Masonic Province of Hertfordshire
Tercentenary - History Project
Banners of Craft Lodges in Hertfordshire (Continued)
Temple Bar Lodge No: 1728
The history of the Temple Bar Lodge No. 1728 started in 1877 when ten London Freemasons petitioned His Royal Highness, Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), Grand Master to form a new city lodge to be called "The Argosy". The St Martins-le-Grand Lodge No. 1538 would sponsor this new lodge - although none of the petitioners would come from this sponsoring lodge. It was shortly after this petition was approved that the ten petitioners were leaving a meeting held within sight of Sir Christopher Wren's old Temple Bar, which was being made
ready for its removal from the historic site where it had stood since 1672.
The plight of this fine old structure so moved the petitioners that they immediately moved to change the name of their new Lodge to the Temple Bar Lodge. Fortunately this request was granted and the Warrant for the Temple Bar Lodge No. 1728 was issued on Thursday the 8th of November 1877. The Temple Bar Lodge No. 1728 was consecrated on Friday the 4th of January 1878 at "The London" a hotel then located at 191 Fleet Street in London. The Temple Bar Lodge No. 1728 would go on to celebrate its centenary as a city lodge at the Piccadilly Hotel in 1978, before transferring to the Province of Hertfordshire on Wednesday the 12th of December 1990, where it meets at the Royston masonic centre. This relocation was ironic coming one hundred and one years after the Temple Bar itself first left London to be relocated at Theobalds Park in the Province of Hertfordshire in 1889. The second banner is obviously awaiting a list of more recent Worshipful Masters.
The first banner was ‘received’ in 1902. However, the photo taken at the centenary shows two banners, the one of 1949 with Masters recorded to 1976, the other a previous banner with Masters from 1915 to 1947. Being a previous London Lodge, it was assumed that the 1902 and 1915 banners were in the Great Queen Street archives. However, further research has proven to be inconclusive as to their whereabouts, and we can only assume that they have been disposed of or placed in an archive store.
Two banners now exist, from 1949 and 1982 both depicting the Temple Bar and Roll of Masters although the 1982 banner remains incomplete. The lodge banner depicts the Old Temple Bar – once situated in Fleet St, then removed to Theobalds Park, Hertfordshire when the street was widened. The Temple Bar was placed in the hands of the trustees of the Meux family estate (the owners of Theobalds Park) and despite its status as a scheduled ancient monument, it had lapsed into decay. After a long campaign, it was decided to return it to the City of London in 2001. The arch was again dismantled, and was reconstructed on a site near to St Paul’s Cathedral. The project was completed in November 2004, and a commemorative plaque was placed in Theobalds Park.