About Lodge Dolphin and Freemasonry

Lodge Dolphin was founded on 30 November 1900 in the village of Bonnybridge, Stirlingshire, Scotland under the auspices of the Grand Lodge of Scotland.

It has operated from the present purpose built premises since 1924 and is one of twenty-three daughter Lodges in the Province of Stirlingshire, Scotland. The Lodge is located in a quiet cul-de-sac where ample parking is available. Access for the disabled is also provided.

Many other local Organisations make use of the premises. Individuals or groups may book the facilities for private functions etc. by contacting the Lodge Treasurer or Secretary through the email links provided in the left-hand column.

Links to the Lodge History, Office-bearers 2016 and to a selection of photographs taken in the Lodge are provided on this page. The most recent "Lodge Dolphin News" items are also listed and links provided.

A brief history of the Village of Bonnybridge

Bonnybridge is first mentioned as 'Ford of the Bonny' around 1648 when that part on the south side of the River Bonny was known as the 'Bonny Water' while that on the north side was known as the 'Water of Bonny'. The earliest record of what it is now called appears in 1682 when it was called 'Bonniebridge'. This may relate to when the first bridge was built. The part of the village on the south side of the River Bonny lay in the parish of Falkirk while that on the north side also lay in the parish of Falkirk until the parish of Denny was created. The separate parish of Bonnybridge was only created in 1878.

The coming of the Forth and Clyde Canal in 1840, together with the expansion of the rail network through the village of Greenhill to the south and available local natural resources, caused Bonnybridge to become a centre of industrial production. Ironfounding, chemicals production, whisky distilling, brick making and refractory products and coal production were some of the many industries that followed the creation of good communications by road, rail and waterway. Sadly most of these industries are now gone and the village is now more reliant on agriculture, light engineering and small businesses of various service types.

Are You?....

a. Considering joining freemasonry or indeed Lodge Dolphin?

b. Looking for more information about freemasonry in general?

Freemasonry is a beautiful system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by signs and symbols.

If you have not researched freemasonry before, this section will give you a general overview of the Organisation.

What will freemasonry do for me? What is it really about? Two very good questions.

What will it do for me?

Most freemasons will describe the social aspects of being part of a Lodge as:

Fellowship among like-minded men

Learning about Masonic History

Enjoying learning and delivering the ritual. Being part of a team, delivering parts of what are in effect plays about morality and improving ones self.

Being able to contribute to charitable causes

A ready-made framework of social events

Freemasonry is effectively an Organisation which "makes men" through participation in a series of plays or ritual dramas  through which we learn a better understanding of ourselves leading to general improvement of character and moral fibre.

However in addition, some have also found that they have had their self-confidence improve through being part of a Lodge, and that their ability to speak in public has developed through the opportunity to learn and deliver the ritual we use. Positive personal development through these and other general aspects of being a freemason will usually occur.

What's it really about?

Being part of something bigger than you - Freemasonry has been around for hundreds of years. When you get initiated you'll be part of this "legacy" that has a very long history.

Freemasonry is equal for all - One of the most amazing things is that in every Lodge, every brother is equal. There is no special treatment just because of your social status. In the Lodge, all brethren are equal. We talk of being ' on the level'.

Masonry takes good men and makes them better - That is one of the main principles you will learn when you become a freemason. You will learn how to better treat your fellow man and how to go about life 'fair and square' with the world. Of course you can be a better person without freemasonry but within a Lodge you will be able to learn and reflect on ways to do that and how to serve your society and fellow creatures better.

These things encompass and embrace the fundamental principles of good citizenship in all walks of life:

Kindness - Freemasons have always been deeply involved in charity and make a major contribution to society through their own charities, as well as through donations to UK charities and worldwide disaster funds, with members playing an active role in their communities .

Honesty - Freemasonry prides itself on its transparency. Not only are freemasons completely free to acknowledge their membership, they are encouraged to do so.

Fairness - Freemasons treat all as equal. For many the Organisation's biggest draw is the fact that members come from all walks of life and meet as equals whatever their race, religion or socio-economic position.

Tolerance - Freemasons are expected to show respect for the opinions of others and behave with understanding towards other people.

Integrity - Freemasons are asked to be the best people they can be, which comes hand in hand with the above principles of kindness, honesty, fairness and tolerance.

What some people say and what it isn't about:

You make money from Masonry. False - you have to pay money to become and be a member (Although not much more than to a regular Club).

You will get rich. False - You cannot get rich from freemasonry.

You will make connections to further your business. True up to a point - But this can be done within any social group and community. The circles within freemasonry are however limited so if this is what you are looking for it is suggested that you join a proper networking business Organisation.

You will run the world. Completely untrue.

What effort do I have to put in?

Freemasonry is like almost any hobby or interest. The more you put in the more likely you are to get increased enjoyment out. Joining a Lodge means that you would normally look to attend the Regular Meetings (this varies from Lodge to Lodge). As time goes by you will discover social events and other meetings you might want to attend, for example Burns Suppers, dances, charity nights. You should only attend what you feel comfortable with - there is not an expectation beyond what you want.

In addition, and it time, there are many other 'degrees' or 'side orders'  that may arrest your interest and are run as separate Organisations or Lodges.

