Lodge Cadder Argyle


Freemasons have been active participants in all aspects of our country, having laid cornerstones, both practical and philosophical.

I am sure that the group of Brethren of Cadder in 1773, whose wish was to establish a Lodge named Cadder Argyle, would be immensely proud of their achievement if they knew how successful it had become.

Brother James F. Denholm, an Honorary Member of the Lodge and a Past Master of Cumbernauld St. Andrew’s Lodge No. 199, is to be congratulated for his diligence in pursuing his researches such that this authoritative history of Lodge Cadder Argyle No. 147 is now available.

On behalf of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Dunbartonshire I extend hearty congratulations to Brother David C.R.H. McKerral, Master, and all the Brethren of Lodge Cadder Argyle on achieving your 225th Anniversary and trust that the Lodge will continue to flourish.

John F. Herrick
Provincial Grand Master of Dunbartonshire.
Glasgow - January 2003.

The History of Chryston District has been well chronicled. However Lodge Cadder Argyle, No. 147, can lay claim to being the oldest active Chryston Institution of which there is documentary evidence.

The first Minute Book gives a definite date of the origin of the Lodge, it being created in December 1771, without a Grand Lodge Charter. It is unfortunate and regrettable that the first pages are missing from the first Minute Book, therefore the history does not actually commence until August 1773, the Master being a Robert Harvie, who occupied the Chair on several succeeding years. How the Lodge was created and by whom there is no record. The regular meetings in the early years were held quarterly mainly for the collection of dues, with occasional Entering, Passing and Raising, with other meetings being “called by the Master”. The place of meetings given only as Chryston and the date. The records of the Lodge are complete from 1773 until the present day.

Application for our Charter was made by David Colquhoun, David Reid, Robert Harvie, John Watson, William Black, James Patrick, John Walker and James Risk and sundry other Brethren thereto subscribing, all resident in and about the village of Cadder near Glasgow. The Petition, having been considered by the Grand Lodge, together with ample Certificates in favour of the said petitioning by the Lodge “Union and Crown” and “Argyle Lodge’’, both in the City of Glasgow. The Charter was granted 2nd February 1778.

The name of our Lodge “Cadder Argyle” probably arose from the fact that our Members resided in the Parish of Cadder and the name Argyle came from “Argyle Lodge”, which ceased to operate in 1843. In our Charter we are recorded as “Calder Argyle”, and throughout the early minutes the reference is to Calder Argyle Lodge. From January 1832 it appears as “Cadder Argyle” with no explanation being given. The early minutes are brief and finish -”No other business came before the meeting we shut the Lodge”.

Lodge Cadder Argyle first held the number 194, changed in 1816 to No. 145 and finally in 1826 to the present No. 147. In the archives of the Lodge is a gold painted mallet with 147 superimposed over 145.

The Regalia Colours were-before 1848, no record in Grand Lodge; 1848-red; 1859-red, blue and yellow edge; 1874-blue; 1881-red and yellow; 1896 onwards-red and blue.

At the time the Charter was issued the whole of the West of Scotland was under one Provincial Grand Master, Bro George Murdoch, ex-Provost of Glasgow, was appointed for all the Lodges in Lanark, Renfrew, Ayr, Dumbarton and Argyle on 6th February 1769. It is interesting to note that these are the six counties, which formed part of the old Strathclyde Region of local government. In 1826 the Lodge is listed as one of six Lodges forming the Provincial Grand Lodge of Renfrewshire East. The Province of Dunbartonshire was not erected into a separate Province until 1837. Early records show that the entrance fee was 7/6(37½p), and it was quite the custom then for the candidates to sign Promissory Notes paying their fees over three months. It was not uncommon to get the three Degrees in one night, but in November 1855, Grand Lodge intimated that there should be 14 days between each Degree.

In these early years the Members of the Lodge believed in letting themselves be seen with frequent reference to the Lodge taking part in processions. Three regular local Parades or Processions in the year were;-

12th May - Chryston Fair - long since defunct.
30th November - St. Andrew’s Day.
27th December - St. John’s Day.

A description of one of these processions -”16 May 1822 - The Brethren walked in procession to Mr Starks (an Inn) Moodiesburn, and assisted by the Chryston Instrumental Band of Musick we had a grand appearance and was attended by a great number of spectators and then returned to village with great applause”. These processions were generally at night, the processionalists carrying flambeaux or torches. It was quite a regular feature in the early days to walk in procession to meetings at Cumbernauld, Kirkintilloch, etc., headed by a band and according to the Minutes there seemed to be quite a competition to see who carried our colours.

