The Provincial Grand Master’s Collar and Jewel was presented to the then Provincial Grand Master Brother James Berry at the Quarterly Communication and Installation of Office Bearers on the 1st February 1899. This meeting was also to be the visitation from the Grand Master Mason Brother Lord Salton and Grand Lodge.
Brother James Berry had just been appointed (on the 3rd Nov 1898) for his third term of office as Provincial Grand Master of Forfarshire. Originally the brethren of the Province had organized a subscription to present to Brother Berry a Collar and Jewel, as a gift and as a thank you for the many years of devoted service to the Provincial Grand Lodge.
However Brother Berry in accepting the Collar and Jewel declared that it should become the property of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Forfarshire and would become the Collar and Jewel for all future Provincial Grand Masters.
The Collar and Jewel, which were designed and manufactured by Mr. James Ramsay, goldsmith, Dundee, are of a very artistic design. The collar is composed of 10 shields, with the coats of arms of the towns comprised in the Province painted on raised enamel. Alternate with these are richly chased thistles, and handsomely carved designs of “F.F.” (Forfarshire), and “P.G.L.” (Provincial Grand Lodge) executed in entwined cipher. The centre ornament, from which hangs the jewel, is a representation of the St. Andrew’s Cross encircled with embossed thistles, the figure of St. Andrew being carved from the solid. Opposite this, at the back of the collar, is a large shield having the Lion of Scotland enamelled in proper colours and surrounded by prettily grouped thistles. A massive Square and Compasses are suspended from the centre ornament. A cairngorm is set in the head of the compasses, the handle of the square is filled in with Celtic ornamentation, while in the centre of both there is a handsome five-pointed star.
Extract from the Minute of the Quarterly Communication of P.G. Lodge
Held within Russell’s New Hall, 15 Union Street, and the Late Thistle Hall.
On Wednesday 1st February 1899.
Reception of Grand Master Mason.
“The R.W. Provincial grand Master then called the brethren to order to receive Brother the Right Honourable Lord Salton, Grand Master Mason of Scotland and deputation from Grand Lodge.
The deputation consisted of the Brother the Honourable C.M. Ramsay, Junior Grand Warden; Brother Alexander Wilson Provincial Grand Master of Aberdeen; Brother D. Murray Lyon, Grand Secretary; Brother David Keir, Grand Treasurer; Brother the Rev.d Archibald Fleming, Grand Chaplain; Brother W. Munro Denholm, Junior Grand Deacon; Brother Robert K. Inches, Grand Jeweller; Brother James Thomson, Acting Grand Sword Bearer; Brother Edward A. Chisholm, Chief Clerk Grand Lodge; and Brother David Laird, Acting Grand Tyler. Brother A. Cairns Hodge, Architect of the Grand Lodge of India accompanied the deputation as a visiting Brother.
Brother Berry addressing Brother Lord Salton offered him a cordial welcome to the Province and requested him to take the chair.
Brother Lord Salton thanked Brother Berry and the brethren present for the cordial welcome they had extended to him. The pleasure he felt in visiting the Province was intensified by the knowledge he possessed of the admirable way in which the Lodge was conducted by Brother Berry, and as no one could weald the symbol of authority with greater acceptance than their esteemed P.G. Master, he again asked Brother Berry to take the chair.
Brother Berry having assumed the duties of the chair.
Brother the Hon. C. M. Ramsay said he had great pleasure in joining with the rest of the brethren in welcoming Brother Lord Salton to the Province. He had additional pleasure in doing so from the fact that he was about to ask his Lordship to take part in a ceremony which was of the greatest interest to the Brethren throughout the Province – namely the presentation of a Collar and Jewel of office to Brother Berry on the occasion of his re-election to the office of Provincial Grand Master for a third term of office.
The Collar and Jewel had been subscribed for by the brethren throughout the Province and by other friends and was intended to mark the appreciation, which was felt in the Masonic circles for r the services Brother Berry had rendered to Freemasonry. It was difficult in Masonic, as well as in other circles, to keep secrets and, on Brother Berry having come to know of the proposed presentation, he had generously stated that he would prefer to hand over the Collar and Jewel to the Provincial Grand Lodge for the use of future Provincial Grand Masters.
