Laying of Memorial Stone Press Report

By

Bro. Andrew Kerr PM

 

 

The laying of the memorial stone on the railway bridge which crosses Cowdenbeath High Street took place on Saturday, 27th April 1889;-  by Lodge St.John 540.

   

Special Meeting held in Cowdenbeath   Lodge opened 4.40 pm.  The Brethren then walked in procession through Cowdenbeath, accompanied by deputations from various Lodges.    P.M. Archie Hodge then laid a stone with Masonic Honours.      The Brethren then returned to the Lodge Rooms and to a banquet,  at which over  100 partook,  with Toasts songs and sentiment. ( from Lodge minutes )

 

The following report appeared on page 3 of the Dunfermline Journal of 4th May 1889.

 

 LAYING MEMORIAL STONE.

 

The memorial stone of the new railway bridge connected with the Glenfarg line was laid on Saturday afternoon with Masonic Honours by Bro. Archibald Hodge, Past Master of Lodge St.John 540 Crossgates and Cowdenbeath.    The weather was magnificent, and there was, in consequence, a large turn - out of the Brethren, the number being over 100.    Immediately behind the bridge, a platform had been erected for the accommodation of a number of the Brethren,  which was crowded to its utmost limit. Bro. D. Hodge,  R.W.M.,  opened the Lodge in  Lodge Room at 5 pm.,  and the necessary arrangements were made for taking place in the procession through the Town.  There were also present, deputations from Lodges Nos. ;- 26 (St. John, Dunfermline ) ; 9 (Elgin, Leven ) ;     121 (St.Cyre,  Auchtermuchty ); 250 (Union,  Dunfermline ); 304 (King Robert de Bruce, Ladybank ) ; 385  (Minto, Lochgelly ) ; 400  (Dunearn, Burntisland ) ; 548  (St. Margaret's, South Queensferry ); 597 (North British Railway ); 1032 (Trowley Harper, Lancashire ). The cavity for the reception of the memorial vase, containing coins of the realm and records of the Lodge, was formed near the base of the easternmost wing of the bridge.   On the arrival of Past Master Hodge,  the Jewels were laid on the table.

 

The Queen's Anthem,  and  " Hail Masonry, "  were then played by the band; after which, the  Chaplain then offered up a prayer.    Mr John Fraser, manager of railway works, presented Bro. Hodge with a silver trowel in name of the contractors.    In making the presentation he remarked that in a short time he hoped to be able to have this new railway completed. 

 

Thus closely connecting Cowdenbeath with Perth on the north, and Edinburgh on the south. Bro. Hodge in returning thanks for the presentation said he felt a  ' delicacy in expressing  his thoughts in words, but that he would cherish the trowel as a memento of this day's work.' The vase having been placed in the cavity,  the band rendered music, during which the stone was lowered. The  Masonic tools having been applied to it,  with the usual ceremony,   Bro. Archie Hodge gave the stone three knocks and said   -- 

 

"May  the  Almighty  Architect  of  the Universe look down with benignity  upon our present undertaking,  and  crown the edifice of which we have now laid the foundation with every success.''

 

This was followed by three cheers, and music by the band. When the music had ceased, the contents of the cornucopia and the wine and oil were poured upon the Stone  -  by  Bro. A. Hodge,  who thereafter pronounced a Benediction.  The band having rendered  ' The Mason's Anthem,' three cheers were again given.  The  Past Master then briefly addressed those present.   Bro. Isaac Richards replied in behalf of the engineers of the railway. The procession was again formed and marched to Lodge Room, where a banquet was held. 

  

 -------------------------------         

 

Among those  Lodges named in the report, were lodge  North British Railway, Edinburgh, which is now  Lodge Waverly  --  and lodge  Trowley Harper,  which is actually Lodge Townley Parker of Chorley, Lancashire. The Station Master at Cowdenbeath at this time was Lodge  540  Secretary, Bro.  Robert Morris,  who was installed as R.W.M. In August 1889, although his name is recorded on our Past Master's board, as 1890.

 

 At the time of this ceremony,  Lodge  St.John 540   was styled   ' Crossgates and Cowdenbeath'  and in fact, the diplomas given out at this time reflected this due to the fact that the Lodge met occasionally at either  Crossgates or  Cowdenbeath.     However, this was not the same on our Charter,  which at this time, did not yet include Cowdenbeath.   Cowdenbeath was not added until 1890.  A  new Lodge } -- Thane of Fife  781,  met for the first time in June 1891,  in  Cowdenbeath } --  and Lodge St. John, Crossgates  No. 540 returned permanently to, and continues to meet   IN CROSSGATES.

 

      A closer view of the memorial stone.

 

In this photo (looking south down the high street towards the Fountain ) the stone can be seen high  on the angled part of the wall on which the actual bridge sits.