1314 Factoids

In this new section of the website you will find some specially selected articles from the lodge archives and interesting articles in general about freemasonry. If you have any items or stories or something you may wish to add to this section please do get it touch. The email address is on the side bar on the home page.

New articles will be added periodically so do keep checking back to view new and hopefully interesting highlights from the 1314 archives.  


Most people would associate Robert Burns with Freemasonry and poetry, however I attended a meeting recently where a verse from Rudyard Kippling's poem," IF " was refrrenced to. I had never witnessed this before in my short Masonic career and rather enjoyed it as it has long been a favourite poem of mine. 


 If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,

Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,

And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;

If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with triumph and disaster

And treat those two imposters just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,

And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breath a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -

Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,

And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son

The beginning of a new era




One of the first factoids I posted on the site was about our lodge leaving it's spiritual home......Caldercruix. Then subsequently  moving to Airdrie in 1994.

Here is a copy of the programme from the last ever Caldercruix St John 1314 meeting in Caldercruix.

When I came up with the idea of 1314 factoids for this site I never realized that something similar had been done before. As you can see from the programme above that some of the highlights from the lodge archives were printed on that programme. 


Travelling East in Search of............

On the 8th of October 2005,  Past Masters Murray and Spence, alias Jack and Victor. (Billy is definitely Jack as he is by far the more crabbit one.) Departed Airdrie and travelled towards the East in search of a Masters Chain.

Instead of driving to Bathgate and catching the train into Edinburgh city centre Billy decided that he would drive to Edinburgh which led to the first argument of the day.

On arrival in the Capital the first thing Jeff and Billy had to do was find a parking space. After much searching they eventually did. The only trouble was that it was over a mile from their destination.

When they arrived at Victoria Regalia it just so happened that the premises were closed. The intrepid duo then decided to go for a coffee and wait until the shop opened. Billy ordered the coffee’s and left Jeff to pay. After they had refreshed and regaled themselves they headed back up the Royal Mile to Victoria Regalia which thankfully was now open for business. 

After much debate the pair obtained a Masters Chain for the sum of £800. Billy’s got a knack for haggling, he’s used to that kind of thing, it must be all those holidays abroad. Feeling pleased with their purchase they headed back to the car to start the journey home.

At the first junction Billy turned left instead of right and got them lost, Jeff said they should have got the train,  Billy’s response was, relax, I know Edinburgh well.

Well! It transpired that they were still lost 45 minutes later but eventually made it back to Airdrie in time for tea.

It was an eventful day but it did result in the Lodge purchasing a first class chain of office. One which all future Masters will wear with pride.

Mozart the Masonic Composer

I hope you like the new addition to the website home page which you will no doubt have listened to when you opened the home page. Perhaps you are wondering what the title of this piece of music is and who composed it and what the connection to freemasonry is.

The man who composed this  lovely piece is the world’s most revered Masonic composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. This piece of music was written in 1791and is his clarinet concerto in A major KV622.

Mozart was admitted as an apprentice to the Viennese Masonic lodge called "Zur Wohltätigkeit" (Beneficence) on 14 December 1784. He was promoted to journeyman Mason on 7 January 1785, and became a master Mason shortly thereafter. Mozart also attended the meetings of another lodge, called "Zur wahren Eintracht" True Concord). According to Otto Erich Deutsch, this lodge was the largest and most aristocratic in Vienna. Mozart, as the best of the musical Brothers, was welcome in all the lodges

Mozart's own lodge "Zur Wohltätigkeit" was consolidated with two others in December of 1785, under the Imperial reform of Masonry (the Freimaurerpatent, Masonic Decree) of 11 December 1785, and thus Mozart came to belong to the lodge called "Zur Neugekrönten Hoffnung" (New Crowned Hope)

At least as far as surviving Masonic documents can tell us, Mozart was well regarded by his fellow Masons. Many of his friends were Masons.

During his visit to Vienna in 1785, Mozart's father Leopold also became a Mason.

 As we know many masonic lodges use music in their ceremonies. Many freemasons hold the view that music is used in lodges to spread good thoughts and unity among the members so that they may be united in the idea of innocence and joy and that music inculcates feelings of humanity, wisdom, patience, virtue and honesty.


