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Welcome to the
Londesborough Lodge


Brief History of Londesborough Lodge

Early in 1875 it was decided to form a Lodge to be held at some convenient place in the West End of London.  The promoters were:-

Asher Barfield, PM Zetland Lodge 511; William Runting, PM Belgian Lodge 749; George Bubb, PM St James Union Lodge 180.

All three at the time being Past Masters of some standing.......

There was considerable difficulty in finding suitable accomodation and frequent meetings of the intending Founders were held at the house of
Bro Barfield in Clarges Street.   At length these brethren approached the proprietor of the Cafe Royal, M. Nicole, and much to their surprise and gratification, their proposals were accepted and the Lodge held it's meetings at the Masonic Hall, Air Street until December 17th 1998 (608 consecutive meetings!)

The question of accommodation being settled, W.Bro Barfield approached Lord Londesborough, PGW, who at the earnest solicitation of the founding brethren, not only agreed to allow the Lodge to be named after him, but to become its first Master.      


                                   Lord Londesborough                             

 The Petition for the Warrant of the Lodge was dated 26th February 1877 and is signed by:-

The Rt Hon Lord Londesborough; William Runting; George Bubb; Col William Stuart; The Earl of Shrewsbury; The Rt Hon Lord Donoughmore; Asher Barfield; Benjamin W. Walton

The Petition was in some ways a little unusual, in that unlike most Lodges we do not seem to have a 'Mother Lodge', we have in fact three sponsoring Lodges:-

Lodge 235 - The Lodge of the Nine Muses

G.E.A. Ross WM; Walter Webb SW; Edward Hyde Hewett JW

Lodge 1563 - The City of Westminster Lodge

Phillip M. Holden WM; Edward White SW; Benjamin Phillips JW

Lodge 1425 - The Hyde Park Lodge

John Cruttenden WM; Samuel Jones SW; D.F. Gallion JW

Lodge 235 is one of the famous old London Lodges that celebrated its Centenary in the year we were founded, whereas the other two Lodges had then only been in existence for a few years.

The approval to the Petition was granted on 3rd April 1877.

The Consecration Meeting took place at Air Street on 7th June 1877.  The Consecrating Officers were:-

VW Bro John Hervey, GSec, WM; VWBro Col Stuart, PSGW, SW; W.Bro Thomas Fenn, PGD, JW; W.Bro Rev P.M. Holden, PGC Middlesex, Chaplain; W.Bro H.C. Buss, AsstGS, DC; W.Bto F.A. Philbrick, IG.   


  Some Consecrating Officers

Founders present:                                                                                                                                                       

The Rt Hon Lord Londesborough - WM Designate; William Runting, George Bubb, Asher Barfield and Robert Swallow.

Visitors present:

W.Bro's T. Scott, WM 771; Bannister, PM 65; H. Hodges, PM 84; Grunebaum, PM 1017; A.H. Longhurst, PM 1425; P.A. Milford, PM 134; Cumming, PM 235; George Read, PM 511; H.M. Levey, PM 188; & W. Game, PM 511; together with Bros E.H. Hewett, SW 235; R. Burleton, 860; H.E. Forsaith, 749; W.J. Edwards, 1348; G. White, 1563; J.H. Levitt, 180; T. Prim, 860; C.E. Williams, 511; Louis Beck, 1559; J. Lee, 511; J.P. Walliker, 511; D.H. Harrison, 1351; C. Grumpel, 1251; F. Cozens, 907; G. Fletcher, 180; John Wade, 860; R. Farquharson, 99 and F. Meen, 1185

The Londesborough Lodge 1681 was then Consecrated and constituted in due and ancient form by VW Bro John Hervey, the Oration being delivered by W.Bro Rev P.M. Holden.  VW Bro the Rt Hon Lord Londesborough was then Installed in the Chair of King Solomon and he invested his officers as follows:-

W.Bro William Runting, SW; W.Bro George Bubb, JW; W.Bro Asher Barfield, Treasurer; W.Bro George Read, Secretary; Bro William Cole, SD; Bro Robert Burleton, JD; Bro Duncan Harrison, IG and Bro R. Schofield was appointed Tyler.

The Consecrating Officers were unanimously elected as Honorary Members of the Lodge.

