Did you know? Masonic Philately

Sir George Cathcart No. 617

Robert Burns (1759-1796)


The Burns Supper Season is now in full swing and of course I had to feature those stamps issued to remember the man. I thought long and hard before I presented the stamps of possibly one of the most famous Freemasons ever, and now you see why, one and a half lines and I may have people disputing my claim. But why should I say anything at all about this genius because better scholars than I have written millions of words about him so I shall restrict myself to a resume of his Masonic history but once again this is clouded by claims and counter claims.

The following is a result of listening to many talks and reading many books I hope I have done justice to his memory.


It must remembered these were very different times from now and Mother Kilwinning was as powerful as G.L.of Scotland although the influence of M.K.0. was starting to decline and some Lodges were deciding to give up their Kilwinning charter to join Grand Lodge.

Consequently Lodge Names and Lodge Nos. changed and some lodges amalgamated.

It should also be noted that the Office of Depute Master was in fact the Office that we today would recognise as R.W.M. as in those days “The Master” was usually the local Lord or Laird who accepted this as an honorary position and left the Depute Master to do the work.


17th May 1771 Lodge Tarbolton Kilwinning No73 received its Charter from The Mother Lodge.

20 of the brethren decided that they would prefer to be under the jurisdiction of Grand Lodge their petition was successful and on 5th February 1773 St. Davids Tarbolton  No. 174  received its Charter from Grand Lodge of Scotland.


Those Brethren who were left in Tarbolton Kilwinning eventually came round to the same decision and In 1774 a new Lodge was formed St James Tarbolton No. 178

However the village of Tarbolton was too small to sustain two Lodges and it was agreed to put their differences aside and on 25th June 1781 the two Lodges combined under the name of Lodge St David Tarbolton No.174


Burns was one of the first Initiates of this united Lodge (Lodge St David Tarbolton No 174)

He was Entered 4th July 1781, and Passed and Raised 1st October 1781


This union of Lodges did not prove to be a happy one and a few months after its formation there was another separation!

17TH June 1782 St James Tarbolton reformed (now Lodge Tarbolton Kilwinning St. James No.135)

27th July 1784 Burns was elected Depute Master of St. James and served for four years.

1843 Lodge St. David became dormant

1869 Lodge St. David reopened as No.133 with Mauchline as its meeting place

27th March 1786 Burns was “admitted a member” of Lodge Louden Kilwinning Newmilns

26th October 1786 made an Honorary of Kilmarnock Kilwinning St. John No.24

1787 Affiliated to Lodge Cannongate Kilwinning


19th May 1787 Exalted a Royal Arch Mason in the premises of Lodge St. Ebbs Eyemouth

1788 He affiliated to Lodge St. Andrew Dumfries No. 179 and served this Lodge as Senior Warden in 1792-93

First Stamp Issued in recognition of Robert Burns



Stamp Issued :- Russia 1956 S.G. No2001



Bicentenary of the Birth of Robert Burns





Stamps Issued:- Russia     1959 S.G.No. 2310

                          Rumania 1959 S.G.No. 2634


Robert Burns Commemoration Stamps




Stamps Issued Great Britain 1966 S.G. No. 685/6



Bi-Centenary of Robert Burns Death




Stamps Issued Great Britain 1996 S.G. Nos.1901/04

250th Anniversary of the Birth of Robert Burns



Stamps Issued:- Great Britain 2009 Miniature Sheet


The Issue of these stamps now makes Burns the most celebrated person on British stamps outside of our Royal Family