As Liverymen of the Worshipful Company of Butchers, we are very proud of both the history of the Company and the 100 years of its recent history that Taurus has been a cherished part. Many of the London livery companies have masonic lodges attached to them and we have strong connections and shared history with many of the other livery lodges in the City of London.
The Worshipful Company of Butchers has its own fascinating origin story, bearing a seemingly unbroken connection with butchers, Butchers’ Hall and Smithfield for many hundreds, if not a thousand years. In the Middle Ages, ‘Smooth Field’ offered grazing and water for stock supplying the market that had served London for many years and the then Butchers Guild of London was granted right to regulate the trade in 1331.
By 1540 that the Arms of The Company were granted by the College of Heralds and the Charter of Incorporation for the Worshipful Company of Butchers was granted by James I in 1605. This gave the now Butchers’ Company control and jurisdiction of the trade within the City of London and within a mile radius of it and its this history and provenance that makes both the livery and the lodge so very special.
Unlike many other livery companies, the Butchers’ Company has retained strong connections with the meat and livestock trade right up to the modern day. Liverymen are rightly proud of their own livery hall, which in addition to being the spiritual home of Taurus, also provides first-class hospitality for private and corporate events and hospitality. As the historic connections of the livery with Smithfield remain today, its no surprise that Taurus itself was born from this special connection.
The creation of Taurus was sponsored by the United Smithfield Lodge, who were associated with meat trading at Smithfield Market and one of the oldest lodges in London. Following the end of hostilities of the first world war, Taurus was one of many lodges that opened in quick succession, and it was officially consecrated in 1919. Since its inception, Taurus has remained a private lodge of the Company and a tradition its members are keen to preserve. Its crest is formed from the Company’s own, with the winged bull representing St Luke, patron saint of Butchers, and its name derived from the depicted beast itself.
Taurus was the fourth lodge to be connected with a City Livery Company but the first to be consecrated in its own hall. As the number of connected lodges increased, it became the custom for their Masters to be honored guests as each other’s lodges and it is a custom that continues today with 21 ‘Sister City Livery Lodges’.
Like many lodges, Taurus has persevered through much disruption, not least after being bombed out in the second world war and more recently disrupted during the recent covid pandemic. Our centennial year was to be celebrated in 2020 but festivities had to be postponed until 2021. We have an excellent account celebrating 100 years of Taurus Lodge history, penned in 2019 by the much-missed John Mabb who sadly passed away in 2022 but left behind an incredible gift to the lodge and those interested in our heritage and it can be accessed here.