The Independent Magazine for Freemasons
By: John Mandleberg
The name Morton Edwards is a name not as familiar to Mark Masons in general or Royal Ark Mariners in particular as it ought to be.
If it is known at all, it is in the context that in 1884 he sold whatever rights he had, or purported to have, in the Degree of Royal Ark Mariner to the Grand Mark Lodge for the sum of £25. Sadly the receipt for that historic transaction which used to hang in the lobby of Mark Masons’ Hall is long gone!
At long last that eminent Masonic historian John Mandleberg has put the record straight, in a very full book which carries his hallmark of being highly researched and ensuring that no detail, however minor, has been omitted.
The book charts the roller-coaster life of Morton Edwards who, born in 1834, married young, had an affair which produced half a dozen children, and studied with many of the leading sculptors in London. Fortunate to escape a charge of ‘conspiracy to defraud’ in the matter of a will, he was on several occasions declared bankrupt. However, he still found time to join the Craft, to be advanced as a Mark Master Mason, and was given the task of re-instating the Ark Mariner Degree. In 1885 Edwards crossed the Atlantic with his third wife and baby son, settling in California, where he died destitute in 1917.
Edwards’ involvement with the Ark Mariner brought him into contact with the Mark Masonic establishment, not least Canon Portal. John Mandleberg’s investigations lead one to believe that the establishment did not deal with Edwards in an entirely sympathetic or indeed in a Masonic manner.
The development of the Order and its inter-relationship with the Mark degree have been examined and researched with meticulous care and precision: to the extent that anybody with an interest in the early history and beginnings of the Ark Mariner as a self-standing Masonic Order in England will find this book indispensible.
All profits will be donated to the Mark Benevolent Fund
Publisher: Supreme Council 33o, Southern Jurisdiction, USA
ISBN: 978 0 9708749 8 6