The History of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Forfarshire from 1747 to 1901

By Iain D. McIntosh, Past Substitute Provincial Grand Master.

Part 3 - 1801 to 1852


The Honourable William Maule (formerly Ramsay) of Panmure

William Maule1st Baron of Panmure, Brechin and Navar. Born on 27th October 1771, he was the second son of George (Ramsay), 8th Earl of Dalhousie (Grand Master Mason 1765-67). He assumed the surname and arms of Maule in 1782, instead of those of Ramsay.
When his father died he inherited the greater part of the Panmure Estate an estate that was quite extensive and covered a large area of the Angus countryside especially around Monikie, Brechin and Edzell. He lived both at Panmure House just east of Monikie (It was demolished – partly blown up by Army engineers in the 1950’s)and Brechin Castle, he preferred Brechin Castle.
Described as one of the most outstanding personages in the public life of Dundee and Forfarshire, he seemed to have shone in social circles, it was said that He was blessed with a constitution of steel, embodied in a Herculean frame.
He had an enjoyment of healthy humour, an absolute freedom from ‘hypocritical loftiness’, his ‘overflowing river of good spirits’, his readiness to assist in largesse from out of his purse any deserving object, and made everyone proclaim him a good comrade. His popularity was not confined to the boundaries of Angus but even in Edinburgh he endeared himself by his liberality, broad mindedness and youthful pranks and received the title of ‘generous sportsman’
Lord Panmure was beloved by his numerous tenantry, towards whom he acted in a generous manner. His favourite toast was “Live and let live” and that kindly sentiment pervaded his everyday life. The tenants in token of their gratitude and high esteem, subscribed for and erected, in honour of ‘His Lordship’, upon the top of Downie Hill, in Monikie, a noble circular column, 105ft in height – “The Panmure ‘Live and let Live’ Testimonial”. The Hill is 500 feet above sea level, isolated from other high grounds, and commanding an uninterrupted view in every direction.

Of Lord Panmure
Military, Political & Public Life

At the age of eighteen he became a Cornet in the 11th Dragoons (Prince Albert's Own Hussars) 1788, Captain in 1791 of an Independent Company of Foot, which he raised, and which was disbanded later that year. He Retired from the Army in 1825. He was the Whig Member of Parliament for Forfarshire 1796, and also in nine successive Parliaments from June 1805 until 1831. He was created a Burgess of Dundee in 1831.
He was a supporter of the prominent Whig statesman, Charles James Fox, after whom he named his eldest son. (Born in April 1801, that son became Sir Fox-Maule Ramsay, 11th Earl of Dalhousie and who succeeded his father as Provincial Grand Master of Forfarshire in 1852.)

Every public enterprise and charitable institution between the Tay and the Don Rivers benefited by his actions, amongst the principal of which were the erection and endowment of the Mechanics Institute in Brechin, large donations to Dundee Royal Infirmary and Orphan Institute & Lunatic Asylum. He gave a handsome annuity to the widow of the Hon Charles Fox (Politician), after whom his son was named; he was the first to move in rewarding the heroic actions of Grace Darling; he also supported Neil Gow the famous Scottish fiddler and many other artists.
The Improvements Bill in 1824 allowed Dundee to alleviate slum conditions by demolishing some decaying property and creating a new street to connect the Cowgate with the Meadows. This new street was opened in 1839 and named ‘Panmure Street’ in recognition of his donations to the Dundee Royal Infirmary, (later on Panmure Terrace was also named after him). The Infirmary was not Lord Panmure’s only good turn for Dundee. In 1847 he parted with some of his lands to allow the formation of the Monikie and Crombie Reservoirs.
It is also documented that at the renovation of Brechin Cathedral an attempt was made to demolish the famous Round Tower – one of only two on the mainland of Scotland, the other being at Abernethy – Lord Panmure threatened to hang anyone from the top of the tower who removed a stone from it!

It seems he knew Robert Burns and in the Burns Encyclopaedia, p. 160, appears the following:
When Burns knew Maule, he was an officer in a regiment stationed at Dumfries. In a letter of 29th October 1794, Burns sent the epigram: ‘To the Hon. Wm. R. Maule of Panmure’, to Mrs. Dunlop. Later on after Burn’s death, Lord Panmure settled on Burns's widow a pension of fifty pounds, but only had to disburse it for eighteen months, after which Burns's son, James, was able to relieve him of the charge.

