Years of Freemasonry in Scotland By
Kelly D Whittaker
There has been a conflict in the formation of
Freemasonry in Scotland for many years. I hope to clarify a few
myths and present a sensible simple history to my readers. A
person must first understand what freemasonry is before they can
declare Masonic Activity in areas of history. Masons are a
group of highly talented and educated people. They believe in
the arts and sciences as well as their God.
History has shown intelligent people labelled
as heretics, wizards, occult participants, against the Church,
and against their own countries. Basically, people of knowledge
were no better than Adam and Eve when the serpent enticed them
into eating of the tree of knowledge. This story will help to
support the hypothesis; Masons are only a group of highly
Masonry actually began with the Phoenicians
in the time of Solomon but for the sake of Scotland, I will
begin with signs of masonry in Scotland. People have confused
stone masonry with freemasonry. For the purpose of this
article, I am only going to talk about evidence.
The first evidence I have been able to locate
is the Abbey of Kilwinning close to Glasgow. The original work
on the abbey was done ca 1020 by foreign masons. They left
their mark on the foundation stone (The History of
Freemasonry and the Grand Lodge of Scotland, William
Alexander Laurie, University of California, H. Morse Stephens
collect). This very old manuscript states the masons came to
Scotland in the early 11th century. They built at
Kilwinning and in York.
The Grand Mistress of the Female Masons
stated in 1724 kings of Scotland have been from Time to
Time Grand Masters without interruption down from the days of
Robert L D Cooper also states on page 39 of
The Rosslyn Hoax?,specific history commencing with
Fergus II in A.D. 403 from Anderson.
I showed in my opening story, King Malcolm
III Canmore was the first Grand Master of Scotland. Now I am
going to share with you some of the evidence I found; 6th
August 1849, the Lodge of Glasgow, St. John, who claim to hold a
Charter from Malcolm Canmore, King of Scotland.
The Encyclopedia of Freemasonry Part 3
states on page 1244, King Malcolm
III gave a Charter to our trusty and beloved friends, the
operative Masons in the City of Glasgow on October 5, 1057.
The other 19 Grand Masters of Scotland copied
from my first story are:
III 1031 - 1093
2. Alexander I 1078 - 1124
3. David I 1084 - 1153
4. William the Lion 1143 - 1214
5. Henry Wardlaw ? - 1440
6. James I 1394 - 1437
7. William Sinclair 1404 - 1484
8. William Turnbull ? - 1454
9. Sir Robert Cockeran ? - 1482
10. Alexander Lord Forbes ? - 1491
11. William Elphinston 1431 - 1514
12. Gavin Dunbar 1455 - 1532
13. Gavin Douglas 1474 - 1522
14. George Creighton ?
15. Patrick, Earl of Lindsay ? - 1526
16. Sir David Lindsay 1551 - 1610
17. Andrew Stewart, LO 1548 - 1593
18. Sir James Sandilands ? - 1579
19. Claud Hamilton LP 1543 - 1622
20. James VI & I 1566 - 1625
LO = Lord Ochiltree LP = Lord Paisley
(Pages 39 & 40)
There are some very famous names listed in
the chart above. I will not mention them at the present because
I do want to talk about the less known Grand Masters in the
Gavin Dunbar (c1490-1547) was Archbishop of
Glasgow and Chancellor of the University, 1524-1547.
Dunbar was born in Wigtownshire and studied
canon and civil law in Glasgow and Paris. He was appointed tutor
to the infant James V in 1517 and it was on Dunbar's advice that
James founded Scotland's Supreme Court, the Court of Session, in
1532. He held several high offices in the Church before becoming
Archbishop of Glasgow in 1524. He is believed to have died in
the Bishops Palace at the top of High Street.
Gavin Douglas was the Bishop of Dunkeld and
famous for being an advanced theologian of his age.
George Creighton is unknown at present but I
will locate other histories of Scotland and chase this gentleman
Patrick, Earl of Lindsay has very little
information but I shall list what I have found.
There are many knights in this line. I have
not found evidence of Knight Templar titles in my research thus
Here is some information I found on Sir James
Sandilands from the internet:
With the arrival of the
Reformation the Sandilands of Calder were soon to become Lords
of Torphichen. At that time Sir James Sandilands (second son of
7th feudal baron of Calder), was a Knight of St John and prior
of Torphichen Preceptory (the centre of the Order of St John in
Scotland). After the English Crown suppressed the Order in
England in 1540 (and Ireland in 1547) the only preceptory left
belonging to the Knights of St John was Torphichen. As a result
for almost twenty-five years (from 1540 to 1564) Torphichen
Preceptory under Sir James Sandilands represented the Knights of
St John in the Britain.
However, in view of this isolated position, Sir
James in 1564 eventually succumbed to the Reformation and
surrendered Torphichen Preceptory and surrounding lands of the
Knights of St John to the Scottish Crown (Queen Mary Stuart),
receiving it back (to continue its administration) along with
the title of
Lord Torphichen. (Lord being in place of Preceptor,
his previous designation granted by the Order of St John). He
died in 1579 and, having no male heir, was succeeded by James
(2nd Lord Torphichen & 10th feudal baron of Calder) the grandson
of his elder brother John (8th feudal baron). As a result the
Sandilands of Calder (Lords Torphichen) family descendants and
their estate constitute the most direct historical link with the
Order of St John in the British Isles. [Ref. "The Knights of
Malta" by HJA Sire; publishers: Yale University Press, 1994.]
The pattern of intelligent people being in
high ranks of freemasonry is evident with all the men listed as
the original Grand Masters of the Lodge of Scotland.
Freemasonry was slow in growth during this era but did gain
momentum in later years. The documentation I have researched is
good enough to prove to an outsider the Masons have been around
for a very long time.
There is another pattern I have discovered in
my research of the original Grand Masons, they are all closely
interlinked to the Stuart Dynasty. They are linked by blood or
marriage. I will leave this tidbit open to the many researchers
out there who may have another theory other than mine as to the
links in original Freemasonry and The Bruce and Stuart lines.
A thousand years is just a drop in the bucket
for the origins of the Masons. The next story will compare the
Freemasons of Scotland to other ancient brotherhoods. The link
will be made apparent for the name Scot.
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