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

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

Part 6 - 1880 to 1882


Captain George David Clayhills Henderson P.G. Master 1880 - 1882

Capt Clayhills HendersonCaptain George David Clayhills Henderson Ex-Royal Navy, J.P., D.L., described in a 1901 Dundee newspaper as a well-known landowner of Invergowrie, became the next Provincial Grand Master after the resignation of Lord Ramsay. However he only ruled for two years.
He was born 1832, married twice and died on the 13th July 1909, aged 77, and was buried in Dargie Churchyard, Invergowrie. He was descended from the 17th Century Clayhills, the Lords of Baldovie.

As yet I have not found anything about his past service in the Royal Navy and I have no information regarding where or when he joined Freemasonry. Brother Clayhills Henderson just appears on the scene and is selected as Provincial Grand Master very quickly.
He is first mentioned in the Provincial Grand Lodge Minute Book at the committee meeting of 9th July 1880, and was introduced by Brother the Rev James Crabbe of Brechin to the Provincial Grand Lodge at the quarterly meeting of 16th July 1880, they unanimously approved him as the next Provincial Grand Master.
On the 19th August 1880 in the Queen’s Hotel Dundee. The Earl of Kintore, (Formerly known to us as Lord Inverurie, Substitute Provincial Grand Master) acting for the Grand Master Mason installed him as Provincial Grand Master
On that day Provincial Grand Lodge was opened by the Senior Right Worshipful Master present, that was Brother John Herald of Arbroath, he acted as the Provincial Grand Master. A Brother Longmuir of Lodge Operative No.47 acted as Provincial Senior Warden and Brother Buick of Lodge Ancient No. 49 acted as Provincial Junior Warden.

The commissioned office bearers were: -
David Small of Grey House as Substitute P.G. M.
John Whyte of Forfar as P. G. Senior Warden
David A. McCorquadale of Carnoustie as P. G. Junior Warden
James Berry of Carnoustie as P.G. Secretary
Rev James Crabbe of Brechin as P.G. Chaplain
Rev J. A. Dunbar Dunbar of Lochee as Assistant Chaplain.

Other office bearers at that time
John Herald of Arbroath as Treasurer
G. Pibbladdo of Montrose as Senior Deacon
H. Noble of Dundee as Junior Deacon

From the minutes he is the first P.G. Master to make a start to the regular visitations to Lodges, but in his short time, only managed to visit those in Montrose, Brechin and Arbroath. It was he was he who laid down the procedures for the visitations to the Lodges by the Provincial Grand Lodge.
He directed the Lodges to conform to the pattern of working degree rituals and the opening and closing of their Lodges to what was laid down by the Grand Lodge of Scotland.
Although suffering from severe illness the Provincial Grand Master presided at a meeting held in the new hall of St. Thomas of Aberbrothock on the 19th November 1880 and in the presence of over 100 brethren carried out the Consecrating ceremony. Afterwards a ‘sumptuous’ dinner was a served in the White Hart Hotel, Arbroath, courtesy of the Brethren of Lodge St. Thomas.

At a meeting in the Forfar and Kincardine Hall, Dundee on 29th April 1881, a discussion took place regarding requesting Grand Lodge to issue a “cheap” standardized “ritual” of Masonic working. The secretary was instructed to communicate this suggestion to them.
The Provincial Grand Master referred to a circular, which had been sent round the Lodges, by the “Board of Masters and Wardens of Dundee”, and issued by the Board Secretary, this letter contained a list names of brethren whom they wanted to be office bearers on Provincial Grand Lodge.
The Provincial Grand Master informed them that they had no right to do this, such selection was entirely a matter for the members of Provincial Grand Lodge and he trusted this would never happen again.

The laying of the Foundation Stone of the New Masonic Hall for Lodge Lour No. 309 Forfar

This was the next significant event in his term as Provincial Grand Master and took place on the 28th July 1881. Up to the morning of the ceremony there seems to have been some sort of difference of opinion between the promoters of this building and the Town Council about a wall, (details unknown). But the matter was resolved by the time the Provincial Grand Lodge was due to open in the Reid Hall.

