History of Lodge Earl Haig No 1260
By Bro. Gordon W Michie
1st Edition 18th May 1996
At Windygates 18th June 1921, Provincial Grand Master carried through the erection and consecration of Lodge Earl Haig No 1260. The Right Worshipful Master Elect Bro William Beveridge Wardlaw and office bearers were installed by The Provincial Grand Master.
Bro Field Marshal, The Earl Haig, regarding the new lodge, wrote his relative Lord Elgin expressing his delight and how very greatly touched he had been. He also mentioned that the new Lodge asked him to send on a sword, and he hoped to find a suitable one.
Extract taken from the Book of the Province of Fife and Kinross 1745-1945 by Bro Alex Westwater JL FSA Scot, PM Lodge Minto 385.
This history has been undertaken by Bro Gordon William Michie of Lodge Earl Haig at a time when I was Senior Warden of the said Lodge. I have undertaken the responsibility to record the first 75 years of our Lodge to commemorate our 75th Anniversary.
All the views and opinions expressed in the following history are my own views. Taken from my impressions of the minute books of the Lodge and after speaking with several of my more senior Brethren. I have not dealt with the routine degree work which happens on a regular basis but I have tried to concentrate on special and memorable events throughout our first 75 years.
I have broken down the history into four separate parts.
The first 25 years in the Shepherd’s Hall’s 1921-1945
The Shepherd’s Hall and Station Road Masonic Hall years 1946 – 1977
The Windygates Institute years 1977 – 1992
The move to Leven and the future 1992 - ?
I have also supplied annexes with the Founder members, the first Office Bearers, the Silver and Golden Jubilee Office Bearers and the Office Bearers from the 75th Anniversary. Also the Roll of Past Masters of the Lodge.
I have dedicated this history to my father and Brother, Past Master William Cooper Michie of Lodge Earl Haig No 1260.
The First 25 Years 1921 - 1945
The history of the Lodge starts 6 months before the consecration ceremony on the 29th December 1920. When on the initiative of Bro’s W Wardlaw, J King, G Murray and W Scott a meeting of Freemasons was held in the Shepherd’s Lesser Hall with around 60 other like minded Brethren present.
Bro Wardlaw took the Chair while Bro Ross acted as secretary, to assist the Brethren present and to give guidance on the way forward were Past Master’s from Lodge Balfour Melville and Elgin’s Lodge at Leven Bro’s Lister and Nairn respectively.
The Chairman opened the meeting by stating that the purpose of the evenings gathering was to inquire if it was desired to open a Lodge of Freemasons in Windygates. The two Past Master’s who attended the meeting to give guidance and advice then addressed the Brethren. Bro Nairn explained to the meeting that if they found that they wanted to establish a Lodge in the village they would have to present a petition to the Grand Lodge of Scotland through the Provincial Grand Lodge of Fife and Kinross for the purpose of obtaining a charter. Bro Lister replied to a question from one of the Brethren on what the initial cost of setting up the proposed Lodge would be, his answer was around £100.
The first discussion of the evening was on a suitable meeting place for the Lodge. It was agreed that the Lesser Shepherd’s Hall was to be the venue. This was then followed by a discussion about the name of the proposed Lodge. Bro Scott proposed and was seconded by Bro Beveridge that the Lodge should be named Lodge Cameron after the local distillery which provided the majority of employment for the village. There was however a second proposal from Bro Leitch to name the Lodge after one of World War 1’s greatest leaders Field Marshall Bro Earl Haig. A vote was subsequently taken and a unanimous decision was made to name the Lodge Earl Haig. The Bro Secretary was then instructed to write seeking Earl Haig’s approval to use his name and any distinguishing colours or crest for use of the Lodge. The meeting then proceeded onto the election of the first Office Bearers. Bro Wardlaw was proposed as the first Right Worshipful Master by Bro’s King and Ogilvie. A second proposal from Bro Reid seconded by Bro Husband of Bro Dewar was put to the meeting. After no other proposals coming forward it was agreed to a division that Bro Dewar be elected Right Worshipful Master and that Bro Wardlaw be Deputy Master. The other Office Bearers were elected as follows: Substitute Master – Bro King, Senior Warden – Bro Mackie, Junior Warden – Bro Condie, Secretary – Bro Baxter, Treasurer - Bro Leitch, Senior Deacon – Bro Robertson, Junior Deacon – Bro Ogilvie, Inner Guard – Bro Crichton, and Tyler – Bro Beveridge.
The Brethren present agree to the initiation fee of £5 and 5 shillings and affiliation of £1. Bro Nairn intimated that all who signed the petition would require to deposit 5 shillings for the Charter Diploma, it was further agreed that all Brethren signing the petition would deposit a sum of not less than £1 towards the Lodge funds.
The second meeting of the proposed Lodge was held a week later and was under the Chairmanship of Right Worshipful Master Elect Bro Dewar. During his remarks Bro Dewar announced his resignation of office. It was then decided to call a general meeting of all members who intended to join the proposed Lodge to Elect another Right Worshipful Master Elect. At the general meeting a letter was read from Earl Haig with his permission to use his name and he also suggested that the Lodge adopt the colours of light blue and silver or white.
At the weekly meeting of Office Bearers held on the last day of January it was proposed to make Bro Middleton the first Honorary Member of the Lodge in recognition of his sterling efforts to progress the petition which was signed 77 Brethren and was now in the hands of the Provincial Grand Secretary.
Over the next few months there were nine meetings of the Brethren of the proposed Lodge. At one of these meetings in April it was agreed to make the Earl of Elgin along with Bro Middleton Honorary members of the Lodge. It was also intimated by Bro Leitch that he would have to resign his position as Treasurer due to work commitments.
At the meeting held a week before the consecration of the proposed Lodge it was decided to invite the Right Worshipful Master, Wardens, Office Bearers and Brethren of Elgin’s Lodge at Leven and the Right Worshipful Master and Wardens of the following Lodges to attend: Kircaldie, St Clair of Dysart, Oswald of Dunnikier, Wemyss, Macduff, Randolph, Balfour Melville, Balcarres, St Ayle, St Adrian, Coupar of Fife, St Regulus, King Robert De Bruce, St John, Rothes, Balgonie, St Clair of Balbeggie. It was also agree that Colville of Markinch be booked to supply the teas. Also to be ordered for the consecration was the following victuals: 6 bottles of whisky sealed, 2 boxes (4 dozen) bass, 1 box (2 dozen) Worthington’s, 1 box (2 dozen) lager, 3 box (6 dozen) lemonade, 1 bottle of port wine. At this meeting it was also agree to write to Earl Haig to ask for a sword.
Many Brethren who were associated with the Lodge in those early days donated gifts to the Lodge which would be used in our meetings. The major gifts were cushions from Bro Middleton, square and compass from Bro Mitchell, Deputy Master Jewel and furnishings from Bro Nairn, pedestals and altar from Bro Grieve, Volume of Sacred Law from Bro Simpson, Bro Dowie presented two French sword bayonets for use by the Tyler and Inner Guard, Bro Mowatt presented the Lodge with mallets and finally Bro Wardlaw presented the Master’s clothing.
Lodge Consecration 18th June 1921
The consecration of the Lodge was carried out at 3.30pm on the 18th June 1921 in the Shepherd’s Hall, Windygates by the Provincial Grand Lodge of Fife and Kinross. ON this occasion they were presided over by the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master Bro the Earl of Elgin.
On the completion of the consecration ceremony Bro the Earl of Elgin installed the first Right Worshipful Master of Lodge Earl Haig Bro William Wardlaw into the Chair of King Solomon, the Depute Provincial Grand Master Bro Middleton went onto install the Deputy and Substitute Master’s and the Wardens. The Substitute Provincial Grand Master Sir Kennedy Dalziel installed the remaining Office Bearers. The first duty of the newly installed Right Worshipful Master was to present Honorary Membership of the newly consecrated Lodge to Bro the Earl of Elgin and Bro H Buddo Middleton. Bro Wardlaw expressed his regret not being able to obtain diplomas to mark the occasion in time, but he hoped that he would be able to present both these eminent Brothers with their diplomas at a subsequent meeting.
After the meeting was closed a meal was enjoyed by all the Brethren and visitors present. The Earl of Elgin went onto propose a toast to the success of Lodge Earl Haig.
The first regular meeting of the Lodge was held on the 6th day of July 1921 at 7pm. On this evening the first new members of the Lodge were initiated into the secrets and mysteries of Freemasonry. They were Mr Thomas King roll no 80 whose father was a charter member, Mr Andrew McIntosh and Robert Ewing all three men were from Windygates.
The following month the Lodge received a sword from Earl Haig for use by the Lodge. The cavalry sword that his Lordship donated is still used by the Lodge to this day.
Four months after the consecration of the Lodge a letter was received from Mr Wallace a solicitor from Leven. The letter was desirous to see if the Lodge would be interested in purchasing Tullis Hall for use as a permanent Masonic Temple. The renovation work to the hall would cost between £100 and £150. However there was no mention of the actual price of the hall. It was later revealed to the Lodge that the asking price was £150. The proposal never went any further than an inquiry committee being set up to explore the possibilities.
The first Annual Assembly of the Lodge took place at 9pm on Friday the 10th March. A large gathering of 81 gents and 67 ladies congregated in the Shepherds Halls and were entertained by the Burn’s Band. On the evening the Right Worshipful Master was pleased to welcome delegates from the local Lodges being Lodge Elgin, St Clair of Balbeggie, Balgonie, Rothes, Balfour Melville, Macduff, Randolph and St Clair of Dysart. An enjoyable evening was had by everyone present and the festivities terminated at 4am.
At the first Provincial Visitation to the Lodge it gave the Right Worshipful Master Bro Wardlaw the opportunity to present the Depute Provincial Grand Master Bro Middleton with his diploma for his service to the Lodge at his inception.
A year had passed with the Lodge growing stronger by the month with candidates coming forward in good numbers. The annual visitation from Provincial Grand Lodge was led by the Earl of Elgin and as was the case at the last Provincial Visitation when our Right Worshipful Master had the opportunity to present the Depute Provincial Grand Master with his diploma. This visitation gave our Right Worshipful Master the opportunity to present The Earl with his diploma.
The first meeting after the close season brought some good news to the Lodge, that our number one bowling rink had come second in the East of Fife Masonic Bowling Tournament. Our successful team was skippered by Bro D Patterson.
In October 1923 Honorary membership of the Lodge was bestowed on Bro George Mitchell of Leven unfortunately the minute book does not give any details on why the Lodge had decided to bestow this great honour.
The Installation ceremony of 1924 was changed from the 3rd December to the following day as His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales was to be in attendance at the Grand Lodge of Scotland. As this was to be a very special Masonic occasion in Edinburgh it was felt that there should be presence from Lodge Earl Haig.
Charity is one of the great principles on which Freemasonry rest and these principles are ably demonstrated in the Lodge as far back as 1924. When an application was read from the Fife Society for Teaching the Blind along with an appeal from the Scottish National Institute for Blinded Soldiers and Sailors the Brethren agree to grant £1 to each of these deserving causes. The Lodge over the next 75 years has carried on giving grants to deserving causes both locally and nationally.
