FRENCH PRISONERS IN SELKIRK WHO BECAME FREEMASONS 1811-1814

The following pages are extracts of the minutes of “The Provincial Grand Lodge of Roxburgh, Peebles and Selkirk Shires.” The dates given are from 1808-1869, and I received them from a member of  “The Antiquarian Society of Selkirk,” who felt that they would be of more use to me as she had been given them by a male friend who was also a member of the Society. I print them as I feel that a little piece of history may be lost if the original should be destroyed.

 An extremely interesting feature of these minutes is the list of French prisoners of war who became “Freemasons” during their compulsory sojourn in Selkirk from 1811-1814. It is evident that the Secretaries had great difficulty in spelling the foreign names, which are indeed, seldom spelt twice the same way. In two or three instances a space has been prudently left blank, so that the entrant could write his name in himself. The following is a complete list, with the dates of entry, and the actual spelling being retained even when presumably wrong.

 Dec. 3rd. Wilhelmin Tieman, 1st Lieutenant (Hanoverian Cavalry). It is doubtful if this was a prisoner.
Dec. 26th.   Frederic. Baron de Lynckersdoff and        Lynamsdorpht or Lykersdorf.

 1812     Jan. 6th.     Elie Mausfras.
Jan. 6th.  Bernard Duboscq.
Jan. 11th. Pierre Etienne Laurent.
 Jan. 24th    Joseph Clement de Villeneuve.
 Jan 29th.    Joseph Mangan.

 Mar. 9th.    Charles Antoine Lefovronnes or  Leforsonnez.
Mar. 9th.     Henri Catalau.
Mar. 9th     Vincent Simon.
Mar. 9th.    Jean Baptiste Passement
Mar. 19th.  Jean Francon Verron.
 Mar. 19th.  Jacques Manciet.

Apr.  15th.  Louis Arnaud.
Apr. 21st.   M. Belleval or Bellville.
Apr. 21st .  M. Guitaud.
Apr. 21st    Geraud Foungreves.
Apr. 21st.   Lt. Froussart.

  Jun. 24th.  M. Salmier

 Oct. 20th.   Nicolas Citron.
Oct. 24th.   Amand Giller.

 Nov. 14th.   Jean Baptiste Joseph Degree. native of  Doullen.

Nov. 14th.    Jean Bertrand St. Lary.
Nov. 14th.    Charles de Corbie.
Nov. 17th.    Richard Harlant.

Dec. 23rd.    Pierre le Cog.

Dec. 31st.     Louis Jacques Pierre Gauvain.

 1813


Jan. 3rd.     Simon Timon.
Jan. 7th.     Jacques M’ce Pat-Veillon.

Feb. 2nd.     Nicolas Chardanel.

Sep. 10th     AntoineCondamine.

Dec. 10th.    Antoine St. Michel.
Dec. 24th.     Jean Louis Joseph Revaux.

 1814   


Feb. 24th.      John Schendhutor.

 Of  93 prisoners, 34 appear to have become Freemasons.When peace was declared and Napoleon was sent to Elba early in 1814, the Frenchmen returned to their own country, some of them no doubt to fight under their old leader once more at Waterloo.

 1809

 The Lodge resolved to meet on the 25th of October at 7 p.m. to walk in procession in honour of His Majesty George 111. Having attained the 50th year of his reign, and afterwards to go to Bro. William Thomson’s at the “George and Dragon Inn”.

1810

 Entered George Haldane, gunner of the Royal British Artillery. Purchased Walter Henderson’s property for £311; intending to build a new Lodge next year.

 1811


Resolved to agree with Mr .Watson (Schoolmaster) at a reasonable sum to put the new articles into grammar in order that they may be got ready for printing.


