History of the Martyrs Memorial Loyal Orange Lodge No.213 Oxford
Brother Sid Black, Worthy Secretary 1964 - 1997
as told to Brother Graham Fleet
met Mr Archie Johnson and Mr Thomas G...., both of whom lived in Oxford at that
time (1958). After ascertaining that we were all members of the Royal Arch
Purple Degree, Archie being initiated into Garryduff Loyal Orange Lodge
No.536 in 1928 and Thomas initiated into Castlerock Loyal Orange Lodge No.141 in
1908, we discussed the idea of forming an Orange Lodge in Oxford. Both Archie
Johnson and myself worked at the time in the car factory at Cowley and came into
contact with fellow Orangemen from Ulster and from Scotland. These Brothers
pledged us their support if we managed to open an Orange Lodge in Oxford. The
problem we then faced was obtaining the Warrant and finding somewhere to hold
While at a demonstration in London I had a chance meeting with Brother Ron
Magee, whose Loyal Orange Lodge and their band from Cookstown were in London for
the Parade. Brother Ron was the Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of
England at that time and he was born only three miles from my home in Cookstown,
in fact my father and Brother Ron's father had worked at the same place for many
years. We therefore knew each other's families. I approached Brother Ron on the
possibility of opening an Orange Lodge in Oxford. Brother Ron thought Oxford an
ideal place, since Oxford is in a very prominent position and as far as history
is concerned it could become the hub of the Institution. We agreed on the name
of "The Martyr's Memorial Loyal Orange Lodge Oxford" and the number allocated
was 213. The Martyr's Memorial we thought was very appropriate because of
Oxford's association with the Protestant martyrs: Thomas Cranmer, Hugh Latimer
and Nicholas Ridley, Prelates to the Church of England. These martyrs were
burned at the stake in Oxford for their beliefs in the Protestant faith and
there is a memorial in Oxford to celebrate their martyrdom.
The Martyrs were burned in 1555 and 1556 during the reign of Queen Mary, the
catholic sister of Queen Elizabeth I. King Henry VIII and Cardinal Wolsey had
severed England from the influence of the Pope of Rome and made England a free
country, as Luther did in Germany. Indeed, the Martyrs, especially Cranmer were
much influenced by Luther's example.
Thomas Cranmer and his friends were burned to death in Broad Street, Oxford.
On the road outside Balliol College there is a cobbled cross which is the exact
spot where an Archbishop of Canterbury was martyred for his faith and his
allegiance to the English Crown. Opposite this cross, on the wall of the College
is a beautifully carved plaque on which is written;
Near the Cross in the middle of Broad Street HUGH LATIMER - one time Bishop of Worcester NICHOLAS RIDLEY - Bishop of London THOMAS CRANMER - Archbishop of Canterbury
were burned for their faith in 1555 and 1556.
Cranmer supported the writing of the English Bible. He wrote the Church of
England Book of Common Prayer which is well known for the Service of Holy
Communion, Baptism, Marriage and Burial Services, contained therein.
The name of Martyr's
Memorial was proposed by Provincial Grand Master, Brother William Patterson and
seconded by Brother Harry D..... at the meeting on May 9th 1964.
Both Brother Archie and myself were busy building up support for the
proposed opening of the Lodge. The support mainly coming from Scottish Brothers
who were employed at the Cowley works. Unfortunately as we experienced later on
our membership fluctuated due to Brothers returning to Scotland when work at the
factory was in short supply.
Arrangements for the
grand opening were finalised, Brother Ron had obtained the Warrant and I had
solved the problem of the meeting place by hiring the Chapel room at the Y.M.C.A.
building in Walton Street, Oxford. The first meeting took place on May 9th 1964.