About Freemasonry - Origins and Administration

Freemasonry is the world's oldest form of social networking, but unlike the many modern digital equivalents available, we still prefer to meet each other face-to-face, discuss matters of mutual interest, meet old friends, make new friends, broaden our horizons, and learn new things. When we have finished doing that, we will often socialise with a buffet or meal with drinks.

Freemasonry is also acknowledged as being the oldest fraternal (meaning men only - 'of or like brothers') society in the world and while our true origins are subject to much speculation, is known to have existed long before the first officially recorded initiation in 1646.

The Grand Lodge of Scotland, headquarters in Edinburgh, supervises all Masonic Lodges that operate under its constitution. It was formed in 1736, and among other things, serves to issue 'Warrants' to Lodges that conform to the original rules and regulations of the Order. This makes them 'Regular 'Lodges.

The 'Warrant' ensures that our members can be welcomed as visitors to other Lodges in the UK or abroad that are 'recognised' as conforming to the same high standards. likewise we also welcome visitors from other Lodges from around the world, who are officially recognised by the Grand Lodge of Scotland.

You have come to the Lodge Dolphin pages. There are many more Lodges, Provinces, Districts throughout Scotland and across the world.

Freemasonry and religion

Freemasonry itself is not a religion in any way but we do expect our members to follow a recognised faith themselves, whatever that might be. This is referred to as a 'belief in a supreme being'.

The reason for this is quite simple; when a member is admitted into freemasonry, he is required to make a sincere promise that he will be a good and honest citizen, treat others equally, justly and fairly, obey the laws of the land, support those in genuine need wherever possible, and keep to certain secrets that serve only to keep our meetings private.

This is done in a similar way to giving evidence in a Court of Law using the 'Book of Sacred Writings' that govern your individual faith as proof that you understand the difference between good and evil and lies etc.

Our meetings are strictly private and restricted to members only. This is the only reason that there are secrets in freemasonry.

There is no separate or composite Masonic God, and on any occasion that a 'Supreme Being' or 'Deity' may be referred to, you are expected to associate the term with the God of your own faith. That matter is personal to yourself at all times.

Freemasonry offers no path to salvation, forgiveness of sins or any other 'heavenly rewards'. Those matters belong to your personal faith whatever that might be.

There is absolutely nothing in freemasonry that is incompatible with any of the world's recognised religions, and in this special way, Masons of every race, colour or creed can assemble together to enjoy everything that Masonry, and indeed humanity itself offers in equal measure.

Freemasonry and politics

Apart from promising not to take part in any political conspiracy or plot against Government, freemasonry does not concern or align itself with any political party or political agenda. In order to maintain complete harmony amongst members, it is expressly forbidden to openly discuss politics or religion at our meetings.

Freemasonry and women

Despite popular belief, women can become freemasons too, but a bit like the changing rooms at the local Gym, men have their own Lodges and women have theirs. While we often meet and socialise, men do not visit women's Lodges and vice versa. It is not unusual for a woman and her husband or partner to be freemasons, just not in the same Lodge. In every other aspect the structure of the Organisation is the same and the meetings are similar.

Freemasonry and Secret Societies

Apart from a couple of dark periods in history when freemasons were persecuted by despotic dictatorships, we have never been a 'secret society' as such. Members are encouraged to discuss Freemasonry outside the Lodge and you will often see us wearing masonic rings, neckties or lapel pins as we go about our everyday business.

Most Lodges now have their own Websites and even Facebook pages and the places where we meet are often open to the public for private parties, wedding receptions conferences and meeting facilities etc.

Our Regular meetings used to be listed in the local press but can still be found on the Internet or indeed on this site.

Apart from the secrets that serve only to keep our meetings private, freemasons are not restricted in discussing all aspects of our Order to anyone who is interested.

A few ignorant people accuse us of being a 'secret society' but we really are not. Hence the reason you are now reading this piece.

We do not recruit members by invitation, nor do we ever try to persuade or coerce someone to join us. You need to make the decision entirely of your own free will and ask to become a member. We will furnish you with any information that you need to make up your mind and indeed visit you in your home should you so wish.

If you do not know anyone who is already a freemason do not let that deter you when making your decision.

Freemasonry and Charity

Our meetings usually start off by making sure that everyone present is entitled to be there and that all Lodge Office-bearers are in their correct places and know their respective duties.

The Minutes of the previous meeting are usually read or circulated beforehand and formally approved and signed by the Master of the Lodge.

At certain times we might be admitting a new member, or an existing member may have reached a point that entitles him to be 'promoted to a higher degree, and if so this is done according to an ancient ritual.

Certain Office-bearers such as the Treasurer or Almoner will give a brief report of their activities between Lodge meetings in order to keep the members informed of their specialist areas of interest. At least one meeting every year is devoted to electing and installing the Office-bearers to carry out their duties for the following year.

Before the meeting is formally closed any official communications are read to keep all members and visitors informed. When the official business is over we normally retire to enjoy refreshments in a more relaxed social atmosphere.

What do I do next?

Select a masonic Lodge in your area, hopefully Lodge Dolphin, suited to your needs, family time, work time, days and times that the Lodge meets.

Seek an application form from the Lodge Secretary (see links) and if necessary we will talk you through the process.

We trust that we will see you again.

 

For more information please use the links provided in the left-hand column.