The St Clair/Sinclair's of Roslin/Rosslyn
William St Clair of Roslin, 20th feudal Baron of Roslin (1700-1778) was the first Grand Master Mason of the Grand Lodge of Scotland. He became the first Grand Master Mason by acclamation on St. Andrew’s Day in 1736. He was initiated in Lodge Canongate Kilwinning on 18 May, Passed on 2 June 1736 and Raised on 3 November 1736. He was supposedly the last of a long line of hereditary Grand Masters and surrendered his hereditary office on becoming the first elected Grand Master of the new Grand Lodge of Scotland. However his ancestors were actually “Patrons and protectors” of the Scottish Stone Masons, according to the ‘Sinclair Charters’ and never “Hereditary Grand Master Masons” as the foundational myth of the Grand Lodge of Scotland suggests.
The First Sinclair Charter:
CHARTER GRANTED BY THE MASONS OF SCOTLAND TO WILLIAM ST CLAIR OF ROSLlN IN 1601
Be it kend till all men be thir present letters
Be it known to all men by these present letters,
ws Deacons Maistres and freemen of the Masons within the realme of Scotland with express consent and assent of Wm Schaw Maister of Wark to our Souane Lord ffor sa meikle as from aige to aige it has been observit amangis that the Lairds of Rosling has ever been Patrons and Protectors of us and our priviledges likeas our predecessors has obey’d and acknowledged them as Patrones and tectoris
We Deacons, Masters, and Freemen of the Masons within the realm of Scotland, with express consent and assent of William Schaw Master of the Work, to our Sovereign Lord, whereas from age to age it has been observed among us, that the Lords of Roslin have ever been Patrons and Protectors of us and our privileges; so that our predecessors have obeyed and acknowledged them as Patrons and Protectors,
while that within thir few years throwch negligence and sleuthfulness the samyn has past furth of vse whereby not only has the Laird of Rosling lyne out of his just rycht but also our hail craft has been destitute of ane patron and protector and overseer qlk has genderit manyfauld corruptions and imperfections, baith amangis ourselves and in our craft
Although within these few years through negligence and slothfulness the same has passed forth from us, whereby not only has the Lord of Roslin been out of his just right, but also our whole Craft has been destitute of a patron and protector and overseer, which has caused many corruptions and imperfections, both among ourselves and in our Craft,
and has given occasion to mony persones to conseve evill opinioun of ws and our craft and to leive off great enterprises of policie be reason of our great misbehaviour wtout correction whereby not only the committers of the faults but also the honest men are disapoyntit of their craft and ffeit.
And has given occasion to many persons to conceive evil opinion of us and our Craft, and to leave off great enterprises of policy by reason of our great misbehavior, without correction, whereby not only the committers of the faults but also the honest men are disappointed with their Craft and profit.
As lyikwayes when divers and sundrie contraversies falls out amangis ourselfs thair follows great and manyfald inconvenientis through want of ane (Patron and Protector) we not being able to await upon the ordinar judges and judgement of this realme through the occasioun of our powertie and langsumness of process for remeid qrof and for keeping of guid ordour amangis us in all tymes cumyng, and for advancement of our craft and vocatioun within this realme and furthering ofpolicie within the samyn
Likewise, when various controversies break out among us, there follow many and great inconveniences through want of a patron and protector, we not being able to wait upon the ordinary judges and judgement of this realm through the occasion of our poverty and slowness of the process for the remedy whereof, and for the keeping of good order among us in all times to come, and for advancement of our Craft and vocation within this realm and furthering of policy within the same.
We for ourselves and in name of our haill bretherene and craftismen with consent foresaid agrees and consents that Wm Sinclar now of Rosling for himself & his airis purchase and obtene at ye hands of our Souane Lord libertie fredome and jurisdictioun vpone us and our successors in all tymes cummyng as patrons and judges to us and the haill fessoris of our craft wtin this realme quhom off we have power and commission sua that hereafter we may acknawlege him and his airis as our patrone and judge under our Souerane Lord without ony kind of appellation or declynyng from his judgement with power to the said Williame and his airis to depute judges ane or mae under him and to use sick ampill and large jurisdictione upon us and our successors als weill as burghe as land as it shall pleise our Souerane Lord to grant to him & his airis.
William Schaw, Maistir of Wark.
