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Freemasonry in Stirling

Becoming a Freemason in Stirling

Becoming a Freemason: Evolution of the York Legend. The earliest masonic documents are those of their early employers, the church and the state. The first claimed by modern Freemasons as the lineal ancestors of their own Charges relate to the self-organisation of masons as a fraternity with mutual responsibilities. From the reign of Henry VI to the Elizabethan period, that is from about 1425 to 1550, surviving documents show the evolution of a legend of Masonry, starting before the flood, and culminating in the re-establishment of the craft of Masonry in York during the reign of King Athelstan.

Halliwell Manuscript/Regius Poem: Halliwell Manuscript - The Halliwell Manuscript, also known as the Regius Poem, is the earliest of the Old Charges. It consists of 64 vellum pages of Middle English written in rhyming couplets. In this, it differs from the prose of all the later charges. The poem begins by describing how Euclid "counterfeited geometry" and called it Masonry, for the employment of the children of the nobility in Ancient Egypt. It then recounts the spread of the art of geometry in "divers lands." The document relates how the craft of Masonry was brought to England during the reign of King Athelstan (924–939). It tells how all the masons of the land came to the King for direction as to their own good governance, and how Athelstan, together with the nobility and landed gentry, forged the fifteen articles and fifteen points for their rule. This is followed by fifteen articles for the master concerning both moral behaviour (do not harbour thieves, do not take bribes, attend church regularly, etc.) and the operation of work on a building site (do not make your masons labour at night, teach apprentices properly, do not take on jobs that you cannot do, etc.). There are then fifteen points for craftsmen which follow a similar pattern. Warnings of punishment for those breaking the ordinances are followed by provision for annual assemblies. There follows the legend of the Four Crowned Martyrs, a series of moral aphorisms, and finally a blessing.

Fifteen articles there they sought and fifteen points there they wrought. Part of Regius Manuscript

"Fyftene artyculus þey þer sowȝton, and fyftene poyntys þer þey wroȝton." (Fifteen articles they there sought and fifteen points there they wrought.) —Regius MS, ca. 1425–50.

The origins of the Regius are obscure. The manuscript was recorded in various personal inventories as it changed hands until it came into possession of the Royal Library, which was donated to the British Museum in 1757 by King George II to form the nucleus of the present British Library. It came to the attention of Freemasonry much later, this oversight being mainly due to the librarian David Casley, who described it as "a Poem of Moral Duties" when he catalogued it in 1734. It was in the 1838–39 session of the Royal Society that James Halliwell, who was not a Freemason, delivered a paper on "The early History of Freemasonry in England", based on the Regius, which was published in 1840. The manuscript was dated to 1390, and supported by such authorities as Woodford and Hughan; the dating of Edward Augustus Bond, the curator of manuscripts at the British Museum, to fifty years later was largely sidelined. Hughan also mentions that it was probably written by a priest.

Modern analysis has confirmed Bond's dating to the second quarter of the fifteenth century, and placed its composition in Shropshire. This dating leads to the hypothesis that the document's composition, and especially its narrative of a royal authority for annual assemblies, was intended as a counterblast to the statute of 1425 banning such meetings.

In the wake of the French Revolution, the British Government became uneasy about possible revolutionary conspiracies. Amongst other repressive measures, Pitt's government proposed to introduce the Unlawful Societies Act in 1799, which declared that any body which administered a secret oath was illegal. Acting quickly, a delegation representing the Ancients, Moderns and the Grand Lodge of Scotland arranged a meeting with the Prime Minister. The delegation included the Duke of Atholl, Grand Master of the Ancients, and Past Grand Master Mason of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, and the Earl of Moira, Acting Grand Master of the Moderns (the Grand Master being the Prince of Wales). As a result of this meeting, Freemasons were specifically excluded from the act, although lodges were obliged to return a list of members to the local Clerk of the Peace, a practice which continued until 1967. It also demonstrated that the two rival Grand Lodges could act together.

Establishment of Freemasonry in North America

Main articles: History of Masonic Grand Lodges in North America and Prince Hall Freemasonry

In 1682, John Skene, Born in Scotland came to New Jersey and is dedicated by the Grand Lodge of New Jersey As the first Freemason resident in america.

