Provincial Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons West Yorkshire
The Degree of Mark Master Mason is open to all Master Masons. The ceremony, in which a Brother is 'advanced', can be said to comprise two Degrees; the first in which he is acknowledged as a Mark Man, followed by the second where he becomes a Mark Master Mason. The Mark referred to in its title takes its name from the mark or symbol with which the stonemason identified his work and can still be found in many cathedrals and important buildings.
Much use is made of Holy Writ to instruct the Candidate and Brethren in the story which serves to teach that the real message is one of contemplation of human strengths and weaknesses. In chronological terms the Degree follows that of the Second Degree in Craft masonry. There is reputedly some evidence that the Degree is 400 years old but the earliest English records stem from 1769 when it was first worked in Chapter of Friendship, Royal Arch Chapter No. 257 (formerly No. 3) in Portsmouth. However, a minute book dated 1599 of the Lodge of Edinburgh states that several speculative brethren had appended their marks after their names.
The first meeting of the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons was held on Monday, 23 June 1856.
The ordinary members' regalia comprises an apron and breast jewel. The apron is of white kid with a triangular flap bordered with a two inch ribbon of light blue with crimson edges. It has rosettes of the same colour whilst Masters and Past Masters have the rosettes replaced with silver levels. The jewel of the order is a key stone appended to a ribbon which matches the apron and bears a mallet & chisel which are the tools of the Order. The key stone, which bears certain characters, forms an integral part of the ceremony.
In his book “The Mark Degree” Bernard Springett comments; “The Mark Degree is self-sufficient and would remain so if the other Masonic Degrees did not exist. Combined with Ark Mariner it gives a complete experience of one Creation….”
However, it must be stressed that the Order does not compete with others in Freemasonry and realises the immense importance of existing and working in close harmony with all other Masonic orders.
Rather than diminishing a brother’s dedication to Freemasonry, it is now widely acknowledged that membership of the “Higher Degrees” fosters a deeper commitment and a greater appreciation for all aspects of Masonry. The Mark is justifiably proud in enjoying excellent relationships with all Masonic Degrees and thrives on this mutually successful co-existence.
Freemasonry has something to offer everyone. Whilst some brethren are content to remain a member of just one Lodge, there are others who desire more knowledge and are not happy in ‘just belonging’. All the appendant Orders fulfil the requirement and are made ever, more attractive to the busy schedule of the modern-day Mason their frequency of meetings and easily affordable fees.
Just as a candidate for the Mark must be a Craft Master Mason, being a Mark Master Mason is an essential qualification if a brother wishes to extend his Masonic knowledge still further joining other Orders, such as:
– The Ancient and Honourable Fraternity of Royal Ark Mariners
– The Allied Masonic Degrees
– The Royal and Select Masters
– The Operatives
The Order of Royal and Select Masters, District Grand Council of West Yorkshire
The Order of Royal and Select Masters, often known as the Cryptic Degrees, is open to those who are both Royal Arch and Mark Master Masons and consists of four highly dramatic degrees. The Cryptic Degrees form a vital and interesting link between the Craft and Royal Arch, making the connection much more logical and completing the legend of King Solomon and his Temple. The Four Degrees are as follows:
Select Master (SM) – This degree continues the story of the preparation for the building of the Temple commenced in the Mark Degree, and in this degree the Three Grand Masters are concerned that the Ark and the Treasures could be lost forever if the Temple were to be ransacked. The scene is set in the Secret Vault beneath the Temple and relates the story of what happened to a well known mason, who had frequent contact with King Solomon, when he accidently enters the Vault.
Royal Master (RM) – The Temple being almost completed, the Overseers are anxious to receive the Master Word before the Temple is finally completed. One Overseer, Adoniram, seeks assurance from Hiram Abif of when he will receive the Word and be honoured as a Royal Master. The reply by Hiram Abif is probably one of the most moving and fascinating pieces of ritual a Mason will ever experience in any Masonic Order.
Most Excellent Master (MEM)– This Degree commemorates the completion and dedication of the Temple to the Most High and the honouring and celebration of those workman who had built the Secret Vault, and is intimately associated with Mark Masonry. Hiram Abif has been slain and after a period of mourning the Holy Treasures are transferred to the completed Temple. This Degree is akin to the “Passing of the Veils” worked as the Excellent Masters Degree in Scotland and can be taken in Bristol Freemasonry.
