The History of Inveraray Masonic Lodge (from 1747-1909) is displayed below. A fascinating and important document, it describes our early lodge history. It was written by the lodge secretary at the time, Brother John Johnstone, and among many memorable passages it includes references to Bonnie Prince Charlie, Queen Victoria's visit to Inveraray, and well known Brethren such as the author Neil Munro (Para Handy) and noted missionary James Chalmers.
A PDF copy of this history can be downloaded here:
Inveraray Masonic Lodge
THE OLD MINUTES AND OTHER
Bro. John Johnstone
Published by the Lodge No. 50
Price One Shilling
Any profits arising from the sale of this book to be devoted
to the Lodge Benevolent Fund
I have much pleasure in commending- to all whom it may interest, this history of the Lodge St. John, Inveraray, the oldest Lodge of the Province of Argyll and the Isles, over which I have been permitted to preside since 1875. The work represents much care and devotion on the part of the present Secretary of the Lodge, Brother John Johnstone.
Any profit from the Sale of the work will assist the Benevolent Fund of the Lodge.
(Signed) CHARLES DALRYMPLE,
P. G. M. of Argyll and the Isles.
10th March, 1909.
IN introducing this humble work to the attention of the Masonic Brethren in Scotland, I may state plainly that I am fully aware of many defects, yet for any such I crave the forbearance of the critical, such work having been performed in the intervals of my daily toil. That our Lodge in Inveraray may directly or indirectly benefit by this production is my earnest wish, which if gratified, shall fully repay me for the labour hereon expended.
The book is published by the Inveraray Lodge in the expectation that in so doing, an interest in our Ancient Craft may be aroused among those who would live not alone for themselves, but also for the good and happiness of their fellow-men, sons of the same Supreme Father, God Everlasting.
Inveraray, March, 1909
Charter of Constitution and Erection
IN FAVOUR OF
The Mason Lodge of Inveraray,
23rd FEBRUARY, 1747.
" TO ALL AND SUNDRY TO WHOM THESE PRESENTS SHALL COME, GREETING IN GOD EVERLASTING.
Whereas upon application to the Grand Lodge of free and accepted Masons for the Kingdom of Scotland by the Worshipful Brethren afternamed, viz.: Captain Duncan Campbell of Inverawe, present Master of the Mason Lodge of Inveraray in Argyllshire, John Campbell, Sheriff Clerk of Argyllshire, and Doctor John McNab, Senior and junior Wardens thereof ; David Gibson, Taylor in Inveraray, their Treasurer, The Right Honourable Alexander Lord Banff, Sir Duncan Campbell of Lochnell, John Campbell Provost and Merchant in Inveraray, Provost Alexander Duncanson Merchant there, Dugald MacTavish of Dunurdery Esquire, John Richardson of Strontian Esquire, Alexander Cameron of Dungallon Esquire, Lieutenant Colin Campbell, Archibald Cameron of Ormsrie Esquire, Alexander Cameron of Gleneve Esquire, John Campbell Chamberlain of Argyleshire, Adjutant Donald Campbell, James Campbell Writer in Inveraray, John Graham of Kilmardinny Esquire, Angus Fisher, Merchant in Inveraray, and Walter Paterson Gardener to His Grace The Duke of Argyle ; ,Setting Forth, That they being all Constituent members of the Mason Lodge of Inveraray, and as such for some time bypast, having been in use to Conveen in a formed Lodge in the Burgh of Inveraray under the title and denomination of the MASON LODGE OF INVERARAY, wherein they had chosen Masters, Wardens, and other Office-bearers, and had also been in use to admit and receive entered apprentices, pass fellows of the Craft, and raise Master Masons in a due and regular form for certain small sums of entry money for the use of the poor of their Lodge, and that they kept regular minutes and records of all their proceedings, and being most willing and desirous to come under the Authority and protection of the Grand Lodge which they should always own as their Superiors, and Therefore Humbly Craving to the effect aftermentioned, as the said Petition Signed in their name bears, Which being considered by the Grand Lodge upon this twenty-third day of February, One thousand seven hundred and fourty-seven years, who being therewith well and ripely advised, They Granted, and hereby Grant the desire thereof, and have Appointed and hereby Appoint this present Charter or patent of new Erection and Constitution To, and in favour of, the said Worshipful Brethren in manner underwritten under the title and denomination of the Mason Lodge of Inveraray, to be held at the Burgh of Inverarav in all time coming. Therefore, The most worshipful and honourable The Grand Master, by the advice and consent of the Grand Lodge, Have constitute-and appointed, and by these presents hereby Constitute and Appoint the worshipful Brethren above named, and their successors to be now, and in all time coming a true and regular Lodge of free and accepted Masons under the Title and denomination aforesaid, and Ordain all other regular Mason Lodges in Scotland to hold and repute them as such for the future, Hereby, Giving, Granting, and Committing to them and their successors full and ample power to meet and conveen as a true and regular Lodge, and to enter and receive Apprentices, pass fellows of Craft, and raise Master Masons upon payment of such regular and reasonable compositions as they shall think proper, not only for the good and utility of their said Lodge, but also for the support of their poor distressed Brethren, Widows, and Orphans, with full and ample power also to them to Elect and make choice of Masters, Wardens and other office-bearers, annually or otherwise as they shall have occasion, Hereby recommending to the said Brethren (so constituted as above) and their successors to obey their superiors in all things lawful and honest, as becomes the honour and harmony of Masonry, and they hereby become bound and engaged not to desert their said Lodge (hereby constituted and erected), and that none of them presume upon any pretext whatsomever to make any seperate or schismatical meetings among themselves without the consent and approbation of, or presence of their Masters and Wardens for the time being, nor yet shall they or any of them presume to collect money or other funds seperate from the Common Stock of their Lodge, to the hurt or detriment thereof ; And the said Worshipful Brethren being always bound and obliged, as by their acceptation thereof, they faithfully bind and oblige themselves and their successors in all time coming to submit to, obtemper and obey the whole Statutes and regulations of the Grand Lodge, already made or to be made for the utility, wellfare, and prosperity of Masonry in general, and to pay and perform whatever is stipulated or to be demanded from them for supporting the dignity of the Grand Lodge, and to record in their books (which they are hereby appointed to keep) this present Charter and patent of Constitution and erection with the regulations and bvelaws already made hereafter to be made by them from time to time, with their other proceedings and elections as they shall happen to occur, to the effect the same may be the more readily seen and observed by their Brethren, subject nevertheless to the review of the Grand Lodge, And In Like Manner, the said Brethren and their successors are hereby appointed and required punctually to attend the whole general meetings and quarterly communications of the Grand Lodge by their representatives, being their Master, with the Senior and junior Wardens for the time, or by proxies in their places, duly authorized by commission from their Lodge, providing the said proxies be Master Masons, or fellows of Craft belonging to some regular Lodge, to the end the said Brethren may be duly certified of the proceedings of the Grand Lodge, to whom they may represent their greivances from time to time as they shall see cause, Decalring Hereby the said Lodge's precedency in the Grand Lodge is, and shall commence from the day and date of these presents, and to the effect this present Charter and patent of Constitution and erection may be the more securely kept, the same is hereby appointed to be recorded in the books of the Grand Lodge conform to the regulations made thereanent. Given at the Grand Lodge held in Mary's Chappel in Edinburgh the twenty third clay of February one thousand seven hundred and fourth seven years, By the Right Worshipful John Douglass Esquire Grand Master Substitute of the said Grand Lodge, The Right Worshipful Andrew Hay and Alexander Tait Esquires, Senior and Junior Grand Wardens pro tempore, Thomas Mylne late Deacon of the Masons in the City of Edinburgh present Treasurer to the said Grand Lodge, and John McDougall Esquire Grand Secretary thereto --Before and in presence of Samuel Neilson present Deacon of the Masons in Edinburgh and Master of the Lodge of Mary's Chappel, John Sinclair Esquire Deputy Master of the Mason Lodge Intituled Drummond-Kilwinning from Greenock and Robert Alison Senior,. Writer in Edinburgh Clerk to the said Grand Lodge."
(Signed) J. DOUGLAS,' G. M. Substitute.
(Signed) ANDREW HAY, S. G. W. P. T.
(Signed) ALEXr. TAIT, J. G. W. P. T.
(Signed) THO. MYLNE, G. Tr.
(Signed) J.N. MacDOUGALL, G. Secretary.
(Signed) SAM. NEILSON, Mary's Chappel, Witness.
