Royal Order of Scotland
The Royal Order of Scotland is the oldest Masonic Order, after the Craft, having originated in London in about 1740 and was then re-introduced in Edinburgh in 1763, becoming a Grand Lodge and Chapter in 1767. The Grand Lodge in Edinburgh controls the 81 Provincial Grand Lodges situated in many parts of the world. The Order has always claimed that the King of the Scots is the hereditary Grand Master.
Royal Order of Scotland
The Royal Order comprises two Degrees, namely:
1. The Heredom of Kilwinning, conferred in Provincial Grand Chapter.
2. Knighthood of the Rosy Cross, conferred in Provincial Grand Lodge.
The Ritual has remained unchanged for over 260 years and is recited almost entirely in the form of rhyming catechisms.
The Royal Order of Scotland is governed by the Grand Lodge which directs operations from its prestigious headquarters at St. John Street, Edinburgh, a building that embodies the Chapel of St. John, and is believed to be the oldest purpose-built masonic lodge room in the world.
The Royal Order of Scotland occupies a unique position within Freemasonry and can rightfully claim to be a truly international masonic body, controlling in excess of eighty Provincial Grand Lodges situated in twenty-five different countries across the globe. In addition, it is the only ‘working’ Grand Lodge in the world, admitting and promoting candidates into the two constituent degrees, as well as dealing with all administrative matters pertaining to the Order. It can also claim to be senior to all other masonic systems with the exception of the Craft, as authentic documentary proof exists in its archives indicating that the Order was active as early as 1741. This was substantiated in the form of a Patent of Appointment, dated 22 July 1750, granted in London to a William Mitchell, empowering him to erect a Provincial Grand Lodge in The Hague, Holland, which was endorsed by the ‘Provincial Grand Master of South Britain…in the ninth year of my Provincial Grand Mastership.’ However, there is no evidence that the proposed Provincial Grand Lodge ever actually functioned as by the year 1753 Mitchell was domiciled in Edinburgh. He is recorded as visiting St. David’s Lodge on 12 September where he was duly acknowledged as the ‘Provincial Grand Master of the Seven United Provinces’ (Holland).
It appears that Mitchell later established a Province of the Order at Edinburgh and over the intervening fourteen-year period certain Scottish brethren were selected for admission, culminating in the erection of a Grand Lodge and Grand Chapter in 1767, when a new set of Laws for the government of the Order was prepared. It was at this meeting that the King of Scots was first specifically designated as Grand Master, the title of ‘Royal Order of Scotland’ was adopted, and the date of the annual meeting changed to the 4th July.
The ‘Bruce’ tradition was also embraced, and a new designation of Deputy Grand Master and Governor was instituted for the leader of the Order. During succeeding years Provincial Grand Lodges were warranted in France and Italy (having a complement of over twenty-five dependent Chapters), but the onset and subsequent backlash of the Napoleonic War forced the Order into a period of decline and from 1819, with the Continental lodges all but gone, it was destined to remain dormant for 20 years. The Order was eventually resuscitated in November 1839 but the interval of inaction caused great problems for those involved in reviving its fortunes, as little information remained with respect to the ritual of the Order, especially the degree of the Rosy Cross. However, by 1843 an approved ritual had been prepared when details and patterns for the aprons, cordons, collars, star, and garter, were laid down and Grand Lodge ratified the original Laws of 1767, which have remained the basic Law of the Order ever since. A design was also adopted for the Banner of the Order, which was purchased in March 1844.
Membership of this Christian Order is highly prized and is by strict invitation. A candidate must have a residential or business address in Kent, have been a Master Mason for at least five years and be a member of the Rose Croix and/or Red Cross of Constantine and/or Knights Templar.
The regalia of a Brother in Heredom (the first degree), comprises an apron of special design, being wider at the bottom than at the top, edged with crimson ribbon – the colour of Kilwinning – and having a fringed triangular flap, fastened with ribbons, all in crimson. A wide cordon, or baldrick, of a similar colour is worn over the left shoulder and under the right arm.
After promotion to Knighthood, an additional cordon of dark green – after the Chivalric ‘Order of the Thistle’ – is worn above the crimson cordon, over the right shoulder and under the left arm. The former apron is replaced with one of similar dimensions but edged with crimson and thistle-green ribbon and having a fringed flap of green and fastened by green and crimson tasselled cords.
A seven-pointed gilt star featuring the cross of the Order is worn on the left breast, while a gilt-edged thistle-green garter bearing the words ‘Virtute et Silentio’ is worn around the left arm. It is also quite normal – for those having the right – to wear the kilt of their appropriate clan.
The nearest Lodge for members of Loyal and True are:
The Provincial Grand Lodge of Kent at the Franklin Rooms Gillingham
Meetings are held on the first Thursday in February, the third Friday in June, the fourth Friday in October and the second Thursday in December.
Name: R. E. R. Walters
Position: Provincial Grand Secretary
Telephone: 01303 276184
Email: R. Walters
Website : non