A Brief History of the Mark Province of Hertfordshire

The first Mark Lodge in Hertfordshire was Watford Lodge No 241, consecrated on 26 March 1879 with W Bro T F Halsey (the Provincial Grand Master in the Craft) as its first Master. Six year later the Rose and Lily Lodge No 354, which was to meet at the Four Swans, Waltham Cross, was consecrated on 18 July 1885, and by 1887 it met at the Peahen Hotel, St Albans, (it now meets at Freemasons’ Hall).

A Petition was accordingly submitted to the MW Grand Mark Master to constitute a Mark Province in Hertfordshire, with W Bro Halsey as Provincial Grand Master. A Patent was granted to W Bro Halsey on 12 November 1885, but the Province was not inaugurated and the first Provincial Grand Master not installed until 24 July 1886. By this time there were four Lodges in the Province, as the Hertford and Gladsmuir Lodges had by then been consecrated.

In 1936 the then Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro Canon Frederick Halsey was also appointed Deputy Grand Master. In 2014, RW Bro Keith Emmerson, who had been Provincial Grand Master between 1998 and 2008, followed in Canon Halsey’s footsteps and was likewise appointed Deputy Grand Master.

The Present Provincial Grand Master for Hertfordshire is R W Bro James Harrison who was installed on the 12th July 2022, in succession to RW Bro Richard Walker.

The Provincial Grand Master for Hertfordshire in the Mark Degree also rules the degree of Royal Ark Mariner. The first Lodge in the Royal Ark Mariner degree in Hertfordshire, Gladsmuir No 367, was consecrated on 7 December 1894 during the rule of R W Bro Sir Frederick Halsey. Lodges take the number, and usually the name of the Mark Lodge to which they are moored. Only five Mark Lodges in Hertfordshire do not have a Royal Ark Mariner Lodge.

The newest Mark Lodge in Hertfordshire is Rudyard Kipling Lodge No. 1947, which meets at Ashwell House, St. Albans.