1788 - 1899




22 Jan 1788

Earliest record of the beginnings of Lodge Leven St John found in the minutes of Dumbarton Kilwinning No 18


In its first 100 years the lodge had a travelling charter, they first met in a house possessed by Messrs Stirling (Printwork owner), the house was dwelt in by John Burns

Sept 1800

The lodge now met in the house of William Miller

10 Jan 1805

The lodge were now meeting in Alexandria, at the house of Brother Mungo Glen

July 1805

Due to "there being some inconvenience" the lodge members decided the remainder of their meetings that year were to be held in the house of John Lindsay's resident of Bonhill

3 Apr 1806

The officers of the lodge met in the premises of William Bain. These premises were a local inn

For a small remittance paid to the Bain family meetings were held in these premises for the next 15 years.


The lodge loaned the Bain's family money to build an additional storey to their existing ground floor premises


The lodge received it's Grand Lodge number


A. S. MacBride was born

June 1843

Minutes show that by order of the RWM "a meeting was held in the Gardener's Hall, Alexandria"

It was decided the lodge crest was to stay in the care of Mr Leckie "until such times as we should have a proper place of meeting having no Lodge room at present of their own"

1850 - 1858

Annual meetings were held at the houses of 4 lodge brethren including William Caldwell and John Bayne to ensure the lodge charter remained in existence


Full minutes resumed with gatherings being held in the Black Bull Inn, Renton

13 Jul 1860

The first of two profound actions that influence the future of Lodge Leven St John occurs, this being:

"A candidate was passed and raised in due form and all dues being paid to the satisfaction of the members and Master he afterwards made application to the Master to receive the degree of the chair which was accordingly done ...."

13 Jul 1866

The second profound event occurred, this being:

Brother John Donald proposed A. S. MacBride as "a fit and proper person to become a Mason ..... No objection being raised, he was entered an apprentice...."

Nov 1867

Brother MacBride who had already been elected as lodge secretary was now elected for the first time as Master of Lodge Leven St John.

During his first term, Brother MacBride laid before the members a new form of the lodge Bye-laws and a new series of lectures on the three degree's of speculative masonry. He also intimated that under the new constitution of the Grand Lodge any brother who wished to do so, could receive the Mark degree and which he would conduct.

RWM MacBride served as Master of Lodge Leven St John for a total of 21 years over 3 different tenures that finally ended in 1896. He also served for one year as Master of Lodge Progress, Glasgow in 1900 - 1901.


A. S. MacBride is credited with composing "the MacBride ritual" Used by a minority of what some call “the thinking lodges”.


A committee was set up to look for a "lodge room entirely separate from a Public Shop or Inn", but this committee was not very effective in its execution as the lodge continued to meet in the north side room of the Alexandria Public Hall

Sept 1872

Because the Innkeeper at Renton was ill the lodge moved to the Bonhill Inn where meetings were held for the next decade

19th Apr 1886

The lodge celebrated its centenary with Brother MacBride in the Masters chair


The lodge members came to a crucial stage of facing a permanent move when they were reminded "there were signs that Grand lodge would soon make it imperative on Daughter lodges to provide a hall outside of licensed premises, (and hence) it was judicious to see what could be done on the matter". The committee to look for new premises was re-instated. They were appointed to find suitable premises and by April they proposed that the sum of £500 be raised through the purchasing of £1 shares or giving donations. In May this action was endorsed by the lodge at a meeting in the public hall at Renton and in Sept it was reported that £315.17s 0d had been collected with further donations expected. Following this announcement rules for managing the new hall were agreed.


The lodge was now meeting in the house of Brother William Murray and with the assistance of Past Master MacBride plans and specifications for the new building were drawn up. With Past Master MacBride's extensive knowledge of building construction and bricklaying the cost of construction were kept to a minimum.

A great deal of the work required in constructing the hall was done, voluntarily, by the members. The corner foundation stone of the building was laid in the Nov by the Provincial Grand Master and during the buildings construction Past Master MacBride played his “baggies” ably assisted by Brothers William Sinclair and Robert Watt in efforts to keep the spirit of the builders up.

16 Dec 1893

The Provincial Grand Master returned (only a year after laying the corner stone) to consecrate the finished building


News was given that the debt incurred from the British Linen Bank had been "wiped out" and the lodge stood only in debt to its own members