The Deputy Grand
Master, Brother Ron Magee was in the Worthy Master's Chair and the late
Provincial Grand Master, Brother William Patterson ( he lost an arm during World
War I ) in the Deputy Master's Chair. Brother William was a very active Brother
and he could conduct all of the Degree ceremonies without any help at all. The
election of Officers took place and the results are as follows:
arranged at each meeting
In August 1964 we took receipt of the Lodge Seal which was purchased at a
cost of £5. 5/- .In July 1964 I presented the Lodge with a collection box to
hopefully increase Lodge Funds and this is still in use today as a charity box,
i.e. the money collected in it throughout the year is given to a charity of the
As you can appreciate, because the Lodge was only just starting and none of
us were rich men we had very few Lodge possessions. In November 1964 Mrs
Johnson, the Worthy Master's wife very kindly made some three inches wide
Collarettes out of some orange material supplied by the Worthy Master himself.
Obviously we were very grateful and a letter of thanks was sent by the
Secretary. The current Secretary has some of these Collarettes in his
From time to time we have acquired other Collarettes for the Lodge, they
have either been donated or left for use within the Lodge when required. We now
have Lodge Collarettes for all Lodge Officers, I recall that the Worthy Master's
and the Deputy Master's Collarettes were presented to the Lodge by Brother Jim
Little In 1997 Brother Alan Harling and his wife very generously presented
Collarettes for the Treasurer, Chaplain, Tyler and the Secretary to the Lodge.
We must now be one of the very few Lodges in the Orange Institution of England
to have all Officer's Collarettes.
The Gavels used within Lodge meetings were presented to the Lodge by Brother
Ron Magee, Deputy Grand Master, in the very early days of the Lodge. In fact
Brother Ron being a carpenter by trade actually made the Gavels himself.
While at a meeting early on in the life of the Lodge, a Brother visiting
from Castledawson in Ulster had in his possession some transfers of the British
Crown. He gave a couple of these transfers to the Lodge, I then made up the
varnished wooden backing and it has stood on the Master's table at every Lodge
One of the two tablecloths used during the meetings was presented to the
Lodge by the wife of Brother Jim Little, the other by the wife of Brother Sammy Grahame These ladies also did the embroidery on them. We owe both of these
ladies a great debt of gratitude.
Following the Lodge Meeting in November I was informed that the Y.M.C.A.
Building was to be demolished so I made contact with Brother Ron and obtained
his permission to hold meetings at my own house - 22 Canal Street, Jericho.
until another venue could be found. (There are occasions when this practice is
still carried on). The first Lodge meeting at my house was on January 2nd 1965
and the Lodge gave my wife the sum of 10/- for the use of the house.
In June 1965 we had our first ( the first of many ) meeting in St Peters
church hall at Wolvercote for the princely sum of 12/6 per Lodge session. This
was arranged by Brother Archie Johnson and has been a very satisfactory
arrangement over the years. Occasionally when unable to use the hall itself we
have been allowed by the Vicar to use the Vestry, a great honour indeed. We had
tried to rent many places before we found this church hall but Oxford in general
is not very sympathetic to our cause and like so many other places class
Orangemen as bigots and do not make us very welcome. Unfortunately we are not a
strong enough Lodge to demonstrate and prove our point.
For a period, we used to meet at the 35th Oxford Scout hall in Blackbird
Leys, alternating with Wolvercote. Brother Ashley Stewart was the Scoutmaster
and so had access to the hall, which was very helpful because we acquired many
new Brethren from Blackbird Leys. In fact, at one meeting in the Scout Hall we
had six applications for membership, which needless to say was a great boost to
the Lodge at the time.
Early on, we were able to leave such Lodge possessions as we had at the hall
between meetings. Because we did not want non-brethren to see these items we
needed a container to store them in. I made a Lodge box ( Materials cost £1 10/-
paid for from Lodge funds ) which we were able to keep at the hall, locked of
Unfortunately we are not now able to do this and all Lodge paraphernalia is
kept at the Secretary's house and transported to each meeting.
The sword used by the Tyler was presented to the Lodge by Brother Robert
Harland who emigrated to Canada in 1969. He was a good Brother. The leather
cover for the sword was made by myself and was screwed to the lid of the Lodge
box and the sword kept there between use. This sword is also used by the R.B.P.
84 for some ceremonies.
