The Evolution of Scottish Freemasonry - Robert L. D. Cooper

Brother Cooper took up the position of Curator of the Grand Lodge of Scotland Museum and Library in June 1994. In this capacity he is a full-time employee. In that capacity he is the custodian of many unique and rare documents relating to Freemasonry in general and Scottish Freemasonry in particular.

The Library has many prized possessions but the spotlight must fall on a few major documents:

  The Oldest Lodge records in the world dating from 1599
  The Saint Clair Charters (1601 and 1628)
  The Schaw Statutes of 1598 and 1599.

The Museum is home to some very special objects once owned by British kings and princes of the realm. More mundane artefacts include gold and diamond studded jewels, items handled by the National Bard of Scotland – Brother Robert Burns and photographs of some of the first black men to be admitted into European Freemasonry. ‘It is, he said, ‘a source of great pride that the Grand Lodge of Scotland was a pioneer in the world of race relations.’ To this day Scottish Freemasonry is held in such high esteem that, on the African continent, thousands of men want only to be Scottish Freemasons.

But that Scottish appeal is not limited to just one continent. Scottish Masonic Lodges exist all over the world. How many people are aware that George Washington was a member of a Scottish Lodge? What about Paul Revere? He was the Secretary of a Scottish Lodge, Joseph Warren too. The list goes on. What is more Cooper has the documents to prove it all!

Robert Cooper has edited or written a number of books:

 An Account of the Chapel of Roslin
 The Genealogie of the Sainteclaires of Roslin
 An Illustrated Guide to Rosslyn Chapel
 A Winter with Robert Burns
 The Voyages of the Venetian Brothers Nicolo and Antonio Zeno
 The History and Origins of the Order of Free Gardeners
Freemasons, Gardeners and Templars
The Complete Manual of Freemasonry
The Templar Church of London
Cracking the Freemasons’ Code
The Rosslyn Hoax?
The Scottish ‘Standard’ Ritual
The Emblems of Freemasonry

He is presently completing a book: ‘The Red Triangle’ due to be published in Jan/Feb 2011 which he says: ‘is a brief introduction to anti-Masonry but from a rather different point of view’ – watch this space as they say! He has written numerous papers such as ‘The Revenge of the Operative’ for the book: ‘Marking Well’ published to mark the 150th anniversary celebrations of the Mark Grand Lodge of England and Wales.

He is the author of numerous articles on all aspects of Freemasonry and lectures widely on Freemasonry, the Knights Templar, Rosslyn Chapel, the St. Clair family etc. In 2005 Brother Cooper completed a three month ‘round the world’ lecture tour visiting South Africa, India, Australia, New Zealand, California and Washington. He admits that it was tiring but was delighted at the reception he, as a Scottish Freemason, received where ever he went. He is a frequent visitor to the USA having given presentations in Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Washington D.C.

Brother Cooper has appeared in several television programmes including, for example, the documentary: ‘The Real da Vinci Code.’ He has been a frequent guest on Radio not only in the UK but also in Australia, New Zealand and the USA.

Brother Cooper was initiated in The Lodge of Light, No. 1656 and is a Founder Member and Past Master of Lodge Edinburgh Castle, No. 1764 over which he presided in 1998. He has just completed a two year term as Master of Lodge Sir Robert Moray, No. 1641 the premier Scottish Lodge of Research. During his term in office he instituted a number of research projects in which members of the Lodge, as a Lodge, could participate.

He is also member of many Masonic organisations including, for example:

 The Great Priory of Scotland (the Knights Templar)
 The Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Scotland (the Royal Arch)
 The Royal Order of Scotland
 The Supreme Council for Scotland (Scottish Rite for Scotland)
 The Grand Imperial Council of Scotland

He is proud to be a full member of the premier Lodge of Research – Quatuor Coronati Lodge, No. 2076, London, England.

He is also a Free Gardener and a Hammerman to esoteric societies dating from the middle ages.

Brother Cooper has been married to Yvonne since 1973, whom he met in High School, and they have one son, Owen, born 1980.