The Lodge of St Mark No. 6969 was founded in 1950, with the Consecration Meeting taking place commencing at 2.45pm on Tuesday 6th June 1950 at the Hotel Metropole situate on The Leas in Folkestone, Kent, with the Consecration Luncheon also taking place at the same venue.
The Consecrating Officers were The Right Worshipful The Provincial Grand Master The Right Honourable The Lord Cornwallis, KBE, MC, Past Grand Warden, assisted by The Deputy Provincial Grand Master Worshipful Brother Wing/Commander Bertram Wilfred Noble, OBE, Past Grand Deacon, and The Assistant Provincial Grand Masters Worshipful Brothers Arthur Atkinson and Harold Tuffee, Past Grand Deacons, together with 12 other active Provincial Grand Lodge Officers, including the Provincial Wardens, Chaplain, Treasurer, Secretary and Director of Ceremonies.
The Lodge of St Mark had 21 Founding Members, including 7 Past Masters, and at the Consecration Meeting the first Worshipful Master of the Lodge, Worshipful Brother Captain William Walter Rowe, was installed by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master.
Various documents relating to the Consecration Meeting can be viewed below.
The Province of Kent was at that time one Masonic governing body for the County, but has since been divided into two Provinces covering East and West Kent, with the Lodge of St Mark forming part of the East Kent Province.
The Mother Lodge of the Lodge of St Mark is the Shorncliffe Lodge No. 4330, formed in 1921 and meeting at the Sandgate Masonic Hall, with the Family Tree being as shown below. Shorncliffe in Folkestone has, of course, been the site of an Army Camp since the late 18th Century, although the Camp is now being largely closed down and redeveloped.
The Lodge of St Mark takes its name from St Mark’s Garrison Church, built on North Road at Shorncliffe Army Camp. The Church was built in the early years of the Second World War for use by Service personnel. It is a Grade II Listed Building and, no longer being used as a Church, it is now the venue for The Tower Theatre.
The Military connections from the early years of the Lodge of St Mark are further evidenced by the first Worshipful Master being a Captain and the other Founding Members including a Major. In addition, from the Agenda for the Meeting held in September 1950 (see below), the ballot for Joining Members included a serving Captain in HM Land Forces who was based at Shorncliffe Camp and there was a ballot for and Initiation of a Major, again serving in HM Land Forces based at Shorncliffe Camp.
When formed, the Lodge met on the first Wednesday of January to June and September to November inclusive, with the Installation of the Worshipful Master being in September. This has subsequently changed so that the Lodge no longer meet in June or September, although it does now meet in December, and the Installation now takes place in October.
The Lodge Meetings originally took place at the Masonic Hall in Grace Hill, Folkestone, with the meeting place since having moved to the Masonic Hall in Windmill Street, Hythe. The normal Regular Meeting start time was originally 6.15pm, as it remains now.
In addition to its Masonic Meetings, the Lodge has for many years maintained an active calendar of social events, including its annual Ladies Festival.
The Lodge celebrated its Fiftieth Anniversary in the Millennium Year 2000 and continues as a very happy and healthy Lodge, with many distinguished Brethren having served as its Worshipful Master. It now looks forward to its Seventy Fifth Anniversary in 2025.