An Honorary and Invitational Body Dedicated to Masonic Research


Ye Ancient Order of Corks

Ye Antient Order of Noble Corks also known as The Cork, is an informal degree allied to Freemasonry. It is described as "fun". Distinctly nautical in form, its membership is open to Master Masons in good standing who are either a companion in the Holy Royal Arch or a Warden, Master or Past Master of a craft Lodge. The Cork or Corks is derived from the organization's emblem of a cork with a corkscrew inserted at an angle. Membership is not onerous—the only costs on top of membership being dining fees, drinks, etc. The idea and aim being to raise money for children's charities, and with Corkies having fun in so doing.

Origins and Degree of The Cork

The origins of the degree are unknown, the ritual is satirical and based around the era of Noah and the great flood.

Candidates can be proposed and initiated on the same night. Compared with Masonic meetings, dress is informal - as meetings tend to be boisterous affairs, in good spirits. The ritual and initiation part takes up the first part of the evening, followed by festivities that are “closer to a Scottish Harmony than an English Festive Board”. Hats are worn during the meeting, with head-gear style being of personal choice - the sillier, the better.

All lodge officers have naval titles, roughly equating to the Officers in a craft Lodge, with jewels of the office being borne on strings of corks:

  • Rather Worshipful Admiral
  • Uncommonly Worshipful Mate
  • Highly Worshipful Purser
  • Hardly Worshipful Lookout
  • Nearly Rather Worshipful Vice Admiral
  • Undoubtedly Ship's Writer
  • Little Less Worshipful Doctor
  • Barely Worshipful Cook
  • Mainly Worshipful Bosun
  • Particularly Worthy Screw
  • Almost Worthy Carpenter
  • Particularly Worthy Shipmate

The Cork tradition is stronger in Scotland than elsewhere and there the Cork Lodges come under the supervision of Royal Arch Masonry. In the US, it forms an informal part of the Allied Masonic Degrees. In England there is no formal organization.

August 29, 2012: From Timothy L'Estrange, The Fleet Board of Corks, London:

  • "Please note that this information is incorrect [strike out above]. Cork Masonry here in England is under the control of the "Great Board of Corks," over which the "Great Admiral" presides. The current holder of this office is Brother Rodney Staines. The Great Board is closely associated wiht the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons, but not controlled by it."
  • "Officially sanctioned Boards (lodges) of Corks are warranted by the Great Board. There are at least three so-called "independent" Cork lodges in England, not under the control of the Great Board, but the vast majority of English Cork Masons are under the Great Board, and belong to one of its daughter boards. The information on this subject on Wikipedia is very accurate."

[Thank you TImothy L'Estrange for this correction!]