The Provincial Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons

West Yorkshire

All posts by Jason Cunningham

The Magic of the Mark, a celebration at Fearnley Lodge of MMM No, 58.

A special meeting was convened of Fearnley Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 58  on Wednesday, the 4th March at the Masonic Hall, King Street , Mirfield . This was part of the 4 R’s initiative which had been introduced to the Province by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, W.Bro. Alan Oldfield. Accordingly sixteen Craft Masons which Alan and the membership had persuaded to attend, free Festive Board included, were present they being entertained by Alan whilst the Lodge business was speedily concluded.

The Lodge was opened in due form by the Worshipful Master, W.Bro.Robin Price and the dispensation was read.  The Provincial Grand Master,  Right Worshipful Brother James Steggles G.M.R.A.C.,who was also present, was welcomed and offered the gavel which he deferred as someone rather more important may be about. How true, a report ushered in the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, W.Bro. John Vause who announced that the Assistant Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother Stephen Davison was eager to join the fray and this he did, took his seat and received appropriate salutations.

Attention now turned to business and several administrative issues were covered before the Master Elect was confirmed for the ensuing year, that being W.Bro. Warren Marsden, the Deputy Provincial Grand Secretary  He was quickly followed by W.Bro. Christopher Oldfield being Elected Treasurer for another year,  where would Fearnley be without the ‘House of Oldfield’. The remaining Agenda items then despatched, the Lodge was closed in due form, and the Guests were admitted. 

R.W.Bro. Jim welcomed the visitors and thanked them for being present at this Lecture entitled,  ‘The Magic of the Mark’ created, and, to be delivered by, V.W.Bro. Dr. Rod Taylor, Past.Asst Prov.G.M. This was, in fact, the debut for this initiative and Rod did not let us down, a most professional, inspiring and, at times, amusing analysis of the salient features of Mark Masonry and its place in the history and development of Freemasonry. He did make special mention of the jewel in our crown, the Cleeves and Whitehead Trust but, as is the case for any Lecture, I will not dilate upon the detail as that could impact upon future enjoyment. Suffice to say that the response from the visitors was extremely positive, membership forms completed for  two Advancees at Fearnley and at least two others elsewhere, Bronte and Portal were mentioned., sadly all on hold now probably for some months. Nonetheless, a very successful event, Coordinators around the Province should give thought to holding similar meeting in conjunction with other Mark Lodges, during the next Masonic year.

That concluded the formal aspects of the evening and all adjourned for a traditional repast at Mirfield, Steak and Kidney Pie, mushy peas and Chunky chips, need I say more. R.W.Bro. Stephen responded to the Toast to Grand Lodge congratulating Rod upon a superb presentation and wishing success for the project. Addressing the Craft Masons, he commented  that he hoped that they had found it to their liking and, when the time was right for them, that they would partake of THE MAGIC OF THE MARK, Responding to his Toast,, R.W.Bro. Jim replied, I echoe all that the Assistant Grand Master said! This was a meeting where, like me, all the Mark Masons present felt very proud of the Mark Degree.

A wonderful evening of Mark Masonic Magic. 

Worshipful Brother Duncan Smith P.G.S.D.

Communications Manager

Youth to the fore at Thorne Lodge of MMM No. 1004 Installation 5th March 2020.

A healthy turn out at Thorne for the Installation of Brother Jonathan Armstrong as Worshipful Master, one of a number of very youthful Mark Master Masons who dominate the ladder at this Lodge; it bodes very well for the future. For the time being it was down to the present Worshipful Master, W.Bro. Jason Figgett, another diminutive young cove to open the Lodge which was done but, before the opening procedures were completed, V.W.Bro. Bob Corfield gave a short, but very moving eulogy in respect of his good friend, Right Worshipful Brother George Henry Philip Birch. A man who was an inspiration to us all, most kind and caring with a truly benign disposition, he is , and will continue to be, missed. 

