A veritable horde of Mark Master Masons travelled from West Yorkshire to witness the meeting, historically this was the event where all Grand Lodge appointments were made and invested. Because of its very successful nature, over two thousand wishing to be present, many had to witness proceedings by video link, far from ideal. Accordingly the process has now been split, Active and all those receiving first Appointment to Grand Rank attend In June, those receiving Promotion to Past Rank, the September meeting to be held, Tuesday, the 11th. As can be seen from the photo below, a wonderful day out with fellow Mark Master Masons and no surprise, a lot of laughter; put the 11th in your diary and join them.
Those receiving preferment, in the presence of the Most Worshipful Grand Master, Most Worshipful Brother, His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent, GCVO were
With Appointment to Active Rank;
Andrew Brown Eland 493 to Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies.
Ian Smith Danum 398 to Grand Steward.
With First appointment to Past Rank;
Michael Nowell Integrity 110 to P.A.G.D.C.
Alan Corbridge Integrity 110 to P.A.G.Swd.B.
John Whitworth Beaumont 1523 to P.G.St.B.
Michael Jessop Aries 669 to P.G.St.B.
I must also record that the meeting marked the end of the three year term as Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies by our own Worshipful Brother John Vause, he remains the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies. He has served Grand Lodge with distinction and the Brethren of West Yorkshire are very proud of his achievement. Has he retired to the back benches, I think not.
Congratulations to all concerned for preferment well justified and hard earned. Afterwards a goodly number of our contingent dined at the Freemasons Arms, sharing the facility with our friends from the Province of North and East Yorkshire where all enjoyed good food and company, remainder of our party in the Connaught rooms. Unless someone knows anything to the contrary, the day passed without any incident involving any of our Brethren, you will recall that last year we had Worshipful Brother Philip Drury being appointed Provincial Grand Lavatory Attendant, a role he now relinquishes, Hopefully we will all gather again in September to be joined by you when you have read this item, you may have your picture taken, a moment of distinction indeed!!
On Thursday, 31st May and a goodly number of Royal Ark Mariner Masons gathered at Cleckheaton to witness a special evening which was to Elevate a new Brother, Brother Alistair Macintyre, a Mark Master Mason of Old York Mark Lodge T.I. and also to present a Cerficate of 50 years of membership of the Fraternity to Worshipful Brother Frederick Arthur Smith, Past Deputy Provisional Grand Master of the Province of North and East Yorkshire, well known and loved in West Yorkshire and a member of the Carl Whitehead Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners. He was accompanied by his close friend, equally well known and loved in our Province, Worshipful Brother Frank Woolgrove, also Past Deputy Provincial Grand Master of the Province of North and East and the present Deputy Provincial Grand Master of North and East, Worshipful Brother Clive Copley.
The Worshipful Commander, Worshipful Brother Michael Holgate welcomed all and then asked Worshipful Brother Andrew Jagger to lead the assembled company in the opening hymn, which he did, Acapella style, in fine form. W.Bro. Michael then welcomed the Provincial Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother James Steggles, G.M.R.A.C. together with the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Worshipful Brother Alan Oldfield and the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Worshipful Brother Trevor Bolton. W.Bro Andrew then read the minutes of their last meeting when it became clear that the Treasurer, Worshipful Brother Ian Wilkinson, had been prevented from presenting a notice of motion by the Director of Ceremonies, Worshipful Brother Edward Wilkinson interrupting and ordering him to be seated. Eventually, however, he prevailed and the message was that the subscriptions were going up!
A ballot, which proved positive was then taken for Bro Alistair and Brother John Lawrence, who, sadly could not be present, and the ceremony of Elevation began. The candidate entered the Lodge under the guidance of the Senior and Junior Deacons, respectively Brother Jason Cunningham and Brother Mark Simmons, who took very good care of him throughout. The Obligation was in the hands of W. Bro Michael as were the Signs and Secrets and Tools. Worshipful Brother John Brooke delivered the ancient history with Brother Derek Smart explaining the meaning of the Steps, at no time was a ritual book seen, only the occasional prompt. Being a Time Immemorial Lodge the ritual and floor work differs from the standard version, occasionally their delivery also varied from their own text, but it is well worth seeing. A ceremony superbly discharged by all involved.
