Midlothian’s 100 Objects: Ancient Order of Free Gardeners

Ancient Order of Free Gardeners, Penicuik Thistle Lodge, tie pin. Photo: Mr and Mrs Bill Bruce/Scran

Ancient Order of Free Gardeners, Penicuik Thistle Lodge, tie pin. Photo: Mr and Mrs Bill Bruce/Scran

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This is a tie pin from the Ancient Order of Free Gardeners’s Penicuik Thistle Lodge.

The lodge was founded in 1822. It grew rapidly and, despite financial problems in the latter 19th century, rose to become one of the largest within the Order.

Its demise came in the late 1960s, a few years before the whole Order was wound up.

This tie pin belonged to George Henderson of the Thistle Lodge. The end-piece bears the symbolism by which the Free Gardeners were known. This was based on the Masonic square and compass, with a pruning knife added.

The origins of the Free Gardeners can be traced back to a lodge in existence in Haddington in 1676. At the peak of the movement, there were more than 10,000 Free Gardeners for the Lothians alone, belonging to more than 50 lodges

Each Order had its own Masonic-type rituals and although the Free Gardeners have always remained independent, the history and procedures of the two organisations show numerous similarities.

Photo: Mr and Mrs Bill Bruce/Scran

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