Royal and Select Masters - Wyvern District

About the Order

The Order

The Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters of England and Wales and its Districts and Councils Overseas was formally constituted on 29 July 1873 by four Councils chartered just two years earlier by the Grand Council of New York.

The Councils organised themselves into a Sovereign body under the Patronage of the Rev. Canon G.R. Portal, a Past Grand Master of Mark Master Masons, who was Installed as the Grand Master of the Order. By the turn of the century there were twenty-seven Councils and a similar number were consecrated by the end of the second world war. The Order then grew rapidly with the number on the Roll at the end of 2013 being over 250 Councils.

The Degrees in the Order - four in total - are often referred to as the 'Cryptic Degrees', and the Order sometimes as 'Cryptic'. The ceremonies complete the Solomonic legend as they prove the essential link between the Degrees of Mark Mason, the Raising in Craft, and The Royal Arch.

The Order is administered from Mark Masons Hall, with M.Ill.Comp. Kessick J. Jones as Grand Master.

The Wyvern District of Royal and Select Masters was constituted in 2006 following the partition of the former Central District, and comprises of seven Councils within the ccounties of Gloucestershrie, Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

The annual Wyvern District meeting is usually held on the Fourth Saturday in June at the Kings Heath Masonic Hall, 221 Alcester Road South, Kings Heath, Birmingham B14 6DT.

Why Should I Join This Fascinating Order?

The Order of Royal and Select Masters, often known as the Cryptic Degrees, is open to those who are both Royal Arch and Mark Master Masons and consists of four highly dramatic degrees. These outline the initial steps taken during the building of the Temple to preserve copies of the holy vessels and sacred treasures in a secret vault, the burial of the Word by the two surviving Grand Masters after Hiram’s death, the completion and dedication of the Temple and finally the fall of Jerusalem to Nebuchadnezzar and his army. It can be seen, therefore, that the Cryptic Degrees form a vital and interesting link between the Craft and Royal Arch, making the connection much more logical and completing the legend of King Solomon and his Temple. The Four Degrees are as follows:

  • Select Master

This builds on the Mark Degree.  It explains the background to the construction of a secret vault (or crypt) directly beneath the Holy of Holies of the Temple. In this vault copies of the most sacred treasures were to be placed to preserve them in the event that the Temple should be destroyed. The construction of the vault is carried out by a few Select Masons, sworn to secrecy and appointed by the three Grand Masters.

  • Royal Master

This takes place within the Holy of Holies very shortly before the completion of the Temple. Hiram Abif inadvertently explains to one of those Select Masters, Adoniram, why the Master Word will never be lost. This disclosure is made in what many consider to be the finest and most beautiful piece of Masonic ritual.

  • Most Excellent Master

Hiram Abif has been slain and after a period of mourning, the holy relics are transferred into the completed temple. King Solomon prepares to dedicate it to the Most High and, to celebrate this joyous occasion, confers the Degree of Most Excellent Master on his most trusted and skillful workmen, amongst whom are those who built the secret vault.

  • Super Excellent Master

This degree covers the invasion of Jerusalem, the siege and fall of the city and the eventual destruction of the Temple by Nebuchadnezzar. The Jews are removed to Babylon where they remain in captivity. Zedekiah, Nebuchadnezzar’s puppet King, has rebelled against him and fled, leaving the remaining citizens to defend the Temple and pledge their devotion to God.
After a period of seventy years the Jews eventually return to Judah to begin the construction of the second Temple as described in the Holy Royal Arch.