Martyrs Memorial L.O.L.No. 213 Oxford


A Brief History of the Martyrs Memorial Loyal Orange Lodge  
No.213 Oxford

                    By Brother Sid Black, Worthy Secretary 1964 - 1997
                                 as told to Brother Graham Fleet

    I met Mr Archie Johnson and Mr Thomas Glenn, 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 the meetings.

    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 Dawson 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:

 Worthy Master 

Brother Archie Johnson

Deputy Master Brother Thomas Glenn
Chaplain Brother Harry Dawson
Treasurer Brother Gerald Black
Secretary Brother Sid Black
Tyler To be 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 Lodge's choice.

    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 possession.

    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 meeting since.

    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 course.

    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.

The Oxford Parade

    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.



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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.



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    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.



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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 Banner.

    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 proudly displayed.


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  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 the Lodge.

    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.

                                                                                   Past Masters Of Loyal Orange Lodge No.213

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  Brother Blair
 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 Brother Ian McEwan
2010 - present Brother John Mills


J.S.BLACK (Worthy Secretary)



                                 GOD SAVE THE QUEEN

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 goes anyway.

                 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 see it.

                  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.

                Because 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 Boys.

              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 ever.

            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 were magnificent.