LODGE CARRON No.138/139 HISTORICAL EXTRACTS 1767
Extracts taken from "The Bi-Centenary Brochure" Lodge Carron 138 & 139 (1767-1967) & Extracts taken from "The Jubilee Souvenir Brochure" Lodge Carron 139 (1881-1931)
PM JOHN MACKAY
RWM Brother Tam Meikle would like to share with us this ode he penned to Lodge Carron No.139
Well here we are, Lodge Carron 139, 250 years young
Our dear auld Lodge a long way she has come
From humble beginnings way back then in 1767
To the present day by the grace of God looking down on us from Heaven
What a debt we all owe to those who have gone before
More especially to Brother John McKay who will long go down in folklore
His insight, dedication and passion helped keep this Lodge aflame
Three traits all of us at 139 should, as a minimum, strive to attain
So many have entered this Lodge, with trepidation, trembling and blind,
Gaining knowledge along the way finally to those secrets, alas, we couldn't find
Squaring the floor and carpet round after round
Until the internal light of realisation of what the three degrees denoted was at last found
To all those brethren who have graced us with their presence, it makes us all so proud
To greet you with a firm, warm handshake, heads slightly, humbly bowed
Our friendships have truly help cement that true Masonic bond
As we sit together with our sash and apron we have all so proudly donned
How honoured we all are to be known as upright, just and good men
Supporting our Mother Lodges with pride, attending meetings again and again
So finally, with veneration we pray and ask The Great Architect Divine
To grant health and prosperity for the next 250 years to all at Lodge Carron 139
Brother Thomas Meikle Right Worshipful Master,Lodge Carron No.139 17th November 2017
Brother John Mackay PM Lodge Carron No.139/Founder Member of Lodge Carron No.138
The Charter of Erection which had been carefully preserved by PM Brother John McKay (whose portrait still hangs in the East of the Lodge in a prominent position above the RWM's chair) to this day.
Brother McKay's memory must for all time be cherished as the outstanding personality in the Lodge's history for had he not preserved the Charter (which is still in use today
despite it's great age)
Preface from Brother Alan B. Reid P.M. Author
I would like first of all I would like to pay tribute to Brother Alexander Laing and Brother Andrew Shaw PM and all those who assisted them for having the foresight to take on the arduous task of producing a very comprehensive and instructive Lodge history to 1967 the bi-centenary of this Lodge. You can appreciate that not all the history will be inserted but only the relevant points of interest. A detailed history up to and including the bi-centenary celebrations can be viewed from a copy held in the Lodge and Lodge minute books with a copy of the Lodge's jubilee history from 1881-1931 50 years since it's resuscitation
Opening Paragraph from Brother Andrew Shaw P.M. taken from"The Bi-Centenary Brochure" (1767-1967)
To contemplate a history of over 245 years since The Lodge Carron 139 was formed (originally numbered 138 on the Roll of the Grand Lodge of Scotland) may be likened to viewing a far horizon and slowly bringing the view to the immediate foreground.The far distance is obscure, but the detail becomes gradually clearer until every landmark is visible, so too is the general obscurity of the Lodge history since it's inception in 1767 until it went dormant in 1836.
