Yorkshire Mason Issue 34 (Spring 2024)

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Membership: The road ahead

th and East RidingsSpring
by the Masonic Province of Yorkshire, Nor
MCF Impact Report 2022-2023 A A n neew w rreessoouurrcce e ffoor r C Chhaapptteerrs s

Welcome to Issue 34

Welcome to Issue 34 of Yorkshire Mason with the latest roundup of news and stories from our Province.

You may recall that we have been looking for a Press Officer to join the Comms Team. The response to our call was very pleasing and we are delighted to welcome Masimba Musodza of Vulcan Lodge to the team.

We are always on the lookout for willing volunteers on the team, so If you would like to help please get in touch and we can have a no-obligation chat. My email is in the box on the right. No experience necessary!

The Comms Team act a conduit between yourselves, Province, Grand Lodge and the public at large and we rely on your submissions to showcase the excellent work, support and activities that our Lodges are getting up to, either in this magazine, via our Social Media Channels or by press releases to external media. As welcome as that info always is, if you let us know in advance we can possibly arrange advance publicity and even photographers or one of the team to be in attendance.

Good wishes and keep the news and stories coming!

Craft and Chapter

MCF Impact Report3

Festival Prelaunches4

Archway: A new resource for Chapters8

Solomon Certificate Award14

Huntcliff Centenary16

Lofthouse 750th meeting23

Surprise night at Hazelgrove Lodge26

Roseberry Lodge of IMs Installation27

The Road Ahead28

Membership Attraction Card30


Supporting Autism Matters20

Welburn Minibus21

Leyburn Community Shed21

Dove House Hospice22

Neuro research at JCUH23

Rocking for Cancer Research24

TVs for Bridlington Hospital32

Stewards Party 202433

Joseph rides in Supercars33

Francis Drake support Lollipop Charity35


From Darkness to Light6

Long Service Awards10

Promotions and Appointments12

Elwyn Hughes 100th birthday31

Allan Stokoe BEM31

Provincial Hiking Group32

Marking Time in Selby Abbey36


Chris Ansell, Provincial Communications Officer c/o Yorkshire Mason, PO Box 235, Redcar, TS10 9BP By email: commspmg@yorkshirenerfreemasons.org.uk

Articles can also be submitted directly on our webs https://yorkshirenerfreemasons.org.uk/resources/sub


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To advertise in Yorkshire Mason, please contact us Articles for publication in Yorkshire Mason and/or
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NEXT COPY DEADLINE: 30 APRIL 2024 3 14 4 31 8 36 Issue34Contents

Festival 29 Prelaunch Events in Hull, York and Middlesbrough

Festival Prelauch events have been held recently in Hull, York and Middlesbrough to introduce the 2029 Provincial Festival to Masters, Secretaries, Charity Stewards, Almoners and Senior Lodge Officers. Our Festival formally launches at Provincial Grand Lodge on 11 May 2024 for a period of 5 years.

Festival Chair Martin Eggermont and Deputy David Wood introduced the Festival Committee, explained the background to Festivals, which raise money for the operation of the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) and reminded the attendees of the great benefits that this Province had received from the MCF, in excess of contributions, in recent years. The sessions included recent videos made by the MCF about its work and the events rounded off with an energetic Q&A session with strong participation from the floor. The videos and presentation are viewable on our Festival website, address below.

Martin and David also explained the mechanics of the Festival, what individuals and Lodges can do to contribute, and the qualifications for a Festival jewel (image, p5), which is a donation pledge of £600 over the period of the Festival, either as a continuous giving payment of £10 per month or a lump sum. Those signing up at the Prelaunch Events were presented with their jewels immediately.

An important aspect of fundraising for the Festival is the sale of merchandise such as ties and gloves, and these sold in impressive quantities at the Prelauch Events. Further opportunities for sale will be available via Festival Ambassadors and of course at Provincial Grand Lodge in May.

Stay up to date with developments via the Festival website https://ynerfestival29.org.uk or the Provincial Facebook pages.



Festival Jewels and Ties may be worn with immediate effect

As we move ever closer to the launch of Festival 29, so the pace quickens and changes on an almost daily basis. Indeed, many of you will already have purchased Festival 29 Gloves, and the new Festival 29 Ties which only became available a short while ago, the immediate wearing of which has been sanctioned by our Provincial Grand Master.

Likewise, several of you have already signed up for continuous giving and are eligible to receive your Festival 29 Jewel, to be worn throughout the festival period

Our Provincial Grand Master has now also sanctioned that the jewel can also be worn with immediate effect. Therefore, if you have already received your Festival 29 Jewel, please feel free to do so.

For those of you who have signed up and are awaiting receipt of your jewel please be aware that the Festival Team are continuing to arrange distribution of the Festival Jewels in the most efficient and cost-effective way, and that distribution is ongoing.

Please also be aware that the MCF only notify us of those eligible for a Festival Jewel on a monthly basis, and so there may be a delay in distribution following your sign-up.

Those attending the Provincial Meeting in May will be able to collect their Jewels there, and indeed any of you signing up for continuous giving on the day will also receive your Jewel immediately We thank you for your patience and continuous support, which will help ensure a successful outcome to Festival 29


From Darkness back to the Light: My mental health journey

My mental health journey began one firework night in 2007 and that was the start of a long journey that has nearly concluded. So that with the help of many and the encouragement of some close Brethren I have managed to start getting the message out there that ‘it’s okay not to be okay’.

My Masonic journey with my mental health presentation came during Covid when I decided to share my experiences with the Brethren of Falcon Lodge which at that time I was a member of and Senior Warden. A few of the closer Brethren knew that for years I had somewhat struggled, but I was determined to share my experiences so other Brethren could speak up and get the help they desired. It was a decision that wasn’t taken lightly and one that with sheer determination I proceeded with, and it has led me to where I am now.

I approached W.Bro John Murphy who was a great sounding board who pushed it up to the Provincial Almoner as an idea, although at that time none of us knew where it was going to lead. After a few conversations with W.Bro Brian Henderson-Thynne and the Provincial Leadership Team it was agreed that I would do a zoom presentation to the Almoners and then wait to see if there was a way forward for me to go to lodges in my own time and present my story.

I am glad to say that it was greatly received and after a few probing questions about how I saw the Almoners role in this and the reassurance that I would present and also lead the questions to people getting the professional help they needed whilst also reassuring the Brethren that I was not a Mental Health professional, Doctor, or a social worker this enabled me to talk frankly about my personal journey as opposed to a professional lecture on what Mental Health is, which I may add was warmly received.

