Some Historical Notes
Lodge St Margaret No.548
2nd February, 1874
Ancient Brazen No.17
Kirknewton and Ratho No.85
On the second day of February in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Seventy Four, and of Light Five Thousand Eight Hundred and Seventy Eight, Lodge Saint Margaret Number 548 was granted a charter from the Grand Lodge of Scotland by Sir Michael Robert Shaw Stewart, Baronet, Most Worshipful Grand Master Mason of Scotland; the Right Honourable Lord James Charles Plantagenet Murray, Right Worshipful Depute Grand Master; Captain James Townsend Oswald of Dunikier, Right Worshipful Substitute Grand Master; William Mann, Esquire, Acting Right Worshipful Senior Grand Warden; Major Hamilton Ramsay of Garion, Right Worshipful Junior Grand Warden; and John Laurie, Esquire, Right Worshipful Grand Secretary.
The first meeting held by the Lodge, as recorded in the Minute Book, was on March 14th 1874. The first Minute reads:
“Lodge opened in the First Degree, Worshipful Master T. Wilkie in the chair. Brother Hutton was proposed and balloted for. Affiliations for Lodge St Margaret No.548 were balloted for. The Lodge proceeded to initiate Robert Henderson.
The Lodge proceeded to ballot for James Sanley proposed by Brother Steel, seconded by Brother Jones (carried). The Lodge proceeded to ballot for William Cheneworth which was carried. It was agreed that the subscription for the quarter ending 31st March should be paid on 20th March and the quarter ending 30th June to be paid the second Thursday in April and the next special meeting to be held on Friday, 20th March at 7pm.
signed: N Clodd, Secretary
Approved: Thomas Wilkie, Worshipful Master”
Brother Robert Henderson, the first initiate into Lodge St. Margaret, apparently went on to Lodge Kelso, No.58 where he served as Tyler from 1893 to 1924. An extract from the Minutes for April 21st 1874 shows that, for the consecration of the Lodge (which took place some time after the constitution of the Lodge) the correct dress would be white gloves, white ties and black clothing. Tickets were initially to be 7/6d each which was afterwards reduced to 4/- on advice from the Grand Secretary, Brother Laurie.
On May 7th 1874 the Minute Book shows that the Lodge was opened in the First Degree, Brother Wilkie in the Chair, for consecration of the Lodge when deputations from Grand Lodge and Sister Lodges attended. A procession formed and proceeded to the School Room (the present Temple) for the Holy purpose of consecration. At the banquet which followed the consecration, the “usual toast was given to the Queen and Prince of Wales and all the Royal Family and the Craft, and a number of others.”
On June 5th 1874, Lodge St Margaret received her first visitation, a deputation from Lodge No 5 Leith. On July 14th 1874 an extract from the Minutes show that “it was agreed to record a vote of thanks to Wilsons Trustees and the School Board for their kindness in granting the use of the Library and the School Rooms for a Lodge.”
Lodge St Margaret acquired the present Temple premises late in 1874 and the minute shows:
“the Secretary stated that he had received from the Clerk of Dalmeny and Queensferry School Board the following excerpt from the Minutes of said Board: ‘December 25th 1874 Dalmeny and Queensferry School Board. The Board did and thereby do authorise the Chairman to grant a disposition in favour of the Mason Lodge St Margaret for those acting for their behalf of those subjects, commonly called the Burgh School of Queensferry, and dwelling house adjacent thereto, all being the property of Dalmeny and Queensferry Board at the price of two hundred pounds sterling, payable at the date when the new school shall be ready for occupation. The expense to be mutually borne by both parties. Further authorise the Chairman to employ Mr Thomas Whyte, SSC, to carry out the transaction in legal form, and further authorise the Clerk to send an excerpt of this minute to the Secretary of the Masonic Lodge and request their acceptance or rejection of the offer on or before the 29th current’.”
The minutes show that on July 6th 1875 a meeting was held in Newhalls Inn (now the Hawes Inn) at 4.00pm where a deputation from Grand Lodge was received. At this meeting Grand Lodge Conferred on Brother Glendinning what would appear to be the installed Master degree. After a banquet at the Inn, the meeting adjourned to the Lodge Room at 6.00pm. At 7pm the Lodge was opened with Brother Glendinning in the chair.
There has always been a close tie between Freemasonry in South Queensferry and the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and on the 14th October 1879 the Minute Book shows that it was agreed to give £1 from the funds of the Lodge towards the Infirmary and allow any member to subscribe what he pleased and remit same to the Grand Secretary, for the Masonic Ward.
On 3rd December 1881 Lodge St Margaret sent a deputation of ten members to assist in laying a memorial stone at Bo’ness Docks with Masonic honours.
On December 19th 1882, the Minute Book shows that Brother Glendinning had purchased for the Lodge the lower part of the old school house at the price of £73 sterling which the Secretary had paid to the Provost and Treasurer of the Burgh, the money being raised on loan at five per cent from the following brothers of the Lodge:
Brother Hugh MacKintosh in the sum of £20
Brother James Sandercombe in the sum of £20
Brother Daniel Stewart in the sum of £15
Brother William Munro in the sum of £18
In January 1883 a deputation from Lodge St Margaret visited Buchan St John Lodge, Broxburn to assist in the laying of a foundation stone for a new Church.
The Minute Book for the 14th August 1882 shows that the members of Lodge St Margaret considered establishing a Limited Company in order to raise capital to build a new hall. Estimates were received from various contractors to the total amount of £232 18/- and this amount was quickly subscribed by members of the Lodge.
The first recorded grant in respect of benevolence made by Lodge St. Margaret was in April 12th 1887 to a visiting brother from Royal Arch Lodge, Cambuslang, when he was granted 2/- which was thankfully received.
At the St John’s Festival on December 27th 1887, the Lodge met and adjourned for a procession, preceded by the Queensferry Brass Band and marched with torchlight around the principal streets of the town and, having again entered the Lodge the Worshipful Master took the chair and thanked the members for the honour conferred upon him.
On January 10th 1888, the members of the Lodge instructed the Secretary to purchase four pairs of woollen drawers for the use of candidates.
In April 1888 Lodge St Margaret petitioned Grand Lodge for Transference to the Metropolitan District of Edinburgh.
On May 5th 1888 the Lodge passed a motion that the Master should be granted the authority to provide relief for poor brethren passing through the town, the amount of relief being, at the Master’s discretion, 6d to 3/-.
Once again, members of Lodge St Margaret were invited to assist at the laying of a foundation stone for Lodge Zetland No.391, Grangemouth.
On January 18th 1897 a Lodge Assembly, or Ball, was held, presided over by Bro G B Sandercombe, RWM, the receipts on account of tickets amounting to £9 5 0d and the drawings from the bar amounting to £4 1 5d. The total expenses came to £11 12 0d, there being a balance in hand of £1 14 5d.