1845 – 1900

In June, 1847, the meetings were again removed, this time to Bro. Mollison’s, at the Union Hotel.

At the meeting of 27th December, 1848, it was resolved “that treating the Tyler on the nights that candidates were made be done away with,” from which it would seem that the office of Tyler was much more desirable than it is now.

On 11th April, 1849, it was resolved

“that candidates in future shall only be raised one degree a night, and at least a fortnight to elapse between each degree, except in cases of emergency.”

In 1849 several of the Lodges in the Province (most of whom had by this time disposed of their own Lodge rooms) combined to rent a hall at 115 Union Street, which they fitted up for Masonic purposes.  Lodge S. Nicholas met here from 30th November of that year for 16 years, until they removed with the other Lodges in 1865 to the well-known premises at 41 Queen Street.

On 28th February, 1856, the ballot was first used in connection with the admission of members, and on 9th October, 1861, it was resolved that the Lodge should in future meet fortnightly.

The marriage of His Majesty the King, then Prince of Wales, on 10th March, 1863, was the occasion of festivities on a large scale all over the county, and Lodge S. Nicholas celebrated the event by holding a highly successful supper and dance in Sim’s Academy, Union Row, on the evening of that date.

In the Minute-Book, under date 7th April, 1863, there is inscribed an inventory of the furniture belonging to the Lodge, and, judging from some of its items, the ceremonies of those days must have been considerably different from those now in use, and certainly much more exciting. This inventory includes—

2 rattles,
1 false face,
1 gilt dove,
1 snake head, in good order;
1 dagger,
2 swords,
1 stone bottle, and
1 antique chair.

If these, along with Neptune’s seraphim, afterwards referred to, were all introduced to the poor candidate at one sitting, his feelings can better be imagined than described.


The year 1863 was a year of festivity and rejoicing for the Lodge, for in addition to the marriage of the Prince of Wales, the Lodge reached the 100th year of her existence on the 8th of August, and as can be quite well imagined, the event was celebrated in a manner befitting the occasion.

On Saturday, 8th August, the Lodge met at 5pm., when, after an affiliation, and the singing of the 100th Psalm, “with organ accompaniment,” Bro. the Rev. James Wallis delivered a lengthy but somewhat uninteresting address on “The Growth of a Century.” Thereafter the following presentations were made to the Lodge:—

1st. By Bro. John Duncan, D.M., two old cash-books belonging to the Lodge, which had been lost and recovered by him.

2nd. By Bros. White, Savage, and Webb, a box of working tools.

3rd. By Bro. Morren, a sword which bad been worn by an officer during the Crimean War.

A cake and wine banquet followed, at which the usual loyal and Masonic toasts were drunk, with the usual speeches and the usual enthusiasm.


The celebrations were continued on Thursday, 20th August, when the brethren met, along with a number of the brethren from the different Lodges in Aberdeen and abroad, in the Bon-Accord Music Hall, and partook of an excellent supper prepared by Bro. Naylor. Bro. R. Hughes, the R.W.M., presided, and was supported by Bro. Al. Hadden, R.W.P.G.M., and the R.W.M.’s of the various Lodges in the City.

After the toast of S. Nicholas had been given, the R.W.M. sang the following verses, composed for the occasion by Bro. Low, to the tune of “Ilka blade o’ grass ” :—

“We hail this as our natal day;
A hundred years have flown
Since first in gloom the eye of truth
Upon our Lodge was thrown,
Then, let us toast the good old age,
With cheers and three times three !
The spirits of our brothers gone,
Unseen will share our glee.
“Tho’ many autumn blasts have strewn
The leaves from off the oak,
The top is green and flourishing,
And ruth of age will mock.
Then we will meet as brothers meet
Who joys and sorrows share;
And wisdom we will learn from
Our Mither’s auld grey hail.”


7th December, 1864.

“Bro. Angus brought forward for the consideration of the Lodge the following, viz. :—That he had been applied to by some gentlemen from Banchory, who wished to form a Lodge there, to see if we would lower our fees for making them.”

It was resolved that if seven came forward they should be raised for £1 9s. This entry refers to the constitution of Lodge S. Ternan, No. 443, in 1865.

