Druids Tablet

Druids Tablet

From the Burton Chronicle, 5th Feb. 1920:

Druid Tutbury Dinner

At the Castle Inn[1] about 50 people gathered to celebrate the return of the members of the “Who’d Have Thought It?”  Lodge 1489 of the Birmingham Equalised Order of Druids.

The chairman was Major H L Newton and the vice chairman, Dr H R Wolfenden.  The assembly included Ben Newton, who responded to the toasts.

The Vicar, in the toast to the Fallen, unveiled and dedicated a War Memorial placed on the wall of the room.  This contained the names of Lodge members who had fallen and those who had served in the Great War.  

The lettering was gold on a black background.

The Fallen[2] numbered 6 and were:

Wilfred Powell            Henry Allsop
Frederick Bannister   Vernon J Weaver
William Knight           Percy Starling

The 36 who served were:

Druids Who Returned to Tutbury

Archer, H P       Goring, S             Ratcliffe, G H
Ball, H             Hawksworth, G     Ratcliffe, G
Ratcliffe, T       Holland, J             Scriven, A H
Brettell, AH      Lowe, W               Timmins, T W
Bridges, E        McGuiness, E C     Tipper, F
Bull, W J          McGuiness Jnr, H   Udall, C
Collington, F F  Moss, C                Udall Jnr, H
Copesteak, C    Mousley, W H        Ward, R
Dudley, C H      Murby, S L           Whetton, P
Dudley, J         Priestley, J           Woodhall, J E
Gent, E            Ratcliffe, W T        Wooley, R

The Druids of this period were neither a religious group (as might be thought today) nor were they political; they were one of the many forms of Friendly Societies (see also Oddfellows, Gardeners, Foresters, etc.).  An extract from the Ancient Order of Druids website reads:

Ours is not a religious organization – in fact any discussion on religion or politics is forbidden within the lodge rooms.  We run our own Convalescent Home Fund for the benefit of members and their wives, there is also an Annuitants Fund for brethren in need.

Unfortunately, no records of this particular Lodge or even the Birmingham group have been found and no one knows what happened to the War Memorial.  There are photographs of a sister organisation, the Sheffield Equalized Independent Druids, one of which is shown below.  A Sheffield Druids organisation still exists today, the Druids Sheffield Friendly Society, a financial organisation that offers savings, health plans and life insurance.

“Sheffield Equalized Independent Druids” – thought to be early 1900s – source www.i169.photobucket.com/albums/u219/twigmore/Druids.jpg

Sheffield Equalized Independent Druids – Early 1900s

Ref: 20210221 1213


[1] Now “The Old Castle” in Bridge Street

[2] Only Allsop, Bannister and Powell are recorded on the War Memorial at St. Mary’s Priory Church and hence included in the 1st edition of this book.  The other three will be considered for inclusion in the 2nd edition.

[3] Source: http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u219/twigmore/Druids.jpg

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