Travelling Lecturer - Robert LD Cooper
A book was published in 2005, containing presentations given during the tour (book out of print)
Brother Cooper is an internationally recognised expert on Scottish Freemasonry, the Knights Templar (in Scotland), Rosslyn Chapel and the Sinclair family. He is the author of numerous articles on Freemasonry and has appeared on television and radio about Freemasonry. He has delivered lectures in Masonic Lodges and other venues (both private and public), in many parts of the world, one of his favorite subjects being “The Unique Origin and Nature of Scottish Freemasonry.”
Brother Cooper has been employed as Curator of the Grand Lodge of Scotland Museum and Library since June 1994. As this is a post that he enjoys greatly, he thus has a vocation in life.
One of his greatest satisfactions, to date, has been his oversight of the refurbishment of the Museum and Library within Freemasons’ Hall in Edinburgh which increased the available floor space by 50% (“still far, far, too small to display the depth of the Scottish Masonic heritage” he states). As Curator of the Museum and Library his greatest pleasure comes from greeting visitors to the home of Scottish Freemasonry.
Since becoming Curator he has been responsible for, or has been involved in, projects, large and small, ranging from the production of a post card of an internal view of Grand Hall, the first full colour reproduction of the famous Robert Burns Inauguration print (from the large oil on canvas in the Museum), and maintaining the Grand Lodge Website of which he is webmaster.
As well as maintaining the website of the Grand Lodge of Scotland Brother Cooper is or has been webmaster of several other sites which include:
Projects and Publications
There are a number of Masonic projects underway regarding numerous aspects of Scottish Freemasonry which should come to fruition during the next few years.
Those which have come to fruition is the limited edition of a set of three fine art prints of Rosslyn Chapel and Castle showing these edifices prior to 1700. Brother Cooper said: “many Freemasons around the world have a fascination with Rosslyn Chapel and have requested on many, many, occasions an accurate historic image of the Chapel and Castle for research as well as pleasure. It took some considerable time and effort but the Grand Lodge of Scotland has produced something unique and valuable”
On the same subject Brother Cooper has recently edited a second edition of a book, "The Genealogie of the Saintclaires of Rosslyn", first published in 1835, and which is the primary source of information regarding the Sinclair family and Rosslyn Chapel. The book provides a great deal of information previously unavailable regarding the St Clair family, their land transactions, marriage contracts, endowments etc., as were recorded in the family’s records. The importance of this book lies in the fact that it reproduces documents which are now lost. The book is therefore an extremely important source of information regarding Rosslyn Chapel, ‘masonry’, the Sinclair family (from 1067AD) and much more. Most importantly the large Latin portions of the book have been translated into English for the first time by Brother John Wade, Reader at the University of Sheffield, thereby adding greatly to the book's worth.
Brother Cooper’s interest in Rosslyn Chapel has also led him to edit the first official guidebook of the chapel first published in 1894, "The Illustrated Guide to Rosslyn Chapel etc". The importance of this publication lies in that it allows us to ‘see’ what those who owned and ran the chapel 100 years as compared to those of the present day.
Robert Cooper is the author of an important study of a quasi-Masonic body, "The Order of Free Gardeners" .
His other publications, written or edited, include:
- "A Winter with Robert Burns"
- "An Account of the Chapel of Rosslyn"
- "Cracking the Freemasons Code: The Truth About Solomon's Key and the Brotherhood"
- "The Rosslyn Hoax?"
"Voyages of the Venetian Brothers, Nicolo & Antonio Zeno, to the Northern Seas, in the XIVth century, comprising the latest known accounts of the lost colony of Greenland; and of the Northmen in America before Columbus" which was published in 1873.
For the last six years Brother Cooper has devoted a considerable amount of time to the research of the alleged connection(s) between the medieval Order of the Knights Templar and modern Scottish Freemasonry, including Rosslyn Chapel and the St Clair family, etc. The first results of that research were delivered in Lodge Quatuor Coronati, No.2076 in June 2002. The full text of the paper, The Knights Templar in Scotland – the Creation of a Myth, was published in AQC Vol.115 (2002).
Brother Cooper is presently collaborating with Dr Lisa Kahler on researching the second oldest known Masonic ritual, the Airlie MS - 1705.
Robert Cooper was a member of the local organising committee of the International Conference on the History of Freemasonry held in Edinburgh in May 2007
Activities in Freemasonry
Brother Cooper became a Freemason in The Lodge of Light, No.1656 (Edinburgh) and was a Founder member of Lodge Edinburgh Castle, No.1764. He became Master of the latter in 1998. In February 2001 he was proud and honoured to be the first Scot in fifty years to be admitted to full membership of Quatuor Coronati Lodge, No.2076 (London, England).
He took the three Holy Royal Arch degrees (Mark, Excellent Master and Royal Arch) in Castle Park RAC, No.520 – of which he was Scribe E for many years and is a Past Principal thereof, serving for three years (1987-89). He is also a Knight Templar, (Preceptory of the Eastern Marches – Eyemouth) and a member of the Red Cross of Constantine (St Giles, No.2) and a member of the Supreme Council for Scotland (Edinburgh Conclave, No.1). He was admitted a member of the Grand Lodge of the Royal Order of Scotland in 2003.
Having been interested in the history of his native land from as early as he can remember his admission into Freemasonry added an additional fascination. Exploring the ‘highways and by-ways’ (physically and by research) of Scotland and Scottish Freemasonry has greatly increased his knowledge and understanding of both. He holds a Batchelor of Arts degree.
Brother Robert first met his wife, Yvonne (a professional photographer at the University of Edinburgh) in 1970 at Tynecastle High School, Edinburgh. They married in August 1973 and have been inseparable ever since.