Masonic Province of Hertfordshire
Tercentenary - History Project
Banners of Craft Lodges in Hertfordshire (Continued)
Barham and Watling Lodge No: 6004
It was in 1942 that half a dozen local masons met in a private room in the Red Lion Hotel, Boreham Wood, to discuss the formation of a new masonic lodge. The Boreham Wood Club of Improvement was the result of that meeting. During the period 1942-44, the Club of Improvement went from strength to strength, and moved premises to the Elstree Way Hotel. Elstree Lodge lent its support and was the Sponsoring Lodge. The Lodge took the name ‘Barham’ from the medieval name of Boreham Wood which was ‘Barham Wood’. It was at the Elstree Way Hotel that a Committee was formed to plan the petition and the eventual consecration of Barham Lodge in the Temple at Freemasons’ Hall on 11th December 1944.
In 1990 an appeal was launched to raise funds to acquire a banner to celebrate 50 years of Barham Lodge which was consecrated in December 1944. The idea was to dedicate the banner at the November 1994 meeting.
Accordingly brother Sid Giles drew a design which was discussed at the September 1993 meeting. On 17th December 1993 he wrote to Mrs Green of Rodwells in High Wycombe asking for a quote. Rodwells had been recommended to us by another brother who had seen their work. Mrs Green sent us a quote for £590.00 + vat. In a discussion between Sid Giles and Mrs Green at Rodwells various points were raised and it was requested that the addition of banner carrying poles be added which, of course, increased the price.
The banner arrived on 2nd August 1994 and the committee members were very disappointed with the manufacture. At a meeting between Mrs Green and 3 of the brethren on 12th August it was discovered that the manufacture of the banner had been sub-contracted to another company, as the lady who normally made the banners at Rodwells had died. Because of the very poor workmanship of the sub-contractor it was decided that Rodwells keep the banner and return the artwork and total money of £809.24. Due to this the banner dedication ceremony was postponed until 1995.
On 3rd October the lodge secretary wrote to Mrs Page of Arundel asking for a new quote for our banner. On 2nd November Mrs Page sent a quote of £1286.00 with a request of £250.00 with the order, pointing out that the poles would be another £200.00. At our November committee meeting it was decided to accept the quote and on 22nd November approval was given to proceed with the manufacture of the banner to be available for a dedication in March 1995.
At a meeting with Mrs Page in Arundel the finer points of the design were discussed and she told them that she had obtained a firm price of £229.45 for the poles. She was intrigued by the symbol in the centre of the circle and would consult with her sister who was interested in this sort of symbolism. As a result the central portion of the banner is described as follows:- One triangle symbolises Spirit, the creation of Life, God the Creator. For Christians, the three points represent Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The second triangle when placed in reflection, as here, symbolises Mankind who is made in the image of God, hence the reflected triangle, and if you “seek, ye shall find” in the centre, a square, which symbolises Earth or God’s Creation in microcosm. And if you widen your gaze to take in the circle, the whole represents the macrocosm of the entire Universe, the ultimate mystery. Spiritually, the apparently meaningless geometry reminds those who have been secretly instructed, that he who Seeks to live in the image or reflection of God, whilst here on earth will Find and become one with God. His soul, part of the microcosm, will become one with the macrocosm. It has to be remembered that as one religion supplanted another the new priests would seek to eradicate old knowledge, frequently bloodily and therefore symbols would be employed by the oppressed. Furthermore symbols or codes have always been used to restrict knowledge only to initiates so that the arcane could not be penetrated by the profane. If you met a stranger and he could read the symbols then you knew you had met a fellow initiate.
The banner duly arrived on 25th February 1995, at a total cost of £1515.45, and was dedicated 18th March 1995. The centre emblem is a simple triangular design within a circle bearing the motto ‘Seek And Ye Shall Find’. The design is said to represent the macrocosm of the entire Universe, the ultimate mystery.
The consecration of Watling lodge was on 3rd May 1966. It was formed by members of Barham and Caishowe Lodge, meeting at Barham Lodge of Instruction, who decided to form a fifth Craft Lodge to meet at Radlett. It was initially intended to name the Lodge, Watling Street Lodge, as Watling Street is the Old Roman Road linking London to St. Albans via Elstree. However, Grand Lodge objected on the grounds that there were other Watling Street Lodges. So the title of Watling Lodge was adopted. The lodge jewel illustrates the Wagon and Horses, an old Inn and coaching house on Watling Street between Elstree and Radlett and features a Roman helmet, associating the District with its historic past. This lodge does not appear to have had a banner.
The Barham and Watling Lodge was formed following the amalgamation of Barham Lodge No: 6004 and Watling Lodge No: 8090 in 2013, with the Grand Lodge number 6004 and their banner being retained for the new lodge. However, regretfully the amalgamated lodge has not survived and is now closed with the banner being stored at Fleet House, Provincial Lodge.