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Posted on Friday, April 21 - 2006

" Dan Brown's next book The Solomon Key is said to speculate on the role and influence of Freemasonry. In much the same way that The Da Vinci Code has its climax in Rosslyn Chapel, it may well be that the best-selling author's latest work will also find its roots in Scotland.For if Brown's..."

The minutes from Aitchison's Haven - which could be the oldest recorded stonemason lodge in the world.

Dan Brown's next book The Solomon Key is said to speculate on the role and influence of Freemasonry. In much the same way that The Da Vinci Code has its climax in Rosslyn Chapel, it may well be that the best-selling author's latest work will also find its roots in Scotland.For if Brown's new novel is looking at alleged Masonic conspiracy in the US, then there is a strong and vocal body of Masonic historians who believe that the whole of American Freemasonry is essentially Scottish.Robert Cooper, museum and library curator of the Grand Lodge in Edinburgh, is convinced thatthere is a strong connection between the two countries. "There is no doubt that there was some influence on America by the Scottish Freemasons," says Cooper.

"The connection between it and the building of America might be nearer the truth than you think." Any study of Freemasonry needs first to look at where it all began. Although the first organised meeting took place in England in 1717, many Scottish Masons maintain that it actually began here even earlier. Cooper believes he holds the oldest lodge records in the world and that these prove Scotland was the birthplace of Masonry. The minutes from Aitchison's Haven – a small harbour in East Lothian – date from 9 January 1599. This was a stonemason's lodge, as all lodges would have been then. Lists of rituals from another stonemasonlodge written 100 years later demonstrate that although slightly different, they were essentially the same as today's rites. At some point non-stonemasons were attracted to what went on in lodges. They wanted to know what secrets these mostly illiterate and uneducated men discussed behind closed doors. Over time non-stonemasons were instructed into the lodge, becoming known as Freemasons. According to Cooper the first English lodge effectively stole the ideas and rituals from Scottish stonemasons and that Freemasonry as we know it today is based on early Scottish stonemason traditions. "There is a lot of evidence to support that," says Cooper. "The early rituals even use Scottish words. The chap who wrote the [England Grand Lodge] rules was from Aberdeen and his father had been a grand masterthere."......


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