge would now meet in the Royal Hotel. The above is the format of the minute as recorded in the minute book, whither this was the sequence of events of the meeting will remain unknown, the main items being extracted from the four pages of this composition. For a number of years the name of Bro. Thomas Davies D.M. of lodge St. Marnock No109 appears regularly in the minutes . Bro. Davies was a regular attendee of lodge 126. On various occasions he filled the chair in the lodge and conferred many degrees. At the meeting dated 7th May 1890 which was the first meeting held in the Royal Hotel the master was not in attendance to open the lodge. The minute records that the then S.W. Bro. McFadden took the chair and opened the meeting, after the usual business Bro. Thomas Davies D.M. of lodge 109 conferred the M.M. Degree the minute then continues.
Extract
"Brother Thomas Scott R.W.M. having arrived at this time he proposed and it was unanimously resolved that Bro. Thomas Davies be enrolled as an honorary member of the lodge", "The lodge was then called from labour to refreshment and harmonised in the light for some time, when it was again called from refreshment to labour and brother James McQuall of lodge Bushmills No48 Irish Constitution was affiliated as a member of this lodge by Bro. John Brown R.W.M. of No505 Burns St Mary Hurlford. The lodge was then closed in due and ancient form".
Signed T. Scott R.W.M. Robert Wyllie Secy
Viewed in the light of today the above minute carries many anomalies, we do not criticise, as this was not only acceptable but correct at the time, its recording is only of interest to us who are members today. The autonomy of independence continues.
Extract 3 - 9 - 1890
"The application form of Hugh Black engineer, 9 Harrop Street asking to be enlightened in the mysteries of freemasonry was read out and unanimously granted Hugh Black received first or entered apprentice degree. The lodge was then raised to the second or fellow craft degree, when that degree was conferred on Hugh Black after which the lodge was raised to the third degree which degree was also conferred on him by brother Thomas Davies D.M. St. Marnock No109".
Signed T. Scott. R.W.M. Robert Wyllie Secy
No sooner had the lodge moved to the Royal Hotel Duke Street when suggestions were being made to move once again. At the meeting on the 1st October 1890 a motion was made that enquiries be made regarding the new building being constructed in John Finnie Street "The Oddfellows Hall" that part maybe rented as a lodge room, also mentioned was a Mr Fords Hall. A committee was set up to make enquiries of the availability of the two premises and the cost involved. The records go on to show that the committee received favourable answers both asking a fee of five pound per annum.
At the meeting dated 15th October 1890 the R.W.M. announced that the lodge was in a position to move to a non-licensed premises which was in agreeance with Grand Lodge . A great discussion took place on the merits of both premises. A vote was taken resulting in the Oddfellows hall being chosen. The lodge A.G.M. took place on the 5th November 1890. The lodge auditors gave their report intimating that the lodge had a balance of four pounds one shilling and four pence. On a lighter note the minute continues.
Extract
"The lodge was then called from labour to refreshment and much entertained by the startling tricks in conjuring on the part of Bro. Jamison of lodge St. Andrew and by the songs and sentiments of several of the brethren after which the lodge was called from refreshment to labour". Minute unsigned The minutes now mark an epoch in the history of freemasonry in Kilmarnock. Negotiations had been completed with the Oddfellows Hall Committee for the use of their new premises as a lodge room. On Tuesday 20th January 1891 the new lodge room was consecrated by Bro. Thomas Cochrane of Provincial Grand Lodge assisted by Rev. Mr Syme Dundonald, the provincial Grand Chaplain.
The minute records "That the ceremony was most impressive, the musical part of the programme having been ably performed by Bro. James Kirkland, acting Provincial Grand Organist with an efficient choir". The importance of this event is shown by the Kilmarnock Standard giving an editorial of the occasion, a copy of which is inserted in the minute book. The first regular meeting to be held in the new lodge room took place on the 2nd February 1891.
Two main items are recorded in the minute. The lodge secretary tendered his resignation "That owing to his business which took him out of town he could not full-fill his duties to the lodge". The second item of importance was the proposal that the lodge purchase a harmonium which may reflect that the lodge "Maybe" was enjoying better times. From the lodges humble beginnings we now find that there was a deep desire by the members to carry out their work in a manner befitting the principals of the craft, finance could not have been great, but a great willingness to create a new environment was ever present so much so that a committee was elected to discuss the purchase of a harmonium, not only did they recommend the purchase of a harmonium but added that three desks be purchased "For use of the R.W.M., Senior & Junior Wardens".
A sequel to the above.
The records show that a harmonium was purchased for ten pounds twelve shillings and six pence, as for the three desks no further mention is recorded. By the previous minute the lodge was experiencing better times. By the records the government of the lodge was strong this may have had a strong influence in the new well being found in the lodge. A quiet truth. There had been no panacea found for the poverty and hardship that still existed, for many a struggle to survive was ever present. Recorded in the minute dated 2nd September 1891 a Bro. Robert Robertson of lodge 40 "The Douglas Lodge" was in attendance (as to why this Bro. was present at our meeting in Kilmarnock the records are silent). The minutes record him "As a poor brother" no details are recorded only "That a subscription was sent round amongst the brethren and four shillings and six pence was given to him". In today's world the above would be inconceivable, in these past times they were only carrying out one of the crafts basic principals. "There is sanctuary in freemasonry in the privacy of the inner fellow-ship of the fraternity a Brother will often find rest for his heart and protection from the bruises of the world. That man is no true freemason in whose nature the weary may not find rest and the weak protected".
I maybe pardoned if I make a small reference to Bro. Thomas Scott the reigning R.W.M. 1890 - 91. Bro. Scott held the high office as R.W.M. on 4 occasions. A total of 9 years. Bro. Scotts reigns had no world shattering events, no mementious facts in which the world or the craft held its breath, but he did bring change, his strong character and enthusiasm for the craft overflowed to the lodge members, he was the architect of many improvements many of which exist today, one of which was the setting up of the lodge mark master mason register on the 7th October 1891. Like so many of our early stalwarts very little is known of him, our lodge register tells us he was a teacher by profession. He came to Kilmarnock in the year 1877, there is no record where he came from, we do know that he affiliated to lodge St. Andrew giving his mother lodge as lodge Athol No384. On his final retireal he was presented with a gold jewel, this took place at the annual festival on the 11th December 1891. Bro. Scotts wife was also presented with a gold bracelet.
The minute book carries a cutting from the Kilmarnock Standard of this event. For the benefit of our history this was the first occasion that our lodge opened its doors to our annual festival social to non-craft members and ladies. Although retiring as R.W.M. and becoming the I.P.M. Bro. Scott's voice was to be heard strongly during the many debates which were to follow.
After the very conspicuous and commemorative move to the Oddfellows halls we again find that the arrangements were unsatisfactory. There were strong shouts for a place of our own.
The minute dated 27th July 1892 mentions that the Clerks Lane Church was for sale, there was feeling that with some alterations this could be a desirable place to practice freemasonry by all the lodges in Kilmarnock. There is almost a complete silence in the record as to why the Oddfellows halls had proved unsatisfactory. One small mention is made in the minute of the 5th October 1892 which may give credulity to the existing conditions.
Extract 5 - 10 - 1892
"The lodge could not get their usual lodge room for the meeting as this had been let to a marriage party".
Signed Wm. Baird R.W.M. John Wyllie Secy
The following extract lends nothing to the history the scribe of the time records a visiting brother in a most competent manner.
Extract 26 - 10 -1892
"The R.W.M. welcomed Bro. Geo. McLean, North Star Lodge No41, Lithbridge, Alberta, North West Territories, Canada".
Signed Wm. Baird R.W.M. John Wyllie Secy
It has already been shown that a great diversity of business was conducted at lodge meetings. The minute dated 7th December 1892 is no exception. It is of great length its content considerable. A brief interpretation. The lodge was opened and a fellow craft degree was carried out. The lodge business was then carried out. The R.W.M. then proceeded to point out to the brethren that the emblems and tools of the lodge were in a very poor state. I.P.M. Thomas Scott entered a great debate that took place regarding the working tools of the lodge, suggestions were put forward that a joiner or engineer should be contacted "To put these right" Bro. Scott who's past record shows he had a great ability to encourage the best from the brethren "Was sure that as in the past members would come forward and present the lodge with the emblems and tools that were required". No sooner was this debate closed when an other opened up. It seems that two pedestals had been ordered and made by a master joiner of the lodge Br McCormack. An account was read from a Bro. Gilchrist for painting and varnishing the two pedestols.
By the minute the account caused considerable commotion. It was felt by the members that the lodge was being overcharged, the R.W.M. asking a Bro. Wm. Anderson to examin the two pedestols and consider a fair charge for painting and varnishing. I.P.M. Thomas Scott now raised the question of the new lodge chest, that was ordered to be made, as the old one "was rotten with age" Bro. McCormack had been instructed twice to make this chest, without any result. Once again this caused an open debate before the meeting was closed Bro. Scott rose again, this time he proposed that the entrance fee be raised from two pounds two shillings to two pounds twelve shillings, and asked that his proposal be put in the circular calling the next meeting.
Signed Wm. Baird R.W.M. John Wyllie Secy
A sequel
At the next regular meeting 11th January 1893 Bro. Scott with drew his notice of motion to raise the entrance fee, no explanation is given, the saga of the two pedestols and the new lodge chest seems to have miraculously disappeared as no further mention is recorded. At the same meeting the ever present call for new premises to be found was raised once again. Two proposals were made, one to return to the George Hotel and another that the lodge returns to the Royal Hotel. It was agreed that if arrangements could be made the lodge would return to the Royal Hotel. The minutes record that senior members of the lodge met the owner of the Royal Hotel on the 13th January 1893 after what is described in the minute book "as a little conversation" It was agreed that the lodge would move back to the Royal Hotel, and pay two shillings and six pence for every meeting held there.
Signed Wm. Baird R.W.M. John Wyllie Secy
An early insight to the chairing of the lodge.
Extract 1 - 2 - 1893
"Royal Hotel Kilmarnock 1st February 1893" "The lodge met this evening Bro. Alex Pollock P.M. of lodge Thistle 127 Stewarton (honourary member of St. Andrews) in the chair. A letter was read from Bro. William Baird R.W.M. stating that he could not be present as he had to go to London on business"
Signed John Wyllie Secy
A sequel It may be of interest to some readers Bro. William Baird R.W.M. was a bank accountant by profession. In speculation this may account for his visit to London. The following extract is of interest especially to the followers of our national bard. Extract "The circular from Bro. Thomas Duncan Hon secy and treasurer M.M. of No204 St. Pauls Ayr, asking a subscription towards the placing of a panel in the pedestol of the Ayr Burns Statue, when after some conversation the secretary Pros and Bro. James McInall sec that two pounds two shillings be given and unanimously agreed.
The same minute contains the approval of the lodge "That a first class masonic carpet be got" and "A set of masonic tools be got". In all suggesting that a some what tributary affluence was being enjoyed by the lodge. The annual visitation by the provincial Grand Lodge of Ayrshire to the lodge is recorded on the 4th March 1893. Its report on the lodge finance records. The lodge charges a test fee of two shillings and six pence. The lodge has a credit balance of ten pounds one shilling and eight pence and a sum of four pounds in its benevolent fund. Signed Hugh Wallace R.W.P.G.M. On the 26th April 1893 the lodge held a meeting to confer the mark degree. This was carried out by lodge St. Vincent No553 Glasgow, so impressed was the R.W.M. and brethren of the lodge in "The eloquent and experienced way the degree was carried out" that the conferring team be recorded in the lodge books as honorary members.
There after the following brethren were made Hon. Members. Bro. William Barclay P.M. No553 St. Vincent Glasgow, Bro. William Denholm J.P.M. No553 St. Vincent Glasgow, Bro. John McKenzie D.M. No553 St Vincent Glasgow, Bro. Robert Steven No553 St. Vincent Glasgow, Bro. David Fortune lodge Montefiore No753 Glasgow."
Signed Wm. Baird R.W.M. John Wyllie Secy
Communications between lodges were mostly of a local nature but occasionally we find in the minutes an exception.
Extract 6 - 9 - 1893
"A letter was read from Worthing Lodge of Friendship No851 Worthing Sussex, appealing for help as the town of Worthing had been severly smitten with typhoid fever and a great number had died while a great number were slowly recovering , were requiring nourishment and assistance". The minutes record that a letter of sympathy be sent but the lodge had no funds to assist.
Signed Wm. Baird R.W.M. John Wyllie Secy
A rather delicate matter arose at the meeting dated 6th December 1893.
Extract 6 - 12 - 1893
"The chairman read from the bye-laws No7 of our lodge, that the office bearers shall not hold office in any other lodge of St Johns Masonry in the Ayrshire Province and as Bro. Wm. Baird late R.W.M. had accepted the chair in St. Mathews Kilwinning Dreghorn No549 he had become disqualified as I.P.M. of this lodge, "P.M. Bro. Thomas Scott explained to Bro. Baird that there was nothing personal but that was the bye-law", Bro. Wm. Baird did not view it in that light and asked leave to retire. The secretary was instructed to write Grand Secretary for his opinion enclosing a copy of lodge bye-laws.
Signed John Jamieson R.W.M. John Wyllie Secy
A rather ambiguous reply was received from Grand Secretary on the 10th January 1894. Its content brief and did little to alleviate the problematic nature of the enquiry.
Reply extract.
"That Bro. Wm. Baird was a P.M. of the lodge, that being so the P.M. previous to Bro. Wm. Baird who still remains a P.M. and should both Bro's be present the previous P.M. to Bro. Baird would take the chair".
An interesting footnote appears in the reply
"The Grand Secretary corrected the bye-laws."
