Province of the Channel Islands
History of the Province
The idea of a combined Province of Mark Master Masons of the Channel Islands first surfaced around 1933. Amongst the papers in a book of dues belonging to the Caesarean Lodge of Mark Master Masons No 74, were a number of letters addressed by Bro C.Gardner-Vatcher to the Lodge Secretary. In the following extracts from two of the letters, he details the current thinking on the subject.
What I think would be more to the point and would be acclaimed by Grand Lodge if only our present Provincial Grand Master in the Craft could be induced to become Provincial Grand Master of a combined Province of Jersey and Guernsey. Some years ago when about to cross for a Provincial Grand Lodge at Jersey, I had an interview with the Mark Grand Lodge Secretary who hearing of my intended visit suggested my sounding RW the Provincial Grand Master of Jersey as to whether he would not undertake the Mark Provincial Grand Mastership of the two islands of Jersey and Guernsey. At the same time the Mark Grand Secretary did not tell me that some correspondence on the subject had already been interchanged and turned down by the Provincial Grand Master. The PGM was very angry with me for bringing the matter up again.
When the Royal and Select Masters Lodge - La Hougue Bie Council No 157 was mooted in 1988, the founders held a dinner at La Buca restaurant in St.Helier. Present were M.Ill.Comp T.W.Howard, Grand Master Royal & Select Masters, RW.Bro P.Glyn Williams, Grand Secretary and RW.Bro Col.R.K.Hind, Deputy Grand Master of Mark Master Masons. During that dinner, views were asked of the Jersey brethren on the formation of a Channel Islands Province of Mark Master Masons. The following March, the Grand Master, MW Bro His Royal Highness, Prince Michael of Kent decided that such a Province should be formed. W.Bro D.G.Perrin was invited to become the first Provincial Grand Master.
On the 28th September 1989 the new Province was constituted by the Pro Grand Master, MW.Bro The Rt.Hon The Lord Swansea at the Masonic Temple in St.Peter Port Guernsey in front of 116 brethren including distinguished representatives from a large number of other Provinces. After the constitution of the Provincial Grand Lodge, W.Bro D.G.Perrin was obligated, invested and installed as the Provincial Grand Master. He addressed the brethren -
Attempts have been made in the past to form a Province of the Channel Islands comprising Craft lodges, but the success of those ventures has either been short-lived or the attempts have been totally abortive. Now of course, it is for us, the members of this new Province, to ensure that there is no repetition of those earlier failures and I am very mindful of the especial responsibility which now devolves upon me and my Deputy and indeed every one of the Brethren invested today with Provincial Grand Rank, in guarding against such an eventuality. This is certainly one instance where we would not want history to repeat itself.
Donations towards the new Mark Province exceeded £5,000 with the result that it commenced life with a healthy bank balance. Immediately a benevolent fund was commenced, and it can be recorded that the Channel Islands, one of the smallest Provinces, achieved fifth position of all Provinces in their donations to the Mark Benevolent Fund. The Provincial Grand Master marked his first year with a visit to every Mark Lodge in the Province, and was well supported by Provincial Grand Lodge. Within the first year a stained glass window bearing the Provincial emblem, was sponsored and installed in the north side of the Grand Temple at Mark Masons Hall, at St.James' Street, London.