The West Yorkshire Mark Token
The presentation of a Mark Token to a Candidate being Advanced into our Order is a fundamental part of the Mark Degree Advancement ceremony. It symbolises the payment of his wages as a Mark Man for working well and worthily, for 6 days or less, at the building of King Solomen’s Temple. He is instructed to use it, as not abusing it, and to go on his way rejoicing.
Many variations of Mark Tokens exist, including an English standard version from Grand Lodge and many local versions produced by Mark Provinces, Districts and individual Lodges and Royal Arch Chapters throughout the world. Indeed, there is even a very active “Mark Token Collectors Club” which registers and researches designs and issues a quarterly Newsletter.
The Mark Province of West Yorkshire has used several local versions of the Token in the past, but its present format was designed and introduced by R.W.Bro. James Bramley Morley, Provincial Grand Master for this Province from 1989 to 1994.
The ‘West Yorkshire’ side of the Token consists of a Yorkshire rose with the words “West Yorkshire” displayed above and below. But not many brethren are aware that the rose is very cleverly designed, so that its inner petals (at approximately 7 o’clock and 5 o’clock – see picture inset) are shaped into the letters ‘C’ and ‘W’ respectively, in celebration of ‘Carl Whitehead’, who was the Provincial Grand Master for the Province of West Yorkshire for almost 30 years from 1959 to 1989.
The obverse of the token follows the same design as a standard English Token, consisting of our familiar Keystone inside an equilateral triangle (the sacred Delta). Around the edge of the token is depicted a snake devouring its own tail, representing the regeneration of life, and along each side of the triangle are the symbols of a Masonic cypher. The cypher is not the one we find in our ritual books, but rather an old Masonic cypher similar to the ones found on the Craft 3rd Degree and Mark Degree Tracing Boards. The cypher along the base spells out the words “Mark Well” and those on the other 2 sides spell out the Pass Word and Ancient Word of the Order.
West Yorkshire Tokens are available from the Provincial Grand Secretary, and the Provincial Grand Master encourages their use wherever possible across the Province.
To encourage this, the price of West Yorkshire Tokens has now been reduced to £3 each, including postage.