When the South Yorkshire Association of Installed Masters in the Degree of Mark Master Masons was formed one of its objectives was “to further the interests of Mark Masonry by any means that may be mutually agreed”. The first President, Bro. Geoffrey Le Pla, wished to see an old Mark Ritual performed. He had copies of an opening and closing of a MMM Lodge circa 1850 and a copy of a Ceremony of Advancement from the late 18th century. These are used in the demonstration. They highlight the connections which undoubtedly exist between Craft, Mark and the Royal Arch and offers an explanation of them which may have become obscured over the years.
There are some curious anomalies. The early part relates to the rebuilding of the Temple and the latter to the earlier first Temple. It can be assumed that this is due to the early influence of Scottish Royal Arch and the establishment of Mark Degree as a separate order.
Words and phrases from other degrees can be recognised as Mark Masonry in its many workings is almost as ancient as the Craft itself and therefore it is perfectly possible for them to have been absorbed into other orders.
The first demonstration of the old ritual was at the first ordinary meeting of the Association in May 1968 at Britannia Lodge of MMM No 53. After a gap of 15 years it was performed again in June 2010 at Britannia Lodge following a successful outing at Integrity MMM Lodge No 110 in January. Further demonstrations are planned for St Chad‟s MMM Lodge No 374, Castle Grove MH on 9 September and Ainsty MMM Lodge No 1739, at the Masonic Hall, Wetherby on 20 October 2010.
The team perform under the guidance of W.Bro. Brian Short and “candidates” have included W.Bro. Michael Holmes President of SYAIM and W.Bro. Bob Corfield PAPGM.