Famous Scottish Freemasons
Compiled by Bro. J.S.Donaldson
There have been many Scottish Freemasons, either Scotsmen who became freemasons, or men who joined a Scottish Lodge. This list is only a few of them, and will be added to as frequently as possible. If anyone reading this page knows of any famous Scots who were Freemasons, or knows of a Famous Freemason who joined a Scottish Lodge or has a Scottish masonic connection, please get it touch with the webmaster who will see it included once the name has been verified.
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Sir Ralph Abercromby 1734 - 1801
Born in the Clackmannanshire village of Menstrie, the son of an Advocate, Abercromby was educated at Rugby School (England). He studied law at Leipzig and Edinburgh before becoming the Member of Parliament for Clackmannan (1774-80), but opposed the American War and thus lost favour. Abercromby served in the Seven Years' War and retired from military service to live in Edinburgh, however the outbreak of hostilities with France brought his recall. He distinguished himself in Flanders and served as Commander-in-Chief in the West Indies. By 1795, he was regarded as the greatest general of the time in Britain. In 1801 he was in command of an expeditionary force in the Mediterranean that defeated the French after a successful landing at Aboukir Bay, where the General was killed. His wife, Mary, was created Baroness Abercromby of Aboukir and Tullibody, in tribute to him, and Abercromby Place in Edinburgh's New Town is named after him. Sir Ralph Abercromby was a member of Lodge Canongate Kilwinning No.2 Edinburgh. (denslow)
James Anderson c.1680 - 1739
The Reverend James Anderson was born in Aberdeen the second son of James Anderson who was a member of the Lodge of Aberdeen. It is highly probable that James Anderson was a member of that Lodge as well, although no record of his initiation has been found. He was a member of The Lodge Rummer and Grapes in Channel Row, Westminster in London and is said to have been the master of Lodge 17. In 1723 he was appointed the Junior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of England. The first record of him attending Grand Lodge was 1721, when he was ordered to 'digest' the 'old Gothic Constitutions…in a new and better method.' In 1723 he presented the result of his labours as The Constitutions of the Freemasons……for the Use of the Lodges. This small volume (1723) of 91 pages contains; a Preface by Dr. Desaguliers ( a quite unreliable history of Freemasonry); George Payne's (2nd Grand Master) Charges of a Freemason; and 39 General Regulations. Anderson's 2nd edition (1738) in 230 pages is extremely important as it contains, in the absence of any Minutes prior to 1723, the first account of the founding and early progress of the 1717 Grand Lodge. Anderson through his two editions introduced several terms from Scottish operative Masonry, such as Entered Apprentice & Fellow-Craft, and Cowan.
Andrew Bell 1726 - 1809
The founder of the Encyclopaedia Britannica along with Colin McFarquhar. Andrew Bell began his professional career as an engraver. Initiated into Lodge St. David, No.36 Edinburgh.
The Encyclopaedia Britannica was first published in the Scottish capital in 1768. It was not the first encyclopaedia to make it into print, but its founders, bookseller and printer Colin Mcfarquhar and engraver Andrew Bell, wanted to make sure it was the best - and that it would make a profit
Bell was also well known for his tiny body and his enormous 'nose'.
James Boswell 1740 - 1795
James Boswell is perhaps better known for his Biography of Dr Samuel Johnson. He was the Master of Lodge Cannongate Kilwinning for 2 terms of office and became the Depute Grand Master of The Grand Lodge of Scotland. He turned down the offer of the office of Grand Master.
Boswell was born in Edinburgh. He was educated at James Mundell's academy followed by a string of private tutors before being sent at the age of thirteen to the city's University by his father to study law. Upon turning nineteen he was sent to continue his studies at the University of Glasgow, where he was taught by Adam Smith. Whilst at Glasgow Boswell decided to convert to Catholicism and become a monk. Upon learning of this Boswell's father ordered him home, instead of obeying Boswell ran away to London.
After Johnson's death in 1784, Boswell moved to London to try his luck at the English bar, which proved even more unsuccessful than his career in Scotland. He also offered to stand for Parliament, but failed to get the necessary support. He spent the final years of his life writing his Life of Johnson, which at once commanded an admiration from all, whilst his health began to fail due to his years of drinking and venereal disease.
William A. Brodie 1841 - 1917
William Brodie was born on the banks of the Black Cart river in the small village of Kilbarchan in Renfrewshire, Scotland in the year 1841. In 1843 his parents followed in the footsteps of many other Scot and emigrated to America to begin a new life. They settled in New York State and William would become a successful businessman in his adopted homeland, he joined Freemasonry and was ultimately elected the Grand Master Mason of the State of New York where he was the head of 70,000 masons.
Brother William Brodie will probably be remembered for time immemorial as the man who laid the Foundation Stone of the Statue of Liberty - gifted by France to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the American Declaration. The ceremony, with all its speeches, military parades and banners, was enacted before thousands of guests and civic dignitaries, including leading congressmen and senators, but William Brodie never forgot his humble roots in Kilbarchan. An intimation of the death of the Right Worshipful Master of Lodge St Barchan No.156 was put in the Paisley Daily Express, which amazingly found it's way to New York. After reading the article, William wrote a letter conveying his sympathies to the Lodge and telling him a little about himself, the Lodge secretary wrote back expressing the Lodge's good wishes and the promise of a very warm welcome. He looked forward to visiting the village of his birth. On 20th July 1888, true to his word, William Brodie returned to Kilbarchan and became an Affiliate member of Lodge St Barchan.