Super-Excellent Master (SEM) – This Degree unites the M.E.M with the Holy Royal Arch. The story of this Degree is of the imminent destruction of the Temple, which had stood for well over 400 years, when Jerusalem had fallen to the Romans under Nebuchadnezzar and his army. The King, his family, and the principal citizens were taken into captivity in Babylon. The puppet King, Zedekiah having fled, leaves the citizens to defend the Temple and they pledge their duty to do this in their devotion to God
The Order of the Secret Monitor West Yorkshire
The Order of the Secret Monitor, which developed from a still more ancient Degree, is the Brotherhood of David and Jonathan and is in its way older than Freemasonry itself. Its principles and its watchwords being founded upon those grand examples set by two worthy Hebrew Princes around 1000 BC as recorded in the Jewish history of the Bible.
History tells us that the “Order of David & Jonathan” was taken to the New World in or about 1658 by Dutch settlers. The inauguration meeting of Grand Conclave, under the banner of Alfred Meadows Conclave No. 1 was held at the Hotel Victoria, London, SW on 15 July 1887.
This is a Society framed upon the principles of self sacrifice; of mutual trust, watchful Brotherly care; of warning in time of danger; solace in time of sorrow; and skillful and effective friendly advice in every circumstance of life: A Society that meets a great and crying need in human affairs and is calculated to benefit those who act up to its tenets.
There are three Degrees in the Order; Induction ceremony, Princes or admission Degree and the Third Degree which is when a Brother is Installed as a Supreme Ruler of his Conclave. At this point he is also commissioned as a Supreme Ruler within the Order. This entitles him to conduct ceremonies in any Conclave.
Allied Masonic Degrees Yorkshire
The vast majority of the ‘additional’ Degrees worked in England in the early part of the nineteenth century originally came under the patronage of Warrants granted by the ‘Antients’, who held that Craft Warrants entitled Lodges to work any Masonic Degree to which they had knowledge and members available who could work it. Upon the formation of the United Grand Lodge various groups of Degrees were gradually organised into separate Orders each with their own governing body.
By the end of that century a large number of unrelated Degrees of no direct interest to any grand body was still being worked in different parts of the country. In the late 1870’s it was agreed by the then Grand Secretaries of the Craft, Mark, and Ancient and Accepted Rite to establish a ‘Grand Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees in England and Wales and the Colonies and Dependencies of the British Crown’. The headquarters would be at Mark Masons’ Hall.
The Order has five Degrees; the Degree of St Lawrence the Martyr; the Degree of the Knights of Constantinople; the Degree of Grand Tilers of Solomon; The Red Cross of Babylon and The Holy Order of the Grand High Priest. Every Candidate must be a Mark Master Mason and a Companion of The Holy Royal Arch.
The Ancient and Masonic Order of the Scarlet Cord West Yorkshire
The Ancient and Masonic Order of the Scarlet Cord is a separate Sovereign Body which was inaugurated as such on 21st July 2010.
It is an Order dedicated to extending the learning's and friendships which have begun within the Order of the Secret Monitor and is therefore only open to those who have been admitted Princes of the Order of the Secret Monitor.
There are three Grades which are based upon the cardinal virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity and which expand upon the symbolism of the Secret Monitor rituals, before teaching more of the lineage of David and his ancestors. As well as these three Grades there are a further three Grades which are conferred by the Most Distinguished Grand Summus upon Past Presidents of Consistories by invitation on a periodic basis.
Knights Templar West Yorkshire
The earliest speculative Freemasons were probably all Christians as a matter of course. Although Anderson’s ‘Constitutions’ of 1723 and 1738 opened the door of English Freemasonry to ‘all Good Men and True’ who were not ‘stupid atheists’, in the late 1740’s specifically Christian Masonic Rites began to appear in France, possibly England also.
For the most part these Rites were ‘chivalric’, and by the 1770’s vestiges of the Templar-Malta ceremonies took place in ‘Encampments’ derived from Royal Arch Chapters under the Grand Lodge of the ‘Antients’. In 1791 probably seven (there is some doubt about the precise number) of these Encampments joined together to form a Grand Conclave under the rule of Thomas Dunckerley.
