Bob and I went to Scotland this summer. We wanted to see the town that his grandfather and great grandfather emigrated from. The town is Kilwinning. It is home to Kilwinning Abbey and the first Masonic Lodge, known as The Mother Lodge.
It was founded in 1140! Bob’s ancestors were members here.
We knocked on the door and stated our reason for being there and were given a very warm welcome and a tour of the lodge.
But most exciting was that they were having a parade the day we were there!
It was called an Orange Walk or Orange March.
I had never heard of the Orange Order, but it’s a fraternal organization.
There were lodges represented from all over Scotland and Ireland.
Their name comes from Prince William of Orange.
Each lodge carried a big banner.
It was so interesting to see the way the different groups were dressed.
Some just marched, some had drums and some had fifes.
And a few had drum majors like this guy, who was very good!
I think there were about 75 units in the parade.
It lasted over an hour.
There were a few women’s groups, and I loved their hats!
The most dominant feature of the town is the ruins of the Abbey.
You see it from everywhere.
After the parade, we wandered over to the Abbey.
We were delighted to find that the tower was open and you could go up with a guide. While we were stopped on the bell level, the bells chimed! I just about jumped out of my skin!
The view was fantastic!
On the way down, I told the guide that Bob’s great-grandfather had been provost of Kilwinning (that’s like the mayor). She said, “You know that we have the robe he would have worn when he presided at meetings.” Well, we didn’t know, but what a thrill to see it and imagine all the times Bob’s great-grandfather donned it.
She told us there was even a street named for him…
…so we had to check it out, of course!