After the Grand Master laid the foundation stone of the Statue of Liberty he uttered these words, "Why call upon the Masonic Fraternity to lay the cornerstone of such a structure as is here to be erected?" His answer, which is as true to-day as it was then; "No institution has done more to promote liberty and to free men from the trammels and chains of ignorance and tyranny than Freemasonry, and we, as a Fraternity, take an honest pride in depositing the cornerstone of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World." (J.B. 156)
James Bruce 1730 - 1794
Bruce was a man destined to become one of the most celebrated Scots of the l8th
century. A larger-than-life character, his diary of his travels in Africa caused
something of a sensation when they were first published in 1790. A second
edition which appeared in 1804, ten years after his death was a 'best seller'
that proved popular with the Victorians who saw him as the prototype gentleman
Bruce was born in December 1730 in the
family home of Kinnaird just off Larbert's Bellsdyke Road. His father was David
Bruce of Woodcockdale, Linlithgowshire, and his mother Helen, the daughter of
Alexander Bruce of Kinnaird who, on his death, left her and her lineal
descendants his name and estate. In November 1770, he finally reached the goal
of his ambition, the source of the Blue Nile which he believed to be the
principal branch of the great river itself.
Lt. Col. Archibald Henry Buchanan-Dunlop.O.B.E. 1874 - 1947
On Christmas day 1914 on the front line at Ypres in Belgium through the early morning mist, strains of O’ Teenebaum can be heard coming from the German trenches, some less as 100 yards away from the British side. The mixture of Scottish, English Welsh and Irish troops respond with O’ come all ye faithful and throughout the morning different Christmas carols from both sides waft across the space between them. Some shouts of, ‘Merry Christmas Fritz’ and ‘Merry Christmas Tommy’ fill the air until a few pockets of soldiers in the lines decide to climb up from their mud filled trenches and tentatively wave to their opposite numbers. The stalemate is broken and the start of the Christmas truce has begun! More and more soldiers rise from their ditches and move towards that piece of land halfway between the two warring factions called ‘no man’s land’. Hands are clasped, cigarettes are exchanged and photographs of loved ones are passed about, soon a ball appears and an impromptu game of football between the British and Germans begins, the latter eventually winning the kick about 3-2! All to soon the day ends and with a quick shake of the hand both sides retire back to their respective slits in the earth. No shots would be fired the rest of that day, but on the 26th, the hostilities would recommence when the friends of yesterday would become the enemies of today! A fanciful piece of fiction? The vivid imagination of some Hollywood scriptwriter? No, this actually happened on Christmas day 1914 only 4 months after the beginning of the ‘Great War’, and one of the men who played the leading part in this amazing piece of history was the then Major Archibald Henry Buchanan-Dunlop later to become a Lt. Col. He had been a professional soldier years before in South Africa serving for 15 years and retired back home to Scotland to take up the position of arts teacher at Loretto school in Musselburgh, of which he was a former pupil. When the call to arms came, he volunteered and soon found himself at the front line in Belgium where this extraordinary event took place. The Daily Sketch in 1915 said of him, ' One of the moving spirits in this wonderful Xmas truce.'
Initiated into Freemasonry whilst serving before the war in South Africa, Buchanan-Dunlop joined and became a Past Master of both Lodge St.John No.112 and The Loretto Centenary Lodge No.1373.
Robert Burns 1759 - 1796
Perhaps the best known Scottish Freemason in the world, Bro., Robert Burns was entered as an Apprentice in Lodge St. David, Tarbolton on 4 July 1781 aged 23. Lodge St David Tarbolton eventually closed and was replaced by Lodge St. James (Kilwinning) Tarbolton 135. On July 27, 1784, Brother Robert Burns was elected as Depute Master of St James (Kilwinning) Tarbolton, a position he held for four years. Many of the lodge records, in the Bard's own handwriting still exist, and Brother Robert Burns was a frequent visitor to lodges in Irvine, Dumfries and Edinburgh over the ensuing years.
The Lodge record book still in existance states;
'Robert Burns in Lochly was passed and raised.'
Many, many books have been written about Robert Burns the Freemason, this link will take the reader to William Harvey's book which is in this website.
Dr. James Craik 1730 - 1814
Physician General of the United States Army, James Craik, was born on the estate of Arbigland in the parish of Kirkbean, County of Kirkcudbright, near Dumfries in Scotland. His father, Robert Craik, a member of the British Parliament, had a gardener, John Paul, whose son, born on the estate emigrated to Virginia and under the name of John Paul Jones. He received his medical degree at the University of Edinburgh and moved to America where he became friends with George Washington.
Dr. James Craik was George Washington's personal physician who not only was in attendance at Washington's bedside when he died in 1799, but served in every major battle with "The General" during the Revolutionary war. Dr. Craik was a member of Alexandria-Washington Lodge #22.
Erasmus Darwin 1732 - 1802
Perhaps better known as the grandfather of the biologist Charles Darwin, Erasmus Darwin was a philosopher, poet, scientist and physician. Initiated into Lodge St. David's No.36 Edinburgh in 1754. He would later become the Master of the Cannongate Lodge. In the 1780's and 90's, Erasmus Darwin developed the main outlines of theory of evolution, according to which all living things came from a single common ancestor by chance and according to the laws of nature. He did his research in an eight acre botanic garden he had prepared, and sought evidence that would prove his idea. He explained his theory in two books, entitled Temple of Nature and Zoonomia. In 1784 he founded a society to manage the dissemination of his ideas, known as the Philosophical Society. Years later, Charles Darwin would inherit his grandfather's ideas and the basic outlines for the proposal of his theory of evolution.
Robert Dollar 1844 - 1932
Robert Dollar was born in Falkirk in 1844, he moved to Canada in 1857 and by 1893 purchased a sawmill on the Pacific Coast in the United States. He would later buy a steamship to move the lumber and from there began the 'Dollar Steamship Company' which would grow to 100 steamships and would become one of the most profitable steamship companies in the world. He was a charter member of Bracebridge Lodge No. 360, Brace-bridge, Ont., Canada.
