MAKING OUR MARK IN IRELAND 25th - 28th November 2011
It is well known that in Ireland, as in Scotland and many other constitutions, the Mark Degree is practised under the jurisdiction of
Royal Arch Chapters whereas, as we all know, in England and Wales it is separate from the Craft and Royal Arch.
In November 2011 a group of Surrey Mark Master Masons visited Southern Ireland to demonstrate the English Mark Ceremony as
the main feature of the celebrations of the 175th Anniversary of the Royal Arch District of Munster, based in Cork.
Last year when visiting his son-in-law's Lodge, W.Bro Graham Walder, a member of Pleydell Bouverie Lodge of MMM, was chatting
to the Most Excellent District Grand King ( the equivalent of our Royal Arch Grand Superintendent) about the differences between
the Irish and English Mark Ceremonies. The MEDGK subsequently invited Graham to bring a demonstration team over for their
Anniversary in November.
On his return to England, W.Bro Walder and W.Bro David Else, the DC of his Mark Lodge which meets in Godalming, Surrey, pulled
together 14 accomplished Mark ritualists from various Surrey Mark Lodges to form the team.
After several rehearsals, the team, accompanied by 10 of their wives, arrived in Cork on a sunny Friday in late November. Some of
the cases may have raised a few eyebrows going through security due to having to take over the axe and wicket amongst other items
of regalia and Lodge furniture.
Saturday morning was spent taking a Masonic slanted guided tour of St. Finbarre's Cathedral, which has many connections with
Freemasonry, including stained glass windows featuring the square & compass, triple tau, all seeing eye, working tools etc. as well
as carvings on pew ends of Solomon and Boaz. The Cathedral also contains the tomb of Elizabeth Aldworth, said to be the only
woman ever initiated into Irish Freemasonry. The rose window on the western elevation is surrounded by a man, a lion, an ox and
an eagle carved in stone by local operatives and copied from plaster models prepared by the architect which now grace the Craft
Temple in Cork - the next stop.
The party strolled to the Masonic Hall at Tuckey Street for a sherry and coffee reception laid on by the local Brethren, followed by
a very interesting tour of the building including the very impressive Craft Temple and the recently refurbished Royal Arch Room
above. Whilst the ladies then spent a leisurely lunch in Cork's English Market, followed by sightseeing and shopping, the
gentlemen prepared themselves for the afternoon's meeting.
Initially robing themselves in their Royal Arch regalia, the English Brethren took their places in the Royal Arch Temple to receive
the Most Excellent District Grand King, the Rev'd Edwin Hunter, accompanied by the Most Excellent and Supreme Grand King,
Michael Ward, the head of all Irish Royal Arch Companions. Both Kings were attended by District Grand Officers which included
the Provincial Grand Master of Munster Craft Masons, R.W. Bro Leslie Dean and his predecessor RW Bro. Alan J. Campbell.
Following the opening of the District Grand Chapter, which was very different from that which the English Companions were used
to, the Supreme Grand King took the first Principals throne to present 175th Certificates to many of the Chapters of the District of
Munster, some of which predated the District Grand Chapter.
The English Mark Team were then introduced and quickly rearranged the room to suit the Mark Ceremony. The Companions then
retired, changed regalia and re-entered the room as Mark Masons to open a Mark Lodge in their usual (English) manner. W.Bro.
Walder's son-in-law, resident in Ireland, acted as Candidate as the Demonstration Team put on a very entertaining presentation of
the English Mark Ceremony of Advancement, with lots of 'am-dram' and enthusiasm to emphasise the ritual.
The full team were Graham Walder (WM), David Shelton (IPM), Mike Millership (SW), Steve Dingvean (JW), Brian Stewart (MO),
Paul Fitzgerald (SO), Colin Clark (JO), Neville West (Chaplain), Steve Briney (Reg. of Marks), David Else (DC), Gerald Phillips (SD),
Ian Parsons (JD), John Rice (ADC who also delivered the Lecture) and Ross Clark (IG).
Following a resounding round of applause and a sincere vote of thanks, the room was restored to a Chapter and the District Grand
Chapter was closed.
The weekend was rounded off with a Ladies Festival on the Saturday evening and coach trip to Jameson's Irish Whiskey Distillery
and Blarney Castle where a few brave souls, no doubt fortified by the whiskey sampling, kissed the famous stone (as if Mark
Masons need any more 'gift of the gab'!).
All in all a very successful weekend extending the Masonic hand of friendship across the Irish Sea with a good ceremony
demonstration and a good fun time amongst good friends, old & new - just about sums up Mark Masonry !
W.Bro DAVID ELSE PAGDC
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