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22 May 1859, Edinburgh M.D., Kt, KStJ, D.L., LL.D., Sportsman, Writer, Poet, Politician, Justicer, Spiritualist Crowborough, 7 July 1930

Bro. Dr. Conan Doyle

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

Bro. Dr. Conan Doyle is an article published in The Masonic Illustrated on october 1901.

The article is about Brother Dr. Conan Doyle and his presence at a masonic meeting in a scratch lodge [1] at Bloemfontein, South Africa, in 1900.

See also Arthur Conan Doyle and Freemasonry.


Bro. Dr. Conan Doyle

The Masonic Illustrated (october 1901, p. 20)

Few present-day authors have a firmer hold on the public than the distinguished subject of our sketch, and it is not too much to say that as a writer of short stories he has but few, if any, living equals.

Born at Edinburgh in 1859, his grandfather was John Doyle, the caricaturist, better known as "H. B." His father was Charles Doyle, the artist, and his uncles, Richard Doyle, of Punch ; James Doyle, the historian ; and Henry Doyle, C. B., Director of the Irish Academy. Brought up to medicine, he was educated at Stonyhurst, and afterwards at Edinburgh University, where he took his degree of M.D. After two long voyages, one to the Arctic seas in a Greenland whaler and the other to the West Coast of Africa, he settled into practice at Southsea. Ever since 1878 he had been a contributor to various magazines, but it was not until 1887 that "A Study in Scarlet" appeared, and it was on the 26th of January in the same year that Dr. Conan Doyle was initiated into Freemasonry under the auspices of the Phoenix Lodge, No. 257, at Portsmouth, at the age of thirty-four. [2]

"Micah Clarke," which was his next book, was refused by five publishers, being eventually accepted by Longman's, and it is hardly necessary to say that it afterwards ran into several editions. Finding literary work more and more engrossing, Bro. Conan Doyle gave up the medical profession and devoted his whole energies to authorship. "The Captain of the Polestar," "The Sign of Four," "The White Company," and "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" followed each other very quickly. The last-named work was not thought by its author to be by any means his best, but in this the public was not in agreement with him, and we venture to think it is by his authorship of "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" that Dr. Conan Doyle is best known to the man in the street. His other books are — "The Refugees," "The Great Shadow," "Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes," "The Stark Miner's Letters," [3] and "The Exploits of Brigadier Gerard."

The truly Masonic spirit shown by our distinguished brother in going out to South Africa as Secretary and Medical Registrar of the Langman Field Hospital is fresh in the minds of most of us. While at the seat of war, he attended the never to be forgotten scratch lodge at Bloemfontein in company with Bro. Rudyard Kipling, and the St. Mary's Chapel Lodge, No. 1, Edinburgh, commemorated his return to England by conferring on him the honorary membership of the lodge. In the speech which he made on that occasion he confirmed the many reports that have reached us as to the value of Freemasonry on the battlefield. Prisoners on both sides, when found to be Freemasons, were, he said, invariably treated with more courtesy and consideration than would otherwise have been the case.

Author, doctor, member of the M.C.C., and politician, Bro. Conan Doyle's versatility is not the least noteworthy feature of his career. He is still a comparatively young man, and it may not unreasonably be hoped that more laurels are in store for him, not less in Freemasonry than in those other fields in which he has been so eminently successful.





  1. A scratch lodge is a lodge set up on an ad hoc basis under emergency circumstances as a temporary measure for a one off meeting.
  2. Erroneous age : Conan Doyle was 27.
  3. Erroneous title : the novel was titled The Stark Munro Letters.

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