R.W.Bro. Jim then took the floor and began by congratulating Bro. Alistair upon becoming a member of this, almost, Flag Ship Royal Ark Mariner Lodge of the Province. I am not too sure of Naval protocol but as the Admiral of the Fleet was on board, his Flag at the masthead, for that moment it was a temporary Flag Ship! He then gave a short retrospect of life in 1968 when W.Bro. Fred joined the Lodge. He was born in 1921 when his family had a farm near Cleckheaton, yes he is ninety six years young but does not look it, this was part of the wonder of the evening for, in the same period, we welcomed a twenty four year old, Bro. Alistair into Ark Mariner Masonry and celebrated with W.Bro. Fred crowning 50 years. He recalled that the Farm, which was sold in 1936, had cattle, pigs and poultry but his favourite was a plough pulling horse called Charlie A period in the R.A.F. followed and when he returned home in 1946, he returned to his previous employer, Alfred Hall Ltd. Moving to York in 1953, he used his skills to establish in partnership, Smith Brothers, fitting Kitchens and Bathrooms This brought him into contact with a Barnsley Mason, W.Bro. John Rushton, at the time PPGJW in both West and North and East Yorkshire Provinces, who commended the Mark Degree to him and here we are now, W.Bro. Fred already having received his 50th certificate in the Mark Degree two years ago. This prompted W.Bro. Fred to comment that he has been very lucky in his Mark and Royal Ark Mariner Masonry meeting many wonderful Masons, we agree Fred and you are one of them.
His Masonic career began in York, the family having moved there from Cleckheaton and was initiated in 1962, joined the Mark in 1966 followed by Provincial Grand Secretary’s Lodge, Grand Stewards Lodge, Grand Masters Lodge and our own Carl Whitehead Lodge of Royal Ark Mariner; the last named being the only Lodge of which he is a member that he has never been in the Chair. What a delight it would be to crown his 100th Birthday in 2021 by completing the set. R.W.Bro. Jim then presented him with his Provincial Grand Lodge Certificate and his pal, W. Bro. Frank, his Grand Lodge Certificate
At the Festive Board a cheque for £421 was presented to the Festival in respect of the Barge Pull which, together with gift aid, must now be near £7000. The P.G.M. then presented W.Bro. Fred with a D.V.D. of Pathe News reviewing 1968, Fred acknowledged the gift but would now be seated as he did not want to be called a Blatherskyte, an expression he had come to hear in the North east, to describe a babbler, not you Fred. Brother Mark Simmons proposed the toast to the candidate who had, in 2013 whilst at Bradford University, joined Freemasonry via the Graduate scheme, then being advanced into Mark in 2018 and now Royal Ark Mariner. He is a Primary School teacher in Lancashire, and precisely what Freemasonry needs if it is to prosper. Bro Alistair thanked all who had contributed to a very special evening which he had thoroughly enjoyed that being due, in no small part, to sharing this happy event with W.Bro. Fred. One of the features of Old York T.I. is that it contains the infamous ‘Ant and Dec’ duo, W.Bro. Edward Wilkinson and W.Bro. Andrew Johnson, also ‘Hinge and Bracket’, known to us all as W.Bro Andrew Jagger and
W.Bro. Michael Holgate. Together with their Brethren, they create a welcoming atmosphere fellowship and brotherly love to be applauded, long may it continue but we have to remember that they are getting a bit long in the tooth. Yes, this meeting was Simply the best and on this one occasion perhaps, Better than all the rest!
An excellent attendance at Britannia Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 53 one of the founding Lodges of the Province, on Thursday, 21st June to witness the dedication of the new Provincial Banner, and the retirement of its predecessor. This all took place at Tapton Hall and the Lodge was opened in due form by the Worshipful Master, Worshipful Brother Richard Foster.
Opening formalities, including the reading of the Dispensation, out of the way, upon a report, the Deputy Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, Worshipful Brother Andrew Brown, also now one of the Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies, entered and began the process of bringing honoured guests to the party. First, Past Rulers comprising Past Provincial Grand Masters, Right Worshipful Brethren Brian Batty and James Truswell. Past Deputy Provincial Grand Masters Very Worshipful Brethren Bob Corfield and Richard Puttrell and last, but by no means least, Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Worshipful Brother Dr. Rod Taylor. Then the most important element in proceedings, the Provincial Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother James Steggles, G.M.R.A.C. accompanied by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Worshipful Brother Alan Oldfield, the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Worshipful Brother Trevor Bolton and an escort of Provincial Grand Lodge Officers of the year.