This footnote gives an indication to the looseness or the power at this time Grand Lodge assumed. Another move was made by St. Marnock lodge No109 circularising all the Kilmarnock lodges on this matter of hall accommodation on the 7th February 1894 ,"St. Andrew's Lodge appointed a committee to confer upon the question of "what was best to be done to get a Masonic Temple built for all the lodges in Kilmarnock". the question of such a venture had hung too long in the air and to bring matters to a head either to be off or on." I.P.M. Bro. Thomas Scott asked that a special meeting be called on Wednesday 24th March by circular to "Determine definitely" what position lodge St. Andrew would take in the building of a masonic temple.
The records of this meeting are meagre, it is recorded that 20 shares at one pound be subscribed by the lodge with a number of individual members agreeing to subscribe for shares. Although there was a great eagerness for a temple it is evident that a truly Scottish caution was exercised, the question of a masonic temple was held in abeyance by the Kilmarnock lodges until 1897. A spirit of benevolence.
Extract 21 - 3 - 1894
"A letter was read from secretary of Lodge Kilwinning No10 Dalkeith dated March 14th on behalf of Bro. James Smith (an actor) not a member of St. Andrews lodge and who was in very destitute circumstances through old age, the secretary knowing some thing of Bro. James Smith some years back remitted him seven shillings and six pence". For reasons unknown the lodge agreed that a letter be written to Grand Lodge to assist Bro. James Smith.
Signed John Jamieson R.W.M. John Wyllie Secy
The following two minutes dated 14th April and the 2nd May 1894 are short and to the point, they record that none of the candidates duly proposed for initiation, "Did not put in an appearance" the lodge was closed.
Signed John Jamieson R.W.M. John Wyllie Secy
At the meeting dated 17th May 1894 records the first proposal of a church parade this was to be a joint arrangement with lodge St. John No22. The records are again silent if the above took place.
20 - 6 - 1894
An invitation was received from the Provincial Grand Lodge to assist at the laying of the foundation stone with full masonic honours of the new church at Waterside Dalmellington. It had always been the custom that lodge meetings had been called by circular, a procedure in the early days had been a necessity rather than an option. With the changing times and so called progress many old customs were disappearing. At the meeting dated 7th November 1894 it was agreed that the calling of meetings by circular be discontinued. The minute is silent as to what system was to be adopted, one point of interest from the minute. It had been the custom of the lodge Tyler to deliver the circulars of lodge meetings, for this duty he received a fee from the lodge. The minute is specific in recording that although circulars were to be discontinued the lodge Tyler was to receive his usual fee. It may be of interest to today's members the great emphasis and decorum that was displayed at the lodges annual festival of St. Andrew.
The minute of the festival 1894 contains.
The master opened the meeting with a immediate toast "God save the Queen and the three Grand Lodges". The night consisted of toasts, replies to toasts "Occasionally disturbed by the rendering of a song by a brother or visiting brother. Toasts and replies were made to the provincial Grand Lodge, the Navy and army and reserve forces, one toast was given as "Rule Britannia", the visiting brethren, the reigning masters, the provost, magistrates and town council, the town and trades of Kilmarnock, the final toast being to lodge St. Andrew. Occasionally the minutes contain an unconscious tale or part of a tale belonging to the time, the simplicity in recording this must surely be worthy of a place in our records. We cannot afford to let these extracts from our minutes slip out of our ken.
Extract 12 - 12 - 1894
"The application form of James Lumsden (wine merchant) St. Marnock Street Kilmarnock was read and explained that Mr Lumsden had called on the secretary today and stated that he could not come forward as several of the brethren of St. Mathews Kilwinning lodge Dreghorn No549 had called and said to him, that as his house of "call" in the past, that unless he joined their lodge they would not make it their "house of call" any longer in the future. The secretary was instructed to write the Dreghorn Lodge for an explanation about James Lumsden".
Signed John McCormack R.W.M. John Wyllie Secy
At the following lodge meeting dated 6th February 1895 the R.W.M. commented on the case of James Lumsden that he had made a proposal to become a member of lodge St. Andrew 126 after which he went and became a member of lodge St. Mathew Dreghorn No549. A letter had been written to lodge St. Mathew requesting an explanation. Bro. Andrew McNaughton R.W.M. of lodge St. Mathew was present in the lodge, he read out a letter from James Lumsden dated 26th January 1895. The wording and contents of the letter is not recorded but the following statement is recorded.
Extract 6 - 2 - 1895
"The letter was full of inaccuracies and the explanation given by Bro. McNaughton R.W.M. of lodge St. Mathew was so unsatisfactory and the state and condition of Bro. McNaughton was more so, if strict masonic rules had been adopted he would not have been allowed to be in the lodge at all and as nothing good in principal for masonry could be gained by proceeding further it was unanimously agreed to let the case drop without further ado."
Signed John McCormack R.W.M. John Wyllie secy
So ends an episode in our history which in the light of today maybe a trifle, but to enter into the spirit of the past this was of tremendous importance. By the recent minutes there had grown a great urgency by lodges all over Scotland to acquire or build premises. To practice freemasonry, this is shown by the many appeals the lodge received to subscribe to lodge building funds. The following extract shows that distance was no deterrent for the zeal and enthusiasm of lodges to gain support for their own premises.
Extract 7 - 6 - 1895
"A letter was read from Lodge St. Fergus No466 Wick asking a subscription towards the erection of a masonic building, five shillings was voted to be sent".
Signed John McCormack R.W.M. John Wyllie Secy
As in the past we find once again the anomaly of times past in finding a R.W.M. to fill the chair of the lodge.
Extract 2 - 10 - 1895
"A committee was appointed to look out for a R.W.M. to act for the next year".
Signed John McCormack R.W.M. John Wyllie Secy
Two items of interest are contained in the minute of the 6th February 1896.
An invitation to the laying of the memorial stone of the new Masonic Hall of Lodge St. Paul No204 by the Grand Master Mason on Friday 7th February 1896. and an invitation to attend the installation of the Provincial Grand Master of Ayrshire on Saturday the 8th February by the Grand Master Mason. There were now signs that a gradual propriety was now taking place in Grand Lodge, a much greater influence was directed to the government of Scottish lodges. Grand Lodge was still experiencing a great difficulty in imposing uniformity, there is no dubiety that many old lodges still carried a strong influence of independence and only used the rulings of Grand Lodge when it suited their convenience. One such change was to be made to the existing laws and constitution of Grand Lodge. A circular was received from Grand Lodge directing our attention to an important alteration to the constitution and laws, "That degrees were not to be given under the plea of emergency or at the discreation of the master of the lodge under fourteen days between each degree and requesting that the same be engrossed in the minutes of the lodge".
Signed James T. Fairlie R.W.M. John Wyllie Secy
Extract 5 - 3 - 1896
"A letter was read from Bro. Alex Hawthorn Old Mens House, 81 Rotten row, Glasgow, asking for assistance when Bro. Thos Scott P.M. prosposed ten shillings be given to Bro. Hawthorn from benevolent fund and agreed to".
Signed James T. Fairlie R.W.M. John Wyllie Secy
The above act surely acknowledges the principals of our craft establishing the incontestable fact in our history that even in these hard times Lodge St. Andrew truly believed that it was more honourable to give than receive. The annual visitation of Provincial Grand Lodge is now recorded in the minute book, this took place on the 9th May 1896.The minute book also contains Provincial Grand Lodge Certificate. For the benefit of today's readers this certificate would surfice today as it is almost a facsimile of the one used today. It is only natural that we of today find the contents of the following extract inconsistent to the laws of today.
Extract 17 - 9 - 1896
"The application form of William Laughland (outfitter) Southhampton was read and as there was no objections it was unanimously agreed to give the first or E.A. Degree, which was conferred on him by the R.W.M. Bro. Fairlie in a masterly manner".
Signed Jas. Fairlie R.W.M.
The minute dated 15th October 1896 contains great reference to local street geography it also records the laying of the foundation stone to one of the towns most prodigious buildings.
Extract 15 - 10 - 1896
"A letter was read from Provincial Grand Lodge Secretary Bro. James. Orr. Sinclair informing the lodge that on the invitation of the burgh school board of Kilmarnock the R.W. Provincial Grand Master Bro. Hugh R. Wallace Esq of Busbie and Cloncaird has consented to lay with masonic honours the foundation stone of the new Academy on Saturday 31st October 1896. The masonic lodges to muster in Howard Park Kilmarnock at 3.15pm and march in procession (junior lodges in front) by way of Dundonald Road, John Finnie Street, West George Street, (where the provincial lodge will join) then via Portland Street, King Street, Queen Street, and Sturrock Street, to the site of the new Academy".
Signed James T. Fairlie R.W.M.
Over the minutes of this period there appear prevailing reforms made by the lodge members which still stand today as the accepted conditions of affairs, as the following extract records.
Extract 27 - 11 - 1896
"Before the lodge was called to refreshment, Bro. Jackson Proposed and Bro. Jamison seconded that the secretary be instructed to write the secretaries of the three other lodges in the town to the effect that this lodge declares J. Ferguson (publican) Queen Street to be an unfit person to be made a mason, there being no amendment the motion was declared carried".
Signed James T. Fairlie R.W.M. W. L. Thomson Secy
As to why the above decision was taken the records are mute. A marginal note appears in the minute book by the then secretary. "As he has been duly proposed and seconded but had not come forward tho' the lodge had met twice for the purpose of initiating him." It is evident by the continuous minutes that the great autonomy of calling lodge meetings still existed.
Extract 17 - 12 - 1896
"It was intimated that Bro. Laughland of Southampton desired to have his mark degree on Thursday 24th, on enquiry it was found that the lodge room would be occupied that evening so it was decided that a meeting would be held on Wednesday the 23rd".
Signed James T. Fairlie R.W.M. W. L. Thomson Secy.
The statutory laws if any governing entrants at this time were either ignored or a loose freedom exemplified as this extract records.
Extract 16 - 9 - 1897
"Intimation was made of an application for initiation into the mystries of freemasonry from James R. MacMaster Implement dealer, Garfield Co. Washington U.S.A. No objections were found to the application. There after Bro. Fairlie initiated James MacMaster into the mystries of the first degree".
Signed James T. Fairlie R.W.M. W. L. Thomson Secy.
It is of interest that included in the above minute is the first mention that steps should be taken to have an Ayrshire representative on Grand Lodge committee. Like a pheonix the question of a masonic temple was to rise again, this time from lodge St. John 22. A meeting was called of the four Kilmarnock lodges the representatives to be the R.W.M. and secretary's of each lodge. The report these brethren brought from the meeting was evidently considered favourable as on the minute of January 6th 1898 "The following gentlemen were appointed to act on a joint committee in the interest of lodge St. Andrew, Bro. Jackson R.W.M., Andrew Turnbull, Mathew Muir, Robert Wyllie and Samuel Scarlett. The minute of the 19th November 1897 records the affiliation of Col Denny M.P. from lodge No18 Dumbarton. The contents of the minute dated 6th October 1898 is unique at this meeting it was proposed that the lodge test fees be reduced from two shillings and six pence to two shillings. The minute records that the reason for the above was that this was the test fee that three other Kilmarnock lodges exact. The minute continued. "That a Bro. Anderson collect the dues and receive one shilling and six pence per one pound commission". The joint committee established by the four lodges on the question of a masonic temple was still active. Very little is recorded of these meetings we do know that the committee encouraged a diversity of opinions one such opinion was proposed that the property of the now defunct Industrial Co-Operative Society in John Finnie Street be bought. This was raised at the lodge meeting dated 6th October 1898.
Extract 6 - 10 - 1898
"Bro. Scarlett moved that the lodge instruct its representives on no account to counterance the purchase of the co-operative property in John Finnie Street. Bro. Anderson moved as an amendment that it be left to the discretion of the committee, the amendment was carried".
Signed Henry Jackson R.W.M. W. L. Thomson Secy.
The records so far have revealed many varied and interesting facts which in today's world would by nature be controversial, to the students of masonic procedure they will often find occasions that are irregular. One such instance is the election of Col John Denny M.P. as R.W.M. If one reads the minutes we find that Col Denny only attended the lodge on installation nights (3rd Nov 1898),(2nd Nov 1899),(16th Nov 1900). The chair of the lodge being filled by the Sub. Master or the Dept Master over a three year period. As to why Col Denny was repeatedly elected to fill this high office remains unanswered, his duties as a member of parliament would not be consistent with his duties as a master of the lodge. It is also unique that the minutes up to this period (1771 - 1898) all bore the signature of the reigning R.W.M., Bro. Col Dennys signature does not appear in our minute books.
The above paraphrase is not meant to be a criticism of the lodge privileges but an anomaly of the present day. The minute dated 19th October 1899 records that the lodge agreed to move to new premises in John Finnie Street. The annual election meeting was held on the 2nd November 1899 for reasons unknown the offices of secretary and treasurer were elected by ballot. The move to John Finnie Street was not without controversy.
The minute of the 7th December 1899 records that a long debate took place regarding the charges for the letting of these halls. It was passed and endorsed by the lodge that the said charges be entered in the minute book and the original copy sent to the lodge be placed in the minute book for reference purposes (This is still in place within the minute book). There after a some what heated discussion took place as an account was received from Wm. Reid (architect) for six pounds ten shillings for preparing plans for alterations within the hall to be used as a masonic temple.
By the lodge records no one was authorised to sanction the work to be carried out. What ever dialogue took place the scribe has ignored its content, the minute concludes "It was agreed to pay this account". The lodge now enters into the twentieth century, almost 130 years have passed since that first gathering of sixteen master masons who were destined to become our founding fathers. We the present shall salute the past with bare heads, and pause to lay a sprig of Acacia to their memory. As we keep turning the pages of the minute books, read there contents we can only appreciate the efforts of all who have gone before us to attain their ideals. In retrospect, changes were always looked upon with suspicion, debates and criticism were followed by an abiding sense of duty, which was to hand down unimpaired the ancient ceremonies intrusted to them.
The first minute of the new century is dated 4th January 1900.
It contains no mementous facts or events, the date oblivious to the recorder his plain words lead the lodge records into the present century. The collection of lodge dues was again causing concern.
