In August 1907 a meeting of 34 gentlemen, all Freemasons, was held in the parish church hall Linwood. The Chairman was Brother John Gilmartin a Past Master of Lodge Houstoun St Johnstone No. 242. He informed those present that there was a desire amongst the Masons to establish a Masonic Lodge within the village of Linwood. The outcome of the meeting was that a working group was set up to look at the implications and requirements of establishing a Lodge. During the autumn and winter of 1907/1908, the group held various meetings carrying out the work entrusted to them.
Subsequently at progress meetings concern was expressed that no suitable place for meetings in the village was available. Therefore it was agreed that funds should be raised by means of donations and subscriptions to build a hall to meet the needs of the Masons, and at the same time meet the requirements or wants of the village.
On 25 March 1908 a meeting was held in the Co-operative Society Board Room. Brother John Gilmartin presided, supported by other members of the working group, reported that subscriptions and donations were coming in very generously. The principal donations were £100 from R & W Watson Paper Manufacturers, £50 from Sir Thomas Glencoates, £50 from J. C. Cunninghame Esq. of Craigends and Provincial Grand Master of Galloway, 10/- from each of the 29 brethren on the Secretaries list of known Freemasons in the village and many others to numerous to be detailed in the minute. Brother Gilmartin also reported on a letter from R.T.W. Spiers, Laird of Culdees, offering a site for the proposed hall on very generous terms and the architect’s plan submitted. Both were discussed at great length, before being approved and accepted. Thereafter, Brother John Malcolm, Master Mason of Lodge 242, proposed and Brother Thomas Murray, Master Mason of Lodge 521, seconded, that “we the Brethren assembled informally constitute ourselves with a Masonic Lodge and that an appeal be made to the Grand Lodge of Scotland for the granting of a charter.” It was also unanimously agreed the name of the proposed Lodge be “Craigends”, subject to approval by Brother J. C. Cunninghame of the estate bearing that name.
The application went before Grand Lodge and on the 7 May 1908 the charter for Lodge Craigends No. 1042 was issued.
On 21 November 1908 the consecration of the Masonic Hall was carried out by Brother Colonel Z.H.Heys, Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master of Renfrewshire East, and his office bearers.
Since the consecration, the Lodge has built a strong reputation for its involvement in the community and is well known for its hospitality, charitable works and high standard of degree work. However, we never forget the debt owed to our founding members and they are commemorated with a plaque on the North-East corner of the Lodge Room. The Brethren of Lodge Craigends still maintain a very close relationship with our most local sponsor Lodges, Houstoun St Johnstone No. 242 and St. Barchan No. 156, as well as developing many links to other Lodges within and out with the Province.
Over the years, the Lodge has contributed to many charities and good causes, including Linwood Parish Church, Linwood Chapel Fuel Fund, St. Vincent De Paul’s, Accord, Scouts and Boys Brigade. Lodge Craigends provides the annual Citizenship prizes for the children of the local Additional Support Needs school - Riverbrae. We can still remember the labours of a few hardy souls who ran a relay race to complete the full 96 miles of the West Highland Way in less than 24 hours and water skiing the length of Loch Lomond (26 miles) in the cold December weather. These brethren raised many thousands of pounds for Radio Clyde's Cash for Kids appeal. The Lodge was also instrumental in establishing Provincial Grand Lodge’s Common Good Fund and donated the Craigends Quaich to Provincial Grand Lodge, which is now presented to the winners of the triples bowling competition.
The Lodge also provides an extensive social calendar for its members. The premises have been improved and extended over the years and the Lodge now has an active social club, which allows the members to enjoy regular dances and other social activities, including Burns Supper, Kids Xmas party, pantomime and the senior members dinner.
Many Brethren have given selfless service to the Lodge and the Craft and there are far too many to recount them all in this short history. However, from more recent times, it is worth noting the service of Past Master George R Dickson, who served the Lodge as secretary for 33 years. He received recognition from both Grand Lodge and Provincial Grand Lodge, being awarded the rank of Honorary Grand Architect and Honorary PGL Secretary. He also received recognition from the brethren of his own Lodge. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of his being installed as Master of the Lodge, he was presented with a scroll and jewel, making him the first Honorary Depute Master in the Lodge's history. For once, he was left speechless - well, almost. Below is how it was reported in the Paisley Daily Express. Unfortunately, Bro. George passed away in 2012 and he is missed greatly by the brethren.
The Lodge was honoured in 2001when Past Master Kevin Pollock was commissioned as Substitute Provincial Grand Master of the Province and again in 2004 when Past Master Gavin McNicol Weir was installed as Senior Provincial Grand Warden. Bro. Kevin was re-commissioned as Substitute PGM in 2007, but resigned mid-way through his commission to concentrate on his studies. In 2012, Bro. William J Fleming PM was commissioned as Substitute Provincial Grand Master and in 2015 and, on resigning his commission, was granted the office of Honorary Grand Senior Deacon. Bro. Alan B Graham PM was granted the office of Honorary Provincial Grand Assistant Secretary for serving as both Provincial Grand Assistant Secretary and Provincial Grand Assistant Treasurer. In addition, Bro. Gordon Fraser PM attained the high rank of Senior Warden in the neighbouring Provincial Grand Lodge of Renfrewshire West.
The centenary of Lodge Craigends No. 1042 was celebrated in 2008 and it continues to go from strength to strength. The Lodge looks forward to another successful 100 years of Freemasonry in Linwood, supporting and improving both the community and the Craft.