History of Provincial Grand Lodge of Fife & Kinross

In 1945 as part of the bi-centenary celebrations of The Provincial Grand Lodge of Fife and Kinross, a book was produced which included a review of the annals of The Provincial Grand Lodge of Fife and Kinross. This book was compiled by Brother Alex Westwater, J.P., F.S.A. Scot., Past Master of Lodge Minto No. 385, assisted by the then Lord Bruce, now the Earl of Elgin and Kincardine.

The following brief history is taken almost exclusively from that document. It therefore lacks detail of the history that has occurred since 1945. Hopefully this can be remedied at some point in the future.

The early history of the craft of masonry in Scotland is still obscure but through the diligent research of many well-qualified people, both masons and non-masons, more and more light is being shed on our roots.

James I of Scotland (1406 – 1437) is credited with having patronised the mason craft and that, on his authority, a Grand Master was chosen by the brethren from the ranks of either the nobility or the clergy. The Crown was entitled to an annual revenue of Four Pounds Scots from each Master Mason and the same fee at the initiation of every new member. The first Grand Master Mason was William St. Clair, Earl of Orkney and Caithness and Baron of Rosslyn, whose name is associated with the beautiful Chapel of Rosslyn 1540.

The period of the Charter was the reign of James II (1437-1460). It grants hereditary jurisdiction to the family of St. Clair, and this was maintained for about three centuries till the formation of Grand Lodge, when it was voluntarily relinquished. It was the Grand Master's prerogative to appoint Deputies or Wardens resident in the chief cities.

In the course of time it was felt that some cohesion was needed, and after much negotiation and some controversy, the Fraternity in Scotland was co-ordinated by the formation of an all-embracing Grand Lodge. This was consummated at a meeting held in St. Mary's Chapel, Edinburgh, on 30th November 1736, and Fife was represented. At this meeting, William St. Clair of Rosslyn, relinquished the hereditary jurisdiction of his family over the Scottish Craft, and was appointed the first Grand Master under the newly constituted Order.

In the intervening years Scottish Freemasonry has contributed much to raising the true values, the teaching of the moralities and the practical application of the virtue of benevolence and brotherly spirit. The Scottish Craft has extended its good influence all over the world and throughout the world, outside Scotland, 379 Masonic Lodges still owe allegiance to the Grand Lodge of Scotland.

Fife's connection with the early official foundation of the Order was through Dunfermline and St. Andrews. Among the signatories of an early Charter are Robert Allison and John Burne, Masters of the “Ludge of Dunfermling.” The latter, in signing his name, “had my hand guided by a notar for me at my command because I cannot writ myself.” The other signatories from Fife on this early Charter were David Robertson, “one a' ye maisteris, Andrew Welsone and Thomas Welsone, warders of the Ludge of Sant Androis."

Another Fife connection with early Freemasonry was a meeting at Falkland “on the twentie sext day of October T.M.V.T. and Threthie sex years,” quoted in appendix in Lawrie's History. The purpose of this meeting was to “make the crafts or airtis (arts) to lieve more peaceable amang themselves in time coming.” The period of this meeting coincides with the work on the building of Falkland Palace.

The first Provincial Grand Master is referred to in Grand Lodge minutes as follows:

"7th August 1745. The Grand Master produced a letter from Alexander Melville of Balgarvie, Esq., present Master of the Mason Lodge of Falkland, signifying that he had spoken to the Rt. Hon. The Earl of Leven, late Grand Master of Scotland, who informed him that he never gave five guineas to any person for the use of Grand Lodge nor was he ever told that such a thing was due otherwise he would have passed it, so that there is good hope the same will yet be paid. Balgarvie also desires a Commission to be Provincial Grand Master of the Lodges of Fife, which is granted and signed accordingly."

