Lodge mother kilwinning, scotland

Discussion in 'Masonic Education' started by iainmason, Aug 5, 2009.

  1. iainmason

    iainmason Registered User

    G. S. Draffen, Grand Librarian,
    Grand Lodge of Scotland.
    Published in Masonic Bulletin-BCY- January 1959

    It is impossible within the compass of a few pages to do more than trace in outline the rise and progress of this venerable old Lodge. Lodge Mother Kilwinning still awaits a historian of the calibre of "Murray Lyon or R. S. Lindsay who will deal as faithfully with her history as they have done for the Lodges of Edinburgh (Mary's Chapel) and the Lodge of Holy¬rood House (St. Luke). Three histories of Lodge Mother Kilwinning have been written. Lee Ker and Robert Wylie published theirs in book form. That by Murray Lyon appeared as a serial in the long defunct "Scottish Free¬mason's Magazine". All three were members of the Lodge and all three should be read if one is to maintain any sound knowledge of the Lodge which stands so proudly at the head of the Scottish Roll.

    The origin of the Lodge is un¬certain, although it most probably began with the building of the Monastery at Kilwinning. Whatever its beginnings, by 1598 it had become one of the three Lodges mentioned in the Schaw Statutes of that year. These Statutes, and a further set issued in 1599, were promulgated by william Schaw, Master of the King's Masons, and were compiled for the better administration of operative building in Scotland.The order of seniority assigned in these Statutes to the three Lodges at Edinburgh, Kilwinning and Stirling has aroused considerable controversy. Had the existence of these Statutes been known in 1736 it is just possible that Mother Kilwinning would not have withdrawn, in 1743, from the Grand Lodge of Scotland at whose birth she was represented. It was not until some years after 1736 that the Grand Lodge of Scotland as¬signed any seniority to the Lodges on the roll. Such seniority was based upon records which could be produced as evidence of antiquity. Here Mother Kilwinning was at a disadvantage, for her written minutes did not commence until 1641, and the existence of the Schaw Statutes with their evidence of her existence in 1598 were un¬known. As a consequence, the Lodge was placed second on the roll of Grand Lodge - a position which the Lodge resented and declined to accept. The Lodge based its claim for precedence upon the fact that earlier records than 1641 had been consumed by a fire which had destroyed the family seat of the Earls of Eglinton wherein they were stored.

    Finding Grand Lodge unpersuad¬ed as to her claim to the prior position on the roll, Mother Kilwinning withdrew her allegiance and resumed her independence and powers of granting Charters. It is open to doubt whether in joining Grand Lodge, she had ever sur¬rendered her chartering powers, though one might reasonably assume that, by the fact of adhering to Grand Lodge she had done so.

    That Mother Kilwinning had exercised the power of granting Charters before 1736 is not in doubt. Lodge Canongate Kilwinning was chartered by Mother Kilwinning in 1677, and St. John's Lodge at Inverness within a few years thereafter at the least. The Lodge at Duns, in Berwickshire, also appears to have been issued a Kilwinning Charter before 1736. Between 1743 and 1807, when she rejoined Grand Lodge, Mother Kilwinning continued to function as a Sovereign Grand Lodge, Completely ignoring and being ignored by the Grand Lodge of Scotland. During this period in her history she issued approximately seventy Charters, both within Scotland and overseas.

    Unfortunately, Mother Kilwinning was not blessed with very competent secretaries, for the record of the issues of her Charters is very incomplete. One must remember, too, that the situation of the Lodge, in a small village in Ayrshire, could hardly have been conducive to the easy conduct of the business of a Grand Lodge. Travelling was difficult and the postal services, if they existed, cannot have been other than erratic. The independence of Mother Kilwinning, at least during the early years of the period 1743-1807, does not seem to have brought with it any unfraternal feelings to Grand Lodge or her subordinate Lodges. At least one Grand Master Mason was a member of Mother Kilwinning and Grand Lodge placed no ban on her members visiting daughter Lodges of Mother Kilwinning - that was to come later. . . .

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