(Signed) JON SINCLAIR, D.M. Drummond-Kilwinning, Witness.
(Signed) R. ALISON, Witness.
Charter marked on the back as under :—
" EDINBURGH the 23rd of February 1747--These the within Charter or patent of Constitution and erection was recorded in the Books of the Grand Lodge by me Robert Alison Senior Writer in Edinr. Clerk to, and Keeper of the Records thereof."
(Signed) R0 ALISON, Gr. Clerk.
from the Old Minute Books of Inveraray
St. John Lodge, No. 50.
“Breathes there a man with soul so dead, Who never to himself has said, This is my own, my native land.”
AS the true patriot never forgets the land of his birth and infant nurture, so in like manner the true and faithful Freemason always remembers that sacred circle in whose midst he first saw the Light, and where the beauties of Truth, Morality, and brotherly love were impressed upon his heart. And thus it is but natural that everything pertaining to our Mother Lodge should be of interest to us as Craftsmen. Its inception, its successes, its failures, and in fact all that is connected therewith appeal to our hearts and minds. We all as Freemasons pride ourselves on the antiquity of our craft, and are ever ready to render respect to the memory of those who through much discouragement and oft-times persecution, have from generation to generation bravely carried on the beneficent work of our ancient and honourable brotherhood. Certainly we, the members of Inveraray St. John have reason to respect the memory of our predecessors in the work of Freemasonry. In the exercise of charity and works of kindness their conduct was worthy of all praise, especially as such commendable deeds were performed in the face of great poverty, thus showing forth more brightly the fruits of their Masonic principles.
History of Inveraray Masonic Lodge. p.13
When requested by the brethren to draw up a short history of our Lodge, I consented, yet with some diffidence, lest I should be unable to perform the task with such ability as I am aware some of my brethren possess in far greater measure for such work than myself. However, as the work depends not on carefully rounded and elegant sentences, but on bare statements of facts, I now set myself to the narration of such, in so far as the records of the Lodge afford me material, selecting only what in my humble estimation may prove interesting to the members.
Unfortunately the history of Inveraray Lodge from its beginning is unknown. The Charter granted by the Grand Lodge of Scotland is dated 23rd February, 1747, and was granted on the application of the office-bearers of " Inveraray Masons' Lodge," which had been working for many years presumably on the authority of Charter from Mother Kilwinning, but as to the length of time it had been so working no reliable information can be gathered. Local tradition traces it back to a very early date.
I have endeavoured to obtain information as to when Inveraray acquired connection with Mother Kilwinning, but have failed to get enlightened on this point. In answer to a letter of enquiry, the worthy Secretary of Mother Kilwinning, Bro. George Muir, stated that after an exhaustive search he had failed to find any record relating to Inveraray Lodge. Bro. Muir also stated that many Lodges in Scotland were in the same position. Possibly the records of such ancient transactions perished in a great fire in Roslin Castle, the seat of the Earl of Roslin, Hereditary Grand Master of Mother Kilwinning, which fire took place in the-year 1447. If any of the records of Inveraray were in that fire, then is our Lodge ancient indeed ! And this is quite possible, as we find authentic proof of old Lodges working in what were in those days, very remote places. For instance, we find accounts of Dunblane working in the year 1697, and which was at that time a very old. Lodge.
The Grand Lodge of Scotland was instituted in the year 1736, eleven years before the Inveraray Lodge received the G.L. Charter. The union between the Grand
History of Inveraray Masonic Lodge. p.14
Lodge and Mother Kilwinning and the Lodges holding off her was not consummated till well on in the nineteenth century. How it came about that the Inveraray Lodge applied for connection with the Grand Lodge before the union mentioned, I cannot say, but think it must have been through the influence of the Master of " Inveraray," Captain Duncan Campbell, who was an initiate of St. Mary's Chapel, No. 1.
Be that as it may, the first Minutes of our Lodge begins 17th July, 1779, thirty-two years after the date of our Charter. All previous records are lost, which is not only regrettable, but remarkable, as since the last mentioned date, the Minutes are continuous, and almost unbroken. That the Minutes of the earlier dates are lost may be attributed to carelessness on the part of acting Secretaries, although we must remember that those were troublous times, and the frequent changing of meeting places may also have had something- to do with the loss of property ; yet still we find the old Bible which was kept in the Lodge Box in possession of this Lodge. By the kindness of Sir Charles Dalrymple a few years ago, it was restored and renovated. This Bible bears the name of the Lodge, and the date 1749.
It may be noted here, that the Clan Campbell was well represented on the Charter, and in the early history of our Lodge, and much might be written in connection with some bearing that ancient and honourable name, many of whom figured prominently in our country's history.
The first Master of Inveraray Lodge was Captain Duncan Campbell, before mentioned, and who according to Murray Lyon the Masonic Historian, was a descendant -of Colin, 3rd Earl of Argyll, and a confidential friend of Bonnie Prince Charlie, and the first person to make that Prince's arrival known to the Jacobites in Edinburgh. This Duncan Campbell was a good soldier, and seems to have played a prominent part in the stirring events of that time. How he came to be back in his native district, and acting as Master of this Lodge, so soon after being engaged in the affairs of Charles Stuart, I cannot say.
History of Inveraray Masonic Lodge. p.15
1780. The year 1780 appears to have been a busy one in the work of this Lodge. Thus on the 8th January we find the first of many such Entries, when James Campbell, 'Officer of the Burgh, was admitted gratis, in order that he should act as Tyler. At this meeting the members agreed
to meet every Quarter in future.However, the first Thursday in February when the Lodge should have met in accordance with the aforementioned resolution, was fixed by Royal Proclamation as a National Fast. For what reason this Fast was ordered is not stated, but as Loyal subjects the brethren adjourned their meeting till the 17th of the month. At this meeting it was found that the Money Box was much drained, and it was resolved that the quarterly fees be henceforth 11-.
On the 22nd we find recorded another free entrance. namely George Dennon, Student of Divinity. Four days later, George Cromar, a waiter with John Buchanan, and James Campbell, were passed and raised, gratis.
On the 11th of May the brethren found that the fee hitherto charged for Raising being 151- was far too high, and decided that in future the charge
should be 5/- only.
On the 3rd of August Bro. Sir Wm. Campbell of the Royal Order of Masonry, with other brethren were affiliated members of this Lodge.
From a minute of 9th November we find that the entrance fee for the Apprentice Degree was 13/-, but this arrangement was interfered with by Grand Lodge, as at same meeting a letter was read, sent by the Grand Secretary, prohibiting all Lodges under the jurisdiction of G. L. from admitting candidates to the Apprentice Degree under one guinea. The G.S. further demanded payment of arrears due by this Lodge for a lengthy time, under a penalty of being struck off the Roll of G. Lodge, and being debarred from all benefits in time coming. Naturally this letter was seriously considered, and it was resolved and enacted, " that in future no apprentice shall be admitted unless he pay the sum of one guinea of entry fee in terms of aforesaid letter." A Committee was appointed to adjust the matter of arrears with the Grand Secretary, Bro. Wm. Mason.
History of Inveraray Masonic Lodge. p.16
The Secretary was instructed to notify the brethren, that the Lodge is to meet in the house of Mr Robertson, Vintner, on next St. John's day in order to elect new office-bearers, and to walk in procession to Inveraray Church and back again. On the 19th December Ensign James Campbell of the 1st Reg t. of Foot, was entered an apprentice of this Lodge. On the 20th December four candidates, including a dancing master and a baker, were admitted. On the 26th December two candidates were received, one of them Duncan Campbell, grocer in Inveraray, being admitted gratis, for what reason is not stated. On the 27th the Lodge met to celebrate St. John's, and on the 29th again met, and conferred the 2nd and 3rd degrees on several members. On the 30th the Lodge again met and admitted Thomas Hall as an apprentice of this Lodge. Surely the brethren in those days were not afraid of work, seeing they could meet almost every night—whereas now so many grudge to attend a meeting, even once a year.
It is to be noted that at almost every meeting during this period, new members were admitted either by initiation or affiliation. This I think conveys the impression that the town of Inverarav was at this time a place of some importance, and possessed of more trade than it has at the present time. It was resolved at this time that a chair for the R. W. M. was very much required, and recommended "that Bro. John Stevenson be commissioned to make a chair at his first convenience, and to decorate it in a proper manner." This chair which we still have with us, and which is in a fine state of preservation, is thus about 128 years old, and as we learn from the accounts, cost ;C,7 10/-. At this same meeting (St. John's) the Rev. Mr Stewart, Minister of Strachur, belonging to the Thistle Lodge, Edinburgh, was affiliated into this Lodge, in company with Duncan Campbell, 'Writer in Inveraray, a member of the Glasgow Argyll Lodge. This year of 1780 was a busy year indeed.