Attention then turned to agenda issues which included a ballot for a joining member W.Bro. Adrian Rounce and a candidate, Bro.Robert Gunther. This proved positive, ergo the team taking post today will have to consult their ritual books for the new positions they will occupy. A report then introduced Asst.Prov.G.D.C., W.Bro. Richard Brown who advised that the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Worshipful Brother Trevor Bolton, accompanied by W.Bro. Alan Corbridge, Elected Member of the Charity Committee was without and demanded admission which was promptly acknowledged and they entered with appropriate Escort and salutations were given. The Installing Officers then took post, Bro. Jonathan was presented by W.Bro. Ron Oldfield and duly answered the questions posed but as he had not served as a Warden for a full twelve months, he being stranded down south due to the beast from the east, a dispensation was read.

An Installed Board convened, Bro. Jonathan was obligated, the signs and secrets inculcated, Collar and jewel together with the Badge invested and he was placed in the Chair, all in first class form by Jason who should be proud of a job well done. The Brethren having been admitted, W.Bro Jonathan was proclaimed as Worshipful Master of the Thorne Lodge for the ensuing year and saluted accordingly. The working tools were then presented and explained by W.Bro.Barry Edge with the explanation of Key Stone Collarette in the hands of W.Bro David Spencer, that being presented by W.Bro. Jason. The latter then went on to deliver the Address to the Worshipful Master; Address to the Wardens by V.W.Bro.Bob Corfield; Address to the Overseers by W.Bro.David Spivey and, to the Brethren, by the Asst.P.G.M., W.Bro. Trevor , all in excellent form. The Past Masters Jewel was then presented to W.Bro.Jason, well deserved by W.Bro. Mick Ricketts in his own unique style, the remaining agenda items covered and the Lodge closed.

The Festive Board was well received when the Toast to the Province was submitted by W.Bro.David Carter, an appropriate touch of ingratiation stressing that without the considerable input of Provincial Officers Mark Masonry would be the worse for wear, they exhibiting a good sense of humour and a degree of common sense,  now there is a quality in short supply in society at large. In response W.Bro. Trevor congratulated W.Bro. Jason on his work emphasising that he should be very proud  of what he had achieved. He also praised the efforts of the Almoner, W.Bro. Mick Ricketts, a post that he has undertaken with distinction for many years.. A reminder for the Annual Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge to be held in Bradford on the 18th April and the Sesquicentenary meeting of the Province on the 7th August in Harrogate; a Jewel is now available to order do not leave it too late.

The Toast to the Charities was in the hands of W.Bro.David Spencer who praised the speed of response of the C & W, a wheelchair in the hands of a Brother within forty eight hours, something of which we can all to be proud. A significant donation was handed to the Festival which ensures that Thorne Lodge of MMM will be a Grand Patron Gold Award holder. By way of a reminder West Riding Masonic Charities Limited [ W.R.M.C.L.] agreed last year that the Cleeves and Whitehead Trust could use their Care and Support Officers on a “need to basis” taking some of the pressure of Liz Nowell. They are now well established being Sharon Mees  and Elaine Dunwell together with our own Liz Nowell. The two C.S.O’ s are employed by C.H.O.I.C.E.S. an acronym standing for CharityHelpOfferingIndependentCare, a division of W.R.M.C.L. .

The Toast to the visitors was delivered by W.Bro John English who welcomed sixteen visitors from twelve Lodges and trusted that they had enjoyed the ceremony and found the Festive Board to their liking.  Responding, W.Bro. Steve Croot of St Swithuns Lodge Bo. 445 commented that he was always told that a good speech had a good start, a good end and as short a time as possible between them,  an excellent end to a very enjoyable Mark meeting.

Smile, be happy, you are a Mark Master Mason 

Worshipful Brother Duncan Smith P.G.S.D.

Communications Manager                                            

Installation Ceremony for Gothic Lodge of M.M.M. No.1018,Tuesday, 3rd March 2020.