Masonic background

On 6 February 1797, Lodge Fort George No 115 reported to the Grand Lodge of Scotland several men as being admitted to that Lodge since its last report of 24 October 1792. Some of these men were recorded as serving in the West Lowland Fencibles, the Breadalbane Fencibles and the Argyllshire Fencibles. Amongst these names is The Rt. Hon Ramsay Maule", who could well have been William Maule.
William Maule, 1st Lord Panmure was also the second (1808-1810) of the four Acting Grand Master Masons during the term of Prince George, Prince of Wales, Grand Master from 1806-1820, who was Prince Regent 1811-1820 and who became King George IV in 1820.
In the year 1807, during the term of the Earl of Moira as Grand Master (Lord Panmure succeeded him in 1808) a serous rupture took place with a number of the Lodges and with Grand Lodge, which resulted in the suspension of some, and many masons who were arbettors of the schism. The reason for the disagreement was in order to mark their disapprobation of Mr. Maule’s politics but Grand Lodge refused to lend itself to the political views of certain individuals by steadily adhering to one of the fundamental principles of the craft – to exclude politics from their meetings.
It seems Lord Panmure received support from Lodges in Forfarshire for his stance. The minutes of Lodge Ancient give us some insight to what was going on: -

The minutes of Lodge Ancient, Dundee No. 49 - 1st June 1808 to 19th July say

1st June 1808: - At a committee meeting of the Ancient Lodge held in the Lodge, a letter was received from the Grand Lodge with a printed copy of the minutes of the quarterly communication of the Grand Lodge, regarding Dr. Mitchell and his adherents, wherein the final sentence of the Grand Lodge is passed upon him, expelling him for ever from all Masonic privileges, with express orders to all Lodges in Scotland prohibiting them from having any communication with any of them in future as Masons with certifications, that if they do; they shall be responsible to the Grand Lodge for contempt of its authority, and as an example to others they have passed (viz. the Grand Lodge) sentence of suspension Sine Die on the following members of different Lodges, for communicating with said Dr. Mitchell & his adherents in their pretended Masonic meetings, viz. Brother Deuchar – Proxy Master for Inverness, Brother Robertson, Senior Warden of Royal Arch, Edinburgh, Brother Corbett, Junior Warden of Operative Lodge, Dunkeld, Brother Wm. Alexander Paterson, Senior Warden of St. Andrew’s, Edinburgh, and Brother John Weir, Senior Warden of Mary’s Chapel, Edinburgh. Expressly forbidding all the Lodges in Scotland from communicating with said men as brethren during such suspension – with certification that they act on the contrary: they shall be responsible to the Grand Lodge for contempt of its authority; Certifying hereby; further to all Freemasons throughout Scotland; that all or any of them who shall presume, after the date of this Sentence, to communicate with Dr. Mitchell or any of the other persons under sentence of expulsion; as brethren by attending any of the meetings of the pretended Caledonian Lodge over which Dr. Mitchell is said to preside, or in any other Masonic manner whatsoever, upon the fact being proved to satisfaction of the Grand Lodge of such brethren holding these unconstitutional communications, they shall be instantly expelled from the privileges of the Craft.        

14th July 1808: - At a meeting of the Ancient Lodge duly constitute. Rt. W. M. Wm. Horn in the chair, at which general meeting different letters received from the Grand Lodge of Scotland were read before the meeting relative to the difference between the Grand Lodge and the Caledonian Lodge, Edinburgh, together with the procedure of the Grand Lodge thereon; which procedure was highly approved of by the Ancient Lodge, also a letter with a copy of the minutes of the Cannongate Kilwinning Lodge, Edinburgh, relative to a difference falling out between them & G.L.: which were all of them maturely deliberated upon; after which the house unanimously resolved to stand by: maintain the cause of & strongly commend the G. Lodge for its equitable & honourable procedure throughout the whole, and for this purpose, they appoint and nominate the following members to meet in the Lodge on Monday first at seven o’clock p.m. in order to make up an address for the Grand Lodge; viz. William Horn, Robert Mackie, Thos. Wilson, Jas. Nicoll Junior, George Girdwood, John Beanstone, Jas. Mylne, Jas. Young, Alex. Forbes, Alex. Urquhart, David Doig.                                                                                           Signed William Horn, Master

19th July 1808: - On which day the committee above mentioned met for making out an address unto the Grand Lodge, which was done accordingly in the following manner, Viz.
“That this Lodge think it their duty as in honour bound stand by & support the cause of and ever adhere to the mandate of the Grand Lodge in support of Masonry & honour of the craft. That this Lodge concurs entirely with the opinions, which the G. L. have enforced. That is the unanimous voice of this Lodge that the thanks of this Lodge be transmitted to the G.L. for their communications with cordiality & due respect. Together with a Nota Bena informing the G.L. that we had received a printed copy of the minutes of the Lodge Cannongate Kilwinning, of which we informed the G.L. that we thought unworthy, our notice being determined to standby the G.L. which letter was by post date above. 