Extract 1 - 2 - 1900
"It was agreed that the Bro. Tyler Bro. McMillan would collect the same and receive 10% of the total". Although the new premises in John Finnie Street brought security to hold our meetings with the three other Kilmarnock lodges it maybe expected that in certain matters a diversity of opinions would arise, one of which was the sale of excisable liquor on the premises, lodge St. Andrew was the only lodge who objected, there are a number of minutes recorded which express the concern of the lodge as per the following extract.
Extract 20 - 2 - 1900
"It was unanimously agreed that in view of the coalition between lodges St John 22, St Marnock 109, and St Clement 202, whereby a binding agreement has been made to "Let out" and retail refreshments for a period of five years in liew of the payment of the aforesaid sister lodges, portion of the masonic halls furniture not with standing that such an agreement is contrary to the opinions of the secretaries of the three "Grand Lodges" of England, Ireland and Scotland, we as members of St. Andrews lodge No126 Kilmarnock hereby initiate that we will not accept any responsibility arising from the irregularity nor shall we be bound by the terms of agreement which has been made without our full knowledge and consent".
Signed R .F. Harrison R.W.M. William Bone Secy.
There has always been a correctness surrounding the lodge meetings, infringements were not allowed to percolate one such incident was recorded on the 1st March 1900. That the heading of our minutes since moving to the present premises were headed, "The Temple John Finnie Street Kilmarnock". This was objected to by a Bro. Fraser who asked that this be changed to the "Masonic Halls John Finnie Street Kilmarnock".
The records are mute to Bro. Fraser's request but the minutes from this date begin, "Masonic Halls John Finnie Street Kilmarnock". As the history of the lodge is to be found in our minute books it is expected that from time to time enigmas will be found. One such question was the working of the mark degree. Up to this point in out history the mark degree had been conferred by visiting lodges. Our own records are silent as to why. there is no doubt the lodge had many enthusiastic and devoted members who were capable and competent to carry out this masonic duty.
As a sequel
Extract 24 - 5 - 1900
"A special meeting of the lodge was held this evening for the purpose of masonry in the mark master degree. The lodge was opened in the 1st or E.A. Degree when Bro. Barclay R.W.M. lodge St. Vincient 553 and office bearers were received with full masonic honours to work the same degree".
Signed R .F. Harrison R.W.M. William Bone Secy.
The minute dated 4th October 1900 contains an invitation to attend the laying of the foundation stone to the new post office building at Thornhill. The minute closes with a rather ambiguous statement. "The secretary was instructed to see Bro. Hetherington re-nuisance of bottles in halls"
Signed R .F. Harrison R.W.M. William Bone Secy.
It is evident by the records that contrary to Grand Lodge ruling that only one degree can be conferred at a lodge meeting, the lodge persisted on occasions on conferring two degrees at the same meeting. There is instances where all three degrees were conferred. Events at this time were moving quietly. It maybe of interest to today's reader the full minute of the installation meeting dated 16th November 1900.
16 - 11 - 1900
Masonic Halls John Finnie Street Kilmarnock Nov 16th Installation of Office Bearers
"There was a crowded meeting of the lodge this evening Bro. Fairlie D.M. and P.M. presided during the earlier part of the meeting. The R.W.M. elect Bro. Colonel John. M. Denny M.P. presented to the lodge three silver jewels, those for the secretary, treasurer and tyler and a complete set of beautiful working tools for the benefit of the lodge work. The presentation was quite unexpected by the brethren and was enthusiastically received. Bro. Fairlie then introduced Bro. A.S. McBride of Renton Past P.G.M. of Dumbartonshire who was installing master and who performed the ceremony previous to which Bro. Denny nominated Bro. R.F. Harrison to be his D.M. and Bro. James Ferguson to be S.M. in such an attractively interesting and instructing manner that he quite held the attention of the lodge meeting and received an ovation at the close. A collection which amounted to one pound one shilling and seven and a half pence was taken for the benevolent fund. The lodge was then called to refreshment when a pleasant hour having been spent it was recalled to labour and closed in due and ancient form".
Signed R .F. Harrison D.M. Andrew Brown Milroy secy.
Sequel
It is worthy of note that the three jewels presented by Colonel John Denny M.P. are still worn by the secretary, treasurer and tyler. For the first time in our records an important part of our masonic ritual appears in the minutes . The omission which was not through neglect by the then scribes, if there had been any suspicion that we of the 20th century would have a desire to know more about them and their times no doubt they would have given a fuller detail of out meetings.
Extract 5 - 12 - 1900
"Bro. John Sinclair was brought to the pedestal and examined by the acting R.W.M. as to his fitness to be passed to the square degree. The examination was searching and the candidate showed much proficiency, there after Bro. Fairlie P.M. gave the degree Bro. Ferguson S.M. explained the working tools, and Bro. Harrison gave the charge in their accustomed good style".
Signed R .F. Harrison D.M. Andew Brown Milroy secy
An extract from the following minute recalls a period of our history to strong in significance to be over looked by the recorder.
Extract 7 - 2 - 1900
"There after Bro. Scarlett raised the question of the small attendance of the brethren of St. Andrew at the Queens Funeral Memorial Service in the Laigh Kirk, and asked the D.M. for an explanation of the whole matter, which the acting R.W.M. satisfactorily gave. The secretary complained that a prominent official of a sister lodge in town had blamed lodge St. Andrew of having refused to pay any share of the draping of the masonic halls in memory of the late Queen. the secretary intimated that no request for payment had ever been made to him".
Signed R .F. Harrison D.M. Andew Brown Milroy Secy
From time to time a recorded minute bears a natural romanticism its content is expressed in every day language, the originality of the writer has left a true record of an incident that would other wise be lost and our history poorer by its omission.
Extract 7 - 3 - 1901
"While the preparation of the candidate in the adjacent room was nearly completed Bro. Scarlett rose to make some complaint or other, but he was so long in coming to his point and as both the lodge room and the adjacent room were so cold the D.M. ruled that Bro. Scarlett should defer his speech till after the candidates had been received into the light Bro. Scarlett refused to obey this ruling and left the meeting".
Signed R .F. Harrison D.M. Andew B. Milroy Secy
The phraseology used in the minute dated 19th December 1901 puts no doubt to the reader that proficiency was expected and labour rewarded.
Extract 19 - 12 - 1901
"Bro's Hamilton and Murphy were put to a severe test as to their instructions on the 1st or E.A. Degree, each showed their proficiency and were asked to retire and prepare for the square or fellow craft degree. The lodge was then passed to the square or F.C. Degree, when the above brethren were properly instructed in same by Bro. A. Beggs of lodge St Marnock No109 and was accorded a hearty vote of thanks for the able way he performed the duty".
Signed James Ferguson R.W.M. William Bone Secy.
For some time peace and harmony reigned in the lodge but like all institutions there are periods when the calm is broken disputes occurred and difficulties had to be met and over come. There was no dubiety in the language expressed or the peremptory manner by which these were resolved such an episode is recorded in the following extract.
Extract 20 - 3 - 1902
"Bro. Bone secy at this point rose and stated that certain statements had been made outside the lodge concerning him in connection with Bro. Neils testimonial and essayed to speak on the matter but was ruled out of order by the R.W.M. who stated that he would not allow any outside talk to be introduced into the lodge. Bro. Bone there upon divested himself of his apron and intimated that under these circumstances he could not continue in office any longer and would leave the lodge. The R.W.M. commanded him to re-cloth which he did and there after left the lodge. By command of the R.W.M. Bro. John Ferguson was appointed to act as pro-tem secy untill a secy be appointed to act as pro-tem secy untill a secy be appointed in Bro. Bone's place. Bro. Young asked the R.W.M. if he could give any reason for Bro. Bone's action, the R.W.M. replied that he could give no explanation as he knew nothing more than the brethren had already heard but stated that so long as he occupied the chair he would not allow any brother to introduce outside tittle tattle into the lodge nor yet would he allow any Bro. to be attacked inside the lodge, this statement was received with applause by the brethren".
Signed James Ferguson R.W.M. John Ferguson Intem Secy.
What became of the above action and Bro. Bone is left unrecorded, we do know that Bro. John Ferguson remained pro-tem secretary until his installation as secretary on the 6th November 1902.
Extract 17 - 4 - 1902
"Communication from W. Middlemass town clerk desiring the lodge to appoint two delegates to attend a meeting of the majistrates and representives of various other bodies in the town hall on Friday April 25th, the said meeting being the purpose of devising the best means of celebrating the coronation in this town.".
Signed James Ferguson R.W.M.
As we search through the minutes it is inevitable that inconsistency will appear. For some years it was the ruling of the lodge and Grand Lodge that all candidates be put to a ballot, there is no evidence to suggest that this rule was adheared to. The following extract displays once again the autonomy of self government.
Extract 1 - 5 - 1902
"The following gents desiring to be initiated into the mysteries of ancient free masonry viz Mr Ebenezer Prentice Palmer, 42 Glebe Road, Mr James Martin fishmonger, 25 Princes Street, Mr Joseph Beltrami restuaranter, 37 Titchfield Street. The lodge was proceeding to take the usual ballot when Bro. Fairlie P.M. intimated that he thought it was a waste of time and unnecessary to do so, if any brother had any objections he was to state it, there being no objections this course was adopted".
Signed James Ferguson R.W.M. John Ferguson Intem Secy
Sequel
The above three brethren were admitted and received the E.A. Degree at the above meeting. A new commitment. The minute dated 23rd June 1902 it was agreed that the lodge would support lodge St. Marnock No109 in the formation of a masonic male voice choir. Whatever became of this alliance is left unrecorded. There is one small reference to the choir on the 7th December 1902 which gives some confidence that the choir existed. The strenuous struggles of the later part of the last century had no doubt brought a greater degree of security, this desirable social condition maybe seen in the following extract.
Extract 3 - 7 - 1902
"A communication was read from St. Pauls Ayr No204 re-special masonic cruise from Ayr on the 30th July, the R.W.M. recommended any of the brethren who could find it convenient to take advantage of same".
Signed James Ferguson R.W.M. John Ferguson Intem Secy.
The age old custom of the lodge being called from labour to refreshment was always an important appendage to our lodge meetings. By ill fortune little is recorded of our harmonies, what conversations, discussions and talents have been lost to our history. The following extract contains an intimacy shared by members of the lodge in an atmosphere of contentment.
Extract 7 - 8 - 1902
"This being all the business of the lodge it was called from labour to refreshment and during the conversation that took place during harmony Bro's Alex Goldie and R. Marshall gave an interesting sketch of certain old historical relics belonging to the lodge viz an old snuff box that was placed on the table at all meetings many years ago, the mallet that "Rabbie Burns" was made with and a masters jewel presented to the lodge by Bro. Caldwell many years ago. Bro. Jackson Tyler produced the snuff box and Burns Mallet from the lodge chest and they were inspected by the younger brethren who had never seen them before, with great interest. Bro. Goldie handed Bro. Jackson a sum of money to have the snuff box charged and suggested that it and the mallet should be laid on the table in the future, he also suggested that the R.W.M. should wear the Caldwell presentation jewel at all meetings. The R.W.M. replied that he would wear the jewel in future and would see that the snuff box was kept primed and laid on the table along with the Burns Mallet, after having spent a most enjoyable evening the brethren were re-called to labour and the lodge closed in due and ancient form".
Signed James Ferguson R.W.M. John Ferguson Secy.
The support of brethren from sister lodges is well documented through-out our minutes the comradeship is evident in the following extract.
Extract 11 - 9 - 1902
"A special meeting of the lodge was held this evening Bro. James Ferguson R.W.M. in the east, supported by Bro. Millar Chap and Bro. Jamieson P.M. Bro. Begg (senr) acting as I.G. Bro. Begg (jn) acting as J.D. and Bro. McFarlane acting as J.W. these three brethren all belonging to lodge St. Marnock No109". As to why so many lodge office bearers was absent is unknown. It is worthy of note that at the next regular meeting of the lodge dated 2nd October 1902 Bro. Alexander Begg (jun) was conferred an honourary member of lodge St. Andrew 126. The records are again silent why this honour was bestowed on Bro. Begg of Lodge St. Marnock No109. A little self praise.
Extract A.G.M. 6 - 11 - 1902
"The secretary presented and read the annual balance sheet which showed the sum of fifteen pounds six shillings and seven pence, to the credit of the general fund, and the sum of sixteen pounds, nineteen shillings and eleven and one half pence to credit of the benevolent fund. The R.W.M. compliemented the brethren on the highly satisfactory position financialy in which the lodge stood".
Signed James Ferguson R.W.M. John Ferguson Secy
4 - 12 - 1902
In the minute dated above is a scant reference to lodge life-membership. The fee being one pound one shilling plus two shillings and six pence for parchment diploma. This is the first mention that a lodge life membership existed, our records hold no reference to any discussions, or any lodge bye-law pertaining to life membership. This may have been a new innovation as the minute continues "The Bro. secretary being given instructions by the R.W.M. to obtain from Grand Lodge a life membership book. The minute of the 17th December 1902 records that the lodge made a donation of one pound to the burgh band in recognition of their services at the last masonic church parade.
17 - 1 - 1903
Inserted in the lodge minute book is the local newspaper report on the presentation dinner to Bro. George Booth retiring treasurer of lodge St. Andrew No126. The report is considerable its content reflects the importance of the presentation. It records that Bro. George Booth was initiated into lodge St. John No106 Fifeshire in the year 1858 where he held office as secretary for 10 years and the office of treasurer for 12 years. He came to Kilmarnock in 1881 an affiliated to lodge St. Andrew 126, where he discharged the duties as lodge treasurer for 14 years. Bro. Booth was presented with a cheque for thirty pounds and a mark master masons jewel along with a silver tea service for Mrs Booth in recognition of his faithful service to the lodge. The report goes on to report that the dinner was fish and tripe and the large company which consisted of non-masons as the lodge was not opened but treated as a social event and was entertained by the masonic male voice choir. A tragedy befalls the lodge.
