QUESTIONS are being
asked whether the Dunblane primary school
killer, Thomas Hamilton, abused a position
as a Freemason for almost 20 years in
order to gain influence with people in authority.
A Labour MP who has
campaigned against secret societies said last night that Hamilton's
membership of the Freemasons could explain
his "apparently charmed life" and should be investigated
by Lord Cullen's inquiry into the
People have said that
was a Freemason and may have
socialised with people of influence while attending Masonic
meetings and functions.
senior Scottish Freemason told The
Scotsman that Hamilton had
been a Mason for a number of years and
had visited functions at different lodges.
"Although I believe
his lodge did not knowingly protect him,
I am sure that favours between individual brothers would have been
exchanged," he said.
The Scotsman has obtained
a list of more than 100 senior Freemasons
in the Central Belt of Scotland in an effort to trace Hamilton's
own lodge membership. Of the dozen
we contacted most refused to confirm or categorically deny that
was a Freemason.
has also discovered that Hamilton's grandfather
Jimmy - who raised him after his natural parents separated - has
been a Freemason [Ed.
(Lanarkshire Middle Ward) No. 1413, 118
Garrowhill Drive, Garrowhill,
Glasgow G69 6NR] for more than 40 years, and that Hamilton
had probably followed the natural course into the lodge.
One past master of
a Stirling lodge said that Jimmy, now
aged 88, had often attended functions at his lodge.
He had not met Thomas Hamilton, but thought
that he would have followed his grandfather into Freemasonry.
A grand master of another
Stirlingshire lodge said he was "wary
about saying too much" because of the sensitivity surrounding
However, he added:
"I've known old Jimmy for many years and he was a member of
a Glasgow lodge. I don't know about
[Thomas], but it is likely he would have followed Jimmy into his
is virtually unknown at the top of Scottish business, many of its
members are shopkeepers - such as Hamilton
- lawyers, middle managers and police
officers. As the owner of a DIY shop, Hamilton
would have been a natural Freemason.
Short, the author of Inside the Brotherhood
- a book on Freemasonry - says the most
common form of entry into Freemasonry
is for a father to sponsor the son into the apprenticeship. He
adds that "an astonishing" 20 per cent of police
officers are currently Freemasons.
the Labour MP who had campaigned against secret societies, said
he found the alleged Masonic link with
Hamilton "very interesting".
provides a possible explanation of the apparently charmed life that
Hamilton led," he said. "This
is obviously a matter that Lord Cullen
will wish to explore as part of his inquiry."
[As a member of the Masonic Speculative
Society of Edinburgh (Spec)
it is obviously a matter Cullen would
wish to avoid, and did avoid, resolutely, at all costs, despite
my letters to him expressing
the exigency of exploring the Masonic
night, a spokesman for the Grand Lodge of Scotland
in Edinburgh admitted it did not have a collated database of its
members and could not be certain whether or not Hamilton
was a Freemason.
Another spokesman for
the Grand Lodge said if a lodge
became aware that one of its members was trying to misuse membership,
then they had the powers
to throw them out.
In the past year, 20
people have been thrown out nationally after being convicted of
criminal offences, but no figures are kept centrally of those expelled
for misuse of their membership.
following article appeared on the same page (page 2) as the one
Friday, 22 March 1996
which protects its own
of Britain are strongly protective of their fellow Masons.
They rarely punish brethren who break the criminal law of the land,
Martin Short, author of a best-selling
investigation into Freemasonry [Ed.
~ "Inside the Brother-hood"],
last night told The Scotsman.
"Scotland is a
place where one Mason looks after another,"
said Mr Short. "If Thomas
Hamilton was one of the brethren it's pretty bad news
for the Masons because one is inclined
to assume he may well have received favours." They would
not allow one of their own brethren to be exposed to public ridicule
and would do everything to avoid his membership being known.
whose book Inside the Brotherhood: Further Secrets of
the Freemasons was first published in 1989, referred
to a local
government ombudsman decision in Hamilton's
favour in 1983. The ombudsman overturned
a decision by Central Regional Council to end his lease of Dunblane
High School premises for his boys' club, the Dunblane
"The fact that
he managed to bamboozle the ombudsman suggests that the ombudsman
was bombarded by letters," said Mr Short. "If
he managed to convince the ombudsman that he was OK, you can be
sure that his lodge would have felt at
least equally strongly. The Masons
in the lodge would not have wanted to
think ill of him and would therefore have tried to protect him from
Social pressures make
it difficult for an honest Mason to complain
about criminal or immoral conduct by his brothers, said Mr Short. In
fact, it would be the complainant, not the wrongdoers, who faced
ostracism and probable exclusion from the lodge.
said Masonry was an organisation of men
only who voluntarily swear mutual aid and to guard each other's
secrets: it has its own strict rules, inquiry systems, punishments
and courts of appeal. He said that when it became known he
was researching his book he lost count of the brethren who cautioned
him to "watch out" or "take care".
went on: "One man whose evidence sent a fellow Mason
to jail told me of his fears during that trial and the extreme precautions
he had taken to stay alive. He advised me to do the same."
711-page book lists some of the reasons why he was inclined to take
the advice seriously. It also lists some of the bizarre
initiation ceremonies of Masonry.
Mr Short, for example, describes a Masonic
lodge in Lincolnshire where a candidate Mason
is lowered into a trap below the temple floor on the Friday before
full moon to confront a female skeleton as a symbol of mortality.
crafts and professions are bastions of Freemasonry,
Mr Short argues. In his book he
points to the example of the Metropolitan Police
where, in 1987, he identified one assistant commissioner, two deputy
assistant commissioners, 12 commanders, 23 chief superintendents
and seven chief inspectors as members of a single Masonic
~ Thomas Hamilton was accused by Tam
Dalyell MP of being a police
argues that Freemasonry extends into local
government, the armed services, industry and the intelligent services
to an extent that would astonish non-Masons. He
says 100,000, or one in 14 of Scotland's working population, are