The Right Worshipful Master Bro James King along with the Lodges wardens represented the Brethren of the Lodge at the laying of the foundation stone of the County Buildings in Cupar. The ceremony was conducted under the auspices of the Provincial Grand Lodge. At the ceremony each Lodge was presented with a portrait of the Provincial Grand Master which was subsequently framed and hung on the wall of the Lodge.
The first five years of the Lodge saw a strong social side grow around the Lodge with regular dances and whist drives being held in aid of Lodge funds. However the whist drive planned for February 1926 was postponed due to the depressed state of the nation’s economy at the time.
A letter was received from Bro Muckeryie the secretary of Lodge Balgonie with a proposal that the Brethren of Earl Haig join together with Lodge Balgonie, Rothes and St Clair of Balbeggie to hold a combined church service the following year. The Right Worshipful Master Bro King and the Wardens represented the Lodge at a meeting of the four Lodges held under the auspices of Lodge Balgonie in their temple in Markinch.
The remainder of 1926 ran along smoothly with good meetings and a substantial number of candidates coming forward for Initiation.
The first significant happening of 1927 was the combined church service held on the 3rd July. The Brethren of the Lodge along with the Brethren from 764, 867, and 532 assembled at the Shepherd’s Hall, where the Lodge was opened in the first degree. Thereafter they proceeded, escorted by the Balgonie Silver Band, via Kennoway Road and Balcurvie to St David’s United Free Church. The church had kindly been placed at the Lodges disposal for the service where Rev Bro Lees MG of Cellardyke delivered a very able address to a congregation of considerably over 200 Brethren. Appropriate items were rendered by the church choir and Bro John Adie. The Brethren then returned to the Lodge rooms where the Lodge was closed. Tea was then served by Bro Colville of Markinch. A collection taken in aid of the local nursing association amounted to £4-6-11.
This year was again to witness success for the Lodge bowling team when or the third successive year they reached the final of the East of Fife competition.
The meeting of the 1st of February 1928 brought some sad news to the Lodge with the news of the passing of Bro Field Marshall the Earl Haig KT, Past Master of Elgin’s Lodge at Leven, and the Brother which the Lodge was named after. The Brother Secretary was instructed to write a letter of condolence to Countess Haig tendering the sympathy of all the Brethren of the Lodge in her time of sorrow.
Another sad event was to follow the following May with the passing to the Grand Lodge above of Bro John Kerr our Senior Steward. The Lodge was opened in the first degree, passed and raised to the high and sublime degree of a master mason. When it was adjourned to accompany the remains of our late Brother to Scoonie Cemetery where his body was interred with full Masonic Rites. The ceremony was conducted by Bro Robert Alexander Mowatt, Right Worshipful Master of Elgin’s Lodge at Leven, Bro Kerr’s mother Lodge. The Brethren then returned to the Shepherd’s Hall where the Lodge was reduced to the first degree. Our Right Worshipful Master then passed comment on the solemn business that they had just witnessed and asked the Secretary to write to the widow of Bro Kerr with the Lodges condolences. The Lodge was thereafter closed in due and ancient form.
A special meeting of the Lodge was held on Monday 29th July when the Right Worshipful Master Bro Robert Ballantine led a team consisting of Past Master’s, the Substitute and Deputy Master of the Lodge. When they raised three of our Brethren to the high and sublime degree of a master mason. A collection taken on the evening realised the sum of 8/6 pence.
With the turnoff the new decade, a decade which saw the rise of Nazi Germany and the persecution of our Brethren on the continent and was to change the lives of many Brethren around the world. The second meeting of the year was to see the first visit to the Lodge by a team of Office Bearers who had come along to carry out the work of the evening. Bro Jeffries Right Worshipful Master of Lodge St Clair of Balbeggie along with his team of Office Bearers conferred the degree of master mason on two of our members. One of them being my Grandfather Roll No 166 Bro George Michie. Our reigning Master passed comment on the standard of the work that had been presented to the Lodge this evening. He was suitably replied to by Bro Jeffries.
At the last committee meeting of the year it was decided to approach the Loyal Order of Shepherd’s the owners of the hall, to seek permission to hang portraits of the Lodge Past Master’s on the walls.
At a committee meeting the following February it was agreed to approach our Honorary member the Depute Provincial Grand Master to unveil the portraits of the Past Master’s.
When the annual visitation of eh Provincial Grand Lodge came around on the 4th March 1931. The Provincial Grand Lodge witnessed a fine rendering of the second degree by the Office Bearers of the Lodge. After the work of the evening Bro Middleton went onto talk of the good work that our first three Past Master’s had carried out on behalf of the Lodge. Bro Past Master Wardlaw our first Master replied in a most excellent manner to the kind words of Brio Middleton.
In May a sub committee of the Lodge headed by Past Master Wardlaw was formed to look into the possibilities of purchasing the Tullis Hall. Again nothing further was heard about the findings of the sub committee but it can only be assumed that a good deal could not be made with Mr William Tullis the owner of the hall.
Three years after the passing of Field Marshall Bro Earl Haig the Lodge Secretary was instructed to write to Countess Haig to inquire into the possibility of the Lodge receiving a portrait of our name sake. The Countess replied very positively to the Lodge request saying that on her return to Bemyrside at Easter, the family home, she would forward on a suitable portrait of her late husband.
This was the year than an annual Lodge tradition, which is still observed to this day started. The first children’s Christmas party took place in the Lodge rooms when 94 children received presents from Santa Claus alias Bro W Pratt.
The 12th of November 1933 saw the Lodge partake in an Armistice Parade at St David’s United Free Church in Kennoway. Which was organised by the local branch of the British Legion in memory of our Glorious Dead.
It was noted in the Lodge minute book about the preparation for the following year’s celebration to mark the Bi-Centenary of the Grand Lodge of Scotland. The festivities were to be held in the Usher Hall in Edinburgh when His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales will be installed as Grand Master Mason. The Lodge has been given books of tickets to sell to raise funds for the celebration.
1935 was also to see the 200th initiate into the Lodge this being Bro Peter Shaw a farmer from Kingsdale Farm, Windygates. It was also the year that the most respected elder statesman of the Lodge was installed into the Chair of King Soloman, Bro Alexander McIntosh Leslie.
The second meeting of the New Year was again to bring sad news to the Lodge and to the country with the passing of His Majesty King George V. Bro W R Smart the Lodge Chaplain spoke with feeling about the late King and then the Lodge stood to attention in a minutes silence in his memory.
A Mark Ceremonial was conferred on three brethren of the Lodge one of whom Bro James Dryburgh was to rise through the offices to hold the Chair of King Soloman. After the degree work of the evening a pleasing ceremony was conducted by Past Master King. Bro L Waddle who had been Treasurer of the Lodge since before its consecration was presented with an inscribed gold watch. Bro King, in handing over the gift, remarked that one had only to refer to the reports of each succeeding Provincial Grand Visitation, to know how efficiently his duties were carried out. Bro Leslie Right Worshipful Master, on behalf of Mrs Waddle presented him a handbag. Bro Waddle, in acknowledging the gifts, remarked that he would always treasure the watch as a souvenir of the many happy times he had spent in the Lodge.
Towards the end of 1936 a Divine Service was held in Kennoway Auld Kirk. The Brethren of the Lodge assembled at the Shepherd’s Hall at 1.45pm when the Lodge was opened in the first degree, the Lodge was then adjourned and the Brethren accompanied by members of eight sister Lodges marched to Kennoway, preceded by Methilhill Pipe Band whose service cost the Lodge £1. The Divine Service was lead by the Lodge Chaplain, Bro the Reverend Smart. The Lodge was privileged to have in their midst Bro The Reverend Thomas Younger of Lodge Legiones, No 186, Indiana, USA who read the Lesson from the Old and New Testament’s. The Brethren then returned to the Shepherd’s Hall where they were served tea and refreshments by the ladies committee.
One of the notable public occasions which happened under Alexander Leslie’s time in the Chair of the Lodge was when Her Ladyship the Countess of Elgin opened a sale of work in the Shepherd’s Hall on the 25th September. The Right Worshipful Master introduced the Countess to the public with a few well chosen words after which the Countess was presented with a bouquet of flowers by Miss Jean Little. She afterwards made a trip round each of stall admiring the handy work of the stall holders.
The New Year was to bring sad tidings to the Lodge with the passing to the Grand Lodge above of Past Master Crichton who was the Lodge’s fourth master. A special meeting was held in the Shepherd’s Hall on Monday the 7th February with the purpose of attending the funeral of the late Past Master. The Lodge was opened and raised to the third degree when it was subsequently adjourned to Markinch Cemetery where Bro Crichton was interred with full Masonic Rites at the hands of the Right Worshipful Master Bro Little and the Lodge Chaplain the Reverend Smart. After solemn tribute was paid to departed merit the Brethren returned to Windygates and the Lodge was closed.
A novel way of raising funds for this years children’s treat was proposed by Bro Belford. His idea was to secure two tickets for the forthcoming Cup Final, along with the railway fare and the cost of tea. This package would then be given to the Brother who gave the best price for the complete package.
In November at the first regular meeting of the month Brother Oliphant presented the Lodge with a portrait of Rabbie Burns our National Bard. The portrait had been given to Bro Oliphant by a friend who wished it to be donated to the Lodge. The Right Worshipful Master Bro Little graciously accepted the portrait and instructed Brother Secretary to write a letter expressing the thanks of the Lodge to the donor of the portrait.
The year that Hitler invaded Poland in an act, which, saw the beginning of the Second World War. Saw some changes to the Lodge with the majority of our younger Brethren being drafted into the various branches of the armed services. The start of the year, however, was to start on a happier note. When at the annual visitation of the Provincial Grand Lodge headed by Lt Col Skene OBE DL JP, the Right Worshipful Master Bro Little asked him to unveil the enlarged portraits of the first three Past Master’s of the Lodge.
The following month a letter was read from Lodge Carbon No 16, Free and Accepted Masons, Price, Utah, USA, stating that Bro Robert Houston a member of our Lodge had passed to the Grand Lodge above and had been interred in the Masonic Cemetery. They requested that the Lodge settle a small debt in connection with the late Bro Houston’s funeral expenses of $5 equal to the sum of £1-1-5. All the Brethren present unanimously agreed to pay this small sum.
As the Battle of Britain was raging over the southern skies of the country, our Right Worshipful Master intimated to the Lodge that due to his ever increasing army duties he was unable to fulfil the duties of the Chair to his satisfaction. It was proposed that Past Master Bro Leslie retake the Chair of King Soloman at the next Installation meeting. The war was beginning to take it s toll on the social side of our Lodge meetings. It was decided at the committee meeting in November to cancel the Children’s Christmas party and not to hold a harmony after the Installation ceremony due to the current economic conditions that have been imposed on the local community because of the war effort.
The Lodge carried on with its regular and special meetings throughout 1941 and there was little or no mention of the war or the spirit of the country. Until a meeting held on the 4th February 1942 when it was proposed by the Right Worshipful Master Bro Leslie and seconded by Bro J Houston that any Brethren of the Lodge called to serve in His Majesties Forces would remain in the same standing as prior to their enlistment.
