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Banners of Craft Lodges in Hertfordshire (Continued)

Amwell Lodge No: 6459

Amwell Lodge, consecrated in the Shire Hall, Hertford on 27th June, 1947 by Admiral Sir Lionel Halsey, was founded with more than a third of its founders connected to the nursery industry.


The banner which was presented by W.Bro AH Venison shows the stone on an island at the original spring serving the New River in the village of Amwell near Ware.  The inscription states “Perpetual by the Stream” as part of the crest and the banner was dedicated on 5th July, 1950 by the Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro Canon Frederick Halsey.

The New River, which flows through several Hertfordshire towns, was opened in 1613, and represents one of the most impressive feats of engineering in the county.  London’s water supply had traditionally come from the River Thames, along with various natural wells in the city; but, by the 16th century, problems had arisen with this. The population in the

capital had grown, and the Thames was both a major shipping route and a sewer, along with a source of water, and disease was rife. The proposal to bring clean water into the city by building a “new river” was discussed as early as 1570, but it wasn’t until 1604 that Edmund Colthurst obtained a charter to build the river and carried out a survey.  By 1605, however, Colthurst had run into financial problems, and the project was taken over by Sir Hugh Myddelton (sometimes spelt Middleton), a Welsh entrepreneur whose interests ranged from clothmaking to banking. Myddelton set up the New River Company, along with investors known as “Adventurers” (including Sir Marmaduke Rawdon of Hoddesdon - see Broxbourne Lodge 2353).  


Work began on digging the river on 20th February 1608, King James I threw his weight behind the project and invested £6,347-4s-11½d, in return for 50% of the shares,


The river was begun at Chadwell, between Hertford and Ware, taking water from the natural springs there and at Amwell, although this was later to prove inadequate. A channel was then dug to take water from the Lea, and pumping stations were built along the route, tapping the water-table below the surface.  The river originally ran a total of 27 miles, looping around heads of tributary valleys to the Lea and carried over some lower ground by aqueducts built of wood and lead lined. The whole route was engineered with a constant fall of 5 inches per mile, allowing the force of gravity alone to create its flow.  


The New River ended in Islington, at a great cistern known as New River Head, from which pipes distributed the water through the city. A grand opening was held on 29th September) 1613, attended by the Lord Mayor and many dignitaries.  Myddelton was created a baronet in 1622, and died in 1631.


At Great Amwell, near the Amwell Springs, a monument was erected to the New River Company from 1769 to 1810, bearing the inscription:  Sacred to the memory of Sir Hugh Mydelton, Baronet, whose successful care, assisted by the patronage of his King, conveyed this stream to London. An immortal work, since man cannot more nearly imitate the deity, than in bestowing health.   


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