The Ancient and Honourable Fraternity of Royal Ark Mariners
This ancient degree has been under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons since 1871 and requires every candidate to be a Mark Master Mason but has no historical connection whatsoever with that degree, it being simply a quirk of fate. It stands entirely alone and totally unrelated to any other degree in Freemasonry but research has shown that it was at one time or another connected with many Orders and degrees. The oldest Middlesex Royal Ark Mariner Lodge is Grosvenor No. 144 which was consecrated in March 1879 and our latest addition is New Morning No. 1921 which was consecrated in March 2016.
As its name suggests, it has a nautical theme that deals with the circumstances leading up to the Great Flood as recorded in the Book of Genesis, and the steps taken by Noah to build the Ark by which mankind was preserved from the ‘Universal Deluge’.
As in the Mark Master Mason’s Degree there is only one ceremony to complete and that is called the ceremony of Elevation. It lasts about 45 minutes and once again there are some really beautiful sections of the ceremony which will make a lasting impression on every candidate.
Most Mark Lodges in the Province of Middlesex have a Royal Ark Mariner Lodge attached or ‘moored’ to it and they generally, but not always, meet on the same day with one meeting following the other. There are Royal Ark Mariner Lodges meeting at all the Middlesex Masonic Centres and a considerable number meeting at Mark Masons’ Hall and other locations in central London. Most Lodges meet in the late afternoon or evening but we also have two Lodges that hold their meetings in the morning.