December 04, 1806
On this auspicious day, Thursday 04 December, 1806 Lodge Saint Andrew, Strathaven was granted a Charter by the Grand Lodge of Scotland. This charter was from the newly dormant Lodge Union, of Dumfries. When St Andrew received her charter she was number 283. However, three years later in 1809 the number was changed to 210. Seven years later, in 1816 it was changed again to 214. Finally, in 1826 she received her present number, 215. As we understand it, the reason for these continual number changes was Grand Lodge trying to placate a number of powerful Lodges, most notably Mother Kilwinning, the Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary's Chapel) and the Lodge of Melrose St John.
Historical records tell us that earlier this same year, January 05-09, the state funeral of Lord Nelson was held at St Pauls Cathedral, London. Only 2 years previous in 1804, Napolean was crowned Emperor of France and married Josephine (. . . the Napoleanic Wars still had a further 9 years to run). Also in 1804, Thomas Jefferson had just been re-elected President of the United States, indeed, only 6 years earlier, in 1800, had Washington DC been established as the capital of the US. When you realise the date in the context of world events, and what was transpiring globally, shaping Europe, America and the World; a real sense of history overwhelms us. In this sleepy town on the old drover's road from Edinburgh to Irvine, the founding fathers of this grand old Lodge suddenly come to life and talk to us, their purpose and moral fibre have created an institution still thriving over 200 years later. Officially the oldest institution in the district . . . but that's a secret!
Gavin Hamilton MD
The first Installed Master was Gavin Hamilton MD, historical records tell us that he was a Naval Physician, hence, the uniform and the painted portrait. Sadly, we do not have much more information on this significant figure in the history of the Lodge, especially as the records for the next sixty years were lost. However, a number of the Brethren are actively seeking to put this right with exhaustive searches of the records of Lodges in the Province as well as contacting Grand Lodge, Mother Kilwinning and searching local archives in the Avondale Parish for any mention of the Lodges' activities.
The Brethren of St Andrew met in a number of places around Strathaven. The first of these was the Avondale Inn, which was shared with the Lodge St John Strathaven Kilwinning until they (st John) were declared dormant in 1834. St Andrew also met in the Town Hall, the Crown Hotel and now currently in the Ball Green Hall.
St Andrew's two sponsor Lodges were Hamilton Kilwinning No.7 and St Thomas Muirkirk No.201. A minute from the books of Lodge Hamilton Kilwinning No.7 dated 29th June 1807 reads,
". . . this meeting was called in consequence of a letter received from a Lodge at Strathaven requesting the attendance of the members at the consecration of the St Andrew Lodge on the 3rd day of July next, when it is agreed that they should attend on that day, those members who go to Strathaven are desired to meet on Friday at 9 o'clock."
Signed, James Henderson, Master
The RWM of Hamilton Kilwinning then called a second meeting on the 2nd July 1807,
". . . this meeting was called by the RWM, he having received a second letter from the St Andrew Lodge at Strathaven requesting as many members of the Lodge as possible to attend the procession. It was likewise agreed that three pounds sterling should be taken from the funds of the Lodge towards defraying the expense of the members."
Signed, James Henderson, Master
Then finally in a minute dated, Hamilton 3rd July 1807, where some twenty Brethren are named (these being just a few),
James Henderson - Master
Alexander Scott - Warden
Robert Scott - Warden
James Burns - Treasurer
John Bradnock - Secretary
The minute reads,
". . . again the above members assembled at Strathaven for the purpose of consecrating the St Andrew Lodge agreeable to a minute to that affect stated in the books of the Lodge. After examining their vouchers from the Grand Lodge authorising them to hold Masonic Meetings in that name the ceremony was proceeded to accordingly and every part concluded agreeable to regulations of the Grand Lodge."
it is noted that two Strathaven Lodges, St Andrew and St John Kilwinning, are invited by Hamilton Kilwinning No.7 to the laying of a Foundation Stone. There is mention of fraternal accord between the Strathaven Lodges and goes on to mention St Andrew, East Kilbride No.524 in the old extant minutes.
Another Lodge with ties to St Andrew is St Mungo's, Glasgow No.27; this extract was taken from an old copy of the Hamilton Advertiser (dated 13th April 1872) under the heading 'Strathaven', ". . . again the usual monthly meeting of the Lodge St Andrew was held in the Lodge Room (Avondale Inn) on Thursday the 11th INST under the Presidency of the RWM the Lodge having been opened and the minutes of the former meeting read and confirmed, Bro. Scott PM ST Mungo's Glasgow No.27, in very eloquent speech presented the Lodge with a handsome pair of silver compasses and square on the occasion of his being elected to represent the Lodge as Proxy Master in the Grand Lodge of Scotland on the square was the following inscription, Presented to the Strathaven St Andrew Lodge No.215 by Bro. John Scott Glasgow April 1872. The RWM thanked Bro. Scott for his kindness."
St Andrew still has a close affinity with both sponsor Lodges and inter visits with them on a regular basis. Indeed, both Lodges were instrumental at the re-dedication of the Lodge in celebration of 200 years in 2006/7. There are also close ties with Lodge St Andrew No.524, Lodge Douglas No.1557 and Lodge McLaren No.1688 all hailing from East Kilbride.
Another Lodge with whom close ties have been forged over the years, is Lodge Harmony & Unity No.8451 of the English Constitution, with large deputations visiting each Lodge at their respective annual Installations. In April 2008, the Lodge went to Kent (with the permission of the Grand Lodges of Scotland and England) and carried out an exemplification of the Entered Apprentice Degree. This was followed by Lodge Harmony & Unity's visit earlier this year to carry out an exemplification of the 'same' degree, as worked in the EC.
Lodge Hamilton Kilwinning No.7 and Lodge Muirkirk No.201 were our sponsor Lodges and strong ties are maintained to this day.
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