1781. This year's work was begun on 1st February, with a meeting for considering the Treasurer's accounts for the past year. A few of the items were rather amusing. Thus, there was 1/3 for an apron for the Tyler, and again an apron to the Tyler at the same price. How he required...
History of Inveraray Masonic Lodge. p.17
...two aprons is quite a puzzle. Perhaps one of them was for special occasions. There was also a bonnet and ribbon for the same official at 2/5. That was 4/11 for dress for the Tyler. Then Flambeaux for St. John's, ill--; a letter from G. L. 4d—no penny postage in those days. At almost every meeting this vear we find the Lodge admitting new members. When the brethren assembled on St. John's night to celebrate the festival, we are told that the R.W.M. suggested many reasons why such festival should not be held at this time, which reasons were sustained by the members, and the festival deferred till the end of January. Festival or no festival the brethren had plenty of work laid out for their consideration. The R.W. M. produced a letter dated 14th May, but which was only received by him with the last post, and signed by the Grand Secretary, asking the opinion of the Lodge on the following points---1st, What has been the customary fees paid at the admission of operative and speculative Masons ? 2nd, What in the opinion of this Lodge would be a proper standard sum to exact at the admission of operative or speculative Masons ? And now with a wonderful abrupt change of tone, the Grand Secretary threatens to suppress the Inveraray Lodge for not paying the monies due to Grand Lodge. The finding of the members on the first point was, " that speculative Masons pay the present fee, 21/-; and that operative Masons pay 15/-" Thus you perceive, that in the case of this Lodge, one answer suited both questions. Arrangements were also made that " through some influential person in Edinburgh, the question of arrears should be adjusted in such a manner as may be most conducive to the interests of this Lodge." Thereafter Duncan Paterson, a writer in town, was entered an apprentice of the Lodge, and another brother passed and raised.
The Treasurer was instructed to pay O'Docherty, the Irish Piper,and the Fiddler 10/6. Seeing there was no festival we may wonder what trouble the musicians were put to, but the Minute does not explain. It is, astonishing the amount of work done in one night, three degrees, and lots of business.
History of Inveraray Masonic Lodge. p.18
1782. This year seems to have been one of less activity, although the entrants number 13 or 14, and the affiliates -8. In the Balance Sheet of this year there is an item of expenditure of 171-, for a dance on the 11th December, and there was paid to Nicol and Findlay McNicol 2/- for guarding the door at the dancing. We find that there was owing to the Lodge for arrears at this time no less than 7/-.
1783. Indeed so serious had the arrears business become, that on the 26th June, the Lodge resolved " that hereafter before any person is entered, he shall first pay down the dues of his admission, otherwise he shall not be admitted—the same rule to apply in the case of passing and raising." On the 22nd July, it was reported that the Treasurer had met with very bad success in gathering in the arrears—and vet we find notwithstanding this scarcity of money, it was resolved "that a committee meet to enquire into the situation of the poorer brethren of this Lodge, and to divide among the widows and children of brethren deceased, so far as they find it necessary." It was pointed out to the members in arrears, how the withholding of their dues prevented the Lodge from exercising that benevolence which they would like to practice and now enact, "that unless those brethren pay their just dues, their names shall be struck off the Roll, and they themselves deprived of every privilege."
On the 11th December, we find that the Lodge elected Provost John McNeil, as Master of the Lodge. They also elected two Chaplains, the Rev. Mr McTavish, and the Rev. Mr McLachlan, the two Ministers of Inveraray. At this meeting the operative Masons complained that the quarterly dues were far too high, and the meeting agreed that in their case, the quarterly fees in future be restricted to sixpence. In the Treasurer's account submitted on St. John's, there was shown a balance of £32 19/2:4, and this notwithstanding an outlay of ;6.16 13/4 for new clothing and floorcloths. Surely the arrears were coming in!
1784. From St. John's 1783, to 2nd November, 1784, we have no Minutes, but at the last named date a series of...
History of Inverarav Masonic Lodge. p.19
...entries begin. On St. John's night, two visitors from Lochgilphead were received as brethren by the Lodge, when they paid their fees as operative Masons, being 15/- each. This is the first instance we find of members being received as initiated by brethren outside the Lodge. Rather a loose way of working in those days ! In the balance sheet this year we find that St. John's Festival was a rather costly affair for the Lodge, there being paid Mr Fraser for supper 2/8. A most unsatisfactory entry is 5/- due the Lodge in arrears, as also an oft repeated item of arrears due by Brothers Ochiltree and Colquhoun, two former Treasurers, who seemingly were reluctant to square up their accounts.
And thus the work went on from year to year, many members joining, and the brethren showing a most commendable spirit in the granting of help to the poorer members, widows, and orphans, and all this to a generous extent, considering the financial difficulties under which the Lodge laboured.
1786. On St. John's night we find, " that it having been reported to this Lodge tllat John Dawson, wright, an apprentice of this Lodge, has for some time, taken upon himself to admit several people as members, without either reporting to the Lodge, or getting payment of their admission fees, we unanimously disapprove of Bro. Dawson's conduct, not only for the foregoing reasons, but as being irregular, he being no more than an apprentice. And they hereby discharge him from admitting brethren in future till he be better qualified, and in the meantime, we appoint the Deputy Master and Secretary to correspond with Bro. Dawson relative to this matter, with power to them to order him to appear before the Lodge, with such brethren as he has admitted, in order that they may be entered according to the rules of the Lodge, upon payment of their admission fees."
To those of the present members who can recall the movement of some years ago to build a suitable Masons' Hall, it may be interesting to learn that the first resolution proposing to have a meeting place of our own, was made at this meeting. An influential committee was appointed...
History of Inveraray Masonic Lodge. p.20
...to communicate with his Grace, the Duke o Argyll, begging him,as a Brother Mason and member of this Lodge, to grant ground on which to build such Hall, and to give any further assistance in the undertaking he may be pleased to give. Robert Hally, a visiting brother from Auchterarder, offered to slate one side of the future house gratis, and was awarded the warmest thanks of the brethren. A new chest was ordered at this meeting. I believe the old box which is at present used for keeping the old books, is the one mentioned here. At this meeting several visiting brethren were affiliated, or as the old minutes have it, initiated as members of this Lodge. Among those thus admitted, we find the name of James McConnel of the famous Tarbolion St. David Lodge.
1787. At a meeting in February we read--" that it having been represented to the Lodge, that it is customary in other Lodges to make their Chaplain some present, and that the Rev. Bro. McLachlan has served in that capacity for several years without getting anything, we appoint Bro. Alexander Campbell, men-chant, to furnish the Chaplain with a pair of silk breeches, waistcoat, and a pair of silk stockings, and appoint the Treasurer to pay the same."
And here we come to the end of the first book in our possession. I suppose all this is only of interest to Freemasons in particular ; yet at the same time it may in some measure show the common life of the people in the ancient town of Inveraray. Many of the items of expenditure were for liquid refreshments, consumed at committee or other meetings, but we must remember that the customs and habits prevailing a hundred years ago were entirely different from those of our own day. Such convivial gatherings in connection with this Lodge are now quite unknown ; Freemasonry in the minds of the brethren occupying a highly moral and educative position, too solemn to connect in any way with empty mirth or frivolity.
Nov begins the second Minute book, the first entry in which is dated 9th March, 1787, recording the passing and raisin° of a brother—after which we find a few blank leaves. On 2nd August a Committee was appointed to communicate with the Duke of Argyll about securing...
History of Inveraray Masonic Lodge. p.21
…ground to build a Masons' Hall, said committee being prompted to say if questioned what amount the funds of the Lodge were, to say, " that the members could realize about two hundred pounds sterling."
We find in this year (1787) a considerable amount of grumbling about arrears of payment of fees—and a generous amount of charitable donations. A very great deal of trouble seems to have existed for a long time in regard to the Treasurer, who would not stump up, to use a slangy phrase, but who was eventually induced to sign a Bill for his liabilities. Whether this was any benefit to the Lodge we do not learn, but it is recorded that shortly after this, the aforesaid official changed his residence to Lochgilphead.