The Last & Greatest Trial in Blackpool

Blackpool is famous for many things. The Tower, The Winter Gardens, The Pleasure Beach, The Illuminations, kiss me quick hats and of course Blackpool Rock

From Cannon and Ball to Little and Large the holidaymakers of Blackpool have over many decades been thoroughly entertained each and every year with the best of British music hall acts who visit the English North West holiday destination.

However on Friday the 25th of September 1987 a select group of men from the town of Blackpool had the pleasure of witnessing something they had never seen the likes of before.

On this day in history our Lodge, Caldercruix St John 1314 formed a delegation and for the first time ever and the only time ever left the country and travelled to England to confer an exemplification of the Master Mason degree in our own unique Cruix manner.

Our lodge was invited to the Province of West Lancashire by Bro. Allan Forrest J.W. of Lodge Benevolence No 6340 English Constitution who was a regular attender at our meetings and was the brother in law of PM Norrie Muirhead.

The degree team & Office Bearers who were welcomed into Lodge Benevolence 6340 that night consisted of John Brown R.W.M., Ian Isaac P.M., Eddie Nelson S.W., Peter Greenan P.M. Sandy Stewart P.M. John Laird P.M. Norrie Muirhead P.M. John Russell Chaplain & David Davies Senior Steward.

Another brother who played an important and active role that night was Bro Jeff Spence who was volunteered to act as candidate.

 It was said at the time that Bro Jeff was still feeling the effects of that famous night in a Northern English town for several weeks afterwards.





The Russian Connection! 

Whilst browsing through the lodge archive pages I came across an interesting lodge minute which stated that on the 1st of December 1941 at the annual general meeting there were only 14 brethren present and each was elected to take up office for the ensuing year.

I presume the reason for the low attendance at such an important meeting in the lodge calendar was that our country was at war and the general public were suffering severe hardship.

It’s in times like these when our honourable organisation is needed most and there is no better an example than a minute from that same meeting in 1941 which stated that our lodge ,Caldercruix St John 1314 agreed to send a donation of £3.3d to the Red Cross appeal for Russia.

I being a young chap and not around back then I was intrigued to find out more about this appeal. So after some research I discovered that in 1941 an appeal was made by Mrs Clementine Churchill the wife of the British Prime Minister and Great War Leader Winston Churchill to send humanitarian aid to Russia who had suffered terribly during the advancement of Germany into Russia

The appeal was made Nationwide with posters placed in train stations and the newspapers of the day as well as radio broadcasts too.

Around £8 million was raised during the course of the war which is incredible considering the suffering and losses which must have affected just about every family household in Britain.

Its pleasing to note that even in that horrific time of world crisis our Lodge saw fit to help others less fortunate than ourselves. We had it and we most certainly gave it.



The Great Ormiston Yew

On the 21st February 1928 the brother secretary read out a letter to the lodge which was received from the Grand Lodge of Scotland, enquiring if the Lodge had any details of any manuscripts or curios, that Lodge Caldercruix St John may have in its possession. After discussing the matter in open lodge it was agreed to describe to Grand Lodge details of a Mallet presented to the Lodge by Bro. Col Peter Spence R.W.P. G.D.M., which was made from the Yew tree under which John Knox had preached.

Bro Col Peter Spence was one of the principle brethren who performed the ceremony of consecration and erection of Lodge Caldercruix St John 1314 five years previous in 1923.

As early as the 15th century the famous Yew tree from which our prized mallet was made was recognized as a local landmark: a parchment dated 1474, found among some old papers belonging to the Earl of Hopetoun, had been signed under the yew tree.

The famous religious reformer John Knox who was born in nearby Haddington preached his early sermons within the secluded interior of the yew’s evergreen canopy. It was here along with his influential mentor, George Wishart, that he sowed the seeds of the Reformation which was ultimately to sweep throughout Scotland.

This famous yew from which our mallet originated has weeping branches which radiate out from one solid central trunk and take root where they touch the ground, encircling the tree in an ever-extending fringe of growth.