Dollar never forgot his strict upbringing in Scotland and Canada which would shape his life and work and developed a set of rules which he adhered to all his life.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 1859 - 1930
Conan Doyle was born in Edinburgh to Irish parents, from 1876 to 1881 he studied medicine at Edinburgh and in 1887 Sherlock Holmes made his first appearance in 'A Study in Scarlet.' Conan Doyle was not a particularly active freemason. One report in the October 1901 Masonic Illustrated claims: "While at the seat of war, he attended the never-to-be-forgotten scratch lodge at Bloemfontein in company with Bro. Rudyard Kipling." At an April 5 1900 meeting, letters were received by the lodge from both Lord Kitchener and Conan Doyle, expressing their regrets at being unable to attend. A "loyal resolution" to be sent to the Prince of Wales was proposed by Kitchener at an April 23, 1900 meeting; a document signed by both Lord Roberts, who had not been present at the meeting, and Conan Doyle. The minutes of the lodge's November 7, 1901 meeting refute the newspaper report and deny that Bros. Doyle and Kipling had ever visited their lodge. He was raised in Phoenix Lodge No. 257, Portsmouth in 1893, and in 1900 Conan Doyle was made an honorary member of The Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary's Chapel) No. 1 in recognition of his acceptance of an invitation to speak at a Burns' Night Dinner.
John Boyd Dunlop 1840 - 1921
John Boyd Dunlop was born in Dreghorn in Ayrshire and studied to be a Vet at the Royal Veterinary School at the University of Edinburgh. In 1867 he moved to Belfast in Ireland to pursue his career and built up a large practise. He experimented with his son's tricycle after watching his discomfort whilst cycling over the cobbled streets, and in 1887 he came up with a design based on an inflated rubber tube and patented it the following year. He established what would become the Dunlop Rubber Company but did not benefit much financially from his invention - he sold the patent and company name early on. Dunlop is credited with the invention of the modern rubber tyre. Another Scottish inventor named Robert Thompson had invented an inflatable tyre in 1845, but no one paid much attention to it. So in fact Dunlop reinvented the pneumatic tyre forty-three years later.
It was during his time in Belfast the John Boyd Dunlop joined freemasonry, he was initiated into The Lodge of Harmony No.CXI Belfast, Ireland.
Sir Alexander Fleming 1881 - 1955
Alexander Fleming was born near Darvel in Ayrshire and at the age of 13 was sent to London to live with his brother Thomas. In 1901 aged 20 he decided to enter the medical profession, but before being accepted by the St Mary's Hospital medical school, Fleming had to sit an entrance exam. His Scottish education held him in great stead for he was acknowledged as the top entrant that year. Upon graduating, he joined the bacteriological department of that same hospital where he was to remain for the rest of his days. In 1928 he unearthed something that would change the World, he discovered Penicillin! Penicillin therapy is probably the greatest single advance in medical history, and most likely there probably isn't a person in the world who is not in Alexander Fleming's debt.
Alexander Fleming joined freemasonry in 1909, being initiated into Santa Maria Lodge No.2682 London, becoming the Master in 1924. He was installed as Master of Lodge Misericordia No.3286 London in 1935, elected Senior Grand Warden in 1948 of the UGLE and Grand Warden in 1948.
Sir Sandford Fleming 1827 - 1915
Born in Kirkcaldy in 1827, Sandford Fleming emigrated to Canada at the age of 18. Fleming would become the Chief Engineer on the Canadian Pacific Railway responsible for building the track that would link the East coast with the West coast of Canada. In 1879 he recommended the establishment of Universal Standard Time, which divided the World into 24 time zones. For five years, Fleming conducted a one-man crusade to persuade first the Canadian Government and then every other Government in the world to adopt these new time zones and set their clocks according to the new single standard. This was finally achieved in 1882 at an international conference and in 1885 all the clocks and watches throughout the world were set to one standard time. He also designed the first Canadian postage stamp, the threepenny beaver in 1851!
Sandford Fleming was a member of St. Andrew's Lodge No.16 in Ontario.
Will Fyffe 1885 - 1947
Will Fyffe was born in Dundee in 1885 and became one of the most popular character comedians of his time with his portrayer of the village idiot, the sailor, the Glasgow drunk and many more. His wrote his most famous song, 'I belong to Glasgow' after meeting a drunk man and asking where he came from, the drunk replied, I belong to Glasgow, and ye know something, Glasgow belongs tae me.' Will had written the song with Harry Lauder in mind and asked he would use it. Lauder read the song and said, 'No, I never sing songs in praise of drink.' Will Fyffe looked slightly baffled, and asked the great Lauder about "A Wee Deoch an' Doris" to which the reply was, 'You see, I put all the stress on the word "wee" so, instead of being a song that's praising drink, it's really warning people against taking too much.' So by refusing the song Harry Lauder unwittingly helped Will Fyffe and it became his theme song. 'I belong to Glasgow' would become one of the most popular songs of it's generation and has been sung by many celebrities such as Danny Kaye, Eartha Kitt and Kirk Douglas. Will Fyffe died in 1947 after he fell from a window of a hotel in St.Andrews.
Will Fyffe was initiated in St. John's Lodge Shotts, No. 471 in 1907, he later became a member of the Thalia Lodge in London, this Lodge was mainly for 'Theatricals' the name comes from the Muse of comedy and pastoral poetry. He is known to have visited Lodges in Canada and the USA on his tours there, and his son Will Fyffe Jnr informs us the he still has his father's regalia. The picture shown here is signed "Yours Aye." (WF jnr + GLOS 74')
Professor John Gamgee 1831 - 1894
The first mechanically refrigerated ice rink (The Glaciarium) was opened in 1876 at Chelsea in London by Professor John Gamgee which consisted copper pipes being laid down and a mixture of glycerine and water circulated through them after having been chilled.
John Gamgee was a veterinarian and Professor at the Dick Veterinary College in Edinburgh, somewhat eccentric, and an inventor, it is said he invented the roller skate, along with a new preservation method for meat, a refrigerated hospital ship and a "Zeromotor" which involved a perpetual motion machine, which unfortunately went against the second law of thermodynamics. It didn't work!
