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A city in Scotland which was the seat of a Lodge called the Stirling Ancient Lodge, which the author of the introduction to the General Regulations of the Supreme Grand Chapter of Scotland says conferred the degrees of Royal Arch, Red Cross or Ark, the Sepulcher, Knight of Malta, and Knights Templar until about the beginning of the eighteenth century, when two Lodges were formed--one Lodge for the cultivation of Saint John's Masonry, which was the old one, and a new Body called the Royal Arch, for advanced Degrees; although it, too, soon began to confer the first three Degrees. The Ancient Lodge joined the Grand Lodge of Scotland at its formation in 1736, but the new Lodge remained independent until 1759.

The same authority tells us that "in the Stirling Ancient Lodge are still preserved two old, rudely engraved brass plates: one of these relates to the first two degrees of Masonry; the other contains on the one side certain emblems belonging to a Master's Lodge, and on the reverse five figures, the one at the top is called the Redd Cross or Ark. At the bottom is a series of concentric arches, which might be mistaken for a rainbow, were there not a keystone on the summit, indicative of an arch. The three other figures are enclosed within a border; the upper is called the Sepulcher; the second, Knight of Malta; and the third, Knights Templar. The age of these plates is unknown, but they can scarcely be more modern than the beginning or middle of the seventeenth century."

So circumstantial a description, inserted, too, in a book of official authority, would naturally lead to the conclusion that these plates must have been in existence in 1845, when the description was written. If they ever existed, their have now disappeared, nor have any traces of them been discovered. Brother W. James Hughan, whose indefatigable labors have been rewarded with so many valuable discoveries, has failed, in this search, to find success. He says in the Freemason, "I spent some weeks, in odd hours, looking up the question a few years ago, and wrote officials in Edinburgh and at Stirling, and also made special inquiries at Stirling by kind co-operation of Masonic students who also investigated the matter; but all our many attempts only resulted in confirming what I was told at the outset, namely, that 'No one knows aught about them, either in Stirling or elsewhere. The friends at Stirling say the plates were sent to Edinburgh, and never returned, and the Fraternity at Edinburgh declared they were returned and have since been lost."

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