W.Bro, Richard offered the gavel which, on this occasion, was accepted by R.W.Bro. Jim with the comment, ‘I think I thank you’. Officers of the year then took post and R.W.Bro. Jim confirmed that the purpose of the meeting was to retire the present Banner which during its time has seen fifteen Provincial Grand Masters and dedicate its successor. The original banner had been presented to the Province by our first Standard Bearer in February 1872, at the first Provincial meeting held after the Province was formed in August 1871. At one point it went missing, but it was eventually found in 1974, after being concealed under the rubbish for many years. To mark the centenary of the Province, it was framed and hung in Tapton Hall, where it remains today. The banner which was retired was not the original but one which was bought by the Province in 1957. This was not obviously apparent from the records at the time, and was only discovered after the present ceremony had taken place. We need to keep clearer records of important Provincial events!
The old banner was paraded around the Lodge for all to acknowledge and with due thanks, retired by the P.G.M. The Escorting Officers then brought forward the new banner for the Provincial Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons of West Yorkshire, which was accepted by R.W.Bro. Jim. The Provincial Grand Chaplain Edward Patnick then delivered a stimulating oration, following which the new banner was paraded around the Lodge for all to witness before being Dedicated and received on behalf of the Province by the P.G.M. and placed in its proper position. The whole ceremony was conducted with dignity and style, under the guidance of Provincial Deputy D.C. Andy Brown.
An Oration was then delivered by one of the finest exponents of the art, the Provincial Grand Chaplain, Very Worshipful Brother Edward Patnick. He began by talking about a Rabbi, a regular opening gambit, who talked about Space Rockets travelling at 1800 miles an hour to reach outer space and then orbiting the Solar system for decades. Someone asked the rocket controller what was the most important part of the Rocket, could it be the engine? the controller replied, “No every screw or washer was just as important because if one small part failed the mission would end in disaster”. This applies to our wonderful Mark Province of West Yorkshire, every person from the Provincial Grand Master to the newest Mark Master Mason and all its equipment are equal. Thus our new Banner is an essential feature and helps our Mark family to have its assembly point under which every member can gather and identify with it when displayed. Yes, the Province is our parent body and just like mankind, no two parents are the same.
Mark Masons have to believe in a Divine Creator, most of us should, therefore keep the Ten Commandments. These Commandments were giving to the Jewish people by God through Moses on Mount Sinai and have been adopted by most religions. The first two Commandments were actually heard directly from God but the people were so overwhelmed that they asked Moses to hear the rest and relate them. However before the Jewish people received them they were offered to three other tribes who, having been given an example such as “Thou shalt not kill”, declined to have them. Finally he offered them to the Jewish people, who asked, “How much they would it cost”? To which the reply was nothing. So they said, “Fine we will have ten”!
Rabbi Mirvis, the Chief Rabbi, gave an unusual interpretation of The Ten Commandments. They were given on two Tablets, the first tablet had Five Commandments which deal with our duty to our Maker and the second teaches our connection to our fellow human beings; if read horizontally instead of vertically they complement each other. The book of Ethics says “Who is a wealthy man? He who is happy with his lot”, we must strive to be happy and healthy family units, whether private or Masonic. It is Important to the Province, and your own Lodges, to bring in new candidates but they must be the right people, those who meet the high standards of Freemasonry.
The analogy of the Province being akin to a tree was then introduced, some people come into your life and they are like leaves on a tree, only there for a season, you can’t depend on them and like leaves, they take what they need and as soon as it gets cold or a wind blows they are gone. Some come into your life and are like branches on a tree. stronger than leaves, they will sck around but if you go through a storm or two you could lose them.
If you can find people in your life who are like the roots of a tree, then you then you have found something special because like the roots of a tree, they are hard to find because unless you dig deep they cannot be seen. A tree has many branches and even more leaves, but far fewer roots. THANK GOD FOR THE ROOTS!
Now look at your own life, what role do you play in other people’s lives or indeed the Mark Province of West Yorkshire?, which has been around for nearly 150 years and it needs support from you to keep going, the demands are greater now more than ever, so what will you be, a root, a branch, or a leaf. May our new Dedicated Banner be around for many years, as the focal point of this Province, until time with us shall be no more?
The remaining agenda items were then swiftly despatched but did include, most importantly, the election of Worship Brother Philip Haynes as Master Elect for the coming year. W. Bro Philip was previously the incumbent in 2012/13 and I am sure that he would be delighted to see similar numbers of visitors at his Installation on Thursday, 4th October. As Worshipful Brother James Newman said in his Toast to the visitors, ably acknowledged by Worshipful Brother James Ambler, Brethren have had 147 years to visit Britannia, why not try two visits in one year. Before the Lodge was closed, the Provincial Grand Master and his entourage withdrew for a well deserved libation.