We, for ourselves and in name of our dear brethren and craftsmen, with consent aforesaid, agree and consent that William Sinclair, now of Roslin, for himself and his heirs, purchase and obtain at the hands of our Sovereign Lord liberty, freedom, and jurisdiction upon us and our successors in all times coming, as patrons and judges to us and the Grand Masters (3) of our Craft within this realm, from whom we have power and commission, so that hereafter we may acknowledge him and his heirs as our patrons and judge under our Sovereign Lord, without any kind of appeal or declining from his judgement, with power to the said William and his heirs to appoint judges, one or more, under him and to use such ample and large jurisdiction upon us and our successors, as well in boroughs as land, as it shall please our Sovereign Lord to grant to him and his heirs.
William Schaw, Master of the Work.
- Edinburgh – Andro Symsone Jhone Robesoune – Edinburgh – Andrew Simson, John Robson.
- St Andrews – ……….. – St Andrews – …u
- Hadingtoun – P. Capbell takand ye burdyng for Jon. Saw, J. Vallance, William Aittoun – Hadington – P. Campbell, taking the burden for Jon. Saw, J. Vallance, William Aittoun.
- Achiesone Heavin – Georg Aittoun Jo. Fwsetter Thomas Petticrif – Achieson Heaven – George Aittoun, Jo. Fwsetter, Thomas Petticrif.
- Dunfermling – Robert Pest – Dumfermlin – Robert Pest.
- Thomas Weir mason in Edr. Thomas Robertsoun wardane of the Ludge of Dunfermling and Sanct Androis and takand the burding upon him for the brethren of the Mason Craft within they Lwdges – Thomas Weir Mason in Edinburgh, Thomas Robertson warden of the Lodge of Dumferling and Saint Andrews and taking the burden upon him for the brethren of the Mason Craft, within their Lodges,
- and for the Commissioners efter mentionat viz. David Skowgall Alexander Gilbert and David Spens for the Lwdge of Sanct Androis Andrew Alisone and Archibald Angous Commissionaris for the Lwdge of Dwmfermling – And for the Commissioners, after mentioned vizt. David Skougall, Alexander Gilbert, and David Spens for the Lodge of Saint Andrews, Andrew Alisone and Archibald Angone, Commissiary for the Lodge of Dumfermlin,
- and Robert Baize of Haddington with our handis led on the pen be the notaris underwritten at our commandis because we can nocht write. – And Robert Baize of Haddington with our hands laid on the pen by the notary underwritten at our commands, because we can not write.
- Ita est Laurentius Robertsoun notarius publicus ad praemissa requisitus de specialibus mandatis dict. personarum scribere nescien. ut aseruerunt testan. manu mea propria. – Laurentius Robertson, notary public, with special powers given by people who can not write, so they bear witness by my own hand.
- (Ita est) Henricus Banna(Tyne) connotarius ad premissa (de mandatis) antedictarum personarum (scribere nescientium ut aseruerunt teste) manu mea propria. – Henricus Banna (Tyne), notary assistant in charge of the above persons, who can not write, so they bear witness by my own hand.
The Second Sinclair Charter:
CHARTER GRANTED BY THE MASONS OF SCOTLAND TO SIR WILLIAM ST CLAIR IN 1628.
Beit kend till all men be thir present letters
Be it known to all men by these present letters,
ws the Deacones Masteris friemen of the Maissones and Hammermen within the kingdome of Scotland That forsameikill as from aidge to aidge it has been observet amangis us and our predecessors that the Lairdis of Rosling has ever been patrons and protectors of us and our priviledgis Likeas our predecessors has obeyit reverencet and acknowledget them as patrons and protectors qrof they had letters of protection and vtheris richtis grantit be his Maties most noble progenitors of worthy memorie qIkis with sindrie vtheris of the Lairdis of Rosling his writtis being consumet and brunt in ane flame of fire within the Castle of Rosling in an …..
