Many freemasons are curious as to what is the oldest Masonic Lodge in the World?
Many believe that Mother Kilwinning in Scotland is the oldest particularly as it holds number 0 on the role of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, but Mother Kilwinning claim that most of its early records were last in fires or other disasters.
With actual evidence Lodge of Edinburgh No.1 Edinburgh is the oldest lodge in the world, this lodge is sometimes known as Mary’s Chapel. Its oldest Masonic Lodge Minutes are dated 31st July 1599ce and it is 410 years old.
More impressively, the first 5 pages of minutes incorporate the Schaw Statutes which are dated 28th December 1598ce. Six months later, on 31st July 1599ce are to be found the minutes which confirm the lodge’s claim as having the oldest existing masonic minutes.
The Schaw Statues are named for William Schaw, who was Master of Works to His Majesty, King James VI and General Warden of the Masonic Craft. In the statues, he declared that these ordinances issued by him for the regulation of lodges considered the lodge at Edinburgh to be for all time, the first principal Lodge
Lodge of Edinburgh No. 1 was first called “The Lodge of Edinburgh” and retained this name until 1688ce, when the Grand Lodge of Scotland confirmed its charter in the 1730’s, it designated the lodge as: ” The Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary’s Chapel ) No1”.
Prominent members belonging to the Lodge in its very early days included His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales (afterwards called King Edward VII) and His Royal Highness King Edward VIII.
Both were affilated within the Lodge, taking the obligation on the “Breeches Bible” which was printed in 1587ce. The pen with which these 2 brethren signed the roll is still preserved in the Edinburgh Lodge No. 1 museum.
As early as 1600ce, The Lodge of Edinburgh began to admit non-operative freemasons. In June 1600ce the Laird of Auchinleck was made a speculative member, the first authentic record of the making of such a member.
When the Grand Lodge of Scotland was established on 30th November 1736ce the Lodge of Edinburgh took an active part. Thirty Three lodges were represented at the meeting which was held in the lodge room of the Edinburgh Lodge. Because the oldest minute of a lodge was that of Edinburgh Lodge, it was placed first on the roll of the Grand Lodge