THE LORDSHIP & BARONY OF KILMARNOCK
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This page is devoted to Freemasonry in so far as it concerns individuals associated with Kilmarnock and Kilwinning.
Green and gold, as on the Kilmarnock Arms, are the regalia colours of most Scottish lodges under The Grand Lodge of Antient Free & Accepted Masons of Scotland.
A petition for the formation of Lodge St.John Kilwinning Kilmarnock No.22 was dated November 1734. The reason given was the distance from Mother Lodge Kilwinning, and the petition was signed by, amongst others, Lord Kilmarnock. From 1734-41 the first Right Worshipful Master of St. John Kilwinning Kilmarnock No.22 was William Boyd, the 4th Earl of Kilmarnock. In 1742 he became the Right Worshipful Master of Mother Kilwinning No.0, and in 1742-43 he was Grand Master Mason of Scotland. In 1751, James, Lord Boyd, eldest son of the 4th Earl of Kilmarnock (later the 13th Earl of Errol) succeeded to the chair of the Grand Lodge of Scotland.
In 1743, at the recommendation of the Earl of Kilmarnock, the first Military Lodge was erected under the Grand Lodge, all petitioners belonging to 'Colonel Lees' regiment', later the 55th Foot.
Tokens of Lodges St. John No.22 and St. Marnock Kilmarnock No.109 adopted the Boyd Arms having a crest of a hand in benediction, and two squirrels as supporters.
Robert Burns was born on the 25th of January, 1759 in Alloway. He became a Freemason in Lodge St. David (Tarbolton) Mauchline No.133 where he was Initiated on 4th July 1781, Passed and Raised on 1st October the same year and later joined Lodge Tarbolton Kilwinning St. James No.135 and was their Deputy Master for four years (1784 -1788).
Burns' masonic poem 'The Farewell' was written for the brethren of Lodge St. James No.135.
When resident at Ellisland Farm he was affiliated to Lodge St. Andrew, Dumfries No.179 - which became known as 'Burns's Lodge'. He was made an honorary member of Lodge St. John Kilwinning Kilmarnock No.22 on 26 October 1786, to which lodge his masonic song 'Ye Sons of Auld Killie' was dedicated.
The Stewart Watson painting of The Inauguration of Robert Burns as Poet Laureate of Canongate Kilwinning Lodge No.2 in 1787 is familiar to Scottish Freemasons. Note that it is an artistic construction, for he did not receive the honour personally.
The mason's mark of Burns is inscribed on the Bible presented by him to 'Highland' Mary Campbell. This Bible is in the Burns National Heritage Park, Alloway, Ayrshire. The mark can be seen on Plate 4 of 'The History of Free Masonry and The Grand Lodge of Scotland' by William Alexander Laurie, (Seton & Mackenzie) 1859, and is on a small image here.
Robert Burns died aged 37 years on the 21st July 1796, and is buried in St. Michael's Churchyard, Dumfries. To read more of Burns in Freemasonry, see page 162 onwards of A. Mackey's 'Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry Part1'. An interesting Masonic lecture on 'Robert Burns - Freemason' is here.
The Kilmarnock historian Archibald McKay (1801-1883) was initiated into Lodge St. John Kilwinning Kilmarnock No.22 in 1860; he became the Poet Laureate of the Lodge in the same year (enjoy McKay's poetry 'Ma First Bawbee' here).
EUR ING DAVID AYRE
EUR ING David Ayre is a Master Mason and Mark Master Mason of Lodge Odin No.917, and a Royal Arch Mason of Maeshowe R.A. Chapter No.209.
He is a Knight of the Temple (Preceptory of St. Magnus), a Knight of Malta (Priory of St.Magnus), a Knight of St. John, a Knight of The Red Cross of Constantine (Cross of St. Clair Conclave No.XV) and a founder life member of The Preceptory of Dunbar Castle.
He received the Cork Degree at the 'Lodge of Antient and Estimable Corks' Maeshowe R.A. Chapter No.209 in 1982 . . . so, so long ago. For the amusement of brother Corks, here is a 'Cork Poem' from brethren in Antrim, N.Ireland.
THE CORPORATION OF SQUAREMEN
The Corporation O' Squaremen is one of several bodies having an association with Freemasonry. According to Murray Lyon's History of St.Mary's Chapel, "Squaremen were represented in the St.Clair Charter of 1628".
It exists for the promotion of social fellowship among its masonic members, and it is claimed by some to be the survivor of the Corporation of Squaremen in Ayrshire who subscribed to the Schaw Statutes.
The Baron is a brither [sic] of the Squaremen's Heilan' Shed No.6 in Inverness, Scotland.