At the meeting of 29th November, 1865,

“a communication was read from Bro. W. T. Keith wishing the Lodge to give him bail to the extent of £40 to get him out of prison, when the Secretary was instructed to inform him that the Lodge could entertain no such idea, and to return his paper to him.”

At the meeting held on 2nd December, 1868, a letter was read from Neptune Lodge offering the use of their seraphim for £1 per annum.    S. Nicholas, however, although obviously anxious to have the services of the seraphim, evidently considered the sum asked too much, for on 16th December it was resolved that 15s. only be offered.

In September, 1870, an appeal was made by the Grand Lodge of Scotland for subscriptions towards a fund for the assistance of the families of the wounded and killed in the Franco-Prussian War. £5 was voted by Lodge S. Nicholas from its funds and subscriptions were collected from the brethren to the amount of £5    10s., and it was resolved that

“the money be entirely given to the French bereaved— the Prussians having not as yet made any application.”


On 13th October, 1870, an interesting event in the annals of the Craft in Scotland took place, when His Majesty the King, then Prince of Wales, was installed at Edinburgh as Grand Patron of Scottish Freemasonry. Of course, Lodge S. Nicholas was represented at the ceremony by a deputation.


In 1872 the various Lodges in the City meeting at 41 Queen Street removed to the halls, 12 Exchange Street, which had just been erected and fitted up for Masonic purposes by a private company.  The foundation stone of the new halls was laid on 27th September, 1871, and the first meeting of this Lodge in the new Masonic headquarters was held on 12th June, 1872.   In 1895 the Masonic Hall Company went into liquidation, and the building was put up for sale, when it was purchased by the then P.G. Master, Bro. James H. Forshaw, on behalf of the Craft.

Under the Mastership of the late Bro. Dr. Forbes F. Maitland Moir, who was elected to the Chair on S. John’s Day, 1878, the Lodge enjoyed a period of unexampled prosperity, he having passed through his hands nearly 200 candidates for initiation or affiliation. After occupying the Chair for three years, he was succeeded by Bro. Robert Cran on S. John’s Day, 1881.

During Dr. Moir’s chairmanship the present Benevolent Fund in connection  with the Lodge was instituted. On 4th February, 1880, £200 was voted from the Lodge funds as a nucleus of the new fund, and a Committee was appointed to draw up rules.  These were finally confirmed on 24th November, when a Committee of Management was appointed, with Bro. Chas. Wilson as Secretary and Treasurer. The benevolent fund, which is entirely separate from the Lodge, is confined to members of S. Nicholas.   Its membership stands at present (1910) at about 40. The capital amounts to nearly £1200, while the annual income, including members’ subscriptions, is over £70.


There are at present 19 annuitants—13 widows, 5 brethren, and 1 child of a deceased member. Every member of the Lodge who is clear on the books and under 50 years of age, is entitled to become a member of the fund on payment of the prescribed entry money. Members, on reaching the age of 70, and the widows, and children of deceased members who have contributed for seven years and upwards, are entitled to annuities.

Bro. Cran’s term of office is remarkable for the number of expulsions for un-masonic conduct which took place, no less than three members of the Lodge being dealt with during his three years in the Chair.

It is interesting to note that action was taken by the Lodge in two of the cases at the instance of the Provincial Grand Lodge, and that the sentence in one case, resolved on by a majority of the Lodge, was one of suspension for two years only. P.G. Lodge, however, refused to confirm this sentence as being inadequate, and remitted it back for further consideration. It was therefore resolved to expel the offending brother.

The following three entries throw a curious sidelight on the manner in which the privileges of the ballot were sometimes used. Both the brethren referred to afterwards became prominent members of S. Nicholas, one of them eventually becoming R.W.M.

19th July, 1882: John ——— was   proposed for admission, and blackballed.

25th October, 1882 : John ——— was  again proposed for admission, along with his brother James. John was again blackballed, and James’ name was thereupon withdrawn before ballot.

25th April, 1883: Bros. John and James——— (who had meantime been initiated in Neptune Lodge) were proposed for affiliation, and accepted.

