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Robert I

Commonly called Robert Bruce. He was crowned King of Scotland in 1306, and died in 1329. After the turbulence of the early years of his reign had ceased, and peace had been restored, he devoted himself to the encouragement of architecture in his kingdom.

His connection with Freemasonry, and especially with the advanced Degrees, is thus given by Doctor Oliver (Landmarks ii, page 12): "The only high degree to which an early date can be safely assigned is the Royal Order of H. R. D. WI., founded by Robert Bruce in 1314. Its history in brief refers to the dissolution of the Order of the Temple. Some of those persecuted individuals took refuge in Scotland, and placed themselves under the protection of Robert Bruce, and assisted him at the battle of Bannoekburn, which was fought on Saint John's day, 1314. After this battle the Royal Order was founded; and from the fact of the Templars having contributed to the victory, and the subsequent grants to their Order by King Robert, for which they were formally excommunicated by the Church, it has, by some persons, been identified with that ancient military Order. But there are sound reasons for believing that the two systems were unconnected with each other."

Thory (Acta Latomorum I, 6), quoting from a manuscript ritual in the library of the Mother Lodge of the Philosophic Rite, gives the following statement: "Robert Bruce, King of Scotland, under the name of Robert I, created on the 24th of June, after the battle of Bannockburn, the Order of Saint Andrew of the Thistle, to which he afterwards united that of H. R. D., for the sake of the Scottish Freemasons who made a part of the thirty thousand men with whom he had fought an army of one hundred thousand English. He reserved forever to himself and his successors the title of Grand Master. He founded the Grand Lodge of the Royal Order of H. R. D. at Kilwinning, and died, covered with glory and honor, on the 9th July, 1329." Both of these statements or legends require for all their details authentication (see Royal Order of Scotland).

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