THE BRETHERN of the Ancient Lodge of Forfar Kilwinning are gearing up to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the granting of their charter.
On Saturday, April 20, the brethern will welcome the Depute Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Scotland along with two past substitute Grand Masters, the Grand Lodge Wardens, the Grand Chaplain and six other Grand Lodge office bearers including local man James Farquhar, Grand Steward, to re-dedicate the lodge.
The meeting will also be attended by the Provincial Grand Master of Forfarshire together with Freemasons from all over Scotland and England.
Just a few weeks ago members of the Ancient Lodge of Forfar Kilwinning found a page from an old minute book of ‘The Society of the Freemason’s Lodge of Dundee’ dated December 27, 1735. On the page is a record of “Brother D. Nevay of the Lodge of Forfar” - the oldest proof of the Lodge’s existence. Now that the Lodge is known to be at least 278 years old it is recognised as one of the earliest lodges.
The anniversary will be another landmark for masons in Forfar.
On May 11, 1871, the foundation stone was laid at the Sheriff Court House in Forfar.
Present on the day were the Provost, Baillies, Magistrates and local dignitaries, including the Earl of Strathmore, to greet and welcome the Grand Master Mason of Scotland.
The Grand Master was being given the Freedom of the Royal Burgh of Forfar.
Immediately after the proceedings in the County Hall were concluded, the Grand Master, accompanied by members of the Grand Lodge of Freemasons of Scotland and others, opened the Lodge in preparation of members proceeding to the new Sheriff Court House.
Meanwhile, the deputations from the various lodges from distant towns assembled at the Market Muir where they were arranged in processional order by the Grand Marshall according to their seniority on the roll.
There were no less than 700 brethern involved.
Thousands filled the streets to see the procession while many more went to the Market Muir to see the gathering of the lodges.
The procession of around three to four thousand people was said to have been very picturesque.
On reaching the courthouse the procession was joined by the Grand Lodge where they all proceeded to the new Sheriff Court.
Once they arrived the ceremony of the foundation stone took place. In the cavity of the lower stone was the Valuation Roll for the County, the Register of Voters, copied of all the County newspapers, Rodger’s Almanac, Roll of the Public Officials and all the current coins of the realm.
When the ceremony was over the procession reformed and proceeded through the town to the site of the Reid Hall.
Here the Hall was presented to the town by Brother Peter Reid who was also made a Freeman of the Burgh.
A spokesman for the Ancient Lodge of Forfar Kilwinning said: “Many years ago the banner headlines read ‘A Great Day for Masonry in Forfar’ carrying a full report on the new Sheriff Court buildings. We hope that April 20 will be another great day for masonry in Forfar.”
The members of the lodge extend a warm invitation to the people of the town to join them in a nondenominational service at St. John’s Church of Sunday, April 28, at 2.30 p.m. to celebrate the anniversary event.