Henry Price, "Provincial Grand Master of New England and Dominions and Territories thereunto belonging"

In 1733, Henry Price, the Provincial Grand Master over all of North America for the Grand Lodge of England, granted a charter to a group of Boston Freemasons. This lodge was later named St. John's Lodge and was the first duly constituted lodge in America. Between 1733 and 1737 the Grand Lodge in England warranted Provincial Grand Lodges in Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania and South Carolina. Benjamin Franklin re-issued Anderson's 1723 constitutions as Provincial Grand Master of Pennsylvania. Franklin had written in the Pennsylvania Gazette of 8 December 1730 of the several lodges of freemasons already in the "province", joined St. John's Lodge in Philadelphia the following year, and in 1732 was Junior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of Philadelphia. All this before the "first" lodge in North America.

Correspondence from John Moore, the collector for the port of Philadelphia and himself a Mason, indicate that Masonic Lodges were meeting in Philadelphia in 1715. The present Grand Lodge has the Carmick manuscript, a handwritten copy of the ancient charges dating from 1727, and headed "The Constitutions of St. John's Lodge". Colonel Daniel Coxe was made Provincial Grand Master of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania by the Grand Lodge of England in 1730, with effect from 24 June (St. John the Baptist's day) for two years. It is unclear whether he was in America or England at the time, but he was present at Grand Lodge, at the Devil Tavern in London, on 29 January 1731, where he is minuted as Provincial Grand Master of North America. There is no record of his chartering any lodges, but he arranged for St. John's Lodge to double as a Provincial Grand Lodge, and appointed his successor in 1731, a year early. Notwithstanding the acceptance of Coxe as their first Provincial Grand Master, it has been suggested that the formation of the new Grand Lodge by consenting pre-existing lodges makes it a Grand Lodge by "Immemorial right", and a sister lodge to the Grand Lodges of England Scotland and Ireland.

North America would have many independent lodges in the 18th century. Authorisation, which later would become a Warrant, took time and expense, especially in the period when the nearest Grand Lodge was on the other side of the Atlantic. Many lodges became "self starters", and only applied for Grand Lodge authorisation when they were reasonably confident that the lodge would survive for more than a few years. George Washington was initiated into the Lodge of Fredericksburg in 1752. The same lodge was chartered by the Grand Lodge of Scotland in 1758. The first properly chartered "Scottish" lodge was only two years earlier, being the Lodge of St. Andrews in Boston. Members included Paul Revere and Joseph Warren, and (according to some) later lodge outings included the Boston Tea Party.

Many lodges were attached British Army regiments. The Moderns may have been wary of warranting lodges without a permanent address, so there was only one Grand Lodge of England warrant in the continental army from 1775 to 1777. The Antients and the Grand Lodge of Scotland were slightly better represented, but the overwhelming majority of regimental lodges held warrants from the Grand Lodge of Ireland. Thus it was that a group of African Americans, having been rejected by the lodges in Boston, were initiated into Lodge No 441 on the register of the Grand Lodge of Ireland, which was attached to the 38th Foot (later the 1st Staffordshire). These 15 men formed African Lodge No 1, as the British departed, leaving them a permit to do almost everything but admit new masons. Two of the members were seafarers, and obtained entrance to a lodge in London, being recognised as regularly initiated Masons. This enabled their master, Prince Hall, to apply to the Moderns for a charter, which was duly granted on 29 September 1784, now as African Lodge No. 459. Such was the success of the lodge that it became a Provincial Grand Lodge, and Prince Hall the Provincial Grand Master. After his death, the provincial lodges reconstituted themselves as a Grand Lodge (African Grand Lodge), becoming Prince Hall Grand Lodge in 1847. Around the same time, the history of Freemasonry in Mexico can be traced to at least 1806 when the first Masonic lodge was formally established in the nation.

Stirling Scots: Stirlin; Scottish Gaelic: Sruighlea is a city in central Scotland, 26 miles (42 km) north-east of Glasgow and 37 miles (60 km) north-west of the Scottish capital, Edinburgh. The market town, surrounded by rich farmland, grew up connecting the royal citadel, the medieval old town with its merchants and tradesmen, the Old Bridge and the port. Located on the River Forth, Stirling is the administrative centre for the Stirling council area, and is traditionally the county town of Stirlingshire. Proverbially it is the strategically important "Gateway to the Highlands". It has been said that "Stirling, like a huge brooch clasps Highlands and Lowlands together". Similarly "he who holds Stirling, holds Scotland" is often quoted. Stirling's key position as the lowest bridging point of the River Forth before it broadens towards the Firth of Forth made it a focal point for travel north or south.