The brethren seem to have made the Quarterly meetings times of great enjoyment, for we find them lamenting that their late musician had left the town for want of encouragement, thereby depriving the members of much enjoyment at their Quarterly meetings, and they therefore resolved to give one guinea to any good fiddler who would settle in Inverarav," The members seem to have got trace of one named Donald McLaren, living at Otter Ferry, as the Secretary is instructed to write said musician, and invite him to join the procession on St. John's night. They also instructed the Secretary to invite Donald McIntyre of Dalchenna, to attend the Lodge on the 24th December, to
give them a specimen of his proficiency in music. Alas ! on St. John's night it was agreed to postpone the procession to a future date on account of the death of Her Grace the Duchess of Argyll. The Festival was however suitably observed at a later date.
1790. At St. John's meeting- a request was read from several influential gentlemen in Oban, asking a recommend-ation from Inveraray Lodge to Grand Lodge, to grant a Charter in order to form a Lodge in Oban. The music business seems to have been in a poor condition at this time, for the aforementioned musicians seemed not to come up to the required standard, as the brethren increased their offer for a good musician to one guinea and a half. We may remark that at this period some of the penmanship in...
History of Inveraray Masonic Lodge. p.22
…the Lodge documents was highly artistic and beautiful, showing that among those early brethren there were men of education and talent.
1791. At a meeting on the 11th May, we are told that the brethren being well acquainted with the Oban people aforementioned, resolve to give their recommendation to Grand Lodge to establish a Masons' Lodge in the village of Oban, both on account of its convenient situation, and in the prospect of such village increasing in population. Changed conditions now, at least with the village of Oban, as it then was!
More grumbling about arrears, and the Audit Committee recommend " that there be no more grants or pensions, till the funds are in a better state." The Treasurer was instructed to procure a key for the box, and to attend the meetings, in order that he uplift all entrants' fees himself. This committee reported " that they had met, and worked at the accounts four nights, and hoped that the Lodge would pay the tavern bill necessarily incurred by them, amounting to 18/6." From the terms of said committee's report, things seem to have been squared up with the bothersome Treasurer's accounts. At this date it was the custom for candidates to pay 1/- fee to the Tyler, both at entrance, and also at passing and raising. r The unfortunate Tyler had as part of his duties to hunt up the members in arrears, and collect the money !
1793. On the 30th November we find the account of the affiliation of a member of Oban Lodge, so we learn that the Oban brethren had made a beginning. On St. John's night the brethren found that the Lodge box was far too small, and directed Bro. John Annan to make a new one.
1794. On the 29th November it was decided to give the Chaplain a gratification to the extent of 4.5 5/-
1795.On the 30th November we are told that by the death of our late worthy and respectable Chaplain, the Reverend Lachlan McLachlan, his office in the Lodge was vacant, and Bro. the Rev. Archibald Campbell, Minister of North Knapdale was elected to fill the said office.
History of Inveraray Masonic Lodge p.23
Stewards for the Lodge were appointed for the first time. In the minutes of this meeting we find the origin of the beautiful copper-plate still in our possession. This plate which was lost for many years was discovered accidently, and restored to the Lodge by a worthy Past Master. The said plate was prepared by Kenneth McKenzie, a young lad twenty years of age, son of Donald McKenzie, merchant in Inveraray. This young man was commissioned to throw off 500 impressions of said plate, to be used in calling meetings, the officers to pay him what they thought reasonable for his trouble. However, I think there was some mistake about this plate, seeing that our Lodge is described thereon as " Inveraray Royal Arch." Various surmiseshave been made regarding the above title, but I think it was a mistake of the young man McKenzie. Bro. Gideon Scott, I. P.M. of this Lodge, had a number of circulars taken off this same plate and circulated amongst the members, which circular was much admired, the design being beautiful, and the letterpress clear and distinct.
On the 17th December we again read about ground for a Lodge-room, and the Members think that application should be made to His Grace for ground to build, or if it be more agreeable to His Grace, that he grant a lease of the Gaelic Church, which it is supposed will become vacant as soon as the new church now building is finished. At this meeting it was resolved "that no visiting Brother, unknown to the Lodge, shall be affiliated into the Lodge, unless he produce a diploma, or be certified by a member as a true and lawful brother." Up to this time we read nothing regarding Grand Lodge Diplomas, but we learn that daughter Lodges were in the habit of granting diplomas or certificates to their members. There is in the possession of Bro. Andrew Paterson, late Tyler of this Lodge, a diploma granted to his father by the " Stranraer Kilwinning Lodge " in the year 1834. It is a most interesting document, the wording being excellent, and the Lodge Seal in wax being attached to silk ribbon.
1796. On 4th February, 1796, we learn that one item in the refreshment bill for the previous St. John's Festival did not please the brethren. It seems that the new Chaplain who had attended on that occasion, had left a private…
History of Inveraray Lodge p.24
…bill of 11/2 for the Lodge to pay. The members considering that such a thing had never been done before, thought that such a practice should be discontinued. How it came about we are not informed, but it seems that the Lodge had two Tylers at this time, Neil Campbell and John Fletcher. On St. Andrew's night "Bro. John Simpson was instructed to provide a proper compass for the use of the Lodge." Presumably the one still in use. A new Staff for the Master was also ordered, the old one was broken.
1797. On 30th November, 1797, we find this curious Minute—"The lodge understanding. that John Farquharson, gamekeeper at Ardkinglass, is extremely anxious to become a Freemason, but cannot from his close attention to his duties get to the Lodge to be admitted, we, having every confidence in Bro. Robert Hally, and his abilities to admit the said Jno. Farquharson a member, we appoint and authorize him to the said Jno. Farquharson, Bro. Hally being personally liable for the admission fees, 15/-" On 26th December we learn that Bro. Hally had executed his commission, and paid the fees to the Treasurer.
A serious state of affairs in connection with a late Treasurer was occupying the minds of the brethren at this time, as that official when requested by the Master and Deputy Master to pay up a balance left in his hands, absolutely refused to do so till compelled by law. The Lodge gave full power to the Master and Deputy Master to raise an action against the said person in the Sheriff Court for the payment of his bill. The officers named seem to have been reluctant to carry out their powers, for on 9th May,1799 we find the members complaining that no steps had vet been taken against the late Treasurer to force him to pay the bill due by him, and now instruct Bro. Mitchell, Secretary, to empire- an agent before the Court of Session to bring the late Treasurer to account for his debt "---and they furthermore resolve " to crave the assistance of Grand Lodge to help in the recovery of the money." It is explained in the course of this affair that the deliquent had signed a Bill for the money withheld by him. The "Tyler seems to have died…
History of Inveraray Masonic Lodge p.25
…shortly before this, and the new Tyler is commissioned to get delivery of a small book in the possession of the late Bro. Campbell, which book contained the names of all the members from the granting of the Charter to this date. This book seems to have been lost, as well as the first Minute Book. Bro. Peter McArthur generously offered to furnish a pair of compasses free of cost. The gift was accepted and Bro. McArthur thanked most heartily.
Apparently many soldiers were about Inveraray at this time, as we find many such joining the Lodge.
1801. On 27th November, 1801, we find the entry of Walter McGibbon, 46th Reit. of Foot, a soldier who afterwards signally distinguished himself under the Iron Duke in the Peninsular War. On St. Andrew's night we read that the Most Noble the Marquis of Lorne was elected as R.W. Master of this Lodge, and John Brooks elected Secretary.
1802. On the 9th October, 1802, the Lodge did a big business, as we find the following distinguished persons admitted Apprentices of this Lodge, viz :—His Serene Highness the Count de Beaujolois, the Hon. Charles Kinnaird, M. P., Count Irene, Chreptowic Commissioner of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, and Chamberlain to His Imperial Majesty, the Emperor of all the Russias, Charles Jenkinson, Esq., Captain in the 3rd Regt. of Guards, John Ferrier, Esq., Writer to the Signet, Mr William Campbell, and Count Francis Mountenairel of Verona, in the Venetian States—a grand company indeed, and the funds were increased some £7 !
On St. John's night this year, the Lodge agreed to square up their long standing arrears with Grand Lodge, having most fortunately funds in their possession so to do, it being reported that the Treasurer had received a deposit re:eipt for £60—which receipt was to be lodged in the box, presumably for safety !
1803. On 29th November Peter McIntyre, Wright, was entered an Apprentice, and the Marquis of Lorne re-elected as R.W.M.
History of Inveraray Masonic Lodge. p.26
1804. In Minutes of 17th July we get the first intimation of members being registered in Grand Lodge Books.
1805. On 30th November we find the presiding officer of the Lodge described as Grand Master ! This must have been a mistake of the Secretary.
