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 entitled The Keystone Connection.

This fascinating talk was developed originally by their counterparts in Nottinghamshire, it was first presented in 2018 at a meeting of the Notts Installed Masters’ Lodge No. 3595 and enlightens participants about the close historical development of the Mark degree and the Holy Royal Arch, the keystone being an important feature of both Orders.

In this Kent focused version, hosted on the Zoom video conferencing platform, both Mark and Archie gave not only an entertaining and informative insight into their respective Orders, but also their personal experiences of each others’. Viewers learned how the two Orders complement each other and how they both contribute to a better understanding of the whole Masonic story and Freemasonry’s rich 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.  A better understanding of the Holy Royal Arch is one of the six key reasons to become a Mark Master Mason.

This heavily subscribed event had more than 200 Brethren and Companions 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 both the Order of Women Freemasons and HFAF Freemasonry for Women 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.