The Allied Masonic Degrees are an invitational organization, and requires membership in the Royal Arch Chapter as well as the Symbolic Lodge. Membership is limited to 27 members per Council. The Grand Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees of the United States of America shall control and superintended the following grades with descriptions below.

Evidence of the Grade of Royal Ark Mariner appears in Masonic records at a very early date and the very abundance of data is to be considered as detrimental, rather than helpful. To even approximate the earliest working of the Grade is impossible and legend of such a working must suffice at this time.

In his Constitutions of 1733, Dr. James Anderson mentioned that we should all conduct ourselves as sons of Noah (or Noachidæ). There are many who assume that this is a reference to an Ark ceremony, but this study is neutral. It is possible, though hardly probable; the question depends upon what might be termed the date of the speculative Grades.

Further, in some quarters it is a more or less accepted theory that the Ark and Anchor with which we are so familiar in the Craft are but indications of an ancient Ark ceremony of yesteryears. It is assumed that an ancient Grade relating to the Deluge was discontinued and the symbols thereof incorporated into the lectures of the Craft. This theory, likewise, is possible, but the present study does not either accept or deny the possibility of such a theory.

On page 108, Vol. VI, A.Q.C., Bro. W. J. Hughan mentions two very old brasses of the “Ancient Stirling Lodge,” of Scotland. At the top of one of the brasses appears a crude Ark and Dove, under which is “Redd Cros or Ark;” below this drawing are other drawings, illustrating “Knights of Malta” and “Night Templer,” and probably the Royal Arch. While these brasses have been assigned a date so early as the seventeenth century, Bro. Hughan does not concur therein; he suggests that they are mid-eighteenth century, which appears more reasonable. Thus, without dates, some evidence is indicated of an early working of the Ark ceremony. The mention of the Ark Grade in intimate connection with the old Red Cross appears to have been quite usual in the eighteenth century.

On a certificate issued from “the High Priest of the Grand Chapter of Knights of the Red Cross and Noachidas,” held under sanction of Lodge No. 271 (Irish Constitution), is “dated in Limerick 27th February, 1790, and of the Order of the Red Cross, 2326°.”

In the “History and Description of the Town and Borough of Ipswich,” G. R. Clarke, 1830, we find (pages 116-117) a paragraph quoted under the date of 17th of June 1790. It states in part: “…a person of the name of Noah Sibley, a man of some parts and oratory, estabalished a club or society, at a house in St. Clement’s, purporting to be a particular branch of Freemasonry, called the Good Samaritan, or the Ark Masons … their public exhibitions were attended with much ceremony in their various processions through the different streets of the town, when a model of Noah’s Ark, and a variety of insignia and banners were displayed.”
Another early reference to the Grade is found in the “Freemason’s Magazine,” for 1794 (vol. iii, p. 147): “Aug. 16, Being the birthday of his Royal Highness the Duke of York, it was celebrated with all the honours of Masonry by the Order of Knights Templars resident at London, united with the Society of Antient Masons of the Diluvian Order, or Royal Ark and Mark Mariners, assembled at the Surry Tavern in the Strand, by summons from Thomas Dunckerley, Esq., Grand Master and Grand Commander of those United Orders.”

There are also early references in America, but these we omit.
The Grade of Royal Ark Mariner is today worked under two authorities, other than in this country: (1) In Scotland the Grade is worked in a Lodge attached to a Royal Arch Chapter under control of Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter, and (2) in England it is worked in a Lodge, attached to a Mark Lodge, and under the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons, of that country.

