The Lodge of Edinburgh – Edinburgh, Scotland - Atlas Obscura

The Lodge of Edinburgh

Scotland's first Masonic lodge may also be the oldest in the world.  


Freemasonry, or what is commonly referred to as Masonry, can be defined as a member-based charitable organization dedicated to the practice of exhibiting good deeds. They are also known for their secret celebrations. Membership is estimated to be around six million affiliates worldwide. In Scotland, there are somewhere around 32 lodges, places where Freemasons gather for meetings and business.

Located along a cobblestone side street of the country’s capital, this is perhaps the first-ever established Masonic lodge. The origins of the lodge date back to the end of the 14th-century. An ancient guild of mostly stonemasons would gather at the chapel of St. Mary’s in the Old Town. Here, they would discuss various aspects of their organization.

The former congregation met on Niddry Street just off the Royal Mile, but that building was demolished to make way for the South Bridge. Minutes taken from a meeting on July 31, 1599 at this address make this establishment one of the oldest meetings for this ancient institution.

The current lodge, named St Mary’s Chapel after its previous meeting location, moved to Hill Street during the 1820s. Here, the Grand Lodge of Scotland lists this structure as number one on the list of lodges.

Know Before You Go

The exterior of the building is accessible 24/7. During the month of August, the building is often rented out as a performance venue for the Fringe Festival.

The interior of the lodge is only accessible for members during non-public events. Check the website for regular meeting times and admission.

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November 25, 2020

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