On Wednesday the 26th June a “Smoker” was held in the Windygates Hotel at 7pm to celebrate the Lodge “Coming of age”. At the commencement of the smoker there where around thirty brethren present including representatives from Kilwinning Montrose No 15, Kirkcaldie, Oswald of Dunnikier, St Clair of Dysart, Elgin, Randolph, Balfour Melville and St Clair of Balbeggie. Bro Leslie opened the evening by saying Grace after which the usual toasts were said. The evening came to an end at 12pm with the Brethren assembled singing Auld Lang Syne.
The end of 1942 was to witness a Grand Dance in the Miners Institute with music from Merry Mac’s Band. The evening terminated at 10.45pm and after all the expenses of the night were taken into account the sum of £7 had been raised in aid of the War Distress Fund.
The next two and a half years of the war were to see the Lodge carry on with regular meetings being held and the annual burns suppers being held to try and boost the moral of the village now fed up with the sad news that came on an almost daily basis from the different theatres around the world. There was light at the end of the tunnel however, and by June of 1944 when the allied armies had landed on the beaches of Normandy, Oppenheimer was gradually coming closer to find a method to end this war. In December the Right Worshipful Master Bro Dryburgh read a Christmas greeting from Past Master Belford who is currently serving in Italy. The Brethren of the Lodge were looking forward to the first large milestone in their history. Our Silver Jubilee.
The Station Road Years 1946 -1977
After the end of the Second World War when the country was settling back into a peace time of rationing and men were returning from overseas. The members of the Lodge were looking forward to the first great milestone in the Lodges history, the Silver Jubilee. A meeting was held in the Lodge rooms to discuss the way ahead. The Brethren present decided that they would hold the celebrations on the 21st June 1946. They also decided to hold a hostess whist drive, a dance and a Christmas raffle to commemorate the occasion. The Lodge Secretary of the Bro Edward W Thomson was instructed to invite the Provincial Grand Master Bro Lord Elgin to attend and to see of relative Bro the Earl Haig, whose father the Lodge was named after, if it were possible for him to attend the celebrations.
The evening was to be held on the lines of the Festival of St John’s night and the tickets were priced at 10 shillings each.
When the great day arrived (a Friday) the Lodge tyled at 6pm the Right Worshipful Master Bro J D Dryburgh presided over 200 Brethren at the festive board, of this number 14 were representatives of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Fife and Kinross headed by our current Provincial Grand Master’s father. There was also 23 sister Lodges represented that evening from all corners of the Province. IN between the toasts the Brethren were entertained with songs from Bro R Brown, Elgin’s Lodge at Leven and Bro Thomson, Lodge Randolph, both these fine singers were accompanied on the organ by Bro Watson they were also treated to an accordion solo from one of our own members Bro R Berry. At the end of the evening a collection was taken in aid of the Provincial Bi Centenary Fund which amounted to £7 and 1 shilling. The evening then ended at 11.30pm.
The following Sunday the 23rd of June the Lodge was opened at 2pm in the 1st or entered apprentice degree and 37 Brethren form the Lodge and 10 visiting Brethren, then formed in procession and marched up the Kennoway Road to the Kennoway Auld Kirk proceeded by the Kennoway Pipe Band. Where a Divine Service was conducted by Bro Reverend W R Smart the Lodge’s Chaplain.
The Lodge business however was not being forgotten amidst all the celebrations that were going on. It seems that the Lodge was in very trusty hands in the form of the Lodge Secretary and Treasurer Bro Thomson and Bro Robertson. They astutely advised the Lodge to invest £100 in 3% defence bonds and if they did so before the 30th April deadline they would still be entitled to the 3% bonds before they fell to 2 ½% on the 1st May.
The work of the Bro Secretary and Treasurer were testified to by a minute inserted by the Substitute Provincial Grand Master on the occasion of the annual visitation to the Lodge. The Lodge carried on its business in the usual manner with a good number of candidates coming forward and good average attendance of 30 at most meetings. This was at a time when the Lodge was meeting every Wednesday of the month with the first Wednesday being the regular meeting and the subsequent meetings all being specials and even when Christmas Day fell on a Wednesday in 1946. Thirty one Brethren turned up to witness a second degree where five Brethren were passed to the second degree.
Bro Edward Walter Thomson who has held the position of Secretary for the last 8 years since he took over the role from Bro Hogg who left the area. Again leaving the areas was the reason for resigning his position as Secretary as he had gained promotion in his work. The Immediate Past Master Dryburgh stood in as acting Secretary until the Installation.
As the year was drawing to a close the Lodge committee felt a requirement to purchase Past Master’s jewels and aprons. After discussion at a committee meeting of the Lodge it was agreed to purchase three 9 carat gold jewels at the price of £19-18 each. A considerable sum in the early years after the end of the war.
With the coming of the end of the decade that had seen war devastate the four quarters of the globe undoubtedly bringing Freemasons onto opposite sides. Exciting times lay ahead for the Lodge. The first of a very busy couple of years for the Lodge was when the Master Bro Houston and Wardens signed a petition on behalf of the Lodge to act as seconders to the foundation of a new Lodge just a couple of miles up the road in the fast growing village of Kennoway. The name of the proposed Lodge was ST Kenneth and they were eventually numbered 1441. Their first Right Worshipful Master Bro Alexander MacIntosh Leslie who was twice a Past Master of our Lodge.
There were 17 new initiates to the Lodge who this year were paying two shillings less to join the craft than the previous year. A price reduction!
The first major event of the 50’s was a sad time for the Lodge with the passing to the Grand Lodge above of Bro J Rankin. The Lodge was opened in the first degree, then passed and raised. The Right Worshipful Master then adjourned the Lodge to the residence of the late Bro Rankin. The cortege then left for Kennoway Cemetery where the late Brother was interred with full Masonic Rites. After the ceremony the Brethren returned to the Shepherd’s Hall and the Lodge was closed.
At the committee meeting held n the 17th May a proposal was put before the Lodge to make a joint offer along with the Plymouth Brethren, the other users of the Shepherd’s Hall to purchase the building in our joint names. It was decided to meet with representatives of the Plymouth Brethren to discuss the proposal further. This was just the beginning of a prosperous time for the Lodge. At the meeting of the two parties the Plymouth Brethren proposed to buy the larger hall for £1000 and the Lodge decided to make an offer for the Lesser Hall at a price which was deemed to be a 1/3rd of the total costs. D C Wallace a solicitor form Leven was instructed to act on behalf of both parties. The following month the Loyal Order of Ancient Shepherd’s decided to up the asking price of the hall to £2750. With the increase in the asking price the Plymouth Brethren backed out of the deal. After further discussion the solicitor was instructed to make an offer on behalf of the Lodge to buy both halls for £2000. Nothing more however has been minuted regarding the purchase of the halls and the Lodge continued in the same vein by renting the lesser hall for their regular and special meetings and the larger hall for any extra special meetings.
Lodge Earl Haig along with probably every other Lodge in the country stood in a minutes silence in memory of His Late Majesty King George VI.
The year of our present Queen’s Coronation, was the beginning of an association with the Lodge that his father started when he presided at our consecration. The Provincial Visitation for 1953 was headed by Lord Bruce, Substitute Provincial Grand Master, and the son of our Provincial Grand Master. On the occasion of his first visit to or Lodge. Lord Bruce stated that he felt that he had something in common, which derived from the fact that he held the name of Douglas which also belonged to the Late Earl Haig.
1953 was also the year when the Lodge worked away from home for the first time in a good number of years, when we were invited to work the master mason’s degree at Lodge Woodhall St John’s No 305, Bellshill. Our Right Worshipful Master Bro A Cochrane after presenting the work was presented to the Master of Lodge 305 and honorary membership of Lodge Woodhall St John was conferred upon him. This was the first honour of this kind to bestowed on one of our members.
As was previously mentioned this was the Coronation year of our present Queen, Elizabeth I and II and to commemorate the occasion the Lodge held a Coronation Ball in the Shepherd’s Hall on Friday the 29th May when the guests were entertained to music by the Jack Pillans Band.
The end of friendship that had been made earlier in the year with the Brethren of Lodge Woodhall St John was further cemented on the 24th October when they visited Windygates and performed the master masons degree on two of our fellowcrafts.
There seems to be an increase in Lodge’s visiting other Lodges to confer degrees and this was a very important part of Lodge life in the early 50’s just as it is now 40 years later in the 90’s. Early 1954 saw the Lodge travelling a few miles down the road to Buckhaven to work master masons degree in Lodge Randolph 776.
The Provincial Visitation this year was also a special occasion as it was headed by the Provincial Grand Master and this was his first visit to the Lodge for many years.
Bro Harry Forbes of Lodge St Andrew’s at Craill very generously gifted the Lodge with two deacon’s wands.
The end of the year was marked by a sale of work where we where lucky enough to have the presence of Lord Bruce, Substitute Provincial Grand Master to open the sale of work. After he had performed this ceremony he was presented with a cheque book wallet by Mrs Margaret Todd. The generosity of the general public who came along to the Windygates Miners Institute, which was later to become the Lodges permanent home, realised the sum of £150.
This year is a special year for me personally in the history of the Lodge as it was the year that my father and uncle joined their Father, my Grandfather as Brothers in the Lodge. It is also a memorable year for the Lodge as it was in this year that the plans for a purpose built Lodge room was nurtured. It was in October that a special committee met to inspect the block of property advertised for sale which adjoining our present Lodge rooms. The property consisted of a dwelling house and shop on the ground floor and two dwelling houses on the top floor. After careful inspection it was decided that the top floor could be converted into a hall (26 feet square) with two adjoining ante rooms. The plans were to leave the ground floor as it was at the moment. The Lodge decided to instruct their solicitor D C Wallace from Leven to make an offer of £600 for the property. The Bro Secretary was instructed to contact Provincial Grand Lodge and the County Planning Officer for permission to make the suggested alterations.
All the time when the Lodge was involved with the plans for the new Lodge rooms the day to day Masonic work was not being neglected. The Lodge under the guidance of the Right Worshipful Master Bro Kennedy visited Lodge Macduff 940 and conferred the master masons degree on three fellow crafts.
The first month of the New Year brought some very good news for the Lodge. As they received notification from Fife County Council that the proposed plan for the Masonic Hall had been approved. As the news spread around the Province that Earl Haig were to have their own purpose built Lodge rooms. Brethren from around the Province were full of support and good wishes for the project in hand. In particular a Brother of Lodge St John No 250 Dunfermline (now named Union) had presented the Lodge with 50 seats towards the furnishing of the Lodge rooms.
The annual visitation from the Provincial Grand Lodge was again headed by the Substitute Provincial Grand Master, Bro Lord Bruce. In the minute inserted in the Lodge minute book by the Provincial Grand Secretary Bro William Sloss stated that since its consecration the membership of the Lodge was 255. This figure was made up of 137 Life Members and 118 test fee paying members. With some 70 members in arrears of their test fees. The minute went on to encourage the Master and Wardens to be more attentive in their attendance at the Quarterly Communications. The minute ended on a complimentary note to our Lodge organist Bro William Watson.
