French Connection

History and Relationship between the Lodges

In March 1999, it was the intention of Bro. Gordon McCaffer when he became Right Worshipful Master to visit any Lodge that shared the same number on the roll on their respective Grand Lodge as Lodge Coltswood Glenboig No. 1067 did on the roll of The Grand Lodge of Scotland. Bro. McCaffer arranged visits to Lodge Royal Forrest of Dean No. 1067 in the English Constitution and Lodge Fidélité Occitane No. 1067 of the Grand Lodge Nationale Française situated in Albi, Southern France.

These visits came and passed with great success but unfortunately, the relationship between these Lodges’ slowly dwindled. This was mainly due to a change in Office Bearers within the respective Lodge’s and friendships moving on.

In 2009, Right Worshipful Master Bro. Colin Campbell attempted to resurrect the friendship with the French Lodge. Various attempts were made to contact the Lodge Secretary Bro. Guy Daumas Condomines to no avail, just when Bro. Campbell was about to give up the newly installed Right Worshipful Master Bro. Alain Huppé made contact and fortunately, he spoke very good English. Between them, they setup a visit to Albi to Lodge Fidélité Occitane in November 2009 with Bro. Campbell, Bro. Gordon Rowe P.M. and Bro. William Lees attending.

This visit, although a little apprehensive on both sides went well and the friendship between the Lodges was re-established. More so in February 2010, Lodge Coltswood’s Centenary year, where a large number French Brethren made the trip to Scotland attending the Centenary re-dedication ceremony and banquet dinner. During the trip they also visited St. Andrews, the home of golf, competing for the newly named “1067 Golf Trophy”, unfortunately for the French Brethern on this occasion, the Scottish Lodge was victorious.

In the November of 2010 a deputation from Lodge Coltswood visited Albi where Lodge Fidélité Occitane No. 1067 delivered a very similar but different Master Mason Degree. Following this, a degree team from Lodge Coltswood carried out an enactment of the High and Sublime Degree of a Mason Mason with Right Worshipful Master Bro. Alan Huppé as the stand in candidate, this was well received by the candidate and Brethern alike. At the conclusion of the ceremony Bro. Gordon Rowe R.W.M. Elect , Bro. Colin Campbell I.P.M. and Bro. William Lees received honorary membership of Lodge Fidélité Occitane No. 1067.

During this visit also, Bro. Gordon Rowe P.M. received the high honour of being invested as Honorary Past Provincial Director of Ceremonies of Provincial Grand Lodge of Alby-Quercy. His duties he carried out in his own unique style at the gala dinner at Le Calas Hotel in Lacune, a fabulous restaurant owned by Bro. Claud Calas, a night where the Bro. Christian Bonzi P.G.M. wrote to the Lodge Coltswood thanking the Brethern for some special and “explosive” memories on their trip to Albi in 2010.

This trip also allowed the Brethern to again, to go head to head at Albi Golf Course, where Bro.  Guy was a Past Captain, sadly due the French Brethern plying the Scottish Brethern with wine and whisky the evening before, the French Brethern were victorious.

Over the next few years Brother Alain Huppe & Guy Daumas Condomines continued to visit Lodge Coltswood for their annual installations, however, dark times were to descend on French Freemasonry in 2012, as is was stripped of recognition by various Grand Lodges worldwide, including The Grand Lodge of Scotland. This resulted in no inter-visitations between the Lodges. During these times, the Brethern remained friends and communicated regularly on the situation in France.

At the regular communication of The Grand Lodge of Scotland on the 14th June 2014, the Grand Master Mason announced that recognition was re-instated to The Grand Lodge National Française and Lodges could now visit freely and receive visitors from France. Sadly during these troubled times Bro. William Lees passed away on the 31st March 2013 and never managed to meet his friends from France one more time.

On the 20th March 2015, Brothers Alain Huppe & Guy Daumas Condomines affiliated to Lodge Coltswood Glenboig at the regular meeting with the obligation delivered by Bro. Colin Campbell P.M.

On the 30th May 2015, a deputation from Lodge Coltswood visited Albi for a regular communication of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Terres du Temple, held in Montauban.

The Brethern were due to arrive on the Friday evening but due to a delayed flight in London, the Scottish Brethern did not arrive until the mid-morning on the Saturday. Thus, missing a opportunity to compete for the “1067 Golf Trophy”. Being more competitive than most, Bro. Neil Thomson P.M. Secretary managed to talk the French Brethern into moving the challenge to another local course later that afternoon, where Scotland were again victorious in a keenly fought contest.