When Stirling was temporarily under Anglo-Saxon sway, according to a 9th-century legend, it was attacked by Danish invaders. The sound of a wolf roused a sentry, however, who alerted his garrison, which forced a Viking retreat. This led to the wolf being adopted as a symbol of the town as is shown on the 1511 Stirling Jug. The area is today known as Wolfcraig. Even today the wolf appears with a goshawk on the council's coat of arms along with the recently chosen motto: "Steadfast as the Rock". Once the capital of Scotland, Stirling is visually dominated by Stirling Castle. Stirling also has a medieval parish church, the Church of the Holy Rude, where, on 29 July 1567, the infant James VI was anointed King of Scots by Adam Bothwell, the Bishop of Orkney, with the service concluding after a sermon by John Knox. The poet King was educated by George Buchanan and grew up in Stirling. He was later also crowned King of England and Ireland on 25 July 1603, bringing closer the countries of the United Kingdom. Modern Stirling is a centre for local government, higher education, tourism, retail, and industry. The mid-2012 census estimate for the population of the city is 36,440; the wider Stirling council area has a population of about 93,750. One of the principal royal strongholds of the Kingdom of Scotland, Stirling was created a royal burgh by King David I in 1130. In 2002, as part of Queen Elizabeth's Golden Jubilee, Stirling was granted city status.

The origin of the name Stirling is uncertain, but folk etymology suggests that it originates in either a Scots or Gaelic term meaning the place of battle, struggle or strife. One proposal is that Stirling derives from Gaelic srib-linn, meaning "stream-pool" or similar. Other sources suggest that it originates in a Brythonic name meaning "dwelling place of Melyn", with the first element being connected to Middle Welsh ystre-, "a dwelling". The name may have originally been a hydronym, and connected to Brittonic *lïnn, "lake, pool" (Welsh llyn). It is often argued that Stirling is the fortress of Iuddeu or Urbs Giudi where Oswiu of Northumbria was besieged by Penda of Mercia in 655, as recorded in Bede and contemporary annals, however, Blackness Castle may be a more likely candidate.Stirling is renowned as the Gateway to the Highlands and is generally regarded as occupying a strategic position at the point where the flatter, largely undulating Scottish Lowlands meet the rugged slopes of the Highlands along the Highland Boundary Fault. The starkness of this contrast is evidenced by the many hills and mountains of the lower Highlands such as Ben Vorlich and Ben Ledi which can be seen to the northwest of the city. On the other hand, the Carse of Stirling, stretching to the west and east of the city, is one of the flattest and most agriculturally productive expanses of land in the whole of Scotland.

The land surrounding Stirling has been most affected by glacial erosion and deposition. The city itself has grown up around its castle which stands atop an ancient quartz-dolerite sill, known as the Stirling Sill, a major defensive position which was at the lowest crossing point on the River Forth. Stirling stands on the Forth at the point where the river widens and becomes tidal. To the east of the city the Ochil Hills dominate the skyline with the highest peak in the range being Ben Cleuch, although Dumyat is more noticeable from Stirling. The Ochils meet the flat carse (floodplain) of the River Forth to the east of the distinctive geographical feature of Abbey Craig, a crag and tail hill upon which stands the 220 ft (67 m) high National Wallace Monument.

Area   16.7 km2 (6.4 sq mi)

Population    37,610 (mid-2016 est.)

• Density       2,252/km2 (5,830/sq mi)

OS grid reference    NS795935

• Edinburgh  43 mi (69 km)

Civil parish  


Council area           


Lieutenancy area   

Stirling and Falkirk

Becoming a Freemason in Scotland

Becoming a Freemason in United Kingdom

Post town      STIRLING

Postcode district      FK7–FK9

Dialling code            01786

Police Scotland

Fire     Scottish

Ambulance   Scottish

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Scottish Parliament           


List of places UKScotland

56.1166°N 3.9369°W