From 1745 till 1842 no evidence exists either in Grand Lodge records or in the Province of a constituted Provincial Grand Lodge as distinct from a Province of Lodges supervised by a Provincial Grand Master. Three alternatives are present: (1) That transactions were not recorded. (2) That if recorded they have been lost; and (3) That the Provincial Grand Master exercised a direct personal supervision over each Lodge without the help of a Lodge of office-bearers. The latter assumption is strengthened by the fact that from 1842 very full records have been kept. We cannot indeed refrain from referring to the meticulous care taken by every Provincial Grand Secretary in keeping the minutes. They are models of exactness; comprehensive without being verbose.

The conclusion is almost definite that, while the Province was raised in 1745 and Provincial Grand Masters continued in office down the two hundred years, a Lodge was not constituted till 1842. Further confirmation of the conclusion will be found in the quotation of the following warrant issued by the Grand Master Mason, Lord Frederick Fitzclarence in 1842.

"To all and sundry, the Lodge herein specified, I, the Rt. Hon. The Lord Frederick Fitzclarence, etc., Most Worshipful Grand Master of the Ancient and Honourable Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons in Scotland; whereas the Grand Lodge of Scotland have resolved for the further promoting the interest of the Craft and prosperity and advancement of Masonry, that Provincial Grand Masters should be appointed to visit the several Lodges which lie at too great a distance from the seat of Grand Lodge to be visited by the Grand Master Mason in person, Know ye therefore that we, in prosecution of the aforesaid resolution with advice and consent of the Officers of G.L., have Constituted and appointed and hereby constitute and appoint our Right Worshipful Brother, John Whyte-Melville, Esquire, of Mount Melville and Bennochy, in the County of Fife, Provincial Grand Master for the Province of Fife and Kinross, and to preside over the following Lodges :- 

19

Coupar o' Fife.

25

St. Andrews.

26

Dunfermline.

35

Falkland, St John.

60

Inverkeithing.

72

Kirkcaldie.

77

Cupar, St. Regulus.

83

St. Andrews, Crail.

84

Ceres.

91

Elgin, Leven.

94

St. Leonards, Kinghorn.

95

St. Ayles, Anstruther.

106

Newburgh, Lindores.

121

Auchtermuchty, St. Cyre.

122

St. Bryces, Kirkcaldy.

232

Strathmiglo, Eden Operative.

246

St. Michaels, Leuchars.

250

Dunfermline, Union.

260

Thane of Fife.

273

Tay Union, Ferry Port-on-Craig.

283

St. Adrians, Pittenweem.

304

Auchtermuchty, King Robert the Bruce.

327

Kinross, St. Serfs.

With full power to our Provincial Grand Master to appoint proper persons to act as Grand Wardens and Secretary, and use our name to assemble and convene the above Lodges in his Province at such fixed time and place, as may suit the convenience of all parties . . . shall strictly prohibit and discharge them from practising any other Degrees than that of St. John's Freemasonry, consisting of Apprentice, Fellowcraft, the Master Mason, the only three Degrees sanctioned by the Grand Lodge of Scotland, and report from time to time his whole actings and proceedings."

The Commission is dated the First Day of August in the year of our Lord, one thousand and eight hundred and forty-two, 1842 and it is signed by command of the Grand Master Mason by

Wm. A. LAURIE, Grand Secy.
J. MAITLAND, Grand Clerk.

John Whyte-Melville
 Bro. John Whyte-Melville
Provincial Grand Master 1841-1884
Grand Master Mason 1864-1867 

In 1841 Grand Lodge divided the Province of Fife and Kinross into Eastern and Western districts. Bro. J. Whyte Melville was appointed Provincial Grand Master for the Eastern part of the County, and Bro. George Walker Arnot of Arlary (Kinross-shire), L.L.D., Professor of Botany in the University of Glasgow, Provincial Grand Master for West: Fife. The division was found inconvenient and the Commission of the latter was recalled on 1st August 1842, when Bro. J. Whyte Melville was confirmed in the Province of Fife and Kinross. He was therefore Provincial Grand Master when the present Provincial Grand Lodge was presumably set up (1842). He also held Office in the Grand Lodge of Scotland for 18 years as Substitute Grand Master, and in consideration of his services he was appointed Grand Master Mason in 1864, " to be at the head of all the various Masonic bodies in Scotland." On his retiral, his wife, Lady Catherine, was presented with a bust of her husband. It is to Bro. Whyte Melville that the credit is due for originating the Fund of Scottish Benevolence in 1846. Benevolent grants had previously been made from the General Fund of Grand Lodge.

