On the evening of Monday 30th November, E. Comp. Mark Estaugh, Grand Superintendent for the Provincial Grand Chapter of West Kent and R.W.Bro. Archie Torrance, Provincial Grand Master for the Mark Province of Kent, joined together to present a talk entitledÂ The Keystone Connection.
This fascinatingÂ talk wasÂ developed originally by theirÂ counterparts in Nottinghamshire, it was first presented in 2018Â at a meeting of the Notts Installed Mastersâ Lodge No. 3595 and enlightens participantsÂ about the close historical development of the Mark degree and the Holy Royal Arch, the keystone being anÂ important feature of both Orders.
In thisÂ Kent focused version, hosted on the Zoom video conferencing platform, both Mark and Archie gave not only anÂ entertaining and informative insight into their respective Orders, but also their personal experiences of each others’.Â Viewers learnedÂ how the two Orders complement each other and how they both contribute to a better understanding of the whole Masonic story and Freemasonryâs richÂ landscape.
One of the consequences of the 1813 union between the Antients and Moderns in England was the specific recognition of the three Craft degrees only, including the Supreme Degree of the Holy Royal Arch, thus excluding the Mark Degree. Interestingly, in other recognised constitutions, the Mark Degree can be conferred in either Craft Lodges or Royal Arch Chapters and indeed in some places is an essential prerequisite before exaltation into a Chapter can take place.Â A better understanding of the Holy Royal Arch is one of theÂ six keyÂ reasons to becomeÂ a Mark Master Mason.
This heavily subscribed event had more than 200 Brethren and CompanionsÂ in attendance, many of whom were in one order but not the other and some were Craft Freemasons only. In a truly open and inclusive event, members of bothÂ the Order of Women FreemasonsÂ andÂ HFAF Freemasonry for WomenÂ were present.
Feedback on the evening was overwhelmingly positive, with both Archie and Mark hoping to present the talk again to a physical audience in one of West Kent’s larger venues.