Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests
Degree of the Fugitive Mark
Notes: Another side degree which has been adapted for use
within a ceremonial framework although, once again, the
ceremonial is minimal. The Lodge meets under a Worshipful
Master with two Wardens, a Conductor and Inner and Outer
Guards. Other than to perhaps demonstrate this working for
the purpose of exemplification, it would have little to
The degree has no formal Opening or Closing.
WM: I declare this Lodge of Fugitive Mark Masters open. Gives *.
WM: Brother Inner Guard, do any Masons await our pleasure?
IG: Worshipful Master, there is/are a Brother/Brethren who is/are desirous of being accepted as a Fugitive Mark-Man/Men. The Candidate will be deemed to be singular now.
WM: Brother Inner Guard, you will permit him to enter. Brother Conductor you will await his entrance. Cond. approaches the door and the IG opens it allowing the Cand. to enter.
Cond.: Worshipful Master, may I present Brother … who desires to be accepted as a Fugitive Mark-Man
WM: You will conduct Applicant to the altar. Cond. does so, placing the Cand. on the west side of the altar.
WM: Brother Applicant, you will raise your right hand and assent to this Pledge. All. Stand.
Do you solemnly promise that you will keep this part known as the Fugitive Mark, separate from other degrees of Masonry and that you will speak upon the secrets thereof to no one save he who is a Fugitive Mark-Man and that you will confer it upon no man unless you are acting as Worshipful Master of a Fugitive Mark Lodge, with no less than three Fugitive Mark-Men being present and, that if you receive the MARK of this degree you will immediately go to the sender and, if necessary, lend what assistance you can unto him, and that you will never lightly or frivolously send the MARK to anyone. This you promise under the penalty of having help refused to you when in the utmost need.
Cand.: I do.
WM: Then Brother, I will now instruct you in the secrets of this degree. The Sign is given by holding both hands in front of the face with the forefingers and thumbs together, the other fingers clenched, thus forming a triangle and relates to the emblem and symbol of the degree which is a triangle which is also set upon the apron, with which I now invest you. The MARK is a triangle in which the height is twice the length of the base and is drawn with the apex pointing to the road to be followed. The Word is APEX.
SW: The Paper Summons or MARK is made by folding a piece of paper in triangular form as just described, and sending this bearing no written word. This degree was much used in bygone days when our Brothers suffered persecution at the hands of both the priestly and secular orders, and although living, as we do, in a free country, where to be counted as a Mason is no mean honour, and one to which the highest and the best aspire, the time has been, and indeed in some countries yet, when bigotry and intolerance used every effort at their command to injure our beloved institution.
It was during such times of intolerance and persecution that our ancient brethren instituted this degree.
When one brother made an appointment with another, and, forced to leave because of his enemies, then made a triangle, not equilateral, with chalk or other marker. The other brother on seeing the mark followed in the direction of the point of the triangle and on coming upon an house with a triangle pointing in, he would then enter.
This form of summons, called by our forbears a Blank Mark, was also the manner in which they made themselves known to each other. They could pass a paper folded in this manner between themselves and should it fall into the wrong hands there was no danger because there was no written word upon the paper.
But a Fugitive Mark man upon receiving such a summons from another, immediately knew that the sender was a brother who was seeking advice or assistance, and he would immediately go to his aid.
Again our ancient brethren, perhaps weary with travel and perhaps pressed by the enemies of the Brotherhood, could find themselves resting in a strange inn. There may well be others in the room and they may wonder if among these men there could be fellow Mark Men. To find this out a Brother would catch the eye of stranger and draw upon the table the shape of a triangle with the apex pointing toward himself. If the other was a brother, he would also make a similar mark with point towards himself or, give the sign as before described making the triangle with his hands. If he was not of the Brotherhood, then nothing was lost but if he was, then having trust in each other, both brothers could then safely converse together.
To such measures were our forebears sometimes forced and while honouring them for the constancy with which they held their rights, we also should be thankful that we live in a country where a Mason may never be afraid to own his identity with the Craft.
SW and Cand. return to their seats and the JW rises and approaches the Cand.
JW: Bro. Mark Man, let us now exchange the Sign and Word and if all proves well, it shall be my pleasure to sit you among your equals.
This being satisfactorily done, the JW walks the Cand. to a vacant chair and then resumes his own place.
WM: There being nothing further, the Lodge is closed.