I presented at the Almoner and Charity Steward day in 2022 at Escrick and it was a great success gaining me several bookings all around the province, and the crowning moment was hearing from the secretary of Priory Chapter that my presentation had in a way saved one of the Companions life as this individual had asked me how I coped, and we had a great conversation that evening. Since then, I have carried on presenting and was privileged to speak to the Provincial Grand Master and his good lady, and the wives and members of his Craft lodge which although very daunting for me, went down well.

I have been asked if I asked the Masonic charities for help but alas I didn’t and at one stage was removed from a ladder in an Order because of my absence. I have learned now that by not speaking up people didn’t know and even the best Almoner misses things, and they are the lifeline of the Province in times of need, so speaking up and contacting your almoner, who will always maintain your strictest confidence, is a great way forward.

I continue to visit Lodges and Chapters and am now about to carry out presentations in some of the Provinces Preceptories and Conclaves. As I will always maintain that I am not a professional but a man who has reached the depths of despair but am now able to get out and spread that of its okay not to be okay.

So, Brethren and Companions, I make this offer to you all, if you feel that my presentation may be of interest to your Lodge or Chapter, please contact me, via my email, garyjl@hotmail.co.uk and I will be only too happy to visit you, to share with you my journey so far.




The RW Provincial Grand Master has again requested that free PSA testing be available for the members of the Province at our next Provincial Meeting (11 May 2024).

This will consist of a quick painless blood test carried out at the meeting.

PSA testing has been very successful over the years in assuring that those tested are aware of the condition of their prostate, which in turn can save lives.


To book a test on line, log on to


If you have a problem booking online please contact one of the following who will guide you through the process.

WBro John Davies

Tel: 07582 588469

Email: davies.jma@gmail.com

WBro Steve Horner

Tel: 07813 044498

Email: steve.horner13@gmail.com


Archway, a new resource for Royal Arch Chapters

At the November meeting of Supreme Grand Chapter in London, the new Pathway initiative for Royal Arch Chapter membership was launched by the Pro First Grand Principal.

Excellent Companion Tony Randle, the Membership PMG Operational Lead, said “Many Brethren will be familiar with the success of Pathway, an initiative launched back in 2017 and re-launched in 2021. Along with recent initiatives, such as the Digital Marketing Campaign to attract new members, Pathway gives Lodges a framework to first stabilise and then increase their membership.

Now building on that success we launch Archway as a way forward for Chapters. Archway is a purpose-built plan for Royal Arch Chapters, focused on guiding their development, expanding their membership base, and improving the overall member experience. Developed through thorough research, Archway aligns with our members' aspirations and draws inspiration from the practices of successful Chapters across our Constitution."

To lead this new strategy in the Province, the Provincial Grand Scribe Nehemiah, Excellent Companion Martin Monaghan (pictured), has been tasked in putting together a strategy that works for our Province. Martin explained ”Companions, as we navigate these changes, remember the

words of our Grand Superintendent –change is not just inevitable, it's necessary. I assure you, the evolution we embark on isn't about altering our rituals or traditions. It's about adaptation, growth, and inclusivity.

Our focus will be on 3 main areas:- enriching our membership experience, retaining our valued members, and welcoming new ones into our fold. Royal Arch Chapter exclusively relies on Master Masons as its sole membership stream.

The principles of Archway are Shape, Grow, Involve and Enjoy – which encapsulates our vision for the future. It will guide us in creating a vibrant, welcoming environment for all members, old and new. As we look towards the future, it's crucial to acknowledge and address the challenges we face – from declining memberships to generational shifts. We must be attuned to the needs and ambitions of our younger members and at the same time adapting to remain relevant and appealing”.

Assisting Martin will be the Chapter Provincial Mentor and Membership Officer along with the three Regional Provincial Chapter mentors.

Martin continued "As we step into the New Year, we're gearing up to roll out our exciting new strategy. We've got something for everyone – in-person, virtual, and even a dynamic hybrid mix of workshops that will bring Brethren and Companions from all corners of the Province together.

These workshops are all about engagement.

Martin Monaghan

You can expect captivating presentations, interactive Q&A sessions, and eye-opening case studies featuring Chapters and Companions who've personally applied the strategy's benefits. These real-life success stories provide actual evidence of the strategy's effectiveness.

We're all about collaboration and open discussion in these sessions. It's an immersive experience that empowers Companions to explore how they can easily integrate this strategy into their own Chapters."

You can access Archway at https://b.ugle.org.uk/membership/archway

The Royal Arch is the culmination of ‘pure and ancient masonry’ and the ‘next step’ for a Master Mason. The Supreme Order of the Royal Arch is often seen as the "crown jewel" of Freemasonry, building upon the teachings and principles found in the first three degrees (Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason) of the Craft Lodge. It is often considered the completion of a Mason's journey through the Craft, and many Freemasons consider it an essential step in their personal and spiritual development within the fraternity. it centres around the story of the rebuilding of the Second Temple in Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity, and the discovery of a hidden vault containing sacred artifacts. It delves into the symbolism and teachings not fully explored in the previous degrees. You will discover that the Royal Arch is a beautiful Order, not only because the regalia has striking colours, but also because the story and actions in the ritual are interesting and absorbing. As your experience of the ritual increases, so will your appreciation of the significance of the many messages it contains.

If you have yet to experience the beauty of the Royal Arch, there is a Chapter out there for you.

Just follow this link for a Discover More booklet: https://www.ugle.org.uk/about-us/royal-arch for further information.

Interested in becoming a Royal Arch Mason?

Please contact your Lodge Royal Arch Representative, or Nick Mitchell at this email address: nick@yorkshirenerfreemasons.org.uk

Nick Mitchell – Provincial Grand Membership Officer (Chapter) writes:

David Allen - 60 years in the Royal Arch

Provincial Grand Chapter offers hearty congratulations to David on behalf of all Companions of the Province. It was a unique occasion at Salebeia Chapter No 566 when Ex Comp David Allen was presented with a certificate marking his 60 years of service to Royal Arch Freemasonry by Ex Comp David Marsh.

David was initiated, passed and raised into Lodge of St Germain by his father who was W. M. and then exalted into Salebeia Chapter on 4th October 1963 again by his father who was Z at the time.

During a most interesting conversion on the floor of the Chapter with David Marsh, we learnt that David was Active in Province in 1987-88 and particularly remembers participating in the Consecration of Beresford-Pierse Chapter.

Both Davids were educated at Archbishop Holgate’s School, York although some years apart.

Another common factor was their involvement in the transport industry. After leaving the bus industry, David was Transport/ Distribution Manager at John Waddington for 30 years.

Before this we learnt that David did his national service in the RAF as an Air Traffic Controller based in the Suez Canal Zone.


Craft Long Service Presentations

The Province congratulates brethren who have been Freemasons for 50 years

WBro Charles Clark, currently WM of Coatham Lodge No 9592 at Redcar, was presented with his 50 years certificate by WBro Mike Birch at the meeting of the Lodge held on 23 November.