A brief history of Lodge Carron 139 taken from extracts of "The Bi-Centenary Brochure" (1767-1967) and with acknowledgement to Bob Cooper for the minutes and historical notes from the Grand Lodge of Scotland
The Petition to Grand Lodge was made and substantiated on the 26th December 1767 and the Charter of Erection was granted in favour of The Lodge Carron 138 which was inserted in the Grand Lodge Book on page 115. A major re-numbering exercise took place in 1809 after Lodge Mother Kilwinning rejoined Grand Lodge bringing all her Lodges with her. Lodge Carron, rather unusually managed to keep the number 138 - (most Lodges got different numbers at that time.) In 1816 The Grand Lodge of Scotland resided to have another re-numbering exercise and many Lodges were declared dormant (including Lodge Carron) which meant that nearly every Lodge received a new number. However, some of the Lodges declared dormant in 1816 were not dormant at all (they just had stopped paying The Grand Lodge of Scotland dues for new initiates!) and so Grand Lodge had another re-numbering exercise in 1822 when Lodge Carron was given the number 105.That re-numbering led to all sorts of arguments (there were Lodges older than Lodge Carron which received a later number). In 1826 Grand Lodge decided that the Roll of Lodges be 'rationalised' once and for all and re-numbered all the Lodges which remain those that they have today. Lodge Carron was declared dormant in 1816 (probably for not paying Grand Lodge money!) but they re-appear on the Roll in 1822 (No.105) and in the last re-numbering exercise in 1826 the Lodge was given the number 1392 This was because Lodge St. Andrew's (Creebridge) had already been given the number 139 and so in 1826 there were two Lodges with the number 139 - Lodge St. Andrew's No.1391 and Lodge Carron, No.1392. Lodge St. Andrew's became dormant in 1829 and was removed from the Roll of Lodges meaning that from that date Lodge Carron was the only Lodge with the number 139. Lodge Carron may also have had it's own problems as the Lodge went dormant seven years later. The records show that Lodge Carron 138 also met in the Carron Lodge Inn until it was declared dormant in 1836 and reponed in 1881. Quite a history! It must also be noted that according to the notes of Lodge St John Falkirk 16, Lodge Carron was practicing freemasonry at least 2 years before the Charter was granted as a Substitute Lodge from Lodge St John Falkirk 16 working under a Deputy Master. It was generally accepted that by 1836 Lodge Carron which had been in existence for some 69 years had fallen on hard times and became dormant but, while the Lodge slept for some 45 years one important document and scroll became most important to the Lodge which was The Charter of Erection which had been carefully preserved by PM Brother John McKay (whose portrait still hangs in the East of the Lodge in a prominent position above the RWM's chair) to this day. Brother McKay's memory must for all time be cherished as the outstanding personality in the Lodge's history for had he not preserved the Charter (which is still in use today despite it's great age) Lodge Carron could never have been resuscitated and would have disappeared forever into the limbo of forgotten things. Brother McKay died in 1889 and was buried with full Masonic Honours in Larbert Churchyard we are indebted to his determination,compassion and commitment in the preservation of the Charter. On the 22nd March 1881 a meeting was held to discuss ways of resuscitating the Lodge and after making enquiries to Grand Lodge the Lodge was informed that the number 138 had been given to another Lodge but on payment of 10 guineas the Lodge would be be given the nearest number available which was 139. Accordingly a petition was applied for and granted and, at this stage thanks must be given to Lodge St Andrew Denny and Loanhead 176 and Lodge St Andrew Cumbernauld 199 for their support in resuscitating Lodge Carron.Nothing is known as to where or when Lodge Carron held their meetings until the time of the resuscitation and the first mention is of rooms rented from Brother Andrew Bruce at a yearly cost of £5. In 1881 the installation meeting was held in the Free Gardeners Hall in Grahamston, afterwards changed to the Freemasons Hall. Thereafter, four meetings were held in the Lorn or Lorne Hall located in Burns Court (where Marks & Spencers is now located) Once again the Lodge was on the move in 1888 where the brethren met in the Carron Lodge Inn across the road from the Carron Bridge Inn (The Soo Hoose which is still in existence) The Plough Hotel in Stenhousemuir (which is still in existence) was the meeting place around 1889 and was used for around two years but in 1891 the Crown Inn in Stenhousemuir (which is still in existence) housed the craftsmen until the fulfilment of the Erection and Consecration of the present Lodge in 1903. To pay for this new hall a Grand Masonic Ball was held in the Dobbie Hall and at this function a Grand Bazzar was also to be held which drew a grand sum of £1600. It is only fair to mention the contribution of Brother William F Morrison who was installed a RWM in 1905 to 1910 and again as RWM 1913-1915 he proved to be a most generous benefactor and over these years presented the Lodge with the Master and Wardens chairs (which are still in use to this day) it is worth mentioning at this time many were called to the Great War of 1914-1918 and of the 400 brethren who were eligible to serve their country 266 were with the colour's and 13 of these brethren were to make the supreme sacrifice for their country.