The first minute of a Provincial Grand Lodge meeting is dated 2nd September 1842 and took place at Cupar. Eleven of the 22 Lodges aforementioned were present at the Installation. Nos. 19, 25, 35, 72, 77, 84, 91, 106, 121, 260 and 304. Bro. James Carstairs, R.W.M. of Cupar Fife St. John, opened the Lodge and presented the Commission which was read by Bro. Wm. Pagan of Cupar Fife St. Regulus, and thereafter the Provincial Grand Master was installed and the Provincial Grand Lodge was constituted. He appointed the following office-bearers:

Bro. Charles Craigie Halkett; P.G.J.W. Bro. George Maskill; P.G. Secy. Bro. Wm. Pagan; P.G. Chaplain Rev. Dr Anderson, Newburgh. Bro. Halkett was absent and Bro. Carstairs acted in his stead.

Thereafter the P.G.L. proceeded to the site of the new prison for the County of Fife and in the presence of Andrew Jamieson, Esq.; Sheriff Substitute of the County and of the Provost and Magistrates of Cupar, the P.G.M. laid the foundation stone of the said building with all the honours of Masonry. Bro. Sir John Ogilvie acted as S.P.G.M.

This was by no means the only time that Provincial Grand Lodge has been involved in performing laying foundation stone ceremonies for public buildings. The list is extensive:-

20th July 1843. Extended new pier at Kirkcaldy.

20th July 1843. New Academy of Kirkcaldy

20th July 1843. New Episcopal Chapel.

18th April 1853. New pier at Buckhaven (Provincial Grand Lodge met in the schoolroom and proceeded to lay the foundation stone. The request to do so was made by the inhabitants of Buckhaven. "An immense concourse of people witnessed the ceremony, including deputations of fishermen; various instrumental bands took part and multitudes of flags floated from both boats and houses. Following the ceremony a salute of cannon fired from a battery, planted on the rising ground above the town, announced to the country round and round the full completion of the ceremonial.")

13th July 1853. About 300 Masons met in Provincial Grand Lodge, constituted in Madras schoolroom, St. Andrews, including brethren from Lodges outwith the County and the P.G.M. Bro. J. Whyte Melville, laid the foundation of the new Union Golf Clubhouse (presumably the R. & A. Clubhouse). The conclusion of the ceremony was announced by a feu de joie from a small battery in the neighbourhood.

Tennant GordonBro. G Tennant Gordon
Provincial Grand Secretary 1904-1934

2nd June 1858. Provincial Grand Lodge met in the Great Hall of Madras College and adjourned to lay the foundation stone of a new city hall in South Street. The procession included the Provost and Magistrates, the city clerks, the Professors of the University, and a large body of citizens witnessed the ceremony, which was performed by Bro. John Whyte Melville, P.G.M., who was presented with an elegant silver trowel.

9th May 1859. New Corn Exchange, Kirkcaldy.

25th July 1861. Provincial Grand Lodge formed procession and preceded by two companies of the 2nd Fifeshire Rifle Volunteers, marched to the Parish Church for Divine Service and thereafter, proceeded to lay the foundation stone of the new Corn Exchange on the Castle Hill.

23rd August 1868. The foundation stone of the new District Lunatic Asylum at Retreat, Cupar, was laid.

8th April 1867. The foundation stone of the New College Hall, St. Andrews was laid by the M.W. Grand Master Mason, the Rt. Hon. the Earl of Haddington. He was presented with a silver trowel by Principal Forbes.

8th April 1867. The Provincial Grand Master and his officers laid the foundation stone of the new Episcopal Chapel, Queen Street, St. Andrews.