In September 1967 a now very distinguished Brother was introduced and
initiated to the Lodge - Namely Brother John Adams. Brother John actually
hitch-hiked from Bristol to Oxford to attend his first meeting. He proved to be
a great asset to the Lodge and represented Loyal Orange Lodge No.213 in far
flung places, he was elected Worthy Master in 1983 and served in that capacity
for six years.
Another distinguished Brother - Brother John Monan was transferred to Loyal
Orange Lodge No.213 from Farnham Loyal Orange Lodge No. 20. He was elected
Worthy Master of Loyal Orange Lodge No.213 in 1968 and served for three years,
he also served as Deputy Grand Master, Brother John's son Victor was initiated
on May 4th 1968 and he also became a Grand Lodge Officer.
Several people from the Newbury area were initiated into L.O.L.213 and so it
was decided to open a Lodge in Newbury. In May 1972 Brother John Monan obtained
the Warrant and opened the Kennet and Avon Loyal Orange Lodge in Newbury.
In 1972 Brother Jim Thompson was elected Worthy Master and he occupied this
Office until 1978. Both he and his sons were instrumental at this period in
keeping the Lodge open.
Brother Peter Robinson was accepted on a transfer from the Armagh True Blues
Loyal Orange Lodge No.98 in Glasgow and he was elected Worthy Master for the
years 1978 to 1980.
In 1981 the Worthy Master was Brother Ian Tough who was transferred to our
Lodge from a Lodge in Scotland. During his time with us he travelled from
Aylesbury to Oxford, a distance of approximately twenty-five miles, for Lodge
meetings. He has now returned to Scotland.
It was decided to hold a parade on October 7th 1981 in Oxford. This was to
commemorate the Oxford Martyrs and was also part of "The Anti Papal Visit
Campaign". Grand Lodge, i.e.Brother John and Brother Victor Monan, played
leading parts in the organisation of the march including arranging the
£500,000.00 insurance cover necessary for the march to take place, but much of
the organisational work was undertaken by Loyal Orange Lodge No.213, Worthy
Master, Brother Jim Thompson and myself.
We had all of the necessary paperwork for the parade including the insurance
cover certificate for £500,000; this certificate of insurance had to be signed
by the Oxford City solicitor to enable the Parade to go ahead. I took it to the
Oxford City solicitor so that it could be signed on the day before the Parade. I
was told that the insurance cover was not adequate and that the cover required
would be £1,000,000.00 allegedly in case of damage to any college buildings in
Oxford. This put me in an intolerable position, I had coaches coming to Oxford
from all over the country and there were special trains running from Liverpool.
I explained this to the solicitor but he said the extra cover must be in place
by 4.00pm that afternoon or the parade would not be allowed to go ahead. He also
advised me that his office would close by 4.00pm and would not reopen until
Monday morning. This was my biggest ever headache !
As luck would have it my son, Brother Gerald, worked in the insurance
industry and he was able to put me in touch with a broker who consulted with
various insurance companies and eventually came up with the extra insurance
required. Proudly I rushed up the town hall steps, with five minutes to spare,
only to find the solicitor locking his office ready to leave. After much
persuasion he signed the paperwork (with much reluctance I may add )
Owing to the nature of the Parade we could not find any caterers in Oxford
to accept the contract for supplying the food at the Oxpens field, so we
employed someone from the Thame area. It was not very successful due to the
atrocious weather and in the end we had to subsidise the caterers; otherwise
they would have lost money on the venture.
The Parade itself went off very well with a service at the Martyr's
memorial. Traffic came to a stop in many parts of the city as the procession
made it's way from the Station, along Hythe Bridge Street, down Beaumont Street,
into St. Giles, along Broad Street and down Parks Road and Keble Road, before
heading for the Oxpens where the speeches were to be made. The weather was
atrocious, it rained all of the time and the field was ankle deep in mud. In
fact I can still remember the feeling of the water dripping down my neck.
