The Order in Durham
The Supreme Council 33º for England Wales and its Districts and Chapters Overseas and formed in 1845 is the governing body for the A & A R in England. It consists of 9 members and has been based at its headquarters at 10 Duke Street, St. James' London since 1911. It is responsible for all matters pertaining to the Order within its jurisdiction including Ritual matters, Consecrations and conferring the higher degrees of the 30º - 33º during ceremonies which which it carries out regularly at Convocations held at its headquarters.
In 1872 the Supreme Council decided to divide England and Wales into Districts under the direction of Inspectors General. Each District is ruled by an Inspector General who is invariably promoted to 33º.They are appointed for 5 years but are eligible for reappointment. They have certain powers delegated to them by Supreme Council and they can be assisted by a District Recorder but there is no District organization similar to that in the Craft, Royal Arch, Mark, Knights Templar, etc.
The District of Durham was formed in 1932 at which time there were three Chapters in the District.
V.Ill Bro The Lord Ravensworth 33º was appointed as the first Inspector General. Since then the number of Chapters has increased to 21 which is considered to be quite large (the majority of Districts are much smaller). The aim is to enable Inspectors General to have a valuable and personal contact with the members of the Chapters they supervise which would not be possible if they were responsible for more. Presently these Chapters have around 725 members.
Joining the Order
The Order amplifies the teachings of Craft Masonry within a Christian context, for which reason candidates must profess the Trinitarian Christian Faith.
Candidates for the 'Rose Croix' must:
(a) have been initiated in a Lodge under the United Grand Lodge of England ,and
(b) have been a Master Mason for at least one full year and be in good standing within the Craft.
Nowhere in the 18º is the Candidate asked to swear an oath: all the Obligations are promises. One may presume that the word of a man of the type invited to join the degree once given, is ample bond.
Regalia for the 18th degree is both simple and spectacular and comprises a red collar embroidered in gold braid with symbols and emblems of the Degree of Perfection.
Being a progressive Order, it is the aspiration (but not a requirement) of most members to attain the Chair of Sovereign. His work, in the only degree worked in our Chapters, is not extensive because much of the ritual can be undertaken by Past Sovereigns. He is however, expected to carry out the short ceremony of Enthroning his successor. As very few Rose Croix Masons withdraw from progression, it normally takes about seven years to pass through the different Offices.