The Ritual of the Grade used by the Grand Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees of the United States of America, is the same as that worked today in Scotland. The legend is of the Deluge and it is both beautiful and instructive. There is one other variation, peculiar to the defunct Grand Sovereign College, and thus to the “Time Immemorial” Councils. It is referred to loosely as the Degree of Royal Ark Mariner, or more accurately, by its members, as the Degree of Ark and Dove. It is a corruption of the English variant of the Grade, with numerous modifications and additions, including an oath of temperance toward alcohol. It could be conferred upon any Master Mason, thereby displaying a further deviation from the English variant. By the terms of Union between the Grand Council and Grand Sovereign College, the latter’s councils retained the right to confer this variation. This Degree was thus propagated and abused, the Josiah Drummond Council, No. 1 going so far as to invite in any Master Mason and confer the Degree upon him with any regards to petitioning or investigating the individual elevated. This abuse only ceased with the disbanding of the council in 1998. The remaining “Time Immemorial” councils have chosen to exemplify the Scottish Ritual of the Grand Council. Seven councils of the Grand Council still maintain the right of conferring the Grade upon any Royal Arch Mason, by virtue of holding separate Charters of Royal Ark Mariner Lodges. All other councils are considered to have a Royal Ark Mariner Lodge moored to their respective councils, and may confer the Grade only upon members of the Allied Masonic Degrees.

The Jewel of the Grade is a silver Rainbow. Suspended from the inner upper edge of the rainbow is a silver Dove, bearing an olive-branch. The Jewel is suspended from a ribbon containing the colors of the Rainbow.

The Apron of the Grade is white, bordered with a rainbow colored edge, and having three rosettes of rainbow colored ribbon, two at the lower corners of the apron, and one centered on the flap. Some councils still use the apron prescribed in early rituals, which is of a ram’s fleece, wool side worn out.

The Sash of the Grade is approximately four inches in width, light green; or rainbow colored, and worn from the right shoulder and resting on the left hip.

As early as 1778 there was a society in Holland known as the Order of Jonathan and David, which probably furnished the germ for the origin of the American Grade now known as Secret Monitor. In his “Catalogue,” Kloss gives the title of a book published in 1778 at Amsterdam which gives the statutes and formula of reception of the early Dutch society. This Dutch society became Masonic, no doubt, as there is mention of it in connection with Freemasonry in that country at a date just later than the above mentioned. On page 162, Vol. v. A.Q.C., there is, in addition to the other Dutch Masonic data, the following statement: “From the foregoing documents it is not possible to determine whence they issued or derived their authority. The names, however, of De La Garde, Bergh, Dalmencourt, De Consalvin, are to be found on old documents and certificates issued by a Chapter named ‘Jesus,’ and another called ‘Jonathan and David,’ of Avignon, France, in 1788.

“The Bro. Bolt who was thus authorized to erect Chapters of the Rosy Cross, was also empowered to constitute Chapters of the United Orders of Jonathan and David, and Jesus Christ, by a document of which the following is a part.

“Les Grand-Maitres plènipotentairees des ordres, fraternels et confèderès de Jonathan et David et Jesus Christ, au nom et sous l’auspice et la tolèrance mysterieuse de Sa Saintetè, Pius Pontife Sourverain! Magistre Suprème at Oecumenique! Serviteurs de Dieu! par la clemence divine …”

The birth of the Masonic Grade of Secret Monitor appears to have occurred in the United States, where it was worked for many years under various titles—“Brotherly Love,” “Jonathan and David” and finally “Secret Monitor.” Its first appearance seems to have been in 1850, in which there is clear mention of the Grade.

The Grade was one of the many so-called “side degrees” which were worked throughout America during the last half of the nineteenth century. It was usually conferred—by communication—by one Mason upon another, without fee and no record being made of the event. Too, many Lecturers conferred the Grade and thus it spread into most of the States.

Sometime near the close of the nineteenth century, Dr. Issachar Zacharie carried the Grade from America over to England. There, a Body was created to administer over the Grade, termed a Supreme Council. The Grade was rearranged into three ceremonies: (1) That of Induction, (2) The Assembly of Princes, and (3) The Installation of a Supreme Ruler.

