The present day Stow Lodge of Freemasons has been in existence since 1806. It has continued to meet within the Village of Stow in the Scottish Borders for over 200 years. The Charter Date of 1806 refers to the Charter Granted to the Lodge at Stow by the Grand Lodge of Scotland, however, masonic activity in Stow can be proven prior to the consecration date of 1806.
The extent of the activity before that date cannot be documented in detail, but in common with many other Scottish Lodges we know that masons were active in the Stow area before this Charter date. Just as the Galashiels Lodge No 262 (chartered 1821) can show that Masons were active in some shape or form in Galashiels prior to that Lodge’s Charter date.
Both the Galashiels Lodge No 262 and the Stow Lodge No 216 have good reason to believe that masons who were part of The Haughfoot Lodge which operated at Haughfoot just South of Stow and North of Galashiels from 1702 – 1763 remained in the area – passed on their trade secrets to successive generations and that those independent masons in these two localities continued to practise freemasonry after the demise of The Haughfoot Lodge in 1762. Proving a continuous link is probably impossible.
Many scholars have previously studied all the evidence available – so for us to attempt to do so today would be unlikely to prove anything new.
The factual evidence is (1) The Haughfoot Lodge of Masons existed from 1702 -1763
(2) Brethren from Stow visited Lodge No 10 Dalkeith prior to 1806 – (Lodge Dalkieth No 10 Minute Book)
(3) Brethren from Galashiels approached Lodge Peebles Kilwinning No 24 in 1794 requesting that Peebles grant them a Charter to form a Lodge in Galashiels – (Lodge Peebles Kilwinning No 24 Minute Book)
So in a similar way to The Haughfoot Lodge which came about in 1702 without any direct connection or reference to another pre-existing Lodge – The Stow and Galashiels Lodges seem to have been formed by those who were already qualified as Freemasons.