PM Bro Alexander Drummond Alexander Drummond

Lodge Greenock Kilwinning

 

First Provincial Grand Master

1739 - 1747

An Historical Sketch

by

Brother William C. Shepherdson

Soon after the foundation of the Grand Lodge of Scotland on St Andrew's Day, 30th November, 1736 the Rulers of the Craft realised that for the better government of the Order the country should be divided into geographical areas or Provinces and that Provincial Grand Masters should be appointed. The title of Provincial Grand Master was in all probability derived from the English practice where it had been introduced some 15 years earlier. The genesis of the First Provincial Grand Lodge and the appointment of the First Provincial Grand Master is contained in a Minute of the Grand Lodge of Scotland dated 30th November 1738.                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Alexander Drummond was born into a branch of the family which was a cadet of the Drummonds of Stobhall and Cargill and it was his grandfather who received from Charles I the Charter to erect Blairgowrie into a Burgh of Barony. The family were important and influential in affairs of state, in politics strongly Whig, and in religion faithful to the Established Church. The family resided at Newton Castle, Blairgowrie and while his elder Brother George was born in the Castle (1687) it is not known where Alexander was born. George Drummond (Grand Master Mason 1752-1753) would appear to have played an important part in the life of his sibling Alexander. George, who served 6 terms as Lord Provost of Edinburgh, obtained the important post of Accountant General of the Excise of Scotland and perhaps was instrumental in Alexander's appointment as H.M. Collector of Customs at Greenock and as can be seen from the Grand Lodge Minute (ref. para. 3), he was Senior Grand Warden at the time of Alexander's appointment as Provincial Grand Master.

Brother Alexander Drummond was initiated in Lodge Greenock Kilwinning on 3rd February 1738, passed 7th March, raised Master Mason 26th April and on 27th December 1738 elected Master, serving 1739 and 1740. The first Minute of Provincial Grand Lodge is contained in the First Minute Book of Lodge Greenock Kilwinning in February 1739 when The Earl of Kintore installed Brother Drummond as Provincial Grand Master "over the Lodges in the Western Country." Drummond's Commission was subsequently renewed by the succeeding Grand Master Masons, namely The Earl of Strathmore, The Earl of Leven and The Earl of Kilmarnock. On receipt of his Commission Drummond marked the occasion by presenting a set of handsome jewels "attached to their proper ribbons" to Lodge Greenock Kilwinning in respect of the offices of Master, Depute Master, Wardens, Secretary and Treasurer. He proceeded at once to discharge the duties of his patent with great assiduity and fidelity as extracts from the old Minute Books of Glasgow Kilwinning Lodge No 4, Lodge St. John's Old Kilwinning No 6 at Inverness, and Dumbarton Kilwinning Lodge No 20 (now No 18) clearly illustrate. {No 4 - 6th March 1739; No 6 - 20th April 1739; No 20 - 2nd May 1740}. On 21st May 1740, Drummond reported to Grand Lodge that he had visited Lodge St John Kilwinning (Kirkintilloch) now No 28 and Lodge Kilsyth St John now No 39 and applied for Charters on their behalf.             


In 1744 Drummond was appointed H.M. Consul at Aleppo and while resident there was active and zealous in promulgating the tenets of Freemasonry. He formed and constituted the first Scottish Lodge in the Near East. According to the Minutes of Grand Lodge, November 30th1747, “It was stated by the Grand Master Mason the Rt. Hon. The Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Brother George Drummond that his brother Alexander Drummond, late Provincial Grand Master of the West of Scotland, having taken up his residence at Alexandretta in Turkey had erected several Masons Lodges in that part of the country and, as he was anxious still further to diffuse the principles of the fraternity, he begged that Grand Lodge would grant him a Provincial or District Grand Commission. The Grand Lodge having taken this petition into consideration unanimously granted his requisition.”


Thus Brother Alexander Drummond had the dual honour conferred on him of being the first Scottish Provincial Grand Master and the first Scottish District Grand Master appointed by the Grand Lodge of Scotland.” Drummond had only been in residence at Aleppo for a year or so when he formed his first Lodge which was named “Union Lodge of Drummond Kilwinning Aleppo.” It is worthy of note that while this first Lodge chartered by the Grand Lodge of Scotland in this area took place in 1745, the earliest English Lodge at Smyrna, of which there is any record, is the Homer Lodge No 806, which was warranted in 1860 or some 115 years later. Drummond’s title as District Grand Master was somewhat long winded – he was designated “District (or Provincial) Grand Master “over the countries in Europe and Asia bordering the Mediterranean Sea.” On returning from the Levant, he took up residence in Edinburgh and resumed his Masonic activities. He demitted Office as Provincial Grand Master (Western Country) in 1747 and was succeeded by Brother Robert Mollison, H.M. Collector of Excise at Ayr and a Past Master of Mother Kilwinning No 0, although he had been initiated in Glasgow Kilwinning Lodge No 4 and was its first Senior Warden. As might be expected with his brother serving as Grand Master Mason, as well as being a distinguished civic leader and important government official, it is not surprising to learn that Alexander Drummond became deeply immersed in the Masonic affairs in the capital. On 24th June 1760, he was elected Master of Lodge Canongate Kilwinning No 2 and was later that year deputed by the Grand Master Mason to lay the Foundation Stone of St Bernard’s Well with full Masonic Honours.                                       


Alexander Drummond was undoubtedly a most conscientious, diligent and active Provincial Grand Master, who without precedents to guide him, set an excellent example for all future incumbents of that high Office. He was at all times animated by a deep devotion and love of the Craft. He made his mark in his own day and laid well and truly the foundations of the First Provincial Grand Lodge.





 

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