Early records of the working of the Grade are scarce in this country, due to the fact that it was worked as a “side degree” and no Minutes were kept. However, in Scotland, the Early Grand Rite secured a version of this American Grade and incorporated it into their multifarious System. It there formed the Sixteenth Degree and was worked under the title “Order of Brotherly Love.” A copy of the Ritual of that Rite (dated 1890), in the Archives of the Grand Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees of the United States of America, shows a very weak and insignificant Ritual-ceremony, hardly worthy of consideration.

The Jewel of the Grade was originally a hackle surmounted by a crown, in gold. This was worn suspended from a ribbon, black in the center, bordered on either side with white, the ribbon being surmounted by a gold bow. The Jewel of the Order is now that used by the English Ritual, which is two interlaced triangles, superimposed upon three arrows, and containing the letters “D” and “J,” in gold. The Jewel is worn as a breast Jewel.

The Apron of the Grade is black, edged with white border. In the center a hackle is embroidered in white while on the flap is an ear, likewise embroidered in white. With the adoption of the English Ritual, the apron is no longer worn.

When a Collar of the Grade is worn, it should be of purple silk, approximately four inches in width. However, in this country the Collar, or the Apron, were never worn, except when a Council fully exemplified the Grade.

The actual date when this ritual was introduced is not known, but is believed to have been worked in England over two centuries ago. It has been generally accepted that the degree is remnants of an old operative ceremony originating from Lancashire and designed to distinguish true craftsmen from speculative masons. While the degree has little Masonic connection to the Hiramic legend, its interesting legend relates to the martyrdom of St. Lawrence who was afterwards canonized for his fidelity and Christian attributes. However, little of an authentic nature can be said regarding this. Records of the Grade anywhere are extremely rare, and no real early Minute has appeared to shed light on its origins. If this Grade was actually worked in Lancashire, which was near to Grand Lodge activity, it does seem that records would be available and something a bit more definite obtainable. The main lesson of the degree is fortitude.

The ceremony relates neither to the First or Second Temple, nor to Masonic Chivalry. It is interesting in its simplicity and has a little-heard-of legend, which is pleasing to examine and of merit. The very peculiarity of the Grade marks it different and is perhaps the ground upon which the operative origin is claimed.

The actual figure of St. Lawrence is a shadowy figure of the early Roman church. It has been said of the traditional stories about St. Lawrence that they portray, not the man, but the ‘typical figure of a martyr’. It is known that he was one of the seven deacons of Rome, and that he was martyred there four days after Pope Sixtus II (also canonized) in 258 AD. He was allegedly buried in the cemetery on the road to Tivoli, where the church of St. Lawrence-outside-the-Walls now stands. Traditional legend claims his martyrdom was being put to death by being roasted on a grid. It is more likely that in fact he was beheaded, as St. Sixtus was. Scholars are not wholly in agreement about how much credence can be given to such particulars about St. Lawrence as are given by St. Ambrose, the poet Prudentius, and others. His veneration dates from the fourth century, and he was considered as one of the most famous martyrs of the city of Rome. With St. Sixtus he is named in the canon of the Roman Mass. His feast day is 10 August. His emblem is a gridiron.

This Grade is the administrative Degree that English and European Councils work in when transacting and conducting business. It is the only Grade of these councils that also has a chair Degree, that of Installed Worshipful Master. New members receive this Grade upon reception into an Allied Masonic Degree council, generally along with the Degrees of Knight of Constantinople and Grand Tiler of Solomon. Miniature jewels for the various Degrees are worn on the left breast, a miniature jewel being added for each additional Degree. While a member may not receive all the Grades of the Allied Masonic Degrees, he must be in possession of the Grade of St. Lawrence the Martyr in order to be seated in the Council meetings.

While this Grade is known to have been worked in the United States as early as 1831, its actual origin is unknown. In 1865, Major F. G. Irwin introduced this Grade to several English Brethren in Devonport, England. Amongst those who received the ceremony at that time was Brother W. J. Hughan, the noted Masonic writer. Hughan states that Brother Irwin received the Grade in Malta and organized it in Devonport and Plymouth, in both of which places it was worked many years after the England Grand Council, A.M.D., was formed. In America, records are available as early as January 14th, 1892.

