Temple Island Lodge is a local freemasonry group based in Henley on Thames and is the largest in the town. We belong to United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) which was established as far back as 1717.
The lodge was the second lodge to be consecrated (created) in Henley and this took place on the 6th October 1965.
Our lodge meets on the 1st Wednesday of the following months, February, April, May, November and December, but has its installation meeting on the last Wednesday of September.
Membership comes from all walks of life and we still strive to uphold the great efforts put in by those who have gone before us.
Temple Island Lodge has experienced something of a resurgence in recent years, and is a healthy vibrant lodge full of interesting people from all walks of life, from archaeologists to roofers to IT consultants, property investors, tree surgeons, accountants, racing drivers and so on.
It is blessed with one of the lowest age profiles of any lodge in Oxfordshire and with that comes meetings full of fun and banter, and exceptionally good food! Temple Island Lodge is a lodge that likes to push the boundaries, so is ever evolving. The menu, like the lodge, is also ever changing, sampling cuisines from around the World at each meeting, from Brazil to Sweden to Portugal. and so on, especially if it ties up with the theme of the evening.
Temple Island Lodge is also incredibly fortunate to have not only a very experienced team guiding it, but almost the entire line up of floor officers are first timers. This is unusual not only in lodges of Henley on Thames, but also Oxfordshire and the UK, and is a clear indicator of the recent success of Temple Island Lodge.
We are always welcoming to new members and visitors alike, and should this be of interest look forward to you getting in touch.
Interested in joining?
If you have an interest in joining Freemasonry, you have already taken your first step in the right direction. Freemasonry can be such a diverse interest and has the potential for a life-long affair that ‘gives back’ continually.
The beauty of how Freemasonry works is you only need to commit what you want to or can, in time and effort. Tasks and roles are never forced upon you, Freemasonry will never ask you to place family, work or important interests ahead of what you want to get out of Freemasonry and how you can help Freemasonry in return.
Finding a Lodge to join is normally about location and meeting the existing members to help give you that understanding of who, where and when as lodges meet on different days, different locations, and with different goals or aims.
Temple Island Lodge is a vibrant and healthy lodge with a vast spectrum of members, young and old from all walks of life, who will all offer you the warmest of welcomes. Although the lodge has six official meetings a year, we have many optional social events -such as barbecues, dinners at the Phyllis Court Club, cinema meets, curry nights to just a few beers in the pub,
General information about Freemasonry is available here on the United Grand Lodge of England or here on the Provincial Grand Lodge of Oxfordshire website. You can also download a pdf to download the booklet “Becoming a Temple Island Mason”.
If you are interested in joining Freemasonry, Temple Island Lodge would love to help you start that journey.
We have a saying of “Ask one to be one” or “To be one, ask one”. This actually translates to the fact that a Freemason will traditionally never ask you to join, but will happily talk about the many great aspects of Freemasonry leaving it up to you to make that first step.
If you have a connection to Henley on Thames and are genuinely interested in joining Freemasonry, you should, to avoid any embarrassment later, make yourself aware of the membership requirements below. Of course, if you already know any Freemasons then they too should be able to advise you.
Anyone offering himself as a candidate should be 18 years old or older, of good repute, and should be entirely assured in his own mind:
that he sincerely seeks intellectual and moral improvement for himself and others.
that he has a belief in a supreme being (God as you understand him or her).
that he is able to afford the necessary expenditure without detriment to himself or his connections.
that he has the financial ability to pay lodge subscriptions and contribute to charity, without having an adverse impact on his family (there are one-off initiation/associated fees of £75; additionally Temple Island’s membership fees are £165 per year).
that he is willing and able to devote part of his time, his means and his efforts, to the promotion of the aims of our ancient Institution.
that he is willing to make a commitment to attend Lodge meetings, rehearsals, socials and events.
that he will never seek commercial, social or pecuniary advantage from his membership.
If you would like to continue with your interest in joining Temple Island Lodge then please click here to send us a message with your details.
Freemasonry – What’s it all about?
Why Become A Freemason? Because It’s The journey of a lifetime
Becoming a Freemason is like going on a journey: from joining as an Entered Apprentice, it typically takes one or two years to become a Master Mason, with each of the three stages marked by a special ceremony.