Professor John Gamgee was a member of The Rifle Lodge No.405 in Edinburgh, he was their first initiate to become the Master of the Lodge in 1863. His brother Samson Gamgee was a Birmingham surgeon who's name was used by Tolkien in 'The Lord of the Rings' naming Frodo's faithful friend as Sam Gamgee.
George VI 1895 - 1952
Albert Frederick Arthur George became King in December 1936 on the abdication of his brother. He joined the Naval Lodge No. 2612 in 1919 and became the Senior Grand Warden of the UGLE in 1922.
In 1935 the Grand Lodge of Scotland were beginning preparations for the celebration of their bi-centenary. They hoped to celebrate by having a Royal Grand Master Mason, in particular the Prince of Wales. King George V died in January 1936 and the Prince became King Edward VII and, following precedent, resigned his various Masonic offices. Scotland approached the Duke of York, who was delighted to accept. There was one small problem, however. To be elected Grand Master Mason he had to be a member of a Scottish Lodge. Rather the join one of the more society Lodges in Edinburgh, he affiliated to Lodge Glamis No.99, the Lodge his Father-in-law the Earl of Strathmore was a Past Master. Prince Albert was installed as Grand Master Mason of Scotland on 30th November 1936.
Sir William S. Gilbert 1836 - 1911
Barrister, dramatist and playwright, William Schwenck Gilbert is perhaps better known for his operatic collaborations with composer Sir Albert Sullivan over 25 years, the pair being more instantly recognised as Gilbert and Sullivan.
Although born in England, Gilbert was initiated into Lodge St Machar No. 54, Aberdeen in 1871.
In 1911 he was giving swimming lessons to two young ladies at his lake when one of them began to flail around. Gilbert dived in to save her, but suffered a heart attack in the middle of the lake and drowned.
Bazil Gordon 1768 - 1847
Bazil Gordon was one of the first millionaires in the United States, born near Kirkcudbright he came to Virginia in America in 1783. Bazil started a small store in Falmouth, which grew into a large importing and exporting enterprise. Large quantities of tobacco from the plantations along the Rappahannock River were exported to England and Bazil made profits of millions of dollars exporting. He was a member of the Fredericksburg Lodge No.4 in Virginia which held a Scottish Charter issued in 1758 from the Grand Lodge of Scotland. George Washington was also a member of the Lodge. Bazil Gordon is buried in the Fredericksburg Masonic Cemetery.
Lord Gowrie VC 1872 - 1954
Alexander Gore Arkwright Hore-Ruthven although born in England in 1872, moved to Scotland in 1884 after his father inherited a property on the banks of the Clyde. At the age of 19 he joined the 3rd Battalion of the Highland Light Infantry training on the Lanarkshire moors and in 1898 joined the Egyptian Army in the Sudan. It was during this period that he was awarded the Victoria Cross for extreme bravery, after this Hore-Ruthven served at Gallipoli being awarded a DSO and later in France he gained a Bar for his DSO. He eventually was promoted to Brigadier-General.
Hore-Ruthven served as Governor of South Australia in 1928, knighted the same year, and in 1935 became the Governor of New South Wales during which time he was created 1st Baron Gowrie. In 1936 he was appointed Governor-General of Australia a postition he held until 1944, when he became Viscount Gowrie.
Lord Gowrie joined Freemasonry during his time in Scotland whilst serving with the HLI, been initiated into Lodge St. Andrews Military No.668 in Hamilton. When he arrived in Adelaide he was offered the Grand Master of SA although he could not accept as he was not a Past Master. In 1930 he was installed as RWM of Lodge United Service No. 275, and installed as the Grand Master of SA a few days before. He later became the Grand Master of N.S.W.
Earl Douglas Haig 1861 - 1928
Douglas Haig was born on June 19, 1861, in Edinburgh, Scotland. He was a graduate of the Royal Military College at Sandhurst, and he fought in the Sudan (1888) and in the Boer War (1899–1902). In World War I he won fame as the commander of the British 1st Army (1914–15), and in December 1915 he succeeded Sir John French as commander of the British forces in France.
His family were the Haig whisky distillers and he joined Elgin's Lodge at Leven No.91 which was near to their Cameron Bridge distillery. It was discovered later in 1920 by the then Earl of Elgin, that Earl Haig had joined the Lodge when an undergraduate and had not gone through his 3rd degree. A date was arranged for him to receive the degree and he went on to become Master of the Lodge. When he died he was the Senior Grand Warden, he is buried in Dryburgh Abbey next to Sir Walter Scott.
Sir Augustus Harris 1852 - 1896
In the 1880's, the most popular form of entertainment throughout the country was the Music Hall, and probably the most famous of all impresarios at that time was Augustus Harris. Harris. 'Gus' Harris took over the lease of the famous Drury Lane Theatre in 1879 which had been staging operas and pageants and transformed it with a wide variety of spectacular shows ever to be seen on the London stage. As the manager of Drury Lane, Harris introduced the first stars of the popular Music Hall into his productions, and created the lavish productions that popularised the genre, forcing managements not just in London, but around the country to ensure that every town had at least one, if not two Pantomimes running every Christmas season. Augustus Harris is known as the 'Father of Modern Pantomime.'
He had been initiated into Freemasonry into the Lodge St Clair No. 349 in Edinburgh and received all three degrees in one evening. The Drury Lane Lodge No.2127 EC was founded by Augustus Harris, the Warrant which had been granted on the 10th November, 1885 was personally signed by the then Grand Master, The Prince of Wales, who was later to become King Edward VII.
Augustus Harris was appointed the Grand Treasurer for The Grand Lodge of England in 1890, and was knighted in 1891.
