Provincial Grand Lodge of Ayrshire is 250 years old this year. The
Grand Lodge of Scotland, as most Brethren will be aware, was formed
in 1736, and three years later in 1739 Grand Lodge decided to appoint
Brethren to the position of Provincial Grand Master over several
large areas of Scotland. As noted from the Grand Lodge Of Scotland
Year Book of 1957 the first ever P.G.M. was -
Alexander Drunnond, who
was appointed P.G.M. for "Argyll, Clydesdale, Ayr, Dumbarton,
Renfrew and Stirling".
Drummand was succeeded by Brother Robert Hollison in 1747, who in
turn was succeeded by Brother George Murdoch in 1769. Brother Murdoch
was appointed to preside over 'Lanark, Renfrew, Ayr, Dumbarton and
Argyll' and he did so till 1795.
1795 till 1801 there was, as Grand Lodge officially calls it, an
'interregnum', which is an interval between reigns, and therefore
no-one presided over the Lodges In Ayrshire during that period.
1801 Brother William Campbell was appointed to preside over Ayrshire,
having been transferred from the Province of Dumfriesshire where
he had been P.G.M. for the period 1796-1801. Brother Campbell was
the principal overseer for Ayrshire until 1807 when he was succeeded
by Brother William Blair of Blair.
was the year that the Provincial Grand Lodge of Ayrshire was that
and that alone. The P.G.M. reigned over all the Lodges in Ayrshire
and nowhere else.
was also a very historic year for Scottish Freemasonry. During that
year an agreement was reached between the Grand Lodge and Lodge
Mother Kilwinning regarding Lodge Mother Kilwinning's place on the
Roll of the Grand Lodge. Space does not permit me to go into great
depth the numerous discussions which took place between these two
bodies but suffice it to say that Lodge Mother Kilwinning considered
itself to be, "The Heid Ludge of' Scotland' and held its belief's
with great trust in ancient Masonic documents called the "Schaw
Statutes" dated 1598 and 1599, which made reference to the
Kilwinning Lodge as such. However this was disputed by Lodge St.
Mary's Chapel of Edinburgh who likewise considered themselves to
be the oldest Lodge and desired to be recognised as the first Lodge
in Scotland. After much debating in Grand Lodge the Lodge of Kilwinning
decided that they could not achieve satisfaction with their Brethren
of Grand Lodge and subsequently withdrew from Grand Lodge in 1743.
It was not until 1807 that Lodge Mother Kilwinning came in from
the cold and became part of the Grand Lodge of Scotland again. This
decision was not taken lightly and several conditions were laid
before both bodies and had to be agreed upon before any re-union
would take place.
of the conditions was:
the R.W.M. of Lodge Mother Kilwinning would be IPSO FACTO the Provincial
Grand Master for Ayrshire".
was agreed upon and after several of the conditions were altered
on both sides, the agreement was signed and approved. This agreement
is referred to as "The 1807 Agreement".
1807 until 1983 this agreement was accepted by all concerned. However,
in 1983, and only after a long time on the floor of Grand Lodge,
this agreement was overwritten and a new one was reached between
Grand Lodge, Lodge Mother Kilwinning and the other Lodges of the
Province of Ayrshire. This new agreement led to the formation of
The Provincial Grand Lodge of Kilwinning with its own P.G.M. and
the P.G.M. for Ayrshire was to be the overseer of all the Lodges
in Ayrshire, without having any connection whatsoever with Lodge
Mother Kilwinning. The 45th P.G.M. was Brother Thomas Armour McCall
who presided over the Mother Lodge as Master, and the P.G. Lodge
as P.G.M, from 1977 - 1983, and so ended a unique reign of distinguished
brethren who had held both honoured positions simultaneously from
1807-1983, a period of 170 years.
John Weir, as the next P.G.M. of Ayrshire, was the first to be elected
and appointed under the terms and conditions of what is now referred
to as the "1983 Amendment to the 1807 Agreement". On Friday the 11 November
1983, he was Installed into Office and received his Commission at
the hands of the then Most Worshipful Grand Master Mason of Scotland
Brother Sir James Wilson MacKay.
Weir was succeeded in 1988 by our present P.G.M. Brother Adam Cunningham.
Brother Adam was Installed into Office and received his Commission
from the Most Worshipful Grand Master Mason Brother James Malcalm
Marcus Humphrey of Dinnet, on Saturday the 12th of November. The
M.W.G.M.M. had conducted the affairs of Grand Lodge during the last
five years and had the special Honour of presiding over the 250th
Anniversary Celebrations of Grand Lodge in 1986. It seems to me
to be quite appropriate that he should be the Brother to send the
P.G.M, and the Province of Ayrshire into our 250th Anniversary.
aforementioned remarks are given purely as an informative sketch
as to the various changes which have taken place with regards to
the government of the Lodges In Ayrshire since the formation of
Grand Lodge. They are not in any way meant to be derogatory to any
one of the bodies concerned.
A. Chalmers, PM 127, Provincial Grand Almoner.