It is a bit like Buses Brethren, you do not see one for years and then two of the come along at once. And so it was that on Wednesday, 7th December, the Brethren of the James Bramley Morley Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 1905 and those of The Bram Morley Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners No. 1905 came together at Blenheim House, Batley to witness this unique event.
First up was The Bram Morley Royal Ark Mariner Lodge No.1905 under the very capable stewardship of the Worshipful Commander Paul Cook who opened the Lodge in due form. The only other item of note on the Summons was to receive the Accounts for the year ending 31st August 2016 which were duly despatched. A report heralded the Past Rulers of the Province present being R.W.Bro. George Henry Philip Birch. R.W.Bro.Brian Morris Batty, R.W.Bro. James Bennett Truswell and Past Dep.Prov.G.M. R.W.Bro. Brian Emmett, all welcomed with acclamation and are we not lucky to have them all with us on these occasions, long may it continue, keep taking the medicine R.W.Bro. Birch. They were then followed the Provincial Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother James Steggles G.M.R.A.C. together with his Provincial officers who, after R.W.Bro. Jim accepted the Gavel, then took post and the Dedication Ceremony commenced.
It was a very simple ceremony, the Worshipful Commander together with his Wardens left the Lodge, returning escorting the Banner. This was unveiled, displayed round the Lodge for all to see then presented the Provincial Grand Master and accepted on behalf of the Lodge the Worshipful Commander. Worshipful Commander Paul then took his seat as the Worshipful Commander of the Lodge and proceedings were closed. All then retired for a short Interval
Matters were reconvened under the leadership of the Acting Worshipful Master of the James Bramley Lodge of Mark Master Masons, Worshipful Brother James Stanley and the same process as that for the Royal Ark Mariner Lodge was repeated, Both Banners are quite striking, both Lodges will be justifiably proud of them and I trust that they will have many happy years working under them. Before both ceremonies a Eulogy was given W. Bro. Stephen Wood in respect of Worshipful Brother Derick Townend, sadly now in the Grand Lodge above. W. Bro. Derick was not only a very committed and caring Freemason but also one of the finest men it has ever been my privilege to know and call a friend.
An Oration was then presented the Provincial Grand Chaplain, Very Worshipful Brother Edward Patnick in respect of both Lodges and their Banners. He began reminding us of the man behind both Lodges, Right Worshipful Brother James Bramley Morley, Past Provincial Grand Master who most assuredly was watching this unique occasion unfold. Two Lodges having their Banners dedicated upon the same day is unlikely to have been repeated anywhere in freemasonry. R.W.Bro. Bram as he was often known was an eminent member of the essential Orders for every Freemason, the Craft, Royal Arch Chapter, the Mark and Royal Ark Mariners Fraternity. He was a true Freemason and practiced in his daily life the principles of Freemasonry, to which we were all obligated, which teach us a way of life to which we all should aspire; if everyone held to these principles we would all be better people and the World a better place.
The Standard or Banner was an assembly point to gather around, in the early days mostly associated with the military. Both Banners are very simple but portray the essentials of both Orders, in vivid, striking colours. May The Bram Morley Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners No. 1905, and the James Bramley Morley Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 1905, work under their respective banners until time with us shall be no more.
The Toast to the Provincial Grand Master at the Festive Board was in the very safe hands of Worshipful Brother Paul Cook, the Commander of The Bram Morley Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners No. 1905. He thanked R. W. Bro.Steggles and his team of Provincial Grand Lodge Officers for attending, emphasising the very high regard and respect that the Brethren had for him. In his response R. W. Bro. Jim said that he and the Team had all been delighted to attend on this very auspicious occasion. He reminded all that the Lodges were originally called Morley because Grand Lodge had indicated that a Lodge could not be named after a living Brother that is unless you were a Past Pro Grand Master or Head of an Order! The two Lodges were initially expected to draw their membership from around the Province because of their daylight nature however, and somewhat surprisingly, the Mark Lodge has had 9 new members and the Ark Mariner 24 since they were both consecrated in 2009, congratulations to both.
Worshipful Brother Martin Longbottom, Son in law of R. W. Bro Bram, then took the floor to give a moving, and very interesting insight into the man. Whilst very much a family man, his interests were Masonry, Golf and Family and probably in that order. A very keen Mason and also a prolific visitor, Martins early Masonic experience was honed behind the wheel of his car chauffeuring R. W. Bro. Bram to the farthest points of the Province and beyond. He remembers two occasions, one when W. Bro Bram had been asked his wife, Peggy, to pick up some dry cleaning, forgetting twice and then, no problem when she put out a note to remind him decorated with the square and compasses. The second, when after a wonderful Ladies after lodge, but perhaps overcome the occasion, he arrived home, went to bed and then realised he was on his own, yes Peggy had been left behind!
Another memorable Mark Masonic meeting, best wishes to all for a very Merry Xmas and a happy, healthy New Year.
Bro. Duncan Smith P.S.G.D.