After the Parade Brother Thompson and myself had to clean up the field. I
remember it looked like the seaside with hundreds of sea gulls foraging for
food. we gathered up hundreds of plastic bags full of rubbish - it took us ages.
It was estimated that there were five thousand people in attendance and
everything went according to plan. There were protesters but the police took
care of them.
However, after the Parade there were several objections in the media with
local M.P.s being involved. The row lasted for months. According to the police
report policing the Parade cost approximately £2000. We did not ask for the
police to be involved, we felt that we could control our own members. Therefore
this bill was not paid by the Orange Institution.
I do not think it will ever be possible to have another Orange Parade in
Oxford. At this moment in time there is not a church in the whole of Oxford that
would entertain us by way of a church service, which is extremely disappointing
considering our religious beliefs.
In fact I remember a couple of occasions trying to arrange for the Lodge to
hold its annual Church service. I tried various Churches in Oxford to obtain
permission for the Lodge to attend Services wearing our Regalia. At one Church I
was verbally assaulted and called a bigot among other things by the Vicar and at
another, I spoke to a very sympathetic Vicar ( He actually came from Londonderry
and therefore knew of the situation ) but he could not help us because he said
if we paraded at his Church, he would in all probability be dismissed from his
position as Vicar because of it.
But all in all we considered the Parade a success! We had done what we set
out to do despite all the obstacles laid in our path.
The Worthy Master for 1982 was Brother Dave Starrett who proved a good asset
to the Lodge, sadly he is now deceased.
In September 1983 Brother Jim Little was accepted on a transfer from the
Woodvale Park Lodge in Belfast. He has proved to be a good and worthy Brother
and was elected Worthy Master in 1990. He introduced many members to the Lodge
and went to great personal expense by decorating members of the Lodge who he
thought worthy of recognition.
In July 1984 it was suggested that the Lodge purchase a Banner depicting the
Martyr's Memorial in Oxford. The possibility was explored and finally Brother D.
Harland arranged to have one painted at a cost of £225.00, on one side was the
Martyr's Memorial and on the other King William. This sum did not include the
poles and couplings. A monthly levy was imposed on all members until the Banner
was paid for; also any money from the collection box was to be used for this
purpose. It was a very slow process so I paid the outstanding amount and then in
due course was re-embursed. Great difficulty was experienced in acquiring the
poles and couplings, as full sized fitments were too clumsy and too wide for our
But now after all this time and with the assistance of Brother Ian Mackey,
at his own expense, the Banner is now completed. So now our Lodge Banner can be
In the early 1980's Andrew and John Dunsmore joined the Lodge and they were
very much to the fore when something needed doing. They also organised several
social events at Berinsfield community centre, which were very much enjoyed by
Brethren but not so much by some of the opposition, so to speak.
Brother Ian Mackey was accepted on transfer from Loyal Orange Lodge No.1688
in 1987 and we are all very much aware of the qualities of this good Brother. He
is the current Worthy Master of the Lodge.
In 1992 Brother Blair, a very popular Brother, was elected Worthy Master of
1993 was the year that Brother Ian Mackey was elected as Worthy Master. He
has done an exceptional job so far.
1997 was the first time that the Banner was on Parade. This was at the Grand
Parade in Southsea. Although due to ill health I was unable to be there I have
seen photographs of the Banner proudly flying in the sea breezes of the south
coast of England. Hopefully the Banner will see many more Parades, God willing.
We have won the
Perkins Bull cup
three times so far ( this cup is presented
to the Lodge with the most initiates in one year )
So I now hand over my office of Lodge Secretary and
I am confident that the Lodge will flourish and that we will all be proud to
parade with our Banner flying.