As 1956 had started in a positive vein it was inevitable that the year was to end on an unhappy note. With the funeral service of Past Master James Houston who had occupied the Chair of King Soloman between the years of 1948 and 1950. The Lodge was opened at 2.30pm in the Shepherd’s Hall and was raised to the high and sublime degree of a master mason before being adjourned to the late Past Masters residence. From where the cortege left for Methilhill cemetery where the funeral service was carried out with full Masonic Rites. On completion of the ceremony the Brethren adjourned to the Lodge and it was closed in due and ancient form.
The final major event in 1956 was the visit from Lodge Macduff 940 to confer the master mason degree on five of our brethren. Two of whom were to subsequently rise to the Chair of King Soloman. Bro Peter McFarlane and Bro Andrew Henderson Anderson Leven.
In the February of 1957 a letter was read from the Provincial Grand Secretary intimating the resignation of the Rt Hon the Earl of Elgin and Kincardine from his position of Provincial Grand Master in May of this year. The Right Worshipful Master Bro Herbert Murray proposed and was seconded by Past Master Alex Leslie that the Lodge recommend his son Bro Lord Bruce, Substitute Provincial Grand Master follow in his father’s footsteps and take over as The Provincial Grand Master of the Province.
The new Lodge premises which had now been slowly altered into Lodge rooms as planned were progressing well and it had now come to the time that the Notice of Motion to alter our bye laws in respect to our meeting place to read the Masonic Hall, Station Road, Windygates.
The final touches were being contemplated for the completion of the Temple. Things that many of us take for granted had to be ironed out such as heating and decoration from the hall and on a Masonic note it was agreed to purchase a new carpet from Bethune and Co in Edinburgh at a cost of £23.
The excitement was mounting for the Brethren of the Lodge as they were only a couple of months away from the consecration of our new home. The committee meeting of the 28th March solely dealt with the final preparations for the big day which had been set as the 26th April 1958. The result of discussions that took place that evening was that the Bro Secretary had to place adds in the local papers to advertise the meeting. He had to arrange for the use of the Institute for the Ceremonial dinner where the catering was to be done by Markinch Co-op. Good Standing Founder Members were to be given priority to attend then it was open to good standing members to purchase one of the 150 tickets that were available for the meal at a price of 10 shillings. He was also instructed to invite the local neighbouring Lodges, namely: 72, 91, 304, 532, 764, 776, 777, 809, 940, 1348, and 1441. Strong connections with these 11 Lodges are still held to this date. The month preceding the consecration proved to be a busy time for the Bro Secretary Thomson Inglis who at this time was a very young Mason who had only joined our Fraternity in the April of the last year. He still has very strong connections with the Lodge in 1996 as he has just retired from his 2nd stint at being Secretary in 1995 and he is currently our Depute Master on the invitation of his son, the Right Worshipful Master this year, the year of our 75th Anniversary.
Consecration of New Lodge Premises at Station Road, Windygates
On Saturday 26
th April 1958, Bro Lord Bruce, Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master presided over a meeting of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Fife and Kinross accompanied by 22 members of Provincial Grand Lodge and representatives from 11 sister Lodges and the Right Worshipful Master and Brethren of Lodge Earl Haig. Visited Windygates for the purpose of consecrating new Lodge premises acquired by the Lodge. The Lodge was opened and raised to the third degree. After the prayer the singing of the consecration hymn and a reading from scripture, Psalm 133, Bro Dr Rankin, Senior Provincial Grand Chaplain delivered the following oration:
“In our disturbed world, as again we remind ourselves, a great office falls to be discharged by our order. It is to be a powerful factor in preserving stability. Running as it does through all grades of society and its function is that of to be a strong steel chain fixed to an immovable rock of belief and practice, linking me in responsibility, duty, trust and friendship.
These virtues are indeed the essential ones of the free and humane society to which we are accustomed, and which we desire to maintain. It is hard to overstate the influence which Freemasonry can exercise for their preservation. Vast storms have set adrift many things once stable and assured. The change is seen in institutions, and also in human faiths and obligations, and their sanctions. The deliberate attempt is also made to effect change of spirit in man himself, and convert him into the instrument of a sheer materialistic philosophy. Materialism is not new, but it is a new thing that has emerged in our own time to raise it to the states of a universal and omnipotent dogma.
Over and against this and other similar theories, masonry stands asserting that life has its basis in the spiritual, and society its basis in brotherhood, and not in mere mechanical order. We are glad to have a part in this consecration today since it, denotes not only a defence but an advance of our principles against whatever winds and tides are for the time being setting in the opposite direction.
A moment ago I compared Freemasonry with a steel anchor chain. But while in a storm for a time that may be necessary furnishing, it is useless ship which remains forever at anchor. The charge of doing so cannot be levied against Freemasonry, its eyes are soon lifted over the ocean of human want and distress, and it has always, bravely, wisely and effectively ventured forth upon it.
Into that sea this Lodge in its beautiful new premises will put out with new heart, with a great company, in a mission of comfort and succour. Our prayer is that prosperity will always accompany both its members and its work.”
After, this very wisely worded oration, which still stands in today’s modern Freemasonry, the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master carried out the ceremony of Dedication in a very dignified manner. Lord Bruce then made a presentation of a portrait of the Late Bro Field Marshall the Earl Haig to the Lodge as he was aware that the Lodge was at present not in possession of one. He said of the portrait that it had been a personal possession for many years and that he had much pleasure in presenting it to our Right Worshipful Master Bro Herbert Murray. On accepting the portrait Bro Murray thanked Lord Bruce on the way that he and the Brethren of the Provincial Grand Lodge had carried out this dedication ceremony and also gave him a personal thanks for his generosity in presenting the Lodge with the portrait, saying that it would be treasured by the members and placed in a honoured place within the Lodge.
The meeting of the Provincial Grand Lodge was then closed in due and ancient form. Thereafter the Brethren retired to the Windygates Miners Institute to accept the hospitality of the Brethren of Lodge Earl Haig. On the evening there were many fine toasts spoken and many words of praise and thanks spread among the diners.
At the second meeting to be held in the new premises Past Master Bro A Cochrane asked the Right Worshipful Master’s permission to address the Lodge. In his address he thanked all the Brethren for the voluntary work that they had put in to get our new temple into the beautiful condition that it was now. In particular he mentioned the chief architect Bro W Kennedy Immediate Past Master, The Right Worshipful Master, Bro Herbert Murray for his enthusiasm and drive. The plasterers Bro William Michie and W Vallance and the painters Bro’s Reid and McCulloch and finally to the Secretary Bro Thomson Inglis and the Treasurer Bro Robertson for their time and efforts in the background with all the paper work appertaining to the new temple.
The end of this important year in the history of our Lodge was to be marked at the Provincial Visitation in December when it was the will of the Lodge to confer honorary membership on Bro Lord Bruce, the Provincial Grand Master but due to bad weather conditions the meeting had to be cancelled.
After the excitement of the last 12 months the Lodge began to get back in an even keel with a good number of new initiates and healthily attended meetings taking place.
The early months of the year afforded the opportunity for the Right Worshipful Master and the Depute Master and their good Ladies to attend the wedding of our Provincial Grand Master, Bro Lord Bruce to Miss Victoria Usher on the 27th April 1959 in St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh. The part of the minute states:
“the smiling bride, in white brocade, diamond tiara, loaned by Lady Jean Wemyss, and the Bruce family diamond necklace arrived at the west door of St Giles Cathedral on the stroke of two. As the last note of the first hymn died away she came to a halt before the Very Reverend Dr Charles Warr. The lesson was read from a Bruce family Bible that had last been used in St Giles’s 359 years before by the Reverend Robert Bruce.
All the guests then moved to the Assembly Rooms where they were received by Mr and Mrs Usher, Lord and Lady Elgin and Lord and Lady Bruce, where they partook in delicacy and champagne. Altogether it had been a day of pomp and ceremony which will be remembered for many years”
The Lodge carried out with its work over the next few months until the end of the year with 12 new initiates to strengthen the Lodge and carry it into the swinging sixties.
The first month of the New Year brought about a great tragedy to the Lodge when our Right Worshipful Master Bro Bert Robertson passed to the Grand Lodge above. Bro Robertson was one of the Lodge’s Founder members and it first Deacon. He was well loved and respected by all the Brethren of the Lodge and other sister Lodges. Over the years his love and dedication to the craft were found not to be wanting having served in most offices and the tireless work that he put in the Lodge when he was Treasurer, he finally reached the Chair of Kind Soloman in 1959. Past Master Cochrane said a few word about the late Bro Robertson and the Lodge passed on its condolences to his wife and family.
At the Annual Visitation of the Provincial Grand Lodge, Lord Brice made mention of the great loss the Lodge had felt at the passing of Bro Robertson. He then went onto congratulate the Lodge in reaching 40 years young in the previous June.
The first few months of 1962 ran smoothly with good regular attendances at all meetings. In the April of 1962 the Lodge was visited by Lodge Glenrothes 1549 who where there on the invitation of our Right Worshipful Master Andrew Todd to confer the master masons degree on one of our members. After the meeting during the Harmony the Right Worshipful Master of Lodge Glenrothes presented the Lodge with a donation of £2-15-6 towards the Lodges Benevolent Fund.
There were 8 new initiates in this year and they were being charged £9-3-0. The price had increased twice in this last year as the Lodge had been charging £8-8-0 however the contribution to Grand Lodge was 15s was not being paid by the initiate and this error in calculation had been picked up the Provincial Grand Lodge at their annual inspection of the books.
In April of 1963 Right Worshipful Master Bro Todd had the sad duty to inform the Lodge that Past Master William Horsburgh Nairn had passed to the Grand Lodge above. Bro Nairn was a well respected local Justice of the Peace in Leven and there is a street which still bears his name. Past Master Ballantine recalled to the Lodge the history of this dear departed Brother’s Masonic career. His sash and apron have been granted to the Lodge so that it may be used at all times. In 1994 Past Master Nairn’s jewel was offered back to the Lodge by his Grandson who had hit on poor times financially. He also had Bro Nairn’s Past Master jewel from when he was the Master of Elgin’s Lodge at Leven. Unfortunately for both Lodges the figure offered to the relative was not enough for him to part with these two historic jewels.
(Editor’s note: I am now very privileged to wear PM Nairn’s jewel as my own PM’s jewel)
The 26th October saw the first visit to the Lodge, to work a degree, by Lodge St Kenneth 1441. They came along that evening to confer the first degree in three candidates two of whom were brothers.
The next few years past by with the Lodge carrying out its business in a very efficient manner with many new members being admitted into our fraternity. 1963 saw 15 initiates the following year 1964 saw 13 new members. 1965 nine candidates. The year that the Auld Enemy won the World Cup in England saw 5 new initiates and 1967 when Scotland defeated the new world champions at football there were six candidates. Over this period the Lodge worked out at several sister Lodges around the Province on many occasions.
The first few months of 1968 carried on in the same vein as the preceding years until when in March the Lodge was again visited by Lodge St Kenneth who came along to work the master masons degree on one of our own Brethren Bro John Danskin Todd. The rest of the year returned to the usual business of regular and special meetings averaging around 30 members at most meetings and the year saw nine new initiates. However at the end of the year sad news was passed down to all the daughter Lodges of the Province that the Past Provincial Grand Master The Rt Hon the Earl of Elgin and Kincardine KT CMG TD LL LLD JP had passed away to the Grand Lodge above. His son Lord Bruce our current Provincial Grand Master Mason would take over from his father as the new Earl of Elgin.
