What a Sesquicentenary meeting at The Old York Lodge of Mark Master Masons T.I. 

Saturday 25th of November 2023 and what a day it was, one, everyone who attended will not forget, especially the members of Old York T.I.  They were honoured with the presence of the Assistant Grand Master R.W. Bro. Professor Denovan Keith Wilson, the Provincial Grand Master R.W.Bro. J. Trevor Bolton, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master V.W.Bo. Alan Oldfield, the Assistant Provincial Grand Master W.Bro. Andrew J. Brown, and an escort of acting Provincial Officers.  Together with Past Rulers of the Province and the Provincial Grand Master of Cheshire, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Cheshire and the Deputy Provincial Grand Master of North & East Yorkshire.  It was a very busy meeting with nearly eighty Brethren present.  The meeting started bang on time at 10.45 a.m. and so a very early start for those traveling some distance, one Brother coming all the way from Devizes in Wiltshire.

A heartfelt eulogy was given by W.Bro. Stuart Taylor about his very good friend W.Bro. Duncan Bryan. Duncan was a proud Scot but was keen to be part of the UK.  He was proud to be a relation of the mother of the Scottish poet Rabbie Burns and had been a member of the Lodge Burns had once been a member.  Duncan had been an investment banker which had allowed him to travel the world extensively.  Duncan really could tell a tale and had some great stories to tell.  He will be sadly missed by all who knew him.  A few moments of silence were then given.

During the meeting honorary membership was confirmed on R.W.Bro. Professor Denovan Keith Wilson,  R.W.Bro. J. Trevor Bolton, R.W.Bro. James Steggles, V.W.Bro. Alan Oldfield, V.W. Bro. John Edward Vause,  W.Bro. Andrew J. Brown, and W.Bro. Robert Ian Holmes.

To mark the sesquicentenary, a proposition was duly confirmed to donate £500 to the Province of Cheshire 2024 MBF Festival and £500 to the Cleeves and Whitehead Trust.

A superb meeting then began.  The pomp and ceremony were absolutely spot on but, then it would be.  V.W.Brother John Vause on duty for Grand Lodge and W.Bro. Mark Holland on Duty for the Province, the proceedings were in very safe hands.  The Lodge was opened in the usual way and then came time for the entry of the Provincial Grand Master together with his Deputy and Assistant with a delegation of Provincial Officers.  Trevor was warmly welcomed by the W.M. Christian Holmes and offered the gavel.  Which on this occasion he accepted, thanking Christian for his courtesy.  The salutations you can imagine were many and with warm and sore hands the Brethren took their seats.  Trevor gave a short address to the Lodge explaining the purpose of the meeting and extending his congratulations on behalf of the Province to the Lodge on reaching its sesquicentenary.  Then came the entrance of the Assistant Grand Master who was welcomed by Trevor who in turn offered the A.G.M. the gavel which on this special occasion he gladly took.  Salutations given the A.G.M. then thanked Trevor and all for the warm welcome and talked about West Yorkshire’s very successful Festival result. Going on to congratulate Old York T.I. on 150 years of continuous working, it being a triple keystone Lodge, it giving birth to other Mark lodges and, that it had a Royal Ark Mariner Lodge moored to it.  The original warrant was then read by the Prov.G.Sec., W.Bro. Gary Parker and the sesquicentenary warrant read by John Vause.  The Assistant Grand Master then presented the warrant to the W.M. giving further congratulations and invited Christian to re take his rightful place.  Christian did so but, not before thanking him for honouring the Lodge with his presence and being there on this very special occasion.

W.Bro. Roger Quick the Prov.G.Chap. then gave a marvellous oration.  Starting by saying it was a great thing to live to be 150 years old. He mentioned there wasn’t a Lodge number to go on, so was unable to give its meaning in gematria.  No date of consecration and, no actual birthdate so he couldn’t talk about its astrological meeting.   Indeed, the work is at a standstill!!  It would then be easier to shut up sit down and say nothing but, Brethren you are not so fortunate.  Clergy are especially trained to talk for a very long time about absolutely nothing.  A fascinating and interesting oration.  To read it in full click here.  It really is worth a read.  Great applause and thanks followed. Then on to W.Bro. Michael Holgate who gave a presentation on the history of Old York T.I.  Now Michael being Michael and a skilled presenter did not refer to any notes at all but did talk about the Mark Man Ceremony the Lodge was able to demonstrate throughout the Province, the Lodges origins, the Connaught rooms in Bradford, Hoyle Court in Baildon, its connections with many Lodges within the Province and, mentioned some of the characters of the Lodge.  There is both a book covering the Lodges first 125 years with Grand Lodge, and now the sesquicentenary book for anyone who is interested.  Again, a rousing round of applause.  Sesquicentenary jewels were then presented to the members including the newly made honorary members who were present.

On to the Festive board a fabulous one which was full but, well planned to give space for Brethren to chat, sit in comfort and mingle.  The three-course meal was fantastic, and the tables looked superb with commemorative wine glasses set out for Brethren to take home.  On to the toasts, Trevor said he was a little surprised to be asked to give the toast to Professor Denovan Keith Wilson, A.G.M.  but, was certainly glad to do it.  It had been a great day which he had thoroughly enjoyed, and one that had been made all the more special by the presence of the A.G.M.  In response Professor Denovan Keith Wilson said that no matter who you were they don’t always tell you everything!  He gave thanks to Trevor and all his team and the Lodge for all their work.  Going on to say we just turn up and do nowt – money for nothing really!  He also thanked the W.M.  and, W.Bros. Edward Wilkinson and Phillip Harrison for chauffeuring for the event. It had been a great help.  It had been a great meeting and celebration, the oration and synopsis of history had given a great sense of those wonderful people in our past.  He went on to say some say there are no characters anymore but that’s not really true, is it?  We are now the characters and can inspire people for the future.  Tomorrow today will be the past and so we are the link to the future.  

Michael Holgate gave thanks on behalf of the Lodge saying it was a proud day and that the day had been a success because of friends, and without them it would not have been the great success it had been.  We look forward to the future and to candidates.  We will certainly look back on today as a job well done.  Giving thanks to Professor Denovan for his presence today.  Gifts were then given to Professor Denovan, Trevor Bolton and John Vause.  

A wonderful day and one all must surely have enjoyed, Mark Master Masons at their best.  here’s to the next 150 years!  

Andrew Johnson

Communications Manager