We, the Deacons, Masters, Freemen of the Masons and Hammermen within the kingdom of Scotland, that whereas from age to age it has been observed among us and our predecessors, that the Lords of Roslin have ever been patrons and protectors of us and our privileges, as our predecessors have obeyed, reverenced and acknowledged them as patrons and protectors, from where they had letters of protection and other rights granted by his Majesty’s most noble progenitors of worthy memory, which with sundry others of the Lords of Roslin, his documents being consumed and burned in a flame of fire within the castle of Roslin in anno…
The consumation and burning qrof being clearly knawin to us and our predecessors deacons maisteris and freemen of the saidis vocations, and our protection of the samyn and priviledgis thereof (be negligence) and slouthfulness being likely to pass furth of us where throw not only wald the Lairdis of Rosling lyne out of their just richt but also our hail craftis wald haifbene destitute of ane patrone protector and oversear quhilk wald engenner monyfald imperfectionis and corruptionis baith amangis ourselves and in our craft and give occasione to mony persones to conceive evill opinioun of us and our craft and to leave af many and grit enterpryces ofpolicie whilk wald be vndertaken if our grit misbehaviour were suffered to goe on without correctioun
The consumption and burning of them being clearly known to us and our predecessors, deacons, Masters, and free men of the said vocations, and our protection of the same and privileges thereof by negligence and slothfulness being likely to pass forth from us, so that not only would the Lords of Roslin be deprived of their just right, but also our whole Craft would have been destitute of a patron, protector and overseer, which would engender many imperfections and corruptions, both among ourselves and in our Craft, and give occasion to many persons to conceive evil opinion of us and our Craft, and to leave off many and great enterprises of policy, which would be undertaken, if our great misbehavior were allowed to go on without correction.
For remeid qrof and for keeping of good ordour amangis us in all time coming and for advancement of our craft and vocation within his Hienes kingdom of Scotland and furdering of policie yaireintill the maist pairt of our predecessors for themselves and in name and behalfe of our bretherene and craftsmen with express advice and consent of William Schaw Maister of Wark to Hienes umqle darrest father of worthy memorie all in ane voce agreit consentit and subseryvet that William Sinclar of Rosling father to Sir William Sinclar now of Rosling for himself and his airis should purches and obtain at the hands of his Majestie libertie freedome and jurisdictioun upon us and our predecessors deacons maisteris and freemen of the saidis vocation, as patrones and judges to us and the haill professors thereof within the said kingdom qrof they had power and commission sua that they and we micht yairafter acknowledge him and his airis as patrone and judge under our Soverane Lord without any kind of appellation or declinatour from thair judgement forever, as the said agreement subscryvet be the said Mr of Wark and our predecessors at mare length proportis
For remedy of this and for keeping of good order among us in all time to come, and for advancement of our Craft and vocation within his Highness’s Kingdom of Scotland and furthering of policy, therein until the greater part of our predecessors for themselves and in the name of and on behalf of our brethren and craftsmen, with express advice and consent of William Schaw, Master of the Work, to his Highness lately deceased father of worthy memory all in one voice agreed, consented, and subscribed that William Sinclair of Roslin, father to Sir William Sinclair now of Roslin, for himself and his heirs should purchase and obtain at the hands of his Majesty liberty, freedom, and jurisdiction upon us, and our predecessors, deacons, Masters, and freemen of the said vocation, as patrons and judges to us and all the professors thereof within the said kingdom, from whom they had power and commission, so that they and we might thereafter acknowledge him and his heirs as patrons and judges under our Sovereign Lord, without any kind of appeal or declination from their judgement forever, as the said agreement subscribed by the said Master of the Work, and our predecessors at more length and proportion.
In the whilk office priviledge and jurisdictioun over us and our said (voca)tioun the said William Sinclar of Rosling ever continuit to his going to Ireland qr he presently reamanes sen the quhilk (time) of his departure furth ofthis realme there are very many corruptiounes and imperfectiounes risen and ingennerit baith amangis ourselfis and in our saidis vocatiounes in defect of ane patrone and oversear over us and the samyn Sua that our saidis vocatiounes are altogether likely to decay
In which office privilege and jurisdiction over us and our said vocation the said William Sinclair of Roslin ever continued until his going to Ireland, where he presently remains, and since which [time] of his departure from this realm there are very many corruptions and imperfections risen and engendered both among ourselves and in our said vocation, in defect of a patron and overseer over us, and the same, so that our said vocations are altogether likely to decay.
