The Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes is a social and benevolent Fraternal organisation open to men. Its aim is to aid members in need and their families, and the families of deceased members as well as to support other Charitable groups.
The first lodge was founded in London in 1822 . It was founded by staff from the Theatre Royal who had been denied membership of another Order known as the City Of Lushington . Previously everyone working in the theatre was allowed access to the latter Order however at some point in the early 19th Century membership was restricted so that only people who actually appeared on stage could become members, thus excluding backstage staff. It is unknown why they chose the name of the Order.
The Order has never received a Royal Charter , even though for many years it has been known as the ''Royal'' Antediluvian Order. It is thought that the Order had been given the title "Loyal" towards the end of the 19th century when questions started arising concerning a great number of private societies and clubs, and that the title became "Royal" over time. The Order was, however, allowed to register itself under the Royal Warrant Act in the early 20th Century because it had already been using the title "Royal".
It is thought that there was some cross-development of the Order with Freemasonry traditions as there are some similarities with Masonic rites and modes of conduct.
There are four levels of membership within the organisation
:#Brother (1st level)
:#Certified Primo (2nd level)
:#Knight Order of Merit (Knight or Sir) (3rd level)
:#Roll Of Honour (Right Honourable) (4th level)
While administratively the organisation operates in three tiers
:#Provinical Grand Lodge
The RAOB is a worldwide men's charity organisation made up of different sections (known as banners), it's not just a social club or a "dummy club", but rather an organisation that believes all men are equal.What does it stand for?
The RAOB or Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes stand for fun, friendship and sharing the burden of life.
Because, many years ago, at every meeting they use to sing a popular song of the day "Hunt the Buffalo".
What do you do?
The RAOB,Buffaloes (or "Buffs" as we are better known) gather together around the world at different times in what we call Minor Lodges. It is from there that the beginning our our Order is created. It is from this point that money is then raised and collated and decided upon and what to give to local, national and international charities. Within the confines of the "Lodge" we also raise money for internal charitable accounts. We also raise money for Benevolent purposes within our own lodge as well as contributing voluntarily to our Grand Lodge.How do you raise funds?
Quite simply, we hold a type of "Kangaroo Court". Believe us it's great fun. No matter what you do in a lodge, you'll be very unlikely to be found "Not Guilty!". We don't ask for ££'s, we only ask for pennies, the main thing is that you are there, and if you are, your in for a good night out with the lads or "Brothers" as we like to call ourselves. The money is separated into different fund accounts and distributed at the will and pleasure of the members of the Lodge. To ensure that everything is above board, an executive committee is there to oversee that everything is done fairly and they take the form of Lodge Secretary, Lodge Treasurer and two or more Lodge Trustees.How can I get involved and are there any reasons why I can't join?
Well, there are a couple of things that we must first establish, firstly, to become a member of our Order you should be of a sound character. We ask that you are a true and loyal supporter of the Countries rules to which you reside, and in the case of the Grand Lodge of England, a loyal supporter of the Crown and Constitution. You must be over the age of 18. There is no reason why you can't join in. It's just a bit of good community spirited fun with the added bonus of raising money for good causes!When you say this is the beginning of our Order, what exactly do you mean by that?
The RAOB as well as being made up of different sections or banners has within its own sections, further advances. In the case of Grand Lodge of England, it is made up of three parts. Those being Minor Lodges, Provincial Grand Lodges and The Grand Lodge itself. Each Minor Lodge elects two or more delegates to represent them at a regional meeting normally held once a month. This is known as Provincial Grand Lodge. There are normally 5 or more Minor Lodges which make up this Provincial Grand Lodge. It is from there that decisions are made on how the Order runs within its own "Province" or "Area".What is the difference between a Minor Lodge and a Provincial Grand Lodge?
Firstly, each member of Provincial Grand Lodge needs to be a member of a Minor Lodge. Then, there are certain rules which must be followed in order to be part of that Provincial Grand Lodge. We have what are called degrees. This ensures that only those that move up degrees have an understanding of the rules and can make key decisions on how to adapt them to their Province and Minor Lodge. The main difference being between the two lodges is Minor officers run the Minor Lodge, Provincial Grand Lodge elect Officers to run Provincial Grand Lodge and within that, delegates meet to discuss problems and deal with finances within the area and keep up to date with the way things are running within the area.The officers of a Minor Lodge?
Officers of a Minor Lodge are simply elected to carry out the wishes of the members of the lodge. They all have different roles to play. For instance, the Registrar ensures that the registrations are correct. The Secretary keeps minutes of the meetings, the Treasurer banks the money on behalf of the lodge and so on.
Obviously there are a lot more officers with different jobs to do, however, if you become involved in what we do, you will see what they do and why. Not that it's a secret, but rather, if we were to disclose everything to you now, that would take away all the fun of being a society with secrets.If I wanted to join, what must I do?
To become a member of our Order we will put you through an initiation process. Now before you stop at this point, don't worry, we are not going to harm you in anyway. If after completing a Nomination Form the Lodge accept it, the initiation then takes the shape of you being blindfolded before being brought into a lodge.
The reason for the blindfold is simply to know that you really do desire to become a member of our order and if you decided half way through that you don't wish to continue, we can take you back outside the confines of the lodge and remove the blindfold and you are none the wiser as to what is contained within it. That might sound strange, but again, what we have in lodge is a secret and only those that continue see why.
Within each Minor Lodge, as previously touched on, we have Minor Lodge officers. Each member of the lodge start off as a 1st Degree Brother or "Kangaroo".