1964 - 1968
Brother Archie Johnstone
1968 - 1973
Brother John Monan
1973 - 1978
Brother Jim Thompson
1978 - 1981
Brother Peter Robinson
1981 - 1982
Brother Ian Tough
1982 - 1983
Brother Dave Starrett
1983 - 1989
Brother John Adams
1989 - 1992
Brother Jim Little
1992 - 1993
1993 - 1998
Brother Ian Mackey
1998 - 2000
Brother Andrew Dunsmore
2000 - 2002
Brother Graham Fleet
2002 - 2004
Brother Leonard Allen
2004 - 2007
Brother Paul Anderson
2007 - 2010
2010 - present
Brother John Mills
J.S.BLACK (Worthy Secretary)
A Brief History (continued)
By Brother Graham Fleet
I will try to give a few recent details about LOL 213, although
quite how I can follow
Brother Sid’s words, I don’t know. But here
I had the enormous pleasure,
although tinged with sadness, of helping Brother Sid during his last while with
us, I remember the many hours spent at his bedside at the Churchill Hospital in
Oxford. We talked about many things at these times and I learned an awful lot
about the Loyal Orange Institution and many other things.
Because of Sid’s ill health, I was asked by the Lodge to try to help with the
work of Lodge Secretary. In fact, it was because of Sid’s difficulty in reading
the minutes out at the meetings that it was decided to have the minutes printed
out in booklet form and sent to the Brethren along with the summons to attend. I
remember showing Sid the first one I produced and he was as pleased as punch to
After Sid passed on I was
asked to take over the Secretary’s role in the Lodge and I was more than pleased
to do it, although very nervous because I was only a relative newcomer to the
Lodge, and to the Orange Institution in general. But I did the best I could.
Both the Worshipful Master,
Bother Ian Mackey and the Deputy Master, Brother Andy Dunsmore were extremely
helpful to me at this time and I would like to take this opportunity to give
both of them my heartfelt thanks.
Martyr’s Memorial Loyal
Orange Lodge No. 213 is still only a small Lodge. It is very difficult to
attract new members although we try very hard in this respect. It seems
sometimes that we no sooner have a new Brother than another one moves away,
leaving us with the same number of Brethren. It’s very frustrating ! I am sure
there are many good people with our beliefs in and around Oxford, but the
difficulty is in finding them.
As has already been written in this website we attended
the Southsea Parade in 1997, complete with our Banner, but unfortunately due to
the very windy weather, the Banner was damaged. On further investigation the
damage was found to be un-repairable and we had to think about a new one.
Sometime in 1998 after much debate, in Lodge, it was decided that we would not
change the design but would have the same artwork as the old one (this was
presented to the then Chaplain, Brother Alan Harling) as a reminder of those
Brothers who had struggled with the original purchase. The new Banner was
purchased from Strachan Bannermakers at a cost of approximately £800. It was
paid for by the four principle officers of the Lodge – The then Deputy Master,
Brother Andy Dunsmore, even drove up to Scotland to collect it so that we could
take it with us to Rosnowlagh in the Republic of Ireland.
The Rosnowlagh parade was
an excellent day out for all of the Brethren in attendance – no trouble, only a
couple of RoI policemen directing traffic and beautiful weather – what a
difference from Northern Ireland. Parading down the road behind our new Banner
was a wonderful feeling. Also we heard the following comment many times from the
onlookers. “Look at that there’s a lodge in Oxford”. I must say we were very
proud that day.
of the size of our Lodge it is very difficult to have the Banner carried at
parades, so consequently it is not on parade as much as we would like. However,
we parade it as much as possible.
In 1998 Brother Andy Dunsmore was elected to the office of
Worshipful Master – after serving for some years as Deputy Master. Brother Ian
Mackey standing down to make way for new blood, so to speak. Brother Ian had
done a tremendous job during his five years as Master, and he is now doing
sterling work as the Lodge Secretary, hopefully he will continue in this
position for many years to come. At the elections this year I had the honour of
becoming Deputy Master.
Worshipful Master, Brother Andy held the office for two years and was
excellent in all aspects of this position. During this period we attended many
Parades, both as a lodge and as individuals. Four of us went to Cumnock, in
Scotland, for the Bi - centenary parade and thoroughly enjoyed it. There must
have been seven or eight thousand people there, although I did not see one
article about it in any of the English papers. This was really disappointing,
but is typical in England, I suppose, because there was no trouble the
newspapers did not deem it to be newsworthy.
