The Province of Caithness
Provincial Grand Lodge of Caithness
It appears that the Lodges agreed on a course of action at a meeting held at Castletown on 10th December 1926 and the agreement was formalised at a conference held at Wick on 11th March 1927.
The conference was chaired by W.M.Brims, who was the prospective Provincial Grand Master. It was open to Masters, Wardens and Past Masters of the three Lodges: 13 Brethren of St.Peter's Operative Lodge, 19 brethren of St.Fergus Lodge and 3 of Lodge John O' Groat. A committee was set up consisting of the Provincial Grand Master, Provincial Grand Secretary and the Masters and Wardens of the Lodges. A portion of the funds of the old Province had been retained by Grand Lodge and was now worth about £15 of general Funds and £85 of benevolent funds. This money was made available to the new organisation with authority to borrow from the benevolent funds for the purchase of regalia.
The Provincial Grand Lodge of Caithness was set up and consecrated on 23rd May 1927 by the Grand Master Mason, Archibald Douglas, 4th Baron Blythswood, who was accompanied by Archibald Alexander Hagart Speirs, his Depute and successor, Joseph Inglis, his Substitute, and a large deputation including the Grand Secretary, Thomas Girwood Winning. Sinclair Gair, Provincial Grand Master of Moray and Nairn, was present and it is pleasing to see that Robert Slater also was present.
When the cost of the proceedings was assessed in August it was found that £98 had been spent on regalia and books, £55 on the dinner ( towards which, however, £42 had been collected ), £5 on printing and £5 on car hire to take the Grand Lodge representatives to visit Tongue. It was decided to ask the Daughter Lodges to contribute £7 each to help meet these expenses. The Daughter Lodges showed their mettle by donating £5 each pointing out that the trip to Tongue was not a masonic expense. Fortunately, an office-bearer of the Province donated £5.
W.M.Brims ruled the Province for ten years, being reinstalled in 1932 by Robert Edward, Lord Belhaven & Stenton, then Grand Master Mason. He was a solicitor and bank agent, twice Provist of Thurso, and the records show, was assiduous in his attention to the duties of his office.
Meetings of Provincial Grand Lodge were held in the three Lodges more or less in turn except that Thurso or Wick was required for the most important events. The new Lodge at Castletown had, of course, only a small representation in these early days and the minutes show that it felt it was being treated unfairly. This feeling evaporated a few years later. Another topic raised quite soon, and which has been raised again in recent years, was that of "poaching".
Donald Reid, Past Master of St.Fergus, the county's Sanitary Inspector, was to be the next Provincial Grand Master and, indeed, he was commissioned as such, but he died just before the installation. The succession then fell to Dr.John Grant McGregor,Past Master of St.John No.795, Bucksburn,Aberdeen-shire, and founding Master of Lodge John O'Groat. He was installed on 26th May 1938 by Sir Norman Archibald Orr-Ewing,Bart, Grand Master Mason, and a deputation from Grand Lodge.
The Second World War broke out in the following year and, as the level of activity in the Daughter Lodges rose, so, paradoxically, it fell at Provincial Grand Lodge. Instead of meeting three or four times a year, it now met annually. In such a small Province this does not necessarily mean that there was any neglect.