A Mark evening to remember at Wellgate, being a first for Rother Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 651 and for the Province of West Yorkshire, in that 81 Mark Master Masons witnessed the Dedication and Setting of a Commemorative Keystone.
The Lodge was opened in due form by the Worshipful Master, W.Bro. Terry Beatson with one of the first agenda items being to invest the Immediate Past Master, W.Bro. John Beaven, with his Past Masters Jewel. Unfortunately, W.Bro. John suffered a very serious accident last December which resulted in him missing most of his year. The presentation was in the hands of W.Bro. Stuart Smith, his proposer, who reminded him that he had at least been in the Chair when R.W.Bro. George Henry Philip Birch received his certificates of 50 years membership of the Mark Degree. Another significant evening for the Lodge with the now Past Pro Grand Master, M.W.Bro. Benjamin Addy, also present.
Upon a report, the Provincial Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother James Steggles was admitted to appropriate acclamation and accepted the gavel from W.Bro. Terry. This was the third time that R.W.Bro. Steggles had been in this position at Rother Lodge in the last 12 months, and each time before he had been required to pass on the gavel. Not so this time, and he addressed the Lodge on the purpose of the meeting and then requested R.W.Bro. James Bennett Truswell to give a history of the Keystone connection with the Lodge.
It transpired that R.W.Bro. Jim and W.Bro. Roy Dobson had visited Ilkeston Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 373, in Derbyshire, where they had witnessed a Keystone dedication in respect of a new dining facility. As the Rother Lodge of Mark Master Masons approached its Centenary, which it celebrated in May 2014, R.W.Bro. Jim had given some thought as to a special memento to acknowledge the occasion, and he recommended the dedication of a Keystone which was accepted by the Lodge. Why an Arch and a Keystone? There is much symbolism in the Mark Degree but the Keystone also has tremendous relevance in respect of Mark Masons Hall, the funding for which was obtained by contributions from the Mark Lodges and is recognised by the Keystone Collaret. Rother Lodge of Mark Master masons no. 651 is a Quadruple Keystone Lodge, together with the Sesquicentenary Jewel.
How better then, to celebrate the continuous working of our Lodge for the past 100 years than by an Arch bearing a keystone, the sixth keystone of Rother Mark Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 651
In summary the actual ceremony followed the route of the Keystone being thrown aside, discovered and subsequently restored to its proper position. This is very much a simplification as much intricate floor work took place under the direction of the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, W.Bro. Richard Puttrell and the lion’s share of the spoken ritual in the hands of the Provincial Grand Master. The highlight was the Keystone being placed in its proper position and this was done by R.W.Bro. Steggles aided by the workman from the quarry, Bro. Joseph. B. Walker, carrying the Keystone that he had fashioned.
In the midst of these proceedings, the Provincial Grand Chaplain, V.W.Bro. Edward Patnick delivered an Oration in which he explained that the Working Tools in our ritual are not there to show how the work was done but to remind us all that we hope to leave our Mark on the World, hence ‘Mark Well’ should be our aim in life. One should not look upon the outward appearance of Man but, rather his inward qualities, ‘not at the vessel but what it contains’ teaches the ethics of the Father. Morality comes from within: this is a cornerstone of Life and a fitting symbol of Freemasonry. The Keystone permanently placed upon the Arch will remind us all that we should not look upon the outward appearance of a Candidate but on his heart.
At the Festive Board, a credit to the caterers at Wellgate, W.Bro. Terry Beatson, the Worshipful Master, provided the Toast to the Provincial Grand Master. He said that the Lodge were delighted that R.W.Bro. Jim had officiated and congratulated him upon the delivery of the ritual but then added that he had expected nothing less from an honorary member of the Lodge. R.W.Bro. James Steggles then emphasised that something different had taken place that night. We had seen significant contributions from R.W.Bro. James Truswell and V.W.Bro. Edward Patnick but also a lot of work behind the scenes from W.Bro. Terry Roebuck and W.Bro. Ian Truswell. The keystone would be a memorial to the long and proud history of Rother Lodge of Mark Master Masons working the Mark degree and advancing over 120 Brethren in the last 100 years. The Provincial Grand Master then proposed the Toast to Rother Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 651 with the response capably despatched by W.Bro. John Beaven
This event completed a Trilogy of Celebrations for the Rother Lodge of Mark Master Masons in the last year; I doubt that they will ever see the like again. Congratulations, another fantastic evening to savour, including the comedian to finish. I refer, of course, to V.W.Bro. Bob Fraser Platt who responded to the Visitors toast in his own inimitable style, sending us all home laughing, well done V.W.Bro. Bob.
Smile, be happy and enjoy your Mark Masonry.
W.Bro. D. Smith P.G.S.D., P.Prov.G.J.W