Decorative Sash, The International Organisation of Good Templars, Victorian
Decorative red velvet Provincial Grand Masters sash of the International Organisation of Good Templars. The organisation was a temperance movement inspired by the crusades of the Knights Templar. The IOGT’s mission was to crusade against alcohol in society. The sash was presented by the East and West Cumberland branch of the IOGT to Brother D Y Scott for his services in the office during 1874. The initials PGM stand for Provincial Grand Master and the three leopards represent the Good Templars Grand Lodge of England. The cross is based on the insignia of the Medieval Knights Templar.
The Independent Order of Good Templars was founded in New York in 1851. Its aim was to unite all temperance organisations. The society campaigned against alcohol and was named after the Knights Templar. Members saw themselves as modern day knights crusading against the evils of intoxication.
The Good Templars based their ritual structure on Freemasonry with a system of three degrees – the Initiatory Degree, the Degree of Fidelity and the Degree of Charity. Every new member had to make a lifelong pledge to abstain from using, or giving or selling to others, ‘anything that will intoxicate’.
The lodges of the higher degrees were known as ‘Temples.’ Officers had titles such as Commander, Guard, Sentinel and Marshal. Despite this military terminology Good Templars also used moral imagery, such as the story of the Old Testament Rechabites.
The Good Templars were an extremely bold and diverse organisation for their time. They did not discriminate on the grounds of colour, race or sexuality. Black and white members were seen as equal and lodges were mixed race and mixed sex. In 1875 the segregation of black and white members led to a split in the movement.
The first Good Templar lodge in Britain opened in Birmingham in 1868. By 1871 there were 20,000 members. In Cumberland a Provincial Order operated during the 1870s. The group is now based in Sweden and has a global membership.
- The Good Templars organisation was inspired by the crusades of the medieval Knights Templar
- Their mission was to crusade against the use of alchohol and to promote temperance
- This sash was presented by the East and West Cumberland branch to Brother D.Y. Scott in 1874