Lord Kellie's Freemasonry & Drinking Clubs

During the 1760's Kellie appeared to have spent much of his time in London. During the late 1750's and 1760's he was a member of an elite musical society called 'The Temple of Apollo' which mainly consisted of Scots including James Oswald, the Scottish cellist, composer and publisher, Captain (later General) John Reid who founded the Chair of Music at Edinburgh University and Dr Charles Burney the English Music Historian.
During his time in London, Kellie became the fourth Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the Ancients in 1760, a post he held for six years. He also was the twenty fourth Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Scotland between 1763 and 1765. Holding both posts simultaneously was something of an honour and is the only man to do so. There was a strong link between freemasonry and the Edinburgh Musical Society.

Back in Scotland Kellie also founded the Capillaire Club which "was composed of all those who were inclined to be witty or joyous" and whose only rule was that members drank Capillaire an infusion of maidenhair fern flavoured with orange-flower water. He wrote a minuet dedicated to the club called the 'Capillaire Minuet' a copy of which can be found in the Dundee Wighton Centre in the Central Library along with other dedicated minuets written by Kellie for Lord Stanley's Fete Champetre at The Oaks near Epsom, in 1774. A five day event based on French rural festivals to celebrate Stanley's marriage. The Capillaire Club hosted extravagant social occasions for both sexes.

Lord Kellie was also a member of a libertine club which practised dubious sexual rituals and initiations called the Beggars Benison of Anstruther which was also active in Edinburgh. King George IV was reputed to be a member. There is an excellent book about the Beggars Benison written by David Stevenson titled The Beggar's Benison: Sex Clubs of Enlightenment Scotland

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