An Historical Sketch

by

Brothers Alexander Whitehead & Philip Maley

1900-1949

The town of Larbert had been well decorated with bunting and flags on the occasion of the laying of the Foundation Stone of the Dobbie Hall, Larbert, on 23rd June, 1900.

Some two thousand people including two hundred Freemasons, formed a procession one mile long and proceeded to the site of the Hall. The Hall had been gifted to the town by Brother Major Dobbie, of Dobbie, Forbes & Co., Ironfounders. The Stone was laid in full Masonic Fashion by the Grand Master Mason, Brother the Hon. James Hozier, afterwards 2nd Lord Newlands.

An extract from a report on the ceremony reads: The Provincial Senior Grand Warden then stepped forward with the Cornucopia from which corn and flowers were taken and placed on top of the Stone. Two silver cups containing oil and wine were next handed to the Grand Master Mason who poured the contents of each vessel on the Stone. Thereafter the Stone, which had been suspended by a hoist over the cavity, was lowered in Masonic form to its position. The Grand Master Mason then called on the Substitute Provincial Grand Master, Provincial Senior Grand Warden and Provincial Junior Grand Warden, to apply the working tools of their various Offices to the Stone. The tools were accordingly applied and proved the Stone to be well and truly laid”.

Brother William Black, Depute Provincial Grand Master and also the Architect of the Hall, on behalf of the contractors, presented the trowel and also a mallet (made from the timbers of the Charlotte Dundas, th first steamship, which had been built by William Symington in 1807), to the Grand Master Mason.

In the late 19th Century and early 20th Century Lodge Ancient Stirling No. 30, initiated many members of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, who were stationed at the Regimental Headquarters in Stirling Castle. Among those initiated was Captain Archibald Campbell who later became the 4th Lord Blythswood and who was Grand Master Mason from 1926 to 1929.

The Foundation Stone of a new Masonic Hall being erected for Lodge St. John No. 484, Slamannan, was laid by the Provincial Grand Master, Brother George Christie, on 17th August, 1901. The silver trowel was presented to Brother Christie.

Brother George Christie, Provincial Grand Master, died suddenly, when on a business trip to London, on Saturday 19th July, 1902. Brother Christie’s widow, Mrs. Ellen Christie, presented a Clock to Stirling Town Council (inset) as a memorial to her late husband.

The Clock stands at the junction of Melville Terrace and Park Terrace at the entrance to the Town Centre of Stirling and bears an inscription commemorating his time as Provincial Grand Master and as Provost of Stirling. The front of the base boasts a bronze medallion of Brother Christie and ornamental bronze work incorporating representations of some of his Masonic jewels and insignia.

Brother William Black was appointed Provincial Grand Master and installed in the Masonic Hall, King Street, Stirling, on 4th February, 1903, by Brother the Hon. Charles Maule Ramsay, Depute Grand Master Mason. Brother Black was a member of Lodge St. John No. 16, having entered the Lodge in 1876 and been Master from 1882 to 1886.

Over 300 Brethren attended the laying of the Memorial Stone and consecration of the new Masonic Temple for Lodge Callendar No. 588, in Lint Riggs, Falkirk, on 7th November, 1906. The ceremony was carried through by the Provincial Grand Master, Brother William Black.

Brother Bailie Russell, the Master of Lodge Callendar No. 588, presented a mallet of solid ivory to the Provincial Grand Master and a silver trowel with ivory handle to Brother T. M. Copland, Architect.

At the Annual Meeting of the Provincial Grand Lodge, on 26th February, 1907, held in the Masonic Temple, Lint Riggs, Falkirk, the elective Office-bearers were installed by the Grand Master Mason, Brother Sir Thomas D.G. Carmichael, afterwards 1st Lord Carmichael and Grand Master of Victoria, Australia from 1909 to 1912.

Brother William Black intimated on 29th October, 1907, that his appointment as Provincial Grand Master was about to terminate and on 28th November, his successor, Brother Alexander W. Gray-Buchanan, was installed by the Grand Master Mason.

Brother Alexander W Gray-Buchanan RWPGM (1907 - 1909)

It was agreed on 29th January, 1909, that Life Membership of Provincial Grand Lodge, could be purchased at a cost of 10/6 (52½p).

On 23rd April, 1909, a letter from Lodge Caledonian St. John Royal Arch No. 195, was received which requested that the Lodge be transferred from Stirlingshire Province to the Province of Dunbartonshire. The transfer was subsequently agreed, on 3rd November, 1910.

The death of the Provincial Grand Master, Brother Alexander Wilson Gray-Buchanan, at the early age of 58 years, was intimated on 18th July, 1909.