Also from the Minutes of Lodge St. James No. 123, Brechin

14th September 1808, The following resolution was unanimously agreed to
1st – That the Lodge of St. James, Brechin, does most heartily approve of the proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Scotland in suspending and expelling those members who have endeavoured by introducing party and political discussions, to disturb and distract meetings.
2nd – That the Lodge St. James, Brechin, has seen with deep regret the illegal and disobedient conduct that has been adopted by a party in some of the Lodges in Edinburgh to the Grand Lodge.
3rd – That the Lodge St. James, Brechin, is firmly determined to bear true allegiance and to do everything in its power to maintain the honour and dignity, that is justly due to the Grand Lodge, and to strictly adhere to all her dictates.
4th – That the thanks of the Lodge St. James, Brechin, are most justly due to the R.W. Substitute Grand Master (Panmure), other office bearers and other members of the Grand Lodge, for their dignified and Masonic behavior in showing their distortion of any innovation upon this ancient and benevolent institution.
5th – That these resolutions be inserted in the Lodge books and an extract thereof be transmitted to the Grand Secretary to be laid before Grand Lodge, in testimony  of their sentiments on the subjects that have so recently occupied much of their deliberation.
6th – That a copy of the above resolutions be transmitted to Bro David Abercrombie, of the ‘Thistle’ Lodge, Edinburgh, our proxy in the Grand Lodge with instructions to him that upon all occasions he shall vote in the Grand Lodge agreeable to the spirit of the above resolutions.
Lastly that the R.W.M. do transmit a copy of the above to the R.W., The Hon. William Maule of Panmure, Provincial Grand Master of the District.


During his reign of 51 years as Provincial Grand Master of Forfarshire, seven Lodges were constituted, although the only Lodge bearing his name is Lodge Panmure No. 299. He was also made, on St John’s Day 1801, an honorary member of both the Brechin Lodges - St. Ninian No. 66 and St. James No. 123. Also in 1818 Lodge Incorporated Kilwinning No. 182 – considering the zeal and important services of Bro Maule on behalf of Freemasonry resolved unanimously to adopt him as an honorary member.
Another unique presentation was made by the brethren of Lodge St Andrew Lochlee No. 282, when they, headed by three pipers left their Lodge in Glen Esk and walked to Brechin Castle and presented a snuff box to ‘His Lordship’.
The Earliest Provincial Minute Book 1815 – 1823

The oldest Provincial Minute Book in our possession covers the years from 1815 to 1823. The first minute documented is that of the 9th October 1815. In it we read of the meeting of the Lodges in the Province at which Lord Panmure presents his commission from the Grand Lodge of Scotland constituting him and creating him Grand Master of the Province of Forfar. He also appoints his commissioned office bearers, who were, Colonel John Ramsay of Kelly as Senior Warden, Patrick Carnegie of Lour, Junior Warden, James Burnes, Master of Lodge St. Peter, Montrose as Secretary (who, incidentally was a cousin of Robert Burns) and Reverend Henage Horsley as Chaplain, and thus on that day the Provincial Grand Lodge as a Lodge and entity in itself was born.

It is interesting to note that according to the minutes there was no Installation ceremony as such – Lord Panmure just proceeded to nominate and appoint his commissioned office bearers.
The appointment of the Reverend Henage Horsley as Provincial Grand Chaplain is an instance of the licence frequently taken by those in authority in those days. Surprisingly he was not as yet a Freemason. It would be a year later before he was initiated into Lodge St. David’s, Dundee. However it seems that during his lifetime Henage Horsley proved Lord Panmure’s confidence in the selection he made - for Rev Horsley’s Masonic ‘orations’ and published work in the ‘Defence of Freemasonry’, showing a genuine output in the interests of the Craft.

