A good attendance at Tapton Hall for the Escorted visit to Cleeves Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 618 on Wednesday, 17 September 2014. The Lodge was opened in due form by the Worshipful Master, Worshipful Brother Rodney Marshall who competently despatched the initial formalities.
Upon a report, the Provincial Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother James Steggles, R.A.M.G.R. was admitted together with his posse of escorting provincial grand lodge officers. In accordance with accepted convention, W.Bro. Marshall offered the gavel to Right Worshipful Brother James Steggles who politely and courteously declined, commenting that he had enough to do already during the evening. At that point W.Bro. Rodney asked if he could suggest anyone else; at which R.W.Bro. Steggles turned to his right and asked Past Provincial Grand Master, R.W.Bro. Jim Truswell if he could oblige. To the amusement of all present, this came as a great surprise and for the first time since I have known R.W.Bro. Jim he was lost for words. A wonderful moment and so in accord with the spirit of Mark Masonry.
The brethren of the lodge, led by the Immediate Past Master, W.Bro. Anthony McGrath, then provided a lecture entitled ‘The Degree of Mark Master Masons’. This, in my experience, is not often heard, a lovely piece of work. Congratulations to all who took part: W.Bro. Tony, W.Bro. Frank Dewire, Bro. Philip Glover, Bro. John hill and Bro. Steven Hides. The latter has only been a Mark Mason for a very short time and yet despatches ritual like a veteran – a burgeoning star in the firmament of Cleeves Lodge methinks. The Provincial Grand Master, much to the delight of the individuals concerned, then presented Grand Lodge Certificates to Bro. Richard Shillito and Bro. Steven Hides. I suspect that this is a moment that neither will forget throughout their Masonic careers.
This also applies to W.Bro. G. Michael Nunn who was then addressed by the Provincial Grand Master in respect of his 50 years as a Mark Master Mason. W.Bro. Michael is an experienced and very senior Mason in the Tapton Hall fraternity but he was visibly moved by what followed. R.W.Bro. Steggles then reminded him that they had known one another for many years. He recalled that he had been pointed in the right direction on numerous occasions, after taking up the post of Provincial Grand Secretary, by the then Scribe of Wentworth Ark Mariners, V.W.Bro. Michael – but emphasised that this was always in a very respectful manner. That is W.Bro. Michael, a respectful, gentle, unassuming man, always there to help and advise if required, a font of Masonic knowledge and a Mason of true character and admired by all. The Provincial Grand Master then presented both Grand Lodge and Provincial Grand Lodge Certificates to W.Bro. Michael who then thanked R.W.Bro. Steggles for his kind words.
The Festive Board was the usual high standard we have become accustomed to at Tapton and, as the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master said in response to his toast, something that we will be doing again in 2015. This will be the occasion of W.Bro. Graham T. Crossland receiving his 50th Certificate in Mark Master Masonry. I will be there and I trust that many of you will join me. Additionally, R. W. Bro. James Steggles reminded the Brethren that one of the main purposes of the escorted visits was to foster visiting around the Province to establish relaxed environments where Brethren could develop new Mark friendships, with which I am sure that we all concur. It was, therefore, very disappointing that on a night such as this, only one Master in the Chair from the South Yorkshire Association was present. I feel that some Worshipful Master’s are unaware, although this has been pointed out most clearly by the Provincial Grand Master, that they have a duty to represent their Lodges both at Installations and other significant occasions, particularly in their own Association. The lack of representation has become more apparent over the past few years; methinks that it is time for the corner to be turned.
An excellent evening of Mark Master Masonry with 70 attending and 46 visitors, Be happy and enjoy your Mark Masonry
W. Bro. Duncan Smith P.G.S.D