A Concise History of Lodge St. James Newton-Upon-Ayr No 125.

Lodge St. James Newton-Upon-Ayr No 125 has been active since the beginning and early years of Freemasonry. Since 1771, 125 has practiced Freemasonry and was, and still is, involved with various Masonic Orders as well as providing the premises wherein they still meet.

A Meeting of Grand Committee was held in The Exchange Coffee House on 4th Jan l771, and a Charter of Constitution was granted. From that Date of Charter until 1868, however, all lodge records appear to have been lost. No one was able to trace the old minute books, although efforts had been made by the Lodge in the past to recover them, the first real start of the history of the Lodge is in the Minutes of Grand Lodge dated 1st May 1868, when the lodge reopened after a dormancy of 20 years. During this time, as was the custom of lodges back then to meet in the upper rooms of taverns and ale houses, 125 held its meetings in the Bluebell Inn.

In 1869 a subscription was raised for Bro. William Martin, R.W.M. of Ayr Operative 138, as well as an account from Bro. J. Campbell of Ayr St. Paul 204, to make three lodge chairs at a cost of £1; apparently the very same chairs of the Right Worshipful Master, Deputy Master and Substitute Master which grace the East in the temple today. Also, within the temple, is the masonic apron of John Davidson, a past member of 125 who is none other than the inspiration for Souter Johnnie by Robert Burns.

The lodge was also very active in the community during these years, with deputations visiting public occasions and being invited to attend the laying of a number of keystones and foundation stones at the building of various structures including; The Newton Mission Church in 1868, Ayr Docks and the Glasgow Post Office, both in 1876.

On the 21st August, 1882, the lodge attended a ceremony of the laying of Keystone at a bridge in Cumnock.

In the same year, the Lodge was also invited by Lodge Mother Kilwinning, No. 0 to attend the laying of a memorial stone of the New Free Church at Beith. They were also invited by Provincial Grand Lodge of Renfrew to assist Bro. Archibald Campbell, P.M. in the laying of a memorial stone at the new Masonic Hall in Paisley.

On the 1st of June, 1887 a Deputation attended the laying of the foundation stone of Maybole Town Hall. On the 15th of October, 1887 a Deputation witnessed the laying of the foundation stone at Dumfries Post Office, and in 1889, the lodge attended the laying of the foundation stone of Lodge Tarbolton Kilwinning St. James No 135.

On the 22nd June, 1897, the Lodge met for the purpose of marching to the Low Green and thereafter to Victoria Bridge Ayr, to take part in the laying of the keystone of the Bridge.

On the 19th of December, 1881, Lodge Ayr Kilwinning offered the use of their hall at 20 New Bridge Street at £3 per annum which was gratefully accepted, and on the 25th of January 1882, Lodge 125ís first meeting at 20 New Bridge Street was held.

On the 18th of September 1909, a deputation from 125 attended the opening of Lodge Prestwick 1060, and has gone on to forge strong links and many friendships with the brethren of 1060 over the years.

On the 28th of July 1930, a special meeting was held with the intention of purchasing Newnham Halls, Fullarton Street, Ayr, a former school for girls, the present location of the lodge.

On the 10th of July, 1931, 46 lodge brethren took part in a procession for the laying of the memorial stone of the Ayr New County Buildings, part of the ceremony being performed by the Provincial Grand Lodge headed by Lieutenant General Sir Aylmer Hunter-Weston, Provincial Grand Master and the ceremony was completed by His Royal Highness the Duke of York and accompanied by Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of York.

On the 12th of September 1931, the new premises at 26 Fullarton Street were duly consecrated by Bro. Lieut. General Sir Aylmer Hunter-Weston, Provincial Grand Master and his office bearers, there being 240 brethren present from all over the Province. The Provincial Grand Master thanked the R.W.M. the Secretary and the brethren of the Lodge for their efforts in securing such fine premises. He was delighted with all he had seen. Thereafter Bro. McCrorie the R.W.M. presented the Provincial Grand Master with a beautiful Cromwellian Clock. 

Lodge 125 held its 250th Anniversary on the 30th of April, 2022. It is an old and respected lodge and is and has been an integral part of the Community which it still serves today, by the very gracious donations to local charities and good causes as well as those supported by the Provincial Grand Lodge of Ayrshire and the Grand Lodge of Scotland.



Updated 18 12 2023