There is a bare possibility that the Knight of Constantinople is traceable, in legend, to the same source as, or directly from, the Red Cross of Constantine. This is stated in face of the fact that the two Grades have nothing in common save the characters found in each. Yet, it appears likely that a knowledge of these two characters in a Masonic setting would be necessary for the invention of the Knight of Constantinople. The Ritual attempts to connect the legendary Constantine with the Masonic fraternity; it also incorporates a suggestion of operative influence in an extensive lecture that also imbues the lesson of justice.

The Ritual of the Grade teaches a beautiful lesson in humility and universal equality and should be carefully studied by every Brother of the Allied Masonic Degrees. The Ritual is the same as that now used in England.

The Jewel of the Grade is a Maltese Cross, surmounted by a Crescent, in gold, suspended from a green ribbon, on which are three poignards, in gold. This Jewel, like the others, is to be worn as a breast jewel.

The Apron of the Grade is white, trimmed with green, having a Maltese Cross surmounted by a Crescent in the center, while on the flap appears the three poignards, all of which is in green.

This interesting Grade was formerly known under the title of: “Masons Elect of the Twenty-Seven” or “Select Masons of the 27,” and is found in many different countries, although records are by no means abundant. There can be little doubt that this Grade and the Grade of “Select Master” owe their origin to a common source. In his “Masonic Orations,” published in 1803, Frederick Dalcho mentions that in addition to the regular degrees of the Scottish Rite, they possessed many detached degrees and among those mentioned is “Select Masters of 27.” Elsewhere there is mention of “Select Masons of the 27,” etc., indicating that the Grade which we now work as “Grand Tilers of Solomon” is of very close resemblance to the present-day “Select Master.”

Early evidence of the Grade is contained in “History of the Cryptic Rite,” where is reproduced a diploma issued by Moses Cohn to Abraham Jacobs, dated November 9th, 1790, which, in addition to some of the regular Grades of the Rite of Perfection, mentions the “Select Mason of Twenty-seven.” There are also other references to such a Grade at an early date.

The Jamaica Ritual, purporting to have been used by Morin in the West Indies in the eighteenth century, is yet available for study and indicates a close adherence to the present working of the Allied Grade, while at the same time it indicates a direct line to the Select Master. However, following the trend of thought here introduced, the origin of the one Grade would be the birth of the other and the two Grades, while somewhat different today, indicated formerly one Grade. The Allied Grade merely holds to older working and has not been amplified and changed by too many hands. It appears to be old work.

Thus, it is evident that the Grade is an American product and our records her are earlier than yet have been found elsewhere. The Ritual now used by The Grand Council is the same as that used by England and is a product of late nineteenth century American ritualists. The Ritual is of deep interest to those who really understand early Ritual and the environs in which it was created. Many lessons may be found in simple and easily explained ceremonies of the nineteenth century.

The Jewel of the Grade is a black delta, edged with gold, pointed downward, containing in the center “27” in Hebrew characters. On the reverse appears the Tetragrammaton in the Kabalistic Order. The Jewel is suspended from a scarlet ribbon, edged with pale gray, on which is a hand grasping a sword and surmounted by three crowns.

The Apron of the Grade is of black, with gold border. In the center is a gold crown, while on the flap in gold, is a hand grasping a sword.

The Sash of the Grade is approximately four inches in width; scarlet in the center, with pale gray on either side thereof.

The Grade of Excellent Master, or Excellent Mason, as it was known in its earlier working, is of such age as to confuse us in estimating just how old it is. It is almost safe to state that it is as old as is Royal Arch Masonry, because it has always formed a part thereof. Even in the United States it is mentioned as early as 1769, when in St. Andrew’s Chapter, Boston, a Brother was “made by receiving the four steps, that of an Excellt., Sup.-Excellt., Royll. Arch and Kt. Templar.”

