Robert Burns the Freemason
This is a brief account of the key dates of Masonic interest and is not intended to be comprehensive. By clicking on the links to external sites below the reader can expand on the accounts of each notable occasion listed.
When Freemasonry was at the height of its popularity at the latter part of the 18th Century, it's doctrine appealed to scholars, philosophers, gentlemen, farmers and tradesmen alike. It should therefore be no surprise that Robert Burns was an active member of this Honourable Fraternity, fully embracing the concepts and tenets it teaches.
At the time of Burns Initiation, Tarbolton St. David Lodge No.174 and Tarbolton Kilwinning St. James Lodge No. 178 had formed a Union of their two Lodges and were operating under the Charter of St. David in the village of Tarbolton.
Burns was Initiated into Tarbolton St David Lodge No.174 on 4th July 1781, at the age of 22. He was also Passed and Raised in Lodge St David on 1st October 1781.
Tarbolton St. David Lodge No.174 currently meets in Mauchline, and is now Lodge St David (Tarbolton) Mauchline No.133 - Robert Burns Mother Lodge.
Less than a year after Burns Initiation, the members of Tarbolton Kilwinning St James Lodge — who had previously been part of the Union with St David's — broke away, and re-started the Tarbolton St. James Lodge. Burns was among those concerned in the disruption who went over to the St. James Lodge, where he became an active member, and was elected Depute Master of that Lodge on 27th July 1784, a position he held for 4 years.
Tarbolton Kilwinning St. James No.178 continues to meet in Tarbolton and is now Tarbolton (Kilwinning) St. James No.135.
A Brief History of Lodge St David can be found on the History tab.
Burns arrived in Edinburgh in 1786, and was later assumed a member of Lodge Canongate Kilwinning No.2 on 1st February 1787.
In company with his good friend Robert Ainslie, Burns also received the Royal Arch Degree from the 'Land of Cakes' Royal Arch Chapter No.15 at a meeting held within the temple of Lodge St. Ebbe No.70, on 19th May 1787, at Eyemouth.
On 27th December 1791, when he had moved to Dumfries, Burns became a member of St Andrew's Lodge No 179 (now dormant). He was elected Senior Warden in 1792, and last visited this lodge three months before his death.
More detailed information on the above account, and the Life and Works of Burns in general, can be found using the embedded links on this page and the additional shortcuts on the Links page in this site.