THE 250th anniversary of Freemasonry in Musselburgh was celebrated last month.

A Masonic procession, service of thanksgiving and rededication dinner were held to mark the long history of the Lodge St John Fisherrow No 112.

Originally situated near the harbour, the lodge was chartered by the Grand Lodge of Antient Free and Accepted Masons of Scotland on March 15, 1768.

At that time, it was the third Freemason’s lodge to operate in Musselburgh and Fisherrow – the other two being Lodge Aitchison’s Haven and Lodge Musselburgh Kilwinning, which both no longer exist.

Freemasonry, which is described as the oldest and largest fraternal organisation in the world, is a society of men concerned with moral and spiritual values, with one of its three great principles being relief or charity.

The other two are brotherly love which shows tolerance and respect for the opinions of others; and truth.

Its members are taught its principles by a series of ritual dramas which follow ancient forms and use stonemasons’ customs and tools as symbolic guides.

In 2016, the Lodge St John Fisherrow gave £1,286 to local organisations.

Last year, a further £1,200 was donated to charitable causes. A £5,000 donation was given to aid injured servicemen and women. 

The lodge has been happy to support the Grand Lodge of Scotland – the corporate body governing Freemasonry in Scotland – in its fundraising drive to support Prostate Scotland.

It also backs the fundraising efforts of its 16 sister lodges in the Province of Midlothian in support of their ‘Linking Our Communities’ initiative.

Last year, members of the public got the chance to find out more about the ancient society at an open evening at Lodge St John Fisherrow as preparations for the 250th celebrations got under way.

Two wooden public seats have been provided outside Musselburgh Police Station to commemorate the anniversary.

The rededication ceremony, conducted by the office bearers of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, took place in the lodge rooms.

The service of thanksgiving, conducted by the Rev Malcolm Lang on the lodge’s behalf, was held at St Michael’s Church, Inveresk. This was preceded by a procession from Musselburgh Grammar School involving 112 brethren, accompanied by representatives from the Grand Lodge of Scotland, Provincial Grand Lodge of Midlothian and several sister lodges.

They paraded back to the school before returning to the lodge rooms for refreshments.

Mr Thorburn said: “Lodge St John Fisherrow 112 has been proudly serving our local community since March 15, 1768.

“We will continue with even greater fervour and zeal to offer companionship, camaraderie, self-enlightenment and the opportunity to give service to others to men of every walk and station in life, of every creed and colour, of every faith and denomination. Should anyone be interested in joining us, please contact our secretary – all details are on our website.”