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Famous Freemason - James Bruce

"I Shall Find It."

James Bruce of Kinnaird was a Scottish explorer who made an epic voyage to Abyssinia in the 18th Century.

Bro. Bruce was born at the family seat of Kinnaird, Stirlingshire, and educated at Harrow School and Edinburgh University, and began to study for the bar, but his marriage to the daughter of a wine importer and merchant resulted in him entering that business instead. His wife died in October 1754, within nine months of marriage, and Bruce thereafter traveled in Portugal and Spain as part of the wine trade. The examination of oriental manuscripts at the Escorial in Spain led him to the study of Arabic and Ge'ez and determined his future career. In 1758 his father's death placed him in possession of the estate of Kinnaird

While many claim that Bro. Bruce discovered the "Blue Nile" a Jesuit missionary Pedro Paez, had previously reached the source of the Blue Nile by traveling through the mountains of Ethiopia from the Red Sea coast in 1618.

Not as widely known as his travels however, however, is that he was a considerable scholar who returned from his travels with three copies of the ‘Book of Enoch’, the apocryphal book that relates to the Royal Arch Degrees, certain of the Scottish Rite Degrees and to the Royal Order of Scotland. It is suggested that the book did not make it into the Biblical canon primarily because no complete copy existed in Europe prior to James Bruce of Kinnaird’s journey.

Bro. Bruce was initiated in Lodge Canongate Kilwinning, No. 2, on August 1, 1753.

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