History of Lodge 320

 

On February 6th 1826 Lodge St John Royal Arch Saltcoats and Ardrossan No320 received its charter from Grand Lodge. We were sponsored by Mother Kilwinning and Lodge St John Kilwinning Largs No 173. Initially we met in McBride's Hall in Countess Street in Saltcoats under the Chairmanship of Brother Dundas Smith.

Little is known about the following 28 years due to a terrible fire in 1861 which cost the Lodge dearly when all of the records from 1827 to 1854 were lost.

On the evening of Wednesday February 7th 1894 the Brethren of Mother Kilwinning granted us a great honour by presenting the Lodge with a new setting maul. Praise indeed, as this maul was made from wood taken from the "Old Masonic Lodge" in Kilwinning. Over the years the Lodge has received a number of mauls as gifts from friendly Lodges, but to this day, the R.W.M. still wields the maul presented by Kilwinning over a century ago.

The Lodge had several homes for many years after the move to Ardrossan on September 12th 1854 until February 1923 when the Lodge purchased the Castlecraigs in Ardrossan for their meetings for the sum of 2,900. An imposing building located in the centre of the town, built of fine red sandstone and with plenty of grounds including tennis courts. 

At that time much of the grounds were laid in grass and a caretaker was employed to look after it. In June 1930 the caretaker sought permission from the Brethren to tether a goat on the grounds with the idea to keep the long grass down in the corners of the lawn where the mowing machine could not reach. Permission was duly granted and a goat was tethered on the lawns for many years and popular belief has it that the goat was tethered outside the doors of the building before meetings (see the photograph below).

In October 1940 the War Office informed the Lodge that the building was to be commandeered by the Royal Navy, therefore the Brethren were required to find alternative premises. Our neighbours, Neptune Kilwinning Saltcoats No 442 came to our aid and offered the right hand of friendship and we met there until 1946. On October 22nd 1945 the Lodge voted on a motion put forward by several Brethren to dispose of the Castlecraigs and all of the grounds attached thereto in exchange for the old Town Hall. The result of the vote was 70 in favour of the move and 21 against. The transfer therefore went ahead and on 8th of November 1946 after holding our installation ceremony in Neptune Kilwinning Saltcoats No 442, the Brethren  travelled by private coach to the new premises in Ardrossan where we have met ever since. The Lodge Temple is in what was once the town court house and the adjacent flat was once the local police office and gaol.

The Lodge crest, which can be seen on the top left of the index page shows the town castle on the top right hand corner. The castle was built in 1280 and like many castles in the area was destroyed by the forces of General Monk on the orders of Oliver Cromwell. Many years later much of the stone work was removed to assist in the building of the Wallace monument in the County town of Ayr. The crest also depicts the Lodge buildings, the town crest and the Square and Compasses. Designed by the late Brother Tom Young Martin P.M. the crest is also to be found on the Lodge tie, our Mark Token, the 175th anniversary jewel, the Lodge key fob and on the limited edition commemorative token struck to mark the Golden Jubilee of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II.

Image from the front page of the Lodge's Centenary Celebrations programme.

The Webmaster apologises for the quality of this image, however, it is over eighty years old

but if you look carefully you can just about make out the image of the goat.

Castlecraigs as it is today (minus the goat).

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