History of Our Province
The Provincial Grand Lodge of Perthshire West was formed in 1827, the first provincial Grand Master being the Marquis of Breadalbane who held the commission until 1862. There was a gap of two years until the Duke of Atholl was appointed in 1864 and he held the commission until 1886, a period of twenty two years. There are no minute books referring to either of these first two Provincial Grand Masters and it can only be assumed that they carried out their duties as individuals, without having the support of Provincial Grand Lodge office Bearers.
The first Minute Book of the Provincial Grand Lodge commenced in 1886 and the first item is a copy of the commission from Grand lodge of Colonel H. Drummond Moray, Younger of Blairdrummond, as provincial Grand Master dated 4th February, 1886. There is no record of his Mother Lodge but later investigation confirms that he was a past Master of Lodge St James No. 171. The next minute is of his Installation which took place at Crieff. Unfortunately although there are details of the ceremony and a very full minute of the speeches at the festival, the Secretary has omitted the date, only stating “today at Crieff” Also after the ceremony of Installation of the Provincial Grand Master, the secretary has added that the Depute, Substitute, Secretary and Chaplain were installed but has not given names. It is likely that the Depute was Colonel Patrick Stirling of Kippendavie, a Past Master of the Lodge of Dunblane No. IX as it is recorded that he gave the toast to the visiting lodges and mentioned the co-operation he had received from other provincial Lodges regarding arrangements for the Installation. He also followed Colonel Drummond as provincial Grand Master in 1891.
The next meeting was held on 24th September 1886 and took place in the premises of Lodge Scoon and Perth No. 3. At this meeting a full complement of Office Bearers was appointed and it would appear to confirm that these were the first office Bearers to take office in provincial grand lodge. A copy of the rules and Byelaws of the provincial grand Lodge of Perthshire East, which had been constituted on the same day, was circulated for discussion as it was agreed that they should be used as a basis for Perthshire West with such alterations as may be thought necessary. It was also agreed to hold two quarterly communications at Crieff, one at Dunblane and one at Dunkeld. A committee was formed to consider the matter of clothing (regalia).
At the meeting on 20th November, 1886, it was reported that part of the regalia had been obtained and it was agreed that, to assist payment, a levy should be put on each lodge in relation to the number of members. This was excluding payment for Commissioned Office Bearers as the Provincial Grand Master and his Commissioned office Bearers had generously paid for their own regalia.
The lodges in the Province in 1886, with the date of Charter or earliest Minute were listed as follows:-
The Lodge of Dunblane No. IX (1695)
St. John’s lodge of Dunkeld No. 14 (1734)
Lodge St. Michael No. 38 (1739)
Lodge Operative Dunkeld No. 152 (1783) - Amalgamated with St. John’s lodge of Dunkeld No. 14 in 1935 to become the United Lodge of Dunkeld No. 14
Lodge St. James No. 171 (1789)
Lodge St. Kessac No. 269 (1818)
Lodge Tay and Lyon No. 276 (1818)
Lodge Ben Ledi No. 614 (1878)
Lodge Breadalbane No. 657 (1881)
Although there were only nine lodges, Dunblane (IX) and Kenmore (276) were over sixty miles apart which was a considerable distance in the days of travel mainly by Horse and carriage. Over the years another six lodges were added:
Lodge Blairhoyle No. 792 (1893)
Lodge St. Andrew No. 814 (1895)
Lodge Breadalbane St. Fillans No. 815 (1895)
Lodge Baillie Nicol Jarvie No. 1036 (1908)
Lodge Schiehallion No. 1369 (1930) – Dormant 2002
Lodge Tullibardine No. 1484 (1953)
After the two Lodges in Dunkeld amalgamated in 1935, and Lodge Tullibardine was consecrated in 1953, the number of Lodges in the Province remained at fourteen until 2002 when Lodge Schiehallion became Dormant due to lack of numbers. The distance between the furthest Lodges now stretches from Blair Atholl in the North to Aberfoyle in the South West, over eighty miles. This creates a challenge to members of the Provincial Grand Lodge for Annual Visits and Installations, particularly in the winter months.
Despite the earlier minute stating that Quarterly Communications would be held at Crieff, Dunblane and Dunkeld they continued to meet in the premises of Lodge Scoon and Perth No. 3 in lieu of Dunkeld for several years. Later some Quarterly Communications were held in Crieff, Comrie and Callander after an agreement to move the communications around the Province but latterly they have reverted back to the original arrangement. Provincial Grand Lodge now meets only three times per year: Callander in October, Crieff in January and Dunkeld in April, on the last Saturday of these months.
The first report on the state of the finances of each Lodge and the number of Initiates and Members on the roll was made at the Quarterly Communication held in Perth in January 1892. This showed a total of 512 members on the roll of the nine Lodges which compares with a total from 2007 of 420 from thirteen lodges. No. IX and 38 had the greatest number of members in 1892 and 2007, 109 and 105 respectively in 1892 and 89 and 65 in 2007. However, as current figures exclude Life members who have not attended for over two years, they may not be a direct comparison.