The Travelling Gavel was created by Alan Ruddell and presented to the Provincial Grand Lodge Mark Master Masons of Durham. It is a beautifully made gavel and has a lovely travelling case for its journey around the Province.
Its purpose is to encourage visiting amongst Lodges and a sense of fun competition. It may even become a catalyst for fraternal visits between Lodges. A log or ‘passport’ is included so that each Lodge can record when and where it travels to.
So lets see how far it can go around the Province, its up to you to keep it moving.
Any Lodge can plan a raid on the Lodge that is in possession to make a claim on the Travelling Gavel and take it back to their Lodge to put proudly on display. To obtain this privilege there must be three or more brethren. The Lodge with the most visitors at the meeting will make claim on the Travelling Gavel and, providing they have all signed the attendance book, they can take it back to their Lodge after the meeting.
Who currently holds the Travelling Gavel and where do they meet?
Ferryhill Mark Lodge who meet at Ferryhill
Travelling Gavel Rules
As with most things, there are some rules about how the Travelling Gavel will operate. They are designed to cover instances where more than one Lodge claims the Gavel at the same meeting, should that occur.
In most situations, it is suffice to say that you need more than three visitors signed in from the same Lodge, which is not on a fraternal visit and make a ‘claim’ for the Gavel. In the Lodge meeting when giving greetings, the visitor will add the following to his greeting: “ I have come to claim the Travelling Gavel on behalf of ………..Lodge, number………..”. The Travelling Gavel will be presented at the Festive Board.
1 The Travelling Gavel competition is open to all Durham Mark Lodges with the exception of The Durham Lodge of Installed Mark Masters No 1492, The Durham Lodge of Provincial Grand Stewards No 1820 and Chief of the Builders Lodge No 1806, and the Travelling Gavel must not in any circumstances leave the Province.
2 To claim the Gavel a minimum of three visitors representing the other Lodge must visit the Lodge in possession of the Travelling Gavel, but a Lodge cannot claim the Travelling Gavel if on a Fraternal Visit.
3 The visiting Lodge with the most visitors (after taking into account the Distance Travelled Factor) will be entitled to claim the Gavel.
4 A Distance Travelled Chart has been produced to show the distance in miles between each Masonic building where a Mark Lodge is held. A visiting Lodge can claim an additional number of visitors according to the distance travelled as follows:-
Between 1 and 10 miles 1 visitor
Between 11 and 20 miles 2 visitors
Between 21 and 30 miles 3 visitors
Between 31 and 40 miles 4 visitors
Between 41 and 50 miles 5 visitors.
5 In the unlikely event of a tie, the Lodge which has travelled the furthest distance will claim the Gavel.
6 The Travelling Gavel remains the property of the Mark Province of Durham and may be recalled at any time, and if recalled the current holders must ensure its safe return.
7 To claim the Travelling Gavel the visiting Lodge Members making a claim must all stand up when giving greetings in the usual manner, but the lodge Member giving the greeting will add the following:- “ I have come to claim the Travelling Gavel on behalf of ………..Lodge, number………..” Each visiting Lodge will do the same and the Lodge Secretary will note all claimants, but no comment will be made by the WM.
8 At the Festive Board the Lodge Secretary will verify the number of visitors from the signing in book and during the Toast to the Visitors the Travelling Gavel will be presented to the successful claiming Lodge.
9 The Secretary of the Lodge giving up the Gavel should complete the Log sheet before passing it over to the new Lodge, and inform the Provincial Grand Secretary of the new Lodge by the following day.
10 The Travelling Gavel Coordinator will then inform all Lodge Secretaries of the name and number of the Lodge holding the Travelling Gavel, together with the date and time of their next Lodge Meeting, and details will appear in the Monthly Mark & RAM Newsletter. The Coordinator will also keep a duplicate Log (the original Log will remain with the Gavel.)
11 At each Annual Meeting of Mark Provincial Grand Lodge the Gavel will be presented to the Provincial Grand Master for the duration of the Meeting and handed back to the Lodge at the end of the Meeting.