And now for safety thereofwe having full experience of the efauld good skill and judgement whilk the said Sr William Sinclar now of Rosling has in our said craft and vocatioun and for reparation of the ruines and manifold corruptiounes and enormities done be unskilfull persones thereintill WE all in ane voce have ratified and approven and be thir presentis ratifies and approves the foresaid former letter ofjurisdictioun and libertie made and subr be our brethrene and his Hienes umqle Mr of Wark for the time to the said Williame Sinclar of Rosling father to the said Sr William whereby he and his airis are acknowledget as our patrone and judge under our Soverane Lord over us and the haill professors of our said vocatioun within this his Hienes kingdom of Scotlande without any appelation or declinator from their judgements in ony (time hereafter) forever
And now for safety thereof we having full experience of the ever good skill and judgement, which the said William Sinclair, now of Roslin, has in our Craft and vocation, and for reparation of the ruins and many corruptions and enormities done by unskillful persons therein, we all in one voice have ratified and approved, and by these presents ratify and approve the aforesaid former letter of jurisdiction and liberty, made and subscribed by our brethren and his Highness, while Master of Work, for the time, to the said William Sinclair of Roslin, father to the said Sir William whereby he and his heirs are acknowledged as our patrons and judge under our Sovereign Lord, over us and the whole professors of our said vocation within this his Highness’s Kingdom of Scotland, without any appeal or declination from their judgements in any [time hereafter] forever.
And further we all in ane voce as said is of new have made constitute and ordainit and be thir presentis makis constitutes and ordanes the said Sir William Sinclar now of Rosling and his airis maill our only patrones protectors and overseers under our Soverane Lord to us and our successors deacons maisteris and freemen of our saidis vocatiounes of Masons hammermen within the haile kingdome of Scotland and of our haille priviledges and jurisdictiounes belonging thereto wherein he his father and their predecessors Lairdis of Rosling have been in use of possessioun thir many aidges bygain with full power to him and them be themselves thair wardens and deputis to be constitute be them to affix and appoint places of meeting for keeping of good ordour in the said craft als oft and sua oft as need shall require all and sundry persones that may be knawin to be subject to the said vocatioun to be called absentis to amerciat transgressuris to punish unlawes casualities and vtheris duties whatsomever pertaining and belonging or that may fall to be pait be whatsomever persone or persones subject to the said craft to aske crave receive intromet with and uplift and the samyn to their own proper use to apply deputtis under them in the said office with clerkis seruandis assisteris and all other officers and memberis of court needfull to make create substitute and ordain for whom they shall be holden to answer all and sundry plentis actions and causes pertaining to the said craft and vocation and against whatsomever person or persones professors thereof to hear discuss decerne and decyde acts duties and sentences thereupon to pronunce
And further, we all in one voice as said, as of now have made, constitute and ordain, and by these presents, make constitute, and ordain the said Sir William Sinclair now of Roslin, and his male heirs, our only patrons, protectors, and overseers, under our Sovereign Lord to us and our successors, deacons, Masters and freemen of our said vocations of Masons, Hammermen, within the whole kingdom of Scotland, and our whole privileges and jurisdictions belonging thereto, wherein he, his father and their predecessors Lords of Roslin have been in use of possession these many ages bygone, with full power to him and them by themselves, their wardens and deputies to be constituted by them to affix and appoint places of meeting for keeping of good order in the said Craft as often and so often as need shall require all and sundry persons that may be known to be subject to the said vocation to be called absent, to fine transgressors, to punish wrongdoers, casualties and other duties whatsoever pertaining and belonging, or that may fall to be paid by whatsoever person or persons subject to the said Craft, to ask, crave, receive entry with an uplift and the same to their own proper use to apply deputies under them in the said office with clerks, servants, assistants, and all other officers and members of court needful to make, create, substitute and ordain for whom they shall be held to answer all and sundry plenum actions and causes pertaining to the said Craft and vocation and against whatsoever person or persons who profess it, to hear, discuss, discern, and decide acts, duties, and sentences thereupon to pronounce.
And the samyn to due execution to cause be put and generallie all and sundrie other priviledges liberties and immunities whatsomever concerning the said craft to doe use and exerce and cause to be done and exercet and keipit siklyke and als freely in all respects as any vyeris thair predecessors has done or might have done themselves in anytime bygane freely quietly well and in peace but any revocatioun obstacle impediment or again calling quhtsomevir.