Am I eligible? Any man over the age of 18 may join regardless of ethnic group, political views, economic standing or religion although he is expected to have a faith.
Because It’s Challenging
If you are looking to challenge yourself then Freemasonry uniquely provides many ways in which you can grow and develop both morally and intellectually.
The various aspects of running a Lodge provide real life experience in such diverse areas as administration, financial management, event planning, fundraising, training, education, public speaking and social welfare.
Because It’s Fun
Masonic Lodges provide wide ranging opportunities for socialising, having fun and making new friends.
Being a member of a lodge opens up a great new social world! It means that you can attend other lodges as a guest/visitor and also there are numerous social events and occasions which you, as well as your family/partner, can become involved in if you wish
Because It’s Fascinating
Freemasonry affords its members the chance to become part of a rich historical and cultural tradition which has existed for over 300 years.
Freemasonry has become part of the social fabric of our Nation to the extent that masonic phrases such as “Past Master” and “On the Level” have become part of our everyday language.
Its basic principles of Compassion, Benevolence and Integrity provide its members with a moral framework by which to live, a greater knowledge of themselves, and an opportunity for personal, intellectual and spiritual development.
Because It’s Worthwhile
Freemasonry is a worthwhile way to spend some of your free time.
It provides a chance to make a positive impact in the Community and to make a real difference to the lives of people who are in need of assistance
Because It’s Relevant
Freemasonry remains relevant in the 21st Century because it addresses real issues and real needs.
Whether dealing with the consequences of a major natural disaster like the Indian Ocean Tsunami, social problems such a homelessness or poverty, or personal difficulties such as illness, aging or bereavement, Freemasonry, as a result of it’s enormous fund-raising abilities, can bring aid, relief and hope to people across the globe.
Because It May Be You
Want more info about joining us? Click here for extra details.
You may have heard all sorts of stories about Freemasonry, some of them possibly true, some of them probably nonsense. Here’s a good article in the Independent Newspaper from author Robert Lomas suggesting reasons why we do what we do behind closed doors : Robert Lomas article
You can also find out more on the Oxfordshire Freemason’s website here or on the United Grand Lodge of England website here
This is a good video to watch too, if you have a couple of minutes!
Temple Island has earnt a deserved reputation for it’s fun packed meetings , and is in the enviable position that nearly every meeting for the past few years has either been a degree or an Installation. On top of that each festive board (the meal afterwards) has always tied up to a theme, with food from around the World prepared by our caterers with loving care and immense attention to detail after a great deal of research. Similarly, the decorations have also been selected to link with the theme.
Due to Covid we have had a break in our activities, but we are now back to relatively normal meetings, although are taking due precautions.
2020 – November A 2nd degree under the rule of 6
We were one of the few lodges to hold a degree ceremony under the Covid restrictions, and we managed it with the 5 officers that were allowed to attend acting as more than one role each plus of course the candidate.
Afterwards we were able to have a fabulous meal at a local hostelry when many of our members were able to attend, albeit on a few tables of two, suitably distanced.
Naturally there was plenty of ale on tap to wash down the scrumptious food!
2020 February An initiation. Moroccan theme
In what was to be the last unrestricted meeting for well over a year due to Covid, Temple Island lodge welcomed a new Henley Freemason into the Lodge, being the 16th candidate to be initiated into the lodge in just over 3 years, adding to the 6 joining members over the same period.
The food was excellent as usual, and far removed from the usual masonic fare.
A good evening was had by all!
To Start Moroccan style Flat Breads with salad and Hummus Main Chicken Tagine with herb cous cous and vegetables Dessert Assorted sweet Pastries.
Coffee and Mint Chocolates
2019 – December A Double Passing, with Scandinavian Winter theme
Two of our members were passed to the 2nd degree, and we had a very enjoyable evening with many of our guests traveling from all over the country helping make it such a special evening for our two candidates. We were joined by the PGM of Oxfordshire, and the evening was made even more special by welcoming in yet another joining member. It being December, we had a Scandinavian theme, and of course afterwards a dozen or more members and guests retired to the local pub where the celebrations and Christmas cheer continued.
