This order was first constituted into this country in the early 1870’s with the first Book of Constitutions being issued in 1874. At this time, the constituent degrees could be taken in any sequence.
The degrees in the Order of Royal & Select Masters continue the ‘Solomonic Story’ for a period of some 420 years from the time of the word being lost until its recovery as explained in the Holy Royal Arch Chapter. The Order is composed of four degrees which together form a connection between the Craft, Mark, and Holy Royal Arch with links into the Allied Masonic Degrees, The Operatives and the Holy Royal Arch Chapter in the Scottish Constitution.
Local Council of Royal & Select Masters
A Council is in many ways the same as a Masonic Lodge, with its officers and ritual degree system, which in this case consists of four degrees: Select Master, Royal Master, Most Excellent Master and Super Excellent Master. The Super Excellent Master degree is optional in some jurisdictions. The various positions in the lodge are modelled directly after Craft Masonry and though the names are often different the duties are largely the same. Their seating is a bit different, however, in that all three principals of a council sit on the east dais, while the Captain of the Guard and Conductor of the Council sit in the west and south.
|Craft Masonry||Cryptic Masonry|
|Worshipful Master||Thrice Illustrious Master|
|Senior Warden||Deputy Master|
|Junior Warden||Principal Conductor of the Work|
|Director of Ceremonies||Director of Ceremonies|
|Senior Deacon||Captain of the Guard|
|Junior Deacon||Conductor of the Council|
Degrees of the order
A candidate is said to be admitted into this degree. It is here that he is received into the Order and that in which any general business of the Council is carried out. Any Council of the Royal and Select Masters must be opened in this degree before carrying out any work in any other degrees.
It concerns the construction of the Temple at Jerusalem with particular reference to the ‘secret vault’ beneath.
This, the second of the four degrees contains arguably the most magnificent piece of Masonic ritual ever produced. An audience, if you like with Hirman Abif, the master builder himself. A degree of thought provoking dimensions.
It is centred on the ‘Lost Word’ and its place of security where it would be found in the Holy Royal Arch. To say too much would necessarily mar the enjoyment of future candidates.
Most Excellent Master
Just seven and a half years after the laying of the foundation stone of the Temple has been completed its dedication was imminent and the time chosen by King Solomon to institute a new order, that of Most Excellent Master. Hiram Abif was slain prior to the dedication. This links the Mark and the Operatives.
Super Excellent Master
King Solomon died in 938BC and the Jewish Empire began to disintegrate. His kingdom split into two. Here we are at the defence of Jerusalem and the Holy Temple. All is lost. The people are taken to Babylon in captivity and the predictions of the prophets concerning Zedekiah, the last King of Judah comes to pass.