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

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

Part 4 - 1852 to 1872


Sir Fox Maule Ramsay – 11th Earl of Dalhousie


Fox Maule Ramsay,11th Earl of DahousieiThe next Minute Book starts at 1854 and the first Minute documented is the Installation of Lord Panmure as Provincial Grand Master. This time it is the new Lord Panmure, the 2nd Lord Panmure.

Sir Fox Maule, later Maule Ramsay, 2nd Baron Panmure, KT, GCB, PC (1801-1874), became the 11th Earl of Dalhousie after the death of his cousin in 1860.

Prior to becoming the Provincial Grand Master of Forfarshire after the death of his father, Fox Maule was Provincial Grand Master of Moray and Nairn, which post he held from 1838-1852 when he took over Forfarshire after the death of his father. He was our Provincial Grand Master from 1852-1874.
During his term as our Provincial Grand Master, he also held the offices of Depute Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England (1857-61) Grand Master Mason of Scotland (1867-70) and the First Grand Principle of the Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Scotland (1869-1871).
It was whilst serving as Captain in the 79th Cameron Highlanders on the staff of his uncle, the Earl of Dalhousie, that he was initiated at Quebec into the Lodge Merchanes et Freres, No. 77 (under the Grand Lodge of England) in April 1824. Four years afterwards on his return to Scotland he affiliated in the Lodge of St. John, Haddington and shortly afterwards joined Lodge Perth St. Andrew.

On St. John’s day 1834 he had honorary membership conferred in the Lodge of Dunblane – his Brother in Law the Hon. George Abercrombie being R.W.M. He became a joining Member of the Lodge of Friendship No 6 in 1837, of which Lodge he was Master between 1839 and 1841.
This Lodge had for a time the privilege of its members wearing their swords during the “working.” He was also a member of Lodge Alpha, London, which incorporated the “Lodge Royal” in which the first P.G. Master of our Province, George Paterson, was a Past Master.

Under the Grand Lodge of England he was appointed Grand Senior Warden in 1837, under HRH the Duke of Sussex, afterwards holding the position of Depute Grand Master for three years, from which he retired in 1860. He also represented the Grand Lodge of England in the Grand Lodge of Scotland.
He became a joining Member of the English Chapter of Friendship No 6 (date unknown) and was Grand Z (First Grand Principal) of Scotland 1869-1871.

He succeeded as 2nd Baron Panmure on the death of his father, William (Maule), 1st Baron Panmure, on 13th April 1852, and as 11th Earl of Dalhousie on the death of his cousin, James Andrew (Broun-Ramsay), 10th Earl and Marquis of Dalhousie, on 19th December 1860.
He was born at Brechin Castle, Brechin, on 22nd April 1801 and was educated at Charterhouse under Dr Russell. He entered the Army in 1820 and served as an officer in the 79th (Cameron Highlanders) Regiment of Foot for twelve years, retiring in 1831-32.

Brief Political History:

  1. 1835 – 37 Liberal MP for Perthshire.
  2. 1838 – 41 Liberal M.P. for the Elgin Burghs.
  3.  1841 – 52 Liberal M.P. for Perth.
  4. 1835 – 41 Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department.
  5. 1841, a Privy Counsellor and Vice-President of the Board of Trade from June to September 1841 in the Cabinet of Lord Melbourne.
  6. 1846 – 1852, Secretary of State for War under Lord John Russell, also President of the Board of Control for a few weeks in February 1852.
  7. 1855 – 1858 Appointed by the new Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston as Secretary of State for War (appointed in the middle of the Sebastopol campaign’)
  8. 1847 – created a Burgess of Dundee.


