Trial of John Andrew and Robert Ramsay of Maybole: 27th September 1800
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An excerpt from the SUN newspaper. London: Saturday 27th September 1800 includes a lengthy account of the trial at Ayr of John Andrew, a shoemaker and at one time a teacher, and Robert Ramsay, a cartwright, both of Maybole. They were accused of sedition and administering unlawful oaths at a meeting of Freemasons and-or Knights Templar in Maybole at some time in 1796. William Hamilton, member of a Lodge in Maybole (Royal Arch No.264) described how a pistol was fired and someone shouted "Put him to death" at the initiation ceremony and how he was blindfolded and brought into a room and afterwards shown a stone jug holding a bush with a candle burning inside it while John Andrew  read the 3rd Book of Exodus ... The Prosecution claimed that Irish men were present and that Freemasons agreed to suppress any knowledge of murder or treason. Other evidence was given by Quentin Stewart, a tailor; John McClure, a schoolmaster; Gilbert Wilson, a saddler and James Bartram, Clerk of the Grand Lodge of Scotland. The Account runs to over 80 cms and provides an extraordinary insight into early Freemasonry - and the fears it aroused in others. The Jury found the case not proven ...



FREEMASONRY IN MAYBOLE: Maybole, Carrick's Capital Facts, Fiction & Folks by James T. Gray

In 1797 a second lodge was formed in the town, its sponsor being Lodge Royal Arch in Ayr and it was given the number 264 and named Lodge Royal Arch, probably in gratitude to its sponsor in Ayr. Its first R.W.M. was John Andrew whose Depute was John McLure and the Senior Warden was Robert Ramsay with another John McLure as Junior Warden. At a later date the number of this Lodge was changed to 197 and later to its present number of 198. It is interesting to note that at this period Culzean Castle was being built and it is probable many of the operative masons employed on the work, and who lodged in Maybole, would combine to form the new lodge. Lodge No. 198 has always had a greater number of operative members in its roll than No. 11 and even in recent years operative masons and builders have been more predominant in the younger lodge.

It would appear there was little harmony, and definitely no brotherly love, between the two lodges in the town as before a year had passed a complaint was made to Grand Lodge in 1798 by two members of the older lodge, the Rev. William Wright and James Ferguson, that Lodge Royal Arch No. 264 was guilty of the "most heinous irregularities and carried out their ceremonies in a manner alien to the craft." No action was taken by Grand Lodge, however, and No. 264 blythely carried on for two years until 1800 when the R.W.M. of No. 11, Quintin McAdam, again lodged a similar objection to the workings of the junior lodge. The Grand Lodge then seems to have felt there was some justification for the complaint as they issued a stern warning to the Master of No. 264 who must have obeyed orders as there was no further complaint regarding the behaviour of the members or the method of carrying out their ceremonies. Masonic ritual was not standardised then as it is today and probably No. 264 members carried out their ceremonies in a different manner to those of No. 11, who being the older lodge, would feel that the young upstart lodge should fall into line and do as their elders and betters did.


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