Square and Compasses Scottish Saltire Lodge Camelon 1456 Scottish Saltire Square and Compasses


It is certain that, for many centuries, Camelon has been listed among the place names of Scotland. Situated in a direct line between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde, Camelon marked the site of a part of Antonine’s wall which was built between these firths in or about the year 150. Foundation stones bear witness till this day. Some may doubt that Camelon has such an ancient history but there is no doubt that Camelon has always been and still is a place apart. Even when, about 50 years ago, it was incorporated into the present Burgh of Falkirk, to form one of its municipal wards, Camelon retained its separate identity as a place with its own history, traditions, and communal activities. During the latter part of last century and since the beginning of the present one, Camelon grew rapidly apace. To-day, it forms the largest ward, probably in area, and certainly in population. Camelon has its own parish church, town hall, welfare hall, railway station, public parks, industries, bowling greens, and many other symbols of a separate community.
According to those who can remember it, it is stated that, about 40 years ago, a proposal was mooted to form a Masonic Lodge in Camelon. Nothing definite arose from the proposal at that time but, in the intervening years, the idea was kept alive, and it was therefore not surprising that eventually certain Mariners decided to launch the ship at Camelon. It is not known who suggested the idea originally and none of those who were in at the beginning take any credit. These Masonic Brethren got together for the first time on 23
rd January, 1950. It seemed fitting that their first meeting should be held in Camelon Town Hall, a building which dates far back into the history of Camelon. Those brethren were Bro. John Christie (a Past Master of Lodge Callendar No. 588, Falkirk), Bro. Alexander Paterson, Bro. John M. Harrison, Bro. Peter G. Harrison, Bro. William MacRae (superintendent of parks), Bro. Ronald Gilchrist (son of a former Provost of Falkirk) and Bro. John A. Bell (formerly secretary of the oldest lodge in the county), and Bro. George A. Strang. They formed the provisional committee. A later meeting of those brethren was held at Camelon on 27th January, 1950. At this meeting, Bro. MacRae was elected chairman of the committee.
It is fitting at this point to record the appreciation of the members of the provisional committee for the help given by both Bro. Thomas Pitcairn, Provincial Grand Master of Stirlingshire, and Bro. John Campbell, Provincial Grand Secretary. Both Bro. Pitcairn and Bro. Campbell were ever ready to give and did give the benefit of their expert knowledge of matters Masonic.
It was decided to call a meeting to which all Master Masons who were interested would be invited. This meeting was held on 2
nd March, 1950, in Camelon Town Hall, which was packed to capacity, and several brethren could not gain admission. It was gratifying to the provisional committee to see that their belief in enthusiastic support was well founded. The meeting was favoured by the presence of a number of past masters.
Bro. Bell gave an account of the procedure which required to be followed in seeking a charter for a new Lodge. Thereafter, the meeting was declared open for questions, Several questions were asked all of which were helpful and constructive. At this meeting, the provisional committee was authorised to continue their work until office-bearers could be elected. The committee held further meetings of its own to discuss and adjust the several problems that required to be solved. Encouraged by the enthusiasm shown, they decided to call a meeting of founder members as soon as possible. This meeting was held at Camelon on 23
rd March, 1950, within Camelon Town Hall. Once again there was a large attendance and, at this meeting, the petition was submitted for signature. This was the petition which craved Grand Lodge to constitute the new Lodge and grant a charter. Other items included the name of the Lodge, dates of regular meetings, erection and consecration dates.
The next meeting of founder members was held within Camelon Town Hall on 6
th April, 1950. The petition was submitted again, and the list of founder members substantially increased.
The time was now approaching when the petition required completion for presentation to Grand Lodge so as to be in time for the opening of the Lodge in the autumn of 1950. The provisional committee accordingly lost no time in getting together again and, on 13
th April, they met to formulate the meeting of founder members at which the first office-bearers of the new lodge would be nominated and elected. A great amount of detailed work was completed at this meeting. In the case of nominations for the office of first Master of the lodge, it was decided to settle his election by ballot.
Bros. John Christie, P.M., and George A. Strang were appointed tellers. The ballot resulted in favour of Bro. Peter McMain, a Past Master of Lodge Carron, No. 139. Very close behind him in votes was Bro. William MacRae. The Brethren unanimously agreed that Bro. McMain receive the privilege of nominating his Depute. He called upon Bro. MacRae to accept nomination as his Depute, a gesture which was loudly applauded. Bro. MacRae thanked Bro. McMain and said that it gave him great pleasure to accept the important office of Depute Master.
The other brethren elected were: David Kennedy, Substitute Master; William Marshall, Senior Warden; William Bryce, Junior Warden; Alexander Paterson, Secretary; Ronald Gilchrist, Treasurer; George A. Strang, Almoner; William Russell, Chaplain; John Myles, Senior Deacon; George Ritchie, Junior Deacon; George Christie, Director of Ceremonies; Ian McIntosh, Architect; Robert Simpson, Jeweller; Peter Harrison, Bible Bearer; John S. Wright, Bard; Robert Hoggan, Sword Bearer; David Cox, Director of Music; John Christie (Jr.), Organist; Peter Symon, Marshal; James Tierney, (Jr.), Senior Steward; Robert Bell, Junior Steward; George Mailer, Inner Guard; James Falconer, Tyler.
The business of the meeting was carried through with great harmony and, at the close, a very cordial vote of thanks was given to the members of the provisional committee for their many and valued services.
With Bro. McMain Master of the Lodge, the office-bearers have since held several meetings to prepare them for the onerous work of the Lodge which lies ahead, and now we are within sight of that very important event in its history, namely, the erection and consecration of the Lodge. This will take place at a meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge of Stirlingshire to be held at Falkirk on Saturday, 7
th October, 1950. At that meeting, the installation of the office-bearers will also be carried through.
From that date onwards, the history of the Lodge will be recorded in its books. The provisional committee have accordingly prepared this short summary of the events which preceded. They are confident that, with the same enthusiasm as already shown, Lodge Camelon No. 1456 is bound to prosper and that, as in the case of Camelon itself, it will keep abreast of the times.