Lodge Rising Star of Western India
#342 on the rolls of the Grand Lodge of Scotland.

The Burnes Medal

(The Fundators Medal)

Lodge Rising Star of Western India completed its first year successfully with 50 members on its roll, and resolved to reinstall Bro. Dr. James Burnes as its Master for the second time, which was done in the presence of two distinguished visitors from overseas, namely, The Marquis de Farriere La Voyar, French Ambassador enroute to China, and Viscount Sandall. The Lodge resolved in 1844 to commemorate its foundation, and to express its sense of gratitude to its founder, Bro. Dr. James Burnes by striking a Medal known as the Fundators or Burnes Medal.

Obverse viewReverse view

It was struck in pure silver and executed by the famous artist R. Wyon, in London. On the obverse it bears a bust effigy of Right Worshipful Brother Dr. James Burnes, surrounded by the inscription "Frat Insig et dilect Jacobus Burnes fundator" meaning - James Burnes, Founder, distinguished and beloved brother. On the reverse are the full size effigies of Brothers Maneckji Cursetji and Mahomed Jaffer, each clothed in the full dress of their community, and with an apron and ribbon of the Order, and wearing the jewel of their office, and bearing a banner in their hand, standing near a pedestal on which are placed two volumes of the Sacred Law and a jewel, at the foot of which are the working tools, and behind which is a palm tree. On the pedestal appears the inscription "Lodge Rising Star at Bombay". On the rim is the inscription "Founded for the reception of native gentlemen Dec 15. 1843". The diameter of the medal is 45mm, and it weighs 37 grams. The Lodge has always highly prized this Medal, and has presented it sparingly to great and distinguished Masons, who are not members of the Lodge, as a token of great esteem and respect of the Lodge for them. We may mention a few recipients.

A picture of the Burnes Medal on display at the Montrose Museum

In 1859 it was voted to Bro. Aratoon Jordan. This medal is now in possession of Bro Kai Hughes, Past Grand Orator UGLE, Member, Mother Kilwinning No.0 SC, who contacted us through our website, and sent us the photographs, which he has graciously permitted us to post on this website. It can be viewed in detail here.

In 1862 it was voted to be presented to our Honorary member Bro. Dr. George Oliver. As Bro. Dr. Oliver had never visited India, Bro Maneckji Cursetji travelled to London and handed it over to Bro. Dr. Oliver. In honour of Bro. Dr. George Oliver; Doctor Oliver Lodge #3964 UGLE, was consecrated on the 23rd September 1919 within the Province of Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire, the Warrant being granted on the 1st of January 1919. Lodge Rising Star of Western India had the good fortune of being contacted by W.Bro Ian R McLachlan, LGR Prov.Grand Std Bearer (Northants and Hunts), Treasurer Dr Oliver Lodge, in March 2014, to communicate that the Lodge had in its possession, the Burnes medal, the original letter of presentation, and also his Certificate of Affiliation to the third Degree in 1846 (being made an Honorary member of the Lodge). By kind courtesy of the brethren of Doctor Oliver Lodge, the scanned copies are available for viewing here.

In 1875, this Medal was presented by the Lodge to King Edward VII (then The Prince of Wales) whilst laying the foundation stone of the Princes Dock at Bombay, and is displayed even this day in U.K. with the other masonic regalia and jewels of His Majesty, who was the Grand Master of England, and Patron of Scottish Freemasonry. Another member of the Royal Family of England, who was presented with this medal, was H.R.H. The Duke of Connaught.

In 1904, a new die was cast (on the identical model of the previous medal) and new Medals were ordered out.

The Medal has also been presented amongst others to the Earl of Dalhousie (the Viceroy of India), Lord Elphinstone (the Governor of Bombay), the Grand Masters of England, Scotland and Ireland, the Duke of Caze, the Most Venerable of the Grand Orient of France, and Royal Princes of Persia. The last presentation to a non-Member was to Most Wor. Bro. The Earl of Eglington and Winton, the Grand Master Mason of the Grand Lodge of Scotland in 1959, through Lord MacDonald, the Immediate Past Grand Master of Scotland during his visit to our Lodge on 7th March 1959.

In 2003 Bro David Roberts (a Freemason belonging to the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania), purchased some regalia from a pawn shop in London. Upon inspection it was found to belong Bro H D Cartwright, Bro. Harry Durance Cartwright was the third Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Western India, (as the District was then named), under the Grand Lodge of Scotland. The items were dated 1855. It was a box that contained his apron, collar, jewel, Burnes medal, his commission from GL of Scotland and other papers. Bro David Roberts handed over these items to Wor. Brother Ed Miles, District Deputy Grand Master 36, Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. While other items are kept in the museum of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, the Burnes medal was personally handed over to Bro Bomi Mehta, RWDGM, by Brother Ed Miles, District Deputy Grand Master 36, Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania; when he flew down to Mumbai to attend the re-dedication ceremony on the 175th anniversary of Lodge Perseverance No. 338 in January 2004. This rare Burnes medal is now in personal possession of the family of late Bro Bomi Mehta RWPDGM.

The Medal has also been presented over the years to many of our own members in recognition of services rendered. Today only eleven of these Medals remain and are currently in the possession of:
• Late Bro Rusi Sethna
• Rohinton Dhalla
• Nimo Punwani
• Kersi N. Wadia
• Mehernosh Currawalla
• Shavak Kapadia
• Furokh Santoke
• Rashid Contractor
• Dara Avari

The Medal is presented to a member on the strict understanding that on his demise or on his resigning his membership, his surviving family members or he, as the case may be, will return the jewel to the Lodge, which in turn may then vote it to another deserving member.

The enlarged view showing the details of some of the medals/jewels are available if you will click on the pictures.