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The way we were

The feature in the last Twelve Talk led Past Master Bro Alistair Glenny to send me a couple of photos taken at No XII.  One of these is here and it features.

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Bro Henry S Tibbles joined No XII when based here during the War with the Navy.  After the war, business commitments took him South to live but Henry’s enthusiasm for the Craft led him to be installed as Worshipful Master of The Scots’ Lodge in 1980. At this time, he brought a deputation up to the Town Hall when Bro Kenneth K Morrison was Master of No XII and very strong links between the two Lodges began to develop. The photo was taken on the evening of that deputation’s visit.  Of course, much later Bro Henry became RW Master of No XII after returning to Scotland in his retirement.





50 Years and Counting - Bro Alexander Galbraith PM Lodge Greenock St John’s No 175 Substitute Master Lodge Greenock Kilwinning No XII

On Friday 23rd September Bro Alex Galbraith, affiliate member of No XII and our Substitute Master, received his Golden Jubilee certificate in his Mother Lodge, Lodge Greenock St John’s No 175.  A couple of weeks before his contemporary, Bro Kenny Morrison, Alex was receiving his Diploma also 50 years to the day from when he was Initiated into Lodge Greenock St John’s No 175.  Like Kenny, Bro Alex’s Dad, also Bro Alex Galbraith, was a member of Lodge Crawfurdsburn Greenock No 1121, but Alex was drawn by his knowledge of, and admiration for, 175 Past Masters Bros John Wasson and Tommy Dorrance to West Stewart Street.  Many of us older brethren will remember these esteemed Past Masters and the quality of their work.  I certainly do.

Bro Alex’s honours in Freemasonry are very difficult to compute because they are so numerous.  Aside from being RW Master of his Mother Lodge on 2 occasions, he is a Past Master of The Anchor Lodge of Research No 1814, Past Provincial Grand Master of Renfrewshire West and a Past Substitute Grand Master .

No XII was well represented at the meeting and supper thereafter.  A Deputation from the Grand Lodge of Scotland, headed by Substitute Grand Master RW Bro George R Kelly was also in attendance as was a Deputation from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Renfrewshire West.

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Whilst speaking of Bro Alex and his masonic honours, on Friday 7th October 2016 while attending other Masonic business in Bucharest Bro Alex was absolutely astonished when he was presented with  ‘The Order of the Grand Collar in Rank of Grand Officer’ of the National Grand Lodge of Romania. The presentation of the diploma and jewel was made by the Grand Master MW. Bro. Radu Balanescu










50 Years and Counting - Bro Kenneth Kennedy Morrison PM

It was a great pleasure for us all to see ‘KK’ receive his Golden Jubilee Diploma at our last Regular Meeting (4th October 2016), 50 years to the day since he had been initiated in 1966.  Although Bro Kenny’s Dad, the late Bro Duncan Morrison was a member of Lodge Crawfurdsburn Greenock No 1121, as was Kenny’s brother, the late TT 88 003Bro Donald Morrison, Kenny obviously found his way to the Saloon all these years ago much to the ultimate benefit of No XII.  In presenting his diploma, RWM Bro Allan I MacFeate spoke of Kenny’s position as the senior active Past Master in the Lodge and his ongoing service to the Provincial Grand Lodge of Renfrewshire West as an Office Bearer.  Over all the years, Kenny has rarely missed a meeting and took the Chair in 1979 serving the usual two-year term with distinction.  He then had the honour of being asked by the Lodge to take the Chair again for the 275th Anniversary Year in 2003 and he did so, again giving great service and commitment to the Lodge.  No mean booler, Kenny joined George Felgate and David Stevenson to win the Orr Masonic Bowling Trophy, competed for by the Lodges in the Province of Renfrewshire West, in 2015 and has managed to led the No XII team to an occasional victory over Lodge Crawfurdsburn in the annual challenge match.  A Past President of Ardgowan Club, Kenny was honoured to be asked to return to the President’s chair to take the helm for the 175th Anniversary celebrations this year.  Of course, the anniversary year has been a great success under Kenny’s leadership.

In responding to the RWM’s presentation remarks, Kenny was his usual modest self, saying that he had found it a great pleasure to serve the Lodge over the years and had found many good friends through No XII and the Craft.

