Banners of Craft Lodges in Hertfordshire (Continued)
Icknield Lodge No: 4670
Letchworth, the first garden city in the world, was founded in 1903 and as it gradually developed and industry became established many were attracted to the new town, some of these were already masons but now unable to attend their own lodges regularly. The nearest lodge at that time was Cecil Lodge No. 449 which met in Hitchin but even this presented difficulties as there was no convenient transport available.
Although several attempts were made to establish a Lodge in Letchworth the main problem was always a lack of suitable accommodation and it was not until 1923 when Fred Nott a local baker and restaurant owner (and also a mason) announced that he was going to build a suite of function rooms over his cafe and bakery in Eastcheap.
Local masons led by a Bro. Tappenden soon grasped the opportunity and immediately applied for permission to found a new lodge in Letchworth to be called the Icknield Lodge after the Icknield Way, which bisected the new town . A warrant was issued on the 6th. August 1924 empowering the twenty-six founder members to proceed with the formation of a lodge to serve the Letchworth area and the lodge was duly consecrated on 18th February 1925.
During that first year the Lodge Banner was presented by Mrs. Tappenden on behalf of the Ladies of the Founders and this was consecrated on March 12th 1926 by the Provincial Grand Master R.W. Bro. C. E. Keyser assisted by V.W.Bro. H. G. Rosendale the Provincial Grand Chaplain. It depicts a Roman Centurian standing in from of a Fort, ostensibly on the famous Roman road that runs past Letchworth, the Icknield Way. It is from this that the Lodge takes it's name which also identifies with the original venue “The Icknield Halls”. The Icknield Way is unique because it can claim to be the 'oldest road in Britain'. It consists of prehistoric pathways, ancient when the Romans came, and is dotted with archaeological remains. The road runs between Ivinghoe Beacon and Knettishall Heath. It crosses the counties of Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Essex, Cambridgeshire and Suffolk and is 103 miles long.
Above the central emblem is a small shield with a hart in front of a representation of a castle which appears similar to that on the ancient coat of arms on the town of Berkhampstead. This image appears on a number of banners with no apparent connection to the name of the lodge. There have been suggestions of both Hertford and Berkhampstead castles as well as Hatfield House, but no firm conclusion has been reached. It is hoped that further research may clarify matters. The gold ribbons on the two columns are inscribed with the names of all of the Founding members of the Lodge.
Further information about the Icknield Lodge can be obtained from the lodge's own web-site at www.icknieldlodge.org.uk .