The Grand Lodge of Antient Free and Accepted Masons of Scotland
The Grand Lodge of Antient Free and Accepted Masons of Scotland is the governing body of Scottish Freemasonry, founded in 1736, and headquartered in Edinburgh. It is led by a Grand Master Mason. The structure of the Grand Lodge of Scotland includes 32 Provincial Grand Lodges in Scotland, 26 District Grand Lodges overseas, two Superintendents overseeing Lodges in smaller territories and individual Lodges that are under the direct supervision of the Grand Lodge of Scotland.
The Grand Master Mason commissions Provincial and District Grand Masters who assist him in the overseeing of the Lodges in their provinces and districts worldwide.
It is not clear exactly when Freemasonry began but it is widely accepted to have originated from the stonemason trade guilds of the Middle Ages, referred to as ‘incorporated Trades’ or ‘Crafts’.
The term ‘incorporated’ comes from the fact that these various craft organisations held Royal charters, or ‘Seals of Cause’ which allowed them to work exclusively within the Royal Burghs in the Middle Ages. The language and symbols used in Freemasonic rituals today come from these older craft bodies.
The earliest use of the term Freemason’ dates from around 1390 but referred purely to operative members. The earliest known record of Masonic Lodges dates to January 1599, and from Lodge Aitchison’s Haven in East Lothian, Scotland, which closed in 1852. Six months later, in July 1599, the lodge of Mary’s Chapel in Edinburgh started to keep Minutes. Many of which are available in the museum of the Grand Lodge of Antient Free and Accepted Masons of Scotland, highlighting Lodges with the oldest masonic heritage in the world today.
The Most Worshipful Grand Master Mason, Brother William Ramsay McGhee