POSTED 09th September 2021 – This was spotted by one of our Brethren on Facebook
The story of Bedford Castle.
On the 20th June 1224 the siege of Bedford Castle began. Most people in Bedford are familiar with Castle mound and the story of the siege. However – dig a little deeper into the story and our knowledge usually becomes a little sketchy…
Who built the Castle? How long was it there for? Who besieged it? Why? Even after a little digging, I’ve found out lots about the Castle that I didn’t already know.
Who Built the Castle? When? Why?
The earliest Castle was built by Ralf de Tallebosc soon after the Norman Conquest in 1066. A large part of the existing Saxon town was flattened to make way for the castle, which in its earliest days would have been made of wood. The Castle was built because the incoming Normans needed a place to overlook the newly conquered town, to defend themselves from the town (if need be), to defend themselves and the town from other attackers and they needed a stronghold from where they could retreat into the countryside.
Gradually the castle was rebuilt in stone, so that by 1130 it had a “strong and unshakeable keep”. By this time it was in the hands of the de Beauchamp family, who held the Barony of Bedford.
The castle actually suffered several attacks before the great siege of 1224. The first of these was around 1137, when it was captured by King Stephen. During a siege in 1153 Prince Henry, soon to be King Henry II arrived in Bedford, delivered heavy plundering and left the castle in flames. St Paul’s Church suffered some damage although we don’t know how extensive this was. There was another siege in 1215, when King John sent Faukes de Breaute to capture it, following a minor rebellion that arose when the King refused to abide by the terms of the Magna Carta.
The Villian – Faukes de Breaute
King John gave Faukes de Breaute the castle and barony to thank him for his efforts. Faukes set about fortifying the castle and it is said that he pulled down St Paul’s Church to use the stone. Through the early 1220s, from his impregnable base, Faukes gained a reputation as an oppressive landlord and was eventually fined £3,000 by the King’s justices based at Dunstable.
Angry at the fine, Faukes sent his brother William to capture the three justices (although two escaped) and take them to the castle. The King (Henry III by this time) was furious and ordered Faukes to release the captured judge – when he refused the King ordered an attack on the castle.
Faukes had left the defence of the castle to his brother William so was safely out of the way when the attack came.
The final siege
Matthew Paris, a monk at St Albans Abbey, chronicled the Siege of Bedford some years later. The chronicles say that the siege lasted for 8 weeks, during which time the walls of the castle were bombarded daily with large lumps of stone flung from siege engines. Miners were used to dig underneath the castle walls and it was this that eventually led its destruction: on the 14th August the final walls collapsed when the tunnels were lit on fire, and the Keep was taken.
There my have been over 2500 men involved in the siege, coming from as far away as Cumberland in the north and Dorset in the south. Around 200 of them were killed. Most of the men inside the castle were hanged, although it is said that 3 were spared to serve as Knights Templar in the Holy Land.
The fall of the castle would have been a severe loss to the town as it would have been the town’s biggest employer and the focus of town life. In the years since the siege the castle mound has had several uses. From the late 14th Century the ruins were used as a rubbish dump and in the 18th Century the top of the mound was used as a bowling green.
POSTED 29th August 2021 – The lodge will hope to run several functions over the next 12 months commencing with a Christmas Dinner on 9th December – venue etc to be confirmed. Our social committee are looking at a Lodge Luncheon sometime around Easter 2022 and our Master Elect is considering holding a barbeque next summer. Good times ahead – fingers crossed
POSTED 22nd August 2021 – The Lodge returns for its first meeting of the year and all things being equal we hope to welcome Kim into our brotherhood. It has been a difficult time for everyone and in the case of Freemasons the road to remembering what to do and when in the Temple will be challenging it having been such a long time since we had the opportunity to perform our ceremonies. Good luck to all Brothers on their return to their respective Lodges but of course in particular to the Brethren of Bedford Castle Lodge.
POSTED 10th April 2021 – The Lodge and its Members were saddened to hear of the passing to the Grand Lodge above of HRH The Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh. HRH was a member of the Navy Lodge 2612 for Commissioned Officers of the Naval Services and had been a subscribing member for the last 68 years. Our sincerest condolences to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.
POSTED 20th March 2021 – So Brethren here we are some twelve months give or take since our last formal meeting and still no date as yet to a return to normal service. It has been a blessing to be able to meet virtually which has allowed us to keep in touch and provide support and assistance if needed. Sad times as well. Having lost our beloved Secretary and seen two other loyal and respected members pass to the Grand Lodge above. Still we must look forward initially with thanks for the two Senior Brothers who fell foul of Covid-19 but thankfully are still with us. We are fortunate to have several new prospective members in the wings and hopefully on our return we can initiate them into this wonderful Society.