From the onset it was destined to be a Lodge of Cosmopolitan formation, their professions being given as:-

Dentist, Theatre Ticket Agent, Brick Merchant, Brewery Manager, Coach Builder, Wine Merchant, Tailor

During the Lodge's formative years, most of the Candidates appear to have been proposed by Asher Barfield and oddly enough initiated by him at emergency Meetings - the first being held on 14th June when Bros Honeyball, Read, Cole, Burleton, Harrison and Thomas were elected Joining Members and Bros Wetherilt, Allen, Dodson and Elwin were Initiated - evidently a man of great enthusiasm!  In due course he seems to have received his just reward, for it is recorded that in April 1888 he was appointed Grand Treasurer.

The first regular meetings of the Lodge, which always met then on the first Thursday in the month, were held on 4th October, 1st November and 6th December.  At the latter, Lord Londesborough was in the Chair and apparently performed the ceremonies of Initation and Passing, being subsequently invested with a Founder's Jewel.

On the 6th February 1879 Lord Londesborough attended and was Invested with the Past-Master's Jewel.  This was the first one issued in the Lodge and is pictured below, alongside a more current jewel.


This is a photo of the original Past Master's Jewel as presented to Lord Londesborough in 1878


This is a more current Jewel with a very interesting background:-                                                     A former member - W.Bro Fred Manton - a jeweller and silversmith, attended an auction many years ago, where amongst some masonic artefacts he found a jewel bearing the Londesborough crest which was in a very bad state of repair.  From the engraving on the reverse he found it had been presented to W.Bro R.P.J. Laundey in 1895.  He purchased the jewel, had it refurbished and re-enamelled, presented it to the Lodge and then wore it after he was WM in 1957.    

He then re-presented it to W.Bro John Culling upon finishing his year as WM in 1987. 

The interesting point is that W.Bro Laundey was Initiated 20.12.1883 became WM on 21.02.1894 and appointed Lodge Secretary on 19.02.1890.  W.Bro Culling was Initiated 20.12.1979 (exactly 96 years later), became WM on 21.02.1986 (exactly 92 years later) and took on the Secretary's role on 15.02.1990, (almost exactly 100 years later!). Strange coincidence!   

The Hall Stone Jewel

Londesborough Lodge is honoured to have been awarded this Jewel that has been worn with pride by every WM since it was presented:


Our WM Tony Frankson wearing the Jewel

In 1919, after the First World War Grand Lodge decided, in response to a suggestion from the M.W. The Grand Master, H.R.H. The Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, to embark on the building of a new headquarters for the English Craft as a memorial to the many brethren who had given their lives during the War. For this purpose a special committee was set up in 1920 and an appeal made to every member of the Constitution for contributions to the fund which, from the target set, came to be known as the Masonic Million Memorial Fund. Contributions to this Fund were to be entirely voluntary and were to be recognised by special commemorative jewels. These were of three types for the three categories of subscribers, of the same basic design but of different sizes and precious metals (the sizes given below are the diameter of the encircling wreath). Examples of all three types are on display in the Grand Lodge Museum:


  1. A medal (35mm) called the Masonic Million Memorial Fund Commemorative Jewel on a dark blue ribbon, to be worn as a personal breast jewel by any member of a lodge under the English Constitution subscribing to the Fund: ten guineas or more, a silver medal; one hundred guineas or more, a gold medal. Some 53,224 individual jewels were issued;
  1. A medal (42mm) in gold on a light blue collarette to be worn by successive Masters of lodges contributing an average of ten guineas per member, such lodges to be known as Hall Stone Lodges (thus giving the jewel its name). 1,321 lodges at home and abroad qualified as Hall Stone Lodges; their names and numbers are inscribed on commemorative marble panels in the main ceremonial entrance vestibule of Freemasons' Hall;

  1. A medal (48mm) in gold and coloured enamels, on a dark blue collarette, to be worn by successive Provincial and District Grand Masters of Provinces or Districts contributing an average of five hundred guineas per lodge. Two Districts, Japan (now defunct) and Burma, and one Province, Buckinghamshire, qualified as Hall Stone Districts/Province. Certain lodge rooms in Freemasons' Hall were therefore named after them in recognition of their achievement, this being commemorated on a bronze plaque therein. Lodge Rooms 11, 12 and 17 were thus denominated respectively the Japan, the Burma and the Buckinghamshire Rooms. They are the only lodge rooms in Freemasons' Hall distinguished in this way by a name.

The design of the medal, the outcome of a competition won by Bro. Cyril Saunders Spackman, R.B.A., R.M.S., was described at the time in these terms:


"The jewel is in the form of a cross, symbolising Sacrifice, with a perfect square at the four ends, on the left and right, squares being the dates 1914-1918, the years in which the supreme sacrifice was made. Between these is a winged figure of Peace presenting the representation of a Temple with special Masonic allusion in the Pillars, Porch and Steps. The medal is suspended by the Square and Compasses, attached to a ribband, the whole thus symbolising the Craft's gift of a Temple in memory of those brethren who gave all for King and Country, Peace and Victory, Liberty and Brotherhood."



