Masonic Province of Hertfordshire
Tercentenary - History Project
Banners of Craft Lodges in Hertfordshire (Continued)
Bissei Lodge No: 6563
The lodge was consecrated on 20th January, 1948 by the RW Provincial Grand Master of Hertfordshire, the Rev Canon F Halsey. It was felt by certain of the brethren that a suitable badge for the lodge should be devised, and a committee was formed to consider the matter. They decided to approach Miss Lucy E. Kemp-Welch, a famous Royal Academician, whose father was a Mason, but had passed away. Miss Kemp-Welch, RI, RCA who was a native of Bushey and then eighty-three years old. She very kindly undertook to do the work, and the lodge has her original painting for which she refused all payment. The banner was embroidered by Mrs Sidney Clarke of St Albans.
A copy of the suggested badge was made and passed to Grand Lodge for approval. This was granted in principle but it was pointed out that as the shield was heraldic in nature, permission would have to be obtained from the Royal College of Heralds, whose fee would be approximately 80 guineas. Grand Lodge did say however, that they would approve a badge provided it was surrounded by a laurel wreath, thus eliminating the Shield.
This was done much to the disapproval of Miss Kemp-Welsh. However, a banner incorporating the badge was embroidered and presented to the lodge by W.Bro. EH Wise the founding master and was dedicated on 18th April 1950.
The name Bissei is recorded in the Domesday book and was the early Saxon name of Bushey meaning a Fold indicating a very small hamlet where sheep and cattle could be ‘folded’ and afforded protection. The lodge name on the banner is depicted in Old English lettering flanked by English roses as distinct from Tudor, showing its early English origin. The background to the main emblem is black, with five bars alternately argent and vert (silver and green) indicating the verdure and streams of Hertfordshire. The Hart in the centre, is the Royal Hart which is the emble of Hertfordshire and associates "Bissei" with Provincial Grand Lodge. The Hart is depicted lying at rest as is fitting when in a place of safety.
The Latin motto is 'Fidei Tenax' is translated as either 'Firm to my trust' or 'Firm to my faith'.