The inner chamber formed by the layered branches and dense foliage creates a spacious, natural cathedral of arching limbs. The huge central trunk measures about 23 feet (about 7 meters) in girth. Records of measurement over the past 160 years suggest a very slow rate of growth, and it is possible that the tree could be ten centuries old.


The Great Yew of Ormiston is still standing and continues to grow to this day and can be visited in a private  residential development close to the ruins of Ormiston Hall, Ormiston in East Lothian.



Wet or Dry!

On the 7th of December 1926 a debate took place among the brethren of Caldercruix St John 1314 on whether the installation ceremony should be a wet or dry occassion, and Im not talking about the weather! as up until then the installation ceremony of Lodge office bearers had always been an alcohol free event. In the end the brethren decided that for the first time ever the installation ceremony would be a wet affair. It was decided that the tickets for the installation would be set at 2/6d.


This brought to mind a funny story I heard from my good friend and brother , Bro Larry Sloan who told me that at the installation ceremony of Bro Eddie Nelson in 1988 everything went well and then at the after dinner speeches PM Bro Norrie Muirhead declared that for the first time ever in the history of Caldercruix St John 1314 they had in the person of RWM Bro Eddie Nelson , their first ever tee-total RWM. He then said that in the coming year ahead that the brethren of the lodge hoped to cure him!  



A First Time for Everything

I suppose all Lodges all over the world will have many firsts in their history. We at Caldercruix St John 1314 are fortunate to have some of these unique events documented. Here are just a few which we have highlighted for your perusal. I think you will find them interesting and informative.


On the 25th May 1924 Lodge Caldercruix St John 1314 held their inaugural divine church service. The venue was Caldercruix Parish Church. 107 brethren attended the service consisting of the R.W.M., Office Bearers & Brethren of 1314 as well as the R.W.M. & deputation’s of Lodges 88, 166, 203, 544, 484, & I.P.M. & deputation of Lodge 1145. Our Lodge Chaplain Bro. W B. Jack preached from the text of Exodus 12, Verse 26 “What mean you by this service”


On the 7th of October 1924 our Lodge office bearers conferred a degree for the first time since the formation of the Lodge as up until then degrees had been conferred with the assistance from Brethren of Sister Lodges from Airdrie.


On the 15th of September 1931 the lodge conferred for the first a degree with only one brother conferring the whole degree by himself. On this occasion the R.W.M Bro T Cupples conferred the M.M. degree on the Lodge’s newest fellow craft.


On the 3rd of November 1931The Lodge conferred the Mark degree for the first time. On this occasion the R.W.M. & Office Bearers conferred the degree on two candidates.


On the 4th of December 1934 Bro. Thomas A. Kelly was elected R.W.M. of Caldercruix St John 1314. He was the first R.W.M. to have been initiated passed & raised in the Lodge since its formation in 1923.


On the 16th of April 1945 our lodge was invited for the first time to confer a degree in one of our sister lodges.On this occasion we were invited to the Operative Lodge of Airdrie 203 to confer the master mason degree.

  The Day a 1314 man met the Queen.                             

 Whilst browsing through the archives I came across an entry from the 50's which read.

2nd of March 1954. It was intimated that Bro. A. E. McVey had now become the Mayor of Barnsley, and the Secretary sent a message of congratulations on behalf of the Lodge.

I therefore did some research and much to my astonishment I stumbled across this wonderful photo of Bro A. E . McVey and Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II. Bro A E McVey welcomed the Queen to his town at the town's railway station and then he and his wife escorted the new monarch on a tour of the town and the Yorkshire coalfields.

I also found an oil painting of Bro McVey and his wife which hangs in the Cannon Hall Museum in Barnsley.

Ive also scanned an account of the day the Queen visited Barnsley which I found during my research.

Cant be many 1314 men who can say they met the Queen and escorted her round his town eh?



A 1314 Sportsman

I was recently involved in a conversation whilst on one of my regular visits around the Province about public figures and sportsmen who were freemasons and which lodges they belonged to. it became apparent there were a few well known people who belonged to a couple of my friends lodges. I was then asked if there were any well known folk in my lodge. To be honest I wasn't aware of any apart from of course Larry Sloan. lol . That was until last Saturday when I found out that Torry Gillick was a member of my mother lodge.