Until the early twentieth century, the Excellent was never worked alone; it was always with the Super Excellent and Royal Arch. Later, when this most beautiful method of work was abandoned almost everywhere, the title was changed to “Excellent Master,” the ritual reworked and in Scotland was placed as the immediate predicant to the Royal Arch. It is not worked elsewhere today, save in the Allied Masonic Councils of the United States. Ireland has preserved some of both the Excellent and Super Excellent in her veil-working in the Royal Arch, but the formal ceremonies are a thing of the past.

The origin of the American Royal Arch did not cause a wide swept discontinuance of the older form of working. The Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Virginia used the old form, and even chartered Chapters as “Excellent Super Excellent” well into the nineteenth century. The very abundance of early records and minutes makes unnecessary its transcription as we are all familiar with the antiquity of the Excellent Master and its significance to Royal Arch Masonry.

The Ritual used in the United States is the Scottish work, unchanged. It is a beautiful ceremony and almost necessary to the Royal Arch. Having passed the three Veils in Babylon, there is necessity at Jerusalem only to enter the fourth, or White, Veil. It is a simple and beautiful method of working.

The Jewel of the Grade is the Pentagram, in gold, suspended from a scarlet ribbon.

The Apron of the Grade is white, with a scarlet border, containing in the center a gold pentegram.

The Collar of the Grade is approximately four inches wide and of scarlet color.

The Grade of Architect is the first of a trilogy of Grades expanding upon the Solomonic lessons of architecture. The structure of the degree is Continental in character, resembling certain Rites of the French and German grades, but incorporating the use of trestleboards as used in English and Scottish Masonry. Not surprisingly, it is first found attached to the Early Grand Rite of Scotland under the same name, as the VII° of the Blue Series. It is noteworthy in its interpretations as “extensions” or elaboration of the Master Mason degree. For this reason, it is assumed, it is not practiced or sanctioned by the English Masonic bodies, appearing only in the American and French variants of the Allied Masonic Degrees. The Grade was attached to the Grand Council of the AMD of the United States as an Active Grade in 1934.

The actual degree itself is rather short, with the work resembling that performed in Craft Masonry. The lecture or explanation, however, takes the form of catechism between the principal officers. The ritual is also punctuated with excessive circumabulations and floorwork, which if followed verbatim as prescribed by ritual would make the Grade most unworkable. The use of extensive paraphernalia and properties also mark this Grade with the affinities exhibited by many of the early Rites, which required large auditorium settings with elaborate backdrops. This places it at a disadvantage, as exemplification of the work requires greater amounts of preparation and staging.

The Jewel of the Grade is a flaming star, containing the letter “G,” all of which is within a triangle, in gold.

The Apron of the Grade is white, edged in deep red.

The Sash of the Grade is deep red, approximately four inches wide. It is worn from the right shoulder, resting on the left hip.

The Grade of Grand Architect is a continuation sequence of the Architect Grade. It is found first in the Early Grand Rite of Scotland under the same name, as the VIII° of the Blue Series. It is a continuation of the Solomonic legends of architecture, which seek to impose the ideal of an increasingly select and secretive body of craftsmen performing work upon the Solomonic Temple. It is now only practiced in the American and French Grand Councils of the Allied Masonic Degrees. The Grade was attached as an Active Grade to the Grand Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees of the United States in 1934.

This degree is similar in concept and practice to its companion Grade, that of Architect, sharing the same flaws. It is actually even more cumbersome in the execution of its floorwork, and requires equally extensive paraphernalia and properties. The Grade is therefore seldom worked, as for the candidate to fully appreciate the Grade; it should be exemplified at the same time as the Grades of Architect and Superintendent.

The Jewel of the Grade is double triangle, formed a pair of compasses and a level.

The Apron of the Grade is whited, edged with blue.