To Start Swedish Meatballs in Cream Sauce Served with Rye Bread Main COURSE Black Pepper Encrusted Beef Joint served with Swedish Potatoes with Dill Cream and Roasted Root Vegetables Dessert Semla Coffee/Tea Served with a Mint Chocolate
A splash of Scandi Vodka for the toasts with the compliments of the WM
2019 – November A 2nd Degree – Italian Theme
A relatively calm and intimate evening by comparison to many the lodge has experienced over the past meetings, but no less enjoyable. The food was excellent and the company superb, and of course afterwards we headed off to polish the evening off with a few pints in the local hostelry. It had to be done!
To Start Antipasti Main Spaghetti Bolognese Dessert Tira Misu
Coffee and Chocolates
2019 – September Triple Initiation plus Installation – Triple Carvery Roast Theme
The reigning master went out with a bang! A triple initiation is a rare thing in Freemasonry, and this was Temple Island’s second triple initiation in a year! After the first part of the meeting where the lodge welcomed in the three new members in a packed room of over 60, the new master was installed and afterwards we headed to the dining room for an absolute feast. The DPGM was in attendance and we’re certain he had a great time. There was more than just a few in the pub afterwards (and we’re not just talking about attendees!)
This was really a most memorable meeting and so good to see so many people enjoying themselves.
To Start Cheese and caramelised onion tart, with rocket, balsamic syrup and cherry tomatoes Main Course From the Carvery Beef, Pork and Turkey served with Carrots, Cabbage, Cauliflower Cheese, Roast Potatoes, Yorkshire Pudding accompanying gravies and sauces. Dessert Strawberry cheesecake served with chantilly cream A festival of Cheeses Served carvery style Coffee/Tea Served with a Mint Chocolate A Postprandial Snifter of Port With the compliments of the Worshipful Master
2019 – May A Raising – with a Greek Theme
A raising is an important night in a Freemason’s journey – it’s when he becomes a Master Mason.
Our candidate tonight was well prepared and the complicated ceremony went off well.
Afterwards we dined on an equally well prepared meal with a Greek theme. It was absolutely delicious! This was mainly a Temple Island members only meeting, so of course afterwards a posse retired to the local pub to reflect on the success of the evening.
To Start Chicken Souvlaki served with warm pitta bread and Tzatziki Main COURSE Greek Style Moussaka served with gifantes plaki and greek salad Dessert Greek Honey Cake with cream
Coffee/Tea Served with Baklava DigestifWith the compliments of the Worshipful Master A slug of Ouzo
2019 – April An initiation – with a Brazilian Theme
This night was truly special, and for many probably one of the most moving and heart felt ceremonies anyone had seen in a long time if not ever.
The lodge room was packed – hardly a seat left, and people had travelled from far and wide to attend. Even the candidate’s father had flown in all the way from Rio de Janeiro to take part in the ceremony. Brazilian brethren from all over the country came, and even took part. The WM tried to do part of the ceremony in Portuguese, (but got it 25% right) and at one point there was hardly a dry eye in the house. It was quite magical.
Afterwards of course we celebrated with a fabulous Brazilian themed meal, complete with a cocktail made from spirits brought over by the candidate’s father.
The DPGM was in attendance and of course after the meal, many of the brethren disappeared off to the local hostelry to discuss the evening and to have a nightcap. Or two.
Pao de Queijo (baked cheese roll)
with lime tomato salsa and a piquant butter bean dip
Feijoada (Black Bean & Pork Stew)
served with Coriander Rice, with sides of Wedges of Orange and hot pepper sauce.
Individual Maracuja (Mango and passion fruit)
Served with a Mint Chocolate
A Brazillian Cocktail With the compliments of the Worshipful Master (and the initiate’s father)
Caipirinha Cachaça, sugar and lime
2018 – December A Triple Initiation – Portuguese Theme
A triple initiation is generally quite rare in Freemasonry, and we believe that this was the first time such a thing had happened in Henley on Thames in the lodge buildings 100 year history.
The atmosphere in the lodge room was electric, and the ceremony was amazing – even though it was a first time for the lodge. After the ceremony, we headed into the lodge bar to quench our thirst before settling in to dinner.
With 52 dining we were treated with the delicate flavours of carefully researched Portuguese cuisine. The APGM was present and although we’re not sure he wanted to (he belongs to another Henley lodge so there was a bit of inter centre rivalry) he had to admit that he thoroughly enjoyed himself.