Extract 19 - 2 - 1903
"The lodge being duly constituted was opened in the E.A. Degree. Bro. Fairlie P.M. stated that he had a sad and mournful duty to perform in intimating to the brethren that our esteemed R.W.M. Bro. James Ferguson who had so ably presided over us during the past sixteen months and who occupied the chair at our last meeting would preside over us no more as he had received the call from the G. Archt. of the universe and had crossed the bourn from which no traveller returns". The minute records that permission had been granted from Mrs Ferguson and sanctioned by the Provincial Grand Lodge that Bro. James Ferguson would be interned with full masonic honours.
Signed John McInnes D.M. John Ferguson Secy.
A sequel
20 - 2 - 1903
"A special meeting was convened on the 20th February 1903 for the purpose of accompanying the remains of our late R.W.M. to his last resting place". By the minute there was a large turn out of brethren from the Ayrshire lodges. The lodge was adjourned and proceeded to Lindsay Street the home of the late R.W.M. The funeral cortege was proceeded by the burgh band playing the "Dead march" to the new cemetery where a most impressive service was conducted by the Rev. Bro. Alex Cameron chaplain of Burns St. Mary No505 Hurlford. The masonic male voice choir also rendered a selection of sacred music which lent additional solomnety to the service.
Signed John McInnes D.M. John Ferguson Secy
The lodge was to receive further misfortune.
Extract 10 - 11 - 1903
"The lodge being duly constituted was opened on the E.A. Degree Bro. Jackson intimated that since our last meeting, death the grand leveler of all had been busy in our midst and carried off our respected and worthy treasurer Bro. George Booth".
Signed John Innes P.M.
The passing of time brought change and progress, government of the country passed new laws and legislation in reflection of the new social life of the people. One of the laws was the licensing act of 1904. Some reformers had urged a greater stringency of control of the state on a great evil which had sprung into the habits of certain classes of the community. This new act was of great importance and had a great bearing on the masonic order. There is no doubt that this new legislation gave rise to much debate within masonic lodges through out the country. Lodge St. Andrew was no exception, our records record debate after debate, this led to delay as to how the lodge should act, the climax came on February 3rd 1904. A decision was made by the lodge. It is worthy of note that the gravity of such new legislation had prompted the Provincial Grand Lodge of Ayrshire to set up a special committee to investigate the full implications of this new legislation which had become law, and give their recommendations.
"Extract" of the recommendations received from the special committee of Provincial Grand Lodge.
(1) That we do not register as a club.
(2) That we have as little refreshment and harmony as possible, say every two months in winter and three months in summer.
(3) That we do not keep excisable liquors in or on the premises.
(4) That we arrange with licensed victullers for the supply of refreshment when required by excise certificate.
The above recommendations were put to the lodge at the meeting dated 3rd March 1904 the minute records that the recommendations were strongly opposed by the lodge members. An amendment being moved that "we do not accept the Provincial Grand Lodge recommendations and remain status quo". What ever discussions or debate took place on the above remains unrecorded.
Extract 16 - 3 - 1904
"A letter was received from Bro. Montgomrie secy of lodge St. Marnock No109 stating that lodge St. Andrew had hired their organ two years ago at an annual charge of one pound and now disiring payment of same"
Signed Samuel Scarlett R.W.M. John Ferguson Secy.
The minute of the 13th April 1904 records the invitation to attend the laying of the foundation stone to the new masonic temple of lodge St. Andrew No149 Irvine. The minute continues. "Bro. Ferguson stated as secretary that Bro. Scarlett R.W.M. had volunteered to get the two brass candlesticks which were lying up in the "Garret" getting abused repaired and re-laquered and keep them in safe custody for the lodge untill such times as they may be required".
Signed Samuel Scarlett R.W.M. John Ferguson Secy.
There are a very few direct references in the minutes to Grand Lodge laws and constitution. An indication of fees at this time is contained in the following extract.
Extract 27 - 4 - 1904
"A communication from Grand Lodge secretary stating that an important alteration had been made to the Grand Lodge laws and constitution on the 14th Inst. and taking effect from that date the alteration being as follows. Rule 158 of the constitution now reads. No candidate shall be admitted as a member of a lodge for a smaller fee than three pounds three shillings which shall intitle him to receive the E.A., Fellow-craft, M.M. and Mark Masters Degrees including registration and diploma. The whole fees due for said degrees that is three pounds three shillings to be paid at initiation and the payment of no part there of shall on any pretence be remitted of defered".
Signed John Ferguson Secy. Samuel Scarlett R.W.M.
The environment within the masonic halls in John Finnie street had always been cause for debate. The four lodges had agreed for some time that alterations were required to the halls which would inspire conditions worthy to the craft. The said alterations were now approval by the four lodges, an architect was appointed to carry out the work.
Sequel 27 - 5 - 1904
Masonic Hall John Finnie Street May 27/04
"A special meeting was held this evening Bro. Scarlett intimated that the meeting had been called to consider the signing of the cash credit or overdraft of seven hundred pounds from the bank to pay for alterations on the hall, after explaining the position of matters at some length it was unanimously agreed on the motion of Bro. A. Kennedy seconded by Bro. Ferguson that the R.W.M. be authorised to sign the bond binding the lodge funds and effects as part security for same, it was also agreed that we invest our surplus funds with the masonic hall committee bearing interest at the rate of 5% per annum. This being all the business the lodge was closed in due and ancient form".
Signed Samuel Scarlett R.W.M. John Ferguson Secy
At this point in time the above was the largest commitment made by the lodge, there can be no doubt that the above commitment took courage by the then leaders of the lodge.
28 - 9 - 1904
An invitation was received from Lodge Royal Blues No399 Kilbirnie to the consecration of their new temple.
23 - 11 - 1904
A communication was received from Provincial Grand Lodge inviting the lodge to the consecration of the new masonic temple of Lodge St. Andrew 149 Irvine. As in previous years it was still the custom of Provincial Grand Lodge to combine their annual visitation to lodge 126 and 22. Expediency must have reigned supreme, formality forfeited, the provincial communication reads as follows.
Extract
"I have arranged for the visitation to lodge St. John No22 at 7pm and your lodge at 7.15pm the office bearers of lodge 22 can give up their seats to your office bearers and thus save time".
Signed J.E. MacIntyre Provincial Grand Secretary.
A sequel to the above.
The lodge received a clear minute from provincial, the annual certificate is inserted in the minute book which records. The lodge enrolment of entrants was 31. The lodge test fee was two shillings. The general fund showed a balance of five pounds three shillings and five pence. The benevolent fund shows a balance of two pounds nineteen shillings.
Signed by Earl of Cassellis M.W.P.G.M.
As already mentioned society in Scotland was changing, great reforms were introduced, freemasonry though ancient in its precepts encouraged these changes. Our own records reveal an awareness to new attitudes surrounding the lodge. One such approach was the opening up of lodge events to the fair sex. It has been long established that the better the freemason a man becomes the more selfish as a husband does he become. The average spouse is inclined to resent the frequent absences of her masonic husband and talks openly of being a masonic widow. The husband with his many meetings and harmonies enjoys life to the full while the poor wife must mope at home in dull solitude. It cannot be denied that there is considerable amount of truth in this charge.
The progressive nature of the lodge is noted in the unique minute dated 4th January 1905, which is headed "Social meeting". "Instead of holding a regular meeting to-night the brethren with their lady friends had a social meeting purveyed for and arranged by Mrs R.F.Harrison, Mrs R. Marshall and Miss Grace Anderson and some others to all of whom the thanks of the brethren are due for the trouble they were at. The meeting was made the occasion for presenting our old and esteemed P.M. Bro. George A. Miller with a P.M. jewel and his good lady with a gold broach and also our R.W.M. Bro. R.F. Harrison with a large copy of the G/L Laws and Constitution all with suitable inscriptions. The expenses of the meeting and presentations being defrayed by the subscriptions of a number of members of the brethren. For the full details of the meeting I have inserted cuttings from the Kilmarnock Standard and the Kilmarnock Hearld of date the 6th January 1905.
Signed R.F. Harrison R.W.M. Andrew Anderson Secy.
As recorded by the scribe a full report by the Kilmarnock Standard and Kilmarnock Hearld is still in place within the minute book and is worthy of perusal. The year of 1905 was a year unmarked by any discordant note events were moving quietly the calm routine of the lodge is reflected in the minutes yet as we search through these there are episodes which we cannot afford to let slip out of our ken. The records now mention that discussions took place between the four Kilmarnock lodges on holding a joint church parade, this gave rise to some debate as the last parade had left a debit of six pounds. It was recorded that this was due to a poor attendance of brethren, when this was put to open lodge it was agreed that the lodge would not participate in the proposed joint church parade.
There is also mentioned in the minute that the temple organ which by accounts was owned by lodge St. Marnock No109. A letter was received by the lodge on the 31st January 1905 from lodge 109 informing the lodge that a fee of fifteen shillings was to be imposed on the rent of the organ per annum. There was a strong feelings by the lodge members that with the great unity of the four lodges sharing a temple that the organ should be part of the temple furniture. It was agreed that this be put strongly to the other lodges and to the masonic halls committee, there was also mentioned that a new organ be purchased by the four lodges thus ensuring that no lodge held jurisdiction. As in the past what ever became of this action is left unrecorded, we can only speculate that an amnesty was reached. Great attention was always paid by the lodge to the civil law and the laws governing the country. Like masonry many new laws were being introduced by government. The lodge was conscious that no accusations should ever be made to the craft, as this can be seen in the following extract.
Extract 15 - 2 - 1905
"The secretary brought up a query he had about placing a stamp on receipt of initiation fees, it had not been customary to do so, but the legality of it had been questioned, after some discussion it was instructed to place a stamp on any further receipts".
Signed R.F. Harrison R.W.M. A. Mc D. Anderson Secy.
It maybe of interest to today's members that the minute dated 1st March 1905 records that the lodge received a visitor, a Bro. James Crombie of lodge St. John Victoria No618 Hong Kong (The journey itself would be a story worth telling). It is worthy of note that lodge St. John No618 Hong Kong is still active and appears in the roll of the Grand Lodge of Scotland. Now that the lodge could boast of a temple which lent itself to the efficient carrying out of their ceremonies, a sense of importance was felt by the lodge members. On the 27th September 1905 it is recorded that the lodge along with the other three Kilmarnock lodges embarked on purchasing a masonic carpet for "The beautifying of the symbolism of masonry. The minute of the 24th October 1905 records the passing to the Grand Lodge above of Bro. George Millar an illustrious P.M. of the lodge.
Extract 24 - 10 - 1905
Funeral Lodge "The brethren then placed themselves under the guidance of Bro. H. Jackson who acted as marshall and proceeded to the house of the late Bro. Millar and there joined the funeral cortege and proceeded, headed by the burgh band playing the dead march, to the new cemetry where an impressive service was conducted by Bro. the Rev Alx. Cameron Chap Burns St. Mary 505".
Signed R.F. Harrison R.W.M. John Ferguson Int Secy
A minute of unique interest is recorded dated 1st November 1905.
The installation of R.W.M. and office bearers.
The installing master being P.M. Bro. J.M.Denny M.P. of lodge St. Andrew 126 who was the reigning Provincial Grand Master of Dumbartonshire. An extract that contains the natural expressions of a scribe who penned his minute in simplicity and truth.
Extract 14 - 2 - 1906
"The two craftsmen were then admitted into the lodge on the two points of the compass by P.M. Jackson who explained the meaning of same when the R.W.M. then conferred on them the most high and sublime degree of a master mason in a manner which must have been very instructive and impressive to the brethren present, and if the regular absentees of the lodge duly heard how the degrees are being wrought just now every meeting night would find them in their places in the lodge".
Signed R.F. Harrison R.W.M. Peter Stewart Secy
The minute dated 14th March 1906 makes reference that new life membership cards, which was now available price one pound one shilling. The minute concludes. "And that there was no candidate the R.W.M. gave the brethren some useful and necessary instruction".
Signed R.F. Harrison R.W.M. Peter Stewart Secy.
The next two regular meetings of the lodge record, "That again there was no candidates". Masonic lectures were given in all three degrees. The R.W.M. commenting "The brethren have been highly delighted and a large amount of useful knowledge of the tenets of our lodge being made known".
Signed R.F. Harrison R.W.M. Peter Stewart Secy
Masonry today has many rules and regulations laid down by Grand Lodge regarding lodge meetings. It is some what invigorating to read that the regular meeting to be held on the 6th June 1905 could not be held as the halls committee had let the lodge room. By the minutes there was no animosity shown by the lodge brethren even though they were not notified that the lodge room was not available until the night of the meeting, a great flexibility took place it was agreed to hold our meeting 7th June 1906 (next evening). As mentioned earlier conveniency had always been an attribute of the lodge. The meeting held on the 21st June 1906 records that the two candidates who received their master mason degree this evening were leaving the town and going abroad, as both candidates wished to receive their mark degree the lodge was formed into a mark lodge and the two brothers received their mark master mason degree.
Scattered indiscriminately through out our minutes are incidents which make them unique, one such incident remains even today without equal the minute dated 12th September 1906 records that the candidate that evening was a Mr E.K. Cohen (who must have been a practising Jew). A question was raised by a past master as to the eligibility of Mr Cohen becoming a member. The R.W.M. explained that due enquiry had been made through the Provincial Grand Lodge of Ayrshire and the Provincial Grand Lodge in Glasgow, the candidates eligibility was quite in order.
Extract 12 - 9 - 1906
"Mr Cohen was then admitted into the lodge in the manner conforming to his religion, Bro. Cohen taking the oath and obligation with his head covered".
Signed R.F. Harrison R.W.M. Peter Stewart Secy.
Sequel to above.
Bro. Cohen was passed to F/C on the 26th September 1906, the degree was conferred by the R.W.M. Bro. R.F. Harrison, which included an interesting lecture in Jewish history in connection with masonry. The secretary added to the minute.
Extract
"It is a great pity that there was not a larger turn out of brethren for I am certain had they known that such a discourse was to be delivered I am certain the hall would of been filled".
