Lodge Thistle 127 was granted its Charter on 20th May 1771 and much of its history has been understandably lost, or has never been recorded.
In 1993, following extensive research, Bro. Archibald Chalmers, P.M. published a document entitled 'Historical Notes on Lodge Thistle No. 127 (Stewarton)'. The information in this section is taken from that document and reproduced with the kind permission of Bro. Archibald.

INTERESTING ITEMS

On this page are items of interest, pertaining to Lodge Thistle which I have found over the years:-

Bro. Andrew Brown, Writer in Stewart on, was enrolled as an Honorary Member of Lodge Irvine St. Andrew on 27th December, 1781, "As a mark of respect for him as a gentleman and a Brother"

Since Lodge Thistle was the Sponsor Lodge of Irvine St. Andrew, and Bro. Brown was the Master in 1780 when the Lodge was formed this appears a friendly gesture for his part in obtaining their Charter.

The Lodge was present at the Laying of the Foundation Stone of the Parish Church, Beith, in March, 1807.

The Lodge was present at the Laying of the Foundation Stone of Irvine Academy on the 22nd of April, 1814.

The Lodge was represented at the Laying of the Foundation Stone of the Monument to Robert Burns in Ayr, 25th January, 1820.

The Lodge was present at the Laying of the Foundation Stone of the Parish Church, Tarbolton, on the 26th of April, 1820. The Stone was laid by the then R.W.M. of Lodge Thistle, this being the Mother Lodge of the Master Builder, Brother Gate.

Extract from a book entitled "Cunninghame" by George Robertson. 1820. Contained within a Chapter on Masonry:- "Besides the Mother Lodge, Kilwinning, there are the following Lodges at present in the District of Cunninghame; Beith St. John's; Fenwick Moira; Irvine St. Andrews; Kilmarnock St. John's; Kilmarnock St. Andrews; Kilmarnock St. James; Kilmarnock St. Karnack; Largs St. John's; Loudoun New-Mills; Stevenston Thistle and Rose; and Stewarton Thistle Lodge. The whole of these harmonic societies may also be considered as associations for the relief of the sick and indigent. They all have Funds appropriated to that purpose -- some very considerable. The last one mentioned, Stewarton, has at present a common stock of £512, and the average aliment for the last five years, paid to the sick and indigent members, amounted to £35/10s yearly".

Brethren from Lodge Thistle were present at the Church Service and Address to the King (George IV) by the Masonic Lodges of Ayrshire, held in the Old Church, Ayr, 31st August, 1821.

The Lodge was represented at the Consecration of Lodge DaIry Blair No. 290 on the 20th December, 1821.

The Lodge was also represented at the Consecration of Lodge Dunlop Caledonian No. 311 on the 4th August, 1824.

The Lodge was represented at the Laying of the Foundation Stone of the Spire, Assembly Rooms, and other rooms erected by the Magistrates and Council of Ayr on the 28th March, 1828.

The Lodge was invited, by the "Dunlop Caledonian" Lodge, to attend the Laying of the Foundation Stone of Captain Dunlop of Dunlop's House on Tuesday 10th September, 1833.
I cannot confirm that they did attend but more than likely they did.

The Lodge was in attendance at the Laying of the Foundation Stone of the St. Marnock's Church, Kilmarnock, on the 21st August, 1834.

1839. Extract from "History of The John Knox Church, Stewarton" - 'After May, 1839, when the Congregation lost the use of the present Congregational Church, a temporary place of Worship was found in the Hall of an Inn, The Mason Lodge - a poor place. but it had to serve:'

The Lodge was present at the Laying of the Foundation Stone of the Monument to Sir James Shaw in Kilmarnock, on the 4th August, 1848.

A deputation from the Lodge was present at the Laying of the Foundation Stone of the Monument to Sir William Wallace at Barnweil, Kilmarnock, in 1855.

The first record of an actual Lodge Meeting in Stewarton that I have come across was in the Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald of 5th January, 1857. it reads as follows:-

Stewarton - Masonic Meeting.

