|Lodge St. Kilda No. 881 Centenary ~ October 2012|
The Isle of Skye has a long association with Freemasonry with a Masonic Lodge being present from about 1769. That original Lodge, believed to have also been called St Kilda, operated from that year until its’ dissolution in about 1848. That period was a time of great social upheaval throughout the West of Scotland but was particularly harsh in Skye. This time is perhaps best known as the ‘Clearances’ when large areas of rural Scotland were cleared of people to make way for sheep and deer forests. It was not unknown for entire villages and townships to be forcibly emptied of the people at very short notice, those people being forced to leave and some even ‘sold’ into debentured servitude by the landowners. The sudden loss of that original Lodge St Kilda, and the lack of any Lodge records from that time, lend credence to the notion that the ‘Clearances’ had claimed yet another victim. Detailed investigations of the original Lodge undertaken by PM Donnie Wood revealed the possibility that the original Lodge Charter and other documents are in Tasmania or somewhere in Australia. The Secretary of the original Lodge bore the same name as a number of people who were ‘cleared’ around that time and sent there.
The loss of that original Grand Lodge Charter was to have a profound effect some fifty or so years later when a number of Master Masons decided to re-form the original Lodge St Kilda. A meeting took place on 22nd April 1898 at the Portree Hotel involving some 21 Master Masons. All those present signed a petition to Grand Lodge asking that the Lodge be re-constituted. The reply from Grand Lodge duly arrived agreeing to the re-constitution of Lodge St Kilda but stating that the lack of the original Charter would mean the issuing of a new number. Lodge St Kilda was therefore to be number 881 on the roll of the Grand Lodge of Scotland. The new Charter duly arrived on Skye on 15th November 1898 and it was resolved that a ceremony of consecration of the new Lodge would be held on 2nd December.