The beginning of the year was to bring questions to the Lodge on the future of their premises as the nearby Shepherds Hall’s had once again been put on the market. At discussion during a Lodge committee there were two proposals on the table one to remain in our current premises and one to acquire the Shepherds Halls to hold our meetings in. The decision was then put up at the next regular meeting which was to be in February. When the Notice of Motion to stay in our current Lodge rooms no other proposals were put in front of open Lodge. This was to lead to the Lodge staying put in our purpose built temple.
This month we were also treated to a third degree by Lodge St Andrews at Craill No 83 who led by their own Right Worshipful Master Bro A Leask they raised Bro Andrew Sinclair to the high and sublime degree of a master mason. In the last year of the decade there were 4 new initiates. The end of the swinging sixties came with great excitement for the new decade and the Brethren of Lodge Earl Haig under the leadership of the Right Worshipful Master Bro William Cooper Michie with the Brethren looking forward to the 50th Anniversary celebrations in 1971.
The 70’s saw the resurrection of an annual institution in the Lodge and that was the Annual Burns Supper held in the Saturday closest to the Bard’s birthday. The first few months of the year proved to be a busy time for the Bro Secretary and the Right Worshipful Master as the preparations for the 50th celebrations were well under way. 1971 saw another one of our eminent Past Master’s pass to the Grand Lodge above and at the regular meeting on the 7th April 1971 a minute silence was held for Past Master Dryburgh who had occupied the Chair of the Lodge in the closing years of World War 2 and was in the Chair at the Silver Jubilee of the Lodge.
The 2nd April saw permission being granted from the Provincial Grand Lodge for the Lodge to hold a special meeting in the Windygates Institute games room on the evening of the Golden Jubilee Dance. The Lodge was opened in the first degree and the Right Worshipful Master and Brethren in full Masonic regalia marched to the dance hall of the Institute to receive the visiting delegates from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Fife an Kinross, Lodge St Kenneth, Lodge Macduff, Lodge Balfour Melville, Lodge Randolph, Lodge Balgonie, Lodge Rothes and Elgin’s Lodge at Leven. Bro Michie then welcomed the delegates charging them to return the warm fraternal greetings back to their mother Lodges. The brethren then invited their good Ladies to join them in the Grand March after which they retired and the Lodge closed in due and ancient form. They then returned to the dance and the festivities carried on until the early hours of the Sunday morning.
50th Anniversary Meeting
Saturday the 1st of May saw the Right Worshipful Master Bro William Cooper Michie, seven Past Master’s of the Lodge, Wardens and 27 Brethren join together along with a Deputation from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Fife and Kinross headed by Substitute Provincial Grand Master Bro Hugh C Munro and 24 Office Bearers and 43 visiting Brethren. Bro Michie, Right Worshipful Master handed the Gavel tot Bro Hugh C Munro to carry on with the work of the evening. Bro Munro paid tribute to Grand Lodge and the work that Lodge Earl Haig had carried out over the last fifty years. Bro the Reverend Albert P Bogie MA Junior Provincial Grand Chaplain read the scriptures, he then gave a blessing in the Lodge and finally he carried out the ceremony of rededication. On completion of the ceremony the gavel was handed back to Bro Michie who said a few words of thanks to both Bro Munro and Bro Bogie for the manner in which they had carried out the work of the evening. He also paid tribute to Bro E Forester the Provincial Organist who had accompanied the ceremony. The collection taken on the evening realised the amount of £14.20 this was then raised by the will of the Lodge to be £20 which was donated to the Provincial Grand Lodge Benevolent Fund.
After the meeting was closed 87 Brethren joined together for a celebration dinner which took place in the Windygates Institute where many stories from the last 50 years were relayed between friends and brothers. Bro Michie a keen fisherman has generously donated a trophy to be used for an annual fishing competition to mark our 50th Anniversary.
In the third month of the New Year the Right Worshipful Master John Rodgers was pleased to welcome Bro E Fraser, Right Worshipful Master and a Deputation from Lodge Balgonie No 764. The members of Earl Haig then witnessed a finely worked degree, a degree which was worked with many differences from the 3rd degree worked by Earl Haig.
At the last meeting before the close season there was a notice of motion put before the Lodge to confer Distinguished Service Membership on Past Master Alexander Mc Leslie. This motion was to be voted on at the first meeting after the recess. As only was fitting it was agreed by the Lodge to confer this honour on the Past Master. 1972 ended with a return visit to Lodge Balgonie where we worked a 3rd degree on one of their fellow crafts. This was however one the worst years the Lodge has suffered for new candidates with only two coming forward for initiation.
The first meeting of 1973 saw the Annual Visitation from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Fife and Kinross headed on this occasion by Bro J Brazenall, Substitute Provincial Grand Master. Part of the duties that Provincial Grand Lodge had to perform that evening was the very pleasing duty of presenting Past Master Leslie with his Distinguished Service Membership Diploma. It states in the minute book about Past Master Leslie:
“Bro Alex Leslie has dedicated himself to such pursuits as have enabled him to be respected in life, useful to mankind and an ornament to the craft. His work throughout his Masonic career as a true and faithful master of the craft and has been good work, sound work and square work. It is most fitting that the Brethren of his Mother Lodge have conferred upon him this great award for his eminent services. The Brethren will rejoice to learn that the Grand Lodge of Scotland will be conferring on Bro Leslie Past Master, the rank of Honorary Grand Marshall at the Provincial Quarterly Communication on Friday 26th January 1973”
Bro Leslie remains to this day the only member of Lodge Earl Haig to receive such an honour.
On the 25th April, the Lodge visited Lodge Glenrothes 1549 where we conferred the honourable degree of mark master mason, among the candidates advanced was one of our own Brethren, Bro Robert Alexander Hynd.
During the close season a team of Lodge tradesman had spent many unpaid hours redecorating the Temple. The Right Worshipful Master Bro Rodgers called on the Brethren present to show their gratitude to the work of Bro’s Sirrell, Hugh, Thomson ad McMann for a grand job well done. As is the custom to invite Lodges back to work a degree, Lodge Glenrothes came along to Windygates to carry out a third degree on two of our members. The last few months of the year proved to be popular with return visits from other Lodges. October 27th saw the introduction of Lodge Balgonie when they carried out the third degree on two of our fellow crafts. The following month saw Balfour Melville travel up from Methil to confer the master masons degree on one of our members.
The relationship with Lodge Balgonie which had begun under the Mastership of Past Master Rodgers continues with them again returning to Windygates to confer the third degree on several of our members. This was done in Balgonie’s usual efficient and dignified manner.
The summer of 1974 saw bowling glory come to Earl Haig in the form of the Kirkland Shield an inter Lodge bowling tournament which was won by a rink from the Lodge skippered by Bro Louis McCallum.
The last regular meeting of the year saw Past Master McFarlane take up the Chair of King Soloman and along with a team of Past Masters work a third degree and raise two fellow crafts to this high and sublime degree. The start of the new season brought sad news to the Brethren when they stood in silence for one minute in respect of departed merit. Amongst the Brethren who had passed to the Grand Lodge above during the close season was Bro Edward Russell of Lodge Balcarres 1240. Bro Russell over the last few years had been a very regular attendee of our Lodge and on every occasion he assisted the work of the degree by playing the organ. His accompaniment will be sadly missed. At one of the meetings in September it was reported to the Lodge that Past Master Andrew Todd whilst holidaying in the United States had been made an honorary member of Farmersville Lodge No 482 Dayton, Ohio. Bro Todd went onto recall some of the happy Masonic experiences that he had experienced on holiday and spoke of the many new Masonic links he had made.
The annual bowls tournament held against St Kenneth for the Dryburgh Cup, held annually in September, brought some disappointing news to the Lodge this year St Kenneth managed to retake the trophy after four years without success. Later in the year saw a visit from Lodge Randolph headed by their Right Worshipful Master Bro William Johnston. The Brethren of Lodge Randolph then conferred the first degree on two of our candidates.
At the Installation meeting of Bro Thomson Inglis there was a mixture of joy and sorrow as it came to the attention of the Lodge that two of our founding members had passed to the Grand Lodge above Bro William Baxter and Bro William Scullion both these Brethren had held office in the Lodge but probably most notable was that Bro Baxter was our first secretary when the Lodge had been constituted. The Installation ceremony however was a very joyous occasion when it was carried out with great decorum by two of the Lodges eminent Past Master’s Bro’s McFarlane and Leven. At the close of the meeting the newly installed Right Worshipful Master presented the Lodge with an 87 year old Bible which had been donated by a friend of his.
For the first time Lodge Oak from Kelty No 877 visited the Lodge at our Right Worshipful Masters invitation to work the second degree they were led by their own Right Worshipful Master Alex Penny. The rest of the year carried on with regular and special meetings with good attendances
The beginning of 1976 also brought sad news to the Lodge with the passing of another of our more senior Past Masters Bro Alexander Cochrane. Bro Cochrane was also a Past Senior Warden of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Fife and Kinross. Bro Andrew Hugh then recalled sincerely how Bro Cochrane had been devoted to the Craft and its various branches during his Masonic life, he continued by expressing sincere thoughts and wishes to the family of the late Bro Cochrane. The Lodge then observed a minutes silence for departed merit. Bro Ian Cochrane Lodge Canongate Kilwinning No2 was then upstanding and thanked the Lodge for the warm welcome and the kind words that had been said for his late father. He went onto express his deep appreciation at the sympathy extended to his family at this sad time and he felt that he had to show his thanks by attending this meeting. Bro Cochrane then retired before the business of the evening.
After the sad start to the year a happier time was held in connection with one of the Past Masters of the Lodge. This was the presentation to Past Master Hutton of Distinguished Service membership. In his remarks the Right Worshipful Master recalled how Bro Hutton was the first initiate of Past Master Leslie, he then called on Past Master Leslie to present the diploma to Bro Hutton. On the evening the strong ties that we have with Lodge St Kenneth were reiterated with a large deputation from St Kenneth’s present to witness the ceremony. The Right Worshipful Master Bro Gray spoke of the deep affection that the Brethren of his Lodge held for Bro Hutton who had been a Founder member of St Kenneth’s and was his proposer into the Craft.
The start of the new season saw a visit from Lodge Macduff 940 headed by their Right Worshipful Master Bro Robert Taylor who over the years was a very good friend to Lodge Earl Haig. The team of Office Bearers from Macduff then carried out a most entertaining and instructive third degree on two of our members.
The first Provincial Quarterly Communication in Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth I and II Silver Jubilee year was held in Elgin’s Lodge at Leven and saw our Past Master Bro William Cooper Michie appointed a Provincial Grand Steward. During the month of March we where again privileged to receive a Deputation from Lodge Randolph 776 who had come along to confer the 3rd degree on Bro Hugh Donald McPherson.
