About Lodge 272
In the Beginning...
Free Masonry started in Mid Calder between the years 1700ce and 1710ce, under the patronage of Lord Torphichen. The Lodge would meet at the old house standing at the north end of Bridgend on the Pumpherston grond; Meetings were held there for some time before being moved to Calder Bank, previously tenanted by J. B. Sneddon, Esq.
At this moment in history King William III (till 1702ce) and then Queen Anne were on the throne of England, Scotland and Ireland, the kingdoms on Scotland and England were united (in 1707ce)
The Lodge continued to be held in Mid Calder until 1734ce, when the Brethren from the west becoming more numerous, it was agreed to move the Lodge to Livingston Kirk. Where it continued to be held for the next ten years, when in 1744ce the Brethren from the east of Livingston Kirk growing fewer, it was agreed for the convenience of the Brethren to hold the Lodge one year at Livingston Kirk and two years at Bathgate, and on St. John's Day, 1754ce, it was agreed by the Lodge that if the Brethren from the east did not prove more numerous than the Brethren from the north and west of Livingston Kirk, for three succeeding years that the Lodge should move entirely to Bathgate.
Accordingly on St. John's Day, 1757ce, on the Roll being called there was only one Member present from the east of Livingston Kirk, all the rest of the Members being from the west and north, when the agreement was at once put into force, and the Lodge moved to Bathgate the same day, where it took, and still holds the title of Torphichen-Kilwinning, No. 13 on the roll of the Grand Lodge of Scotland.
Between 1757ce and 1800ce no meetings were held in Mid Calder, however the population of Mid Calder was growing at a extraordinary rate (from 760 people in 1755ce to 1251 in 1793ce) and at the turn of the 19th Century Masonic meetings once again took place consisting of those Masons resident in Mid Calder district. These brethren decided to apply for a new charter, and some time afterwards the present Lodge St John Mid Calder No. 272 was formed.
There is still a Jewel, The Mallet (Senior Deacon), of the original Lodge in use to the present day in Mid Calder. It had probably been in the hands of an East of Livingston Kirk Mason when the Lodge moved to Bathgate.
The Formation of the Lodge
In the early years of the 19th Century King George III (1760ce-1820ce) was on the Throne of Great Britain and Ireland.
Just 35 years before in 1783ce Britain has lost the 13 Colonies in North America which were now called the United States of America.
The Napoleonic Wars had ended at the Battle of Waterloo just 3 years before.
On 18th February, 1818ce at a Meeting of Free and Accepted Masons of Mid Calder held in Kippens Inn (which is called the Torphichen Arms Hotel today) it was unanimously agreed to petition the Grand Lodge of Scotland to grant them a Charter with the usual privileges and to enter into a Subscription to defray the Expenses.
William Kippen (Senior.)
An answer to the petition was received from the Secretary of Grand Lodge of Scotland on the 5th May, authorising the aforementioned Brethren to proceed with their Masonic Labours.
Having met they proceeded to the Election of Office-Bearers. The under mentioned were accordingly unanimously elected:
Thomas Fraser - Master
John Trotter - Depute Master
John Lawrie - Senior Warden
Thomas Falconer - Junior Warden
David Secular - Treasurer
Thomas Bauchope - Secretary
It is not recorded which Mother Lodges our first office bearers came from but considering the difficulties in travelling great distances in those days it is fair to assume that they were from Torphican Kilwinning 13 in Bathgate or Kirknewton & Ratho 85.
At this very first Meeting of Lodge St John Mid Calder eleven candidates were made Entered Apprentices. The first Masons made at Lodge St John Calder are listed in the right hand bar.
On 8th May, Brothers J. Robertson and George Smith, became our first Fellow Crafts and Master Masons. At the same Meeting J. Robertson agreed to serve as Tyler for Five Years on condition that he be passed and raised gratis, have half a guinea yearly, with such allowance of ammunition (ale) on Lodge nights as the Brethren should think proper, he at the same time to pay his Quarterly Account regularly.
The first honorary member of the Lodge was Brother John McLean Wood, Esq, who was a Lieutenant in the 90th Light Infantry. He was unanimously elected by the brethren on 19th November. A list of all the honourary membership given out by Lodge St John Mid Calder can be found here.
The first St. John's Day Meeting was held on 28th December, where Brother Thomas Fraser after successfully steering the lodge through its first year was again elected Right Worshipful Master.
So ended Lodge St John Mid Calder's first year.
During the lodges second year the following events were notable:
The Financial Statement on the 11th January, showed a balance of 19 pounds 7 shillings and 11 pence. Brothers T Brown and W Achen from Kirknewton and Ratho lodge were admitted as Honorary Members on 15th March at a meeting on 15th November it was agreed to have a meal and have a procession to celebrate St. John's day on 27th December, with music to be provided and a voluntary subscription asked for to defray the cost.
At the St John's Day meeting the Financial Statement showed a balance of 40 pounds 6 shillings and 2 pence, then lodge then authorised the sum of 40 pounds to be banked in the Banking House of Sir William Forbes & Co. of Edinburgh.