Brother Dr. Edmund E. Dyer was installed as Provincial Grand Master at Stirling, on 1st December, 1909, and so commenced a period of office which covered 20 years. The installation was carried out by the Grand Master Mason, the Marquis of Tullibardine. Dr. Dyer was a Past Master of the Lodge of Alloa No. 69 and a Captain in the Royal Army Medical Corp., (Territorial Army), attached to the 7th Battalion, the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.

On 27th October, 1914, Provincial Grand Lodge resolved that members in the forces would not pay test fees during the period of War and made a recommendation in similar terms to the Lodges in the Province. The Provincial Grand Master was serving with the 7th Battalion, the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and when the term of his appointment expired in 1914, he was the unanimous choice to serve a further term.

During the War period the Provincial Grand Lodge and the Daughter Lodges contributed substantially to War Charities. Every Lodge in the Province contributed to the provision of the “Province of Stirling Masonic Bed” in the new National Hospital, Bellahouston Park, Glasgow, to the Scottish Hospital for Limbless Sailors and Soldiers, at Erskine House and to many other worthy causes.

In 1917, eighteen Lodges were active in the Province, but great difficulty was experienced in making regular visitations to them. The Brethren of the Province were delighted when, on 26th February, 1918, Brother Dr. Dyer was able to attend his first meeting since the outbreak of hostilities.

On 19th December, 1919, Brother Dr. Dyer was installed for a third term as Provincial Grand Master by the Grand Master Mason, Brother Brigadier General Sir Robert Gordon Gordon-Gilmour, the ceremony being carried through in the Lesser Albert Hall, Stirling.

During 1920 the Provincial Grand Master had the pleasure of consecrating new premises for Lodge Ben Cleuch No. 782, in Upper Mill Street, Tillicoultry and for Lodge St. Servanus No. 771, Alva.

Brother Dyer presented to Provincial Grand Lodge on 25th January, 1921, a Director of Ceremonies Baton, made of ebony and bound with silver, which was mounted with a Provincial Grand Master’s jewel and suitably engraved.

On the 26th April, 1921, Life Membership fees were raised from 10/6 (52½p)  to £1-1/- (£1.05). It was further agreed to issue Life Membership Certificates. Those who had paid the old 10/6 fee were to b charged 1/6 (7½p). Those who had paid £1-1/- would receive a Certificate free of charge.

Brother Lord Blythswood, who as Captain Archibald Campbell of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, had been initiated into Lodge Ancient Stirling No.30 in 1891, returned to his Mother Lodge on 5th October 1922 and unveiled the Roll of Honour relating to the 1914-18 War.

Brother the Earl of Elgin and Kincardine, Grand Master Mason, attended Lodge Callendar No. 588 on 4th March, 1923 and unveiled the Lodge’s War Memorial.

In 1923, Lodge Strathendrick applied to Grand Lodge to have the Lodge transferred from Stirlingshire to Dunbartonshire. Grand Lodge decreed that the Provinces concerned should confer and report. The outcome was that the transfer was not approved.

Towards the end of that year an application for affiliation to Lodge Ancient Stirling No. 30 was received from Brother Brigadier General Sir Norman A. Orr-Ewing, a member of the Lodge Household Brigade No. 2614 (E.C.). He was affiliated to the Lodge on 6th May, 1924.

Brother Dr. Dyer was installed for a fourth term as Provincial Grand Master, on 11th February, 1925. On this occasion the ceremony was performed by the Grand Master Mason, Brother the Earl of Stair, in the North Parish Church Hall, Stirling.

Lodge Callendar No. 588, was visited by the Provincial Grand Master on the occasion of the Lodge’s 50th Anniversary Celebrations, in 1926.

It had been some time since a Brother of a Stirlingshire Lodge had held Office as Grand Master Mason and it gave the Brethren much joy when Brother Lord Blythswood, who had been installed only a week before, paid his first visit as Grand Master Mason to his Mother Lodge, Ancient Stirling No. 30, on 7th December, 1926.

It had been Brother Lord Blythswood’s intention to make his final visit as Grand Master Mason to his Mother Lodge but he died in 1929 without being able to fulfil this wish.

Brother Andrew Hunter, a Past Master of Lodge Zetland No. 391, succeeded Brother Dr. Dyer as Provincial Grand Master in 1929. He was installed by the Substitute Grand Master Mason, Brother Lord Belhaven and Stenton, in the Masonic Hall, Newmarket Street, Falkirk, on 6th February, 1930. On 12th December, 1931, Brother Sir Norman A. Orr­ Ewing, Depute Provincial Grand Master, consecrated new premises for Lodge Strathendrick No. 780.

