St. Erkenwald Lodge


The Crest

The Lodge Crest is a magnificent work of art that is greatly appreciated by the Members because its symbols are obvious and their meaning clearly understood. One of the chief duties of symbolism is to convey ideas by means of signs, images and emblems by which truths are presented vividly to the faithful and veiled from the rest of the world.

At the bottom of the Crest is a scallop shell, the sign of St. James the fisherman and a symbol of pilgrimage. Below the scallop shell is the figure of St. Erkenwald who was a Christian pilgrim with St. Cedd in Essex. He is shown in a litter, carrying his staff as Bishop of London, being taken around his Diocese to shepherd his flock and give them his blessing.

At the top of the Crest is the Christian figure of the Virgin with the Christ Child on her knee and in her hands the sceptre of Kingship and authority. Kneeling at the feet of the Virgin and the Christ Child are two Masons, separately offering the sword and the gavel.

In the centre are three figures each carrying a Volume of the Sacred Law, and representing the three important personalities of Barking Abbey. On the right is St. Erkenwald with a star above his head, the ensign of a Knight’s rank and Royal favour. His sister Ethelburga is on the left with a Halo, a sign of a Saint. Hildelitha is in the centre.

King Annas betrothed Ethelburga to a Prince of East Anglia against her will, so she sought the advice of her brother Erkenwald who smuggled her to a Nunnery in France. ftere she met Hildelitha and received her first training for her future work. When the Nunnery in Barking was completed Ethelburga was appointed the first Abbess and was assisted by Hildelitha who came over from France to help her. Ethelburga died two years after Erkenwald and Hildelitha became the second Abbess, who later became canonised and the Abbey lost none of its former splendour under her leadership.

On each side of the Crest there stands a candle denoting a charge or commissioning and the responsibility for proclaiming it. Both are lighted,  with one representing the light of the message proclaimed and the other the need of a fellowship or community to proclaim it. Both stand together for one is of little value without the other. the floral leaves are emblems of life, peace, goodwill and plenty.

It then became the basis for the original Banner produced in 1904 and hand painted on a dark blue silk background. It is of note that at the time of producing the Banner the name “St. Erkenwald” had been adopted although the Lodge name was still “Erkenwald Lodge”. the pattern was replicated when a second Banner (See gallery) was manufactured in 1986. the original Banner (see gallery), although very frail, is preserved and held with important Lodge artefacts.


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