Over the years, Kenny has been an Installing Master in No XII many, many times.  He has also taken this role in Lodge Rothesay St John No 292 and Lodge Inverkip Ardgowan No 1425.  He was made an Honorary Member of 1425 in recognition of this support


















Deputation to Lodge Kelburne No 459 Saturday 8th October 2016

Report by Bro Iain White PM

7 brethren from No XII, led by RWM Bro Allan MacFeate, assisted by RWM-elect Bro Allan T Glen, completed the Millport landings on the Isle of Cumbrae on Saturday 8th October to join the Brethren of Lodge Kelburne in celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the Lodge.  We were drawn there by our friendship with Bro Stewart Aitken.  While Bro Stewart is a Past Master of The Glasgow Star Lodge, as a Cumbrae resident, he is also prominent in Lodge Kelburne.  After the landings were successfully negotiated we repaired to Fraser’s for refreshment and while away the time before the Ceremony.  A convivial hour or so was spent, with sustenance in the shape of some very fine sandwiches coming from a function taking place in Fraser’s at the time.  We were impressed by the generosity of the islanders!

In good time, and aided by Bro Alan Jess’s encyclopaedic knowledge of the geography of the island, we joined well over 120 brethren at the Rededication ceremony in a hall at the Garrison, conducted by a Deputation from the Grand Lodge of Scotland led by Substitute Grand Master Bro George R Kelly, Grand Junior Warden Bro Rev Andrew E Paterson officiating.  As ever, the work of the Grand Lodge deputation was carried out with quality, dignity and decorum and it befitted the special day that it was for Lodge Kelburne.  The members of the No XII deputation were all presented with very handsome commemorative 150th Anniversary jewels by Bro Stewart Aitken and we may be seen wearing them proudly in the photograph below. Interestingly, the Consecration of Lodge Kelburne in 1866 was carried out by Sir Michael Robert Shaw Stewart 7th Bart of Ardgowan, Provincial Grand Master of Renfrewshire West who was, of course, a member of No XII and later was Grand Master Mason from 1873 to 1882.

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As is ever the case, when Masonic travels are made, we were pleased to meet friends from hither and yon.  In particular, Lodge Rothesay St John No 292 was well represented in the Deputation from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Argyll and the Isles with Past Masters Frank Baxter, James MacMillan and Ellis Rutherford all in attendance.  We spoke of happy days spent at the Installations on Bute.  They had been joined in the Deputation by Bro Bobby Diamond PM of Lodge St Munn Ardnadam No 496 a frequent visitor to No XII in the past and often seen in Lodge Firth of Clyde Gourock No 626.

On a personal level, I was delighted to meet up with Bro Frank Mapes, (see photo below) Past Master of Lodge Kelburne and Past Provincial Grand Master of Argyll and the Isles.  I used to see Bro Frank regularly at the Installations at lodge Rothesay St John in the late 1980s and 1990s when he would be on Provincial business and I was, on several occasions, an Installing Master.  I was Assistant Rector at Rothesay Academy from 1987-1992 and a colleague at that time, Bro Stewart Shaw, is a Past Master of 292.  It was a double pleasure as Bro Frank’s father was actually a member of No XII and, in years gone by, I had managed to find all the relevant information about his Dad from the No XII records.  Many of you will have come across Bro Mapes either directly, or indirectly, in the past.  Prior to his retirement, he owned the cycle hire shop in Millport!  I was further delighted to meet Bro Lindsay Hunter, Past Master of Lodge Innellan and Toward No 1435.  At the time I worked in Rothesay Academy, Lindsay was a Principal Teacher of Guidance in Dunoon Grammar School.  Lindsay may also be seen in the photo below.  As a by the way, the RW Master of Lodge Innellan and Toward, at present, Bro Alasdair Henderson, like me is an honorary member of Lodge The Gael No 609 and he has been in No XII on a few occasions when on duty as one of Lodge the Gael’s pipers.

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When the Ceremonial was over we did not have tickets for the sell out dinner, so we repaired again to Fraser’s and had a handsome lunch and some refreshment.  Strengthened by the steak pie, curry, scampi and fish and chips, and suitably fortified by other refreshments, we boarded WJW Bro Bob Crossan’s big car and headed for the safety and security of the mainland.  

