Royal Ark Mariners Degree
Working together and looking after those less fortunate than ourselves
Royal Ark Mariners
Elevation into the ‘beautiful order’
The Ancient and Honourable Fraternity of Royal Ark Mariners operates under the authority of a body known as ‘The Grand Master’s Royal Ark Council,’ which falls under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons.
Within this Order, there are two distinctive ceremonies: the Royal Ark Mariner Degree, which grants admission or elevation to a brother, and the Installation ceremony, where the Commander Elect assumes leadership in a Royal Ark Mariner Lodge.
The Elevation ceremony is a captivating experience filled with distinctive elements. It draws its inspiration from the tale of Noah and his Ark, imparting the lesson that those who possess virtue and diligence will thrive.
The story of the Flood represents cleansing and rebirth, wherein the unrepentant and wicked perish in the deluge, while the devoted and righteous, symbolized by Noah and his kin, survive to renew the world.
On the other hand, the Installation ceremony holds its own uniqueness, setting it apart from ceremonies in other orders.
As with many Masonic orders, the precise origins of the Royal Ark Mariner degree remain uncertain.
Early manuscripts, including Anderson’s constitutions of 1723, contain references to Noah and his Ark.
Actual degrees centred on the Noachite theme appeared later, such as the Patriarch Noachite or Prussian Knight in the 1760s, now recognised as the 21st Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Rite.
Nevertheless, the earliest verified record of a Royal Ark Mariner Degree being practised in a recognisable form in England dates back to 1790.
Various endeavours to establish a ‘Grand Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners’ did not succeed. Ultimately, in 1871, the Order found refuge under the umbrella of the Mark Grand Lodge.
Prior to this, the degree was conducted in Craft and Mark Lodges, as well as other venues.
In the present day, the Order enjoys robust vitality. Within the Mark Province of Surrey, the majority of Mark Lodges are associated with a Royal Ark Mariner Lodge, often convening on the same days for meetings.
The Ancient and Honourable Fraternity of Royal Ark Mariner
Often referred to as RAM, the degree has been under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons since 1871, overseen by the Grand Master’s Royal Ark Council.
Notably, the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons acquired rights to the Grand Lodge of Royal Ark Mariner on 10 June 1884 for a mere £25.
Lodges are affiliated, or anchored, to Mark Lodges, adopting the same number on the Roll. To become a member, candidates must have previously attained the status of a Mark Master Mason. However, the similarities end there.
Chronologically, the Royal Ark Mariner Degree predates the Mark Degree by centuries, centering around Noah’s Ark, the Great Flood, and lacking the other characters present in Freemasonry.
Within both the Province and Grand Lodge, individual ranks are not established. Those holding ranks add “Royal Ark Mariner Provincial Grand Rank” or “Royal Ark Mariner Grand Rank” after their names.
Notably, the Grand Master of the Mark automatically holds the position of Grand Master of the Royal Ark Mariner Degree.
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