The Provincial Grand Master, congratulated the Forfar Brethren and Lodge Lour in particular for securing their own premises, He referred to the benefit that the Lodge would gain and hoped it would prosper within their own premises, rather than in a rented building.

Provincial Grand Lodge was marshalled in the hall and marched to the site of the intended building in Castle Street. The whole Street was closed for all vehicular traffic and the route was “efficiently policed”.

The Provincial Grand Master was then presented with a silver trowel in a case, and he proceeded to “well and truly” lay the Foundation Stone. As was usual custom for these ceremonies, a hermetically sealed bottle was placed in the cavity behind the stone.

This bottle contained photographs of the directors of “Lour Lodge of Freemasons (No. 309) Masonic Hall Company Ltd”, the Provincial Grand Master, the Right Worshipful Master W. Dowell and other Lodge members, also a packet of Peter Reid Rock, current coins of the realm and newspapers, names of the directors etc. The Architect of the new building was Dundee man James Hutton.

Quarterly meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge on the 7th September 1882

This was held in the Panmure Hall, Arbroath and was presided over by the acting Provincial Grand Master, Brother Ex-Provost John Whyte of Forfar (at that time he was the Provincial Grand Senior Warden)

A Letter of resignation from the Provincial Grand Master Brother Captain Clayhills Henderson was read out and tributes were paid to him for his valued service to the Province.
A committee of nine was appointed, firstly to approach Brother Henderson to make sure that his letter of resignation was final and if this was so, to suggest a suitable successor.

Also at this meeting the new bye-laws of Lodge Panmure No. 299 were passed, and authority was granted to Lodge Lour, Forfar to change the place of their meetings to their newly completed hall in Castle Street, the same approval was given to Lodge Forfar, Kilwinning No. 90 to meet there also.
The new hall had still not been consecrated and this ceremony was postponed until a latter date when a new Provincial Grand Master had been appointed.

Provincial Grand Lodge was then adjourned to the hall of Lodge St. Vigeans, where, in the presence of a large number of brethren, the Lodge was formally re-activated again (reponed) This Lodge had been dormant for a while and was now being re-formed, the acting P.G. Master duly installed the R.W.M. Brother James Cargill and his office bearers.

The new Master thanked the Provincial Grand Lodge and stated that Lodge St. Vigeans had obtained its Charter in 1766, the first Master was Brother Bruce Gardyne of Middleton and before it closed the Master was Brother Dr. David Arnott of Arbroath. He also mentioned that Brother, Rev. Dr. Thomas. Chalmers had been a member of the Lodge. Brother Provost Reid of Arbroath accorded congratulations to the Lodge.
Also at this meeting approval was given for the establishment of a new Lodge in Carnoustie. (Lodge Dalhousie No. 679)

Resignation period.

Captain Clayhills Henderson was determined to resign as Provincial Grand Master, when he was installed in 1880, he did not appoint a Depute, his Substitute Provincial Grand. Master at that time was Brother David Small, but according to the minutes he does not appear to have been an active member. Therefore the most senior Provincial office bearer was Brother Ex-Provost John Whyte of Forfar, who was the Provincial Senior Warden. It was he who now had to chair the meetings of Provincial Grand Lodge.

The first of these meetings was held in the hall of Lodge Ancient No. 49 on the 30th October 1882 and John Whyte of Forfar and David A. McCorquodale of Carnoustie were appointed to approach the Earl of Dalhousie, or failing him, the Honourable Francis Bowes Lyon to become the next Provincial Grand Master.

At a subsequent meeting after full consideration the committee unanimously recommended to the Provincial Grand Lodge, for recommendation to Grand Lodge, that Brother The Hon. Francis Bowes Lyon, the second son of the Earl of Strathmore, be appointed as the next Provincial Grand Master.

Copyright Iain D. McIntosh 2014

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