In conversation, WBro Charles spoke about his many experiences as a freemason and his particular enjoyment of the time he spent living in South Africa.

Congratulations to David Durham of St John of Bridlington Lodge on reaching the tremendous milestone of 50 years in the Craft.

David is pictured receiving his 50 year certificate from PGM Dr David Chambers.

WBro Robert Terry PPrGReg was initiated into Thornborough Lodge in 1973. His father proposed him into Freemasonry.

W Bro Robert Blackburn talked to Robert about his Masonic journey both in Craft as well as in Chapter. Robert told of his career as a Marine Engineer on Oil Tankers and Oil Rigs.

Past PGM Jeffrey Gillyon, representing the PGM, presented a 50 year certificate to WBro Vic Thompson at Sykes Lodge in Driffield.

Congratulations to Vic for his sterling service to Sykes Lodge and to Freemasonry over 50 years.


Promotions and Appointments

University Society Support Network Secretary Certificate of Merit

The UGLE Universities Scheme has approved the setup of a University Society Support Network (USSN), to be organised under the auspices of the Scheme, particularly with the set up and management of university freemason societies in order to provide further knowledge and support throughout the Scheme nationwide. A committee has been formally set up to run the USSN, which will be overseen by the UGLE Uni Scheme Committee.

Congratulations to W. Bro James Steele ProvAGDC (pictured), the Provincial Universities Scheme Coordinator, who has been appointed to the position of Primus Secretary of the USSN. The USSN will play a crucial role in shaping the future of the universities scheme lodges and enhancing the experiences of their members. Further details will be made available regarding the USSN in April this year.

Field Promotion for Garry

Congratulations to WBro Garry Lovett of Royal Portus Felix Lodge, who received a surprise Field Promotion to Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden from the Provincial Grand Master at the Lodge's February meeting.

Garry's conscientious and proactive discharge of his duties over many years on the Provincial Office Support Team has ensured the smooth running of our online systems, including Provincial email systems and our website. On being called forward to receive his surprise honour, he was, for once, speechless!

At the meeting of the Lodge of Philosophy on 10 November Provincial Grand Master Dr David Chambers presented a Certificate of Merit to WBro Stephen C Beddow in recognition of his services to the Lodge and the Craft over many years.

In accordance with Lodge tradition, 80th birthday presentations were also made to WBros Richard Stephenson and Alan Brundell.


Promotions and Appointments

WBro Jim Ramsbottom PPAGStB

Due to illness and hospitalisation, 83 year-old W Bro Jim Ramsbottom of the Lodge of St Andrew No 4683 in Hull was unable to attend the Provincial meeting in May, and missed out on his investiture as Past Provincial Assistant Grand Standard Bearer.

Six months later, and Jim is only now on the road to recovery. In great secrecy and with the full collusion of Jim's wife Jennifer, The Provincial Grand Master Dr David Chambers, together with Provincial Secretary Bill Glanville and brethren from St Andrew Lodge visited Jim at home to invest him with his Provincial Honour and certificate.

Jim was surprised and delighted to receive his brethren and was very touched by their kindness and warm good wishes. Jim now sports his new regalia with great pride and is looking forward to being fit enough to resume his Freemasonry in the future.


First-Ever Solomon Certificate awarded to Yorkshire Mason

Just before Christmas, I had the pleasure of presenting the first ever Solomon Certificate of Merit to Steven Walker, a young Mason in the Technical Lodge No 5666, in the presence of his partner and friends. He is one of an elite number of Masons, who have read every paper, done every exercise, and passed every test; in every Degree. This is his story

I first found out about Solomon from Mike, who was our Membership Officer, when I applied to become a Freemason in 2019. I was very interested in the History of it all, and my Grandad was a Freemason; but back then it was ’hush we don’t talk about that.’ I didn’t want to use ‘YouTube,’ as I didn’t know what to expect or what I might find there. Mike told me about Solomon, and said ‘don’t push it,’ and spoil my experience. So, I was careful not to do that.

Because of Covid, I had to wait till 2021 to be Initiated. I was really happy, and wanted to go further, but kept on holding myself back, because I wanted to go through my Second Degree; but still did as much as I could! Then I got busy, and only got back to it when I did my Second; to finish what I had started. That’s when I got on to ‘Welcome Fellowcraft’ with its interactive exercises and quizzes, set alongside nuggets and papers; all good, nice, brief, and short. It was quick, easy, and covered just about everything you needed to know; especially if you don’t have a lot of time to go through everything. Then having done the Second Degree badges, I went back to the First Degree, to make sure I hadn’t missed anything, and found a new ‘Welcome Apprentice,’ So, I used whatever time was available, when I had nothing else on and could fit it in, as and when I could. I had so much knowledge, there was so much on there. I wanted to take it back to my own lodge and do something, share it, but the lodge was really busy doing ceremonies, so there wasn’t any ‘free-time.’ It was busy for about two years, so I used the opportunity to work my way through Solomon, doing all the Degrees, and later Royal Arch. It opened my mind and broadened my knowledge.

Then I went on to find about ‘learning circles’ to get even more out of Freemasonry. I remember it was

just after Christmas Lodge, I asked and they said, ‘we are doing one in an hour, come along,’ and there I was, sat there in Christmas jumper.

It was nice to find other people who were really interested in Freemasonry and wanted to go further. In Lodges there is so much to do, and to be fair not everybody wants to going further; nothing wrong with that. So, it was great a join a group of likeminded people, explore new worlds, and follow my interest. All done on the internet, so I could still enjoy lodge life with my Brethren; the best of both worlds.

I couldn't have learned what I wanted in Open Lodge, or at Lodge of Instruction, and even if it was taught in person, I wouldn’t be able to go back to it again and make sense of it; like I did on Solomon. That’s why it’s given me a great insight into Freemasonry and answered the questions I didn’t even know I had


the social aspects, the friendships it offers, the charitable works about which they have heard, for spiritual reasons, a desire to learn and deliver ritual, or they may simply be intrigued, and be inquisitive to learn more. Some of this huge amount of learning and developing happens whether we like it or not. However, is it enough for everyone to simply go through their masonic journey to pick up automatic learning? For some, it will be, and that’s fine. But, for others, and our surveys would suggest that for quite a lot, it is not enough, and they are looking for more.’

Those surveys found that most of the respondents wanted to understand and appreciate Masonic ritual, history, and tradition, at a time when Lodges were pre-occupied with ceremonies and charitable activities; some or looked to other Orders for fulfilment, or left Freemasonry altogether. Solomon was created to satisfy that hungry want, both in and outside the Lodge room, and we have already awarded nearly four and a half thousand badges for those who have fully completed a Degree module.

