The Provincial Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons

West Yorkshire

Another successful outcome for the Crimps at Pontefract Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners No. 878

A candidate for elevation, Brother Michael Hamilton Stephen, not a surprise to this Lodge as this was the third this year and another was proposed later in the meeting, great news for the Worshipful Commander, Worshipful Brother Rod Williams, and a testimony to the work of the Lodge Crimps. They have worked assiduously over the years, mainly around the docks at Legioleum Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 457 Castleford, where they have shanghaied a number of recruits, 2 earlier this year, but many in the past. They have now expanded their area of activity to cover Selby, particularly Abbott Hugh of Selby Lodge No. 1640 from whence the night’s candidate hailed.

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The Crew of 21 assembled, and joined by 26 fellow matelots from other vessels at anchorage, including Worshipful Brother Richard Boswell Puttrell, Deputy Provincial Grand Master, the Lodge was opened in due form by the Worshipful Commander, Worshipful Brother Rodney Williams. He then welcomed Worshipful Brother Paul Cook, the Worshipful Commander of The Bram Morley Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners No. 1905 who, accompanied by an escort of his Brethren, presented the travelling Porphyry Stone to W.Bro. Rod. He explained the history which in summary is to encourage, as also applies to the travelling maul in the Mark, visiting in the Royal Ark Mariner Fraternity and efforts should be made to pass on to another Lodge within 2 months or so.

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The Worshipful Commander then skilfully navigated his Officers and Crew through the turbulent waters of the Elevation ceremony which, whilst not only much enjoyed by Brother Stephen, also surprised and intrigued him in places. Particular praise to the 1st and 2nd. Lieutenants, Bro. Paul Levy, Senior Warden and Bro. John Derwanz, Junior Warden for their presentations and Worshipful Brother James Garland for an excellent rendition of the Working  Tools and traditional History. There then followed the Declaration of Bro. Paul Levy as Commander Elect for the ensuing year, he looking forward to guiding the Crew on a successful voyage , in calm waters, over the ensuing year.

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The Menu at the following festive board merely put a superb finishing gloss on the proceedings with a Black pudding starter, W.Bro. Rod does have good taste, this being followed by a cold meat salad and sweet, appropriate to the time of year, we had some sun on the day! The final gloss was applied by W.Bro. Tony, ‘The Purser’, Parker who supplied the Port in accordance with the Carl Whitehead Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners No. 110 tradition; well received by all, and some receiving a lot more than others! In response to his toast, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master congratulated Bro. Stephen on becoming a Member of the Fraternity, the Lodge on an excellent ceremony and Bro. Paul on being Commander Elect. He also made particular reference to the requirement of all Masters of Lodges to represent their Lodges around the Province, this being particularly appropriate as there were 5 visiting Commanders in attendance, the most that I have witnessed in the last year, things are improving.

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For the record, and well done to all, they were;
W.Bro. Paul Cook, W.C. of the Bram Morley Lodge of R.A.M. No.1905.
W.Bro. Tony Parker, W.C. of the Carl Whitehead Lodge of R.A.M. No. 110.
W.Bro. Charles Lindsay, W.C. of the Portal Lodge of R.A.M. No. 127.
W.Bro. Ian Smith, W.C. of the St Swithuns Lodge of R.A.M. No. 43.
W.Bro. Richard Stone W.C. of the Abbey Lodge of R.A.M. No. 768.

Smile, be happy and enjoy your Mark Masonry. I was going to say enjoy the summer but we may have just had it, perhaps.

W. Bro. Duncan Smith, P.S.G.D.

A change of hands at the Helm of Portal Royal Ark Mariners No. 127

With the Portal Dreadnought safely berthed at Eastgate Masonic Hall, it was time to welcome, and Install, the new Skipper who had agreed to take on this motley crew and navigate them through the next 12 months. Who was willing to take on this arduous task, none other than the much travelled Provincial Grand Master Overseer for 2015/2016 in the Province of Mark Master Masons West Yorkshire, Brother Charles David Lindsay, not a happy soul after he had to hand in his Acting Officers Jewel.

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An excellent attendance of 47 that included 22 visitors, of which 3 were Commanders in the Chair, was perhaps a reflection on the visiting that the Commander Elect has undertaken in his Masonic career. They were joined by Past Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Worshipful Brother Robert Corfield, the Personal Representative of the Provincial Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother James Steggles G.M.R.A.C.; Past Provincial Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother George Henry Philip Birch and Past Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Worshipful Brother Brian Emmett. The Worshipful Commander, Worshipful Brother Russel Jones opened the Lodge in due form and events progressed smoothly to the Installation. This was very capably and sincerely despatched by W.Bro. Jones, a smooth transition with Worshipful Brother Lindsay secure on the poop deck, the Captain of all he surveyed.

