It was thought for many years that the Order was formed by the meeting of Travelling Players meeting after a show and ganging together, but research has shown this not to be true. With no sports fixtures, cinemas, T Vs, the pub was the place to be if one wanted to read the newspaper, (usually supplied by the host) sort out the worlds problems in a chat to one's friends, and, possibly, finish up with a bit of a sing song. And if that same friend was a little down on his luck, slip him the odd coin or two. From these beginnings some pubs formed clubs, attended by their regulars, and clubs became a chain, thus the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes came into being; sometime in the early 1800s
Why the ROYAL ANTEDILUVIAN ORDER OF BUFFALOES. Nobody is quite sure. The "Royal" because we have always been loyal to King, Queen, and country. "Antediluvian" Every organisation likes to think that it's roots goes way back in time as this lends dignity, and experience to the work of the organisation, and when the Order was formed the "flood" was probably the earliest thing that people knew, so we were born before the flood. Buffaloes is even more difficult to explain. There is a hint that it comes from the ancient Egyptian worship of the Bull. (The Buffalo being a sort of bull and this would fit in with an "ancient" organisation.) There is even the suggestion that we meant Buffoon and finished up with Buffalo. None of the various reasons given make much sense.
The Order is made up of a number of Banners of which the "Grand Lodge of England " is the largest distributed throughout every large town and city in the country. That the Order is international is probably down to the Armed Forces making it a world wide organisation, there were very few military establishments, either in this country or overseas, that did not have a lodge, Wherever there was an Englishman we had a lodge or Banner. For instance Australia has a couple of Banners of it's own., and there are lodges in a number of other countries. We've even had lodges on board ships.
The Order is a three tier system. The base being the Minor Lodge, it is a "men only" organisation, (18years and over) and everyone must be a compliant member of a Minor Lodge. Each Minor Lodge sends a couple of delegates to a Provincial Grand Lodge (PGL) which meets once a month. Each PGL can then send delegates to Grand Lodge, which meets four times a year in a different location around the country.
Where ever possible we still hold our Minor Lodge in a pub. We still like a drink, though with today's drink driving laws that's usually a non-alcoholic one. We entertain ourselves with a system of fines for a number of misdemeanours. It's the "fines" that we give to various charities. At one time these fines allowed us to run an orphanage and two convalescent homes. The birth of the welfare state took the orphanage, we still run the convalescent homes. Each year at Grand Lodge Level we elect a Grand Primo whose first duty is to nominate his charity of the year. In 1994 the Grand Primo was a Lincoln Man, Bro. Alan Whitelaw who raised Thirty Thousand Pounds (£30,000.00) for Motor Neurone Disease. The same applies at P G L level, a member is elected to be our Chief Officer of the year, and he names his charity. Last years Provincial Grand Primo Bro. Gordon Phillips raised £3000 for St. Andrews Hospice for Terminally Ill Children in Grimsby. The year before we were able to give £2500 for Blind Actioneers, helping Blind children to play sport. Most lodges have a pet charity they collect for, for instance one lodge supports handicapped children in Mencap, frequently giving to them, plus taking them to pantomimes etc. So as it is our "fines" that pay for these "gifts" it proves that we must be a bunch of criminals, but happy criminals.
The aims of the Order are listed, in the small booklet we give to new members, as Friendship, Charitable Works, Social Activity, Mutual Support, and Care. A member is a member for life, therefore he has friends for life. The lodge of which he is a member donates to charity, therefore he gives to charity both directly and indirectly. Each lodge and P G L engages in social activities during the year in which wives and families can participate, and if a member falls on hard times there is some support, If he is ill we have Convalescent homes to which he can go to help him recover.
The head office, and Administration Centre of the RAOB (GLE) is in Harrogate. Grand Lodge meet four times a year, each year in a different city.
The Lincoln P G L was formed in 1947 by borrowing six lodges, resident in, and around, Lincoln but belonging to the Nottinghamshire P G L. This number grew to 20 lodges but to-day we are back to eight. They are listed here. The Lincoln PGL consists of 13 Officers 20 ex-Officers, and 18 delegates, (each lodge is entitled to send two delegates.) To attend P G L you have to be nominated by, and be a member of, a Minor Lodge.
The lodges of the province cover an area of about twelve miles around the city, with a known membership in excess of three hundred, although only just over a third of these are still active.
If anyone wants information then they can contact the PG Secretary,
Copyright Bro J Blake 2006 - All rights reserved