Jack Johnson 1878 - 1946
John (Jack) Johnson was the first black man to win the heavyweight boxing championship of the World defeating Canadian Tommy Burns in 1908. Jack Johnson received bad publicity by the press for his two marriages, both to Caucasian women. Due to the racist attitudes of the times, interracial marriages were prohibited in most of America. Johnson was convicted in 1912 of violating the Mann Act by transporting his wife across state lines before their marriage and was sentenced to a year in prison. While out on appeal Jack Johnson escaped fearing for his safety. Posing as a member of a black baseball team, he fled to Canada and later Europe. Jack Johnson remained a fugitive for seven years. He visited Scotland in 1911 and was initiated into Lodge Forfar and Kincardine No.225 in Dundee whilst still the World Champion, however this would cause eruptions in Dundee, the Grand Lodge of Scotland and in America. For a full report about Jack Johnson and his entry into Scottish Freemasonry, click here.
John Paul Jones 1747 - 1792
John Paul was born at Arbigland, Kirkbean, Kirkcudbright, Scotland, 6 July 1747. Apprenticed to a merchant at age 13, he went to sea in the brig Friendship to learn the art of seamanship. At 21, he received his first command, the brig John.
John Paul was made a mason in St, Bernard Kilwinning Lodge No. 122, now St. Cuthbert Kilwinning Lodge No. 41 Kirkcudbright on the 27th November 1770.
After several successful years as a merchant
skipper in the West Indies trade, John Paul emigrated to the British colonies in
North America and there added "Jones" to his name. At the outbreak of the
American Revolution, Jones was in Virginia. He cast his lot with the rebels, and
on 7 December 1775, he was commissioned first lieutenant in the Continental
Navy, serving aboard Esek Hopkins' flagship Alfred.
Edmund Kean 1787 - 1833
Edmund Kean was regarded as the greatest actor of his time. It is said that he was the only actor who could fill the Drury Land theatre which could seat 3,000. Although born in England he was a frequent visitor to Scotland where he enjoyed the quiet of the Isle of Bute, where he could escape from his life of scandals and his many over indulgences!
It was during one of his many trips to Scotland that saw him join Lodge St. Mark's No.102 in Glasgow.
Alexander Keith 1795 - 1873
Alexander Keith was born on October 5, 1795, at Halkirk on the River Thurso, six miles from the town of Thurso in Caithness. His Father was a highly respected farmer and Chief of the Clan Keith. After receiving a liberal education he proceeded, in 1812 at the age of seventeen, to Sunderland, England, then the center of the brewing trade in Northern England, where he was placed under the instruction of his uncle to learn the brewing and malting business. Five years later Keith migrated to Halifax in Canada, where he became a Master brewer, and In 1820 Mr. Keith purchased a business and brewed strong ales, porter, ginger wine, table and spruce beer.
Keith joined freemasonry in the year 1816 in Sunderland in Lodge of St. John No. 118, and on his arrival in Halifax affiliated in Virgin Lodge No. 2. In 1819 exalted to the Holy Royal Arch Degree in Royal Union Chapter and was subsequently appointed Grand Superintendent of R.A. Masonry for Nova Scotia. In Chivalric Masonry Sir Knight Keith held the important position of M.E. Grand High Priest He was Treasurer of Virgin Lodge from 1824 thru 1829 and again from 1831 thru 1843 as well as Master of Virgin Lodge from 1834 thru 1838 and served as Master again in 1845. In 1839, he was chosen to become Provincial Grand Master for Nova Scotia and in 1846 his jurisdiction was extended to the Province of New Brunswick and the Islands of Prince Edward and Newfoundland. In 1843 the Grand Lodge of Scotland also appointed R.W. Bro. Keith Provincial Grand Master over the Scottish Lodges in the Maritimes. Following the union of the District Grand Lodge and the Grand Lodge of Nova Scotia in 1869 he was elected Grand Master by an unanimous vote and re-elected in each of the following years, serving until his death in 1873.
During the Civil War in the United States (1861 - 1865), many Halifax families took the side of the South. Business interests in the capital city were closely associated with the South. Tradition has it that the Hon. Alexander Keith on more than one occasion assisted southern raiders, captured off the port, to escape when they were being landed. A ship called the "Tallahassee" was reported to have been out of North Carolina and believed to have destroyed fifty-four federal vessels. Her arrival at Halifax was reported to the United States authorities by telegraph. It was added in the telegram, that she was formerly the blockade runner "Atlanta" and would probably make sail during the night. A letter was discovered from a Confederate Agent to Alexander Keith, for a shipment of a thousand muskets to Halifax and that Keith had recently written to New York to order a compass, which was intended for the "Tallahassee", and three thousand Barrels of Pork. Was Grand Master the Hon., Alexander Keith a Confederate Spy?
Sir Harry Lauder 1870 - 1950
The 'Laird of the Music Hall' Harry Lauder was born in Portobello near Edinburgh in 1870. He was probably the most famous entertainer of his period, he toured the world for forty years including 22 times to the U.S.A., Sir Winston Churchill referred to Harry as “Scotland’s greatest ever ambassador”. Harry was the first British entertainer to sell a million records and was a favourite of King Edward VII and an intimate friend of the famous tea magnate Sir Thomas Lipton, amongst others. In 1917 he established the Harry Lauder Million Pound Fund for maimed men, Scottish soldiers and sailors, as a result of his war work Lauder was made a knight of the British Empire in 1919.
Harry Lauder entered Freemasonry in 1897, joining Lodge Dramatic No.571 in Glasgow. He was also a member of the Bohemian Lodge No. 3294, EC, which met in Birkenhead.
Sir Thomas Lipton 1850 - 1931
Thomas Lipton was born in Glasgow, and at the age of 14 was a stowaway on a ship bound for America. In 1870, Thomas returned to Glasgow, and four years later opened his own shop. By the time he was thirty, Lipton ran a chain of grocery shops, moved his headquarters to London, and was a millionaire. He demonstrated a keen sense of advertising and marketing that would help him live up to his ambition to put a Lipton shop in every Scottish town. Lipton became a household name through innovation in the tea business. At a time when tea was shipped and sold in bulk, Lipton developed tea bags, thus insuring consistency and freshness for tea consumers. He also sold different blends to different countries, to make up for variations in water from region to region, and managed to lower the cost of tea with greater efficiency of production. A keen yachtsman, he had 5 attempts in the America's cup, failing each time.
