Allied Masonic Degrees of England and Wales and Districts and Councils Overseas
District Grand Council of Kent buffer The Order - An Introduction to the Allied Masonic Degrees
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A Brief History of the Order
St. Lawrence the Martyr St. Lawrence the Martyr
The vast majority of the ‘additional’ degrees worked in England in the early part of the nineteenth century originally came under the patronage of warrants granted by the ‘Antients’, who held that Craft Warrants entitled Lodges to work any Masonic degree to which they had knowledge and members available who could work it. Upon the formation of the United Grand Lodge various groups of degrees were gradually organised into separate Orders each with their own governing body.

By the end of that century a large number of unrelated Degrees of no direct interest to any Grand Body was still being worked in different parts of the country. In the late 1870’s it was agreed by the then Grand Secretaries of the Craft, Mark, and Ancient and Accepted Rite to establish a ‘Grand Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees in England and Wales and the Colonies and Dependencies of the British Crown’. The headquarters would be at Mark Masons’ Hall.

It was also agreed that no new body purporting to be a Masonic body could be legally established in England without the consent of the Governing Bodies of the Knights Templar, the Ancient and Accepted Rite, the Mark Masters, the Red Cross of Constantine, the Royal and Select Masters, and the new Grand Council; and that any new body established with such consent should be under the direction of the Grand Council. Thus was born Grand Council, which we know now as the Grand Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees of England and Wales and Districts, and Councils Overseas.

Constitution of the Grand Council
The Grand Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees was formally constituted in 1880 to bring under its direction all lodges of various orders which recognised no central authority and were not regulated by the other established governing bodies. Initially the degrees of Grand High Priest, St. Lawrence the Martyr, the Red Cross of Babylon and Knights of Constantinople placed themselves under the control of this body.

By 1897 the degrees of Grand Tilers of Solomon, one degree of the Secret Monitor and the Order of Holy Wisdom (Knight Templar Priest grades) had also been included. Eventually, however, in 1923 a Grand College of Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests or England was erected at Newcastle and the Allied Grand Council accordingly disclaimed control of this group of degrees. By 1931 the Grand Council had also relinquished control of its single degree of the Secret Monitor, and private Councils of the Order were hence forth empowered to confer the degrees, as listed below.

The Order Today
Having been Exalted into the Holy Royal Arch and Advanced into Mark Masonry, the Master Mason with a thirst for more knowledge and possessing an enquiring mind, will be faced with a number of opportunities for further Masonic advancement.

One of the most interesting and compelling discoveries are the five diverse and enjoyable Degrees comprising the Order of the Allied Masonic Degrees. Membership of this interesting and friendly Order initially requires only the Regalia of a single breast Jewel, after having successfully completed the five Degrees. The first 'working Degree' is St. Lawrence the Martyr. In which all normal Allied Masonic Degrees Council business is conducted.

The five Degrees undertaken are:
  • St. Lawrence the Martyr: With the ceremony centring on the 3rd Century martyrdom of Lawrence the Deacon, with lessons in fortitude and humility.
  • Knight of Constantinople: With the story of two Roman Nobles in the time of Emperor Constantine. It teaches the two haughty Romans Humility and Equality.
  • Grand Tilers of Solomon: With the story focusing on the secret precincts of King Solomon’s Temple and Intruders! It teaches the dangers of carelessness and hasty judgements.
  • Red Cross of Babylon: Seventy years after the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by Nebuchadnezzar. Babylon has fallen to the Persian Empire, under the rule of Cyrus and then Darius. Zerubbabel returns with the Israelites, but before he can begin building the second Temple, he needs a favour from a former friend.
  • Grand High Priest: Strictly speaking, an Order in its own right, spanning over 400 years from the Blessing of Abraham by Priest King Melchizedek to the Consecration of Aaron as High Priest. It is a truly outstanding ceremony.

Once the Degree of St Lawrence the Martyr has been taken, the remainder can be taken in any order and, indeed, in any Allied Masonic Degrees Council.

Structure and Qualification
In a Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees we find that the office structure varies from degree to degree as shown in the accompanying charter. The degree of St. Lawrence the Martyr is that in which all administrative work of the Order is carried out, where candidates are first admitted, and where the Installation of the Worshipful Master takes place. Prospective candidates for admission must hold the rank of Master Mason, Mark Master Mason and Royal Arch Mason. Councils of the Order are grouped under District Grand Councils which are administered by a District Grand Prefect, supported by an appropriate team of Officers.