The Sash of the Grade is blue, approximately four inches wide. It is worn from the right shoulder, resting on the left hip.

The Grade of Superintendent is somewhat of an enigma. It is clearly related to the Grades of Architect and Grand Architect, indeed, it is the climax of the latter, but was not one of the Grades of the Early Grand Rite of Scotland. Research into that body has failed to establish any connection, the IX° of that Rite’s Blue Series was worked as “Master of the Blue,” and pertained to one of the tests of wisdom between King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Neither is it found under the Rite’s Red, Black, Green, or White Series; where it would be most inappropriate in any case. Thus we are left with the frustrating mystery of a Grade which appears to be a ne plus ultra in the Solomonic architecture. Whatever the case may be, it is a fitting tribute to the other Grades, and rightly deserves a place in the Allied Masonic Degrees.

Being of similar character and style as the Grades of Architect and Grand Architect, it also shares the flaws of those two Grades. The ritual would take several hours to confer if all signs, circumbulations, and raps were observed. The properties required are also more extensive and elaborate. For those Brethren who have the fortune of witnessing the work, however, it will be appreciated that the preparations are well worth the results.

The Jewel of the Grade is a Triangle.

The Apron of the Grade is white, edged in purple.

The Sash of the Grade is purple, approximately four inches wide. It is worn from the right shoulder, resting on the left hip.

The Grade of Master of Tyre is a modern one, originating in North Carolina, USA, and is no doubt the product of the fertile minds of the Masonic brethren in the western area of that state; they being the originators of the Allied Masonic Degrees themselves. It does not appear in any of the early rituals of that body, and was later incorporated into the working along with the Grades of Superintendent, Architect, and Grand Architect.

It was worked initially under the title “Masons of Tyre,” with the idea being to function as a separate body of Freemasonry, the initial qualifications of membership requiring only good standing in the Craft. The organization was to operate under the direction of a Supreme Quarry, whose function was only to coordinate and charter new Quarries of the body. Problems arose with the Grand Lodge of North Carolina, which viewed the body as an alternate Masonic organization that encroached on the sovereignty of the Grand Lodges jurisdiction. To avoid any further dissension, the organization placed itself under the government of the Grand Council of Allied Masonic Degrees of the United States.

The degree is somewhat awkward, being set around long lectures, which detract somewhat from the central lesson of the degree. The emphasis on the Tyrian connection of Masonry, however, makes it unique from the perspective of the majority of Masonic degrees. The main lesson taught is duty.

The Apron of the Grade is in the form of a triangle and is royal purple, edged with gold.

The Jewel of the Grade is a Square and Compasses, containing in the center a crown, and at the tips of the Compasses and the apex of the Square three interlaced triangles containing the letters “M,” “O,” and “T,” suspended from a purple ribbon.

The Chair Degree for the presiding Officer of a Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees of the United States of America. The Degree is usually conferred on the newly elected Sovereign Master by the Council’s Past Sovereign Masters at the close of Council meeting of the Sovereign Master’s election, though some Councils have a separate, formal installation. The Degree relates part of the Solomonic legend concerning the Queen of Sheba and members of the Craft.

The Jewel of the Grade is the insignia of the Allied Masonic Degrees surrounded by a laurel wreath, both in gold, suspended from a green ribbon at the throat, or a white ribbon on the left breast.

The Apron of the Grade is white, bordered green with yellow trim, with the insignia of the Allied Masonic Degrees on the flap, and the jewel of a Master of the Blue Lodge, in green and yellow, centered on the apron body.

In the American Councils, the Degree is rarely exemplified. However, it has become more important with the mutual recognition of European and Canadian Royal Ark Mariner Lodges. In some American Councils, the Royal Ark Mariner Lodge operates as a separate body, with its own set of officers and members. The Degree emphasizes the lessons of hospitality and generosity.The Jewel of the Grade is a silver Triangle. Center inside the inner edges of the triangle is a silver “N.” The Jewel is suspended from a ribbon containing the colors of the Rainbow.