At a meeting in November the Bro Secretary read an extract of a billet from the Richardson Lodge Ontario Canada concerning Bro William Wallace – a member of Lodge Earl Haig who had emmigrated to Canada some years previous – he had reached his Golden Jubilee and had been presented with his Golden Jubilee Certificate. Bro Wallace a Past Master of the Richardson Lodge continues to be a very active Freemason in his affiliate Lodge. A few weeks later saw a deputation from Lodge Balgonie headed by their Right Worshipful Master Bro Alex Craig, who is still a loyal servant to Lodge Balgonie and currently holds the post of Treasurer in that Lodge. The Brethren then carried out a fine working of the first degree on Mr Robert Flockhart Ritchie.
The final few months of the year were proving to be a very busy time for visits to the Lodge and the last one of the year was the Reigning Masters degree which is held annually between the local Lodges with one Lodge assuming the Chair each year. This year saw it the turn of Earl Haig to preside over Elgin’s Lodge at Leven, St Kenneth’s Macduff, Randolph, St Monans, Balcarres and Balfour Melville.
Due to work commitments our Bro Secretary after a year as a Provincial Grand Steward felt he must retire from this office as he could not justify the time that the position required. At the visit of the Provincial Grand Lodge the Substitute Provincial Grand Master thanked Bro Michie for the time he had served the Province during the last year.
Another meeting which strengthened the ties with Lodge Balgonie was a special meeting in April when a team of Office Bearers from several Lodges from around the Province came along to work a third degree. The deputation was led by Bro Bill Robertson Past Master of Lodge Balgonie (currently serving as Provincial Senior Warden of our Province) he was accompanied by Brethren from Lodges 1441, 809, 1549, 121, 1059, 35, 1260 and 532.
The last meeting before the recess saw one of the Right Worshipful Master Bro Tom Reid’s ambitions fulfilled, when we were privileged to receive a deputation from Lodge Whifflets St John No 963 from Coatbridge headed by their Right Worshipful Master Bro William Walker. The night continued with a fine rendering of the third degree on two of our Brethren.
As the year was coming to a close we received a large deputation from Lodge St Fothads who were here on the invitation of Bro Reid to work the second degree. The following meeting was also to be worked with Office Bearers from out with the Lodge. The Brethren were in for a rare treat however when a Deputation from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Fife and Kinross entered the Lodge rooms headed by Substitute Provincial Grand Master John Brazenall. They were here this evening, not to inspect the work of the Lodge, but to entertain us to a fine rendition of the first degree, when Mr Andrew Watson was initiated into Freemasonry.
One of the Brethren who took part in the degree that evening is still a very active and respected Freemason in not only the Province as one of our Substitute Provincial Grand Masters but in Grand Lodge where he is Grand Marshall and sits on various Grand Committees, Bro Bob Sommerville who at the time was a Provincial Grand Steward. After a very fine degree the Right Worshipful Master called on the Wardens of the Lodge to present Past Masters Andrew Todd and Thomson Inglis to the centre of the floor. He then called on the sons of these two Past Masters to present their fathers with Distinguished Service Membership of the Lodge which they both did with pride and love for their father and brother.
The second month of the New Year saw Lodge St Kenneth visit us to work a 3rd degree. The Lodge was led on this occasion by their Right Worshipful Master Bro Robert Cameron. However due to a lack of a candidate the evening Bro Thomas Goodsir stepped in as substitute candidate. The following month saw another visiting Lodge work a degree on the invitation of our Right Worshipful Master. The visiting Lodge this evening was the United Lodge of Dunkeld who had travelled down from Perthshire to work the third degree on Bro Joseph Murray the uncle of our present Immediate Past Master. The second meeting of April was also to be worked by a team of visiting office bearers. The work of the night was to be a third degree with Past Master William Johnston of Lodge Randolph head a deputation from the local sister Lodges.
·The next few months of the year were to throw the Lodge into turmoil over our Lodge premises, when the Lodge received a large rates demand from the local council. The outcome of the demand was that a proposal was put towards the Lodge that they find an alternative meeting place, this was proposed by the Right Worshipful Master and seconded by Bro A Todd PM. The proposal was to lye the usual time and would be brought before the Lodge as a notice of motion at the regular meeting in June. On the 16th of May the Lodge held an emergency meeting to informally discuss the future of the premises of the Lodge. After lengthy discussion concerning the Lodge running costs and the possibility of a move too the Windygates Institute. A sub committee was formed from the discussion who then where to meet with the Institute committee.
·The meeting scheduled for the 7th June arrived as the notice of motion was tabled and passed unanimously. It was further decided that we should meet in the Windygates Institute but due to other users of the hall we would be required to change our meeting night to a Thursday. The decision to vacate the Lodge by the end of June was also taken and for the building to be sold along with any furnishings that would be surplus to requirements at our new premises. The Lodge rooms have subsequently been demolished and the ground where they stood now lies under the new Windygates by-pass the site being subject to a compulsory purchase order from Fife Regional Council.
·The Windygates Institute Years 1979 - 1992
th of September saw our first meeting in the Wndygates Institute the new premises that we were now using. Our new meeting night being a Thursday. At this first meeting the Right Worshipful Master called for Bro William Cooper Michie to be presented before him in order that he could be presented with Distinguished Service Membership which has been bestowed on him by the will of the Brethren of the Lodge.
The first visiting Lodge to grace our new premises was Lodge Buchan St John No 636 who came along to confer the master mason degree on two of our brethren. Our Right Worshipful Master congratulated the Immediate Past Master of Buchan St John on the excellent rendering of the work presented to the Lodge this evening.
The Visitation of the Provincial Grand Lodge in December was to witness a second degree where the candidate was a fellow craft of our Lodge Bro Robert Christie. In the talk to the Lodge after the degree by the Worshipful Substitute Provincial Grand Master Bro Hugh C Munro he wished Bro Christie every good fortune and health and a happy and prosperous Masonic career. Bro Munro lived to see his words of encouragement to this young fellow craft fulfilled when Bro Christie was made a Steward of the Provincial Grand Lodge in 1991.
At the Installation of Bro James Barclay in 1979 after he and his Office Bearers had been installed into their respective offices. One of the first duties was a very pleasing one, one that also cemented a relationship which has extended over the last 30 years when members of our Lodge founded St Kenneth’s, Immediate Past Master Tom Reid led Bro Robert Cameron Past Master 1441 to the alter where he took the obligation of Honorary Membership. He was then presented with his Diploma and Life membership by the Immediate Past Master.
The turn of the new decade brought the hope of a bright future for the Lodge now being settled in our new premises. It was also to see the joining of most of the current Office Bearers to the craft with a few notable exceptions. The first year progressed under the smooth leadership of the Right Worshipful Master Jimmy Barclay.
Towards the end of the year saw the return of Lodge Buchan St John to work a degree in our Lodge rooms this time to confer the entered apprentice degree on our candidate unfortunately on the evening of the meeting the candidate did not appear and Bro David Knight stood in as the Substitute candidate.
The second meeting of the year was also to herald a visit from a Lodge from out with our Province. Lodge Kirkliston Maitland No 482 headed by their Right Worshipful Master Bro Ricky Guest who had crossed the Forth Bridge this evening to work the master masons degree on two of our own Brethren. It is minuted that a very enjoyable social evening followed the work and terminated at 11.45.
April saw another of our eminent Past Masters passing to the Grand Lodge above and a minute silence was observed in memory of Past Master Bro Hutton. 1981 carried on in the same vein with good meetings being held, some by teams of Past Masters or with the Junior Warden in the Chair.
The following year saw little change in the format of the Lodge meetings or in the attendance of the meetings. In February the Right Worshipful Master received Bro Foster the Right Worshipful Master and Brethren of Lodge Macduff 940 where they then passed Bro Archibald Bowman Snr to the second degree.
Since we vacated the Lodge premises in Station Road they had stood empty but the Lodge were still the legal owners. Bro Barclay the Right Worshipful Master stated that Kirkcaldy District Council had offered £5000 for the premises. This proposal was put to open Lodge and was accepted in the usual manner.
In April we were to witness and excellent working of the third degree by Lodge St Kenneth headed by their Right Worshipful Master Bro Rodgerson. The two candidates on that evening were Bro Wilson and Bro Archie Bowman Jnr who was to go on and hold the high office of Master in his Mother Lodge in 1991.
At the last meeting before the summer recess which had traditionally been the meeting that the Mark Ceremonial is performed. After the ceremony when eight Brethren were advanced to the honourable degree of mark master mason. The Right Worshipful Master Bro Beaton called for one of the visiting Brethren to be placed before him at the alter. Where he bestowed on Bro Robert Taylor Past Master of Lodge Macduff 940 Honorary Membership of the Lodge. His first duty as an Honorary Member was to present our Immediate Past Master Bro James Barclay with his Past Masters certificate.
The first meeting of the new season brings back many memories for myself even though at this time I was not a member of the Craft as I was only 12 years old. Past Master Todd was asked by the Right Worshipful Master to report the passing of two our Brethren to the Grand Lodge above, these Brethren being Bro William Finlay and Bro George Michie roll No 166, my Grandfather, who had been initiated into our Mother Lodge on the 11th December 1929. He had been a member of the Craft for some 52 years.
Happier times were to ensue I am glad to say. With the return of Whifflet St John to Windygates to confer the second degree on two of our members. The work was carried out in the usual high standards of the Coatbridge Lodge.
The association with Buchan St John carried on in 1983 when in February the Lodge, led by their Right Worshipful Master visited Windygates and performed a very instructive fellowcraft degree. On the evening of the visit the Bro Junior Deacon Robert Christie was absent as he was taking part in a degree at Lodge Balfour Melville chaired by Past Master Robert Cameron Lodge1441.
In April the Lodge was privileged to be visited by Elgin’s Lodge at Leven headed by Bro Jim Baxter their current Master. They then carried out an excellent working of the first degree on our candidate Mr William Paterson. The evening was also marked with a small deputation of two Brethren from the Provincial Grand Lodge. Past Master Ovenstone said a few congratulatory words to the two masters and then he addressed a few words to the candidate before the evening ended afterwards and enjoyable social ensued.
A few weeks after the visit to the Lodge we were privileged to have a Deputation from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Fife and Kinross who had come along that evening to dedicate the Lodges new regalia. The dedication was carried out by the Provincial Grand Chaplain who after the dedication felt that he was sure that the new regalia would stimulate the Office Bearers to greater efforts in their Masonic careers. After the ceremony which had been carried out in a very dignified manner, Past Master Bro R Gourlay from Lodge Macduff gave an explanation of the 1st degree tracing board. This he did in a most impressive and masterly manner explaining each step most thoroughly and with great confidence.
1984 saw the return of two Lodges from out with the Province which was becoming a bi-annual affair. The first was the visit of Buchan St John No 636 headed by their Right Worshipful Master P Gray. Bro Gray and his team of Office Bearers went on to render an excellent rendition of the second degree when two of our Brethren were instructed in the mysteries and secrets of this degree.
After the summer recess we were to witness a third degree by the other Lodge that we have developed a relationship with from out with the Province. When the Right Worshipful Master Bro Andrew Smith, led a deputation of Office Bearers and Brethren from Whifflet St John 963. When they raised Bro Reid to the high and sublime degree of a master mason, in the course of the ceremony the candidates father Past Mast T Reid and his grandfather Bro R Reid presented the candidate with his master mason’s apron. Which they did with great pride and joy.