Thomas Lipton was initiated into Lodge Scotia No.178 in 1870 and when he died in 1931, he was the oldest member on the rolls of the Lodge. Lipton left much of his fortune to the City of Glasgow, to help the poor and to build hospitals.
Jimmy Logan OBE 1928 - 2001
Entertainer and actor. Born James Short in Glasgow into a theatrical family. His parents were the music hall act Short and Dalziel, his aunt (from whom he took his surname) was Ella Logan star of Broadway musicals and his sister jazz singer Annie Ross. Jimmy Logan was known as one of the greatest ever Scottish entertainers, and his career spanned more than six decades made him a household name as an actor, musician, singer, comedian and theatrical entrepreneur. As an actor he won critical acclaim in plays Death of a Salesman and The Entertainer as did his many television performances. In his later years he won praise for his portrayal of Sir Harry Lauder in his one-man show. But for many, Jimmy will be best remembered as a panto star.
Jimmy Logan joined Lodge Anima No. 1223 in Glasgow in 19??(1223)
Neil Munro 1863 - 1930
Neil Munro was a Scottish journalist, newspaper editor, author and literary critic. He was born in Inverarary and moved to Glasgow in 1881 working as a journalist on various newspapers, eventually becoming chief reporter on the Evening News in 1888.
He was basically a serious writer, but is now mainly known for his humorous short stories, originally written under the pen name of Hugh Foulis. (It seems that he was not making a serious attempt to disguise his identity, but wanted to keep his serious and humorous writings separate.) The best known were about the fictional Clyde Puffer the Vital Spark and her captain Para Handy, (see Duncan Macrae below) but they also included stories about the waiter and Kirk Beadle Erchie MacPherson, and the travelling drapery salesman Jimmy Swan.
Munro went on to achieve worldwide fame. In his prime he was editor of the Glasgow Evening News and was generally regarded as being a senior figure in contemporary Scottish criticism and a dominating presence in Scottish letters. He wrote on European art, Glasgow policies and the Highlands, providing a first hand commentary on the Scottish social situation.
Neil Munro was made an Entered Apprentice in Inverarary St John Masonic Lodge No 50 on 1st August 1890. (Neil Munro Society)
Alistair McCoist MBE 1962 -
'Ally' McCoist was born in Belshill and is a former professional footballer. He played for St.Johnstone, Sunderland, Rangers and Killmarnock. During his time at Rangers from 1983 to 1998 he won 10 League Championship medals, 1 Scottish Cup medal, and 9 League Cup medals. He played as a striker finding the net 355 times to become Rangers all time leading goalscorer, and gained 61 International caps playing for Scotland. He has won the European Golden Boot twice, in 1992 and 1993, and was involved in sports TV presenting, along with the sports quiz, 'A Question of Sport'. He is currently the manager with Glasgow Rangers football club.
Alistair McCoist was initiated into Lodge Thorntree 512 in Thornliebank, Glasgow in 1984, the same year he scored a hat-trick for Rangers in the Scottish League Cup final against Celtic! (512)
Sir John Alexander MacDonald 1815 - 1891
John Alexander MacDonald was born in Glasgow in 1815, at the age of 5 his family emigrated to Canada and settled in Kingston, Ontario. A lawyer by profession he entered politics aged 29 and by 1857 he was the premier of Upper Canada. Throughout the 1860s, Macdonald worked in support of the Confederation movement and was appointed the first Prime Minister of Canada in 1867 until 1873 and is known as the 'Father of the Confederation.' He was again elected Prime Minister in 1878 dying in office in 1891.
John Alexander MacDonald was initiated into Freemasonry in 1844 in St. John's Lodge No. 5, Kingston Ontario. He would later become the Honorary Past Grand Senior Warden, Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario.
Duncan Macrae 1905 - 1967
Duncan Macrae is probably better known for his rendition of "A wee cock sparra" which he frequently gave on television at hogmanay during the 1950's and 60's. Born in Glasgow he was an early member of the Citizen's theatre company and went on to play parts in many classic Scottish films, such as Whisky Galore, Tunes of Glory, Greyfriars Bobby, Kidnapped, Geordie and many more. His repertoire was such that he could play from classics to comedy both on stage and screen playing such diverse parts as Para Handy in the first the BBC comedy of Para Handy - Master Mariner, to Bridadier General Sir Ian Stuart-Bollinger in an episode of The Avengers. Duncan Macrae was probably one of Scotland's finest comedy actors.
Duncan Macrae was a member of Lodge Maryhill No.510 in Glasgow. (510)
John Loudon McAdam 1756 - 1836
John Loudon McAdam was born in Ayr, Scotland in Lady Cathcart's house in the Sandgate, on September 21, 1756. He went to New York when he was 16, when the Revolutionary War came John Loudon served in the British reserves and was a government contractor engaged in the sale of war prizes arising out of the War.
On his return to Scotland in 1783 MacAdam purchased an estate at Sauchrie, Ayrshire, and started experimenting with a new method of road construction. When he was appointed surveyor to the Bristol Turnpike Trust in 1816 he remade the roads under his control with crushed stone bound with gravel on a firm base of large stones. A camber, making the road slightly convex, ensured the rainwater rapidly drained off the road and did not penetrate the foundations. This way of building roads later became known as the Macadamized system.
It was probably during his time in America that McAdam was made a Mason, his contemporaries were all prominent Masons. However it is known that he was very active as a mason in Scotland.
