The first Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons came into existence in 1856 with the Installation of the first Grand Master, Lord Leigh of Stonleigh.
The degree had been worked in many Craft Lodges from as far back as the 18th century but the Act of Union between the two Grand Lodges of England declared that pure and Antient Masonry consisted of three degrees, including the Holy Royal Arch. When the two Grand Lodges joined certain ‘deals’ were made and many brethren were left in a state of discontentment. Many of the Masonic Orders entered a time of great uncertainty, the Mark was not considered by the Craft as part of pure Antient Masonry. A strange situation really as in many constitutions the Mark Degree is a pre-requisite for the Royal Arch.
With the formation on the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons the Order gained recognition throughout the world and there are now 42 Provinces in England and Wales together with some 25 Districts and Inspectorates Oversees. The Grand Master is H.R.H. Prince Michael of Kent and the Order is governed by The General Board which meets at Mark Masons’ Hall, St. James’ St, London.
The Mark Degree ritual is based on a single verse from Psalm 118 ‘The stone which the builders refused has become the head stone of the corner’.
Membership is open to all Master Masons, the Ceremony itself is based on the preparation for the building of King Solomon’s Temple. The candidate represents one of the workers who tries to better his position by demonstrating his skill as a mason. His work goes unrecognised, his hopes are dashed until he finally has his work recognised and rewarded. It is a wonderful Ceremony with strong moral lessons. There is a great deal of drama and some humour in the ceremony and has strong moral lessons.
The Mark Regalia is similar to that of the Craft except that it has a light blue and crimson border, there is also a jewel worn by members in the form of a keystone suspended from a ribbon of light blue and crimson.
The membership of the Mark ranks third behind the Craft and Royal Arch, the Order continues to grow and membership of the Mark Degree is a requirement if you wish to Join the Royal and Select Masters or the Allied Degrees.