The Ancient & Accepted Rite is an Order of Freemasonry comprising a total of 33 degrees of which the Rose Croix is the 18th. Local bodies of the Order are known as Rose Croix Chapters and all business of a Chapter is conducted in the 18th Degree, including the Admission of Candidates (known as ‘Perfection’) and the Enthronement of the Most Wise Sovereign (the equivalent of Worshipful Master in a Craft Lodge).
The Ancient & Accepted Rite originated in France in the mid-1700s as a ‘Rite of Perfection’ consisting of 25 ‘higher’ degrees and spread via the trade routes to the West Indies and North America. There are now over 60 Supreme Councils – the independent governing authorities of the Order – throughout the world.
The Supreme Council 33° of the Ancient & Accepted Rite for England and Wales and its Districts and Chapters Overseas was established in 1845 under a Patent issued by the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the USA and consists of nine eminent members of the Rite, all holders of the 33°. HRH The Duke of Kent, KG, Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England, is the Grand Patron, reinforcing the close links between the Craft and the Ancient & Accepted Rite.
There is no equivalent to a Grand Lodge or Provincial Grand Lodge structure in the Ancient & Accepted Rite and Chapters are organised into Districts in England and Wales, each under the jurisdiction of an Inspector General who is appointed by the Supreme Council to have charge and supervision over the Chapters in his particular District.
The Inspector General is the representative of the Supreme Council in his District and is responsible for upholding the authority of the Council and the dignity of the Order.
I was appointed the Inspector General for the District of North East Lancashire with effect from 1st July 2015, in succession to V.Ill.Bro David Bouic Hawkins 33° who held the office of Inspector General for 15 years and previously that of District Recorder for 18 years.
A candidate seeking membership must be of high moral standing, be prepared to sign a declaration that he professes the Trinitarian Christian Faith and have been a Master Mason of at least a year’s standing at the time of his election. There are no other qualifying criteria.
A commonly held misconception is that the Ancient & Accepted Rite is an ‘invitational’ Order and that candidates need to be approached for membership. Such is not the case and enquiries from any applicant meeting the above criteria will be most welcome.
For further information, visit the North East Lancashire District Rose Croix website.