To Start Sopa Verde Main COURSE Portuguese Baked Christmas Salmon Or Piri Piri Chicken Served on sautéed cabbage with New potatoes and Jeweled Vegetables Dessert Pastel de Nata served with Cream Coffee/Tea Served with a Mint Chocolate Digestif With the compliments of the Worshipful Master Vintage Port
November 2018 A Raising – Armistice Centenary Dinner with French Cuisine
Armistice Centenary Dinner
Warm Black Pudding with Seared Scallop and Apple Puree
Coq au Vin Served with Creamed Potatoes, & a Medley of Seasonal Vegetables
Cheese Platter with Crisp Baguette
Tarte au Citron Chantilly Cream Rosette
Fairtrade Filter Coffee & After Dinner Chocolate
One of our most memorable meetings on so many different levels. It had everything you could want, from meeting new friends, having fun, amazing food and yet still taking time, a moment for reflection and calm, to remember those who gave their lives for us a century before.
But before all that, before the meeting even began, the fun had started. Our candidate, who was going to be raised to the 3rd degree had an uncle who belonged to a lodge in Atherstone, Warwickshire. The WM of Temple Island had invited them down for the meeting, and 11 of them jumped in a minibus and came to Henley. Their afternoon started by an invite to take tea with the WM and his Wardens overlooking the river in the Leander Club. What better way to be introduced to Henley? It was lovely to meet the Atherstone bunch, and even though we’d never met before, it felt as if we’d known each other for years.
Now our hero, the candidate had no idea who they were, just thought they were visitors. The first part of the meeting went as normal, but after the candidate went out, the officers of Temple Island swapped seats with the officers of Athelstan Lodge. On his return the candidate was overwhelmed when he discovered who they were! You can read more on the Warwickshire Provincial website here: Athelstan Lodge No 1333 visits Henley. It’s well worth the read!
September 2018 An Installation and A 2nd Degree – Oktoberfest Theme
You could say that this meeting was something of an eye opener, not only for the Freemasons of Henley, but of Oxfordshire too!. The meeting was an installation, where a new Master takes over, usually for a year. On this occasion, Chris Wagstaff was already in the chair, and was declared for a second year, and the lodge was at capacity. Because the declaration meeting is a short one, the lodge also carried out a double passing.
Afterwards the meal was superb! The tables were not lined up in a traditional masonic way, but were laid the Bavarian way, in lines. The dining room was decorated with Bavarian flags and bunting, and the napkins were all done in Bavarian colours. About 7 different German beers were offered, and the serving staff wore traditional Bavarian costume.
May 2018 A double initiation – Cars and Curry Theme
This meeting was the first time Temple Island Lodge had done a double initiation in some years. The lodge room was jam packed, and the festive board had to be moved to the adjoining Salisbury Club as there were too many dining for the usual dining room.
One of the Temple Island members, David Brodie, was given his certificate for having been a freemason for 50 years. He was initiated into Temple Island Lodge in the 70s and was very pleased to have been presented the certificate by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master Neal Spencer. David is very well known in saloon car racing circles having raced in 5 decades, and still holds lap records that will never be beaten. Scalextric made a model of his Escort ‘Run Baby Run’ a copy of which was autographed by Brode and auctioned on the evening. He also gave short talk on freemasonry in his life and racing.
The meal was exceptional. One of the brethren had been to Southall and obtained various authentic Indian accompaniments to go with the incredible curry that he had cooked. It really was superb food, and enjoyed by everyone who attended. This was the first themed festive board the lodge had done, and such was it’s success it inspired the lodge to continue, and now every meeting is themed on a different country’s cuisine – and Freemasons from all over the country, not just Henley make Temple Island their destination for a fabulous evening.
April 2018 An initiation
March 2018 An Emergency Meeting An initiation
February 2018 A Double 2nd Degree
December 2017 A Brief Meeting followed by Christmas Dinner inc non masonic guests
November 2017 An initiation
September 2017 Installation
Putting the World to rights in the pub after a meeting
If you are interested in finding out more about our caterers, there’s more info on the Bicester Freemason’s centre website here