The Edinburgh Register House Manuscript dated 1696 was found
in the Public Record Office of Edinburgh and is the earliest evidence we have
that at that time a two degree system was being worked.
It begins with the ceremony
which made an apprentice (operative mason) into an entered apprentice (usually about
three years after the beginning of his indentures), followed by the ceremony for
the admission as a master mason or fellow of the craft - the title of the second degree.
In these early days of masonry, lodges
were often held in a small room at the back of or above a public house, or in the
case of Operative Masons it could even have been a shed on or near to the site of the
building being constructed.
The exact nature of the type of building that Haughfoot
originally met in is unknown but these descriptions fit with what we might
expect in with this very rural location. Brother Harry Carr's observation that in 1702
people would have travelled distances on horseback or by stage coach also fits
in with the Haughfoot location as an old stage coach road is nearby. Also nearby is "Stagehall
Farm" a known stopping on the road north to Edinburgh for refreshments where there were horse facilities.