The History of Lodge St Servanus No. 771

The history of Lodge St Servanus No. 771 by Bro. Gordon N.S. Neave

The next eighteen years 1911-1929


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The Next Eighteen Years - 1911-1929

It so happens that the minute book following the first, covers from 1910 to 1928, in consequence the next chapter deals with the highlights and points of interest from that period.

Two men, who obviously influenced the Lodge tremendously, and the Craft in general, are mentioned and eulogised in glowing terms on their deaths in May 1912 and September 1913. The first was James Dickie a founder member and first Lodge Secretary. He obviously played a large part in the initial organisation of the Lodge and later in his masonic career became R.W.M. The second, James Donaldson, the first R.W.M. of Lodge St. Servanus, and a man, who continually until his death, took a tremendous interest in all affairs appertaining to the Lodge was the subject of a masonic funeral—a quote from a minute dated 16th September 1913 says it all and this in reference to Past Master Donaldson "his example and counsel did much to ensure that love and harmony characterised all our proceedings".

In July 1915 Brother Alex Baigrie, a founder member and the Lodge's first Depute Master was presented with a Past Master's Jewel. This was on account of his work and efforts for the Lodge as he had been, to that date, R.W.M. on four occasions.

A Committee of Enquiry is mentioned for the first time when an edict from Grand Lodge dated 15th August 1916 reads as follows "the character and qualifications of the applicant shall be fully enquired into by a Committee of Enquiry consisting of R.W.M., I.P.M. Secretary and not less than two other members of the Lodge who must be Master Masons in good standing to be elected annually".

While meetings were regularly held during the First World War years the impression gained is of little of great importance happening. Calls from Grand Lodge to subscribe to a ward in a military hospital, to set up a Roll of Honour in one's Lodge and generally encourage the Office Bearers to function as normal as possible and retain the member's interests was accomplished with credit in Lodge St. Servanus.

Office Bearers 1927

Lodge St. Servanus No. 771 Alva Office-bearers and Past Masters 1927

Back Row L-R
Bros. W. McKenzie—Organist, J. Morton—S.B., J. Dickson—D of C, T McGuire—Marshal, T. Graham—S.S.,H. Young—J.S.
Centre Row L-R
Bros. A. Horne—I.G., W. Smith—S.D., P.M. Clark—Secy., A. Chalmers—D. M., Rev. J.A. Williamson—D.D. Chaplain
A. Sinclair—S.M., J.J. Aitken—Treasurer, A. Page—J.D., J. Lumsden—B.B., A. McPhail—Tyler.

Front Row L-R
Bros. J. W. Anderson—S.W., Major J.D. Minto, P.M., J. Reed, P.M., D. Taylor—I.P.M., G. Campbell, R.W.M., T Greig, P.M.,
Major J. Philp, P.M.,
Rev. J. Boyd—B.D., P.M. J. Williamson—J. W.

With the War over there was a flurry of activity and the building up of the Lodge numerically took place at most meetings. Four to seven candidates were commonplace for degree work at most regular meetings.

The question of new premises and the need for more space was discussed. There were expectations that the Cobden Street School, up for sale, was to house the new Masonic Lodge but at a meeting on 31st March 1920 the R.W.M. Major J. Philp (who had recently returned from four and a half years active war service) reported that there was not any reasonable prospect of securing Cobden Street School. He further reported "that the property known as the 'Island' having been advertised for sale the Lodge Committee had authorised the purchase of this property. It had accordingly been purchased by Brother Reed, Past Master, on behalf of the Lodge". The architects plans to carry out alterations as per the wishes of the Lodge would cost £2,240. An acceptable curtailment of certain plans would still cost £1,070.

No hurried decision was taken but after an informal meeting of all brethren at the `Island Hall' on 31st May 1920 a minute of that date reads as follows "that the Lodge Committee by empowered to proceed with the necessary alterations at the New Lodge Room and also that each member of the Lodge be circularised as to the probable cost of same and asking what sum each would be prepared to subscribe and in what period". I can find no breakdown of necessary alterations nor the accepted costs of same.

The consecration of the new Lodge took place on the 4th December 1920 and was carried out by the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master Brother E.E. Dyer who headed a large deputation from Provincial Grand Lodge. It is interesting to read that when the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master paid his annual visitation on 3rd December 1923 he headed his minute as "Arthur Johnstone Hall".

Fund raising efforts proceeded apace after the acquisition of the New Lodge. Concerts, whist drives and a Grand Bazaar organised by the Lodge, but with considerable help from the ladies raised the sum of £1,006-12/10d and with expenses off, £833-13/7d went to the Lodge Building Fund. A Supper Dance held on 4th April 1924 was one way of saying thank you to the ladies and recognising their efforts. Coinciding with this event the new halls were officially opened.

In November 1924 it is minuted that Brother George Campbell gave notice that he would move at the next meeting that the regular Lodge meeting be changed from Monday to Tuesday night. This duly happened from 9th December 1924.

In October and November 1925 the question of jewels for Past Masters was raised and it was unanimously agreed that any surplus cash arising from whist drives and similar functions form the nucleus of a fund for such jewels. This particular fund was such that on the 20 May 1927 six Past Masters were presented with handsome jewels. This was a unique and important historic occasion and the Lodge was rightly honoured with the presence of the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master Brother E.E. Dyer.

During the whole period 1910 to 1928 the Lodge was a good Church attender and on one occasion having met as a Lodge in Menstrie School they went from there to Menstrie Parish Church. It was also noted that considerable correspondence, from Sister Lodges within the Province relating to the black balling of potential candidates, passed between the Lodges.


A Further Ten Years 1929-1939


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