The Lodge was opened by the Worshipful Master, W.Bro. Ian Wright in due form, whilst obviously prepared for the discharge of his responsibilities, he appeared to be somewhat disappointed that his tenure had come to an end, sorry Ian . It happens to all good things.  The opening formalities were dispensed whereupon, a report brought forth the Provincial Director of Ceremonies, W.Bro John Vause who advised that the Provincial Grand Senior Warden, W.Bro. Ian Lewis, accompanied by W.Bro.Paul Levey, Elected Member of the Charity Committee was in attendance and wished to join the party; this was agreed and they received a warm welcome.

The Installing officers took post and the Master Elect, Brother Alan Bartrop was presented by W.Bro. Charles Lindsay, Director of Ceremonies and the usual questions asked and appropriate responses received. All those below the rank of an Installed Master left the Lodge and an Installed Board was convened. Bro. Alan then recited his obligation, unusual as in most Lodges the Master Elect repeats the words of the Installing Master; at least it is one thing he does not have to memorise.  The Signs and Secrets of an Installed Master were then delivered, Alan received the Badge, Collar and Jewel of an Installed Master and was placed in the Chair by W,Bro. Ian, a ceremony of which he can be justly proud,  no ritual book but the occasional prompt. W.Bro.Ian also presented the Key Stone Collarette and the Mark Benevolent Fund Grand Patron Collarette. At this juncture the Working Tools were presented and explained by W.Bro. Jack Anderson, a task he has shouldered for some time and impeccably discharges. The Brethren having returned to the Lodge and W.Bro Alan having been proclaimed, attention turned to the Appointment and Investiture of the Officers for the ensuing year. Only one comment, W.Bro. Trevor Brown, an accomplished Thespian in the Role of the Junior Warden, when they have a candidate put it in your diary ad visit, Trevor is worth the admission fee on his own.

The Addresses were then delivered as follows;

Worshipful Master W.Bro. Charles Lindsay.

Wardens W.Bro.Tony Tarver.

Overseers W.Bro. George Crofts.

Brethren W.Bro. Ian Lewis’

Superb by all, only one word applies, flawless.

W.Bro.Ian then received his Past Masters Jewel at the hands of W.Bro. Bob Davis who congratulated him upon a job well done in his year where other difficulties had to be overcome. The remaining Agenda items were then smoothly processed and the Lodge was closed in due form. The Festive Board beckoned and a delicious Prawn cocktail, Steak Pie and choice of Desert completed a most welcome repast.

The Toast to the Province was proposed by W.Bro. Ralph Adey who spoke in glowing terms about contribution that the Provincial Officers made in leading and guiding the Province, unstinting in their efforts for which Mark Masonry will be forever in their debt.  If it was not for the fact that Bob is already a Provincial Officer , he would have assured himself of a significant appointment, maybe a promotion beckons. Responding W.Bro. Ian first dealt with the issue of declining membership and the consequent need for all to embrace the 4 R’s initiative and that this was a responsibility for all, we must act together. In that regard, do not forget the South Yorkshire Association of Installed Masters whose objective is to foster visiting thereby bringing Lodges and Brethren closer to generate that teamwork essence. 

The Toast to the Charities was submitted by W.Bro,Ian Yates who presented a cheque to the Festival but left the detail, quite rightly, to W.Bro.Paul who responded. The Cleeves and Whitehead is in good order and fulfilling the requirements of its Charity Deed; the relief of Past and Present Mark Master Masons, their relatives and dependants where some forty five thousand pounds was expended in the past year. 

Following the deaths of both Judith and Philip Mann, the Trustees were mindful that too much pressure would be put on the one remaining Care Officer, Mrs Liz Nowell. Attempts were made to replace Judith were unsuccessful, until W. Bro. Alan Oldfield, our Deputy Provincial Grand Master, suggested approaching West Riding Masonic Charities Limited [ W.R.M.C.L.] to enquire if the Cleeves and Whitehead Trust could use their Care and Support Officers on a “need to basis” taking some of the pressure of Liz Nowell; this is now well established and functioning smoothly. Notes for your diaries. Almoners Lunch 6th April Cedar Court Hotel, Huddersfield 2nd November at Tapton Hall, Sheffield ; Annual Holiday at St Annes 14th to 20th June.

