- ELLIOTT MARK LODGE, No. 169, meeting at the Queen Victoria Masonic Hall, St. Budeaux, Plymouth (Keystone Lodge) – Date of Warrant – 1873.
- ROYAL ARK MARKINERS SINCERITY, No. 35, meeting at the Queen Victoria Masonic Hall, St. Budeaux, Plymouth (Keystone Lodge) – Date of Warrant – 25th September 1873.
- ST. PETER’S MARK LODGE, No. 187, meeting at the Masonic Hall, Tiverton (Double Keystone Lodge) – Date of Warrant – 8th June 1875.
- DEVON MARK LODGE, No. 215, meeting at the Masonic Hall, Newton Abbot (Keystone Lodge) – Date of Warrant – January 1878.
- THE BENEVOLENT MARK LODGE, No. 316, meeting at the Masonic Hall, Teignmouth (Triple Keystone Lodge) – Date of Warrant – 1st March 1883.
- JORDAN MARK LODGE, No. 319, meeting at the Masonic Temple, Torquay (Keystone Lodge) – Date of Warrant – 31st March 1883.
- DE LA POLE MARK LODGE, No. 372, meeting at the Masonic Hall, Seaton (Keystone Lodge) – Date of Warrant – 1st December 1886.
- THE MARK LODGE OF ST. GEORGE, No. 383, meeting at the Manadon Masonic Hall, Crownhill, Plymouth (Double Keystone Lodge) – Date of Warrant – 12th July 1887.
By the end of 1872, 15 years after the Province of Devonshire was established, Mark Masonry was continuing to expand, the Provincial Grand Master, W Bro Rev John Huyshe, 72 years of age, with his health declining, decided to retire.
He had for the previous 15 years carried the burden of work and travel to which he had committed himself as Provincial Grand Master in the Mark Degree with fourteen lodges, as Provincial Grand Master in the Craft with forty two lodges and as Provincial Head of Royal Arch with its seven chapters.
On 1st January 1873, the Grand Master appointed Col John Tanner Davy, JP, as the Provincial Grand Master.
The new PGM had as his Deputy, W Bro Col John Elliott, CB, CMG, a serving Officer in the Royal Marines.
W Bro Elliott has the unusual honour of having a Mark Lodge bearing his name, consecrated during his own lifetime.
The Elliot Mark Lodge, No. 169, was warranted in 1873, it meets in St. Budeaux, Plymouth.
R W Bro Davy and W Bro Elliott together made an enthusiastic and energetic combination during the 15 years that R W Bro Davy was the Provincial Grand Master; up until 1887 seven further lodges were warranted together with one Royal Ark Mariner Lodge, RAM Sincerity No. 35.
The seven Mark Lodges were Elliott Mark Lodge No. 169, St. Peter’s Mark Lodge No. 187, Devon Mark Lodge No. 215, Benevolent Mark Lodge No. 316, Jordan Mark Lodge No. 319, De La Pole Mark Lodge No. 372 and the Mark Lodge of St. George No. 383.
At the same time the Royal Ark Mariner Degree, among a number of others, as floundering until, in 1871, Grand Mark Lodge agreed to afford its protection.
The year 1883 saw the discovery of the “Sidmouth Stone”, the most exciting yet mystifying Mark find ever made in the Province .... it helps to confirm just when the Degree was in practise.
The lettering on the stone signifies that it is Mark Masonry and a clue to its origin is the number 268; this was the number of Perseverance Craft Lodge in 1814. The Lodge moved from Stonehouse, Plymouth, to Devonport, Plymouth, then on to Exmouth, ending up in Sidmouth.
At some point it was rejected and later found at a sale of furniture belonging to a Mr Samuel Chick by Bro Richard Passmore of Perseverance Craft Lodge in 1883.
Having acquired it, Bro Passmore did not appreciate its true significance and he left it in his workshop until the completion of the Masonic Hall in 1890 He took it to the Hall where it lay on a shelf outside the Lodge Room for almost 40 years, eventually arousing the interest of Bro J H R Wotton, W Master of the Mark Degree in 1935; it was his enquiries which revealed as much as is known up to the present time. There have been many theories advanced in the explanation of it’s significance, but the saga is by no means over ... will we ever come closer to solving the mystery?