Steven’s story explains why!

Accessing Solomon

Solomon is a virtual learning environment designed to support a broader programme of learning and development within Lodges and Chapters. To have access to all the modules you must register for an account. Solomon is not registered on search engines and is only accessible directly.

Getting Started with Solomon is a module that is open to everyone and provides details of how to use the system as well as help videos, quick-start guides, and a link to create an account on Solomon that will take you through the simple process of registration. Fill in your details, and once you have received the confirmation email, log in, select your first module and enrol.

To register, visit the Solomon website at https://solomon.ugle.org.uk/ and select "get started".


North Yorkshire Seaside Lodge

Celebrates Centenary in Style

Huntcliff Lodge No. 4539, which meets in the charming Victorian seaside resort of Saltburn by the Sea, kicked off their Centenary year in grand style with a Gala Meeting attended by the Provincial Grand Master of Yorkshire North & East Ridings, Right Worshipful Bro Dr David Chambers.

from around the Province and beyond. In the lighter evenings after a fine Festive Board it is possible step out, cross the road to the cliff top and get an elevated view of the Victorian Pier and the award winning Victorian Cliff Tramway. The Saltburn Cliff Tramway, opened in 1884, is the oldest water balanced funicular still in operation in Great Britain. It links the Victorian town with the only remaining pleasure pier on the whole North East Yorkshire coast. Down below, visitors will also see Huntcliff, after which the Lodge is named, dominating the coastline a mile to the east of Saltburn. Huntcliff is a vertical sea cliff standing some 365ft above sea level and is a site familiar to all visitors to the town.

lodges wished they had today! The waiting list was causing ongoing issues to the members of Handyside Lodge, due to the size of the room at the Parochial Hall where they originally held their meetings. This resulted in one member exclaiming: “Eligible gentlemen of Saltburn were, as a consequence, having to look elsewhere for a Lodge to join, or not join one at all”.

Huntcliff Lodge No. 4539 was consecrated on Thursday 18th October 1923. There were 24 Founding Members, of which a third were Handyside members. The first Master was Worshipful Brother Henry Phillip Monk, who lived in Saltburn and was a senior partner in a law firm in


Middlesbrough. The present day Masonic Hall in Saltburn was erected in 1872 on a building plot owned by Henry Pease. Pease was the visionary industrialist who founded the town. Amongst other enterprises he owned were the brickworks that provided the white firebricks used extensively on the first buildings erected in the town. He also brought the railway to the town which served to make it a popular resort with visitors from all over the country. Saltburn is still one of the finest early Victorian seaside towns surviving almost completely in its original form.

Worshipful Master Ted Law was delighted to be chosen as Centenary Year Worshipful Master for Huntcliff Lodge. “When I was proposed as the candidate for the position of Centenary Year Worshipful Master I was absolutely overjoyed that the brethren had chosen me to be placed in the Chair of King Solomon for such a momentous year. For someone who has had a relatively short masonic involvement, initiated in 2015, passed in 2015 and raised in 2017, it will make my year in the Chair extra special. I am also a member of Huntcliff Chapter and Saltburn Mark Master Masons so I am working hard on my daily Masonic knowledge commitment”. Ted has been married to Julie for 43 years. Together they have 3 daughters, Jennifer, Sarah and Hannah, who Ted is delighted to say, is married to his Junior Warden, Jack Carney. They also have 3 grandchildren

Seafaring Tradition

Saltburn by the Sea has always had a strong bond with seafarers - ranging from local fishermen to deep sea vessels. In days gone by, it even had a history of unscrupulous individuals involved in smuggling. Ted spent 42 years at sea working on oil rigs, barges and vessels. His current Junior Warden Jack Carney was in the Merchant Navy as an Electro-Technical Officer, and his Senior Warden Alex Williams was a member of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution crew at Staithes / Runswick Bay station. Huntcliff Lodge have supported this worthy charity through events and donations.

them a safe return to their own country should they so desire”.

The Centenary Warrant Presentation Evening Centenary Year Worshipful Master, Ted Law, was delighted to receive confirmation that the presentation of the Centenary Warrant would be carried out by the Right Worshipful Dr David Chambers, the Provincial Grand Master of Yorkshire North and East Ridings. As Ted observed, “December 7th 2023 will be a date forever engraved into our memories, when we welcomed the Provincial Grand Master along with 12 active officers to carry out the ceremony. There were also nine Grand Lodge officers plus another 40 visitors, as well as our own members”.

It was great to see extra chairs being brought in to accommodate so many people. The Festive Board was an incredible sight with such a large number of people in attendance. Most striking was the level of noise coming from people talking, laughing and generally enjoying themselves. The event went on until late in the evening. Indeed, no one really wanted to leave as they were having such a thoroughly good time, even though many had quite a distance to travel.

The Centenary Year Ahead

Worshipful Master Ted Law appreciates the weight of history resting on his shoulders. “I would challenge anyone who sits in a Lodge room looking at the Past Masters boards around them not to be thinking about those individuals who have gone through the chair before”.

For this reason Ted will make 2023 / 24 extra special by paying homage to those who started Huntcliff Lodge and have kept it going over the past 100 years. “I have worked over the past year collating information on our Lodge history, founding members and the lodge building itself. This information has gone into a booklet, a copy of which will be given to every member as a memento of this special year”.

At the end of every Lodge meeting we give a poignant ‘Absent and Seafaring Brethren Toast’ where we ring a ships bell four times (2x2) to indicate 10:00pm during the evening ‘Watch’ at sea and to raise a glass to “All poor and distressed seafaring brethren wherever they may be, wishing

Ted has always considered himself a team player and, with a strong team and him at the helm, hopes Huntcliff Lodge will have a successful and enjoyable centenary year ahead. He has commissioned cufflinks and a firing glass to mark this special occasion - proceeds from which


will go towards charity. “Throughout the year I will be continuing my charitable work mainly towards the Masonic Teddies for Loving Care and Great North Air Ambulance charities. Another commitment I have made is to call 2023 / 24 ‘Double Two’ as I am determined to bring in 2 new members for initiation and have 2 social events to ensure that having fun remains top of our agenda. In that way, together with our new members, we will keep the Huntcliff story going for the next hundred years”.

Congratulations from the PGM

Provincial Grand Master Dr David Chambers congratulated the members of Huntcliff Lodge for such a well-orchestrated evening. He said: “Given our long history, our regular meetings, and events, we have a tradition of coming together as Freemasons, family, and friends all of which bring us pleasure. There is one event, however, which stands out amongst the many we are involved in and that of course is a Lodge Centenary”.

“To be able to look back over one hundred years of a Lodge’s existence, reflect on what it has done, the characters who brought it into being, saw it through different periods of its development and

maintain it today, is a comfort just knowing that things can and do endure”.

