Banners of Craft Lodges in Hertfordshire
Hertford Lodge No: 403
The Lodge's Warrant, dated 31st August 1829, was granted by Prince Augustus Frederick of Brunswick Lunenburg, Duke of Sussex, the then Grand Master. The lodge consecration was conducted on 8th September 1829 at the Salisbury Arms in Hertford, which is still used by some lodges as a meeting place to this day. The Lodge's number was '849', changed to '578' in 1832 and finally '403' in 1863. It is the oldest existing Lodge in Hertfordshire. The first Worshipful Master was W. Bro Francis Crew. The lodge met at the Shire Hall, Hertford from 1831 to 1984 when it then transferred to Mayflower Place, Hertingfordbury.
The first banner on the left was presented by Bro. Croft in 1883 and was dedicated in 1884. This is now located in the Provincial Office Museum, as it is now approaching its 200th anniversary and shows signs of wear, whilst the new one is kept for use in the Lodge. Rather strangely, the detailed and lengthy history of the Lodge does not mention the gift.
The emblem on both of the banners is the old ‘Seale of the Borough Towne of Hertforde’ and depicts a Hart standing in water with a poignard or pattee fitchee between its antlers. To the left a tree and to the right a three tower domed castle similar to the ancient coat of arms of the town of Berkhampstead, which has been used on other town badges. Allthough there is one potential connection in that the well known John Robert Cocks was the Lodge Treasurer for no less than 62 years from 1865 until he died in 1927. He was also Provincial Grand Treasurer in 1900. The records state he was elected twice as Worshipful Master and Treasurer at the same time. The first time being just three years after his initiation. At the bottom of the banner is a golden key, the significance of which has been lost in the passage of time, but maybe a reference to W.Bro Cocks office as treasurer. The banner is also noted as being ‘Given by some past masters, members and friends in the lodge January 1962’.