At this meeting it was moved from the chair " that in consideration of the non-attendance of the Chaplain for several years, the duties of that office had been discharged by Bro. John Brooks, who on those as well as on other occasions, had shown the greatest attention and assiduity in promoting the interests of the Lodge, we agree to present Bro. Brooks with a coat of superfine black cloth."
Very grateful were the brethren in those days for work done, and especially good to their Chaplains. We learn from the balance sheet of this year that the above mentioned coat cost £2 11/9.
1806. On February 28th we find the first intimation of the Grand Lodge Hall in Edinburgh, a letter being read from the Grand Secretary, explaining that it had been resolved to build such a hall for the convenience of the Scottish Craft, and asking the assistance of all the Lodges in Scotland. At this meeting we read also for the first time of the appointment of a Proxy Master to represent this. Lodge at Grand Lodge. Bro. Duncan Stevenson, then residing in Edinburgh, was elected to the above office. In September the old story of a new Masons' Hall for Inveraray was brought up, with the usual result.
1807. This year seemed to have passed very quietly as far as the Lodge was concerned, although there was a considerable number of entries.
1808. On St. Andrew's night His Grace, George William Duke of Argyll was re-elected R.W. M. A special report by a committee appointed by the Lodge for considering a communication submitted by the Grand Lodge was received. The matter under consideration was in connection with a serious breach of discipline, committed by the Edinburgh Caledonian Lodge,of which Dr Mitchell was R. W. M. —which breach consisted primarily of an attempt to introduce political matters into the Lodges, and which latterly…
History of Inveraray Masonic Lodge p.27
…developed into an attitude of contempt for Grand Lodge. On this occasion the Inverarav Lodge declared their loyalty for Grand Lodge, and appreciation of the course pursued by that body in the really trying circumstances. A full account of this critical episode in the history of Scottish Masonry, is given in great fulness in the History of St. Mary's Chapel Lodge, by the late talented Grand Secretary, Bro. D. Murray Lyon.
Perhaps I may be allowed to draw attention to the unswerving loyalty of the Inyeraray Lodge to the supreme governing body, as shown on many occasions, which loyal spirit I am confident is to be found in it to this day.
On St. John's night the members listened to an elegant and impressive discourse by the Chaplain Dr Stewart, whose text was, "and the IA ord was God." The members again expressed their regards for the Chaplain by presenting him with a beautiful silver snuff box. Fourteen new members were admitted during past year.
1809. On the 21st October, the Lodge resolved to walk to church on the 25th inst. at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, to testify our regard, loyalty, and attachment to our Sovereign —that day being the 30th anniversary of his succession to the throne. On St. John's the Lodge voted L;-1 10 - in annuities, to be paid quarterly, and in no other manner.
It is only at this time that the word Sublime is begun to be applied to the Master's Degree. It is unnecessary to record the many entries made during the next few years, as they are but common-place, such as complaints regarding non-payment of arrears, the granting of relief to-poor brethren and widows, and the festive gatherings on St. John's. We now have come to the end of the third oldminute book, which contained much, both instructive and interesting. Does not the thought naturally arise in our minds—were not those predecessors of ours clever men, and worthy? filling their parts in life with ability ?---and yet, they are gone as if they ne'er had been, leaving us to imitate them, only in those things which were good and commendable, and shunning those failings which we must admit, some of them exhibited.
History of Inveraray Masonic Lodge p.28
O why should the spirit of mortal be proud? Like swift flying meteor, or fast flying cloud,
Like a flash of the lightning, a sweep of the wave,
Man passes from life to his rest in the grave.
The thoughts we are thinking, our fathers would think, From the death we are shrinking, they too, would shrink, To the life we are clinging to, they too, would cling, But it speeds from the earth, like a bird on the wing.
They died—av they died ! and we who are now, Who walk on the grass which grows over each brow, Who make in their dwellings a transient abode, Meet the changes they met on their pilgrimage road.
So sang William Knox a poet of Hawick in the early part of the nineteenth century.
A large part of the fourth minute book is left vacant, except for a copy of the Charter.
The year 1814 is a singularly uneventful one, and 1815 is much the same, although the number of new entries was very fair.
1816. St. John's Festival was observed in the usual harmonious manner, Bro. Brooks preaching the sermon in place of Rev. Bro. McGibbon, Lodge Chaplain, who was indisposed.
1817. On St. John's the Lodge passed and adopted an address of condolence to His Royal Highness the Prince Regent, and I-Es Serene Highness the Prince Leopold of Saxecoburgh, on the death of the Princess Charlotte of Wales, and the Secretary was instructed to forward the said address to our R. W. M. the Duke of Argyll.
1818. On the 10th February, we find the first mention of a number being applied to this Lodge, and which we find in a communication from Grand Lodge, in which this Lodge was designated, Lodge No. 45. This was certainly the early number of Inveraray Lodge. Many of the old sashes bear that number.
On 28th October, 1818, James Purdie, baker, was entered apprentice of this Lodge - this name Purdie being familiar to our elderly members.
History of Inveraray Masonic Lodge p.29
1819. On the 9th December, His Grace the Duke of Argyll presided over this Lodge for the first time in as far as I have observed in those records, and on which occasion he directed the attention of the brethren to the alarming state of the country, and he moved that an address be presented to H.R.H. the Prince Regent, expressive of our sentiments of loyalty and attachment to the Throne, and of our determination to defend the constitution against the attempts of the evil and designing. The address was accordingly drawn up and signed, Argyll, R.W.M., on behalf of Inveraray Lodge.
As a sample of such work of our early brethren, I give a copy of said address :—
To His ROYAL HIGHNESS, GEORGE, PRINCE OP WALES,
REGENT OF THE UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND,
AND PATRON OF THE MASONIC ORDER OF SCOTLAND.
The Loyal and Dutiful Address of the .faster, Wardens, and Brethren. of
the Lodge of Freemasons in Inveraray, in the Shire of Argyll.
May it please your Royal Highness, we the Master, Wardens, and Brethren of the Lodge of Inveraray, No. 45 on the registry of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, beg leave at the present alarming period, to approach the Throne with deep assurance of loyalty and attachment to Our Sovereign, and to your Royal Highness.
We have to express how much we lament the late efforts of wicked and designing persons in other parts of the Kingdom to disturb the Public peace, and their daring attempts to defy the established laws, to overturn our invaluable Constitution, and even to deride our Holy Religion ; but we can assure your Royal Highness that such characters do not exist, nor would they meet any encouragement among us, or in our neighbourhood.
We reprobate the conduct of the turbulent, and scorn the attempts of the infidel, and the profane, and we earnestly indulge the hope, that along with ourselves, the great bulk of the community are firmly resolved to Reverence their God, to be faithful to their Sovereign, and to the utmost to defend the Constitution ; that mighty Edifice in Church and State, which was planned by the genius, perfected by the skill, and cemented by the blood of our Ancestors.
It is also our duty to mention now deeply we feel for, and sympathise with, the Manufacturing and Commercial part of the community, now experiencing so much distress, and we hope that as their sufferings have been unavoidable, they will be but of short duration. Signed in our name, and by our appointment in Lodge assembled this 9th day of December, 1819, and of light 5819, by
History of Inveraray Masonic Lodge. p.30
One is surprised at the great number of persons joining the Craft, notwithstanding the poverty stricken state of -our country at this period. It is also somewhat strange that no notice is taken in the minutes of the great Peninsular War, or of its great and memorable finish at Waterloo.
1820. On St.John's, the Lodge was presented with a beautiful painting of St. John the Evangelist by Bro. Wm. Broomfield ; this also like the early Minute Books seems to be lost. St. Andrew's, 30th November. At this meeting we are informed why the minutes during the year have not been inserted. It seems that Humphrey McLean the Secretary had left the Lodge without making up the records, and Bro. Broomfield was elected Secretary, pro. tem. St. John's night this year was so stormy that the usual procession had to be abandoned. On St. John's, 1822, there was no procession for the same reason.
From the last mentioned date, till 2nd December, 1823, there are no Minutes.
1825. In a Grand Lodge account in December, we learn that for the previous eight years there had been 29 entrants in this Lodge. The Chair of the R.W.M. having become somewhat damaged, it was resolved that the seat and back be covered with black hair-cloth instead of the present covering, and also, that the frame be repaired in so far as broken or injured. Peter Campbell, cabinet maker, was appointed to do this work, he agreeing to do so for a sum not exceeding 10/- not including the price of the material.