And the same to due execution to cause to be put, and generally all and sundry other privileges, liberties and immunities whatsoever, concerning the said Craft to do, use, and exert and cause to be done, and exercise and keep suchlike and as freely in all respects as any others their predecessors have done or might have done themselves in any time past, freely, quietly, well, and in peace, but any revocation, obstacle, or impedient, or again calling whatsoever.
In witness of the qlke thing to thir presenttis wtin be Alexander Aikinheid servitor to Andrew Hay wrytter we have subt thir nts with our handis at ..
In witness of which, these presents are written by Alexander Aikinheid, servitor to Andrew Hay, writer, we have subscribed these presents with our hands at …
- The Ludge of Edinburgh. – William Wallace decon John Watt Thomas Patersone – The Lodge of Edinburgh – William Wallace deacon, John Watt, Thomas Paterson.
- The Ludge of Glasgow. – John Boyd deakin. Robert Boyd ane of the mestres. Hew Douok deikon of the Measounes and Vrichtis off Ayre and George Lid(ell) deacan of quarimen and nov quartermaster. – The Lodge of Glasgow – John Boid deacon, Robert Boid one of the Masters Hew Douok deacon of the Masons of Ayre , and George Lid(ell) deacon of quarrymen and now quarter Master.
- The Ludge of Stirlinge. – John Thompsone James Rind – The Lodge of Stirling – John Thompson, James Rind.
- The Ludge of Dunfermlinge. – (Robert Alisone one of the masters of Dunfermling) – The Lodge of Dumfermlin – Robert Alison, one of the Masters of Dumfermlin.
- The Ludge of Dundee. – Robert Strachoune master Robert Johnstone Mr of (-) David Mesone Mr of (-) – The Lodge of Dundee – Robert Strachoun, Master Robert Johnstone, Mr of, David Mason Mr. of.
- Thomas Fleming wardane in Edinburgh and Hugh Forrest with our hands att the pen led be the notar under subd for us at our command because we cannot wryt. A. Hay notarius asseruit. – Thomas Flemming, warden in Edinburgh and Hugh Forrest with our hands at the pen, led by the notary, under subcribed for us at our command, because we cannot write. A. Hay notarius asseruit.
- Robert Caldwell in Glasgow with my hand at the pen led be the notar under subscrywand for me because I cannot writt myself. J. Henrysone notarius asseruit. – Robert Caldwell in Glasgow with my hand at the pen led by the notary under subscribant for me because I cannot write myself. J. Henryson notarius asseruit.
- I John Serveite Mr of ye Craftis in Stirling with my hand att ye pen led be the notar under subscryvand for me because I cannot writt J. Henrysone notarius asseruit. – I John Servant of Mr of the Craft in Stirling with my hand at the pen, led by the notary under subscribed for me because I cannot write. J. Henryson notarius asseruit.
- I John Burne ane of the mris. of Dumfermling with my hand att the pen led be the notar under subscrywand for me at my command because I cannot writ myself. J. Henrysone notarius asseruit. – I John Burn one of the Masters of Dumfermlin with my hand at the pen led by the notary under subscribed for me at my command, because I cannot write myself. J. Henryson notarius asseruit.
- David Robertson ane of ye mesteris Andrew Welsone master and Thomas (W)elsone varden of the sed Ludg of Sant Androis Andrew Wast and David Quhyit maisteris in Dundee with our hands att the pen led be the notar under subscryvand att our commands because we cannot writt. Thomas Robertson notarius asseruit. – David Robertson, one of the Masters, Andrew Welson Master and Thomas (V)elson warden of the said Lodge of Saint Andrews , Andrew West, and David White Masters in Dundee with our hands at the pen, led by the notary under subscribed at our commands because we cannot write. Thomas Robertson notarius asseruit.
Highly recommended Scottish Masonic author: Robert L.D. Cooper (robertldcooper.org)
The Rosslyn Hoax? Viewing Rosslyn Chapel from a New Perspective, by Bro. Robert L. D. Cooper. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rosslyn-Hoax-Viewing-Chapel-Perspective/dp/0853182558
Cracking the Freemason’s Code: The Truth About Solomon’s Key and the Brotherhood, by Bro. Robert Cooper. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cracking-Freemasons-Code-Solomons-Brotherhood/dp/1846040493/
The Genealogie of the Sainteclaires of Rosslyn, by Father Richard Hay. Edited by Bro. Robert Cooper. https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0902324632/