We can only hope that the others who come after us will look back from what, no doubt, will be a vastly different world, and reflect on the legacy we have left them - as we celebrate the legacy of those who have gone before.  One hundred years is a legacy to be proud of.  The Lodge is proud of its history and the Province is proud of the part it has played over the years and will continue to do so in the future

And Finally

Our ritual tells us that no light shines from the North in our lodges. But visitors and members leaving Huntcliff Lodge in the winter months may be lucky enough to see the Aurora Borealis –Northern Lights – lighting up the sea and the pier in a most glorious fashion. A perfect opportunity to reflect upon the longevity of Freemasonry in Huntcliff Lodge’s Centenary year.

Photographs: John Rees

Supporting Autism Matters

Handyside and Huntcliff

Royal Arch Chapters, Saltburn presented Anna Taylor the C.E.O. of Autism Matters with a cheque for £900.00.

The cheque was presented by the current MEZ., of Handyside Chapter E Comp John Dauncey and E Comp Howard Bean of both Handyside and Huntcliff Chapters, E Comp Howard Bean is the Autism Angels Service Manager on behalf of Autism Matters.

The donation from the Chapters came to £450.00 which was then match funded by the Freemasons Charity of Yorkshire North & East Ridings, increasing the total donation to £900.00.

The Angels are autistic adults, who come together to learn D.I.Y. and gardening skills, they then use these abilities to assist vulnerable people, such as pensioners, the disabled, and people who find themselves struggling to manage these tasks themselves.

The Angels don't charge for their services, only asking for a donation to the charity, and this is dependent on whatever the individual can afford.

The demand for this service has expanded over the last few years, to a situation where they now operate 5 days a week and the money donated will go to purchasing some much-needed gardening equipment and tools.

Autism Matters and the Autism Angels cannot thank the Chapters of Saltburn and the Freemasons Charity of Yorkshire North & East Ridings enough for the donation, as this will make a massive difference to the work that can now be taken on.

The picture shows from left to right – the MEZ., E Comp John Dauncey (Handyside Chapter) Anna Taylor (CEO Autism Matters) E Comp Howard Bean (Handyside & Huntcliff Chapters) Comp Pat Palmer and some of the Autism Angels.

Welburn School Minibus Appeal

Victory Lodge 4042 of Pickering recently had the pleasure of presenting a cheque to Welburn School in aid of their minibus appeal.

Members of Victory Lodge raised the sum of £2000 which was kindly match funded by the Freemasons Charity, Yorkshire North and East Ridings (FCYNER), allowing them to present a cheque for £4000.

WBro Steven Berry the IPM of Victory Lodge presented the cheque which was received by his granddaughter Lily, who is a pupil at Welburn.

Leyburn Community Shed

Mike Ramsay, Master of Thornborough Lodge and Bro Dinsdale, Charity Steward came to Leyburn Arts & Community Centre to present a cheque for £500 towards the costs of the new Leyburn Community Shed.

This is now in situ, waiting for the weather to improve so that further internal and external work can be completed. Julian Pinches, manager and leader of the development team said “we are most grateful and appreciative of this donation from the Freemasons to help provide a flexible working environment for a wide range of activities for the people of Wensleydale. We are looking forward to its opening later this year."

The Shed will have woodworking facilities amongst other equipment and will be open to all ages.


Dove House Hospice Presentation

The Worshipful Master of Lord Bolton Lodge, Robert Gwatkin, who has chosen Dove House Hospice as his charity of the year, invited Katie Danby, Vikki Fitzgerald and Evie Gunnell to present their ‘Great Wall of China Trek Challenge’ for 2025.

The talk also gave an overview of what the hospice does and has done for over 40 years for the people of East Yorkshire, and took place at a white table dinner after our January lodge meeting.

The ladies discussed the range of services available for people over the age of eighteen years who have a progressing life-limiting illness, including cancer, neurological illnesses, heart and respiratory disease, dementia and HIV/AIDS.

Patients and families are at the heart of everything they do, whether caring for people at the end of their lives, providing therapies to help people with life limiting illnesses improve their quality of life, or giving much needed bereavement support to grieving families. Their special personcentred care focuses on the needs of the person they are caring for, not just their illness, and staff take the time to get to know patients and their families to help make staying at Dove House a home from home experience.

The ‘Great Wall Of China Trek Challenge’ is a way to help raise funds and to help raise awareness of Dove House Hospice and the services they provide as the majority of their income is from donations.

A thoroughly enjoyable and informative evening was had by all in attendance, and the Lord Bolton Lodge has so far donated £472.50 with a further £300 kindly added by FCYNER.


Supporting Neuro Surgical Research at JCUH

Mrs Janice Skelton attended the presentation of a Cheque of £600.00 to the Staff who cared for her late husband W.Bro Jim Skelton PPSGW during his treatment at James Cook University Hospital.

Janice was accompanied by the Worshipful Master of North York Lodge 602, Ben Williams, Tom Goddard, and North York Lodge 602 Charity Steward Bob Harvey, they had immense pleasure presenting the cheque for £600.00 to the benefit of James Cook University Hospital, and particularly the Neuro Surgical Research Fund.

Tom raised funds during a 'Dry January' which were supplemented by a donation from the North York Lodge 602 Charity Fund and match funded by a donation from the Provincial Charity, FCYNER.

Lofthouse Celebrates 750th Meeting

Lofthouse Lodge No 6357 has celebrated 750 meetings since consecration in 1946.

At the celebratory event, WBro David Brown received his 50th year certificate & WBro George Roberts stood in as candidate for the 10th time! It was a very special evening: the Lodge called off briefly for a celebratory glass of port and then called back on again to complete the evening's business.


Rocking for Cancer Research

thousands of pounds for the Worshipful had a more personal connection for W

W. Bro Keith Riches (Andrew’s Father-in-

After returning from the Provincial visit to 2022 Keith was diagnosed with a tumour operated on in early 2023, but post op the cancerous. Keith’s health continues to be monitored and no doubt you will see him Nicola was diagnosed with Stage 2 Beast Cancer. She underwent two operations at Chemo and Radiotherapy at Scarborough brethren decided that the proceeds from were planned as usual, this time over two Recreation Club and one at Guisborough Bro. Ben Harrison and the second by the provided by local bands, ‘Crimson Skies’


An attendance at both nights of 120 revellers respectively saw them all have a cracking time, enjoying the pie and peas, the company, the quiz, the music and the dancing. The two nights raised £2000 for ‘Cancer Research UK’, the lodge already making a donation to ‘Breast Cancer Now’.

1 in 2 people will be diagnosed with cancer. But thankfully, due to the research by charities such as the aforementioned more and more people are able to receive treatment and live longer happier lives. Our best wishes on a speedy recovery to Nicola and Keith and ‘Keep on rocking all’.