The Annual Provincial Grand Lodge meeting held under the Banner of the Elliott Mark Lodge No. 169, at the Masonic Hall, East Stonehouse, on 24th November 1874, revealed that the Provincial Grand Master had informed Grand Lodge that the term of office for which he had been appointed (one year) had expired. He requested the Members of Provincial Grand Lodge to express their wishes on the subject.
The members obviously made their wishes very clear as John Tanner Davy remained in his exalted position until his untimely death in 1887.
From the very early years of Mark Grand Lodge, the Grand Master appreciated the necessity for contact with the rank and file membership throughout the Province. It was very difficult, if not impossible, for brethren to travel to London for the half-yearly Convocations, due to slow transport and a long working week; Quarterly meetings of Grand Lodge began in 1891.
The answer was to hold one meeting a year in the Provinces to enable members to attend and, in doing so, to come to appreciate how Grand Lodge functioned.
Accordingly St. George Lodge No. 15 extended an invitation to Grand Lodge, one that was accepted ... the meeting took place on Wednesday 6th August 1884.
At 4 p.m. the Earl of Kintore, KT, GCMG, PC, entered the Royal Public Rooms in Exeter.
Col John Tanner Davy, the Provincial Grand Master, in welcoming the Grand Master, expressed the gratification felt by Mark Master Masons of Devonshire at the selection of the Province for the first moveable Grand Lodge held under his jurisdiction.
In turn, the Grand Master expressed his pleasure in accepting the invitation and in the very warm way in which he had been received.
At this time there were twenty one Lodges in the Province with over four hundred members
Unfortunately only one set of minutes survived in the archives of Provincial Grand Lodge Meetings held during the period that John Tanner Davy was the head of the Province .... these record the Provincial Meeting held at the Masonic Hall, Devonport under the banner of Friendship Mark Lodge No. 16 in 1885.
During the year 1885 the sum of one guinea (£1.10) was spent preparing “addresses of condolences” to their Most Gracious Majesty and the Duchess of Connaught. This referred to the untimely death of Queen Victoria’s youngest son, the Duke of Albany, who was the first member of the Royal Family to be associated with the Mark Degree.
His Royal Highness consented to become a Past Grand Master and was accordingly installed in December 1881. At a special meeting of Grand Lodge held on the 30th October 1883, he occupied the throne and advances his brother, the Prince of Wales, who was then installed into the chair of Adoniram by the Grand Master and was later appointed to the rank of Past Grand Master.
Provincial Grand Lodge decided to buy a banner, up to a cost of £10. The design was left to the Provincial Grand Master, his Deputy, the Grand Chaplain and W Bro Vincent Bird. It can only be assumed that the banner was purchased for the minutes for the following three crucial years are missing.
The death of R W Bro Col John Tanner Davy in 1887, came as a great shock throughout the Province. His earthly pilgrimage over, and, on a bier, his friends conveyed his oak coffin along the tree-lined path to Rose Ash Church, in the very heart of the Devonshire countryside. After the service, he was laid to rest in a spot where eternal peace reigns.
A few years later, two memorials were erected by the Mark Master Masons of the Province.
The first is set in the exterior of the South wall of the Church ... it is engraved “This stone was laid in Open Lodge by the Deputy Provincial Grand Mark Master of Devon in memory of Bro John Tanner Davy, Lieutenant Colonel and JP, the late Grand Master of the Premier Provincial Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons of Devon, who died April 19th 1887, and lies buried near this spot”.
Within the Church on the North wall there is a mounted brass tablet which bears the inscription: In Fraternal Memory of John Tanner Davy, JP (Lt Col First Devon Militia) Fourteen Years Provincial Grand Mark Master Mason of Devonshire, who was called to rest 19th April, AD 1887, AL 5887.
A tribute of sincere respect and affectionate esteem erected by Mark Master Masons of Devonshire.
“To him that overcometh will I give a white stone and in this stone a new name written which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth”. Rev XI, 17. Under this tablet is a white marble keystone bearing the mark of an arrow pointing towards Heaven.
The grave, surrounded by low decorative iron railings, has a granite cross on a treble plinth and a cross of ever-green box hedging.
RW Bro John Tanner Davy was 67 years of age.