Robert Gordon McBeath VC 1899 - 1922
No 240171 Lance Corporal Robert McBeath, from Kinlochbervie, Sutherland, 1/5th Seaforth Highlanders (Ross-shire Buffs, Duke of Albany's) was awarded the Victoria Cross for gallantry at Cambrai, France, on 20 November 1917 for single handedly capturing an emplacement of five machine guns during the battle of the Somme, in Cambrai France, on November 20, 1917.
Robert McBeath was initiated into freemasonry in Lodge St. Mary's Caledonian Operative No.339 Inverness on July 12th 1919.
In 1921 after emigrating to Canada he joined the Vancouver Police Force, and a year later on October 9th, 1922, he was shot at close range while apprehending a criminal dying shortly after.
Kenneth McKellar 1927 - 2010
Kenneth McKellar grew up in Paisley, where his father owned a grocery shop. As a child he was enraptured by the ‘great' singers: “I thought Peter Dawson, the Australian baritone, was wonderful," McKellar commented. "He had the kind of voice that could be identified within the first four bars." He recalls his parents taking him to a concert in St Andrew's Hall in Glasgow where he was enthralled by the Italian tenor Gigli.
McKellar attended Aberdeen University and it was there, while working for a Science degree for a career in Scottish Forestry, that he joined the student choir and showed for the first time his special talent for singing. Later, a Caird Scholarship (1949) would take him to the Royal College of Music in London for four years, but his aim in the early years lay in a life outdoors in the Highlands. After graduation he joined the Scottish Forestry Commission and took part in a research and survey programme of the woodlands of the British Isles; it was then he picked up a love of Scottish folklore. He attended Gaelic classes at night and learned the songs of the Hebrides.
In 1952 he made a private recording for his parents (apparently because his tonsils were being removed and he wanted his voice recorded in case anything went awry). The engineer was so impressed that he sent a copy to “Parlophone” which resulted in the marketing of 8 10" shellac sides.
He attended the Royal College of Music where he won the Henry Leslie singing prize. Among his contemporaries were Joan Sutherland and the future founder of Scottish Opera Alexander Gibson. From there, he moved to the Carl Rosa Opera Company. He joined the chorus but was given an opportunity to sing the opening aria from ‘Barber of Seville'. Impressed they offered him a principal tenor's contract. He toured with the company for two seasons (1953-4) but didn't really like the environment of opera.
The following year he left opera for good and signed with “Decca” with which he remained for over 25 years making 30+ albums. He also raised his profile around the world, beginning a series of North American tours (1959), appearing in concerts in Germany and France , and touring South Africa .
The next year he made
the first of fifteen tours of Australia and New Zealand with a company that
included the internationally famous Scottish accordionist Jimmy Shand. TV
companies in Scotland were keen to promote him and he remained a dominant artist
on the small screen for many years.
In 1966, McKellar represented Britain in the Eurovision Song Contest, singing ‘A man without love'.
Kenneth McKellar was a member of Lodge Renfrew County Kilwinning No. 370 in Paisley, which he joined in 1962.
Alexander Nasmyth 1758 - 1840
Perhaps the most famous of all the paintings of Robert Burns is the one that hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh by Alexander Nasmyth. Born in the Grassmarket in Edinburgh in 1758. As a youth he travelled to London to become an apprentice to Allan Ramsay, the Scottish Van Dyke. After a brief period in Italy, he returned to Edinburgh and set up business as a portrait painter.
Nasmyth later turned away from painting portraits and became an important painter of Scottish Landscapes, becoming known as "the father of Scottish Landscape painting.
Burns met Nasmyth during his time in Edinburgh and the two became great friends, they visited Roslin Chapel and went on many walks together sharing the same love of nature.
Alexander Nasmyth like many of his contemporises at the time was a member of Cannongate Kilwinning No.2.
Sir Walter Scott 1771 - 1832
Walter Scott was born in Edinburgh, the author of the 'Waverly' novels, Rob Roy, Guy Mannering, The Lady of the Lake, the Antiquary and many many others, is probably Scotland's most famous novelist.
In 1818, Scott helped instigate the discovery of the Scottish Royal Regalia (the crown and sceptre from the reign of James V), which had been hidden in a room of Edinburgh Castle since the Union of the Crowns.
Walter Scott joined Lodge St. David's No.36 Edinburgh in 1801.
The gothic Scott monument in Princes Street Edinburgh was inaugurated in 1846.
Sir Jimmy Shand MBE, MA 1908 - 2000
Jimmy Shand was born in East Wemyss, Fife, on January 28th, 1908. Jimmy's first musical instrument was the moothie or mouth organ, before his father, himself a skilled melodeon player, taught him to play at an early age, and when the 14-year old had to leave school to go down the mineshafts, he played his melodeon at social events, weddings, and competitions. In his mid-twenties, Jimmy started a job in a music shop in Dundee and switched to the chromatic button-key accordion, the instrument he stuck with for the rest of his life.
In 1955 he recorded the hit single "Bluebell Polka" which reached number 20 in the charts and earned him an appearance on a BBC television "Pop Music" programme. He went on to sell millions of records during a musical career spanning more than 70 years. In 1999 he received a knighthood for his services to Scottish culture at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh by Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales
Jimmy was truly a very rare Scottish national treasure. A statue in his memory has been erected in his adopted town of Auchtermuchty in Fife. There is a commemorative plaque on the statue which has an inscription that should be familiar to all Scottish Freemasons;
"Happy to meet, sorry to part,
Jimmy Shand was a member of Lodge Robert De Bruce No. 304 Ladybank, Fife. (J.S. jnr)
Walter Smith 1948 -
Walter Smith OBE (born 24 February 1948) is a Scottish football manager. His most recent club was at Scottish Premier League club Rangers. Smith had a relatively modest playing career, consisting of two spells with Dundee United which was split by a short time at Dumbarton.
A pelvic injury meant he moved in to coaching at Dundee United under Jim McLean and he also took charge of Scotland's under-18 and under-21 teams. Smith was also assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson at the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico after it had been announced that he would be moving to Rangers as assistant to Graeme Souness.