The Lodge Banner (and how it came about!)

It has been traditional for many years for individual Lodges to have a banner bearing the Lodge crest for display when the Lodge meets and for use on any ceremonial occasion approved by Grand Lodge.

Despite having been in existence for over 100 years, Londesborough Lodge 1681 had never had a banner and much discussion ensued during the 1980's as to the possibility of having one made.

A major prohibitor to many Lodges having a banner is the cost involved in producing one, but during a conversation one evening at LOI, W.Bro Jim Durband put forward the suggestion that his wife Madge (who had tremendous needlework experience in tapestry work), would be prepared to undertake the project, if the Lodge would underwrite the cost of materials.  This seemed too good to be true and discussions ensued.

Grand Lodge was contacted and invaluable advice as to what was allowed was obtained from the Assistant Grand Secretary - W.Bro Graham Redman.

Designs were submitted and finally approved so work commenced around 1986.

Regular updates were received, indeed Madge often brought the 'work in progress' along to Ladies Nights so we could see how she was getting on.

Finally we received word that the finished article would be ready by the summer of 1990.

More activity ensued with Grand Lodge and then on Thursday 18th October 1990, at the Cafe Royal, Regent Street, the Banner was unveiled and dedicated in a moving ceremony conducted by W.Bro The Reverend Dr. W.R.S. Payne Assistant Grand Chaplain, assisted by W.Bro A.J. Maxfield Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies.

The quality of work in this Banner really has to be seen to be believed and it is diplayed with pride at all our meetings.
Click on the thumb-nails below to see for yourself................!


Clear title required!

Many different components

Look at the detail here!

'Virtue repels adversity!'

The citation with the gift presented to Madge Durband read as follows:

  Madge with the finished item!

'The Brethren of the Londesborough Lodge will be eternally grateful to W.Bro Jim and Mrs Madge Durband for the hours of patience and effort required to produce this magnificent Banner' 

Association with Londesborough Lodge 734 - Bridlington




One of the undoubted pleasures of Freemasonry is visiting other Lodges and when there is a connection between Lodges it becomes that bit more special.

Lord Londesborough - Rt. Hon. W.H.F. Denison, the first WM of 1681, was the son of Lord Londesborough - Rt. Hon. A. Denison, who was a founder of Londesborough Lodge 734 in Bridlington - East Yorkshire. 

In September 1936, the WM of Londesborough 734 and his Officers, travelled to London where they carried out a Ceremony at Freemasons' Hall.  The WM, Treasurer & Secretary of Londesborough 1681 were among some 120 brethren who attended and then dined in the Connaught Rooms.

This was the start of a lasting bond between the two Lodges and reciprocal annual visits have taken place every year since in May and October.

A link to Londesborough Lodge 734 website can be found on the 'Useful Links' page.

Lodge of Instruction and it's history

Londesborough LOI was created on 21st December 1882, with the first active meeting held at The Berkeley Arms in Mayfair on 8th February 1883, with of course the ubiquitous Asher Barfield in the Chair.

The first LOI Supper was held on 14th February 1884.  Designed to assist the WM and his Officers before the Installation Meeting they were popular and continued for many years.  For some reason they stopped, but resurrected in the mid 1950's as 'sausage & mash' suppers.

In 1898 the meeting place shifted to The Criterion and then in 1904 to the Cafe Royal.  Records are a little vague (but may have remained at the Cafe Royal), until November 1922 when it was moved to The Old Cheshire Cheese pub, but only until March 1923 when The Bedford Head in Maiden Lane became the venue for some 20 years until The Clachan Inn in Kingly Street took over.

Since then we have met at the Bloomsbury Tavern, the Cock Tavern in Euston, The Crown in Camden Town, the George & Devonshire in Chiswick and then where we are today Cole Court Masonic Centre in Twickenham.

The Lodge of Instruction is without a doubt 'the place where it all happens!'  Here, apart from practicing the ritual and floorwork, are cemented many firm friendships which endure through life as well as many memories.

Average attendance over the first 100 years was around 12, and it speaks well for the keeness of those few that the LOI stayed in existence, and that the standard of the Lodge workings has continued at such a high level.

Long may it continue!

Other topics to be included shortly are:-

  • Highlights of our first 132 years
  • What is the 'Royal Arch'?
  • Londesborough Royal Arch Chapter         
  • 'Lest we Forget' - tributes to some members no longer with us.........