The brethren of the Thistle Lodge met on the last night of the old year. Our young Flute Band played the R.W. Grand Master to the Mason's Hall where a deputation from St. Andrews Kilmarnock joined their Stewarton fellows of "the Mystic Tie", and spent a few hours in social intercourse. "Hey The Merry Masons", where have they all gone? Only a few years ago and the Thistle was large and flourishing, but it has dwindled away fearfully of late; and we would suggest to the Officebearers the propriety of making a strenuous effort either to animate the old root or cut it down. The Officebearers for the ensuing year are James Gillies R.W.M.; Alex Dunlop D.M.; John Smith S.M.;
John Allan S.W.; John Holburn J.W.; Robert Nelson Treasurer; James Skeoch Secretary; John Currie Snr.G.S.; John Paton Jnr.G.S; Wiilliam Smith A.S.; Matthew Young A.S.; John Smith P.M.; and Robert Wylie Tyler.

The following Installation Meeting report informs us that after the Installation of the R.V.M. and Office-bearers "the Brethren, at about half-past nine, for the first time in some years, proceeded to perambulate the principal streets of the Town in Masonic costume, accompanied by The Stewarton Instrumental Band."

This custom of parading the streets continued until the early 1900's

The Lodge was represented at the Inauguration of the Monument to General Neill , in Ayr, on the 13th October, 1859 .

8th March, 1860. A number of the brethren of Lodge Thistle met in the Commercial Inn and entertained Bro. James Gillies, Esq., Builder, to a supper and presentation. Bro. John Caskie, Esq., Surgeon, occupying the Chair, presented Bro. Gillies with a silver snuff box for himself and a gold brooch for his wife. The inscription on the snuff box is:- "Presented to James Gillies, Esq., R.W.M. of The Thistle Lodge of Stewarton, by the Brethren, and a few friends, as a mark of respect."

A deputation from the Lodge attended the Laying of the Foundation Stone of the Monument to Sir William Wallace, at Abbey Craig, Stirling, on Monday the 24th June, 1861.

The Inauguration of the Monument to Honour Archibald, 13th Earl of Eglinton, at Ayr on the 21st October, 1865, was witnessed by Brethren from the Lodge.

December, 1866. The Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald contains this report:- "Stewarton - This has been a very busy week amongst our Freemasons. The goat must have sore legs, as it has had a very hard work this week, as also the worthy old groom, who only can turn it out so as to give a fast and sure ride from the region of darkness to the land of the blessed light. We are sure that he has the best wishes of all true Masons, and may he live to enter many members to the Stewarton St. John's Lodge."

1st March, 1867. The Bye-Laws of Lodge "Thistle", Stewarton, were approved by Grand Committee of Grand Lodge.
Was this the first set of Bye-Laws of the Lodge?

25th July, 1867. R.W.M. John Paton, and 8 members of Lodge Thistle No.127 were present at the Funeral of Sir Archibald Alison, Bart., Past Provincial Grand Master of Glasgow.

21st May, 1868. The Lodge was present at the Centenary of Lodge St. Marnock, Kilmarnock, No.109.

The Laying of the Foundation Stone of the Lainshaw Viaduct at Stewarton on the 3rd August, 1868.

April 17th, 1869. Bro. John Currie, Bonnet Maker, was afforded a Masonic Funeral by the Brethren of Lodge Thistle. Bro. Currie had been, for many years, the Treasurer of the Lodge. The Brethren, who all wore white gloves, walked in front of the coffin.
This is the first occasion I have found of a Masonic Funeral being conducted in Stewarton.

The Lodge was represented at the Laying of the Foundation stone of the Paisley Free Library and Museum on the 27th April, 1869.

29th May. 1871, the Lodge Celebrated its Centenary.

The brethren of the Lodge were present at the Laying of the Foundation Stone of the West Kilbride Parish Church on the 10th August, 1872.

1st December, 1872. Bro. James Chalmers, Ironmonger, was Installed as R.W.M. of Lodge Thistle No. 127.
Bro. Chalmers was the brother of my great-grand-father John Chalmers, who was also a member of the Lodge.

The Lodge was represented at the Laying of the Memorial Stone of the New Public School in Kilwinning on the 25th September, 1875.

Brethren from the Lodge were present at the Laying of the Memorial Stone of the New Academy in Kilmarnock on the 20th November, 1875.

3rd January, 1876. Stewarton. This evening a meeting of brethren from various Lodges here convened to hear charges against a brother from Stewarton of his having communicated the Secrets of Freemasonry to parties outside the Temple; Several witnesses appeared, but the charges were not made good. The outsiders say they did not get the Mysteries of the Craft from the Brother charged, but from a book bought from a local bookseller. This is a cheap way of getting a ride on the goat!

