Our Name

Originally, we were simply “the Buffaloes” with no “Royal” or “Antediluvian” ornaments. When we were founded nearly 200 years ago, we took our initial title from a popular song of the age called We'll Chase The Buffalo.

The addition of “loyal” to our title came very quickly, because in the early 19th century, secret societies were looked upon as potentially dangerous and subversive. In order to show to the authorities that the Buffaloes were not subversive to the interest of the state, the Order decided to describe itself as the Loyal Order of Buffaloes. It only needs a slip of the tongue for 'loyal' to become 'royal', and in a very short time Joe Public accepted that the Order was indeed Royal.

When the Buffalo were founded, the French Revolution and the Terror were little more than a quarter of a century old. By the time the first Constitution of the Grand Primo Lodge of England was drawn up in 1866, the term “Royal” had been adopted. Actually, a Royal Charter has never been issued to the Buffaloes.

The introduction of the Royal Warrant Act, in the early 1900's, required anyone using the 'Royal' prefix to register with the Lord Chancellors Office and to stop using the title if permission to continue doing so was not granted. Since the Buffaloes had been using the title from the 1840’s the Lord Chancellor agreed that no objection would be raised on our continued use of the title on the grounds of long usage, provided no act by the Order arose which would disgrace its use.

Antediluvian means "before the time of the flood", referring to the biblical event. The adoption of “antediluvian” is also reported to have come into general use in the 1850s. We must remember that the bulk of our members at that time were involved in one of the theatre professions, and skilled orators would have written their own ceremonies, often designed to impress the unenlightened with the great antiquity of the Order.

Similarities were observed to the rites of bull worship at the time of the Pharaohs in ancient Egypt. The Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, and other nations of Christendom, Peter the Hermit and the Saracenic wars were also quoted.

The desires of mankind to relieve the poverty of one’s fellow have been around since the earliest ages, and if that is not antediluvian, what is? Certainly the word has a better ring to it than 'ancient'. So — Antediluvian we became!