18th August 1871. The Provincial Grand Master laid the foundation stone of the new Town Hall at Anstruther.

29th October, 1874. Permission was granted by the Provincial Grand Master to Andrew Galloway, Master of Lodge Minto No. 385, to lay the foundation stone of a new school for the School Board of Ballingry.

25th March 1875. Permission granted to Lodge St. John No. 26, and Lodge Union, No. 250, to take part in the cutting of the first sod of the Dunfermline and Queensferry railway.

4th June 1875. Authority given Lodge St. John, Cupar, No. 19, to lay foundation stone of the new water works at Clatto.

12th October 1876, in St. John's lodgeroom, Dunfermline. Provincial Grand Lodge met for the purpose of laying the foundation stone of the new Corporation Buildings of the city of Dunfermline. The ceremony was preceded by a procession. The Provincial Grand Master was presented with a silver trowel. (Of interest to those involved in establishing Dunfermline’s status, even in 1876 the term city was used.)

12th July 1882. Ceremony of laying foundation stone of Gibson Hospital, St. Andrews. The Provincial Grand Master said he trusted the hospital would be a means of alleviating the distress of the poor and deserving of the parishes of St. Andrews and St. Leonards. The silver trowel used in the ceremony was presented to Bro. Whyte Melville.

1st March 1884. Foundation of new hall at Dysart, laid by new Provincial Grand Master, who was presented with a silver trowel by Provost Watt.

19th September 1896. The R.W.P.G.M., Bro. J. H. Balfour Melville laid the foundation stone of the United Presbyterian Church at Markinch. He was presented with a silver trowel.

22nd April 1908. The ceremony of laying the foundation stone of the Murray Library At Anstruther was carried through and the P.G.M. was presented with a handsome silver trowel by Dr Wilson.

1st May 1911. The P.G.M. reported having attended the ceremonial of laying of the memorial stone of the new Grand Lodge.

14th February 1925. The P.G.M., the Rt. Hon. the Earl of Elgin and Kincardine, office-bearers and brethren, headed by Cupar Pipe Band, marched in procession to the County Buildings and there laid the foundation stone of the extension to the County buildings. The P.G.M. was presented with a silver trowel and mallet. The large gathering was addressed by the P.G.M. and Sir Ralph Anstruther, Bart. of Balcaskie, Lord Lieut. of the County of Fife.

3rd December 1936, in the St. Leonards School, Dunfermline. The Rt. Hon. the Earl of Elgin and Kincardine, K.T., C.M.G., Right Worshipful Prov. Grand Master, presided. The Lodge adjourned and, in procession and headed by pipers, marched to the site of the new High School of Dunfermline. The P.G.M. was presented with a mallet and trowel inscribed and proceeded with the ceremony of laying the foundation stone.

In addition, the ceremony of laying the foundation stone was performed for all new Masonic Temples in the Province over the years but the tradition has not been performed – some would say sadly – for many years.

Even epidemics did not interfere with the business of Provincial Grand Lodge as can be seen from this extract of the minute of 26th September 1872. At Dysart House, the new Lodge "St. Clair of Dysart," No. 520, was consecrated with Bro. David Home as R.W.M. Bro. the Earl of Rosslyn, Grand Master Mason of Scotland, also D.P.G.M. explained that the ceremony had necessarily been conducted in Dysart House instead of in the Town Hall in consequence of the prevalence of small-pox in the town. After P.G. Lodge was closed the brethren "returned in procession to the Town Hall where a Masonic banquet was held, the room being crowded with brethren." It is curious that they thought the consecration ceremony was more at risk than the banquet!

A distinctive feature of the Masonic Order in Fife in earlier time was the torchlight procession. The practice has fallen into desuetude; gone like most of the pageantry which trickled down through the centuries from the middle ages, and which had values not acknowledged in this more prosaic and materialistic age.

The Masonic torchlight procession was an accompaniment to a special event, but particularly associated with the evening of St. John Festival. We have not come across a better description than is recorded in Alexander Stewart's "Reminiscences of Dunfermline." It applies to the middle of the last century.

