1935 - 2010


St. Mark’s Lodge, fourth daughter of Heaton Lodge No. 2723 and  fifth grand daughter of Holmes Lodge No. 2571, was born due to the foresight of nine members of Heaton Lodge and a number of members of other Lodges. The name was derived from the Church of St. Mark, Byker Hill, in the Parish of which the Lodge was to meet. The warrant is dated 6th February 1935.

Following the approval by this warrant for the formation of the Lodge, a service of consecration was held on 17th April 1935 under the Chairmanship of R.W.Bro. Sir C. A. Cochrane PGD, Provincial Grand Master. The R.W. Provincial Grand Master invested W.Bro. J. E. Bottomley as the first Worshipful Master and he in turn invested his Officers from the number of Founders.

The first regular meeting was held on 23rd April 1935 but the first candidates were not initiated until the next meeting held on 27th May and they were C.W. Gaskin and W. A. Crabtree. It is interesting to note that Bro. Gaskin was installed as Worshipful Master on 26th February 1945 and he was later installed as the first Worshipful Master of our daughter Lodge, the Lodge of Friendship No. 6675 in July 1948. He later resigned his membership of his mother Lodge and was promptly given honorary membership.

Honorary membership was also conferred upon W.Bro. E. Sandells, a founder member, who was appointed organist at the consecration and held that office until his resignation in January 1963. The Brethren were unanimous in approving his honorary membership after he give almost 28 years service to the Lodge.


Mention must also be made of the long service given to the Lodge by W.Bro. N. Bains who, after becoming Worshipful Master in 1958, became Director of Ceremonies in 1960 and held that office continually until his retirement in 1980. His quiet and unobtrusive control of the ceremonies during his years in office was an inspiration to all Brethren. W.Bro. Bains is also an honorary member of the Lodge.

From the list of Past Masters of the Lodge, it can be seen that no less than nine founder members succeeded to the WM’s chair, a most creditable performance indeed.

The Lodge grew quickly in its early years, two degrees being performed on several occasions, and a number of emergency meetings were held to accommodate the rapidly increasing waiting list.

Even the coming of the Second World War failed to prevent freemasonry from flourishing in St. Mark’s Lodge and meetings continued regularly for the duration.

Candidates on active service were initiated, passed and raised as their leave coincided with Lodge meetings and this resulted in much leap-frogging and substitution of Officer’s duties during this period.

The only changes made because of war restrictions, were the curtailment of the festive board and the alteration of the recess months, from July and August, to November and December, for the years 1941 to 1944.

Members returning from active service after the cessation of hostilities were presented with a commemorative cigarette lighter subscribed to by other members of the Lodge.

It is regretted that Bro. J. Tyson, son of Bro. J.H. Tyson, was killed in action in July 1942. He is the only member of the Lodge to be so recorded.

Until 1985, there had been only three occasions when no candidate was available to attend the planned degree for that evening. On the first occasion, on 21st August 1967, the WM, W.Bro. R.W. Haveron, gave an interesting and informative talk on his visit to Grand Lodge, to witness the investiture of HRH The Duke of Kent as Grand Master. This was followed by a talk based on a pamphlet, issued by Quatuor Coronati Lodge No 2076, Ars Quatuor coronatorum, on the history of the commemorative jewel issued on the occasion of the 250th anniversary of Grand Lodge in 1965, and now worn on the WM’s collar. The second occasion, W.Bro. N. Bains explained the 1st degree tracing board. He was followed by W.Bro. J.B. Taylor PAGDC who gave a lecture on the festive board. The third occasion, on the 29th May 1984, arose due to the sudden and tragic death of the WM, W.Bro. R.C. Climpson, on the 24th May 1984.

On the rare occasions since, W.Bro. Edward W. Moore has given interesting talks on freemasonry and the connections with famous people such as Mozart, W.Bro. W. B. H. Anderson has also explained the 1st degree tracing board, which is a rarity in Lodges these days.


From 1935 to 1953 the Lodge met at 232 Shields Road. Our second home was Broomfield Hall, Jesmond Road, where we, with other Lodges, joined in support of Provincial Grand Lodge, who purchased the premises for use as a temple and Provincial Headquarters. A compulsory purchase order to obtain access for a proposed East/West motorway to be built forced us to leave Broomfield Hall after our November 1971 meeting. We obtained temporary accommodation at West Avenue, Gosforth, for the months of January to June 1972. Further negotiations with the    governing body of the Shiremoor Lodges gave us a home from August 1972 to August 1973.

We have recorded our gratitude to those managing bodies for affording us prompt assistance in our hour of need and in so doing, enabled us to continue our meetings uninterrupted.


In 1973 we received and accepted an invitation from Carliol Lodge No. 5419 to join them in converting and refurbishing shop premises at Fern Avenue, Jesmond, and we became one of the founder member Lodges of Carliol Masonic Trust. This has since been taken over by the Fern Avenue Masonic Company Limited.

St Mark’s Lodge held its first meeting in these revitalised premises in September 1973. From this small beginning the premises have grown in popularity and prestige throughout the Province.

The Lodge has kept up the tradition (as most Lodges do) of family participation and many surnames can be seen repeated on the roll of membership. Less frequent, but significantly, surnames are repeated on the roll of Past Masters, as sons have followed fathers, nephews have followed uncles and brothers have followed brothers into the Chair of King Solomon. We can see over the years Gaskin, Moore, Lowe, Atkinson, Temple, Smith, Wallace and McIsaac appear on this roll. Roberts, Anderson, Henry, Bruce and McKenna are other family groups appearing on our  present roll of membership.

Items of interest, at St. Mark’s Lodge, is the initiation in March 1949 by W.P. Moore of his son E.W. Moore as his first candidate and then  being given the opportunity to install his son into the chair of King Solomon in 1961. Also, in 1985, D. McIsaac initiated his son D.C. McIsaac and also installed his son into the chair of King Solomon in 2002.

The Lodge continues to prosper despite the substantial rise in costs over the past years. The good news is that the premises beneath the Masonic Hall, have been converted and now are rented as Antique shops. This project is now starting to show a profit, so our rent is stable.

In recent years we have regularly initiated members of our Armed Forces, many of whom are serving in areas of conflict and attend the Lodge when they are able.

At the 2010 Installation we were privileged to have the Provincial Grand Master in attendance who, apart from witnessing the installation of W.Bro. J.N. Bruce into the Chair of King Solomon, presented W.Bro. E. W. Moore with his Certificate for 60 years in Freemasonry and as a surprise honour, W. Bro. Ted was promoted to PProvSGW by Rt W. Bro. Peter Magnay.