THE SOMME MEMORIAL LOYAL ORANGE LODGE 842
Some of the Officers and Brethren of L.O.L 842
Orangeism in the city of Bristol, dates back to the early days of the 19th Century. The earliest known Lodge was found on a list of Lodges dating from 1811. L.O.L 51, met on the First Tuesday of the month, at Thomas Smyth's, Queen's Head, the Barton, Bristol.
In the early years of the 20th Century there were as many as four Orange Lodges meeting in the city of Bristol, but as was the case in many parts of the world, Orangeism was very badly affected by World War One and events on the Western Front. By the 1960's, Orangeism in Bristol was at an all-time low, with no Lodges meeting in the area.
Although there were no actual Lodges based in Bristol, several people from the area were regular members of Martyr's Memorial L.O.L. 213, based in Oxford and so in 1992, these Brethren took the decision to start a new Orange Lodge in Bristol.
An application was made to the Grand Orange Institution of England for a warrant, which was duly approved and so The Somme Memorial L.O.L. 842 was formed. It was to be a Private Lodge within Plymouth District Number 64, of the Metropolitan Province, of the Grand Orange Lodge of England.
Bros. Cliff Lee and Jim Little travelled to Belfast and were given access to Clifton Street Orange Hall, where they secured a banner, ceremonial swords and gavels from a defunct Lodge. The banner was repainted by Bro. Kenny Blair of Ballymoney, to read, The Somme Memorial L.O.L. 842, which was fitting, as the banner's theme was the 36th (Ulster) Division's famous assault of the 1st July 1916.
The Lodge was officially opened for the first time on 25th May 1993 in a church hall in Hambrook, Bristol. Brother Jim Little had the honour of being the first Worshipful Master of L.O.L. 842. Dignitaries from the Grand Lodge of England were present as well as guests and Brethren from English, Scottish and Northern Irish Lodges.
A parade was held to John Wesley's beacon in Mount Hill Road, Kingswood and afterwards, a social function was held in the Tennis Court Hotel, Bristol.
On the Parade to Wesley's Beacon, Kingswood
The founding members of L.O.L. 842, were Jim Little, Cliff Lee, Joe Staples, Roy Love and several other Brethren who had transferred from Martyr's Memorial 213 in Oxford.
Bro. Colin Smyth was first to go through the Orange Degree as a new member and today he is Secretary of the Lodge.
In 1994 Bro. Cliff Lee took over as Worshipful Master - a position he still holds today.
In those early years, the Lodge went from strength to strength, with at one time, up to forty members on the books.
Ballymoney 1996, with the original banner
In keeping with The Somme theme, the Lodge purchased ties from the Ulster Tower in Thiepval and on the 1st July 1994, the Lodge proudly paraded in France at the Battle of The Somme commemorations.
In 1998, L.O.L. 842, left the church hall in Hambrook and moved to a new Lodge Room closer to Bristol city centre.
2003 marked the Lodge's Tenth Anniversary and to mark the occasion, a tie was produced.
A great honour came to L.O.L. 842, when they were given the priviledge of hosting the 2008 Grand Lodge of England Annual Sessions, Dinner and Parade. The weekend was a great success and a special commemorative jewel and badge were produced to mark the occasion.
Banner unveiling at Grand Lodge Dinner
As the old banner had become the worse for wear, the Lodge also used the occasion to purchase a new bannerette, which was unveiled at the Grand Lodge Dinner. The new bannerette is very similar to the original and shows the Ulster Division at The Somme.
The Lodge is one of only two in the Westcountry area (the other being St Augustine L.O.L. 904 in Plymouth). As such our members regularly travel to the monthly Lodge meetings, from the West Country, M4 corridor and from South Wales.
Our Lodge has members from all four corners of the United Kingdom -
England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
We would encourage anyone who is interested in joining, to get in touch via the Contact us page.