“The St. John's and Union Masonic Lodges, he writes, used to fraternise together on the evening of St. John in December and paid a friendly visit to each other. When the brethren emerged from their lodges every one held in his hand a lighted flambeau. The torches were then consigned to the care of some of the numerous young lads who were waiting at the door to receive them. The Masons then formed themselves in procession, walking in the centre, while the torch-bearers walked on either side of them. The remains of the torches (which were manufactured in Edinburgh) afterwards belonged to these lads who carried them, and they often again did duty on the morning of Hansel Monday. The procession was a very imposing spectacle. What with the grand array of blazing flambeaux, sending up their bright flare into the dark December night (at a time when the street lamps of Dunfermline, fed with train oil gave but a dim and sickly light), what with the merry music of the bands, the streaming of flags and banners, and the gilded insignia of the brotherhood, borne along by the more prominent members of that ancient guild, it was a sight to be remembered! The spectacle was especially imposing as the procession marched along the High Street. The streets were densely crowded, thousands came from far and near to see it. Hundreds of smiling faces and fair and graceful forms were seen looking down upon it, bending over the open windows, and waving their handkerchiefs in all streets through which the Masons passed.

"Soft eyes looked love to eyes which spake again

And all went merry as a wedding bell."

In addition to the various emblems, devices and insignia of office carried along, there came along with them the reverend Chaplain in his gown and bands, the Rev. George Bell Brand, the respected minister of St. Andrews Church, bearing with solemn mein a large Bible which lay open on a velvet cushion. A pair of compasses and a square lay upon the portion of the sacred page referring to the building of Solomon's Temple, that building where originated the mysteries and methods adopted by the Masonic Craft in the centuries following.

After perambulating several streets in this way, bands playing various national and stirring tunes, amongst the latter, the well-known air –

"Hey! the Merry Masons,
And Ho! the Merry Masons,
And Hey! the Merry Masons
Go prancing along."


They adjourned to their lodges where amidst much solemnity, and afterwards much joviality; they spent the night.

Before this great annual festival, the brethren would sometimes vie with each othe have the handsomest silk sashes and aprons for St. John’s night. Many of them purchased their sashes and aprons in Edinburgh, but others were content to have home manufactured ones, probably the production of fair and lovely hands, and many of them were regarded as excellent specimens of taste and fine needlework.”

Over the years, the Daughter Lodges and Provincial Grand Lodge have supported many local and national causes and during the wars their temples have been requisitioned to help the war effort. Examples from the minutes, which are by no means exhaustive include:-

At Cupar, 25th October 1890. It was decided to visit Lodges by individual office-bearers with a view to stirring up interest in the forthcoming Grand Lodge bazaar in Waverley Market, and to issue a circular suggested by Mrs Oswald of Dunnikier, the Patroness of the Fife and Kinross stall. (There is no record of the result of the Fife and Kinross effort but a surplus of stock at the Fife and Kinross stall was valued at £45, and would be disposed of at a sale by auction at Kirkcaldy.)

At Cupar, 21st January 1896. It was agreed to hold two Masonic services in the summer, one at Cowdenbeath and the other at Ladybank, collections to go to form the nucleus of a Provincial Grand Lodge Benevolent Fund.

Cupar, 1st February 1897. A motion by Bro. the Earl of Rosslyn, to form a fund in aid of the Indian Famine Relief Fund was submitted.

At Cupar, 4th May 1908. On a proposal by Bro F. T. Wallace, Leven, the following was agreed to "that each lodge shall contribute 20s. and in addition, shall contribute 3s. 6d. for every entrant, whereof 2s. 6d. shall be applied to Benevolent Fund and 1s. to necessary purposes of P.G.L.

At Cupar, 2nd February 1914. P.G.L. approved of a proposal put forward by Grand Committee for a Masonic Orphanage scheme.

At Limekilns 1st Augusr 1914. It was intimated that £200 had been invested in the issue of Fife County Council Redeemable Stock and allotted to P.G.L. Benevolent Fund.

