Resuscitation the Lodge 24th April 1860.

On 24th April 1860 the first recorded meeting of the Lodge was held after having been dormant for about 23 years, and on 6th June of the same year, a letter was received from the Grand Lodge intimating that the petition from the Hawick Lodge praying for the old charter to be returned, had been before the Grand committee and would come up for discussion before Grand Lodge in August, the letter gave the Lodge temporary permission (and interim dispensation) to work the degrees, and stated the number of the Lodge was 407.

An entry in the minute book dated 22nd July records that a brother was fined one shilling for neglecting to address the Master in the proper manner, one candidate was proposed but failed to get a seconder and another was unworthy.

A petition was sent to the Duke of Buccleuch, requesting use of the school in Orrock Place, which was due to become vacant. There is no record of a reply and on 18th February 1861, it was decided to hold all the meetings in the Industrial School (Ragged School), now Drumlanrig, kindly granted by the Reverend John McRae, where all the meetings were afterwards held until the brethren moved to the Masonic Hall in 1874.

The Reverend John Thompson, minister of St Mary’s received the first, second, and third degrees and afterwards elected an office bearer in one evening, the only instance of this ever happening.

On 16th July 1861, the meeting was held on a Friday night for the first time and it was decided for the future the meeting should be held on Friday nights instead of Tuesdays, as formerly. Candidates could be proposed by Fellow Crafts, which is rather unusual, and the celebration of St Johns Festival, the dinner was first, and the procession held afterwards.

An unusual occurrence is recorded in the minutes of 7th February 1862. It was proposed that a brother be re-entered owing to the irregularity, which had occurred on a former occasion, this brother enjoyed the unique distinction of receiving the degree for the second time.

It is recorded in the minute of 20th September 1861,that Brother Thompson reported reading in" The "Times" newspaper that during the present struggle in America (Civil War) no notice was taken of the sign of distress given by a prostrate brother soldier to another brother "but was killed after the sign was given" and remonstrance should he made to the authorities.

A donation of £1 was given to the Ragged School and 10 shillings to a brother (not Hawick) who had been in prison for forty-seven years.

A meeting was held on 3rd July 1860 to approve the rules briefly" no meetings to be held except 5 members being present and in a Lodge room". Any person wishing to join had to be approved, the proposer to deposit 5 shillings and 16 shillings on the night of initiation plus 4/6 for passing and 4/6 for raising. Every member to pay 3d quarterly to lodge funds and shall attend the annual meeting in December or he fined 1/-.

A letter was sent to Galashiels Lodge intimating the Lodge was now holding regular meetings and Brother Davidson was fined 1/- for failing to give the sign.

Two swords engraved “St. John’s Hawick” were purchased for the Tyler and Inner Guard.

A proposal that an effort to make a fund for widows and orphans and to use the ballot box for applicants was made.

Grand Lodge was petitioned on 4th April 1862 to have the original number 111 returned.



The Breakaway 1859.

In 1859 a volunteer movement was formed, due to the menace of a French Invasion, in most towns country companies of volunteers were formed, and Hawick was no exception. A meeting was held in the Town Hall, where several local dignitaries, manufacturers, farmers etc met together, presided over by Baillie Fraser and it was agreed to form a rifle corps, which was named the Upper Teviotdale Rifle Corps. Some disagreement immediately arose with regard to the commissioned office bearers, and lively and stormy meetings followed. It was resolved that another company be formed to be known as the Hawick Volunteer Corps, 5th Roxburgh Company with Baillie Fraser as Lieutenant. There existed a friendly rivalry between the two companies until New Year's morning of 1863. A ball was held the previous evening in the Tower Hotel, to which a number of officers and N.C.O.s had received an invitation, but for one reason or another no invitation was sent to Baillie Fraser. On being asked next morning if he had attended the ball, his reply was that "he did not care to be mixed up in any way with the dirty 4th", which consequently caused great upheaval, not only in Hawick but throughout the Country and widely reported in National newspapers. Asked to resign his commission he refused and was dismissed, the result being the resignation of several members and within a year the corps was disbanded.

Another incident, widely reported in the Lodge minutes of 18th May 1863, charge made by a Brother Fraser against Br. McBean that "he had screwed Ensign Dickson’s nose around and made reference to the dirty 4th". McBean admitted the charge and made full apology to Br. Fraser and to the Lodge but afterwards withdrew his apology. This dispute lasted from February 6th until 28th December 1863.

These disputes caused considerable ill feeling in Masonic circles and were generally attributed to the breakaway of some brethren to form another Lodge in the town. In August 1863 Grand Lodge granted a Charter for the establishment of Lodge St James, BURA 424.

Whether deliberate or not, no reference is made in the Lodge minutes to the breakaway. The first reference (as far as 111 is concerned) to Lodge 424 is an entry in the minute book January mid 1864 of a letter sent from 424 to 111 alleging that" Lodge St John 111 used undue means of getting candidates".

Both Lodges worked together in harmony and in August 1865, P.M. Br. Milligan opened the Lodge in 111 and P.M. Br. Melrose presided, 424 invited 111 to a ball and also asked them to cooperate in laying the foundation stone at the Corn Exchange.

September 22nd 1865 was a "Red Letter day "in the history of the Lodge as well as the town of Hawick. The foundation stone of the Corn Exchange was laid with full Masonic honours by the Grand Master Mason of Scotland, John White Melville of Bennochy. Grand Lodge assembled in the Town Hall where 20 lodges were represented, 310 Masons being present. The brethren took part in the procession then dined together, presided over by the Provincial Grand Master. On the same day the Allan Water Works was opened by the Duke of Buccleuch.

At a special meeting on 7th March 1865, Brother Beattie was inititiated, passed and raised in one evening.

The Festival of St. John was celebrated on 27th December 1865 and was honoured by the presence of Br Henry Scott Riddell, Bard of the Lodge and author of “Scotland Yet”

On 15th March 1868 the 100th anniversary of the granting of the Lodge Charter was celebrated. The Brethren marched through the streets in procession to St Mary’s church (assembling in St. Mary’s church was an ancient custom) where the service was conducted by the Prov Grand Chaplain, Br. David Waddle of Stow, the brethren then proceeded to the Exchange hall where 132 Masons sat down to dinner, presided over by Brother Henry Ingles Substitute Grand Master Mason of Scotland and Prov. Grand Master of Peebles and Selkirkshire.

The Centenary celebration was brought to a close by a Grand Ball held in the Exchange buildings in the evening.

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