Allied Masonic Degrees

The Allied Masonic degrees in the United States date to 1883. The  present Grand Council was organized at Salisbury, North Carolina in July  1933. The purpose is “To Futher the Good of Masonry”, and membership is  by invitation only. Membership requires affiliation with the Royal Arch  and is limited to 27 members per presiding body.



A Historical Sketch of Its Beginnings

Prepared for Presentation before Coordinate Councils during Term as Sovereign Grand Master

Although the Grand Council, Allied Masonic Degrees of the USA has  spread though many Grand Jurisdictions, too many of the Brethren  belonging to the Coordinate Councils know little of its formation.

In the later part of the 1920s and early 1930s, a Masonic study group  met Sunday afternoons in Monroe, NC. Sometimes they met in the Masonic  Temple, but most often in that of J. Raymond Shute, II, one of Masonry’s  foremost students at the time. In the year 1930, Bro. Shute began  correspondence with R. E. Comp. George A. Howell, Grand Scribe, Supreme  Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Scotland, relative to the Excellent Master  Degree which was worked by the Royal Arch Chapters of that country. The  correspondence resulted in a Dispensation being issued by His Lordship,  the Earl of Cassillis, First Grand Principal, Supreme Grand Royal Arch  Chapter of Scotland, permitting the Degree to be conferred within the  Grand Royal Arch Chapter of NC, on May 12, 1931, at Asheville. The  Degree was conferred on about 200 Royal Arch Masons. It was where the  idea originated which resulted in founding the Grand Council, Allied  Masonic Degrees.

The enthusiastic reception of the Degrees caused the Companions  involved to seek a method to retain it in this country, together with  other Degrees controlled by the Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter of  Scotland, without interfering with established Royal Arch customs. After  much correspondence, including the precaution of securing permission  from the Grand High Priest of North Carolina, and the General Grand High  Priest of the General Grand Chapter, R. E. Comp. Howell agreed to  entertain applications from three groups which had been formed in North  Carolina. Charters were to be issued to them with the understanding that  they would form a Grand Council as soon as possible after receiving  them. The groups were located in Monroe, Charlotte, and Raleigh. They  were later named St. Andrews in America No. 1A, Howell No. 3A, and  Cassillis No. 2A.

At the Annual Meeting of the Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter of  Scotland, March 21, 1932, the Charters were granted. When the Charters  arrived, the Councils were consecrated, and a call issued to form the  Grand Council, Allied Masonic Degrees of the USA, in Salisbury, NC,  April 16, 1932. The Grand Council was formed with R. E. Comp. J. Raymond  Shute, II as the first Sovereign Grand Master.

In the course of the Salisbury meeting, a call was issued for a  Special Communication to be convened at the Raleigh Hotel, Washington,  DC, during the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Masonic  birthday of our great and beloved Bro. George Washington on May 12,  1932. Less than a month had passed since the formation of the Grand  Council when this meeting was held in Washington, yet charters were  issued to five new councils.

The first Annual Communication of the Grand Council was held in  Charlotte, May 8, 1933, at which three more charters were issued. At  this Communication, the establishment of the bulletin Miscellanea was  authorized for the publication of research papers of lasting interest.  This Communication also established the honorary rank, Knight Grand  Cross, upon the twenty-one founders, together with such brethren as the  Board of General Purposes might nominate and the Grand Council approve.  There may never be more than ninety-nine living Knights Grand Cross at  any time. The Constitution and By-laws offered at Washington were  adopted at this communication.

Shortly after the Charlotte Communication, it was discovered that  some of the Degrees assigned to the Grand Council had been worked  previously by the Sovereign Grand College of Allied and Christian  Degrees of Norway, Maine. This organization had been formed in Richmond,  VA, in 1882 by the Rev. Hartley Carmichael, an Episcopal Rector and  Masonic leader of his time, Josiah Drummond, Charles A. Nesbitt, and  others. After the death of Carmichael and Nesbitt, the records and  activities of the Allied and Christian Degrees were moved to Maine,  where it became defunct in all but name. However, its previous working  of some of these Degrees put a dubious light on the authority of the  Grand Council to take over the same Degrees.

In July 1933, a committee consisting of J. Raymond Shute, II and  William Mosely Brown journeyed to Norway, Maine, where arrangements were  made to absorb the Allied and Christian Degrees into the Grand Council.  Articles of Union were drawn up and offered for adoption at a Special  Communication of Grand Council in Raleigh, July 22,1933.

The Second Annual Communication of Grand Council, held at Alexandria,  VA, February 20,1934, ratified the Articles of Union with Grand  College, Allied and Christian Degrees presented in Raleigh, which gave  Grand Council clear title to each of the Degrees controlled by Grand  College. In addition to those Degrees which were in doubt, Grand Council  acquired a number of Degrees controlled by Grand College pertaining to  Christian philosophy which it had not previously possessed. These  Degrees were grouped together and formally transferred to control of a  new organization, formed for the purpose and named Ordo Sacerdotalis Templi. This body later became the Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar  Priests.

Such is a brief outline of the beginning of Grand Council, Allied  Masonic Degrees of the USA, and a resume of some of the highlights of  the first two years of its existence. The account is incomplete and  sketchy, but does cover salient points.

The purposes of the Allied Masonic Degrees are beneficial to all  aspects of Masonry, whether they be Symbolic, York, or Scottish Rite.  Though we control a number of Degrees by incontestable authority, we are  not primarily a degree-working organization. Our chief interest is a  return to the conviviality and good fellowship, an indispensable part of  Masonic gatherings in former times, lost in the pressure of degree work  now found highly prevalent. This good fellowship is to be followed by  research papers or talks on various Masonic subjects. With this aim-an  effort to throw more light from the Sanctuary upon us all-we can but  foresee even greater growth ahead for Grand Council as these principles  become more widely known.

Every man should study, interpret, and develop the symbols of Masonry  to best suit his own experiences, for Masonry is a vast and almost  limitless subject, with numerous facets to explore. It is more than a  parrot-like recitation of the ritual-far more than that. Not to  underestimate the value of good ritualistic work, for it is by this  means that we welcome our devotees. But the ritual is only the vehicle  by which we bring them to the open door of the wonders which lie in  store for the sincere student of our art. Beyond its portals lie  exciting treasures untold, limited only by the individual’s own capacity  to discover them. Just as each man’s conception of his God may vary as  much as the individual man himself; just as one man may be completely  satisfied with a concept of a God in human form who sits on a golden  throne high in the heavens, dealing out fire and brimstone to those who  displease him, while others may believe Him to be to be kind and  merciful, One who pervades all things, sustaining His children with an  ever-present help in time of trouble, a God who is universal, eternal  Divine Love, which changes not, and causes no evil, disease, or death.  Who am I to say that my concept of God is right and the others are  wrong. Even so, each man’s concept of Masonry and its allegorical  lessons must be essentially personal and individualistic.

Allied Masonic Degrees










2nd Saturday
Mar, May, Sep, De


Emerald Isle



3rd Wednesday


E Leslie Webb Jr



4th Wednesday
April, August, November


Arch Mcclanahan

Mt Juliet


5th Monday


Nicholas E Oldham




Ray S Garton



5th Monday


Johnson / Sanders



5th Monday


Verbum In Terra




Jacob R Denny



5th Tue 3rd Wed In Dec


A. B. Church Jr



5th Monday


More Light being the object

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