First Degree "Kangaroo"
The reason for the name "Kangaroo" we're not too sure, however, we would go as far as to say that as the officers change hands each month, so the "Kangaroo" hops about the lodge learning the different jobs involved. It is from there after learning the different jobs that each officer does and familiarising himself with the Rules of the Order with a Rule Book that a Kangaroo Brother can, if he so wish, put his name forward to advance to the Second Degree.
Illustration of a First Degree Jewel
Second Degree "Primo"
The Second Degree is known as a "Primo". A Primo is a Brother who has been a Kangaroo Brother and decided to prove he knows the rules of the Order and can help make decisions on a greater scale to improve the Order and it's running. Before becoming a Primo, he must sit an oral examination whereby he is tested on his abilities to conduct a lodge, to know rules and to be able to conduct an initiation ceremony should it arise. This is the key to future progress and we are taught this through ceremonies.
Illustration of Second Degree Jewel
Third Degree "Knight Order of Merit"
As mentioned earlier, upon serving a number of years as a Primo, the lodge may feel they want to promote your status as a Primo further. We do this in the form of another degree known as a Knighthood. From there you learn more about the Order and again after a ceremony, you are given new signs and passwords to enter into a Knights Chapter, meeting other Knights and enjoying the pleasures and virtues appertaining to that degree.
Illustration of the Third Degree Jewel
Fourth Degree "Roll of Honour"
Through years of service to the Order, the lodge may wish to bestow upon you more gifts. This gift being in the form of a jewel and you bearing the title "Right Honourable Sir". Further, your name will be inscribed within a book of all those who have attained this high degree in the Grand Lodge of England. This is the highest of the degrees that you can obtain, however you can go further and maybe that one day, become the Grand Primo of All England.
If I join, can I attend Grand Lodge?
Any member of the RAOB GLE is entitled to attend Grand Lodge of England meetings which are held once a quarter over different parts of the country. Even if you're a first degree brother! All brothers attend as visitors, however, if you're a member of Provincial Grand Lodge, just like sending delegates from Minor Lodge, PGL does the same to Grand Lodge. It is these that have the opportunity to vote on national issues and resolve disputes within other Provinces over the interpretation of the rule.
What Is The R.A.O.B ?
There are several sections and banners within the R.A.O.B. and though they may differ in size and the ways they interpret Rules. All have the same principle at heart. "The Persuit of Brotherhood".
Most of the sections or Banners, are joined by means of a Joint Consultive Commitee. A valuable line of consultation and discussion.
We are members of the R.A.O.B. Grand Lodge of England. Our order is based firmly upon the principle that, the total power of the family shall be avaliable to the individual, in accordance with his needs. The degree upon which our needs may be satisfied depends entirely on the honour and integrity, that we as members of that family place upon those principles.
For the purpose of understanding we consist of:
The Minor Lodge- Into this you are able to be initiated into the membership of our order. It is given a wide range of Authority and Responsibility for it's own members.
Membership Of A Lodge of the Grand Lodge of England.
Provincial Grand Lodge-A body with authority over and responsibility for all the Minor Lodges within it's province or area.
Grand Lodge- Grand Lodge which is composed of delegates representing each Provincial Grand Lodge.
In our Banner there are Four Degrees.
The First Degree- is confirmed on initiation into the order.
The Second Degree or that of Primo- is subject to an examination, conducted by a commitee of the Provincial Grand Lodge, set up for that purpose.
The Third Degree or that of Knight Hood- is awarded for sustained and meritorious service to the order over a prolonged period.
For members reaching a further sustained period of membership a presentation may be made to the Roll of Honour.
Members holding the Third Degree or R.O.H. Are entitled to become a member of the Knights Chapter or Roll of Honour Assembly respectively. The purpose of the chapter is basically for discussion or any item, or Ceremony concerning the 3rd Degree and likewise the ROH Assembly
The authority for making or amending the rules of the Grand Lodge, Are the "Rules Revision Committee", they are elected Delegates or Officers of the Grand Lodge, and are responsible for Reccomending or Rejecting, proposed rule change or revisions of the Members of the Grand Lodge in session.
Is open to all Adult Males, without discrimination on Social, Religious or Political beliefs. But before a Candidate may be accepted, he must declare to the Lodge in which his application is made, that he is a Loyal Citizen and Supporter of the Constitution and that he is genuinely desirous of taking part in our work, on the basis of giving to the extent of his power. Whatever may be required to meet the needs of a less fortuanate Brother or the Dependant Widow and the Children od a Deceased Brother.
The method of giving reflects the diversity of our Membership- (To Extent Of Power). The basic contribution expected from Members is fixed at a figure that is responsible to assume, that all Members can pay without defaulting on their personal or family obligations.
It is called a registration fee, and is paid each time a Brother enters a Lodge. the Fee is divided and chanelled into Minor Lodge, Provincial Grand Lodge and Grand Lodge funds for the maintenance of the Benevolence work and for the Purpose of Administration.
Every Minor Lodge and Provincial Grand Lodge and Grand Lodge itself must have and maintain a Benevolent Fund. In the Minor Lodge the Benevolent Fund will generally be used to assist members of the Lodge.
The Central Benevolent Section- is to alleviate distress of the Brethren on a larger scale than the Minor Lodge Benovolent Fund.
The Convalescent Section- is for the Brothers use after illness and is also used for a Surviving Parent or Orphans to have a break at one of our Convelescent Homes, of which we have two.
The above article was adapted from a webpage on the Masonic of Sweden Website
Webmaster -Bro. David J. Chatel ROH
page last updated 31st July 2009