1826. On St. John's, 1826, the Rev. Angus McLaine, one of the ministers of Inveraray, was affiliated into this Lodge.
1828. On the 1st December, 1828, we find the entry of Gilbert McArthur, schoolmaster in Glenaray.
From 1828 to 1833, we find nothing of great interest, but on 26th December of the last mentioned year, we find the Rev. Donald McDonald elected as Chaplain, in room of the Rev. James McGibbon, deceased.
History of Inveraray Masonic Lodge p.31
1836. A sad piece of intelligence was conveyed to the Lodge by the Audit Committee on 20th December, 1836. The committee reported " that as Treasurer Adams had absconded from the country, and the Bank Deposit and other Documents in his possession were not forthcoming ; consequently they could not offer any report as to the state of the funds, but we deem them as lost."
On the 27th December, 1836, the Lodge Secretary had the very unpleasant task of explaining to the Grand Secretary that this Lodge could not pay the Grand Lodge account, owing to the Treasurer having absconded with the funds, and expressing the hope to be able to pay up the following year. Surely all this unfortunate business might have been prevented had the brethren conducted their financial affairs in a proper way. I am afraid the Lodge had sunk into a comatose con-dition at this period—the effect of the serious affair above recorded—for we find many blank pages, and from 30th December, 1836, to the month of June, 1839, no Minutes were written. In this latter year we find such familiar names as John Bell, cooper, and John Hally, slater. In the list of new officers on 23rd December, 1839, we notice that the name of His Grace the Duke of Argyll is omitted, and the name of Walter Frederick Campbell of Islay, is given as R.W. M. His Grace George Duke of Argyll had been re-elected R. W.M. of this Lodge for the long period of 37 years.
1840. On the 30th November, 1840, William Rhind, Operative Mason, was initiated a member of the Lodge. This Brother became at a future date the first Bard of St. John ; examples of his work being given in another place. In the Balance Sheet of this year is entered an item of 4/- paid for services rendered at the Procession in honour of Her Majesty's marriage. Probably owing to the blank in the Minutes, this is the first mention made of Her late Majesty, Queen Victoria.
On the 7th December, in answer to the Grand Secretary's request for payment of arrears, for which debts it seems that this Lodge lost its place on the Grand List, we…
History of Inveraray Masonic Lodge p.32
…find the following communication had been sent to the Grand Secretary :—
" That the Grand Lodge be immediately made aware of the high standing this Lodge once held on the Grand List, and of the attention it paid, and the regularity it maintained in all its dealings and duties to the Grand Lodge, until March 1831, when the last settlement took place—that shortly thereafter it gradually fell off froze the good footing it held, owing to the mismanagement of the office-bearers into whose hands the disposal of all its arrangements fell, and that consequently it became careless and inattentive to the duties it owed to the Grand Lodge—that among other misfortunes-a sum of money amounting to £30, which was placed in bank, was lost, by the person into whose hands it was placed leaving the country —that of late it has been revived (the Lodge), and that conscious of all the losses it has sustained, the brethren resolve now to use all their endeavours to restore its good name and standing, and respect-fully solicit the Grand Lodge to take their case, under all the circumstances, into their most lenient consideration, and allow it to be continued in that rank in the lit which it formerly held, and which it will be our pride and endeavour to preserve."
But it was no use, the No. was 50 and so remains.
On St. John's the brethren formed into procession, and accompanied by musicians and torch-bearers proceeded to Inveraray Castle, where they met His Grace John Duke of Argyll, who had on the night of St. Andrew's been elected R.W.M. The Deputy Master invested His Grace with the insignia of his office, whereupon the procession was re-formed, and being joined by His Grace they marched to Church, and held service in praise of the Most High. They then returned to the George Inn, and passed the night over a hearty supper in a most harmonious manner, P.W. Master, Walter Campbell of Skipness presiding. It is surprising that we get no information in regard to the death of the late Duke, George William, who held the office of R.W. Master for so many years.*
1843. At a specially summoned meeting of the Lodge on 20th January, 1843, we read " that in consequence of a letter received from William W. Gray, Irvine, offering to purchase our Charter, if we were disposed to part with it, this meeting was called." The Secretary was instructed to take no notice of so ridiculous a proposal. I should think
*George William, Duke of Argyll, died at Inveraray in 1839.
History of Inveraray Masonic Lodge p.33
1844. In 1844, we find among the names of new members, that of the Rev. Colin Smith, Parish Minister, who is still affectionately remembered by not a few of the old inhabitants of Inveraray.
1845. From the Minutes of 10th October, 1845, we learn that Alexander Guthrie, baker, was admitted an apprentice of this Lodge. Bro. Guthrie, Ex-Provost of Inveraray is still with us, and is father of the Lodge, being a Freemason for upwards of sixty years. On the 14th October the brethren met to celebrate the arrival of the Marquis and Marchioness of Lorne, the father and mother of the present Duke of Argyll.
1846. On 28th December, the Lodge met to consider a petition from a brother Mason, which was of a very peculiar nature, involving some rather delicate points. This petition which came from the debtors' prison, called in question the right in a moral sense of one Freemason keeping a brother in confinement for debt. The Lodge after due deliberation came to the following decision :
" that the Lodge cannot in any way interfere in a civil question between parties, or in any matter whatever unconnected with Masonry."
I am afraid that there may be a difference of opinion among Freemasons in regard to such a decision, especially with the concluding clause.
1847. On the 18th August the Lodge marched in pro-cession to the Lawn, close to Argyll Castle, there to await the arrival of Her Majesty, Queen Victoria, about 1 o'clock p.m., where the brethren waited till the embarkation of the Royal Party at three o'clock, thereafter returning to the Lodge Room in Masonic order. The Secretary, Bro. Birrell adds, " that the day was exceedingly fine, and the sight on Her Majesty's arrival was upon the whole rather imposing."
Rather an annoying reception, however, awaited the brethren on their return to the Lodge-Room, as the landlord demanded the surrender of said room for the accommodation of others, in consequence of which, the members had to flit, bag and baggage, to another house in the meantime, until proper quarters could be secured. The arbitrary conduct of the landlord mentioned here had…
History of Inveraray Masonic Lodge p.34
…a disappointing sequel for himself. It seems that antici-pating an extraordinary stroke of business from the crowds of visitors who came to see Her Majesty at Inveraray, the acute business man had converted his whole establishment into a huge bedroom, not excepting the billiard-room, in which were several improvised beds. But alas ! before night fell, the great crowds of visitors had disappeared, and not one of the beds thus prepared was even asked for.
At a meeting in November a committee was appointed to look out for a suitable place wherein to hold Masonic Meetings. It seems as if this generation of the members had lost all hope of having a Masonic Hall, and of which the brethren in the past had spoken of so often : and alas such a necessary building has not yet been built.
On the 30th November, we find the office of Bard mentioned for the first time, when Bro. William Rhind was appointed such, under the title of Poet Laureate.
1849. On the 14th December, 1849, the Treasurer Bro. Alexr. Guthrie, presented to the Lodge a handsome sword for the use of the Tyler, which sword was a present from his brother, John Guthrie, a soldier member of the Lodge, belonging to the 71st Regt. Infantry. Thus ends the fourth minute book, and we now find ourselves in touch with a few—a very few members of the Lodge still in the land of the living.
1850. On St. Andrew's night 1850, the Lodge passed an important set of Bye-laws, which were most excellent, and are partly in operation at the present time.
1851. On 1st April, 1851, the Lodge met to arrange for taking part in the Great Masonic Procession in Glasgow, on the occasion of laying the foundation stone of the Victoria Bridge, or as the Glasgow people name it the Stockwell Bridge.
On the 15th April, the deputation who had taken part in the above named function, reported that they had been received in a very kind and handsome manner by the R. W, M., and brethren of Glasgow Kilwinning Lodge, No. 4, under whose banner they had joined in the pro¬cession. It was unanimously agreed to record the thanks…
History of Inveraray Masonic Lodge p.35
..of this Lodge to the brethren of No. 4, and the deputation who so ably represented us on that occasion. I understand that the Silver Jewels now in use in our Lodge were worn in the above procession for the first time. At a meeting on the 21st April, it was agreed to pay the new jewels by voluntary subscription, Bro. Guthrie having meanwhile advanced the purchase money.
We are indebted for many advantages provided by our brethren of the past, accomplished often with a great deal of self-denial. Are we as grateful as we ought to be?