The First Recorded Minute

Laying the Foundation Stone of the new Works in Dundee Harbour

In the minute book of 1815 to 1823, the first minute recorded is when he presented his commission to the Lodges and formed the Provincial Grand Lodge; also on that day, 9th of October 1815, in his capacity as Provincial Grand Master and M.P. for the County of Forfar, he was performing the laying of the foundation stone of the new works in the harbour of Dundee. A big occasion, for we read: 

The Lodge then adjourned in procession with the other public bodies to the Harbour of Dundee where the Provincial Grand Master laid the foundation stone of the new works in due Masonic form amidst the acclamations of at least fifteen thousand spectators.
The procession which comprised about two thousand persons having then returned to the place of assembly, dispersed but the Provincial Grand Lodge were entertained by the Most Worshipful Provincial Grand Master in open Lodge.
The representatives of the Lodges in the Province, who were also in the procession, which at that time also included the Lodges of Inverbervie, Laurencekirk & Johnshaven, also the Numbering of the Lodges at that time were indeed different, Operative No. 52, St. Thomas No. 44, Ancient No. 54, St. Ninian No. 79, St. David’s No. 96, Forfar Kilwinning No. 114, Glamis No 126, St. Peter No. 134, St James No. 126, Thistle Operative No. 210, Incorporated Kilwinning No. 246, Forfar & Kincardine No. 292 & Caledonian No. 330” also Bervie No. 33, St Johns in Johnshaven No. 152 and St. Laurence, Laurencekirk No. 180. (The Lodges would be renumbered again in 1816)

Also on that day a presentation was made to George Kinloch, (another Freemason) one of the most eminent men in the history of Dundee, who was outlawed for his outspokedness (sic) in the cause of political reform, and who successfully carried through at his own expense the Harbour Bill through Parliament. He was presented with a suitably inscribed piece of plate, the cost of which - £110, was raised by voluntary subscription.

Erection and Consecration of Lodge St. Andrew, Lochlee, No. 282

The next Masonic duty undertaken by Lord Panmure was not until 6 years later on the 22nd June 1821, when the Provincial Grand Lodge assembled at Tarfside to consecrate the Newest Lodge in the Province at that time – Lodge St. Andrew’s, Lochlee No. 285, and to install the Master & office bearers. 
After the Church Service in the Episcopal Chapel, conducted by the ‘Reverend Jolly’ and the uplifting of a liberal collection for the parish poor, the whole fraternity moved in procession to the new Lodge building, circled it three times to ascertain that it was cardinally and Masonically constructed, and being satisfied then possessed it.

Reporting Lord Panmure’s address a newspaper article said:
“That however happy he was on all occasions to meet the whole Lodges of his Province had forborne to call the worthy Brethren of the South and West of it from an unwillingness to subject them to the fatigue and expense of so long a journey (only those from Montrose, Brechin & Laurencekirk were in attendance). He further observed that upon such a solemn Masonic ceremony at the present, the whole proceedings should be conducted in a Master Masons Lodge, yet being reluctant to exclude from the business of the day a great number of apprentice brethren who were in attendance, he had resolved to dispense with the strict rule, and to hold only an apprentice Lodge”. So therefore the ceremony of the Consecration and the installation of Master & office bearers were all done in the 1st Degree.
There was also a very descriptive and interesting article in a local paper of the event where the reporter described it as The novelty of a Masonic Ceremony, in that remote region, the beauty of the scenery, coupled with delightful weather, attracted a great concourse of the brethren and spectators to the Glen (Esk)”. Also: “The whole company adjourned to an excellent dinner provided for them under canvas by the munificence of the Most Worshipful Grand Master, a gentleman who united in his person the threefold character of a Princely host, an excellent Mason and the most beloved of landlords, seated on Nature’s carpet, in the midst of a delightful valley, surrounded by lofty mountains, and the sun’s heat fanned by the balmy breezes of heaven...At six o’clock the Provincial Grand Lodge was closed, the Most Worshipful Grand Master was accompanied down the Glen by many carriages, the construction of some of which excited the curiosity of the natives in no small measure”.   

The laying of the Foundation Stone for the Ferry Slip in Newport

The final event which William Maule, 1st Lord Panmure presided at and is documented in the Early Minute Book, takes place in September 1823. An invitation had been received from the Earl of Rosslyn, Provincial Grand Master of Fifeshire to assist him in the laying of the foundation stone of the landing slip in Newport, as he had “been requested by the parliamentary trustees to the public spirited gentlemen, interested in the improvements of the Ferries over the Tay, and as it concerned the interests of people on both sides of the Tay, therefore he “had requested the assistance of his most Worshipful Brother in the craft of Forfarshire”.
At Ten o’clock on the morning of the 10th of September 1823, the Masters, Wardens & brethren from all over the Province, even from as far away as Tarfside and Laurencekirk, took breakfast with the Provincial Grand Master, then assembled in the Sailors’ Hall, Dundee, processed to the entrance point of the Eastern protection Wall of Dundee Harbour, where the whole Masonic body embarked in Steam Boats, which the ferry trustees had placed under the orders of the P.G. Master.

