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Re: Information

If I may, let me first be clear regarding definitions.  The Lodge Edinburgh 
and Canongate and Leith were operative lodges, that is, made up of stone 
masons, but also accepted others who were not stone masons. Others, such as 
Cannongate Kilwinning, were accepted lodges, even though they did also have 
operative masons. 

In any case, the 1598 reference is to known minutes required as part of the 
Schaw statutes.  As noted by the following excerpt from the Grand Lodge of 
Scotland website, operative masonic lodges were active before that date:
"There is little doubt that in the 15th century craftsmen had real grievances 
with merchants, who hired their services, and the local town councils. With 
differing success they formed associations of their own which sometimes 
appeared to be so menacing that laws were passed restricting their 
activities. Notwithstanding these laws, by 1475, the Masons and Wrights of 
Edinburgh were strong enough to secure a 'Seal of Cause' or Charter from the 
city of Edinburgh authorities.  This created an Incorporation, roughly 
equivalent to an English Trade Guild, which laid down rules for the 
governance of the Craft. In 1489, Coopers were included and later other 
groups of tradesmen joined. These incorporations framed rules, resolved trade 
differences, dispensed charity and controlled entry to the trade. Such 
incorporations were not unusual in Scottish Burghs and most of the larger 
trades and crafts had an incorporation. Examples of such 'incorporated 
trades' include: Wobsters (weavers), Cordiners (shoemakers), Baxters 
(bakers), and Hammermen (metal workers). The essential difference between the 
craft of stone masonry and these other crafts and trades was that stones 
masons had another level of organisation - the Lodge. Thus we find, in 1491, 
that the Edinburgh authorities granted the masons the right 'to gett a 
recreation in the commoun luge'. This shows that masons used the Lodge for 
something much more than storing their working tools. The existence of Lodges 
in Scotland is known, therefore, from at least the 15th century but little 
can be said regarding the activities of masons. It is likely that Lodges were 
not organised on a rigid, formal, basis but that meetings were called as and 
when necessary. The reasons why another level of organisation was required 
raises many interesting questions.

In 1583, William Schaw was appointed by King James VI as Master of the Work 
and Warden General with the Commission of re-organising the Masonic craft.  
In 1598, he issued the first of the now famous Schaw Statutes which set out 
the duties of all members to the Lodge and to the public. It also imposed 
penalties for unsatisfactory work and inadequate safety during work. More 
importantly, for Freemasons today, Schaw drew up a second Statute in 1599. 
The importance of this document lies in the fact that it makes the first, 
veiled, reference to the existence of esoteric knowledge within the craft of 
stone masonry. It also reveals that The Mother Lodge of Scotland, Lodge 
Mother Kilwinning, No.0, was in existence, and active, at that time. The 
impact of these statutes was dramatic. His instructions, to all LODGES (not 
incorporations), that they must begin to keep written records, meet at 
specific times, test, annually, members in the 'Art of Memory' and enter 
apprentices in the Lodge records meant that Lodges became fixed, permanent, 
institutions. "

Consequently, it is clear there were lodges in existence in the 15th century. 
 As to whether Wm St Clair, builder of Rosslyn Chapel, was the GM of Masons, 
it has been indicated that a document exists at the Grand Lodge in Edinburgh 
stating such.  I have not seen that document.  It seems better established 
that in 1736 Sir Wm St Clair of Roslin resigned the hereditary position of 
Grand Master and was then elected GM of Scottish Freemasons.  

The "Scottish Rite" has no Scottish antecedents.  

Glen Cook

labehotierre@wanadoo.fr writes:

> dear Glen Cook
> Thank you for the links.  The lodges appear in date order as;
> Mother Kilwinning (Kilwinning)Before1598
> The Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary's Chapel) (Metropolitan)Before1598
> The Lodge of Melrose St John (Roxburgh, Peebles and Selkirk es)Before1598
> none appear as ancient how do we tie Earl Wiliam to them? John Lily 
> informed
> us of the formation in France by Jacobites of Scottish rite how does that
> relate to these lodges?

[ Excess quotations omitted. ]