The laying of foundation stones created a further need for processions. Some of local interest were;-
Chryston Manse, 1803;
Chryston School, 25 August 1826;
Bridge over the Bothlin Burn at Bedlay, 15 June 1832. At this event various coins of the realm and newspapers of the day were lodged in a cavity of the stone. On this occasion Bro Mark Sprot Esq., of Garnkirk, presented to the Lodge a beautiful gilt bible, together with a Silver Square and Compasses.
21 June 1833 saw the foundation stone of bridge across the Monklands and Kirkintilloch Railway being laid by Bro Alexander Campbell of Bedlay with all the Honours of Masonry.
The blessing, at each of these later two events, by Bro Rev Thomas Lockerby, Minister of Cadder Parish Church. The whole being witnessed by a large concourse of spectators. We returned to the Lodge room and spent the evening in great harmony with the deputation from Thistle and Rose Lodge.
Chryston Female School, 1839.

Some, a little further afield were;-
Nelson’s Monument in Glasgow, 1 August 1806;
The first house in the New London Road, Glasgow, 1824;
Hutcheson’s Bridge, Glasgow, 1829;
St Davids Church, Kirkintilloch, 1836;

Inscription on Stone, over the railway.
“By the Blessing of God the Foundation Stone of this bridge over the Monklands and Kirkintilloch Railway was laid by Alex Campbell Esq. of Bedlay on the twenty first day of June in the year of our Lord 1833 and of the Era of Masonry 5833”.

Many local worthies were Members of Cadder Argyle, some are referred to in the narrative, but it would be quite impossible to relate them all. The lairds of Bedlay and Garnkirk were members as were many of those charged with the Spiritual, educational, financial, political and medical well being of the community. Some having found time to take a more active part in Lodge affairs than others, and together with many more Brethren have contributed to the advancement of the Lodge - financially and Masonically.

A notable member was Brother G. H. M. Mclsaac. Initiated 25th March 1864, and appointed Chaplain. Coming to Chryston as School Master in 1858; he wrote a book on Chryston, which includes a poem “Lodge Cadder Argyle”. At a choir practice shortly after his arrival on being introduced to several members of the village, one worthy asked him what part he was singing. He replied tenor, to which the response was “Na Na, it wisna’ tenor. If ye’re as good a schoolmaister as ye’re a singer, guid help Chryston.

In two hundred and twenty five years the Lodge has prospered under the guidance and assistance of the various Office-Bearers and Brethren, and maintained a high standard of Masonic and non-Masonic Benevolence. Having a foundation of local Brethren the Lodge will continue to prosper and hold its firm position in the community. Visitations with many neighbouring Lodges have been maintained over the years, which demonstrate the bonds of friendship that exist.

The traditions set in the past have been carried through to the present and must be maintained into the future. To achieve this there are many young Office bearers who have shown willing to accept the challenges set by the Past Masters of the Lodge. Many of whom should be named, many have been, my apologies to the others. Bro Campbell PM, Secretary, and Bro James M Anderson PM, Treasurer, have shared the responsibility for the management of the Lodge for 7 and 6 years respectively. Bro Robert Walker PM in his capacity of Director of Ceremonies has ensured the meetings of the Lodge start promptly since 1991.

One cannot conclude this brief history without expressing our appreciation to the earlier works of Bro J. R. Soutter, P.M., Bro L A Luke P.M., Bro Mclsaac, from whose book “Chryston and Its Worthies” many gems were gleaned. Grand Lodge Librarian, from whom Bro Luke received much valuable information regarding the early years of Lodge Cadder Argyle. The History of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Dunbartonshire, which helped to verify many local references. The Story of Chryston Parish Church, the Story of Chryston both by Neil Kidd, and of course the guidance and recollections of the worthies of today.

And Finally – On Saturday 21 December 2002 Bro David C R H McKerral, a man blind from birth, was installed as Master by Bro Robert Seggie PM with such a quiet dignity and patience which was a joy to behold. Within a very crowded Lodge room Bro Seggie was assisted by Bro Finlay G Campbell PM who was also complimented on his Ceremonial working. The progress of Bro McKerral through the Offices must be an inspiration to all those who follow, and is an example of the forward thinking and tradition setting which is apparent throughout the records of the Lodge.

“And an enjoyable evening was spent with song, toast and sentiment”