Torry Gillick was a supremely skilful inside-forward and wrote his name in the history books as the only player to be signed by Rangers manager Bill Struth twice.


Gillick, from Airdrie, played for one of Glasgow's most prominent junior teams, Petershill, as a youth and signed for Rangers as a winger at the age of 18 in 1933.

He won a Scottish Cup medal in 1935 but, somewhat surprisingly, was sold to Everton for £8,000 in the same year, a then-record fee for the English club.

He remained in Liverpool until after the Second World War and during that time he earned five Scotland caps and a Football League Championship medal in 1939.

Struth decided to bring the talented star back to Ibrox in 1945 and he quickly developed into an outstanding forward who had excellent ball control and vision.

In an exceptional post-war Gers team, Gillick formed a great partnership on the left with Willie Waddell. His delicate and instinctive passes would more often that not find Waddell who would overlap and use his lightning pace to terrorise defenses.

Gillick could also score goals and his record of 62 goals from 140 games is testimony to his ability to find the net on a regular basis.

In total, he won one league championship medal (1946/47), two Scottish Cup medals (1934/35, 1947/48) and two League Cup medals (1946/47, 1948/49) during his highly successful Rangers career.

Sadly, he passed away on December 12 1971 on the same day another Rangers great also died, Alan Morton.



So then I was wondering if any of our senior brethren were aware of any other famous Scottish freemasons in our lodge. Please do get in touch if you are aware of any.



Did You Know?

That of the twelve founding members who were office bearers at the consecration of Lodge Caldercuix St John 1314 in 1923…. five brethren were from Airdrie St John 166, four brethren were from New Monkland Montrose 88, one brother each from Bucksburn St John 795, Livingstone St Andrew 573 and Lodge Kentigerns 429.

With the majority of the office bearers being from 166 and 88 you can still see and hear to this day the influence of these both lodge’s ritual work in parts of the Caldercruix St John version of ritual. It would be interesting to see and hear the ritual work of the other three lodges whose brethren helped formed our lodge just to see which part of their ritual if any is used in our ritual work.

 Here is a scaned photo of the list of office brethren from our consecration programme.


The Grand Master Mason Visits Caldercruix

 Here is an account of the day the The Grand Master Mason of the Grand Lodge of Scotland visited Caldercruix St John 1314.


14th Feb 1973 At approximately 1515 Hours, the Grand Master Mason & his party arrived at the Temple of Lodge Caldercruix St John No 1314. This party consisted of David Liddel Granger of Ayton the Grand Master Mason, Bro. Kenneth O. Byres D.G.M.M., David Straiton P.G.M. Lanarkshire Middle Ward, Robert T. Sime P.G.D.M., George Sneddon, Robert Russell, Joe Parvin, P.G.S.M’s and Andrew Miller P.G.Treasurer.


On arrival, the above deputation was warmly welcomed on behalf of Lodge Caldercruix by their R.W.M. Bro. David McMeekin supported by W.S.W. William Kelly, W.J.W. Arthur Shevill, I.P.M. Alexander Stewart, James Simpson P.M. Founder Member John Graham P.M. D.M John Watt P.M. S.M. John Laird P.M.& 9 Brethren of the Lodge. If you were one of these brethren please let the Lodge know so that we can add your name.

In addition to the above, the Grand Master and his party were honoured by the presence of no less than 9 ladies, these being the wives of the principle office bearers of the Lodge including the wife of a founder member of the Lodge in the person of Mrs. Peggy Simpson whose husband is a Past Master of the Lodge.


All these ladies were presented to the Grand Master who thanked them for their presence and expressed his deep appreciation of the help and support these ladies had given to the Lodge, and to Freemasonry in General.


The Grand Master Mason spent some considerable time examining the Lodge premises which consisted of an old disused Church and he congratulated the brethren on the extremely fine work they had done both in preserving the original fabric of the building and by the extension and alterations to the interior of the building to provide additional facilities in the way of a lounge bar, and toilet facilities for both the brethren and their good ladies. The original plans of the extensions were produced and inspected.