The turn of the New Year saw Lodge Glenrothes 1549 visit the Lodge with a large deputation headed by Right Worshipful Master Bro J Abercrombie. Who were along this evening to witness the first degree worked by our Past Master Bro Thomson Inglis and Office Bearers of Lodge Earl Haig, unfortunately due to the lack of a candidate the Lodge was forced to use a substitute candidate in the form of Bro Thomson. Towards the end of the year our Right Worshipful Master asked one of our most eminent Past Masters to take the Chair and work a third degree with a team of his choice. Past Master Leslie along with Brethren from Lodges 91, 1441, 776, 940, 1348, 1240 and 809 raised to the high and sublime degree of a master mason Bro David Hamilton.
The last meeting of the year was again to be a testament of our most eminent Past Master, one whose name is still regularly used in the Lodge today, Bro Alex Leslie. The first duty of the night was to introduce a Deputation from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Fife and Kinross who on this evening where accompanied by Past Master Robert Cameron of Lodge St Kenneth. A fine deputation from Lodge St Kenneth then entered the Lodge, this deputation included some Office Bearers of Lodge Earl Haig. They were along this evening to work the entered apprentice degree. The Chair was taken by the Right Worshipful Master of the Kennoway Lodge along with the Senior Warden and Junior Deacon for the evening Bro James Lawson and Bro Robert Lawson respectively. They were joined by two of our present Past Master’s Bro Robert Christie as Junior Warden and Bro Duncan Murray as Junior Deacon. The candidate was invested with his apron by a friend who had travelled up from Lodge Peace Manchester, English Constitution, to witness the ceremony. Bro Webster on handing back the gavel spoke with great affection about the bonds that tied our two great Lodges together. The gavel was then passed to the Substitute Provincial Grand Master Bro King who said a few words about the remarkable feat that Past Master Leslie had achieved in reaching 60 years in the Craft. Our own Right Worshipful Master, who was the candidate when Past Master Leslie received his Golden Jubilee diploma 10 years previous, presented Bro Alex with a suitable gift from all members of his Mother Lodge. The Past Master then spoke a few words in his own very personal style and as is written in the Lodge minute book “wie a gie big lump in his throat”
A popular month for visiting Lodges was April and this April was to be no different with a deputation from Lodge Kirkliston Maitland who had come along this evening to work a second degree and to further strengthen the ties between our two Lodges.
The first meeting after the close season was again to bring sad news to the Lodge with news of the passing to the Grand Lodge above of two of our Past Master’s Bro R Belford 1933-35 and Bro A Todd 1961-63 along with Bro W Martin a minutes silence was observed for departed merit then the Right Worshipful Master said a few words about each of these Brethren.
The New Year was to witness a visit from Lodge Rothes 532 headed by their Right Worshipful Master M A Aitken who along with a fine deputation from his Lodge. They were there at our Right Worshipful Master’s invitation to initiate Mr David Stenhouse into the secrets and mysteries of ancient Freemasonry. Which they duly did in a considerably different manner from our own first degree.
The New Year was to bring many new experiences for myself, I joined Her Majesties Royal Air Force in January and later in the year I was to have my enquiry and ballot for initiation into Freemasonry. It was however to be just another normal year in the life of Lodge Earl Haig. The high point of the year was undoubtedly the visit by Lodge Randolph to confer the honourable degree of mark master mason on three of our Brethren and one of their own members. The degree was carried out with great dignity and was very instructive to the Brethren in the columns. Afterwards our Right Worshipful Master Bro George Dow thanked Bro George Wilson, Randolph’s Master on the work of the evening.
The first regular meeting in February was to be a 3rd degree worked by one of our sister Lodges St Kenneth headed by their Right Worshipful Master John G Beaton who is the brother of our own Past Master Brian Beaton. When they raised, Bro Andrew Wishart Jnr, to the high and sublime degree of a master mason. A letter was read from Bro Andrew Wishart Snr who was residing in South Africa saying how his thoughts and his families would be with his son this special evening. Past Master Murdoch Macdonald of Lodge Buchan St John No 1668 Zimbabwe then came to the floor of the Lodge and presented our newly raised master mason with a Masonic Bible a gift from his father. Past Master Macdonald then addressed a few words in which he stated what could be found in the Bible and how by following its teachings life could take on a different meaning on how to attain the ultimate goal.
The following meeting was to see the Annual Visitation from the Provincial Grand Lodge headed on this occasion by Bro Elder Substitute Provincial Grand Master. The work of the evening was to be carried out by Past Master William Cooper Michie as I was to be initiated into my Grandfather’s and father’s Mother Lodge. Along with me was Mr William Condie, who is Senior Deacon of the Lodge in our Anniversary year.
This year was to see the start of an association which continues to this day, with a large deputation from Lodge Camperdown 317 of Dundee visiting Windygates to confer the second degree on Bro William Condie. The deputation was introduced by the Worshipful Junior Warden Bro Duncan Murray, this was a very fitting gesture as it was down to Bro Murray’s dedication to the Craft in and around Dundee where he resides that had allowed him to become very friendly with the members of Lodge Camperdown. Who were headed on this occasion by their Right Worshipful Master Bro Albert Fyvie Mitchell. After their entrance to the Lodge the Brethren present witnessed and excellent rendition of the second degree, it is also fitting to note that the candidate Bro Condie is Bro Murray the Junior Warden’s brother in law.
The next visit was also to be worked by visiting Lodge when Lodge Rothes visited Windygates to confer the second degree on myself on one of my many visits home from service in the Royal Air Force. My own memories of this evening are still vivid and every time I see Past Master Jackson of Lodge Rothes it brings back fond memories of my time as a newly admitted mason.
Towards the end of the year the Lodge was again privileged to be visited by a large deputation from Lodge Camperdown who had travelled down over the silvery Tay to be with us this evening, to confer the third degree on Bro Condie. They conferred the degree in a manner totally different from Lodge Earl Haig and I am sure the memory will be with Bro Condie throughout his whole Masonic career. Lodge 317 was headed on this evening by their Right Worshipful Master Bro Macdougall.
The annual Burns Super for 1990 was a joint venture between the Lodge and the hall committee. The evening was a great success and a profit of £122 was shared between the Lodge and Hall committee’s.
On the Lodges return after the close season the Right Worshipful Master Bro Robert Christie had the very sad task to inform the Brethren of the passing to the Grand Lodge above of four of our members. Not wanting to single any Brother out, special mention was made on two of the deceased. The first being Past Master Andrew Hugh who held the high office of Master from 1975-77 and the other Brother whom special mention was made of was that of Past Master Bro Alexander MacIntosh Leslie, twice Past Master of the Lodge, first Master of our sister Lodge, St Kenneth’s 1441 and Honorary Grand Marshall of the Grand Lodge of Scotland. A minutes silence was then observed in respect of departed merit.
The first Lodge to visit the Lodge whilst under the stewardship of Bro Christie was Lodge Camperdown in Bro Christie’s second term of office. They came along on the 16th of February to confer the 3rd degree on Bro Alan Leslie Smith who is the Right Worshipful Master’s son in law. The Brethren from 317 were led by Bro Alex Lunan. After the meeting a very enjoyable social evening followed when the Brethren were joined by their good ladies.
A couple of months later it was the turn of Bro Christie to lead the Lodge in a deputation to Lodge Randolph 776 to work a 1st degree on one of their Brethren. As was the usual custom with a special meeting on a Saturday night a social evening with the ladies was held after the night had been concluded.
The following week another of the local Lodges visited Windygates to confer the third degree on one of our Brethren. Elgin’s Lodge at Leven No 91 led by Bro Frank Smith who was accompanied by a fine deputation carried out the degree in an excellent manner.
After some research into the family Coat of Arms of our namesake Earl Haig by myself it was agreed to approach the present Earl for his permission to use the Coat of Arms on the Lodge stationery. The Lodge was quickly in receipt of a reply from Earl Haig stating that he would be honoured if the Lodge use his Coat of Arms (St Andrews saltire with a star in top and bottom triangle and crescent moon on left and right sides) He further mentioned the great pride and affection that he felt towards the Lodge that carried his name.
One of the first duties that the new Right Worshipful Master had to perform was to inform the Brethren that the Immediate Past Master has been appointed to serve as a Steward on the Provincial Grand Lodge of Fife and Kinross. This is only the third member of the Lodge to have been afforded this privilege, the other two being Past Master Cochrane and Past Master Michie. The Brethren showed their appreciation and Bro Christie suitably replied to the Lodge with a few humble words.
Again the month of April was to prove to be the month that the Lodge received a deputation from one of the sister Lodges. Again it was to be Elgin’s Lodge at Leven headed on this occasion by their Right Worshipful Master Stewart Kirkwood who were along this evening to work the third degree, which as usual was done in an excellent manner.
The Grand Lodge of Scotland Ad Hoc committee which had sat recently had recommended to daughter Lodges to look into the possibility of sharing premises with other Lodges. After a long discussion at the Lodge committee it was decided to approach Elgin’s Lodge at Leven to discuss the possibility of Lodge sharing. From the discussion it was decided that the Lodge should seek guidance from the Provincial Grand Secretary on the way forward. It was also decided to carry out another of the Grand Lodge recommendations, to billet members of the Lodge to notify them of future meetings. The first meeting of October saw the notice of motion being put before the Lodge that we should move to Elgin’s Lodge at Leven with effect from the first meeting in January 1993.
Elgin’s Lodge at Leven and the future 1993 -
The first meeting that was held in the Masonic Temple in Leven was the passing of Bro Paul Purves. At the close of the meeting the Right Worshipful Master spoke with fondness of the time that the Lodge had spent in Windygates and even though the Lodge had moved out of the village, it would always be a part of the Lodge. He went onto say that we must endeavour to make this move a success, and hopefully the Temple, along with the other Lodges that shared the premises will work together in peace and harmony.
The first Lodge to visit us in our new premises was Lodge Randolph No 776 who were shortly to join us as tenants in the Temple. They were headed this evening by Bro Eddie Armour who along with a fine deputation conferred the master mason degree on one of our members.
Saturday the 17th April saw another visit from Lodge Camperdown 317 from the Province of Forfarshire who where along this evening to confer the third degree on Bro Gordon Montgomery. The Lodge was led on this occasion was Bro Pat Balfour as was the usual custom when Lodge Camperdown travelled down to Fife a marvellous social evening followed the degree.
The last meeting of the season was to bring sad news to the Lodge with the passing of Bro Alfie Little Past Master. Bro Little’s legacies of articles to be used within the Lodge are still used to this day. The Right Worshipful Master spoke of the musical contribution that the Past Master had made over the years on his accordion. The Lodge was then upstanding in a minutes silence to departed merit.
The same evening a large deputation from Lodge St Kenneth entered the Lodge to confer the mark master masons degree on three of our master masons. The two Master’s exchanged a few words after the degree was complete and both hope that the relationship between the two Lodges would continue for many years to come.
The last meeting of Right Worshipful Master Archie Bowman’s tenure was the Reigning Master Degree which was being held under the auspices of Earl Haig. That evening Bro Taylor was instructed in the secrets and mysteries of the 3rd degree by a team of very experienced master masons. The whole evening was a great success and was a testament to the Right Worshipful Master’s term of office.