Whilst in office, he was nicknamed “the Bison” for his brawny physique and resolute temperament; Panmure (as he was still styled) was a forceful administrator. It has been recorded that his good management of the British Army left it in a more efficient state after the Crimean War than it was before it.
He instituted the system of competitive examination for commissions and was the prime mover in the abolition of the use of the lash. It was also during his tenure as Secretary of State for War that the ‘Victoria Cross’ was introduced for bravery in the field, Fox-Maule read out the names as Queen Victoria presented the first medals.
Nevertheless it seems he attempted to secure preferential treatment for his nephew Capt. Dowbiggin, who was stationed in the Crimea, this mix up happened due to a misinterpretation by a telegraph operator in a signal sent out to the Commander in Chief General Simpson, Lord Panmure had merely wished that if there was a vacancy to consider his nephew if the C. in C. thought he was fit, however the operator sent out a far more direct order which implied a more official ‘hint’. Telegraphy was still a very new technology and people like Panmure were still very unsure of it and it was left to the individual telegraphists to interpret and compress messages.

He also had to deal with Florence Nightingale. After the horrific conditions she had encountered at the hospital in Scutari, and the way wounded soldiers were treated, she tried to instigate reforms in medical treatment, she came up against the ‘Bison’ who like the rest of his contemporaries, had a very conservative and old fashioned view of the life of a soldier, he informed Miss Nightingale that 'the British soldier is not a remitting animal'
However Florence Nightingale had the support of the Queen and other reformers like Sydney Herbert so ‘the Bison was no match for the Lady. It was in vain that he put down his head and planted his feet in the earth; he could not withstand her; the white hand forced him back’ …. ‘the poor Bison groaned inwardly, and cast a wistful eye towards the happy pastures of the Free Church of Scotland; then slowly, with infinite reluctance, step by step, he retreated, disputing every inch of the ground.

He was prominent in ecclesiastical affairs and became one of the distinguished leaders and founder of the Free Church of Scotland during the Disruption in 1843. He was a friend of Dr. Thomas Guthrie who preached regularly at Lochlee Parish Church, which was next to Invermark Lodge, Fox Maule’s Shooting Lodge. There is also a stained glass window in the Maule Memorial Church in Glen Esk, which commemorates these two friends.
He was also involved with many other local organisations. The Panmure Curling Club was formally founded in Fox Maule’s House at Panmure in 1854. Also Dalhousie Golf Club was named after him and was the club’s first patron.
He served as Lord Rector of the University of Glasgow 1842-44 and as Lord Lieutenant of Forfarshire 1849-74, Keeper of the Privy Seal for Scotland 1853-74, a Commissioner of the Royal Military Asylum and a Governor of the Charterhouse. But the Marquis of Bute and the Duke of Wellington opposed his election in 1842 to the Lord Rector-ship of the University of Glasgow.
In addition he was a Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle 28th October 1853 and a Knight Grand Cross (Civil Division) of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath 29th October 1855.
In 1861 he assumed the surnames of Maule Ramsay instead of Maule. He married on 4th April 1831.His wife, The Hon Montague Abercromby, was born 25th May 1807. She died at Pitfour Castle, Perthshire, on 11th November 1853, aged 46, and was buried at Panbride.
When in November 1867, he became the 68th Grand Master Mason of Scotland, he determined that the high position should be occupied for only two years and be selected alternately from the different districts in Scotland. It seems that because of his “able, dignified and impartial guidance” he was persuaded to undertake a third year as Grand Master.

Among the notable functions he performed as Grand Master were the laying of the foundation stone of the Glasgow Industrial Schools, at Mossbank in August 1868, the Free Library and museum, Paisley, in April 1869 and the Albert Bridge over the Clyde in June of 1870.

His last public act as Grand Master was laying the foundation stone of the new lodge room of the Lodge “Journeyman” Edinburgh on 30th November 1870. It is also recorded that he was responsible for introducing King Edward VII to Scottish Freemasonry.
Fox Maule died on 6 July 1872, without issue, at Brechin Castle, aged 73, and was buried eight days later at Panbride, when the Barony of Panmure became extinct, but the Scottish dignities devolved on his cousin, Admiral George Ramsay, CB (1806-1880), as 12th Earl of Dalhousie.
As you can see, he was very active and involved in many duties and aspects of not only public and military life but also Masonic.
As far as the Province of Forfarshire is concerned, with his term we see the proper permanent re-establishment of the Provincial Grand Lodge and its steady growth into the type of Provincial Administration and Authority over the Lodges we have today. 