In 1999 four of
our Lodge Brethren were in Northern Ireland for the ‘Twelfth’. This was another
wonderful trip, it is always good to see and be part of the enormous parades
there (in England they are much smaller) We paraded at Gilford Co. Down and then
on to the demonstration at Laurencetown, which was hosted by Bann Valley, after
we were invited to walk with Gilford Independent Heroes, Loyal Orange Lodge No.
2016. We were made welcome wherever we went and looked after superbly by our
hosts, which was very much appreciated by all of us. On the same visit we also
attended the Royal Black Preceptory Parade at Scarva. This was another fine day
for us although the weather was not very nice – it was very wet. I remember
three of us bought raincoats from one of the stalls there ( I still have mine ).
It was wonderful to see so many Brethren and Sir Knights on parade at these
demonstrations - very impressive indeed.
Although details of these Parades have been included, many more have been
attended by individual members of our Lodge.
I was elected
Worshipful Master in 2000 and was extremely honoured to accept this position.
Our Lodge website is one of the few LOL sites fully sanctioned by the
Grand Lodge of England - many hours of research went into the construction of
this site although it was a labour of love and I enjoyed every minute of it.
There is also a sister site on the net for
Thames And Avon Branch, Murray Club
Apprentice Boys of Derry,
again fully sanctioned by the Apprentice
Although small in numbers our meetings are frequently attended by
visitors from other Lodges, both from England and Northern Ireland. These
visitors are extremely welcome and are a tremendous source of information and
inspiration to us here in Oxford. Our thanks go to all who make the effort and
attend our meetings.
As was said previously we have
held meetings continually since 1964 in the same Church hall. Unfortunately this
has now come to an end, as we received a letter from the Vicar informing us that
we would no longer be welcome at the Church hall and no further bookings would
be accepted from us. As yet we have been given no reason for this although we
have asked for one. Luckily, due to the good resources of Brother Andy Dunsmore,
we have obtained an alternative meeting place at another Church hall. It just
goes to show what we are up against here in England. One would think that,
knowing our religious beliefs, we would be welcome in any Protestant Church.
The Lodge is however lucky in respect of our annual Church service as we have a
vicar who is sympathetic to our beliefs and we are allowed to wear our
collarettes at this service. In fact all attending Brethren are invited to have
lunch in the vicarage after the service, along with the vicar. The Church is
actually a few miles outside of Oxford and we are indebted to the vicar for his
help. The service is usually quite well attended, both with Brethren from our
own Lodge and from others – many bring their families with them. Hopefully this
will continue for as long as is possible.
At our first meeting in the new
hall, we had the pleasure of initiating a new member into our Lodge. Hopefully
this will be the first of many. In retrospect it would seem that maybe it was a
good omen i.e. to be evicted from our old meeting place, because it seems that
at almost every meeting now we have new members of our glorious institution to
initiate. We now have about thirty Brethren in our Lodge which is the most we
have had for years. Long may it continue!
As a Lodge we
also helped to raise money for the repair of the Martyrs Memorial here in
Oxford, after which our Lodge is named. Donations were sent to this fund from
many of the Loyal Institutions as well as private individuals. The Monument has
now been restored to it's former glory and thanks should go to all who
contributed to this project.
I stood down as
Worshipful Master at our election of Officers in 2002 and the Worthy Deputy -
Brother Leonard Allen was elected to this position. Leonard had served as
Deputy Master for the previous two years and did a sterling job. Brother Leonard
served as Worshipful Master for two years before moving to Norfolk and was a
superb ambassador for our Lodge as well as an excellent Master. Brother Paul
Anderson was invested with the Master's position and is doing a superb job of
running the Lodge, under his leadership the Lodge is progressing better than
In late 2005 the Lodge held a dinner at a local
hotel to celebrate our 40th anniversary. This was an excellent evening for all
and was well supported and thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended. During the
evening we were treated to the magnificent sound of the lambeg drums played by
the Luton and Bedford Drumming Club for which we are eternally grateful - they