The Festive Board was well received and in line with improved quality now enjoyed at Tapton Hall, both service and food. The Toasts involved the P.G.M. who responded to his own, capably delivered by the W.M., W.Bro. Richard and then proposed the toast to the Province where it was formally acknowledged by the D.P.G.M., W.Bro. Alan on behalf of the Province. Along the way he reminded those present that Britannia Lodge No 53 was one of the six which formed the Province He then drew attention to the Sheffield Lodges combined meeting to be held at Tapton Hall on the 25th July under the Escafeld Lodge No.1139 Banner, where both he and his Deputy, W.Bro. Alan will be taking part and will be joined by the Assistant Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother Stephen Davison. He thanked those Brethren who are members of the 250 Club as it is through their generosity that the Banner was funded along with other Provincial regalia. He was proud of the Province as throughout its length and breadth, Mark Master Masons were consistently creating and demonstrating the harmony, friendship and brotherly love for which we are rightly famous. He wished this to continue thereby making better men of men and better Mark Masons of Mark Masons, with which we are all in total accord.
All of us present were proud of this day which has only happened twice in 147 years and we were there! Do not forget, smile, be happy, we are all Mark Master Masons.
Tuesday, 29th May 2018 and the Oﬃcers and Crew, the Founders, together with an invited audience gathered at the slipway at Thornﬁeld House Masonic Hall to witness the birth of the new Royal Ark Mariner Lodge; some of the Crew were absent on leave with the agreement of the Commander Designate, Worshipful Brother John Fred Clough. Prior to proceedings, the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, Worshipful Brother John Vause addressed the Brethren with the usual house notices including a warning about incest, he meant to say incense, roars of laughter from the audience and John. He then attended upon the Admiral of the Fleet, the Provincial Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother James Steggles, G.M.R.A.C., Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Worshipful Brother Alan Oldﬁeld, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Worshipful Brother John Trevor Bolton and an escort of Provincial Grand Lodge Oﬃcers; they all then took their allotted stations and the Consecration Ceremony commenced. The opening hymn was sung and prayer rendered whereupon the Founders were arranged in order and the Warrant was read by the Provincial Grand Secretary, Worshipful Brother Fraser McPherson, this was approved and attention turned to the Provincial Chaplain Very Worshipful Brother Edward Patnick.
He gave the Oration where, for inspiration, he had looked to his usual source, the Bible, where he was inspired by the greatest Prophet of them all, Moses. The Lodge number, 1965 had some particularly wonderful memories for him. It was the year that he visited Israel as a member of the Great Britain management team for the Maccabiah, the Jewish Olympics; upon arrival in Tel Aviv, he was made the Manager of the Wrestling Team, his sport was football; he knew nothing about wrestling which, in turn, reminded him of when he was appointed Provincial Chaplain!. On his return from Israel he met his wife, Anne and some fifty two years later, they are still together with children and grand children. This was all down to the Righteous Noah and his Ark, who saved the world from total destruction.
In celebrating the beginning of a new Royal Ark Mariner Lodge, the Bible reminds us that beginnings are always important whether it’s the beginning of the world in seven days, a new relationship, the birth of a child with the emergence of new life or, and closer to home, a new Lodge or Candidate. Names of Lodges are chosen for number of reasons but in Royal Ark Mariners we have to be moored to a Mark Lodge by its number but not necessarily using the same name, this Lodge has done both. Noah had three sons named Shem, Cham and Japheth. Shem means name, and is used here in reference to idol worship, the intention of those who built the tower of Babel. They were people who wished to “make a name” for themselves. Cham means “hot” and hints at violent crimes committed in the heat of the moment, like murder and theft whilst Japheth means beauty.
The lessons that it teaches are that we should face adversity together and help to look after those less fortunate than ourselves. The history of Noah and his mes is given in the Exposition, Dissertation or Gopher Wood Address, which forms part of the ritual in most Lodges at the Installation, like all Masonic ritual it contains facts, fiction and a story that is a fable. Adam passed on a book called The Liberal Arts and Sciences, which contained all the knowledge of how the world was built and even how man was made. Noah knowing of the intended flood, read the book to his three sons and then hid it in the hope he would find it after the flood, of course he never found it again. Fortunately Shem, the righteous son, with the help of the Grand Commander of the Universe learned every word and years later recited the Liberal Arts and Sciences to Abraham who wrote them down.
