UNIQUE MASONIC CEREMONY
BRUCE STATUE FOUNDATION
GRAND MASTER MASON AT BORESTONE
Led by pipers, the procession winds its way up the Borestone Hill
CORN, as token of Liberty: wine, as an emblem of Courage: and oil as a symbol of Peace – were poured at a masonic ceremony on Wednesday evening at the Borestone on to the foundation stone of the giant granite plinth upon which is to be erected the Statue of King Robert the Bruce at the Field of Bannockburn. The ceremony was attended by about 1000 Freemasons from all over Scotland and was witnessed by a large gathering of people.
The ceremonial was carried out by Lord Bruce, Grand Master, Mason of Scotland, after a silver casket, within a lead one had been placed in a cavity in the foundation stone. The silver casket contained coins dated 1314 and 1964, along, with a message on parchment from the Grand Lodge of Scotland. The Freemasons, in full regalia and headed by three pipers, had marched in, colourful processions from the Whins of Milton School to the Borestone.
The Ceremony was watched by Mr. C. d’O. Pilkington Jackson, sculptor responsible for the equestrian statue of Robert the Bruce, which is to be transported here soon and unveiled on 24th June of this year – the 650th anniversary of the Battle.
Her Majesty the Queen will be inaugurating the rotunda, now in process of completion, at the Borestone on that day.
The procession was headed by Lord Bruce, Grand Master Mason, and the Grand Lodge office-bearers. A former Grand Master Mason, Lord Elgin, was also present at the ceremony.
Principal office-bearers of the Grand Lodge march to the foundation stone
In a short address before the start of the ceremonial at the Borestone, Lord Bruce said they had met on a glorious evening to unite in a most ancient custom. He recalled that 102 years ago there had been a similar occasion at the monument to Sir William Wallace.
Now, by the courtesy of the owners of the Borestone site, the National Trust for Scotland, and at the invitation of the King Robert the Bruce memorial Committee, they were able to pay tribute as masons to King Robert the Bruce.
“It was on this spot 650 years ago.” Continued the Grand Master Mason, “that Scotland united as never before under the leadership, which gave us liberty, and which only came from the exercise of courage. We have had peace as Scotsmen to dwell in our country, and to serve abroad.
Referring to the silver casket which was placed in a cavity in the foundation stone, Lord Bruce said it was made for them at the Scottish Craft Centre in the Cannongate in Edinburgh by a silversmith, Andrew Angel. It was engraved by William Kirk with the coat of arms of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, the dates 1314-1964, and the three words – COURAGE, LIBERTY, and PEACE.” Lord Bruce added that inside the casket had been placed a parchment with a message from the Grand Lodge of Scotland, signed by many of those who were at the ceremony that night. Inside were also coins of the realm, the present realm, fresh from the Royal Mint, and a coin dated 1314. This coin of the time of King Robert the Bruce had been deposited in the Masonic sense, in the building of a church at Crieff just over 600 years ago. It had been found there when the church was restored about a century ago.
“My family were given this coin to hold in trust and we felt that it would be most proper to deposit it in the foundations of this memorial,” said Lord Bruce.
Grand Lodge Secretary, Bro, then placed the casket in the cavity. Dr Alexander Buchan, and the foundation stone lowered in place. When it was being lowered the assembled brethren sang the hymn “ All people that on earth do dwell.” The Masonic ceremonial followed, including the symbolic pouring of corn, wine and oil on the foundation stone.
The Grand Chaplain, the Rev. Bro. H. O. Wallace, Dirleton, who had opened the proceedings with prayer, also pronounced the blessings during the ceremony.
The sealing of the cavity
At the conclusion of the ceremony Lord Bruce said, on behalf of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, he would like to extend a number of thanks – particularly to the National Trust, to the King Robert the Bruce Memorial Committee, and to Mr Pilkington Jackson, for inviting them to perform the ceremony, and making it possible.
Lord Bruce also thanked the Provincial Grand Lodge of Stirlingshire for making the local arrangements, and particularly the Provincial Grand Secretary, Bro. Stuart Kennedy for the work he had put in preparing for the service. He thanked, too, the Grand Lodge Secretary, Bro. Dr Buchan, and his staff for all the arrangements made by them.
Thanks were given to the organist Bro. A. Neilson, Lodge Stirling Royal Arch No.76, and to those who transported the organ to the site. The Police were also thanked.
In addition, the Grand Master thanked the brethren who had come from all parts of Scotland to take part in the ceremony. Lord Bruce said he hoped that what they had done that evening would enshrine their great heritage. He commended the fund, which was making the new Borestone possible and asked the brethren to consider what financial contribution might be made to it.
“Three cheers for the Grand Master Mason” were led by Bro. Sir Ronald Orr Ewing, Depute Grand Master, and Provincial Grand Master of Stirlingshire.
All the local lodges were represented at the ceremony, many of them, particularly the town lodges, Stirling Ancient No. 30 and Stirling Royal Arch No. 76, which were strongly represented, and appropriately Lodge Bruce and Thistle, No. 312. Another historic lodge of appropriated name, “King Robert the Bruce, Lodge No. 304, Ladybank, Fife, was also represented.
The three pipers who led the procession were also from local lodges. They were Pipe-Major Bro. John Smith, M.M., Lodge Denny and Loanhead, No. 176, his son, Piper Bro. Roy Smith of the same lodge, and Pipe-Major Bro, Georgeson, Lodge Abercrombie No. 531, Bridge of Allan.
The National Anthem concluded the ceremony.
The above article and photographs first appeared in the Stirling Observer in June 1964. and reproduced by the Webmaster in full here. Although not strictly the copyright of Lodge Stirling Royal Arch No. 76, we would appreciate permission being asked from the webmaster should all or any part of it being used.