1853. On 16th March, 1853, the Lodge expelled a member for having expressed himself in a very insulting manner towards the R. W. M. and other office-bearers.
1854. On the 28th June, 1854, a letter was read from the Grand Secretary, requesting this Lodge to send its Charter to be compared with the copy kept by G. Lodge. The brethren seemed to be a little dubious about parting with this precious document, which has only once been out of Inveraray since 1747, excepting once or twice, with the Lodge meeting in neighbouring villages. At the festival of St. John, Bro. Rhind, Bard, sung a few of his favourite Masonic Songs, and gave a number of patriotic airs on the violin.
1857. The 6th May, 1857, was a busy day with the Lodge. On that day the foundation stone of Pole School, St. Catherine's, was laid with full Masonic honours, by the Inveraray Lodge. From the document deposited in the cavity of said stone, we learn " that this School is to be erected with money collected by Mr John Campbell, tenant of St. Catherine's Hotel, and driver of the Lochgoilhead Coach, and a Freemason, who by his zealous and unaided exertions, collected upwards of D.50 by private subscriptions, and the proceeds of public lectures given by himself, in aid of the funds for building the School, and the Government Grant of £200."
1858. On the 17th June, 1858, we find the brethren arranging for another outing, namely, the laying of the foundation stone of new Grand Lodge premises in Edin-burgh, on the 24th June. A deputation consisting of Bro. Rankin, R.W.M., Bro. Younger, Secretary, and Bro…
History of Inveraray Masonic Lodge p.36
…Napier Campbell, were elected to represent this Lodge on that occasion.
1864. At a meeting of the Lodge on 20th December, 1864, it was moved, " that a brother who had conducted himself in an improper manner should be censured by the R.W.M. on the first occasion he attends the Lodge, and if said member fails to make apology, he be expelled, and prevented from attending the Lodge till he make such apology." The brethren present expressed their regret that such a course was found necessary by the conduct of any member of the Fraternity. At this same meeting- the R.W.M. (Bro. Alex. Guthrie) presented the Lodge with a very handsome sword, which had been sent him by his brother, John Guthrie, an old member of the Lodge. The thanks of the Lodge were ordered to he conveyed to Bro. John Guthrie for his valuable present.
At the next meeting on 20th December, the brother who had incurred the censure of the Lodge, was duly reprimanded by the R.W.M., and made an ample and humble apology for his indecorous behaviour.
1865. On 9th January, Jas. Stewart, slater, was entered an apprentice of this Lodge. Bro. Stewart, lately deceased, lived to see his great-grand-children, and was a most entertaining and wonderful man in many ways, and a great favourite among all classes. On the 27th February, we find the Lodge agreeing to pay the funeral expenses of the brother who had been shortly before censured for misconduct. Is there not something pathetic in this case?
On the 30th August the following members were appointed to proceed to Logierait, to take part in laying the foundation stone of a Memorial to the late lamented Most Worshipful Grand Master, His Grace the Duke of Atholl, viz., Brothers Guthrie, James Ferguson, and Robert McFarlane.
On 16th November, the three degrees were conferred on James Chalmers, Missionary, who was going to the South Sea Islands very shortly. What an honour it is for old, No. 50 to have such a name on its roll. Bro. Chalmers' wonderful career in connection with missions inNew Guinea, and his pathetic death is well known.
History of Inveraray Masonic Lodge p.37
1866. On 6th August, 1866, the office-bearers of this Lodge marched to Inveraray Castle and presented an ad-. dress to the Marquis of Lorne, congratulating him on the attainment of his 21st year. This address which was written on parchment, and sealed with the seal of the Lodge, is in every way a most excellent production, both in regard to its composition and general get up. It was written by the late Brother Rose, who was at that time Secretary of the Lodge. The presentation ceremonies in the Castle were of a very interesting description.
At a meeting of the Lodge on 1st October, Bro. Rose was awarded the warmest thanks of the members for the efficient manner in which he had drawn up and extended the address for presentation to Lord Lorne—and well he deserved such acknowledgment.
An unfortunate affair happened at the end of the year 1866. It seems that there was a deficiency of funds in connection with an assembly which was held on St. John's eve, and although the Lodge voted in favour of paying such deficiency, the treasurer refused to disburse the
money. After a great deal of wrangling the whole question was referred to a committee of neutral brethren, who upheld the decision of the Lodge to pay the money.
1867. On 12th April, 1867, a deputation was appointed to take part in laying the foundation stone of a new U.P. Church in Oban. The brethren were treated with great kindness by the brethren of No. 180.
The Right Honourable, the Marquis of Lorne having expressed his willingness to become a Freemason, the W. Master was appointed to wait upon his Lordship. This he did in company with Bro. Crombie, when Lord Lorne again expressed his willingness to join.
On the 30th November, the Rev. Neil McPherson was elected Chaplain ; at the same time the brethren recording their deep sorrow at the removal by death, of the late Chaplain, the Rev. Colin Smith, D.D. Profiting- by the late trouble the Lodge decided "that whatever festive proceedings should take place on St. John's, none of the Lodge funds should be applied in payment thereof." A wise decision.
History of Inveraray Masonic Lodge p.38
1868. A deputation of three members went to Sandbank on 5th September, 1868, for what purpose we are not informed. On 26th September, a letter was read relating to the resuscitation of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Argyll and the Isles. This letter was favourably received by the members.
1874. On the 22nd January, 1874, we find recorded the death of one whose name had for very many years appeared on our books—Past Master, David Crombie. The Lodge expressed deep sympathy with his widow and family in a practical way.
On 10th October, Bro. Guthrie, R.W. M., gave in his resignation as Master, haying held that office for the long period of ten years. The thanks of the Lodge are recorded to Bro. Guthrie in a special Minute, of date 28th Dec., 1874.
1876. At a meeting on 10th October, 1876, the first arrangements were made to send a deputation to take part in laying the foundation stone of the new General Post Office in Glasgow, on the 17th October. The names of the deputation are not given. On the 17th November, when the question of expenses to the deputation came up, Bro. Smith in name of the Lochp,roilhead brethren, refused to take any part of their expenses. At this meeting Bro. Sibbald resigned his office of Tyler, and Bro. Andrew Paterson was elected in his stead. On St. Andrew's, the old subject of a Masons' Hall was revived by the receipt of a letter from the Volunteers, asking the co-operation of the Lodge in procuring a Hall. The Lodge as usual was quite willing, and gave an answer to that effect.
1878. On 13th September, 1878, we are informed of the death of Bro. John Rhind, who had been a member of the Lodge for about 70 years, and to whom the Lodge had been very kind in the past.
On 20th September, the Lodge entertained a deputation from the Provincial Grand Lodge to supper in high style; such deputation being- headed by Sir Charles Dalrymple, P. G. M.
History of Inveraray Masonic Lodge p.39
1879. On 3rd June, 1879, the brethren presented Bro. McPherson, landlord of the George Hotel, with a purse of money on his quitting the occupancy of the said house. This, the R.W.M. explained, was in recognition of Bro. McPherson's obliging and affable disposition in attending to the needs of the brethren during many past years. On St. John's a poem was presented to the Lodge by the Bard, Bro. Wm. Rhind.
1880. On 7th December, 1880, Bro. Guthrie was again elected R.W.M.
1881. On 15th December the Lodge decided that there should be a supper, but no procession on St. John's, but on the 22nd December, in was moved and agreed to, that there should be both supper and procession. The R.W.M. (Bro. Guthrie) dissented from this decision, and as a protest, left the chair, and gave in his resignation. On the night following (23) the Lodge met under the presidency of the Deputy Master (Bro. Campbell), and resolved to communicate with the Grand Secretary as to whether the Minute of the 15th or 22nd should be agreed to. The Grand Secretary sent a telegram as follows :—
"The Lodge should act on resolution of 15th inst., a procession of twenty men would have a poor appearance." The G.S. also sent a letter which was much to the same effect.
1883. On 31st May, 1883, a letter was read from Lodge 292, Rothesay, asking if this Lodge would object to them obtaining a special dispensation from Grand Lodge, allowing them to proceed to Lochgilphead for the purpose of initiating a number of gentlemen there, who wished to become Freemasons. This Lodge being adverse to the request, instructed the Secretary to communicate with the Grand Secretary on the matter.
On the 28th September a deputation was appointed to represent this Lodge at the laying of foundation stone of the New Municipal Buildings in Glasgow, Bro. David Stewart acting in place of the R.W.M., who was unable to attend.