Still in a mood of of conviviality, a pit stop was made at the Royal West of Scotland Amateur Boat Club where we met good friends of No XII – Bros Donnie Cunningham and Eric Dickson of Lodge Doric Kilwinning No 68 – and the first report on the Millport landings was made. In due course we headed for home, resolving to return to Millport for the 200th Anniversary in 2066.  Well, Bro Alan Jess, at least, has a fighting chance of being there …













Deputation to Lodge Firth of Clyde Gourock No 626 Monday 26th September

A deputation of 20 Brethren from No XII, led by RWM Bro Captain Allan I MacFeate visited Lodge Firth of Clyde Gourock No 626 on Monday 26th September and conferred a Fellowcraft Degree.

626 deputation
RWM and RWM 626



The Degree was excellent and there was a great atmosphere in the Lodge generated by the large number in attendance.  RWM Bro Nicky Stetz of Lodge Firth of Clyde had given the No XII Brethren a really sincere welcome into the Lodge whilst remarking that it might have been the first time ever that No XII had been welcomed into 626 to confer a degree.  As far as any of us is aware this is indeed the case!

The Degree team was Prayer Bro Robert J Bain PM Chaplain Obligation RWM Bro Allan I MacFeate Secrets Bro Alan D Beck IPM Working Tools Bro J Robert Crossan WJW Tracing Board Bro Kenneth C MacDougall PM Secy. Charge Bro Allan T Glen WSW

At the conclusion of the meeting, RWM Bro Alan I MacFeate presented RWM Bro Nicky Stetz with an engraved crystal memento of the historic occasion (photograph opposite).  In accepting the gift, RWM Bro Nicky said that it would have a prominent place in the display case in the Master’s Room.

The Brethren of No XII enjoyed the renowned 626 hospitality after the meeting in Harmony.  Bro George Hopkins’ haute cuisine mince and tatties went down well!












No XII in New York

30 GL da bears
We were on a lodge visit to Bologna back in June 2014 when it was first suggested that our next lodge outing could be to New York and perhaps even exemplify a Passing. The idea sounded wonderful at the time but this may well have been slightly influenced by the beer goggles we were all wearing that night. However it grew arms and legs and before we knew it we had successfully applied for the correct dispensation required from The Grand Lodge of Scotland and The Grand Lodge of New York to exemplify a Passing whilst visiting the Mariners Lodge No 67.

The Mariners Lodge No 67 of New York State happens to be the mother lodge of one of our Affiliate Members, Bro Barry Banks, and it was probably through discussions with him in Bologna that kicked the process off.

After many enquiries about costs etc. we ended up with eight Brethren from our Lodge, along with Bro Ricky Kennedy from Lodge Doric Kilwinning No 68, embarking on the long haul over to the USA.

On the afternoon of the meeting, Wednesday July 13th we all turned up for a tour round the Grand Lodge of New York. The tour was absolutely wonderful and we did take a few photographs which you can access here.

Once the tour was over we all then made our way back to our respective hotels to get changed into our highland outfits.

We all met up back at Grand Lodge and made our way to the 8th floor where the Doric Room is situated. Following the opening of The Mariners Lodge, we were allowed in as a deputation. Leading the way was Bro Hector Macphail who piped us in magnificently. After the usual formalities, we exchanged office bearers and proceeded to astonish our hosts and visitors with our exemplification of a Passing. Originally Bro Barry Banks was to be the candidate but at short notice he was called away on business and Bro Ricky Kennedy of Lodge Doric Kilwinning No 68 very kindly agreed to take his place.

The degree work finished and before handing back the gavel our RWM Bro Allan MacFeate said a few words. On taking over the gavel the WM of The Mariners Lodge No 67, Bro Anthony Kofi A. Osei-Tutu then passed a few comments and in particular on speaking of our exemplification, we received a standing ovation from the 90 or so Brethren assembled.

We then changed offices once again and the lodge was put into recess. Of course they do things differently in the USA and at the recess brethren were allowed to leave the lodge. Some of us wanted to see how they closed their lodge and waited behind to witness what can only be described as completely different, if not alien to our way of closing.
03 everyone

After the meeting closed we were asked to stay behind to allow some photographs to be taken, we were then invited to their version of our harmony, they call it Festive Board. Again completely different to ours, in that they had lots of drinking, eating and singing. Oh wait, guess that is pretty much what we do. However, they had more structure to their Festive Board by creating a starboard and port sides of the ‘ship’, because they are a Mariners lodge, even singing sea shanties.