Another thoroughly enjoyable Mark Masonic occasion, Smile and be happy.

Worshipful Brother Duncan Smith P.G.S.D.
Communications Officer

Escorted Visit to Integrity Lodge of MMM No. 110, Thursday 27th February 2020.

A very warm welcome greeted the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Worshipful Brother Alan Oldfield and his Escort of twenty Provincial Grand Lodge Officers. The Lodge was opened in due form by the Worshipful Master, W.Bro. Ken Parkinson and the minutes of the previous meeting were approved. 

A report then brought forward the Provincial Director of Ceremonies, W.Bro. John Vause who announced that W.Bro. Alan was without and he was duly admitted, with Escort, and took his place. W.Bro. Ken offered him the gavel pointing out that it was his fault that he was here at all, Alan having proposed him as a candidate at Fearnley. He took a short step backward leaving room for Alan to take his place, no chance, gavel returned and onwards with the ceremony of Advancement for Bro. Brian Reeves. He entered flanked by the Senior Deacon, W.Bro.Nick Hopwood and the Junior Deacon. Bro. Eric Denton, both of whom performed superbly throughout proceedings. He was then obligated by the W.M., left the Lodge for a short while returning to have his work inspected by the Overseers who performed admirably, particularly W.Bro. Trevor Brearley, Master Overseer, in his own unique style, a reference to the stone being almost square giving rise to some amusement.

The Signs and Secrets were then demonstrated and explained by W.Bro. Alan Corbridge followed by the Badge and Jewel being presented by the Senior Warden, Bro. Mark Harrison and explained by W.Bro John Clark. Finally, as W.Bro. Alan said , and to cap an excellent ceremony,  the Working Tools delivered by W.Bro. Gary Baines, absolutely first class by all. The remaining Agenda items were then taken , the Dep.P.G.M. retired and the Lodge was closed.

A most welcome and sumptuous Festive Board followed, fifty nine dining but excellent attendances are becoming the norm at Integrity. The Toast to the Province was appropriately submitted by W.Bro.Ken who was clearly delighted to see W.Bro. Alan in the Lodge during Ken’s year in Office.  Alan began his response by reminding all that the Annual Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge will take place on Saturday, 18th April at Bradford Grammar School. It goes without saying that Grand and Provincial Grand lodge Officers should attend by way of example but it is also a clear responsibility of all Masters in the Chair to be present with their Wardens and, if possible Brethren; We should also be there supporting our Brethren receiving preferment.  Crest Regalia are recommended to provide any of our Regalia needs and will return a discount of 20% to the Festival coffers, see the Provincial Web site for details. As many of you are aware, it will be the Sesquicentenary of the Province on the 7th August 2022. A Jewel order form can be obtained from Lodge Secretaries, and then be collected at the Provincial meeting, and the P.G.M. desires that it should be worn from that moment on, Grand Lodge officers included. Do not forget, we are the Custodians of the Province and it is our responsibility to maintain the Province to deliver the ‘Magic of the Mark’.

W.Bro. Ken had the responsibility of submitting the Toast to his candidate, a family man who began his working life as a Policeman,  A period as a National Sales Manager for Nestle followed but he now works educating young people upon the perils of knife crime, a most important duty. Acknowledging his Toast Bro. Brian confirmed that it had been one of the best evenings he had ever enjoyed and he looked forward to seeing the Ceremony again, in March, to take it all on board. Delighted to report that three Masters in the Chair were present, W.Bro. Rod Johnson, Sincerity No.943, he responded to the toast to the visitors,, W.Bro. Fraser McPherson , Prince Edward No. 14 and .W.Bro. Matt Brelsford  Aireferry No. 1769, a most regular visitor on the circuit. It would appear that the Corona virus is having an effect upon visitors, important that we all take care in line with the advice from Grand and Provincial Grand Lodges but do not over react.

Another wonderful evening of  the ‘Magic of the Mark’.

Worshipful Brother Duncan Smith P.G.S.D.

Communications Manager