Brother Andrew Hunter died on 22nd October, 1932 and was succeeded as Provincial Grand Master by Brother Sir Norman A. Orr-Ewing. The new Provincial Grand Master was installed on 22nd September, 1932, by the Grand Master Mason, Brother Lord Belhaven and Stenton. The ceremony was carried out in the Masonic Hall, King Street, Stirling, where the Provincial Grand Master returned five days later to make his first Official visit in that capacity to his own Lodge.

On 11th January, 1934, the Provincial Grand Master consecrated the new Masonic Temple in Craigs, Stirling, for Lodges Ancient Stirling No. 30 and Stirling Royal Arch No. 76. In the same year he also consecrated the new Masonic Hall in Union Street, Bridge of Allan for Lodge Abercromby No. 531.

Brother Sir Norman A. Orr-Ewing was appointed Depute Grand Master Mason by the then Grand Master Mason, Brother Sir lain Colquhoun of Luss, in 1935.

The Bi-centenary of Grand Lodge was due to be celebrated on 30th November, 1936 and Brother H.R.H. the Duke of York (afterwards King George VI), agreed to accept the Grand Mastership and was installed. Brother Sir Norman A. Orr-Ewing was appointed Depute Grand Master by His Royal Highness

The Commission of the Provincial Grand Master having been completed, Brother Daniel Robertson was installed as his successor by Brother Sir lain Colquhoun of Luss, Immediate Past Grand Master Mason, within the Masonic Hall, Newmarket Street, Falkirk, on 21st October, 1937.

Brother Sir Norman A. Orr-Ewing was installed as Grand Master Mason in November, 1937, and together with a deputation of Grand Lodge Office-bearers, visited Lodge Ancient Stirling No. 30, on 20th September, 1938.

The new Temple of Lodge Clackmannan No. 1303, was consecrated by the Grand Master Mason, on 14th January, 1939, when approximately 400 Brethren attended the ceremony. Provincial Grand Lodge Deputation was headed by Brother Colonel Andrew R. Bain, Depute Provincial Grand Master.

Intimation was given to Provincial Grand Lodge, on 31st October, 1939, that the Military Authorities had requisitioned the premises of Lodges 69, 531, 782 and 850. Later in the War years other Lodge premises were taken over and some 13 Lodges had to find alternative accommodation. Visitations to Lodges were suspended for the time being due to the difficult travel situation prevailing. Lodge Buchlyvie No. 1268 was unable to carry on because of the War situation and went into abeyance.

Lodge Ben Cleuch celebrated its 50th Anniversary on 19th December, 1942.

Brother Daniel Robertson was elected for a second term and was re-installed in Grand Lodge on 6th August, 1942. The Commissioned Office-bearer were installed at Brightons, on 17th September, 1942 by the Immediate Past Grand Master Mason, Brother Sir Norman A. Orr-Ewing.

Brother Robertson died on 26th November, 1943. Brother Colonel Andrew R. Bain was appointed successor to the late Brother Daniel Robertson and was installed as Provincial Grand Master in Grand Lodge, on 4th May, 1944. The Commissioned Office bearers were installed in Allans School, Stirling on 31st October, 1944, by Brother Sir Norman A. Orr-Ewing, Past Grand Master Mason.

The Bi-centenary Celebrations of Provincial Grand Lodge were held in February, 1945. On Sunday 4th, Divine Service was held in South Church, Stirling with Brother Colonel Bain, Provincial Grand Master leading the Brethren. The Service was conducted by Brother Rev. David Dick, Senior Provincial Grand Chaplain and Brother Rev. Walter J. Gordon, Junior Provincial Grand Chaplain. Grand Lodge was represented by Brother Sir Norman A. Orr-Ewing. The Bi-centenary Dinner was in the Golden lion Hotel, Stirling, when the Provincial Grand Master occupied the Chair.

It was intimated to Provincial Grand Lodge on 29th January, 1946, that following the cessation of hostilities, Lodge Buchlyvie No. 1268, was once again operating.

Brother Sir Norman A. Orr-Ewing again headed a Deputation to Lodge Ancient Stirling No. 30, on 6th April, 1948, to witness the initiation of his son, Major Ronald A. Orr-Ewing.

Brother Colonel Bain’s term of office as Provincial Grand Master, having been completed, Brother Thomas Pitcairn, a Past Master of Lodge Callendar No. 588, was Commissioned as his successor and was installed in Grand Lodge on 5th May, 1949. Brother Dr. Douglas L.G. Radford, Substitute Grand Master Mason, installed the Commissioned Office-bearers in the Masonic Temple, Lint Riggs, Falkirk, on 26th July, 1949.

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