Once everyone was fed and watered, our RWM rose to his feet and continued where he had left off from the meeting and spoke of the new bond between our lodges. He went on to present their WM with a few gifts from our Lodge. We had purchased a new Fellowcraft apron to take with us which we all signed and was the first of many gifts to be set free from the RWM’s case. Next up was a beautiful glass ‘Hands Across the Sea’ gift, then a wonderfully crafted (by our own Bro Robert Marshall) square and compasses to mark the occasion. He also presented a lodge 275th anniversary jewel along with 20 Mark Pennies, 20 Lodge history handbooks and 12 Scottish lapel pins.
06 fellowcraft apron07 hands08 SC08a 68 Pendant

Bro Ricky Kennedy then presented their WM with a lovely Lodge Doric Kilwinning No 68 pendant and Lapel pin.

Their WM reciprocated and presented all of us with a Lodge Mariners No 67 lapel pin and a lovely boxed coin.

09b 67 coin front09c 67 coin back

Then it was back to more drinking, eating and merriment. The Festive Board finished at 11pm and we were informed that the building needed to be empty by midnight. Of course we had to be almost the last out after a few more photographs and exchanging of yet more stories.

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As some of us were still feeling a little thirsty, we then went into the bar right next door to the Grand Lodge, for a few more sherbets. Most of us made it back to our hotels at around 2am.


The next day, some of us had booked to go and visit the 9/11 Museum and Memorial at 1pm. The museum was quite an emotional experience, after this we then ventured up the One World Observatory, which had lifts that take you from the ground up to the 102nd floor in 60 secs !! The OWO is the 4th tallest building in the world and you can see some more views here.

Arrangements had been made with The Lodge of Mariners No 67, later that night to meet up at a restaurant call Lombardis, which was the first pizza restaurant in America!  Unfortunately, a few of our guys could not make it along but the rest of us, with our families met in the restaurant. We had a fantastic meal and then headed of towards our hotels, hoping to find a place to get our sweet as the pizza restaurant did not cater for this. We found a small place and all had tea, coffee and sweets, and a few more refreshments. We all then said our goodbyes and headed off to our hotels. Our USA visit had come to an end.

Everyone had a wonderful time visiting our new friends at The Mariners Lodge No 67 and look forward to welcoming them over to Scotland at some future date.





The Grand Lodge of New York

01 Grand Lodge Front
The Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of New York was established in 1781/1782.

Reverend William Walter was elected the first Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of New York.

The Bible used when George Washington was the first President sworn into office is now used in the ceremony swearing in the Grand Master in New York and the President of the country in Washington DC.


The Masonic Hall was built in 1913 by architect Harry P. Knowles, a Master Mason himself, but the current lodge meeting rooms were restored by the interior restaurateur Felix Chavez from 1986 to 1996. We were shocked to learn that each strikingly ornate room is actually all painted plaster: from imitation stone to reliefs to frescoes, we were certainly tricked by Chavez’s manipulation of plaster to resemble high quality materials


04 Grand Lodge Room 4


24 GL Renaissance Room 1

The Renaissance Room is the pride of the Masonic Hall of New York. Here, the detailed ornament in the Renaissance style is so striking that it’s easy to forget that it is all plaster and paint posing as stone and gold.

11 GL Corinthian Room

Fun Fact about the Corinthian Room is that they used up their budget and had to leave each panel a plain colour forgoing the decorative plans Chavez had devised.

12 GL Doric Room

The Doric Room, where the meeting was held, has imitation marble engaged columns that are strikingly realistic.

14 GL French Doric Room

Not to be confused with the Doric Room, the French Doric Room has some additional “French” touches…

13 GL Empire Room

The Empire Room.

16 GL Gothic Room 1

In the Gothic Room, the ceiling is painted with the stars of the night sky symbolizing the unity and equality of all men in the universe.

08 GL Chapter Room 1

The motif of the Chapter Room is quite obviously reminiscent of Ancient Egyptian architecture and ornament.

The Masonic Hall is actually two connected buildings, one on 23rd St. with commercial tenants to help fund the organization and the other on 24th St. with rooms for lodge meetings.

To view all photographs that were taken on our trip click here.





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