William St Clair
on the Grand Roll of Scotland

The History of Lodge St Clair Edinburgh, 349

Lodge Saint Clair Edinburgh was granted her charter on the 3rd May 1847 and is on the roll of the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free, and accepted Masons of Scotland,

This is an adaptation of "An Historical Sketch" by Bro Thomas F Murphy P.M dated 1st December 1958.

Content Headings
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The Early Years
Early Meeting Places
The First Office Bearers
The First Meeting of the St Clair Lodges

Headings that are under construction.........

Early Public Masonic work
Bro. Dr Cunningham
The Award of Merit
The Rolls of Honour 1914/18 and 1939/45
From Lodge Journeymen in 1848
Early Fees
The Chair at St Andrews Chapel
Lodge Masters from 1847 to 1957

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The necessity for compiling an historical sketch of the Lodge has often been in the thoughts of the writer, but it was not until early 1956 that he began actively collecting material.In January of that year the General Commitee accorded facilities for the persual of minute books and documents and shortly afterwards a request was made to brethren for their co-operation.

As a result of this appeal some notes prepared by Bro. Murray of Lodge Cannogate Kilwinning no.2, on the early history of Lodge St Clair Edinburgh came to hand and these notes together with those of Bro.Robert Henderson P.M, have been freely used in the present publication.

The writer wishes to thank those brethren, and those not connected with Freemasonary who have rendered assistance. In no single instance has help and advice not been readily given when solicited.

Many happy hours have been spent on this project with great pleasure to the writer who fervently hopes that it will give similar pleasure to the brethren of his Mother lodge.
Thomas F Murphy, R.W.M 1st December 1958

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The Early Years

This lodge since the somewhat stormy period of it's inception and birth has passed a quiet and simple career of usefullness to the craft.The circumstances under which it sprang into existance were perculiar. It arose out of a seccession of twenty-four members from Lodge St. Stephen in December 1846. the Master who occupeid the chair of the older lodge, unfortunately gave his support to a course of action, but for which Lodge St Clair might never have existed, and lodge St stephen might have now been in possession of a lodge room and Chapel of their own

St Stephens was divided into two parties, and a number of valuable members resolved to petition for a charter. The name of the new proposed lodge was suggested by Brother Mathew Welsh, who acted as Chairman of the seceding brethren. The necessary expense was defrayed by a voluntary assessment in loan of 6d each per week(six old pennies was equivalent to 3 new pennies today) which was collected at weekly meetings held regularly until 1847.

Grand committee resolved the situation and happily this spirit between the two lodges did not last long, for as early as 7th June 1847 and again on 21st February 1848, we find deputations from St Stephens lodge received with the greatest cordiality in Lodge St Clair, and there has been much happy fraternal intercourse between the two lodges ever since.

The petion for the new chapter was acceded to by seven lodges, viz., Cannogate Kilwinning, St Davids Defensive Band, Cannongate and Leith, St. Marys Chapel, Journeymen and Roman Eagle, and the records of the lodge bear eloquent testimony to the kindly and patient help afforded to the enthusiastic and progessive amsons who formed St Clair by Professor W.E.Aytoun "Who most kindly gave us the prestige of his name to aid us, and has thus become one of our original members. Notwithstanding an expression of opinion that there were already quite enough lodges in Edinburgh, the charter was granted by Grand Lodge. the brethren at once set themselves to prepare for the consecration. They were assisted in this by several timely gifts including that of a stout claymore from Bro.Drummond.

The consecration took place on 31st may 1847, in St. John's Chapel, and James Graham officiated as acting Grand Master. The Rev.John Boyle, Minister of the Episcopal Church,Portobello,Edinburgh acted on the occasion as Grand Chaplin.

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Early Meeting Places

Lodge St Clair met for some time in St John's Chapel,St John's Street and then in St David's Lodge room,Hyndfords Close, High Street, Edinburgh. It changed to St John's Chapel in 1856 and to Freemasons Hall on 4th April 1859. An attempt to revert to St John's Chapel having failed, the lodge continued to meet in George Street, Edinburgh until 1910 when notice to quit was received from Grand Lodge owing to the impending demolition of the building. Suitable premises were then secured from lodge Roman Eagle no.160 at 11 Melbourne Place. Subsequently the lodge moved to the Chapel of St Andrew 76 Queen Street, Edinburgh and the first meeting in the new premises took place on the 23rd November 1914. Throughout it's years of existance the lodge has never had it's own premises, being obliged to rent accomodation from older more firmly established lodges. Perhaps the reluctance to inaugurate a building fund was the result of the circumstances prevailing when the lodge was formed. In 1958 however such a fund was started and is now firmly established.(reader please bear in mind that this document was written in 1958 and the lodge has moved on since then)

It may also be of intrest to note that occasional meetings of the lodge have been held in places other than the ususal meeting place. On 22nd May 1850 an emergency meeting was constituted and proceeded to Bro.Wrights' house and there raised Bro Andrew W.White who was in bad health and forbidden by the doctor to leave his residence. Another meeting was held in the Cafe Royal, Edinburgh. Meetings were occasionaly held in the Carlton Convening rooms, and the brethren so afar a field as the Wardie Hotel, when Bro. Kennedys hospitality was required on festive occasions. In 1856 frequent meetings were held in the Ship Hotel. Perhaps one of the most intresting of the outside meeting places was that of the communiaction on 9th September 1858. After a visit to Habbies Howe the lodge that day visited the "shrine of it's patron saint, St Clair". It was opend in Roslin Chapel with a large attendance of visiting brethren, and received Bro Purvis, the keeper of the Chapel as an honourary member.

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First Office Bearers of Lodge St Clair
Thomas Drummond (RWM)
Henry Wright (DM)
Mathew walsh (SM)
William H White (WSW)
Hugh Grieve (WJW)
John Stirling (Treas.)
George Cleghorn (Sec.)
David Duncan (SD)
Hugh Bowie (JD)

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The First Meeting of the St Clair Lodges ....to be continued