as a craft organisation began with the old guilds, which were something like
the present day trade unions, organising and laying down rules for the
instruction and guidance of the craftsmen in those early days.
lot has been said about, and a lot of criticism aimed at, the aura of secrecy
surrounding the ancient craft, but most of the old trades and crafts had their
own particular signs and secrets, which, in the absence of trade papers and
credentials, were necessary to prove and identify the person concerned as
having passed through the various stages of having served an apprenticeship,
eventually becoming skilled in his own particular chosen craft. Foresters,
Gardeners, Vintners, Fleshers, Wrights, etc., all had their own signs etc., by
which to identify any particular person as being skilled in his craft, though,
at the present day, those various organisations have as their members people
who may not necessarily be connected through their own particular trade or
profession with the organisation to which they belong. In other words,
speculative rather than operative members, though the old signs and secrets
may still be used symbolically in their ceremonies. So it is with Freemasons.
Freemasonry is neither sectarian nor political, and all discussions of such a
nature are forbidden in our assemblies.
term Freemason is thought by some people to refer to the fact that those
people were skilled in the use of freestone cutting, carving and building, as
many of the medieval ecclesiastical buildings and castles were built of this
material; others incline to the opinion that it may refer to the mobile bands
or Lodges of masons who travelled around the country following the building of
the great cathedrals and castles as "free" masons in the sense that
they were not tied to any particular town or city guild of masons.
is probably the manner in which Freemasonry first came to this ancient Capital
of Carrick, at the time when Crossraguel Abbey and the many old castles in
this area were being built, which would mean that the Lodge of Maybole would
probably have been established in the Twelfth century, passing down the
centuries with all their attendant changes till it became the Masonic Lodge as
we know it today.
the early Eighteenth century it was felt that some sort of controlling body
was necessary to formulate rules and regulations and issue charters for the
control and organisation of the various Lodges throughout Scotland, and so the
Grand Lodge of Ancient Free Masons of Scotland came into being.
Maybole Lodge was one of the 33 Lodges represented at the formation of the
Grand Lodge, and the representative of this Lodge at that inaugural meeting
was the Lodge Deputy Master, Archibald Kennedy, a Maybole man who was a writer
(or lawyer) in Edinburgh, and who was one of the original Office Bearers in
the newly formed Grand Lodge, his office being Assistant Clerk.
system of numbering the Lodges on the Roll of the Grand Lodge of Scotland
seems to have been rather haphazard. Maybole Lodge was originally numbered 14.
This was changed in 1817 to No 10 and yet again in 1836 to No 11 its present
number on the roll. An example of the irrationality of the numbering system is
that the old Lodge of Maybole No. 14 was one of the sponsors of Lodge Glasgow
Kilwinning who were given a place on the roll as No. 4. This old Lodge No. 11
has had many ups and downs in its long and varied history, and presently has
an active roll of around 300 members, who come from all walks of life, and
represent many trades and professions.
McEwan, Secretary, Lodge St. John Maybole No. 11, (1979)