Surprise Night at Hazelgrove Lodge

Hazelgrove Lodge No 6542 held it Christmas meeting on 21st December at Saltburn Masonic Hall.

The Lodge business had planned for a couple of items which included a presentation of the full 1st Degree Tracing Board by Bro Daniel Stevens JD which was a superb piece of ritual and delivered without any hesitations or prompts.

This was followed by a another excellent presentation of a Grand Lodge Certificate by W. Bro Jim Lackenby.

A surprise came later when the Worshipful Master explained there was another item of business which was not on the agenda and asked W.Bro Colin Reynolds to take a seat in the centre of the Lodge.

Then W.Bro Pat Cambage PAGDC/DepGS on behalf of the RWPGM greeted Bro Colin with a Birthday card and best wishes for his 88th Birthday (16th Dec) and then presented him with two framed certificates.

One was for 65 years in Freemasonry and the other was the RWPGM's certificate of Merit for continuous service to the Province and to Hazelgrove Lodge in particular.

The presentations were met with rapturous applause and it was clear that all the brethren in attendance from Hazelgrove, Sister and others Lodges held Bro Colin in very high esteem.

The after meeting was a joyful event with excellent Christmas fair, and more surprises which included carol signing and a surprise visit from Santa bearing gifts.

All in all, a brilliant evening and a total surprise for W. Bro Colin.


Williams PPJGW who delivered a faultless performance of the Installation. The Lodge room was filled to capacity, especially as the Provincial Grand Master, RWBro Dr David Chambers was present with a team of active officers. There were also some 10 Grand Officers present, and when added to the former number of Brethren, seen 72 Brethren dining at the festive board, now that’s a number we’ve heard somewhere before in Chapter meetings! A pleasing aspect of the occasion was the attendance of six Master Masons who were treated to the splendour and pageantry of the whole evening. It is rare to have Master Masons visit R.L.I.M. since most tend to think they cannot attend a Past Masters Lodge, but that is a misconception which needs to be corrected.

A notable event of the evening was the ‘retirement’ of WBro David Whisson as the Secretary of the Lodge. He had served the lodge for many years as Secretary and has aided and guided a long line of masters through their year and together with his wife June, organised the summer lunches. David was presented with a bottle of his favourite tipple and an engraved glass as a memento of his years as Secretary.

After the toasts and speeches, the Brethren departed in ‘Love and Harmony’ to their homes throughout the Province with the satisfaction of a well spent evening.



The Road Ahead

"All you need is the plan, the road map and the courage to press on to your destination"

Over the last 5 years the membership PMG has been working hard on your behalf to increase membership in our Province. Our plan was simply to ”Attract new members” and ”Retain existing members”

The Y N & E R road map, started with the Attraction element of the Pathway, which has been very successful by increasing the number of interested men wishing to join and become freemasons This has resulted, for the first time, in over 20 years in achieving more gains in members of our province than losses.

It is now time for us to focus on the second element of our plan, that is to Retain existing members. Following on from the scoping exercise carried out by Bro Chris Woodhead, commissioned by the membership PMG, we recently introduced a number new procedures and policies to achieve the suggested solutions outlined in his report, and to address and help remedy, the Resignation, Retention & Retrieval and the Migration issues that our Province like many others, has suffered with over recent years, resulting in the loss of over 1000 members from our province alone in the last 15 years

Our destination was very clear, and action was urgently needed to reverse this trend and for us to achieve our goal of an everincreasing membership which will inevitably strengthen Freemasonry in Yorkshire North and East Ridings for many years to come.


The scoping exercise identified in its dataset that age/ill health, work and family accounted for approximately 50% of

resignations in the province and that, 156 or 21% of new initiates(739) into the province had terminated their membership during the period 2017-2023.

Of these resigning members it highlighted the following:

▶ 24% of Member Administration Forms did not contain sufficient detail to enable the retrieval team to contact the resigned member.

▶ 27% of membership losses were not suitable for interview

▶ 24% of membership losses were interviewed but not retrieved

It is inevitable that even with improved processes in place, there will still be resignations. The current process has proven to be flawed, with the scoping exercise also highlighting the delay in the secretariat receiving notification of a resignation.

The simple solution was to implement a process where resignations are highlighted to province immediately, allowing more time to investigate and engage with the member, prior to the resignation being read out in open lodge.

Early contact with members wishing to resign and having a clear understanding of the reasons for resignation is key to the success of this process. Reasons such as disputes and moving away will be captured with this process and subsequent mediation could help to reverse a member’s decision to resign. It is accepted that not all


resignations can be retrieved, however, having a more coordinated and consistent approach across the province will go some way towards reducing the current number of resigning members.


It was very evident from the figures that this area was one were improving and recording our interaction with new initiates would identify and address any issues in a timely manner and would potentially dissuade the 21% of newer members from choosing to resign.

Whilst this is a function of the lodge mentor, there was no formal way of recording this interaction has taken place and that the new member has been given the guidance and support they needed. Some lodge mentors are fantastic at doing this with some being not so proactive, so a consistent approach across the province was needed to give every new member the same level of support.

The solution was to implement a process where each new initiate will be presented with the newly produced EA mentoring booklet at his initiation and to apply a process where each initiate will also be contacted on a regular basis for the first two years of their membership. This process, encouraged by UGLE will be overseen by the Membership PMG and managed on an individual basis by a member of the Provincial Mentoring team, as a support mechanism for our lodge mentoring teams. This proactive intervention will address any issues at an early stage and will potentially assist in reducing some of the early resignations we have encountered.


involves two elements. First, an agreed system or processes operated by officers in the Lodge, secondly, awareness in Lodges of members planning to relocate. This enables the migration system to be triggered at an early point and membership continued without a break.

Provincial Strategic Aims

▶ To promote harmony, enjoyment, and engagement of its members.

▶ To ensure good governance through sound management and communication within the province.

▶ Promote the retention of its members and continue recruitment of good men.

PMG Retrieval team Objectives: Where possible, advise and assist members to resolve the issue which caused their resignation, and help them find ways to continue to enjoy their

Alert the Province to issues, practices and behaviour within Lodges and Chapters, which affect the harmony, enjoyment, and engagement of members, which if unresolved may lead to further problems

To provide management information in relation to the underlying causes of resignations within the province, to inform

All of the above new policies and procedures are designed to assist all Lodges & Chapters in the retention of existing members and have been sent to all secretaries and Scribe Es to implement across the province. It is a long road ahead but with our clear strategy and plan I am positive we will all reach our goals and destination. If any brother requires any clarification or further information please do not hesitate to contact the Membership PMG at:

This is the process of assisting members find a new Lodge when they relocate both within the same province or to another province. Its purpose is to help members find new Lodges well suited to them and to enable them to continue their membership without a break in service. To achieve this outcome, it


Keep strong on the long road ahead, but we are slowly but steadily winning the battle and we will all arrive at our destination in a far healthier position.