History of Inveraray Masonic Lodge p.40
On 21st December, Bro. Nicol McIntyre was elected and installed as Tyler of this Lodge, and he has held that office continuously since then. Not a bad record !
1884. On 18th August, 1884, the Lodge agreed to send a deputation to assist the Provincial Grand Master in laying the foundation stone of the New Parish Church,. Lochgilphead,
1885. On the 24th April, 1885, a letter was read from D. Murray Lyon, Grand Secretary, appealing- for subscriptions towards the formation of a Fund of £10,000, for the scheme of Extended Masonic Benevolence, the objects of which are :
1.—Annual payments to necessitous and deserving members of the Craft.
2.—Annual payments to necessitous and deserving widows of members of the Craft.
3.—Allowance toward the maintenance and education of children of deceased or necessitous brethren.
The response of the Inveraray brethren was of the most generous nature.
1886. On 5th February, 1886, the Lodge had a grand torch-light procession through the town, which was headed by the local flute band, and on the same evening a concert was given in the Court-Room, for the benefit of the poor of the town. The whole evening's proceedings proved a great success.
On the 1st December, the funeral of the late R.W.M. Bro. Quintin Montgomery Wright, was carried out with Masonic honours, and notwithstanding the extreme inclemency of the weather, was well attended by the brethren.
At a Lodge Meeting on 7th December, " it was resolved to record on Minutes of the Lodge, an expression of the deep feeling- of regret, caused by the death of Brother Quintin Montgomery Wright, our R.W. Master, and the sense of the great loss sustained through the sad event, not only to the Lodge with which he was so long connected, and in which he took so great an interest, but also the community at large, in whose esteem he deservedly...
History of Inveraray Masonic Lodge p.41
…held so high a place. Moreover, the brethren desire to express their deep sympathy with the widow and family in their great sorrow, praying that Divine consolation may be imparted in the midst of their affliction." A copy of this minute was ordered to be sent to Mrs Wright.
1887. On the 9th June, 1887, a deputation from Provincial Grand Lodge was received. The P.G. Deputy Master, H. G. Fenton Newall, referred to the death of our late R.W.M., who was also Substitute Master of the P.G. L. The deputation was entertained to supper.
1888. On 8th March, 1888, the Lodge received an invitation to assist in opening a new Lodge in Lochgilp-head.
On 17th December, 1888, Bro. Dr John Falconer, Past Master of Lodge No. 291, and a member of the Grand Committee, was appointed Proxy Master of this Lodge.
On the 26th December, the brethren in sympathy with the sudden and melancholy death of Mr Archibald Munro, a native of the town, from a gun accident, and which sad event had cast a gloom over the town and neighbourhood, decided "that it would be inconsistent with their principles of sympathy to celebrate the festival of St. John with a supper and ball on the 27th inst., the day of deceased's funeral, and agree to postpone the same to the evening of the 28th."
1889. On the 7th February, 1889, we find the first mention of the Mark Degree, on which occasion a number of members expressed their desire to acquire the same.
At another meeting, the Secretary was instructed to request seven brethren of the Lochgilphead Lodge to visit Inveraray, and confer the Mark on those presenting themselves for that purpose. A most influential deputation from Lodge No. 754 visited this Lodge on the 14th March, and with all due ceremony conferred the Mark Degree on twenty of the Inveraray brethren. Thereafter all present sat down to supper under the presidency of Bro. David Stewart, R.W.M., supported by Bro. Allan, R.W.M., No. 754, and other local and visiting brethren.
History of Inveraray Masonic Lodge p.42
On the 21st March, the Secretary was instructed to forward a letter of thanks to the Lochgilphead members for. their valuable services on the above occasion. At this meeting an invitation from No. 180, Oban, was received, asking a deputation from this Lodge to assist in laying foundation stone of the new Masons' Hall there. Alas ! notwithstanding all the talk and anxiety of this Lodge to acquire a suitable meeting place, the younger Lodges which we helped to bring into existence, have in this respect outstripped us. Who knows ! Some day we may yet have a Masons' Hall in Inveraray. Another communication of the same kind was read from Secretary of Provincial Lodge, on 16th April, inviting this Lodge to send a deputation of at least seven members, to assist in laying foundation stone of St. Brenden's Church, Rothesav, this Lodge being the oldest in the Province, being entitled to carry the working- tools. It was agreed to send such a deputation.
On the 4th July, the Secretary read a communication from Bro. John Purdie, Glasgo\N , requesting him (the Secretary) to present a set of Mark Working Tools, from himself and his brother Alexander Purdie, as a mark of esteem for their Mother Lodge. Those tools consist of one light mallet and square, for the Mark Master ; two dark mallets and two dark squares for the Overseers ; two marble stones and one chisel, and one triangle, all for use in the Mark Degree. Bro. Campbell in formally presenting the above tools, said he did so in the name, and on behalf of John Purdie and Alexander Purdie, natives of Inveraray, and members of St. John's Lodge, No. 50, and did now present them to the R, W.M., Officers, and Members of the Lodge, for their use now, and for all time coming.
The Lodge desired to place on record their fraternal and sincere thanks, to those brethren for such valuable gifts to their Mother Lodge, and pray that the Great Architect of the Universe, may bless and prosper them with all needed blessings. Intimation was made at this meeting- of the Grand Bazaar to be held in Edinburgh, in November, 1890, on behalf of the " Scottish Masonic Benevolence Extended Scheme."
History of Inveraray Masonic Lodge p.43
A pleasant and happy evening was spent on the 22nd August, when the Lodge, being called from labour to refreshment, brothers John and Alexander Purdie were entertained to a sumptuous supper, in recognition of their kindness to the Lodge.
In October, a new chest, and silver jewels for the Treasurer and one of the Deacons, was ordered.
1890. On the 1st of August, 1890, we find recorded the initiation of Neil Munro, the talented Scottish novelist, poet, and journalist. Bro. Munro has since that time advanced his fame as an ituthor, a fact which was recently recognised by the University of Glasgow in conferring the degree of LL. D. on the brother Mason of whom his old Mother Lodge is so proud.
The most of this year, 1890, was taken up with preparations for the forthcoming bazaar aforementioned. On 6th November, a letter was read from I. McAdam, dated from Portobello, relating to an ancient piece of property belonging to the Lodge, and in which letter he described how it had fallen into his hands. By the Sale of Work, subscriptions, and donations, this small country Lodge raised nearly,0 for the Grand Lodge Benevolent Extension Scheme ! The Inveraray brethren worked well in this matter, and were well assisted by their lady friends and others. Bro. Thomas McNaughton as Convener of the Local Committee, was awarded a special vote of thanks for the zeal and activity he had shown in carrying out the whole business
On the 9th December, letters of thanks to all who had assisted in making the Grand Masonic Bazaar so great a. success, were read from the Grand Master and Provincial Grand Secretary.
On St. John's a letter was read from Her Grace The Duchess of Argyll, thanking the Lodge for the courteous intimation that they intended to walk in procession round the Castle, and stating that His Grace the Duke, herself, and the ducal family, would have much pleasure in witnessing the Torchlight Procession of the brethren. The procession, headed by the Inveraray Pipe Band, then…
History of Inveraray Masonic Lodge p.44
…marched along the Main Street, past the residence of Past Master Clark, thence along the carriage drive, to the North Entrance of the Castle. Returning, the brethren repaired to the Parish Church, where the Chaplain, the Rev. Neil McPherson, preached an excellent and appropriate sermon, on "Charity and its Special Objects." The brethren then, to the number of 40 or 50, sat down to supper in the George Hotel, when a most enjoyable evening was passed under the presidency of Bro. Thomas. McNaughton, R. W. M.
And now I think it best that I draw to a conclusion here, I have given the most important extracts from the Minutes. as far as I can find. Much might have been added, but as all are in much of the same strain, more might prove somewhat monotonous. During the past eighteen years many interesting functions have taken place in the Lodge, and in the appendix I have noted a few of those, which may suffice. As I said at the beginning, the work might have been undertaken by some one more capable, but you have it as it is. In years to come, some brother may have something to add, and something to say about those who now are striving to preserve the good name, and increase the usefulness of our Ancient Masonic Lodge, Inveraray St. John, No. 50. .
May our successors have reason to say some kind words regarding us, such is my humble wish and prayer.
So Mote it be.
" When time tires out, and can no longer run, Forth from the Centre, brighter than the sun, Shall come the Master, who will justly judge, All members of this great and spacious Lodge."