Brief History of the Province of Hertfordshire

Province of Hertfordshire - Crest

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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. There are 193 Lodges within Hertfordshire, meeting in eleven Masonic centres as well as a number of other venues.

Standards of the Province of Hertfordshire

The coat of arms that appears on the Banner of the Province of Hertfordshire (see picture to the right) is a combination of the central part of the coat of arms for the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) situated in the centre which is surrounded by four harts crossing over a depiction of water as represented by the blue and white border. This alludes to the town of "Hartford", the county town of the shire, and which has now changed its spelling from "Hartford" to the modern day Hertford.

Note: The word hart is an old alternative word for a stag (from the Old English heorot - as compared with the modern Dutch hert, which is also a deer). It is not now widely used, but Shakespeare makes several references (for example in Twelfth Night), punning on the sound-alike "hart" and "heart". The county of Hertfordshire is thought to be named after a place where deer forded a watercourse. The source for this paragraph is: here

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Whilst every attempt has been made to guarantee the authenticity and accuracy of the statements and descriptions, if any discrepancies are discovered or if additional information is available, please contact the curator/archivist at the Provincial Grand Lodge of Hertfordshire via: www.pglherts.org.

© 2016 - Provincial Museum of Hertfordshire