Point of Interest

Hall, Church Lane

England / Europe

The Masonic Hall is a baroque building, originally thought to have been designed by Sir Christopher Wren, and bearing signs of his influence. It stands on the corner of St Albans Street and Church Lane (formerly Drapery Row). It was built in 1723 to house the Royal Free School, with £500 left by Theodore Randue (1643-1724), former Keeper of Windsor Castle. The school was founded in 1705 for the children of the poor of Windsor who were taught in the vestry. With the new schoolhouse, 40 boys and 30 girls were taught basic reading, writing, arithmetic and Bible studies. The boys were also trained in practical skills such as woodwork, while the girls learned to sew and knit to prepare them for domestic service, or to be good housewives. The hall has been a Masonic Lodge since the freehold was bought for £500 by the Windsor Castle Lodge, no. 771, in 1864. The Windsor Castle Chapter of the Royal Arch and the Victoria Lodge, no. 2,671, and the Commercial Temperance Lodge no. 3,144 held their meetings there. John Piper and John Betjeman hailed the hall as “the most distinguished of all these late 17th century buildings.” Look left and you will see an archway (formerly part of the station) leading to the Parish Church. There is a plaque above. 

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