1815

 Entered William Rodger, R.N., son of George Rodger, Esq. Of Bridgelands, no doubt the Captain Rodger whose patent anchor was largely adopted by the Royal Navy after many years use by merchant vessels. Baillie Clarkson made an honorary member by being entered apprentice, passed into fellow craft and raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason at one sitting, in return for his honourable conduct to the trades of Selkirk at Carterhaugh on the 14th day of December, at the ball their.

 1816

 Mr. Walter Hogg having succeeded in raising £280, resolved to build a new Lodge at a cost not exceeding £500, large enough to accommodate at least 130 people at dinner. The Marquis of Lothian, Prov. Grand Master, to be asked to lay the foundation stone. Entered Andrew Lang, Writer. Evidently Lord Lothian was not to be had, and the good Freemasons no doubt felt that they had to be content with somebody less important in their Sheriff, Walter Scott, Esq. Of Abbotsford. They had a mind, however, to do justice to so great a ceremony, and on May 28th. They drew up the following order of procession;-

Town Officers
Drum and Fife
Incorporated Trades
Merchants Colour
Magistrates Colour
To be carried by Thomas Phillip (a native of Selkirk), a gallant Scots Grey who fought and bled at Waterloo.

Magistrates
Wardens
Tyler of the Lodge

Bible carried by a brother, the Chaplain on his right.
The Master and Deputies according to Masonic order.
The Treasurer (with a purse) and Secretary.
A Senior Steward with a rod.
Committee of Management- Senior 3 Junior 2 abreast.
Plans to be carried by the principal manager.
A junior steward with a rod.
Vocal music.
Past Masters, two abreast.
Members of Lodge, two abreast.
Two Stewards with rods.
Deputations from neighbouring Lodges.
Apprentices, Royal Arch Lodges, their music in front.

 Route

From Town Hall eastwards, up Back Row and down Kirk Wynd, then to wait while a deputation escorts Mr. Scott from Mr. Lang’s house.

Inscription on parchment to be inserted in stone. Also deposited in the stone the different coins of his Majesty’s reign, with the newspapers of the day and the inscription.

 F.D.O.M.

 Walter Scott, Esq. Of Abbotsford.
Sheriff Depute of Selkirkshire
Laid this foundation Stone
Of the Freemasons Hall, Selkirk
Upon the 4th of June in the year of our Lord 1816
And the reign of George 111. King of Great Britain,
56th year of his reign, and of the era of Masonary 5816.

James Inglis and David Laidlaw contractors of the work.

 Q. D. B. V.

 David Laidlaw, Master.      Walter Hogg, Principal Manager
Wm. Tweedie  D. Master.   Andrew Lang, Tres. & Secretary
Alex. Mercer, Treasurer     George Young, Manager.
Alex. Hay, Secretary           Thomas Scott, Manager.
John Bruce, S. Warden.     John Dobson, Manager.
Wm. Hogg, J. Warden.        James Robertson, S. Steward.
Andrew Cowan, J. Steward.
Committee of Management of present undertaking.

 F . D . O . M. ;- Favente Deo Optimo Magimo.


(With the favour of God greatest and best)

 Q . D . B . V.;- Quod Deus Benedicere Volat

 (Which may God be pleased to bless.)

 On the 4th of June, before setting out in procession, the Lodge entered the Rev. James Nichol, Minister of Traquair an honorary member, that he might be enabled to act as their Chaplain; and also Thomas Phillip, of the “Scots Greys”, that he might be enabled to carry the Magistrates Colour, albeit, the latter was not a Masonic emblem. The Rev. James Nichol of Traquair, gave an excellent prayer, well adapted for the occasion. After the ceremony the brethren returned to the Town Hall, and on the motion of Brother James Robertson, Mr. Scott was admitted an Honorary member with three cheers.The meeting then walked to Mr. Minto’s Inn, where they dined and spent the evening with the utmost conviviality, Mr. Scott filling the chair to the satisfaction of all present. Writing to the Duke of Buccleuch next day, the Shirra says, “ I was under the necessity of accepting the honour done me by the Souters who requested me to lay the foundation stone of a sort of barn, which is to be called a Freemasons Hall. There was a solemn procession on the occasion which, that it might not want the decorum of costume, was attended by weavers from Hawick, shoemakers from Jedburgh, and pedlars from Peebles, all very fine in the scarves and trinkums of their respective Lodges. If our musical band was not complete, it was at least varied, for beside the Town Drum and Fife, which thundered in the van, we had a pair of Bagpipes and two Fiddles, and we had a prayer from a parson whom they were obliged to initiate on the spur of the occasion and who was abominably frightened, although I assured him the sanctity of his cloth would preserve him from the fate of the youngest brother, alluded to by Burns in his “Address to the Deil”.

