A Brief Historical Introduction to Freemasonry in Hertfordshire
It has been written long ago that St Alban introduced Freemasonry into Britain when he formed the first Lodge in 287 CE. However, in Hertfordshire, there were three Lodges founded in the Eighteenth Century; the oldest being The Red Rampant Lyon Lodge No 181 (a name that has recently been resurrected). Sadly, none of these three Lodges survived for very long.
The Masonic Province of Hertfordshire was officially formed when William Forssteen received his patent as Provincial Grand Master on 24 March 1797 (although, at that time, he had no actual Lodges to govern). The first Lodge in Hertfordshire was constituted in 1829 and the Province then slowly grew under the next three Provincial Grand Masters to a total of just eight. Then Sir Thomas Frederick Halsey became Provincial Grand Master and, after no less than 50 years in post, he left the Province with a much more fulsome 41 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 50!
Today, there are an impressive 188 Lodges meeting at 11 Masonic Centres and other venues across the Province of ‘Happy Hertfordshire’.
If you would like to find out more about the history of Freemasonry with the Province; its Provincial Grand Masters, Lodges and meeting places, please refer to ‘History of Freemasonry in Hertfordshire’ by G B Abbott and ‘Happy Hertfordshire 1797-1997′ by A H Turney (Ed); both of which can be researched at the Provincial Museum and Library at Fleet House in St Albans.