POSTED 22nd September 2020 ( thanks to W.Bro. John Franklin for his input into this bulletin) – Today is a very special day for the Lodge as it celebrates its 75th anniversary. It was the Lodge’s original plan to have a special meeting and festive board to celebrate. However, as that great Freemason Robert Burns once said: “The best laid schemes of mice and men oft go awry, and leave us nothing but grief and pain, for promised joy”. In these very trying and testing times we have to find other ways of celebrating and tonight through the medium of “zoom” we will raise a glass at 20.00 hrs to the Lodge and its members past and present.
Bedford Castle Lodge No 6124 was Consecrated by the Provincial Grand Master on 22 September 1945 at Newnham Rooms, the first permanent Masonic Temple in the Province. It was formerly St Cuthbert’s Parish Hall. The Founder Master was RW. Bro. Dr C. H. Perram, PGW, and the Founder Senior Warden W. Bro Reginald Crewdson, LGR, whose son R. J. (John) made the ballot box, columns, gavel handles and alms collecting boxes whilst home on leave from the Army. The remainder of the tools were all made by members of the Lodge from solid natural oak.
The Lodge was sponsored by the oldest Lodge in the Province Stuart Lodge No 540. At the time of consecration the Membership totaled 24 which is a similar number to that of today.
POSTED 5th May 2020 – It is no exaggeration to say that all the Brethren have missed the opportunity of meeting at our monthly gatherings. However thanks to the efforts of several Brethren we have held virtual meetings via “Zoom” including general chats and quiz nights. At present we have no idea when the Government and the United Grand Lodge of England will deem we can return but as the season has now finished we all hope that decision will be made in time to organise for October – keep safe
POSTED 19th March, 2020 – Due to current siutation with the coronavirus and guidance issued by UGLE there must be no lodge meetings for the next 4 months this in essence means we will close for this Masonic year re-opening in October. Everyone keep safe and well.
POSTED 10th February, 2020 – During a recent visit home to Australia one of our Brethren presented the Master of his mother lodge “The Hills No. 1024” with a retro pin to celebrate this Lodge’s 75th Anniversary due in September this year. The Master can be seen wearing said pin. Proving Masonry is universal.
POSTED 2nd February 2020 – For the second year the Lodge held a Burns night celebration as part of its Festive Board. This is becoming so successful it seems this may become an annual event. Many thanks to those who assisted. Burns Night, celebrated on his birthday, 25th January, has become the second Scottish National Day, and is celebrated with Burns suppers around the world. The celebrations start with a general welcome and announcements, followed by the Selkirk Grace. Then the haggis is piped into the room and around the table, before the reading of the famous Address to a Haggis after which it is cut open and served, with neeps and tatties (turnip/swede and potatoes). During the meal, Burns’ Immortal Memory and other poems are read, toasts are proposed and drunk and the evening concludes with the singing of “Auld Lang Sein”.
A brief history of the man and his time as a Freemason is posted below. Rabbie Burns was Initiated as an Entered Apprentice at Saint David’s Lodge in Tarbolton on 4th July 1781, when he was 22, and Passed and Raised on 1st October, the same year. When this Lodge became dormant, he joined the Kilwinning Saint James Lodge, No. 135, and the minutes for 1784 show that he was heavily involved in Lodge business, attending all nine meetings, Passing and Raising Brethren, and generally helping to run the Lodge. In 1785, he was appointed Deputy Master, and between 1784 and 1788, his Lodge met 70 times. He was present at 33 of those meetings and occupied the Master’s Chair at 25 of them. He was exalted a Companion of the Royal Arch in May 1787 at the St. Ebbe’s Chapter in Eyemouth, and in token of their esteem, the Companions unanimously agreed to waive the usual admission fee. Over time, his fame grew and at a meeting of Lodge St. Andrew in Edinburgh in 1787, the Grand Master of Scotland, proposed a toast
POSTED 15th July 2019 – Several lodge members and guests attended a summer lunch on Sunday 14th July at Wyboston Lakes Hotel. In a relaxed atmosphere all enjoyed a good lunch.
POSTED 8TH APRIL 2019 – The annual Spring Lunch held on 7th April 2019 at the The Barnes Hotel in Bedford for Members, families and guests was enhanced by the presence of Lyndsey Wood Fund Raising Manager for Action Medical Research. This Charity is being supported this year by our Worshipful Master and the Lodge and raised £1000.00 from the raffle, donations and auctions held at the function.
A total of seventy people consisting of members, family and friends. attended. Pictures show Our Worship Master and Charity Steward presenting the cheque with the Toast Master watching on. Later the Toast Master is seen auctioning a Teddy for the Tender Loving Care Appeal.