Masonic Orders beyond the Craft
By the solemn Act of Union between the two Grand Lodges of Free-Masons of England in December 2013, it was 'declared and pronounced that pure Antient Masonry consists of three degrees and no more, viz., those of the Entered Apprentice, the Fellow Craft, and the Master Mason, including the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch.
So states the Book of Constitutions as a Preliminary Declaration when setting out the General Laws and Regulations for the Government of the Craft.
The Provincial Grand Lodge of Wiltshire enjoys the most cordial of relationships with all of the recognised Masonic Orders beyond the Craft and indeed, many Brethren in the Province are active members of one or more of the Orders shown below.
Holy Royal Arch
The Holy Royal Arch is often referred to as Chapter.
You are permitted to seek admission into the Royal Arch after one month as a Craft Master Mason.
The origins of the Holy Royal Arch can be traced to the first half of the 18th century.
Operative Masonry had only recognised the two distinctions of the Entered Apprentice and the Fellow Craftsman. Shortly after the formation of the Premier Grand Lodge in London in 1717 several eminent Members of the Royal Society (the Nobel prize winners of their day) reworked the 'traditional history' of the operative Masons into the series of speculative morality plays that we know today as the three Degrees which includes that of a Master Mason.
It was soon realised that there was a component missing; hinted at in the Third degree closing and especially at the end of the Master Mason's ritual. In order to fill this void an additional morality play was required. We know this story today as the Holy Royal Arch.
For more information on Holy Royal Arch, please contact your Royal Arch representative or the Provincial Grand Scribe Ezra: Vince Delderfield, or the Provincial Communication Officer, Mark Fuller.
Mark Master Mason
The Order is commonly referred to as Mark Masonry.
As a Master Mason you will have some knowledge of the building of King Solomon's Temple. As a Mark Master Mason you will learn how it was built including the problems associated with its construction and the attention given to ensuring the quality of its construction was second to none.
The Mark Degree is open to all Master Masons. The Order is generally perceived to be more informal than the Craft and there is no doubt that among Mark Master Masons you will ever find friends.
The ceremony of admission is called 'advancement' and chronologically the degree follows that of Fellow Craft.
The Mark Degree assists new and indeed long serving members alike, to gain experience in Freemasonry, and thus make their mark, without first having been installed in the Craft Chair
The order is frequently referred to as Rose Croix, but its proper title is The Ancient and Accepted Rite.
The Order was established in France in 1754 and steadily prospered and in 1801 a Supreme Council was formed in the USA.
The Supreme Council for England and Wales was established in 1845 under a patent from the Supreme Council of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the United States of America.
The Rite consists of 33 Degrees entirely separate and distinct from any other Order. The three Craft Degrees are accepted as equivalent to the first three Degrees of this Rite. Candidates for Perfection are taken from the 4º to 17º by name only, prior to being made Excellent and Perfect Princes Rose Croix in a detailed and beautiful 18º ceremony.
For more information on the Order of The Ancient and Accepted Rite, please contact the District Recorder: Larry Baldry or visit the website
Or, to give the Order its full title, The United Religious, Military and Masonic Orders of the Temple and of St John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta in England and Wales and Provinces Overseas
The Order was first worked in England in 1777, having probably originated in France.
There are two Degrees: Knights Templar and Knights of Malta, these being joined by a ‘passing’ Degree of Knight of St. Paul.
A candidate for the first Degree is in the position of a pilgrim travelling symbolically through hardship and dangers until he is received as a Knight. It teaches humility and urges the candidate to live his life as a Christian Knight.
The second Degree deals with the period when the Knights travelled from Palestine to reach their final home in Malta, emphasising their Christian virtues.
For more information on the Order of Knight Templar contact the Vice-Chancellor: Terry Jessop or visit the website
Royal Ark Mariner
Only Mark Master Masons are eligible to become Royal Ark Mariners (often referred to by the acronym, RAM).
The Degree teaches the importance of family strength and the need for all members of society to play their part for the benefit of all. The Degree of Royal Ark Mariner (RAM), although worked under the aegis of the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons, has no real historical connection with the Mark Degree.
In essence, the Royal Ark Mariner Degree stands alone and, is entirely unrelated to any other Masonic Degree. The Degree is both inspiring and beautiful.
There is only one ceremony of “elevation”, and this is relatively short, usually taking less than an hour to undertake.
The order is commonly referred to as OSM but its proper title is Order of The Secret Monitor.
The Order, which is based on the remarkable friendship between David and Jonathan, possibly originated in Scotland, was taken to New York and then to England in the late 18th century.
For a time the Order came under the aegis of the Grand Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees. The Order is administered from Mark Masons’ Hall.
For more information on the Order of The Secret Monitor, contact the Provincial Grand Recorder: Laurie Brookes