A deputation from Lodge Thistle was present at the Laying of the Foundation Stone of the New Post Office in Glasgow in October, 1876.

The Lodge was in attendance at the Laying of the Memorial Stone of the Burn's Monument in the Kay Park, Kilmarnock, on the 14th September, 1878.

The unveiling of Burn's Statue in the Kay Park, Kilmarnock, on the 9th August, 1879, was witnessed by members of Lodge Thistle.

31st January, 1882. Members of St. John's Thistle Lodge, Stewarton, No.127. met this evening in the Masonic Hall, Bro. Andrew Turnbull, R.W.M. presiding. After a supper the D.M., Bro. Thomas Turnbull, made a presentation on behalf of the Lodge to Bro. Alexander Pollock, P.M., who was leaving to reside in Kilmarnock. The "handsome timepiece was suitably inscribed:- Presented to Brother Alexander Pollock by the Freemason Thistle Lodge, Stewarton, No.127 as a token of respect, January 31st, 1882."

The Lodge was present at the Laying of the Foundation Stone of the Established Church in Langside, East Renfrewshire, on the 3rd October, 1885.

The Brethren of Lodge Thistle were present at the Laying of the Foundation Stone of the Spiers School, Beith, in September, 1887.

The Lodge was represented at the Laying of the Foundation Stone of the New Lodge of Mother Kilwinning, on the 17th September, 1892.

The Lodge was also present at the Consecration of the New Lodge of Mother Kilwinning, on the 30th September, 1893.

27th December, 1894. Brother Alexander Pollock, P.M., had just served the Lodge for a further 2 years as R.W.M. and the Brethren of the Lodge presented him with a Past Masters Jewel in appreciation of the manner in which he had served the Lodge over the past number of years. The Jewel, which had been made by Bro. John Cassells, Jeweller, bore the inscription:- "To Brother Alexander Pollock from the Brethren of Stewarton St. John's Thistle No.127 27th December, 1894."

The Lodge was in attendance at the unveiling of the Burn's Statue in Irvine, 18th July, 1896.

The Brethren of the Lodge were present at the Laying of the Foundation Stone of the National Burns Memorial and Cottage Homes in Mauchline, on the 23rd July, 1896.

The Laying of the Memorial Stone of the New Masonic Temple of Lodge Thistle and Rose, No.169, Stevenston, on 26th March, 1898, was witnessed by brethren from Lodge Thistle.

The Lodge was present at the Consecration of the New Masonic Halls, John Finnie Street, Kilmarnock, on the 26th October, 1899. The Consecration Ceremony was conducted by Bro. William Mure of Caldwell, R. W. Depute P.G.M. of Ayrshire. (I.P.M. of Lodge Thistle No.127)

It is sad to note that from my research I have noticed a marked absence of Masonic Lodges being invited to carry out the Ceremonies of Laying the Foundation or Memorial Stones of Public Buildings and/or Churches after the turn of the century. Whatever the reasons were it was a great loss to the Craft and a Tradition which will not be revived except in the occasion of a lew Lodge Temple or some other Masonic celebration. I will remember for a long time the occasion the Grand Master Mason Bro. Sir James W. Mackay attended Lodge Livingstone No. 599 to Lay the Foundation Stone of their New Temple, on Saturday 4th April. 1981. Almost a year later Sir James Consecrated the New Temple on Saturday 3rd April. If the joy and gladness of these two days were anything compared to the processions that took place in the 1800's then they would indeed be impressive and leave lasting memories for all who witnessed them. It is also a poor reflection on the modern day that such events are given very little, if any, mention in the local or national press.

It is now known, from my researches, that the Ceremony of Laying the Foundation Stone of the Lainshaw Viaduct, in 1868, was conducted by the Freemasons - with Lodge Thistle No.127 playing a leading part. I wonder if the Lodge was involved in any other such ceremonies in the Town? One I would like to think the Lodge was at was the Laying of the Foundation Stone or Memorial Stone of the Old Bridge which crossed the Annick at Kirkford. The stone reads ANNO DOMINI MDCCLXXV which translated means 1775 A.D. As the Lodge was in its infancy then and would no doubt be full of enthusiasm I feel that they would have made sure that they played their part. Perhaps this may be proved or otherwise in the future.