A Presentation on the Cryptic Order at Weyside Council

On Friday 10th December Weyside Council in the Order of Royal and Select Masters held a presentation on the Cryptic Order with a view to attracting potential members, who were also be invited to join in the Festive Board afterwards.

Our District Grand Master, R.Ill.Comp. David Blackburn, and our Deputy District Grand Master, Ill.Comp. Peter Kipps delivered the presentation.

The meeting of Weyside Council was the first since December 2019 and therefore had to be an Installation. Graham Rawlinson, a founder and up to now the DC, had been elected at the previous meeting. However, the passage of time required a second election and a dispensation to elect, install and appoint officers at the same meeting.

The Council welcomed the District Grand Master and his Deputy, together with a retinue of District Officers to the meeting. Ill.Comp. Archie Parsons being unavoidably absent, Ill Comp Richard Collinson stepped in as TIM but was happy to defer to the DGM who inducted Graham Rawlinson into the chair in excellent form despite the short notice.

A Presentation on the Cryptic Order at Weyside Council Their next meeting will also be an Installation at which it is anticipated that Comp. John French, their new Deputy Master and Master elect, will occupy the chair.

After the Council was closed, the District Grand Master accompanied by the Deputy District Grand Master and their escorting officers were re-admitted into the Temple, in preparation for a presentation entitled 'The Degrees of the Order of Royal and Select Masters'.

The presentation was open to Companions of the Royal Arch and Brethren of the Mark Degree – and Companion and Brother Andrew Banks was duly admitted into the Temple.

A Presentation on the Cryptic Order at Weyside Council In double-act form, the District Grand Master and the Deputy District Grand Master proceeded to explain the background to the four main Degrees of the Order (namely the Select Master, the Royal Master, the Most Excellent Master and the Super Excellent Master), the regalia of the Order (a single jewel and a triangular badge or apron) and in particular how they fit into the Solomonic timeline – before, during and after the completion of King Solomon’s Temple; and between the Mark Degree and the 3rd Degree, and between the 3rd Degree and the Royal Arch Degree.

The Degree of the Silver Trowel was then outlined. This degree is only conferred in a Past Masters’ Council (in Surrey this is Weald of Surrey Council No.309) and is signified by a silver trowel adorning the apron.

Finally, the Excellent Master Degree was explained, which is also known as the Passing of the Veils ceremony. This degree has recently been approved for working in England and Wales and may be conferred on Past Masters who are already holders of the Silver Trowel; in other constitutions, it is a precursor to the Holy Royal Arch! One of the many consequences of the Union of 1813.

The presentation was well received by all present, including the guest who has already submitted his completed application form, thus ensuring that Council Officers will have work to do at the next meeting in April.

The assembled brethren then retired to the bar for further discussion, before enjoying lamb shank at the festive board.

Membership of the Royal and Select Masters is open to Craft Masons who are Companions of the Royal Arch and are Mark Master Masons.

Article by Ian Neve and Andrew Banks, photos by Ian Neve

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Royal and Select Masters District of Surrey
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