A Short Description of the Building from 1903 to 1960
The building was as it still stands but at the East side a doorway opened to give direct access to a stair which, turning at a landing on itself led to a double swing door. This door opened to a lobby which ran East to West and was roughly four feet broad. This lobby used as a cloakroom,had and anteroom on the right hand side which was used as a committee room. Halfway up the lobby ,a door opened to what was termed the kitchen. This term was something of a misnomer in that whilst it had an oven and gas stove to heat the masonic pies,it also had a cupboard containing glasses from which both strong and cooling beverages were dispensed. At the East end of the lobby the door on the left hand side opened to the Lodge room. The old Lodge room had a particular beautiful ceiling (blue covered with gold stars) The walls were covered to halfway and wooden lockers (used as seats were along the North wall. On the ground floor was a butchers shop run for many years by the late Brother Alex Masterton. In the centre an arched pend giving access to the Universalist Church,and on the West side of the pend another shop. The latter shop was firstly used as a drapers by one Miller and the second tenant was the Buttercup Dairy Co who occupied it for many years. It was then tenanted by Brother Turpie (Solicitor). Moving swiftly on to the Second World War 1939-1945 saw many office bearers called up to serve in the armed forces as were many of the brethren directed to war working outside the area and within. The Lodge was taken over as a billet for the Sergeants of the Kings Own Scottish Borderer's and the Lodge meetings were held in our second hall at that time which was known as (The Auld Brick Kirk). Over many many years Lodge Carron has been gifted many items which are still in use to this day such as our Master and Wardens chairs (previously mentioned) the Gavel(the emblem of authority) our Working Tools, the Square and Compasses, which grace our V.S.L. (these were presented to the Lodge by a Brother who served in India in the Second World War) the Deacons Rods, but most importantly our Lodge has been graced by many outstanding brethren over the years who gave great service and time beyond reproach to this Grand old Lodge and it would be unfair of me to mention anyone in particular although this has been done in the past comments to highlight certain historical times of interest.
We are conscious of items missed and other worthy brethren who have not been acknowleged in this short extract but to this end it is no easy task to turn the accomplishments of up and to 200 years and beyond into an hour glass although it can be said that over those many years Lodge Carron 139 has been and still is essentially a happy Lodge and it will give me a great deal of pleasure in promoting and inserting much of the future history of this Lodge over the next few years until it's 250th anniversary in 2017 Brother Alan B.Reid PM
Lodge Carron No.139 connection with "Carron Iron Works" taken from the Book "Where Iron Runs Like Water" written by Brian Watters and with acknowledgement to Ian Barron P.M.
Many of the workers who came from far off places such as Coalbrookdale, had one common interest - they were freemasons. At first, some joined the nearest Lodge, which was at Falkirk and one such man was John Benson, who along with other members of his family were to be employed at Carron Works for many years. He was originally given charge of charcoal production, at that time using the wood from the Duke of Hamilton's estate. His brother William, a clerk at the works, who came to Carron at the same time, 1765, was later immortalised by a piece of poetry, as will be seen. John Benson was admitted to the Falkirk Lodge No 16 in 1765 and two years later, he and several others including Peter Price, mentioned earlier, were permitted to constitute their own Lodge at Carron to be called the Carron Lodge No 138 [later re-numbered 139] It was recorded that one of their first meetings was held "at five o'clock in the afternoon at Mr Garbett's parlour at the Nailery". Benson was later given charge of the Nos 1 and 2 Blast Furnaces and became the blast furnace manager at Carron as early as 1773. He was known as "Baggie Benson" and said to have been, "a bit of a character". He had a son called William, a 'natural child', using the parlance of the day, who lived at Carronshore and eventually became Master of a Company ship, the 'Dynamene'.50 There were so many Bensons around at Carron in the early days that it led to confusion in later years as to who did what. William Benson the clerk had in total, nine of a family and one of his daughters, Betty, became the wife of William Symington. There were also sons named John and William and, interestingly enough, one called Charles Gascoigne Benson. Another son called Alexander, became a 'writer' at Carron, his name often appearing as a witness on workers' contracts.
Brother Alan B Reid PM