Fox Maule’s term as Provincial Grand Master

His installation was held in Dundee on the 20th July 1854. Lodges from all over the Province were represented, from Dundee, Arbroath, Montrose, Brechin, Glamis and even from as far up as Tarfside. They all met in the Bell Street hall and walked in procession to the Exchange Coffee House, where the Lodge was opened.
James Mitchell, Right Worshipful Master of Lodge Montrose Kilwinning No.15, took the chair. William Low, Right Worshipful Master of Lodge St. Thomas of Aberbrothock No. 40, Worshipful Senior Warden, and Thomas Cuthbert, Right Worshipful Master of Lodge Operative No. 47, Worshipful Junior Warden (It seems that at that time it was the custom for the Masters of the Oldest Lodges in the province to undertake those duties.)
Lord Panmure was escorted into the Lodge by John Lawrie, Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge, who gave the obligation and installed Lord Panmure into the chair. The commissioned office bearers appointed that day reflected the position Freemasonry enjoyed in those days and the involvement and support of the upper echelons of society.
The Depute Provincial Grand Master was Sir John Ogilvy of Inverquharity, The Earl of Southesk was Substitute Provincial Grand Master, Colonel Swinburn was Worshipful P.G. Senior Warden; James Mitchell of Affleck as Worshipful P.G. Junior Warden. (The Wardens were also commissioned office bearers in those days), and the Provincial Grand Secretary was David Small, a Dundee Solicitor.  
The P.G. Lodge over the first 12 years of Fox Maule’s reign met, only as and when necessary. That appeared to be for public functions, the laying of Foundation Stones and the consecration of new Lodges and new meeting places for existing Lodges.

Foundation Stone of the Industrial School
(Now the Salvation Army Hostel)

The next minute in the book is for 25th October 1855, the occasion of the laying of the foundation stone of the new Industrial School in Ward Road. Lord Panmure was not present that day, as he was in London fulfilling his duties as Secretary of State for War, during the time of the Crimean War and the Indian Mutiny. On this occasion he delegated his duties to Brother George Duncan, who was at that time M.P. for Dundee and who was, according to records a member of Lodge St. David No. 78 and also a Past Master of Lodge Ancient No. 49 (RWM 1843-1849).
Again it was a big public occasion. The Brethren met in the Thistle Hall, Union Street at 12.30 p.m. and then walked in procession along Dock Street, up Trades Lane to first of all St. Andrews Church, where a Dr. Anderson preached the sermon and conducted a service. A collection was uplifted for the funds of the new institute, after which they again processed along Cowgate, Panmure Street to the site in Ward Road where the ceremony was conducted in true Masonic Form, Lord Kinnaird on behalf of the directors replied. (George 9th Lord Kinnaird was also a Freemason and P.G. Master of Perthshire), They again processed back to the Thistle Hall, via Ward Road, North & South Tay Street, Nethergate and Union Street.
The next minute four years later dated November 1859. The Provincial Grand Lodge met in the Thistle Hall for the nomination and election of other office bearers, after which they marched in procession, this time to the Corn Exchange in Bank Street, which later became the Kinnaird Hall, where they were joined by Lord Kinnaird, Provincial Grand Master of Perthshire, his office bearers and also deputations from Lodges in Perthshire & Fife. The Lodge was opened and refreshments served, an example, even in those days of meeting up with brethren from neighbouring Provinces.