Province launches Membership ‘Attraction’ Card

The traditional way of attracting new members into a Lodge is by an existing member talking about Freemasonry to someone who is already known to them, and saying what it means for them to be a Mason, and if they are interested, asking them to consider joining.

This of course is a very important method of gaining new members and should continue to be so wherever possible. However, for some Lodges, these opportunities do not occur as frequently as they once might have done.

Therefore, to try and increase awareness of the Craft, the Provincial launch of a new membership ‘Attraction’ card initiative was made at a meeting of Leopold Lodge in December 2023 in the presence of the Provincial Grand Master and a team of active Provincial Officers.

The attraction cards are to be distributed to all Craft Lodges in the Province in the near future, with sufficient to provide several to each Lodge member. Their purpose is for a Brother to give one of the cards to each person they meet that shows an interest in Freemasonry, and it doesn’t matter where they live as this card will give any interested party direct access to the Provincial Membership team who will assist them in whatever way they require, no matter what their location.

On the reverse of the card is a QR code which when scanned leads directly to the

‘Membership’ page of the Provincial website. This gives information about Freemasonry and what it is like to become a Mason. At the bottom of the page is a ‘contact us’ section where they can ask any questions, or request further information, or indeed if they would like to express an interest in joining.

This message goes directly to the Membership team and is dealt with accordingly depending on the nature of the enquiry. If they are interested in learning more about joining, one of our 15 Area Membership Officers (AMO) that are spread across the Province will be asked to meet with them, and if they are considered suitable, help them find a Lodge local to where they live. The AMO can then put them in contact with the Membership Officer of the Lodge of their choosing to start the process of getting to know them.

If the user does not have access to a QR scanner, then an email address is provided where they can send a message direct to the membership team and their enquiry will be dealt with in the same way.

It is hoped that by the use of this simple technique that more people will have a better understanding of what Freemasonry is about, and for those interested in joining, give them an alternative route to achieving that.


WBro Elwyn Hughes celebrates his 100th birthday

The Province sends hearty congratulations to W Bro Elwyn Hughes PPSGW, celebrated his 100th birthday on 20 December.

Chris Thomas (APGM, image right) and Andy Hinchcliff (Invictus Lodge, image left) visited Elwyn to offer personal congratulations and those of the Province. Elwyn is pictured holding his Message of Congratulations from the King.

Elwyn is an Honorary member of the Linton Lodge No 9444 and for all who attend the Connaught Court summer fair you will remember him as the tailor who makes all the waist coats on sale there.

WBro Allan Stokoe BEM

In the 2024 New Years Honours List, WBro Allan Stokoe of Yarm Lodge No 9544 (Stokesley) has been awarded the British Empire Medal.

His award was made for "service to community in Eldon, Yorks". Many congratulations to Allan on this fantastic achievement, made in the face of serious health issues. It serves as an inspiration to us all.


TVs for Bridlington Hospital

Keeping things “in the family” can be interpreted several ways but, when the then Master of St John of Bridlington Lodge No. 4434 got a message from his mother that she wanted some help, it was not in quite the way he might have expected.

George Dobson’s mother is the Senior Sister in the Johnson Ward (named after the famous flyer Amy Johnson) in Bridlington hospital which cares for patients who have suffered a stroke.

Her ward has six 4 bed bays and each had its own very old and very small TV set.

The difficulty in being able to see these tiny screens was not only not helping patient recovery but causing frustration with negative effect.

A deal was struck with Dixons, a dealer in nearby Filey, the Lodge pledged £750, half the cost, and a successful application was made to FCYNER for the other half.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, it took slightly longer than expected to get them installed but, finally, there was a hand-over on February 6th.

The current Master, Dave Durham, was an ambulance driver and, at the handover, he had a great time reminiscing with the “family” of nurses who remembered him.

Just to complete the “family” story his son, Tony, who will be installed in early March is a paramedic.

Photo: George, Philippa and Dave with two of the nurses who remember working with him!

Putting their best foot forward

The sky was clearing as a good contingent of the Provincial Hiking Group set away from Goathland, on their 7 mile circular tour.

The route took in the village of Grosmont and both Mallyon Spout and Thomason Foss waterfalls. The walks are open to anyone who wants to come along, Masons, non-Masons, family members, friends (including the 4- legged variety) The plan is for them to take place on a given Sunday every 2-3 months, at locations around the Province.

Have you signed up on our Provincial Website yet?

Members of the Province can sign up for a login account to our Provincial Website

https://yorkshirenerfreemasons.org.uk to access member-only information including Yearbooks, member downloads, visits schedules, past newsletters and mailouts and more. We aim to increase the range of memberonly information in future, so it makes sense to sign up now!


Family, Friendship and Fun: The Stewards Party 2024

A tradition going back many years was celebrated again this year at the Masonic Hall in Selby, and which can only be described as mayhem and mirth in equal measure.

A packed audience watched as the Stewards staged their unique and hilarious tribute to the WM at St Germain, W Bro David Morton. They cheered and laughed along with David in deciding whether he had met the criteria to be raised to the heavens after his exploits of playing cricket, driving an ambulance, giving driving lessons, delivering a baby, playing the organ, and leading the singing. A big well done to all concerned in what was another fantastic and memorable night.

Joseph takes a ride in a Supercar

A member of the Lodge of St Germain recently answered a call for help to see if a car-mad 7 year-old boy called Joseph could be treated to a ride in a high-performance car.

Bro Dominic Tyler called a few friends, and the result was over 30 supercars turned up at Joseph’s home to take him for a spin. After driving in convoy to Elvington Airfield in a Rolls-Royce Cullinan, for a Straightliners speed event, Joseph spent the day with his dream cars - Lamborghinis, Aventador, Huracan, Urus, Porsche 911 Turbo S, Mclaren 720S, Mclaren 570, Ferrari, FType Jaguars, M Series BMWs, Maserati, Audi R8, Nissan Skyline, plus many others. Joseph has an incurable brain tumour, and after being treated like a king for the day, the big smiles on his face certainly showed a dream come true.


My wife, Liz, who is also a Mason, but not at that time, worked for two years with the NGO in Sri Lanka. We got to know many of our colleagues and their families at that time. Two families in particular are very close. We sponsored two boys through school and they are now studying at University in Australia. We continue to support another very close friend with equipment, training support and advice. He is now one of the leading independent 1st Aid training providers in Sri Lanka.

