Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes (RAOB)
Their Motto: “No Man is at all times wise”
Last year, the Cricklade Museum was lucky enough to receive, as a donation, a large collection of items relating to the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes from Ye Olde Saxon Lodge branch which closed at the end of 2016.
The collection includes regalia and items relating to initiation as well as the minute books of the Order. These will all be held by the Cricklade Museum and are accessible on request.
A display has now been put together of various items from this collection so that the general public can learn about the organisation.
The Royal Order of Buffaloes was formed at London’s Harp Tavern opposite the Drury Lane Theatre in 1822 by Actor Joseph Lisle and Comedian William Sinnett. The order drew its name from a popular song of the time, “We’ll chase the Buffalo.”
Their initial aim was to form a brotherhood of fellow theatre artists and performers who would be recognized by fellow actors in various towns throughout the UK who would support them with food and lodgings.
Based on Freemasonry, it has its own regulations and strict rules – for example no discussion of politics is allowed, nor is swearing – but the order appears to be more open with the general public than Freemasons regarding its ceremonies.
As the Order spread new lodges were set up in major towns. These were called Mother Lodges and as subsequent lodges were set up in the smaller towns these were called Minor Lodges, so Swindon was a Mother Lodge where Cricklade was a Minor Lodge.
Lodges now exist across the UK and in the USA and throughout the British Commonwealth.
The RAOB works within the community helping members in difficult times and supporting local charities and good causes. The RAOB Grand Lodge is located in Harrogate and owns two convalescent homes for members, their wives, children and their widows.
We do hope you come to the museum and have a look at these fascinating artefacts.