 1816

July 10th.  Letter signed “Robert Weir”on behalf of himself and other Freemasons in Galashiels, desiring a certificate from the Selkirk Lodge, with a view to the formation of a Lodge in Galashiels.

 Nov. 28th. Agreed to send deputation to assist at the erection of new Lodge. Grand Lodge requested to empower Selkirk Lodge to consecrate their new hall on 27th December.
No mention of consecration in minutes of that date.

 1818

 One enquiry at the Innkeepers “for to know what they would  find the dinner for”. Reported that John Thomson would “ provide it 1/8 per man and small beer, the Lodge to find the drink and candles”.

 1820

 Resolved owing to the very great and general disatisfaction, which has prevailed on account of the beggardly manner of estimating the dinner, and for the honour of the body, that they have a respectable one, and at as low a price as possible, with small beer and each member to have a glass of spirit. Agreed with Mr. G. Young at 2/- and toddy at 1/- a bottle
Impossible owing to state of funds to send deputation to Jedburgh, on laying foundation stone of new prison.

 1821


Sent deputation to Hawick to assist in laying foundation stone of new Lodge.

 1832

 Deputation of five to Galashiels on occasion of laying foundation stone of new Gas House.

 1837

 Similar deputation to assist in laying foundation stone of new Church at Galashiels.

 1840

 Use of Lodge room for monthly meetings granted to the Tee Total Association for 20/- per annum. A motion made by some of the brethren that as they could not drink toddy, they should not pay for it, or if they did, the profit should not go to the purveyor, but into the Lodge funds, was lost by a great majority. The brethren then “sat down to a good dinner and spent the evening with that mirth and glee which the fraternity were used to do.”

 1842

Use of Hall prohibited to strolling play actors.

 1844

 Lodge apparently sold and members shares divided.

 1847

 Treasurer’s box and contents ordered to be obtained from late Treasurer, the Bible to be searched for and delivered to the Master, as also with the chest with all the regalia.

From 1849 there is a gap in the minutes till 1864, when eleven Masons met with deputation from the Galashiels Lodge, and sent a petition to Grand Lodge for re- openment.

 1864

 Ceremony of Re-opening on 19th August, when Grand Lodge was represented by the Hon. William Napier, Broadmeadows, S.P.G.M. William Chambers of Glenmoriston, P.G.S.M. Rev. David Waddell, P.G.G. and Robert  Sanderson, P.G.S.; and assisted by deputations from the Lodges. A very solemn and impressive address from from the Honorable William Napier occupies four closely written pages of the minute book.  Closing the Lodge, the members walked in procession round the Haining loch, and were entertained to dinner by Mr. Napier, Brother Chambers, (afterwards Lord Provost of Edinburgh),  singing Maggie Lauder, in Grand style. The brethren of the Lodge cannot close this minute, without expressing the deep sense of gratitude they owe to their much esteemed and highly respected brother, the Hon. William Napier. It is rare indeed, that such a noble and dis-interested person is to be met with, e.t.c. A month later Mr. Napier presented the Lodge with a new and handsome set of Silver jewels, and on St. John’s day, he was elected Master of the Lodge for 1865.

 1869

March 2nd.    Date of last minute.