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History and Governance

The Supreme Council 33º for England Wales and its Districts and Chapters Overseas, was formed in 1845, in accordance with the Grand Constitutions of 1786, under a Patent issued by the Supreme Council of the Northern Jurisdiction of the USA, and is the governing body for the Order in this country. The Council is composed of nine eminent holders of the 33°, and has its headquarters at 10 Duke Street, St. James' London.

Although neither formally recognises the other, the relationship between the Craft and Rose Croix is an extremely close one. The Grand Master, Pro Grand Master and Deputy Grand Master are all members of the 33°; and the MW Grand Master, HRH the Duke of Kent, is the Grand Patron of the Order. Similarly, all nine members of the Supreme Council are Grand Officers of UGLE.

The Rite consists of 33 degrees, of which the three degrees of Craft Masonry are accepted as equivalents of the first three degrees of this Rite. In England and Wales just five degrees are worked: the 18°, 30°, 31°, 32° and 33°. The only one worked in private chapters is the 18°, known by the grand title of Sovereign Prince of the Rose Croix of Heredom.

The “Higher Degrees,” as they are referred to – i.e., those beyond the 18th - are only worked by members of the Supreme Council, at regular ceremonies, and recognise significant service given by members to the Order.

Rose Croix 18th Degree Collar

18° Collar
appended with a complex jewel.

Rose Croix 30th Degree Sash

30th Degree Sash

Who Can Join?

Until very recently the necessary qualifications for membership in this Jurisdiction were for a potential candidate to profess the Trinitarian Christian faith, and to have been a Master Mason for twelve months or more. However, at the end of 2023 the Supreme Council for England and Wales announced the decision to move to a more inclusive membership, by no longer requiring potential candidates to profess the Trinitarian Christian faith.

The decision to remove the Christian restriction means that many good Craft masons previously prevented from experiencing the Higher Degrees of Freemasonry, and who would be assets to the Order, will now be able to enjoy membership if they wish, provided they are willing to strive to uphold the Christian ideals of faith, hope and charity exemplified by the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, so beautifully represented in the 18° ceremony.

If a brother is considering the Rose Croix as the next step in his progression as a Freemason, the necessary qualifications for membership are for the applicant to be of high moral standing, and to have been a Master Mason for six months or more. There is no requirement for an applicant to be a member of any other Order; nor does an interested Mason need to wait to be invited to apply for membership.

The Ceremony of Perfection

When a brother joins the Order, he passes through the Ceremony of Perfection, during which the Intermediate Degrees from 4th to 17th are given to him by name only, and the 18th degree (the Rose Croix of Heredom) is then conferred on him in full.

The 18° ceremony considers the principles of brotherly love, relief, and truth through deeper philosophical and spiritual teachings, guiding candidates towards a greater understanding of themselves and their connection to the universe. It is a ceremony unlike any other in freemasonry, and is often described by candidates as their most profound experience since Initiation.

In the ceremony, the Candidate is taken through several rooms and passes through several stages which figuratively represent his spiritual and Masonic life from Craft Masonry, through to a Rose Croix Chapter and the discovery of the Lost Word.

The ceremony of the 18° seeks the Perfection of Christian virtues in Faith, Hope and Charity. It is an immensely moving, impressive and beautiful ceremony.

Rose Croix 31st Degree Collar

31st Degree Collar

Rose Croix 32nd Degree Collar


The collars or sashes worn in the various degrees of the Order are embroidered with exceptional beauty and complexity, and display the rank from 18° through 30° to 31°, 32° and 33°.  

A complex jewel is appended from the collar of the18°

32nd Degree Collar

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