50 Years in Rose Croix Masonry
Philip Claude Bridge, born 5th September 1929, became a freemason at the age of 33 when he was initiated in Bedic Lodge No 5915. Four years later, in 1966, he was perfected into Rose Croix Masonry receiving the 18o in Bernard Gilpin Chapter No 301. He progressed to the honourable office of Most Wise Sovereign in 1977 and was subsequently awarded 30o in 1978, 31o in 1987 and 32o in 1995. But in 2016 he achieved what few Rose Croix Masons will ever succeed to, fifty years of continuous service. It was for this reason that Rose Croix Masons from all over the District of Durham gathered to celebrate IllBro Philip Claude Bridge's truly remarkable achievement. The celebration took place on the occasion of the thee hundred and thirtieth meeting of the Princes of Bernard Gilpin Chapter Rose Croix at Shiney Row Masonic Hall. The certificate was presented by VIllBro Paul Philip Paterson 33o Inspector General for the District of Durham seen right.
From left to right:
The Order in Durham
The Supreme Council 33º for England Wales and its Districts and Chapters Overseas, formed in 1845, is the governing body for the Ancient and Accepted Rite in England – popularly known as the Rose Croix. It consists of nine 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 of Chapters, and conferring the higher degrees of the 30º - 33º during ceremonies 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 initially for five years but may be eligible for reappointment for a further five-year term. 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, and VIllBro The Lord Ravensworth 33º was appointed as the first Inspector General. Since that time, the number of Chapters has increased to 20, 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 could prove difficult if they were responsible for greater numbers. Presently these Chapters have around 600 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.