History of St Andrews Lodge 803
St Andrews Lodge in the small town of Biggleswade on the Great North Road was formed in 1860. In that same year, Queen Victoria was in the 24th year of her reign, Lord Palmerston was Prime Minister, Napoleon III was Emperor of the French with his wife, the Empress Eugenie.
The consecration of The Lodge took place on the 17 January 1860 and was numbered 1105 by the Grand Lodge of England. Some of the first members could remember the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 and new people born in the eighteenth century. The Grand Lodge of England re - numbered all lodges and by November 1863 St Andrews became no. 803
The first Master was John Thompson and he was installed on 7th February 1860, being a surgeon and general practitioner in Shortmead Street. The initiation fee was one Guinea and the annual subscription was three guineas. Sir John Burgoyne became Master in 1862. He was a distinguished soldier in the Grenadier Guards and had served in the Crimean War and was at the Battle of Balaclava.
In 1873, Rev C C Eubank, Vicar of Langford was initiated and appointed Chaplain at the very next meeting.
Doctor Robert Bridger was initiated in 1910 and lived long enough to take the chair at the centenary Meeting in 1960. His portrait, which hangs in The Lodge Room, was presented to him after 40 years of service to freemasonry. The 50th Anniversary of the formation of the lodge was celebrated with a large gathering at the Town Hall Biggleswade.
In the immediate post war period there were often demands on the charities to help war victims, including an appeal for the children of blinded sailors and soldiers. Five guineas were voted for this charity. Rear Admiral Sir Lionel Halsey became a joining member in 1919 and became Worshipful Master in 1924 and Provincial Grand Master for Hertfordshire in 1931.
In 1928 electric light was installed in The Lodge Rooms. In March 1928 during a delivery of the charge the light failed and the ceremony had to be finished by candle light. By 1941 The Lodge had begun to give alms collections to charities connected with the war.
The first mention of American visitors came in 1944 with a letter from Grand Lodge of New York thanking English Freemasonry in general for the hospitality shown to their members of the American Forces serving in England
In 1948 The Lodge gave its consent for the formation of the Royal Arch Chapter which was consecrated on 23rd September of that year.
The Centenary Meeting of the lodge was held 7th January 1960. Grand Lodge was represented by R W Bro Major-General Sir Allen Adair who actively served in the Arnhem campaign.
In recent years there has been more involvement with ladies attending white table dinners, including Ladies Festivals and the formation of St Andrews Ladies Luncheon Club.
St Andrews Lodge has now been in existence for 157 years and has seen enormous social, political, and economic changes through reigns of 5 monarchs and many Prime Ministers.
The 150th anniversary celebration meeting saw the dedication of a new Banner; The ceremony was officiated by RW Bro. M J Sawyer Provincial Grand Master, VW Bro. R J Lovesey DL PGSwdB Deputy Provisional Grand Master and the Provincial Grand Officers.
Members are aged from 26 years and upwards.
Let us hope that No 803 will continue until Masons can say it dates from time immemorial and time with us shall be no more.