Foresters' Courts

The Foresters Friendly Society is a British friendly society.

The Royal Ancient Order of Foresters (often shortened to Royal Foresters or abbreviated to R.A.O.F.) society was formed in the mid-1700s. In August 1834 at Bolton, around 300 branches seceded to form the Ancient Order of Foresters (A.O.F.) which became the dominant branch of the society by the end of the 19th Century.

Unlike other Friendly Societies, branches of the Foresters are known as "courts", rather than "lodges".

A number of Female Foresters courts existed in the Huddersfield area, most notably the one in Marsden which met at the Old Ram Inn. These were presumably unregistered and independent to the R.A.O.F. and A.O.F., as the latter did not allow all-female courts until the early 1890s — the "Sarah Ann Beaumont" Court (No. 8534) being the first in the Huddersfield area in 1895.

Local Courts

The following is an attempt to compile a list of the courts in the Huddersfield area, based on local newspaper reports:

Court No. Court Name Locality Affiliation Formed Meeting Places
335 Apple and Vine Kirkbuton Royal Foresters Grapes Inn
6082 British Oak Huddersfield Ancient Order Northgate Inn
632 Candour Holmfirth Ancient Order Rose and Crown Inn
2156 Conquerer Huddersfield Ancient Order 1846 Saracens Head Inn, Prince Albert Inn, and Brewers Boy Inn
Content Linthwaite Ancient Order
24 Eden Meltham Royal Foresters Rose and Crown Inn
7 Fidelity[1] Holmfirth Female Foresters Rose and Crown Inn
405 Foresters' Home Huddersfield Ancient Order Swan With Two Necks, White Hart Inn, and Palace Inn
1764 Fortitude Huddersfield Ancient Order 1825 Globe Hotel
Full Moon Clayton West Ancient Order Black Bull Inn
Hawk Primrose Hill Ancient Order
1854 Hero Marsh Ancient Order Croppers Arms
284 Intimacy Linthwaite Royal Foresters 1833 New Inn
2078 Invincible Moldgreen Ancient Order
2574 Kossuth Huddersfield Ancient Order Victoria Inn and Ramsden Arms Hotel
2429 Lamb Hillhouse Ancient Order Lamb Inn
1783 Lily of the Grove Lepton Ancient Order Red Lion Inn
1827 Mount Hermon Lindley Ancient Order 1827 Fleece Inn and Albion Inn
302 New York Kirkheaton Ancient Order 1829 Beaumonts Arms Inn
125 Paddan Aram Thongsbridge Royal Foresters Royal Oak
456 Prince Alfred Slaithwaite Royal Foresters 1866 Commercial Inn
439 Prince Albert[2] Golcar Royal Foresters 1850 Rose and Crown and Junction Inn
442 Princess Victoria Almondbury Ancient Order Radcliffe Arms
76 Prosperity Milnsbridge Royal Foresters Four Horse Shoes Inn and Armitage Arms
29 Prudence Marsden Royal Foresters Old Ram Inn
1301 Refuge Lockwood Ancient Order Swan Inn
308 Restoration Dalton Ancient Order Black Horse Inn
8534 Sarah Ann Beaumont[3] Huddersfield Ancient Order 1895 St. Paul's School and Assembly Rooms
99 Silence Huddersfield Royal Foresters Crown Hotel
90 Solemnity Huddersfield Royal Foresters Bull's Head Inn
301 The Chase Whitley Upper Ancient Order Fox and Hounds Inn and Hare and Hounds Inn
819 Undaunted Clayton West Ancient Order Commercial Inn
2316 Unity Lockwood Ancient Order 1849 Bridge Inn and White Lion Hotel
436 Victoria Golcar Royal Foresters Rose and Crown
White Rose Mirfield Royal Foresters Black Bull
332 William and Mary Honley Ancient Order George and Dragon Inn and Foresters Arms
117 William IV[4] New Mill Royal Foresters 1830 Duke of Leeds Arms
? Linthwaite Female Foresters Coach and Horses Inn
? Meltham Ancient Order Friendship Inn
? Shelley Ancient Order Gardeners Arms Inn
?[5] Slaithwaite Female Foresters Shoulder of Mutton
17 ?[6] Marsden Female Foresters Old Ram Inn
2 ?[7] Meltham Female Foresters 1835 Swan Inn
3 or 50 ? Saddleworth Royal Foresters 1801 Navigation Inn and Pack Horse Inn
  • A question mark denotes an unknown value or a degree of uncertainty.
  • In a small number of cases, just one reference to a lodge was found and it gave only partial information.

Extant Courts

The following are the known surviving local lodges:

Foresters' Arms

A number of local beerhouses, public houses and inns were meeting places of the Foresters and named accordingly:

Further Reading

Notes and References

  1. Earliest refernce found was 1854. Named as being part of the "Holmfirth Unity".
  2. Established in July 1850 at the Black Bull Inn, Ley Moor.
  3. Named after the wife of local woollen manufacturer John Beaumont (of Court No. 405). Reported as the first all-female Ancient Order court in the Huddersfield district following the A.O.F.'s decision at their 1892 conference.
  4. Established on 1 September 1830 with 30 members.
  5. Donated to the Holmfirth Relief Fund in 1852. Disbanded in 1869 due to the low number of members but unfortunately Miss Broughton lost her share of the final funds (£9 15s) on her way home.
  6. Existed prior to 1851.
  7. Their 1870 report noted that 6 members had died during the year.