Portrait of Joseph Rudyard Kipling
John Maler Collier (1891)
Joseph Rudyard Kipling was born at Bombay on December 30th, 1865. Son of John Lockwood Kipling, an artist and teacher of architectural sculpture, and his wife Alice. His mother was one of the talented and beautiful Macdonald sisters, four of whom married remarkable men, Sir Edward Burne-jones, Sir Edward Poynter, Alfred Baldwin and John Lochwood Kipling. He was initiated a Freemason in Lodge Hope and Perseverance, No. 782, E.C., at Lahore, on the 5th of April, 1886. Being under 21 years of age, a Dispensation for his initiation was procured from the District Grand Master. His proposer was Wor. Bro. Colonel Menzies; he was seconded by Bro. C. Brown. He was initiated by the W.M., Bro. Colonel G. B. Wolseley. He was passed on May 3rd following, there being only seven Brethren present, and raised on the 6th December, 1886. He was for a short time Secretary of the Lodge. In 1887 Kipling became a Mark Master and a Royal Ark Mariner. Having left Lahore to reside at Allahabad, on April 17th, 1888, he became a member of the old Lodge, "Independence with Philanthropy," Allahabad. In March, 1889, he was put on the absent list of that Lodge, and resigned in 1895. He was then residing in the United States of America. He reportedly ceased to be an active Freemason in 1889 and this is alleged to be the extent of his Masonic career. How then does Rudyard become an Honorary member of Lodge Canongate Kilwinning in 1899 and go on to become her Poet Laureate in 1905?
During a visit to Scotland in the summer of 1899 Brother Kipling had expressed an interest in connecting himself with Lodge Canongate Kilwinning on account of it's traditions and historic associations. Following this the Committee and the Lodge agreed to confer Honorary Membership on Brother Kipling in respect to his visit to Scotland and on account of his Masonic and literary background. Kipling, recovering from a recent serious illness, regretted that he was unable to attend the Lodge at the time but hoped it would not be long before the Brethren of the Lodge had an opportunity of welcoming him in person. It was agreed that Kipling was admitted an Honorary Member and that his diploma, along with a copy of the minute of the meeting of the 4th October 1899, be forwarded to him.
In the Minute of the Committee of Lodge Canongate Kilwinning of the 12th June 1905 Brother Kipling was among the list of Office Bearers nominated for office. His Position was Poet Laureate. The Installation took place on Monday 26th June 1905, Brother Kipling is not listed in the apologies nor is he listed in those absent from the list of Office Bearers to be installed. The following year he is listed again as Poet Lauretae, although this time Kipling is listed as absent from the Installation. In 1907 Kipling does not appear on the list of elected and installed Office Bearers. He does however appear in the list of Office Bearers for 1908. In 1909 Stewart Home appears on the list of Office Bearers as Poet Laureate elect.