Laying the Foundation Stone of the Morgan Hospital

Another very big occasion happened on the 30th July 1863, the laying of the foundation stone of the new Morgan Hospital, now Morgan Academy.
This event must have been a big public spectacle in the life of Dundee and an occasion for the population to turn out in large numbers. The Provincial Grand Lodge was convened in the Royal Hotel, and then marched up through the town to the grounds of the High School where they assembled with the representatives of the Lodges, the civic bodies, the Provost and town council, as well as the Governors of the Hospital.
 They then marched in procession via Panmure Street, Cowgate, King Street, Princes Street and Albert Street to the site of the building where “the stone was laid in proper order by the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master, the Earl of Dalhousie” Lord Lieutenant of the County of Forfar.
 The Provincial Grand Master addressed the large crowd, which was answered to by Provost Parker on behalf of the Town Council. The procession then reformed and marched back by the same route to the High School Grounds. Provincial Grand Lodge went back to the Queens Hotel where the P.G. Lodge was closed. See full information in Appendix 2

Consecration of Lodge Albert No. 448 (3rd August 1866)

The next event for the Earl of Dalhousie and Provincial Grand Lodge was the consecration of the new Lodge in Lochee, namely Lodge Albert No. 448 on the 3rd August 1866.
They did things in style in those days. It would start with the brethren assembling in the Weavers’ Hall, Lochee, where it was reported the hall was completely filled. The ceremony of consecration and the installation of the office bearers were conducted with all due reverence and ceremony. Afterwards the brethren formed into procession and, accompanied by Bands of Music, marched down to the Thistle Hall in Union Street, via Lochee Road, Ward Road and Reform Street to the Thistle Hall where refreshments composing of Fruit and Biscuits would be available, ticket price 1/6.
All the usual loyal patriotic and masonic toasts were drunk and with all the honours and a very agreeable evening was spent enlivened by several songs and selections of appropriate music played by a brass and string band. The Lodge was closed by the Grand Master in due form at about 10 o’clock.

Laying the Foundation Stone of Brechin Infirmary. (4th May 1867)

Another event, performed by the acting P.G. Master, Brother Thomas Cuthbert, was the laying of the foundation stone of the Brechin Infirmary, where again a procession was held, this time from the Hall of Lodge St. James, consisting of 2 or 3 hundred Brethren along with the Brechin rifles, other public Bodies, the Provost, Magistrates, Town Council, directors of the Infirmary and several bands.

Laying the Foundation Stone of Volunteer Drill Hall, Bell Street. (7th July 1867)

Back to Dundee. The Provincial Grand Lodge was opened in the Kinnaird Hall by the Earl of Dalhousie.
The masons present were then marshalled by the P.G.D.C. and to the strains of enlivening music proceeded to the site of the new Volunteer Drill Hall by way of Reform Street and Bell Street. The Volunteer Riflemen and Artillerymen who accompanied the procession opened up and saluted at the approach of the P.G.M. His Lordship then proceeded to lay the foundation stone of the hall, which being accomplished in due Masonic order, he addressed the large assembly of spectators in suitable terms and proposed various votes of thanks to the volunteers and others amid great applause. The procession thereafter returned in reverse order to the Hall escorted by the Volunteers as before and the Lodge was closed in regular form.

Two Lodges were formed during Fox Maule’s term as Provincial Grand Master.

  • Lodge Albert No. 448 (Lochee) on the 6th Nov 1865
  • Lodge Broughty Castle No. 486 (Broughty Ferry) on the 2nd Nov 1868

Copyright Iain D. McIntosh 2014


Back to Part 3

Forward to Part 5.


  • Return to Main History Page
  • Return to Top
  • The Grand Lodge of Scotland Website.

    Formed in 1736 theGrand Lodge of Scotland is the governing body for all Freemasonry in Scotland.

    The Provincial Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Angus and Mearns

    Formed in 1861 the Provincial Grand Royal Arch Chapter for Angus and Mearns is the governing body for Royal Arch Masonry in this area.

    FDCA Logo

    Website of the Friends of Dundee City Archives


    Links to other Websites.

    scottish flagsquare & compasses