In 1991 Smith became the manager of Rangers, he won 21 major honours in two spells at the club, including ten league titles, and guiding the team to the UEFA Cup final in 2008. Smith is the second most successful manager in the history of Rangers behind Bill Struth. In 1998 he left Rangers and managed Premier League club Everton for four seasons, but was sacked in 2002. Smith was later appointed Scotland manager in 2004 after a brief stint as assistant manager to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. He presided over a revival in the national team's fortunes, taking Scotland seventy places up the FIFA World Rankings, before returning to Rangers in 2007. He won eight of his trophies with the club during this time, before leaving in 2011.
Walter Smith is a member of Lodge St. George No.503 Helensburgh.(242)
Jock Stein 1922 - 1985
Jock Stein was arguably the greatest club manager in Scotland with Celtic FC. Born in Burbank in Lanarkshire he went down the coal mines to earn a living as a miner but football was to become his escape from the black hole in the ground. Jock Stein played football for Blantyre Vics, Albion Rovers, Dundee United, Llanelli Town and finally Celtic. Forced to retire playing from constant ankle injuries, Jock coached the reserves and youth teams.
In 1960 Jock Stein became the manager of Dunfermline Athletic FC and guided them to their first ever Scottish Cup win in 1961. After 4 years he left to become the manager of Hibernian but the lure of Celtic was too much and the following year in 1965 he became the manager of Celtic FC. Celtic football club had not won a trophy for the eight years previous, but six weeks after taking charge, Stein led Celtic to Scottish Cup success.
Jock Stein's achievements in football are legendary, he won 6 Scottish league cups, 10 Scottish league championships, 9 Scottish cups and the European Cup, which prompted that famous quote from the great Bill Shankly, "Jock, your immortal now."
He recovered from a serious car crash in 1975 and when he returned to Celtic both Jock Stein and his beloved Celtic were not the same. He left in 1978 and took up the post of Manager of Leeds United, but after only 45 days the call from the Scotland nation team came and Jock resigned to take the position as Scotland manager.
On September 10th 1985 during a World Cup qualifying game with Wales at Ninian Park, Cardiff, Jock Stein suffered a heart attack and died.
Jock Stein joined Lodge Major Ness No.948 in Burnbank, Hamilton during the early part of his life, but understandably because of his football commitments he could not attend his Mother Lodge as regularly as he would have wished.
David Watson Stevenson 1842 - 1904
One of Scotland's most accomplished sculptors, David Watson Stevenson was born in the village of Ratho, 5 miles to the west of Edinburgh. Stevenson trained at the Trustee's school, Edinburgh and was an apprentice in the studio of the sculptor William Brodie (1815-81).
After winning a South Kensington National Prize for a statuette of the Venus de Milo, he completed his studies in Rome and returned to assist Sir John Steell on the Prince Albert Monument, Edinburgh, for which he executed the groups representing Science and Learning (1865-76).
Perhaps his best known work is the bronze statute of William Wallace at the Wallace Monument near Stirling situated 30 feet off the ground and standing 15 feet tall. He also sculpted all but two of the marble busts in the 'Hall of Heroes.' What is not well-known, is that there is an exact replica of the statute in Druid's Hill park in Baltimore, USA.
David Watson Stevenson was initiated into Freemasonry in Lodge Dramatic and Arts in Edinburgh, and after receiving honorary membership of Lodge Kirknewton and Ratho No. 85 in 1889, he presented to the Lodge, busts of Sir Walter Scott and Robert Burns. (ratho history)
John McDouall Stuart 1815 - 1866
John McDouall Stuart was born in 1815 in Dysart in Fife. After leaving school he graduated as a civil engineer and at the age of 23 he left Scotland for South Australia settling in Adelaide.
Although not well known in his native land, Stuart was probably the greatest inland explorer of Australia and is well recognised as that. In 1862 he became the first man to reach the centre of Australia and the first to cross the continent.
His name is remembered in Australia by the Stuart highway linking Adelaide to Darwin, Central Mount Stuart the geographical centre of Australia is named after him, and Alice Springs was first named 'Stuart' after him. In fact Lodge 219 in Alice Springs is named Lodge John McDouall Stuart. Stuart was a member of Lodge Truth No.8 in Adelaide joining in 1860 just before his historic expedition. There is a statute of him in Adelaide and each year a wreath is laid at it in remembrance of him.
Thomas Telford 1757 - 1834
Thomas Telford was born the son of a shepherd near Langholm in the Scottish Borders. At the age of 14 he became an apprentice stonemason in Edinburgh. In 1782 Telford moved to London to work on Somerset House and in 1784 he was managing the construction works at Portsmouth Dockyard. In 1788, he was appointed Surveyor of Public Works in Shropshire. He returned to Scotland in 1790 to survey harbours and piers on behalf of the British Fisheries Society, for whom he had designed Ullapool in 1788, but by 1793 was back in Shropshire, building the Ellsmere Canal. Telford's works can be seen all over Europe: they include a canal in the English midlands, canal tunnels in the north country, the Gota Canal in Sweden; St. Katherine Docks in London and roads that opened up the Scottish Highlands. If any Scot made a difference to countless generations, it surely was Thomas Telford. His work in improving highways and bridges, canals and road made much of the Industrial Revolution possible.
Thomas Telford was an active Freemason, and whilst it is not certain in which Lodge he was initiated, the Phoenix Lodge No. 257 in Portsmouth is probably the Lodge he first saw light. He later joined Lodge Salopian No. 525 in 1788 and would hold the position of Senior Warden, and later become the Lodge treasurer. Cannongate Kilwinning is probably the lodge he was most associated with, although in 1786 whilst in Portsmouth he states, 'he is taking great delight in Freemasonry, and is about to have a lodge-room at the George Inn fitted up after his plans and under his direction.' (MQ)