At Cupar, 2nd November 1914. A grant of £50 was made to the Prince of Wales War Relief Fund. In addition, £154, 5s. had been received from 26 Daughter Lodges for the Fund, while donations had also been made to local funds.

At Cupar, 30th January 1920. In view of the depreciation of money and the increasing needs of the Benevolent Fund, various alterations were made on fees payable to P.G. Lodge. That of P.G.M. was raised from 10s. to 21s. and other office-bearers' fees from 25 to 50 per cent.

At Kinross, 29th October 1921. It was agreed to invest £400 of Benevolent Fund in Fife County Council 6 per cent. Bonds for ten years.

At Newburgh, 8th April 1931. A letter from Grand Secretary was read regarding the devastation occasioned by the earthquake in New Zealand, and P.G. Lodge agreed to subscribe £10 for the benefit of Freemasons in those areas affected by the calamity.

At Leslie, 28th October 1931. A letter was read from the District Grand Secretary, New Zealand North, expressing grateful appreciation of the practical sympathy shown by P.G.L. of Fife and Kinross for the earthquake sufferers.

At Aberdour, 28th October 1939. The P.G.M. made reference to wartime conditions as laid out in letter to Daughter Lodges and approved by Grand Lodge to meet the conditions prevailing during the war. It was reported that eight Daughter Lodges had had their premises requisitioned by the War Department, and that other accommodation had been secured while some Lodges had been given sanction to suspend Lodge meetings till suitable accommodation could be secured.

At Kirkcaldy, 29th January 1940. P.G.M. reported that all Lodges were now able to hold regular meetings. In the case of "Lodge Elgin and Bruce," Lord Elgin, I.P.P.G.M., had made arrangements for them meeting in Broomhall House.

At Kirkcaldy, 30th January 1943. Letter was read from Lodge Minto, No. 385, suggesting that Daughter Lodges in the Province combine to provide a Mobile Canteen for H.M. Forces. P.G. Committee recommend that the suggestion should not be adopted but that Daughter Lodges should be exhorted to individually support an appeal for contributions towards the maintenance and extension of huts, canteens and hostels issued by the Church of Scotland.

At Kirkcaldy, 9th June 1945. Bi-Centenary Committee decided on the suggestion of the P.G.M. to postpone the Bi-Centenary celebrations in view of the incidence of V.E. Day and the coming Parliamentary Election. It was decided to enquire fully into the conditions applicable to donations to the Scottish Veterans' Garden City Association, it being considered that the provision of one or more homes through such a donation would prove fitting to commemorate the Bi-Centenary occasion.

At Kirkcaldy, 28th July 1945, It was decided that the most fitting manner in which to permanently mark the occasion of the Bi-Centenary of P.G.L. would be to devote to the Scottish Veterans' Garden City Association an amount sufficient to cover the cost of one or more cottages. The P.G.M. said that the cost of a cottage was £1,050, and that for a capital contribution of this amount, P.G. Lodge would have the right to name a cottage and nominate the occupant, provided he is a disabled Service or Merchant Navy man. All Lodges and all Masons in the Province would have the opportunity to contribute.

At Kirkcaldy, 21st October 1944. It was decided to take steps to suitably mark the 200th anniversary. Recommendations later approved by P.G. Lodge comprised the holding of Religious Services and a social function: the establishment of an Eventide Home in the Province; endowment of beds in hospitals in the Province; and the setting up of an Annuity Fund.
This fine tradition of assisting organisations both local and national has continued and in the last few years, donations from Provincial Grand Lodge and the Daughter Lodges in excess of £20,000 per annum have been made to many organizations e.g.:

C.H.A.S.
Amnesty International
Stillbirth and Neo-Natal Deaths Society
Children with Leukaemia
Women’s Aid
MacMillan Cancer Relief
Cancer Research U.K.
Scottish Disability Golf Partnership
Sarah Thackery Memorial Appeal
Diabetes Society
British Heart Foundation
Royal National Institute for the Blind
Royal National Misiion to Deep Sea Fishermen
Local organisations such as Boys Brigade, Girl Guides, Boy Scouts, Sea Cadets
Playgroups, Local Gala Committees, Local Floral Committees – Cupar In Bloom, Falkland In Bloom etc.,

and many, many others. We have also made donations to international disasters such as the Haiti Appeal (organised by Grand Lodge) and we are patrons of the Navajeevana Project in Tangalle, Sri Lanka which assists children with physical and mental difficulties to re-enter main stream society in Sri Lanka.

