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For more than 250 years Freemasons the world over have considered the oldest purpose-built Lodge Room to be that situated in St John Street, Edinburgh which belonged formerly and wholly to Lodge Canongate Kilwinning but is now owned by the Royal Order of Scotland and used as their Headquarters.
There are, particularly in Scotland, older Buildings which are used by Freemasons for their meetings but without exception these edifices were erected for other purposes. The example which comes immediately to mind is the premises of Lodge Elgin & Bruce in Limekilns, Fife which was originally the King’s Wine Cellar. Lodge Elgin & Bruce was not formed until 1910 but the building may be traced back to 1362.
“The Lodge having been summoned to attend the Grand Master at the Consecration of the New Lodge, built by the Subscribers, members of this Lodge ……….”By sheer co-incidence, just before the then Grand Secretary of the Royal Order asked him to examine the whole matter, Bro. David Currie PM had been carrying out an examination of old documents discovered in the bottom of a recess in the Lodge. Badly affected over the years, they were nonetheless still legible. Among them were several of the receipted bills of 1735 – 1736. The most prominent one stated“To ye erection of ye canopy, supply of curtains for ye doors and ye windows, 9s. 6d.” In modern terms 47½p.As a result of this evidence being submitted to Historic Scotland, that body not only amended its records, but very graciously sent photo-copies of the amended documents. It is understood that this documentary evidence is now held by The Royal Order of Scotland, except for the Lodge Canongate Kilwinning minute, which remains in the minute book.