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Moray, Sir Robert

The paragraph on page 680 is of especial interest because Moray was made a Mason in 1641, which was five years before the Initiation of Ashmole at Warrington. Bro. William J. Hughan very properly called attention to the fact that Moray was not the first known non- Operative on English soil because, as Bro. Edward Conder had shown in his Hole Craft, non- Operatives belonged to the "accepcion," a division of the Masons Company of London, "as early as 1620." But the "accepcion" was not a Lodge; its records were not regular Lodge Minutes; and the fact therefore does not derogate from the importance of the record which proves that Moray had been regularly made a Mason, on English soil, and the event recorded in the still-existing Minutes of the Lodge of Edinburgh.

The Minutes record that R. Moray, described as Quartermaster to the Army of Scotland, then on English soil, had been made a Mason at Newcastle, May 20, 1641, and the Minute thus made was for the purpose of authenticating and registering his membership in the Lodge. The Initiation also is notable for the reason that Robert Moray (afterwards Sir Robert) was believed to have been one "of the great and good men of his day," a founder and first president of the Royal Society, and had been buried in Westminster Abbey. For both of these reasons much has been written about him in Masonic books and periodicals.

But it happens that a biography of Sir Robert which was published in 1922 raises a disturbing question. In The Life of Sir Robert Moray, by Alexander Robertson (Longmans, Green & Co.), page 10, the author writes that, "On the 5th of November, 1641, indeed, there is mention in the Acts of Parliament of Scotland of a Robert Murray who was General Quartermaster, and this may have been the Moray with whom we are concerned" (italics ours).

This raises the question as to whether the Robert Moray who was recorded in the book of the Lodge at Edinburgh was the Sir Robert of the Royal Society. Bro. A. Murray Lyon himself, in his history of the Lodge, raises another question when he says that he "died June 1673, and was buried in the Cannongate Churchyard"; but in a book about Westminster Abbey published in 1753 it is stated that "Sir Robert Murray" was buried there, near D'Avenant, and makes it clear that this Sir Robert was the president of the Royal Society. The author of that book says, "he was a great admirer of the Rosy Crucians" and this has been taken to mean Freemasonry, but the context rather suggests it was chemistry that was meant, for it goes on to say that how as "well versed in Chemistry . . ." and chemistry in that period often was called Rosicrucianism by non-scientific men. These data mean that until proof is found that the Robert Moray of the Edinburgh Lodge was the Sir Robert Moray buried in Westminster Abbey that which has been written about the question must be held in suspense.

NOTE. "Murray" and "Moray" were often used interchangeably.

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