The Apron of the Grade is white, bordered with a rainbow colored edge, and having three triangle of silver, two at the lower corners of the apron, and one centered on the flap. Some councils still use the apron prescribed in early rituals, which is of a ram’s fleece, wool side worn out.

The Sash of the Grade is approximately four inches in width, light green; or rainbow colored, and worn from the right shoulder and resting on the left hip.

In the American Councils, the Degree is not as often exemplified as the other AMD Degrees. With the mutual recognition of the various Grand Councils in the United States and Europe, this Degree becomes much more important as does the Degree of Installed Worshipful Master.

The Jewel of the Grade is a silver gridiron, suspended from a ribbon, orange in the center and royal blue on either side. The Jewel of a Past Master is a silver gridiron enclosed in a silver circle.

The Apron of the Grade is white, with the orange and blue border, and containing a gridiron in the center.

The Collar of the Grade is approximately four inches in width, orange in the center and blue on either side.

The Ritual now employed by The Grand Council in this country is an original text which was used here in 1896. It is a very instructive ceremony and based, for the most part, upon the love which we are taught existed between Jonathan and David. It teaches a beautiful lesson in friendship and fidelity. In 2000, the Grand Council approved the optional use of the English Ritual, which includes the ceremony of Installed Supreme Ruler. In England, the Secret Monitor is separate from the Allied Masonic Degrees.

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.

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 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.

The current Ancient and Masonic Order of the Scarlet Cord is based on an earlier Order, The Royal Order of Knights of the Scarlet Cord, developed in the British Isles in 1889, which was itself derived from 18th Century documents from the Amsterdam Masonic archives.

The rituals and ceremonies were rewritten and enriched by His Honour Judge Fredrick Adolphus Philbrick, KC, and were performed as appendant grades to the Order of the Secret Monitor. The rituals of the Order are taken from Old Testament times, commencing at the period of Joshua, the fall of Jericho and the story of Rahab. The 1st Grade tells the story of Rahab and his hiding the Jewish spies from the King of Jericho. The 2nd Grade tells the story of Ruth, her marriage to Boaz, and her son Obed, the grandfather of David. The 3rd Grade surrounds the resolve of the Maccabees to retain their faith in the face of tyranny. The 4th Grade depicts the carrying of the Ark of the Covenant over the River Jordan and its entrance into Jericho. The 5th Grade surrounds Nebuchadnezzar’s attack on Jerusalem and accounts for the disappearance of the Ark of the Covenant. The 6th Grade is centered on the Maccabee’s fight for independence around 150 BC.

Several Brothers from the Grand Council of the AMD of the USA went over to England in 2008 and received the first 3-grades Grand Conclave of the Order of Secret Monitor of England and Wales by authority of the Most Worthy Supreme Grand Ruler Peter Glyn Williams. Then at Masonic Week in 2009, Peter Glyn Williams conferred the 1st Grade upon 223 Masons. Then on November 11, 2009, Peter Glyn Williams conferred the Preparation and Installation of a President Ceremony upon several members of the Grand Council of the AMD of the USA.

On February 13, 2010, the Grand Conclave of the Royal Order of Masonic Knights of the Scarlet Cord of the United States of America was formed by the authority of Brother William R. Logan who was the Sovereign Grand Master of the Allied Masonic Degrees of the United States of America, under whom the Order of the Scarlet Cord falls under in the United States. In July of 2010, the Order of the Scarlet Cord in England became an independent body from the Order of the Secret Monitor thus becoming the “Ancient and Masonic Order of the Scarlet Cord.” This body traveled back to the United States to confer upon certain American Brothers the final two grades. Later, the Order was placed under the aegis of the Grand Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees and has become an interesting and integral part of the work of the Grand Council.

Click for a guide to the Scarlet Cord Regalia as used in England.

See the Red Branch of Eri page, located in the Honors section of this website.