History of Mother Kilwinning , Lodge and Museum
The ruins of the Chapter House

Kilwinning Lodge Chapter House


The history of the Mother Lodge dates back to the year 1140 at the building of the Abbey, the ruins of which lie to the rear of the Lodge. The Lodge was founded in the chapter house within the Abbey and remained there until the reformation in 1560 when the Earl of Glencairn, a blood enemy of the Earls of Eglinton who held a long tradition with the Lodge, sacked the Abbey.

Little is known of the masons at this point but they still met at various locations including the Abbey in 1598-1599, the house in the Crossbrae in the town centre in 1643 known as the "masons howf" and the court house of the Earl of Eglinton.  In the mid 1700,s the masons decided to build a new Lodge and in 1779 the old Lodge was built at the entrance to the Abbey.

The Old Mother Lodge

Rear of the Old Lodge from the Abbey

Unfortunately 100 years later due to decay and fear of the building collapsing it was demolished and a new Lodge was built 30 yards from the former site and remains there today. The present Lodge was consecrated in 1893


Before the forming of Grand Lodge in 1736 Mother Kilwinning was a Grand Lodge in her own right issuing warrants and charters to Lodges wishing to enjoy the privileges of Freemasonry, many Lodges still carry Kilwinning's name today. Scotland being a small country it was undesirable to have two Grand Lodges so Mother Kilwinning gave up this right.

Charter issued to Tarbolton in 1771

A Kilwinning Charter 1771

Lodge Mother Kilwinning Masonic Temple

The Mother Lodge


However in 1743 Grand Lodge decided to number lodges by seniority and oldest records, unfortunately Mother Kilwinning's minute books date back to 1642, previous records thought to have been smuggled by the monks to France during the reformation or destroyed in the disastrous fire at nearby Eglinton Castle. Mother Kilwinning was placed second on the roll of the Grand Lodge a position she strongly disagreed with, so withdrew and continued to issue charters as before.

This dispute lasted until 1807 when the Grand Lodge of Scotland and the Grand Lodge of Kilwinning met in Glasgow and settled their differences and a new and binding agreement was reached, that being that Mother Kilwinning was placed at the Head of the Roll of the Grand Lodge of Scotland and now has the famous and distinctive Number ' 0 '. The master of the Lodge would by right of that office become Provincial Grand Master of Ayrshire. Mother Kilwinning also gave up the right to issue warrants and charters. In 1860 during a search in Eglinton Castle the now famous Schaw statutes of 1598 and 1599 were found

Copyright 2000 Lodge Mother Kilwinning No.0

The Mother Lodge of Scotland