Brother Lord Salton, who was received with great applause, said they had called upon him to perform a very pleasing task, and he thanked them most heartily for the honour, which they had conveyed upon him in asking him to make the presentation. That was a moment, which he would remember as one of the proudest episodes, which had occurred during his reign as Grand Master Mason of Scotland. From the high opinion he had formed of Brother Berry he was particularly glad that the task, which he had been asked to undertake had fallen to his hand. In performing such an interesting function, his Lordship said he thought it was right that he should refer to the history of the Province.
From facts supplied by Brother Murray Lyon, Grand Secretary, he found the Province had been erected in 1747, it being then known as the Province of Forfar, Angus and Aberdeen. The Province remained under that designation for many years, but on a redistribution of districts early in the present century (19th), theHon. William Maule (afterwards Lord Panmure) was appointed Provincial Grand Master of Forfar and Angus, and held the office for 50 years. His Lordship’s three immediate successors were members of the Maule Ramsay family – the eminent statesman, Fox Maule being one of them. In brother the Hon. C. M. Ramsay, Junior Grand Warden, they were gratified to recognise a son of the 12th and a brother of the 13th Earl of Dalhousie – a name dear to the Masons of the Province, as well as to Grand Lodge itself.
Than Brother Berry no more devoted or efficient Brother had ever held in hand the direction and government of Masonic affairs in that important Province.
There were 26 Lodges in Forfarshire – two of which took part in the erection of Grand Lodge in 1736, and were still in active operation, namely, Montrose Kilwinning and Ancient Operative, Dundee. In the appointments for three successive periods of office, Grand Lodge had unanimously, and with acclimation, given effect to the expressed wishes of the Lodges within the Province. The mention of the fact showed the high respect in which Brother Berry was held by the craft in these parts. Brother Berry had been made the recipient of tangible marks of the brethrens’ appreciation of his Masonic abilities, and on the present occasion His Lordship felt it an honour to have been selected to invest him with a gold collar and jewel, which had been at first intended as a gift personally to himself, but which through his generosity and unselfish spirit, was henceforth to be the insignia of the Provincial Grand Master of Forfarshire.
Brother Berry’s services to the craft had not been confined to the Province – they were known and appreciated by Grand Lodge, and more than once he had acted as his (Lord Salton’s) delegate at important Masonic functions in the Province. He had often presided over Grand Lodge, and very often presided with great acceptance at meetings of Grand Committee, of which he had been a member during 18 consecutive years. Brother Berry’s attention to the interests of the Forfarshire Lodges was proverbial, and in and out of office he had the record of 30 years service to the craft. In conclusion, Lord Salton said he had great pleasure in investing Brother Berry with the beautiful and artistically – wrought collar and jewel of solid gold which had been subscribed for by the brethren of the Province, and in doing so he expressed the hope that he might be spared for many years to wear it in the Provincial Grand Lodge of Forfarshire.
Brother Berry was then invested with the collar and jewel, and three cheers were heartily given in his honour.
Brother Berry, in replying, said that eleven years ago, in that very place, the Province had been honoured by a visit from Lord Salton, who however, at that time occupied one of the minor offices in Grand Lodge. They now welcomed him back in a way as became those who were under him. In Forfarshire Grand Lodge would always find a warm a kindly feeling towards those who held high office in Masonic circles, and who had striven step by step to raise their position in Grand Lodge until they reached the throne itself. He could assure his Lordship that the Lodges in the Province were one and all doing their duty towards the principles of the craft. He assured them that he would wear the collar and jewel with pleasure, and his constant aim would be that he would never tarnish it.
Presentation to Mrs. Berry.
Brother Lord Salton then, in the name of the brethren, presented Brother Berry with a handsome silver salver for Mrs. Berry as a mark of the respect felt for her by brethren and friends in the Province. Brother Berry suitably acknowledged the gift.
Brother Berry declared the collar and jewel of office the property of Provincial Grand Lodge.
The Collar as worn by the P.G. Master
©Research by Iain D. McIntosh, 2014
Formed in 1736 theGrand Lodge of Scotland is the governing body for all Freemasonry in Scotland.
Formed in 1861 the Provincial Grand Royal Arch Chapter for Angus and Mearns is the governing body for Royal Arch Masonry in this area.