Union between Grand Lodge and Melrose.

On January 20th 1888 Melrose Lodge appointed a committee with the object of reconciling the long-standing difference between the Melrose Lodge and the Grand Lodge of Scotland, and on 25th February 1891 the ancient Lodge of Melrose was received into the bosom of the Grand Lodge of Scotland.

A commission with Dr Middleton as convenor had been appointed by Grand Lodge to consummate the Union between Grand Lodge and the Lodge at Melrose. A very large meeting of the Provincial Grand Lodge was held to receive commissions, and was largely attended by Masons from the South of Scotland, 17 from 111 and 9 from 424 numbered amongst them.

After the Lodge was opened the commission entered. Dr Middleton as convenor took the chair and called upon Grand Secretary to read the minute and authority under which the meeting was held. The Grand Secretary also read a summary of the ancient charges after which the oath of allegiance to Grand Lodge was administered to the RWM of Melrose, an oath of fidelity being taken by the office bearers.

The ratification of the union was then signed and the Lodge closed, and the brethren afterwards dined together.

It is interesting to note that Br. William Graham was initiated into Lodge 111 on 16th  February 1870. Br Graham was at that time, or had been shortly before, the RWM of St Johns Lodge Melrose, a circumstance which is doubtless unique in the history of Freemasonry.



Water-works and a tribute to Br. Waldie.

The opening of the new water works at Acreknowe was held in April 1882 and deputations from Lodge nos.32, 104, 216, 262, together with brethren from 111 marched behind the Saxhorn Band through Buccleuch Street, Wilton, High Street, Howegate, Loan, and adjourned to the Station Hotel.

A tribute was paid to the late Br. Waldie who had held office continuously for 56 years, having been a Mason for 58 years. He attended Hawick Moor, never missing a Common Riding for 71 years. He was buried with full Masonic honours.

In March 1890, a candidate who could not sign his own name was admitted, Grand Secretary wrote "It is the burden duty of every Lodge to be satisfied with the candidate before admission and his Grand Lodge Diploma must bear his own signature and be able to sign the attendance book". It was proposed to withhold his diploma. However he must have learned to write his own name as a letter was received from Sunderland stating that the brother had signed his diploma in their presence and was handed his certificates.

In July 1890 a snuffbox was presented to the Lodge and an invitation received to attend a Burns supper at Jedburgh.



Disagreement between RWM and PM Turnbull.

September 21st 1891 -A disagreement between RWM and PM Turnbull occurred and they called upon each other to apologise. PM Turnbull took exception to money being taken from Lodge funds without notice of motion. The RWM refused to sign the minutes although they were approved by the Lodge. PM Turnbull requested the RWM to retire from the Lodge so that the business could proceed. The RWM refused and order PM Turnbull to retire. On his refusal the RWM ordered the wardens to eject PM Turnbull from the Lodge, the wardens refused, and the RWM then declared the Lodge closed by the action of the wardens refusing to obey an order from the chair.

A committee was appointed to arbitrate in the dispute headed by the PGM who presided over the meeting. The minutes of 21st September and 2nd October were ordered to be deleted and the following written over in red ink:- "In-as-much the whole business transacted and discussion entered into subsequent to the conferring of the third degree was wholly irregular and in violation of Masonic usage and law". The remainder of the minute was ordered to be deleted.

The minute was signed by the chairman of the commission of Arbiters. In his opinion, the Wardens had "utterly failed in their duties as they were bound to obey the RWM". The Commission said the RWM did not need the permission of the Lodge to expel a member, but considered the transgressions had arisen more from insufficient knowledge rather than insubordination. He asked the RWM if he would withdraw the complaints he had made. The RWM said he would, and the Provincial Grand Master said he considered the matter closed.

The Lodge secretary had written to Grand Lodge regarding the refusal of the Wardens to obey the RWM, wondering if they were right or wrong. Grand Secretary replied very pertly saying "Your Lodge is favourably suited in having a competent Grand Master to go to for advice." Relations between Provincial Grand Lodge and 111 were extremely tenuous.

Provincial Grand Master's letter states "You appear to have peculiar views as to the manner in which you best evince your desire for information". Br. Elliot said he thought the letter was an insult to the Lodge.

At the nomination and election of office bearers Br. Thomas Scott proposed Br. Turnbull for the office of RWM, saying he did so in protest against a recent ruling which expelled that brother from the Lodge. There was another nomination, Br. J. Haig but Br. Turnbull was elected on majority.

Br. Frank Scott returned from holiday in America and gave an account of visits to various Lodges. He brought back a "Gramophone" the latest invention of Mr. Edison and entertained the brethren of the Lodge with it.

The RWM suggested the brethren should visit other Lodges to promote a better relationship.

Both Lodge 424 and 111 joined together in precession led by the Saxhorn Band, and the streets were lined with spectators along the Howegate, High Steer, Wilton Buccleuch Street and Beaconsfield.

A Copy of the Kirkwall Scroll was purchased for the Lodge and a letter was received from the Provincial Grand Lodge stating " It is requisite that at least two weeks must elapse between degrees."

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