The 30th November as all
of Scotland knows is our national day, but many do not realise that the
Grand Lodge of Scotland recognise St. Andrew as the patron Saint of
Scottish Freemasonry and not one of the St. John’s as many would assume.
Two tangible examples of this are: the annual installation of the Grand
Master Mason happens around St. Andrews Day every year and secondly
above the entrance to the Grand Lodge on George Street stands the statue
of St. Andrew.
But who was St. Andrew? Michael T.R.B. Turnbull tells us the following
about who he was in his work Saint Andrew: Myth, Legend and Reality:
St. Andrew, (who is believed to have later preached around the shores of
the Black Sea), was an agile and hardy Galilean fisherman whose name
means “strong” and who also had good social skills. He brought the first
foreigners to meet Jesus and shamed a large crowd of people into sharing
their food with the people beside them. Today we might describe him as
the Patron Saint of Social Networking!
Having St. Andrew as Scotland's patron saint gave the country several
advantages: because he was the brother of St. Peter, Founder of the
Church, the Scots were able to appeal to the Pope in 1320 (The
Declaration of Arbroath) for protection against the attempts of English
kings to conquer the Scots. Traditionally, Scots also claimed that they
were descended from the Scythians who lived on the shores of the Black
Sea in what is now Romania and Bulgaria and were converted by St.
In the fascinating legend of The Voyage of St. Rule from Greece to
Scotland we can see the complicated spread of devotion to St. Andrew,
from Constantinople in modern Turkey, to St. Andrews in Fife. St. Rule (Regulus
in Latin) and the six nuns and monks who took the long sea-journey with
him, stands for the missionaries and monasteries who worked long and
hard to bring the Good News to Britain. They lived in communities
organised by a monastic Rule, hence the name St. Rule or Regulus.
As Scotland slowly became a nation it needed a national symbol to rally
round and motivate the country. St. Andrew was an inspired choice and
the early Picts and Scots modelled themselves on St. Andrew and on one
of his strong supporters, the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, whose
statue you can see today in York, where he visited his father, a Roman
General then trying to force the Picts to go back north.
Both William Wallace and King Robert the Bruce appealed to St. Andrew to
guide them in times of national emergency. The Saltire was flown on
Scottish ships and used as the logo of Scottish banks, on Scottish coins
and seals and displayed at the funerals of Scottish kings and queens,
that of King James VI for example and of his mother, Mary Queen of
Scots. At the Union of the Crowns in 1603, London was treated to the
spectacle of St. Andrew and St. George on horseback, shaking hands in
friendship. When King George IV visited Edinburgh in 1822 he was
presented with a Saltire Cross made of pearls on velvet, within a circle
There is also a wider dimension. St. Andrew and his relics at St. Mary's
Metropolitan Cathedral, Edinburgh provides Scots with a special link to
Amalfi in Italy and Patras in Greece, (where two Cathedrals named after
the saint also hold his relics). The many St. Andrew Societies
worldwide, set up originally as self-help organisations for Scots who
had fallen on hard times, form a network of Scots who are all united
under the Saltire Cross of Saint Andrew.
Within the Province of Fife and Kinross both St. Andrew and St. Rule are
commemorated in our Province with two of its oldest and most historic
Lodges taking their names – St. Andrew No. 25 in St. Andrews and St.
Regulus No. 77 in Cupar. Both Lodges are very well worthy of a visit not
just for the warmth of the welcome but also to see the very many
differences in the work from other Lodges in the Province. There are
also very many other Lodges across the Scottish Craft that have taken on
the name of our patron Saint.
But when we look at the network of St. Andrew Societies across the
world, it would not be too far of a leap of the imagination to see a
Masonic guiding hand at work.
When we look at the oldest of these organisations we find that it is The
St. Andrew’s Society of Charleston, South Carolina, which was founded in
1729. At a time when many Scots were making the life changing or
life-saving move due to the political situation at home to one of the
new colonies in the new world.
We know that the first Freemason in America was a Scot from Aberdeen,
John Skene was born in Newtyle, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. In 1659 he was
admitted as a burgess in Aberdeen. He was a Quaker and he left Scotland
and settled in West New Jersey where he purchased a 500-acre plantation
which he called Peachfield. John Skene was a member of Aberdeen Lodge
So could the founding members of the society in Charleston be
Freemasons? Scottish Freemasons had been in the new world for some 70
years and masonry was rapidly spreading across the colonies and
Charleston was a growing town of importance with many connections back
to Scotland. When you read the purpose of the Society it certainly makes
me think that the founders had a knowledge of our masonic tenets.
The Purpose of The St. Andrew’s Society of Charleston:
“As the Principal Design of a Society is to promote some Public Good, by
the joint endeavours of a Number of People, where particular Men are
well disposed to do Generous and Charitable Actions, but find it
impractical to carry on the same to Advantage without the Assistance and
Concurrence of others who are equally inclined to establish and support
good Undertakings; and as Rules and Orders are absolutely necessary for
establishing and continuing all Designs of this Nature; we therefore
whose names are underwritten, being willing to contribute our Utmost
towards so good a Work, have unanimously entered into a Society at
Charles-Town in south Carolina the Thirtieth Day of November, in the
year of our Lord 1730, have voted and agreed to the following Rules, for
the better Management and Improvement of the same.”
– Penned by the Founders in the preamble of The Society Rules
Who were the founders of the Society, or Club as it was first called on
the original copy of the rules, which required that “every Member
hereafter to be emitted shall immediately subscribe the Rules,” under
the words, “Original Members Present 30th of November 1730”?
The first office-bearers were:
A Skene – President
John Fraser – Vice President
James Crokatt – Treasurer - Solomons No. 1, 4th Master
James Graeme – Assistant - Solomons No. 1, 2nd Master
Walter Burn – Secretary
Solomon’s Lodge No. 1 of the Grand Lodge of Ancient Freemasons of South
Carolina was consecrated in 1735 and two of the first office-bearers of
the St. Andrew’s Society were also founding members of this historic
Lodge and indeed James Graeme served as the 2nd Master and James Crokatt
served as the 4th Master of the Lodge.
Graeme was a prominent lawyer and later served as Chief Justice of the
Province of South Carolina, Judge of the Court of Admiralty, and held a
seat in his Majesty’s Council. So a very well connected brother.
One of the other names that signed the original rules was Dr. John
Moultrie, the first of many of a famous South Carolina family who had
emigrated from Culross within our Province. He had four sons all would
distinguish themselves in the early life of America and probably the
most famous being William who became a Major General during the American
Revolution and a close acquaintance of Washington. He too was a
The early history of Freemasonry in South Carolina also informs us that
the first Scottish Lodge was Lodge St. Andrew No. 1. The Charter being
granted on the 15th March 1768 from the Grand Lodge of Scotland. There
is so much more that can be said about Scottish Masonic connections in
the State of South Carolina, but that is best kept for another time.
When you raise a toast of the critur [sic] on the 30th November, please
pause and think back to those roots of why we commemorate St. Andrew
today in the way we do. As I firmly believe that these can be credited
to the influence of those St. Andrew Societies around the globe, those
societies that claim their existence from the original St Andrew’s
Society in Charleston, South Carolina. An organisation full of
Freemason’s and at least one from the Kingdom of Fife, an organisation
that to this day commemorates Scotland’s Patron Saint, St. Andrew.
PM Earl Haig 1260
RWM The Lodge Hope of Kurrachee No. 337
30th November 2020