James VI of Scotland
June 19, 1566 – March 27, 1625
King of Scotland (1567-1625), and the first Stuart King of England (1603-25), English historians have tended to portray him as a coward and a fussy and foolish pedant: ‘The wisest fool in Christendom’. In fact he was reasonably successful in his main goals, increasing national prosperity, maintaining peace with Europe and settling the church. Today, he is remembered for commissioning the so-called King James’ Bible, or Authorized Version.
On the west wall of the lodge hall used by Lodge Scoon and Perth No. 3 in Perth, Scotland can be found a mural depicting James VI kneeling at their altar at his initiation. The oldest existing record of the Lodge, called “The Mutual Agreement” of 24 December, 1658, records that James was “entered Freemason and Fellowcraft of the Lodge of Scoon” on 15 April, 1601.
James also appointed William Schaw as Master of the Work and Warden General in 1583, with the commission of re-organising the masonic craft. In 1598, Schaw issued the first of his statutes, setting out the duties of masons to their lodge and to the public, imposing penalties for unsatisfactory work and inadequate safety practices. Schaw drew up a second statute in 1599 wherein the first veiled reference to the existence of esoteric knowledge within the craft of stone masonry can be found.
Initiated: April 15, 1601
Lodge Scoon and Perth No. 3, Perth, Scotland