The Mark Master Mason Degree is open to all Master Masons. The ceremony, in which a brother is ‘advanced’, comprises two degrees; the first part of which he is acknowledged as a Mark Man, and then the second part where he becomes a Mark Master Mason.
‘The Mark’ referred to in the title derives its name from the ‘mark’ or ‘symbol’ with which the stonemason identified his work, and can still be found today in many cathedrals and important buildings. This ‘mark’ not only acted as a trademark for the individual, but probably also as a form of advertising of his work.
There is a Mark lodge associated with Stuart, which is the ‘Stuart Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 434’, and meets at The Keep on the third Thursday in February, April, and October (Installation).
Much use is made of Holy Writ to instruct the candidate and brethren in the story it tells, which is designed to teach the individual that the real message is one of contemplation of our human strengths and weaknesses. In terms of chronology, this degree follows on from 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 Friendship Royal Arch Chapter No.257 in Plymouth. However, a minute book dated 1599 of the Lodge of Edinburgh states that several speculative brethren had appended their marks after their names.
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 a similar colouring 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.
The order, of which HRH Prince Michael of Kent is Grand Master, is administered from Mark Masons’ Hall in St James’s, London.