SCOTLAND. The early history of Freemasonry in this country, like that of England and Germany, is surrounded with the misty haze of legendary lore. The first reliable information we have touching the Fraternity dates back to the early part of the fifteenth century. They, at that period, acknowledged their king and sovereign as their Grand Master; to his authority they sub mitted all disputes that happened among the brethren. When not a Mason himself, he appointed one of the brethren to preside as his deputy at their meetings, and to regulate all matters concerning the Craft. In 1430 King James I. was Acknowledged as the Royal Grand Master, who regulated the affairs of the Fraternity. In 1441 Willitim St Clair, Earl of Orkney and Baron of Roslin, obtained a grant of the office of Grand Master from King James II. By another grant this office was made hereditary to the said William St. Clair, and his heirs and successors in the barony of Roslin; in which noble family it fins continued without interruption till of late years. The Masons held their grand courts, or, in Masonic language, their Grand Lodge assem bled at Kilwinning, in the western country, where it is claimed that the Masons of Scotland first held regular and permanent lodges. It is asserted, with great firmness and plausibility, that in this place the royal art first made its appearance. The office of Patron being hereditary in the family of Sinclair of Roslin, he being advanced in years, and having no children, was anxious that the office of Grand Master should not become vacant at his death; therefore he assembled the lodges in and about Edinburg, Oct. 15, 1736, and represented to them how beneficial it would be to the cause of Masonry in general, to have a Grand Master of their own elect ing, and intimated his intention of resigning his office, and setting the next St. Andrew's day, Nov. 30, as
tilt time for holding such election. Ou that day thirty-three lodges met, and, having received the resignation of St. Clair, they proceed to the election, and unanimously elected William Sinclair, of Roslin, Grand Master, and this was also the found ing of the Grand Lodge of Scotland. The Lodge at, Kilwinning, (more generally known as the "Mother Lodge of Kilwinning,") long after the institution of the Grand Lodge, continued to act independently, and to grant charters to other lodges as formerly. This gave rise to dis putes, which it was desirable for the credit of the Fraternity to avoid; and at length, in 1807, Mother Kil winning Lodge agreed to surrender her authority and acknowledge the Grand Lodge, thereby renouncing all right to grant charters in future. Kilwinning was placed at the head of the roll of the Grand Lodge under the denomination of "Mother Kilwinning," and its Master, for the time being, declared the Provincial Grand Master over the Ayrshire district, and this put an end to all disputes about Masonic precedency. From this time Freemasonry has prospered and increased throughout the country.
Besides the Grand Lodge there are: 1. Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter for Scotland; 2. The Royal Order of Scotland, Herodom of Iiilwinning, supposed to have been established by King Robert Bruce, in 1314; 3. The General Chapter of the Religious and Military Order of Knights Templar. with various Pri ories; 4. The Supreme Grand Coun cil of Scotland of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish rite.