At this communication the Coltswood Brethern present were made Honorary Founder members of Lodge Scotia Divona No. 1948, which was consecrated on that day. R.W.M. Bro. Donald McLeod while on holiday in May 2016 made a visit to the Lodge in Cahors with Inner Guard Bro. Jack Kenyon in May along with Bro. Alain and Bro. Guy.

During the communication also the following Brethern were honoured with Provincial rank –

  • Gordon McCaffer P.M. Provincial Grand Treasurer – Honorary Past Provincial Deacon
  • Gordon Rowe P.M. Provincial Vice President of Stewards – Honorary Past Provincial Grand Superintendent

Early in January 2016, Bro. Gordon Rowe P.M., Bro. Colin Campbell P.M. and Bro. Iain Reid, accompanied by Provincial Grand Master Bro. James L. Jack visited Rodez for the installation of Provincial Grand Master Bro. Christian Bonzi, during this visit the following Brethern were honoured by Provincial Grand Lodge of Terres du Temple

  • Colin Campbell P.M. – Honorary Past Provincial Grand Senior Warden
  • Bro James L. Jack P.P.G.M. – Honorary Past Provincial Junior Warden
  • William Gordon Rowe P.M. – Honorary Past Provincial Standard Bearer
  • Iain Reid Senior Deacon – Honorary Past Provincial Deacon

On a regular visit to Lodge Coltswood’s annual installation in December 2015, Bro. Alain Huppe P.M. and Bro. Guy Daumas Condomines P.M., visited Lodge Tarbolton Kilwinning No. 135, the Lodge of Robert Burns, accompanied by a large deputation from Lodge Coltswood Glenboig. The purpose of the visit was that both receive their Mark Degree by the Lodge Office Bearers under the seal of The Grand Lodge of Scotland.

On the 18th March 2016, a French deputation headed by Bro. Domonique Botten R.W.M. of Lodge La Foi No. 316 visited Lodge Coltswood, accompanied by Bro. Alain & Guy. During this trip, the French Brethern visited The Grand Lodge of Scotland and received a tour by Bro. Bob Cooper followed by a Masonic tour of Rosslyn Chapel.

The weekend was rounded off with night in St. Andrews sampling the local hospitality followed by another tightly fought contest on the golf course, this time the French Brethern were victorious, although we did lend them Bro. Kenny Dalzell P.M. of Lodge New Monkland Montrose to make up the numbers.

One of the great stories from this friendship is the coming together of Bro. Angel Rana and Miss Elizabeth McNaughton. Bro. Angel visited Lodge Coltswood in the May of 2015 with Lodge Raymond VI No. 1222, when the golfers visited St. Andrews; Bro. Gordon Rowe took the remaining Brethern along to a Home International Rugby match at Murrayfield with the McNaughton family, who were avid rugby fans. During the rugby, Angel met Elizabeth, the daughter of Bro. John McNaughton a Master Mason of Lodge Coltswood Glenboig and the sister of Bro. Alan McNaughton of the Athole Lodge No. 384. Alan had previously accompanied the Coltswood Brethren to Albi in 2010. The Brethren were at this time unaware that there was a relationship developing that resulted in them being married in Scotland in 2016. A fitting moment was when Bro. Angel was raised to a Master Mason by his Brother in Laws Mother Lodge on 1st September 2016. Angel continues to progress through the offices in Lodge Coltswood and at the time of this ceremony is the current Junior Deacon of the Lodge.

The ceremony here this evening was the initial idea of Bro. Alain Huppe, who asked Bro. Colin Campbell if it was possible to protect the special bond between the two Lodges for future generations. It was agreed that this “Twinning” should place as a marker in the history of both Lodges and a reference point for future members to understand the origins and foundations of this great friendship. It should also be used as a conduit to encourage future Brethern to maintain the friendships and share the challenges that Freemasons encounter in each country, while hopefully sharing their experiences and challenges.
As with all projects, our thanks go to both Provincial Grand Masters, Bro. Bill Perry, Provincial Grand Lodge of Lanarkshire Middle Ward and Bro. Christian Bonzi, Provincial Grand Lodge of Terres du Temple for taking this concept to their respective Grand Lodges. Who granted the authority to recognise this special Twinning Ceremony and the signing of charters, special thanks should also go to Bro. Joe Harland of Lodge Robert Burns No. 440 who commissioned the charters in both French and Scottish.

Both Lodges believe this is a first for Scottish & French Freemasonry, and who knows it may be the start of an International network of Freemasons who can help and support each other, at the very least further the interests of Freemasonry.