Signed R.F. Harrison R.W.M. Peter Stewart Secy.
The lodge register records that Bro. Cohen received his master mason degree on the 24th October 1906. For reasons unknown there is no minute of this date recorded in the minute book. So ends a small chapter in our history, in today's light may add little to our history. It does show that freemasonry gives a perfect freedom to practise the religion which each has thought best for himself. That no one on any pretext whatever should be denied freedom to choose his religion, whether he prefers the Christian religion or any other that seems suited to him in order that the supreme divinity, whose observance we obey with free minds, may in all things vouchsafe to us its usual favours and benevolences. Let those who remain strangers to god's holy law retain since they wish, the temples of falsehood, we could wish that they too might join with us in the joy of a common harmony. Yet let no one trouble his neighbour by that which his own conviction with the knowledge he has gained, let him profit his neighbour if possible. If it is not possible, he should allow his neighbour to go on in his own way for it is one thing to enter voluntarily into the contest for eternal life, and quite another to force one into it against his will. A meagreness of detail in the following extract is much regretted.
Extract 10 - 2 - 1906
"A communication was read on behalf of a grandson of Burns requesting subscriptions for a testimonial, this request was to lie on the table". No further mention of this request is recorded. What action was taken by the lodge the minutes are mute. To all appearances the life of the lodge is now assuming a more reasoned and orderly existence. Two items of interest are record in the minute dated 30th January 1907.
Extract 30 - 1 - 1907
"An invitation was received from the Provincial Grand Lodge requesting a deputation from the lodge to go to Beith on the occasion of the laying of memorial stone of the new temple in the course of erection at Beith". A request was made by a P.M. "In connection with the laying of the stone at Beith P.M. Jackson asked to be allowed to take burns mallet and after some good natured bauter D.M. McInnes moved that Bro. Jackson takes it and is also responsible for its safe custody".
Signed Robt. Marshall R.W.M. Peter Stewart Secy.
A special meeting was called on the 12th June 1907 to discuss attending the laying of the corner stone of the Kilmarnock new post office. Again we are stuck by the originality of the writers of our minutes the following extract no doubt was written unconsciously without discourse or disguise.
Extract 9 - 1- 1907 "The R.W.M. intimated that this concluded the business of the evening and thought they might congratulate themselves on having created a record as regards time occupied in the nomination and election of their office bearers. The whole thing only occupying about ten minutes".
Signed Robt. Marshall R.W.M. Andrew Noble Intem Secy.
Contained in the minute dated 23rd October 1907 is reference to a letter from the Hon Secy and Treas of the Masonic Rifle Club explaining the purpose of the clubs institution and requesting applications from the lodge membership. The success of the above is unrecorded in our minutes. There is no hint of dubiety in the recorded minutes that in the absence of lodge office bearers even that of R.W.M. the chair of the lodge could be filled by a visiting master or past master, visiting brethren filling vacant offices. A short perusal of our minutes bear witness that this was the established practice, which was not confined to lodge 126. There is no obvious signs that the newly elected R.W.M. Bro. John Wyllie (1907 - 1908) was influenced or prompted by the minutes regarding absent office bearers but he must be credited with forming the first instruction classes to instruct young members to occupy various offices in the lodge "In emergency" R.W.M. Bro. John Wyllier put the above proposal before the lodge on 20th November 1907 and unanimously passed. Our constitution states that the R.W.M. rules the lodge, the following extract serves to convince the above.
Extract 18 - 12 - 1907
"An application was presented by Mr Robert Cowan Thomson (Consulting engineer) Elmbank Drive Kilmarnock applying for admission to the lodge. Bro. Jackson P.M. objected to Mr Thomson's name being balloted at this meeting on the grounds that the application should be read out at one meeting and the ballot take place at the next meeting. The R.W.M. elected to go on with the ballot on Mr Thomson and was found clear".
Signed John D. Wyllie R.W.M. David Murray Secy.
Two items of interest are contained ion the minute of the 26th February 1908. An invitation to the consecration of the new masonic temple at Muirkirk. During an inventory of lodge furniture it was found "That the lodge flag was torn and useless" It was agreed that this be re-inspected and brought up at the next meeting.
Extract 11 - 3 - 1908
"Bro. Jackson reported that the committee appointed at last meeting to consider what should be done as to the lodge flag which had been found to be torn and useless had come to the conclusion that nothing should be done in the matter meantime, but suggested that the committee get power to purchase another flag when same should be required".
Signed John D. Wyllie R.W.M. David Murray Secy.
As one reads the minutes there are fleeting references which fire the readers imagination. In the minutes dated 9th April 1908 a Bro. Caldwell a member of lodge 126 and a seaman by profession gave reports to the lodge that he had been present at the opening of some lodges in India, New Zealand and Australia. A presentation was made to the lodge on the 6th February 1909 of "A illuminated roll of members" by Bro. William Bone (architect) by profession who was leaving Kilmarnock for California U.S.A. the minute continues "That the R.W.M. thanked Bro. Bone for this very fine gift assuring him that the brethren would appreciate the gift he had made for his mother lodge. At the same time the R.W.M. presented Bro. Bone with a jewel and seven sovereigns". Through out the chronicles of our history there was no greater commitment than the financial obligations of the lodge, from the early beginnings the office of lodge treasurer carried a heavy and responsible burden our minutes are punctuated by discussion and at times criticism on financial matters, the lodge treasurer being the prime light of any criticism. We learn to appreciate more deeply as we dig into our history the efforts of our brother treasurer's and the great commitment they gave to this office.
Sequel
Concern to the Bro. treasurer as the pressure came from an unlikely source.
Extract 7 - 4 - 1909
"Bro. Jackson P.M. intimated that Bro. Campbell who had catered for the Pro.G.L. deputation on the occasion of their visitation to St. Andrew and St. Johns lodges on the 29th Wed last had asked him to see as to a small balance of five shillings and one and a half pence still owing to him in this connection. Bro. Jackson explained that this lodge had given the order for the refreshments and had asked Bro. Campbell to keep within two pounds. Bro. Campbell's full account was one pound fifteen shillings and three pence and our lodge had paid their half of this account viz. Seventeen shillings seven and a half pence, but St. Johns lodge had refused to pay any more than twelve shillings and six pence, thus leaving a balance of five shillings one and a half pence referred to. Bro. Jackson moved that we authorise the treasurer to pay this sum and have it properly understood in future that each lodge pay an equal proportion of account".
Signed John D. Wyllie R.W.M. Andrew Noble intem Secy.
Extract 8 - 9 - 1909
"An invitation was received from Provincial Grand Lodge to attend the consecration of lodge Prestwick No1060 on Saturday 18th at 4pm".
Signed John D. Wyllie R.W.M. Andrew Noble intem Secy.
In the above same minute an interesting item appears.
"A circular was also read from Mrs Paterson worthy matron of Countess of Casselles Chapter No19 of the order of the Eastern Star intimating that they would give a cordial welcome to any of the brethren of their wives, mothers, daughters, or sisters desirous of joining this the only chapter in Ayrshire. Bro. Jackson P.M. spoke recommending this ladies lodge which had turned out a success in Irving to the favourable consideration of the brethren". the annual visitation of Provincial Grand Lodge of Ayrshire on the 22nd September 1909 produced this report "The lodge charged a test fee of two shillings. The lodge since last visitation had four entrants and had a credit balance of eleven pounds eighteen shillings and four and a half pence. The provincial report concludes the P.G. Lodge bears that everything was found in order and the finances satisfactory". What was to follow was totally unexpected.
Extract 22 - 9 - 1909
"The P.G.M. in his address however rather damped the feelings of the members present by saying that in his opinion two lodges were sufficient in the town instead of four as at present and commenting unfavourably on the fact that only four entrants had joined this lodge since their last visitation as compared with 25 entrants to St. Marnocks, the P.G.M. seemingly not taking into account that it was less than 9 months since the previous visitation, that we had been closed for more than 3 months of that time and that St. Marnock had been working all through the summer. These facts however were brought to the P.G.M. notice by the R.W.M. when thanking the deputation for their visitation. Several of the brethren present expressed regret that the P.G.M. should have seen fit to give the discouraging address just delivered the more especially as hithto any lodge which was considered weak always received words of sympathy and encouragement from their provincial superiors. The lodge was afterwards closed in due and ancient form".
Signed John D. Wyllie R.W.M. Andrew Noble intem Secy.
The language used by the scribe in the above extract precludes any ambiguity of words, they are blunt but express no doubt, the true feelings of the brethren when they were written. For the first time in history it is recorded that a combined meeting of the four Kilmarnock lodges was held, this took place on the 24th November 1909 over the years a more dignified harmony between the four local lodges existed, the union of Kilwinning and Grand Lodge had helped over come any pre-eminence and aloofness held by individual lodges. the coming together of the four sister lodges was unique, the occasion being the presentation of an altar cover in the form of a buffalo hide. This was presented to the Kilmarnock lodges on behalf of Bro. Gardner lodge St. Andrew No863 Chicago U.S.A. (Bro. Gardner was a native of Kilmarnock). It was Bro. Gardner's desire that lodge St. Andrew 126 be appointed custodians of the cover. In appreciation and this fine gift it was agreed by the four lodges and the four attending R.W.M.'s that honorary membership be conferred on Bro. Gardner by each of the four Kilmarnock lodges if and when he visits Kilmarnock. Unfortunatly Bro. Gardner never received this honour as his death was announced at the regular meeting of the lodge on the 12th January 1910.
Sequel
The altar cover is still in possession of the lodge, it continues to be a feature on installation night. Once again the lodge leaders took an enterprising step of appointing a test fee collector. A Bro. Young took up this appointment with the remuneration of ten percent of all fees collected. Although venturesome steps were taken prudence was ever present this distinctive quality was the solid foundation for our permanent welfare. This characteristic was shown by the following extract.
Extract 23 - 2 - 1910
"Bro. J.D.Wyllie I.P.M. moved and Bro. J.M.Thomson D.M. seconded a bye law ammendment. No larger payment than one pound can be voted from the benevolent fund without due enquiry being ordered and made as to the truth or otherwise of the applicants statements".
Signed Alex Crawford R.W.M. David Murray Secy.
6 - 4 - 1910
The lodge received an invitation to attend the laying of the memorial stone of lodge Neptune Kilwinning No442 on Saturday the 16th April 1910. our lodge minutes now record the death of King Edward the seventh.
Extract 18 - 5 - 1910
"The R.W.M. made very feeling reference to the sudden death of King Edward the seventh, Past Grand Master of England and patron of Scottish freemasonry, in adding a tribute to his memory referred to the universal loss sustained by the departure from this earthly abode of one whoes whole reign as King if short will ever adorn the page of history and receive by others as a universal peace maker". the brethren remained standing for a time as a token of respect.
Signed Alex Crawford R.W.M. David Murray Secy.
Sequel
It was agreed buy the four Kilmarnock lodges to hold a joint funeral service in the Laigh Kirk Kilmarnock. The minute of the service recorded thus.
Freemasons Hall John Finnie Street Kilmarnock 20 - 5 - 1910
"A combined meeting of the sister lodges in town was held here on the above date Bro. John Johnstone R.W.M. of lodge St. John No22 presiding supported by Bro. J.C.Paterson R.W.M. No109, Bro. A Crawford R.W.M. No126 and Bro. James Ross R.W.M. No202. There being a good attendance of the various lodge members, being thus properly constituted the four lodges in town were duly opened on the E.A.Degree, at which Bro. the Rev D.J.Tweedie chaplain of the lodge St. Marnock No109 assisted by solemn prayers Bro. Johnstone R.W.M. No22 thus called upon Bro. Crawford R.W.M. No126 who in a few introductory remarks explained the business of our joint meeting viz. To pay our last tribute of respect to his late majesty King Edward the seventh by joining in the public in memorious services to be conducted that afternoon in the Laigh Kirk. Bro. Crawford at the same time paying a gracefull compliment to the many excellent qualities and virtues of our departed king and brother.
Bro. Johnstone R.W.M. 22 then called upon Bro. the Rev D.J. Tweedie to conduct the funeral service as per constitution which was most impressively gone through by this distinguished Bro. there after Bro. Thomas Johnstone organist No22 played the "Dead march" the brethren meantime assuming the perpendicular the four lodges were then marshalled as per seniority by Bro. Killeyham and there after marched by way of John Finnie Street, Wt George Street, Portland Street and Cheapside Street to the Laigh church where they joined in the devotional services appropriate to this occasion which was conducted by the Rev Wm. Dunnet M.A.B.D. presiding minister, assisted by the Rev Joseph Hibbs M.A., the Rev Wm. Ross M.A., the Rev J.A. Robertson B.D., the Rev McNair M.A. and the Rev J. Muirie. At the conclusion of the services the brethren again assumed processional order and marched back to the hall by way of King Street, St Marnock Street when Bro. James Ross R.W.M. 202 cordially thanked the brethren for their attendance at this cermony when the respective lodges were there after closed in due and ancient form".
Signed Alex Crawford R.W.M. David Murray Secy.
Inserted in the pages of our minute book dated 27th July 1910 is the copy of the official letter sent by the Provincial Grand Lodge of Ayrshire to Her Majesty Queen Alexadra expressing sympathy and condolences of craft members in the province of Ayrshire. The lodge annual meeting was held on the 2nd November 1910. Included in the secretary's report were the lodge had held 30 meetings, the average attendance being 31 per meeting. The lodge test fee remained at two shillings. the lodge had a credit balance of ninety two pounds two shillings and three pence.
Two firsts are now recorded.
At a meeting held on the 16th November 1910 it was agreed that the lodge make application for a special licence for annual installation. It was also agreed that shell pies be added to the "Food stuffs" and supplied by Norman Adam (bakers). The installation meeting was held on the 18th November 1910. During the ceremony of installing the R.W.M. the records record that the installing master "Put on the finger of the R.W.M. a beautiful masonic gold ring which was presented to the lodge by an anonymous brother of the lodge, to be the property (in succession) of all R.W.M.'s during their reign (This presentation is still made at today's installation).