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The Appointment and Investiture of his Officers then followed; sadly a number had not yet returned from leave and will be invested on a future voyage. Unfortunately, therefore, they could not witness two of the highlights of the evening, the first being the Address to the Worshipful Commander given by R.W.Bro. Birch, in superb fashion. He had given me the ritual to prompt him if necessary, no need. The Exposition was then in the hands of Worshipful Brother Peter Brindley, another excellent performance, no requirement for any outside assistance and that was in addition to the explanation of the Keystone Collaret that W.Bro. Peter had dealt with in perfect fashion earlier in the Ceremony.

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The Captain and crew then adjourned to the Mess where victuals were provided, notably a delicious Steak Pie, followed by Treacle Sponge with Ice cream, yes you read it correctly, the Skipper prefers Ice Cream to Custard. The Toast to the Province was very capably delivered by Worshipful Brother Rodney Tolson, the response in the hands of W.Bro. Robert Corfield, the Personal Representative of the Provincial Grand Master. He stressed that we must continue to support our Craft Lodges to ensure a steady stream of potential candidates to the Mark, and thereafter, the Fraternity of Royal Ark Mariners. He further reminded Brethren that as the West Riding Craft Festival comes to its conclusion later this year, efforts must the turn to our own Festival, the West Yorkshire Mark Benevolent Fund Festival 2023, and to this end he had been pleased to have received a donation from the Portal Lodge.


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The atmosphere throughout had been convivial, one Brother describing it as entertaining, undoubtedly it reflected the nature of the Fraternity, also our Skipper, Worshipful Commander, W.Bro. Charles Lindsay will, see photo below now a very happy bunny, I have no doubt, be seen regularly at Royal Ark Mariner Lodges throughout his year representing the good ship, Portal Lodge.  The Crew saluted and were dismissed.

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Smile, be happy and enjoy your Royal Ark Mariner Masonry.
W.Bro. Duncan Smith, P.G.J.D.

Something different at Prince Edward Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 14

If you are available at 4.30 on Saturday, 23 July, you may like to pay a visit to Greenhead Masonic Hall in Huddersfield, particularly the Prince Edward Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 14.

You will have the pleasure of witnessing a ‘Demonstration of a Scottish Mark Degree Ceremony’. I am aware that a number of our Brethren in the Province have witnessed the Ceremony, in fact some have actually been through it, but it will probably be a mystery to the majority of us. It will be performed by Brethren of the Lodge Possilpark, Glasgow No. 1330, Grand Lodge of Scotland , and will also include a fraternal visit from the Brethren of Lodge Tower, Glasgow No. 1523, some 30 Brethren from North of the Border.

This proposes to be a night to remember, ergo if you wish to be there please download the attached flyer, which contains all the information, menu etc. needed, and send to Worshipful Brother Fraser  McPherson, Secretary of Prince Edward.

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A Display of Talent at White Rose Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 1067

An excellent attendance at the Masonic hall, Hoyle Court on Monday 11 April to witness the advancement of Brother Howard Henry Thompson and the presentation of two Grand Lodge Certificates, not that exceptional you may say, but read on.

The Lodge was opened in due form by the Worshipful Master, Worshipful Brother Michael John Kingdon after which, upon  a report, the Provincial Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother James Steggles G.M.R.A.C. was admitted together with an appropriate escort. W.Bro. Kingdon very courteously offered the gavel only to be told some of us have our bit to do, this is yours!

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Brother Thomson was then admitted and the Advancement team commenced their duties, starting with W.Bro. Kingdom who then passed the baton to Worshipful Brother Richard Bleasdale who delivered the obligation. The Overseers then dutifully despatched their tasks and attention turned to the communication of the signs and secrets, these were in the hands of the Provincial Grand  Master, a most  cool, calm and professional delivery, a pleasure to witness (oh yes I know how to ingratiate myself as well as the best!). The baton was then passed to the Secretary, Worshipful Brother David Steel who gave the explanation of the Badge and Jewel in perfect form to pass it on to another aspiring young Mark Master Mason, well perhaps not too young!  This was the Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Very Worshipful Brother John Fred Clough who skilfully articulated the Constitutions and bye-laws followed by a sincere rendition of the Conclusion, in my opinion one of the most meaningful pieces of Ritual in Freemasonry.

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The Provincial Grand Master had, however, more to do and presented Grand Lodge certificates to Brother David Grant Marshall and Brother Paul John Tayler, a moment I judge that they will remember for some time. I did note that promotion at White Rose Lodge of Mark Master Masons can be swift; Bro. Marshall is already Master Overseer.

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The remaining items on the Agenda were then completed and the Lodge closed in due form. With a packed evening of business, time moved on and all enjoyed a very pleasant Festive Board with the Toasts curtailed to effect a reasonable departure time.

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Another Mark evening to savour.


Smile, be happy and enjoy your Mark Masonry.
W.Bro. D. Smith, P.S.G.D.