MANY of the Lodges in the Province are of old standing, some are ancient. Four Fife Lodges are mentioned in the first Minute of Grand Lodge foundation, at Cupar, St. Andrews, Dunfermline and Falkland. In the Attendance Roll however, at its Constitution in St. Mary's Chapel, representatives' names are given only from Cupar, Dunfermline and Kirkcaldy. It should be noted that there was not complete agreement at first among the Lodges concerning the setting up of the national body. The Attendance Roll of the first constituted Grand Lodge shows the following representatives: Coupar o' Fife, Doctor John Moncrieff, Master; John Ross and John Sheen, Wardens: Dunfermline, Captain Arthur Forbes; Bailie Charles Chalmers and Henry Finlay, Wardens; Kirkcaldie, William Baxter, Master; James Wylie and Alexander White, Wardens.

In 1745 the Grand Treasurer reported receiving half a guinea from the Lodge of Dysart "as patent for Confirmation and ratification" this doubtless marked the first adherence of Dysart to Grand Lodge.

By the time the Daughter Lodges were brought together to assist in the administration of the Province under the Prov. Grand Master (1842), they numbered 18. The Roll to-day is 49 and details are given elsewhere. Changes have taken place and Lodges ceased to exist; others who fell by the way were resuscitated. Controversy over the setting up of a new Lodge was rarely encountered, but some instances of this nature did occur. In 1816 a petition was forwarded from Cupar, supported by Lodges St. Andrews and St. Michaels, in favour of the erection of a new Lodge to be named the Thane of Fife. Lodge Cupar St. John declined to certify the petition. Grand Lodge submitted the petition to Prov. Grand Master, and, if he approved, was granted authority to certify. The new Lodge was admitted and given the number 260. After the lapse of fully a decade, it ceased to function. The title "Thane of Fife" was adopted by the Lodge erected at Cowdenbeath half a century later.

In the course of the years a number of Lodges have been removed from the Roll of Grand Lodge. In some cases the Charter was renewed or a new one granted. The list of removals is:

No.

41

Edinburgh from Dunfermline at Edinburgh

1739

"

51

Dysart

1745

"

84

Ceres, Ceres

1761

"

172

St. Brice, Kirkcaldy

1789

"

232

Eden Operative, Strathmiglo

1810

"

240

Fifeshire Militia

1811

"

260

Thane of Fife (Cupar)

1816

"

273

Tay Union, Newport (Restored 1924)

1818

"

77

St. Regulus, Cupar

1819

"

185

St. Adrian, Pittenweem

1819

"

542

Union, St. Andrews

1873

"

1214

Hill o' Beath (United with 540 St. John Crossgates)

1937

"

121

St. Cyre, Auchtermuchty

2002

 

As briefly as possible, we have wandered through the annals of this Provincial Grand Lodge, which hopefully has given you, the reader, a flavour of what this organisation and its members are all about. Lord Elgin – the current Lord Elgin’s father – put it more appropriately and succinctly in 1945 at a special meeting to celebrate the bi-centenary of Provincial Grand Lodge:-

" If any little word of mine
May make a life the brighter:
If any little song of mine
May make a heart the lighter,
God help me speak the little word,
And take my bit of singing,
And drop it in some lonely vale
To set the echoes ringing.
If any little love of mine
May make a life the sweeter:
If any little care of mine
May make a friend's life fleeter:
If any lift of mine may ease
The burden of another
God give me love and care and strength
To help my toiling brother."