Extract 14 - 12 - 1911
"The R.W.M. Bro. Alex Crawford presented the lodge with a beautiful ballot box, ingenious in design which was duly acknowledged by the members. (This ballot box is the one used in the lodge today). The lodge once again made arrangements for annual dance by the records of the 30th January 1912 the price of tickets to be one shilling and nine pence. it was agreed that the band would be Bro. Bone (lodge organist) plus one fiddler with the cost being twenty two shillings and six pence. The language and flow of words in the following extract may today seem elaborate, to the writer the choice of words was natural and surely deserves to be re-recorded in our history.
Extract 20 - 3 - 1912
"The presiding brother in the working and imparting of this degree was Bro. Jas Dobbins P.M. 505 and with calm and measured philosophy the duties were ably discharged, he was ably supported by Bro. Jackson R.W.M."
Signed Alex Crawford R.W.M. John M. Young Secy.
It is now apparent that after many years of struggle and restrain the lodge was conscious that the lodge furnishings added a dignity to the proceedings. The minute dated 1st May 1912 records the agreed purchase of six alter cushions at a price of thirteen shillings and six pence. Once again the expressions of a scribe in every day language.
Extract 20 - 7 - 1912
"The R.W.M. and secretary were appointed to visit Bro. H.Delany who is at present laid aside on a sick bed".
Signed Alex Crawford R.W.M. John M. Young Secy.
From time to time as we have noted brethren presented to their mother lodge some tangible expression of their feelings and sympathies with masonry by endowing St. Andrew No126 with some article of furniture. One such presentations was made by the I.P.M. of the lodge Bro. John. D. Wyllie. This was a framed picture of "The inauguration of Robert Burns as poet laureate of the lodge Cannongate Kilwinning Edinburgh 1st March 1789". The presentation was made on the 8th August 1912. At the same meeting it was agreed that a lodge summer trip to Sorn Castle would take place on Saturday 7th September 1912.
Further records tell us that the outing was a great success. Over 40 attended and a profit of two shillings and six pence was made. The age old custom of conferring more than one degree at the same meeting was continuing. The meeting dated 30th October 1912 records that a F/C and M.M. degree was carried out. To the statisticians of today although comparison cannot be justified the annual installation took place on the 1st November 1912. The minute records that 163 brethren attended, the collection was on behalf of Grand Lodge Annuity Fund, the collection was "The handsome sum of three pounds one shilling"
Signed Alex Crawford R.W.M. John M. Young Secy.
The next chapter in our history is most worthy of inclusion.
At the regular meeting on the 27th November 1912 Bro. Peter Malcolm assisted by the R.W.M. treasurer and secretary were selected to endeavour to have a history of this lodge from its inception drawn up. Any brother who has been privileged to read this history (1771 - 1913) by Bro. Peter Malcolm must surely be impressed by his great attention to detail, his phraseology and his use of words has made this history a much prized and sought after artifact. This legacy left by Bro. Peter Malcolm acts as his own epitaph. "He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much, who has gained the respect of intelligent men, who has filled his niche and accomplished his task, who has left the world better than he found it wither by a perfect poem, or a rescued sole, who has never lacked appreciation of earth's beauty or failed to express it, who has always looked for the best in others, and given the best he had, whose life was an inspiration whose memory a benediction".
Sequel
At the regular meeting of the lodge dated 1st April 1914 we find that it was agreed by the lodge that the printing of the lodge history by Bro. Peter Malcolm go ahead. The printing was to be carried out by the Kilmarnock Standard, the cost thirty pounds for 250 copies. The cost to subscribers was two shillings and nine pence per copy. Humour often surfaced in a minute in an unconscious manner, the scribe using a freedom so natural of his feelings. This is shown in the minute dated 5th November 1912. This was the annual visitation of the Provincial Grand Lodge. The deputation was headed by the Sub Provincial Grand Master Bro. George Willock and the acting Provincial Secretary Bro. Doctor Patterson. Doctor Patterson's deliberation to the lodge is contained in the following extract.
Extract 5 - 11 - 1912
"Bro. Dr Patterson pointed out that he would suggest that in opening and closing the lodge he would substitute door for entrance but our valiant brother P.M. Jackson who has undoubtedly seen more doors and entrances than the Dr. thought otherwise".
Signed Alex Crawford R.W.M. John M. Young Secy.
The lodge held its annual dance on the 28th February 1913. The records record that 77 persons attended. At the following regular meeting dated 19th March 1913 it was announced that a profit of one pound sixteen shillings and two pence had been made. The announcement was not greeted with great approval as the following extract shows.
Extract 19 - 3 - 1913
"Several of the members expressed their dissatisfaction with the dance committee in levying one shilling and upwards more than indicated on dance ticket and considered and moved that these sums be refunded, however on a vote the balance sheet as it stood was approved and passed.
Signed Alex Crawford R.W.M. John M. Young Secy.
Again we see an expressive language used by the lodge scribe.
Extract 30 - 4 - 1913 "Bro. H. Platt was called upon to confer this the third degree. Bro. Platt displayed an outstanding gift of elocutionary ability and a most retentive memory which all present highly appriciated and for which he received the sincere thanks of the lodge members and visiting brethren present".
Signed Alex Crawford R.W.M. John M. Young Secy.
The minutes of past years contain a meagreness of detail as to fees paid by the lodge to Grand Lodge, never the less in the minute dated 11th June 1913 a fee of five shillings was passed for payment to Grand Lodge for the lodges annual working certificate. The social events of the lodge were extremely active the minute dated 25th June 1913, that a picnic had been arranged to the grounds of "Auchencruive" on Saturday 5th July 1913. The price being "One shilling per head". The minute mentions that money and prizes had been donated, to be competed for, at the sport events at this outing. A special meeting was held on the 28th November 1913. This was to honour Bro. Alex Crawford the retiring R.W.M., who had carried out the duties of this high office for four years. A presentation was made of a master masons jewel and a marble time piece to Bro. Crawford, Mrs Crawford received a diamond and pearl pendant, the records show that over one hundred attended which included members wives and sweethearts. What words of discussions were omitted from the minute dated 1st October 1913, will never be known only a brief account of a decision taken.
Extract 1 - 10 - 1913
"The R.W.M. proposed that two pounds be given to the wife and family of Bro. J.T. Fairley P.M. of this lodge to help to remove them from where they reside in Craigie to Ayr". It was ultimately agreed upon to send two guineas.
Signed Alex Crawford R.W.M. John M. Young Secy.
The lodge now enters the year 1914. A year that was to influence the world. History named it the Great War 1914 - 18. Our lodge records hold their own account of these years. The lodge received an invitation to the centenary meeting of lodge St. John No252 Thornhill Dumfries contained in this minute "is a generous offer" from a P.M. of the lodge P.M. Bro. Jno. Wyllie, the use of his "private motor car" to convey the lodges representatives to this function.
A sequel to the above.
18 - 2 - 1914
"Bro. A. Crawford I.P.M. reported on his Thornhill visit and declared upon his honour, that on or about midnight of the day of the centenary celebrations the deputation accompanying him duly arrived in Kilmarnock "sober"."
Signed John Breadon R.W.M. John. M. Young. Secy.
The following extract speaks for its self.
Extract 27 - 2 - 1914
"A lodge dance was held here tonight presided over by the R.W.M. Jno. Breadon, the numbers attending being 25. The dance proved most successful. Quite a number of lodge St. John's members coming over from the Oddfellows Hall opposite at intervals and augmenting our company. the most regretable outcome of this years dance being the meagre attendance of members and which will bear heavy on the lodge as there will be close on three pounds ten shillings deficit".
Signed John Breadon R.W.M. John. M. Young. Secy.
An epigram composed unconsciously by the scribe.
Extract 3 - 7 - 1914
"The third degree conferred by Bro. Henry Platt ably assisted by Bro. Gib Templeton to say anything further with reference to the ability shown by Bro. Platt in conferring degrees is like "trying to paint the lily"."
Signed John Breadon R.W.M. John. M. Young. Secy.
The minute dated 2nd September 1914 gives the first mention to the "War".
Extract 2 - 9 - 1914
"The R.W.M. at the outset made suitable reference to this lamentable war on the continent and which our country was engaged fighting for freedom and liberty from the yoke of militarism rampant, he the R.W.M. trusted this world wide war would have a speedy termination and that peace and prosperity would be the outcome".
Signed John Breadon R.W.M. John. M. Young. Secy.
An anecdote to the above minute is also recorded.
"The R.W.M. strongly protested against the introduction at this meeting of a new outside Tyler, and that he should have been notified of the change. He was then informed that the installed Tyler had gone off and joined the army".
An appeal
Extract 30 - 9 - 1914
"A circular was read from Bro. Marquis of Tullibardie soliciting field glasses from any of the craft who possess same to give to our soldiers about to go or presently in France fighting the fiendish Germans".
Signed John Breadon R.W.M. John. M. Young. Secy.
A notice from Grand Lodge. Extract 20 - 1 - 1915
"By direction of the most worshipful the Grand Master a roll of honour was to be prepared and preserved for all time in the records of Grand Lodge containing the names of all brethren under the Scottish constitution who are or have been engaged in the service of King and Country with the imperial forces at this momentous period in our country's history and further that the list be kept up to date till the close of the war carefully noting all deaths, wounded and distinguished service, there after to be sent on to Grand Lodge".
Signed David Reid Grand Secretary.
With the approval of Grand Lodge it was agreed by the lodge on the 17th February 1915 that members of the lodge on active service would be free from their annual contribution during the continuance of the war without loosing there good standing. Two items of interest are contained in the minute dated 3rd March 1915. The first being that the lodge members were regularly subscribing to a fund to assist Belgium refugees. The second being, that the military authorities had requisitioned our hall for the billeting of troops. Preparation was to go ahead to move lodge furniture and fittings to the old masonic hall in Croft Street. By circumstances which are not recorded the above move never took place.
Sequel
Extract 31 - 3 - 1915
"The R.W.M. intimated that our halls would not likely be occupied by the soldiers, as most likely they would be going into canvas shortly".
Signed John Breadon R.W.M. John. M. Young. Secy.
The lodge has a long history of producing members of strong character, there was never any complacency to except the norm doted through our minute pages at this time was one Bro. P.M. Henry Jackson, who's views and comments are well documented. one such extract speaks for its self.
Extract 26 - 5 - 1915
"Bro. H. Jackson took exception to the North being mentioned in the ceremonial put by some of the members conferring degrees. Contending that the North was a place of darkness and that there was no entrance or exit in the temple to the North".
Signed John Breadon R.W.M. John. M. Young. Secy.
No further mention of this matter is recorded in the minutes. What further action the lodge took to P.M. Jackson's comments our history is mute. For some time the uniformity of procedure had reigned within the lodge, on occasions a diversity took place.
Extract 9 - 6 - 1915
"An interesting lecture was given by Bro. D. Kennedy on the "Three temples", in the course of which Bro. Kennedy proved himself a biblical scholar of a high and important character".
Signed John Breadon R.W.M. John. M. Young. Secy.
Over the years the writers of our minutes have never faltered in expressing appreciation, their pens were consistent. The following extract must surely have given a young brother that countenance "encouragement".
Extract 21 - 7 - 1915
"The ballot was taken and found clear on Mr A.F. Scott and he was initiated into the mysteries of the first degree by Bro. Jas Calderwood this being brother Calderwood's first entry into the arena which from first to last the conducting of this degree won golden opinions and was excellently perform".
Signed John Breadon R.W.M. John. M. Young. Secy.
Although it had again been directed by Grand Lodge and recently brought before the lodge that only one degree was to be conferred at a meeting, the minutes show that at the meeting dated 28th July 1915 a master mason degree was conferred followed by a mark degree, to add to the controversy, the candidate who received his master mason degree also received his mark degree at the above meeting. A kindness that must rank a place in our history
Extract 18 - 8 - 1915
"Bro. A. Crawford ably assisted by his wife have posted a number of parcels, each containing 13 different items each article having proved a tit-bit and dearly enjoyed by our members in the trenches which has been proved by the letters of appreciation and grateful thanks from the receivers and which were read out at last meeting" It was also intimated that one of the brothers Henry Byers who had received a parcel has since been seriously wounded.
Signed John Breadon R.W.M. John. M. Young. Secy.
It maybe expected that many old traditions were still carried out at lodge meetings in speculation we assume that they were carried out unconsciously and in a manner which the lodge expected. One such tradition that must have stood the test of time is now recorded.
Extract 15 - 9 - 1915
"Bro. Henry Jackson acknowledged receipt of a box of snuff also letter from Bro. Robertson in order that the lodge snuff box may from time to time be replemished".
Signed John Breadon R.W.M. John. M. Young. Secy.
The earlier minute dated 18th August 1915 records that Bro. Henry Byers had been seriously wounded in action at the front. In the minute of the 29th September 1915 a unique sequel was added.
Extract 29 - 9 - 1915
"Bro. Jas Gowan exhibited the German bullet that seriously wounded our respected Bro. H.S.Byres and which was extracted in a hospital in England".
Signed John Breadon R.W.M. John. M. Young. Secy.
The full story of the above would no doubt have been of great interest to the lodge members of today unfortunately the story remains hidden alongside many treasures of the past. The hostility of war was being felt more deeply it continuance brought a great sympathy which was shared by the lodge members. This is reflected in our minutes, it was unanimously agreed that there would be no festival held at lodge installation. The minutes now show that great debates were taking place within the lodge as to our old bible the original bible used at the consecration of the lodge. There had been suggestions that this be handed on loan to the Dick Institute for safe keeping. Many members were against this suggestion, the records tell us that there was so much deep feeling towards this much revered volume that no decision would be made for six months to allow the brethren to decide. What maybe of interest today is that members were allowed to take this bible home for perusal and return it at the following meeting.