On 3rd January, 1883, Bro. Samuel Innes, of the Operative Lodge, for many years keeper of the Masonic Halls, was appointed Tyler of S. Nicholas,

“on the distinct understanding that he affiliate to Lodge S. Nicholas. This Bro. Innes agreed to do.”

At the meeting held on 26th Sept., 1883, it was resolved

“that the brethren should join in the procession on the occasion of the opening of the Duthie Park to-morrow, the 27th inst”

As several of the office-bearers could not take part in the procession, their places for the occasion were taken by Bro. A. Troup, sen., as S.W., Bro. Geo. E. Kitson as J.W., Bro. Sheret as S.D., Bro. Barnet as J.D., and Bro. Troup, jun., as J.G., while Bros. Angus and Harper agreed to carry the banner. The procession, it is recorded, was very successful, notwithstanding the very inclement weather which prevailed.


The minute of meeting of 12th March, 1884, records that the brethren mourn the death by drowning of two of their number, Bro. James and Peter Halcrow—father and son—who were master and mate respectively of the schooner “Samson,” of Aberdeen, which was lost with all its crew on the Monday previous. At a subsequent meeting it was resolved to hold a concert for the benefit of the widows and orphans of the crew of the “Samson.”

The only other matter worthy of notice which occurred during the regime of Bro. Cran is the initiation, on 22nd October,  1884, of Bro. Alex. Wilson, solicitor, the present R.W.P.G. Master. Bro. Cran was succeeded in the Chair, on 27th December,  1885,  by Bro. Lieut. George Ernest Baker,  R. A., who affiliated into S. Nicholas from Lodge Bangalore, India, and Lodge  S. Andrew, Aberdeen.    Bro. Baker, however, only held the Chair for a few months, having died on 16th August, 1885, to the great regret of all the brethren.  A funeral Lodge was held on 9th September to pay the last tribute of respect to his memory. There was a large attendance of the brethren, as well as of the members of other Lodges, and the ceremony, which was conducted by P.M. Bro. Cran and Bro. C. C. Mac- donald, the Chaplain of the Lodge, was very impressive. The musical part of the ceremony was very elaborate, and was led by a select orchestra and choir under Bros. Archibald F. Rae and James Murray, the instrumentalists including that well-known trio of musicians the Bros. William, James, and Alex. Walker.

On S. John’s Day, 1885, Bro. Cran, who had been acting Master since Bro. Baker’s death, was again elected unanimously to the Chair, which he occupied for another year, and was succeeded by Bro. George Edward Kitson on 27th December, 1886.

Bro. Kitson only occupied the Chair for a year, and was succeeded by Bro. James Hampton Forshaw. Bro. Forshaw for many years took a very active interest in Masonic matters, not only connected with S. Nicholas but throughout the City Province, eventually attaining to the Chair of Provincial Grand Master.  He held the Chair of S. Nicholas for three years, till S. John’s Day, 1890. He was installed Provincial GrandMaster on 11th February, 1893, but resigned in 1896, and was suc- ceeded by Bro. Alexander Wilson, another member of S. Nicholas.


At S. John’s Day, 1890, Bro. Wm. G. Bartlett was elected to the Chair of S. Nicholas.  Nothing further of interest occurs during the closing years of the nineteenth century, with perhaps the exception of the great South African War, which broke out towards the end of 1899.  The calling up of the reserves and militia and the organisation of volunteer service companies for South Africa took away many of the military members of S. Nicholas, many of whom, alas ! never returned.

Great destitution took place among the wives and children of those who went to the war, and funds were organised all over the country for “those left behind.”   To the local fund S. Nicholas gave a donation of £10 10s. from its funds, apart from the private subscriptions of its members.

Bro. Bartlett held the office of R.W.M. for three years, and was succeeded by Bro. James Worling on S. John’s Day, 1893, who again was succeeded by Bro. James Murray Gill on 28th December, 1896. Bro. Gill held the Chair for two years till S. John’s Day, 1898, when he made way for Bro. John S. Yule, solicitor, who again was followed by Bro. John Kelly on S. John Day, 1900.

1900 – 1910