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Aitchison's-haven Lodge

Also spelled ATCHESON, ACHISON. This was one of the oldest Operative Lodges consenting to the formation of the Grand Lodge of Scotland in 1736. The age of this Lodge, like many or most of the oldest Lodges of Scotland, is not known. Some of its members signed the Saint Clair Charters in 1600 and 1601. The place of its meeting, Aitchison-Haven, is no longer on the map, but was in the County of Midlothian. The origin of the town was from a charter of James V, dated 1526, and probably the Lodge dated near that period. Aitchison's-Haven was probably the first meeting-place, but they seem to have met at Musselburgh at a later period.

Lyon, in his History of the Lodge of Edinburgh, speaks of trouble in the Grand Quarterly Communication respecting representatives from this Lodge when in May, 1737, it was "agreed that Atcheson's Haven be deleted out of the books of the Grand Lodge, and no more called on the rolls of the Clerk's highest peril."

The Lodge was restored to the roll in 1814, but becoming dormant, it was finally cut off in 1866. The Lodge of Edinburgh has long enjoyed the distinction of having the oldest preserved Lodge Minute, which is dated July, 1599.

Just recently Brother R. E. Wallace-James has brought to light a Minute Book bearing this title: The Buik of the Actis and Ordinans of the Nobile Maisteris and fellows of Craft of the Ludg of Aitchison's heavine, and contains a catalogue of the names of the fellows of Craft that are presently in the Zeir of God 1598. The first page of this rare book bears in a bold hand the date 1598.

The Minute to which we have already referred is as follows : "The IX day of Januerie the Zeir of God upon ye quhilk day Robert Widderspone was maid fellow of Craft in ye presens of Wilzam Aytone Elder, Johne Fender being Warden, Johne Pedden Thomas Pettencrief John Crafurd George Aytone Wilzame Aytone younger Hendric Petticrief all fellowis of Craft upon ye quhilk day he chois George Aytone Johne Pedded to be his intenders and instructouris and also ye said Robert hes payit his xx sh. and his gluffis to everie Maister as efferis" (see 'volume xxiv, Ars Quatuor Coronatorum).

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