3 - 3 - 1916 Freemasons hall John Finnie Street Kilmarnock. Extract
"The "at home" of Bro. and Mrs Breadon took the form of an interesting social, here tonight. Bro. D. Murray R.W.M. presided and after an excellent dinner a long programme of toasts, songs and recitations were submitted by several ladies and gentlemen present. Bro. and Mrs Breadon were presented by Bro. J.D. Wyllie a past maters jewel, a time piece and gold watch, Mrs Breadon a pearl spray broach and chain all suitable inscribed. With song and sentiment and a few dances this happy gathering concluded about 3am with the singing of Auld Lang Syne".
Signed David Murray R.W.M. John. M. Young. Secy.
The dark shadow of war was to descend upon the lodge.
Extract 10 - 5 - 1916
"The R.W.M. at the outset spoke feelingly of the loss the lodge had sustained in the death of Coprl G. Hamilton a devoted member of this lodge who was killed in action on the 6th April 1916 this being the first of our members to make the supreme sacrifice. The secretary was instructed to send a letter of condolence to his parents in their sudden and sad bereavement. The organist Bro. Wm Scarlett played "the dead march by handel" in an effective manner, the brethren meanwhile upstanding".
Signed David Murray R.W.M. John. M. Young. Secy.
The pages of our minute book now unfold a hidden treasurer.
Extract 7 - 6 - 1916
"Bro. D. Kennedy presented to the lodge 100 copies of his now famous poem (No126) composed by himself and which has been acknowledged a most meritorious production, same to be sold at two pence per copy the proceeds to go to help the parcels fund which is sent from time to time to the brave brethren of this lodge fighting at the front".
Signed David Murray R.W.M. John. M. Young. Secy.
It is with regret that a copy of Bro. David Kennedy's works (to our knowledge) has not survived, with optimism time may yet unfold this poem, synonymous with 126 Bro. Kennedy's composition would have added much to our celebrated history. Yet an other treasure was to unfold, this may have been prompted by the recent introduction of Bro. Kennedy's poem.
Extract 30 - 6 - 1916
"The Bro. organist, Bro. William Scarlett presented the lodge with 50 copies of a popular song composed by him ("Britains Word") to be sold at six pence each the proceeds to go to the parcel fund for our soldier members".
Signed David Murray R.W.M. John. M. Young. Secy.
Regretfully no copies of the above composition (to our knowlege) has survived, again this would have added much to our history. Once again the ravage of the war was to be felt by the lodge.
Extract 5 - 7 - 1916
"The R.W.M. at the outset referred to the death of Bro. James McQuade of this lodge who came over from Canada to fight on the battlefields of Europe for his motherland and who fell fighting on June 12th last. The lodge agreed to send an exert from the minutes to his sorrowing father, who is also an old member of this lodge".
Signed David Murray R.W.M. John. M. Young. Secy.
The prevailing times brought many restrictions, the deep entrenchment of war was felt by all, freemasonry was not immuned. A circular was sent by Grand Lodge to all their lodges to be read in open lodge.
Extract 30 - 8 - 1916
"That in order to present the peace and harmony of the craft being disturbed it is necessary that all brethren of alien enemy birth or nationality should not during the continuance of the war, and until G. Lodge, after the treaty of peace has been signed shall otherwise determine, attend any meeting of, or authorised by Grand Lodge, or any prov or district G. Lodge, or Daughter Lodge, and that such brethren be and they are hereby required by G. Lodge to abstain from such attendance".
Signed David Reid G. Secretary Continuance.
The circular included a right of lodges to make appeal to exempt a member, this was done through the same procedure as a "notice of motion" and approved by Provincial Grand Lodge and finally by Grand Lodge all brethren who in obedience to this resolution shall be exempted from any annual contributions. To read the fore-gone chapter today, would it be wise to comment, it is easy to criticise, it is also easy to condone when hindsight is our only guide. We can only accept that in these trying times the good of the craft was paramount. Present conditions may have influenced for a strong government in Grand Lodge. Their priority was to seek uniformity in daughter lodges. For decades (as our own minutes record) lodges had flouted a held autonomy and a right to self government, lodges approach to applications were varied, in many instances conveniency was the main factor. A new ruling by Grand Lodge had its effect and is still in place today, this included the forming of an enquiry committee in each lodge elected annually, the procedure of a ballot in which "Three black balls shall exclude a candidate". There was still a long road Grand Lodge had to travel to succeed to the present uniformity never the less the above was a small beginning. The call to serve their country in his majesty's forces was now great, young men all over the country were answering the call, this call is seen in our own lodge minutes, "The 1916 - 17 nomination of lodge office bearers had to be constantly changed as the lodge brethren answered the call". There is no precedent as to the following ambiguous innovation recorded in the minutes.
Extract 11 - 10 - 1916
"The nomination and election of office bearers for the years 1916 - 17 was now proceeded with under the chairmanship of Bro. Jno Breadon our I.P.M. the "Tellers" being Bro. Jas Ross and Jno Duncan of No202".
Signed David Murray R.W.M. John. M. Young. Secy.
To the above we must enter the realms of speculation "Was the two brethren from lodge 202","Vote counters" as the word "Tellers" suggest. Not with standing the exceptional circumstances the war had inflicted upon the nation our lodge records show that the installation meeting held 10th November 1916. 14 visiting lodges attended with the lodge attendance book recording 175 brethren. The influences of the war may have kindled a more neighbourly attachment, there was a need for more intimate relationship than the tie of the state could afford. This may account for the eagerness with which brethren were attending the halls of masonry. Within the lodge precincts is to be found a genial atmosphere inwhich men who are generous, kind and just, they can expand their nature to the full and discover the joy of happiness that springs from mutual service, and the communication with others. A freedom of words used by the scribe often reflected there inherent feelings.
Extract 22 - 11 - 1916
"The R.W.M. noted the presence of Bro. Henry Byres who was severely wounded in this damnable war".
Signed David Murray R.W.M. John. M. Young. Secy.
Sequel
To add to the above extract at the following meeting of the lodge on 6th December 1916. It was agreed that the word "Damnable" be changed to "Terrible" in the lodge minute. We cherish the simplicity which at the time was only a true statement of the fact. Extract "An inventory of lodge effects was taken here today at 2.15pm. When everything was certified to be in order and good condition, unless the cushions which are being rapidly destroyed by mice or some other vermin".
Signed David Murray R.W.M. John. M. Young. Secy.
A charity concert was being arranged by the local lodges in aid of the "War wounded" this is referred to by the R.W.M. in the following extract.
Extract 17 - 1 - 1917
"The R.W.M. referred to the forth coming masonic charity concert and stated that this organisation the object of which is to relieve from pain and supply comfort and happiness to our brave soldiers and sailors wounded and shattered in health by this terrible conflict of nations".
Signed David Murray R.W.M. John. M. Young. Secy.
The minute of the 31st January 1917 mentions an appeal from the Kilmarnock masonic war fund pointing out the necessity of lodge members to assist in carrying out work regarding subscription sheets in favour of our local red cross hospital to be stationed in the Dick Institute. An act of gratitude that was to become an act of national importance. It was the custom of most lodges to have a fully posted up lodge roll of honour containing the names of brethren of the lodge who are serving the country in the navy or army. It appears that government censors had acted on the information displayed in these rolls. Discussions must have taken place with Grand Lodge and government at national level, this resulted in the following directive being issued to all masonic lodges.
Extract 15 - 3- 1917
"Grand Lodge accordingly directed me to acquaint you with this and their ruling that in printing and issuing a roll of honour the entries must conform with the views of the censors. A brother serving in one of his majesty's ships should there fore be described only as H.M. Navy. A brother in an infantry regiment should be described as "Royal Scots" or "Royal Highlanders" (black watch) or "Seaford Highlanders" or "Royal Scots Fusilers" leaving out all mention of the number of his particular battalion. A brother serving in the artillery should simply be "R.F.A." or "R.G.A." as the case maybe without particularising his special unit". This was signed by D. Reid Grand Secretary.
Minute signed David Murray R.W.M. John M. Young Secy
Yet an other influence of these war years was the sharp increase of candidates wishing to become members of the lodge. The above may have acknowledged ascendancy to the following extract.
Extract 23 - 5 - 1917
"Bro. H. Jackson P.M. referred to the ever increasing tendency for special meetings and considered they could be curtailed and he moved that a charge of five shillings be imposed on all candidates made at "Special meetings". This the lodge refused to support".
Signed David Murray R.W.M. John M. Young Secy
One cannot but be struck with the originality of the writers of these minutes. The recordings inserted in this history are not intended for ridicule but rather to give an index to the minds of men who for a brief period of time were the custodians of the office of secretary. To hear ourselves as others hear us.
Extract 6 - 6 - 1917
"A circular from G. Lodge Edinburgh was read. Re notice of motion, for discussion on Thursday 2nd August 1917 after the secy had read this communication Bro. Bagshaw in inimitable fashion complained that through the secy's mumblings and want of punctuation. He could not follow the gest of the circular the R.W.M. re-read the notice of motion to the entire satisfaction of the complainer, this personal attack of Bro. Bagshaw's was accepted by the secretary with be-coming meekness and humility".
Signed David Murray R.W.M. John M. Young Secy
The ravages of war are once again seen in our minutes.
Extract 26 - 9 - 1917
"The R.W.M. referred to the death of Bro. Daniel Jones who had fallen on the battlefield fighting for liberty, justice and righteousness, and moved that letters of sympathy be sent to his sorrowing father and family and also to our dear Bro's young wife to whom he had been quite recently given in marriage, At the close of the R.W.M. remarks Bro. Adam Pringle played the dead march in soul, the members meanwhile upstanding".
Signed David Murray R.W.M. John M. Young Secy
The following two items appear in the minutes dated 10th October 1917.
"The lodge took the important step in establishing a permament format of a benevolent committee comprising of the following office bearers R.W.M., I.P.M., Senr Warden, Junr Warden, Treasurer and Secretary and that 58 lodge members had joined H.M. Forces and that some had made the supreme sacrifice".
Signed David Murray R.W.M. John M. Young Secy
Sadness was to hit the lodge once again.
The minute dated 19th December 1917 records that Bro. Jno Ross had fallen on the battlefield. An enterprising proposal is now mentioned in the minutes, its content shows a venturesome spirit to move with the times.
Extract 16 - 2 - 1918
"The R.W.M. read a letter he had received from Bro. Jno D. Wyllie intimating that a joint meeting of the four lodges in town would be held on Monday 25th inst. To consider the financial position of the halls and the inauguration of social club to meet in the unlet shops below hall".
Signed Robert C. Clark R.W.M. John M. Young Secy.
No further mention of the above matter is recorded in the minutes, what action was taken our history is mute, we must wait decades before this early vision of a social club becomes a reality. The war had entered its fourth year, no home or lodge was untouched by its inhumanity, outbursts of great passion are recorded when refrence is made to our serving members.
Extract 27 - 3 - 1918
"Letters of receipt of parcels were received from Bro. Kirkwood, Collins, Lumsden and Fred McLachlan who are (God bless and protect them) fighting and in a death grapple with the wild and inhuman German hordes".
Signed Robert Clark R.W.M. John M. Young Secy.
Again we read in the minutes that a special "at home" meeting was held for a presentation to the I.P.M. and his wife, the presentation included remarkable items, it also records that over one hundred persons attended this included the lady friends of the brethren.
Extract 17 - 4 - 1918
"Bro. R. Clark R.W.M. presided and in making a presentation of a P.M. jewel, a gold ring and spectacles to Bro. Murray also to Mrs Murray a diamond ring and spectacles,he warmly congratulated them on the respect and admiration both were held by the brethren of the lodge".
Signed Robert Clark R.W.M. John M. Young Secy.
In today's light it appears that daughter lodges were still experiencing a great freedom in constitutional adherence. It appears by the minutes that the four Kilmarnock lodges were served by the same lodge Tyler. This must have been a local arrangement where a Bro. was elected by the four lodges to this office, once elected his position was unique as he never required to be re-elected. Each of the four lodges renumerated him for each meeting he attended. The constitutional aspect which was no doubt local that be became a affiliate member of the four lodges while serving as Tyler, on his retirement his affiliation to the lodges was with drawn. One of the most momentous announcements to be made in the lodge took place at the regular meeting dated 20th November 1918.
Extract 20 - 11 - 1918
"The lodge was duly constituted was opened in the first degree. At the outset the R.W.M. made appropriate reference to the "armistice and secessation of hostilities" in the "Great world war".
Signed Robert Clark R.W.M. John M. Young Secy.
A great disappointment and sadness must have been shared by the lodge on the announcement by the R.W.M. at the regular meeting dated 29th January 1919.
Extract 29 - 1 - 1919
"The R.W.M. in feeling terms expressed on behalf of the lodge the deepest sympathy with Mrs Shaw on the death of her husband on the battle field viz Bro. Mathew shaw of this lodge, it was agreed to send a letter of sympathy to the bereaved widow and relatives. The members of the lodge present were upstanding for a few moments out of respect for our dear departed brother".
Signed Robert Clark R.W.M. John M. Young Secy.
Conspicuous mention has already been made in our records on conferring more than one degree at the same meeting, the minute dated 9th April 1919 must be unique and with-out equal. It records that the E.A. Degree and the M.M. Degree was not only conferred at the same meeting but were carried out simultaneously.
Extract 9 - 4 - 1919
"At this stage Bro. A.G. Manson P.M. Troon along with his assistants were admitted with full masonic honours and the lodge being duly passed and raised. Bro. Manson conferred in a most efficient manner this the third degree on the following seven candidates viz. Bro's P.B. Thomson, Andrew Lennox, Peter Reid, Jas Wright, W. McKie, David S. Price and Wm. Reid. In the upper room a first degree meeting was conducted at the same time presided over by Bro. A. Crawford P.M. the ballot was taken on Mr Hno Husband (saddler) age 34 formerly duly minuted and found clear there after Bro. Jno Crawford D.M. conferred this the first degree on the above candidate. After the usual votes of thanks both meetings were closed in due and ancient form".
