Historical Sketch of Lodge St Michael No.38
(formerly The Lodge Of Criefe)
The Lodge of Criefe was inaugurated on the 27th of December, 1737, by a company of Masons duly qualified for the purpose, who were members of a Mason Lodge at Muthill.
The first Master of the Lodge was His Grace the Duke of Perth (James Lord Perth).
The minute of the first meeting reads as follows:-
CRIEFE MASON LODGE
"Was erected on the 27th day of December,1737, when after those persons, whose names are recorded in this book, were Entered Members of the same as apprentices; by a company of Masons duly qualified for the purpose who had formerly pertained to a Mason Lodge at Muthill.
The Members proceeded to choose Office-Bearers, for the ensuing year:accotdinly were
His Grace the Duke of Perth - ------Master.
George Forbes--- Deacon.
James McInnes, Patrick Duncan- Wardens.
George Bryce, Andrew More- Box Masters.
N.B- for this year James Gow was to have no payment for his trouble, this year as officer to the Lodge, he having got his entry fee on that account.
The Members then appointed their next meeting to be in the Tollbooth of Criefe the first Tuesday of March next, and ordained those, who had granted their Bills that night, to appear and pay in the Money said Day."
The Lodge at this time had no recognised place of meeting, and the members gathered in various places in the town, such as the Toolbooth of Criefe, the chambers of David Thomson, Writer, and the house of Alexander Tait,in fact anywhere they considered suitable and convenient to initiate candidates into the Craft.
In 1739 the Lodge petitioned the Grand Lodge of Scotland to be granted a Charter, and this was granted on the 8th of August,1739.(note the original Master's Chair and Lodge Charter are Still Prized possessions.)
Being desirous of having a regular place of meeting, on the 6th March 1764, Brethren petitioned"The Honourable Commissioners on the annexed estates of Perth, for a spot of Land to build a Lodge on" The petition was granted, and the site given was in Lodge St, where the present building now stands. The Foundation Stone being laid " with all solemnities" on the 9th April,1776. The first bye-laws for the regulation of the Lodge were approved on the 27th of December, 1776, and it appears at this time the name was changed from the Lodge of Criefe to that of Lodge St Michael.
In 1816 the old building was pulled down and a new one built on the site at a cost of £2,000. The ground was gifted by The Honourable Clementina Sarah Drummond Burrell of Perth "from a desire to perpetuate a society which had been formed by her ancestor." The foundation stone was laid on 19th July, 1816, and must have been an occasion for great rejoicing, as it is recorded that Crieff was very rowdy that night, and a drunk man made an attempt to pull down the newly- laid stone.
one of the outstanding gatherings in the history of the Lodge during the 19th century was the centenary Meeting held in the Hall on the 27th of December,1837.
The erection of new buildings in 1816 plunged the society into debt. All benevolent payments were suspended at this time, and much financial embarrassment was encountered until 1857, when the debt was extinguished, and new Bye-laws were framed to regulate the disbursement of the benevolent funds.
Further alterations and additions were made to the property in 1876, 1879, and in 1888 the Knight's Room was added.
A Very Prominent Masonic duty during the years 1836-1872 was the laying of foundation stones, and the following list embraces many important events of that nature attended by the Brethren of No.38
1836 Oct 5th. county and City Infirmary of Perth.1846 Episcopal Chapel, Crieff.1847Perth Railway terminal.1861 Wallace Monument Stirling.1865 Cutting of first turf, Crieff- Methven Railway.1868 Messrs. Sheilds'Wallace facory, Perth.1869 Forfar Town Hall.1870 Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.1872 Aytoun Hall, Auchterarder.1882 Crieff Parish Church Spire.
Although much prominence was given to public demonstrations, the Ritual work in the Old Days did not recieve the same attention as it does now.It was quite common for a candidate to be Entered ,Passed and raised, at one meeting; how different from the present ceremonials.
It is impossible in this brieff sketch to describe in great detal the benevolent activities of the Lodge, but it never has been forgotten that " the Greatest of these is Charity" Nor has the importance of Divine Service ever been neglected. Many Eminent clergymen have held the office of Chaplain, and have directed the devotional exercises of the Brethren with great diligence and acceptance.
In 1874 the time had come when the Lodge had began to set her house in order. A complete Roll of Members, numbering 155, was prepared. Later a petition book and attendance book was obtained., and it is evident that every endeavour was made to improve the working of the degrees. The Lodge from this time made remarkable Progress in more than one direction. In Ritual there was more dignity, efficiency and variety. In popular favour the Lodge greatly progressed as evidenced by the desire for admission. Distinct advancement was also made in the administration, frequently at the request of the Grand Lodge, and Provincial Grand Lodge, as a result Lodge St Michael began to enjoy a long unbroken period of prosperity.
The dawn of the 20th century revealed a strong, healthy and prosperous body of Freemasons in Crieff f.Minutes of greater detail were kept, and it is worthy of note that although attendances were small (average 18 )much was done to modernise the furnishings, light, heat and sanitation of the Lodge Rooms.
In 1926 additional ante-room accommodation was added, and in 1935 the "Old Buildings "were completely reconstructed at a cost of £2,546.
On the 27th of December, 1937, the Lodge attained its Bi-Centenary, and the Brethren assembled within the hallowed walls, according to ancient custom, to celebrate it with great dignity. The Master, as in days gone by, voice the wish of all, that "Lodge St Michael may enjoy in the future the prosperity that had attended it in the past."
On the 18th of June, 1953, The Depute Grand Master Mason, Bro. The Right Hon. Lord MaCdonald, Installed Bro. J.F. Harley as Provincial grand Master of Perthshire West.
Right Worshipfull Master of the Lodge
According to the written records, Crieff Lodge was opened on the 27th December, 1737
The First master was the Duke of Perth, who held office from 1737-1740. It would seem that the Duke was allowed to remain Master until the '45, as only Depute Masters were elected during these years. there is no record kept of
the business done in 1745, the year of the rebellion.