RWPGM Bro. William C Steel



The Provincial Grand Lodge of Ayrshire enjoyed an informal visit by the Grand Lodge of Scotland on Saturday 2 July 2011. Following the visit by the MWGMM last May the PGM Brother Archibald Chalmers, extended a cordial invitation for him to return and witness a Ceremony being conducted within the historic Barr Castle Galston, home of Lodge St Peter No.331. The invite being readily accepted plans were set afoot to have the Lodge Confer the Mark Master Mason Degree and also to formally open the new Walled Garden attached to the Castle. the day arrived with a glorious amount of sunshine and a well filled Lodge Room. RWM Brother Liam Stewart welcomed the members and visitors to the meeting followed by a Deputation from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Ayrshire consisting of RWPGM, Brother William. Raeside SPGM, Brother Drew Rankine SPGM, Brother Duncan Fenwick SPGW and Brother Ian McBreen JPGW.
A Deputation from The Grand Lodge of Scotland was then admitted consisting of the MWGMM Brother Charles Iain Robert Wolrige Gordon of Esslemont, RW Brother David Begg Grand Secretary, RW Brother James Bell, Grand Treasurer (acting Grand DoC), Brother Stuart Muirhead Grand Steward and Brother William Pettigrew Grand Steward. The RWM and Brethren of the Lodge thereafter advanced Brother Thomas Angus Nesbitt to the honorable Degree of Mark Master Mason. After the Lodge Meeting was closed the assembled brethren adjourned to the Walled Garden attached to the Castle and the MWGMM formally declared it open by unveiling a commemorative stone. The Deputy Provost of East Ayrshire Mr John Campbell and Local Councillor Mr Stuart Finlayson, were also present as invited guests. To complete a memorable day everyone in attendance enjoyed a Dinner in the Barr Castle Social Club. Donations were made to The Grand Lodge of Scotland, The Provincial Grand Lodge of Ayrshire and the Provost Fund by the Lodge (amounting to £700) The RWPGM announced that since February 2008 the Freemasons of Ayrshire had Donated £258,000 to Charity with two-thirds going to non-Masonic Charities. In keeping with custom the event closed with the singing of Auld Lang Syne and the National Anthem.
Most Worshipful Grand Master Mason Brother Charles Ian Robert Wolrige Gordon of Esslemont and Grand Secretary Brother David M. Begg, accompanied by the RWPGM Brother Archibald Chalmers, visited Lodge St James (Kilwinning) Tarbolton No.135 and were welcomed by the RWM of the Lodge Brother William Lindsay on Saturday 22nd May 2010. Also present at the Lodge were a number of Brethren from the Daughter Lodges with whom the Grand Master had the pleasure of speaking to individually. The party were given a most informative talk, by PM John Shirkie, on the association that Tarbolton and the Lodge had with Robert Burns.
Afterwards they enjoyed a tour of the museum which contains many artefacts from Burns' day. During the visit the Lodge provided some excellent hospitality to everyone present. Before leaving the Lodge the RWM presented to the Grand Master Mason several gifts to remind him of his visit both to Ayrshire and to the Lodge as well as a Donation to the Grand Lodge Benevolent Fund of £135. Brother David Fullarton, PM of Lodge The Bonnie Doon No.565 presented him with a hand crafted walking stick for which the GMM was extremely grateful. The party then visited the Bachelors Club which was also of great interest.
The group then travelled over to Galston where they were met at the Barr Castle by the RWM of Lodge St Peter No.331, Brother Steven Boylan. On entering the Barr Castle Bro. Tom Murray PM gave an interesting talk on the history of the Castle from its early days until it came into the possession of the Lodge.
A guided tour was greatly enjoyed by the Brethren present. All then went to the Barr Castle Social Club where they enjoyed the hospitality of the Lodge and the Grand Master spoke to all the Brethren including many from the Sister Lodges. Before leaving the Grand Master was presented with gifts of appreciation from the Lodge and also mementos of his visit. RWM Brother Steven Boylan expressed his pleasure of hosting the visit at Galston.
The group proceeded to the Broomhill Hotel in Kilmarnock where the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master hosted a private Dinner for the Most Worshipful Grand Master Mason, Grand Secretary and several others. More gifts were presented by the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master to both the honoured guests again in appreciation of their visit to Ayrshire.
The last port of call was to the Burns Monument Centre, Kay Park, Kilmarnock for the official launch of the book -- The Provincial Grand Lodge of Ayrshire --Extracts from the Minute Books 1890-2009. After welcoming those present, which numbered around 90, the RWPGM invited Mr Gerard Cairns of East Ayrshire Council Libraries, Bro. Jim MacLean PPGM of Lanarkshire Upper Ward, Bro. David Wilson PPGM of Kilwinning and Bro. Andrew Mushett from Anderson Printers to deliver short passages from the Book thereafter the Most Worshipful Grand Master Mason presented each Brother with a copy. Other invited Guests were Mr Bill Stafford, former Executive of East Ayrshire Council, Bro. David Bloomfield PGM of Kilwinning and Bro. Jim Blades PM Thistle No. 127. A fantastic evening.

All in all, Saturday 22 May 2010 was a Red Letter Day for Ayrshire Freemasons. I hope that the memories of the visit by the Grand Master Mason and the Book Launch will be treasured by many Brethren for a long time to come.

My personal and sincere thanks to everyone involved with the success of the day. All was much appreciated. A special thanks to Brother Jim Bell PM 1060, for escorting the Grand Master Mason and Grand Secretary around the Province.

The Provincial Grand Lodge of Ayrshire "Extracts from Minute Books 1890 - 2009" Compiled by A Chalmers

The book (pictured left) can be purchased directly from the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master or any of his Commissioned Office-Bearers at a cost of £15, signed copies will cost slightly more.

Published by William Anderson & Sons Ltd, the book is a high quality production in gloss paper, hard backed with a loose gloss cover measuring 15.5cms (6 ¼ ins) x 22cms (8 ¾ ins).

As well as the extraction of minutes from 9 minute books dating from 1890 till October 2009, there are also chapters covering some of the long and illustrious history of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Ayrshire, Past Provincial Grand Masters and a foreword from the Most Worshipful Grand Master Mason himself. Painful research has also reproduced lists of Dormant Lodges, Rolls of Honorary Rank, Commissioned Office Bearers and many more.

"This book is not to be considered a concise history of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Ayrshire. The compiler, whilst Provincial Grand Secretary, sought out the location of the minute books based on the reason that he had a responsibility for their safekeeping and when they were found he decided to read through them. In this book we have a compilation of events as recorded in the Minute Books over the past 120 years. Events that formed part of the social as well as Masonic history of the activities of Freemasons and Freemasonry in the Province of Ayrshire."


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