On a stay in Sri Lanka, after becoming a Mason I contacted The District Grand Lodge in Colombo which is situated at The Victoria Masonic Temple very close to the famous Galle Face Hotel at the Fort area of Colombo.

The Victoria Masonic Temple building was completed in 1901 at a cost of Rs 35,000. The building is a mix of Georgian and Eastern architecture. The Temple and ancillary rooms are on the first floor and a large Reception Hall,

The Cornerstone was laid in 1900 by W.Bro John Norman Campbell, there is now a Campbell Chapter in the Temple. In 2002 the Sri Lankan Post Office issued a Rs 4.50 stamp featuring the Victoria Masonic Temple.

Before the Victoria Masonic Temple was built all Masonic meetings were held at the De Soysa building on Slave Island. Masonic meetings having been held in Sri Lanka since 1771. The Grand Lodge of Holland had the first warranted Lodge, Fidelity Lodge, in Sri Lanka in 1771. In 1801 the British took possession of all Dutch settlements in Sri Lanka, then known as Lanka (which means Island) later to be changed to Ceylon. Sri Lanka has had many names over the centuries; the Greeks called it Taprobane, the Arabs Serendib, the Europeans Ceylon. The British Masonic influence was driven by the Scottish and Irish Constitutions awarding warrants to British Regiments. The first warrant was from SC to 51st Regiment to form Orange Lodge 274 (not to be confused with the Orange order), many came and went, 6th Battalion,


34th Regiment of Foot, 19th Regiment of Foot. In 1822 UGLE awarded a warrant to Taprobane Lodge but the Lodge was dissolved in 1862.

In the 1860s The Grand Lodge of Ireland established Sphinx Lodge 107 and Leinster Lodge both of which are still active. UGLE granted a warrant to form The St George Lodge 2170 in 1886 this is the oldest EC Lodge in Colombo and the Lodge I most recently visited in September when I enjoyed an excellent Ceremony of Initiation, Bro Ameer Arshad was the Initiate. I was honoured to be welcomed by the District Grand Master, RW Ferhad Nilgiria and WM of St George Lodge, WM Dilaksha Perera. I responded with greetings from my own Lodge, St Germain.

The renowned Sri Lankan friendship and hospitality was excellent as always and I again was honoured to respond on behalf of the visitors. I have repaid the hospitality and

fraternal greetings to a Sri Lankan Brother at St Germain. Bro Vidya Amarapala who is completing his PhD in Manchester was at the meeting in Colombo. He visited Selby Abbey and surrounding area and is looking forward to his next visit to St Germain.

I also attended the Campbell Chapter meeting but unfortunately the candidate was called away on business. We were given a very informative and enlightening insight into the Royal Arch by District Grand Orator, W.Bro. Jacques Huyghebaert. The Chapter festive board was equal to the one at St George Lodge, every Brother went home very well fed and “watered”. I thoroughly recommend any Brother who is going to visit Sri Lanka to apply via Province to attend a meeting in Colombo. All dates of all orders are available on the District Grand Lodge of Sri Lanka website.

Francis Drake of York Lodge donates £500 to the Lollipop charity

Lollipop offers opportunities for children and young people with any degree of deafness from mild to profound and their families to meet and build friendships with others, with whom they share their experiences.

Service and Charity are part of the foundation stones of Freemasonry and we are pleased to be able to support a local York based charity and hope that it will go some way to help with their work to improve social and emotional outcomes for deaf children, young people and their families.

Pictured are Tim Lydon (Worshipful Master), Dave Grainger (Membership officer) from Francis Drake of York Lodge 7825, Heidi Davies, (Service manager) and Anna Young (Fundraising & Admin officer) from Lollipop.

Marking Time in Selby Abbey

A quick question - what’s the link between Selby Abbey and some of the castles in Wales?

To answer this, we can go back about 100 years to the 1920’s and look at some research, which fortunately was rescued from oblivion by our current Lodge Historian, W Bro F David Simpson. At that time, a Mr John M Morley, who was a member of the Selby Abbey congregation, undertook some quite detailed research into the masons’ marks in the Abbey. His meticulous work involved finding and recording the marks, and his records were presented to the Abbey and the York Diocese for posterity. A 1952 publication from the East Yorkshire Local History Society entitled Masons’ Marks” by F W Brooks provided more information.

Mr Morley identified something in excess of 300 marks, regrettably, many of which have now been lost. This is due to the erosion of the surface of the stonework, extensive restoration work, or simply being no longer accessible.

The marks were made by operative masons, who had served a seven-year apprenticeship. They were trained in the use of the tools, the indemnification of the stones on which they worked, and the geometry necessary to create the arches and tracery of the windows.

Then, as is still the practice, the masons (or builders) were itinerant, and went from job to job. Once a mason had heard that there was work available, he would pack up his tools, his scappling axe, chisels, square, plumb-line, and compasses, and present himself at the lodge to ask for work. He would knock at the lodge door in a prescribed way and would know the correct responses to the ritual questions that the master would put to him.

The more skilled masons were known as "bankers" from the fact that they worked on a bench or bank to form the carved stones. The masons who laid the stones were known as "setters". Families of stonemasons tended to use the same mark, with successive generations adding an extra mark or tick and, in some cases, as many as four generations can be identified.

The banker masons were the more experienced and were justifiably proud to mark their work. Of course, they would also have needed to identify it as their own, to claim their pay for the work done. If a newly arrived mason was not known to the master mason, he may have also been told to mark his work, to check that his workmanship was up to standard.

The setter masons, undertaking the somewhat more mundane task of building walls etc, did not always mark their work. They were paid by the amount of material they placed, rather than the quality of the material that would be visible. Until the early 1400s, it was customary for masons to mark their work on the face, and after that, to mark the work on the base. Thus, many of the marks were and are now hidden from view.

By careful inspection, identical marks have been found on ecclesiastical buildings up and down the East of the country, and further afield. We know that King Edward I (1272 to 1307) conscripted masons across the country to engage them in his castle building activities in Wales. So, we can see clearly that some of the masons who built Selby Abbey also left their marks on the castle walls, unless of course some masons at that time used the same mark, which is unlikely. It is noteworthy that the gap in ecclesiastical building due to the conscription of masons can also be seen to coincide in a change in the style of architecture.


Of course, the majority of masons today are not operative, but free and accepted. Those masons who are members of Mark Master Masons Lodges may append their “chosen mark” in correspondence with other members of the Mark degree.

Thank you once again to W Bro F David Simpson for allowing me access to his library of historical material, and also for rescuing the original work of Mr Morley.

Marks of several generations of the Strudwick Family—note the information showing that they worked in Selby, Canterbury, Bradford, and Lincoln. Masons’ marks found in the Lady Chapel at Selby Abbey—taken from research by John Morley in 1929
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