David Hanson RAM

Royal Ark Mariners

Welcome to the Provincial Grand Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners of Durham, or sometimes shortened to 'Durham RAM'.

The 'Mariners', as they are popularly known, is mentioned here as it occupies an important place within the Order of Mark Masonry. Royal Ark Mariner Lodges are attached to a Mark Lodge and bear the number of that Lodge.

The ritual of the ceremony of elevation makes use of illustrations from the Old Testament and the building of the ark by Noah for the preservation of mankind, to expound the virtues of morality and the properties of wisdom, strength and beauty.

A candidate must be a Mark Master Mason to be proposed, seconded, balloted for and elevated into a Royal Ark Mariner Lodge. He can then progress through the various offices and become the Worshipful Commander of the Lodge. There are 22 Royal Ark Mariner Lodges in Durham, all meeting between 2 and 4 times each year.

What is it all about?

As with other Degrees and Orders in Freemasonry, the early history of Royal Ark Mariner Degree is unknown, although accepted as being a very ancient Order.

The Degree is administered by the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons and a candidate must be 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.

It is thought that it was a degree for carpenters and woodworkers as in the past those trades were more closely associated with stonemasons than is the case today.

The ceremony of Elevation is based on the events leading up to the Great Flood and the actions of Noah in building the Ark, by which mankind was preserved from perishing in the Universal Deluge.

The legend of Noah and his family were regularly enacted throughout England in the Mystery Plays of the seventeenth century and by the middle of that century there was reputedly a Masonic Degree of "Noachites". However, the first authentic record of the Degree of Royal Ark Mariner appears in the minutes of a meeting held in Bath in 1790.

Since 1871, the Degree has been administered by the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons, and controlled by the Grand Masters Royal Ark Council, hence each Lodge is attached or "moored" to a Mark Lodge and bears its number.

As in the Craft, the ceremony emphasises the virtues of wisdom, strength and beauty, here referring to the wisdom of Noah in constructing the Ark, his strength of character and the beauty of his workmanship.

The candidate is presented with an apron and jewel. The jewel of the Order is in the shape of a rainbow with a Dove bearing an olive branch appended and on a ribbon having the colours of a rainbow. This reference to the Dove bearing an olive branch bears witness to the past links with the Craft where the Deacons bear this same emblem.

Why not consider joining the RAM and furthering your knowledge?

By joining the Royal Ark Mariners, which as a Mark Mason you are entitled to do, you thereby make an important advance in Masonic knowledge. It is a step which is strongly recommended by the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons and also the Provincial Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons.

As a Master Mason it is likely that you will be in contact with many members of the Mariners, look for one of the brethren wearing the above jewel (or similar with a rainbow ribbon) and ask him about joining. If you would prefer to consider joining a Lodge somewhere else, to perhaps spread your membership and circle of acquaintances, you could check out the List of Lodges HERE or if you prefer by contacting us using the link button below, which will open up a contact form in a new tab