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Sir James Stewart, Bart                                                     1846 – 1879

James, Marquis of Hamilton                                            1880 – 1885

Major William E. Scott, D.L.,                                             1886 – 1902

Marquis of Hamilton, (3rd Duke of Abercorn)            1903 – 1947

Col. Sir Basil A.T. McFarland, Bart., CBE, HML,            1948 – 1979

James L. Rankin, O.B.E.,                                                     1980 – 1989

William Long, B.A.,                                                              1990 – 1997

George Dunlop                                                                     1997 – 2002

Robert G. Quigley                                                                2002 – 2012

Noel A. Drain                                                                        2012 – 2018



Sir James Stewart, Bart

The first Provincial Grand Master, R.W. Bro. Sir James Stewart, Bart, was Junior Grand Warden of Grand Lodge in the 1840’s and resided at Fort Stewart,  on the shores of Lough Swilly, in County Donegal.


One of his forebears was Sir William Stewart, who was much in favour with King James 1 and became undertaker for the plantation of escheated lands of which he obtained a grant or patent of 1000 acres in the vicinity of Ramelton, and was created a Baronet of Ireland in 1621.


Sir James was a member of Lodge 69 (formerly 93) and also had close connections with Ramelton Old 407.   Provincial Grand Master’s Lodge No. 52 was warranted in 1849 but not constituted until 1852 and it is assumed was named as such in honour to Sir James, as first Provincial Grand Master of the Province.


Major William Edward Scott, JP, DL, 33º

Born in Dublin on 11th January 1833, the eldest son of Major Thomas Scott of Willsboro’, Eglinton, by his second wife (of three!) - Anne Lucas Monaghan of Rostrevor, Co. Down, Major W.E. Scott was a great-great-grandson of The Reverend Gideon Scott, MA, Oxford who came over to Ulster as Chaplain in King William 111’s army in 1688, and purchased the Willsboro’ estate then comprised of some 2500 acres, in 1696.

Major Scott’s siblings were two brothers, Rev. Thomas Lucas Scott and Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Stewart Scott, GCB, GCMG, PC, British Diplomat and one time British Ambassador to Imperial Russia, and a sister.

On 17th September 1861 Major Scott married Catherine Georgina Stuart, daughter of the Ven. Archdeacon Alexander Stuart of Ross, and they had three children – Anne Frances Emily (died 1891 aged 28 years), Catherine Elizabeth (who married Edward Phillips of Hertfordshire), and Thomas (died 1868 aged 3 years).   His wife Catherine died some two months after the birth of their third child and only son.

Major Scott served in the Londonderry Militia reaching the rank of Captain and Honorary Major, and was High Sheriff in 1857.

     A parishioner of St. Canice’s Parish Church in Eglinton, he funded the erection of the Chancel and Tower of the Church in 1899 in memory of his wife Catherine and daughter Anne.

R. W. Bro. Major W.E. Scott was initiated in Provincial Grand Master’s Lodge No. 52 on 14th April, 1855, installed Provincial Deputy Grand Master on 4th March, 1869 and on 10th June 1886 installed as Provincial Grand Master of Londonderry & Donegal in succession to the 2nd Duke of Abercorn.   R.W. Bro. Scott remained in office for some 16 years until the Marquess of Hamilton was installed as Provincial Grand Master on 16th April, 1903.

He died at Portobello Private Hospital, Dublin, on 6th March, 1913 and was survived by his daughter Catherine Phillips and three grandchildren.


James, Marquis of Hamilton:

On 30th December, 1880 the Grand Master, 1st Duke of Abercorn, installed his son, the 2nd Marquess of Hamilton, as Provincial Grand Master of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Londonderry & Donegal, obviously a unique occasion.

The Grand Master died on 31st October, 1885, to be succeeded by the Provincial Grand Master of Londonderry & Donegal (now 2nd Duke of Abercorn).

Come the turn of the century, and history was shortly to repeat itself! During the year 1900 the 3rd Marquess of Hamilton affiliated to Provincial Grand Master’s Lodge No. 52 Londonderry, was installed therein as Worshipful Master in the year 1902 and on 15th April, 1903 was installed as Provincial Grand Master of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Londonderry & Donegal, the ceremony of installation being presided over by the Grand Master - his father, 2nd Duke of Abercorn – the second occasion when a Grand Master installed his son as a Provincial Grand Master and all belonging to the one family!Such circumstances are highly unlikely ever to be repeated.


The Most Hon. The Marquess of Hamilton (3rd Duke of Abercorn):

James Albert Edward Hamilton, son of James Hamilton, 2nd Duke of Abercorn was born on 30th November, 1869 and styled Marquess of Hamilton between 1885 and the death of his father on 3rd January, 1913, when he succeeded as 3rd Duke of Abercorn.

In 1869 Lord Hamilton married Lady Rosalind Cecilia Caroline Bingham, only daughter of the 4th Earl of Lucan and Lady Cecilia Catherine Gordon-Lennox, daughter of the 5th Duke of Richmond.They had three daughters and two sons.In 1919 the second daughter, Lady Cynthia Elinor Beatrix Hamilton, married Albert Edward John Spencer, 7th Earl Spencer and had a son and two daughters.By their son they became grandparents of Diana, Princess of Wales.

Following the death of the Grand Master, 2nd Duke of Abercorn, on 3rd January, 1913, the 3rd Duke did not succeed his late father to the office of Grand Master, but continued in office as Provincial Grand Master of Londonderry & Donegal, until his resignation in 1947, a period of some 44 years.

His Grace, 3rd Duke of Abercorn was also appointed Governor of the newly created Northern Ireland in 1922, a position he retained until he retired in 1945.


Col. Sir Basil Alexander Talbot McFarland, 2nd Baronet, C.B.E., E.R.D., H.M.L.,

Born on 18th February, 1898, Basil McFarland was the only son of Sir John McFarland, 1st Baronet of Aberfoyle and Lady Annie (nee Talbot), he was educated at Bedford School and also in Brussels and Neuwied-on-Rhine, Germany.

He served in the Great War with the Artists Rifles, and in the Second World War served overseas, mainly in North Africa, with the 9th Londonderry HAA Regiment, and was mentioned in despatches.

He played Rugby for Ireland from 1920 – 1922, his position being on the wing.

On the death of his father 1926 he succeeded to the Baronetage as 2nd Baronet of Aberfoyle.Married in1924 to Annie Kathleen Henderson, they had two children, John Talbot McFarland (later 3rd Baronet) and Annie Maureen McFarland. Lady McFarland died in 1952 and in 1955 he married Mary Eleanor Dougan, a native of Londonderry.

In civilian life, Sir Basil held many company chairmanships and maintained a very active interest in the business life of his native Londonderry.

He was High Sheriff of the City of Londonderry from 1930 – 1938 and of County Londonderry in 1952, Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of the City of Londonderry (1939 – 1975), Mayor of Londonderry 1939 and 1945 – 1950, Honorary Freeman of Londonderry (1944), Senator in the Northern Ireland Parliament from 1945 – 1950, Honorary C.B.E. (1954), E.R.D. (1954).

On 19th February 1948 R.W. Bro. McFarland (who held the office of Senior Grand Warden of Grand Lodge from-) was installed Provincial Grand Master of Londonderry & Donegal, a position he retained until he retired from office in 1979.

He passed away at Aberfoyle on 15th March, 1986, aged 88 years, a few days after the death of Lady McFarland.



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