According to the Minutes:
“The Tay presented a most beautiful spectacle, Steam Boats, yachts, ships of War and of trade, with their streamers gaily displayed on a beautiful day, enlivened the scene”.
At Newport the two Provincial Bodies combined, marched to the local Church, then to the place where the foundation Stone was duly laid with Masonic honours, after which the Forfarshire party re-embarked on the boats, crossed the Tay and again reached the safety of the Sailors’ Hall in Dundee.  
This final entry in the Minute Book, as far as I can see, draws to a close the documented activities of William Maule as P.G. Master. The rest of the Minute Book is blank. For some reason between 1823 and 1852, nothing else was recorded and the activities of the Provincial Grand Lodge seem to have come to an end.

Further Masonic information regarding William Maule from local press

First Dundee Lunatic Asylum

An extract from the Dundee, Perth and Cupar Advertiser of Friday 4th September 1812, reported the laying of the foundation stone of the Dundee Lunatic Asylum on the 3rd September by the Right Honourable Viscount Duncan, Grand Master elect for Scotland, attended by the Right Honourable Lord Kinnaird and the Honourable William Maule MP.
The Lunatic Asylum was situated in the Stobswell Area.
This Asylum was replaced by new buildings at Liff in the 1880’s.
Another interesting fact which also emerged from the minutes of Lodge Ancient No 49 was contained in the minute of 28th May 1812 in that A motion was made and agreed, to give from the funds of the Society in the meantime, Twenty Guineas towards building the Lunatic Asylum, and each member is to pay along with his quarterly accounts, 2 shillings each to go to the fund of the Lodge, it was also agreed to give two guineas yearly to the funds of the Infirmary, the above two guineas is to constitute the Lodge as a Governor.”
I am sure that this was also done by the other Lodges and only goes to show that the Lodges in the area gave financial help to the building of all these various good works and institutions for the benefit of the local people.
The Area covered by the Province at that time included all the Lodges in Dundee, the counties of Angus and Kincardineshire

Lodge Constituted Number
in 1815
in 1816
Present No
Montrose Kilwinning, (Montrose) From 1736 18 13 15
Bervie, (Inverbervie) ? 33 Defunct  
St Thomas, (Arbroath) 1st Dec 1740 44 36 40
Operative Lodge, (Dundee) 6th Feb 1745 52 42 47
Ancient, (Dundee) 2nd May 1745 54 44 49
St. Ninian, (Brechin) Before 1714 79 61 66
St. David’s, (Dundee) 11th Nov 1759 96 73 78
Forfar Kilwinning, (Forfar) 23rd Dec 1762 114 85 90
Glamis, (Glamis) 11th Nov 1765 126 (sic) 95 99
Saint Vigean, (Arbroath) 19th May 1766 127 97 101
Saint John, (Johnshaven) 30th Aug 1769 152 117 119
Saint Peters, (Montrose) 6th Oct 1769 134 118 120
Saint James, (Brechin) 13th Nov 1770 126 (sic) 122 123
Saint Laurence, (Laurencekirk) 21st June 1775 180 134 136
Thistle Operative, (Dundee) 7th Feb 1785 210 155 158
Incorporated Kilwinning, (Montrose) 5th Nov 1792 246 182 182
Forfar & Kincardine Militia, (Dundee) 5th Aug 1808 292 225 225
Caledonian, (Dundee) 2nd May 1814 330 238 254
Lodges formed after the renumbering by Grand Lodge in 1816     No. when
Present No.
St. Andrew Lochlee, (Glen Esk) 30 Nov 1819   285 282
Airlie, (Kirriemuir) 7th Aug 1820   290 286
Panmure, (Arbroath) 3rd Feb 1823   303 299
Lour, (Forfar) 3rd May 1824   309 309
Camperdown, (Dundee) 6th Feb 1826   317 317


William Maule, 1st Lord Panmure was twice married. He had three sons and six daughters by his first wife but none by his second. He died on 13th April 1852 at Brechin Castle aged 80 and by his own desire was buried in the parish churchyard at Brechin Cathedral. 

Copyright Iain D. McIntosh 2014

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