A Brief History of Lodge Robert Burns Initiated 1781

On December 6th 1985, twenty four brethren interested in forming a "Burns Lodge" met for the first time in the hall of Canongate Kilwinning No2.

The reason for forming a "Burns Lodge" here in Edinburgh was that, surprisingly, in the whole east of Scotland there wasn't a single "Burns Lodge". The aim was not only to found such a lodge with a view to practicing Freemasonry within the Constitution and Laws of the Grand Lodge of Scotland but also to spread and encourage among the brethren a knowledge of the life and works of Scotland's national Bard, the poet and brother mason, Robert Burns. They therefore formed a steering committe to canvass for sponsor lodges and like-minded brethren to become Founder Members.

Six lodges were approached who readily agreed to become sponsors, namely :-

Lodge Canongate Kilwinning No.2

Lodge Edinburgh St. Andrews No.48

Hawick Lodge St. James No.424

Lodge Buchan St. John No.636

Lodge Thorntree No.1038

Lodge Burns Immortal No.1730

The steering committee approached Lodge Trafalgar No.223 to host the new lodge, they were delighted to do so and gave assistance and every encouragement to establish a very agreeable base for this new venture.

Between the years 1985-89 the steering committee and founder members held many meetings to discuss and vote on such issues as the official title of the new lodge, it's by laws, the fees, it's badge and motto, the lodge colours and regalia and all those details concerned with the setting up and management of a working lodge.

At these meetings it was unanimously agreed that the unique title "Robert Burns Initiated 1781" be chosen - 1781 being the year in which Robert Burns was initiated into Freemasonry. The steering therefore asked the sponsor lodges to apply to Grand Lodge for a charter with this specific number. Since charter numbers are issued in strict numerical order, a fairly long wait was anticipated. It was agreed that the maximum number of founder members would be restricted to one hundred and fifty and a fee £50 plus Grand Lodge fees would be levied. The first one hundred and fifty brethren to apply, representing sixty lodges from "A' the Airts", were accepted as founders.

The lodge motto would be "Brithers A' " and a founder member's breast jewel was designed in the form of a saltire with a roundel in the centre, the lodge name around the perimeter of the roundel, the motto across the centre and the roundel quartered with the symbols of a plough, mallet, open poetry book and trowel. This design was to become the lodge badge, and the roundel became the mark token.

The lodge regalia was to be apron with a black flap trimmed with gold braid, a band of Robert Burns' check around the lambskin and the apron edged with gold braid.

Office bearers' collarettes were to be black flap trimmed with gold braid, a plaid of Robert Burns' check was to be worn over the left shoulder. The office-bearers would be encouraged to wear their own clan kilts. A lodge manual, which contains a brief biography of Robert Burns compiled and edited by Bro David Manclark, was produced bound in black with the individual founder's name embossed in gold on the front cover. This along with the breast jewel was presented exclusively to each founder member on the day the new lodge was consecrated.

The same manual, but bound in red and without the individuals name was to be presented to Initiates and Affiliates.

At last, on 3rd August 1989, a charter with the number 1781 was approved and granted to "Lodge Robert Burns Initiated" by Grand Lodge.

The ceremonial erection and Consecration of the lodge and the Installation of  the Founder Master, Bro David Manclark, and his Office-Bearers took place in Freemason's Hall, Edinburgh on the 7th October 1989.

The ceremonies were performed by :-

Bro. Rev. Hugh Mackay of Talmine

K.C.L.J. , M.A., F.S.A. Scotland

Right Worshipful Depute Grand Master


Bro Derek Grafton

Chairman of the Metropolitan District Committee

Assisted by

The Office Bearers of the Grand Lodge Of Scotland



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