History of the Ashley Hill banner by the artist, Reuben Heavens

Sometime in the mid-nineteen fifties I worked in the drawing office at the same establishment as Eric Blay. Who was a very active Mason, in the Maidenhead area, at that time. He was a senior member of staff in Administration, and it was at that time Eric Blay, well known in the local Masonic Order, asked me with considerable confidentiality if I was interested in doing a design job for him privately in my own time. I readily agreed, a chance to earn some extra cash was always welcome.

Eric then gave me the brief for the job. It was to design an emblem for a new Masonic Lodge to be formed and to be called “Ashley Hill”. Required to be included in the design were Hurley Church and Ashley Hill.

This proved easier said than done!

Off I went on my bicycle, no car in those days, to make some on site reference sketches. I had not done to many circuits of the environs of Hurley and Ashley Hill before it became all too obvious that neither could be seen together in the same view. A compromise would have to be made.

Also, at that time Ashley Hill, a well known local landmark, had been laid completely bare of its fine mantle of trees. All that remained on top was one or two odd conifers which stood out stark against the skyline like sentinels. Everyone now saw it like that, and that’s the way I felt I should portray it. Any new tree plantings would take years to grow. I got out six alternative designs very much stylized and symbolic, all incorporating the elements I had been given in my brief.

Eric was quite pleased with these and submitted them to the powers to be for their consideration and deliberation. The final design chosen showed a straight forward view of Ashley Hill, just as it looked then, framed in a Norman style arch, a replica of the arch over the main doorway into Hurley Church.

The lodge banner was presented by W.Bro Bertram Wheeler, and was dedicated on 2nd June 1965.

As a footnote, many older members will no doubt remember Eric Blay for his zeal in Masonic circles. Also he was a fine athlete in his younger days with a reputation as a runner. He was also one of the chiefs in the Maidenhead Fire Brigade when it was on a near voluntary basis.