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Order of the Allied Masonic Degrees of England and Wales
and its Districts and Councils Overseas

District of Severn

History of the Order

Most of the additional masonic degrees worked in England in the early part of the nineteenth century originally came under the aegis of warrants granted by the Antients, who held that Craft Warrants entitled Lodges to work any Masonic degree of which they had knowledge and members available who could work it (not necessarily from uniform rituals). After the formation of the United Grand Lodge various groups of degrees were gradually organised into separate Orders each with their own governing body, but at the end of the third quarter of the century a large number of unrelated grades of no direct interest to any Grand Body was still being worked in different parts of the country. To give some cohesion to these waifs and ensure working with standard rituals, it was decided in the late 1870s, (according to oral tradition by the then Grand Secretaries of the Craft and the Mark and the Grand Secretary General of the Ancient and Accepted Rite) to establish a Grand Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees in England and Wales and the Colonies and Dependencies of the British Crown, with headquarters at Mark Masons' Hall. By special arrangement with the Sovereign College the Degree of Grand Tilers of Solomon was conferred on the Grand Master and other leading members of the Grand Council in 1893 and added to the original four authorised to be worked in Councils under the Grand Council.

In 1895 the then Grand Master authorised Councils to work the (American) single Degree of Secret Monitor, notwithstanding the existence since 1887 of a Grand Council of that Order for the United Kingdom and the Colonies and Dependencies of the British Crown. After prolonged negotiations a Treaty was signed in 1931 whereby the Grand Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees recognised the Grand Council of the Secret Monitor as the sole authority over the Degree of Secret Monitor and agreed to cease to practise or confer it.

In 1897 the Grand Council obtained control of the large group of Knight Templar Priest Degrees (the Order of Holy Wisdom) which had been worked without interruption since about 1810 by the Royal Kent Tabernacle at Newcastle-on-Tyne under the Illustrious Order of the Knights Grand Cross of the Holy Temple of Jerusalem. These Degrees were however never worked under the aegis of the Grand Council, although they continued to be worked at Newcastle. After the formation in 1923 of a Grand College of England of Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests or Order of Holy Wisdom the Grand Council disclaimed all further interest in these Degrees. The Grand Council thus surrendered the Degree which it had worked to the independent Grand Council of the Secret Monitor and restored the independence of the Knight Templar Priest Degrees which it had not worked. The successful tidying-up of admittedly unsatisfactory arrangements was undoubtedly due to the diplomacy of Colonel C. W. Napier-Clavering. Grand Master of the Grand Council 1920-1931, who by a happy coincidence had become also the Grand Supreme Ruler of the Secret Monitors and the Grand High Priest of the Knight Templar Priests.

The result of these developments was that warrants granted before 1893 authorised Councils to work four degrees, those granted from 1895 to 1934 six degrees, and later warrants authorise five.
By virtue however of edicts of the Grand Council subordinate Councils are now all authorised to work the following five degrees and no other, except with the consent of the Grand Council under Rule 5 of the Constitutions.

In 1972 the title of the Grand Council was changed to "The Grand Council of the Order of the Allied Masonic Degrees of England and Wales and Territories Overseas". In 2001 the word "Territories" was replaced by "Districts and Councils".