Two centuries of tradition as Askrigg Friendly Society marches to church

Members of Askrigg Friendly Society continue a 200-year tradition

Members of the Askrigg Friendly Society, the oldest of its kind in the country, follow the ancient tradition of processing with the flag to a service at St Oswald’s Church, ahead of their annual general meeting and dinner.

The Askrigg Equitable, Benevolent and Friendly Society was established in 1809 and is open to men from Askrigg and surrounding villages and hamlets. There are two classes of membership, honorary and ordinary, with ordinary members paying a higher subscription and able to claim hardship benefits up to the age of 70.

First names on the membership roll more than two centuries ago were John and Joseph Lodge and as Joseph had bought the King’s Arms public house in 1800 the society has traditionally held all its meetings there.

There are three quarterly meetings on the first Saturday of March, September, and December, the latter with a Christmas meal.

The history of the society is in Christine Hallas’s book, In Sickness and in Health, available from the village information centre and other local outlets.

Peace and Plenty – the flag is carried into church