The word Masonic is included in our title and this is because we are not directly descended from the original Knights Templar, but we came into being (in a wide variety of ritual forms, at first worked under Warrants of Royal Arch Chapters) in the British Isles in and around the 1760’s. The present day Templar ritual was introduced in the 1850’s, and a few years’ later, the same occurred to the Mediterranean Pass and Malta degrees.
A direct link with the original Templars is that they were granted their encampment in Jerusalem, on the site of King Solomon’s Temple. On 15th July 1099, the city walls of Jerusalem were breached, and the city captured by the Crusader army of the first crusade. In 1118, nine knights under the leadership of Hughes de Payen, approached the patriarch of Jerusalem (King Baldwin II); having decided to dedicate their lives to the service of the Holy Land. The patriarch subsequently assigned them a portion of the al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount (said to have been built on the original Temple of Solomon). This group of knights subsequently took their name from this; Pauperes commiltones Christi Templi Salomonis (the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Solomon). Thus becoming known as the Knights of the Temple, and later, Knights Templar.
After the union in 1813 the Duke of Sussex became Grand Master, but it was only after his death in 1843 that the orders flourished with renewed vigour. Although ‘Encampments’ later became known as ‘Preceptories’, and the ‘Grand Conclave’ changed its name to ‘Great Priory’, the latter is, after the Grand Lodge of the Craft itself, the longest established English Masonic authority.
It presides over more than 500 Preceptories at home and abroad, each of which (with the exception of ‘Baldwyn C’ at Bristol and ‘Antiquity, No.1’ at Bath) works the official ritual, and which are grouped into 40 Provincial Priories. Great Priory meets twice a year, periodically a Church Service is arranged for the Knights and their friends (in 2001 this took place in Lincoln Cathedral), and the Orders give considerable support to the St. John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital, a charitable foundation of the (non-Masonic) Venerable Order of St. John.
Red Cross of Constantine West Yorkshire
The Masonic and Military Order of the Red Cross of Constantine (and the Orders of the Holy Sepulchre and of St John the Evangelist, which are appended thereto) is an order of Freemasonry, open to all Royal Arch Companions who hold and profess a belief in the Christian Trinitarian Faith.
The Order commemorates the miraculous Conversion to the Christian faith of the great Roman Emperor Constantine after his glorious victory in the battle of Saxa Rubra and the Milvian Bridge in the year AD 312, and the impact that his conversion had on the further development and global spread of the Christian religion.
The Orders of the Holy Sepulchre and of St John the Evangelist – usually referred to as ‘Appendant Orders’ – commemorate the Crucifixion and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and interpret both Craft and Royal Arch Masonry in a Christian context.
The Order, although deriving much of its rich symbolism from Angelican Christian usage and customs, is non-denominational and is open to all Christian Royal Arch Masons in good standing who profess a sincere belief in the Trinity-in-Unity and who desire to expand their Masonic knowledge in a New Testament setting.
Ancient & Accepted Rite, District of Yorkshire West Riding (Rose Croix)
The “Rose Croix” Degree is the 18th Degree of a Christian Order of Masonry, originating in France, and known as the Ancient and Accepted Rite of Freemasonry. The Order comprises 33 Degrees which amplify the teachings of Craft Masonry within a Christian context. Candidates must have been a Master Mason for at least one full year and be in good standing with the craft, and profess the Trinitarian Christian Faith.
Throughout England and Wales and its Districts and Chapters Overseas the Order is governed by the Supreme Council 33° whose headquarters is known as The Grand East and is located at 10, Duke Street, St James’ London.
The ceremony of the 18th Degree; the only ceremony worked in full by a Chapter, is immensely thought provoking, impressive and colourful which instills a warmth of Brotherly love on which the whole Masonic Order is based.
Regalia for the 18th Degree is both simple and colourful and comprising of a red collar edged with gold braid, on the face and rear are embroidered emblems and various symbols of the Order. A jewel is appended to the collar. Having completed a year as Most Wise Sovereign members are considered for promotion to the 30th Degree. Members can attain 31st and 32nd Degrees.