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Banners of Craft Lodges in Hertfordshire (Continued)

Royston Lodge No: 4304

A founder and first Worshipful Master was Colonel Sir Charles Heaton-Ellis, who gathered his co-founders together at his seat at Widdial Hall, Buntingford, where each was called upon to take a solemn oath not to fail in his obligations. The lodge was consecrated on 17th October, 1921 and the lodge crest which is central to the banner is a copy of the damaged Royston Priory Seal which was used in 1534 to authenticate a deed, signed by the canons, that, by renouncing the pope's authority, acknowledged the supremacy of the crown and legitimised Henry VIII's marriage with Ann Boleyn. 

The seal is still preserved in the Public Records Office.  On the banner above the seal are two lions, one erased and crowned, the other partial rampant which are from the arms of Sir Charles Heaton-Ellis who also presented the banner in 1921.  The banner is now framed and hangs high in the gable over the master’s chair.  Sir Charles Heaton-Ellis was one of the prime movers in the building of the Royal Masonic Hospital in London. The parish church in Royston is dedicated to St. John the Baptist, as was the priory in the middle ages. 

The second Saint is probably St. Thomas Becket who is now the Saint to whom Royston's Catholic Church is dedicated. The priory was situated at Cruce Roheys - at Royies's Cross - and this became Roysia's town and eventually Royston. It was Lady Roysia who had a cross erected where Ermine Street crossed the Icknield Way and this happened soon after the norman conquest, but the priory was not founded until 1162. Past masters' jewels for Royston Lodge are unusual in that the 'Seal' hangs by two chains from the enamelled plate bearing the number of the Master (i.e. there is no blue ribbon). The story goes that when the regalia maker first had to fabricate one of these jewels, he attempted to 'mend' it, not realising that the Seal was broken. The Latin/French inscription "Fort et Fidele" is a potential typographical error for "Forte et Fidele" which translates as "Brave and Faithful". The second Banner is a faithful copy of the first and was dedicated 12th March 2005.

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