Despite what had been, weather wise, a poor lead up to their meeting, the sun shone and twenty one Officers of the year arrived at Barnoldswick to Escort the Provincial Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother James Steggles G.M.R.A.C.
The Worshipful Master, Worshipful Brother David Key opened the Lodge and expeditiously dealt with the Minutes and correspondence whereupon the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, Worshipful Brother John Vause was admitted and announced that the Provincial Grand Master was without and demanded admission. I have known Lodges where, at this juncture, the W.M. has pondered for a moment, no such doubt for W.Bro.David and R.W.Bro. Jim was admitted to deserved acclaim. Having been offered the gavel, the possibility of acceptance was skilfully deflected by him noting that he had agreed to close the volume of the Sacred Law. If he were to take the chair this would be impossible therefore he must stand by his original task, quite a novel way of escaping methinks.
Worshipful Brother Simon Gazzard then gave an enthralling lecture entitled, ‘The Origins of the Mark in Operative Masonry’. I do not intend to delve too deeply as this would tarnish the enjoyment of anyone being fortunate to experience it in the future. Basically, the lecture explored the development of medieval Operative masonry throughout the British Isles, and showed how the roots of our Mark rituals and traditions were to be found within it. The progressive emergence of the Mark into Speculative Freemasonry during the late 18thand early 19th Centuries was then described with particular reference to the North of England, leading up to the formation of our Mark Grand Lodge.
In his Almoners Report, Worshipful Brother Derek Thulborn made mention of a widow, Mrs Betty Watkinson who died recently at the ripe old age of ninety four. Shortly before her death she had reminisced over the many Almoners Luncheons and short breaks she had enjoyed in Bridlington, all through the generosity of the Mark Master Masons of West Yorkshire, the Cleeves and Whitehead Trust. I have said it before but it is worth repeating, the Jewel in the Crown of our Province
A Festive Board of Soup and Chicken Pie were well received and attention turned to the Toasts. These, with the aid of the Director of Ceremonies, Worshipful Brother Keith Berry were proceeding apace, Grand Lodge concluded W.Bro. David began by the words’ the next toast is to the Deputy’, whoops , a finger came from his right and settled on the Toast list, horror, the next Toast was to the man on his right, the Provincial Grand Master, After the laughter a formal Toast was quickly offered leaving R.W.Bro. Jim to muse, ‘well that does not give me a lot to hang my hat on’ more laughter. In respect of the Festival he asked that all look to see whether any increase in standing orders could be found, this will be the largest source of income. A reminder of attendance at the Provincial meeting and also the Second Northern variety show on Saturday, 14th April. The Barge Pull is now up and running, six days are covered leaving three to settle and evening events are now being prepared, one being a Tow Path picnic at Riddlesden, more information shortly.
The Toast to the visitors was given by the Junior Warden, Worshipful Brother Malcolm Bell, who thanked all for getting to this unattainable outpost of Mark Masonry in West Yorkshire, we do value your presence. This was acknowledged by the Provincial Acting Junior Warden, Worshipful Brother Edward Wilkinson with the words ‘Thank you for the heating, the meeting the greeting and the eating, all very enjoyable.’
Mark Master Masonry shining again.
Worshipful Brother Duncan Smith P.G.S.D.