Royal Ark Mariners teaches the Grand Principle of Freemasonry, Brotherly Love (love thy neighbour), Relief (charity) and Truth. (A belief in a Supreme Being), but it may also contain the Genuine Secrets of a Master Mason which could be the “Liberal Arts and Sciences”. My hope is that more people are brought into Royal Ark Mariners through the founding of this new Lodge we have consecrated today. May The Rugby Royal Ark Mariner Lodge prosper, “until time with us shall be no more”.
The Lodge Board was then uncovered and the Consecrating officer, R.W.Bro. Jim together with his Wardens, Worshipful Brother Mark Holland, Senior Warden and Worshipful Brother Alex Geddes, Junior Warden carried the elements of Consecration three times around the Lodge. A further perambulation by R.W.Bro. Jim was then taken when salt was placed on the right shoulder of each of the Founders, the emblem of Fidelity, Hospitality and Eternal Friendship, the Lodge was then dedicated. W.Bro. Edward, Provincial Chaplain, then perambulated three times, censing and that took us back to where we came in, incense. The Lodge was then Consecrated.
An Assembly of Installed Commanders was formed and the Asst.Prov. G.M., W.Bro Trevor proclaimed and Installed W.Bro. John Fred as the first Commander of the Lodge. R.W.Bro. Jim then presented the Warrant to the Lodge and Very Worshipful Brother Bob Corfield conducted the address to the Commander, spot on as a Brother commented. After the appointment and investiture of the Officers, the newly created Immediate Past Commander, Right Worshipful Brother Bob Clancy delivered the Exposition in a most professional and sincere fashion, a delight to behold. Brethren should note that the Lodge has four Provincial Grand Masters in its ranks R.W.Bro. Bob , Right Worshipful Brother Keith Hodgson , Right Worshipful Brother Alex McLaren and our own R.W.Bro.Jim, the first two named both played rugby at a professional level.
W.Bro. John Fred then acknowledged a large number of donations in respect of Lodge Ornaments, this being followed by the presentation of Founders Jewels. The consecrating Officers then retired and the Lodge held a positive ballot for four joining members, that press gang was quickly formed and executed its commission, hopefully there will be many more. The Lodge was closed and all adjourned to enjoy an eagerly awaited repast. Toasts followed with R.W.Bro. Jim responding to that dedicated to himself saying that he felt very lucky to be the P.G.M. at this time, his first Consecration in the role. He thanked all the Consecration Team for their contributions, particularly the Chaplain who had a lot do but could read most of it, which did not apply to himself. The P.G.M. then went on to propose the Toast to the Lodge, the twenty second in the Province, which came about after the creation of the Mark Lodge in the Province of East Lancashire moored at Rochdale, a number of locations were considered, and he hoped that they would be very successful in attracting new ‘players’. Their next meeting is on Tuesday, 31st July, well worth a visit. Overall this was a meeting of superb quality throughout where all who took part deserve congratulation.
Following the great success of last year’s Sunday Lunch held at Westbourne House, Otley, in aid of the West Yorkshire Mark Benevolent Fund Festival 2023 our Provincial Grand Master has asked that we repeat the occasion this year.
Please find attached below the booking form for what will be a fantastic event.
The Inaugural Meeting of the Combined Sheffield Mark Lodges
This meeting was featured in the last News Letter but a reminder is appropriate for the event, which takes place at Tapton Masonic Hall on Wednesday, 25th July.
Representatives from all the Tapton Mark Lodges will take part and several distinguished guests will attend and some take part, for example, the Provincial Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother James Steggles G.M.R.A.C. will deliver the Signs and Secrets, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Worshipful Brother Alan Oldfield, the Tools and the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Worshipful Brother Trevor Bolton, not yet decided, could be a surprise! The event is also to be graced by the presence of our Assistant Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother Stephen Davison which certainly puts the seal on what will be an evening not to be missed, a night to remember for the candidate, Brother Richard Morley. A meal, together with entertainment is also available for the Ladies organised by Mrs Ruth Drury.
Please find attached flyer/ booking form at the bottom of the page, which I urge you to complete and send now, be one of those who in years to come will be able to say, ‘ YES I WAS THERE’
Worshipful Brother Duncan Smith, PGSD.