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A Grand Lodge For Scotland

The Grand Lodge of Antient, Free and Accepted Masons of Scotland was founded in 1736. This was some years after the formation of the Grand Lodges of England and Ireland . The reason for this may have been the fact that the Grand Lodge of Scotland had approximately 100 Lodges to deal with whereas the others had comparatively few. As can be imagined, trying to obtain the agreement of 100 independent Lodges all jealously guarding their traditions was no easy task. Only 33 of these Lodges were represented at the foundation meeting which implies that 67% did not see the point of having a Grand Lodge when some of those Lodges had already been in recorded existence for almost 140 years! Of the 33 Lodges a substantial minority did not consider the formation of a "Headquarters" worthy of further support and did not continue to participate in Grand Lodge affairs preferring to continue as local, independent Lodges. Sadly, many of those 100 original Lodges have disappeared and very little is known of them. Indeed many are only known by their village or town name. It can be seen, therefore, that The Grand Lodge of Scotland began as a 'bottom - up' organisation - that is with many Lodges pre-existing Grand Lodge. Other Grand Lodges were formed at a time when there were relatively very few Lodges and thus began from a 'top - down' position.

This historical difference in the early organisation of Grand Lodge gives Scottish Freemasonry a distinct and unique character. This has given rise to many features in Scottish Freemasonry, which are not to be found elsewhere. The position of the new Grand Lodge was difficult - how to assert its authority? The fact is that it could not do so to the same extent as other Grand Lodges - simply was because so many Lodges had pre-existed that body. Lodges were permitted to retain their own procedures, regalia, and ritual. Having granted that degree of independence to those old Lodges it was impossible to deny Lodges founded after 1736 that same level of independence. Examples of the independence of such Lodges are many but only a few can be mentioned here. Lodges in Scotland, and those overseas, which are Chartered by the Grand Lodge of Scotland, are independant sovereign bodies in their own right and this affords them a considerable degree of control over their own affairs.

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