A Short History
A the beginning of the 18th Century, the crafts in Edinburgh each had their own organization and the masons were part of Wrights and Masons, which met in the Lodge of Edinburgh, Mary’s Chapel.
As part of this incorporation, the Masons had a Lodge where they could confer degrees and allocate monies to the needy masons. The Journeymen of No.8 became dissatisfied with the manner with which the monies were distributed, broke away and began meeting by themselves. They collected monies to help their fellow masons who had fallen on hard times. Needless to say this situation was not at all to the satisfaction of the Incorporation, terminating in the period of unrest and confrontation took place between The Journeymen and the Incorporation, terminating in the Court of Session. The matter was referred to arbitration and the arbiters found in favour of The Journeymen. With the important direction that The Journeymen be permitted to meet as a Society giving “The Mason’s word” and receive the relevant dues. Three documents were issued in this respect:- “Deed of Submission”, Decree Arbitral and “Letters of Horning” (These are unique Masonic documents). These unique documents have been copied and can be seen to this day hanging behind the “Master’s Chair” and constitute No 8’s right to operate as a Masonic Lodge and charge fees.
The Lodge of Journeymen Masons No 8 was one of the Founder Lodges in forming the Grand Lodge of Scotland in 1736 and has the privilege of carrying the “Working Tools” during the ceremony of “Laying the Foundation Stones” by Grand Lodge and also has the right to carry the “Blue Blanket Banner” (believed to date back to the crusades when Scottish Crafts took an active role) on official occasions.
The Lodge of Journeymen Masons No 8 does not have a Charter from the Grand Lodge of Scotland, although we have been offered one on many occasions, we are still a loyal daughter Lodge and over the years many Grand Master Masons have visited No 8. The present Grand Master Mason, Most Worshipful Brother, Sire Archibald Donald Orr Ewing, BART., MA was conferred an Honorary Member on 12the October 2000 and has indicated his wish to be part of our Three Hundred Years Celebrations in 2007. We have always been staunch supporters of Grand Lodge and have enjoyed special relations.
Over the years numerous organizations and many brethren have received the benefit from No 8’s generosity, including the Orphans’ Hospital, when members of the Lodge performed 821 days of voluntary labour. When the Foundation Stone of the Old Royal Infirmary was laid the members again worked voluntary and built a ward as well as donating monies.
In recent time the Lodge donated £10,000 towards the Sanctuary of the New Royal Infirmary (The Sanctuary is the modern idea of a Chapel of Rest).
The Lodge of Journeymen Masons is famous for its “Children’s Parties” and many poor families in the vicinity of Blackfriars Street were grateful for their assistance.
Numerous Journeymen have travelled the world and spread the good name of the Lodge of Journeymen Masons No 8, even to the extent of assisting in the building of the two “White Houses” in the United States of America.
As the Lodge enters its Ter-Centenary it maintains its Loyalty and Fealty to the Grand Lodge of Scotland and continues to be a popular Lodge amongst masons in the province, and throughout the world.