Signed Robert Clark R.W.M. John M. Young Secy.
A further presentation to the lodge.
Extract 7 - 5 - 1919
"There was presented to the lodge by Bro. D. Murray our respected I.P.M. a chaste and beautiful designed dagger or rather a sharp pointed instrument and for which he was cordially thanked".
Signed Robert Clark R.W.M. John M. Young Secy.
Sequel to above.
At the above same meeting ten candidates were "Balloted for" and all were found clear, after which they all received the first degree". It is worthy of note that at the regular meeting held on the 21st May 1919. It was unanimously agreed that the lodge present to each member of the lodge who served in H.M. Forces during the war a suitably inscribed certificate. The succeeding part of the minute records that twelve candidates received the second degree, and that the lodge "Snuff box" was replenished by Bro. H. Jackson. The next minute of importance contains the following.
Extract 4 - 6 - 1919
"A tablet to the memory of fallen brethren in the great war now happily ended will be put up on the wall of the lodge room here. Bro's Pearson and T.W. McIntyre having kindly promised to bear the expence".
Signed Robert Clark R.W.M. John M. Young Secy.
As the brethren of today can bear witness the above was completed and now occupies a special place within the masonic temple. This history would be so much poorer without their names.
"James Cullen, George Gilmour, George Hamilton, Daniel Jones, James McQuade, John Ross, Robert Woodburn, Mathew Shaw".
"Their names liveth for ever - more".
Although the lodge had the necessary symbols to carry out its ceremonial work there were still gaps to be filled, one such discrepancy was over come by the following presentation.
Extract 18 - 6 - 1919
"Bro. Jackson P.M. at this meeting kindly presented the lodge with a large number of white and black balls for the lodge ballot box".
Signed Robert Clark R.W.M. John M. Young Secy.
A sequel to the above meeting.
"Fourteen candidates were balloted for the ballot being clear they all received the first degree this same night". The minute dated 14th November 1919 records that Bro. Peter Malcolm the lodge historian was presented with a life membership in appreciation for his services in writing the lodge history 1771 - 1913. A new dimension was added to our minute books. It had been agreed at the regular meeting on the 5th November 1919 that a copy of the secretary's annual report be inserted in the minute book, a ruling which has continued to the present day. It is appropriate that the secretary's report be included in these annals.
14 - 11 - 1919 Secretary's Annual Report
"R.W.M. Wardens and Brethren, I have much pleasure in submitting to you my annual report of lodge business for the year ending 5th November 1919. Since our constitution some 149 years ago we have always maintained what one might term a "Healthy" existance, we have never permitted the rigours of even the most exacting circumstances to penetrate so far as to compel "Old 126" to temporarily close her doors, unlike most of our more unfortunate sisters we have had no period of "Suspended animation", from the balance sheet which have been distributed among the members tonight it will be seen that our funds continue in a most satisfactory state.
Our assets excluded lodge effects, jewels etc. are as follows.
Invested in Masonic Halls £242 - 0 - 0
Mortage with Kilmarnock Corporation 5% £200 - 0 - 0
Cash in Bank £320 - 0 - 0
Cash in Hand £6 - 5 - 2
70 lodge history still to be disposed of at 2/6d each. £8 - 15 - 0
Total £777 - 0 - 2
Our general fund shows a credit balance of £245 and we have £80 in hand from the benevolent fund. Since our election of office bearers last year up to the present moment we have held 49 meetings at all of which I am pleased to say there was a good average attendance of members and visiting brethren. 99 initiates have been registered during the current years as compared with 85 for last year, this making the excellent and most creditable total of 184 new members during the past two years of our present R.W.M. tenure of office. Bro. Clark's has indeed a wonderful record and I feel confident that his success in these past years will prove merely the stepping stone to his ultimate and even more noble achievements, and in the annals of the history of No126 surely the name of our respected R.W.M. will stand out in letters of fire. Like Nelson "He will leave behind a name which will be our pride and an example which will continue to be our shield and our strength". The roll of test fee paying members number 269 and that of the life members the estimable total of 123. Through the kindness of Bro's T.W. McIntyre of Sorn and C.M. Pearson of Ardrossan a memorial tablet will very shortly be fixed upon the walls of the lodge here, on which will be inscribed the names of the members from the 4 lodges in the town who have fallen in the war. On our roll of honour there are recorded 150 names, 8 of whom have made the supreme sacrifice, and in these cases, "When the war drum throbs no longer, and the battle flag is furled, we who are left can realise some what of the aching loss which is felt by those who remain in the homes for ever bereave of the presence of the departed heroes. But let us fix our eyes ahead and work steadfastly onward and upward".
There after.
"And the air shall be filled with music and the cares that infest the day, shall fold up their tents like the arabs and as silently steal away". Two most valuable gifts have been presented to the lodge, a small dagger and case from our I.P.M. David Murray and a large quantity of Black and White balls for the ballot by Bro. Henry Jackson, for which we have to thank them most heartily. And now in closing brethren as I have already stated this years figures are a good and sufficient proof of our increasing prosperity. Like the sages of old we are waxing "fat and prosperous" but unlike these ancients we will not allow even this great measure of success to appease us "No" we will work on steadfastly whole heartedly and above all "willingly" and will not be satisfied until we see old 126 the veritable "ego sum" of the "masonic universe" I have to thank you all for your continued assistance to me in my secretarial duties".
John M. Young Secretary.
The above report is indeed a reflection on the great ability and passion Bro. John Young had for his duties as secretary, his talent in the use of words adds great charm to our minute books and makes our history so much richer. Alterations to Grand Lodge constitution was becoming more common. In the minute dated 19th November 1919 it is recorded that "no more than (7) seven candidates will be initiated on the same day", and no lodge shall pass to the second degree or raise to the third degree more than (7) seven brethren in either of said degrees on any one day. Once again the records show that there must have been a precipitance of haste to provoke the following. "In the small hall three candidates were balloted for and were found clear, there after they were initiated. In the large hall at the same time seven brethren were passed to the fellow craft degree. The lodge was then raised to the third degree and seven more brethren were made master masons. We may presume that for reasons unrecorded the above was carried out precluding any debate and in a absolute manner". The lodge now enters the 1920's, a period of time has passed since the "Great War" ended.
It is only natural to assume that a time of reflection was taking place, freemasonry had its self been influenced by the war. One obvious impact was the immense increase in membership especially at the close of the war. At this time there was strong opinion that the new member were looking to find in our ritual and our fraternal association some thing which in their war service they had found the need of. It would also be true to say that many never found what they were looking for and dropped free-masonry as lightly as they had rushed in, there were many who found all and some instances far more than they expected and blessed the day that they were admitted.
Our own lodge records bears allegiance to the above, during 1917 - 19 the lodge initiated 192 candidates, in speculation there may have been some who would have said that the door of the lodge was opened to wide at the first knock, as masons we know that three distinct knocks are necessary. Our history relates that the young members of the lodge were discovering for themselves the need to convince inquirers that masonry like our bible is a precious inheritance handed down to us by our fore-fathers to be treated with similar reverence and similarly offering constant new light on all who study its teachings. If the Great War had largely increased the membership of the craft it has there by been permitted to extend its teachings to many thousands who might not otherwise have ranged themselves under its banner. With the peace a harmonious feeling surrounded the lodge, this can be seen in the following minute.
10 - 3 - 1920 Lodge Social and Dance
"A lodge social and dance was held on above date in the Co-operative Halls Dunlop Street, Kilmarnock when 200 members and friends attended, presided over by Bro. R. Clark R.W.M. A short toast list was submitted after supper and there after to the sweet strains of Bro. C Mevilles orchestra dancing was engaged in till three in the morning. Bro. Jno Nelson and Wm. McNair were most successful as masters of ceremonies. "Auld Lang Syne" brought to a close a most enjoyable meeting"
Signed Robert Clark R.W.M. John M. Young. Secy
One of the lodges great attributes was its continuity and its diversity, no doubt the following discourse was greatly appreciated by the members.
Extract 15 - 3 - 1920
"Following above meeting the brethren met in harmony and refreshment Bro. R.Clark R.W.M. presided Bro. Allan Kennedy delivered an interesting lecture on Northern Russia during which he gave a graphic pen picture of his own personal experiences as a soldier, from he left Kilmarnock till his return. Bro. Kennedy was cordially thanked at the close of the meeting. The minute dated 7th April 1920 records the invitation to attend the consecration of the new temple of lodge St. John Catrine No497 on Saturday 20th April at 3.30pm. A train would leave Kilmarnock railway station at 2.30pm for brethren attending. The following minute extract speaks for its self.
Extract 25 - 8 - 1920 "Freemasons Hall John Finnie Street Kilmarnock"
The regular meeting of the lodge was held here tonight, Bro. R. Clark R.W.M. presiding over a fairly large meeting despite the fact of an important football match being held the same evening".
Signed R Clark R.W.M. John M. Young Secy.
It can only be assumed that the lodge was experiencing a mode of affluence as it was decided that the annual installation and festival be held in the Co-Operative Hall, and in the event of any deficit occurring the deficit be made good from lodge funds. The minute book contains the insert of the secretaries annual report this is dated 3rd November 1920. It mentions that the lodge will soon be celebrating its 150th Anniversary. The lodge held 46 meetings during the year, the lodge initiated 96 new members, the total number of test-fee members 361. The total number of life members 163. What maybe of great interest to today's members the minute of the annual installation meeting dated 6th November 1920 gives some insight to the ceremony that was administered at this time. Although the minute is some what short in detail it records very little difference from today's ceremony. As mention in the secretaries annual report the lodge would soon be celebrating its 150th Anniversary being conscious of this on the 17th November 1920 a committee was elected to arrange for suitable recognition of this event. The committee members being some what lodge stalwarts. Bro's H. Jackson, P. Malcolm and D. Kennedy. On the 14th January 1921 a social and dance was held in the Co-Operative hall at which the lodge presented the I.P.M. Bro. Robert Clark with a P.M. jewel and a wallet of "Treasury notes" Mrs Clark receiving a diamond ring, in recognition for his services as R.W.M.
An item worthy of note
At the meeting dated 9th March 1921 32 candidates received their mark degree, the minute concludes, "At the close of the ceremony which was admirably carried through by Bro. Jas. Clark (senr) and his overseers, a cordial vote of thanks was given them".
Signed William Brown R.W.M. John M. Young Secy
It now seems that events surrounding the lodge were to impede the arrangements of our 150th Anniversary. The minute dated 20th April 1921 records that the lodge postpone this function owing to the national coal strike.
A sequel
Extract 4 - 5 - 1921
"With reference to our anniversary function it was agreed to delay this important gathering till a better ecomic condition prevailed through - out the country".
Signed William Brown R.W.M. John M. Young Secy.
A small but important reference is now made in our minutes dated 18th May 1921.
Extract 18 - 5 - 1921
"Bro. Robert Clark I.P.M. intimated that on the 27th inst, the memorial tablet to the brethren of the four lodges in town would be unveiled".
Signed William Brown R.W.M. John M. Young Secy
For reasons unknown no minute of the above ceremony is recorded in the minutes. We do find that the minute of 15th June 1921 contains the following.
Extract
"It was agreed to instruct the representatives of the Halls Committee to make an effort to have the four lodges in town to agree to the presenting of one photo of the marble tablet to the nearest relatives of the members who fell in the Great War and whose names appear on the tablet".
Signed William Brown R.W.M. John M. Young Secy
Through out the 150 years of our history the minutes have recorded many calls for benevolence and assistance, these calls were always met with understanding and a true allegiance to the cardinal principles of our order. One such case is worthy of mention.
Extract 21 - 6 - 1921
"An application for financial assistance had been received from Bro. Sammuel Ewing on behalf of his son Bro. Andrew H. Ewing, who along with his wife and child have been left stranded and penniless in Peru, South America. The R.W.M. adding that the applicant and his two sons were members of good standing in the lodge. The applicants letter having been read and after careful consideration of the case in all its bearings Bro. W. McNair S.W. seconded by Bro. Wm. Robertson J.W. that a bill be prepared for the sum desired (viz) £30 to be so warded".
Signed William Brown R.W.M. John M. Young Secy
The above surely manifests a picture of a brother in real distress, the lodge gave its answer and went to his aid. As a sequel to the above. On the 7th September 1921 our minute book records that a letter was received from lodge 1109 (which is still active today) listed in the Scottish Grand Lodge year book as lodge Unity Peru No1109. The letter explaining that they had given £50 in benevolence to Bro. Ewing. We may speculate that the reading of the above letter from a sister lodge so geographically distant could only awaken feelings of belonging to this great fraternity who's teachings are that closely allied to brotherly love comes the distinguishing characteristic of a masons heart benevolence and charity. No further mention is made to this episode in our history.
At the meeting dated 21st September 1921 an invitation was received to attend the concration of the new Maybole temple on Saturday 8th October 1921. The minute book now records the lodge 150th Anniversary celebration, this took place in the Freemason's Halls john Finnie Street on Friday 25th November 1921.
Extract 25 - 11 - 1921
"On May last owing to trade strikes and general industrial unrest throughout the country following the termination of the Great War which continued for four years the marking of this important period in our history was postponed till tonight and took the form of a dinner". The minute continues that over one hundred attended , the chairman for the evening being Bro. W.S. Cochan a member of the Grand Committee and Grand Secretary to the province of Glasgow. It was also noted that a Bro. Gilchrist who was present at the lodge centenary celebrations 50 years ago. It records that the dinner consisted of six courses "The musical part of the proceedings was of a high order and was ably sustained by Bro. Jno. Lorimer tenor, Jas S. Malcolm and Tom K. Allen violinist, Jno McKean humourist and Tom Gilmour accomponist". What could be more appropriate and impressive than when the company at or about 2am in the morning rose and sung heartily "Auld Lang Syne", thus bringing a great and hugely successful meeting to a close".
Signed William Brown R.W.M. John M. Young Secy

So ends chapter three.

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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