The early days of the Lodge are uncertain, as the only records that exist are those that are found in the Grand Lodge of Scotland. However from these records it is certain that the Lodge was operating in 1864 using a “Working Warrant” and under the name of “Robert Burns Royal Arch”, Glasgow. (Glasgow is named, because the P.G.L. of Lanarkshire (M.W.) was not formed until 1866).
Upon application to Grand Lodge, a charter was granted to “Robert Burns” Baillieston, Glasgow on the 7th November 1864, with the first meeting of the Lodge taking place with the new charter on the 29th November 1864, when seven gentlemen were initiated into our Craft. The first R.W.M. of the Lodge being Bro. Alexander Barrowman.
The Lodge in those early years was actively introducing Freemasonry to the men of Baillieston and the names of some of our earliest members are still common within the village today. It is also recorded by Grand Lodge that two of our brethren, a Bro. Wallace and a Bro. McTaggert served as members in the Board of Grand Stewards within Grand Lodge, during and after Lodge Robert Burns ceased to operate. The Lodge for whatever reason held a warrant for only a short time, and in 1872 or 1873 the Lodge went dormant. It remained dormant until the minute of Grand Lodge of the 18th December 1919 records, that a petition to resuscitate “Lodge Robert Burns Royal Arch” Baillieston be granted under the supervision of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Lanarkshire Middle Ward. At the quarterly communication on the 5th February 1920, Grand Lodge agreed that “Lodge Robert Burns”, Baillieston be resuscitated. Why the name “Royal Arch” was requested in 1864 and again in 1919 we are unsure, but on both occasions Grand Lodge did not approve and we were granted our warrant as “Lodge Robert Burns No.440”. A name that is synonymous with our Scottish Craft and of which we are extremely proud.
The consecration of the re-opened Lodge took place on the 25th February 1920, with the local Doctor, Bro. Andrew Gibson in the chair as R.W.M. The consecration ceremony being conferred by the R.W.P.G.M. Bro. Sir Robert King Stewart (of Murdostoun), and the members of the Provincial Grand Lodge. Bro Andrew Gibson was the driving force in the resuscitating of the Lodge and presented the Lodge with the Masters Mallet, which is still used today and is one of the Lodge’s prized possessions. Also prominent in the re-forming of the Lodge were Bro. John Gilbert, Bro John Robertson and the Schoolmaster in Baillieston, Bro. John Ballantyne, and many Freemasons from the other local Lodges and in particular the brethren from the Coatbridge area.
The first meeting took place on the 28th February 1920 in the U.F. Church (Rhinsdale Church), Main Street Baillieston when sixty-five brethren were present. It was followed by another Regular Meeting on the 11th March 1920, when seven gentlemen were admitted into the Lodge in the presence of one hundred and thirteen brethren. The lodge continued to meet in the Rhinsdale Church Hall for the next twenty three years, during which time it prospered and established itself in the P.G.L. of Lanarkshire (M.W.), however as the Lodge grew it was obvious that new premises had to be found and when the Kirk Session intimated that the rent for the Church Hall would be increased by 25%, the brethren agreed to buy their own building and purchased the McInnes Hall, 10 Main Street, Baillieston. The newly named “Masonic Hall” held it’s first meeting there on the 12th August 1943, Bro. James Burley R.W.M. in the chair.
The Lodge continued to prosper and became the focal point for many families with so many local men joining the Craft. As the Lodge continued to flourish the members again decided to move and erect a purpose built Masonic Hall. Enquires were made and a piece of land was purchased at 39 Church Street, with work commencing on the new Hall in early 1959 and was completed and Consecrated on the 12th September 1959 with Bro. William Hunter as R.W.M Over the next number of years as the brethren continued to support the Lodge, under the guidance of brethren such as Bro. John H.R. Paterson P.M. and Bro. James Paterson P.M., who served the Lodge as Secretary for forty-three years, it was no surprise that the younger members decided to expand the premises and to promote social activities and to this end, in 1972, the lounge was opened, followed in 1987 when our games room was constructed.
The Lodge then decided that our Temple be rebuilt and in the year 2000, following many months of hard work by the brethren, the Consecration took place on the 18th October that year, the Ceremony of Consecration being conferred by Bro. George R. Kelly R.W.P.G.M. of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Lanarkshire (M.W.).
Lodge Robert Burns from its inception, has had many dedicated, hard working and exceptional Freemasons who have left a legacy to the present members which we must strive to emulate and to continue the good and true work, promoting Masonry in the best possible manner in the community and of keeping the name of “Lodge Robert Burns” to the forefront of the Craft.
Our very own Bro. Robert Murray unearthed this:
From; The Airdrie, Coatbridge, Bathgate & Wishaw Advertiser – 18 August, 1866
[this paper was the early version of the Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser]
“Robert Burns Lodge No.440 – At the usual monthly meeting of this lodge, on the 14th. instant, P.M. Robert White, who is leaving the country for America, was presented by the brethren with a beautifully mounted silver snuff-box, with inscription,, as a slight acknowledgement of many acts of kindness in forwarding the interests of the craft in this place.
Deputation’s were present from the following lodges :- Commercial (No.360), Thistle and Rose (No.73), Glasgow and St.John’s (No.128) Shettleston. After enjoying themselves for a short time, as only Masons can, the brethren partied on the square at high 12.”