Brief History of the Province of Hertfordshire

It has been written long ago that St.Alban introduced Freemasonry into Britain when he formed the first Lodge in AD 287.  However, although St Albans (the City) is in Hertfordshire, the Province of Hertfordshire can only reliably trace its lodge history to the mid-eighteenth century, when three lodges were founded. Unfortunately none of the three lodges survived for very long. The oldest lodge, The Red Rampant Lyon Lodge No:181 which was founded in 1739 and erased in 1755, met at a public house of that name in Chequer Street, St Albans. The two other lodges; St Amphibulus No: 412 and formed in 1767 and erased in 1777, and the Lodge of Harmony meeting in Baldock formed in 1776 and erased in 1787. Both the latter lodges names were resurrected as the Baldock Lodge of Harmony No: 5262 and St Amphibulus Lodge No: 9154, the latter having unfortunatley recently closed. The name of the earliest lodge within the county, the Red Rampant Lyon Lodge, has recently been revived as a new lodge, consecrated in 2009, and named the Lodge of the Red Rampant Lyon,  No: 9843.

 

The Province of Hertfordshire was officially formed when William Forsteen received his patent as Provincial Grand Master on 24th March 1797 although he had no lodges to govern.  The first lodge was constituted in 1829 and the province slowly grew under the next three Provincial Grand Masters to a total of just eight. Then Sir Thomas Frederick Halsey became Provincial Grand Master, an office he held for no less than fifty years and by the end of his term the province had forty-one Lodges. The son of Sir Thomas Frederick Halsey, Admiral Sir Lionel Halsey who ruled the province for nineteen years, actually consecrated more lodges in that time than his father did in fifty. In 2010 there were 207 lodges within Hertfordshire, but this number has recently reduced to below 200, meeting in eleven Masonic centres as well as a number of other venues.

Standards of the Province of Hertfordshire

The early Provincial Standard (to the left) is at Watford displayed in the rear staircase on the first floor. The date is unknown but could be the late 1800’s and was used by R.W.Bro Sir Thomas F. Halsey and possibly by R.W.Bro Admiral Sir Lionel Halsey. The banner shows a quartered shield with the arms of Grand Lodge in the upper left and lower right and a Hart (to represent Hertfordshire) in the other two quarters all under the Provincial name. Under the shield is the motto of Grand Lodge "Audi Vide Tace".

The standard to the right (above) was used by Col Alexander Woods Provincial Grand Master of Hertfordshire 1963-1974. This standard is identical both sides and shows the Hart of Hertfordshire and the central part of the arms of Grand Lodge.

The standards immediately to the left of this paragraph are those as currently used by the PGM or the DPGM when attending a function in a Lodge within the Province of Hertfordshire, and also at the annual Provincial meeting. There are two identical standards, one is used by the PGM and DPGM throughout the year, on their official visits whilst the other is kept as pristine as possible by being used only for the Provincial Annual General meeting and other  important events such as consecrations.

© 2016 - Provincial Museum of Hertfordshire