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G.3.4 Mark Masonry Degree

The ceremony represents events that took place during the construction of the Solomon’s Temple and the candidate is assumed to play the role of a Fellowcraft Freemason (Second Degree Craft Mason). He walks with two other workmen presenting his work for approval by the Junior, Senior and Master overseers who are standing at the South, West and East gates. The works of the two workmen are approved but the candidate’s work, a small keystone, leads to discussion. The Junior and Senior Overseers let it go through, although they do not see its use, but the Master Overseer rejects it and has it thrown away. He even wants to kill the candidate but the other presents put in a plea of mercy for him. The workmen receive their wages, and the candidate too put his hand through a small hole known as the “Wicket”. Once more there are strong objections; some say that his hand should be cut, but again he is saved following another leniency plea. In the meantime the construction work of the temple has stopped for the lack of a small keystone similar to that presented by the candidate, and thrown away. The candidate finds it, the arch can be locked together, and the candidate is then made a Mark Mason and is given a mark (a small symbol) that will be his trademark. Rosslyn chapel has hundred of mason marks carved in it. William St Clair invented the First Degree of Craft Masonry and the Mark Mason Degree to give his operative stonemasons a code of conduct and an involvement in the secret, without telling them the great secret of living resurrection that was reserved for Speculative Masons. With this he thought that he would gain their confidence, loyalty and fidelity, and that they would keep his secrets for themselves. The standard Masons (or Apprentices) working on Rosslyn site were paid £10-a-year and the Mark Masons received £40-a-year. Both classes of Craftsmen thought that they were rebuilding King Solomon’s Temple, but they did not know why. However it was really Herod’s Temple that they were rebuilding. Both grades were told the secret of the kingly or Boaz pillar, and the Mark Masons were told the importance of the keystone of the arch. None of them however were told the secret of the priestly pillar, or the significance of the twin pillars and the keystone combined; none was raised by living resurrection to the rank of a speculative Master Mason. These last secrets were reserved for the philosophers or speculative masons among the William St Clair.