The Ancient & Honourable Fraternity
The Ancient and Honourable Fraternity of Royal Ark Mariners has been under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons since 1871 and is governed by the Grand Master’s Royal Ark Council.
A Mark Provincial Grand Master, his Deputy and Provincial Executive preside over, and are responsible for the Royal Ark Mariner Lodges in their Province and which are attached to Mark Lodges assuming their Name and Number and to be a member you have to have been advanced as a Mark Master Mason. There the similarity ends. In chronological terms, it precedes the Mark by hundreds of years because it relates to the building and voyage of Noah’s Ark and the Great Flood and has none of the other characters we meet in Freemasonry.
The ceremony in which a brother is elevated, analogies are drawn between the dangers of the flood and the dangers of life and by symbolising wisdom, strength and beauty, which are relevant not only in the construction of the Ark but also for their moral significations to the candidate as an individual. The tracing board of the degree is unusual in that it contains symbols of many of the other Orders in Masonry.
The regalia comprises an apron which is boarded by a rainbow ribbon with similar rosettes. The breast jewel is of a dove bearing an olive branch suspended from a rainbow attached to a rainbow-coloured ribbon. Commanders and Past Commanders (who are the equivalent of Masters and Past Masters) exchange the rosettes on the aprons for silver triangles and wear a breast jewel of a triangle surmounted by the letter ’N’ for Noah. Provincial Officers wear a rainbow ribbon collarette from which is suspended a silver ark. Grand Officers exchange the silver Ark for gold. There are no individual ranks within either Province or Grand Lodge. Brethren holding those ranks suffix their name with Provincial Royal Ark Mariner Grand Rank or Royal Ark Mariner Grand Rank.
The Provincial Grand Master of the Mark, is ipso facto, the Provincial Grand Master of the Ancient and Honourable Fraternity of Royal Ark Mariners.
There are ten Royal Ark Mariner Lodges in the Leicestershire and Rutland Province, the oldest consecrated in 1882 and the newest in 2016.