The Allied Masonic Degrees was an amalgamation of several orders which had no central governing body or administration, effectively “having no home” so to speak. At one time it included the Order of the Secret Monitor Degrees as well as the Order of Holy Wisdom,(now known as the Knights Templar Priests). These broke away after a time and formed their own distinct administrations. By 1931 the order consisted of the five degrees as now practised.
St Lawrence the Martyr
Knights of Constantinople
Grand tylers of Solomon
Red cross of Babylon
Grand High priest
The Admitting Degree is St Lawrence, which is also the Degree in which all Council administration is conducted. The other Degrees can be done in any order, making the planning of work much more flexible.
The qualifications to join the order are of Master Mason, Mark Master Mason and Royal Arch Mason. Brethren usually join AMD once they are comfortable in these orders and have a degree of confidence.
The Order is administered centrally via mark Masons Hall and on a local level by a District Grand Council. The Head of each District is referred to as the District Grand Prefect. The District Grand Prefect has an executive to assist in administrative matters, such as District Secretary, Director of Ceremonies and is supported by a Deputy District Grand Prefect.
Regalia for the order is very simple and low in cost. Once the brother has completed all five ceremonies, he is entitled to wear a breast jewel which is around £12.00 and can usually be obtained even cheaper via the District, as once brethren have obtained District rank the jewel is not used and is often donated to the District for re use.
There is a much more elaborate set of breast jewels which can also be used instead of the composite jewel. Five jewels on a bar which depicts each degree. Cost about £100.00. the choice is up to the individual. On obtaining District rank, the brother wears a green collar, which can also be obtained via the District. That is all. Active officers of the year are loaned a collarette for the duration of their appointment.
Should the brother achieve grand rank, the only regalia is a very distinctive green and gold collar.
As can be seen regalia is very inexpensive and the collar jewels do not change with promotion.
Annual membership costs vary, but are currently less than £100.00 per year. In some cases, much less.
We currently have seven councils spread over Herts and Beds, five in Herts and two in Beds. The district council are keen to see a new council at Biggleswade, which will give best coverage for the District without encroaching on other units. Some units meet alongside a conclave of the secret monitor, which adds to the enjoyment and provides a very lively festive board.
The five ceremonies are all so different from each other. There is a very clear message or lesson taught in each. These could be classed as “life lessons”, the ceremonies are fun to take part in and the ritual is not very difficult. This suits brethren who enjoy ritual but are not comfortable in committing great wads of it to memory. The atmosphere is always very relaxed and genuinely happy. If you travel the country attending AMD meetings you will see that this is very much the norm.
District Functions include our yearly Luncheon, Possibly the first masonic order to have a Sunday Luncheon. It has been held at various venues around the District, the last two were held at the met police club in Bushey. They are always much enjoyed and combine a very nice lunch with a free raffle. This year (at the time of writing) we are hoping to have the next one in September at The Blue Check restaurant in Bushey. This has been used by Masonic Orders before and they have a first class selection of meals, wines and beers.
The District also believes in supporting our newer/younger brethren. The District Grand Prefect attended the AGM of the Fleet House Light Blues to give a presentation on the AMD, and has been invited to future events to give more information on this exciting order.
The executive, active officers and indeed anyone travel the country attending District meetings of the Order. This is always popular with our brethren and leads to many friendships being formed. We in turn, host brethren from around the country at our District meeting. The bond within the AMD is very strong and long may it continue.
We have plans for less formal lunches, district officers, potential candidates etc.
Anyone thinking of joining the order can get information from our District Secretary, whose details are in the yearbooks for Hertfordshire and in Bedfordshire. We also have leaflets in every centre in both provinces which give details of the order, who to contact and also a membership form.
District Grand Prefect
RW Bro Geoff Cheshire