Banners of Mark Master Mason Lodges in Hertfordshire
The first Mark Lodge in Hertfordshire was Watford Lodge No 241, consecrated on 26 March 1879 with W Bro T F Halsey (the Provincial Grand Master in Craft) as its first Master. Six years later the Rose and Lily Lodge No 354, which was to meet at the Four Swans, Waltham Cross, was consecrated on 18 July 1885, and by 1887 it met at the Peahen Hotel, St Albans, (it now meets at Freemasons’ Hall). A Petition was then at once submitted to the M W Grand Mark Master to constitute a Mark Province in Hertfordshire with W Bro Halsey as Provincial Grand Master. A Patent was granted to Bro Halsey on 12 November 1885, but the Province was not inaugurated and the first Provincial Grand Master not installed until 24 July 1886. By this time there were four Lodges in the Province, as the Hertford and Gladsmuir Lodges had by then also been consecrated.
In 1936 the then Provincial Grand Master, W Bro Canon Frederick Halsey was also appointed Deputy Grand Master. The present Provincial Grand Master for Hertfordshire (as at 2021) is R W Bro Chris Radmore who was installed on the 15th July 2008. The Provincial Grand Master for Hertfordshire in the Mark Degree also rules the degree of Royal Ark Mariner. The first Lodge in the Royal Ark Mariner degree in Hertfordshire, Gladsmuir No 367, was consecrated on 7 December 1894 during the rule of R W Bro Sir Frederick Halsey. Lodges take the number, and usually the name of the Mark Lodge to which they are moored (attached). Only five Mark Lodges in Hertfordshire do not have a Royal Ark Mariner Lodge.
The Mark degree is an important development of the Second degree in Craft Freemasonry and the ritual is based around the construction of the second temple in Jerusalem, the details of which can be found in the Old Testament of the Bible in the Second Book of Chronicles.
The Mark degree teaches a number of useful lessons, the foremost of these are that fraud does not and will never succeed and that perseverance in doing the right thing regardless of difficulties on the way will bring its own reward.
In the Mark Province of Hertfordshire, there are 37 Mark Lodges and 29 Royal Ark Mariner Lodges with a total membership of approximately 900 brethren. The only qualification required to be advanced into the Mark degree is membership of the Craft.