This Lodge was chartered on August 2nd 1923 and the usual books of the Lodge were present for inspection and the appropriate minute entered in the Lodge Minute book commemorating the visit, duly signed by the Grand Master Mason and all members of his party.


The roll book of the Lodge was also inspected and indicated that 838 candidates had been introduced into freemasonry and formally initiated by Lodge 1314 since the date of its charter.


A most interesting history of the first 50 years of the Lodge has been compiled by Bro. James Jack, Treasurer, and this was examined with much interest.


The Lodge also had produced copies of its own crested Mark Penny and also a Lodge crested tie, each of which was presented to the Grand Master Mason and accepted with pleasure, as a memento of the occasion.



That's the way the money goes! 

If you have a look at the opening paragraphs in the first account of the lodge history you will notice that the Lodge had to deal with its first problem even before they got off the ground when the PGL took possession of the money raised to try and set up the lodge. The ticket in the photograph below is I believe a ticket for one of the fundraising events to form the lodge. For as you can see the ticket is dated February 1922 and of course we know that the Lodge was formed in 1923.

An old retired Master Mason who lived in Caldercruix village, lived next door to a man who he believed to be a mason and who was in financial difficulty so he got up a petition, asking Masonic Brethren in Caldercruix to subscribe to the sheet.

When Bro. T P. McCafferty saw the list of names he was surprised at the number of Masons in the village. He called a Meeting of these Brethren in the Craig Institute, Caldercruix, & put forward the idea of forming a Masonic Lodge.


This idea met with great enthusiasm, but unfortunately there were no premises in the village suitable for holding Masonic Meetings. It was agreed to form a Caldercruix Masonic Fund, Whist Drives & Dances were organised to raise funds, but when the Provincial Grand Lodge of Lanarkshire Middle Ward learned what was being done, they declared the Fund an unauthorized body who could not use Masonry in this way, & the P.G.L. took possession of the money collected.



A new Lodge Carpet! 

I think you will like this amusing entry from the lodge history archives.

On the 6th of October 1972. It was agreed to purchase a new Masonic Carpet.

At the next regular meeting Bro. Jimmy Simpson P.M. Founder Member said that the carpet was only fifty years old and that he thought it would do a few years more.


It must be remembered that Bro. Simpson was losing his sight and could not see the holes in the carpet



The End Of An Era

19th April 1994. The last egular meeting in Masonic Hall, Airdrie Road, Caldercruix. The M.M. Degree was conferred by the Lodge Past Masters headed on this occasion by Bro. John Laird P.M.. A brief history of the Lodge was issued & a moving tribute from Bro. Jeff Spence R.W.M. to Brethren who had faithfully assisted in running the Lodge over the past 50 years. He also intimated that moving to a new meeting place would ensure the survival of Lodge Caldercruix St John 1314. Over 160 attended this meeting brethren form inside & outwith the Province


Here's the speech which Bro Jeff Spence PM gave to the assembled brethren


Caldercruix St John has a long history, a tradition that has been forged by many dedicated freemasons. Everything we are today, everything we aspire to is based firmly on the foundations which they laid. Our commitment to upholding the decorum, the integrity & principles of our order are why we have arrived at this difficult decision. Any failure in our responsibility would have sullied our proud name. To their eternal credit, the brethren tried valiantly to keep the building, for several years, but it was not to be. Never forget! We the brethren are the Lodge, we have grasped the opportunity to guarantee the future of our Lodge. To build & prosper, to forge a bright successful future is the aim we have in view. Indeed, being free of monetary constraints, we can once again become a benevolent institution, and take great pleasure in dispersing charity and enhance the great name of freemasonry. We have many great events to write in the history of Lodge Caldercruix St John. To our friends, our many friends, we thank them for their years of support. Friendship is the reason most of us are in freemasonry, it enriches our lives gives us great pleasure. It is what makes freemasonry great, & what will make it endure. We are very lucky in Caldercruix to have many friends, in & outwith the province, of the Middle Ward of Lanarkshire. We thank them for coming here tonight & I look forward to welcoming then, as well as the members of Lodge Caldercruix St John to our new home


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