The following Saturday was to see Bro Duncan McPherson Weir Murray installed into the Chair of King Soloman.
Bro Murray over the last few years had been a great ambassador for the Lodge and he has travelled through many Provinces both in Scotland, England and overseas in Malta. The time and effort that Bro Murray has put into his many visits to sister Lodges was to no avail, on the night of his Installation when there were representatives of many of the Lodges that he had visited and on that evening over 100 Brethren signed the tyle.
The month of April was again to witness a special meeting when a deputation from the Province of Forfarshire headed by Past Mast Bert Mitchell, Lodge Camperdown accompanied by Brethren from Lodge Operative, Ubique, Grange, St Thomas of Aberbrothock, Forfar and Kincardine and Camperdown. The bringing together of these several Lodges to work a degree out with their own Province had stemmed from the deep respect in which our Right Worshipful Master was held in Dundee and the surrounding Province.
The following month was to witness a large deputation from Lodge Wemyss No 777 who where headed by their Right Worshipful Master Bro George Wood. They then instructed Bro Alan Clark in the secrets and mysteries of the third degree. After the work of the evening the two Master’s stated that they hoped that this new relationship would flourish in the years to come.
The New Year was to bring the celebration to commemorate the 250th Anniversary of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Fife and Kinross. Throughout the year there was to be different events to celebrate this anniversary culminating in an Anniversary Ball at the Glen Pavilion in Dunfermline.
The first meeting of the year was to see our sister Lodge from Methil, who just recently celebrated their 100th birthday, Lodge Balfour Melville visit the Lodge. They were led into the Lodge rooms by Bro Sydney Milne their current reigning Master. He was accompanied by a large number of brethren into the temple. They had come along this evening to initiate Mr Stephen Campbell Bell into our fraternity.
There was sad news at the second meeting in February when the Right Worshipful Master had the very sad task of informing the Lodge that a very dear personal friend of his and a very good friend of the Lodge had passed to the Grand Lodge above, Bro Ken Truman of Lodge Constance No 2135 in the Province of Durham. Bro Ken was one of the main driving forces that brought friendship between our Lodge and the Lodges in the Consett area. In his tribute to Bro Truman there was a tear in the Right Worshipful Master’s eye. A minute silence was observed in memory of this well liked and respected Brother.
The next visit By Lodge Camperdown was on the 4th March when they were led into the Lodge by Bro Jim Cathro, Right Worshipful Master. He was accompanied by a large deputation from the Lodge, they where here that evening to work the master mason degree on Bro Duncan Robertson and as the other Brethren of the Lodge who have been raised by Lodge Camperdown I am sure that the memory of their visit will be everlasting. Bro Murray then spoke with great pride about the work of the evening, as he was an Honorary member of Lodge Camperdown.
The following meeting was the first visit from Lodge Langside No 955 from the Province of Glasgow. This was another Lodge that the relationship has stemmed from the many nights of visiting our Right Worshipful Master has done. The second degree was then conferred on Bro Bell in a highly instructive manner. Due to the absence of Langside’s Junior Warden, I stepped into the breach and assisted in the working of the degree, a degree which is totally different from our own. Their Right Worshipful Master stated that he hoped that this new association will strengthen with time.
As usual April was the month for visiting Lodges and after the visit of Langside it was the turn of Lodge St John 540 who came along to work a third degree. After they had raised Bro Robertson the Right Worshipful Master of Lodge St John spoke of the friendship that had sprung between the Lodges in competing against Lodge Camperdown in the annual tri Lodge games day.
Bro Murray in his term of office had brought many Lodges and teams of Office Bearers to work degrees in the Lodge. In September of 1995 just a couple of months from when he retires from the Chair of King Soloman he invited Bro Robert Christie Past Master to head a deputation of the Past Master’s who were involved in his installation the previous November. This special meeting was witnessed from Brethren from many Lodges within our Province and from neighbouring Provinces. The whole evening was a resounding success and goes to prove that a good meeting can be made into a great meeting with a little imagination.
The last Lodge to visit in Bro Murray’s term of office was St Thomas No 40 from Arbroath who came along to work the second degree. As was the custom an enjoyable harmony followed the meeting.
At the first committee meeting in November a sub committee was formed to arrange the events for the forthcoming 75th Anniversary celebrations.
The year of our 75th Anniversary, plans where now well advanced for the celebrations. The highlight of the year is to be a Rededication Ceremony carried out by the Provincial Grand Lodge of Fife and Kinross on the 18th May. Also there was to be a jewel struck to commemorate the celebrations.
The 13th of March 1996 will last in the minds of Brethren all over the world as the news of the massacre at Dunblane unfolded through the media. That evening the Lodge observed a minutes silence for the “little angels and their teacher”
The following month the Lodge welcomed a deputation from Lodge Langside who had travelled through from Glasgow to confer the master mason degree on one of our Brethren. The ceremony was enjoyed immensely by all the Brethren present and I am sure the Glasgow Lodge travelled home with a good sense of pride in the work of the evening.
All the members of the Lodge are now eagerly awaiting the next chapter of the Lodge’s history which I imagine will be titled “The years leading up to our Centenary”
I hope that everyone who has taken the time to read this insight into the last 75 years of my Mother Lodge finds it interesting, I also hope that it has brought back some good memories to many of the Brethren from the Lodge and the many sister Lodges that have had an association with Earl Haig in the past.
Gordon William Michie
Worshipful Senior Warden
Lodge Earl Haig No 1260
Founder Charter Members
|Rt. Hon. The Earl of Elgin GMG PGM|
|H B Middleton DPGM|
|19||W Scott||764||G Mitchell||809||J Mercer|
|40||J Grant||764||A Reid||809||H Fairfield|
|91||W H Nairn||764||F Simpson||809||T Johnston|
|91||D Baxter||764||R Houston||809||T F Fenton|
|91||L Waddell||776||A Adie||809||D Paterson|
|91||R T Robertson||776||J Leitch||809||R Fenton|
|91||T F Crighton||776||C L Beveridge||809||J Duncan|
|91||J W Hook||776||L Duncan||809||J P Lister|
|91||D Skinner||776||D Taylor||867||W B Wardlaw|
|91||J Kerr||776||R Grieve||867||J King|
|91||J Scott||776||W Erskine||867||J Ross|
|91||J Miller||776||R Hunter||867||D Paterson|
|91||T Robertson||809||D Crighton||935||W Scullion|
|91||M Gair||809||T D Mackie||940||A Wardlaw|
|91||W Paterson||809||R Nicholson||940||A Husband|
|91||J Miller||809||A Fairfield||940||J Mackie|
|91||R Dowie||809||T Murray||940||C Hastie|
|91||A Henderson||809||W Cuthbert||940||T Morrison|
|185||J Ogilvie||809||J Dow||940||G Murray|
|185||J Ferguson||809||J Fenton||940||W Morgan|
|764||G Condie||809||W Fenton||967||W L Stirling|
|Founder member’s Lodge names:|
|19||Coupar of Fife||809||Balfour Melville|
|91||Elgin’s Lodge at Leven||867||St Clair of Balbeggie|
|185||St Adrian||935||St Leonard|
|* Lodge Progress is in the Province of Forfarshire all other Lodges are in our own Province.|
|Roll of First Office Bearer’s|
|Right Worshipful Master||William Beveridge Wardlaw|
|Deputy Master||William Horsburgh Nairn|
|Substitute Master||James King|
|Senior Warden||John Mackie|
|Junior Warden||George Condie|
|Senior Deacon||Robert Finlay Robertson|
|Junior Deacon||Colin Latto Beveridge|
|Bible Bearer||Francis Simpson|
|Director of Ceremonies||Andrew Adie|
|Director of Music||Alfred Fairfield|
|Senior Steward||John Hook|
|Junior Steward||Thomas Mackie|
|Inner Guard||Thomas Crichton|
|Roll of Office Bearer’s 1946 Silver Jubilee|
|Right Worshipful Master||J D Dryburgh|
|Deputy Master||D Hutton|
|Substitute Master||J Lugton PM|
|Senior Warden||J Houston|
|Junior Warden||R White|
|Secretary||E W Thomson|
|Treasurer||R F Robertson|
|Senior Deacon||A Cochrane|
|Junior Deacon||W Kennedy|
|Almoner||R G Thomson|
|Director of Ceremonies||A Robertson|
|Bible Bearer||A M Todd|
|Director of Music||J Moyes|
|Bard||J P Hastie|
|Senior Steward||F P Duff|
|Junior Steward||G W Collins|
|Inner Guard||D Kean|
|Roll of Office Bearer 1971 Golden Jubilee|
|Right Worshipful Master||W C Michie|
|Deputy Master||P McFarlane PM|
|Substitute Master||J Rodgers|
|Senior Warden||A Hugh|
|Junior Warden||J R Warrender|
|Almoner||J D Dryburgh PM|
|Chaplain||A Mc Leslie PM|
|Senior Deacon||W Sirrell|
|Junior Deacon||I W Thomson|
|Architect||A Leven PM|
|Jeweller||D Hutton PM|
|Bible Bearer||J Taylor|
|Director of Ceremonies||A S Todd PM|
|Sword Bearer||R A Pirrett|
|Director of Music||R Reid|
|Senior Steward||J McMahon|
|Junior Steward||J Bell|
|Inner Guard||T Reid|
|Roll of Office Bearer 1996 75th Anniversary|
|Right Worshipful Master||Brian A Inglis|
|Immediate Past Master||Duncan Mc W Murray|
|Deputy Master||Thomson Inglis PM|
|Substitute Master||Archibald Bowman Jnr PM|
|Senior Warden||Gordon W Michie|
|Junior Warden||Ian Patterson|
|Secretary||Robert Christie PM|
|Treasurer||William C Michie PM|
|Senior Deacon||William Condie|
|Junior Deacon||David Taylor|
|Director of Ceremonies||George Dow PM|
|Bible Bearer||John Mackinnon|
|Sword Bearer||John Murray|
|Director of Music||David Cruickshank|
|Inner Guard||Robin Liddle|
|Senior Steward||Ian Robertson|
|Tyler||Archibald Bowman Snr|
|Roll of Past Master|
|1921 W B Wardlaw||1965 A Leven|
|1923 W H Nairn||1967 J Eaves|
|1924 J King||1969 W C Michie|
|1926 T Crichton||1971 J N T Rodgers|
|1928 R Ballantine||1973 T Inglis|
|1931 T D Wardlaw||1975 A Hugh|
|1933 R Belford||1977 T C Reid|
|1935 A Mc Leslie||1979 J N R Barclay|
|1937 D Little||1981 J B Beaton|
|1939 J White||1983 J Mc W Bell|
|1940 A Mc Leslie||1984 A J T Little|
|1942 A D Lugton||1985 C S Brock|
|1944 J D Dryburgh||1987 G M Dow|
|1946 D Hutton||1989 R Christie|
|1948 J Houston||1991 A S Bowman Jnr|
|1950 R White||1993 D Mc W Murray|
|1952 A Cochrane||1995 B Inglis|
|1954 W G Kennedy|
|1956 H C Murray|
|1959 R F Robertson|
|1961 A S Todd|
|1963 P McFarlane|