What we get up to…

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
Chicken Tagine with herb cous cous and vegetables
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

Black Pepper Encrusted Beef Joint
served with Swedish Potatoes with Dill Cream and Roasted Root Vegetables

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
Spaghetti Bolognese
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.
Strawberry cheesecake
served with chantilly cream
A festival of Cheeses
Served carvery style
Served with a Mint Chocolate
A Postprandial Snifter of Port
With the compliments of the Worshipful Master

The 3 roast carvery

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

Greek Style Moussaka
served with gifantes plaki and greek salad

Greek Honey Cake with cream

Served with Baklava

Digestif With 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.

To Start

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)

Cachaça, sugar and lime

The initiate and his father who had flown in from Brazil, plus other brethren
Brethren enjoying the company and food on the Brazilian night

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
Portuguese Baked Christmas Salmon
Piri Piri Chicken
Served on sautéed cabbage with
New potatoes and Jeweled Vegetables
Pastel de Nata
served with Cream
Served with a Mint Chocolate
Digestif With the compliments of the Worshipful Master
Vintage Port

Entered apprentices and fellowcrafts at Temple Island Freemasons Lodge in Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire, Henley's largest Freemasons Lodge

November 2018
A Raising – Armistice Centenary Dinner with French Cuisine

Armistice Centenary Dinner

An image of the stained glass window at Freemasons Hall, Great Queen St, London, the headquarters of the United Grand Lodge of England, here used in the menu of an Armistice Day dinner held by Henley Freemasons Temple Island Lodge in Oxfordshire.

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.

Members of Athelstan Lodge 1333 from the Province of Warwickshire at the Leander Club in Henley as guests of Temple Island Lodge, Henley on Thames
The members of Athelstan 1333 apres tea – at the Leander Club Henley

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.

Henley Freemasons Graphic for an Installation Meeting for Temple Island Lodge at Thames Lodge, Henley Masonic Centre, Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire.

May 2018
A double initiation – Cars and Curry Theme

Double Initiation graphic for Henley Freemasons in Thames Lodge Henley Masonic Centre
Temple Island Lodge member Dave "Brode" Brodie's famous Run Baby Run Escort
This was a meeting full of excitement and fun. The Henley Masonic Centre was full, with extra chairs brought in to accommodate the extra visitors.

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

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