An Escorted Visit, but no one to Escort!

Tapton Hall, Sheffield, Wednesday 15 June, and 43 Mark Master Masons met for the Escorted visit to Escafeld Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 1139 but there was no one to Escort at the appointed hour of 6.15.

Huddles were held to discus, where do we go from here?  Easy, open the Lodge, no problem in the hands of the Worshipful Master, Worshipful Brother James Ambler, and deal with all the business other than admitting the Provincial Grand Master and his team and undertaking an enactment of the Advancement Ceremony.  This was accomplished perfectly to time when a report heralded the admission of Worshipful Brother John Maxwell, the Master Overseer; this relieved yours truly who had been in the seat pro-tem. A further report, and to acclamation, the Provincial Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother James Steggles, G.M.R.A.C. was admitted together with an escort of 17 Provincial Grand Lodge Officers of the year, a sight to behold.

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The Provincial Grand Master apologised for his late arrival, the first time he can remember ever being late for a visit, and allocated all the blame to his chauffeur, W.Bro. Maxwell. Not true Brethren, problems on the A1 M creating traffic chaos on the diversion routes to blame.

Accordingly, with all now in place, and with Worshipful Brother Philip Glover, Worshipful Master of the Cleeves Lodge of Mark Master Masons No.618, acting as candidate, the ceremony commenced. All who took part are to be congratulated on a delightful display of the advancement ritual with the W.M. W.Bro. James leading the way with the obligation. The Overseers, Worshipful Brothers John Maxwell, Michael Nowell and Alan Corbridge, all experienced Mark Master Masons, who knew their task and executed it perfectly. One has to say, however, that all were upstaged by the Signs and Secrets, superbly delivered by Worshipful Brother Clifford Watson; I doubt anyone has seen them executed better. Worshipful Brother Brian Richardson, who had also enlivened the proceedings by his amusing musical interludes on the organ, explained the Working Tools and, finally, Worshipful Brother David Bacon delivered the conclusion, well done to all.

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A most acceptable festive board which, if anyone had any doubt, finally put to rest any adverse comment in respect of the food at Tapton, was then enjoyed by all. The Worshipful Master, W.Bro. James proposed the Toast to the Provincial Grand Master, congratulating him and stressing the considerable amount of work R.W.Bro. Steggles does for the Province of West Yorkshire and the wider Mark Masonic community. Responding, R.W.Bro. Jim said that he had been delighted to attend with the Provincial Team and that they had all enjoyed an excellent enactment ceremony. He also thanked all who had attended the Annual Meeting of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons, West Yorkshire and hoped that they would return in 2017, Saturday 22 April at Bradford. All Mark Master Masons are welcome and perhaps Masters in the Chair, who surely all attend, will consider bringing with them their Senior and Junior Wardens.

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The toast to the visitors was eloquently proposed by the Junior Warden, Worshipful Brother Philip Drury in what can only be described as a thoughtful and reflective vein. It was so good that I have no hesitation in repeating it, almost verbatim, enjoy.

‘Each one of the visitors here tonight comes for a reason best known to himself; respect for Grand Lodge, admiration for our Provincial Grand Master, perhaps an interest in the running of Escafeld Lodge. All are good reasons, but underlying all is a desire to join with fellow Mark Masons for an evening of friendship and brotherly love; something that can never be measured in terms of worldly values. I trust that we of Escafeld Lodge have greeted you and treated you, each and every one, as someone special. May you continue to be a visitor, as the hand of fellowship in this Lodge is always extended to you’.

‘Brethren of Escafeld Lodge, will you please be upstanding and drink with me a toast to our visiting brethren:

A toast to all our differences,
A toast to common ground;
A toast to what we’re seeking,
A toast to what we’ve found;
To what brings us together,
To what sets us apart;
A toast to many different souls,
United with one heart’.

The response was in the very safe hands of Worshipful Bother Jim Stanley who began by saying ‘for the benefit of the late comers’, that brought the house down. No need to say anything else, but he did, congratulating all the members of Escafeld for a wonderful evening.

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Finally, if you are sitting comfortably, let me tell you a story. At the Grand Lodge meeting last December, Brethren were enjoying a last libation before returning to Kings Cross and the journey home. Some decided to forgo a last pint at Great Queens street opting to find a taxi when one Brother said no need,’ I have the Uber App.’, to the uninitiated like me that is a facility on your mobile to call a taxi. Others considering this too risky, despite assurances to the contrary, left whilst the App owner and his close friend stayed. Eventually a taxi was called, duly appeared but sadly owing to heavy traffic, often dire in that area, it arrived late and their train had gone. New tickets had to be purchased, cost circa. £120 each, woe upon woe. The moral of this story, have your last pint at the Station but make sure that you take W. Bro. Philip Drury with you.


W.Bro. Duncan Smith, P.S.G.D