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Bruce, Robert

The introduction of Freemasonry into Scotland has been attributed by some writers to Robert, King of Scotland, commonly called Robert Bruce, who is said to have established in 1314 the Order of Herodom, for the reception of those Knights Templar who had taken refuge in his dominions from the persecutions of the Pope and the King of France. Thory (Acta Latomorum,1, 6), copies the following from a manuscript in the library of the Mother Lodge of the Philosophical Rite:

"Robert Bruce, King of Scotland, under the name of Robert the First, created, on the 24th June, 1314, after the battle of Bannockburn, the Order of Saint Andrew of the Thistle, to which has been since united that of Herodom (H-D-M) for the sake of the Scotch Masons, who composed a part of the thirty thousand men with whom he had conquered an army of a hundred thousand Englishmen. He reserved, in perpetuity, to himself and his successors, the title of Grand Master. He founded the Royal Grand Lodge of the Order of H-D-M at Kilwinning, and died, full of glory and honors, the 9th of July, 1329." Doctor Oliver (Landmarks,11, 13), referring to the abolition of the Templar Order in England, when the Knights were compelled to enter the Preceptories of the Knights of Saint John, as dependents, says:

"In Scotland, Edward, who had overrun the country at the time, endeavored to pursue the same course; but, on summoning the Knights to appear, only two, Wa1ter de Clifton, the Grand Preceptor, and another, came forward. On their examination, they confessed that all the rest had fled; and as Bruce was advancing with his army to meet Edward, nothing further was done.

The Templars, being debarred from taking refuge either in England or Ireland, had no alterative but to join Bruce, and give their active support to his cause. Thus, after the battle of Bannockburn, in 1314, Bruce granted a charter of lands to Walter de Clifton, as Grand Master of the Templars, for the assistance which they rendered on that occasion. Hence the Royal Order of H-R-D-M was frequently practiced under the name of Templary."

Lawrie, or the author of Lawrie's History of Freemasonry, who is excellent authority for Scottish Freemasonry, does not appear, however, to give any credit to the narrative. Whatever Bruce may have done for the advanced Degrees, there is no doubt that Ancient Craft Freemasonry was introduced into Scotland at an earlier period. But it cannot be denied that Bruce was one of the patrons and encouragers of Scottish Freemasonry.

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