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Mark Mark

During the period when the Londesborough Chapter was meeting at Driffield (1880-1893), it was decided to found a Mark Degree. Five Master Masons, four from the Sykes Craft Lodge, signed the petition. The warrant is dated 30th September, 1881. The Lodge was called "The Drifelt Mark Lodge". The Provincial Lodge of North and East Yorkshire had been constituted on the 22nd September, 1881. Drifelt was the first Mark Lodge in the Province to be consecrated by our first Provincial Grand Master, The Right Worshipful Brother J. W. Woodall, at Driffield, on 18th October, 1881.

Drifelt Lodge suffered many vicissitudes in the decade following its consecration and, on the 5th December, 1894, it was decided to transfer the Lodge to Bridlington. In a letter dated March 5th, 1895, the Provincial Grand Secretary informed the Master and Wardens that they had the Grand Master's sanction to remove the Lodge, furniture, jewels and other property of the Drifelt Lodge to Bridlington, whither the Londesborough Chapter had preceded the Mark in 1893.

The first meeting at Bridlington was held on April 3rd, 1895. On the 9th day of June, 1897, it was decided to present a petition to Grand Mark Lodge "praying that the name of the Lodge be altered from 'Drifelt' to 'Londesborough'". On November 4th, 1897, Grand Lodge agreed to the alteration and on the 9th February, 1898, the first meeting of the Londesborough Lodge of Mark Master Masons was held.

From 1902 the Lodge went from strength to strength. There were some useful candidates. First, Bro. Hugh Batchelor and next Bro. A. E. Matthewman, both of whom were Masters and stalwarts of the Lodge. After this date the Lodge proceeded smoothly on an even keel. In 1919, after the installation, 11 candidates and one joining member were pro­posed. During this year there were 11 meetings and the membership of the Lodge rose to 62. There was some talk of forming a Royal Ark Mariners' Lodge in Bridlington, but nothing seems to have come of it.

The Jubilee Meeting of the Lodge was held at the Masonic Hall, Bridlington on Wednesday, 30th September, 1931, with W. Bro. Charles Riley in the Chair.  Bro. G. H. Potts, who was advanced 50 years before at Driffield, was present. With the consent and approval of the Grand Master, brethren of 291 were permitted to wear Jubilee Jewels.

The next event was a sad one — the death of Bro. Robert Severs, who was Tyler of 291 from 1895 to 1935. Five years later, the passing was recorded of W. Bro. Amos Gardam, PGStwd of England, a brilliant ritualist who for many years had performed the Ceremony of Installation. He was 86.  In 1943, W. Bro. William Barran Hodgson was installed as Worshipful Master. To those who remember him, his was a name to conjure with. He was a true son of Driffield. Another light in Freemasonry was advanced in December 1943 — Eric Thompson Carr. In 1944 Hubert William Nattress was advanced — possibly the finest ritualist in the several degrees he adorned.

There follows the death of W. Bro. Benjamin Saggs, a stalwart of the Lodge. It was in December 1944 that the Warrant of the Lodge was returned by Grand Mark Lodge, endorsed with the alteration from "Drifelt" to "Londesborough". A photo-copy accompanied it, so that the original could be kept in a safe place. This was as a result of an edict by Grand Mark Lodge in January 1944 that originals or photo-copies of all Warrants, issued prior to 1930, be sent to London for inspection. Our Warrant was photographed by W. Bro. W. F. Brigham and a copy sent to Grand Mark Lodge. On discovering the discrepancy in the name, Grand Mark Lodge asked for the original to be sent for official alteration.

On 29th August 1947, W. Bro. A. E. Matthewman died. Right to the end he had served the Lodge, having been at a Committee of Management Meeting 12 days before his death. He had been Secretary of the Lodge for 30 years and had compiled the Souvenir of the Jubilee Celebration.

On the 8th June, 1949, Leslie Hugh Batchelor was advanced to the degree of Mark Master Mason. Later in the same year Charles Alan Readhead was advanced to the Degree of Mark Master Mason. On Wed­nesday, 8th April, 1953, Bro. E. T. Carr was installed as Worshipful Master. On the 22nd July, 1955, G. T. Spaven, our Worshipful Master, died while in office.

W. Bro. Harry Wood, a joining member from Minerva Mark, was installed as Worshipful Master in 1960. The Lodge continued to make pro­gress and in 1963 W. Bro. W. B. Hodgson was made Past Deputy Grand Sword Bearer. He had been Master in 1943. Bro. Walter Audsley was advanced in 1964, and Bros. Stanley Ashforth and Harold Nightingale in 1965. On 13th April 1966, W. Bro. J. L. Topham was installed as Worshipful Master. In 1967, the Tyler, Bro. Charles Brooks was unable to continue because of illness. Bro. Alan Usher was advanced (as an unattached brother) to the office of Tyler. In 1968 W. Bro. Alan Topham was installed as Master.

On 26th August, 1969, the Lodge sustained a severe loss with the passing of W. Bro. Hubert Nattress who had been Secretary for 17 years. He was well qualified in Masonic ritual and procedure in several degrees. At this time the Lodge had another Tyler, Bro. F. R. Miller, who replaced Bro. Usher.

On Wednesday, 12th August 1970 in the Mastership of W. Bro. Godfrey Willis and in the presence of the Rt. W. Provincial Grand Master, John Owen Place, a Banner of the Londesborough Lodge of Mark Masters No. 291 was presented by W. Bro. H. J. Atkinson and dedicated by the Provincial Grand Chaplain, W. Bro. H. A. Hall, in the Masonic Hall, Bridlington. A large and distinguished company of Mark Master Masons was in attendance. This first banner of the Lodge was initiated and arranged by  W. Bro. R. Ford.

On the 10th February, 1971, Bro. Robert Atkinson, our centenary Worshipful Master was advanced to the Degree of a Mark Master Mason. On Wednesday, 14th April, 1976, Bro. A. J. Ayre was installed as Master. His father C. E. Ayre had been Master in 1967 but had died in November 1974. The Lodge lost one of its Grand Officers in April 1978, namely William Barran Hodgson, who had been advanced in 1931.

In 1978 theTyler, Thomas George Pike, was advanced to the Degree of Mark Master Mason by Dispensation. In this year we lost another Grand Officer, advanced in 1931, W. Bro. R. B. Smith. Before the year's end, however, we advanced Bro. Eric Millward, the Secretary at the time of the Centenary.

On the 17th February 1981, the Grand Secretary, V. W. Bro. W. J. Leake, informed V. W. Bro. D. R. L. Dowsett that the General Board had much pleasure in granting 291 a Centenary Warrant, with effect from 30th September, 1981. Centenary Jewels were also authorised. The Provincial Secretary forwarded Grand Secretary's letter in time to arrive at the Installation of W. Bro. R. Atkinson, our Centenary Master. Thus the stage is set for a twin centenary, that of the Province and, eight days later, that of the Londesborough Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 291, as we look forward to another hundred years of happy fellowship when our successors shall exclaim

"Thanks be to God, we have marked well!"

Mark Lodge Centenary History